Drivers are stubborn
Government has over the years increased the price of fuel products especially petrol. Such increase most often sparks off tension leading to fistfights among passengers and commercial motor drivers. This year is no exception.
It will be recalled that in January this year, the government of President Julius Maada Bio reduced the pump price of petrol, kerosene and diesel and ordered petrol, for instance, to be reduced from Le8, 000 per litre to Le 7,000; whilst kerosene and diesel dropped to Le7, 500 respectively. Consequently, the government through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation announced the new transport fare from one destination to another especially in the city of Freetown. Interestingly, and sadly for passengers who ply the city, the commercial derivers, namely, poda poda, taxi drivers and kehkeh drivers have not bulged; some have even increased the fares instead of reducing them and nobody in authority has said a word about it.
Are we saying government is not aware of this seeming disregard on the part of the drivers? The motor driver’s union seems helpless or are they colluding with the drivers? The traders including business people, government workers and other ordinary Sierra Leoneans are getting impatient; if government cannot act on their behalf, they have the right to act for themselves. In view of the difficult economic situation, it’s time to tame the intransigent commercial drivers. Government should be aware of this. The ordinary masses are suffering. And the drivers are compounding their problems further.
Allan Town, Freetown
Civil society voice has disappeared from our democratic space
I am a devoted follower of the vibrant role civil society groups played in the country. They took government to task on issues of national concern. This was an encouraging development for a developing democracy like ours. I recall when then Vice President, Sam Sumana was sacked, civil society groups voiced their views on the issue. Overall, they were vivacious and I appreciated their role.
Sir, this has however changed. There has been a shift. In the last couple of months, most of them have gone dormant. I also realized that some of them have got political appointments. Take the issue of rape and sexual violence. It was a great move by the President to address the scourge. But his call for life imprisonment of offenders raised public concern, given the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which called for a maximum sentence of 15 years. Unfortunately, I have not heard much from those civil society groups that were very vocal.
I would appreciate to see a review or amendment to this law. That said, I think the executive should allow such a function to be performed by parliament than just changing the law by a presidential declaration. But right groups tend not to be watching or seeing. This is not good for our democracy.
Unavailability of Electricity Supply at Devil Hole Community
On behalf of the residents of Devil Hole, a community situate in the Western Area Rural District, Freetown, I would like to bring to the notice or attention of the government and other key stakeholders, the unavailability of electricity supply in this part of the country. Grateful if you can cause the publication of this news in your newspaper for prompt action.
Sir/Madam, you will agree with me that daily or uninterrupted electricity supply is crucial to the socio-economic and infrastructural development of any society. Thus, the desire or need for it should not be over-emphasized. And Devil Hole is one such community that currently lacks such supply from our national electricity supplying body – Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA).
The people of Devil Hole community have been crying for too long for this facility. But it appears such a cry has not been heard by our respective governments. The size of the community has grown, and population continues to increase. Besides, there exist medical health centers, schools, and other social amenities that require constant electricity.
It is therefore the humble call of the residents of the Devil Hole community to the current government and other major stake-holders to intervene and make our dream of getting electricity come to fruition soon.
Sematown, Devil Hole
Football is back but I am apprehensive!
I have been a football loving fan that felt deprived by the seeming death of football for a long period. The FIFA ban on Sierra Leone has not been of any good to us. There were major issues that had to be resolved; above all what it needed then was the political will to have the game played and fans entertained. I have misgivings on government’s decision to spend billions of Leones on clubs just as part of its commitment to bring football back. We cannot be seen to be funding clubs that should be able to locally raise funds for their smooth operations.
That notwithstanding, it is also positive news, that the country is back on its toes, with the president giving his support to what I would call ‘the rebirth of football.’ Football is a tool that helps to bring people together. This is what I have witnessed since the return of the Premier League with thousands of compatriots thronging the National Stadium to support their teams. I am hopeful that the momentum that has been placed on the game is maintained, funding sustained, and we work towards resolving our differences with FIFA so that we begin to play international football once again.