Analysis

Freetown Cleaning: What a Big, Fat, Shame.

30 March 2006 at 05:30 | 406 views

"SLPP have totally failed to meet the expectations of Sierra Leoneans even at street cleaning level and also shamefully failed to deliver even one of their 2002 manifesto commitments in a significant or meaningful way. What this means is that the SLPP is not, in the slightest of ways, fit to continue to govern Sierra Leone for they have run out of ideas and steam and it is clear now that they have no comprehensive and sustainable programmes for the country."

By Joko Lahai

The recent failed knee-jerk reaction by the leaders of Sierra Leone to clean the capital city, Freetown, of decade-long accumulated garbage is a double shame and outright disgrace for the SLPP government and APC led city administration.

This city has been accumulating garbage for many years; together, the SLPP and APC have no workable machinery for the day-to-day up-keep of the city. And now, they have demonstrated in their sudden attempt to clean the city that, they are,in fact, incapable of planning, organising and implementing a simple programme like street cleaning in Freetown. How then would anyone expect them to govern a whole nation properly?

The inability of the APC and SLPP to manage a simple cleaning exercise says a lot about them. It tells us that:

They lack the ability to think things through logically; they are incapable of carrying out the slightest of a complex task; they are good at talking and very bad at implementing; they lack the ability of planning; they lack the basic skills for forward thinking; they completely lack vision and good judgment; they have lost the confidence and support of the residents of Freetown because of this reckless ineptitude; they have proven to the nation that the garbage problem in the city is a smoking gun, that the provinces, which are less accessed by the media, must be in dire need of governance; and they are not fit to continue to govern. These are the very reasons why Sierra Leone does not need them any more. These are the reasons why Sierra Leoneans must vote PMDC come 2007 for a “Positive Change”.

All that said, I believe if the SLPP and APC are credible political parties, they should, as soon as possible, give account to the people by explaining why the whole exercise of the street cleaning went so horribly wrong. The people of Freetown deserve some sensible explanation and not some political garbage, which abounds in the streets of Freetown already.

What about the unconfirmed 77 million Leones for the street cleaning? “Unconfirmed reports reaching the Exclusive reveal that the Government budgeted the sum of Le 77 million for just this one day cleaning designed to welcome investors who are due in this week for a 4-day conference.” If so, how was that used and how is it going to be accounted for? This surely brings us into that grey area which is synonymous with both the SLPP and APC - corruption, corruption and corruption. I believe we should hold both parties accountable for the money because the work done on Saturday, March 25, 2006 does not reflect the true value for the money. Was it bad judgment, corruption or just the SLPP and APC again, as usual, taking people for granted and for a ride?

The whole drama may seem simplistic and funny but its effect on the ordinary dwellers of Freetown is really devastating. What is more is its seriousness in political terms when one considers what it takes to practise responsible politics within a credible political party. Where the leadership has a vision and a forward, thoughtful plan, a responsible structure and a skilled and committed body of ministers and personnel, a dubious operation like the recent street cleaning would not have happened at the very least. In terms of government operations, the street cleaning business is minor compared to, for instance, running the economy of the state or the education and or the welfare departments. A government must be endemically and completely incompetent and complacent to get such a small and simple operation wrong, and be totally corrupt to consider that such a job reflects the tune of 77 million leones in question.

Many of us are not surprised anyway. We had long identified and determined the weaknesses and ineptitudes of both the SLPP and APC. Both parties are beyond repairs because they have been too long damaged by their own corrupt and arrogant practices which, for many years, have blighted their ability to think, act and perform in the interest of Sierra Leone.

SLPP have totally failed to meet the expectations of Sierra Leoneans even at street cleaning level and also shamefully failed to deliver even one of their 2002 manifesto commitments in a significant or meaningful way. What this means is that the SLPP is not, in the slightest of ways, fit to continue to govern Sierra Leone for they have run out of ideas and steam and it is clear now that they have no comprehensive and sustainable programmes for the country.

And as for the APC, their ignominious failure to act and perform as a true and credible opposition political party tells us that it would be a big mistake to vote them into government. Throughout their period in opposition, they never ever come up with any tangible plan totally different from SLPP makeshift programmes. The best the APC ever comes up with are amendments to some scrappy SLPP motions and recommendations. It is indeed very sad that a whole opposition political party could spend ten God given years proving to the nation how ineffective they are in opposition against an inefficient SLPP government. There is little surprise about this because the SLPP and APC are two similar households, birds of the same feather.

Considering the above should rightly put PMDC in the middle of things as a credible alternative to SLPP and APC. I believe PMDC is the way forward for Sierra Leone now if we should come out of the perpetual darkness SLPP and APC have dumped us in for many years with both parties having no plausible plans to get us out. In this case, PMDC is the only viable option. If anything, PMDC would not predispose the city to cleaning years of accumulated garbage in one day. PMDC would have an ongoing and effective process of collecting revenue for the city to run itself with little subsidy from the national budget.

The city cleaning would be an ongoing process, not a knee-jerk reaction to a problem of over several years because of utter neglect. PMDC would provide better quality of education, endeavour to improve the quality of life for everyone not just for the few, provide a transparent and accountable government, protect the liberty and freedom of the individual, deliver rational and sustainable programmes and provide a skilful, honest and compassionate government of the people, for the people and run by the people.

Day in day out, as the SLPP government embarks on new projects and schemes, it becomes apparent that they are all engineered for political gains with no proper and long term value to the nation. Some of them fail before they are even started; some fail completely at implementation and most of them very short lived with no long term benefit to anyone except their relatives, friends and supporters. One only has to assess the impact of all these projects, old and new, to see the true picture. What you get are bogus SLPP fly-by-night, short-sighted, politically motivated, economically wasteful, good -for - nothing unsustainable projects run and directed by bootlickers, all in the name of development in Sierra Leone.

This, I believe, is going to be the trend of events by the SLPP up to the run up of the 2007 elections - quick fix, half baked, short term, unreliable and patronising unsustainable political ventures, programmes and projects popping up left, right, centre and in every corner of the country. This is all political bait; so people beware, be wise and be conscious not to swallow or you remain doomed.

Remember, we have been taken for granted far too long and we have been fooled all the time; but also remember to tell and show both the SLPP and APC that they cannot fool the people all the time, therefore vote PMDC for a “Positive Change” and a reliable government you can trust and work with.

Photo: Freetown garbage

Photo credit: Awareness Times, Freetown.

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