Where Umaru fofana got it wrong
John Baimba Sesay-China
Sierra Leone is at the crossroad in her development. This is especially so in the last years of governance by President Koroma. And given the successes the country is achieving across the board, notwithstanding prevailing challenges, some find it bitter and deep in heart,broken, that there are people saying and writing the positives of this government and the President. Thus, in my view, this should give us,especially those who are part of government’s public relations and communication team, the zest to continue bringing to the public attention what this government has done and continues doing for its citizenry.
Just few days back, the recent past SLAJ ex prexy touched on a range of issues and the said article posted all over on socials media and in the process, referred to Press Attachés as “Jelibas”, a Mandingo word, meaning or praise singers. Well, he apparently has got it wrong and woefully so. Few things- we are assigned to our missions as part of the Government information system. And if, in the execution of our duties, we look at government successes and highlight same for public consumption,should one take offense ? Besides, may I ask few questions: what yardstick did the ex slaj head use to conclude we have not added value to governance? Is he the one who assesses our performance indicators yearly? Is he heading our line ministry-Information and Communication? Was the piece done out of emotion or with some other motif? Sir, you got it completely wrong and emphatically , very much so. “Jeliba” is a Mandingo word,meaning praise singer, and I am supposed, he who assesses another in such manner may have had the experience before. But if stating the facts about development in Sierra Leone is praise singing, if looking at what the Government achieved along its commitment is all praise singing, then so be it for I rather be,than do that which undermines my conscience.
In contemporary governance, the relevance of information gathering and dissemination cannot be overstated. A nation that feeds on accurate,timely and reliable information goes a thousand miles in strengthening her democratic credentials. It is therefore, good and acceptable to have public relations officers in government ministries, departments and agencies as we now see in almost every MDA in Sierra Leone. They help in not just bringing those institutions closer to the people, they also largely help in lifting the bars of cooperation between the mainstream media and the institutions they work for. This Government has done very well in this area and it certainly would continue. No matter what one thinks.
To the much debated Mamamah Airport on the mainland in the Port Loko district. This is a national project that the President Dr Ernest Koroma, government and the country remained committed to. This is a 300m dollars national project, ( with funds from China ) that the country needs for not just short term, but long term economic and infrastructural growth. Had it not been for the outbreak of Ebola, the project should have been in an advanced stage for, prior to the Ebola outbreak,there had been mobilization of resources in terms of machinery and human resource. In fact, had the project commenced, it should have ended two years or so to the next general elections .
Therefore, The ex slaj prexy,in my view, got it completely wrong to categorically state the airport is not about an airport,but about access to funds by government for the next general elections. Such states that should be backed with facts if they should be trusted. Such unsubstantiated claims,from every sense of reasoning has the potential of inciting public anger. Again,let us don’t shift the debate trajectory from the substance around the need or otherwise of a new airport,to now a completely political debate. Let us look at what a new airport on the mainland would bring us a decade from now. We should not be shortsighted,only thinking of the immediate benefits.Bringing politics to a national project is, I believe the least expected as a country.
The airport, i hold the view, and as I have always said, will help put the country in a valuable position to compete positively in International Trade and Commerce. It will give us the opportunity to expand our capital city, as well as bring in needed development as in new hotel facility, new settlement, new public sector investment which eventually will help improve on the country’s economy. Mr former slaj president, you got it wrong and kindly allow me suggest we put our emotions away when we discuss national issues like these ones. Thanks and you hear me no more on this.
Sent from my iPad
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy
7 Dong Zhi Men Wai Dajie,
Chaoyang District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
TRUST AND LOYALTY ARE OF MORE VALUE TO ME!