Mohamed Macarthy: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 May 2019:
The people of Bo and Kenema – two major cities in the south of Sierra Leone are facing serious electricity blackouts. Residents say they are disappointed and frustrated at the way electricity is being distributed.
In November 2018, just months after he was declared president – Julius Maada Bio went to Bo and Kenema on a thank you tour. Whilst in Bo thanking the residents for electing him head of state, he confidently assured the people that necessary structures have been put in place that will resolve the problems of acute electricity shortage in the city.
He instructed the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) to speedily put an end to the persistent blackouts, adding that the people voted for radical progressive change and the change must be visible to them.
The President told EDSA that they must resolve the problem in December 2018, so that sustainable electricity can be provided to the people and business of Bo and Kenema.
Sadly, this deadline was not met. Bo and Kenema continue to suffer continuous electricity blackouts to the disappointment and dismay of the people.
Residents of the two cities had wanted to go out on street protests, but instead chose quiet diplomacy which is yet to yield results.
Many people are left wondering about the actions of the staff and management at EDSA regional offices in Bo and Kenema. They are demanding answers. They need action.
EDSA national headquarters has taken steps to ensure twenty-four-hour light is distributed across Freetown, the capital.
According to reliable sources close to EDSA Management in Bo and Kenema ‘huge’ electricity machines have been installed but not working.
“Mr Minister of Energy Sir, under the NEW DIRECTION, Sierra Leoneans expect change and better performance. Electricity is one of the key priorities in the president’s manifesto. Brigadier Bio has achieved some of his promises since taking up office, but there are some loopholes which need urgent attention,” says one resident of Kenema.
The sporadic distribution of electricity in Bo and Kenema does not make sense and it doesn’t reflect the will of the people.
Majority of residents in these two cities largely depend on electricity supply to run their business. They are calling on the energy minister to put necessary measures in place in order to resuscitate the electricity supply.
“Mr Minister, I want to commend you for your tremendous effort in supplying electricity to Freetown, but the people of Bo and Kenema note that the only time they enjoy good supply of electricity is when the president, vice-president and other senior government officials are coming to visit.
“If investors decide to come and invest in Bo and Kenema cities, do we expect them to do business in blackout? I am also convinced that if twenty-four light is supplied in Bo and Kenema, crime rates will fall; thieves and other unscrupulous people will find it very difficult to cause havoc and mayhem to residents in our communities. Please take note Mr President,” a concerned citizen of Bo lamented.