Thursday, August 16, 2012

President Ernest Koroma's Dilemma

President Koroma Not Happy
Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma is not a happy man these days. For a man who came to power promising to reduce poverty and improve the fortunes of the majority of the people, his government has been an unmitigated disaster for the livelihood of the common man. Rice the country's staple food was 60 thousand leones when the president took over in 2007, it is now 200 thousand,  while the average office messenger is paid 150 thousand leones. In essence, Sierra Leone in addition to its many distinctions can now also boast of having the poorest office messengers in the world, thanks to APC.

In 2007, Ernest Koroma capitalized on the high illiteracy rate in the country to run a fairy tale campaign completely devoid of reality. In an era of rising world food prices, Ernest Koroma promised to reduce the price of a bag of rice from 60 thousand leones to 20 thousand leones, knowing full well that the country imported most of its rice from other countries and the APC had no plan to radically increase domestic rice production. He promised to electrify the city in 90 days and the entire country in less than a year. He promised universal education and health. In essence President Koroma promised Utopia in Sierra Leone while minimizing all the effort that President Tejan Kabbah had made to drag the economy from a war torn disaster into one that stood on the threshold of economic revival.
Ex President Tejan  Kabba 

For most Sierra leoneans, it is this acceleration into abject poverty under the new APC that has become so disheartening. Alpha Kamara, a local petty trader in Freetown who was a strong supporter of president Koroma stated that he voted for the president not because they were from the same district or even because he hated Solomon Berewa, but simply because things were bad under President Kabba and as a businessman they had hoped that Koroma would make things better in the country because of his experience. Mr. Kamara stated that he does not care about tribe because hunger to the Mende man is same as hunger to the Temne man. He said that though there were a lot of people who thought that this year northerners would blindly follow Ernest Koroma, most villages and towns in the north were suffering as much as people in the other areas of the country. He said that he even considered it an insult for people to think that northerner will just vote for Ernest Koroma because he is from the north. He said that most of the loud supporters of the current government were irresponsible people who did not have families to feed. He stated that any serious Sierra Leonean with a family to feed daily were tired of this government and their stealing and fraud and corruption.
APC's Neglect of Freetown

Saidu Kallon a farmer in Kenema said that they were quiet and were just waiting for November to vote out this useless government. He said that APC thought that Sierra Leoneans were fools who would be convinced by propaganda and lies to vote for them again. He said that while all the people who write praises about the government ride about in big trucks or cars, or live overseas, they have to see their children go to bed every night hungry. He said that anybody who will want this type of hardship to continue must have no blessing, as they go to church everyday and pray to God to deliver them from evil, and he believed that this government was pure evil, full of liars, thieves and crooks.

Alice Sesay a 25 year old unemployed single mother stated that they are praying for a woman like Kadi Sesay who know the hardship women suffer to become vice president and develop programs and hope for women like her. She said that APC has no respect for women emphasizing that just recently, the minister of Sports Paul Kamara had publicly stated that "Sierra Leone women were cheaper than chickens". She said the minister should realize that his own mother and wife were also Sierra Leone women and that it was the fact that women like her had no hope that some were turning to prostitution, just to survive.
Sports Minister Paul Kamara
"Sierra Leone Women Cheaper than Chickens"

A civil servant who appealed to the Segbwema blog correspondent for anonymity stated that this government was not only a failure, but a real disgrace. He said that most of the political appointees who had come from the diaspora did not know anything and were just engaged in scams to enrich themselves and run away to America and Europe should things go wrong. "Look at Karamoh Kabba," he said. "That fellow came to this country claiming to be a writer who had authored two books, only for the world to know that he cannot even write a simple article. Sam Sumana the vice president claimed he had important jobs in America, only to be exposed as a parking lot attendant in USA. In order not to face the current allegations, he has run away to Mecca, contaminating that holy land with his corrupt and unholy presence."

In the midst of this dark situation, the president has a real dilemma. Is he to run with his corrupt and scandalous vice president who even the international community now regards as nothing but a cheap crook, or is he to replace him and risk the event of Sam Sumana exposing deals that the government would not want the people to know about. If President Koroma replaces Sumana Timber, he risks being seen as having capitulated to opposition pressure and the tenacity of investigative opposition journalists. If he decides to keep Sam Sumana, he risks the prospect of the already bad reputation of the government being dragged deeper into the mud. The president is in a no win situation and the only hope he has now is that Sam Sumana comes back from Mecca and somehow miraculously manages to leave all that garbage behind in Saudi Arabia. While Sam Sumana will spend the next few days contaminating the Holy City of Mecca, Ernest Koroma will be sitting in his palace, cradling a bottle of cold beer while contemplating his dilemma.
Sumana Timber "Alhaji Yuki Yuki"

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