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The President’s Legacy, Our Duty to Protect! PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Baimba Sesay-CHINA   
Thursday, 23 February 2017 21:01

With a date announced for the 2018 general elections, a platform has been provided for parties to officially start the process of ensuring victory at the end. This can be a herculean task for the next one year, politically speaking.

Where there had been political mudslinging and infighting for close to a decade, behind-the scene smokescreen peace process had to be initiated even if for the pleasure of supporters and other stakeholders. Well, can such moves be a clear ruse? Only time will tell!

With huge achievements scored by the governing party, efforts should yet not be reduced in ensuring the people-the masses are informed, told of what has been achieved and what lies ahead should there be a change in political leadership, nationally.

Hard facts, a national change in partisan leadership in 2018 would mean a reverse in whatever gains we have made over the years. This should be discouraged, democratically, for the very good of the country’s growth trajectory!

The All People’s Congress is seeking a third political mandate from the voters. It democratically, in 2007 removed a governing party-SLPP from political power, thanks to the likable character, added to other features of then Opposition Leader and later President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. It is politically correct to conclude, that President Ernest Bai Koroma has been a determinant force in reshaping the APC today. He has been a master player in the very growth of the Party. The Party removed brutally from power in 1992, feared to be associated with, is no more the APC we have today!

Not only in building the strength  of his Party and in allowing an open political space for opposition parties, the President’s eight years in office have accounted hugely for the growth the country has undergone. From sustaining her democratic credentials, to improving her image globally, building a broken infrastructure nationally(including perceived Opposition strongholds), fighting graft, building the economy and promoting women and generally gender related issues, the country has come a long way, thanks to the collective will and the astute leadership  of the President.  

There has been the creation of institutional frameworks added to the physical and human infrastructural foundations; government’s expenditure profile had to be tilted towards growth related spending, with an enlarged total capital expenditure. We witnessed an extremely sturdy revenue performance, due to an improved collection of domestic taxes with a dedicated workforce.NRA today talks about trillions in their revenue collection drive. Impressive!

The launch of the Free Health Care Initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five in April of 2010 resulted to massive increase in the use of health services and better health care access across the country. Though there still are challenges, what though became apparent is, that the number of health facilities increased by an encouraging percentage, with  facilities, including maternity wards, basic emergency obstetric and newborn care centres, new referral hospitals and medical stores established or being constructed.

The enactment by the country, in 2008, of the most aggressive anti-corruption legislation in the region, if not the continent saw us making steady and tremendous progress in tackling graft, with public officials being chased and made to account for their actions. The country continues to make strides in promoting integrity and fighting widespread Corruption.

Human rights and political freedom remained guaranteed, with no politician or media practitioner jailed. Generally, government’s support for the autonomy of the country’s Human Right Commission has been outstanding and commendable, thus eventually creating the platform for it to improve its effectiveness resulting in its elevation to “A” status by the United Nations.

Not only has the commission maintained a Comprehensive Annual State of Human Rights Report, it also has enabled government successfully report and participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. The country now remains committed to international peace and stability, and contributing to regional peace efforts thus eventually creating a tough self-assured democratic and nonviolent nation, accomplished with the support of the global community.

This is very important-we do have a legacy to protect and maintain first as a country and as a political Party the APC-the legacy of this President and government. The best we could do to protect these legacies is returning the party to power come 2018. But bulk of such work depends on what we do in the coming months as a political party, leading to the general elections. There is no way we could allow the accomplishments of this government be taken to the gallows of political execution (ballot box) and be killed (by allowing a defeat come 2018). This means, working assiduously and collectively if such should be protected and the work should start now and it involves a united force. The work starts now!  

Elections are not won on the day ballots are cast, rather through a long steady democratic process; talking to party members, ensuring they are registered to vote and convincing them to vote on the day of voting. It is strategic to have a candidate that could get us what President Ernest Koroma got us during the last elections, and eventually demonstrating our readiness to support the single candidate we shall be having!  

Our Members of Parliament and councilors- including Chairpersons of Councils are core players in all of this. They should be one of many platforms upon which the party could stand, in reaching the desire goal. The work they may have done should all be contributing factors.  A win in the 2018 general elections can be a gift we could offer ourselves for his (Party Leader and Chairman) legacy, it is our duty to protect!

The APC is a mass Party; the people being the cornerstone upon which Party strength is built. The bigger picture is the Party and it ideals; the desire of one should not undermine the aspirations of all and sundry. At the end, we should be able to come together as we have always done for there is victory for us in the struggle!

 

 

Editorial

26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.

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Business News

PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TWO AGREEMENTS TO IMPROVE ON PORTS FACILITIES

The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.

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Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.

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Commentary

Reasons why Sierra Leoneans Must Think beyond Tribal and Regional Lines Before Casting their Ballots This Time

As the national or general elections loom in Sierra Leone and, as a true citizen, I solemnly pray and hope with all hopes that Sierra Leoneans of the voting age will consider carefully who they would vote for, come March 2018. The divisive and immature nature of politics as it exists in Sierra Leone has, to a greater extent, contributed to the country lagging behind nearly all other countries in terms of progressive development. My readers should be mindful of the fact that certain countries in Africa would rather develop retrogressively than progressively, a situation wherein governments embark on ego-boosting programs that aren’t beneficial to the average citizen.

A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.

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View Point

Youth Unemployment Is A Killer Virus In Sierra Leone

“I studied Sociology at NjalaUniversity and graduated in 2015 but still unemployed despite several interviews being attended. I am currently awaiting my MSc at Njala University which is to be awarded early next year,” said 29 year old MabintyKamara.

“I graduated in 2012 with Honours from the Department of Accounting, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I have sent several job applications; the only long job I got was with the International Medical Corps during the deadly Ebola virus and since then no job. I was also a volunteer teacher but the Minister of Education, Science and Technology did not approve me and others after almost a year of voluntary service so I quit,” said 31 year old Mohamed LaminKanneh.

In Sierra Leone, despite the numerous promises made by President Ernest BaiKoroma to figuratively ‘lay his life for the youth,’ unemployment among youth is one of the highest with no end in sight to reduce the spate of this social menace. According to the United Nations Development Program, approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment.

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News - Press Release

Sierra Leone receives US$10 Million Supplemental Financing from World Bank as support to Landslide and Flooding

FREETOWN, December 13, 2017 —The World Bank Group has approved aSupplemental Financing (SF) in the amount of US$10 million to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet immediate needs associated with the landslide and flooding disaster that struck Freetown on August 14, 2017.The SF is a grant, provided as a supplemental budget support operation that will flow directly into the Government’s budget.

The funding, under the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), will ensure that the reforms supported under thisoperation remain on track and are implemented without the risk of delays due to competing capacity or budgetary priorities arising from the post-disaster recovery. It will also help with the rebuilding of critical infrastructuredestroyed during the landslide and flooding.

Since the end of the Ebola epidemic, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has initiated substantive reforms to boost productivity, restore fiscal stability, and gradually rebuild buffers. The Government initiated substantive reforms, focusing on agriculture, fisheries and energy, supported by the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), to boost productivity and start rebuilding the country's buffers.

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Society -Local News

ANNIE WALSH WINS HUMAN RIGHTS DEBATE
Fatmata Binta Jalloh Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School has won this years’ Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Inter-Secondary School debate on the topic ‘respect for human rights as a pre-requisite for a politically tolerant and peaceful 2018 elections’.  
The debate which was held at the Sierra Leone Library Board with five Secondary Schools participating is part of series of activities undertaken by HRCSL in commemorating the International Human Rights Day Celebration on December 10th, 2017. Fatmata Binta Jalloh of the Annie Walsh Memorial School came first by defeating Amos Claudius Gordon from the Prince of Wales who came second, Abubakar Marrah from Saint Edwards Secondary School came third and Kelfala Kamara of the Government Model Secondary School came fourth and Evelyn T. Ahorney from the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School coming fifth.
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Development

World Bank Group Boosts Financing for West African Power Pool Regional Power Transmission Project

FREETOWN, December13, 2017 —The World Bank Group on November 17, 2017 approved Additional Financing in the amount of US$59.57 million to West African Power Pool (WAPP) - Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (CLSG) PowerInterconnection Project, which aims to increase electricity supply in the four participating countries.

The project will interconnect the four participating countries into the 225 kV (kilo volt) regional energy market in West Africa, and will also enable the connection to the WAPP of the planned hydropower plants in Bumbuna Extension, Yiben and Bekongor in Sierra Leone and Mount Coffee in Liberia and other future generation projects.

The Project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia; Bo, Kenema and the Western Areas in Sierra Leone; and the Forest Region of Guinea, with improvements in power supplies in the short-term. It also pursues a regional infrastructure developmental approach that will provide over the medium- to long-term adequate electricity to the people of the four countries in a more efficient and cost effective way, boosting economic and social development.

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Politics

It will not be Business as Usual…Bio assures Diaspora

He was passionate, confident and assuring as he addressed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans at the prestigious Royal Regency Hall in London on Saturday 9th December 2017 with a very simple message that as the next President it will not be business as usual. For a man who has a solid track record as a disciplinarian, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio continues to attract many voters who feel the country needs a strong and disciplined leadership.

Cataloguing the current state of the country, Bio spoke about a divided country, the poor drowning in poverty, rich swimming in affluence, poor governance, battered economy, high public debt, third hungriest country, high inflation among others . He also reminded his audience that many of the things which necessitated the war such as bad governance, mismanagement of the economy, injustice have been the features of the current APC Government.

However, Bio's message was not just about the doom and gloom but also making a case why he is the right choice that the country needs. He spoke about his track record, experience and how he has always put his country first. "Some have come with slogan, country first, but I served my country first at a very tender age. I did not go around the world to work and come back old to say country first. When I was young I gave my life to our country," a passionate Bio said.

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