By Chernoh Alpha M. Bah
On July 14, 2021, the United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) committed to provide US$217 Million debt to finance Milele Energy and TCQ Power Limited’s right to sell electricity to Sierra Leoneans for a 20-year period. How many Sierra Leoneans are aware of the details of these agreements? How will such secretive deals impact the development of the Sierra Leonean economy; an economy that is already debt strapped?
Forget the country’s current debt from the IMF and World Bank. Between 14th July 2021 and 30th June 2023, United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) alone committed over US$360 Milllion in debts to fund various multinational projects in Sierra Leone, many of which were awarded without public knowledge and without full compliance with Sierra Leone’s transparency laws.
To make matters worse, Sierra Leone’s Parliament willingly revised the 1960 arbitration law on 22 September 2022; passing a new law that directly mortgaged the country’s sovereignty to foreign creditors and multinationals.
The first question we should now ask Abass Bundu and other Sierra Leonean politicians is this: How do you explain the fact that the United States Development Finance Corporation would throw in US$150 million loan to expand an airport project run by a foreign company in Sierra Leone where the president had unconstitutionally sacked the auditor general?
Second question is this: How does the United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC) hopes to recover its US$150 million debt it gave for the Lungi Airport expansion project?
In general, how was Summa Group awarded the airport contract? What’s the history of Milele Energy and TCQ Power Limited? What’s the role of Ernest Koroma and Maada Bio in all these multinational deals?
So when Abass Bundu and other MPs passed the new arbitration law in 2022 to protect foreign companies that are exploiting the resources of poor Sierra Leoneans, they actually transformed Sierra Leone into a gangster colony where rogue foreign multinationals and financial interests now reign supreme. That is classical colonialism!
Colonialism is when a president and a parliament collectively mortgage a country’s airport and other assets to foreign companies without knowledge of its citizens; and where a parliament passes laws to protect such foreign companies against the national interests of its citizens.
Our collective moral responsibility and desire for a decent country demands that we examine holistically how the politicians in the APC and SLPP, and their various minions in other political parties, have collectively bargained and sold our country’s future to a consortium of multinational corporations and international financial networks without the knowledge of millions of its citizens.
That is the colonialism that Abass Bundu should be talking about; the colonialism that the Maada Bio regime and its allies in the APC and other political groups have entrenched in post-war Sierra Leone.
The fact of the matter is that debts and democracy are strange bedfellows. We can not talk of independence and national sovereignty, or real democracy, in a debt strapped gangster colony like Sierra Leone.
As a matter of reality, this is why there will hardly be any real free and fair election in these heavily indebted African countries. And election rigging in countries that remain debt strapped would definitely involve agents of the lending institutions and their mother countries because they have to ensure that the status quo is kept intact to guarantee their own continuous corporate interests in such countries.
Do we need to find examples anymore than what we are now faced with?
The truth is this: We have given more than enough time to those of you who organized the electoral coup in Freetown, and your allies in the UK and elsewhere, to complete your amateur cover-up games. We are patiently and amusingly watching as you keep exposing yourselves by your own efforts.
Do let us know when you have fully exhausted your own script, then we can begin the real conversation on how you all have collectively sold our country and its future for a British pound and a US dollar.
Meanwhile, we will continue to watch your theater show.
Chernoh Alpha M. Bah