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Hardship – Do Sierra Leoneans deserve it?

Hardship – Do Sierra Leoneans deserve it?

Few months ago (November 2012) general elections were held and the President was re-elected, though the opposition still claims that the process was not devoid of fraud and therefore controversy.  But suffice it to say the President was declared winner anyway, and the message that resonated with most voters was his promise that his second term will be more of an ‘agenda for prosperity’ since in his first term he has succeeded in bringing about change (tangible) in the name of infrastructure.

But the way things are fairing in the start of President Koroma’s second term it seems the agenda for change was more of a political rhetoric that was easily swallowed by gullible voters. When change is effected shallowly and with ill motivation (political instead of on the basis of economic development) the gains become unsustainable and therefore cannot be relied on. The Bumbuna hydro-power plant is one clear manifestation. Its completion was unreasonably hurried at an unjustifiable financial cost to the nation in order to make political points and in the process the job was poorly done. In less than five years it has become defective and dis-useful. A great financial and time waste to the nation. Yes, the political goal was scored but the people cannot celebrate since it was an own goal on the nation.

Another concern is the city and town roads that were built to secure the second term. But for two or three, most of these roads are of less significance to other priorities that would have otherwise driven the economy to growth. Soon these roads will start having breakages and potholes since most were poorly constructed (like Congo Cross/ Wilkinson Road) and I wonder where funds will be gotten to make repairs since the nation is run on a ‘spend what is at hand’ basis. No surplus, no savings but always in deficit. The Bumbuna hydro fault/damage has clearly exposed our government’s unpreparedness for emergency, but the (government) loyalists will still say the previous SLPP government was no better. I wonder why they should think that Sierra Leone cannot move beyond the blame game.

Naturally the absence or scarcity of electricity adds to the cost of doing business and also directly or in directly also adds to the cost of living. This has seen almost all prices jump at an unimaginable proportion.

Few weeks ago when Lawyer Jenkins Johnston lambasted about how he was personally burdened financially by the situation and how also it was mostly now impossible to preserve food and other perishable goods, and that most poor people are out of business since the fridges and freezers they rely on to cool their plastic water and ice are out of work, the ‘sabi talk’ Minister Hon Alpha Khan (yes and he is an honourable man) was quick to downplay the situation.

Running private generators is quite expensive and certainly an overwhelming portion of the people just cannot afford it. So no one ought to be surprised that prices are becoming almost unaffordable and most heads of households are finding it more difficult to provide and care for their families. The youth are mostly caught in between the situation, leaving them vulnerable to fend for themselves where their parents or guardians can’t afford to. A recipe for social vices and moral malaise in society.

In a democracy, it is normally said “people deserve their leaders”, so the question now is, do Sierra Leoneans deserve such inept, wasteful, if not corrupt but negligent government as the present one?

My answers may be contrasting, and therefore –

Firstly YES! Yes on the assumption that President Koroma was duly elected in a general election as prescribed by the nation’s constitution. This is what democracy stipulates, that the people by majority vote/elect their leaders to run the affairs of government, and it also implies that they have trust in the people they elect and are willing to accept those decisions they make on their behalves, even when such decisions are inept, wasteful, negligent or bring hardship on them (the people). In essence President Koroma and his government are supposed to be the symbol of the people that elected it, reflecting their wisdom and their lack of wisdom. Like people like government.

So is this supposed to mean that because the present government is inept, wasteful and negligent, all Sierra Leoneans are also inept and were unwise to have voted it? I respectfully disagree. I know many Sierra Leoneans including your good self who consistently are one of the sharpest and morally rectitude people you can ever meet.

We do not as a nation deserve what our government is meting out to us and neither do we deserve the number of mediocres in government positions.

I know for sure that the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and their supporters will not hesitate to claim that the situation is so because the instrument of democracy and government, in this case our National Electoral Commission and their agents, the police, the armed forces and the courts were conscripted into a plot commanded by the elements of the ruling government (which government they even now decry) to perpetuate their (the conscriptors) interest by robbing the nation of good leaders in their selves (SLPP).  That this is the reason why Sierra Leone has such a government as President koroma’s government under whose open eyes and breathing nose the nation is sinking deeper and deeper into hardship despite our huge natural resources (with our new found oil).  An SLPP loyalist may exclaim ” OH LORD HELP MAMA SALONE AND BRING US TO POWER.”  But the APC party stalwart will shout “SHUT UP! YOU HAD THE CHANCE BUT YOU WERE EVEN WORSE!” Well as I always say ‘this is Sierra Leone for us all’.

But if one were to disagree with the SLPP position that the elections were rigged and that that is why Sierra Leone still has a bad government, then one is tempted to agree that Sierra Leoneans deserve the hardship they are going through since it was their choice.

But I personally will partly agree that Sierra Leone deserves the kind of leadership it has under whose watchful eyes after almost six years in power the nation is in perpetual blackout like before this leadership took over governance and prices far expensive comparatively to the previous regime.  I said so because UNTIL SIERRA LEONEANS LEARN TO DO THEIR POLITICAL HOMEWORK WELL AND VOTE THEIR LEADERS BASED ON FACTS AND NOT ON RUMORS OR INNUENDOS AS IT HAS BEEN MOSTLY THE CASE IN ALL OUR ELECTIONS.

On the other hand I cannot blame Sierra Leoneans because such is the defects of democracy as Western Nations want us to practice it.  Because in theory according to the description democracy was handed to us by the West, governments that are democratically elected are done so by the electorate, so generally we get what and whomever the majority wants.  And therefore is it our fault that we end up with inept, wasteful and negligent leadership in government?

NO, NOT TOTALLY!  WHY BLAME US THE VICTIMS? Is not the political parties who decide who and who will be our list of choices?
In Sierra Leone like most African countries such list of political candidates we have had to choose from have hardly been impressive.

So until political parties present as candidates corrupt-free technocrats whose allegiance to the nation far supersedes their private interest.  Even the ten plagues of Egypt did not have the option to run a second term, and if the prevalent hardship in the country does not get better soon I am afraid that most Sierra Leoneans will start mooting the idea that why in the first place was there an option for this government to run a second term.

Paunga marnoh-Sesay

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