For Distribute… 10, 000 Copies Of Handing Ernest’s Over Note

 

It has become a tradition for the country’s heads of state at the end of their tenure in office to prepare a handing over note for the benefit of the next leader, his government and the people of Sierra Leone.

It could be recalled that there was a lot of argument in 2007 among supporters of the then opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC) who took over power from them when President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah among other things said that he his government left a healthy amount of Five Hundred Billion Leones in the treasury for use by President Koroma who took over from him.

To set the records straight about the accomplishments of his ten years stay in power, as well as the challenges that his government faced, ex-President Koroma who handed over power officially to President Bio at the National Stadium past Saturday also before that handed him a copy of his handing over note. The Office of former President Koroma has said that 10, 000 copies of the book have been printed for distribution nationwide.

This, an aide to the former president said, is for the people to be well informed about the truth of the former President and his APC government. He furthered that this is to forestall any attempt by the current government to hide the truth of the successes made by the past government.

It could also be recalled that when former President Koroma officially took over power at the national stadium in September 2007, he promised that his government will embark on an “Agenda for Change” national development policy. In his own words during his second inauguration speech, he outlined his government’s successes as follows: “In my first term, we restored our people’s faith in the ability of government to build roads, attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, provide free healthcare for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers, and increased employment opportunities. The appetite of the people has been whetted for more development, more roads, more healthcare, more employment, and transparency. I will work harder to meet these expectations for more; this is my solemn pledge.”

In his second term in office, Sierra Leon had grown rapidly economically to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with GDP growing at an amazing 20% per annum. However, most unfortunately, in 2014, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone were hit by the twin shock of deadly Ebola virus disease and the rise in the world price of iron ore that quickly decimated all the gains made and dropped GDP growth to -1%.

Notwithstanding that, after the disease was conquered in late 2015 by the government, its development partners and the people, former President Koroma resolutely embarked on an intense period of post-Ebola economic recovery activities starting with austerity. The exercise succeeded in restoring the economy to moderate growth; with the IMF projecting that the country’s future economic prospect looked optimistic.

One perspective political commentator in analyzing the successes of President Koroma’s government noted among other things that Sierra Leone was once regarded as a failed state but is now renowned as the most peaceful nation in the region where democracy has taken root.

According to his analysis, the building of democracy and consolidation of peace are not only reaching achievements of the APC government. In virtually every sector the indelible footprints of a turnaround are visible which he said will remain for a long time, reminding Sierra Leoneans that they once elected a truly transformative leader that raised the bar in terms of delivery of social services.

He mentioned the free health care for women and children under five; roads; energy and water infrastructure; increased access to electricity; clean and safe drinking water; justice; gender equality and empowerment legislations; rights of the disable and children; education; unprecedented support to agriculture since independence; constitutional review, etc.

Of course, President Koroma’s handing over note does not only focus on the achievements his government made. When he came to power in 2007 with Sierra Leone not yet fully recovered from the ravages of the civil war of the 1990s. Like President Kabbah before him, he was taxed with the rigors of rehabilitation and reconstruction and peace building. What he called for in our continued bid to keep developing Mama Salone was to face the future with optimism and zest for taking this country to another level. He called, as President Bio did on Saturday, for all of us to put our shoulders to the wheel and work diligently to achieve our national objectives. Then President Koroma called on all of us to use our sense of religious tolerance as a guide to overcoming narrow political bigotry and asked that our ties of kinship and friendship spur us to greater engagements of the constituent elements of this country.

If President Koroma proffers any useful advice to President Koroma on how to govern the nation well for the benefit of everybody, it will be based on his knowledge that for development to happen, it requires the collective effort of the government and the people; with all of us willing to do more.

The farmers must do more; the doctors and nurses must do more. The youths must do more; the teachers must do more; the traders must do more; everybody must do more. We must do more in respecting the laws; we must do more in increasing our productivity; we must do more to help our communities and grow the economy. This was what his Agenda for Prosperity was about – all of us doing more.

As a leader who gave his all to see Sierra Leone improve, what he would like to see us do is to be passionately patriotic; to put country before self; to work hard and honestly and be boldly persistent in pushing forward our democratic and developmental aspirations.

As a man of peace who ruled peacefully for eleven years, ex-President Koroma would love to see us live in harmony, always seeking to resolve our differences by peaceful means and cherishing and promoting our heritage and good cultural values. To forge forward as a nation, he would love to see us build partnerships for the effective implementation of programmes that benefit the people. This should be our greatest contribution to development and sustaining peace and democracy.

Given the wealth of knowledge and experience he gained on the job as President, certainly Ernest’s handing over note booklet will be a rich reference material for all Sierra Leoneans and a reliable benchmark by which the new SLPP Government will be assessed.