Alie Kabba – Presidential aspirant 2018
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 October 2015
On Monday, 3rd October, 2016, following a hasty cabinet meeting, the APC government issued a State House Press Release unveiling a series of measures that they plan to implement in the hope of managing an increasingly hopeless situation. (Photo: Alie Kabba, presidential aspirant).
It is no longer a secret that the government is worryingly broke and the economy is swinging on its death ropes.
It has to be understood that the intended cuts in both capital and recurring expenditures, if fully implemented, would mean that even the much vaunted “state-sponsored” road works will come to a screeching halt, effectively putting a jolting break on many propaganda-driven white elephant projects.
The daily plunge of the Leone against the Dollar is a mere barometer of the thick layers of pain that the poor may have to contend with for a while.
This is a situation that did not creep on us overnight. All warnings from well-meaning Sierra Leoneans and international observers were dismissively ignored in favour of shady deals and frivolous spending sprees.
The proposed Mamamah white elephant airport project is one clear example of just how daring some people are willing to go in the pursuit of personal agendas hoisted with a public flag.
Just last month, the government led a grotesquely bloated expedition to the UN and the huge money spent for the trip was being justified by a dancing throng of APC Vuvuzelas.
The really sad thing is that at that very moment when they were dancing on the streets of New York City, the rickety wheels under our lifeless economy were rolling off with uncontrolled ease.
While they were dancing, the price of our staple food was rocketing up; parents of school-going kids and college bound students were pawning personal properties to secure needed fees and books; dying patients in our heavily understaffed hospitals were groaning in pain; underpaid police, prison officers and army were struggling to make ends meet; teachers wondered if their salaries would come on time: market women returned home with unsold wares because customers could no longer keep pace with hyper-inflation.
In short, while they were dancing (for whatever reason) the rest of the country was crying, for many reasons. The problems we have here give space to some salient questions:
A) Why did the government wait till there was virtually no money before they started thinking about how to stop the bleeding?
B) How reliable is the monitoring mechanism of these half-hearted measures, theoretically intended to control waste, when those who are expected to be supervising the monitoring efforts are the biggest wasters?
C) In this rather panicky move to stave off the looming gloom, did the government stop to consider the fact that it is the 99% – those who never benefited from the “windfalls” of the free-for-all grab of the greedy 1% – that are going to suffer the most?
It is a painful fact that the austerity is an economic and social hammer directly trained at the head of the very poor.
The grave repercussions of what would ensue as a result of the implementation of measures outlined so far would be devastating on the lives of the already bruised and battered masses.
It is with this consideration that I am calling on the government to take radical measures that would not merely work to convince the world that they are serious, but measures that may actually help us to gingerly navigate through the worst of this situation.
First, the government has to start with a candid acceptance that they have woefully failed the nation and that the trust between them and the people has been drastically undermined as a result of their own reckless acts.
There needs to be a serious reduction in the unjustifiable size of the cabinet and other bloated public institutions so that the dancers, dead woods and crazy bald-heads will take a permanent home-bound break from their delusion and wasteful habits.
This is not the time for puppetry dances; this is a time for very serious contemplation and urgent action.
The president has to accept full responsibility for taking us to a place where, I have to guess, he may not want us to be. And taking responsibility means taking real tangible actions to address the situation, including confidence-building steps like salary freeze for everyone in the Office of the Presidency.
Finally, let me say this: The growing picture of our country is one that is getting darker and more dismal by the day! Those in power need to open their eyes and see the suffering in the land! Action starts with embracing the truth.
Long live Sierra Leone!
Long live the People of Sierra Leone!
Your humble servant,