Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop): Sierra Leone Telegraph: 03 June 2020:
The speechwriter, or ghost writer if you like, who penned down President Julius Maada Bio’s speech, which he delivered in the Well of Parliament last Thursday on the “Occasion of the State Opening of the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone”, should try his hand in creative writing. Just a perusal of the entire speech tells the critical mind that that the speechwriter has a fertile brain for fantasies than realities.
And it is my assumption that President Bio might have only been given the speech at the entrance to the Chamber of Parliament Building, which might not have given him ample time to go through it. If he had done that, I believe (I’m still conjecturing here), he would have done some pruning to weed out the seemingly fairy tales herein. For I do believe that if the Head of State had seen that speech even a day before he delivered it, he would not have told the nation in a straight-faced manner that his SLPP government is “…expanding energy access throughout the country, constructing more roads and bridges at far lower costs than before this time, and providing more water treatment and supply facilities in all areas of the country”.
Now my questions are: Can the SLPP quack media apologists, the “Paopagandists”, and “Drunkardnomists” tell me where the SLPP government has expanded energy countrywide? Can they tell me which parts of the country the SLPP government has constructed the roads and bridges which are far lower in costs than what the All People’s Congress (APC) of former President Ernest Bai Koroma spent on them?
And can they explain more on how the Bio-led administration has been “providing more water treatment and supply facilities in all areas of the country”?
I may be wrong, (and I stand to be corrected) but all the major roads and bridges which are now under constructions are those initiated and left by the last APC government. Probably, a bridge and several new roads have been constructed at Tihun, in Bonthe District, at costs far cheaper than a bag of groundnuts.
Have Bo, Kenema, Moyamba, and Bonthe Districts been enjoying the “expanding energy access” by getting three hours of interrupted power supply every day?
And I don’t know whether President Bio is trying to experiment with the Tongue-in-Cheek methodology or not when he says his government has “…recruited and trained more healthcare workers; built and refurbished more healthcare centres and hospitals…across the country…” If one should do a quick facts-check on those assertions it might come out clearly that in the last two years, most – if not all – of the built and refurbished healthcare centres and hospitals commissioned by the SLPP government are those that were started by the former APC government.
According to ex-President Koroma’s Handing Over Notes to President Bio, it is clearly stated that under the last APC government “…Nine tertiary hospitals [were] being upgraded as national medical centres of excellence and over 57 other health facilities [were] either being constructed or rehabilitated; with the latest being the newly constructed Paediatric hospital complex in Kailahun. In the Western Area alone, five additional hospitals at Lumley, Kingharman Road, Macauley Street, Rokupa and in Waterloo – [were] at advanced stages of completion and each will have 100 bed space thus adding 500 more bed space to the number currently servicing Western Area….” Maybe the newly “…built and refurbished healthcare centres and hospitals” which President Bio is talking about are those that were at advanced stages of completion when the APC was allegedly cheated out of the 2018 elections.
Sorry to say Mr President Bio, but majority of Sierra Leoneans are not convinced that “Before COVID-19, economic growth [in Sierra Leone] had recovered, and was increasing at an impressive rate…” Common sense dictates that if really there was an economic growth, that growth should have reflected in citizens’ pockets and the square meals on their dining tables. Even certified mad people know that before COVID-19, it was a horrid fact that hardship was the surname of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. If that supposedly “economic growth” was not something conjured up from Jupiter; ordinary Sierra Leoneans would not have been shouting from mountaintops and hilltops that “de gron dry”. The reality is: in more than two years of SLPP’s rule; more Sierra Leoneans are today jobless and hungrier than ever before.
Again Mr President, it is not convincing that the SLPP Government’s “…expenditures remain within budgetary limits…” Here again I will employ common sense to posit that if actually the SLPP Government’s “expenditures remain within budgetary limits”, then why are we told in the latest Annual Financial Statements of the Consolidated Fund that, “the advance loan taken from Commercial Banks to support the operations of Government increased by 54% from Le75.7 billion in 2018 to Le117.2 billion in 2019”.
My basic knowledge of Home Management (which is a sort of microcosm of Government’s budgetary To-Do-List) tells me that if when implementing my domestic To-Do-List I have to borrow from a Shylock; then it means I am not, or have not been, working within the budgetary limits of that To-Do-List. One doesn’t have to be an eternal PhD Candidate to figure out that.
In many instances, in that speech under review, one sees examples of the fabled King without robes. For ease of reference, I would like the reader of this One Dropian dropping to go to the archives and dig up ex-President Koroma’s last Address to Parliament, and also his Handing Over Notes to President Bio. When that is done, you should then juxtapose them with what President Bio says about Health, Agriculture, the Judiciary, the Economy, Education, and other issues, then you will realise that the SLPP is seriously unserious about solving the bread and butter issues of ordinary Sierra Leoneans.
I am still trying to fathom how President Bio could make more promises when he is yet to fulfil a quarter of his pre-2018 promises. And here he is yet again promising to build Disneyland at Kroo Bay.
Such promises could be likened to a father who is unable to pay his sons’ fees at Eton and Oxford; yet promising to take his wife on holiday to the Moon.
In a nutshell, President Bio’s latest speech in the Well of Parliament, on the “Occasion of the State Opening of the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone”, appears to be a soundbite meant only for SLBC television. But what I like best about it is the fact that the word “terrorist” is absent.
Even the erratic President Donald Trump could be more rational by just calling some of his compatriots “thugs” even when they have been committing unspeakable arsons and lootings in the aftermath of the George Floyd asphyxiation. He is yet to call his fellow Americans “terrorists” because he knows that investors will never venture into a country where majority of the citizens are “terrorists”.