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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, ‘Koroma Lepet’ Replaces ‘Kabbah Tiger’
By Abdul Fonti
May 9, 2011, 13:44
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It could be recalled that during the regime of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) when the country was struck by blackout, the alternative source of light that was being used by the citizens was the ‘Tiger’ model generators. The said generators became so popular to an extent that they were dubbed: “Kabbah Tiger”, as the President by then was Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Since there was never the fuel scarcity episode during that period, the Kabbah Tigers significantly helped various households and business houses.

The return of electricity to the city marks the demise of the popularity of the Kabbah Tigers.

Koroma Lepets are Chinese-made, portable units with multiple LCD lighted spots. A very fast selling product in blackout-ridden, petrol-scarce Salone!

However, with the latest blackout now backed by fuel crisis, the citizens are left with no option other than to seek the multi-functional Chinese lights that use battery for power.

The aforementioned lights, which are currently being used in a good numbers of homes in the country, are now widely dubbed “Koroma Lepet”, since the sitting President during this unfortunate period is Ernest Bai Koroma. The ‘Lepet’ is the local name for the Leopard. The leopard is an animal with several spots, which matches the multiple LCD lighted spots in the portable Chinese light.

This is a Leopard; known in local parlance as Lepet

Traders dealing in the products have confirmed that the Chinese lights in recent times are among the fastest selling products in the country.

“Business has been good, especially in the past weeks. We now have more people buying the Chinese lights than before,” Mohamed Kamara, a Chinese light trader at Garrison Street disclosed, adding that they were even contemplating on increasing the prices of the lights as the wholesalers have since increased theirs.

These are the Koroma Lepets with their shining spots

The school children are presently using the “Koroma Lepets” to study for their exams, as blackout intensifies.

It is an open secret that the general socio-economic situation in the country is going from bad to worst, with the prices of basic food stuff and non food items recording a steady increase.

The increment in the price for fuel has witnessed a corresponding rise in transportation fares. Worst of it is the fact that the price of fuel has not only witnessed a whopping increment, but one has to go through hell and back to get fuel supply.

People have now started to express that they prefer the past Kabba Tiger days when fuel was being sold at Le9,000 to the present Koroma Lepet days with fuel being sold at Le25,000 per gallon.

“At least with the Kabbah era, i could afford to buy a gallon of petrol for my Kabbah tiger to provide light for my kids to study. Now in Koroma era petrol price is beyond my reach so we study with Koroma Lepets but this is bad for eyesights. i voted for SLPP in 2002 and for APC in 2007 but in 2012, my vote is for NDA,” Abdulai Jalloh, a resident of Rawdon Street told the Awareness Times over the weekend.

In all of this, the present government is currently faced with a serious public relations disaster, which the opposition is undoubtedly utilizing to its advantage.  Opposition parties including the SLPP and NDA are taking advantage of the bad economy and petrol crisis to boost their fortunes.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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