By Fatmata Jengbe
Three vibrant Civil Society Organizations in the entities of Citizens Forum for Democratic Accountability (C4D SL), Forum for Sierra Leonean Youth Network (FoSLYN) and League of Democratic Alliance (LODA) have on the 19th October 2022 unequivocally called for the resignation of the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Professor Kelfala Kallon.
Engaging Pressmen during a Press Conference at the Harry Yansaneh Hall on Campbell Street in Freetown, Heads of the three Civil Society Organizations in the persons of Marcus Bangura of C4D SL, Thomas Pa Alie Babadie of FoSLYN) and Ibrahim S Dumbuya maintained that they are mindful of the fact that the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone cannot be removed easily as a Minister of Finance on the basis that the current constitution makes no provision for the President to dismiss him so as to give the holder of the position security of tenure to conduct fiscal monetary policy in the interest of the country without fear of dismissal and to ensure that they can get on with their jobs without political interference.
They, however, underscored that in the interest of economic growth, development and effective service delivery they are enthused and motivated by the clarion call of millions of Sierra Leoneans for the resignation of the Bank Governor.
According to the Civil Society activists, the Bank Governor has been tactless and unsuitable for holding such an enviable position and as such are joining other Sierra Leoneans to call for his resignation.
The activists further stated that if the Bank Governor refuses to resign they will implore the Government to take legal action and declare him unfit to hold the office. They went ahead to state that if the Government turns a blind eye and deaf ear to take the necessary legal action they would be left with no option but to take legal action to have him dismissed as Bank Governor of Sierra Leone.
Stating impeccable reasons why they concluded that the Bank Governor must take the exit door, they pointed out that they are appalled at the economic downturn in Sierra Leone with the incessant rise in the cost of goods and services.
They added that quite recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report indicated that the economy of Sierra Leone is at its lowest ebb with a projected growth falling from 3.4% to 2.4%, inflation rate is almost 29.7%, consumer price index is too bad to talk about and the Gross Domestic Product is still stagnated under the watch of the Governor.
Also, they revealed that the market forces of demand and supply are challenged and as a result the country is still at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index stressing that the Leone continues to be dwarfed by foreign currencies.
The activists intimated that they have come to the realization that the Bank Governor is the Gate Keeper of Sierra Leone’s economy but he has not been magnanimous enough to handle the economy by putting in place strong monetary and fiscal policies.
They claimed that the Bank Governor lacks the requisite knowledge and experience required to serve taking credence of the fact that he has never worked in any banking and financial institution.
“It is no secret that the Bank Governor has been accused of printing the national currency for about three times without the approval of Parliament and even when he was summoned by Parliament he did not show up an indication that he is inept and lacks accountability as well as transparency,” they alleged.
The Civil Society activists added that the Bank Governor has cost the State to extravagantly disburse $68 Million to combat the hoarding of the Leone but that did nothing to stop the Leone from depreciating to the dollar.
They said that policy of ‘bribing’ the business community was a failed policy and shows that the Bank Governor is incompetent and inefficient enough to manage the country’s economy which, they say, has been on life support for the past four years.
In their estimation, the fact that the Bank Governor admits failing Sierra Leoneans over the handling of the economy and that he has done everything humanely possible and cannot do more is a clear indication that he cannot revive the economy and allowing him to continue holding the office will be a complete disservice to the nation.
Responding to a question as to whether they have the locus standi to take legal action against the Bank Governor, the Executive Director of C4D-SL, Marcus Bangura stated that it is the constitutional right of every citizen to institute legal action against any Public Official who reneges in executing a statutory responsibility.
Addressing the question of Sierra Leone being part of the global village and taking into consideration the fact that the world is facing a crisis as a result of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war which means that the state of the economy could not be the making of the Bank Governor, Marcus reacted by stating that the fact that Sierra Leone’s economy is worse than its neighbours shows that external forces alone cannot be responsible for the worse state of the country’s economy.
Sounding the view of a seasoned political commentator on the issue, he said in real democratic societies long ago the Bank Governor should have voluntarily resigned but lamented that in this part of the globe it is hard to see that transpire not until pressure is mounted to an unbearable extent otherwise the failed personality will cling on to the position as long as he or she has the right connections.
According to him, it is only individuals with unbendable principles who will immediately resign at the onset when things are not seen working the ways they should be.