ABC Secretariat – Two Years on the Scale
I have seen and read different articles commending the APC government after two years in governance. No doubt President Ernest Bai Koroma has done well in his two years of office, but there seems to be a paradox in the Ernest Koroma success due to the dysfunction that lurks around one of his maiden proclamations made during his historic inaugural address calling for the ‘Change of Attitude’ of all Sierra Leoneans, which led to the creation of the ‘Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat.’
To prove how much the president laid faith on the issue of Attitudinal Change, it became the dominant feature of his speech then, mentioning it 22 times on the 17th of September 2007. At Cabinet level the president continued to preach attitudinal change; preaching it alongside his manifesto on his agenda for change.
In all the flamboyant celebration of marked successes in the two year reign of the APC, nobody seemed to notice the Secretariat of Attitudinal Change for apparently one of two reasons: it’s either the secretariat did not do much in attaining its mandate or that the President has been too quick to forget that the notion of attitudinal change was a very cardinal aspect in his maiden message to the people of Sierra Leone.
On the scale though, we are left with no choice but to try and assess whether it is the secretariat that is failing the presidency and government as a whole, or it is the president and his men that are turning their backs on what they once took as their anthem in preaching their agenda for change.
Whilst it agreeable that Ernest Bai Koroma did well to create the ABC Secretariat, while it is commendable that the fight against corruption has seen some inroads as against what used to obtain the Tejan Kabbah Government; his strides to overhaul the electricity problem in the country and hard work towards infrastructural development including agriculture is laudable; it is worthwhile that the president is told in the face that his success scores in the way of changing attitude and behaviors in virtually infinitesimal. People are now even led to believe that the president had just been paying lip service to the people of this country in his unhidden belief in the change of attitude.
As far as my memory could serve me on the few activities and moves made by the attitudinal change segment of the office of the president, I can but count my fingers on them: the National Pride Week, the Operation on Lateness Absenteeism, and a routine visitation of some government institutions invariably engaging them in awareness programmes in the changing of attitudinal towards public good and government work; which to me are either partial successes of virtual failure.
In my experience in closely monitoring the activities of the ABC Secretariat, I have noticed that the secretariat is hugely under powered and that is largely what is responsible for its virtual failure to influence the needed changes in the mindset of Sierra Leoneans whether the masses or public servants. The truth is, the president seems to have turned his back completely on what he once believed was the way out for the country’s emancipation which the all of us agreed with him.
If the president ever wanted to ensure the success of the ABC secretariat as he proclaimed to all Sierra Leoneans and the whole wide world, the secretariat should be seen to have some autonomy; established as an Act of Parliament and given its mandate to execute as the case might be. All other secretariats given such autonomy have seen some level of success-the Anti Corruption Commission, Independent Media commission and NASSIT; the political parties Registration Commission, and many others.
It is largely inconceivable that a secretariat that depends on the Cabinet and government in general to operate is also charged to preach a change of attitude of the same people. It is like looking into the face of your benefactor and telling him you are not worthwhile!
The point is; the notion of ABC cannot survive the test of time if it remains in the ambit of general governance with its mandate and funding intertwined with other purpose and objectives.
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