• September 25, 2023

POSTMORTEM OF BIO’S FIRST 100 DAYS *The first 100 days under president Bio is an abysmal failure. This is expected to get worse if the current state of affairs persists.  

POSTMORTEM OF BIO’S FIRST 100 DAYS  *The first 100 days under president Bio is an abysmal failure. This is expected to get worse if the current state of affairs persists.  
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A postmortem analysis of the first 100 days under President Julius Maada Bio after the disputed presidential results announcement would reveal that the SLPP led government has failed on critical issues that it promised to resolve.

The president and his government have failed to live up to expectations.

In the heat of the electioneering process the then chief and former minister of finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, had boasted that they will fix the economic mess they had created in three months after the 24 June elections. It must be recalled that during the 2018 campaign, Jusu made the same promise, which six months after Bio’s then controversial victory, the economy was still not fixed.

It actually got worse based on how vote controllers spent the public purse, as per the auditor general’s reports on Bio’s government. The bloated government wage bill didn’t help as too much money was being expended on salaries for which the corresponding work or accomplishments were lacking, and the money to pay such salaries sorely missing in government coffers.

But we didn’t expect for this promise to hold water because Jusu Saffa and the president at different times had admitted that they will not be able to fix the economy, not even if we had ten ministers of finance. This was after the government has changed three ministers of finance without any success fixing the economy in his first term.

‘But if it wasn’t for this elections dispute issue, we could have sorted the economy. Even if we didn’t have the money, donor support and investor confidence would have helped. But because of the demands from our international development partners to release the disaggregated polling station data per polling station, which our electoral commissioner is refusing to release, investor confidence is at an all-time low and donor support has been suspended. You will observe that those that signed agreements with government last term have not started operating. This has happened because of the elections issues,’ said an SLPP supporter at the party’s Wallace Johnson Street headquarters in Freetown.

The ardent SLPP supporters blamed the opposition APC for the current economic mess that has seen the prices of goods and services continuing to rise without a plan of action from the government on how to tackle them.

‘We expect for the APC out of nationalism and patriotism would come and take part in the governance of the state. Should they come, things will improve. But since they are insisting on staying out of government, there will be no end in sight for our problems, economic, social or political,’ pitched another SLPP supporter.

However, members of the public said if the ruling party was concerned with nationalism and patriotism they would have accepted the demands from the APC and our international friends by doing the needful all in the name of doing things in the name and interest of the people. But because they continue to fail to do this, the nation is in a state of instability, with our security, peace and national cohesion all in peril.

Supporters of the main opposition have equally blamed the president and his party and the ECSL for creating and encouraging the current state of affairs by refusing to accept that they lost the presidential elections. This refusal to do as expected has led to a state of instability where people are traversing the country searching for peace in a nation where war has not been declared.

‘On the peace and security front, the government has failed. The nation is not stable as it can be easily destabilised by a simple call from outside the country for a national demonstration. Nationalism and patriotism starts with abiding by and obeying the rule of law. Since the start of the SLPP regime under Bio, they have made a common thing of disrespecting the rule of law and the procedures that govern how our governors behave. How do you expect the people to obey the law when the law enforcer is complicit in disobeying the law? The current state of instability has been caused by the president and his electoral commissioner insisting that the former won the 24 June presidential elections freely, fairly and credibly.’

‘So for as long as the president continues on this stolen presidential mandate we should expect more protest actions as on 11th September, 2023 and 10th August, 2022. For as long as we have armed soldiers and police officers on our streets day and night, we have lost the war on peace, security and national cohesion. The nation is more polarised than at any other moment in our history. The only way to solve this is to obey the law and resolve this electoral impasse,’ said a member of the APC executive.

According to the APC, president Bio will not be able to accomplish anything he promised because he is operating from one side of the aisle in the House of Parliament and the city councils across the country. If the first hundred days are like this then we should expect worse going forward as we are at present, they promised.

‘At present, our focus as a party is to dialogue. If the dialogue fails to produce the expected result, we will have to take to the streets. This issue is not going to be swept under the carpet in the name of nationalism and patriotism. These national characters should have been considered by those who are now calling on the APC to be nationalistic and patriotic before doing what has brought us to this material moment in our history. The history of elections in Sierra Leone must change if we are to make any progress as a nation. We can see that a credible election process goes to boost national development as it creates a level playing field. But an elections result like the one we have will only produce instability. Even if the APC comes back to government, president Bio will not be able to accomplish what he promised in five years. Look at how things are presently. Now imagine if we continue like this, say, six months to a year from now, not to even consider five years of this,’ said a female supporter of the APC.

Sierra Leone finds herself in a precarious stalemate. Should the stalemate be resolved amicably and all issues ironed out, there is nothing in sight to prevent our government from succeeding on its promises and mandate.

However, should we fail to resolve this issue we should as a nation be prepared for a state of perpetual hardship and difficulties that would force people onto the streets in protest. The prices of goods and services that were already up to seven times their 2018 levels are all expected to increase further, while salaries remain the same, and much more difficult to be assured of being settled every month as those who pay our public workers’ wages have all stopped doing so citing the disputed elections result.

The first 100 days under president Bio is an abysmal failure. This is expected to get worse if the current state of affairs persists.

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