The challenges of a post war country like Sierra Leone are enormous and great. But given the determination and desire on his part, President Koroma came in 2007 and ensured, what he promised during his electioneering period are met.
One thing that I know as a fact is that, there has been a lot in terms of what President Ernest Bai Koroma has been able to achieve with a period of 60 months in governance. Given his progress in meeting the country’s need in the fight against corruption, his determination to not just fix the road network in Freetown but also improving that in the provincial headquarter towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kono, Kambia among others, we are bound to accept that he has done a lot and that his reelection in November should now be used as way of appreciating his good works and also encouraging him to continue with what he has started.
In the area of ensuring transparency in governance, much has been achieved with the decision, (which was very political but wise), to make the anti-graft commission independent. During the tenure of our then President Kabba (h) the fight against corruption was more of a political weapon to silent opponents even from within the then governing SLPP. Little was achieved by the Kabba (h) era in terms of fighting against graft. But this took a different dimension when in 2008; the commission was allowed to be prosecuting corruption related matters independently.
The impact that the government has got in the area of public communication is as encouraging as the successes it has scored in the infrastructural development it embarked upon within the last five years. The media landscape has also seen an encouraging growth in the number of media outlets in the country to the extent that what President Koroma has ensured; there is total and complete press freedom in the country. Ernest Bai Koroma, has not only added value to the power of information dissemination, but has given a new meaning to the concept of public communication in democracy and good governance.
The government has been successfully taken to the door steps of people through the effective use of public relations, spearheaded by the astute Information Minister, IB Kargbo supported by his able, Deputy, Sheka Tarawallie, coupled with the writing efforts of people like Kabs Kanu of Cocorioko, Umar S. Jah in Germany, Sorie Sudan Sesay in the UK, Ojuku Sesay in Brussels, Ralph Sawyerr in Senegal and a host of others. The untiring efforts of the team at Salone Reporter, Sierra Lone Daily Mail, Cocorioko, among other newspapers, plus the independent writings of the publisher of Awareness Times have all helped in making people know much about their government today, than before now. Today, the poor woman in my village can tell you what the government is doing, as a result of the effectiveness of the Ministry of Information and Communication. Not only that, the way and manner in which even the district councils are working today is being felt by all and sundry as most of them have today seen the need to not only employ Information Officers, but to create the enabling environment for them to fully and effectively perform their functions.
Media and public relations, plus the scores in infrastructural development, free health care and fight against corruption are the flagship of this government’s success, propagating government policies is relevant to governance. Jim Rohn, an America Businessman once asked people to“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
The impact of the free health care has been tremendous and laudable. The country has witnessed some level of transformation within four years, especially so in its infrastructure.
Revenue collection at the local level, through the National Revenue Authority has been of great standing, with the institution now collecting trillions of Leones for the smooth operations of the government. For instance, in 2011, the NRA did not only exceed its revenue target of over 1.2 trillion Leones, but what is also encouraging is that under the Presidency of Ernest Bai Koroma, the revenues collected by the state, through NRA are now been used by the government to meet the infrastructural development back home, coupled with the support coming from our donor partners.
In trying to solve the country’s challenge in the transport sector, President Koroma few months back had the pleasure of making public, over 30 new buses bought by government to meet the daily transportation needs of the poor and average Sierra Leonean. For President Koroma, his government had “promised to improve the quality of life of our people, and we are doing so… We are not making promises on what we will do. You see what we have done in electricity, roads, health… Now, you are seeing with your own eyes what my government has done in the 40 buses being launched today, not with donor money from donor countries, but, with money from the Government of Sierra Leone…”(http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives).This was very pragmatic and ingenuous on the part of a President who had once promised to improve the quality of life of his people.
So far, President Koroma has proven to be a down-to-earth politician that is ever ready to reach the common man. From Bombay Street to Magazine cut, Kissy, and Wellington in the western area to Kailahun, Pujehun Moyamba, Bombali, Kambia and Pot Loko, his presence or vists send shocking waves to his political opponents. The reelection of President Koroma is not just based on his popular support in the north-west of the country, but given the fact that today the people of Kailahun, Pujehun and Moyamba, people are today seeing the true meaning of a national leader. Bombali, just as in the case of Port Loko, Western Area, Tonkolili and other areas in the north are well know strongholds of the ruling party. But the President has not been concentrating his attention to these places. His unannounced visits to public places is just too enough for people to see in him the sincerity he has, in terms of improving the status of his people. It should be made clear that, as a county, we are not in of a Leader that sees himself as a god, than a leader with the tendencies of being a dictator, but one who chooses to be part of his people.
Another positive trend in the country’s socio-economic and political growth has to do with how President Koroma has been elevating and protecting the interest of women in the country. There have been calls for a 30% women quota in governance. But I am certain, with what the women are now seeing in the country, they must be impressed that this government cares for them and will continue to push their interest. The government has today continued to encourage women to faithfully serve the country as a whole. The likes of Haja Kallah-Kamara, Acting Commissioner-General for the revenue collection agency-NRA,Solicitor-General Madame Martina Koroma, Administrator & Registrar-General Madame Mariama Seray Kallay, Auditor -General in the person of Lara Taylor-Pearce, Elizabeth Kamara, Assistant Inspector-General of Police . Umu Tejan-Jalloh, first female Chief Justice in the country, Zainab Bangura to be appointed Minister of Government and as a result of her hard work and the chance given her by government, she also has got the opportunity to serve the world through the UN body. Women advocacy groups must be impressed with these, plus not mentioned appointments made by President Koroma. This in a way has succeeded in empowering women to exhibit their ability to help in national development.
And these are more the reasons we should support the call for reelecting President Koroma. The decision is yours but it should reflect the wishes of a majority of our people. Vote Ernest vote for development.
John Baimba SesayPress AttacheSierra Leone Embassy7 Dong Zhi Men Wai Dajie,Chaoyang District, BeijingPeople’s Republic of China100600Tel: 0086-13701206875Fax:0086-1065323752