From the Editor’s Keyboard

Valentine Strasser needs help

20 January 2019 at 21:44 | 2119 views

By Gibril Koroma PV CEO and Publisher, Toronto, Canada

We received information a couple of days ago that Captain (Rtd) Valentine Strasser, a former Sierra Leonean military head of state, has been discharged from a hospital in Accra, Ghana, after successful surgery on his leg. He is said to be recuperating at a private residence in the Ghanaian capital.

Strasser (photo) sustained a bullet wound during the country’s civil war. It appears bits and pieces of that bullet remained in his leg all these years after the end of the war in 2002. Strasser was shot in the 1990s.

President Bio’s SLPP government flew him to Accra after his condition recently worsened. But he was not in very good shape both physically and financially for many years and perhaps this is the time government should do something for him.

The nine-month old Bio government needs to do something substantial and sustainable for Strasser this time after more than 20 years of neglect by past governments.

As a former leader that came to power through a military coup, his welfare is outside the constitutional privileges enjoyed by civilian former presidents and vice presidents. He has been depending on his army pension which is too tiny and little to face the present cost of living in the country.

Strasser therefore needs medical and dental benefits, a government vehicle and driver, modest accommodation or rent allowance, a bodyguard or two and a fitting living allowance.

These are basic things befitting his status as a former officer of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and a former head of state.

Think of the respect and glory being enjoyed today by Flight Lieutenant (Rtd) Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, a well known former Ghanaian head of state.

Of course the stature of Rawlings is bigger because he was not only a military leader but also later became a democratically elected president of Ghana.

But a former head of state is a former head of state. Both Strasser and Rawlings are former heads of state who were ready to die for their countries. Both therefore deserve respect and glory from their compatriots.