By Abdul Hashim Daboh
Friday June 2, 2006
In May 2000, as part of his second coming, President Tejan Kabbah unveiled his ?food sufficiency” policy and strategy for his people with pomp and pageantry. Kabbah knew such a program would galvanize both our donor fatigued friends and the hungry populace. So even those of us who maintained our doubts for the president to provide credible leadership in running the nation’s affair were on deck in extolling the program.
From the IMF, FAO, to the Iranians, all poured in resources in the form of agriculture machinery, seeds, and even money to ensure the success of our president’s food production drive. Since then, on every foreign visit, and at every major gathering, the president had hammered home the food sufficiency talk, but with little or no appraisal of the State of affairs of that highly totted program.
However, if I may ask Mr. President, just Where are the machines, where are the donated seeds. In short, the average Sierra Leonean is still dead hungry going to bed every night, and indeed as farmers enter this rice-faming season, there is no hope that they will be living anywhere beyond the very meager food they could afford for their survival. Moreover, it is barely six months to go for every home based sierra Leonean to go to bed on full stomach as Tejan promised but that is not what we have seen in the 2007 horizon. Kabbah’s reality or Berewah’s burden, or our demise.
At the recently concluded ?National symposium on Food security’ in Freetown, the president reiterated his food policy agenda, and went further to assert that, ” the objective of this policy is to ensure that every citizen has access to food at all time”, and that “it is also about ensuring equity in access for every child ,woman ,and man in an environment where all those can be enjoyed “. However, what the president failed to report was a comprehensive assessment of the accomplishments or failures if not setbacks on his highly costly program that has only benefited his close friends and political cronies. Ahmed Tejan never reported to the nation that there was nothing sustainable in the entire food production agenda, rather (as with most of his failed programs) every detail of policies his government has made continue to bring untold economic burden on the people he swore to lead. The only thing the president has resurrected since 1996 is the old APC hacks into the SLPP; Cherinoh Abass Bundu is my testimony though the President and Berewah had earlier indicted Bundu for embezzlement and misuse of public office.
I can still recall the president and his party leader assuring especially residents of Freetown, that electricity will be to maximum level by December 2000, and, that the drive would see the resurrection of almost all basic social amenities. Therefore, by now, Freetown would have been one of the cleanest cities in Africa with good roads, uninterrupted electricity, sustainable pipe borne water and the rest would have been flowing like the Atlantic in our nation. But to this moment, it is a salient fact that electricity is only twenty four hours for Tejan ,Berewah and co, city roads very deplorable, and of course water still illusive of much in the East end while government ministers drive off in their SUVs, all at our cost. So therefore, Berewah’s bravado about water supply everywhere is not only a dishonest stewardship but also a systemic nature of their leadership of deceit, arrogance and contempt.
Why has Tejan failed in his food policy drive? Simply he could not provide the required leadership qualities the program desires. This man’s leadership has only ameliorated our difficult situation. All abut his stewardship is a systemic failure. From his amnesty of the old APC looters looted properties to his in ability to defend our sovereignty (whether in the face of Paul Koroma/RUF onslaught or the glaring looting spree of his political appointees) as a nation. Just a wuteh-teh classic failure. Fail is the hallmark of Tejan’s leadership. The farming tools he garnered from abroad were distributed to either his party higher- ups or his cronies from within.
Moreover, the most vital part of the program – transparent financial management systems collapsed no sooner the program was inaugurated, and Tejan took no steps to avert that looming failure. Besides, the Rokupr – Tomabum abandoned rice fields, (which his government should have utilized on a larger commercial basis) were of less consideration in his strategy leading to the under utilization of both human and mechanical resources the faming initiative could have garnered for a massive success. The Rokurp and Tomabum engagements would have brought in employment for the youths and the citizenry in whose areas the farming would affect thereby providing opportunities for natives and others to return to once abandoned towns and villages with the 1990s urban drift. This would have also created a source of revenue for local governments and a rapid resurgence of those areas thereby reducing the unemployed urban population.
Moreover, such a policy strategy would have initiated a retreat from the Diamond based population movement trend. Nevertheless, Tejan and his men found it untenable to leave their SUVs behind and meet the people for suggestions as how to implement the food drive. Therefore, the food sufficiency remains a big white elephant in the president’s cupboard.
Recently Berewah was in Kailahun shamefully flying high over the cell phone inauguration as though the poor people most of whom have for now any use for such an expensive venture rather probably too hungry to even think about cell phone. However and worst still was the wuteh -teh parody in kailahun. While Berewah was busy gloating over the Cell phone accomplishment, patients for lack of everything that can make a hospital function was not available in the kailahun government hospital. There are no medicines, few qualified personnel, medical equipments, antiquated or none existing supplies, on and on. Besides, it is apparent that most people cannot simply afford the financial burden the hospital charges. Did Berewah and his boss ever consider the urgent, but sustainable need for a better health care system for kailahun than a cell phone that will not be of much need to the people?
Yah yah!, as we have tirelessly conveyed to patriotic Sierra Leoneans, Solomon Berewah is a corrupt public official and his boss knows everything Solo does. The CSAP-SL/NMJD appraisal (-courtesy Freetown concord Times- 05/31/06) is implicitly confirming what the world have known for long about Kabbah and his anointed toy boy -Solo. B. It is no hidden fact that much of Berewah’s 2007 presidential truckloads of campaign money came from the fake and under performed Reconstruction contracts, but never without Kanja’s blessings. The poorly constructed Fire House edifice in Bo is only one of many such misplaced donor funds. But check the Schools especially those in the Northern Province, just a disgraceful mess. Nothing short of nonsense. Nevertheless, with such a devastating report card, will the President bring his deputy to the table, and is parliament gearing up for an opened enquiry of the VP’s office in this contract-gate conundrum?
Well with time am dead sure that Tejan and Co. would be required to answer for their awful stewardship in an opened forum. By the way, have you forgotten that it was Kanji Daramy who single handedly decapitated the once viable Postal service renamed SALPOST. Alternatively, is it just a way for Tejan to compensate his money launderers? Taking that management wreck to that kwashiorkor institution of SIERRATEl is just another proof of our leadership’s death wish for that ravaged body. Nevertheless, Kabbah has done it to the NRA, Lotto, Finance, Foreign Affairs, with impunity. It could be that the State House is now tired of Kanji’s eye treatment bills, so the Pa. needs to push him where we can further simply cash his expense check. Well time will tell if indeed you have led us to noble heights or serfdom.
In addition, my latest information is that the president and Solo have narrowed the running mate list to Kadie Sesay and Momodu. Kanja gave in due to his strong conviction that his party will loose in 2007. Therefore, the young man, though equally corrupt, would prefer remaining in his present locality until the 2007 elections with a possible finance position if his confidant Solo ever wins the State House.
However, one thing Solo or Tejan has eloquently failed to consider in that, as Solo so is Kadie- both are equally mere strangers in the interior of Sierra Leone. That the two have lately decided to get closer to their hometowns for political expediency is a travesty. what a good mess of a choice.
In conclusion, I wonder whether solo and TJ are aware of the mess they have created in so short a time. And we wont let you guys decide who can clear the garbage come 2007. One thing is obvious, and that is either the two of you will abscond to a foreign country, or probably somewhere the law provides for people of your type.
I read with utter dismay Bishop Boyabei’s conclusion that the decade long killings in West Africa, especially the Mano River basin ended with the arrest and detention of Taylor, Certainly not. Unless the Bishop Boyabei was, and continue to live on mars or Jupiter, but the principal circumstances leading to the blood letting in Sierra Leone was far more than Taylor, Sankoh or Prince Johnson. It was simply a cumulative effect of needless misrule, misuse of resources, human Right abuses and the complete marginalization of the masses by the highly insecure and greedy power barons that burst the powdered keg. The flagrant misuse of public wealth rendering those states leaderless, and the governments inability to provide basic necessities such as Health care ,quality education ,motorable roads ,electricity ,etc, etc despite the continuous growth in foreign debts on those countries were a breeding ground for that mishap. Moreover, if Bishop Boyabei still lives in Sierra Leone, much of what the old APC perpetrated during its twenty something years in power still reign. Misuse of public funds by public officials with impunity, stagnation of the middle class and the un-fulfillment of developmental promises by government, and the endless dispensation of Social injustices, all culminated into festive anger that only God knew the limit.
In the Sierra Leone where my learned Bishop lives, all government officials ride in high SUVs, enjoy a twenty four hours electricity, fat salaries and emoluments, well fed while the bulk of those who suffered most in hands of those killers continue to live in abject poverty ,if not total desolation. Rev. go down to those towns and villages that were burnt down by the rebels to see for your self how a once proud and elegant people continue to live in misery. Two third of those houses burnt may never again be rebuilt simply because of the high cost of Zinc and nail- meaning most of our populace will continue living in farm huts and other thatched homes till tomorrow. These were some of the instruments or propane that many believed propelled Taylor and Co. So bro. Boyabei the best you can offer us is talking loud about those terrible living conditions so that no one will ever again least imagine taking up arms against its people. Will the politicians listen and have a moment of thorough introspection, a loud no!
I hope Taylor will never again see the light of day, and may all those whose acts and actions shall culminate into those conditions that brought us to serfdom be punished retroactively by the people themselves in the ballot booths and not by force of arm.
TJ, it is up to you. If you are serious, let us see what the CSAP-SL report will bring for the masses, and how well your corruption ?fight’ has been. Again, as before, nothing will come out of that report and probably no one will further search the truth about it. It has happened in other African countries where a VP is presently on trial. The ball is in your court Mr. Preso! Show us your true gut and cause to follow your footsteps. However, will history repeat itself sooner than later?
Lastly, I know as Tejan do that come 2007, the price of rice will continue to skyrocket hence, like most other national problems ,Ahmed tejan has no idea what to do.