• April 7, 2020

Two Wasteful Years of SLPP’s Political Leadership Failure

Two Wasteful Years of SLPP’s Political Leadership Failure
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By Joseph A. Kamanda

April 4th marked the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) exact two years in office of leadership failures of democratic state governance. Their collective failures begin from where Bio and his entire government start work onto where they are heading to.

And before properly settling down to work he first and foremost destroy the very supremacy of democracy by ordering the violent storming of the House of Parliament by poorly trained Operational Support Division wing of the Sierra Leone Police, disrupted the election of the Speaker of the House and elected the ruling minority ruling party candidate Hon. Dr Chernor Abass Bundu as against the wishes of the majority opposition APC.

That clearly manifests Bio and the SLPP show of disregard for democracy marking the beginning of the failure of his government.

Since then, Bio is still finding it very difficult to come to terms with democratic cultures-does not embrace democracy, not familiar with competitive elections, remained intolerant his political opponents especially the main opposition APC and hardly include them in the governance of the country, which are also largely contributing to his unacceptable failure as well as other challenges of governance under the Bio leadership.

For the SLPP, everything Bio inherited Koroma and the APC were badly ‘broken’; ‘broken economic’ and thus tried hard to change them by all means in ‘poapa’ terms and into the new direction forms as they are now.

By gauging views and public opinions of the ruling SLPP and the Bio government’s achievement in the last two years out and about in the streets of Freetown and in other major towns, first met Samba Saiku John Bah said; ‘we were expecting so much but even before the arrival or recording of coronavirus cases not much was noted about national gains by president Bio and his new direction ideas. And now there is less talk of what the government has done in the last two years. All we now hear on media is about coronavirus and ĆOVID19. We only hope the whole coronavirus does not serve as a cover up failure of the system.’

The Bio government’s major achievements are narrowly centred on the crippling free education policy as part of Bio’s human capital development and their selective anti-corruption fight, as well as the commissions of inquiries.

Failure as an unavoidable factor of the Bio led SLPP management, the government had failed even before response to contain and prevent coronavirus and COVID19 disease from being recorded in the country. And don’t be surprised to learn that some members of the country’s first family have already been infected or tested ‘positive’ based on reports filtering in from social media. How failures crept in will be further explained in details…

April 4th will be hardly forgotten, as it was the day on which the widely discredited National Electoral Commission chairman and National Returning officer, Mohamed Alie Conteh declared Julius Maada Bio as winner of the March 2018 election and president of the republic of Sierra Leone.

For the SLPP and Bio it was never a start of hard work to deliver of promises made during campaigns but a moment of revenge and vengeance against the main rival opposition APC members and their supporters through diverse forms of intimidation by taking away jobs from them.

Since then to date the narratives had changed completely as the situation transformed itself into a mere failed direction under the directives of Bio as head of state and government. The expectations were surprised to have maintained a positive trajectory inherited from former president Dr Ernest Bai Koroma of the main opposition All People’s Congress and consolidate gains made by the last APC administration going forward. But as the sackings kept on so also everything was changed almost destroying every legacies of the last administration.

I ask Paul Tamba Sinnah at Tankoro Kono to tell me about his impression about the SLPP and Bio’s second year in office. And he has this to say; ‘I am a staunch member of the ruling party and religious supporters of president Bio. I believe in all his ideas especially the free education, commissions of inquiries and couple of other things the government has done is doing. But honestly I don’t think much has been offered in terms of solving our bread and butter and other economic problems, which are the areas some of us are highly disappointed at president Bio and the SLPP.’

Disappointing are all over as the expectations remained unmet with hopes and aspirations being dashed. The magic didn’t happen as seen in the continuing unfolding trend of negative change in almost every aspect of state affairs against all what the last government did.

However this manner of political failure of Bio and the SLPP started with the hateful display of winner takes all democracy through massive sacking and dismissals of people who served the last APC administration, based on their regional, ethnic and political affiliations as if they are not Sierra Leoneans and do not deserve the rights to be hired to work for the government of Sierra Leone.

Winner takes all according to political scientists is no democracy and hardly consolidate peace and stability. Some said it is not even good for emerging and young democracies not to mention developing countries trying to properly embrace the culture of democratic processes for first time. That is why the dismissals and sackings of former government officers by Bio and the SLPP have been widely criticized.

Further sounding views on the second year of the SLPP and president Bio in office, Matu Gassimu, a fish monger at Kissy market on Black Hall Road east of Freetown, said; ‘we are still trying to figure out what exactly went wrong since they came considering their activities which are more focused on the probity of past public servant for financial misappropriations of public funds. So for me it could be too early to start assessing their performance now. Let us give them a bits of time to see when they can offer more so after the complete eradication of the global pandemic when situations shall have returned to their normal stages before we start apportioning blames on whosoever for failure to deliver.’

It is however believes that the failure of the Bio SLPP government started its leadership failure right from the divide and rule system of government it introduced in the running of the state apart from other areas where the SLPP continues to struggle to deliver despite Bio’s 1996 short lived National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) junta experience. That of itself can save the day at State House.

Just as it worries every well-meaning Sierra Leonean, there were never such expectations of retrogression from a government that promised to do so much in bringing progress and development to Sierra Leone by taking the country if not to the top, but to an enviable level of self-reliance which turns out to be the mere opposite. Promises of delivering the goods to the door steps of all and sundry are still far from realities, with peace, security, socioeconomic and development programmes being completely derailed from what used to a very progressive trajectory barely ten years ago, which is now leading to massive human sufferings in Sierra Leone.

What actually continue to reminds country about the government’s missing NPRC junta era of the mid 90s are the wasteful spending on materialism that have nothing to do with the improvement of living standards of the people. So can somebody please tell Bio to focus a bit on people pro-policies for the betterment of every citizenry?

Moreover, overseas traveling, luxuries for the president, his wife, their siblings and ruling party loyalists as well as unwarranted job offers to SLPP diaspora members are most of the areas where Sierra Leoneans’ tax payers moneys are being lavished by Bio and his retrogressive party.

Also the importations of incompetent and unqualified SLPP party members and supporters from the disappra – United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere to hold lucrative expert jobs that they could hardly deliver on backed home, but are being paid in thousands of Dollars for such jobs.

That as well adds to the leadership failures of Bio, the new direction and the ‘paopa’ clan in the last two years. But as God could have it, all the blames of misfortunes are now being placed on the global coronavirus pandemic.

Whereas in the Koroma era, by the time the APC government clocks a year in office changes were already felt in the four corners of the nation, with new developmental programmes for the general benefits of all.

Koroma actually inherited Freetown as the darkest city in the world but turned the situation around and brought regular power supplies in his first one hundred compared to Bio’s two years in state governance yet his can’t provide consumers with twenty-four hours electricity supply. Water is less counted in highlighting social services the Bio government can offer even during a catch-up coronavirus lockdown, water is one essential service people can hardly lay hands on. And attempts by Freetown residents to fetch water from leaking pipes were halted by irate security personnel who were manning the lock down. They seized their jerry cans and arrested most of the said defaulters for violating coronavirus lock down rules.

Koroma among the multiple development approaches used to propelled Sierra Leone’s post-conflict nation building were the consolidation of democracy, peace, security and stability, freedom of information, opened the country to trade, commerce, infrastructural development and direct foreign investments. But most of these gains have been drastically reversed by Bio and the SLPP two years wasteful rule.

His regime brought social services as tar marked roads, electricity and water supplies to not only Freetown but to all provincial towns in the country through the three-town water project delivered by the Agenda for Change and later Agenda for Prosperity.

As at present, failed leadership of Bio can hardly assure the nation of complete peace, social justice, freedom of speech, political liberty constitutional rights have been put on hold with opposition APC politicians continue to languish in prison cells at the Male Correctional Centre on Pa Demba Road, all due to intimidation from the ruling SLPP party on orders from the office of the president at State House.

Otherwise the likes of former Freetown City Council mayor Herbert George Williams, Abu Bakarr Daramy, Alfred Paolo Conteh and retired Sergeant Amadu Koita wouldn’t be behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. That is also part of leadership failure on the part of Bio and his SLPP for failing to create the level playing field for the main opposition and it members to go about with their normal political activities, which is no democracy.

Bio has eroded the constitutional rights of the people by making sure that every bit of criticisms against his failed regime is heavily clamped on and placed defaulters behind bars by the puppet judiciary. The worst judiciary Sierra Leone has ever produced in history. It is only this judiciary legitimately elected APC members of parliament were removed from their seats in the house following a court ruling from this very poppet judiciary under the so called democratic rule of Bio.

All of these are happening under a leadership that does not believes in the culture of democratic governance which is why Bio continues to derail electoral processes and imprisoned political opponents that are critical of his style of bad governance. A process his predecessor had always created level playing fields for all to participate fully in the democratic processes to the best of their abilities without any form of intimidation.

Though he met Sierra Leone with a very sound economic foundation left behind by the Koroma APC government Bio had reversed everything he inherited from his predecessor including the prices of food and essential commodities, making livelihood means more difficult for the people, having closed key mining investments in the country that is causing extreme poverty all over again as if Sierra Leone is just emerging from a war.

So what is worth cerebrating about Bio and the SLPP two years of wasteful leadership failures when the government can’t meet the basic needs of its people? For leadership incompetence is not what the people of Sierra Leoneans voted for in the March 2018 elections but for peace, security, democracy, good governance the list is long, so stand down Bio if you lack the capacity to govern well.

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