The inscrutable diamond solidity of the Sierra Leonean political soul, indeed of that of any modern nation, lurches deep and bristles strong within the long term goals of that nation. This is neatly defined by and encapsulated in the entirety of the overlapping political trends - not just from the philosophical stand point but more so from the practical enactments of those desirable ideals that are so often boldly re-echoed at election times only to be whistled away in the days following the giddy fanfare that accompanies the regular ritualistic voting exercise.
This rotating disillusionment has been a defining pattern in the frustrating rush of our cyclical political run.
And that is precisely where the New Direction government of President Julius Maada Bio cuts a thread way ahead of the succession of governments that have lorded it over this highly enriched coastal enclave since the Brits snapped the chains of colonialism from our collective necks and let those chains fall into the depths of the Atlantic.
For decades we have had governments talking loudly enough about “what needs to be done” to fundamentally change the Sierra Leonean story. Now we have a government that is actually DOING everything in all areas to wholesomely re-write our fragmented national script! Not without unwarranted resistance. Sadly enough even the laudable attempts at Peace Conferences were ridiculed and refused by those who revel in rancour.
But still the government pressed on. With each step forward the hole got tighter for people used to fattening themselves from the national coffers. By introducing legislation to redirect state revenue streams directly into the consolidated fund, this government made it easier for financial accountability to be effected, across sectors. And to set the pace for fiscal prudence the president voluntarily slashed huge chunks of remunerations traditionally directed into State House to address the needs of that office.
In just two years Sierra Leone, under this government, jumped TEN PLACES in the Transparency International Global Corruption ranking (the TI-CP index) and also, for the first time in our history, the SL Ports Authority leaped through the internationally coveted security bar thereby bringing us, one giant step, into the circles of acceptable international commercial dealings.
Just as it was lighting communities that had not seen the spark of electricity since Adam walked the earth, this government also kicked out a 55 year old “libel law” to allow citizens to say their say, freely and boldly! The result is that mischievous fiction authors are now free to concoct falsified figures and irresponsibly float them around without worrying about any direct repercussions. It is a New Direction. It is a new dawn!
What is painfully obvious here is that in the midst of the self-serving ramblings that typify our furiously contested political space, memories are notoriously short and generally one-sided. Therefore must the truth be constantly nursed and nourished with facts that speak louder than the discrediting fiction that abounds. In a theatre where lies are readily embraced and truth subjected to dismissive taunts there is nothing more entertaining than cheap political comic skits played out by opposition desperados. Truth to be told, nothing is more abhorrent than a ghastly red flag fluttering over a dead hope which speaks of nothing except.... “we want to come back”!
But of course, there are those who would always prefer a fulminating carcass to a spirited Lion. However, in a race that requires strategy, speed and agility, the New Direction is moving steadily with calculated determination and great foresight.
Indeed, if politics was really a game of fair-minded analytics we can all be pretty certain that this reigning government is many a solid silver stairs above our usual string of self-serving collectives that are mostly draped in red and always strapped with lies.
When the New Direction government took over in April 2018 our country was heaving under the punishing weight of debts- domestic as well as foreign. Huge stretches of cash-liabilities long enough to tie the country thrice over and hang us all, one by one. Instead of throwing that heavy load on to the backs of future generations this government confronted the financial mess, responsibly! They paid off chunks of what they didn’t accrue, thereby greatly enhancing our international reliability and financial credibility. In the midst of this righteous struggle government still endeavoured to raise pensions from an insulting Le25,000 to Le250,000. In spite of the increased financial burden Pin Codes were given to thousands of neglected workers all over the country to tackle the grave challenges in vital sectors like health and education.
Still more, the government then took on another heavy burden to lighten the load of our future children in a globalised space: the Free Quality Education is as ambitious in scope as any project of its kind ever undertaken anywhere in this sub region. The humane vision informing this farsighted venture is well-advised and more than finely timed. Our country needs this potential equaliser in order to formulate the necessary foundations for an educated workforce in an iron-rooted hold. Never before has any government in this country sought to undertake a venture of such daunting magnitude. Free tuition, free school buses, even free meals in a number of places... the pessimistic critics couldn’t stop the giggling. With so many cheap stunts to chose from, why would any political player attempt to score a lasting goal against illiteracy and poverty? Why, they asked. The question they failed to ask is: WHO is attempting this task? Now they know!
He is a man we proudly call “Talk and Do”!
Whatever the teething wobble, there can be no doubt that this free education ladder is firmly pointing upwards to a place never before sighted by our nation.
For the vexatious opposition nothing seems to be working well. They seem to have banked all their hopes on finding calamity or creating same. They have cussed and cussed; inspired (some say masterminded) the burning down of private homes, vandalising police stations and community clinics, yet nothing works for them. Listening to the groaning from deep within opposition ranks, the only exciting development has been the tug of war raging wild for the leadership of the burning sun. And that is a drama that is set to expand before it explodes.
So as our courts now revel in their newfound power that comes with real independence and as the ACC continues to mercilessly chase the financially unruly and firmly bring them to book, there is little doubt that our institutions are growing strong and our society is gaining ground.
Meanwhile, “the darkest city on planet earth” (the one they left reeling with hunger and mistrust) is lighting up for hours without end. Even the tantrum- throwing cynics cannot Cuss that fact into the grumbling darkness of their world in spite of criminal efforts at uprooting and snapping cables to achieve their goals.
Of course there is much more to be achieved in this land that we love. The room for improvement is always far bigger than the chairs that adorn it. But so much is been done by this administration to better the lives of Sierra Leoneans that apart from glorious testimonies from serious institutions such as the MCC report, the commendable results of the Herculean fight against the dreaded Covid-19 speaks mercifully for itself.
If politics were a game of fair results the resounding consensus would be that this Maada Bio government is indeed the best not just on the scale of vision but more so in the weight of implementation. Keeping Sierra Leone moving stoutly in this positive New Direction is indeed a sacred task for all patriots.
Trust the process!, Love your country!
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