Koroma Clears The Air


His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who also doubles as Chairman and Leader of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party, has in an interview with the AYV television and Radio stations, past Sunday, 5th November, 2017, spoke on a number of issues centred on governance and the recent selection of his successor for the 2018 presidential election.

According to the APC Chairman and Leader, he selected Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara to succeed him because he wanted somebody that will not only hit the ground running but with impeccable and unblemished track-records in public service.

He added that Dr. Samura Kamara has served the country for a very long time and has gone through the ranks from Financial Secretary, Minister of Finance, Bank Governor and Minster of Foreign Affairs. Added to that, he said Dr. Samura Kamara also served the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to him, his chosen successor has a wealth of experience both nationally and internationally.

President Koroma furthered that leadership is not just about popularity but the credibility and efficacy of someone who has lobbying skills both nationally and internationally. “I believe, the party has identified those attributes in a person like Dr. Samura Kamara,” he said confidently.

All the 28 aspirants who vied for the presidential flagbearer position of the APC, he said were qualified but that the party selected Dr. Samura because of the edge he has over the rest.

The President denied any plan of extending his term in office as earlier rumoured, stating that if he had wanted to do so as Chairman and Leader of the governing party with majority seats in Parliament, he could have used that as an easy way to factor an extension of his term in the reviewed constitution or use other means such as calling for a referendum like it was done in the past. “I was never interested in a third term bid,” he emphasised.

Speaking on unity within the party, he said the APC is a family that would continue to stick together, noting that rumours of possible breakaway or defections were only propagated by opposition and not the intention of any APC member, whether aggrieved or not, as according to him, all of the former flagbearer aspirants accepted the decision of the party and are now in full gear propagating the ideals of the party for victory come 7th March, 2018 elections. “We are united than ever before,” he boasted, adding that the APC has never lost elections while in power and therefore assured that it will never lose. The APC, he confidently said, will win the 2018 elections hands-down with Dr. Samura Kamara as flagbearer.

He assured a level playing field for all political parties before, during and after the election but that that notwithstanding, he will naturally support his party.

His popularity, he said, has helped him in taking some tough decisions, recalling the difficult times during the Ebola when tough decisions were made and accepted by the people because they were in their interest.

He expressed his heartfelt sympathy to those who lost their lives during the dreadful Ebola outbreak and the recent mudslide and flooding disasters and commended Sierra Leoneans for their resilience during those devastating periods.

Swift measures by his government, he said, were however taken to rebrand the country after the twin shocks of the deadly Ebola epidemic and acute drop in the world price for iron ore.

“That is the best we can do under the circumstances. The people were ready and had a leadership that was sincere and one that provided the direction needed at that material time,” President Koroma said.

He recalled that he inherited a country that was completely handicapped; movement from one place to the other  difficult or almost impossible but that he has done a lot over the years towards the country’s development trajectory.

Electricity supply, he said, was before he took over, at all time low as most cities and the rest of the country was in total darkness. People, he said, found it very difficult to even access health services; pipe borne water facility in major towns, was non- existed and the difficulty to access education, he said, kept many young people out of schools and universities.

President Koroma further disclosed that with support from many of his compatriots and development partners, his government made frantic efforts to transform the country’s dilapidated infrastructure and that today, the people can boast of the provision of social services countrywide.

He concluded by reminding the people that, “as a nation, we have come a long way, experienced too many tragedies and difficulties but have also made considerable progress over the last ten years and going forward, we must all work together to keep and build on the peace we now enjoy; sustain the transformation we have begun and ensure that we never reverse the gains we have collectively made so far.” He added, “It is our responsibility and obligation to our future generation to keep Sierra Leone peaceful, united and transformative.”