Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 April 2023:
With soaring food prices and the continuous rise in prices of other essential items in Sierra Leone, which the government blames on the war in Ukraine, many Sierra Leoneans are holding the Bio-led government responsible for the economic downturn the country has experienced in the last five years since Maada Bio took over as president.
Also, the general feeling of insecurity, rising lawlessness and erosion of civil liberty and human rights have left many Sierra Leoneans calling for a change of government.
Writing on Twitter, popular commentator Sheka Forna said this about President Bio’s first term in office: “From killings to a cost-of-living crisis, a sinking Leone to rising fuel costs, a shrinking economy to growing debt. Looking back, the only thing you should be content with is your Air Miles account. As you stumble towards the finish line your scorecard says, ‘could do better’.”
But President Bio is sounding positive about his chances of winning the presidential race in June. This is what he said about his first term in office, which could determine whether he gets the red card or a green card from voters:
“It’s been 5 years since we answered the noble call to service and chose the path less travelled by committing to build the next generation instead of focusing on the next election.
“Today, I look back with contentment amidst the 3-years of global economic upheaval brought about by the twin shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. Despite all this, our Administration has made significant developmental strides to improve the quality of life of Sierra Leoneans.
“As we move towards the halfway line, I look forward with enthusiasm and a greater resolve, knowing that what lies ahead for our great nation is greater than the challenges of yesterday.
“We remain fired up and ready to transition from the New Direction to staying in the Right Direction for the sustainability of our economic development efforts in #SierraLeone.”
There is now a change of emphasis as the president puts it – from a “New Direction” agenda to “Right Direction”, after critics lampooned his five years of New Direction as a failed and corrupt enterprise that needs a change of direction.
But will this promise of a change of Direction improve the president’s chances of winning the elections on June 24th?