February 28, 2019
By Joseph S. Margai
Mayor of Kenema City Council, Thomas Baio, has disclosed to this medium that he personally provided the total sum of six hundred and eighty-five million, eight hundred and thirty thousand Leones (Le685,830,000) for the maintenance of 34 feeder roads within the municipality of Kenema.
The mayor, who was speaking in an interview on Thursday (21st February, 2019) in his Kenema City Council office, also said the above amount of money was used to purchase 9,644 litres of fuel for excavators to grade the feeder roads in order to ease the movement of people and vehicles.
Mayor Baio, who is using his personal resources to embark on that massive development, said since the government is busy constructing tarmac roads in Kenema city, he has decided to personally do the feeder roads linking the three tarmac roads under construction.
“The three major roads that the central government is constructing are Blama, Hanga and Dama. The council also used own-sourced revenue to renovate the central lorry parks, where it is generating revenue from. I have taken upon myself to rehabilitate all the feeder roads. I will not stop at the 34 feeder roads, I will continue until all the feeder roads in the city are rehabilitated,” he said.
Mayor Baio, who says the central government has a lot on its table to handle for national development, also said that he was voted by the people of Kenema city to champion development.
“The government is helping our children in both primary and secondary schools with free quality education. It is also into many development projects. So, if I have the opportunity to complement its efforts by rehabilitating all the feeder roads in Kenema city, it is my utmost pleasure to do so for my people,” he said.
He, however, said the council has received a total sum of six hundred and thirty million Leones (Le630,000,000) from the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF) for the general maintenance of the roads in the municipality.
“I am operating on a platform of democratic accountability. Whatever comes to the council from the central government or any other external sources, I will announce it to the people. I am not here to make money but to work for my people and I will never deviate from this path. Our President Julius Maada Bio wants an open system of governance- that is being accountable to the people and that is the line I am following,” he told this medium.
He said beside the ongoing roads projects, plans were underway to construct a modern clock tower and the city hall in Kenema, adding that monies for both projects were included in the council’s 2019 budget.
“We want to give a new face to the municipality of Kenema and we are determined not to fail in this direction. I am providing the political leadership of this city and I will stop at nothing that will undermine the development of Kenema city,” he noted.
Asked about the general challenges his administration is facing in the municipality, Mayor Baio said the electricity situation is very poor, as they could only receive electricity supply for at most 30 minutes.
“We also have a challenge of clean and safe drinking water facility. The Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) is not doing much in the township. We are dependent on boreholes and water wells to salvage the challenge. But plans are underway to engage the officials of SALWACO so as to address this problem for the city,” he told this medium.
With regards the free quality education in the city, Mayor Baio said the initiative is going on well and the enrolment in schools has significantly increased.
“Exercise and textbooks have been supplied to the pupils. The only challenge now is that the teachers are crying for increment in their salary, a situation that the government is considering seriously,” he said.