President Koroma in Germany 0211 AP

Comment: NAA interview with President Koroma

by / Comments Off / 146 View / 16th August 2015

Not triumphalist but realistic was President Ernest Bai Koroma’s responses in our exclusive interview on a scorecard basis of his tenure thus far. In essence, he touched on the most exigent issues. From undeniable successes to shortcomings to areas that deserve better. We welcome the fact of acknowledging the size of the task and his pronounced commitment to remain focused.
Whatever one’s political persuasion, commissioning a review of the constitution to make it fit for purpose is no ordinary feat. The president’s clear instruction that the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) ‘must listen to everyone and come up with a document that will make governance better; that will deepen democracy; that will make everybody feel a part and parcel of the governance machinery’ is worthy of emphasis especially in terms of its inclusiveness. It shows that not only is the President committed to improving politics, but wants that goal to be owned and driven by the electorate. That the statement is tied to achieving transparency and accountability ‘for the management of our resources, our inheritance’ is the sort of transformative oxygen progressive Sierra Leone hankers after.
The president was right to point out successes in infrastructural development particularly on roads, and then health, agriculture and education. Even the 2010 launch of Free Prenatal care before the sobering Ebola outbreak is worthy of mention as a genuine achievement. Regardless of how it’s funded, it’s hard to think of a similar policy achievement of such importance by any government in the country’s recent history.
One can’t help but feel impressed with President Koroma’s plans for the future also in areas like agriculture, education and business. While we will continue to be forthcoming with congratulatory sentiments where due, we are also of the view that a lot could be achieved if the will to do so is energised by stirring things up a bit more or as often as circumstances dictate. For quite obvious reasons, New Africa Analysis is pleased President Koroma is keen to reshape the politics of the nation. Our argument is that integral to any improving to politics is Sierra Leone should a return to a Parliamentary style democracy with a ceremonial head of State unpegged from government. In this sense, a Prime Minister heads government with a viable and well-funded opposition providing the necessary balance in power relation between the people and the state.
Unsurprisingly, the president’s in-tray, seven years into the job is as full as when he started. That’s purely because the world is not static. Events occur every day emitting varying challenges for governments across the globe. Sierra Leone is no different. The good thing is, President Koroma has got some great ideas. And we have no doubt he can achieve a lot.
Some of the plans like providing a further 1000 megawatts of power supply in by 2017 and the construction of a new airport at Mamanah are ambitious in every sense, but hugely significant to the country’s economy. We are not saying anything is unachievable. Its our responsibility to implore the president or any leader of the day with their ideas for the country regardless of size. In fact, the bigger the better. Our main contention is that for this administration, if the president is to cement his legacy, he’s got to do more. It’s quite clear, things have been going stale for a while now. If the President is to revitalise the potential of his administration, he must freshen things up in terms of personnel; the need is there to shed an obvious cohort of mediocrity within the cabinet.
History very rarely judges ministers but heads of government, and in this case, as things stand, the President. Failure to act where mediocrity is obviously identifiable, delays the country’s progress. In the present and the future, citizens bear the brunt of the consequences of political failure, but a leader’s legacy could be tainted for eternity.
The terms of ambitious leaderships throughout history, are unchangeably linked to those who make a difference in people’s lives. A leadership that wants to achieve for its people must free itself of sentimentality – friends and relatives don’t deliver favourable legacies. Creators of ideas with the can-do attitude are premium and what’s needed; because they see challenges as opportunities to make a difference and by that way they deliver everlasting legacies.