Freetown’s struggle with blackouts reveals government’s deception

Mackie M Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 March 2024:

As the holy month of Ramadan descends upon Freetown, Sierra Leone’s bustling capital finds itself shrouded in darkness. The once vibrant streets, pulsating with life, now lay silent under the cloak of widespread blackouts. (Photo above: President Bio and the man brought into his government to bring electricity to Sierra Leone – Dr Kandeh Yumkella).

For the citizens of Freetown, the absence of electricity has become more than an inconvenience—it’s a symbol of government deception and neglect.

President Julius Maada Bio’s recent address at the Energy Sector Roundtable Conference painted a rosy picture of Sierra Leone’s energy future, with promises of sustainable and accessible energy for all by 2030. However, the reality on the ground tells a different story—one of broken promises and blatant disregard for the well-being of the people.

Despite assurances from the government, Freetown remains mired in darkness, with key districts and neighborhoods grappling with erratic power supply. The situation has reached a breaking point, as citizens endure prolonged blackouts that disrupt daily life, cripple businesses, and strain essential services.

The dissatisfaction among citizens is palpable, with many voicing their frustration over the unreliable power supply. Small businesses, the lifeblood of the economy, are bearing the brunt of the crisis, facing financial losses due to interrupted operations. Residents, reliant on electricity for basic necessities like cooking and lighting, are left scrambling for alternatives in the face of persistent darkness.

Adding insult to injury, recent revelations have exposed the government’s deception regarding its dealings with the Karpower ship, which supplies electricity to the capital. Reports indicate that the government has failed to settle its debts with Karpower, jeopardizing the city’s access to electricity. Despite threats of a shutdown, the government initially denied any outstanding debts, only to backtrack and admit to the looming crisis.

Citizens are demanding answers from the Ministry of Energy and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) regarding the root causes of the blackouts and the status of the agreement with Karpower. The lack of transparency and accountability from government officials has only fueled public outrage, further eroding trust in the authorities.

The plight of Freetown serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of government incompetence and deception. While President Bio and Energy Minister Alhaji Dr. Kanja Sesay tout lofty goals and initiatives, the reality on the ground paints a starkly different picture—one of neglect, mismanagement, and broken promises.

As Freetown residents navigate through the darkness of yet another blackout, they are left to ponder the true cost of government deceit. In a city where access to electricity should be a basic right, citizens find themselves betrayed by those entrusted with ensuring their well-being.

Until the government takes meaningful action to address the energy crisis and restore trust, Freetown will continue to languish in darkness, its people left to fend for themselves in the shadows of deception.

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