By Sorie Fofana………………
When he was overwhelmingly elected President of Sierra Leone in 2007, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma promised to transform the country under his Agenda for Change. True to his post election promise, the President embarked on a massive road construction and road rehabilitation across the country. His government was quickly dubbed the government of infrastructure.
Electricity became a key priority under the Agenda for Change. The once darkest capital city in West Africa, Freetown was in less than one hundred days speedily lit up.
Solar streets light could be seen dotted around almost all the district headquarter towns in the country.
During his second and final inning, there is not much to write home about. The President’s second term in office was abruptly disrupted by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in May 2014. The outbreak collapsed the country’s economy. The once fastest growing economy in the world crumbled like a pack of cards. Major investors in the mining sector pulled out of the country.
African Minerals Limited, one of the country’s biggest employers was forced to go into administration and was later sold out to the Chinese, by its controversial owner, Frank Timis. A similar fate befell London Mining and Koidu Holdings. The effect of Ebola on the country’s economy was overwhelming. The economy is now in a free fall or a meltdown.
Supporters of the President continue to remind us that, he will be remembered as the man who transformed the country and made it an envy of the other Mano River Union basin members.
But the question many people are asking is: how many jobs has the President created since he came to power almost nine years ago? Unemployment (or youth unemployment) is at an all time high.
Our brothers and sisters leave college/university without being able to secure a job for themselves. There are no viable industries in the country.
The level of poverty is increasing at an alarming proportion. Many families cannot afford a single meal a day. Yet, people continue to sing and dance for the APC party. What an irony!
Yes, the President has built and continues to build roads. But is that a priority for now? The youths do not have jobs. The few government employees are paid a pittance as monthly salary. Some of them cannot even afford to feed their families, three times a day.
In less than two years from now, President Koroma would be gone from State House. What legacy will he be leaving behind when he exit the corridors of power? He has failed woefully to unite the country.
May be, in the next eighteen to nineteen months, the President will concentrate on building an enduring legacy that will be remembered by each and every Sierra Leonean.
His recent Cabinet reshuffle has helped to further polarize the nation. The biggest district in the country territorially, Koinadugu district does not have a single Cabinet Minister. They only ended up with two Deputy Ministers in the Ministries of Political and Public Affairs and Transport and Aviation.
We wish the President good luck as he prepares to leave office in February 2018.
As the majority of the people of Sierra Leone continue to wallow in abject poverty, the President is busy building and/ or widening existing roads across the country. What an irony!