Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 November 2019:
Freetown the capital of Sierra Leone, one of the two most important ‘swing regions’ in the country’s political and electoral landscape, is believed to be increasingly going ‘green’ – the colour of the ruling SLPP party, as well as becoming more ecologically conscious, since the introduction of the monthly national cleaning day by president Julius Maada Bio.
According to some policy analysts, president Bio is gradually making significant political inroads in Freetown, winning hearts and minds of the city’s majority opposition APC supporters.
With the president’s numerous governance reforms, coupled with his human capital development programme, many opposition supporters in Freetown who did not vote SLPP in 2018, are now said to be rethinking their voting behaviour come 2023, when general and presidential elections will be held.
President Bio needs to win Freetown and Kono, if he is to comfortably assert his control of the country’s parliament, which he currently controversially controls with a small majority, after election petitions ruling by the High Court overturned APC’s overall majority.
The growing perception of many opposition supporters in the capital is that, “President Bio is a serious president who seems to be stopping at nothing to make Sierra Leone a better nation”.
Despite difficult economic challenges facing most households – rising costs of living, it is thought that the president may now be enjoying as much as 50% support across the capital – an increase of more than 10% since the 2018 elections which saw Bio’s SLPP winning 40% of the votes.
Two key factors that led to the implosion of the APC at the 2018 national polls, were the success of the SLPP in stopping APC from amassing a massive majority in Freetown, and APC’s inability to win Kono district.
And, should president Bio’s popularity continue to grow into 2023, the APC party is set to face a far more excruciating defeat at the polls.
Some pollsters are now even suggesting that APC would need to garner more than 75% of votes in Freetown (western region), if it is to succeed in toppling the SLPP at the next elections, thereby denying president Bio from enjoying a second term in office.
But with the APC party locked into a constitutional and leadership crisis, this could be an uphill task for the APC to surmount.
Many believe that Bio’s popularity and success in winning hearts and minds of voters in the capital is because of his pragmatic approach to governance, especially his fight against corruption and other initiatives, such as his free education and national street cleaning programmes. He has been dubbed – “the talk and do president”.
Today, the president has brought in dozens of motorcycle-powered rubbish collection and disposal wagons to ensure that rubbish collected on streets across the city are not left uncollected causing serious sanitation problems.
Traders, pedestrians and shoppers along the central business district of Freetown this morning watched, as the motorcycle-powered rubbish collection and disposal wagons were rolled out.
Watch the video: