Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr calls for more devolution to local councils to help manage climate change

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 08 September 2022:

On Saturday 3rd September, a week after heavy rains caused the loss of lives in the hillside community of Looking Town and considerable damage to properties in several coastal communities, Freetown City Council (“FCC”) started to dredge the culvert waterway.

In previous years, FCC was able to clear this waterway before the rains but unfortunately due to funding constraints, we were unable to do this until now. We are grateful that through our partnership with and funding from CRS, we were able to start this work.

We will dredge the Culvert waterway for 6 days, before moving onto Kroo Bay Community for another four days.

Flood mitigation activities are a short-term intervention that can save lives and properties. However, the critical medium to long term intervention is land use planning and an effective environmentally sensitive building permit regime.

I will continue to advocate for the devolution of these functions to the local councils as this will be a sustainable climate action.

#FloodMitigation

#TransformFreetown

1 Comment

  1. The call by Mayor Akin Swayer for the decentralization of power from the central government to local authorities is great idea .Although there are statutory powers that covers that aspect of government function as embedded in our constution in the form of district councils and the Mayorship , the challenge for local government authorities has always been and remains a source of chacth 22 moment .Where does central government powers and responsibilities for it’s citizens starts and end ?.And where does local goverments or district councils and mayorship powres starts and ends?.The central government is elected by the general population .Their first duty is to protect life and property and defend the security and territorial integrity of the State. Foreign Affairs, Defence , policing and shaping the economy, to make the country attractive to foreign investors is the sole responsibility of the central government .Mayors and local districtict council are also elected by their local populations .And this local authorities are elected by their people based on the needs of the local community .For instance in the last few years Freetown have experiend more flooding and the loss of life and property than any other part of the country.

    So what the residents of Freetown is clamoring for is not the same maybe people living in Bo or Kono.The question then becomes who is responsible for building and maintenance of flood defences , clearing of gutters and making sure our drainage system is up to task? The central government can provide the funds for building the flood defences and all the big infrastructure projects like. roads and Bridges .But when it comes to making sure they are maintain up to standards should fall within the remit of Freetown city council and the District councils Same with waste disposal.To keep the streets of our towns and cities clean should be left in the hands of the local authorities .The problem in Sierra Leoen , the central government has not only act as a roadblock for local authorities failing to honor their pledges they make to their local communities , the Bio government have weaponised the funding of local programs , like dredging of our rivers to prevent flooding and clearing gutters to allow free flow of water during the rainy season to prevent flooding , for party political purpose .Starving Freetown city council of funding has been the political brinkmanship game that Bio likes to play .

    And the people that are paying with their lives and property are the local communities in Freetown.So next time we hear Bio expressing his condolences to famiies of victims of Flooding and Fires , he should at least spare us the hypocrisy and crocodile tears .His goverment have done everything within their power to deny local authorities the funding needed especially the city of Freetown that is exposed to the effects of climate change than most countries in the West African region .When was the last time we heard of Flash flooding claiming victims in Monrovia and Conakry , same cities along the same West African coast line. Freetown and the Freetown peninsula always seems to be at the receiving end of bad government decision making process. Is President Weah more cleaver than Bio?

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