October 1, 2022

*Education

*Electricity

*Diplomacy

*Water Facilities

*Youth Empowerment

*Cultural Village

*Diagnostic Therapy

*Construction Of Houses For MPs

The Legislative house is no longer at ease with Government for its failures in education, electricity, diplomacy, water facilities, youth empowerment, establishment of a cultural village, a diagnostic therapy and construction of houses for members of Parliament.

Parliament exists to provide representation and oversight for the people of Sierra Leone.

 It also makes law for the good governance of the state and can invite a minister or any other official of government to explain or clarify a government policy or activity in their respective ministry. The President is also obliged to appear before it to submit plans for the development of the state.

 This all-important role places parliament in a class of its own in the three arms of government.

It is this role Honourable Abdul Karim Kargbo who represents constituency 077 in the northern district of PortLoko performed when he highlighted the President’s failures few days ago supported by other members of parliament. Hon Kargbo fondly known as AKK is a notable member of the main opposition, APC.

 The MP relied on speeches from the throne delivered on diverse dates of 2018, 2019 and 2020. It is a time-honoured convention for the President to appear before parliament to render account of his stewardship to the nation to keep Sierra Leone informed about its progress in all sectors of development. The President also goes there to inform the house about coming activities and programmes as well as new policies.

 It was during such appearances that the President promised the nation to achieve the aforementioned objectives. When such promises are made, parliamentarians note them down to see if they are mere political rhetorics or realities in the near future. This is a job that was well executed by the APC MP.

Hon AKK made reference to paragraph 55 of a Speech made by President Bio in 2018 when he appeared before parliament to address the house. In that paragraph, the MP reminded Sierra Leoneans about the President’s promise of establishing teacher-training colleges in all campuses country wide.

Parliamentarians as well as the people of Sierra Leone were convinced when the promise was made since education was government’s flagship programme.  Hopes were raised as the statement came from not a minister, but the President himself. It is hoped that knowledge delivery would be enhanced once the school for teachers is constructed as he who dispenses knowledge must be knowledgeable.

In the same limb, the promise for a tuition-free scheme for teachers’ education was made with the aim of value addition. The people of Sierra Leone were also excited when the president assured the people’s representatives that parliament would construct a primary school in every section, one junior secondary school in every chiefdom and one senior secondary in every constituency.

 Apart from the construction of schools, the President also promised that more classrooms would be constructed to eliminate the two-shift system. It was the President’s hope that education in Sierra Leone would be strengthened once this is achieved.

 A roll-out of the school-feeding programme in all government school, the MP said, would be provided for the retention of kids in schools.  Work is easier said than done. The promise to revamp electricity was also not left out by Honourable Kargbo’s submission.

 President Bio, in 2019, the APC MP said, promised to restore electricity throughout Sierra Leone.

Every district headquaters, the President promised, would benefit from the electrification scheme. Despite the President’s declaration, the promise still remains in black and white while its implementation is yet to be realised.

The nation’s capital, Freetown continues to struggle with power outages talk less of communities in the provinces. Rays of darkness still continue in the countryside in spite of government’s much trumpeted commitment to bring light to a dark country.

Former APC government still take credit for the entire energy situation in the country since it had sound energy agreements and contracts. The Karpowership agreement was one of them. The agreement left behind by the past government was cancelled by SLPP government describing it as a “bad contract.”  Ex-Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley, in a press conference at Youyi Building, years back, announced that government had, in stock, over 200mw to lit the city and other towns in Sierra Leone.

The Present Minister has however failed to capitalise on the positive energy situation. Government had hoped that electricity problem would be fixed if government bring in their own agreements and contracts.

The lack of continuity has landed the country in a state of ‘no-return’ despite government’s announcement of the new Mano River Union Electrification project. In the diplomatic and international relations field, the opposition MP also invited his colleagues’ to Paragraph 222 of the President’s 2019 address in parliament.

 The President informed parliamentarians that government would construct a school for the training of diplomats, and funds had been secured for the project.

 This current generation of Sierra Leoneans have waited for too long to see this project happen in their time. Sierra Leone is a country known for lack of safe drinking water. It is a social problem which successive governments have been grappling with. The absence of water affects almost every Sierra Leonean.

 But, it is more damaging to girls who are more vulnerable to paedophiles and rapists while on their way to the boreholes especially at night. In Paragraph 41 of his 2020 address to parliamentarians, President Bio said he would turn situation in favour of every Sierra Leonean saying that “water is life.” Without any mince words, President Bio told parliamentarians that he would commission water facilities in Sierra Leone to ensure that Sierra Leoneans enjoy unfettered access to water.

The promise is yet to be met by the President. Bio’s promises also spilled over to a vibrant and comprehensive youth empowerment scheme to make young Sierra Leoneans more relevant to national development. Sierra Leone’s history is replete with episodes in which the youth have been used for ephemeral intervention into politics as thugs. This ugly situation was caused by lack of investment in young people. 

In Paragraph 113 of 2020, President Bio assured Sierra Leoneans that the youth would be provided with subsidies to own shops, and import their own goods. The promise was a complete novelty for the country’s youth, but it is a travesty of social justice since government has not shown effort for its realisation.

The promise would have been one of the best if it had been implemented since the youth have lots of energy that can be harnessed, but it could be misused if not well tapped. This investment in the youth, the President said, would be accompanied by a Youth Empowerment Fund.

The establishment of a cultural village and National Arts Gallery where young talented men and women could display their talents was also one of the promises that featured prominently in the President’s speech. This promise is also still far from being a reality. 

The opposition MP also alluded to paragraph 2020, of the President’s speech in which the promise for the construction of a diagnostic therapy was made. President Bio told parliamentarians that Le19.8 has been set aside for that purpose.

The aim is stop Sierra Leoneans flying to Ghana or elsewhere for diagnostic services. President Bio was even bold to throw dust in parliamentarian’s eyes when he told them in paragraph 20 that “There will be houses for them.” Where are the houses, Bio?

 No house has been constructed for a member of parliament. Sierra Leoneans are lost in wonders about why the President failed in all of his projects. The answer is simple but hidden. President Bio fails to unite opposing forces at the right time to mobilise action for development.

It is only now that the President has come to realise that hands have be on deck for a prosperous future. But, time has far gone. Nobody fattens a pig on the market day. It is only time that will tell.