Salone News

Sierra Leone: Retired Captain Valentine M. Strasser breaks his silence

By  | 26 March 2012 at 04:58 | 10505 views


As the political season progresses in Sierra Leone, nothing is ruled out as too remote or impossible. It was during a press conference held at the former Head of State retired Captain Valentine M. Strasser’s ICT Institute at Grafton, his hometown, that he made startling revelations that could be exploited for red meat by political junkies and pundits in influencing the outcome of the nation’s forth coming presidential and parliamentary elections slated to take place November 17, 2012.

Strasser (photo) cleared the air stating that he’s not affiliated to any political party and has no long term mission or vision to contest for any political office. As politics is an expensive business he doesn’t have the resources to plough into it. One is also not immune from the exploitation of privacy and skin deep brutal and boundless scrutiny, he opined.

On Thursday March 22nd, Strasser was interviewed on BBC Network Africa. Listening to him on the program, he sounded articulate and impressive. A fair assessment after hearing him speak will dispel all rumors that he was suffering from mental illness. But chronic poverty, inability to provide basic human needs, and destitution could lead to mental illness. He lamented that he lives on a monthly pension of Le200,000, the equivalent of $50. And he credited Ernest Koroma’s government for making his pension possible. He also depends on financial help from friends and family members, especially his mother who provides him with accommodation.

Strasser articulated that his brain child, the ICT Computer Institute is providing much needed computer skills for the unfortunate and abandoned youth in his community to arm them with necessary skills to improve their chances of getting jobs. His support base came mostly from them when he seized the gavel to the pinnacle of power. He said for several years he has been learning and improving himself, despite the fact that he dropped out of Warwick University in UK because of a controversy with the school about the honorary Doctorate conferred on him as head of state, and his inability to pay school fees when funding for his education was discontinued. But he boasted that he attended a good school -CMS Grammar School, and got good grades. Whatever he puts his mind to is possible and doable, he stressed.

When asked if the opposition SLPP candidate retired Bragadier Maada Bio is qualified to become president, he said that according to the constitution Bio has passed the age of 40 years and has some leadership experience though he was not sure that would take him to the high office. He added that Bio’s record has some questionable areas but it is left with the people of Sierra Leone to make the ultimate choice. Bio is no Jerry Rawlings who had innate fortitude, credibility, vision and glaring sense of duty and patriotism to identify and help fix Ghana’s enigma and economic malaise.

“I have never done political science in my life. So I don’t know if I could be able to practice politics or go into it. And besides, politics is a very expensive business now in the world and I don’t have the required resources to go into it”, Strasser said.

“Maada Bio wants to make me look like a bad person. If Maada had a genuine intention at that time to hand over power to democratic civilian rule why did he call for Bintumani 2 conference? That conference was held in a bid to postpone the elections but the people of Sierra Leone resisted,” he added.

Strasser gave thumbs up, applauding the ruling APC government, with Ernest Bai Koroma at the helm for developments taking place at this time that the country needs to forge ahead, burying the hatchet of its unflattering past as it strides to move ahead to take its place among other democracies in the world. People who have written Strasser’s obituary are probably short sighted and should seriously think about their own. For the future is unknown and buried in a cocoon of Divine providence. The impeccable ‘Lamb of God’ admonishes us all that: If anyone is without sin, let him/her cast the first stone.

To argue that individual humans must change their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes in order to make the world a more forgiving place, Michael McCullough’s book Beyond Revenge argues that when people encounter the right sorts of social conditions, their tendency to forgive is automatically activated. When people encounter offenders who are apologetic and contrite and who attempt to make reparations for the damage they have caused, people will be naturally inclined to forgive. Also, if we live in societies in which our rights are protected, and are relatively safe from crime and victimization, and in which offenders are given incentives to apologize and compensate their victims, the desire for revenge erodes and the forgiveness instinct automatically activates. For our focus should be on despising sin and not the sinner.