Hundreds of workers at the National Power Authority (NPA) from different branches in Freetown on Friday closed down their head office on Siaka Stevens Streets, demanding that their Deputy General Manager, Patrick Tarawalie who was sent on leave should not resume work.
Mr. Tarawalie who was the Deputy Manager then, along with three others was sent on leave some six months back. He was supposed to start work today.
With placards in their hands and banners tied to the main gate of the offices with writings: “we are tired of doctorial leadership; we don’t want Patrick Tarawalie he is a dictator; Patrick return to NPA will create internal conflict in the Authority; Patrick should not work once more “keep him out”; 5 million dollar machines was brought by this wicked Tarawalie after 6 months was a complete scrap at Kingtom.”
Giving the reasons for the protest, President of the Senior Staff Association, Harry Reider said that “the protest was not to create mayhem or to sabotage the government; but rather, to tell the government that they have suffered for long and we want them to intervene”.
He added that “we did not do it for unrest but we are crying for help from government, adding that the present administration is working effectively and we do not want anybody to come and destroy that.”
The Staff Association President Harry Reider assured President Koroma that his dream of providing electricity in the country we will achieved to the fullest.
He instructed workers to go back to their normal work as their concerns will be looked into.
Admonishing them, Minister of Labour, Minkailu Mansaray commended the workers for the way and manner in which the peaceful protest was done without wreaking havoc or causing damage to the buildings.
He assured them that they (government) will meet with the senior staff executives to address these issues.
The Labour Minister encouraged them to work diligently and that they will hear from the government soonest.
The Presidential Affairs Minister Alpha Kanu disclosed that NPA is at the top rank of the government priorities, adding that the institution is one of the performing institutions in the country.
He added that, international community and people living in the Diaspora are praising NPA for the provision of electricity in the city and some parts of the country. Mr. Kanu informed them that they are going to State House to decide on their call and that they will not disappoint them.
The Presidential Affairs minister pointed out that it is a big test for the government to see if they are listening to the cry of the people. “We have seen listened and heard, your problems” assuring them that they “will look into them and we will not disappoint you.” Speaking to one of the workers, he said that for this short time their new General Manager Zubairu Kaloko has cleared all debts of payment left behind Tarawally and has been steadily improving the power sector.
With all seriousness, the worker noted that NPA dislike Tarawally for his engine for NPA gave continuous black out and workers will go home for three months without receiving salary, adding that there was no increment for the past three to four years. The workers pleaded with President Koroma that they are totally afraid of this improvement being done during this short time to be destroy by just one individual Mr. Tarawalie. In a meeting held at State House, with Alpha Kanu and other top executives with Senior Staff Association, it was resolved that Tarawalie continue his leave until appropriate actions are put in place. The Presidential Affairs Minister also asked the executives to make their complaint in a report send it to him and he in return will copy it to the President.
By Abibatu Kamara and Christiana Cole