You can take this to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as a guarantee: Even the unrepentant ‘Paopaists’ are beginning to be very frightful that the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is now living on borrowed time. And the reactions by ordinary Sierra Leoneans, to the recent half-assed policies and actions taken by the Bio-led government, are giving them the fearsome feeling of waking up in the middle of the night and finding a starved cobra coiled by the bedroom door!
And what is more frightful for the ‘Paopaists’ is the loud-sounding silence of President Julius Maada Bio to the sufferings of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Dr Sama ‘Puawui’ Banya has recently suggested to the Commander-in-Chief to have a sort of “fireside chat” with the people reminiscent of those Franklin D. Roosevelt used to have when millions of ordinary Americans were down and out. Dr Banya appears to have reluctantly, albeit grudgingly, accepted the horrible fact that President Bio seems not to be up to the task for which he was voted to State House in 2018. And it seems to me that that white-haired sagely medico has also realised that the President has lost touch with the common people, which might have spurred his suggestion of a “fireside chat” with the suffering masses.
And he is not alone in that line of thinking. Sorie Fofana, the newly appointed Chairman of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) who is an unapologetic ‘Maadarite’, also flung that idea sometime ago in one of his “Manjoroka”. Because he is not as Old-School as Dr Banya; he simply calls for a “national address to the nation” by President Bio. And Mr Fofana hopes that “the SLPP will learn a lesson from the defeat of Solomon Berewa, by correcting the mistakes made in 2007…” His fears are rightfully in place, considering the political tremors that are now shaking Sierra Leone.
But the former Secretary General of the SLPP, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, is not as euphemistic in his fears of the SLPP losing political power in 2023 as Dr Banya or Sorie Fofana. He is a man who seems to believe in the adage of speaking the truth and shaming Lucifer in the process. In a recent article, Tejan-Sie did not “suggest” to the Head of State or “hope” for a second term in office for their party through an electoral sleight of hand; he simply advised that, “…the [SLPP] government puts in place mechanisms to attract investment[s], puts the brakes on the current high expenditure on overseas travels, reduces the ever-ballooning wage bill and reviews the duplicitous status of many offices needlessly created”. These have been the elephants in the ‘Paopaian’ room which the ‘Paopaists’ are pretending do not exist in that room!
And those issues are some of the cruxes of why ordinary Sierra Leoneans are disenchanted with the Bio-led government. And they are most of the reasons why majority of the citizens are angry with the SLPP government. Members of the Bio-led administration cannot be telling hungry and angry Sierra Leoneans about “external shocks” when the SLPP government has woefully failed to put the brake on fruitless overseas travels which are yet to rake in foreign investors. And the SLPP cannot convince ordinary Sierra Leoneans that things are hard globally when the government keeps on inflating the Wage Bill by pointlessly creating jobs for the boys [and girls].
Well, if a ‘Paopaist’ like Tejan-Sie tells me that the Palm Tree has withered; who am I to deny him when my late father was not a palm wine tapper? It is just a home truth from a home boy! He is simply telling his ilk that misplaced optimism should not blind them from seeing the realities and the clear and present dangers which have shrouded their party. Tejan-Sie is cloudily telling President Bio that he has not worked, or walked, the talk he had talked in 2018.
And, mischievously, if I were in their shoes; I would have been as frightful as they now are especially when Sierra Leone has a Bank Governor who doesn’t seem to know the basic dynamics of running the country’s economy. Imagine, after Professor Kelfala Kallon told Members of Parliament that he had to “bribe” local businesspeople “US$68 million” to do his own duty; only for him to tell the nation last week, in an interview, about the unexplained evaporation of Le800 billion (roughly about US$61 million) from the banking system. And when one adds the millions of United States’ dollars paid to print the New Leone by a government that is being run on a shoestring budget; one gets the true picture of how clueless the Bio-led administration is in plugging financial wastages!
And to pour petrol on the inferno, or to insult ordinary Sierra Leoneans insultingly, Prof. Kallon has the audacity to say that Freetown and Makeni are the only places grumbling about cash shortages in the banks. I’m still trying to digest this illogical statement from someone whose intelligence seems to be at par with Abacha Streeters! The only logic I could deduce from that gaffe is that the central Bank Governor is playing politics with an issue that should be looked at from a commonsensical telescope! But, again, it appears as if common sense is something which most presidential appointees are not blessed with. Even illiterate sellers at the Dovecot Market will tell you that because Freetown is both the Administrative and Commercial Capital, the financial transactions taking place there are incomparable to Bo, Kenema, Pujehun, and Kailahun Districts. Little wonder our First Lady, Fatima Jabbie Bio, once stated that some of the stupidest Sierra Leoneans she had ever come across were PhD holders and Professors!
Now I can understand why the ‘Paopaists’ are frightful. Defeat in 2023 is staring at them unblinkingly. They have now realised that when the masses are hungry and angry; they will have no stomachs for democratic niceties. The ‘Paopaists’ are frightful that ordinary Sierra Leoneans have finally seen their party’s hoaxes and are now ready to fling back those hoaxes on their faces. And this is why the SLPP is now afraid of 2023.