President Bio piles on more unrealistic promises

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”.

10 Comments

  1. The writer of this article needs to be schooled again on the use of English language. Paragraph 2 on this article mentioned that, president Bio said he is “…expanding energy access throughout the country, constructing more roads and bridges. Bio did not say he had expanded on energy access or had constructed roads or built bridges. The participle “expanding…” means work is still in progress in these mentioned sectors.

    Tremendous efforts have been put on these areas and even the author of this article knows about it 100%. Just because he is doing partisan journalism he could not even comments on the progress that have been made on these areas. If you could not understand the content of Bio’s speech, please ask your seasoned colleague journalists to help you digress the speech. You also need to visit the provinces to see it yourself, efforts the energy minister has made so far for the West African power pool (C.L.SL.G). Partisan journalism will not survive under this cogent government.

  2. I think the problem of this country is far bigger than SLPP and APC. So let us please come together and work as one and make a better nation in years to come. Let us please don’t allow history to repeat itself.

  3. In my personal opinion, this article is not based on any form of seriousness but just political satirical propaganda. Government should be continuity and should be based on sustainable developmental focus for the betterment of the citizens. During the less than 10 years rule of the SLPP under the leadership of the late President Tejan Kabba, the foundation for the development of our nation after the devastating 11 years civil war was established , but unfortunately the APC used their 11 years misrule under the leadership of their lifetime leader by milking the resources they inherited for their own selfish gains which eventually left our nation in austerity.

    A few months after losing the 2018 presidential election, the destructive APC party succeeded in spreading the narrative that “the gron dry,” in order to undermine the economic transformation and credibility that the new direction government implemented, which most of our citizens have now just realized and missed when the coronavirus started ravaging the world. Below, is the link to prove that SLPP laid the foundation which President Maada Bio is now trying to complete, due to 11 waisted years of the corrupt and destructive APC fantasy of Agenda for prosperity that ended with Agenda for Austerity. Just for record President Trump just labelled an American liberal organization (ANTIFA) as a terrorist group http://www.sierraherald.com/kabbah-handingover-speech.htm

  4. Likewise the road constructions that APC used to brag about after 2007 elections victory, everything was started by H.E. Ahmad Tejan Kabba, including the birth of the peace that APC led by EBK, enjoyed in his 11th year tenure in office. Ever since, APC or Ernest B. Koroma never mentioned about SLPP or Kabba, but always talking about (APC don make D road). The last year, APC was so busy with (MAMAMA AIRPORT)

  5. I beg to differ – Trickle down economics is a sham; it has never worked anywhere in the world where it’s principles have been put earnestly into practice. As a matter of fact George H. Bush lost the 1992 presidential elections to Bill Clinton, mainly because of his gullible attitude of relying upon and promoting the Trickle Down Theory, in which the rich, ended up becoming richer, amassing mind-boggling amounts of wealth, while the majority of Americans languished in poverty.

    Sierra Leone cannot afford to be waiting for the benefits and gains of a robust economy, that is nowhere in sight to eventually trickle down from its culminating points, towards the abysmal depths of despair, with our people dying of abject poverty. No sensible, pragmatic, economist that seeks tangible, sustainable results, will ever consider putting Trickle Down Theory to practice…only these incompetent, SLPP leaders, will do such a thing.

  6. Mr. Mohamed Sankoh argues: “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.”

    A World Bank 2020 Economic Outlook on Sierra Leone says: “Real GDP growth was weak in 2018 at 3.5% but improved slightly to an estimated 5.0% in 2019, driven by agriculture and services, and in the first half of 2019 by extractives. Growth in demand is driven by consumption and investment. Average inflation was 16.9% in 2018 and an estimated 15.6% in 2019.”

    In a response to another opposition pundit a couple of days ago, I quoted an April 2020 IMF study that argues that not only has real GDP growth taken place under president Julius Maada Bio but that the rate of inflation has fallen from 18 percent to under 14 percent. World Bank and IMF reports are not written by Paopa activists. They are written by unbiased professional economists with several years of experience in the field. And contrary to what Mr. Sankoh may believe, economic growth does not automatically translate into better living standards for citizens. For the gains of growth to trickle down to citizens, institutional reform must take place. Therefore, president Bio’s sustained and winnable war against corruption is in place. It is incumbent that the APC join president Bio in cleaning up the mess that they left behind. APC apologists should not fear a rising and prosperous Sierra Leone under the great SLPP. There will always be a place for the APC in the opposition.

  7. Mohamed Sankoh chronology of the president speech, in summary, gives credence to why continuity is relevant in governance. Nothing stopped the APC past government from taking recognition for the developmental strides left by the then SLPP Kabbah government. Why shouldn’t president Bio do the same?

    All that Sierra Leoneans are craving for is to see Government embarking on relevant development past or present to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. His argument defeat itself when he uncompromisingly failed to mentioned any project implemented by the Bio government. The President speech has lot more details than the inferred seemingly distorted short story telling to dissuade the impressive implemented policies that this current government is undertaking as outlined by Mr President.

  8. Just before the Bush administration invaded Iraq, to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain, they needed one more hurdle to jump to convince wavering partners to join the coalition of the willing ,to help to topple Saddam and his republican guards henchmen. Who better to do it, than the highly respected former four star General and Vietnam war veteran – Colin Powell. He was so popular. If he had wanted to be the first African American president, the American people would have been more than happy to endorse him with flying colours. Just like president Bio, in the Wells of Parliament, General Powell was giving a speech and holding a capsule containing white powder, to demonstrate in front of the world that Saddam and his tyrannical regime were just about to get their hands on nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

    Later just like Bio’s speech, in different ways both speeches were laced with lies, assumptions and overblown. And the worst part, even some senior members of the CIA, in the intelligence community, were not only sceptical, but were pointing out that one aspect of the speech was contributed by an Iraqi man known as Curveball, in intelligence circle. German, and French intelligence, warned their American counterparts they should not rely on statements made by a mad man. General Powell, never recovered from that debacle. What is wrong with former military men turned politicians? Attention to detail is missing. Alas they surround themselves with manipulative people, that have different agendas from theirs. Same applies to my people in my village. They believe everything they are told by pot belly politicians.

    In my last visit to my village in the North, a bastion of SLPP fanatics, the scattered remains of colbots, meant for road construction, are still lying their and mother nature reclaiming them. Weeks after the Bio government took power, work was suspended. People are baffled because they voted overwhelmingly for SLPP candidates. I told the young men in my village, the best they can do now, is to do what they can to make driving to the village less challenging, because president Bio, will never visit that part of the country. They are regretting their choice of candidates. When you hear people say – don’t take the person that helps you for granted, and gets things done, here is a case in point. My village people are kicking themselves, and saying, how can we fall for fraudsters?

    • Folks love to tell stories from other countries and other countries’ heroes, instead of dwelling on their own.

  9. Well written article laced with comic as Mr. Sankoh plays the role of an opposition rebuttal to the speech given by the president in the wells of parliament last week. As already noted by majority of the citizens, the speech was merely a dream, far disconnected from the realities on the ground within the past 2 years. In the area of infrastructure, suffice to say, since government is a continuation process, the current regime will indeed claim credit for any infrastructure project completed during their tenure irrespective of whether it was near completion or not when they assumed office. That is just the game of politics.

    When APC assumed office in 2007, the erstwhile Kabbah government handed over numerous infrastructure projects for which EBK completed and took credit, so I have no qualms about that. Afterall, it’s not APC or SLPP monies used in such project, the funds are used or being spent on behalf of the citizens of Sierra Leone.

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