As Cabinet reshuffle is pending, questions about who will take up President Bio’s ministerial appointment remain high and rife in public domain. The much-talked about cabinet reshuffle is expected within weeks if not days.
But, the worrying factor is the seeming unreadiness of the mainstream members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) to accept Bio’s appointments. The likes of the former SLPP flag-bearer, John Oponjo Benjamin, former Bank Governor, Dr Dixon Rogers and many others would likely not take appointment in the Bio government.
The names were not part of the PAOPA list, but traditional SLPP politicians who believe in the ideology of ONE COUNTRY, ONE PEOPLE. Sources say they would not like to share the failings and weaknesses of the PAOPA system of administration. They are mainstream members of the party two are poised to give SLPP a national image and character.
These mainstream members are mainly home-based politicians who have been in constant touch with the grassroot in the hardest of circumstances to ensure that SLPP came to power in 2018. Their dream was realised as SLPP is now at the helm. But, they are disillusioned and disgruntled at the appointments made by President Bio to run the project of state governance. The list of initial appointments made by the President Bio was riddled with names of diasporans whose contact with the masses was and is still at an all-time low.
Home-based politicians who did the work on the field were left behind. The Bio’s appointment left a great number of Sierra Leoneans in great wonders. Much ink has been spilled and controversial debates held on the appointments of diasporans at the detriments of grassroot politicians. Media practitioners have not spared their pens to make it known that SLPP has operationalised the ‘MONKEY WOKE BABOON EAT’ philosophy.
One notable publication was: ‘Monkeyers and Babooners’ of the Nationalist.
As the diasporans continue to administer with unprecedented elitism, grassroot politicians sit by to see the result. The result today is nothing to write home about as a great number of non-performing ministers continue to fill the ranks of government. Since Ministers seem to have found it difficult to devise and implement sound policies for effective state governance, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) have nakedly failed the people of Sierra Leone.
Lawlessness, poverty and corruption which the President campaigned to end in Sierra Leone are still posing great threats to the country’s socio-economic growth. It is the opinion of Sierra Leoneans that when the President campaigned to end lawlessness, the government agency he relied on was the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). SLP is an agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing laws to maintain peace and stability in the state.
In the execution of such a scared duty, the police are expected to show high sense of responsibility and professionalism. The Police under the ‘New Direction’ administration has shown the highest unprofessionalism that has led to untold damage to the country’s human rights and democratic credentials. Agencies supposed to guide and checkmate the police in their exercise of state powers seem helpless.
Police Council is the SLP’s highest decision-making body chaired by the Vice President. The council has the constitutional responsibility of devising broad policy guidelines to assist the Inspector-General in the discharge of his duties. The unparalleled scale of police brutality shows that the police are not properly guided.
Police brutal actions have relegated Sierra Leone to the status of a fragile and volatile state. Evidence also indicates that The New Direction Government has miserably failed on the campaign against poverty, a promise that led many Sierra Leoneans to gravitate towards SLPP in the 2018 elections. What the public is seeing is counterproductive. Their expectations have not been met. To get food on the table is extremely difficult for the men in the street.
Inflation seems uncontrollable as it still remains double-digit. The Leones Currency has seriously depreciated in the face of the dollar, a worrying situation for traders. But, consumers are the on the receiving end. GDP and GNP remain low evidenced by the perennial balance of trade deficits the country continues to suffer. Sierra Leone spends more on imports than she receives for her exports. The trend continues unabated.
Although Sierra Leone enjoys somewhat comfortable rating in Corruption index, acts of corruption are still widespread.
Government has been accused, most frequently, as directing its anti-corruption crackdown against the main opposition who formed the past government. As societal ills permeate every sector of society, people have repeatedly called on government to effect changes in governance structures. Calls to replace Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa with another suitable one are loud and appealing.
To many, the Minister of Finance is a non-performing one considering the dire economic situation into which the country has been trapped. Immediate changes are also hotly needed at the Ministries of Local Government and Agriculture. The two ministries are fastly becoming irrelevant to state governance as they have failed to dispense the most basic responsibilities. The Minster of Local Government, in particular, has exhibited signs of great weakness as it fails to handle matters of chieftaincy, one of the country’s most important and sacred institutions.
Over two years of existence, regent chiefs have continued to lord it over the people, and no sign of conducting paramount chieftaincy elections exist. The continued stay of regent chiefs into their caretaker posts runs contrary to several provisions of the Chieftaincy Act of 2009. The law in question says regent chiefs must act only for a year, but the minister embarks on wilful blindness.
The Agriculture Ministry is arguably one of the weakest ministries in the Bio government. In spite of beautiful promises of farming the Tomabom and Gbondapi Bolilands in the South of the country, food production still remains a big challenge. Hunger continues to strike many Sierra Leoneans. The clear failings of government seem to have scared away experienced SLPP politicians who seem not ready to have their own share of government failings.