Some of us laboured hard and tirelessly to sell Ernest
Koroma to the masses. Sierra Leone's electorate
didn't disappoint. They heeded the call.
The votes were cast to Koroma's advantage. Right there
and then, Berewa saw his presidential aspiration
evaporated. He was dealt a devastating blow, which
had him shaken to the core. For the insurance man, a
new beginning appeared triumphantly.
2007 was a year the crisis started – worsened by
the on-going global economic recession. Companies
were rapidly closing down and unemployment was on
the increase. In that respect, the timing could not
have been worse for Koroma’s presidency.
Mind you, his administration inherited an economy in
'decline' as he usually says. Moreover, the treasury
was 'empty', when he came to power - a lie that was
making the rounds recently. But due to the timely
intervention of his finance minister - Dr Samura
Kamara, the record was put straight and the matter
laid to rest.
"The coffers were absolutely dry", President Koroma
said in Kenema. No monies left in it whatsoever!
Kabbah's administration was 'inconsiderate and
wicked' – unkind. So they said. Not a Leone was
saved! Indeed, Koroma had a situation in his hands.
But immediately he took over, he hired generators
to provide 'light at all cost', which reports
allegedly say cost Sierra Leone a whooping $20
million for just one single year - monies that could
have lifted Bumbuna or cushioned the poor from the
effects of the global economic crisis.
This was an unpleasant situation to say the least.
Koroma was faced with a dilemma! He had to find the
money from somewhere, if he was going to rescue
Sierra Leone’s economy from ruin. So we thought.
In America, Obama was faced with the same issue. But,
what did he do? A stimulus package was proposed.
It's reported that $812 billion was printed out of
thin air to kick-start America's economy. How
Sierra Leone could have followed suit or taken similar
economic policy decision. Koroma’s administration
failed to do so. It failed to seize the moment for
an unknown reason! Incompetence perhaps?
Instead, the lending institutions were called
upon for financial assistance. Sierra Leone received
millions of dollars to bolster a new economic plan.
An economic plan that is yet to see the light of
On a personal note, I do not have anything against
borrowing. A debt could become an asset - if
invested wisely! Let's take Brazil for example. When
Luis da Silva - Brazil's president, assumed the
presidency in 2003, his country was heavily
indebted! The IMF and the World Bank were the ones
calling the shots.
Poverty rate in Brazil was at an all time high.
Joblessness was forcing many into a life of crime.
The country’s infrastructure was nothing to write
home about! In short, the future of Brazil didn’t
look promising at all. So, Luis da Silva and his
cabinet ministers went to work.
Under his astute leadership, several socio-economic
programmes were successfully implemented. One of
those programmes was the Growth Acceleration
Programme, which had a budget of $353 billion. The
aim was to strengthen Brazil's infrastructure -
consequently stimulate the private sector so as to
create more jobs. It worked!
This programme, together with others, had a major
impact on poverty alleviation. It is estimated that
between 2002 and 2010, 25 million Brazilians were
lifted out of poverty. Today, Brazil has cleared all
The country has the eighth-largest economy in the
world. Thanks, of course, to Mr Luis da Silva’s
common sense approach, Brazil's long term economic
development plan, and the Brazilians
Koroma visited Brazil with a large entourage, but
failed to learn any lessons from the Brazilian
economic experience. He should have copied their
success formula. He did not!
Instead, he encouraged national prayer. He called
for divine intervention, wishing that Sierra Leone
was a prayer camp.
In point of fact, after the first few months in
office, President Koroma abandoned the pastors that
were praying for him and turned to other means of
There was plenty of talk of ‘Ariogbos’ gracing the
corridors of State House. The absurdity of it all!
Somebody should have told Ernest Koroma that
religion kills the imagination. Ask Galileo!
In 2009, we were told that we have the largest deposit
of Iron Ore in Africa. The first thing the
government did was to draw up a mining policy. But
that policy has hardly informed the agenda, during
negotiations with the mining companies.
London mining was asked to pay 6% corporation tax,
whilst African Minerals pays 25%. This clearly shows
that government ministers are not serious about the
country’s economy, or they must somehow be
benefiting personally from the London mining
agreement and many others.
The country was debt free when President Koroma
took office in 2007. Today, we are back in debt
heavily, which is now having a devastating effect on
the economy. Perhaps the lending agencies are
waiting until we start the drilling of oil before
they pounce on us - as they have done in Ghana.
Shortly after Ghana started drilling oil, they were
told its new found wealth has been collateralized
for loans. Nearly $13 billion worth of loan deals
were signed with Chinese investors to fund energy,
agriculture and transport development.
The income generated from the sale of our resources,
if carefully managed, should sustain us financially.
My dissatisfaction with the Koroma administration are
numerous, and quite rightfully so. And honestly, I
do not think that he deserves a second term.
President Koroma is not a man of vision, nor is he a
patriot. The Income Electrix project should ring a
bell. How unpatriotic was that?
Why should they have hired those generators at such a
high cost? Why did they not invest that money in
completing the Bumbuna hydro project, or buy new
generators to replace those at Kingtom and Blackhall
Road that had ceased to function?
Why did President Koroma drag more poor people down
below the poverty line, by implementing Goods and
Services Tax starting at 15%, causing prices to
Why is it that he just cannot take sound decisions at
the right time? Why is it that some ministers are
more powerful than all the cabinet ministers put
Does he think that he can run a government like an
insurance company or a social club? Is he running
the government like a business that has become a
liability to its investors?
These are questions we should ask ourselves, because
in the last four years Sierra Leone has become worse
than it was in 2007, yet his praise singers - those
that are benefiting directly or indirectly, have
become blind to the reality of life in the country.
Instead of cautioning their leader with the truth,
they are busy writing sugar coated articles about
the President winning next year’s election with a
landslide. How naďve is that? Perhaps they are
planning to return Sierra Leone to a one party
Is this why they believe that the 2012 elections will
be a landslide victory for APC?
Reading other articles, however, show that they are
afraid of Maada Bio. If there is evidence that Maada
Bio is a killer, a thief, a murderer, he should be
tried and jailed. It seems Maada Bio’s presence is
causing sleepless nights, and things have started to
go bad, because this was not what they envisaged.
Come next year we will witness the elections that
Ernest Koroma is going to win with a ‘landslide’
Quite frankly, I am sure Sierra Leone would be better
off with someone else as her next president, even if
it is Maada Bio, but certainly not Koroma or Margai.
Remember, there comes a time when political party
'devotee-ism' must be traded for patriotism. Well,
this is the time. That moment has come!
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