President Bio’s address to the nation – ‘2021 will be better’ – a point of view

Abraham Amadu Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 02 January 2021:

Typically, end of year presidential speeches should be inspirational and uplifting moments for nations that have gone through a lot, especially a year like 2020 which everyone is so relieved to see the back off.

These are moments when the head of state delivers his report card to the nation so they can read through his government’s achievements and failures; putting forward a road map for the country and its people, showing how best we as people can come together to meet the challenges of the future facing our country. And how we can overcome these challenges to develop our country post covid19 pandemic, that has brought untold suffering to people right across the world.

Once again Bio, who is never shy of recycling his achievements if there is any, was at it again. The president talked about his achievements since taking office but failed to mention the security challenges facing our country due to the impact of his policies in going after his opponents – real or imagined.

And since taking office he’d wasted a great deal of time and energy fighting shadow wars with well-meaning Sierra Leoneans that disagree with his policies. The bottom line is we all want good for country.

Right now, he is acting like a fire fighter, but the reality tells a different story. More like the arsonist putting out the fires he’d started in the first place.

In engaging in a turf war with Dr Blyden, Major Poalo Conteh and others, Bio has not only dented his reputation as a unifier of people of different shades of opinion – for which he took an oath of office and promised to uphold, but instead opted for his usual default position – listening to people that thrive on chaos and confusion, especially his advisers.

We hope we can see a step change in the way our country is governed for the benefit of everyone -not the corrupt few. Not once, but on every platform, he has been on, Bio has acknowledged the damage corruption is doing to our country.

Sometimes, he  sounds like a broken record. But the good news is that it is within his powers to do something about it. Will he? Now that is the million-dollar question.

2021 should be a time for turning a new page in our country. Mutual coexistence, respect for the rule of law, tackling the evil of corruption, respect for human rights, free press, transparency, and accountability, and above all else – justice for all.

We need a transparent government that is ready to take on board criticisms and opinions that disagree with government policies for the betterment of Sierra Leone.

Bio’s New Year’s message offers very little in the way of pointing us the way forward.

These recycled statements of achievements which he continues to trumpet, do not leave you to second guess his intention and ability to convince a wary nation, that until we start to see real change to the fortunes of our country, we the suffering people of Sierra Leone are not yet ready to give him and his government the green pass.

Now Mr president, the buck stops with you. May God bless Sierra Leone.

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