Re-electing President Bio in 2023 will be an error

Freetown protest

“What happened to the bread-and-butter issues promised by this government while in opposition”?

With Santigie Sesay in Washington DC

I was in the unknown world. I was clouded in dark clouds. That world was quiet and serene with restfulness. The chime from my iPhone was annoying but became rude following it continuous sounding. My eyes refused to be opened while my head began to vibrate due to the sudden shock. I struggled to come back to the physical world with constant hissing and waggling of my tongue. It was 03:45 am EST with Sierra Leone 5 hours ahead. I sluggishly stretched my left hand

towards the phone, grabbed and unlocked it. To my surprise, I missed 8 calls from 3 different people. Launched my WhatsApp and saw barrages of messages from many other known and unknown persons. As a social media addict, I was compelled to browse through the messages.

Although these were different people, the reason they were calling or texting me was the same-seeking help from me to provide food, take care of school and college tuition, or send other items for them. Some want to seek medical attention and the list goes on and on.

Those of us in the diaspora are more au fait with these sorts of calls and requests from friends and loved ones back home. I am not sure anyone could ever get use to this common pattern, but I am certain that everyone is experiencing the same.

However, it will be quarrelsome on anyone’s path to think that I am complaining or casting aspersion on people for seeking favors. That said, I am not in any way blaming these people for demanding some sorts of assistance from us instead of them becoming thieves like the politicians we have in Sierra Leone.

As I write, I have a long list of people whose requests are on the pipeline. That list is the most updated thing in my life-adding up with the tick of the clock. On a lighter note, those whom I have not blessed are encouraged to exercise patience; the list is yet to be exhausted.

The point I want to hammer home is that seeking external intervention to eke your living is contingent on a battered economy, tattered like a rag tag in a poverty-stricken country like Sierra Leone. There is no gainsaying that under the Julius Maada Bio regime, the level of poverty has multiplied for the masses. Living standard of the ordinary Sierra Leoneans has deeply depreciated. People cannot afford to buy basic goods and pay for essential services as there has been unprecedented hike in every sectors-transportation, telecommunication, education, electricity tariff, tax, excise duty etc. what other red flags should the people of Sierra Leone wait for other than what I have just established?

As expected of them, the public is pointing fingers at the government in power for doing little or nothing to cushion the suffering they have been subjected to. Like those people who were disturbing my sleep with calls, many Sierra Leoneans go to bed with empty stomach and wake up wandering what to eat. What is appalling is that, the priority of this misdirection SLPP government does not align with the needs and aspirations of the electorates.

The government’s priority since its inception into power is to suppress the opposition parties, swindle public funds into their foreign and domestic bank accounts and to bulldoze their way to stay in government till thy kingdom come. This is in sharp contrast with what the masses expected of them. As at now,

ninety-five (95%) percent of Sierra Leoneans are deeply frustrated, despondent, downtrodden due to the harsh reality on the ground. As if this was not enough for the people to bear, the very President from whom much is expected has the audacity to publicly tell the people that, he was sorry that he could not save the people from suffering the brunt of his political ineptitudes. Imagine a father telling his five year old child that he cannot save them from the suffering and hard times he or she is going through.

In the West, such a leader should have tendered in his resignation long time ago.

President Bio has manifested the magnitude of his leadership failures including accepting that Sierra Leone had been long divided by our colonial masters and so shall it remain. To further show how shallow his thought processes are, President Bio boisterously told the world that the suffering his people are going through is not his making and there is nothing he could do about it.

 In order words, he does not have the capacity to provide a sustainable or quick-fixed solution to ameliorate the sufferings of the people. This unfortunate statement from no less a person than the president is a clear demonstration that electing him in the first instance to lead Sierra Leone was the gravest mistake Sierra Leoneans ever made. Yes, politicians when they are not in governance have the best of ideas to solving the problems a country is facing. They’ll make barrages of unrealistic promises to deceive the unsuspecting public to vote them. But when they come in, they do the worse. Therefore the

SLPP government failed from day one. They failed to address the much trumpeted ‘bread and butter’ issues they promised, they failed to deflate the over-bloated cabinet they criticized the APC for, corruption became business as usual no sooner they assumed the leadership mantle, injustices became visible, the country became more divided on political, regional, and tribal lines.

All of this is due to the inability of President Bio to provide the much-needed change the people had envisaged prior to his winning the popular votes. Behold, upon all the confusion this President has created in the last four years plus, he also has the impudence to ask the people of Sierra Leone to re-elect him during the forthcoming election in June this year. This call by His Excellency is to test the level of stupidity the people of Sierra Leone possess which I am sure they don’t. The people of Sierra Leone are very wise, and we are capable of making informed decision based on the suffering our crooked politicians plunge us into.

Mark you, the APC government was kicked out of power in 2018 because the people at that time had reasons to believe that their living standard was declining. They argued that prices of local commodities and essential goods and services were skyrocketed. But take a moment to compare the prices then to now. What is the exchange rate now, what is the cost for building materials, rice, and fuel? Yes, these were genuine reasons to change a government with the hope that a new government will address this excruciating anguish.

International organizations have rated Sierra Leone poorly when it comes to upholding human rights standards, controlling the economy, and stabilizing the local currency value. All these have exposed this government of its new direction as a scam.

So how does this government expect the people to live? That question should help yours to determine who next to vote for come June 2023 elections. Your vote will make the difference.

Santigie Sesay is a Sierra Leonean journalist based in Washington D.C.

Re-electing President Bio in 2023 will be an error
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