As the ruling SLPP (Sierra Leone Peoples Party) and the main opposition APC (All People’s Congress) heads for elections this Saturday, a defeat for the ruling SLPP in Koya Elections is evident and imminent. APC has one message and that message is about the cancellation of an international airport project that would have brought prosperity to Koya community.
Had the project gone ahead, Koya community would have been positively sold locally and internationally. Government has provided no justification for the cancellation of a project that would have created jobs for a good number of jobless youths in Sierra Leone.
The location of the airport which is in an opposition stronghold is the only reason government would provide for the cancellation. SLPP would not like to see development projects in the north-western regions of Sierra Leone even if the benefits would spread to the entire country.
Government’s revenue base would have expanded and its capacity render essential services increased had the project gone as planned. With a new airport in Sierra Leone, government would have derived income from aircraft on arrivals and transits.
The toll gate revenue from which government is benefitting about 10% would have increased a more vehicles would use the toll road to Freetown. It is way of boosting revenue for government in a country in a country hit by investment and economic hardship.
The past government of President Koroma was also aware of the limited capacity of the Lungi International Airport which could not all accommodate aeroplanes. These considerations are not political, but they are based on the national interest.
When it took over power in 2018, SLPP never looked at the airport project from a national perspective but on regional and political perspectives. The only aspect looked at is the location of the airport which is not in the southeast. The question is just simple: What would SLPP tell the people of Koya Chiefdom after aborting a big project there?
The Koya community is also deprived of normal government services, a situation that makes matters worse. The party in power has failed to do its homework well by failing to provide the much-needed social services to the people.
Nightwatch Newspaper reports that, the constituency lacks water, electricity, medical facilities and other services that make life worth living. The absence of such services is direct result of SLPP’s neglect for years. SLPP’s discrimination in terms of development projects is seen not only in Koya Chiefdom but also in other areas considered as main opposition heartlands.
The party will also lose in such communities in next year’s elections.