Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Encouraging The Vote: Sierra Leone Style

Lungi Airport
Thousands of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora who are still enthralled at the fact of democracy in their native country traveled last year to the country to register in order to vote in the forthcoming 2012 Presidential and Legislative elections. Those who were unable to register to vote are planning to go to the country in their thousands to help their respective campaigns and parties turn out the vote and make the election a festive affair, as was the case under President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah,  rather than one characterized by violence and strife, as has been promised by Interior Minister Tarawallie.

The All People's Congress led government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has decided to encourage diaspora participation in the election by imposing a new $24.00 security fee at the airport. No individual, regardless of what passport you hold, will be able to get on any plane out of Sierra Leone without the payment of the twenty four dollars. It has to be in dollars, the Leone equivalency is a no no. It is a fee for security in Sierra Leone, but sorry, no Leones accepted. Don't you just love APC?
Do not forget to keep 24

Walk from Conakry to Freetown
A friend of mine who traveled from Freetown at the weekend was angry at this sudden charge, but there was nothing he could do about it. When he questioned the payment, he was simply told it was security fees. Now this is what it truly means to run a country like a business. True businessmen do not go about explaining their prices, they just impose them and if you want, you can buy if you don't its up to you. Same as the new 24 dollar fee; pay if you go to Sierra Leone. If you do not want to pay it, try walking by road from Conakry to Freetown and maybe next time you will change your mind.
APC's Gravy Train

A positive news from Sierra Leone is that the proposed lump sum contribution demanded by the secretary to the president's cabinet and head of the civil service S. G. Pessima as a forced financial contribution to the president for the death of his mother, has been rejected by the family, after some grumbling by civil servants that bereavement contributions should be an act of goodwill, not a directive from government. Though the country is being run like a business, there was no business sense in making money from this kind of sad event, when people were genuinely grieving with the president over the loss of his dear mother. Government moved swiftly to put the breaks on this unholy affair.
Thorpe Laughing all the way to the Bank

Another positive news is that the All Peoples Congress has just decided to motivate Electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe to do her job well by giving her a salary of 30 million Leones, with benefits. This makes the happy hardworking woman one of the highest paid electoral commissioners in the world, in a country where a lecturer with two PhDs is paid chicken change and the average employee goes for months on end without a single month's salary. Given the acute shortage of money in the banks that is forcing APC councillors to engage in highway robbery, one can only wonder what the true motive for this astronomical increase is in an election year. But as I do not begrudge anybody making an honest living, I congratulate Sister Thorpe on her salary increase and hope that it motivates her to conduct free and fair elections, especially in my home district Kailahun, as I say this is the Segbwema Blog and Segbwema is in Kailahun

Is Sierra Leone develping another Robert Mugabe?
APC's role model?

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