Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP): Hardship personified

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)


Disclaimer: everything you read in this One Dropian dropping is factually factual because it is realistically realistic. But if you don’t believe what is written herein, you can shrug it off and continue with your “suffering and smiling”, to quote the late Nigerian musician and activist, Fela Kuti. I like making reference to the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)’s 2018 manifesto, dubbed the “People’s Manifesto”, and juxtaposing it with prevailing situations in Sierra Leone. And when I always do, readers normally come to the brutal conclusion that President Julius Maada Bio and his acolytes appear to be some of the greatest deceivers Sierra Leone has ever produced.


In the “Foreword” of the SLPP’s 2018 Manifesto, President Bio and his acolytes promised, “…a New Direction for Sierra Leone as a united, peaceful, progressive, dynamic, confident, enterprising and happy nation where the people (will) have unlimited access to jobs, food, education, and health services and where there is equal justice and equal opportunity for all.…” Now, going by this promise and the prevailing circumstances in the country; you will agree with me that President Bio and his SLPP government have failed with distinction! The majority of Sierra Leoneans should no longer be frightful of how hell would look like in the hereafter; the Bio-led administration has given a graphic picture of how it is: hyper-high cost of living and electricity and water supplies are as erratic as the policies of the SLPP’s government.


It is now extremely difficult for most Sierra Leoneans to afford a square meal a day. And the rising price of fuel keeps competing with the frequencies with which President Bio flies out of the country. Even the current Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, is now ashamed of parroting about the “bread and butter issues” as the money to buy the flour and build the “tapalapa” bakery seems to have been wasted in chartering planes for the President’s overseas “ladida” (to quote my Krio relatives’ phrase). But I can understand why Mr Saffa is currently keeping mum about the economic theories he was spewing out in the media in Pre-2018 Sierra Leone. His own bread is not only now being mayonnaise-d but has sausages in them as well. I know he is keeping with the African tradition of not talking between mouthfuls!


And coming back to the SLPP’s 2018 Manifesto, President Bio knows that Sierra Leone, today, is one of the most divided nations in the world because of the tribalistic policy which the SLPP appears to be implementing to the letter. The President knows that except for his tribesmen and relatives, the majority of Sierra Leoneans do not “have unlimited access to jobs [and] food”. He knows that Sierra Leone is not as peaceful as it was before he took over the rudder of the state. The Commander-in-Chief is aware that with sprinting inflation and abysmal health services nationwide, Sierra Leone could never be a “progressive, dynamic, confident, enterprising and happy nation”. And he knows that under his terrible watch, there is no equal justice and opportunities for all citizens as it appears as if the justice for those who are members of the main opposition, the All People’s Congress (APC), is quite different from those of the SLPP. Yet, with maladministration, injustices, and unequal opportunities in present-day Sierra Leone flourishing; President Bio seems to have mastered the artless art of being economical with the truth.


He appears to be out of sync with the realities in the country. And he is giving the impression that he is living in a phantasmagorical world! For how could he, in his speech on Tuesday 10 May 2022 during the “Occasion of the State Opening of the Fifth Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone”, state that, “we are now transforming our nation into a just, peaceful, cohesive, and productive one…” Which nation was he talking about? Certainly, it can’t be the Sierra Leone we are all living in at present! Deep down in his heart of hearts, the President knows that his SLPP government has failed to create a just, peaceful, cohesive, and productive nation. He knows he has used tribalism and tyranny as knives to slash the ethos that once held Sierra Leone together as a nation. And as if he was enjoying his seemingly deceptive deception, in that same 10 May 2022 speech in the Chamber of Parliament Building, President Bio stated that “my Government continues to implement sound economic policies and public financial management reforms.


These policies and programmatic interventions have added stability to our economy…” This is laughably laughable, you and I know that! And that’s not all; he continued to provoke laughter where laughter could have been a sign of bad taste when he announced that, “in spite of a sharp contraction in 2020, our economy is in recovery and projected to grow by 5.0 percent this year, higher than the Sub-Saharan African projected growth rate of 3.8 percent for 2022”. Well, if you juxtapose that last statement with all the prevailing economic hardships that are permeating the face of Sierra Leone; then you will appreciate our Head of State’s seemingly true lies! Those seemingly true lies are making our Head of State look bad in the eyes of right-thinking Sierra Leoneans. Common sense dictates that if, truly, the SLPP government has been implementing “sound economic policies”, and if those “policies and programmatic interventions have added stability to our economy”; then the projected “5.0% growth this year” would have reflected in the pockets, dining tables and bank balances of working and middle-class Sierra Leoneans.


But since President Bio appears to be living in a dreamer’s dream world, I’m still waiting for him to produce the key to Wonderland. And as I always note in my One Dropian droppings, the majority of Sierra Leoneans are twice worse off today as they were five years ago. But the comic-tragic thing is that: President Bio and his acolytes still believe that they have improved the lot of ordinary Sierra Leoneans simply because they, the ruling elites, are unable to look beyond the walls of State House and State Lodge. Sadly sad! It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from Chinua Achebe that says, “When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.” That’s the SLPP personified! And the majority of Sierra Leoneans’ sufferings will be diluted when the SLPP is balloted out of power in 2023.


Courtesy: By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) [email protected]/+232-76-611-986

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