Why President Koroma continues to enjoy local and international credibility
The determination of President Koroma’s administration to turn things around through his ‘Agenda for Change’ seems to have attracted many donors and international financial institutions that have expressed sincere willingness to work with the government because of its strong fiscal policies. (Photo: Alhaji M B Jalloh, author and Information Attache, Sierra Leone Embassy, Saudi Arabia)
Koroma’s restoration of credibility
When President Koroma came to power in September 2007, the International Community had almost withdrawn its support from Sierra Leone. But Koroma fought very hard to restore the country’s credibility to the International community. We have seen the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approve a three-year programme under the Extended Credit Facility for Sierra Leone. We have seen the British Government increased her development assistance to Sierra Leone, among many International supports. It should be noted that for Britain or any European country to assist any underdeveloped or developing country, certain benchmarks are or have to be met.
One of these benchmarks is the commitment of the country’s leadership to prudently and judiciously use the aid or assistance for its intended purpose. At least, the British coalition government might have convinced itself that it has not been wasting the British taxpayers’ monies on Sierra Leone. The Secretary of State for the Department for International Development (DFID), Andrew Mitchell, once recommended that Sierra Leone’s development assistance should be upped.
Strengthening of democratic institutions
The strengthening of our democratic institutions such as the National Revenue Authority, the National Electoral Commission, National Commission for Social Action, the Anti-Corruption Commission, National Privatization Authority, the Independent Media Commission, National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission and many others through capacity building and support from our development partners, are all indications that President Koroma continues to enjoy the credibility of the International community.
Koroma impresses International Community
The International Community became impressed with President Koroma when the fight against corruption took a different dimension with the enactment of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, which gave unfettered independence status and prosecutorial powers to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Since then, many government officials and contractors have been investigated, prosecuted and found guilty of various corruption charges. Many government officials have stood trials for various corruption charges and were found guilty by the court. Not only did they lose their jobs, they were asked to pay what they chopped from government coffers.
Battle against corruption intensified
By and large, the fight against corruption under the leadership of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is very effective. Before he was elected, the anti-graft commission was seen by many as “a white elephant” or “toothless bulldog” as it had no prosecutorial powers. For instance, government officials used to misappropriate donor funds with impunity and most cases investigated by the ACC were never prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Most cases that involved government functionaries or party stalwarts were swept under the carpet by the powers-that-be much to the disappointment of the public. But the current fight against corruption has gathered momentum as the ACC has made passionate appeal to all stakeholders including the media to come on board to fight against the scourge. Government’s determination for ‘zero tolerance on corruption’ in the public and private sectors has more or less given much confidence to both local and foreign investors doing business in Sierra Leone.
On 1st October 2010, Transparency International Report ranked Sierra Leone 134 out of 178 countries which have been dead serious in the fight against corruption. The independent report showed that Sierra Leone has consistently improved over the last four years in the fight against corruption or corrupt practices.
The relaxation of the bureaucratic bottlenecks for the registration of business is another area that has also attracted more investors in the country as it takes less than 48 hours to register a new business with the Office of the Registrar General. Above all, government has introduced measures to protect investors and their investments.
Why Sierra Leoneans admire their president?
Since Ernest Koroma started his meet- the- people tour to tell them that he was vying for the APC leadership in early 2000, Sierra Leoneans that are foresighted knew he was the hope that would bring about betterment in Sierra Leone, if given the chance. This is why, I believe, Sierra Leoneans came out in large numbers and voted him immensely in 2007.
Since then, he has demonstrated a spirit of patriotism in ensuring that every Sierra Leonean, irrespective of tribal, regional or political affiliation, enjoys the goodies of his government. Various International organizations from different parts of world continue to give high marks to President Koroma for his government’s respect for human rights, press freedom, commitment to the fight against corruption and the alleviation of poverty, among other things, indicating that Sierra Leone has found the most progressive and productive political leader at last.
Today, President Koroma has become an international emblem for peace, democracy and development not only in Sierra Leone, but the African continent as a whole.
Mr. President deserves the accolades
Bravo Statistics and indexes are evidences to confirming this fact that President Koroma is doing a very spectacular job for his country. All the accolades to the President do not come by magic. As president, he worked assiduously within one hundred days and eliminated the catchphrase that Freetown is the darkest city in the world. The president revamped the rotten judicial system left behind by previous governments and restores the rule of law.
He improves the country’s health care services to the point not only have Sierra Leoneans purged the status of being the nation with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, but in September 2010, the United Nations gave President Koroma a prestigious award for progress made in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the area of health care delivery. Today, the country is near achieving food security coupled with the construction of a network of roads in every nook and cranny of the country.
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