From the Editor’s Keyboard

Point by Point: Electricity, etc

11 September 2020 at 16:58 | 1196 views

Point by Point: Electricity

With Gibril Gbanabome Koroma

I would like to comment on the Sierra Leone government’s current electricity projects around the country, on former Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Sorie Forna and the closure of the Sierra Leone Railway and the commencement of work on the Lungi Bridge.

1. Energy Minister Kanja Sesay is currently going around the country providing electricity for towns and villages. Some of these electricity projects are financed by the African Development Bank and other foreign or international institutions and governments but some are also financed solely by the Sierra Leone government. Past governments had provided electricity but the rate at which Kanja is doing it this time is unprecedented and very transparent. This is of course part of President Julius Maada Bio’s "Do and Talk" mission and policies.

2. There is talk of former Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Sorie Forna being responsible for the closure of the Sierra Leone Railway in the early 70s.. That’s pure nonsense. A decision like that can only be a cabinet decision, not by a single Minister. And in keeping with the political climate of the time, it was not discussed in parliament. The official opposition existed only in name anyway. Moreover, Prime Minister Siaka Stevens, a real dictator took all major decisions to be rubber-stamped in word or deed by his Ministers and parliament (when it pleased him to defer to them). Is it any wonder that Dr. Forna and Ibrahim Taqi, the then Information Minister later resigned from the Stevens government?

3. Building materials and equipment have started arriving in Freetown for construction to begin on the proposed Lungi Bridge. When the current SLPP government announced the construction of a bridge linking the Lungi international airport and Freetown, the capital, the opposition and their supporters laughed at the idea. They do not seem to be laughing now because the evidence is slowly appearing before their eyes. My only advice to the government is to make sure there are no saboteurs to derail this very important project.