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Koroma does not deserve a second term!!

Austin Thomas

6 September 2011

Photo: Charles Margai & President  Koroma in 2007


What was the West thinking, when they gave us Ernest Koroma? What were we thinking when we voted for Ernest Koroma and his APC Party?

What was Charles Margai thinking when he traversed the country with Ernest Koroma - telling people that this is a new and changed APC?

These are interesting questions that begs for answers without doubt. Perhaps, they saw in the former insurance man - competence and honesty.

Many of us believed that with his business experience, youthfulness and humility, Ernest Koroma would turn Sierra Leone around for the better.


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 clever!

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 day!

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 her debts.

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 all-hands-on-deck mentality.

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 spiritual intervention.

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 double?

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 together?

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 state.

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’ majority.

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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