Exclusive interview with COCORIOKO’s Editor, Wilfred Kabs-Kanu ( 2)
ERNEST KOROMA SAYS HE WILL PROVIDE RAY OF HOPE FOR SIERRA LEONE
Tuesday May 23, 2006
The leader of the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC) , Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has said that he was very positive about winning the 2007 Presidential Elections . Mr Koroma then promised that when he becomes President he will provide a ray of hope for Sierra Leone.
The APC Leader gave the assurance last Saturday in an exclusive interview with the Editor-In-Chief of COCORIOKO, Rev.Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu at the Marriot Hotel in Somerset , New Jersey.
The Editor asked Mr. Koroma point-blank questions from the word ‘go’ : “The 2007 General Elections : What are your chances ? “., he asked . Without blinking an eyelid, the APC leader replied: “We are going to win it. We are positive about it. ” “What gives you this assurance , Mr. Opposition leader ?”, the Editor inquired. Smiling , Mr. Koroma responded : “I say so because I believe we have gone a long way in restoring confidence in the minds of the Sierra Leonean people that the APC is the only hope for their progress. And the people have confidence in us. This was manifested in the Local Council elections of 2004 , especially in the city of Freetown . “
“Is that enough to make you develop such confidence ?” , the Editor further asked. “Oh yes, why not ? “, Mr.Koroma enthused : ” Freetown being the capital is the barometer of the country’s politics. The results there are a manifestation of the thinking of the Sierra Leonean people , and also a kind of perception they now hold us in high esteem , This time, we will not only take Freetown. We will take the North and part of the South/East .” Koroma replied.
The APC Leader elaborated that he was also confident because of the dismal failure on the part of the ruling party, the SLPP. ” The ruling party has failed miserably in the delivery of social services , management of the economy and its ability to fight corruption. The people of Sierra Leone have lost complete confidence in them and they have realized that the SLPP can no longer serve their interests, The Sierra Leonean people are looking for a change and they have realized that only the APC can bring back changes in the country ” he asserted.
The Editor asked the APC leader to say something about the disunity within the party. “Don’t you think that this rift within the party will affect your chances of winning ?” . Mr.Koroma shook his head, stretched his body and said that the APC will not be affected by the rift. “What is considered a friction is a resistance put up by people who I will refer to as bad losers and opponents in the battle for leadership. They have refused to accept defeat We have been through 2 conventions in 2002 and 2005 and I emerged victorious. They are bad losers but I don’t think this will destroy the prospects of the party to win the 2007 elections.” The APC leader recounted that the APC was in this rift when the party won the local elections in Freetown. “We were also in this while the party was growing in popularity.If it did not affect us then, it wont affect us in 2007. It is not going to affect us in the elections at all “, he emphasized.
The APC leader however acknowledged that the conflict in the party was unfortunate. This conflict, he went on, sends out the wrong signals about the party.
“Why is it so difficult to merge with all these contending forces and form a united front ? “, the Editor asked. Mr. Koroma stated that the APC was working towards unity , “But if you closely analyse the 2002 elections you will note that the people of Sierra Leone sent a clear message to the political leaders that they are now interested in the inspired leadership of the APC. Within 3 weeks after the convention of 2002 , I was able to capture 27% of the votes and all other political parties put together did not get more than 4% of the votes. This is the clarion call of the people that the parties must be united. It is also an endorsement of the people for my leadership. ” Mr. Koroma however promised to work very tirelessly to ensure that both the dissidents within the party and other political parties are united to save Sierra Leone.
Asked what his priorities will be in power, Mr. Koroma pointed out that he will concentrate on the following : Improving the social delivery services , principally education and health and energising the economy to provide the basis for the private sector to take its rightful place in the economic development of the country.
The party leader asserted that most of the developments in Sierra Leone today were made by the APC during their reign. He drew attention to the infrastructure –Roads, buildings and social services. He also spoke about the abundant scholarships that the APC provided Sierra Leoneans of all tribes and persuasions without any discrimination. He said that the SLPP can never match the developments made in Sierra Leone by the APC. Mr. Koroma stated that it was in view of the achievements of the APC that Sierra Leoneans will vote them back to power.
READ PART 3 OF THE INTERVIEW TOMORROW