Fatima Bio, the wife of Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, on Tuesday said nobody can overthrow her husband, noting that he holds a PhD degree in staging coups.
No fewer than six police officers and at least 21 civilians were killed in August as hundreds took to the streets of Sierra Leone in frustration.
The protests were against economic hardship and a perceived failure by the government to cushion the impact of rising prices.
The protests were staged in opposition strongholds.
The president blamed the protests on the opposition, alleging that they were part of a plot to overthrow him, leading to the dismissal of the top three in the army, BBC News reports.
However, speaking over the weekend at a fundraising event in the US, the first lady accused unnamed people of wanting to overthrow her husband.
In a video shared on Facebook, she said “Maada Bio has a PhD in coup d’état, can you remove him?” adding, “the man has a PhD in staging coups, how can you remove someone who teaches people how to stage a coup?”
Mrs Bio was making an apparent reference to the fact that her husband first came to power in April 1992 as part of a group of young military officers who overthrew the civilian government of Joseph Saidu Momoh of the All People’s Congress, the party he defeated at the polls in 2018 and whom he accused of being behind the August protests.
The opposition party vehemently denied the allegations.
According to the report, many have condemned the statement with some of the moderate elements within her Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) condemning it.
Mrs Bio, a user of Facebook and TikTok, who has been known to make controversial comments, has not responded to the reactions following her coup comments, nor has anyone in the presidency.