A senior Member of Parliament (MP) from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government has informed Nightwatch that, the recent presidential speech during the State Opening of Parliament has a lot of error of repetitions.
“I am afraid of what I will refer to as political tsunami for our party come 2023 general elections,” the MP said.
He furthered that, the whole speech was full of errors such as “Kono University”, “Lungi Bridge” and “electricity”, all of which have repeatedly been used in almost every presidential speech since 2018, without much progress resulting from their continual repetition.
“I want see the president begin to highlight progress report on these projects like Lungi Bridge, Kono University, electricity, Lungi’s new terminal and the 200 government buses. I don’t see any one move to have all these achieved within this short period. I am not happy, I want to see all these projects commence now,” he fumed.
“A lot have been said about these projects over the years. The people want us to deliver these promises, and not promises that are still on pen and paper.”
He said the president’s speech on State Opening is akin to giving a status report to keep members of the public abreast of progress, new plans and future government programmes.
The parliamentarian said one of the main purposes of “the status report presidential speech on the State Opening of Parliament is to compare the project’s progress with the project’s planned estimates”.
He said it also includes a short summary of the forecasted completion date and cost of the projects. This he said allows members of the public to know about the project’s execution which would leave them reliably informed to beable to measure successes as well as compare them with other regimes.
The MP warned those preparing President Julius Maada Bio’s speeches to avoid error of repetitions and ‘cut and paste’ speeches because they have “the tendency to create political damage” during elections.
“I felt seriously bad because a whole speech of a government that has ruled for three years plus is just 20 pages. And besides, most of the presidential speech delivered in parliament is an abstract of the projects that have started and been initiated by former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government,” he said.
He pointed out that the ‘cut and paste’ style of writers is not only limited to repetitions but also lacks truth especially on the electricity and the road projects.
Meanwhile, other parliamentarians revealed that the president’s most recent and all other speeches are lacking in consistency and are engulfed in plagiarism, which is a serious crime in the country.
They continued that this government should not generate the impression of having invested much time and effort into the development projects of other regimes, adding that when communicating to the audience, especially in a country that is politically divided, the president should not spend so much time mentioning development projects inherited from other regimes, but should instead be focused on his.
He said some of these abnormalities in the president’s speeches are not caused by the president, who is not to be blamed for such problems. He said the blame should be attributed to the drafters of said speeches.
He however called on President Julius Maada Bio to hold his speech writers to account, not just for the repetitions but because the speeches also lack a true picture of what they have achieved or done as a government thus far.
The MP went further and advised the president to start using experienced people, especially SpeakerHon. Chernoh Abass Bundu, among others, to prepare his speeches before passing them on for public consumption.“This will ensure that mistakes like cut and paste and error of repetition will become a thing of the past.”
He said he was also botheredby the inconsistency in the presidential speeches, adding that things highlighted in the speech “are quite different from what is on the ground”.
Data is key in governance, he said, and admonished both the government and its speech writers to present data analyses in their speeches, which would help with knowing where they started, what they have achieved and plans going forward.
The SLPP lawmaker said the utilisation of experienced people is very key in speech writing especially when it involves the president, who delivers policy statements at all times.