By Lamrana Alieu Jalloh – Sierra Leone
A better understanding of the Sierra Leonean Socio-political conundrum will best be approached with a mind that’s not shrouded in Political Fanaticism , but a Political Agnosis Mindset that’ll discern the Surfeit of Sufferings we continue to undergo unabated.
It’s only within the confines of pure reason and critical thinking that one could admit the flaws of our country’s political narratives since independence, when the two biggest political giants (APC & SLPP) keep exchanging the batons of power without actually taking the paths of the FREE AND SOVEREIGN but keep Changing the Chains being hung on our country’s neck by neocolonialism.
Sierra Leone like most of her compatriots in the African mass has a sociopolitical and economic system that’s synonymous to a game of domino, you push one piece, the rest come crashing. A change in governance in Sierra Leone doesn’t necessarily mean the Birth of a New Dawn but the Reticence of Recycling Retrogression because the whole system is faulty due to her long indistinct political history and present intricacies. Our leaders/state’s men have always been swerving responsibilities to their bosses (IMF/World Bank) and their subjects (Their Fellow Citizens). In some occasions it seems as if our leaders are being left in a state of ambivalence in choosing who best to serve if their political existence should be maintained.
It’s apparent that the New Direction is now facing its toughest roughs if it is to be recognized as a force to reckon with when it comes to redirecting the breathing space of our country’s economy. It is at a crossroad of deciding whose plea to accept: the IMF/World Bank’s Directions or its Citizens’ (Sierra Leoneans) Yearnings.
The former regime (APC) after making so many contractual agreements with IMF/World Bank on economic policies, later on came to realize at the eleventh hour the Treacherous Trap these imperialist institutions want to chain them and the country in. In order to avert their fellow citizens from the paradoxes of the IMF/World Bank, they (APC) decided to push for a new partnership to the Far East (China to be precise) but time wasn’t on their favour, they were late and the whistle of change had been blown from all quarters within and beyond the peripherals of Sierra Leone. Change came and the story continues!
The IMF/World Bank is still playing the Sincere Satan Role in seeing that this New Direction wave off subsidies in most of the basic things that could drive our economy and help the masses. It is now left with the discretion of this administration to make readjustment through negotiations and help their poor people Or humbly heed to the advice of these foreign institutions, and make their people swim in the Pool of Penury.
For the longest time Africa has been labelled the impoverished continent with unforgivingly big debt, corrupt leaders and failed leadership. For our part, we have largely apportioned all the blame on neocolonialism and forgotten to take responsibility for our own misgivings. However, the greatest failure has been the ignorance of the West to its own contribution to this poverty that had been reduced to a catch line on television. The IMF and the World Bank’s Washington Consensus, the neoliberal policies these two institutions promoted have not yielded the results they were billed to yield. If anything, these two institutions have been at the fore-front of the systematic destruction of African economies. It is only now that their Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative has been seen to attempt to rectify past wrongs but the program has only impacted 36 countries in the world and most of them are not in Africa, and is this enough?
The danger of Structural Adjustment Programs to Agriculture in Africa, waving off subsidies to basic things in poorer countries like Sierra Leone by the directives of IMF/World Bank have been far from desirable. In essence, they have caused the much publicised poverty. Though put in place to start a spiral of growth and prosperity, Foreign Policy in Focus says “structural adjustment saddled Africa with low investment, increased unemployment, reduced social spending, reduced consumption and low output, all combining to create a vicious cycle of stagnation and decline.” APC saw this and was too late to take action; is SLPP ready to toe the line of the former by ignoring the harsh reality in structural adjustments needed by the IMF/World Bank for Sierra Leone?
The IMF/World Bank cooked up a suicidal approach to many African economies, and Sierra Leone has always been one of their favourite. For example, in agriculture, the two institutions did encourage that our government scrap subsidies and lower agricultural research, stop megastructure projects and open hands to the laissez faire Economy. The more the IMF/World Bank encourage this structural adjustments, the more it weakens our economy and opens it up to Western invasion.
The IMF/World Bank’s disrespect for some African governments when they want to take prudent actions in moving their countries forward is despicable. A particularly worrisome example is seen in Malawi in 2002. Then President, Bakili Muluzi accused the IMF of forcing Malawi to sell its grain reserves just before a devastating drought resulting in untold suffering in the country. The IMF is said to have instructed Malawi to sell maize from strategic reserves to enable repayment of commercial debts. The National Food Reserve Agency of Malawi ended up selling almost all of its grains and when the drought hit the country, there were no reserves to cushion the country leaving around 3 million people exposed to starvation.This disrespect for African governments is problematic and cannot be tolerated anymore by Progressive Africans. Citizens elect their governments and not the IMF. Also the Fund and Bank’s involvement in Africa has come with increased debt in most countries. It maintains the status quo in global affairs. These institutions help keep poor countries poorer. I believe when they succeed in transforming countries from their debt ridden third world statuses to better fortunes, then maybe there will be a legitimate case for their existence.
The Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative is hopefully a step in the right direction but as it stands, the IMF and World Bank are not two institutions to trust with African economies. It is either they are grossly incompetent to deal with their complexities or they are a part of some ploy to serve Western interests by destroying African economies.
As a patriot that want to see the change our people voted for, I am craving on the indulgence of this new administration, especially H. E President Maada Bio to take heed like former Presidents of Ghana, J. J Rawlings and
Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara or current Presidents like Paul Kagame, Magufuli, Macky Sall in boycotting these structural reforms being imposed on them by these institutions.
Many Sierra Leoneans parochially hold the belief that IMF/WORLD BANK play greater role in determining who wins elections in our country, the few that hold the belief of the SIERRA LEONEAN ELECTORATES determining who wins an election in our country are very close to the truth. Mind you Sierra Leoneans still votes covertly and overtly to determine who leads their nation, and the IMF/World Bank perhaps may only determine this covertly.
A ONE OR MORE TERM (S) FOR THE NEW DIRECTION (SLPP) will be highly determined by the people of Sierra Leone, so Mr. President it’s high time you laid the foundation through your New Direction for prosperity, opportunities and bounties through the collective efforts of your people. Sierra Leoneans can do it, they only need your leadership; lead our country to the Free & Sovereign and posterity will forever lavish accolades on your legacy when you might have taken your leave. PRIORITIZE THE PRIORITY, LET THE VOICE OF YOUR PEOPLE REIGN IN YOUR REIGN!
The Author, Lamrana Alieu Jalloh is a Sierra Leone citizen, You can reach him through: +23276975754, firstname.lastname@example.org