From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Guinean currency floods northern Koinadugu in Sierra Leone
By John Mansaray
Jan 30, 2006, 14:15

A worrisome situation is currently developing in the northern part of Koinadugu district of Sierra Leonean, following the widespread acceptance by Sierra Leoneans resident in that general area of Guinean currency in their day to day business transactions.

This ugly development had been to a very large extent at the detriment of the legal Sierra Leonean leones.

Explaining the situation to Awareness Times yesterday in parliament, the Honourable N. Yamakoro Sesay (of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party) representing the Mongo Bendugu chiefdom in parliament, stated that his constituents in certain areas close to the Guinean border, are persistently transacting their business using Guinean currencies.

He added that some of the people in the outlying villages and towns within the district, do accept the fact that they are Sierra Leoneans but cannot use the Leones simply because they are not getting other Sierra Leoneans traversing that area to transact business with them.

According to him, the people have the excuse that the only currency that is readily at their disposal is the Guinean currency.

Honourable Sesay added that the towns and villages that are affected are Gberia Tumbakoh in the Suliama chiefdom, Kombeli, Kaniya Maliya Seria and Masadu in the Mongo chiefdom and Yarawadugu in the Niamey chiefdom.

Asked as to what he think is responsible for that, Hon. Sesay attributed it to the seeming lack of government attention in those areas, adding that those areas mentioned are hardly accessible even in the dry season, let alone in the rainy season.

The reason for this he went on, hinges on the fact that the people in those areas hardly have access to the leones, noting that as a result, they seem to have no alternative but to resort to the use of the Guinean currency.

Hon. Sesay also lamented the way and manner the Guinean authorities in the border line are harassing people in those areas, pointing out that there are even reports of Guineans seizing the goods of Sierra Leoneans, due to the lack of Sierra Leonean security forces in that general area.

For this reason "Since I became Member of Parliament following the death of the late Honourable Sewa Bockarie Marah, I have been preoccupied with this situation", he maintained, adding that "Sometime I get irritated whenever the issue of Yenga comes up".

Commenting on his relationship with his people with regards campaigning, Hon. Sesay stated very categorically that the SLPP needs to do more to win the hearts and minds of the people.

He also pointed out that the people in the far north of Koinadugu district needs to be connected through a good road network to make it more realistic for the party to be assured of victory in those areas.

"I tell you, the very day our people see that construction work on the deplorable roads commences, the SLPP will not need to go to them again to campaign" the M.P emphatically stated.

"Though I am a SLPP Member of Parliament representing a whole constituency, not a single contract has been given to me to usher in much needed development in my constituency, not to talk of opportunities for job creation to target the hundreds of unemployed youths who form a vital portion of the total population in the constituency", the MP angrily remarked.

Hon Sesay therefore appealed to the government through SLRA, to ensure that any person that is given contract must not be allowed to employ just his/her family members, stressing that leaving the youths out of the equation is most unacceptable.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.