By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has touted the several accomplishments of his government over the last ten years during a meeting with the people of Kono in continuation with his ‘thank you tour’ in that part of the country.
Delivering his keynote address to a mammoth crowd that cheered unabatedly, the president, whose wife First Lady Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma hails from Kono and formed part of the team that received him in Koidu, described the reception accorded him on arrival as exceptional, saying that he was satisfied with the people of Kono.
He told the gathering converged at the Konomanyi Lorry Park that he was in Kono to thank them for the opportunity given to him and his party to serve for two consecutive terms. He also thanked them for their support to the government to govern effectively. “We have come a long way to achieve the little we have achieved,” he said.
President Koroma pointed out that based on his record he’s confident that he shouldn’t leave office without going round to say thanks to those who gave him the mandate. “I can’t just leave unceremoniously without explaining to you the arrangement we have made as a party,” he added.
Before 2002 elections, he noted, many didn’t believe in him to effect the necessary change to move the country forward. He thanked the people of Kono for reposing confidence in him during his pursuit of the highest office in the land. “Kono accepted the APC after serious resistance initially. The turn out today is indicative of the popularity of not only the president (him) but also the party and government,” he said.
The president recalled that in 2007, the APC campaigned on the platform of change, saying that the APC is the only party that can effect meaningful change in Sierra Leone. He mentioned his valedictory speech in parliament which outlined the change his government has effected all across the country. “I don’t think we did wrong when we introduced progressive change in this country,” President Koroma told the jubilant and excited Kono residents as well as scores of APC sympathizers.
He spoke of government’s remarkable infrastructural development – linking Sierra Leone to Guinea, Liberia (work in progress), the free health care initiative to save lives, improvement in education, energy, good road network among others, adding that the APC is the party of the ordinary man. Challenges in the energy sector, he stated, would be a thing of the past within the next three years. He further talked about education in terms of government budgetary support – teachers are better trained than ever before, created more universities, remitted more financial support to boost agricultural production and improve the lives of farmers in not only Kono district but also across the entire country.
President Koroma further touted the achievements of the APC government in the area of good governance; promotion and protection of human rights which had been acclaimed internationally.
In response to Chief Saquee’s optimism about Kono wanting more development, President Koroma disclosed that the APC is a government of action not “Banya Fakie”. “Ebola ate two years of our time to implement most of these projects,” but assured everyone that the road to link Kurubonla with Kono, Kono to Tongo in Kenema district and Kono to the Guinean border are part of the road projects that had been awarded to local contractors. “Today we are very proud that the road from Makeni to Kono has been technically completed. But we will continue to do more as what we are doing in Kono is work in progress,” he said amid thunderous applause.
President Koroma also talked about the city and feeder roads, saying that government has already completed projects relating to feeder roads, boreholes, water and sanitation, solar lights and highlighted several projects already completed in all the chiefdoms in the district. “There’s not a chiefdom in Kono district that has not felt the impact of the APC,” the Chairman and Leader of the ruling party said, and added that the APC does not make empty promises. He believes Bikongor hydro project will be signed before he leaves office which would provide about 100 MW of energy.
The president used the occasion to present the APC presidential team as the most formidable in terms of experience and preparedness. “No other political party flag bearer has the experience that the APC flag bearer has,” he maintained.
He assured everyone that the forthcoming elections would be free, fair and credible and that would take Sierra Leone to the next level of development. According to the commander-in-chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, to run a country is serious business and therefore not meant for gangsters. “As a government, we have assured the international community that the forthcoming general elections would be free and fair. Let me make it abundantly clear to all Sierra Leoneans expecially the people of Kono, that we will take this election very seriously.”
He also admonished trouble makers to know that there would be no hiding place for them should there be any chaos before, during and after the elections. President Koroma also assured maximum security all across the country throughout the process, and warned that no section of Sierra Leone is a banana republic.
“We have laid a solid foundation and if we continue on this path within the next couple of years we would transform this country to a middle level income country,” he told the roaring crowd.