The NASSIT Ferries – You’ve missed the point Saccoh
There has been a lot of talk and discussion in the press and elsewhere as well, on the two ferries ordered by NASSIT which arrived some months ago and have been berthed at Government Wharf jetty like exhibition specimens. “Why aren’t they running? They are rotten scraps foolishly purchased by NASSIT with the peoples’ money. The ACC should step in and so forth.” These were some of the comments one heard or read about the episode. The management of NASSIT led by its acting Director-General Gibril Saccoh recently took the press on a ride around the harbour, during which he extolled the virtues of the second-hand ferries; he boasted that they were better or was it more efficient, than the current ferries plying the Kissy Tagarin route. He sounded much too confident for my liking and I was reminded of the proverb that “When you tell a blind man that his wife had caught a lot fish from the stream, he’ll reply that he would believe it when it is in his dinner bowl.” Mr. Saccoh, the NASSIT ferries may be more efficient and even faster than the hovercraft running from Aberdeen to Lungi, but the nagging question remains, why are they not running like the MV Bunce Island, Marzuk, Sciarcis etc?
It has been too much for the executive of the Coalition of Civil Society Movements and human rights group necessitating them to issue a press release followed by Charles Mambu its president appearing on UN radio’s Thursday morning tea break programme. Mambu lambasted the NASSIT management, accusing it of misuse of the people’s money, inviting the ACC to intervene and asking for a refund of the alleged 2 million plus euros spent in the transaction. Gibril Saccoh’s response was clumsy; he allowed a lot of adrenalin into his system and in an angry tone, accused Mambu of not being a contributor to NASSIT. Does Mambu or anyone else have to be a contributor to NASSIT to raise public concern? Did Charles Mambu refer to any other failed NASSIT project? And who is not aware of the great benefit NASSIT has bestowed on pensioners generally, of the infrastructural investment like housing; mind you it hasn’t embarked on the construction of low cost houses yet, only for the very affluent.
I am afraid the NASSIT acting DG was mauled in that exchange and came out badly bruised. There was no answer to questions like, “were the ferries seaworthy when they were bought,” if not who gave the necessary technical advice to NASSIT? Did the organization have government wharf specifically in mind for the ferries’ operations and if the answer is yes, why did they not buy ferries that would operate there, rather than the DG giving the unsuitability of the landing place as an excuse?
MV Bunce Island, Marzuk and Sciarcis ferries were all bought second hand and yet they are plying the Lungi route. So why has NASSIT to spend so much additional money on ferries that “are better than those currently in service?” Again the question must be asked, why Saccoh had to bring in the fact of Charles Mambu not being a contributor to the NASSIT fund. Does this not demonstrate that the Gibril Saccohs of this country cannot perform under pressure and lose their cool when faced even with simple questions as to why the ferries are not sea worthy.
For all I know NASSIT may have been the unfortunate victim of circumstances. Which of us who has purchased a used vehicle has not been faced with such ill luck, while our friend’s purchase which may be a year older runs perfectly like a sewing machine? Now that the issue has raised so much outcry and been badly handled by management, perhaps a thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the saga is called for so as to put the public mind at rest. NASSIT is a success story whose running deserves the cool head of an Edmund Koroma.
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