Spread the love

By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara (Kamalo)

Sierra Leonean citizens have been enduring immense hardships ever since the announcement of the June 24th, 2023 election results. The repercussions of the 2024 Finance Act, which includes increased service tariffs, taxes, and inflation, have exacerbated the suffering of the Sierra Leonean population, with no apparent end in sight.

The prevailing condition faced by citizens is largely attributed to the misconduct of Mohamed Konneh and his associates, who are suspected of rigging the June 24 elections in favor of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party. Despite numerous observer missions highlighting significant irregularities during the election, Konneh and his cohorts disregarded these concerns and controversially declared Bio as the victor. The audacious actions of Konneh and the blatant arrogance displayed by Bio and his government members have now become an unforgivable transgression that plagues Sierra Leone and its people.

The situation escalated with a visa ban imposed by the United States on individuals deemed responsible for undermining democracy in Sierra Leone. When leaders of impoverished African nations defy the Western powers’ calls to embrace democratic principles and instead prioritize their own interests under the guise of sovereignty, they mistakenly believe their defiance will harm Western governments. However, such insolence is self-defeating and ultimately leads to their downfall.

It is an undeniable fact that democracy has emerged as the preeminent system of governance due to its ability to engage citizens in state affairs and foster economic prosperity. Additionally, democratic governments attract political, financial, and technical support from the global community. Despite repeated calls for Sierra Leonean authorities to uphold democratic values, these pleas have fallen on deaf ears, resulting in the country being labeled as a violator of democratic norms and civil liberties.

The Sierra Leone government is now internationally recognized as “illegitimate” due to the alleged electoral fraud in 2023. Efforts by the international community to rectify the electoral malpractice have been futile, leading to sanctions and isolation from major donors and development partners. Consequently, the government is facing severe financial constraints, hindering its ability to meet financial obligations, such as paying salaries and settling debts with suppliers and contractors.

Facing internal financial challenges and an unstable economy, the Bio administration has resorted to imposing high taxes on goods and services, burdening the populace with the responsibility of salvaging the government from its economic woes. The increased taxes have worsened the socio-economic challenges faced by the Sierra Leonean people, particularly impacting the affordability of essential commodities like rice. Despite these measures, the government’s financial situation remains precarious, forcing President Bio to seek financial assistance from various countries.

The government’s flagship “Feed Salone” program is now in jeopardy, as President Bio’s request for rice aid from China has raised doubts about the project’s viability. Furthermore, delays in receiving funds from the MCC compact are contingent upon the implementation of recommendations by a tripartite committee, further complicating the government’s financial predicament caused by the actions of Konneh and his associates.