In what many described as a wind government leading to the subsequent announcement of blotted cabinet and foreign services staff placement list, the public has raised serious concerns on the scope of public expenditures by government, with the creation of four new embassies and ministries added already to the long list of recipients of tax payers’ money.
The cabinet shake-up means doling jobs for the boys from President Julius Maada Bio are mere compensations to loyalists in Falaba, Koinadugu and other places, but failed to divert our fixed focus on Sierra Leone’s 2019 Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The widely publicized good news of six hundred million United States Dollars $600 award doled from the US initiative for what is being described by the corporation as government is seemingly doing extremely well in fighting corruption, ruling justly; economic freedom, the list is long with very miserable grades in all indicators.
Yet eleven out of twenty indicators approximately seventy-nine percents (79%) scored by Sierra Leone, though largely unmatched with the harsh realities on the ground.
For instance, the rating on inflation at “16.9%”, fiscal policy 4% which the last administration left at 43% clearly represents poor and very bad economy.
There is in fact a whole lack of microfinance for small scale and medium enterprises making the situation worst for petty traders, which is quite the opposite to that of the MCC scorecard.
Thus the MCC should not be warding Sierra Leone government whiles the national economy is on a life support machine, the people are dying of hunger and starvation, political harassments, intimidation, economic enslavements and hardship, regional, tribal and political intolerant and divisions, arbitrary arrests and detention of opposition party members, journalists as well as host of other undemocratic governance misrule which the MCC failed woefully to underscore in its 2019 scorecard as if those above mentioned state of affairs are not happening in Sierra Leone and affecting the people.
So no need to have even come out with data on “political rights” which has nothing to talk about in as much as political rights are concerned because as we speak, there are opposition party members and supporters behind bars for politically motivated ignited against them by their opponents, that is why rating at 28% is an overstatement by the MCC but there is no political rights to opposition politicians.
The more reasons we consider the scorecard as cooked up accolades the west, the US in particular, wants to add to the feathers of the SLPP and President Bio.
All leaders made giant strides in fighting corruption and the fight is not a new one.
The corporation should not be awarding a country that does not respect democratic values and principles, that does not respect the paramount supremacy of parliament, civil liberties that went out of its way and turned down seats of democratic rights of ten All People’s Congress APC Members of Parliament to the ruling SLPP MPs via a supreme court verdict stamped down by Justice Komba Kamanda that the MCC is here praise singing government, President and his team.
Sierra Leone has come a long way with her democracy so what went wrong for us to be rated in “civil liberties at 37%”.
Ruling justly is completely out as there is no regard for law and order, procedures and constitutionality, leading to failures in all the indicators.
However, the US embassy in the country and the MCC office are well aware of the breakdown in administrative structures ranging from in-adequate supply of electricity and water to communities in Freetown and many other parts of the country.
Sierra Leone does not deserve an international award for abusing the rights of its people and imposing poverty on them.
The US mission is also fully aware of the indiscriminate sackings of officials of the last administration, massive sufferings of the peoples due to the imposing economic status in the country wherein government workers hardly receive salaries on time…mostly receive alerts on 8th to 10th of the new month, people remained largely deprived of essential social services such as healthcare, safe drinking water supply and sanitation in the wake of sky rocketing prices of food and other vital commodities, bad tax policies that are stalling down local and international businesses, and fall in local currency the Leone.
Also why the MCC should have under studied the situation back home very well before misplacing that award because much of what the MCC indicators claimed to be up and running perfectly is less that 45% manned by the SLPP Bio-led administration.
And the huge assignments still remained unsolved as bread and butter issues continue to confront authorities with challenges of self-food sufficiency everywhere. Where is the said “economic freedom”?
The fight against corruption in governance is not new and the best Anti Corruption law was passed even before President Bio and Francis Ben Kaifala came to office, though the best is far being enacted yet.
The law inherited from their predecessors gives the ACC more prosecutorial powers and the anti-graft battles since the establishment of the ACC, has never been reversed, the probing of past government workers except in the Bio and Kaifala era, the country is going through this kind of hate and politically motivated anti-corruption fight.
Does government wants to tell the world that since the President and the SLPP set in office none of them has ever committed a corrupt offence.
Government officials are deep neck in corruption but are being covered up by the bias ACC authorities to protect the image and reputation of the SLPP party.
Does the ACC wants to make belief to everyone that they are not aware of wives and relatives of President Bio, cabinet ministers amongst several top public officials receiving government contracts from their siblings, ministries, heads of departments and agencies?
The same thing on going like they were busy criticizing the APC.
The ACC are aware of high profile corruption in the incumbent government but are deliberately protecting their own party people against the main opposition APC members.
ACC corruption fights should be looking into issues around what government does, not past officials, rather than exposing the misrules of the present SLPP regime.
What a shame on MCC for misplacing that honorable award for the fact that the control of corruption is only targeting past public officials and not the incumbents, makes the graft battle partial and the commission is rapidly losing its credibility for politically positioning itself with the powers that be, despite Kaifala’s brag of fighting corruption by every means possible and at the same time, failing to expose graft in the present government.
Corrupt practices are taking place everywhere under the foot and watchful eyes of President Bio and his top political commanders, but Kaifala always tend to be ignorant of what his people are doing while in office now.
As for what could be fashioned as economic freedom there is nothing to point at as that is concerned because it’s not applicable in the context of Sierra Leonean situation, for there is no economic freedom in the country, government relies largely on donor supports for everything including moneys to pay salaries which is why workers are experiencing late payment of salaries off late.
Is that what our MCC donors call economic freedom? People hardly acquire three square meals a day amidst government’s imposed poverty through rendering so many people jobless, bad trade policies with high taxes levied on businesses, all in the so-called economic liberty.
The people are not free to get what they actually voted President Bio for especially the economic welfare before we talk of freedom which is not possible now before the government continues to lie to the masses.
In fact, less concern is being dedicated towards the economic welfare of the people and as a matter lawful obligation, the authorities should ensure that the very welfare of the citizenry of the country is being provided by the state, before we even start tolerating the discussions around what MCC factiously called economic freedom, whereas people keep facing serious economic enslavements in Sierra Leone and not economic freedom as falsely reported in the MCC scorecard.
Economic freedom is the exact opposite of what the people of Sierra Leone are going through.
President Bio and the SLPP regime are not ruling the country and people justly as implied in the 2019 MCC scorecard in that the Office of the President is always involved in everything done thereby narrowing the involvements of other stakeholders in the processes which is why most people are questioning the MCC 2019 data mobilization processes and those who were involved in the data collection.
Government through the judiciary and the court systems has on several occasions reversed rightful constitutional mandates.
It’s the same judiciary that presided over the petition matters of lawfully elected ten APC MPs until their unlawful removal from parliament, yet the MCC brought home an award for just ruling, whiles the people are being largely treated unfairly by the government and its operatives everywhere.
Government hiring workers based on their tribal and ethnic origins, political and other nepotism connections are not just and unfair selection of certain groups of people, tribes and regions for jobs leaving those with right qualifications but not connections with no jobs does not earn the country just ruling at all.
That is not just ruling but disrespect for certain people.
For instance, transparency and accountability, where one would want to know how far government has come in sustaining it.
Moreover “political rights” and “civil liberties”, the country is nowhere with civilized and decent democracy as arrests and jailing of journalists and social media activists are rapidly becoming the orders of the day, not to talk of intimidation of opposition APC politicians, who are always arrested and sent to Pademba Road Correctional Centre for reasons best known to the government.
The continuing detention of Abu Bakarr Daramy and former Freetown City Council Mayor, Herbert George Williams, as well other previous arrests and recent denials of bail to Karamoh Kabba, are gross violations of their political and human rights; showing blatant disregard for the rule of law by the Bio government.
So where are we talking about “civil liberty” in Sierra Leone under the canopy of SLPP President Bio?
Where rights violations the orders of the day with high level of impunity, or does the MCC wants us to believe that they recognize Sierra Leone for grossly violating political and human rights of their people, or a mere misplacement of priority with that prestigious award.
We deserve better convincing narratives and explanation on why the compact came this way for the people have right to know.
In the area of land rights access, there are sill clamours over lands all over the place, especially Western Area Rural and Urban, where regular tussles keep emerging for lands mostly claimed to be owned by government whiles private owners also seek redress for such property and end up in the hands of the state at the detriment of ordinary people.
Land rights is one thing the MCC would not have made attempt to talk about in its scorecard because the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning is always chasing people and taking their portions of land from them which is why we deem it unfit for the compact not to have come out with anything on accessing land rights in Sierra Leone.
The same thing applies to access to credit and investment in people which is selectively accessible to those closed to the top brass which does not mean government is not putting moneys into the implementation of its free education.
Attentions are only focused on free quality education as part of minor investment in people and not that form of human investment on a large scale as it’s being falsely purported in the much publicized MCC scorecard which the SLPP is making noise for everywhere.
Health care services remain another critical aspect of the scorecard that so many people could not agree with the MCC for because as we piece this article together patients; ranging from pregnant women, lactating mothers and under fives are paying Le 5,000 for one jerry can of water as well as other forms of medication at hospitals in Freetown and other parts of the country.
So there is no need for government to be making loud noise for these because their assignments remain critically unsolved apart from the MCC misplaced six hundred million dollars award.
The 2019 MCC award to Sierra Leone appeared more deceptive instead of being morally objective in examining data representing indicators back home on the ground for the simple reason that what is being published are contrary to what people are faced with in the country.
That is why the rights to access to information commission should be held responsible for jointly deceiving the people by presenting false data to the MCC whereas things on the ground do not tally with the MCC scorecard.
Let’s manage the MCC cash well in adequate provision and supplies of water and energy in homes and factories rather that wasting such funds on new ministries and embassies.