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Beware of rotten eggs in the New Direction!

Beware of rotten eggs in the New Direction!

Sierra Leoneans were captivated by a rather irresistible campaign slogan coined by the campaign team of the then opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

The promise of a “New Direction”, implying a departure from the “old days of bad governance and corruption” perpetuated by previous administrations, which precipitated decades of economic decadence and social backwardness of a country endowed with mineral riches, was no doubt a welcome message by all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans across the geo-political divide. It was therefore not surprising that the SLPP was significantly voted for in otherwise traditionally opposing regions of the country in the 2018 presidential polls.

Justifying the need for a change, President Bio states in his People’s Manifesto Forward thus: “The 10 years of APC government misrule and economic mismanagement since 2007 has created considerable suffering for our people. I have seen this first-hand during my nationwide tour of the country. The bad governance of the APC government under President Koroma has made Sierra Leone one of the poorest countries in the World and the third worse country in the World where people do not have enough food to eat.

This despicable state of affairs has to change. The people of this country are yearning for change and change is inevitable and inescapable. The SLPP is ready and prepared to lead this democratic change on 7th March 2018. In these Elections, I am again offering the nation hope and a new promise that Sierra Leone will be better for all under my leadership. I promise a New Direction for Sierra Leone as a united, peaceful, progressive, dynamic, confident, enterprising and happy nation where the people have unlimited access to jobs, food, education and health services and where there is equal justice and equal opportunity for all”.

Many Sierra Leoneans were convinced that the change promised by HE would be delivered indiscriminately devoid of party affiliation, region or tribe, and I strongly believe in the President’s vision and unwavering and passionate commitment to serve and save his people and leave behind a legacy the he would be proud of.

But alas! Nearly three years down the line, the dimension of departure from the promised ‘change’, makes many to wonder and ponder whether change will come at all! The fact of the matter is that the President is surrounded by many rotten eggs that are bent on derailing and undermining his lofty vision. As the adage goes, “one rotten fish spoils the basket”.

I strongly believe that there are so many good people in the New Direction who are loyal and committed to achieving the goals set in the Manifesto, but these good apples are being threatened by a few bad ones who conduct themselves in an anti-New Direction mode, giving a bad name to the administration and the President.

The recent sacking of the mouth-running Joseph Sannoh from the NATCOM Board of Commissioners should be the tip of the iceberg; NATCOM is still infested with very callous, incompetent and unprofessional management leadership that requires urgent attention.

A case in point is the massive sackings of unblemished highly professional, qualified and experienced personnel on implied grounds of tribe, region and politics by the current Director General, Daniel Kaitibi, who also undermined the sacking of his former boss, Maxwell Massaquoi.

Making matters worse, Mr DG has refused to fulfill statutory obligation of making full and timely payment of terminal benefits, and goes around arrogantly boasting that he has the blessing of HE to do so; a blatant empty lie! In fact, HE had long made a pronouncement that all benefits should immediately be paid to deserving Sierra Leoneans whose services were terminated; an order the NATCOM DG continues to flout with impunity. Even when the DG has not paid up, he continues to terminate and employ new staff, mostly cronies and relatives without due process on a routine basis; only an amateur administrator behaves this way.

Such uncouth behavior of the NATCOM DG is a painful deviation from the spirit of the New Direction, which seeks to create employment and improve on the welfare of Sierra Leoneans. The NATCOM DG derives pleasure from inflicting suffering on fellow Sierra Leoneans claiming that he has the endorsement of the President. Instead of paying terminal benefits, he gives out fabulous loans to gainfully employed staff, while the Commission remains indebted to former employees who were unlawfully terminated. It is my strong conviction that the likes of the NATCOM DG are throwing spanners on the good works of the New Direction.

By Abdul Kuyateh

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