Portion of the New Bo District Council Chairman’s Inaugural Speech
My dear councilors, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, after 8 years (from 2004 to 2012) in the decentralization process in Sierra Leone (Re-establishment of Local Council in Sierra Leone), one would proudly say that we, as a district and country, have gone too far in achieving much. Service delivery, particular at local levels, has improved tremendously, governance landscape has changed completely, giving opportunity to the citizens to contribute and actively participate in actions that affect their lives and the development of their communities.
In this vein, I would therefore like to extend our profound gratitude and appreciation to all successive Governments, organizations and persons who in diverse ways have contributed to the decentralization process and the development of Bo District in particular.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to give accolade to Mr. David J.B. Kobby (The first Chairman of the Bo district Council) and the first set of 44 councilors who laid the foundation of this great council and also provided the basis for the development of the people of Bo district. With humble heart I would like to give special accolade to my predecessor, Mr. Mathew Mannah Margao and 29 set of councilors who served in the second session of council (2008-2012). I want to say to all of you that your contributions will remain indelibly in the minds of the people of Bo District and on the records of decentralization in Sierra Leone.
Paramount chiefs, Councillors, Ladies and gentlemen, though much has been achieved, much remain to be done. The eleven years civil conflict left this country completely devastated. The desire of Sierra Leoneans to speedily recover from this devastation is posing a huge challenge to individuals, local and international organizations, Government and Governmental institutions including the Bo District Council. The magnitude of these problems varies from chiefdom to chiefdom and from community to community which basically include poor health care service, poor quality education, bad road network, lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation, poor housing facilities, food insecurity, extreme poverty, etc.
Though these challenges form a huge mountain before us, they are however not insurmountable. As council, with our renewed commitment to our courses of purpose, strong determination and resilience to attain our goal, we are sure that YES WE CAN. This requires great sacrifice, contribution and participation of every resident in Bo District in programmes that will be formulated by council. In our diversities of colour, ethnicity, regionalism, etc, let us remain united as Sierra Leoneans in rebuilding our devastated communities to an admirable level where people from other districts in Sierra Leone and outside Sierra Leone will come to explore greater opportunities. Therefore, I want to implore all and sundry to remain confident that we can do whatever is necessary to restore hope and dignity to our people.
Councilors, the expectations of your families and ward residents are understandably too high. Please do not relent in your efforts to make yourself understood that you are but service delivery agents with mandates from council. The moment you carry yourself as personal provider of the goodies you will be inundated with personal demands, failing of which to satisfy, will earn you the terms ungrateful and unpopular. You are warned!
Councilors, distinguished ladies and gentlemen and the press, the remaining part of my presentation will encapsulate my plan as to how this council will operate with me as chairman. I therefore implore you all to join me as I unfold this work plans for this brand new council.
In keeping with section 20 of the Local Government Act 2004 which prescribes the functions of local councils and the two fundamental elements in the council’s vision and mission statements, viz;\
“…continuous improvement in public services…” and “reducing poverty through the stimulation of sound economic empowerment…” respectively, I as chairman of the Bo District Council, in the name of God Almighty, in collaboration with all councilors, staff of council and all devolved line ministries shall direct the council to operate along the under-mentioned policy guidelines in executing this four year work plan designed not only to improve service delivery to rural communities in Bo District but to also promote and foster the tenets of good governance and decentralization in Sierra Leone. This work plan is in two parts: one is a presentation of the policy guidelines and part two comprises the actual work plan spanning the period 2013-2016.
Under my stewardship as chairman, the Bo District council shall operate along the following policy guidelines:
- Consultation, collaboration and co-ordination with sister and neighboring local councils. Experience sharing through consultation and co-ordination with sister councils in the Bo municipality and neighboring districts like Pujehun and Bonthe in the South, Tonkolili in the North, Moyamba in the West and Kenema in the East can enhance performance. Further consultations and collaborations shall be made with all resident central government agencies like the Office of National Security, all security forces, the Senior District Office, all line ministries, government parastatals, NGOs and donor partners. The council of paramount chiefs in Bo District, together with some other stakeholders shall be the council’s moral trustees and advisory authority.
- Identification and mobilization of all available resources (human, material and financial) which are required for the overall improvement of rural livelihood.
- Improving rural livelihood while preserving, enhancing and fully respecting, the plummeting cultural values of the rural communities.
- Developing and directing all developmental actions in the district on demand driven basis.
- Promotion of private-public sector collaboration shall be the operational hallmark of the council.
- As and when council deems it necessary; consultancy or external support services shall be engaged to augment the performance of the regular staff.
- Provision shall be made for the establishment of new departments to cater for emerging needs of rural communities. Examples: Research department for project proposals, department for rural housing scheme, etc.
- Routine implementation of all central government development projects at local levels in the district.
- Disaster management schemes shall also be developed to handle incidents like fire, flood and similar disasters.
- Transparency, accountability and popular participation shall characterize all council’s service delivery activities.
Joseph Munda Bindi, Bo District Council Chairman
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