• February 27, 2023

APC, SLPP Engagements Now

APC, SLPP Engagements Now
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By Idris Aloma Kamara

The June 24 multitier elections are almost here with barely four months to the polls, when the people shall again vote in a new leader for another five years mandate. A leader with the right level of political and administrative seriousness that can meet the needs of the people and salvage the socioeconomic situation the people are confronted with as all eyes are constantly fixed on June 24, 2023 elections. The most important historical date in the lives of Sierra Leoneans. Sierra Leoneans the world over, are therefore enthusiastically poised to vote in a new leader and a new government, considering the massive turnouts that were demonstrated during the voter registration and verification of registrants’ particulars with workers of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL). All are expecting positive change from the June polls, which is why constructive engagements with the electorate is expected from both the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC). Engagements geared towards understanding what exactly needs to be fixed or done for the electorate, their constituencies when any of the two heavyweights shall have won the race. It is therefore imperative that zones, constituencies regions and district across start identifying their community needs and present to their various political leaders rather always singing and dancing whenever there are electioneering campaigns. Praising singing of politicians, dancing and singing for politician since the reintroduction of democracy in 1996 have always failed the people.

So, there is much need to turn a new leaf and talk the talks and work the works for the good of the people and over all development of Sierra Leone. Facing the moment ahead people are expected to discuss real issues with politicians vying for public offices of trusts, ignore political culture of receiving handouts, singing and dancing as it has always been in the past.

Sierra Leoneans have arrived at the fall of another five years of excuses, blame shifting and massive political governance failures under the watch of the SLPP Julius Maada Bio led administration, with majority of the people calling for change, as the masses were left to pine in the cold.

Power mongrels with wagging tongues, accused the past APC government as “ayampis”, caboodle of thieves, rogues and crooks. The Commission of Inquiries were set and found many of them wanting. But alas! Can the tea kittle called the pot black? The SLPP accused the APC of thievery whiles of course the very incumbent Bio-SLPP government has stolen more from state coffers than any other political administration if only we should go by the reports of the Africanist Press. Bio and the SLPP spent their five years in office shifting blames and accusing their predecessors of corruption. But the SLPP and Bio has proved more corrupt than any other political administration.

Now the time is here for democratic accountability for their respective roles and that of the government. Perhaps new or more vocabularies would be manufactured to describe the present government. The other day, a friend of this writer asked, how is the ruling SLPP Bio-led government going to mount their campaign in the midst of economic mess? Do they have a campaign message for the electorate? Or are they going to sing song the clichéd of progress made by the free quality education? There is certainly a clear lack of campaign message from the political leadership of the SLPP, looking at billboards placed at the Cotton Tree and other places around Freetown and elsewhere in the country. Except if government want to tell this hungry nation how astronomical prices of essential commodities including rice will continue to rise, which President Bio has told the world that there is nothing he can do about it but can hardly ignore it. Well, President Bio will not avoid the prices hike as against the wage bill, petroleum products pump price and the defiant foreign exchange rates against the local currency the Leone. The Leone is in a complete crisis and it required urgent solution or we address it along with other problems now, during and after the elections. And they are real issues that are expected to put forward to politician on the campaign trails to address when won.

In addition, the friend will also made mention of the killing of innocent lives in Makeni, Tonko Limba, Lunsar, Male Correctional Centre, Tombo and the August 10th 2022, episode during which dozens of people killed on orders from above. No one will expect him to shot himself on the leg, but the signs show state governance failures under the Bio five years misrule are everywhere in the country for all to see. That is why Sierra Leoneans are encouraged to put on their thinking hats during the approaching June polls so that they can make the best decision for the benefits of their generations yet unborn.

Democracy guarantees the liberty of the people to hold their government accountable; the people are surely waiting on President Bio’s reply on the above facts on his campaign trails vows made in 2018. Upholding democracy does not require the spilling of blood, taking innocent lives but constructive engagements with the electorate on sensitive national issues. The government of the day deserves the authority to respect the rights of the electorate. The government is elected by the people, the people have the right to criticise the government on issue that are not correct for social interaction.

With the present economic hardship, people are filled with crying, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and do we expect much campaign message from the SLPP? It is difficult everywhere, grumblings about the bad economy are everywhere.

Youth unemployment, lack of large scale direct foreign investments the list is long are the major problems politicians are required to engage the people with on how they can address some of the challenges. This time around people are not prepared to listen to any excuses but tangible goals with huge potentials to positively impact of lives and develop communities.

In opposition, the SLPP promised to fix the economy, providing the bread and butter and block the leakages but are yet to be handled as they promised. The Single Treasury Account has been exerted with lots of pressure, and it is almost on the verge of collapsing to expose the failure of the SLPP government.

The SLPP government is highly overweighed with foreign debts burdens! Voting Bio and the SLPP to rule for another five years is like Sierra Leoneans signing their own death warrants. The first five years rule of Bio and the SLPP did nothing good to improve the standards of living of the people, building the economy and ensuring good governance are nothing to neither show nor talk about much as these sectors are concerned. They continue to make excuses, shifting blame on the past APC government. If APC left nothing in state coffers, then where did the SLPP started in the governance of the country? Again, today Sierra Leoneans have seen lots of developmental promises emerging at this nick of time. Only God knows if these promises will be fulfilled by the SLPP and Bio. Election promises are being made to cajole the hearts of the people. The promises should have been fulfilled long before the elections, showing commitments towards economic growth, national development.

Agricultural productivity is low, and Sierra Leone cannot even provide its staple food, rice. The Tormabum rice project is complete failure. With all the publicity, ranting, nothing good was realised.

Making a political campaign promise should be based on substantiated facts and not mere unfulfilled vows. Sierra Leoneans are patiently waiting not only to critically examine the deceitful New Direction manifesto of Julius Maada Bio, but to take a critically look at what lies he would want to make again to win hearts and minds to secure votes. Lots were said in the New Direction with little or no fulfilment. This time around, Bio will be judge by his past and present manifesto.

Sierra Leoneans must therefore stay fixedly engaged in talking about the real issues of the economy, health, education, water and electricity supplies, public transport facility, prudent fiscal and financial administration of the country’s resources, opening the country to direct foreign investment and tame the defiant foreign exchange rate as against the dying Leones. By so doing will urge political leaders to address some of the burning problems. For nobody want a continuation of the current situation.

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