Are critics of president Koroma and his ruling APC political zealots? 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 May 2016

Empty Red Wheelbarrow

There is a saying that ‘when a wheelbarrow is empty, it makes more noise than a vuvuzela’. This goes for the APC funded media publishers, who parade themselves as journalists and minister plenipotentiaries, at the expense of the poor tax payer of Sierra Leone.

They see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil of their corrupt paymasters at State House in Freetown; not even when their compatriots are dropping dead like flies, because of poverty and disease.

But yet, they have the temerity to throw insults at patriotic citizens who regard it as a national duty to call the APC government for what it is – corrupt, inept, slothful and dozy.

Take this bile from one such government sponsored media spin doctor, published yesterday. This is what they said:

“One thing that is very nauseating about some of our Sierra Leonean people –even those who lay claim to learning – is that they come across as such blind and deaf political zealots that they will not see progress even if you handed them magnifying glasses…..

president koroma end of the road - 220513“They see all the socio-economic and political developments in the country since President Koroma came to power in 2007 but prefer to criticize and write off this government all the time as if it is doing nothing for the people. What is wrong is not the act of criticizing the President or his Government. All Presidents and governments do get criticized in a democracy. It is when President Koroma’s critics speak as if he has done nothing or is doing nil for the country that their comments lack substance or credulity.

“They see the state-of -art architecture and beautiful road network rapidly modernizing the face of the nation; they see or hear about the enabling environment President Koroma is creating  to make the agriculture sector the ‘engine’ for socio-economic growth and development through commercial agriculture prioritization via the Smallholder Commercialization Programme (SCP) and the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme (NSADP ); they see the one hundred and more buses this government has placed on our roads since it came to power ; they saw the introduction of the Free Health Care Initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age five in April of 2010; they hear the continuous forecast of the IMF and the World Bank about the growth of the Sierra Leone economy ; they see photos of the water supply networks government is weaving in the provinces .

“They see everything that the government is doing to improve the welfare of the people, but woe alas, when they talk, it is like blind and deaf men awakening from Rip Van Winkle-like slumber in some cave . They have not seen all these socio-economic and political developments. Or so they feign . Shame on them. They would rather post photos of slums and squalor.

“Even the tasteless and discredited recording artist, Emerson,  who is a pawn in the hands of failed SLPP  politicians,  could afford to sing that all the government talks about are roads. If Emerson and the uncelebrated detractors of this government are not blind, deaf and dumb, how could  they fail to see all the progress mentioned above?

“What these blind and deaf arm-chair critics should know is that they can never stop President Koroma from excelling. A man who has set his mind and horizon on excelling will never be stopped by Mickey Mouse-squeaky voiced critics.

“Generations yet unborn will hail President Koroma for what he is doing for our nation. Let his detractors continue to wallow in their joyless world of blind, deaf and dumb zealots.”

Strong stuff, from a man of the cloth – a reverend, who is paid over $8,000 a month to spew out such bile against his fellow compatriots, whose only crime is to choose to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression.

president koroma failedRuling APC party fifth columnists and apologists can publish as much propaganda as they like, but this will not change the miserable facts on the ground in Sierra Leone: Average adult mortality rate of less than 50 years; over 70% youth unemployment; over 80% of people are functionally illiterate – yet we are surprised that honest foreign investors are not coming to the country; the worst country in the world for women to have babies; 30% of children dying before their fifth birthday; less than 10% of people having access to electricity; 70% of households cannot have access to clean drinking water; Sierra Leone is one of the most corrupt countries in the world; government is failing to pay public sector workers and contractors; the national debt has grown from zero to over $1 billion since APC came to power in 2007.

President Koroma welcomed Fly saloneIn the last eight years of APC rule, more than $1.5 billion have been granted in tax and royalty waivers to friends, foreign investors and cronies of the president and the ruling APC, in return for shares in those companies; senior ministers accused of serious corruption have been allowed to escape justice, such as the president’s cousin and former State House chief of staff – Richard Conteh who was accused of embezzling over $40 million, after forging the president’s signature.

That is the pathetic record of the ruling APC, which fifth columnists and apologists would like to sweep under the carpet at State House.

This is what a concerned Sierra Leonean living in the capital Freetown wrote today:

“Is this the best and most hard working president in the history of Sierra Leone?

“In 2007 President Ernest Bai Koroma campaigned on providing electricity 24 hours a day; clean up corruption; the prosperity agenda and the elimination of poverty. He promised to run Sierra Leone like a business, which means eliminate government corruption, eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

“We are now in 2016 and 8 years into his presidency. These are the results:
Massive national debt of almost $1.7 billion dollars, a devalued Leone, high food prices , crumbling infrastructure, a very filthy and crime ridden capital city, a very highly corrupt and politicized police force, a highly bloated and tribalistic recycled cabinet, filthy and stinking hospitals.

Freetown Poverty - Courtesy of National Geographic“Two very deadly epidemics – the cholera epidemic of September 2012 that killed close to 500 Sierra Leoneans and the Ebola epidemic of 2015 that has killed over 4000 Sierra Leoneans, sporadic electricity, no water supply, high infant and maternal mortality rate, high youth unemployment, dilapidated schools , low test scores, very shabby colleges, massive corruption and tribalism at an all time high.

“All that this president and his dysfunctional supporters have been claiming as a yard stick to measure success is road construction. If you ask the Minister of Transportation he will point to the road, the Minister of Finance he will point to the road, the Minister of Health will point to the road, the Minister of Interior – he will point to the road, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice will point to the road, the first lady the road, mistresses the road, his dysfunctional supporters will all point to this same road.

“What this corrupt and incompetent president and his media handlers are gloating about are road construction proposals for which funding had been secured, and bids advertised before president Kabba left office in 2007.

“So, my $100 million dollar question right now is this: what has the ruling APC actually done for Sierra Leone in the last 8 years? You be the judge.”

Are those the words of a deaf and dumb political zealot? No – just an ordinary, hard working youth, trying to make a living in a country that has been transformed into a corrupt family run enterprise.

 

7 Comments

  1. Alusine Fallay:

    I’m not a Politician, but a man of God interested in the TRUTH of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world from sin. Nobody goes to heaven, except through Him. That notwithstanding, in your response you said:

    “…I mentioned the Late Bailor Barrie who happened to be a Fullah and Jamil Sahid Mohamed, who also happened to be a Lebanese – both of whom you referred to as “examples of foreigners” that faced discrimination.”

    What I precisely said on May 11 was:

    “Without question, there are some Sierra Leoneans, including the Fula and Lebanese people, still being harassed as being foreigners in the land of their birth and upbringing.”

    Both Alhaji Mohamed Bailor Barrie and Jamil Sahid Mohamed Khalil were NOT strangers or foreigners, but fellow Sierra Leoneans born in Koinadugu district and Freetown respectively. Please accept this TRUTH and live with it accordingly.

    I ask that you stop being discriminatory and maligning people groups any how. For we are now living in the present 21st century. We should be a “forward” and not a “backward” looking people. The past is the past. And nothing can be done to it in any way, shape or form.

    For your information:

    1. For the past two decades i.e. from 1996 to date the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is headed
    by Fulas, including Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie aka ‘Sababu’ and Dr. Minkailu Bah.

    2. Jamil’s friend, Nabih Berri who was born in Bo Town Sierra Leone and now the Speaker of the Parliament of
    Lebanon, arranged for him to “escape” to Lebanon on a diplomatic passport.

    Yes, I agree with you that the country, Sierra Leone, is spiraling downwards. It’s the duty of ALL patriotic fellow Sierra Leoneans to intervene and help prevent her from further falling into wrong hands of wolves in sheep clothing. Amen.

  2. Mustache Moustache: I just read your comment regarding the article which was published on May 11 2016 and I’m really surprised I missed that article written by my favourite publisher Mr. Awoonor-Gordon.

    I believe you are more conversant with politics than me, because thanks to the Sierra Leone Telegraph that inspired me with their masterpiece and informative articles which they always publish, and most times after reading, you are left with no choice but to share your comments which is still new for me, as I’ve never been affiliated with any political party.

    Thanks for your corrections anyway, but It was just a strange coincidence that I mentioned the Late Bailor Barrie who happened to be a Fullah and Jamil Sahid Mohamed, who also happened to be a Lebanese – both of whom you referred to as examples of foreigners that faced discrimination.

    The only point I was trying to state was to link the former APC to the Current APC, because they share the same failed agenda or policies which are taking the nation backward, due to institutionalized corruption.

  3. To All Critics of the APC GOSL Mafioso – Please remember this quote from Ghandi
    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”

    We are past the stage of being ignored. Somewhere between ridicule and been fought. But we are getting through to them. We must step up the criticism and exposition of this Mafioso regime, until we achieve change. We must encourage others to use social media and every other media to demand change.

    We need a government that we can believe – not one that is repackaged by sycophants like Kabs Kanu.

  4. Alusine Fallay: I hope you have not been a reactionary with an old-fashioned mindset of the 20th century to my piece posted on May 11, 2016 on the topic “Who has the ears of President Koroma of Sierra Leone – let them hear.” If that is the case, then please allow me to respond to you as follows:

    1. That FBC was never (structurally) destroyed; it still exists to date. However, simple basic institutional
    reforms are needed to upgrade its academic status and output.

    2. That the Late Alhaji Mohamed Bailor Barrie was a literate person, President of the Fula Progressive
    Union (FPU), and veteran business tycoon of Sierra Leone. He passed away on April 19, 1989 at age 56.

    3. That Jamil Sahid Mohamed Khalil was a Lebanese-Sierra Leonean businessman and diamond tycoon. He
    was “born” in Freetown to a Sierra Leonean father of Lebanese descent. As a matter of fact, one of his sons
    was a victim of the atrocities committed by the RUF rebels and was shot dead, in Jamil’s presence, when the
    rebels attacked his house in Freetown. The son was said to have taken the bullet for his father. Incredible!

    All that aside, Jamil became a beneficiary of the kleptocracy, rule by thieves, established by President
    Siaka Stevens. Between 1968 and 1985 Siaka Stevens and Jamil successfully depleted the finances of
    Sierra Leone until they had rendered one of the world’s “biggest” producers of diamonds and gold the
    “poorest” country on earth. See “Strategic Interests by J. Peter Pham, PhD, World Defense Review, 10
    August 2006; The War on Terrorism’s Forgotten Front [20 Apr 06]” and learn more about Jamil, who was
    able to acquire 12% of the concession of the DE BEERS monopoly.

    I saw him in mid 1980s when his helicopter accidentally landed at the field of St. Francis Secondary School in
    Makeni. He had an authentic audience with the students and bought us a new white bus.

    Lastly, Jamil Sahid Mohamed Khalil aka ‘Diamond King’ passed away of a stroke in Lebanon.

  5. President Koroma is clinging on to power, and lives by the dogma of the past. He is yet pushing in for a third term in power.

    His strategy to achieve this is to keep the old cronies in the electoral commission for an extra term in office, leading to the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018, to play the dubious tricks planned to keep him in power.

    He is calling on parliament and the nation to give him the mandate that will extend his term of office.

    But what has experience got to do with political appointment, when ones term of office is overdue. It is about taking the exit and someone else to stand in. What has experience got to do with the task of an electoral officer. There are a myriad of competent individuals in and out of the country to do the job even better.

    You disappointed us Mr. President; you failed the people Mr. President. Sierra Leone has made very little strides in almost a decade of your leadership, except for the massive corruption in your government, the failure to deliver the most basic services to the people, and your abuse of power and intention to destroy our democracy.

    It is rather embarrassing to watch and listened to president Koroma on TV, struggling to argue out his point why some of the electoral officers in the commission should have their term of office renewed, despite their overstay contravening the legality of the law, as if there are no competent Sierra Leoneans to do the job.

    Sierra Leoneans are no more gullible, not even our illiterate populace thanks to Emerson, our most popular and erudite musician who keeps them well informed about the appalling conditions they live today.

    We are not willing to take any dictate that infringes our laws by a power thirsty president. Once your term of office is over, the best you can do is to prepare your replacement. Sierra Leoneans will no more tolerate a dictator in the country.

    Mr. President, you should know this point clear, the immense majority of Sierra Leoneans want a change of government in the forth coming parliamentary and presidential elections, in 2018 or whenever.

    Do not blame Emmerson. He is a musician and civil activist at the service of the Sierra Leonean people and to humanity. He is the mouth piece of the masses who cannot speak up in defense of their rights. He is carrying out the task efficiently and with impartiality. He does not betray the people.

    He has composed songs against corruption and bad governance of the SLPP at the time and which in somehow, served the APC a springboard to return to power in 2007. It was all fine for the APC party. So, Emerson’s service to the nation is unflattering and is impartial.

    We do need more musicians to join Emmerson to keep sensitizing the people against corruption, duty, negligence and bad governance in the country – perpetrated by any government of the day.

  6. The APC’S praise singer on behalf of President Koroma should realize that his party’s single handedly reduced this once proud and prosperous nation to a “MUNKU” uncivilized nation, when they were in power for over 30 years.

    They destroyed all the institutions that were built by the British which were well maintained by the SLPP after independence. Freetown use to be the headquarters of all the British west African nations with regards to institution building.

    Under the APC leadership, citizens for the first time started lining up for basic staple food – RICE, just to survive, because the rice which was donated by the USAID was named BEN KANU’S rice – after the government Minister, who never planted a seed of rice throughout his life, but through corrupt practices reduced the citizens to rice beggars.

    FBC was destroyed by the APC because they use to have more respect for Late Bailor Barrie – an uneducated businessman than the late Davidson Nicol who was a Professor.

    They sold the Diamond and Fishing industries which were the life blood of the economy to a Lebanese named Jamil Sahid Mohamed.

    Now President Koroma is continuing the same failed APC policy, but in a larger and faster pace than his predecessors by destroying the institutions which the Late President Tejan Kabba – through the assistance of the UN and the British helped rebuild after the devastation caused by the president’s cousin and rebel leader Johnny Paul Koroma, who invited his comrade Foday Sankoh to abandon his headquarter in Makeni and march to Freetown.

    My advice to the President is try to be sincere, and be truthful to the citizens. Remember that without functional institutions there will be no development in Sierra Leone.

  7. Thanks to you Mr Editor for this very inspiring article of yours as stated above. The so-called Reverend turned propagandarist of the APC Party: Is he really a Reverend as the Bible and the Christian faith said it should be?

    Is he feeding the flocks of the children of God especially Sierra Leoneans with honesty, faith, motivations, empowerment etc as Jesus told Peter after Jesus’ resurrection from the dead ? No to the above questions is my answer.

    I can remember this so-called Reverent between 1990 to 1992 when I was a Student at The Sierra Leone Grammar School preparing and learning towards my WAEC GCE Advanced level Exams. He was talking about his miraculous escapement from Liberia during the then civil war that started in Liberia before spilling into Sierra Leone. And after the APC Party came into power I read that he was in the USA.

    If this man is a true man of God that care for the children of God and their welfares and salvation in life and their judgements with God in the after life he should maintained his silence and be praying to God, liaising with the NGOs and other charitable organisations to support the desperate plights of the masses.

    Does he knows what it means for a country to have more than 70% of it youths unemployed, over 80 % of the populace functionally illiterate and less than 30% of children born can see their fifth birthday etc as the editor as stated above.

    It is easier for us Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora going back home to Sierra Leone to enjoy driving on the roads because we have cash with us that we take home. But what about those who are unemployed, cannot afford to pay the transportation cost for their travellings, or thinking of the basic needs of food, shelters electricity, safe drinking water etc that are now luxury commodities than necessities that every society must havefor there day to day survival etc

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