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The IDB/Saudi Arabia meat: business as usual!

The IDB/Saudi Arabia meat: business as usual!

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last Thursday handed over to the Government of Sierra Leone 3 containers of 4,530 cartons of meat for the less privileged.

During the handing over ceremony held at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Cline Town in Freetown, the IDB representative, Mr. Bader Mohamed Al-Nabaki, stated that the meat was part of the goodwill gesture of IDB and Saudi Arabia to the less privileged people around the world. He promised taking the message of plea for an increase in the amount of meat by some Islamic groups that will be commensurate to the increase in the population of Sierra Leone over the years.

The Director of Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mr. Francis M. Kabia, who received the consignment on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, reiterated that it has become a tradition that every year the consignment of meat is donated by IDB and Saudi Arabia to the people of Sierra Leone.

For accountability and transparency, the Director issued to the donors a draft of the distribution process and letter of receipt during the ceremony, while he assured that the meat would be used judiciously for rightful beneficiaries.

Though the IDB and Saudi Arabia have made it a tradition over the years to be donating large consignment of meat to Sierra Leone after any pilgrimage, previous Governments and the current one had never been judicious in their distribution of the meat. Though meat is donated to the less privileged people around the world, but in Sierra Leone, the bulk of the meat is rapaciously distributed among the so-called senior Government officials and politicians who have enough to eat and to reserve, while the rightful beneficiaries don’t even inhale the aroma of the sumptuous meaty sauces from the kitchens of those affluent but greedy and selfish personalities.

The issuance of the so-called draft of the distribution of the meat to the donors to ensure accountability and transparency as highlighted by the Director is deliberately meant to convince the donors that the donated meat would reach the rightful beneficiaries. If the Director who received the meat on behalf of the Government is actually genuine about what he presented to the donors for the sake of accountability and transparency, his Ministry might as well publish the draft of distribution so that the general public would hold the Government accountable should it deviate from the draft of distribution. But I am absolutely convince that it would never happen because the distribution of the donated meat from Saudi Arabia had always been done unfairly, much to the chagrin of the general public among whom you have the less privileged people who should be enjoying from the donation.

Those who would be enjoying from the donated meat are the aforementioned categories, their siblings, relatives and friends, while a small quantity of the meat would be hypocritically distributed to a few mosques, Islamic organizations and selected less privileged groups in the good books of Government.

As usual, corruption has a vital role to play in the distribution of this year’s donated meat from Saudi Arabia. Some of the unscrupulous officials involved in the distribution will no doubt transact business with business people that will eventually flood the market with the meat as usual. I swear that in the coming days, our markets in Freetown and the provincial cities will be awash with the donated meat. Even so, less privileged people who live on shoestring budget can hardly afford a pound of meat given the high cost of living and the paltry salaries of most public workers including junior civil servants, let alone the unemployed who are in their majority.

It is common knowledge that most Sierra Leoneans occasionally have access to meat or sumptuous food. They are only privileged to eat such food during occasions like wedding receptions, birthday parties, funeral services of affluent personalities and a few others. But it is virtually impossible for the wife of an average Sierra Leonean worker who lives on pittance to buy a pound of meat at Le15,000 when what her husband actually gives her for the daily food is not commensurate to the cost of a pound of meat.

But despite the ingrained poverty affecting Sierra Leoneans, most of whom cannot even afford a square meal per day, our so-called Government officials and politicians do not care for poor people’s welfare but themselves because of greed and selfishness that will definitely dictate the distribution of this year’s donated meat just as usual. But when it comes to elections, they eventually turn to the neglected poor and ask for their votes. So stop fooling the donors Mr. Director of Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs; it’s just business as usual.

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