The President, Kanji Daramy & Former Ministers

3 September 2008 at 03:10 | 1468 views

By Sorie Sudan Sesay, Freetown.

The media is once again continuing to make huge capital out of the controversy over the leaked document of President Koroma’s so-called salary increment.

Indeed, some of us have every reason to believe that the President is unaware of the document before it was forwarded to Parliament and later leaked to the opposition press.

President Koroma is a man of principles and has so far demonstrated his sincerity, patriotism and exemplary leadership qualities since assuming the mantle of leadership - the drafting of the recent Anti-Corruption bill and his declaration of assets are just two major testimonies.

We know he has a dream for this country and most iportant of all, he wants to alleviate the plight of the sufferring masses.

Come to think of it - former Secretary to the President, Sanpha Koroma, would not be that stupid to accept such monumental blame that has already done damage to his hard-earned reputation, if the President was aware of what was going on.

All said and done, some sections of the press have had their minds made up - and that is, to discredit the President and government. Therefore, the least we say about the issue, the better. As a matter of fact, what else can a government do to convince frustrated and desperate minds?

What we are urging the President and his government to speed up now is the Transitional Report. The public wants to know those responsible for wrecking the economy of this country.

Take for example the former Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOMM), Alhaji Kanji Daramy, who is claiming a whooping Le 172 million as benefits from government for his 13-month service at the commission.

One could not justifiably contest the alarming figure claimed because of the period of service involved.

Nevertheless, one needs to remind the former NATCOMM boss that in as much as he is very much desperate over his claims, his assumption of office into that commission was in fact illegitimate and unconstitutional.

It started with the Peter Kamaray Commission of Inquiry, which had declared him unfit and incompetent to hold public office in Sierra Leone.

Ex-President Kabbah knew this, but either for ethnic reasons or otherwise, bulldozed his way and went ahead with the appointment making Kanji the most controversial of all Presidential nominees under the SLPP.

This forced the then opposition All People’s Congress (APC) to walk out of Parliament in protest on moral and constitutional grounds.

Now that that same opposition is in power, it is probably a case of “what goes around surely comes around”.

That is to say, it will be stupid and a compromise of principles on the part of the government to honour what they had earlier kicked against.

The same could be said of our former ministers who are also claiming benefits for their services in government.
Of course, it is a constitutional right for all ministers and Members of Parliament to claim benefits for past services.

Nevertheless, as the situation is, we might be tempted to look critically into how some of these ministers succeeded in wrecking the country’s economy during their years in government.

The collapse of the country’s economy because of bad governance by the former government is largely responsible for the deplorable living conditions the people of this land have been made to subject themselves to.

Perhaps, this is more the reason why some of us are urging the government to make public the Transitional Report and eventually fast track the Commission of Inquiry into those found wanting.

We cannot be talking about paying benefits to people who one way or the other had contributed greatly towards the declining state of the country’s economy. This could be a bad precedent and a recipe for chaos. Stringent measures must be taken to serve as a deterrent to others. How about that?