By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
It is a truism that majority of Sierra Leoneans were not desperate for the “New Direction” of the then flagbearer of the now ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). That is why Sierra Leone is, at present, being ruled by the minority as personified in the compositions of the current House of Parliament and majority of the Local and City Councils countrywide.
Sierra Leone is currently in a fine mess because President Bio’s “New Direction” seems to be exhibiting blatant disregard for national cohesion, as Sierra Leoneans from the northern parts of the country and the Western Area are now being sacked with the frequency with which the Minister of Information and Communications breathe air. The latest of the continual sackings by the Bio-administration is the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ady Macaulay a Krio Muslim from the Western Area, who has been euphemistically thrown out on a “Special Leave” which utterly contravenes the ACC Act.
Ady Macaulay’s “Special Leave” sacking was long coming because he would have been the only person to be in a better position to know whether members of the Bio-government have amassed wealth or not. Prior to the 2018 General Elections, the now President Bio tirelessly promised that he would declare his assets as soon as he was elected. Now with nearly three months in power, he is yet to declare his assets publicly. But even if he wants to do it in camera, the President has to do it in the ACC Commissioner’s office and the Commissioner will be the sole custodian of that document which will be kept in a safe in his Gloucester Street office in Freetown. That would have given Mr Macaulay the ammo, in the future, to make comparative analysis between President Bio’s assets declaration now and few years later.
And because it will be, figuratively, foolhardy for a wife to make her husband’s concubine the executor of her husband’s will (what the Americans will call “Last Testament”); so Ady Macaulay needs to go. And has to be forcefully removed to be replaced by a Bio loyalist even if contravening an Act of Parliament (like they attempted to do with the Finance Acts of 2016, 2017 and 2018)!
And two of the defining characteristics of the Bio-administration are its penchant for blowing hot and cold; and whitewashing facts with insulting fallacies. When the SLPP took over governance they made fanfare of how transparent and accountable they were by telling the nation what was collected as national revenue for April this year. But in May, the nation was not told how much revenue was collected except that one of the Pinocchios of the Bio-administration is alleged to have said that revenue collected in May is far less than what was collected on a single day in June. But could they give us the figures as they did in April? Well, if a boy tells his parents Good Morning, he is also expected to say Good Afternoon or Evening when he returns home.
Another instance of the Bio-administration blowing hot and cold is on the issue of “plugging leakages” in the Wage Bill. But alas, the current SLPP government has the most ultra-bloated cabinet in the history of Sierra Leone (the Koroma-led APC government had less than 46 cabinet Ministers and Deputies, but the current SLPP government has about 56 Ministers inclusive Deputies). Now the country has a Chief Minister who seems to be doing exactly what the Vice President should be doing. At State House there is a Press Secretary whose Job Description appears to be Siamese twins to that of the Communications Director, while it is being alleged that President Bio has two Personal Assistants when former President Koroma only had one! And there are plenty of instances in the corridors of power in which two or more people are doing the same job with fattish salaries. All these show that the Bio-government is seriously unserious about “plugging leakages”. Instead of “plugging”; they are unplugging more plugs!
With the SLPP’s “New Direction”, things generally in the country are hard for common folks. There is an increase in tariff on all imported goods, and the ripple effects are now biting ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Prices have gone up in the local markets which have led to severe hardships. And the United States’ Dollar is Rolla-skating against the Leone. But the only concern of the Bio-administration is to engage in wholesale intimidations, harassments, and sackings of citizens for the unspeakable crime of either being members of the All People’s Congress or suspected to be APC sympathizers.
The current Wizard-hunting (I won’t use “witch-hunting” because majority of those sacked are males) by the ‘New Directioners’ will not take Sierra Leone anywhere. It might not even give the Bio-administration the political solace they think the systematic sackings would have. The Wizard-hunting just shows how paranoid the Bio-administration is, and the lack of confidence with which they are carrying out statecraft. Looking for witches and wizards in places where only Bishops and Cardinals live gives an aura of Josef Stalin searching for his “lost pipe”!
These systematic sackings, of members of the All People’s Congress or those suspected to be APC sympathizers, are now making the sit-on-the-fencers to be having the same feeling which the narrator has in Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. And the results of the latest six Local Council by-elections, in which the APC overwhelmingly won five including one in the home district of President Julius Maada Bio, are indications that majority of Sierra Leoneans didn’t raise their arms and welcome the SLPP when they came with their “New Direction” talking about their salvation.
What is now clear from the modus operandi of the Bio-administration is that their “New Direction” is leading Sierra Leone to nowhere. Even the once-upon-a-time noisy SLPP-leaning Civil Society activists; the SLPP media apparatus, and the freelance SLPP propagandists are now ashamed of the status quo in the country. And they are being noiseless because they do not want to make Freudian slips that will make the promised jobs become just promises. So for the moment, they are playing the Sir Winston Churchill’s fabled man who is constantly feeding a crocodile with the aim that it will eat him last. And their “New Direction” is directionless like a rudderless ship!