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President Koroma Scores High Grades in Democratic Credentials

President Koroma Scores High Grades in Democratic Credentials

With the growing democratic awareness among Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad, there is much satisfaction amongst them for the way President Koroma is handling and upholding democratic principles as well as in the maintenance of good governance.  (Photo: HE President Ernest Bai Koroma)

There is every need for Sierra Leone as a nation to go along with a government that is transparent, development oriented and above all accountable to the citizenry of the state. The growing democracy, the inculcation of rights culture, the promotion and protections of human rights of the people and the enactment of the Disability Act 2012 are all pointers to that bare fact that the democratic credentials of President Koroma have attracted the world and not just his admirers at home.

That the present government under the leadership of President Koroma is a tolerant one – that  has always opened up to the oppositions for constructive engagements in national issues, even though the main opposition, Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has often been snobbish of such national issues. The SLPP is forgetful of the fact that the government’s success stories will be nationally represented.

So, the democratic credentials of President Koroma are gains that every Sierra Leonean should be very proud of. As a matter of fact his efforts are geared towards the promotion and protection of the human rights of his people.

What is more interesting, is that it is no secret that the people hold a fervent belief that President Koroma up to approaching elections, has been working round the clock to enhance national democratic institutions.

Evident of such reality on the ground is the robust Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. The relentless effort of the Political Parties Registration Commission in ensuring a peaceful, free and fair election is another.

Upholding the autonomy of institutions such as the National Electoral Commission, Political Party Registration Commission and the Judiciary as well as many other institutions of government are all indicators of the President’s determination to govern his people rightfully.

The promotion of free press with so many radio stations and newspapers airing and publishing whatever proprietary contents for public consumption is another feather to the President’s hat that is even ruffling conservative feathers amongst top bras of his Party.

We also know that the APC-led government of President Koroma since September 2007 has no political prisoner as well as prisoner of conscience. The creation of permanent employments through foreign investment has also contributed hugely to the country’s human rights résumé, and as it can be vividly recalled barely a year ago, while at the United Nations General Assembly in New York for last year’s summit, the Chairman of the Committee of 10, President Koroma was highly admired by the United States President Barak Obama to the extent that he was invited by the US President to a special luncheon.

There, President Obama extended a special invitation to President Koroma when he singled him out of hundreds of world leaders for an accolade for good governance clearly showed that President Koroma has indeed impressed the world and not only the US President. It is also true that no Sierra Leonean president before Koroma has gained such an accolade from a US President.

Mr. Zheng Zhuqiang made a commendation during a courtesy call on Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), the Ambassador of Sierra Leone to China, Abubakarr Multi-Kamara, and owing to the progress that has so far been made on the democratic front under the ‘Agenda for Change’, the Chinese Director General of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China further vowed to continue bilateral cooperation with Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone the ACC has not been doing badly; having legitimized the commission’s mandate to handle and try corrupt officials has raised the profile of the institution as well as earned it an international award in 2010 for its robust fighting against corruption.

This is in-line with the President’s “no sacred cow” policy on corruption. And indeed his administration has always empowered the commission to operate freely with the highest level of independency without government interference.

For such political will demonstrated by President Koroma and his government, the work of the ACC has improved the country’s anti-corruption indicator index, which demonstrates the President’s political will to fight endemic corruption.

Another remarkable recognition of President Koroma’s democratic credentials was manifested last year by the former Nigerian President Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo while he was in Freetown for a one day working visit. Judging by his personal experience of the realities on the ground, during his short visit, the former Nigerian head of state remarked that significant changes have taken place in the country hence, endorsed President Koroma for a second term in office and described the developmental oriented President as a “winning horse, thus should not be removed from the race.” According to the former President of Nigeria, a winning horse deserves to be maintained in the race. This is in-line with the maxim that the distance between a winning horse and the losing one is a matter of a split second that makes the millions of dollars difference between them. Therefore, by every indication, President Koroma is indeed a winning horse who deserves a second term.

The issue of President Koroma’s re-election comes November 17th 2012, from the Sierra Leone diaspora, particularly from those residing in neighbouring Guinea; it is widely believed that he [President Koroma] has delivered outstandingly in office.

The sentiment here in Sierra Leone therefore is that because of his sound democratic approach to governance, his regard for the rule of law and the rebuilding of democratic institutions across the nation including the office of the ombudsman, he has by all means dwarfed his main challenger, Julius Maada Bio, whose political and democratic records are tinted with scars of extra-judicial executions, the looting of state funds, gross violations of human rights, the mortgaging of Sierra Leone’s passports to foreigners etc.

It turns out that Sierra Leoneans are much more political savvy today than ever before, and the future for Maada Bio against President Koroma is bleak.

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