By KABS KANU :
It cannot be denied that the cost of living has been affected by the removal of government subsidy on fuel –which was not really a government creation but one of the conditionalities given by the IMF to help mobilize local resources to confront the economic slowdowm brought about by the ebola outbreak and the decline in the price of our iron ore in the international commodity market.
We in Sierra Leone were not the only country given these conditionalities . Other African countries face the same problems. It is one of the preconditions the IMF gives to continue supporting a country’s economy. We wonder whether the IMF understands the potential problems they create in fragile countries with these conditionalities .
“De Pa” : HE LOVES HIS PEOPLE AND WILL NOT KNOWINGLY AND PURPOSELY INFLICT HARDSHIP ON THEM
While conceding this fact that life in the world as a whole is becoming rougher, we want to caution our Sierra Leonean people not to allow the power-hungry opposition (snooping around like hungry hounds looking for anything to use to upend the APC government ), dissident elements and anarchists to use them to exploit the economic situation to accomplish their goals. They will claim to be fighting for the ordinary people, but it is a lie. The SLPP, for one, has never pursued a cause larger than their own . They are just too desperate to return to State House. There is nothing wrong with that, but if the opposition and troublemakers want power so desperately , they must wait for the next elections and achieve their ambitions through the ballot box.Inciting chaos in the country is wrong and counter-productive.
EBOLA IS ONE OF THE CAUSES OF THE PRESENT PROBLEMS
The fact we must never forget is that there is never a peaceful demonstration when it is staged by such a power-hungry opposition that is only good at inciting people to take the law into their hands. While legal demonstrations are the constitutional rights of the people and should be permitted , on the other hand the organizers will always have problems to keep them peaceful, because of their accompanying negative and inciting rhetoric and their lack of moral will and resources to stop vagabonds and troublemakers from exploiting the demonstration . There will always be people ready to engage in looting , molestation of innocent people and destruction of public and private properties , which would in the end only exacerbate the economic problems they sought to address, and plunge the country into instability and chaos.
OUR IRON ORE COULD NO LONGER SUSTAIN OUR ECONOMY BECAUSE ITS PRICE FELL IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMODITY MARKET
Therefore, while the people have the constitutional right to demonstrate, such public actions in Africa do not usually achieve their purpose for three reasons : The wrong motives of the organizers, as in the case of the SLPP; the organizers’ lack of resources to keep the demonstration peaceful once it starts and the propensity of lawless elements to use them to loot and hurt the economy further and harm innocent persons. The alternative to such demonstrations that never accomplish their purposes is to engage the government peacefully in round table meetings to address complaints . Far more will be achieved from such methods .
Political intolerance and confrontations do not yield any benefits. In fact they make matters worse.
ILLEGAL DEMONSTRATIONS LEAD TO THIS AND WE DO NOT WANT IT IN SIERRA LEONE
Listening on audio, video and printed messages on social media to the statements of the organizers of the demonstration that would have taken place yesterday in Freetown, it was clear that these organizers were up to no good. First of all, their messages were full of lies and deceit, false promises and bad faith ( For instance, how can somebody be snugly seated in his armchair in America or Britain and be organizing demonstrations thousands of miles away in Freetown ? How can somebody sitting comfortably in the diaspora feasting on Macdonald’s chicken and junk food assure would-be demonstrators in Freetown that he has put technology and resources in place to make the demonstration safe, calm and peaceful ? ). Is that not deceit of the first order ?
WE DO NOT WANT THIS IN SIERRA LEONE ! !
Some people on the social media take our people for granted and abuse their intelligence. They think that they can play on the intelligence of our people to incite them to cause trouble for their own selfish ends. No wonder the public ignored the calls for a demonstration.
WE DO NOT WANT THIS IN SIERRA LEONE
We agree with some of the complaints of the people that Government must do a lot to stop profiteers from exploiting the removal of subsidy on fuel . Profiteers must not be allowed to indiscriminately and criminally increased the prices of basic commodities and food as they always do when prices go up at the fuel pump . Government agents must scour the markets and business places to ensure that prices remain under strict and reasonable control . Operators of taxis, poda podas , okadas and other forms of transportation must be stopped in their tracks from inflicting economic pain on the people by spurious increases in their fares. Market women and traders must be restrained from driving prices of their commodities through the roof. We believe that if this is done, the people can cope with the situation.
WE DO NOT WANT THIS IN SIERRA LEONE
While we feel sorry for them in their present economic dilemma , we want Sierra Leoneans to understand that it is a world -wide phenomenon. When you read the news from other countries in the third world, you find them encountering the same problems. The price of petrol just went up sharply in the U.S and Nigeria ( Where it is produced ).
We also want Sierra Leoneans to remember that before ebola, the President Ernest Koroma Government made Sierra Leone the country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Even in the review where the IMF suggested the conditionalities, they did praise the government for its handling of the economy. For all he has demonstrated to us, President Koroma loves his people and will not knowingly and willfully impose economic hardship on them. What is happening presently in Sierra Leone would have happened to the best SLPP Government. It was not President Koroma or the government who brought the ebola plague or caused the prices of commodities to decline in the international market. Let us be reasonable.
Civil society groups and representatives of the opposition should sit down with the government to demand safeguards against unnecessary and predatory price increases . It is their constitutional rights. But illegal demonstrations , no way. We want peace and stability in our country.
Sierra Leone belongs to us all. Let us learn to settle our problems amicably.