By John Baimba Sesay
The Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma, knowing the challenges of the country in the transport sector, and feeling the need of the ordinary man for improved transport facility, decided to contract the manufacture according to preferred design, and subsequent purchase of 100 buses from the People’s Republic of China. A year thereafter, on July 6 this year, the buses arrived in Sierra Leone.
The 100 buses were manufactured by Zhongtong Buses in Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, north of China. Poly Group, a reputable company in China, had signed a contract with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, for the supply of the said buses.
Prior to their delivery, in March this year, a pre-delivery assessment of the buses was conducted with specific attention to materials, components and construction procedures. I was part of the team that had visited the manufacturing site, as the Embassy’s Information Attaché. Other members of the team included Bockarie Lewis Kamara, CEO Sierra Leone Roads Transport Cooperation, Consultant from the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Engineer Lamin A. Koroma and Alfred Johnny, Head of Workshop- SLRTC.
The two day long visit commenced from the very site of production commencement, to the site where the final products were assembled. Pictures were taken showing how the production started unto the final stage (see photos). The technical team from Sierra Leone was happy with the made of the buses, and its recommendations were considered before the delivery was made.
The Government of Ernest Bai Koroma did not buy ready-made buses, it suggested the design based on expert advice and concluded contract upon assessment report that manufacture had followed design recommended. The demagogues going round on social media discrediting Government’s efforts just show the extent to which some people can go to discredit their country, in the name of party politics. It is sickening, a total display of political racketeering, which has no place in any civilized society. Why can’t people be positive for just once for God’s sake? I know that even enemies have respect for the strength of each other.
But let it be known that it is not the handful of selfish opposition cyber demagogues that would have to decide at the end of the day whether or not Government has done well, for they will always work towards ridiculing whatever Government does. The people of Sierra Leone would decide when the effect of what the President Ernest Bai Koroma Government has done reaches every home and in every corner of Sierra Leone. We are talking about 100 buses, not 10 or 49. The buses are new, brand new. I saw them myself at the production site few months ago. It is unfortunate that those who are exponents of this hate theory are really knowledgeable of the situation of our people, but they still want them to continue in that degrading situation as their god-fathers had left them. May God pardon them.
John Baimba Sesay-China