By KABS KANU :
This is another piece of news about Sierra Leone that unpatriotic citizens and detractors of the Government , who want to continue damaging the image of their own country internationally, would not love to hear.
Only few weeks ago, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation adjudged Sierra Leone the world’s fastest-growing travel destination.
Now, the country has been ranked the most peaceful nation in West Africa and the third most peaceful country in Africa by the Global Peace Index
Sierra Leone and Ghana had the highest ranking of all West African countries, with Sierra Leone placed 39th out of 163 nations studied while Ghana is positioned 43rd. The countries were ranked according to their levels of peacefulness. According to the Executive Summary of the index, “This report presents the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to-date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies. ”
In all Africa, only Mauritius ( 22nd) and Botswana ( 27th) ranked above Sierra Leone.
The GPI states that ” The report also assesses the trends in peacekeeping and militarisation, including a cost/benefit analysis highlighting the positive economic benefits from early peacebuilding interventions. The results of the 2017 GPI find that the global level of peace has slightly improved this year by 0.28 per cent, with 93 countries improving, while 68 countries deteriorated….Peace has slightly improved this year by 0.28 per cent, with 93 countries improving, while 68 countries deteriorated. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark, all of which were ranked highly in last year’s GPI. There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, preceded by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen. ”
Significantly, the index reports that peacefulness in sub-Saharan Africa deteriorated to its worst levels since 2008, but still Sierra Leone and Ghana were able to score among of the most peaceful countries in the world. “Access to small arms, military expenditure and the deterioration of UN peacekeeping funding,” were blamed for the deterioration of peace in sub-Saharan Africa.
What the index took into account were each country’s perceptions of criminality, homicide, incarceration, access to weapons, violent crime, and police terror. Also, “The report’s Positive Peace research tackles a central issue facing policymakers – understanding what causes societies to transition from one state of peace to another. The research shows that over the last decade, the defining characteristic of countries that have transitioned to more or less peaceful states has been their performance on Positive Peace. The analysis finds that different factors become more important at differing stages. In low-peace environments, the factors that matter the most are related to Well-Functioning Government, Low Levels of Corruption, Acceptance of the Rights of Others and Good Relations with Neighbours. In these settings, security and rule of law are the most important factors within the Well-Functioning Government Pillar. For countries at the midlevel of peace, Free Flow of Information and Sound Business Environment rise in importance. In order for countries to rank at the top of the GPI they must score well on all eight Pillars of Positive Peace, underlying the systemic nature of Positive Peace. Finally, the Pillar related to Low Levels of Corruption is strongly significant across all stages of peacefulness, showing that regardless of the peace of a country, it is an important transformational factor for both development and peace. This is important to emphasise, as corruption is the least measured Pillar of Peace in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets – only three of the 169 SDG targets relate to corruption”.
As the President Ernest Koroma Government begins to wind up the final term of the President , the magnificent rankings the country has enjoyed from the IMF, the World Bank (On the economy ), the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on tourism and the GPI on peace authoritatively answer the critics of the President and the government that Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has fared fairly excellently in power, contrary to the foolish , biased and unlearned analyses of the president’s tenure often provided by hired media hoodlums parading as journalists and political commentators . Indeed, “Well-Functioning Government, Low Levels of Corruption, Acceptance of the Rights of Others and Good Relations with Neighbours ” are among the characteristics of good governance in any society and the point has been clearly made that President Koroma has excelled in these departments.
As this newspaper, COCORIOKO has often said, in the world in which we live today , propaganda against well-functioning governments by acolytes of power-hungry politicians and divisive elements in the society will not flourish unanswered for long because there are objective and unbiased international monitoring institutions also following up the socio-economic and political trends in the country and their reports often exonerate governments. These reports prove once again that even the best or the most highly -reckoned journalist or socio-political commentators can produce flawed, erroneous and biased analyses about the performance of a leader or government, as has been proved many times in Sierra Leone during the presidency of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
These impressive rankings have also demonstrated that infrastructural developments, one of the high points of the President Koroma leadership, are not the only achievements of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government, as often contended by the President’s detractors. The Government has scored good marks in the economic, governance , tourism and peace sectors.