Friday November 4, 2011 - As the circus headed by the smoke and mirrors President rolls into great London town, we ask just how much of the tax payer's money is being wasted on another jamboree even as we wait for the cost of the recent UN General Assembly meeting to be made public.
The magician's "gbatolites of no nation" who see nothing wrong in the policies of a man who since assuming power has quite forgotten his promises to the people as the economy takes a plunge while the ordinary Sierra Leonean finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, that is if they can even see where the ends are. The Commonwealth meeting in Perth held from 28-30th October has ended and instead of heading home to see how to make life easier for folks back home in the mother country, Sierra Leone, the circus heads for London where, according to his hirelings, rabid and rude boys and girls who think that spinning lies, more lies and damned lies is the best way of pleasing their paymaster, is in London "to dance with Sierra Leoneans". Fancy that, if you will. While the people back at home starve and Sierra Leone slides down the Human Development Index, (HDI), the smoke and mirrors President rides into town promising, according to those who depend on him for their "an to mot", shameless beasts of no nation to the core, to hold town hall meetings with "Sierra Leoneans living in the diaspora". And to tell Sierra Leoneans all about it would be, you guessed it, another of the beneficiaries of the corrupt cabal that passes for a government in Freetown, one Khadija Sesay who actually believes that the Open Government Initiative is an excuse to be in the circus to "educate the diaspora" about what good governance is all about. Which reminds us - how goes that court case in which she was stated to have been involved in a deal with an entertainer for the 50th anniversary celebrations? As we have seen from the Auditor General's report of double payments when the circus attended the UN General Assembly last year, we wonder just how much the Australia jaunt has cost the tax payer and how much money is being siphoned off into personal pockets in terms of per diem and other allowances as well as other "sundry" expenses best known to the corrupt.A reminder of that report's section will suffice -
6. Duplication of payment in respect of United Nations general assembly meetings
The following were observed: During the 2010 Financial Year, the Office of the Secretary to the President received US$54,267 to cover accommodation, incidental and imprest in respect of the 65th UN General Assembly meeting and for the same period an amount of US$49,915 was remitted to the Mission. Of utmost concern to the auditor was the unavailability of the relevant supporting documents and schedules to cover those payments. We therefore recommended that the Financial Secretary should explain, with substantial evidence, why duplicate payments were made in respect of the UN General Assembly Meetings; in the absence of which the amounts involved should be refunded by the officers concerned. And that Financial Secretary is the President's own hand-picked man, one Edmond Koroma who had been ordered to pay back to the government kitty 500, million leones for his part in the rotten ferries scam. Your guess is as good as ours on whether he has paid a single leone.
And while his shameless internet flying toilets have been singing for their supper, none of them noticed that Sierra Leone is among ten countries that have been chosen to help in the reform of the Commonwealth to make it more relevant to modern times. According to a communique issued after CHOGM 2011 in Perth, Australia, other members of the reform group in the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) include Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Maldives, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu. This group is to further evaluate "relevant options relating to the EPG's proposal for a Commissioner for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Human Rights and to report back to Foreign Ministers at their September meeting in New York"
j) urging members to consider becoming parties to all major international human rights instruments; to implement fully the rights and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as those human rights treaties to which they are a party; to uphold these rights and freedoms; to share best practice and lessons learned, including from the United Nations Universal Periodic Review process; and to continue to support the work of National Human Rights Institutions; and
k) promoting tolerance, respect, understanding and religious freedom which, inter alia, are essential to the development of free and democratic societies.
The above should be food for thought for State House given the increasing level of intolerance that pervades Sierra Leone society since that top seat became occupied by one Ernest Bai Koroma who had practically promised heaven on earth for all Sierra Leoneans only to forget about them and concentrate on his inner circle and the voices of the paid praise singers. Sierra Leoneans still await the Government White Paper on the Shears-Moses report and we would again like to remind State House and the smoke and mirrors President that further aid to Sierra Leone would depend on how well the "occupiers" practice what they preach on good governance, democracy and the rule of law. The UK government would definitely frown on any regime/government that encourages lawlessness and political intolerance as contained in the Shear-Moses report and other incidents which clearly demonstrate that after 15 years out in the cold, the APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma still refuses to accept that Sierra Leone is no longer a one-party state and that political violence/violence of any sort is just not on the cards if the country should maintain its place in the community of worthy nations.
This part of the communique should also be of interest to policy makers in Freetown - more so as it relates to the need for transparency in the management of the country's natural resources.
e) agreed to promote more effective natural resource management through greater transparency and better governance, and taking account of the values of natural capital in decision-making, build on the Commonwealth’s longstanding practical contributions to member governments in this area. To that end:
i. agreed to build capacity in and share best practice on resource management, and welcomed members’ initiatives to provide access to research, education and training, and technical and policy expertise;
ii. welcomed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative principles and encouraged Commonwealth countries to consider supporting or implementing them;
iii. committed to combating the illegal exploitation of natural resources, including through supporting theLusaka Declaration of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region;
i. help children attain basic levels of literacy and numeracy by strengthening international mechanisms and cooperation, including through new technologies;
ii. create opportunities for skills development and quality secondary and higher education;
iii. call for a successful completion of the first replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education in Copenhagen in November 2011;
g) committed to universal access to health care, and services to improve maternal and reproductive health, supporting access to safe, affordable and quality medicines, and support for all Commonwealth people by accelerating the implementation of international conventions and eradicating disease by improving domestic health strategies and immunisation systems. Heads agreed to do this by:
i. accelerating action and financial support to eradicate polio including by improving routine immunisation systems;
ii. accelerating implementation of the Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
iii. committing to accelerating action to implement the objectives outlined in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on AIDS;
iv. recognising that malaria is one of the leading causes of death and a major obstacle to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty alleviation, agreeing to work proactively with key stakeholders and partners towards accelerated implementation of strategies to reduce malarial morbidity and mortality in member countries;
5. Improving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Commonwealth by:
a) supporting national programmes to this effect, including initiatives to eliminate gender-based violence, intensifying efforts to promote women’s decision-making roles at all levels, and continuing to improve advocacy for women’s leadership and the empowerment of women as leaders;
Food for thought there and if we know our magician well, he will nod agreement and say how good the contents of the communique are...knowing that once he gets back to Sierra Leone, its the dust bin for such good documents.