So this APC Trashgate was a potential “jackpot” and for our APC friends to think that Sierra Leoneans will buy the fiction story book that says “it was just Hon IB Kargbo” then they must be thinking we still live in the age of typewriter. Many Sierra Leoneans believe that when Hon. IB Kargbo wrote in his opening paragraph of his famous Trashgate letter “After consultations on this issue…”, he discussed the issue with many senior members of this Government.
And out of shameful desperation, our APC friends cannot disassociate Hon IB Kargbo from the government now; a man who used to represent His Excellency the President in public functions when the elected Vice President was made ceremonial.
The irony of this Trashgate is the fact that if on the face of it, it was just for fertilization then Sierra Leone will even need to be supplying waste and rubbish to other African countries for agricultural purposes to clean our streets, drainage and dump-sites of piles of garbage. Even the Government Policy on Waste Management published in March 2015 by MoHS lays bare a painful fact “The waste management situation in Sierra Leone is close to crisis level with the greatest challenges to public health, safety and the environment being the risk of disease transmission due to the inappropriate management of wastes”.
To think that there would even be “consultations” to import foreign wastes adding to what is close to a crisis level is purely heartless by APC. For our APC friends, it seems money is more important than the lives of our people and the image of our country.
So when our APC friends claim that the Government has been proactive to issue a statement and order a criminal investigation into the morass of a backfired deal, the obvious question is: why didn’t the Government issue a statement when the “consultations” were made and the matter was even discussed with the second-in-command in Government, the appointed Vice President Foh?
Therefore, the Government was not being proactive; it was just reacting to a backfired deal which has been made public by the As-Safir newspaper publication for which some senior members of the Government had prior knowledge. And it could have been unimaginable that with the widespread outrage by citizens because of the shame on the image of Sierra Leone if the government was not compelled to launch a criminal investigation.
Even though, many citizens are cynical about the criminal investigation because of previous investigations of various scandals which had led to bizarre outcomes making those involved mere political celebrities, this Trashgate is too close to the Presidency through an adviser to the President. The outcome of the criminal investigation and other findings should not be business as usual or influenced by the APC internal party succession struggle. The President owes it to the people to demonstrate that Sierra Leone is bigger than APC internal party politics or personal relationship.
To be generous to His Excellency the President, let us even assume he had no prior knowledge or the matter was not discussed with him and was only shocked like all of us to read in a foreign paper that his adviser has written guidelines, in effect, to use the country as a “waste collection point”, it raises many questions for the President himself.
Firstly, how many other “letters” “guidelines” or “deals entered into” by senior members of the Government which are inimical to the country and people for which the President does not have knowledge about?
Secondly, if the President does not have knowledge about certain actions and activities of his advisers, how does the President provide the necessary oversight or supervision over their activities or actions to prevent abuse of office and position?
Thirdly, if the Vice President was informed on a matter as serious as the Government Press Release expressed, why didn’t the Vice President think it fit to discuss the matter with the President?
For the Leader of the ADP, Mohamed K. Mansary, there could not have been any better gift for his new year than the leaked Trashgate letter signed by Hon. IB Kargbo as adviser to the President. Sec 76(1)(b) of the 1991 constitution makes it abundantly clear on one of the provisions for the disqualification for membership of parliament. Funnily, just as the Minister of Information was being economical with the truth when he said on BBC that the constitution has “loopholes” for more time, don’t be too surprised, if our APC friends also tell you there are “loopholes” for disqualification for membership of parliament.
Finally, the Trashgate has once again demonstrated why any talk of “more time” for APC is an insult to our collective pride as a people and a nation. Citizens have become so cynical about the APC Government that even when a worrying development of an Ebola case has been confirmed, some citizens have said it is part of the Government ploy to justify the “more time” campaign. I do not share that view but what the APC “more time” campaign has done is to break that very little trust between the people and the President – a man who once told the nation this is his final term and elections will be conducted in 2018.