Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop): Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 September 2021:
It is laughably laughable for any sane Sierra Leonean, who is currently residing in Sierra Leone, to assert that the government of President Julius Maada Bio has curbed nepotism, corruption, and has improved the Human Capital Development in the country. Such an assertion could either be taken as a sick joke or an intension to induce laughter where laughter could be taken as a sign of bad taste.
Since Sir Albert Margai, Sierra Leone’s second Prime Minister, to date, President Bio appears to have engaged in naked nepotism that is shamefully shameful! From the Sierra Leone High Commission in Ghana to Sierratel to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to the Petroleum Directorate to the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA) to the Maritime Administration to the National Sport Authority to the palm-ful of citizens who have been procuring materials for the government’s Free Education programme unto the Queen Elizabeth II Quay; there is sure to be a Bio or Bios.
Or even the shadow or shadows of a Bio or Bios. Quite recently, the Africanist Press accused a nephew of President Bio of arm-twisting the Petroleum Directorate to part with “over US$40,000 from public funds on payments for an alleged Master’s degree program in the United Kingdom, in direct violation of the country’s employment and finance laws”.
It is being alleged further that after completing the programme, he treated the Petroleum Directorate the same manner a member of the nobility would do to a leper who has thrust his fingerless hand for alms. And to water the Family Tree further, it is also being alleged that there is another Bio running the sea-view Cube Restaurant and Bar which sits nonchalantly on the Maritime Administration’s headquarters at Government Wharf in Freetown.
Yet, the SLPP Media Kamajors, or Cyber Vigilantes, have the boldness to spew out such political blasphemy that President Bio has been above nepotism. I can understand that some citizens have mastered the art of knowing where their bread is being buttered. But it is deceitful for someone to be buttering his/her bread at the expense of honesty and political decency! And for some citizens, sycophancy and praise-singing are just segments of their DNAs. And the day you take those traits from them that will be the day they would be cloned to patriotic citizens!
And for any Sierra Leonean, currently living in Sierra Leone, to also claim that corruption under the watchful watch of President Bio has been minimized is not only comically laughable but tragically laughable.
Apart from the Auditor General’s Annual Report of 2019 that highlights the fact that the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has been recklessly running the country like “drunken sailors” who are playing Russian roulette in a brothel; a recent letter from the European Union Delegation to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), in which the EU shows concern for the “…lack of transparency…and inefficient use of EU funds, heightened risk of ineligible expenditure”, is just a microcosm of the financial impropriety which has now become the by-word for the Bio administration.
And in the midst of the Africanist Press’ countless allegations of misuse of public funds by members of the Bio administration, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been cherry-picking in its duel against corruption.
For millions of ordinary Sierra Leoneans, the ACC could now be likened to a vulgar joke cracked by a prostitute’s father at the funeral of his daughter with his wife awkwardly nodding in agreement! In my opinionated opinion, the ACC now appears to be the harlot of the SLPP. And the ACC’s hierarchy has been shamelessly showing-off its harlot-ness every time a high-ranking official, or officials, of the SLPP is, or are, being investigated for clear corrupt practices!
And to also claim that the SLPP government has upped “Human Capital Development” in Sierra Leone is like a leper competing in a coin-tossing competition. Like the hollowness in the SLPP government’s Free (minus Quality) Education policy; the Human Capital Development policy is just a sound-bite aimed at producing a loud-sounding nothing!
President Bio, himself, echoed that loud-sounding nothingness in his fourth speech in the House of Parliament, on Tuesday 18 May 2021, when he stated that, “Human Capital Development is not a slogan. It is inclusive. It is the key to achieving sustainable development with our own human resources, using home-grown solutions, empowering our local communities, and enabling innovation, creativity, and technology to bridge the development gap.”
In those words, the Commander-in-Chief virtually said nothing on that policy. He needs to give us facts and figures. He has to provide us with quantitative and qualitative evidence that this policy is working. But you can see that our President is still struggling to give his concept of Human Capital Development some flesh because it is as cosmetic as a lady’s cosmetics!
And the most laughable talk is when some overzealous sycophants, who are trying to seek President Bio or the First Lady’s attention, are saying that the APC will never rule Sierra Leone again. That was said when Sir Albert Margai was behaving the same way President Bio is behaving today.
That was said when the SLPP-leaning National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) was paving the way for the SLPP to return back to power in the early to mid 1990s. That was also said when the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was steering the Ship of State in the late1990s to late 2000s.
Each time the SLPP naysayers predicted the annihilation of the APC; it would play the phoenix and rose from its ashes.
And to say that the SLPP will rule Sierra Leone till eternity is as childish as the fabled puppy in Chinua Achebe’s “Anthills of the Savannah”, that swings itself round a blazing fire and farts with the aim of putting it out. Even if the SLPP uses the Judiciary to perform a sleight of the gavel; even if the SLPP uses the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament to rubberstamp anything and everything that comes in the well of parliament; even if the SLPP asks the security forces to use the same apartheid suppressive tools against the Opposition, the SLPP will die the very day the APC dies.
What the SLPP naysayers are forgetting, or feigning forgetfulness of, is the fact that the APC was the first Opposition party in independent Africa to wrestle political power from an incumbent party. It repeated that feat in 2007. And the APC is capable of doing that again in 2023 even if the heavens would have to fall! For “Regime Change” in 2023, through the Ballot Box, is as inevitable as was Harold Macmillan’s “Wind of Change” speech “to the Parliament of South Africa on 3 February 1960 in Cape Town.”
It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from George Bernard Shaw that says, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”