Vote for change and hope, not hopeless continuity!

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18. 02. 10
posted by: Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (The Original Hi-Tech)
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The People’s Manifesto: 

Vote for change and hope, not hopeless continuity!

As we head to the March 27 Presidential Run-off poll between the Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples party and Dr Samura Kamara of the All People’s Congress, we are faced with a very clear choice: vote for change and hope championed by Maada Bio and the SLPP, or vote hopeless continuity associated with Samura and the APC.

 

Looking at the current mood of voters who have been very emotional in showing their dissatisfaction and frustration with how the APC government has over the past ten years brought untold suffering  with over 70% youth unemployment, staggering inflation, poor living conditions, depleting educational facilities, sluggish economy, rising internal and external debts, you name it, it is very clear that there is no better time for people to vote with their feet for change and hope to reverse

 this sad state of affairs and show the APC the exit door.      

Flying high with the psychological advantage of coming on top in the first round of voting by beating his opponent, Samura of the ruling APC party, by almost 14,000 votes, Maada Bio has largely demonstrated that he is no doubt man of the moment and is most likely the one to cross the finishing line if voting goes on in a free and fair manner. It is very hearten

Going by the SLPP’s People’s manifesto and Maada Bio’s track record of making promises and delivering on them, with his delivery of the peace and democracy we all enjoy today easily coming to mind, there is no doubt that he is better prepared to deliver the change and hope most Sierra Leoneans have long been waiting for. The worst thing that would happen to Sierra Leone since it gained its independence from Britain in 1961 is for Sierra Leoneans to wake up in the morning after the March 27 poll to a Samura Kamara victory! May the Almighty God forbid this as it would no doubt spell doom for a country that is by all indications currently on a life support? I am hoping and praying that majority of voters would vote for change and hope, instead of this hopeless continuity called the APC and avoid this catastrophic doom.ing and refreshing to see endorsements of Maada Bio’s bid for the presidency coming thick and fast from most old and new voters who voted for other presidential candidates in the first round. This shows Maada Bio firmly and psychologically in the driving seat and will be voted president of Sierra Leone come March 27.

What is even worrying is the fact that the current state of hopelessness and mess associated with the current APC regime is not only felt by the majority of the people of Sierra Leone, whose rejection of the ruling party is evident in the little more than 57% who voted against them in the first round, but also by the international development partners and financial institutions.  The Bretton Woods financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, are believed to have put on hold all their financial packages to the country until after the elections, and it is very unlikely that they would continue to do business with this country any time soon if the current reckless mismanagement of the country’s resources and finances continues.  It is therefore in the country’s best interest to vote in change and hope with Maada Bio against the hopeless continuity of the APC under Samura.

I will outline below some of the most important reasons why voters should vote for change and hope with Maada Bio and the SLPP, instead of the hopeless continuity of the APC with Samura:  

The Economy: You only need to go around the country and breath the untold suffering of majority of the people who are struggling to get by on a daily basis to appreciate how pathetic and deplorable the state of our economy is at this point in time. With staggering inflation, which has seen the price of basic commodities such as rice and petrol hitting the roof, most families are struggling to afford even one meal a day, let alone a square meal. Inflation has gotten worse because of the sluggish economic activity in the country largely caused by lack of access to finance and scarce goods and services, both of which have largely been caused by lack of foreign exchange to boost imports and exports, failure to balance the  country’s books, and massive corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources. Voting change and hope with Maada Bio and the SLPP inspired by the NEW DIRECTION policy of social development would help to reverse this unfortunate state of the economy and restore some normalcy. If anything, the SLPP has a good record of accomplishment of managing the economy very well in the past. For example, when the SLPP under late president Tejan Kabbah handed power to the APC in 2007, the Sierra Leone economy was doing far better with a 500 million dollars surplus left in the national kitty than it is doing now. In contrast, the APC under Ernest Koroma is leaving behind over 2 billion dollars in foreign debt and a local debt standing at over a trillion Leones.  While a bag of rice was selling for 60,000 Leones under the SLPP in 2007, it is now selling at 250,000 Leones. Things are very likely to get worse and not better, if the APC is given another chance. Things can only get better with the economy if we all vote for change and hope with Maada Bio and the SLPP on March 27 2018.     

Human Development: One of the sectors in human development that has suffered considerable reverse under the current APC regime is education. Restoring education to where it truly deserves to be among the country’s priorities is the topmost flagship project of the NEW DIRECTION vision of Maada Bio and the SLPP. It is for this reason that Maada Bio promised in the people’s manifesto to deliver free education to all children from primary to secondary school with NO SS4 and to create a separate ministry of Higher Education, which will exclusively cover, vocational, technical, teacher training, and university education. Addressing the dire health and housing challenges is also at the centre of the human development package of the people’s manifesto. Voting change and hope with Maada Bio means that we would be in a much better situation to secure our country’s human development for generations to come.

Good Governance: Good governance, especially by way of transparency and accountability, is very central to the change and hope Maada Bio has committed to deliver to the people of Sierra Leone. Going by the People’s manifesto, it is very clear that the SLPP government under the leadership of Maada Bio is committed to adopting a more inclusive and transparent approach to governance. The idea is to engage members of the public and build public trust in the way the country is governed in the true spirit of democracy.  In order to achieve this Maada Bio has committed to tackle corruption, which has become the trade mark of the APC making their AGENDA FOR CHANGE look more like AGENDA FOR CORRUPTION, head on by first restoring the independence of the Anti-Corruption Commission and strengthening the processes of holding public officials found wanting to account. Good governance and democracy would be further strengthened by restoring autonomy to the operations of institutions such as the judiciary, the police, the Independent Media Commission, the National Electoral Commission, National Commission for Human Rights, National Revenue Authority, and the Public Service Commission etc. Worthy of mention here is also Maada Bio’s commitment to promote press freedom by promising to repeal the obnoxious Criminal Libel Act and introduce the Freedom of Information Act. All these positive changes would happen if we vote change and hope with Maada Bio in State House come March 27 2018.

Infrastructural development: Despite all the infrastructural developments, albeit largely limited to road construction, the APC has been bragging about, Sierra Leone is ranked 49th out of 53 African countries within the African infrastructure index established by the African Development Bank. Sierra Leone’s development efforts are therefore significantly impacted by the ‘deficits in both the quantity and quality of its critical infrastructure’ (SLPP Manifesto, 2018; 75). In his new government’s NEW DIRECTION VISION, Maada Bio has committed to addressing these deficits by proactively embarking on critical infrastructure that covers ‘energy (generation, transmission and distribution; water (clean drinkable water, harnessing water supply, irrigation and navigation) and sanitation; transport (road, rail, air, sea and pipelines); ICT (Information Communication and Technology) and housing’ ((SLPP Manifesto, 2018;75). Again, all these changes would happen if we vote change and hope with Maada Bio in State House come March 27 2018.

To conclude, as we can see from the above reasons, there is no better time for the people of Sierra Leone to say enough is enough and a final bye to the APC and welcome back the SLPP under the leadership of Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.

 THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE, DR IBRAHIM SEAGA SHAW, IS SENIOR LECTURER IN MEDIA AND POLITICS AT THE NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, UK