The incompetence of the SLPP annoys the UN – Op ed – Welcome to the Sierra Leone Telegraph
Sheriff Mahmud Ismail: Sierra Leone Telegraph: January 6, 2022:
Traditionally, international partners, especially the United Nations, which are more or less the guardian of international diplomacy, would conduct their public engagements with host countries in the most benign and circumspect manner.
Even when the circumstances may be unflattering, their public statements in particular are usually well guarded so that every word is scrutinized and verified to be within diplomatic restraint. That way, only those who are immersed in diplomacy could discern the diplomat’s disapproval in their statements.
But in a rare development, the United Nations Office in Sierra Leone has shown exhaustion in exercising diplomatic restraint with this Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government. In his New Year’s message to Sierra Leone entitled: “2022 – A year to put Sierra Leone on the front line”, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi (Photo), seems irritated by the ignorance of the SLPP government and has been quite blunt about their lack of finesse and focus.
The anguish and disappointment over the UN man of action was not difficult to notice; as soon as he started his message, the fragments started to fly. Ahonsi bluntly said, “Sierra Leone is off the path to sustainable development.” Although he admitted that Covid -19 had a big role to play in this sad situation, he insisted that there are other complex factors responsible for Sierra Leone’s embarrassing setback.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator therefore highlighted three of the issues that he said “should be of particular concern” to the government. One of them is the COVID -19 pandemic, the severity of which he appears to believe the regime does not fully understand; that they spoiled the answer.
Ahonsi is particularly worried about the ineffectiveness of the authorities’ vaccination campaign as well as their unscrupulous adherence to preventive protocols, as seen recently at the ruling party’s Conference of National Delegates. Here’s how he applied it to government:
“… The national response to Covid-19 must be considerably rethought around a sustained“ do everything ”strategy. This should aim to provide by the end of the year full vaccination to at least 70% of the population and promote broad adherence to Covid-19 prevention protocols regarding hand washing, wearing of face masks and safe physical spacing. “
And he said it’s not rocket science rather; whatever is needed to get the job done is available if management understands what they are doing. “These are not unrealistic targets given, for example, the availability of large vaccine supplies for Sierra Leone. But they can only be achieved through strong and sustained government leadership ”.
Next, Dr Ahonsi all but overturned the ‘Paopaganda’ (the deliberate dissemination of false information with the arrogance that everyone must accept as correct) about the alleged economic recovery and urged the government to, for once, be serious. .
“For now, therefore, rather than talking about post-Covid recovery, the focus should be on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 and maintaining inclusive economic growth that is positive for nature over the course of of this operation. “
Very overwhelmingly, he told the SLPP that this “New Direction” is a disaster, that they are leading the country into an economic, political and social abyss and that they need to make an urgent detour.
“In addition, dealing with the impact of Covid-19 offers a resetting opportunity for a true transformation of economic policy responses to protect and improve the livelihoods of the teeming population of young people and women in the informal sector ”
The United Nations Resident Coordinator’s disappointment with this regime is not limited to the first lines of his New Year’s message; it’s actually metastasized all over. Economically, Dr Ahonsi has clearly denounced the deadly combination of government insincerity, arrogance and incompetence.
So he told the SLPP that their talk about reducing single digit inflation was a hoax; that over the past four years they have done nothing right and that their monumental failure could cast a shadow over 2022. (Photo above: President Bio).
“… long-standing weaknesses in the fundamentals of the national economy are likely to be exacerbated in 2022. The less than ideal trends in per capita income, consumer price inflation, foreign direct investment, deficit current account and -The GDP ratio could potentially worsen. … “
He also said the government had no idea and was not sincere about the projections it made in the 2022 budget. “The forecast of income and economic growth in the 2022 budget and the expectations of the macroeconomic outlook more positive in the medium term should probably now be adjusted downwards. “
In other words, Dr Ahonsi is telling the folks at the Ministry of Finance – stop lying, these numbers are not correct – go back to the drawing board and do your mission well.
Regarding the reckless spending of the government and what others have called the looting of national coffers, the United Nations Resident Coordinator was very blunt in telling them that they were out of luck and that they should now wear their clothes. cross reducing waste. what the Governor of the Bank, Professor Kallon, had the audacity to admit.
This is how Dr Ahonsi set fire to them: “… The government may have no choice but to institute tough austerity measures and do much more to eliminate inefficiencies and the gaps in the allocation and management of public finances ”.
You would think that at this stage the top UN diplomat would hang up the gloves, but no; he hasn’t finished yet. He had yet to express that he neither respects nor trusts the system, even with the exhausted national treasury. What little remains must be protected.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure the separation of funding from key priorities of education, livelihoods protection and health, which are essential to ensure social stability and a rapid return to the path of recovery. economic recovery. “
What the representative of Guterres is telling this government is that any additional funding from the international community would be tied to specific activities and that disbursements would depend on certain deliverables.
For those of us familiar with the work of international partners, we know that Ahonsi is sending a message on behalf of the rest of the international community that as elections approach, they are changing the partnership strategy with countries. This is even clearer in his outlook on the toxic political environment for which he believes the government is the belligerent.
“We have seen a clear increase in political tensions in the country and stronger expressions of concern for the democratic health of the country. These trends should be reversed in 2022 * to lay the foundations for an environment conducive to peaceful and credible elections in 2023. ”
With this searing rebuke, the UN recognizes that over the past four years, this government has shredded Sierra Leone’s strong democratic credentials and even uprooted the basis for peaceful and credible elections. Then he lamented the hypocrisy of the one-sided Bintumani Peace Conference and the “rogue” establishment of the so-called National Peace Commission.
“Therefore, a re-engagement in a genuine dialogue between the leaders of the ruling party and the main opposition parties to address unresolved political grievances in a mutually satisfactory manner before the end of 2022 is an absolute necessity.”
Dr Ahonsi says this knowing that the president has been imposed on Parliament, that MPs have been beaten and forcibly removed from the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC), and that they have been replaced. by SLPP candidates who were the finalists in the elections. He said that due to the imposition of an election commissioner, the inability to hear the APC’s petitions in court, the attempt to escape with a strange mid-term enumeration of the housing and the population, the controversial dismissal of an auditor general on the eve of the publication of a national audit report, as well as the perpetual harassment, arrests and detention of political opponents,
To drive the point home, the representative of Guterres urged the SLPP to return to the inclusive good governance of the APC which was the basis of their success (the APC) in building national cohesion. Here’s what Ahonsi had to say:
“The country needs more than ever to return to the path of an inclusive policy that bridges ethnic, regional, gender, generational and disability-related divisions.”
What the United Nations Resident Coordinator meant was that inclusive politics existed before, but this government abandoned it and took the country in a “new direction” whose destination is a national disaster.
It is this disastrous direction that the country has taken in recent years that informs the main theme of the United Nations Resident Coordinator: “2022 – A year to put Sierra Leone first”; itself a biting punishment of the “powers that be”
But Guterres’ man is certainly not the only one in this case, bilateral and multilateral partners like the UK, the European Union and recently the World Bank, have expressed serious concerns about the wrong direction in which this government dragged Sierra Leone. Sierra Leoneans are also fed up with the status quo and want a peaceful change of government.
It is therefore reassuring that on behalf of the rest of the international community in Sierra Leone, Guterres’ spokesperson has issued a stern warning to those who think they could rig the 2023 election and get away with it; especially those thugs whose hobbies have been vandalism and violent disruption of electoral processes.
“The UN will also work with key stakeholders to directly support efforts to foster peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in 2023,” said the UN Resident Coordinator.
Given that this government’s five-year term is almost over and we are preparing for the election; Guterres’ henchman says that from now on, like it or not, the political violence and the scam must stop.
The serious business of serving Sierra Leone, at least for a peaceful election that must be a true reflection of the will of the people, must be given priority. The UN says they would join all other partners to ensure exactly that. A word for the wise….