Ghost of Sierra Leone’s journalist Olu Gordon will continue to haunt the country’s political class 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2022:

Decades of poor governance, corruption and political instability have left the people of Sierra Leone wondering whether the abject poverty they suffer today will ever be a thing of the past, or remain a curse brought upon the nation by rogue, selfish, and inept political leaders for generations to come.

Sierra Leone has no business being poor. Endowed with natural resources – many of which are the envy of developed nations, whom since the country’s independence from Great Britain have not only exploited and capitalised from the country’s diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore, rutile, and forest reserves, but have also exploited the lack of good political leadership, poor governance and absence of an astute political class that is devoid of tribalism and myopia.

After sixty-one years of independence, Sierra Leone is still classed as one of the poorest nations in the world, with adult mortality well below the continent’s average, and child mortality even worse.

Whilst many, including the World Bank and the IMF have for the past decade or more, been calling for successive governments to seriously invest in the diversification of the country’s economy and the growth of export revenue earning SMEs that will create employment that lasts, hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions are being borrowed to spend on infrastructure projects with little regard for sound urban planning, industrial development and job creation that will lead to increased wealth for the people of Sierra Leone.

Large, expensive infrastructure projects such as a shining new airport the country does not need, and highways leading to nowhere, may not create permanent and sustainable jobs for the millions of unemployed in the country, but serve as lucrative gravy train for politicians to line their pockets with stolen public funds and contract kickbacks running into hundreds of millions of dollars, as successive Auditor General Reports have found.

Critics of the current government of Sierra Leone led by the former military junta leader – President Julius Maada Bio are accusing the president of working with his handpicked Auditor General to cook the books – the 2021 National Audit Report that is yet to be published, with the acquiescence of the country’s parliamentarians who are happy to look the other way in return for cash donation and political favours from the President.

President Bio, many believe, would not have won the 2018 presidential and general elections had it not been for the transparent publication of all Audit Reports by former President Koroma to his own detriment, which Maada Bio himself was able to exploit as his party’s campaign tool – showing colossal evidence of corruption in the Koroma government.

But it seems President Bio has learnt a lesson on how not to commit political suicide with elections less than six months away.

He and his Auditor General are accused of massaging and doctoring the 2021 Auditor General Report which like all previous Audit Reports, shows massive corruption by his government, running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The people of Sierra Leone are calling for a change of government. But will this lead to better living standards and the much-needed industrial development?

Whilst many are calling for a change of government, few are really convinced about the alternative.

Writing not long before his death many years ago, this is what veteran journalist – Olu Gordon poignantly said, whilst reflecting on the state of the nation. What he said then, is very true today:  

 

3 Comments

  1. The best political party ever to rule Sierra Leone was the One Party APC under Siaka Stevens; patriotic, non-tribal, NON-ekute , cohesive, inclusive, highly democratic and corrupted free. Let us all anticipate the second coming. SEND ANOTHER MOSES!!!

  2. There has been many journalist in Sierra Leone that have put their head above the parapet to raise the issues that have bedeviled our country . What they see is what the rest of the country have seen over the decades, and for some unexplained reason ,choose to ignore in fear of tipping the scales that favour the unashamed , unpatriotic politicians that claimed to have the interest of the people at heart . Meanwhile their political stranglehold ,and suffocation of the population continue with no end in sight .Their booths on our necks is stopping us seeing the light at the end of the tunnel .So our suffering goes on. As a nations ,we are their hostages and we are now collectively suffering what can be described as the Stockholm syndrome .The late Olu Gordon , now Philip Neville, Foday Kandeh , and presently career journalist like turned politicians like Dr Slyvia Bylden , Rev Kabs Kanu , and many others that have been raising the alarm bells regarding the direction of travel our country has taken in the last few decade .They are the real GOATS in our country .They are the ones that risk their personnel ambition and safety to speak truth to authorities .Have they ever been listen to ?The answer is clearly no. The Sierra Leonean population has been taken hostage by unpatriotic , corrupt and selfish political class that can’t see any future, for our country beyond their noses. And it is in this state of political quagmire, social upheavals, exacerbated by tribal and regional divisions , that have not only rendered our country as a failed state , but a failed Banana Republic . And when we think our country can’t sink any further to the abyss ,and is dead and buried under the heap of corruption , Bio and his acolytes have given it the kiss of life and new meaning of what is to be corrupt .And now the state of Sierra Leone have reincarnated as a police state run by a handful of angry , corrupt and tribalistic individuals, that have helped stoke the fires of divisions in the country . They are blind and tone deaf to everyday realities of peoples lives .While they are accomplishing their goals of getting rich fast ,or die trying, the vast majority of families in the country are struggling everyday to put food on the table to feed their families .Any government that is serious about addressing the issues our country and her peoples faces , have to first and foremost, address the issue of corruption .Corruption should be seen as a clear and present danger to the state of Sierra Leone .If President Buhari of Nigeria can wage war on corruption and the causes of corruption ,and seemed to succeed , what is stopping Bio to emulate the success of the Nigerian president ?Has Bio seek any tips from the Nigerian leader on how to fight corruption .Boi is not interested in fighting corruption ,because he is corrupt to the bone marrow .Now when we say corruption , the first thing that comes to our minds is something that only the government ministers and the president of the day are involved in. Yes our corrupt politicians are the ones that are leading the way .The reality of course, corruption is embedded in our societies and all aspects of our working life.You just have to travel from PZ to Calaba Town and the rest of the country to see police officers asking for back handers from motorist .More like they are legitimate highway robbers in uniform .We have to fight corruption in all public service sectors .otherwise we will never see our country, move forward .

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