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Why Does China Top The Donor Community?

Why Does China Top The Donor Community?

China continues to do marvelous things in Sierra Leone – the latest being the commissioning of a new health clinic for the Sierra Leone Parliament.

On Tuesday this week, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Zao Yambo, during the commissioning, said China and Sierra Leone’s friendship goes back for decades, and still has room for growth, the latest being this one.

He reminded his listeners that included members of parliament, government ministers, and the media, that China will always stand by Sierra Leone.

Without health, he said, there will be no progress. This is why China took the lead among the donor community to be the first to donate equipment and drugs towards the fight against Ebola.

It was a remarkable achievement, rejoined the Speaker of Parliament, Hon SBB Dumbuya, who is a former ambassador to China himself. The Chinese tops the list of those who mean well for Sierra Leone, he said.

Many will wonder why China goes from one feat to another in terms of development in Africa, especially Sierra Leone. Since 1973, China and Sierra Leone are daily cementing their relationship through trade, education, infrastructural development, health, and so much more.

Admiration for China, therefore, is rightly placed, considering the fact that their aid doesn’t come with any strings attached, unlike the West who, if they donate at all end up being the largest beneficiaries of whatever they’re giving us. The recent Ebola saga being an example, where millions of pound sterling was donated but ended in the hands of their own people and organizations. What hypocrisy and double standards.

China, whatever is being said about them, are the real friends of Sierra Leone, and their continual good nature to help us must always be recognized and chronicled. Whoever wants to help Sierra Leone, must look to China as an example of how it should be done.

And since the Parliament of Sierra Leone has joined the list of beneficiaries of China’s largesse, they must sit back and think properly, too, about the interest of China. Seeking their interest here too makes sense. Here’s why.

The leaked Panama Papers revealed Octea Mining (the largest diamond exporter in Sierra Leone) has defaulted in taxes, and refused to honour its corporate social responsibility, citing it has a tax holiday and should not pay property taxes in the areas it is operating. Even the courts of Sierra Leone have thus ruled – meaning the people of Sierra Leone, especially Kono, would not benefit a cent from their God-given resources.

Now, you ask yourself, where was such an agreement enacted? It was enacted in the very Parliament of Sierra Leone! And has that bothered anyone? I don’t know, but what is clear is that, we have been unfairly treated. We hope President Koroma and his government will have a rethink about this, and the reported reviewing of such agreements will be done speedily, or else the insensitivity description will fit them like a Santa Claus suit.

It is really high time we begin to be sober about our interests, and throw off historical relationships – Britain and the US are examples of nations who pay premium to their interests, and it’s why they don’t care a hoot for all the lost lives of their men in uniform in Iraq and other places: they see them as the price they have to pay for the maintenance of their interests.

We don’t have to shed blood to maintain our interests, rather we must give due diligence to every bit of legislation that concerns Sierra Leone, whether within or outside here. Our Parliament keeps on insisting it is not a rubber stamp parliament. Well, we will believe them, and not wonder why State House is calling for a reviewing of some of our laws. Maybe our parliament should inculcate the habit of reading and applying critical thinking to any bill before it henceforth.

And if it is to pass any legislation, one hopes it gives favourable consideration to people like the Chinese, who stand by you in your hour of need, and who don’t give you aid with conditions. Bravo to the The Land of the Dragon, a true friend of Sierra Leone.

By Chief Sorie Kasunko

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