Nobody is saying that Sierra Leone does not have problems and challenges . We have a lot of them. Nobody is saying there are no bad guys undermining the good efforts of President Ernest Bai Koroma. These problems exist and I am not asking anybody not to write about them, though we must exercise caution that we do not generalize and stigmatize the country.
However, looking at the bigger picture , Sierra Leoneans have everything to gain if they throw their weight behind President Koroma and the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government. The reasons are :
1. Good Presidents , with the commitment and determination of President Koroma to develop their countries socio-economically and politically, are not easy to come by. If you read books by Professor George B. N . Ayittey , George Packer, Howard French and others who have been highlighting Africa’s problems, good leaders come rarely in African countries. This is our own golden moment. When we needed a development-oriented President, God brought us one. We may have all our problems, but President Koroma has demonstrated his commitment and ability to develop our country. If you are following trends in Africa, you would notice that Sierra Leone under President Koroma is developing faster than many African nations. Our country is more or less a works yard , with development projects going on everywhere. Many African countries are regressing and stagnant, but Sierra Leone is moving forward. If the amount of development projects now going on in Sierra Leone had been undertaken by the presidents and heads of state before President Koroma, Sierra Leone would have been the most developed African country today. Sierra Leone today has one of the finest road networks and with the pace of infrastructural developments going on, we will soon beat many African nations in this department.
2. President Koroma is the most tolerant leader we have ever had in Sierra Leone. We are one of the most democratic countries in the world today. We have over 50 newspapers and about 10 radio stations and most of them belong to the opposition and are criticising the President and the government everyday, but no journalist is being persecuted. We never miss the water until the well runs dry. Let us face it. Leaders who stomach the things that are being written against President Koroma are very rare in Africa.
3. Employment opportunities and promotions are open to people of all ethnic and tribal groups. Do not listen to the nonsense said by Emerson Bockarie. He only sinned against President Koroma. More South-Easterners are being employed and promoted in Sierra Leone than people from any region in Sierra Leone. Come to all our diplomatic missions and embassies abroad and count the number of Northerners . They are in the minority. Almost all the positions are held by South-Easterners. I challenge anybody who thinks this is not true to come and investigate. Even the recent diplomatic postings by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw far more South-Easterners being sent abroad than people from other regions. Emerson’s sin against President Koroma is incalculable. A study is being conducted presently by me and some government journalists. We will soon publish our findings which will prove that our MDAs ( Ministries, departments and agencies ) have a ratio of at least 5 South -Easterners to 1 Northerner in the number of people employed. I am by no means saying it is wrong or that it should not be so, but this is the kind of study Emmerson should have undertaken before lying that Northerners , especially Temnes, are getting all the jobs. It is not true. It was a blatant and wicked lie.
4. The Sierra Leone economy holds a very encouraging propect. We all know that the IMF , World Bank and the UN have made studies and found out that Sierra Leone has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Mining is flourishing ; the investment climate is good and President Koroma enjoys a lot of respect, credibility and goodwill from international financial organizations and stakeholders. DFID , the World Bank , the IMF, the UN and the U.S. and other goodwill nations have pledged to work with President Koroma. Sierra Leoneans will not see the benefits of all these developments the way they wish to see them now. Ghana started like that during the reign of President Jerry Rawlings. People were saying they were not seeing the benefits but that is how it goes during the time the foundation is being laid. Today, Ghanaians are happy with their country . Sierra Leoneans will begin to reap the benefits in earnest when President Koroma’s reforms start taking hold. It takes time. We have to be patient with the government.
5. The government has put in motion plans that will boost employment for youths in Sierra Leone. President Koroma recently unveiled a grandiose and impressive plan for the youths called the National Youths Development Program, which will soon make youths part of national development. No President before him has provided such a masterplan to cure youth unemployment in Sierra Leone. According to the UNDP, it is an ambitious US$ 217.5m, three year National Youth Programme that seeks to create one million decent new jobs . The President is therefore addressing the problems of the country.
6. Agriculture , the bane of the African economy , is developing fast in Sierra Leone.
These are just a few of the reasons why instead of becoming disillusioned Sierra Leoneans must give President Koroma the support he needs . Bashing him too much and not trying to see the efforts of the government are counterproductive.
Since Independence, we have wasted too much time on politics which has brought us no good. Let us try to change now and begin to focus on the development of our country. Now that we have a President who has the moral will and the commitment to develop our country, let us support him because if development comes to our country, it will not only benefit us but our children, grandchildren and future generations.