Sierra Leone government negligence plunges Freetown into darkness – untold story of EDSA’s deception

Mackie M Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 April 2024:

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Freetown, darkness descended like a sinister shroud, casting a shadow over the lives of its citizens. The persistent  power outage, touted as a mere glitch by the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), is, in reality, a damning indictment of governmental negligence and deceit. (Photo above: Kanja Sesay, minister of electricity).

On the surface, EDSA’s press releases since April have painted a picture of minor inconvenience, routinely glossing over the true extent of the crisis. However, behind closed doors, a different narrative unfolds – one of mismanagement, incompetence, and blatant disregard for the welfare of the people.

At the heart of this debacle lies the shocking revelation of a drastic reduction in power supply from the Turkish electricity generating contractor – Karpowership, plummeting from a robust 65 megawatts to a paltry 5 megawatts.

While EDSA attempts to downplay the severity of the situation, insiders reveal a stark truth: the government’s failure, spearheaded by none other than the Minister of Finance, to settle outstanding invoices owed to Karpowership, amounting to millions of dollars.

The repercussions of this negligence are dire, reverberating throughout every corner of Freetown. Businesses grind to a halt, their productivity crippled by the absence of electricity.

Homes are plunged into darkness, rendering essential appliances useless and leaving families to grapple with the consequences – spoiled food, disrupted routines, and mounting frustration.

Yet, this is not an isolated incident but rather the latest chapter in a saga of deception orchestrated by EDSA and endorsed by the highest echelons of government.

Time and again, the agency has issued press releases aimed at deceiving the public, concealing the truth about the failing payments to Karpowership and the inherent risks it poses to the nation’s power supply.

In the wake of this crisis, it becomes evident that the interests of the people have been sacrificed at the altar of bureaucratic incompetence and political expediency.

The Minister of Finance, entrusted with the stewardship of the nation’s finances, has failed in his duty to prioritize the needs of the citizens over petty squabbles and partisan agendas.

As darkness lingers, so too is the call for accountability growing.  Questions loom large across  the corridors of power: Who will answer for this gross dereliction of duty? Who will be held responsible for the suffering inflicted upon the people of Freetown?

But amidst the despair, there is a glimmer of hope – a call to action for transparency, accountability, and reform.

The citizens of Freetown refuse to be silenced, demanding answers and accountability from those who have betrayed their trust. (Photo: Minister of electricity – Kanja Sesay).

In the face of adversity, the resilience of the people shines bright, illuminating a path towards a brighter future. It is time for the government to heed their calls, to rectify its failures, and to honour its obligations to the people it serves.

Until then, the darkness will remain – a stark reminder of the consequences of deception and neglect.

But with each flicker of candlelight, with each voice raised in protest, the flame of justice burns ever brighter, guiding the way towards a future where the needs of the people are finally prioritized over political expediency.


1 Comment

  1. Thats what happens when foresight is lacking and allow yourself to be at the mercy, whims and caprices of a monopoly. How did we get here that Karpowership is boasting  on its website of supplying 80% of Sierra Leone’s  energy  consumption? Where is  the  competition in the market to drive down prices and perhaps  concoct an element of energy mix?

    This means the other 20% is coming from other small thermal plants, Bumbuna and other minuscule hydro-electric projects as well as from the Ivorians via the the landmark CLSG project, which connects Cote d’Ivoire with Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

    The hydro-electric projects are inherently risky due to the vagaries of the climate.  In the worst case scenarios, the dams could simply dry up. 

    As for the other sources of energy Karpowership and the Ivorians are  using, it is an expensive piece of business to use fossil fuels in an internal combustion engine to generate electricity.  Apart from their red flag status as contributors to climate change with its attendant soaring temperatures, droughts and flooding,  we all know the oil Sheiks and the Russians will always be manipulating the levers to keep the price of crude oil and gas artificially high.

    The Karpowership after using expensive gas or oil to produce their MWs is surely not going to become a charity overnight. Most of their contract terms have a fine and small print either  opaque to unsuspecting African Governments or they put on the blinkers out of desperation or after palms have been greased. Such unreasonable terms include having to pay for all power produced whether consumed by electricity customers or not.

    Sierra Leone with widespread power leakages due to her creaking electricity transmission and distribution network  is particularly vulnerable to such harsh terms. This is compounded by electricity theft and malicious vandalism caused by widespread poverty and political tensions.

    I believe the Government not finding efficiency savings in for example forgoing their per diems earned in their incessant globetrotting travels to pay off their electricity debts to the energy producers might be playing to the MCC and United States Congress gallery when crunch time or decision hour comes to decide the fate of the $500 Million being dangled in front of Sierra Leone to help address some of her energy requirements.

    The SLPP  Government has hired an American Company to lobby on their behalf and perhaps launder their egregious human rights record, poor Governance and outright theft of an election to perpetuate themselves in power. Will it pay off?

    They are now hoping and praying with bated breath and a Manchester United  Sir Alex Ferguson-esque squeaky bum time that once the issue of the MCC compact is tabled and up for debate and deliberations in the US Senate for approval or rejection, the US Senators will not have that moral fibre and backbone to see through their subterfuge to make a just, right and conscionable judgement call.

    To conclude, whatever the verdict of the US Senate, Sierra Leone should be looking at having an energy mix to hedge againt unscrupulous monopolies and move away from expensive, polluting and unsustainable fossil fuels.

    Both the supply and demand side of the energy equation should be looked into. What about forcing through the building and planning regulations if they exist  at all to make access to the national grid means-tested?

    Those deemed having deeper pockets and the nouveau riche should be forced to go off-grid. The prices of solar panels and energy storage batteries are on a downward trajectory and should be within the reach of them lot.

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