Where APC has made a difference-a rejoinder
A Sierra Leonean, living in Sudan (?), by the name of Idrissa Conteh, aka Atomic Pen has attempted to state some areas where, in his opinion, the APC led government of Ernest Bai Koroma has made a difference. In response to that, a columnist I hold in high esteem, not for his subjectivity on political debates, but for always taking people on issues, Dr Sama Banya has attempted Â differ from most of what Atomic Pen has highlighted as the successes of this government.Â One thing with Dr. Banya is that he is always at his best to challenge people on issues that have to do with the performance of the past government, a government he was practically a part of. Â No doubt, he is a fine writer. (Photo: Pa John Baimba Sesay)
Kabba (h) in governance
That said, I also hold the view that there are areas this government has made a difference as compared to the recent past government of President A(h)med Tejan Kabba(h). In the first place, it must be stated however, that the Tejan Kabba(h) led political administration, which began from 1996 and ended in 2007 was able to create some institutional reforms necessary for the sustenance of democratic credentials. Therefore, it would be fair if, we at least make reference to this fact.Â Â
Tejan Kabba (h) succeeded in formulating state institutions like NaCSA, NRA, IMC, PPRC et el.Â Also, credit should be given to Kabba (h) for creating the Anti Corruption Commission, an institution that is today making President Koroma flying high in terms of his governance style and success. But there are areas where, in my viewÂ Â Pa Kabba (h) failed to perform.Â He promised us the Lungi Bridge, and I am still waiting, may be, my two years old daughter will come tell me one day that the bridge had been constructed. Kabba (h) promised us food security by 2007, but… I mean a big but…Â These are some of his failures… ‘I will do this’, but he never did.. He was not a mixer…unlike Koroma, who is a loved grass root politician. Ernest will drive down town to test his popularity, Kabba(s), as far as I know, never did that…
The ladies along Abacha Street will not hesitate to stay all day long, along Abacha street when once Ernest takes a ride down town, or takes a stroll to have a feel of what happens on the ground. This was not the case with Kabba (h)
Failure in tackling corruption
Pa Kabba (h), no doubt wanted to pursue corruption to his finger tips. He made an attempt, in fact, several attempts to prosecute corrupt officials, but heÂ Â could not meet the expectations of the people.Â This, in my view, was because the whole idea of fighting against corruption was tied to party politics. All decisions regarding charging people to court on corruption related matters were going through the Attorney General’s office. And so even where a matter should be charged to court, the political implications would first be discussed before reaching a final decision.
At least in theory and in my view, in practice, this is not the case today, under the President Koroma led government. Tejan Cole, the ACC chief is now enjoying prosecutorial powers and interestingly, the number of prosecution has today increased from 5 in a year to 15, under the Koroma led government. Tejan Cole will always pay tribute to President Koroma, as he did recently when I reached him for an interview, for allowing him to be independent in running the ACC. So, this is another area the Koroma government has made a difference.Â Pa Kabba (h) was, in my view always timid in sacking those Ministers who were either not performing, or being involved in corruption related issues .Ernest dae sack, en e dae wap! This is also another area where President Koroma has made a difference.
Young people in positions of trust
The then government of Pa Kabba (h) was a government of ‘big man dem’. The small, young and promising youths were not allowed to show their talents. This is not so under the Koroma government. Today, we have young people managing the affairs of some state institutions. Alieu Sesay of NRA, Tejan Cole of ACC, Richard Conteh Deputy Finance Minister, Mohamed Koroma, deputy Health Minister, Hon Chericoco, the list is long of young people in positions of truth. This was not the case under Kabba (h)
Public communication is relevant in governance, party and state politics. You succeed when you talk to, and with the people. When Pa Kabba (h) was in power, I have not been able to remember, (still asking my two years old daughter to tell me) ever witnessing President Kabbah meeting the press, for an interactive session. At least, it has occurred twice under the Koroma led government and it is a difference from the governance style of Kabba (h). We have Press AttachÃ©s all over in our foreign missions who will update us on daily happenings. Pa Kabba(h) only appointed one when he was in governance.
I am of the view that the ex-government never knew the value of public relation, and public communication. Today almost all our ministers are talking to the people, thus making people believe that they are a grass root government.
Light has come
Light is life. Light is power… I read my first degree at Fourah Bay College. During my latter days of my first degree program in the university, I would go for weeks, not getting a glimpse of electricity. Freetown was the darkest city then, and that was some two-three years back. But this is not the case today. There is at least electrified in some part of the country, although we have been ignored at Kissy, but there is relatively, good supply of power. Therefore, it is another area that the Koroma government has made a difference.
The APC government started the Bumbuna Hydro Project, and that was over 30 years ago!! Pa Kabba (h) came, and he came in three different ways, but could not complete it-As an adviser to the NPRC, (small military boys), who in their way, also attempted to complete Bumbuna; he came as a democratically elected President in 1996, and was reelected in 2002, but in all of these eras, Kabba (h) failed to provide us with electricity; another major difference between him and Koroma.
Will not impose
In the event we forget, President Kabba(h) succeeded in imposing a candidate on the SLPP, much to the disappointment of party supporters. That was how Kabba(h) contributed to the political death of the SLPP, thus giving a birth of another party in the southeast; the PMDC, something the APC will not allow TO HAPPEN IN THE NORTHWEST Â under the Ernest Koroma political administration. This is therefore, another area that President Koroma will make a difference from Pa Kabba (h), who actually imposed Berewa on SLPP. And not only that, even when Charles Margai protested, they (SLPP) gave Margai the back of their hands;
“Na fly, make ee go…” they said of Margai, “na small pekin…”, and so on… the result?? You all know- SLPP was killed!! Not by gun shots,Â Â nor by hanging, but through the ballot box!!!(Den bin feel say, na Charles Margai den dae do…). Bonthe was the first to revolt against Berewa.. The signs were all over the place. I visited Bonthe twice prior to the 2007 elections, and I can tell you the people were determined to democratically take the SLPP to the gallows
The APC will not allow the people to guillotine them democratically come 2012, so they will work in harmony with the people’s expectations; they will not impose a candidate on the citizenry of this country. Ernest will never impose a candidate on the APC when he would be leaving office in 2017. And when that happens, he would go down in history as having made serious difference as compared to any leader.
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