Two days ago , President Ernest Koroma added more polish to his democratic credentials by announcing the date for the next Presidential , Legislative and Local Council Elections, which have been set for March 7, 2018.
In making the announcement, which drew massive sighs of relief from the nation and the diaspora, President Koroma proved true to his pledge that he was not seeking another term as his detractors have been accusing him falsely for the past two years. Rather, the President has demonstrated that, just as he said, he would strongly abide by the constitutional provision of serving only his mandated two terms.
Tuesday’s announcement further copiously watered the tree of stable and sustainable democracy in Sierra Leone and embellished the country’s credentials as one of the bastions of democracy in Africa, where citizens, musicians, civil society , women’s and children’s groups and the media have been enjoying tremendous freedom to express their opinions .under the stewardship of President Koroma.
As President Koroma himself proudly enthused on Tuesday, “Our country is building a democracy. We have held regular elections since 1996. During every one of our four general elections since that year, we have moved forward to take charge of our destiny, strengthen our democratic agencies and create greater awareness on the relevance of participation for everybody, in every town, in every district and every region of our country. Today, I call on all Sierra Leoneans to continue to support this strengthening of our democracy. ”
The Head of State also said : “As President, I am under oath to maintain law and order, peace, security, and the democratic character of the Republic of Sierra Leone. And I will use all the powers vested in my office to continue to ensure peace, security, law and order during the electoral cycle.
This development is a slap in the face of negativists, naysayers, dissident elements and detractors of the APC who do not appreciate anything good going on in the country as long as their party is not in power. Their desire is to see chaos and bedlam start and spread throughout the nation.
Whatever these merchants of negativism say, the fact cannot be denied that post-war Sierra Leone has done marvelously not only in socio-economic and political developments but even in the area she fell so drastically short that it was one of the contributing factors to the war—PROMOTION OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW, especially under the present ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government . We have conducted four multi-party and free and fair elections within the last twenty years and we are poised to conduct another one, come 2018.
We also have many of the rudiments of democracy flourishing in our country. For instance, we have one of the freest media in the whole continent, with no restraints whatsoever on newspapers, radio and TV stations to attack the government. We have some of the most active civil society and advocacy groups in the whole continent.
Sierra Leoneans should be proud of themselves.
We know that these are not the kinds of news that the Western media revel in publishing about African countries. If it had been war or pestilence , it would have been banner headline news today. But since it is good news, it has no place in the Western media. We hope they remain that way and do not poke their noses into our political metamorphosis and allow us to conduct our elections in a free and fair atmosphere. We do not need any Western country dictating to us. We know what to do.
Congratulations to every Sierra Leonean for the new dispensation in our country after the war.
Hope we continue nourishing the tree of sustainable democracy in our country.