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More Haste, Less Speed!

More Haste, Less Speed!

I listened to his Excellency President Koroma’s interview on the BBC Network Africa programme on Wednesday morning. H.E was in his element in describing the advantages and virtues of the climate for doing business in Sierra Leone. Listening to him any would-be investor would be tempted to jump on the next plane to Freetown. Then came the snag; the President’s interviewer was not just a stock in trade journalist. He appeared very well informed on the situation on the ground and was not going to be taken in by any smooth sugarcoated narrative from anyone, not even from our charismatic well-spoken head of state.

There were a few points that needed clarification on the President’s narrative especially about infrastructure and the much touted restoration of power to the capital which was a fulfillment of his election manifesto. H.E wanted Freetown lighted within a hundred days of his accession and crowed that he had achieved his target. Next he boasted that on September 17, which day marked his second year in office, he had commissioned the first stage of the Bumbuna project. I’m afraid our President was badly mauled by the questions posed and by his clumsy and unconvincing response.

The conclusion I came to was that the President knowing how anxious we all were for regular power in the capital, was in haste to satisfy our need. Hence both his main answers hinged on meeting deadlines.

It is left for readers to conclude whether His Excellency has made a success of the speed with which he wanted to implement his projects. When the Moroccans came to rehabilitate the power supply to Freetown, their first priority was to assess the situation. The wirings were old and unable to carry any appreciable load and they at once set out to correct that. As soon as it was done they lighted the streets; that was in December 2006; an unappreciative journalist suggested that the SLPP government was trying to cajole the population by lighting the streets just before Christmas. The Moroccans were going on with the rehabilitation when the government changed; then came in Global Power Suppliers and Income Electric. We now have intermittent light in some places; others receive none at all while the privileged get it on a 24 hour basis. We still have a long wait for the final Bumbuna. But what does it matter, the President has kept his election promise. More haste, less speed.

I was very sad and disappointed that our cricketers who had been making a name in the international cricket arena were not able to participate in the international Tournament in Canada because they could not secure visas to that Commonwealth country. The reason was simple and had nothing to do with a wrong venue for their application. We have earned a bad reputation whenever we send spotting teams out a number of our boys and girls(?) simply vanish and later present themselves to the host country seeking asylum as refugees. When it happened In Finland a few years back, almost everyone condemned the action of the young people, pointing out that it would tarnish the reputation of the country. Not Paul Kamara the human rights and youth commission advocate who wrote in support of the reprehensible behaviour of the athletes, adding that the economic situation in Sierra Leone compelled them to behave that way. Since the Canada episode, one could cut Paul’s silence on the matter with a knife. Paul your old friend is waiting for your comments.

The President has been quoted in the report from the United States as having vowed to change the 6-3-3-4 system of education because the results had been bad since he came to power. Read Puawui’s comments in tomorrow’s editions.  

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