Poverty rises in Sierra Leone as those in power bask in frivolous spending

Dr Dennis Bright: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 January 2022

Most Sierra Leoneans who have been following the steady rise of NGC in the political theatre of Sierra Leone will recall that since March 2018 we have been monitoring the prices of basic food items in local markets, items such as rice, pepper, oil, onions, Maggi that the poorest of the poor need to prepare a simple meal for the family.

Although Sierra Leoneans complain everywhere that living conditions are worsening every day, it is not easy for them to measure to what extent their condition is deteriorating. These market surveys give an idea of how bad things are for the common man or woman.

Furthermore, we try to estimate the cooking ingredients that will be needed to prepare a meal for a family of four (father, mother and two children) a family size that is admittedly extremely small for typical poor families which tend to be big and extended.

When the cost of a basic daily meal is compared to the minimum wage of a sole breadwinner, we discover that since this Government has been running our lives, a minimum wage earner’s income, if spent on food alone, does not last for long; in fact, in this month of January 2022 when a basic meal for four costs Le 68,000 per day the entire wage of Le 600,000 will last for only 9 days.

So, since the family has other compulsory items to pay for such as rent, transport fares, clothing and medical bills, one can assume that parents and children will have to go without food some days, without bus fare, without light etc.

This is the misery to which our people have been reduced while people in power are spending fiti fata on themselves, callously blind to the sufferings of the poor and stone deaf to their cries. And yet they keep congratulating themselves, for some job well done that only they can see.

As the day of reckoning draws closer, we present to you, once again, our market survey for January 2022. The prices of the food items are compared to the price levels in March 2018.

Between 2018 and 2022,  prices have been dancing up and down – year in and year out, but they have always been higher after 2018.

This January, the lowest increase has been the price of a bag of rice which is nearly 50% higher than in March 2018. As everybody knows, some 40,000 metric tonnes of rice have magically appeared at Water Quay just in time for the election campaigns.

Maybe, the expectation is that Sierra Leoneans are fools and will fall for the trick; that they will eat rice until they forget how much they have suffered and repeat their 2018 mistake of voting in the vampires.  Time will tell.

But isn’t it crazy that these people who boasted so much for the past three years of their great Tok and Do, soon-to-flood-the-nation Toma Bom rice harvests should be frantically importing rice to feed us fourteen months to the next elections?

Meanwhile, those things that we produce locally appear to be the most expensive: the price of one of the main sources of protein available to the common man, dry bonga fish, has increased by 1100% while peppeh per cup increased by 900% and vegetable plassas per tie costs 300% more than in 2018.

Sadly, some people are more interested in flying up in the air, cooking elections and sacking upright women who are doing their job than rescuing the poor people of this country that are gradually sinking into disgraceful poverty and marrasmus.

View the NGC Stats here:

JAN 2022 NGC HARDSHIP STATISTICS

CHOP MONEY BUDGET FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR IN JANUARY 2022

About the author

Dr Dennis Bright is the Chairman and Leader of Sierra Leone’s National Grand Coalition (NGC) Party.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you Mr Africanus. You’ve really demonstrated that you are a well educated and qualified professional debater that accepts it is not always the case to hold on to your points. And is someone like you we need in the political debates, in our country. Egotistic and political brinkmanship have always been the problem in our country. That is why we have people like Bio that is always on the war path trying to suppressed individuals that express different opinions of his tribalistic and outdated policies, especially against the Krio Community in our country. He more than any other politician have waged a campaign against Krio politicians in our country.From picking a fight with Mayor Akin Sawyer, Dr Blyden, Mrs Lara Pearce, Thomas, Mrs. Cole snd more recently Dr Bright and many others . Or am just been cynical and reading too much in to his outrageous action?

    All of the above are victims of Bio’s action say there is an undercurrent of Krio bashing going on in this one directionless government of Bio. I stands to be corrected. When I was growing up Fulanis used to get the same hair brush treatment from the then Stevens government. So unless you walk on some one else’s shoes, you will not know how uncomfortable they can be. Lunta!

  2. Your point is well taken and accepted, Mr Jalloh. The ramifications indeed last for years, if not decades. However, these are political ramifications. Sierra Leone has not made a single economic gain.
    The West Germans built a viable economic polity, albeit Germany was divided.
    Thank you for your empathy on the discriminatory land laws. Let us also not forget our brethren the Syrians, the original Lebanese who were tools of the imperialists, but should be accorded their due recognition as citizens of the state. I do not mean the johnny come lately from Lebanon to clarify my point.

  3. Thanks Mr Africanus for reminding me how your past doesn’t shape your future. Maybe for you alone. For the rest of us we know that is the inevitable truth. Ignore the RuF wars and the impact it has on our society. Maybe for you twenty years ago since that horrible and brutal war ended that left many people disfigured both mentally and physically is too old. And since you brought up the dropping of the Atomic bombs in Ningasaki and Hirosima, that spells the end of the war in the Pacific. I will tell you with confidence, that is why Seventy years on and until recently the Japanese government was not allowed to deploy Japanese troops abroad. Their constitution barred them from building nuclear weapons despite the daily threats they face from a nuclear attack from North Korea and in general their pacifist stands on wars. And that war ended 70years ago not 20years ago. North and South Korea is divided. And that war though not official ended in 1953.

    So once again I will argue my points to show you why you are wrong. Same with Germany. After Soviet troops lifted the red flag over the German parliament in 1945,and Hitler the Nazi leader committed suicide, Germany was divided between West Germany and communist East Germany until 1989. And with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, it helped speed up the disintegration of the Spviet Union. Which according to the president Putin was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. So if there Russian troops build up around Ukraine it speak volumes that President Putin doesn’t share your enthusiasm about forgetting the past. The past is very much present in our everyday lives. Because Putin, the killing of six million jews, during the Nazi occult, the Vietnam War, the actions of the genocidal regime of Pol Pot of Cambodia and more recently the genocide that took place in Rwanda are just foot note s of History. Today the Israelis and Palestinian are locked in a deadly fight because of the establishment of the Israeli State in1949 for goodness shake not 1999.

    Now coming back to Sierra Leone, did you ever asked yourself a question why Creoles people are denied the right to owe land in the provinces? It has to do with a discriminatory laws passed by the Colonial authorities and carried forward by various government of all colours. I am opposed to it and I think is against our constitution that gives all citizens of Sierra Leone their basic human rights to owe property every where they like in Sierra Leone. Unless of course you happened to be a descendants of the barbaric Salve trade. So when I hear Bio talk of welcoming African American in the motherland, it strike me there is a whiff of hypocrisy there. First things first, his government should work towards ending the Apartheid laws that discriminate against Krio people in our country. If foreigners can owe lands in the provinces, what is wrong with Krio people owning land in the provinces? Mr Africanus do some research, you will understand why the past always shape the future. We need to come together and campaign to end all forms of discrimination in our country. The Krio people have contributed greatly to the development and enlightenment of our countrys rich culture and universal spoken which have helped unit the 17 or more ethnic groups in our country. Can you imagine the super charged tribal division that would have existed if there was no Krio language? I as a Fulani would have found it difficult to communicate with my next door neighbours or Limba wife, Temene Cousin, Mende in laws, Madingo half brothers, Kurankoh aunties, and Mr Africanus my Krio lawyer.

  4. Oh Sierra Leone …too many analysts and no Solutions; Poverty, yesterday,poverty today and it will be poverty again tomorrow – same old story.

  5. Mr Jalloh, please, that excuse is getting old. The war in Sierra Leone finished twenty years ago.
    The devastation that was caused by the war is not comparable to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the RUF destroyed airports, industrial centres, trains and seaports in a manner akin to the year zero aims of Pol Pot and the Khymer Rouge. It would be understandable.

    The problem with Sierra Leone is Land Reform. We have a dichotomy of monarchical and democratic system of rule. The lands in the interior are owned by the chiefs and the government which sell the resources to foreign interests, furthermore, it aggravates the land ownership issue as the majority of provincial people are landless. We have a vast country, however, people are killing themselves for little pieces of land in Freetown, due to not having access to land in the provinces.

    The above is the very definition of lunancy, in the abundance of land, the fool is landless. Economic development is based on land as the primary factor of production, to wit the other factors, capital, labour and entrepreneurship cannot function without land. Therefore, until the above issues of land reform and reform of the monarchical system in the provinces, Sierra Leone will never see the light of progress.

    P.S Gambia, Nigeria, and Ghana have all reformed their land tenure system.

  6. If anyone knows where the heartbeats and the pulse of Sierra Leone can be located is Dr Denise Bright. His pin point diagnosis of the living standards of we the ordinary Sierra Leoneans, and how we struggle every day to feed ourselves and our families is not only spot on, but should be commendable. Dr Bright and the NGC party are the real deal. They are the party of the ordinary people who are suffering under Bio’s poapa “Tok An Do Nothing” one directionless government. This is the sort of political leadership that our country have been crying out for. Needless to say Sierra Leoneans as so often the case, like to vote for politicians who only comes to their lives once every five years during our election cycle. Unfortunately, politicians like Bio and his ilk knows this is the case.

    A well rehearse and established pattern that never failed the two main political parties, that have mastered the art work of political manipulation and political gerrymandering for their own selfish ends. Ever atone to what is good for them and what actions serves their best interests instead of the people. The recent coups in Chad, Burkina Fasso, Guinea and Mal, twice, is an indication the season of coups are returning slowly in the African continent. Iam completly opposed to military take overs, but there is a growing trend which prompts this miltray take overs. In the nutshell the civilian governments that are elected by the people have ignored the wishes of those that entrusted with power. They just want a government that looks aftet their intrest not the intrest of those in power. That is why it is useful to have the Sierra Leone Telegraph and other news outlets, so we can constantly remind Bio and others about their lack of commitment to develop our country.

    We don’t want the security chaos engulfing our neighbours. Because we’ve been there before. It is ugly and no Sierra Leonean in their right mind wants us to go back to those dark days of our history. The RUF wars, was all about fighting against corruption. But they two created a monster that is very selfish and as time passes we realised they don’t have any serious agenda to develop our country . All Foday Sankoh and his henchmen did was to destroy lives and live hoods and set our country development clock back by fifty years. We should all sit up and listen to Dr Bright. A man of the ordinary people. A real son of the soil.

  7. A truly remarkable piece of basic economics. A clear, simple, direct, down-to-earth take on what it means to live in Sierra Leone on President Bio’s watch. Dr Bright is an alert observer, a forensic analyst who grasps thoroughly the origin and nature of the struggle ordinary people face day by day as they try to make ends meet, if indeed at all. And his choice of such local idioms as ‘fiti fata’ brings home to the reader the damning profligacy of those holding the reins of power – callous and self-centred people who are indefensibly unconcerned about and totally disconnected from the reality of the generalized misery their irresponsible behaviour is causing their fellow compatriots, whose only fault is to have chosen them to govern the country.

    The NGC and their Leader and Chairman are definitely a force to reckon with. Their intervention in the form of regularly probing the basic economic pulse and heartbeat of the country, sheds much needed light on the true economic costs of the Bio administration, revealing the unspeakable hollowness of its deafening claims of being an outrightly successful ‘Talk and Do’ government.

    Additionally. Dr Bright and his NGC’s intervention shows how directly connected and responsive they are to the plights of ordinary men, women and families. That is responsible politics for you in the context of a poor, struggling nation such as ours. Indeed, their intervention indicates just how much they care, meaning if and when given the opportunity to govern, they will in all probability make a difference to the lives of the poor and needy. Their direction of travel is self-evident: ordinary men, women and their families matter.

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