Four years of President Bio: The challenges that demand urgent attention – Op ed

Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 April 2022:

Yesterday, 4th April 2022, marked four years since President Bio and his government took office in Sierra Leone. With the economy in bad shape due largely to both internal governance and financial management issues and international economic factors outside of the control of the Government, there are fundamental development issues that should fully engage the mind and energy of the Government going forward.

The most pressing issue is the resetting of policies and strategies for real transformation in economic policy responses towards protecting and improving livelihoods for the growing population of young people and women in the informal sector; investing in education and skills development, and infrastructure as the foundation for sustained economic growth and social progress in the years to come.

Second is how to correct the long-standing weaknesses in the fundamentals of the national economy which since 2020 have become more complex.

The less-than-ideal trends in per capita income, consumer price inflation, foreign direct investment, current account deficit and the debt-to-GDP ratio show a government moving gradually towards bankruptcy if not robustly and dynamically addressed.

The full impact of COVID-related disruptions to key global supply chains, rising interest rates and liquidity crisis in major economies are being felt in Sierra Leone in terms of a huge fiscal squeeze, fuel price increase, high levels of food insecurity, youth unemployment and multidimensional poverty.

Revenue and economic growth forecasts in the 2022 budget and expectations of a more positive macroeconomic outlook in the medium term have been adjusted downwards.

Against this canvass, Government has no choice but to institute severe austerity measures and to do a lot more to eliminate inefficiencies and gaps in the allocation and management of public finances.

What Sierra Leone’s key political actors do this year will determine whether the country successfully hold elections in 2023 in a manner that helps to advance the process of democratic consolidation in the ensuing years.

Since 2018, we have seen evidence of ‘tit-for-tat’ rather than ‘give-and-take’ politics, to the detriment of accelerated pursuit of the nation’s development priorities.

Protagonists across political divides and political leaders of all shades at the national, regional, district, and community levels must always remember that two wrongs do not make a right and an eye for an eye leaves both parties blind.

As the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said in his 2022 New Year’s Day message: “Moments of great difficulty are also moments of great opportunity to come together in solidarity; to unite behind solutions that can benefit all people and to move forward — together — with hope in what our human family can accomplish.”

Thus, all Sierra Leoneans should work for the country’s unity, peace, freedom, and prosperity and put her interest above all else.

Under the letter and spirit of the setting up by this Government of the National Commission for Peace and Cohesion, there should be seen a recommitment to genuine dialogue between the leaders of the ruling party and the main opposition parties to address unresolved political grievances.

Political parties cannot continue to merely function as vehicles for winning elections. To grow peacefully and inclusively, the country must move towards a path of inclusive politics that builds bridges across ethnic, regional, gender, generational and disability status divides.

As representatives of the people from all corners of the country, traditional leaders, MPs, civil society, and the media must endeavor to serve as major contributors to the shaping of socio-economic policies and governance processes to help deliver enhanced life chances to all citizens as dividends of democracy. Continued failure to do so will continue to weaken public trust in democracy and State institutions.

Critically, the way party politics is played must be reviewed from the ruling party’s point of view, if governance of the State is to be inclusive of opposition views, opinions and contributions.

 

4 Comments

  1. Thank you and thank you our eloquent brother “Fallay” for this brilliant explanation, I am totally speechless. We have to be grateful no matter what, again brother thank you so much.

  2. Challenges are part of life. But we have to count our blessings: Within 4 years, President Bio has not only restored the Credibility and Integrity of our nation by passing the MCC program for 3 consecutive years, but also boosting the moral of our citizens. In governance, the African Union has elected our president as the chairman of the APRM. In sports, our president united our nation by qualifying for the African Nations Cup after years of suspension by FIFA. In entertainment, President Bio in his wisdom appointed Kao Denero as our Entertainment Ambassador who is now the best Rapper in Africa. In health, during the outbreak of the pandemic after over 100 years ago, over 6 million people have died, but thankfully our country has one of the least causalities in the world.

    In terms of Education, our children no longer have to worry about school fees, expensive transportation, breakfast and lunch anymore.
    In infrastructure, we are about to have a brand new airport without borrowing expensive loans. International appointments, President Bio nominated Honorable Sidi Tunis who is now the Speaker of ECOWAS parliament and also Justice Miata Samba who is now a Judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    There is no longer death penalty. No criminal libelous law against any journalist in our country. May the almighty continue to bless our nation with Peace and stability during this challenging times of Pandemic disease and threats of Nuclear and third World war by the most powerful countries. The Krio proverb says “ Wae two elephant dae fet na d grass dae suffer.

    • I concur with this simple reminder of the things achieved during President Bio four productive years. Despite the ongoing challenges.

  3. Four years after taking office, our country’s economy is in a bad shape .Our country is divided along party , tribal and regional lines .The much talked about building a national cohesive government was not only the ditched in the first hundred days of Bio’s presidency and have now been kicked into the long grass , two years after taking office Bio was still engaged in vendetta politics by using the judiciary and police to settle scores with his passive enemies real or imaginee. Dr Bylden and Rt.Major Alfred Paulo Conteh , with the jaw dropping accusation of wanting to kill Bio in front of his heavily armed Ninja type security soldiers at State House . After all the courts decided the alleged assassination attempt on Bio’s life didn’t meet the threshold of what qualify as a coup in the African context.

    The alleged coup was manufactured in Bio’s orbit it was never a coup.By March 2020 when COVID19 hits Sierra Leone , and it’s impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods ,Bio was already in a war footing .That cumulated to the Pademba Road so-called prison riots in which forty unarmed prisoners were murdered in cold blood. The off the cough incendiary remarks and threats made against disgruntled unemployed youths in Makeni town centre by Resident Minister for Northern province Hon.Abu Abu was just the shape of things to come under Bio’s lack of grasp of the reality of life in Sierra Leone .

    And few months later resulted in full blown riotes because of the way the authorities mishandled the removal of a standby generator that service Bomabli district .Then following on to that Bio unleashed his lap dog in the form of the ACC and the Sierra leone peoples party police to lay sigh around the residence of former President Bia Koromo .Now in the twilight of his failed presidency Bio is trying to play catch up .But I suggest is too late .

Tell us what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.