Like Bill Clinton of America, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio may have been in relationships before now but has indeed met a smarter, vocal and ambitions woman of a Madingo Tribe who is fearless at pursuing dreams and challenging territories. Born in Sierra Leone’s richest diamond district, Kono, Fatima Bio nee Jabbie, seem to have changed the emotions of the iron fisted military man at will (for the better part) in the now realised but hard to swallow reality by many Sierra Leoneans as his soul mate and nothing can be done to overturn that.
In a quite unusual move before the 2018 elections, Fatima Bio had begun her political support for her husband and leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) party in campaigns and political talks boldly expressing her husband’s desire to change Sierra Leone. She took the apprenticeship seat immediately she realised the battle was a tough fight for His excellency Julius Madda Bio’s quest to clinch the presidency in 2018. Many saw a woman moving in the direction of political engagement, a family affair on winning and a feminine approach to only elections but had not seen it beyond that. The spectrum of many was only clouded at the elections and not beyond the potential of a vibrant and unlimited woman propelling the cause of women. She had something else under the hijab.
Sierra Leone was never accustomed to a presidential family seen in almost all official engagements together. That sanctity was once lost in our politics. The mistresses had taken over and it was state monies lavished on expensive hotels for concubines and the rest. I am sure many will say it is a trend still fashionable among men but the answer to popularity is yours to decide since the emergency of the Hilary Clinton of Sierra Leone, her Excellency Fatima Bio. Even many women, in Sierra Leone’s society had been hypnotised this was an unusual blend because for too long that aspect of our society was never appreciated. The side cheeks had taken over the old fashion. The right way of life was inversely unsavoury. One would ask if the blend of presidency produced social change? Do we have data on numbers of legally wedded couples in Sierra Leone increasing in comparison to the previous 10 years since the emergency of the Bio Family?
Crossing boundaries as many thought in an unusual approach to inter-party activities, championing the cause of women and in the sphere of violence, abuse and neglect of children, Fatima Bio equated her move beyond elections to changing the status quo on the perception of women but never equalling herself to His excellency the president, Rtd. Bragedier Julius Maada Ngonie Bio.
Some may describe her as feisty, upfront and too much because our negative aspects of our culture had clouded our sense of reasoning for the most part. While others would see her as a complete decider to the president in political decision making for inter-party activities, the reality also lies on who wants to bend the will of the people for their personal gains for which mostly she intervenes to stop with her sensitive trait perspective as a woman. Is that part of the sanctity of marriage which our constitution provides for?
Less about party politics to the more side to side support for her husband and the people of Sierra Leone in her Hilary Clinton approach, Fatima has consistently stirred the waters for change on violence on women and girls. The introduction of the hands off our girls, saved homes and the pockets of many. The name’ ”juvenile delinquency” (those dating and molesting young girls) or young cucumber is going out of fashion except for those who are commercial sex workers and from very poor economic families who think the only way to make a meal on the table is to sell or mortgage their girl child in exchange for material favours from the well-offs.
Of late, Fatima Bio has taken that call to stop violence against children to the world’s largest platform (United Nations) in a draft bill to make November 18 the “World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence” at the UN General Assembly. The said Resolution was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 7th November 2022.
On her Facebook page she reacted ”When the World stands with you as you make history is priceless. 118 countries around the world stood firm to make it happen. It is official. I AM the only First Lady in the world to present a resolution at the General Assembly and it is adopted by the assembly by Consensus. I am the only First Lady in the world to present two resolutions in one year to the UN General Assembly and both adopted”. She went on to thank her husband and the people of Sierra Leone who believed in her. She sees the move as a win for the world especially from the spectrum of Sierra Leone as her country.
Standing side by side against all odds of her husband and actualising her dream at the office of the first lady now gone global, there are marked trait of Fatima becoming the Hilary Clinton of Sierra Leone and Africa if not the world obviously not overtaking the original Hilary Clinton of Bill Clinton of course.