Strike Quakes Ravage SLPP Government in Sierra Leone
The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Government, since assuming power in April of last year, has been hit by unprecedented industrial actions from various sectors of the Sierra Leonean society which many have now refer to as strike quakes as a result of the frequency in which they occur.
The strike quakes, which started with staff of both the Sierra Leone and Rokel Commercial Banks, who staged a strike action in the early days of the SLPP Government, is now becoming an epidemic in Sierra Leone as many other groups including doctors/nurses, teachers/ Njala University lecturers and Bakers among others, who had also staged strike actions over what they say, was as a result of poor conditions of services and the hiking prices of flour and other condiments.
As if those are not enough, Commercial drivers in Freetown, who are currently on strike over what they say, was police suppression, are now the latest to add to the long list of strikers against the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led government.
According to some of the drivers this medium spoke to including the set aside president of Drivers Union, current committee members among others, the strike action, they said, was a way of drawing the attention of the SLPP government to what they said was the continuous massive police oppression, extortion and exploitation of commercial drivers across the country. They said, drivers are being subjected to extortion and in most cases, illegal imprisonment, for failing to give money to police officers.
‘’Police officers would cooked up lies and get you behind bars if a driver fails to give money for booking’’, Saidu Sesay, a commercial driver stated adding that, police have now made it compulsory for all drivers to ‘book’ before plying any route.
‘’Police will still arrest you even when you did not commit a traffic offence if fail to give them money’’ another driver on condition of anonymity, stated , adding that most of them have their families to take care of but the police exploitation is making their lives very difficult.
Some of the citizens, who are badly affected by the strike action, also told Sierra Express Media that they blamed the police for the ongoing strike action by commercial drivers which has caused untold suffering to them because they cannot go about their businesses due to lack of transportation. They said, most of the allegations against the police were true and that they should stop exploiting poor drivers who are merely finding a living.
They therefore called on concerned authorities to look into the concerns of drivers and find a way to resolve the impasse between the drivers and the police so that things will go back to normalcy.
Efforts by this writer to get the side of the police proved futile as on three occasions, this writer telephoned the head of media of the Sierra Leone Police, Mr. Brima Kamara, who keeps saying he was busy and that he will talk to me later.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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