How can we achieve the Millennium Development Goals
in 2015, when our leadership has failed several
times to stamp its authority and take the required
action that will bring about good governance,
economic growth and prosperity?
The country is once again sliding down the road of
pre-elections violence, largely sponsored by those
in power. It seems that a key priority for this
government, upon taking up office in 2007, was to
goad their party supporters to terrorise and
intimidate the opposition SLPP.
If our president - Ernest Koroma, was in any way
serious about bringing about change and development,
he would have taken appropriate measures, by making
sure that those found guilty of politically
motivated violence are punished swiftly, in
accordance with the laws of the land. Instead he has
allowed impunity to reign supreme.
This act of impunity was
repeated in 2009, when the offices of the
opposition SLPP were set on fire, innocent women
raped, and ironically, with the police protecting
APC supporters carrying out their criminal acts.
But what has the president done about the series of
politically motivated violence waged against the
A committee was established by the president in 2009
to investigate the causes of the attacks against the
SLPP; but once the committee had handed over their
report to the president that was the end of the
The report, we have recently been told is in the
office of the Attorney General. It is now two years,
and the report has not been published, nor has any
action been taken to implement its recommendations.
One then has to wonder, whether the president has
even bothered to read the report, in order to
acquaint himself with its findings and
Elections violence started after Ernest Koroma’s APC
took over the reigns of government in 2007, and it
seems there is no end in sight. The president has
woefully failed to curb politically motivated
violence in the country.
Nothing is being done to eradicate poverty and improve
our lives. Inflation index is increasing by the day,
yet the government is just busy spending money on
misplaced projects that will not lead to economic
growth and job creation.
Even farming for food self-sufficiency and export,
which should be the backbone of our economy, is now
being neglected by the government.
The decision to force importers to sell rice at a
controlled price that does not reflect their
business costs, exposes the government's
ineffectiveness in managing the economy. What they
seem to forget is that Sierra Leone is driven by a
market economy, and prices are determined largely by
The declining value of the Leone - compounded by very
high taxes, are having a huge effect on the costs of
imported goods, hence we see prices generally having
doubled since 2007. Inflation has increased from 8%
to just under 20%.
I really do not understand the kind of leadership we
now have in the country. Certain events of national
interest and security are taking place regularly in
the country, yet the president is failing woefully
to show us that he is in control.
How can we the citizens feel secure under such
leadership that has no vision and has lost grip of
the economy and those within its purview?
The present leadership lacks innovation and qualities
required to build a better country. I would like to
give three instances to show that president Ernest
Koroma is not a good leader, and should he choose
not to show effective leadership – we will all
continue to suffer.
Firstly, I will start with a cabinet decision taken at
the end of last year that all students studying in
China should be accorded the same privilege
regardless of how they got their scholarship.
The cabinet had endorsed that decision, and the
minister of education had no alternative but to
respect the will of the cabinet. But What happened
thereafter was the opposite; the minister did not
implement the cabinet's decision. Did the president
take any decision on such blatant disrespect; a big
Secondly, the minister of Internal Affairs as it was
reported gave orders to his security personnel to
shoot at youths demonstrating against him in Kono.
Instead of the president taking strong action
against the minister, he came out with a bogus
speech telling the world that no minister or
government official is above the law and that he
will set up another investigative committee to look
into the matter.
Thirdly, the Shears-Moses Commission of inquiry
findings and recommendations with respect to the
violence committed in 2009 against the opposition
SLPP, has been swept aside by the president and no
The report says, and I quote; "The central figures in
the event of 16th March, 2009, were Idrissa Kamara
(Leather Boot), Foday Mansaray aka Foday Government
Idrissa Kamara left His Excellency the President and
State House unguarded to attend to the scene of the
violence, which showed a lack of respect for those
in authority and a keen interest in supporting
violence by all means. Women were assaulted with his
support and assistance, whilst looting took place in
One of the recommendations of the committee report
says that: "Members of the security forces, who have
betrayed the trust put on them to protect the
citizens, and found to be unprofessional in their
activities, or support violence, should be dismissed
from their employment to serve as a deterrent to
others in future. In this regard we specifically
indicate Mohamed Turay (Yete Yete), Idrissa Kamara
Incompetent ministers are still at work, causing
problems for citizens - as teachers and lecturers go
on strike. Most schools are yet to open. Meanwhile,
Idrissa Leather boot is still at State House -
beating up people or giving orders for peaceful
Sierra Leoneans to be beaten.
No actions have been taken by the president who is the
first gentleman of the country. The international
community is watching with utter dismay that a
president can be so lethargic and insensitive to the
needs of his own people.
It is now being reported in the country that the
minister of Internal Affairs has issued a press
release stating that the president is his 'only'
boss and not the vice president. What a shame! I
really do not think that the minister understands
what he is saying.
In 2007 we voted for Ernest Koroma as president and
Sam Sumana as vice-president. Not even the president
can sack Sumana unless he is mentally ill, found
guilty of corrupt practices, etc.
The internal Affairs minister - Musa Tarawallie should
know that with respect to the chain of command,
after Ernest comes Sam Sumana - so he is answerable
to the vice president.
In the USA, it would be absurd for Hilary Clinton to
tell Joe Biden that he is not her boss. The next day
Obama will fire her because such a statement causes
disrepute within the cabinet and that’s what is
going on in Sierra Leone today.
Ministers are more powerful than the vice
president; ministers are not taking orders from the
president, and yet we continue to praise the
government for "doing an excellent work".
What does president Koroma really thinks, during his
quiet moment, when he remembers that he is in charge
of a country that has about six million people
looking up to him to provide for their security and
Does he think that we are so stupid as to continue to
support him blindly - even to our early graves? I
would like to challenge my colleague journalists
preaching hate messages, to instead publish issues
that matter to the people of the country.
This is not about whom we like or dislike, the party
we support or hate, but daily burning issues that
need to be addressed, such as; the economy,
education, health, unemployment and poverty.
They might do the president a lot of good, if only
they can serve as checks and balances. Also, they
can help him to win the next election, if they are
willing to caution him that he is making far too
many mistakes by protecting his 'sacred cows',
instead of taking appropriate action as a leader.
Teachers are angry that the government has lied to
them by not meeting their demands. Should we blame
the teachers or should we caution the government and
tell the leadership that enough is enough, you need
to start addressing the plight of the people?
As journalists we need to ask ourselves whether our
continuous prevarication of the truth - because of
our support for Ernest Koroma, is giving us peace of
mind, knowing fully well that it is the plight of
millions of Sierra Leoneans that is at stake.
The teachers have been complaining for far to long.
Lecturers have gone on strike. Should we look at
their problems as politically motivated or should we
listen to their cries and try to put pressure on the
president, so that he can address their needs?
If the education minister who was once himself a
lecturer had put aside his pomposity and talk with
colleague lecturers and teachers, definitely there
would have been a solution to the industrial action.
Instead he behaves as though he is from another
planet, and we journalists refuse to understand, and
prefer to preach hate - because of our soft spot for
this leadership or the brown envelope that we
receive on a regular basis.
If we have a leader that cannot take decisions, it is
therefore obvious that we will have a chaotic
government, with every minister behaving as they
please, because nobody asks questions. I do hope
that it doesn't get to the point where a cabinet
minister will one day slap the president because he
or she believes in the power of impunity.
Only a decisive president can change the cause of our
sick country, and the earlier Ernest Koroma begins
to take charge of this country the better it would
be for all of us. Sierra Leone in the last four
years has taken a big leap backwards in the economy,
peace and poverty.
We need to see the president at work in the next year,
by taking over the driving seat to stir us back to
the road of economic recovery and peace. We cannot
afford to experience the return of eleven years of
senseless war, causing massive loss of lives and
destruction of property.
Education is the only way out of poverty, and if this
government can stop using our youths as dogs of war,
the better it will be for us all. Let us remember
that; "Power is like an egg. If you don’t handle it
carefully it falls from your hands, but if you hold
on too tightly to it, it breaks in your hands."
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