• June 2, 2020

Who Says Eastern Kenema; Southern Regions Were Neglected by the Last APC Government?

Who Says Eastern Kenema; Southern Regions Were Neglected by the Last APC Government?
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By Joseph A. Kamanda

Whenever certain officers of the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) take public speaking platforms in the media to talk for and on behalf of President Dr Julius Maada Bio and their party’s failures, they always try to pain rosy pictures of the existing harsh realities of political socioeconomic situation in the country as if everything is fine.

Like the incompetent and poor media handler to the presidency, Press Secretary to the President, Yusif Keketoma Sandi in his last Friday’s responses to questions from FM 198.1 Good Morning show hosts, tried to be skip away from accepting certain unavoidable facts about works, programmes and activities of the past APC government of former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.

Sandi in his desperation to further defaming the main opposition APC party, deceptively informed all that the former regime didn’t take development projects implemented by the Agenda for Change and the Agenda for Prosperity to his home district headquarter town of Kenema, and other parts of the eastern region as well as the south, where the former regime did more than in its northern heartland, Makeni, Port Loko, Tonkolili Koinadugu and beyond.

What the Press Secretary to President Bio failed to realized is his absolute disconnect with developmental issues back home in the last ten years or so. He only came in back for the March 18th 2018 presidential and general elections. And failed to do proper research to adequately equip himself and the presidency with recent developments in the district and the region as a whole, before responding to the media for and on behalf of President Bio’s state opening of Parliament speech. A speech most seasoned public speakers described as not a well research presentation to the nation.

That Yusif Keketoma Sandi is moving from one media house to the other telling ridiculous untruths that the former regime of former President Koroma and the APC completely neglected the south and eastern regions are serious claims that must be critically responded to with some challenging facts of what exactly the last administration offered in those two regions.

Kenema, Kailahu and the entire eastern region with the exemption of Kono district were some of the most hostile communities to the then APC presidential candidate, former President Koroma. He was attacked with assassination attempts in Seigbwema and Kenema but that didn’t stop from rolling out his government AFC and AFP programmes to those places. Former President Koroma went out of his way and offered Kailahun one of the best trunk roads Sierra Leone can boast of-the Kenema Kailahun road, done by the ISU engineering company from South Korea, the Kailahun township roads and some feeder roads in the district.

In Kenema alone, the past APC government apart from implementation of the three town water projects to provide safe drinking water to all district headquarter towns and their environs, the AFC and the AFP went as far as constructing a one hundred and eighty-five kilometers fist class roads in Kenema city, starting from Gbongboma Junction, Panguma road, Ngegbema, Kuawima Junction, Gorfor, Lopa, Buama by the Biscostin Construction Company as well as the Kenema-Vaahun and Benduma, Boajibu, Goma and Benduma roads by the NIMO Construction Company, not ignoring the Daama, Blama, and Hanga roads, not to talk of the Kenema-Bo, Kenema Koindu roads funded by the Kuwaiti and Saudi funds.

Where was Press Secretary Sandi when all of these were taking place in Kenema district through the successful deliveries of the AFC and later the AFP and when the former mayor of Kenema city, Joseph Samba Kaifala rejected projects because they were supported by the last APC government?

To better informed on these Mr Press Secretary Sandi, the last government’s project and programmes touched all corners of Sierra Leone and were never selective as the new direction is presently implementing national development projects only in south and eastern regions, as in sync with its structural character of President Bio’s cabinet makeup, unlike his predecessor Koroma whose took a more national character nature.

Development programmes should not be tainted with political colours thus must be given national characters guaranteeing people’s collective ownerships of them irrespective of individuals’ political ideologies, regional and ethnic origins as it has always been in the last ten, twenty years.

However looking at the margin of developmental gains recorded in other parts of the country compared to what obtained in Kenema, under the transformative leadership of former president Koroma and last APC administration, one would learn that the last government was never selective in the implementation of its programmes and activities for the benefits of Sierra Leoneans.

Nobody neglected the people of Kenema and the south and eastern regions but the then opposition SLPP Kenema politicians sadly deceived their own people by deliberately rejecting APC led government programmes; saying that they were waiting for President Bio’s new direction development projects.

Their dreams couldn’t come true barely two years down the line, as their expectations are still hardly met and the people of Kenema are now basking in regrets for being disappointed by their dream SLPP regime of President Bio, only to construct incomplete narrow roads in the township that sill lack regular power supply.

Whereas under the former President Koroma era, funds to the tunes of billions Leones were constantly allocated to district and local councils for the implementations of development projects in Kenema city and the whole district.

In fact, the Kenema District Council is also on record for receiving an allocation of billions of Leones for the implementation of development programmes and Le 300M.was also allocated to the district council for construction of drying floors whiles another L350M was directed towards the construction of market at Bendu Junction. Kenema district council also benefited from a Le 600M market projects for Coker-Jah Street, and another Le 250M.that of Humunya Avenue and their surrounding communities.

For the notorious Kenema city hall for which former mayor Joseph Samba Kaifala personally attacked former President Koroma verbally during the civic funeral ceremony of former late Minister of State East, Hon. William Juanah Smith, that the last APC government under former allocated over 600M its construction, but district and city council administrators disgracefully left the structure unfinished.

So it is not true when the Press Secretary to President Bio misinformed the world that the south and east of Sierra Leone were neglected by the past government. The former APC government is on record for providing healthcare facilities through the Kenema government hospital, district health management team, with regular supplies of free health care drugs for pregnant women, lactating mothers and under five children.

Healthcare services were boosted to the peak of building new hospitals and refurbishing old ones and equipped them with ultra-modern medical machineries and gadgets. Also for Kenema, the last administration erected the first shopping plaza for the city followed by those of Bo, Makeni and other infrastructural projects.

Certainly, Kenema, east and southern regions had their fair shares of the past government’s developmental programmes, though it always appears difficult for the spokesman at the presidency to say the truth to the media, by trying to convince the public into believing that the former APC regime refused to take development to the south and eastern regions. Spokesman Sandi mind you the facts are there and your relatives at the district and city councils in Kenema have the files so consult well the next time you want to talk to the media on such issues so that you can do justice to facts and your conscience.

Comparatively, we want to know what were the exactly magnitude of developmental progresses made in Kenema that the State Opening of Parliament of President Julius Maada Bio pointed at while addressing the nation in the well of Parliament.

The speech couldn’t point at any significant gain recorded under the present administration simply because there is nothing on the government’s two and months’ scorecard, as the trend of progress was derailed since 4th April, 2018 to date, forgetting the fact that governance is a continuous process, which is why the trajectory of progress and national development must always stay on track by succeeding regimes, like late President Dr Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma did in the last twenty years or so, rather than reinventing the wheel anew.  Hope common sense prevails next time with more researched oriented presentation to the public media!

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