The problems of Koinadugu district

27 January 2008 at 22:42 | 938 views

By Sorie Jawara, Washington DC.

I would like to write about Koinadugu district in this article.

Koinadugu, like many districts in Sierra Leone, has been brutalized and exploited by successive governments but unlike other districts, the case of Koinadugu is worst and unjustified, in my opinion.

Is it the greed of governments or is it a malicious and deliberate act calculated to ignore Koinadugu? This northern district is the largest district but the most exploited and poorly developed district in Sierra Leone due to previous governments’ greed and daylight robbery.

One advantage Koinagugu has is the abundant fertile land, less population and numerous rivers that can be utilized to increase production of food for home consumption and export but the unfortunate thing is the district has been neglected for long and in the past it has been used as land for exploitation and robbery by governments and their so called officials.

Mismanagement, waste and lack of accountability are tools for underdevelopment and total economic failure (check the last vouchergate results). The impact of these tools and actions have caused severe poverty, poor education, poor health and many deplorable and deteriorating conditions, but who cares if a farmer or cattleman dies?

It is true that late arrival of formal education in the district caused severe set backs because Koinadugu affairs were handled by semi educated people from other places leading to great handicaps for full scale development.

Teachers, nurses, dispensers, doctors, accountants, district officers, agriculture officers were brought from other areas and the indigenous people were used as labourers. It was a little white man’s kingdom where the indigenous people worked under the control of the white man. I was in great dismay when Mr. A. O Coker showed that to me.

A gentleman applied for a position as time keeper and workers’ daily attendance clerk, but he was not hired though he had completed form four and had passed the form three examination.

Mr. A. S. Massaqoi was a form one drop out, he could not write or pronounce the names of the workers properly and had no knowledge of vouchers but he was the boss in that branch. The hurtful side of this anecdote is that the gentleman was told the only position available for him was to assist in brushing and planting grass for the cows in the compound.

Another painful side of this game was those laborers had to bribe and work in the farms of the clerks and other staff members. The exploitation of the people of Koinadugu was not only in the agricultural department but also in the district office, hospital and road maintenance.

The paramount chiefs were paid less and they had no control over funds collected as local tax from the people. This too was a problem because it halted all progress in the district. Koinaduguans have demonstrated excellence in many areas: acting as deputy prime minister, minister of mines and labor, trade and industry and some have held higher ranks in the military but the mystery is why the lack of development in the district?

The treacherous roads consumed many valuable human lives especially women who were petty traders in foodstuff. Beyond Kabala, the roads are the highest risks during the wet and dry seasons, hence many of the leaders make stops only in Kabala.

The deadly government hospital and the supporting clinics are dreadful to visit; a patient would hardly survive if treated in any of them. Are they designed to be the halls of the killers?

The largest district has only three beds in the maternity ward in 2007 and it is death for a pregnant woman and her child if any complication should occur. Why the greed and malice against Koinadugu by governments?

This should tell every one the reasons for the anger of the people but I hope H.E. Dr. ERNEST KOROMA WILL UNDERSTAND AND ACT BETTER BECAUSE THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER.Koinadugu should not be left out in the development plan and programs must not only be undertaken to fill the coffers of government officials. The funds and materials provided for programs to work properly should not exit through the back doors and kept away from the people by crooks and thieves because this will bring failure, waste and lack of progress and stability.

I believe if the agriculture projects are undertaken seriously and an efficient management system is established Koinadugu will drastically reduce the food problems in Sierra Leone. I respectfully ask president Ernest Koroma to review the former plans for agricultural development and act wisely.