Those who once darkened the walls of schools, colleges, and universities know that there is something called “syllabus”. And when examinations are taken, there is something called “marking scheme” which guides examiners on how they should mark the papers of those who took the exams. So in actual fact teachers and lecturers are normally assessed by their Head of Departments on how they followed the “syllabus” and Chief Examiners assess the work of examiners on how they go by the “marking scheme”.
Also in politics there are, or should be, rules on how political parties in power are assessed or should be assessed. Like schools, colleges, and universities which have “syllabus”; political parties have manifestoes. It is these manifestoes which clearly state the intensions of political parties if given the chance to govern or re-elected. And when a political party is seeking re-election, it should be assessed by the “syllabus”-manifesto-which it said it would go by when it was seeking the people’s mandate the first time. And the examiners, in this case, are the electorates who are expected to go by the “marking scheme” which, incidentally, is in line with the “syllabus”—manifesto.
Now, if any impartial political pundit or any opposition party or politician wants to truly assess the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) of President Ernest Bai Koroma, that person should do so on the basis of the APC 2007 manifesto. What is in that 2007 manifesto that the APC fails to address while in power? Has the APC government been able to implement 80% of what it stated in its 2007 manifesto? As I see it, it has done most of what it said it would do.
In summation, the APC 2007 manifesto had three main objectives: reviving the economy and improving the standard of living of every Sierra Leonean in line with an APC ‘Agenda for Change’ and the Millennium Development Goals. Secondly, to create a conducive atmosphere for doing business and embarking on policies that will enable the resumption of growth in the trading, manufacturing, mining, marine and agricultural sectors. And thirdly, to pursue policies that will promote private sector development and encouraging direct foreign investment.
So, if the present government is to be assessed it must be on those three main objectives. But supremacists and tribalists in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have been turning simple logic and commonsense on their heads when it comes to the issue of truly assessing the achievements or successes of the Koroma-led administration. It is a fact that the current Sierra Leonean government has succeeded in reviving the economy. If not, then why would the yearly IMF [International Monetary Fund] World Economic Outlook Report published in its April 2012 edition that “Sierra Leone has [one of] the fastest growing [economies in the world], projected to grow by 35.9% in 2012?” The IMF did not just conjure that figure from the blue, but did so after critically assessing the economic activities provoked by the Koroma-administration and how those activities would further provoked significant economic growth.
And if the economy of Sierra Leone has not been seen as promising, under the astute leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma, why would Sierra Leone be ranked among the top ten global reformers in the “2012 Doing Business” report? The answer is simply because the Koroma-led “government has been implementing reforms to improve the business environment to enhance private sector activities, including small and medium-scale enterprises”, according to the last budgetary speech by the Minister of Finance Dr Samura Kamara.
And besides, those who have been making those rankings are not exponential Koromaists like yours truly One Drop, but must have used international recognised yardsticks to arrive at such rankings. I am not disputing the fact that there are still some challenges on the bread and rice issue amongst ordinary Sierra Leoneans, but that should not make us forget about the wider picture of future prosperity which means some sacrifices should be made today for a better tomorrow.
Just like the pyramids of Egypt which were not built in a week, so is national prosperity. There has to be some foundations on which it could be achieved. That’s exactly what the government of President Koroma is at present doing. As I have been noting in several of my One Dropian articles, the tribalists and supremacists in the SLPP have been playing bad losers or the fabled fox which will always regard the grapes as sour as long as it is unable to reach them. Even the so-called SLPP intellectuals know that the government of President Koroma has embarked on an all-inclusive series of methods to fortify public financial management in both Central Government and Local Councils, including the launching of the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Programme (IPFMRP) in a bid to ensure sustainable improvement in the country’s fiscal governance.
But ask the SLPP operatives whether the current government has put in place any poverty reduction strategy, they will deny the existence of any. But they know that another key poverty reduction scheme the Koroma-led government is at present pursuing is the Smallholder Commercialisation Scheme within the framework of the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme. Unlike under the inept SLPP government, the current government saw it as crucial to initiate this scheme within the agricultural sector because the last SLPP government left most of the country’s farmers poorer, as they mainly engaged in subsistence farming.
The above are just tips of the “yeabeh”, as there are more ‘achievables’ by the government of President Koroma which I will be bringing to the fore in subsequent articles. Meanwhile, I am challenging all those who say the Koroma administration has not done anything, since it took the ruddership of state in 2007, to have a look at the 2007 manifesto of the APC. They will definitely have a rethink as they will find out that the APC government has delivered most of what it promised.
And that promise is encapsulated in the “Agenda for Change”, which is now progressing to an “Agenda for Prosperity”. With President Koroma at the rudder, Sierra Leone is sure to march towards prosperity. So, why not vote for him on November 17th this year?