Alan Luke: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 November 2019:
Dr Kandeh Yumkella MP for Constituency 062, and Abdul Titus Kamara MP for Constituency 061, visited island outposts in Kambia, northern Sierra Leone following the parliamentary sitting at which the government presented the 2020 Budget and ensuing bi-lateral discussions.
The NGC parliamentarians left Freetown at 5am. It is a two hour road journey from Freetown to Mambolo, and a further 90 minutes by boat to the islands.
These island communities in Sierra Leone are among the poorest in the country – with little or no access to public expenditure, in terms of investment in education, healthcare and other public services.
Water supply has to be brought to the communities in five gallon containers.
The first island, Mowaubul, has about 600 inhabitants and the second, Kortimoh, has about 2000.
The parliamentarians could not visit a third island, Yeliboya with about 5,000 inhabitants. Yeliboya is gradually being submerged by the Atlantic Ocean, due to the rise in sea level, which is a testimony to the reality that poor third world countries like Sierra Leone are experiencing the impact of climate change.
These island communities do not benefit from government policies and public expenditure. Talk of 5% GDP growth, Free Education, DSTI and National Development are abstract, with no impact on their lives. Quite frankly, they are forgotten communities.
Yumkella and Kamara visited a local school on Mowaubul, which operated from a makeshift building wrapped with tarpaulin, with no floor and a leaking roof. They observed local women drying fish over open fires, as there is no electricity supply and with the attendant health risks to women and children in particular and fire risks.
These communities are prone to fire disasters every year. Yet, islanders chop down mangroves to make firewood. The mangroves are the breeding ground for the fish their communities are reliant on.
According to Kandeh Yumkella, “poverty is not abstract to us, it is the reality of the 67,000 people in Constituency 062 in the Samu Chiefdom and the 42,000 in Constituency 061 in Mambolo/Magbema Chiefdom, riverine locations,” which he said have some of the worst social development indicators throughout Sierra Leone.
He said that MPs with constituencies like theirs see and feel the reality of Sierra Leone’s underdevelopment and attendant inequality and vulnerability, every week they visit their constituents.
The parliamentarians concluded their visit at 2pm to avoid being stuck on the islands at low tide.
The NGC seems to be in a desperate mood by trying to replace the APC party as the formidable opposition party since they (APC) are imploding due to the power struggle that is currently taking place behind closed doors for the future of the chairmanship of their party. The NGC started with the grassroots supporters of the APC party (the market traders) last week who are benefiting Economically by profiteering through hiking the prices of local commodities as high as 400% since the SLPP took power and also benefiting politically because they are blaming the government for the hunger that has been caused by their own unnecessary profiteering.
I personally believe that the intention of these economic saboteurs is to provoke the New Direction government to enforce price control in a Free Market Economy which will paint them as a “ PAOPA “ government that is trying to trample on their freedom to extort from the masses. This next political stunt by the NGC parliamentarians just proved that Dr. Kandeh Yumkella (2018 Presidential candidate) was completely out of touch with the people of his district because he never visited those Islands during the election campaign but spent most of his time campaigning in SLPP strongholds just to undermine the party that rejected his candidacy and after he was rejected he blamed it on tribalism.
He should have exposed this situation in his constituency during the APC misrule because this is their so called Strongholds but I personally believe that since they have finally decided to visit this poor and deprived community and exposed the terrible neglect they suffered under the APC, this government will do whatever it takes to improve their lives. I wish these MP’s traveling mercies from this Island especially good sea tidings because I personally believe that if any sea disasters happens they will blame it on the New Direction Government.
Mr Saidu Conteh I wish your APC party had implemented your sound descriptions of inclusivity – All inclusiveness in the art of governance, is the engine that propels a nation forward; Just as the engine of car converts gasoline into energy that facilitate motion, so also does All inclusive assist nations,to move as rapidly as possible towards stability,peace,and progress of their 35-37 years of executive governance and leadership out of the 58 years post-independent era of mama Sierra Leone. Then there should not have been the tribalism, looting, marginalisation, abject poverty, bullting, nepotism etc that resulted to the 11 years of civil war in mama Sierra Leone.
It might surprised you to note the absolute good/sound executive leadership whenever the SLPP party are in governance of their 15-17 years out of the 58 years post independence, in speedily bringing the civil war to an end in 2002, establishing democratic institutions that we are proud of at home, satisfying the stringent conditionalities as an Highly Indebted Country due to the massive debt of the previous APC governments – to have those debt concelled and minimised so that we can be a country ready for business and socio-economic development.
Then in 2007 to April 2018 when the APC government were in executive governance, both the internal and external debts had gone up to $2.5 Billion, kicking the IMF out of the country, Sierra Leone becoming one of the Hungriest countries in the world. And they left the economy in austerity and in comatose life support status. Now the SLPP is trying to change the narrative for the better.
The Umbilical cord,also known as the Navel string that connects a pregnant mother to it’s unborn baby,totally resembles the same intricate links that connects a sound and effective government to its people. Its called in plain and simple English: All Inclusiveness – a society where everyone matters are protected and catered for by the far reaching, delegating arms of government.
Whenever or wherever there is concrete evidence that an individual,group,or community has been neglected,shrugged off,and left far behind as in the cases highlighted above in Mowaubul, Mambolo and Yeliboya, it clearly, indicates a glaring attitude of contempt, cold indifference and a deliberate marginalization of those who prefer to dance to a different tune – that means thousands who are not supporters of the incompetent SLPP.
All inclusiveness in the art of governance,is the engine that propels a nation forward; Just as the engine of car converts gasoline into energy that facilitate motion,so also does All inclusive assist nations,to move as rapidly as possible towards stability,peace,and progress. Again,I used to believe that it was just inadequacy that was only responsible for this government’s regressive, poorly conceived policies; not so,they are a devious,mean-spirited,people who care and think only about themselves.
Indeed, the ship loaded with Goodies, that heads only towards the South, leaves no doubt that others, especially from the North have no clout – Ignore them! The Captain shouts, we must stay the course…of course,they will shout,but with all thy might,follow the route,I chose for thee…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.(lol)
Dr Yumkella and team is it now that you are noticing the level of impoverisment in those places after all this period? That is a clear indication to tell you that all of you politicians have denied people of their basic right to even average living in this country.Yet you go around globally telling the world that governments are doing well,you limit your criticism to survive politically.
Now those are just a little of the many that are being deprived of their natural resources in this country.You sit in Freetown and other big Cities and asses Governments about performance, go round the country and see poverty – if you don’t cry at all, then you are heartless.
Sometimes I really ask myself why should people participate in the electoral process in this country? All of you politicians will face the wrath of God someday. When you want to check indicators about performing governments then go to rural areas and not walk around few streets in Freetown,Bo,Kenema,Makeni and the others.This Country is a mess.