Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
UN peacekeepers ready to leave Sierra Leone -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

MAXINE MCKEW: In Sierra Leone the UN forces are preparing to pull out five years after the end of
the civil war. The west African nation once hosted the largest UN force in the world, but now it's
at peace the job of the peacekeepers is complete. However the issues that led to the 10-year-war
are resurfacing. Corruption is rife and aid money is not reaching those most in need, the majority
of whom struggle to exist about on about $1 a day.

Africa correspondent, Zoe Daniel, reports from Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

ZOE DANIEL: It's early morning in Freetown's ghetto. This filthy drain is the bathroom, laundry and
toilet. It also provides drinking water for residents. There is mounting anger about the
conditions, particularly among young people, who are forming loose associations to voice their

In Sierra Leone 70 per cent of people live in poverty. Up to 99 per cent of young people are
unemployed and they blame corruption for sucking up post-war aid.

This family is typical of those living in the ghetto. They live with no power, water or sewerage,
and they all sleep in the same bed, fending off mosquitos and rats.

Indowa Coca told me that he was kidnapped and shot by rebels during the war. Now he is disabled and
he struggles to feed his family.

Sierra Leone is now at peace and the United Nations force is winding down. But the issues that
contributed to its brutal conflict are resurfacing; poverty, unemployment and inflation. They
dominate discussion in Freetown, where an underground music movement is developing. Producer King
Fisher encourages people to have their say.

KING FISHER: Since the war ended the way we were expecting things to be going in the country, it's
like things are just at a standstill or moving backwards, and for every Government official you
speak to they will tell you that, "Oh, you know, we are just coming from war." Two years, three
years, four years we are just coming from war. No.

ZOE DANIEL: His politically-motivated music plays in cars and cafes across the city. This track
about, Bobo Bele, is a direct comment on Government corruption.

KING FISHER: And in this case we mean people who are in positions; the Government officials,
ministers, all of these people who want everything for themselves. These are the people that we
refer to as Bobo Bele, the greedy and selfish people.

ZOE DANIEL: But the Government refuses to concede there is endemic corruption in Sierra Leone.

SEPTIMUS KAI KAI: The reality of the situation is that most of the people in this country that I
know are now corrupt. Most people are now corrupt. It's easy to pick on Sierra Leone and say,
"corruption in Sierra Leone," but I'm sure where you come from there is some level of corruption
also. It's ubiquitous.

ZOE DANIEL: The United Nations plans to pull out later this year and here, at rural Moiamba, the
reduction in the international presence is already having an impact. Aid organisation, MSF, has
gone, so these orphans no longer get any medical attention. Kate Fanar told me the children have
lost their parents to war and AIDS. Some were abandoned. There is a sense that they're also being
abandoned by authorities. This building was free, but now a fee being imposed and there is no money
to pay it.

Many in Sierra Leone want the UN to leave so they can get on with their lives, but the departure of
the organisation will leave a security gap in a climate of rising anger and poverty. That's if it

The UN has extended its stay here many times, and while officially it is expect to pull out in the
next few months, unofficially even the Government expects UN soldiers to stay to keep the peace.
Zoe Daniel, Lateline.