Salone News

APC leader says street lights a “political ploy”.

6 January 2007 at 00:38 | 571 views

By Sahr Musa Yamba, Winnipeg, Canada.

Ernest Bai Koroma(photo), leader of the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC)
party has recently described the current street lighting of
Freetown as a “welcome development” but was quick to assert that it is a
“political ploy.”

Speaking to the Patriotic Vanguard on the phone from Kabala, Koroma
pointed out: “It should not just be a matter of domestic electricity supply, but
restoration of the basic utilities including water. Many areas of Freetown
and the country as a whole today are without pipe-borne water.”

The APC Leader noted that even the current electricity supply that has
been trumpeted by the SLPP (Sierra Leone Peoples Party) government
should “ not only be for domestic use, but industrial purposes as well in
order to attract investment.”

He observed that the ruling SLPP government is rushing to restore
electricity to the capital Freetown after months in blackout because
elections are just a few months away.

Said Koroma: “The electricity supply should not just be for Freetown.
How can the lighting of Freetown be sustained? Who will pay the cost?
It is a welcome development but clearly a political ploy.”

Meanwhile, the Morrocan engineers have promised sustainability of the
electricity power supply.
However, despite the welcome development of power supply to the
capital, some residents of the far east, Calaba Town, have expressed
dismay that they are still languishing in blackout. “It is as if we are not
important; that is why the government only cares about providing
electricity for residents of central and Western Freetown. Here at Calaba
Town even pipe-borne water is a luxury,” Mathew Bauns, a health worker
complained to the Patriotic Vanguard.

Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown has been without regular electricity
supply for over a year. A Morrocan engineering company recently helped
in this break through.

In a related issue, water has also not been available in many
areas of the capital. The Guma Valley Water Company, that supplies
pipe-borne water to the capital, was forced to ration water few months ago
because their dam went dry. The dam was constructed in the 60’s with a
capacity for only about a few hundred thousand people, but with Freetown’s population now over a million, Guma has been forced to ration water.

Efforts made by government to remedy the two basic utility situations
have been somewhat not up to the task.

The major source of power supply has been standby generators, one of
them a Chinese brand Tiger’ that has been nicknamed Kabbah Tiger.’
Electricity supply in the provinces is also a luxury save for Bo and
Kenema that have regular power supply from the Bo/Kenema Power
Station and the Dodo Hydro electricity power.
As for water, a large chunk of the Sierra Leonean population survives on
untreated water because regular pipe-borne water is only available in a few areas of Freetown.