Vindicated, with an end to political ‘profiteering’!
But the point is, also being a supporter and a loyalist to President Koroma; I am also an admirer of Vice President Sam Sumana. This is the very difficult fact some people should accept.
The debate: The debate was started over a year ago. And only few days ago, a Joseph Syl-Bauns, who has been part of this debate, made reference to an article he had written on the 1st of September 2011, in the Global Times newspaper with the headline: “APC, SLPP In Search Of Running Mates.” He recalled a call he got from me, prior to leaving for China commending him for his objective analysis, “but added that APC party had no problem selecting their running mate…” and so was asking me “where are we Pa Baimba Sesay?” For him, the APC party running mate problem was far beyond the comprehension of what he referred to as “the party’s triangular journalists including” to which he included Pa Baimba Sesay (http://www.globaltimes-sl.org/news26746.html ).
Let me allow that to pass off by not giving prominence to that statement. The issue at hand is the recent decision by President Koroma to continue with his able Vice President even and they approach reelection in November 17th of this year. In trying to answer his question of “where are we Pa Baimba Sesay?”, I only would refer my dear brother to a press release issued by Victor Bockarie Foe, stating, that “It has pleased His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, to put on his ticket Sam Sumana as his running mate in the November 17 presidential election,” I feel vindicated, given my always strong conviction, that the President has trust in Sam. And in simple terms, we have arrived at the destination I was certain about and President Koroma, being the type of leader he is, has taken a decision that is in the interest of the state and his party the APC. With 2,697,291 voters having been certified to vote in the forthcoming election, it is certain, that the wining team has won the elections. Vice President Sam Sumana’s loyalty to President Koroma and his party is unquestionable.
Political ‘profiteering’: One wanting to make what is considered an unreasonable profit especially on the sale of essential goods during times of emergency is an act of profiteering. In politics, try to make political gains out of a given situation and not to be seen wanting to be a profiteer. This was what some had wanted to achieve, literally using the unassuming Sam Sumana as the political product, displayed at the market stall. But they all failed. Despite the Propaganda that was embarked upon by a certain few, from especially the opposition party, the man remained committed and up to the task. And the President himself also remained steadfast in his trust in his assistant. And politically, the profiteering ball-game (using political falsehood to discredit the Vice President)some had embarked upon has been punctured by His Excellency the President who is now even more poised to win the coming elections.
There have been positive political gains made by President Koroma, like his ability to ‘invade’ those places perceived as strongholds of the opposition. It is no gainsaying that his developmental strides, since elected into office in 2007 have accounted for what we have seen today in terms of key figures in the main opposition joining the team of the President. Take Kono for instance, we all know, that at some point it was under the control of one of the opposition parties in Sierra Leone. But with the hard work of President Koroma, coupled with the determination of Sam Sumana, the signs are glaring that today, Kono is a different ballgame altogether. In an interview with him on the 6th June , Sam Sumana boasted, that “Kono district is purely APC …the people in the south-east have realized that color is not relevant in present day Sierra Leone rather, they are looking for development and this is what President Koroma has been giving them…Sierra Leone is now being admired today. We therefore should sustain the gains we have made, we need to sustain the peace we have been enjoying and the developments we are undertaking at present…“for us to sustain such developments, we need to give the President another term in office.” This has been how loyal Sam has been to President Koroma. And it was because his opponents know that he is liked in Kono, and Kono being very strategic just as Bombali, Moyamba and Kambia among other places, for the Koroma votes, the one way out was to present Sam as a bad guy.
Strategic nature of votes: I spoke of the strategic nature of all the votes ahead of the November election. Let us also herein, look at the importance of those recent converts into the Ernest Koroma fold, from the viewpoint of ‘vote casts and election winning’ as politics, they say is a game of numbers. Firstly, let me establish the point that the decision by members of some of our major opposition parties, coming over to the ruling party has to do with perspicacity in leadership, as demonstrated by President Ernest Koroma. Take for instance the case of Tom Nyuma and Hon. Robin Fallay, both from Kailahun. Tom Nyuma is the Chairman for the Kailahun District Council. This is a district that was the most neglected one especially during the days of our recent (five years ago) past government. Tom, being District Council Chairman did all he could to develop the district, with the general support by the central government. And realizing that the present administration is committed to improving the lives of people in the country, Nyuma put aside his political consideration and looked at the broader national picture, thus, he joined the winning team. Recently joining the wining team from, again, Kailahun is Robin Fallay who was representing the main opposition party in Parliament for constituency 7, in the Kailahun district. For him, his decision to support President Koroma was not because of money but because of his remarkable vision. “He also mentioned that he was one of the staunch critics of the President in Parliament. But he decided to support President Koroma because the leader is just progressive and love the people of Sierra Leone.” as reported by Jarrah Kawusu-Konte.
The records of a winning team : Truth be told, President Koroma has a record to talk of, one he could use to justify the need for another term, one he could use to tell the international community that today, the country is far ahead in terms of development, when compared to how it used to be five years ago, today, he can ask for another vote and be reelected with the first ballot as he told me in one interview in April of this year, that he was “going for the first ballot victory… as the evidence is all over the country and people have been appreciative of our achievements as a government…we have sustained our progress as a government…there has been tremendous progress in the implementation of the ‘Agenda for Change’…” He came in at a time that people wanted a change, a time that people wanted development.
Look at the records, in brief. In the persons of President Koroma and Vice President Sam Sumana, in August 2008, barely a year in office and quite contrary to his predecessor, a new National Anti-Corruption Strategy was launched and one of the toughest anti-corruption legislation in all of Africa enacted. The 2008 Act provides for the “establishment of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission for the prevention, investigation, prosecution and Punishment…” (http://www.sierra-leone.org/Laws/2008-12.pdf ).The act, among other provisions, include offences on illicit enrichment, abuse and misuse of office, provides protection for whistle blowers and informers, and makes it compulsory for all civil servants to declare their assets. One area where the country’s zero tolerance on corruption has become more evident is in the political will to empower the ACC to serve its purpose, as provided by President Koroma. With apparent government support, a framework for case selections and prioritization developed and being implemented. Priority areas include procurement, revenue collection, and delivery of essential public services and the judiciary. The prosecutorial powers granted by the 2008 Anti Corruption Act, has seen the establishment of a prosecution unit. The result has been the highest rate of prosecution and conviction for corruption related offenses in the country‘s history. We have also seen the appointment of a robust management team at the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Another record is on women and governance. The 30% quota women have been asking for has, in my view, been realized. The government has kept encouraging women to faithfully serve the country as a whole; Haja Kallah-Kamara, Acting Commissioner-General for the revenue collection agency-NRA, Solicitor-General Madame Martina Koroma, Administrator & Registrar-General Madame Mariama Seray Kallay, Auditor -General in the person of Lara Taylor-Pearce, Elizabeth Kamara, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, a woman Mayor in the waiting in Makeni, a woman Minister of Tourism, plus other MDAs having women as CEOs. Umu Tejan-Jalloh, first female Chief Justice in the country got appointed by this government.
Today, a culture of rights is taking hold, as there are no political prisoners, no journalist has been incarcerated, and no person has been executed under this government of President Koroma, unlike when dozens were killed for want of power, including a female military officer few years back. Today, the country is promoting the social rights of vulnerable women and children through the Free Health Care Initiative. So at the end, I feel good that we are moving and that Sierra Leone is a progressing nation, under the leaderships of President Koroma with help provided by Sam and since they are going for reelection, it is prudent we maintain a performing government. But there I go, shouting, that I am vindicated and that there will be an end of the game of political ‘profiteering’ by certain few.
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