Following a lot of unfortunate events, such as the two years long Ebola outbreak and the recent landslide and flooding in Freetown that affected thousands of people, coupled with series of policy failures, political analysts have opined that, it is going to be an uphill task for the ruling All Peoples Congress in March 7 2018 elections.
These analysts furthered that, the highly controversial Wellington-Masiaka toll road that has caused the poor to experience huge hikes in the cost of basic essential goods, which many citizens describe as the two ships loads of Ghadaff rice that kicked the SLPP out of power suffice to forestall them from repeating the resounding parliamentary and presidential elections it had in 2012.
It could be recalled that based on the impressive development strides made by President Koroma during his first term in office, it was not difficult for him to convince the majority of the nation to return him and the APC to power in 2012, even though many people condemned the poor performance of many APC Members of Parliament and their councilors.
As the country’s political landscape takes on a new coloring and configuration, APC winning the March 7th 2018 now hangs in the balance as inflation continues to bite deep, the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party rallying strongly behind their leader, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, new political parties emerging and the National Grand Coalition which is said to include former Vice President Sam Sumana, Dr Denis Bright, Dr Kandeh Yumkella and other well known political progressives promising to come on very strong after it becomes a political party in October.
What will make it very difficult for the APC to secure a convincing parliamentary victory and first round presidential victory is the fact that the nation feels betrayed and let down by President Koroma’s promise to bring his people renewed hope and prosperity.
Certainly, the government embarking on austerity and the price of rice, cooking items, fuel at a time when the world market price had fallen, transportation, electricity, secondary and university education, health and other essential social goods and services that the people need to improve on their standard of living and well-being indicate that the APC has a lot of work to do in order to be returned to power.
What discourages many people and makes them think twice about voting again for the APC is the government’s lack of transparency and accountability wherein, particularly in the last five years, hundreds of billions of Leones and tens of millions of dollars that should have been spent on development have gone down the drain or into the pockets of corrupt ministers and government officials as clearly outlined by the various annual auditor general’s reports with the government powerless to do anything concrete to retrieve those monies and to prevent further theft.