Twelve reasons why I believe the greatest damage of the Koroma government is its abuse and weakening of our institutions.
1. Spending a large sum of donor and state funds to review our constitution, rejecting most of the recommendations of the review, and attempting to introduce changes that did not enjoy public support when the reviewers engaged the public before writing their report.
2. Having MPs and ministers who are dual citizens and, therefore, not qualified to hold such posts.
3. Selectively using the dual citizenship law to attack one person in a different party while still having a large number of ministers who are dual citizens.
4. Attempting at the 11th hour of the end of the last parliament to change, without public debate, an entrenched clause in the constitution that 55% votes are required to avoid a run-off in a presidential election; and submitting two mining bills of a dubious nature without proper parliamentary debate.
5. Embracing the dictatorial title of supreme executive authority, which even Siaka Stevens and Joseph Momoh who governed as authoritarian leaders never did, in order to justify the sacking of an elected vice president.
6. Elevating parties over citizens’ democratic choices in determining when presidents and vice presidents can remain in office. With the Supreme Court’s support, a party leader, who may not even contest elections in his party, is now more powerful than a president elected by millions of voters if they belong to the same party.
7. Accepting the title of Life Chairman and Leader from the youth wing of the party, and very likely continuing as chairman and leader of the party even when he leaves office. This is a throwback to the bad governance days of life presidents that ruined African countries in the 1970s.
8. Appointing individuals who served in independent institutions to political posts when they retired from office: Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh, former Chief Justice, as ambassador to Ghana, and Christiana Thorpe, who supervised the 2012 elections that he won, as a deputy minister of education. It sends a message that there is a reward for compliant heads of independent institutions when they leave office.
9. Recycling back into government sacked individuals who are under a cloud of corruption but are lucky to be acquitted by the courts on technical grounds.
10. Failure for 10 years to act on the Auditor General’s report, which contains numerous cases of misappropriated funds or expenditures that are not backed by proper documentation; as well as failure to hold to account those who the Auditor General identified as responsible for the missing 14 million dollars meant to fight the Ebola virus disease.
11. The scourge of corruption rearing its ugly head in State House during preparations for the Hajj pilgrimage in 2017. Officials at State House and other functionaries who pilfered pilgrims’ payments have still not been brought to book by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
12. Passing bad mining laws that granted zero taxation to companies and duty waiver of imported goods, which only enriched mining companies and key government and party functionaries during the mining boom of 2012-13. It has been estimated that the state lost $224 million in 2012 on tax concession to only five mining companies and a cement company.
By Yusuf Bangura and culled from the Facebook page of Professor Jimmy Kandeh