Two days after being sworn-in as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio appointed a 12-member Governance Transition Team (GTT) on 6th April 2018. The team’s leader, Prof. David Francis, was later appointed as Chief Minister. At least, half of the membership of the GTT later became Cabinet Ministers in the Bio-led administration.
The GTT was mandated “to conduct an immediate stocktaking of the state of affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies”. On Wednesday 4th July, 2018, the GTT report was released to the public by the Chief Minister and leader of the transition team, Prof. David Francis.
Since the report was released, a flurry of complaints from some people whose names were mentioned in the report has dominated the front pages of several dailies. Some of the complainants have even gone ahead to write letters to the Chief Minister protesting their innocence.
Even before the Commission of Inquiry has been set up, some of the people whose names were mentioned in the report have had their travelling documents seized and their bank accounts frozen. What will happen if some of these people go through the Commission of Inquiry and they are not found to be culpable? Will the government openly apologise to them in order to restore their reputation?
Some people have even gone out of their way to discredit the GTT report by describing it as a witch hunt. Some of these people are either former Ministers, heads of Government’s Departments and Agencies or party supporters.
It is absolute nonsense for anyone to think that this government will set up a Commission of Inquiry to be chaired by a foreign Judge just to destroy their opponents in the APC party.
Out of goodwill and commonsense, the Government should speedily set up the Commission of Inquiry and appoint the foreign Judge and members of the Commission to be able to investigate the allegations made against certain people and report their findings within the shortest possible time.
Some prominent business people feel that they have been maligned unnecessarily by the GTT because their names were mentioned in some transactions that they did not even know about.
The best way to address such injustice and misinformation is to speedily set up a Commission of Inquiry which will be the best forum to clear their names and absolve them from any unnecessary blame.
Challenges Facing EDSA
The Government of President Julius Maada Bio has been commended for restoring reliable electricity supply to the capital city of Freetown. This is one of the outstanding achievements of the New Direction administration of President Bio.
EDSA (Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority) faces a lot of challenges especially in the area of revenue generation. As it is now, EDSA cannot even raise enough money to pay for the power generated by the Turkish Karpowership. The Government is losing Billions of Leones every month as a result of the incompetence or the inability of EDSA to raise enough money to pay for the power generated by the Turkish Powership.
Long before now, I had called on the Management of EDSA to install Smart Meters in some of the big business houses that continue to steal electricity or continue to underpay for the quantum of electricity they consume. These business houses are aided and abetted by a criminal gang operating at EDSA to defraud the state.
The indefatigable Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay had warned that if anyone is caught sabotaging the government in the area of electricity supply and consumption they will face the full force of the law. The Government should initiate contact with suppliers of Smart Meters to be able to install these meters both in private homes and at business premises.
In civilized democracies, a person or group of people are free to express themselves through what they call picketing. What we saw on Monday and Tuesday at both the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and the Rokel Commercial Bank, where junior workers stood outside of their workplaces to demonstrate their anger against a new government policy is a civilized way of picketing. Their grievances are expected to be addressed by the government, according to a government spokesman.
Civil society activists who have political motives to demonstrate against a government have no space in a civilized society. They must examine their roles and see if they are fit to continue to operate as civil society activists or as surrogates for failed Politicians who have been rejected by the electorate in the ballot box.
Bio Fighting Corruption
Throughout his campaign for the Presidency, Julius Maada Bio always insisted that he was (is) determined to tackle or eradicate corruption root and branch. At least for the first time in the history of this country we have had a sitting President that has shown genuine determination to defeat corruption in Sierra Leone.
President Bio has said that in the fight against corruption he would not be stampeded by anyone. Let us, as a nation, support our President in his fight to eradicate this cancer from every facet of our society.
President Bio has always insisted that the fight against corruption is as important as protecting the territorial integrity of this country. As a former and current Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, more than anyone else, President Bio understands what that means.
Let us support President Bio to succeed. When the President succeeds, we all succeed as a nation.
One Country, One People!