By Jarrah Kawusu-Konte in Brussels
His Excellency, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in his capacity as Chairman and Leader of the ruling APC on Tuesday 1st April officially launched the APC-Belgium Chapter at a Town Hall Meeting at Moorsel Straat Community in Brussels, Belgium.
Delivering the keynote address as Grand Chief Patron, President Koroma said the welcome accorded him yesterday at the Abelag Airport was a pleasant surprise because he wasn’t expecting such a turn out of Sierra Leoneans in Belgium. “It’s an indication that the APC is on the rise in not only Belgium but the whole of Europe,” he said, and added that the APC is a party of the ordinary man and woman as majority of the people of Sierra Leone are ordinary people.
President Koroma also stressed that Sierra Leoneans have showed resilience and commitment to the party by returning it to power in 2007. “Most of the developments under the first Republic were done by the APC, although its reign was cut short by a military junta in 1992.” The President noted that it was the APC that brought multi-party democracy to Sierra Leone after a One Party State, saying that it was believed that a One Party State would unite the people and usher in national cohesion.
Giving a brief background to the fortunes of the APC since 1996, President Koroma said that the party is growing from strength to strength. Most people, President Koroma maintained, didn’t believe that the APC will come back to power, especially in 1996 when a good number of the people doubted the party’s chances at the general elections.
Developments in the energy, educational, agricultural, improving the business climate and other sectors since 2007 have encouraged more people to have confidence in the APC that it is indeed the party that will develop and transform Sierra Leone.
“What did the past government do that we have not done two, three or four times?” he asked rhetorically, and emphasized the need for unity among party stalwarts to ensure the party remain in office for many years to come. He called on all comrades to be united and stay focused as there is no need to form camps.
The Chairman and Leader of the APC profusely thanked the Belgium Branch for the initiative to establish the APC Radio Station which went a long way in scaling the fortunes of the party that resulted in the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary victories.
Chairman of the ceremony, Hon. Ambassador Ibrahim Sorie Kamara welcomed President Koroma and delegation to the Benelux, and noted that it was because of the resilience of APC members and supporters all across the world that ensured President Koroma becomes President of Sierra Leone in 2007 and in 2012.
Ambassador Sorie Kamara also said that the party will never forget the contributions made by the APC Radio, an idea that emanated from Belgium back in the mid 2000s.
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Jengo Stevens expressed his profound appreciation for the visit of the President to Europe. He maintained that Sierra Leoneans in Germany are very happy with the transformative leadership of His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.
Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Tamba Ngegba called on party stalwarts to continue to support the APC in its strides to develop Sierra Leone under President Koroma.
APC Chairlady in Sweden, Regina Ada Cole said that as members of the party in Sweden they are anxious to join the government to push the Agenda for Prosperity forward.
Simeon Sesay, Secretary General of the APC Netherlands Branch said that as party members in Europe their plan is to establish more branches of the party, and thanked President Koroma for his outstanding performance as well as for making party members proud.
Chairman of the APC UK and Ireland Branch, Ansu Kamara applauded the great strides of President Koroma and affirmed their support for the Agenda for Prosperity to succeed.
APC Holland Branch Chairman, Alfred Kamara also joined previous speakers to commend the President for giving Sierra Leoneans pride and self-esteem as a result of the tremendous work he is doing to develop and transform the country.
APC Belgium Branch Chairman, Mohamed Bangura noted that the branch has been in existence for a very long time. He also joined other speakers to laud the achievements of President Koroma, who he described as a true President of not just the APC but for Sierra Leone. The motive of the APC Mainland Europe, he stressed, is to ensure that Sierra Leoneans are well sensitized to understand and appreciate the good works of the President.
APC members and supporters from Scandinavian and Benelux countries were all in attendance.