As I write this, I silently mourn for Sierra Leone. I have never been a country where people in all walks of life actively fight against progress for all. This year has been heralded with the revealing of woeful state of the Public Accounts of various ministries and other government bodies who were audited by the Audit Service. Just last week 29 people were charged to court by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Although, people have been angry to see so much misappropriation of funds, many of those responsible will still be walking free and in THEIR respective posts by the end of this year. Such is the system here, that it beggars belief!
Accusations that will cause people to resign in other countries only cost alleged perpetrators here a few nights of lost sleep. Yes corruption is everywhere, but countries like Sierra Leone CANNOT afford it!
13 Examples Of Corruption
So how do we encounter in our daily walk in Sierra Leone? Let’s get down to what ordinary Sierra Leoneans are likely to encounter:
1. For instance, you go to buy a bag of charcoal, be warned: the seller might put only good ones on the top and the rest of the bag filled with poor quality stuff so that instead of lasting 2 weeks, it may last for just one week, then the cycle repeats itself.
Sellers of palm oil or anything local may mix it with something else inedible in order to save and make more profit. Be warned. Watch what you eat!
Measuring tins used to measure out flour, rice etc may have tampered with so they measure out less than they are supposed to.
For those who eat cooked kebhabs on the street, beware; vendors being arrested for selling dog meat is not uncommon. Yes DOG meat! Some of the stray dogs they use may actually be riddled with diseases such as rabies. But what do they care so long as they are making money! This is similar to the horsemeat scandal that has recently engulfed Europe. This shows the human heart is the same.
2. Taxi and Ocada drivers complain all the time that everyday they have to pay the police some amount of money to be able to ply their routes. In fact, if you wish to start such a transport business, you have to pay a bribe to some police of high office so that your driver will not be arrested for no reason. This is not hearsay, I know someone who was affected this way eventually he gave up. Too much hassle for little profit. Who wants to die young?
3. You go to some restaurants, you may find that your bill has been inflated because the menus have been taken away and you probably don’t remember how much your order cost anyway so you pay up.
4. If you are a restaurant owner, chances are if you don’t keep a strict eye on your staff, they will be selling their own drinks at your restaurant! YES! the day I heard one guy complain of that, I nearly fell of my seat. Whiles your stock of drinks remain…shocking!
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Meeting With HE Ghanaian Vice President & Education Minister
This happened on the eve of the inauguration. I was very impressed with both of them. Ayiko, Ghana!
Friday the 22nd was a holiday in Sierra Leone as the president HE Ernest Bai Koroma was formally sworn in as President of the Republic. I enjoyed it especially the March past at least the initial bits. For me it was a good day except for the lack of cover even for VIP presidential seats & the delay which caused even some dignitaries to leave before time.
Same thing happened on the 50th anniversary. I think something ought to be done about this lack of organisation and attention to time, as fewer and fewer VIP’s will be willing to come and sit for ours on end in the future….
I’ve been all excited today since it’s been exactly “5ive” years today since we landed in Sierra Leone for good!. I remember how sultry the weather felt compared to the cold we had just left in England. There was dust everywhere and excitement in the air for us! We had 14 pieces of luggage with us – 8 suitcases and 5 pieces of hand luggage – All of that were placed in the helicopter which took approximately 7 minutes to bring us to Freetown from Lungi Airport. It was around 12 midnight and the car wound its way through the then busy and bumpy roads of Lumley, Regent Road then into a new life in Sierra Leone.
Now if I recall my first impression well, it was soooo…… dark – no light at that time – and our generator was on 24/7. I remember waking up the next morning and thinking “oh…my it’s so hot the heater has been on all night” hahaha… I had forgotten that we were now in the tropics no more radiators or heaters to worry about. We had our own free heating system – the sun. Thank God! I always dreaded the dreary winters.
Five years on and I can whole-heartedly say it’s been great, I am glad and thankful to God that we came back! I can’t explain every detail here. We face different challenges in Sierra Leone but slowly and gradually, we have tackled and continue to tackle each of them head-on and overcome them. Each one overcome means a better life and more importantly a better attitude to life. Most of all, I am glad for the help I get in the home. I don’t have to run around like headless chicken trying to be Superwoman. Yes Life is Good! No Life is Better!
Here are some of the Positive things that have happened since we came:
Today was SLPP campaign day. For those who don’t know, in order to avoid unnecessary clashes and/or violence, politcal parties campaigning for the presidential elections in Sierra Leone have been allotted different days. Official campaigning began on the 17th of October, a month before election day.
What amazes me is that, I have not seen or heard of any manifesto of any party! No leaflets, no website links, nothing! Is this about who makes the loudest noise and parties the most? What does each political party going to do for us? Is it written on paper, can we see it? I may be missing something but I thought one uses manifesto to decide who to vote for.
Here are some pictures I took today: Enjoy!
There are 10 or so politcal parties, the past 5 days have been nominations and formal registration week. I was surprised to see the number for supporters that turned out for both SLPP and APC especially. There are roughly 10 or so parties contending in these elections – : APC, SLPP, PDMC, PDP, UNPP, YPP, RUF ,PLP, GAP, NDC. Seeing the partying that has gone on this week, I’m beginning to look forward to how the elections will go.
Here are some pictures I managed to get from the APC float on Regent Road. (By the way, I’m non-partisan, I don’t even have a vote!)
and by the way Regent Road is being revamped….
Today, despite it being rainy, I took the opportunity when the sunny spells came out to relax for few minutes on the beach and just stare into the sky…wow I watched the clouds moving across Lumley towards Juba Hills, I guessed there would be rain there soon.
The sheer luxury of abandoning everything for a few minutes just to stand and stare was amazing… how busy we get in these times. I need to make more time for such interludes.
Substance Detection Dogs Along With New Surveillance Technology
So no more hiding place for “amateur smugglers”! I say “amateur” because the professionals certainly know how to evade all this new techie stuff. Nevertheless, better than nothing.
A word of caution to those would be “dry fish” ehhh shall I say smugglers you may want to avoid embarrassment. After all you can’t give money to a dog… ha ha ha… If you want to eat nice “couta” or barracuda, stay in Salone!
Here’s the public Notice Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) placed in various newspapers:
The Management of the Sierra Leone Airports Authority (SLAA) hereby informs the General Travelling Public that Departing Passengers from Freetown International Airport would be paying a Security Charge of Twenty-Four US Dollars ($24) effective Monday 21st May, 2012.
This new charge is as a result of the recently adopted security measures introduced by the newly contracted security firm, Westminster Aviation Security Services (WASS). These measures include the following:
Highly effective Substance Detection Dogs
New detection and surveillance technologies both within the passenger and Cargo terminals.
Members of the travelling public are hereby encouraged to comply with the new security measures. This security charge of $24 is a price worth paying for the enhancement of security measures that have now been put in place at the airport to ensure that you travel in safety and comfort.
This new charge, which is payable during the checking process, is temporary measure only, until the Airlines incorporate it into their Air ticket system.
We regret any inconvenience