When will the people of Sierra Leone live the good life – food for thought

Murray Sandy: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 May 2019:

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, poor road conditions nationwide constitute the major development challenges in Sierra Leone. It is estimated that only 10% of the 11,300 roads are paved”.

Only, 10%? Yes, since April 27th, 1961, our country’s date of birth.

The above, mentioned during president Bio’s State opening of parliament, May 2nd, 2019 should be considered a watershed statement by His excellency, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and should be etched into the annals of history of Sierra Leone when reading an analytical review and the historical testament of his presidency.

In my estimation, road infrastructure is the single most important pathway to any country’s development agenda and goals.

The American based MCC-Millennium Challenge Corporation, which evaluates and supplements a developing country’s strive to achieve road infrastructural development and other goals, have assisted countries around the world, such as Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guatemala and Nepal to name a few.

They follow stringent criteria for qualification, but Sierra Leone has never qualified. On two different occasions has Sierra Leone failed to merit such help.

A road network in a country’s economy will boost economic growth. In Ivory Coast, for instance, the Abidjan Transport Project within the compact is designed to increase the competitiveness of Abidjan, the country’s economic hub, by improving the mobility of goods and people.

The project is expected to include infrastructure investments to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion in central corridors, CBD-Central Business District, of the city that connects the Port of Abidjan to the north, west, and east.

But even without the MCC, president Bio had started to implement such a model in Freetown municipality, even though he was been criticize for it.

At one time in our 58 years history, we even boasted of a rail line that traversed West and South East which greatly facilitated the easy and timely transportation of goods (foodstuff, and commercial products, like coffee, cocoa, etc) from the provinces to the singular port of Freetown and it’s environs to feed the people of Freetown. This provided tremendous economic advantage for the country as a whole.

The railway was removed by ill advised nincompoops who despised development and characterized it as only a service for the Southeast. Hence its demise.

The economic benefits of transportation infrastructure cannot be underestimated in any fashion whatsoever, if a country is to elevate itself from heart wrenching poverty-laden people to a developed middle class country.

It is a well-known fact that many governments commit significant portions of their national budgets, merger as it may be to building and maintaining transportation infrastructure.

For example, nearly 20 percent of the money borrowed from the World Bank to developing countries is earmarked for transportation infrastructure projects, which is more than education, health and social services combined.

India and America which has a significant experience with rail transportation can bear testimony to the need for such projects.

These highlights standout why transportation should be the backbone for any country which desire the capacity to become a developed and middle-income country:

  1. Investment in railroad infrastructure significantly reduce the costs of trading goods and indeed services.
  2. Improved railroad infrastructure increase the volume of goods shipped.
  3. The economic benefits of increased railroad access greatly outweighed the construction and maintenance costs.

One thing that has to be inculcated into the thick heads of our ‘powers that be’ is this: The result of this historical analysis suggests that the economic gains from transportation infrastructure can be substantial. And the true economic impact may not be known until years after a project is completed.

Therefore, this type of capital improvement requires commitment, dedication and zero corrupt government officials to make this happen.

Vietnam and Singapore used to be two of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Not anymore. They are two of the most vibrant and developed countries in that part of the world. And their people are living the good life.

When will the people of Sierra Leone ever live the good life. Food for thought.

6 Comments

  1. PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC LEAGUE PDL
    1 Zara Lane, Portee, Wellington, Freetown. Sierra Leone, West Africa.
    Email: sierraleonepdl@gmail.com; salpedel1986@gmail.com

    16th May, 2019

    CLARION CALL: “FIX PPRC SYSTEM FOR POLITICAL EXIGENCY”.
    If the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) did not matter, no need to create it in the first place.
    Most Sierra Leoneans and observers in the country will agree that the PDL has never abandoned its registration process and until our constitutional human rights are respected, there is no turning back.

    Of late, our detractors have been running a pole to post propaganda assuming that the PDL is dead and its leader fled the country to Venezuela. This is not the first time such a malicious propaganda was made, and we believe it will not be the last as long as we, in the PDL mean good for our people in Sierra Leone.

    To our detractors, we say thank you for spending sleepless nights, time, energy and resources discussing PDL. They only strengthened our resolved to contribute to development and prosperity of Sierra Leone. As stated before, we have audio tape and video to show to the public about how PPRC was lulled to violate our constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms. These evidences have already been posted to the United Nations Secretary-General in New York and other international instruments.

    Our national body political system features numerous anti-democratic actions that do not augur well for Sierra Leone. Students and young people, the neglected and poor people as well as the elderly people, all face barriers, such as violating the constitutional and democratic rights of people to register and belong to a political party of their choice.

    Sierra Leoneans are affected by these practices that are at variance with democracy, as a result society as a whole suffers.
    Most of Sierra Leone’s post independence history is marked by dictatorship, war, tribalism, regionalism, destruction and devastation. These made it impossible for the gains of independence to be realized in the country. The creation of the PPRC was welcomed by Sierra Leoneans as an opportunity for promoting the rights of Sierra Leoneans for inclusion shaping the country’s future. But unfortunately, the late Justice Hamilton’s PPRC was a tool used, misused and abused by the powers that be to muzzle real opponents of the corrupt, decadent and dysfunctional system.

    Every Sierra Leonean deserves better and should be given the opportunity to exercise his or her constitutional right to participate in all gathering and discussions about the future direction of our country. Sadly, this right has been trampled upon by people who feel they are the Alfa and Omega that can salvage Sierra Leone from the ravaged system, which was created by their misrule.

    The practice of politics in Sierra Leone was characterized by rude tribalism, cronyism, dissonance, obsession, tenacity, obstinacy and misguided beliefs. Of course like any democratic constitution, the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone provides the opportunity for Sierra Leoneans, regardless of immoral considerations to have saying in the way their elected government manages the affairs of our country.

    But the defining characteristics of the late Justice Hamilton’s PPRC are tailored unconstitutional, unpatriotic, undemocratic and inhumane decisions adopted to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans who desire to register and belong to a new, moral and alternative political party of their choice. These led us to the conclusion that the late Justice Hamilton’s PPRC was not independent, but rather acting like an apron string to the evil designs and tastes of purveyors of poverty, dictatorship, human rights’ abuses and violation of Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution.

    The truth is that PDL is not a proxy group of Sierra Leoneans. We are not immigrants. We are true, peaceful, law abiding and patriotic sons and daughters of Sierra Leone. We have no other country we can call our home as the PPRC wanted the international public to believe that we are a grouping of foreign nationals prohibited by the 1991 constitution not to meddle in the politics of Sierra Leone.

    Had the late Justice Hamilton’s PPRC not failed to fulfilled the tenets of democracy, thousands of Sierra Leoneans across the country may not have felt too discouraged to vote in the March 2018 general elections; and for those who chose to vote seemingly trapped among vague and painful choices. We hold the belief that a system that promotes participation of the people in determining who should represent them would encourage Sierra Leoneans to involve actively in civic life and thus promote peace and develop the democratic process in the country.

    As an organ that truly understands the pains, frustrations and frenzies suffered by Sierra Leoneans in upholding their constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms, the People’s Democratic League, through this public statement, wants to call on all its members, supporters and sympathisers in and outside Sierra Leone to act with calm and wait to hear from the current PPRC Chairman, Hon. Abdulai M. Bangura. We know this one takes patience and understanding, considering the scars inflicted on the democratic process and national body politics, due to PPRC hatred for PDL members, supporters and sympathisers.

    The PDL utterly condemn any violence or threats to peace and democratic process in the country, as well as those miscreants that hide behind the social media to attack the personality of the President, His Excellency Maada Bio in order to sow hatred among Sierra Leoneans. The behavior of these intellectual prostitutes, apart from the threat to peace and political stability, they hinder the progress and development of the country.

    This is not the kind and moral politics practice in any democratic society. We warn those behind this sinister agenda to be wary of the dangerous threats their actions posed in the country. We warn also that political gangsterism has no place in the country’s politics and this must end. We assure the people of Sierra Leone to count on the PDL for healing national wounds.

    We will not keep quiet to tell Sierra Leoneans on all sides of the ethno-political divide that the ripple effect that PPRC’s anti-PDL policy of malicious hatreds, incitement, discrimination and misrepresentation has on the nation. The violation of our constitutional human rights and democratic freedom of PDL, not to participate in the 2018 general elections came at great human and financial costs to the Organisation (PDL).

    Here, we want the newly appointed Chairman of the PPRC to understand that his predecessors’ hatred for PDL was a serious setback for our country’s democracy and an attack on peace and political stability. We reiterate our call upon all PDL members, supporters and sympathisers everywhere to remain calm, law abiding and peaceful.

    This advice is necessary because on numerous occasions, we have received reports of big political party gurus trying to incite PDL members to come out to the streets and protest for our political party’s final registration certificate. We call on those wicked politicians to stop their meddling mentality in PDL matters. Any action we deem it fit to take in this issue would be peaceful, constitutional and a notice stating reasons for such action, will be communicated to concerned stakeholders in and outside Sierra Leone.

    While this message will be translated into 12 major international languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arab, Mandarin Chinese, Hausa, Yoruba, Twi and Swahili, we will see to it that it forms part of discussions among Africans worldwide in the coming 56th anniversary of African Liberation Day (ALD) on Saturday 25th May, 2019.

    We will encourage the media to disseminate the information of PPRC mishandling of PDL registration process (to become full-fledged political party for Sierra Leone) in the local and international languages in a conflict-sensitive manner.
    We urge the Offices of the President and Commander-In-Chief, Human Rights Commission, Ombudsman, Legal Aid, Organisation for National Security, the Bar Association, the media, National Election Commission, our traditional and religious leaders to use their positions of influence to prevail on the PPRC to end its policy of hate, malice, grudges and discrimination towards PDL, our members, supporters and sympathisers. We believe these all important stakeholders in the country have a role to play for sustained peace and enhanced democracy.

    Concluding, we once again urge all PDL members, supporters and sympathisers to be wary of bad politicians planning to hide behind our matter with PPRC to settle old political scores; we urge all not be discouraged but continue to play the role of peace building within our communities. This will go a long way to reinforce the importance of the work we are doing on the ground. We will not be deterred but will keep pressing forward. To the PDL, peace, democracy, rule of law, justice, freedom and dignity matter!
    Sender:
    Alimamy Bakarr SANKOH
    Leader and National Chairman
    People’s Democratic League
    PDL

    • Hang on MR. SANKOH, the author of this article did not mention anything about the PPRC. But here we are commenting on your problem with the PPRC. This just shows the generosity of the moderators. The truth is, we can read and listen but, can’t help.
      I really feel your frustrations.

      But, registration of political parties in the country are very straightforward. We did not encounter any problems last year when we tried to register our DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL MOVEMENT, although we abandoned the project because, we did not want to be losers. Maybe things have changed. I would advice you to find a solicitor to help with your problem. You can also approach other relevant government agencies. Good luck.

  2. I am skeptical about Vietnam even though they have made great progress within the last 20 years or more. Singapore is the most appropriate example for Sierra Leone to learn from. A country with almost no natural resources became a developed state in 35 years after independence.

  3. The scriptures states that people perished due to lack of knowledge. So I personally believe that if the flagship program (free quality education) is well implemented and respected by the people of our country, within 10-15 years we will continue to see more progress because countries like Vietnam and Singapore have very high literacy rate well over 90%.

    But at the moment, let’s continue to count our blessings especially the peace we continue to enjoy. And we don’t have to take it for granted. Hopefully by the grace of the Almighty, our leaders will once again bring back the railway.

  4. And here we are again talking about roads! But I thought roads were not important, because the ruling SLPP party used that against the previous APC government.

  5. Nincompoops indeed. Sierra Leoneans will ever remain to ask ERIC JAMES and the like, why they SCRAPPED THE RAILWAY.

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