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Republic of Sierra Leone
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Battle of ideas and issues on candidates

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President Ernest Bai Koroma was in opposition for some spell of time but never did he use force to get to where he is today. He has always maintained that nature of being at peace with others even when they are politically opposed. In Parliament, the APC used democratic means to get their views heard on national issues, there were walk-outs, peacefully challenging issues. Never did the party resort to violence in seeking political power. That peaceful conduct of self and the Party led to President Koroma winning in 2007, defeating an incumbent Party and government. He won on a clean slate twice and is now retiring.

We can, if we choose to, just as others have, but we honestly should not relegate politics and political battles to using sticks, guns and knives. The Opposition outfits should learn from the previous conducts of elections and how those in opposition at the time conducted themselves. And even when the then Opposition Leader was attacked on his way to campaign in Kailahun, we saw how he handled the issue; ideas, not guns should be used in political battles.

But for an outright display of mendacious tendencies by a crying opposition, our pride as a country for what we have done so far must also bring into centre stage the role played by Dr. Samura Kamara, given his long standing service to the country in different ways, as Financial Secretary, Bank Governor, Finance Minister and Foreign Minister. But some will refuse to see this, more so when political mendacity has become part of their acceptable norms.

We should/must raise the bars of political discourse as a country. My wish is for those desperately seeking to unseat a serving party and government to realize this. The need for a civil debate on issues cannot be overstated. That helps to strengthen democracy.

For a decade in governance, the commitments and successes of the current government are now set to serve as determinant factors leading to the election of the APC flagbearer, Dr. Samura Kamara, come March of 2018. Yes, challenges abound, but there is no way anyone could dispute the fact that we have made progress.

Since 2007, the country has got an entirely new image in her infrastructure under the watch of President Koroma. His government allocated more funds towards infrastructure and actually rolled-out the largest road construction programme ever in the history of the country. There has been huge improvement in the country’s road Network, with cities, towns and villages linked.

Multi-party democracy continues to be promoted in the last ten years, with political parties emerging almost literally daily. There has been no political prisoner, as we head for elections and since President Koroma was elected. We continue to have sound human right records, with the fight against graft remaining key under the administration of President Koroma.

The energy sector, yes, though with challenges, has gone through huge progress, with the capital and regional headquarters enjoying electricity supply. The President has always had in mind and knows the multiplier effects of adequate and reliable energy supply will have on all sectors of the economy, all in a bid to improving the standard of the average Sierra Leonean. And so, when he committed his government towards harnessing the enormous hydro-electric potentials across the country, it was done in a bid to meeting the general expectations of the people more so given our drive to being a middle income nation.

Let us face this fact, but for the effect of especially ebola and drop in price of commodities like Iron Ore, the country was able to maintain macro-economic stability, ensured an increase in domestic revenues, improved global confidence in the management of the economy, whilst we also were promoting investment and re-aligning our expenditure in favour of infrastructural development. The result we all see today, driving across the country. As I have always argued, we successfully ensured a paradigm shift from overwhelmingly depending on donors to being able to fund our own development.

Continuing with this trend of development would require someone that has been part and parcel of it all. Dr. Samura Kamara was/ is a major player in all of this. He continues to play his role in the growth process as Foreign Minister. He has been in development for decades. He has been a major player in pursing the last two development trajectories- ‘Change’ and ‘Prosperity.’ An accomplished person he has been in diplomacy and with his wide international ties, the country stands to gain a lot from his subsequent victory as President of the country. That is our candidate and all we should do is to work on his victory.

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