By Farla Barbu.
One hundred days of a mandated five-year term in governance may be too short but it is the yardstick by which a new government is being rated for its success or failure. Whose ever idea this standard was based on has been considered in most intelligent circles as preposterous. One hundred days out of a 5-year term of office is simply infinitesimal for anyone to render an informed and moral conduct of events.
Saturday July 14, 2018 marks one hundred days in governance of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of His Excellency Brigadier (Rtd.) President Julius Maada Bio. The Maada Bio government assumed power against a backdrop of the wildest expectation among the people of Sierra Leone informed by the herculean task that he inherited.
President Bio took over the helm of governance at one of the most difficult times in the history of Sierra Leone since independence. For ten years of governance under the former ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party except for a few, but most Sierra Leoneans had not only continued to eke out a precarious day-to-day existence, but had given up that sense of national belonging.
The Governance Transition Team (GTT) released their report that confirmed the long-entertained perception among the public about the extent of rampant and conspicuous consumption of the nation’s wealth by ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma, his officials of government, relatives, brothers, sisters and friends mainly from the north his home. The report disclosed the extent of how the ex-APC party government had mortgaged this country for the benefit of public officials, their close relatives and foreigners alike. In essence the report is damning and unpardonable.
Tribalism, regionalism and ethnicity had been shifted to an alarming height in the last ten years; corruption had become an institutionalized way of life; constitutional manipulation, lawlessness, indiscipline and violence had been the norm and not the exception; underdevelopment had been heralded as successes; the economy of the country, social services and political values had collapsed like house of cards. Generally poverty had remained the destiny of most Sierra Leoneans while a selected few lived in opulence.
The people therefore had wished for a new dispensation that would bring them a new lease of life. Such is the magnitude of challenges that the Bio government had inherited and which the people cannot wait for answers. In a hundred days time therefore, there must be some sign of respite in the people’s expectations.
Already therefore, President Bio has assembled his team of cabinet ministers and their deputies to help champion the cause of his New Direction policy. These ministers and their deputies were drawn from all the political sub-divisions of the country to give his government a national outlook. The Parliament had been constituted and is now firing on all its cylinders. Other appointments to strategic offices such as National Revenue Authority (NRA), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) among others have been done. Appointments to other departments and agencies are presently in the making.
The economy has been streamlined as to channel all government revenues into one account unlike previously when the various ministries, agencies and departments controlled their own accounts which had resulted in an unbridled and free-for-all loot of public funds by ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma, his brothers, sisters, relatives, wife and friends. (read the Governance Transition Team Report for details).
The Bio government continues to struggle with electricity problem that he inherited and as a result has signed an agreement with the Turkish ship that is now providing light for the city and its environs for the next two years. Electricity in the city generally has greatly improved, while commitment has been made to provide every town and city with the facility throughout the country.
As world leaders and governments have recognized his government, President Bio has visited several foreign and friendly countries upon their invitation to assure him of their support.
All hands are on deck presently working against the September 2018 deadline when government’s flag ship free education program from elementary to secondary schools will commence. Both national and international commitments for the success of the free education program are still pouring in; thanks to those development partners for their confidence reposed in President Bio’s government.
The impatience of the people for positive changes in their affairs is understood given their disappointment by the ex-APC Koroma government over the years. Nevertheless, there is every reason for them to understand that the dynamisms required to counter the forces of the problems so inherited by the Bio government are overwhelming although not insurmountable. It is only a matter of time for the results to be made self-evident but by no means in just hundred day’s time.
Meanwhile it is interesting to note that the ex-APC party gang of Merchants of Venice that had destroyed almost every fabric of our national well-being, without morality and conduct, is already shouting ivory tower rhetoric for changes in 100 days under the Bio government that they failed to achieve in ten years. They have conspired with some so-called human rights activists to blackmail President Bio as not to carry out the necessary reforms he deems appropriate and convenient to run his government for fear of not repeating what the defunct APC government had done.
The bottom line is no amount of selfish, political and inimical concept is going to stop President Bio from forming a government he feels responsive to his NEW DIRECTION agenda. And he has to work with only those he can trust to fulfill his election promises.
Let APC party go and take its rest for the next ten years if not beyond as the people of this country are not in any hurry to have APC party return power again.