It is getting so common among Sierra Leoneans to always blame the people around the Leadership and not the leaders, when things go that very wrong.
Indeed conversely, they will never praise the people around the Leadership when things go right.
This phenomenon has crept so deep down in our psyche that we fail to analyze our situations correctly.
When we fail to do this, we remain in the mediocrity that has now come to characterize us as a nation. Before and during the elections, we witnessed the kind of vulgar display of wealth among some sections of our gentry, that we were wondering where all that money was coming from, even when our electoral laws do not allow extravagant spending during elections, as this gives undue advantage to certain people and their parties.
Well, events of the past two weeks have started giving pointers to where we should look, to have answers.
If you are still choosing to remain stupid, check out the Gavi-gate Scandal that is currently rocking Sierra Leone and almost rooting it from its normally fragile foundation. You see my guy, when the lizard of the homestead fails to do the things that its kind is known for, it will be definitely be mistaken for the lizard of the farmyard.
What becomes so enraging is that our country remains poor for the most part for the bulk of our citizenry.
‘See we yone trouble’! We are told we are the fastest growing economy in Africa, but yet our people staying in rampant depravity. They are indeed also Sierra Leoneans, are they not?
I once saw posted on the wall of a prominent humanitarian organization office this:
We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible. We have done so much with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.
Can this be part of what Emmerson refers to when he says ‘we nar kondgbala, we lef we body, una wap’? If you do not know certain things in your imposed wretched life…you go learn.
Let us now enter the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. If people in some parts of the country sometimes die like flies, think hard on some of the facts of our lives as Sierra Leoneans.
This country is having this massive corruption in the midst of gross inadequacies in the health sector.
Firstly. It is no more news that we hardly have even half of the full complement of the number of health personnel that we need as a nation.
Even the few of the medical personnel we have, the bulk of them are staying and working in the Western Area. Take medical Officers.
In 2010, out of 45 that were available, a total of 24 were in the Western Area. Can you imagine the gross depravity caused by this?
Now Freetown is congested and things are expensive and in short supply. Supply will indeed remain at variance with demand.
There is as yet, hardly anything anyone can do about this. I wonder if the GAVI-gate Scandal kingpins thought about all this.
An assessment conducted by the Ministry of Health and Partners in 2010, estimated that the cost of implementing the Free health Care was expected to grow from 9 million US Dollars in the first year to about 50 Million US Dollars in 2014.
They therefore surmised that without substantial donor support, it will be impossible for the government alone to sustain the implementation of the free Health care for under-fives, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.
Already the scheme is facing huge challenges. You might be saying it is like when I am wrong, no one forgets, when I am right no one forgets.
No, there is nothing that anyone is forgetting. In fact it is the remembrance that is more sickening than the forgetfulness.
When they say that old people live on remembrance, it is because their past was sweet even if slow.
Tell me what will our children remember?
At the time Colonel Muamar Kaddafi was being hounded like a little rat, his country Libya was only 2 percent donor dependent.
Where were we Sierra Leone? You really want to know… we were a whopping 150 percent donor dependent. We are still heavily dependent on others. Show me some monumental achievement in this country that was not funded by some benign foreign country?
Oh yes, from Parliament to Youyi Building, from Stadium to Aberdeen Bridge, from Bumbuna to Kamboi Plaza. The list is long.
Perhaps the only major project that we are told is from local funds is the celebrated extension work on Wilkinson road.
But even here, we hear of it being just too expensive. Well never mind, it is a good project although the street lights that I am told are a mockery to 21st century.
For this financial year, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has been allocated the sum of Le 38,968,000.000. This is nearly Le39 Billion. Government increased the health Budget from 7.4 % in 2012 to 10.5 for 2013.
This is a welcome development; thanks to the civil Society groups that campaigned for almost two years to get government to take this step.
This is real fine.
What could be interesting also is to have a comparative analysis of this year’s budget.
A little irony is that for any increase in any sector, there is bound to be a corresponding reduction in another as the total is always 100 %. I hope you see the point I am making. Interestingly, the Ministry Of Defence and the Sierra Leone Police allocations each almost doubles that of the Health Ministry. Well, at least we may see our police wearing real police boots and not crazy ordinary shoes with terrible forking noses like those clowns wore in England’s Elizabethan days of old.
It is worth noting that the above-mentioned allocations for the Ministry of Health, do not include the funds for devolved functions at the Local government level.
I must say that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is one of the ministries in which donor and development partners are kind of upbeat in terms of their sincerity of support and this is why wastage of any amount of money in this sector needs every possible probing.
In 2009, the National Health sector strategic Plan 2010-2015 was launched.
This document charts the course the government and its partners will take for improving health.
For a country that has as much as 70% of its population living under one US Dollar a day, national scandals like the Gavi-gate scandal needs the attention it deserves. For once let the lizard of the homestead, do the things for which its kind is known for.
By Ben Cambayma