Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma: The No-Nonsense President
Many Sierra Leoneans mistake His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma (in photo) For a person that has a very soft spot for dealing with situations when they are ripe. They go with such perception because the President is such a quintessential gentleman – that his compassion, love for humanity and goodwill gestures to fellow Sierra Leoneans has characterized his leadership. But the fact remains that His Excellency the President has lived up to his promise that he has no sacred cow in his government and that government officials that would not deliver in the implementation of his ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ would have no place in his administration.
Late last year, the President fired his Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure and the Director-General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) for “poor performance.” And just a couple of days ago, the President sacked his Energy Minister, Oluniyi Robin-Coker and his deputy, Martin Bash-Kamara for incompetence, according to a statement from the presidency.
The Chief Executive also suspended the General Manager of the National Power Authority, his deputy, and the most senior civil servant in the Energy Ministry “pending appropriate disciplinary action to be instituted against them”, the statement said. The aforementioned actions by the President is a clear indication that he is determined to ensure that his government provides the right services to his fellow Sierra Leoneans without any consideration to partisanship, region or ethnicity as some people erroneously believe.
This is not the first or second time President Koroma has sacked some of his ministers. He has done it for the umpteenth time based on their performances. For example, the President has relieved many ministers of their duties for reasons relating to corruption. And most Sierra Leoneans have come to appreciate the President for his uncompromising stance on corruption.
The President’s proactive action towards poor performance and corruption doesn’t mean he is trying to intimidate any government official as some opposition members have been saying, but to ensure they measure up to their performance contracts they signed with him. The robustness of the President will keep his men on their toes because their paramount duty is to help the President deliver on his promises to the electorate.
President Koroma has proved to Sierra Leoneans from the early days of his presidency that he would not tolerate corruption in any way, shape or form. As President, the first thing he did in 2008 was to ensure that Parliament gave more teeth to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to bite public and private officials engaged in corrupt practices.
The Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 as amended by parliament gave the prosecutorial powers to the ACC to investigate and prosecute both public and private officials allegedly involved in corruption offences. Between 2008 and 2013, many high-profile cases have been won in court by the ACC; though it has lost some many people expect it could have won. But in any case, the proactive stance of the commission in pursuing corruption offences serves as the barometer of how serious the current Koroma administration is in pursuing corruption at all levels.
Today, some Sierra Leoneans complain about economic hardship in the country, despite our economy is growing on a daily basis. This is because the government largesse that used to flow during the previous regime has been tackled through economic governance that ensures judicious spending on national programmes. Though they are complaining of hardship, what they will not deny is the effective delivery of social services to the people, which has made life somehow comfortable for them. People may talk about hardship but there is no principal city or town in the country, which is without electricity, healthcare delivery or learning institutions which are relevant to national development.
The government is spending massively on development programmes across the country with the help of donors and our development partners. This is happening because the international community has reposed confidence in President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for the exemplary work he is doing for his country, which has gained recognition far and wide.
We are seeing progress in our country because we are blessed with having a no-nonsense President that always means what he says. Now, he has promised Sierra Leoneans that before he leaves office, he would make Sierra Leone a middle-income country that would assist other countries instead of looking forward to other countries for assistance.
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