John Baimba Sesay
Politically speaking, we have heard or seen a lot, a practical case in point being happenings within the SLPP (1&2-NGC). For the sake of clarity, we still will continue with that until elections are conducted and a winner announced, in my political view, in the person of Dr. Samura Kamara, the presidential aspirant of the governing All People’s Congress.
Just two or so years ago there had been a bag full of aspirants, wanting to lead the SLPP to elections; amongst them was Dr. Kandeh Yumkella. Issues came up around his membership in the Party, with some factions claiming, he was not a registered member of that Party. This was after series of arguments, threats of court actions and the rest. His next move was to form a Party- NGC. In NGC, they now keep talking about ‘change’ though with the Party’s composition, giving a clear indication of it being nothing new but a breakaway from the SLPP. For the records, all those in the NGC have been SLPP strong players before now; nothing new in NGC.
The issue surrounding the NGC’s flag bearer’s dual nationality has brought into his campaign serious credibility challenge. Did he actually renounce his US citizenship? When did that occur? The public cannot ask for more. They aren’t asking for a pound of flesh, rather, a proof of his renunciation of US citizenship. Interesting times ahead I suppose. That all we could see in the NGC is a reflection of SLPP in the form of membership makes the party no better alternative. The people have rejected SLPP twice and for the NGC to have come again behind the footsteps of SLPP is just not what the people now want. We cannot be told of change by those who never believed in it!
Let us face it; Sierra Leone presently needs a leader that has felt her challenges, one that has contributed to her growth process, and one that could effectively interact with global players and especially development partners. The country needs a leader that has been around her during the trying eras, NOT one that would come just to be talking of policies and making promises that would take centuries to accomplish. We cannot just rely on smooth talk around one’s UN background. There is more to it about leadership than merely articulating ‘policies’.
Dr. Samura Kamara has been a strategic player in our country’s development process. He has got the required experience and skills a nation like Sierra Leone needs. He is ready to hit the ground running when elected president. He has been for decades, a modest Diplomat and has diligently represented his country globally. He served the International Monetary Fund and the Commonwealth with huge successes. He has managed with much success our financial sector. He has had years of experience in International Economic Cooperation. He has had successful years of interaction with global economic and financial players. He has been a major player in pushing Sierra Leone’s growth roadmap through the country’s two development trajectories- the Agenda for Change and the Agenda for Prosperity.
Through these two development trajectories, in ten years, President Ernest Koroma’s government successfully changed the country’s infrastructure sector, turning the entire country into a works yard. We saw this through an increase spending on infrastructure and other capital projects. His government undertook the widening of the Lumley-Hill Cot Junction route (3.4Km) into a four lane dual carriageway. In energy, his government increased the national electricity generation capacity. With support from the Chinese, his government worked on Mini-hydro projects at Bankasoka (2MW), Charlotte (3MW) and Makalie (170Kw). President Koroma also ensured a paradigm shift from overwhelmingly depending on donors to being able to fund the country’s own development. He increased Government’s annual direct transfers to Local Councils.
Under his era, President Koroma modernized and increased revenue collection by introducing the automated system- ASYCUD system and tax payer identification numbers in a bid to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance. In our tax regime, the government successfully broadened the tax base by the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Sierra Leone today is attracting huge investment in the mineral, marine and agriculture sectors with the country becoming an investment option for investors. At the political front, he ensured an enabling environment with opposition parties freely operating. There has been a free and pluralistic media under the watch of President Koroma with the media playing a contributing role in the governance process.
In the first few months of his administration, Dr. Samura Kamara is committed to securing these achievements. He is also determined to focus on the role of women and youth through their leadership positions and ensure macro-economic stability with a GDP that continuously should be growing. With his leadership, we are sure of seeing more women in leadership positions, with young people taking centre stage in our governance structure. He is committed to deepening the decentralization process in the country, ensuring an economically stable country, and to expand on our diplomatic engagements, both at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
It is also refreshing having a young person as running mate to Dr. Samura Kamara and the APC. Hon. Chernoh Bah’s appointment by the APC leadership should be seen as a challenge to the young people, which has been thrown by the Party’s leadership. We should rise to this challenge as young people. We should take the lead in making a better case for their elections. Vote Dr. Samura Kamara for a better tomorrow for there is no better alternative in the other parties as could be seen in the polices of the APC and it flagbearer.