By Rev. S. M. Williams.
Whether the APC will remain in power for the next 50 years or go to the political wilderness for a well-earned rest cannot be easily fathomed. The certainty is that they cannot rail-road the electorate into voting for them in 2018 because they were responsible for scrapping the railroad.
Since they crossed over from opposition to State Governance the APC has suddenly become incorrigible.
In opposition t hey badgered the SLPP with all sorts of criticism-pertinent or silly. My appeal is that they should with immediate effect cease from being thin-skinned and myopic.
It is understandable for individuals to be lawless due sometimes to drugs and other kindred factors but when a whole elected government decides to abandon the Rule of Law it is high time to stop it in its tracks. Running a state like a business for profiteering and personal aggrandizement is unacceptable.
Even simpletons would know by now the causes of our 11-year old civil war. It is the height of dishonesty to call it a SENSELSS War. Did Foday Sankoh not state in very clear terms the main reason why he took up arms against the then questionably elected APC? Let me remind the forgetful public that he put his finger on CORRUPTION AND BAD GOVERNANCE and nothing else. Is that senseless as APC party members and supporters would have us believe?
Now we are being bamboozled by the APC spin masters that there is a dichotomy between DEVELOPMENT and POLITICS. This concept is due to “A little learning: which Alexander Pope says “is a dangerous thing.” As a result it becomes cryptic to know why some people are mindlessly drawing a red line between DEVELOPMENT and POLITICS, Having made this clarification it is hoped that our misinformers would now know that politics and development are indivisible save by mischief making sycophants.
Year in and year out the Audit Department has been carrying out its constitutional functions regardless of the consequences.
In recognition of her diligent and dedicated services to the state particularly in the fields of Public finance and Auditor general Mrs. Lara Taylor-Peace was awarded the state honor of Grand Officer of the Order of Rokel (GOOR) in the award for 2017 ineluctably. It is not a pleasant thing to reward criticism but some are true as I sit here writing this peace. The sidelining of procurement procedures is so rampant as to be non-existent. The recommendations are made but they are not acted upon due to graft and orders from above.
Fifty years ago Sierra Leone was a bastion of hope, progress, stability commercial boom, educational excellence and entrepreneurial activity. That was before the advent of diabolism as a form of governance.
Educationally this micro state of Sierra Leone used to be referred to as the “Athens of West Africa” because such high standards of excellence were magnetic in attracting students from Nigeria, Gold Coast (now Ghana), Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Bathurst Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Namibia and South Africa.
Also the performance of Sierra Leonean students abroad to study whether in Europe or the United States of America was highly acclaimed. Most of those students returned home to engage in the process of nation building. Most of those achievements have nearly been negated unfortunately. Application forms for Fourah Bay College West Africa’s oldest tertiary education college for instance has recently been doubled instead of being halved. Its retrogression and nothing else.
CARE FOR THE POOR is one of the spheres of life in which the APC is found to be most callous in spite of their touted policy of being a grassroots party. They can only be seen as a grassroots party if elephant grass is meant (being elitist and high above the common brood). This is the government under whose watch pensioners could earn as low as Le22,000 (twenty-two thousand Leones) per month which is barely what an average family of four can eat per day. And this is the inhuman government that regards the minimum wage of Le500,00 (five hundred thousand Leones per month as a living wage. If this is not bare-faced hypocrisy tell me what it is! Meanwhile the Auditor-General’s report states that Le64.5 billion was unaccounted for during a fiscal year. Such an amount if not squandered by government officials could be sufficient to pay every pensioner at least the present minimum living wage. True or false?
What is all this gibberish about being a caring government? In any case the APC can be caring when it is about nepotism, hoodwinking of the people and fleecing them etc.
In a recent pastoral letter the Catholic Bishops Conference noted that as a church they cannot afford to shy away from political participation. They also said inter alia. “Many citizens continue to stomach grievances and on many occasions peaceful demonstrators have been treated with heavy hands and some brutally killed. How fast our hopes and aspirations have diminished! “Against this backdrop is the euphoria that Sierra Leone has been ranked as the most peaceful country in the West African sub-region and the third most peaceful country in Africa.
By whatever parameter was used that may be due partly to the fact that peaceful demonstrations are denied and suppressed and a splintered opposition. Over and above these factors is the fact that the people are so hungry that they have no energies left to go about agitating about anything. They spend most of their time foraging for food.
Comparisons are odorous according to Shakespeare and I will crave your indulgence to let me make some comparisons here that may stink up some of your noses.
The newly-elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron has vowed to reduce his cabinet drastically. When the place of France in the developed world is considered and its population you begin to wonder why on earth we should be carrying such excess baggages of cabinet in developing countries. And Sierra Leone is at present distinguished among these with a Minister of Local Government, Resident Minister and a Minister of Political Affairs with a Deputy all falling over one another regardless.
The King of Saudi Arabia had been adored and flattered with meaningless titles to such an extent that he called a stop to it. He said he did not want to be equated to God who only is worthy of worship. Here at home the media has been so subservient that they have avoided calling the Head of State “He”. They would rather boringly repeat |His Excellency or the President umpteen times in one news cast. They would deem it as a sacrilege to say Mr. President, a practice that is so common in the United States or Mr. Prime Minister in the United Kingdom.
Cost Of Living
It was most interesting to learn from the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde that since he came to power he had succeeded in bringing down the cost of rice in contra-distinction from our Sierra Leone where the price of our staple food has been escalating under the APC with a super abundance of excuses and promises. Its the “dry dog sweet for eat” situation.
I will be failing in my duty if I do not commend members of the Fourth Estate and civil society who contributed to the rethinking of the government over the cut-throat toll notes that had been schemed for the helpless public. The struggle continues not for ourselves only but also for others.