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By Kamalo

The former Energy Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, may have resigned from his position following apparent betrayal by the Ministry of Finance.

After his resignation, President Bio assumed direct control of the ministry in an effort described by the Secretary to the President as an attempt to restore order to the sector.

Despite this move, the country’s electricity challenges persist and have worsened, even after the government purportedly made partial payments towards the substantial debt owed to Karpowership.

The resurgence of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, to its former status as the world’s darkest city is a disgraceful blemish on the Julius Maada Bio-led Paopa Government, which vowed to enhance the lives of Sierra Leoneans under the slogan “Paopa Salone Go Betteh”.

Upon taking office in 2018, Bio inherited a relatively stable electricity supply in the capital, with power available for 18 to 20 hours a day without interruption, thanks to a Turkish power vessel stationed near the Freetown coast, effectively supplementing the Bumbuna Hydro Power Plant during the dry season.

Now, six years into the Bio-led Paopa administration, also known as the “New Direction”, and in the first year of his second term, Freetown is facing severe power outages due to the government’s failure to adequately fund the electricity sector. Karpowership has shut down its operations, plunging the entire city into prolonged darkness for approximately three months.

This dire situation has not only exacerbated the already harsh living conditions of the citizens but has also devastated small businesses that rely on selling cold beverages and bottled water for a living. The lack of electricity has led to food spoilage, hampered business operations, and worsened the economic strain caused by the exorbitant fuel prices of thirty thousand old Leones (NLe30) per liter.

The repercussions of the electricity crisis are significant. Local manufacturers are struggling with high production costs incurred from using fuel to power their private generators, further fueling inflation. The persistent blackouts are deterring potential investors and tourists from engaging with the country.

Yesterday, on April 16, 2024, the Electricity Distribution and Services Authority (EDSA), the primary agency responsible for electricity supply and distribution, issued a press release addressing what it termed as “a series of unfortunate challenges along the energy supply chain,” which have hindered the Authority’s ability to provide adequate power to the Freetown network.

EDSA acknowledged the reduced power distribution in Freetown due to these challenges and assured the public that all available resources are being utilized to rectify the situation promptly. Once resolved, additional power will be supplied to meet the needs of its valued customers in Freetown.

Expressing regret for the inconvenience caused by the power shortages, EDSA pledged to resolve the blackout crisis expeditiously.

However, many affected residents of Freetown have criticized the Energy Minister and the EDSA Managing Director for their perceived incompetence in handling the electricity crisis. They argue that Minister Kanja Sesay, who has been in office for six consecutive years, should have utilized all possible resources to prevent the current state of affairs that is now burdening Sierra Leoneans. Releasing a press statement now, promising to resolve the blackout crisis, is viewed as a display of arrogance and deception!

Having failed to deliver on the promise of adequate electricity supply and plunging the city into prolonged blackouts, citizens are left questioning the credibility of Bio and his associates, pondering what other falsehoods they might unfold in the future.

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