The Publicity Secretary of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, Hon. Tamba Musa Sam has described yesterday’s rally as “a bogus show and publicity of the APC government under the disguise of the Freetown City Council pick the street initiative”.
He said he closely monitored the rally which was tagged “pick the street” but that it all turned out to be politicized as “the rally was overshadowed by a large section of people dressed in APC party colour processing on the streets of Freetown”.
Hon Sam said the action was not only tantamount to “paralyzing the national economy but depriving the low income earners like petty traders from making their daily living”. He said the temporary halt to trading for the rally caused huge economic loss to the country.
He said that 3 years ago when APC came to power they gave flamboyant promises to traders, a huge support base of the party but that they could not deliver.
He said they promised the traders a multipurpose market and microcredit but that they had failed to live up to those promises for the past 3 years. The opposition MP said that yesterday’s enterprise was aimed at brainwashing the traders into believing that the government was up to the task “by making bogus statements to the vulnerable traders”.
“Most of the traders are low income earners who survive on daily proceeds from their petty trading; and restricting them from selling for nearly the whole day would not only have had an adverse effect on them but their entire family,” he said.
Reacting to the opposition MP’s claims, the Deputy Government spokesman, Sylvester Swarray confirmed that there was a rally that was organised by the Freetown City Council in conjunction with the traders’ union and not by the government of Sierra Leone.
In an interview, a polio artist, Sahid Conteh categorically condemned the short notice for the rally, saying that whether government or the City Council wanted to declare such they must not only give notice to traders or other categories of the society at short notice but should have first d and sensitized the masses on the significance of the rally.
He said if government wanted to address people on hike in prices of essential commodities, they must first address the issue of duty waiver on basic commodities and also implement the Trade Act which restricted wholesalers from also retailing.
By Solomon Rogers