The need for cohesive national development
I am staring this piece by congratulating the President as he celebrated his two years in office yesterday. Governance is a process, just like wanting to get development. Within two years, good things have occurred and as well there are challenges. But these challenges could be solved when there is the will both political and social. (Photo: Pa John Baimba Sesay)
The determination of President Koroma for Sierra Leone’s development could not be downplayed for we have begun seeing the realities of what he once promised. I listened attentively yesterday to a debate on UN radio between the Secretaries for the two leading parties and an independent journalist. Honestly, that discussion was educative and in my opinion, it shows that we are beginning to move beyond looking at issues from a completely political side to a more nationalistic perspective.
Practically, Koroma is trying although, there are challenges ahead sand definitely he shall overcome them one day. We must all come together especially when it comes to attaining development. President Koroma is a people’s president that was elected by a majority of Sierra Leoneans, so this presupposes that he should be supported from all angles.Â The growth of this country depends on all of us, including those in the ruling and opposition parties; as well as those who don’t believe in the ideology of party politics. So congratulation sir Mr. President,Â
Recent happenings in the country have called for the attention of us all as a people wanting to see progressive national development agenda.Â When people are appointed to run the affairs of certain state institutions, they must do so bearing in mind that the public is watching them and as such they should live up to expectations. But when the reverse happens, then it provides room for suspicion that those appointed into these institutions are only there to serve their parochial and egocentric agenda.
This is more the reason those elected, like the President and our Members of Parliament should not allow a retrogression of the country. They can ensure progress by holding those appointed to account for their deeds and actions, else, when it comes to election time, the chances of re-election would be less than 50 percent. If you doubt it then let us check the political history of this country with reference to the election of political partiers into governance. Prior to the 2007 elections, the Gadaffi rice saga became topical to the point that the then opposition party APC made some political gains out of it. The SLPP were not able to convince the people at the eleventh hour.
Again, prior to the elections, there was the helicopter crash at the Lungi International Airport which left several Togolese dead, including the sport minister for Togo. The APC as usual, also made political gains out of that situation, and we saw how Kabbah sacked Prince Harding as Minister in charge of Transport.Â Prince was sacked for allegedly failing to put precautionary measures that would have prevented the crash from occurring. SLPP was removed from office because the Gadaffi rice saga was not thoroughly explained. I am making these references to past happenings for all of us to look at NASSIT and Maritime Administration and relate these happenings to recent past happenings
I am still not satisfied with the explanations and excuses being given by NASSIT in as far as the ferry issue is concerned. I have often and again maintained that as an institution, the National Social Security and Insurance Trust has made some strides in meeting the challenges of our time, but it has also in recent times, not been able to demonstrate that it can handle issues of national interest with respect and concern for the people, whose money they keep on collecting monthly.
They have invested a lot of money in housing scheme and other areas but these investments have called for critical interventions. The ferry issue is yet to settle down; we have still not be able to understand why the ferries are not functional as of now; we have still not be told by NASSIT when the ferries would start running and we have not been told whether it is true or not that one of the ferries, MV Masimra is to be taken to Senegal for thorough repairs.Â Also, NASSIT should avoid the ‘fire brigade’ type of public relations where in they would only act when there is a disaster.
Now let us look at the area of investment. It should be made known to NASSIT that one should be seen investing in an area where one is sure of making serious profit. The decision to invest in housing by NASSIT was and is still a laudable venture but practically, these investments are not meant for the poor Sierra Leonean. How many people can afford to occupy those houses built by NASSIT in the far West of Freetown, Goderich? And we have noticed that since these houses have not been occupied, government has been experiencing a drop in finance since there is no profit making at the moment in that area of investment by NASSIT.
I have been discussing this NASSIT issue from a nationalistic perspective since I would want to see my country progressing. And it would be encouraging therefore, for our members of parliament to intervene and ask NASSIT to come out clean and open, and explain the circumstances surrounding the ferry that is seen as carcass
The Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) is also another area that needs the attention of this government if for no reason but the recent sea disaster that left several people dead. This institution is responsible to regulate and develop improved standards of performance, practices and safety in the shipping industry in Sierra Leone, including the coastal and inland water transport system and in the maritime environment.
This institution has not been functioning effectively since it was established some nine years ago, and one Phillip Lakulay appointed as Director. It would appear that there is lack of commitment and man- power will on the part of the SLMA leadership and so it would be prudent if this government intervenes to see how the current situation in the SLMA could be salvage. The fact that the SLMA monitors could not properly monitor the way our local boats should ply the sea is an indication that the leadership of SLMA has lost control of his administration.
Achieving a cohesive national development entails a lot and it is only when people in public institutions are seen working towards such that it could be achieved. Public officials should perform, or else, they should be butted out of office, if they even fail to resign honorably
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