Despite the many issues surrounding Sierra Leone, looking at the crippling economic situation, the fuel crisis etc, there has been a lot of positives this year. To understand how it has been for Sierra Leone and Freetown in particular, BBC World Service yesterday interviewed the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.
They talked about the challenges, positives for Freetown in the year 2022, as well as the upcoming June 24th 2023 Elections.
Speaking about the positives, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr proudly listed the 230 year celebration of Freetown that brought the city to light, the achievement had in the climate space i.e. winning the Bloomberg Awards and making progress in getting a cable car that will improve transport economic productivity.
Talking about the challenges she mentioned how there has been a huge increase in fuel this year. “we’ve seen fuel rise around the world. We’ve also seen them dropped but we haven’t seen them drop in Freetown and that’s really biting” She added.
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She also made mention of the cost of electricity which has gone up significantly, three times this year, adding that from her operational perspective as the Mayor of Freetown, it is really cut into available financing the service delivery.
Answering to the question of what’s the reason for her optimism despite the issues of the court and the upcoming elections, she stated that Sierra Leoneans are resilient people and that they believe that even with the challenges they can come through it.
She said the decision of the government to change the electoral system to a Proportional Representation so close to the election is challenging and that one of the disturbing part is that the system is dependent on a census that was done in 2021 whose numbers result claimed that Freetown has decreased by Fourty two and a half percent.
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Responding to the question on what the people are going to be voting for, looking at the issues that are uppermost in their minds, she mentioned that they are gonna be concerned about the economy, how the currency has depreciated drastically and that their uppermost issues is their bread and butter, what can they eat, where can they get jobs etc. are the things that are gonna be driving people’s decisions 2023.
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