Importing Lebanese waste is an insult to Sierra Leone

Alan Luke

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 January 2016

kroo bay4

Sierra Leone may be poor, but it will not accept crap that others do not want for themselves.

Government’s plans to import rubbish from Lebanon is evidence of the contempt with which it holds the people of Sierra Leone, and the extent to which the government will go in putting the lives of ordinary people in jeopardy. It is absurd, brazen and reckless.

This saga reveals that the APC government is emboldened to act in this manner. This is not the exception, it is the norm.

Ernest Koroma and the APC machinery quite literally, ripped apart the constitution of Sierra Leone in the removal from office of an elected Vice President – a decision endorsed by corrupt judges in the Supreme Court.

Ebola dead buried in disused waste dump site at kingtom freetownEmbolden by the lack of scrutiny by the rudderless SLPP and without any restraint from a weak and partisan legislature, they raided $14 million of Ebola funds designed to support the very fragile health systems, which was so badly exposed during the crisis.

For a whole academic year, our schools were shut during the Ebola crisis. But the Ministry of Education had no plans for ensuring that children continued to have access to education.

The government has failed to ensure that students at Fourah Bay College are provided with living accommodation, despite the fact that a $37 million funding to rehabilitate the university campus was granted three years ago.

Alie Kabba Dec 2015Following Alie Kabba’s (Photo) detention at Pademba Road prison, we saw glimpses of the appalling and inhumane conditions in which detainees that have not yet been found guilty, and those who have been convicted are held.

It exposes the absence of a criminal justice policy and raises the question whether the government makes no allocation for the welfare of people who are within the criminal justice system, or whether it simply disregards their human rights, and does not concern itself whether the contracts to supply goods and services to the prison are honoured.

In fact, one must ask, who these contracts have been awarded to and what connections, if any these individuals have with senior politicians, including President Koroma.

Sierra Leone continues to lurch from one crisis to another. The recent floods have shown that the drainage systems clogged up with filth, can no longer cope during the rainy seasons.

President koroma and victor foh at APC conference 30 april 2015With the lack of effective spatial planning and building controls, environmental disasters have become routine occurrences, with frequent mudslides and damage to buildings and properties.

As if this is not enough, the government’s approach to building control is typified in the demolition of homes and buildings in Aberdeen.

The plan to import waste into the country takes the contempt of the government to another level. However, this is nothing new. During the 1980s, the same APC government was involved in the importation of toxic waste into the country. Freetown is one of the filthiest capital cities in the world today.

Freetown Street market There is no organised refuse collection system and the city’s entire drainage network is chocking with waste that has clogged up for years. Citizens have become accustomed to the filth around them, dropping litter everywhere.

Street market traders are content to push aside the garbage to make space for their wares.

Against this backdrop of institutionalised filth, this corrupt and moribund APC government in their own self-interest were planning to import waste from Lebanon.

This is a country emerging from an Ebola epidemic which killed over 4000 of our citizens. Prior to Ebola, there was an outbreak of cholera, which killed over 300 people.

Malaria is one of our biggest killers and filthy conditions make excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes. Yet instead of putting in place the measures that would prevent a future Ebola epidemic, the government’s priority is to import waste from Lebanon.

This is however not surprising, given that at the height of the crisis, Ernest Koroma was preoccupied with engineering the removal of an elected Vice President.

IB kargbo2The role of IB Kargbo raises other questions about governance.

IB Kargbo is implicated and yet has just been elected as a Member of Parliament in a recent bye election.

What is he doing, signing a contract to import waste into the country?

This scandal goes beyond Kargbo. It must have its origins at State House.

Instead of scrutinising legislation and put checks on the government, we have a member of the legislature, at the heart of another emerging corruption scandal.

The incompetent Ministry of Health and Sanitation which was ill prepared during Ebola, is not consulted on the implications of importing Lebanon’s waste.

Why did the president fail to convene a cabinet meeting to discuss the Lebanese waste proposal before telling the Lebanese where to stick their rubbish?

This is classic Koroma, side stepping ministers at will, while maintaining the façade of effectiveness with a new crop of Johnnies come lately in his recent cabinet reshuffle.

Bio meets president Koroma at state House - 12 October 2015Yet an agenda for More Time for President Koroma is being hatched in collusion with Julius Maada Bio.

People of Sierra Leone, it is time to wake up and ask the fundamental questions about the society you want, and how far you are prepared to have your hopes and dreams emasculated by a corrupt and self-interested political elite.

The ruling APC have shown a blatant disregard and contempt for the people’s wellbeing as they continue to use public funds and debts taken out in your name to enrich themselves, while feeding us with blatant lies and propaganda.

About the author:

Mr. Alan Luke is a member of the KKY (UK&I) Communications Team.

2 Comments

  1. The issue of waste from Lebanon can be understood as an attempt to hoodwink the people of Sierra Leone into believing that new technology is being imported.

    Was the Freetown waste management contract not advertised publicly? Where were the two companies that are now trying to use Lebanese waste as the entry point of waste treatment technology? Isn’t waste piling in the streets of Freetown and waterloo?

    Maybe their next argument would be the lack of volumes of waste. Please, if you cannot locate smaller plants for Sierra Leone, then take your business elsewhere.

    For Hon I B Kargbo, it’s clear that he had no intention to get the Sierra Leonean population to benefit from this. Else, why hasn’t he consulted all levels already?

    Can you advise the President and take decisions on his behalf? Is that a new definition of an adviser? IB should answer to the questions? What controls were in place to receive the waste? Where were the funds to be lodged?

    In his famous letter to the Dutch company, he seems not to care abut the economic benfits of importing waste from so far. No mention is made of the benefits to the people. Therefore, all correspondences in this matter must be tabled, so we know the truth and nothing less.

    What else was the driver behind all of this? Personal gain at the expense of the state? Or is this just callous indifference to the people who he claims to serve?

    For IB to save face, he must produce all the previous communications.

    Francis H. Lahai

  2. Thank you Allan. All that you have said in your article is very important and to the point. But what I would contribute is the fact that we shift the blame from the Lebanese government to our government.

    If our government meant well for this country they will never engage in anything that firstly will bring disrespect to the people of this country; nor will they engage in anything that would be disastrous to us in this country.

    Like I said before, APC as a party is a curse to this country. As long as they name APC exists as a political party Sierra Leone will ever remain prone to all sorts of disasters. For the simple reason, APC as a party from its origin has been ‘OPPOSED’ to anything and everything that is good for this country.

    Reminiscing from the Independence proposal by the then protectorate administration or perhaps SLPP lead government by Sir Milton Margai and many other illustrious sons of this country, the APC headed by Siaka Stevens vehemently opposed the plans and the intentions of these wise sons of this country. To the extent he Siaka Stevens and his APC party boycotted the Lancashire meeting/deliberations to discuss independence.

    On ascendancy to power as the second Prime Minister after the death of Sir Milton, Sir Albert came up with a ONE PARTY issue. As usual, Siaka Stevens and his APC again opposed this. But no sooner did he come to power than to introduce and declare the ONE PARTY that he had so opposed.

    It was under this regime that this country for the first time witnessed the worst political violence across the country; and this continued into the 1980s.

    Came Momoh who took over from Siaka Stevens as the second President. Under Momoh’s regime disaster befell this country with rebel war. The country evoked widespread violence, overwhelming suffering and fear for 10 years. It was the scene of the most brutal of African civil wars with nonparallel barbarity and destruction perpetrated by rebels who indulge in horrendous atrocities, including killings and the chopping off of the limbs of suckling babies, the old and other victims.

    One thing that is indisputable is the fact that in all of the above and many, Kenema district bored the brunt of the civil war which turned vast tracts into areas of blight, with the loss of thousands of lives and properties. This can only or perhaps simply be explained by its geographical location, adjoining the Republic of Liberia, which was a supporting base for the rebels. The District was a gateway in and out of Sierra Leone for the invading rebel forces.

    No doubt this brought the downfall of Momoh’s regime, as his own recruited army boys took the war to him at State House that saw his overthrow.

    Came in the SLPP government under President Tejan Kabbah after the leadership of this country had passed through a number of hands or regimes. On returning of normality after the signing of the peace agreement, many things were needed for a normal life.

    Basically, the SLPP government was repairing the damages of the APC perpetrated war on the people of this country. But were not given enough time to complete the damage caused. The APC came back in 2007 through rigged election with a slogan ‘REGIME CHANGE’.

    Taking up the helm of power, the first disaster plan on their agenda was to make Sierra Leone a ‘COCAINE’ trafficking route to Europe. This became international concern as several attempts by the EBK lead APC government desperately trying to cover up the scandal but it was too late. We were quickly labelled by the international community as the country that was involved in cocaine trade. WHAT A MOLESTATION!!

    Surviving through this, came the importation of ‘EBOLA VIRUS’ that claimed thousands of lives, creating fear and uncertainty with the people, exporting drums/barrels of BLOOD extracted from both victims of Ebola and other patients free having no Ebola virus.

    Monies provided by the international communities to help fight the Ebola ended in the pockets of EBK and his chosen friends and families to celebrate over the death of the innocent victims.

    We are now facing another attempted plan, well orchestrated by EBK, his Adviser I B Kargbo and many yet unknown to do a mop up exercise on those that have survived Ebola by importing waste from Lebanon. So why blame Lebanon? I rest my case for now.

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