There are reports of the arrest of several students in the capital Freetown, who are also believed to have been tortured.
As the government and its supporters continue to pile on the blame on the IMF for its massive spending cuts and incompetence, few in Sierra Leone are surprised as to why after almost ten years in power, and with the half-hearted implementation of two incoherent national development programmes – ‘the agenda for change and the agenda for prosperity’, the country cannot withstand the twin shocks of Ebola and falling iron ore prices.
A government that understands how an economy works, and has the ability and political commitment to address the economic and social problems of the country, should be more than capable of responding to the challenges of eradicating poverty in Sierra Leone.
Did president Koroma and his APC party lie to the people of Sierra Leone about their capability, or were the people simply fed up with the SLPP government in 2007 and wanted change?
No matter the answer to this question, what is patently clear now is that the Koroma government is totally out of its depth in responding to the challenges facing the country. It simply lacks the leadership, vision, commitment, moral fortitude and expertise; and the people now want change.
It is time for change, and the people must be allowed not only to express their democratic right to choose who governs them – once in every five years, but must be allowed to exercise their right to protest peacefully, whenever they feel that the government has lost its focus, as they have today.
But given the ruling party’s despotic and communist tendencies, the only agenda on its cards now is the use of brutal force to discourage peaceful protests by citizens, rather than educate a despondent electorate about the failures of their economic policies.
The people of Sierra Leone want their voices to be heard, and for the deaf and dumb in the ruling party leadership to listen.
Students across the country have formed a campaign group to demand the release of their fellow students – in particular – Theresa Luseni Mboma , and said this:
“Theresa is a student of FBC who was arrested yesterday because of a post she allegedly shared in a whatsapp group about the unbearable economic hardship in the country.
“We are advocating for her release, because we know that her arrest is a calculated ploy to suppress students’ voice and intimidate them into submission to the unacceptable hardship in the country.
“We are therefore calling on all students to join us in the campaign for her immediate release. Intimidation tactics must not work against us. Let us emphatically demand the release of our fellow student and continue to constructively make our voices heard on issues affecting our country.
“One Sierra Leone – One United Students.”