By KABS KANU :
The Bible asks a rhetorical question in Amos 3 : 3 : “Can two walk together except they be agreed ? ”
Two people definitely cannot walk and work together except they are agreed.
There must be singularity and oneness of purpose ; there must be a common vision between them; there must be shared purposes, shared goals and shared interests between two people for them to walk together. This common dictum governing the relationship between friends pertains to our national leaders and our people too. Our nation will never progress until there is oneness of vision and purpose between the President/Government and the people of Sierra Leone.
We have preached this message many times from different pulpits and different podiums. The Sierra Leonean people must put aside all tribal, regional and other self interests and work with their President and Government , if we must see any ray of hope in our socio-economic and national endeavours. There is no way we can progress in Sierra Leone if we walk at cross-purposes with our leaders.
When President Koroma came to power in 2007, he launched the Agenda For Change. The purpose of the Agenda For Change was to alleviate the suffering of the Sierra Leonean people through positive changes and developments in Agriculture, Energy, Infrastructure, Health and Education . ”The Agenda For Change reflects our people’s belief that the government they elected in a free and fair election will work in partnership with them to improve their social and economic conditions”, President Koroma cried from the rooftops. When he was re-elected in 2012, the President declared : “We will continue to construct roads and bridges, improve on our agricultural practices and expand on the smallholder commercialization programme. We will continue to empower our women and youth and create more space for their voices to be heard “.
The Bumbuna Hydroelectric Dam was completed and commissioned in late 2009 and today it has improved the supply of electricity in Freetown and other parts of the country. Realizing that a good road network is the engine that propels socio- economic activities as well as the delivery of basic services , President Koroma embarked on a major road construction programme that has linked all parts of the country and facilitated the movement of people and goods. The government has boosted food security by developing a National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan (NSADP, 2010-2030) within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) . President Koroma introduced the Smallholder Commercialisation Scheme (SCS) within the framework of the NSADP which is currently playing a commendable role in providing efficient services to all farmers in the country. The Government introduced the Free Healthcare Initiative in 2010 and improved the conditions of service of medical staff ; it procured essential drugs and equipment, strengthened sector supervision and proved frree Health Care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five.
The Agenda For Change metamorphosed into the Agenda For Prosperity, and when he addressed Parliament in December 2012, the President promised the nation : ” In our Agenda for Prosperity we will act to diversify the economy, induce growth, and empower human capital with appropriate education to be part of programme implementation. The gains of the Agenda for Change have brought to our shores huge foreign investments in mining, petroleum industry, agriculture and tourism. In the Agenda for Prosperity we will act to enhance the capacity of our people to make them an integral part of this new dawn. ”
Though Ebola came in 2014 and scuppered the plans of the Government, President Koroma has fulfilled many of the promised embedded in this lofty agenda.
Therefore, Sierra Leone is moving forward. All President Koroma wants is to develop his country and improve the welfare of the people.
What is not manifest is the total and unalloyed support of many of the educated elite who are still in bondage to negative and unprogressive emotions like tribalism, regionalism , vicious propaganda, sectionalism, selfishness and enslavement to destructive partisan politics. Some of the so-called editorials and op/ed articles we read in newspapers and views articulated in the social media expose an intelligentia that is more enslaved to partisan political, tribal , regional and other parochial interests than being in tandem with their government’s development initiatives . This is bad because our international development partners like the IMF and the World Bank, misled by the propaganda from unproductive Sierra Leoneans, now want to kill some of the government’s development initiatives , like the Mammamah International Airport project, which will definitely be the socio-economic game-changer in Sierra Leone.
Many Sierra Leoneans opposing the Mammamah Project have misadvised themselves to look at it from the angle of partisan politics : That the All People’s Congress ( APC ) wants to embark on a prohibitively expensive project to win itself eternal praise , respect and honor from the generality of the Sierra Leonean people, even though China has made it clear that they are offering the Government very favorable conditions that will not cause the government any economic hardship.
As for the IMF and World Bank, they are being accused of promoting geopolitical interests , instead of rationally looking at the immense benefits Sierra Leone will accrue from the Mammamah Project. Would they have opposed the project, if it was being executed by their Western sponsors ?
Partisan supporters of the opposition and dissident elements in Sierra Leone will definitely support the IMF and World Bank because they do not want to see any good for their nation, via the APC. They will support the IMF and the World Bank because they do not have shared goals and shared visions with their government. Their primary concern is not the socio-economic and political development of their country .It is that the APC achieves nothing that they fear could give them a psychological advantage over the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ). They are not putting the national interest first.
However, it is refreshing and encouraging that a U.S. lobbying organization devoted to Africa called the Constituency For Africa has observed the government’s straits and has decided to lobby support for the Sierra Leone Government in the corridors of power in America, including the U.S. Congress , for the project not to be killed by the IMF and the World Bank. What Sierra Leoneans as a people cannot stand up and do, an international organization is going to do for our country.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS EDITORIAL ARE WHOLLY AND SOLELY THE PERSPECTIVES OF THIS NEWSPAPER . THESE VIEWS DO NOT REFLECT THE STANDPOINT OF THE SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT ON THE IMF, WORLD BANK AND THE MAMMAMAH PROJECT.