By Sidie Yahya Tunis :
Cutting of the tape by President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Alpha Conde of Guinea during the opening of the Common Border Post
No sooner His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, president of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Professor Alpha Conde, president of the Republic of Guinea jointly opened the Rogbere-Pamelap road and the Common Border Post on 2nd June 2012 at Gbalamuya, top officials of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) engaged the media in a hurry to share in the great success-story – they claimed that “Nar We Begin am,” meaning that they started the project.
Indeed, the Rogbere-Pamelap road project started long before President Koroma assumed office in 2007, but the European Union (EU) withdrew funding long since because of bad contract and kickback arrangements under the SLPP management. And President Koroma is on point for insisting that he started many of the projects from scratch and awakened deadwood ones killed by SLPP corruption.
It has been confirmed by sources at Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) that many of the road projects currently going on in the country were non-existence when President Koroma took over governance in 2007.
“The construction of the Rogbere-Pamelap had stopped at least a year before President Koroma’s term began. The contractor had abandoned the project, EU had withdrawn their funding,” a Director at SLRA stated when contacted.
An impressed motorist who finally realized he has cut down considerably on the time it took to travel to Guinea and back said, “My passengers had to clean-up themselves a few times before they continued their journey because they were always covered in dust or mud depending on the season.”
Upon assuming governance, President Koroma approached the EU and made a commitment that he will ensure that the project is completed if they make the funding available again and the EU gave a no objection. Funds were made available again under new negotiations and new terms and contracts were also negotiated and signed by the government. A State House operative took a heavy breadth and said, “I am glad that the President kept his commitment to the EU, the road is now completed.”
Wilkinson road under construction in Freetown Sierra Leone