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Pay attention Mr. President!

…Transition Report and Stability of the State

May 17, 2018 By Mohamed Massaquoi

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Democracy, they say, is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. It was against this backdrop that Sierra Leoneans across the country voted for President Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio as president of the Republic in the just concluded general elections. Massive respect to the president and his team. Like any other newly elected president in Africa could do, president Bio on the 6th of April, 2018 announced his transition team, not only to work with the outgoing government for a smooth scale of administration, but to also look into the activities, programmes and projects embarked on by the previous administration.

The decision by the president was welcomed by Sierra Leoneans for the simple fact that the All Peoples Congress led government of former President Ernest Bai Koroma was voted out based on series of allegations of corruption, abuse of power, marginalisation, retrogression and economic instability.

The formation of a transition team in Sierra Leone is not new. Immediately after the 2007 election between former President Ernest Bai Koroma and former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa, a team was instituted to look into the activities of the then SLPP led government of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

Most ministers in that government were brought to book. The Miatta Conference Centre became the platform for political activities where SLPP ministers were questioned on their activities.

The international Crisis Group then stated in their report on Sierra Leone that the success of the All People’s Congress (APC) in that elections of August-September 2007 was the first time in Sierra Leone’s history that an opposition party had won an election without prompting a constitutional crisis and military intervention.

 As such, the elections were a landmark success, which helped restore legitimacy to the country’s democratic process. APC leader, Ernest Bai Koroma was sworn in as president immediately after the final results were announced, and police quelled the scattered outbreaks of violence against members of the defeated Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

The APC victory climaxed a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of a party whose reputation had seemed irredeemably tarnished by association with the corrupt

Attitudinal change became the watchword of the new administration, and President Ernest Bai Koroma repeatedly stressed his commitment to improving service delivery, introducing performance monitoring for ministers and public sector employees and maintaining “zero tolerance” on corruption among other things.

The transition team headed by the Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis should now prove to the world and the people of Sierra Leone that president Koroma actually fulfilled all or most of the promises he made after that election.

Sierra Leoneans have suggested the need for an independent transitional audit that will recommend for the prosecution of those who will be found wanting  for corruption.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist in order to know that some government officials were in one way or the other involved in corrupt practices. It is now incumbent on the transition team to prove that indeed things were not going the right way.

A good number of those who were benefiting from corruption maggots have raised hell that any attempt by the new administration to institute an inquiry into the dubious activities of the former government will lead to instability as it is tantamount to political witch-hunting. The Transition report and the stability of the State Mr. President are two paramount issues that you actually need to look at seriously.

The president has made a lot of promises to address challenges facing Sierra Leone at the moment. Despite some international organizations have promised to support the flagship programme of the president, yet there is need for the current administration to generate revenue to fund their projects.

It should be to the knowledge of the president that a good number of those corrupt government officials in the previous administration are now going through some SLPP members who are very close to the presidency to buy their way out.

Indeed Sierra Leoneans expect the transition report to be stronger, well informed about corrupt government projects, programme etc.

Mr. president, you must know that it is only in Sierra Leone where donor money meant for the fight against the deadly Ebola  Virus were not accounted for despite the Anti-Corruption Commission and the House of Parliament drew daggers over the matter.

I am sure by now Mr. President is well grounded in some of the political terms left behind by the previous government including timber gate, Haje Gate, Ferry Gate, Toll Gate, Ebola Gate etc. I rest my case.