Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 May 2016
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…..
“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.
Ruling 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.
In 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.
“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.