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In 2007, the people of this country democratically elected His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma as president of Sierra Leone, thus making him the fourth democratic president in our political history. Before his ascension to the highest office in the land, every right thinking Sierra Leonean will want to see our beloved country move from our dwindling socio-economic and political indexes. Alas! A president believed to have an impeccable character and accepted by many to be a visionary leader that has the country and the people at heart has done remarkably well in just five years. This piece however will look at the immense contributions, DE PA (THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE) has done to improving the lives of the people during his five year tenure of passionate service to the people of this nation.
Good governance they say is the ability of the state to respond to the felt needs of the country and this pre-supposes that those in governance must see to it that they improve their effectiveness and efficiency to providing and working towards the needs and aspirations of the people.
Taking the scepter of leadership, his Excellency faithfully promised to wage war on corruption as it has been identified as an economic malaise and a major deterrent to the country’s development. In his tenure of office, we have seen a good number of government officials being charged and convicted for misappropriation of public funds and corruption related cases. ’’The fight against corruption is a national fight and this government has NO SACRED COWS” he maintained. This pronouncement has been clearly reflected in the recovery of stolen government money that has been unprecedented with regards to efforts against corruption by his predecessors.
His personality is seen as one of hope and a spirit to society that seeks the interests of all, irrespective of tribe, region or political affiliation. A president of vision; faithful in his promises and leadership styles, and a president that has proven himself to be the best this country has ever had; indeed it is undisputed.
On assuming office in 2007, he came up with the “Agenda for Change”; a document that prioritised five thematic areas that addresses the socio-economic aspects of development and good governance.
To start with, agriculture is the backbone of any economic growth but this sector has been abandoned with sheer negligence with no effort to move it from its despicable state. With just 1.6% paltry budget allocations to this sector, it was unattractive and farming was basically subsistence. With the vision of the Koroma led government, he transformed the agriculture sector by making it the engine for socio-economic growth through commercial agriculture and the promotion of the private sector and the farmer base organizations (FBO’S), developed a National Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme (NSADP) and introduced the smallholders commercialization programme (SCP) all in a bid to bring a facelift to the agricultural sector. Nationwide, the country has gone through immense infrastructural transformation, thus describing the country as a construction site. Wilkinson road, Wilberforce road/Spur road, Mends street, Dundas street, the ongoing Hillside bye-pass road, to name but a few are pointers of infrastructural development in the city. This development drive has also been taken to the provinces starting from the Freetown/Conakry highway, Bo, Makeni and Magburaka Townships, Kenema, Port Loko, Moyamba and Kailahun.
The shopping plaza in Kenema, the newly constructed ministry of foreign affairs, audit service etc., are all indications of transformational development. During his speech in the dissolution of parliament, the president clearly stated that “these projects provide thousands of jobs for youth,” when he will be re-elected this year these actions for development and jobs will continue and we will focus on skills training for youth(s).”
This is a president that has an impeccable and a laudable character as far as his human rights record was concerned than any other president this country has ever had. Throughout this year tenure, we have witnessed the unfettered exercise of press freedom and freedom of expression. No journalist has been jailed and nobody has been extra-judicially killed during his five year term of office. This is undisputed and a fact.
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, vote in a president that has respect for democratic principles, somebody with an unblemished record, and not somebody that has the potential of pilfering from public funds and a likelihood of creating social and political unrest.
This is the first time under the leadership of the Koroma led government to enjoy uninterrupted peace, and stability and has ensured that the hard earned peace is being consolidated for all and sundry.
President Koroma has showcased his participatory leadership style throughout his first term of office. He is a president of the grassroots and he is a strong believer of building a consensus and making sure the people become part of the policy and decision making process. No wonder he keeps saying that, ’’…this is not about political stronghold but rather it is about bringing development to the people and responding to their felt needs’’.
He has showcased himself as a leader of national cohesion by bringing onboard every member of society, regardless of tribe, region or political affiliation into governance positions to ensure national unity and bridging the regional and tribal gap that has eaten into the fabric of this country’s development.
Of course every right thinking Sierra Leonean would love to see this country move forward and therefore it will be very much prudent of you if you vote in His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma as president in the November polls. Vote for a leader who is passionate about bringing development in Sierra Leone.
From the foregoing therefore, it would not be implausible to declare that President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma deserves re-election to continue the wonderful work he has kick started all across the country.
By Mohamed Thullah
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