Gborie’s Pen: Severe hunger & hardship to hit Sierra Leone

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By Emmanuel Gborie

Few days ago, the price of fuel shoot up from Le 18, 000 to Le 22,000 after consistent shortages and galloping of prices in the pace of one month to two. Consequently, it led to an increase in transportation charges across the country and ultimately another increase in the prices of food stuff and other commodities as all business activities that revolve around fuel.  Fuel is directly involved in almost every area of our daily lives. A rise in its price therefore means a rise in the prices of every other thing, and most often; such a shift hits the poorest of the people who struggle every day to put food on the table.

The obvious therefore is more and more hunger, starvation, hardship and suffering for the ordinary citizen. The rise in fuel price in the country was not something far-fetched after weeks of shortage and long ques in gas stations signal something very inevitable. However, one could have wished that the current administration was well prepared to defy the emergences and avoid any further increase in prices, especially considering the current state of hardness in the country.

You will agree with me that things are very difficult in the country right now, and in fact things might get worse in the months to come if God does not help us. So, as things stands, I don’t think we are coming out of these situations anytime soon.

Quite recently in 2021, Concern Worldwide and Wealthhungerlife in the Global Hunger Index, ranked Sierra Leone among the World’s 10 hungriest countries in the world, 2 in the West Africa and 10 in the world. The report stated that Sierra Leone is the top ten nations most affected by hunger and malnutrition with a score of 31.3 and has a level of hunger that is very serious with more than a quarter of its citizens undernourished, and child mortality rate of 10.9%.

This tells clearly the level of hardship and poverty the country is currently faced with, even though some wicked, sycophant and unconcerned politicians are portraying things on the contrary. The situation is so severe that the average Sierra Leonean home is barely surviving, the price of goods in the market is so inflated that people have to squeeze water out of stone to at least have something to eat. Badly enough, most workers still take home peanut change as salaries most of which in facts ends on transport fares due to rise in the price of fuel.  

Perhaps this current state of affairs should be blamed on COVID 19 and the ongoing Ukraine-Russian war, which most people are seeing as a reasonable excuse. However, I looking at things from a different perspective, we should not forget that it is the responsibility of government to lessen the effect of any unforeseen situation that affects the livelihood of its people, and that the most important thing for every government is firstly to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of the people.

Their livelihood, especially what they have on their tables should be at the apex of our agenda. So, I believe government should always try very hard to ensure easy access to such needs if only they have the interest of the people at heart.

The way things are going at this point, you visibly spell suffering and starvation on the faces of the people as you walk on the street. Everybody complains about hardship, homes and marriages, families and relationships are devastated with acute financial difficulties and constrains. They buy and pay for everything at a high price as the prices of commodities keep inflating. I ask myself the question, when exactly are we ever going to get out this problem?  Especially when none of our leaders seems to have any solution or answer to the problem; they are politicians only concerned about who comes into power next.

Somebody must have to do something! The last time I checked, it’s really not hard to satisfy the average Sierra Leonean. Give them something to eat, and the rest will be a story of the past. If not fuel but at least the prices of commodity especially food items and other essential commodities should be within their reach.