By KABS KANU :
The news in the NEW CITIZEN newspaper that the APC Government will be flooding the streets of Sierra Leone with 100 more new buses before the Independence Anniversary celebrations next month is welcome news that should continue to reassure the people of Sierra Leone that despite the Ebola emergency in the country the government is committed to continue seeking their welfare to improve their quality of life.
This development will surely reassure neutral Sierra Leoneans that the President Ernest Bai Koroma Government cares for the socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone, never mind the relentless and odious propaganda opposition forces, disgruntled people and dissident elements have launched against the President and the government, especially in the social media.
The opposition and dissident forces, who want to see the downfall of the government for partisan, tribalistic and regional reasons, had hoped that the ebola outbreak would have completely brought the nation to its knees and damaged the legacy of President Ernest Koroma. But despite all the economic and other social problems that ebola has brought which defintely needs international assistance to the country, President Koroma has been able to continue demonstrating inspiring leadership in the face of all the odds. Yes, things have been very hard but with good leadership the country has not sunk as opposition zealots prayed.
The latest opposition propaganda is that President Koroma proposed an ebola summit in Washington DC to U.S. President Barak Obama , which the U.S. President rejected , while approving a White House meeting with Liberia’s President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. This is another lie from the depth of Hell as no such incident happened and President Koroma never made such a proposal. The opposition’s plan is to cast our President as a leader who has lost international goodwill because of Ebola. What they do not know is that Ebola will turn out to boost President Koroma’s profile.
Last month, the Liberian media glowingly commended the Ernest Koroma Government for setting the pace for transparency and accountability in the management of Ebola funds by being the first country so far in the badly-hit ecountries to present a public audit alleging that the funds have been pilfered , and to have set in motion the legal machinery to bring the culprits to justice.
According to Liberia’s leading newspaper, FRONTPAGE , “Sierra Leone took an early lead in the fight to ensure transparent and proper handling of the Ebola crisis when President Koroma dismissed his Health Minister Miatta Kargbo over her handling of the epidemic. A presidency statement said that Kargbo was remove ‘to create a conducive environment for efficient and effective handling of the Ebola outbrea’ “. The paper philosophized about transparency, repeating Amnesty International’s statement that “Countries at the bottom ( Ed . Corruption perception index ) need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people.” Though the opposition in Sierra Leone know that President Koroma was the whistle-blower who mandated and empowered the ebola audit, they have continue to twist the facts around to wrongly blame the President for the affair.
However , once the government continues to develop the country and demonstrate transparency and the law takes its full course, as President Koroma has promised, the hopes of the opposition will be frustrated . Ebola will never taint the legacy of President Koroma. The APC Government will emerge victorious from this crisis. History has a unique way of confounding political sceptics.
Before the outbreak of Ebola, President Koroma had turned Sierra Leone into a virtual works yard , with national development projects being executed and commissioned all over the country . The President has a rich legacy of socio-economic and political developments that will not be tainted by Ebola. No other President in the history of our nation has unveiled as many development projects as President Koroma. Let us only hope that Ebola ends quickly so that the Agenda For Prosperity will take centre stage once again.
President Koroma has said that the Government is determined to bring the ebola outbreak to an end so it will continue the Agenda For Prosperity , which is the national development blueprint. Recently, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Mr. Leonard Balogun Koroma , indicated that plans for a new international airport and a new capital at Mamamah were ongoing. The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sam Sesay, has also indicated that the government’s food security program , was also on course . This shows a government in control and an administration that has not lost control , as the opposition would want people to believe.
It is hoped that international donor partners, goodwill nations and stakeholders will rise to the occasion during the ongoing Ebola donor conference in Brussels and provide the three most-affected Ebola -hit countries —Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea —-the funds they need to continue fighting and defeating the ebola scourge. Ebola needs to end so that national development programs can pick up normal pace once again.
100 New Buses Soon
By Abu S. Tarawalie
To address the shortage of public transportation in the country, the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC), with the support of Government and the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, has ordered 100 new buses and spare parts from China valued at $12 million that would soon arrive in the country for which SLRTC is working out the technical specifications of the buses before arrival.
The Deputy SLRTC Director General, Mr. FodayLansana Suma, disclosed over the weekend that the buses would be commissioned on Independence Day on 27th April 2015 and would be distributed as follows: 56 in the city of Freetown and 44 in the provinces while others would ply Guinea and Liberia to facilitate movement and trade in the Mano River Union countries.
“We are working very hard to receive the new buses before Independence Day to ease the transportation constraints of commuters,” he asserted and continued that inspite of its financial limitations, plans are underway to equip the SLRTA Training School and construct four regional depots for the security of the new buses, passengers and luggage, install a security surveillance system with cameras to monitor the movement of the buses nationwide.
Mr. FodayLansana Suma further observed that although the SLRTC does not have conductors, the performance of the drivers is exemplary and reiterated the mandate of SLRTC to provide low cost public transportation for the people.
The SLRTC Operations Coordinator, Mr. Tamba Rodney Kaimachiande, made similar observations.