Governance expert says new president must


        .  Be a statesman

  • Redistribute national resources equally
  • Strengthen state institutions

October 25, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi

Emmanuel Gaima is a governance expert with more than two decades of experience

As Sierra Leone prepares for the next phase of democratic elections – Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council – many Sierra Leoneans are of the view that the tripartite elections could be a decisive watershed in the political and economic transformation of Sierra Leone.

When Concord Times spoke to Emmanuel Gaima, an Independent Management Consulting Professional and erstwhile OXFAM GB country representative, he said one of the biggest issues facing the country was the lack of national cohesion. He proffered that a solution could be that the president elect must be able to address national cohesion as first priority, adding that the new president must be able to present himself as a statesman who should cut across tribal, regional and ethnic lines.

Gaima, who taught Politics and Government at Fourah Bay College for several years, opined that the new president should endeavour to redistribute the country’s national resources equally among geo-political regions, adding that the current political arrangement has helped create huge ethnic and tribal divide which will be visible in the 2018 general elections.

He maintained that the other significant issue the new president should consider is strengthening state institutions by making them independent, devoid of any political interference, as most of government institutions have been compromised either as a result of politics or tribal linkages.

“The two leading political parties, SLPP and the APC, have used the issues of strongholds based on tribal and regional lines rather than creating unity among Sierra Leoneans. This is currently happening in our body politic; the APC has appointed somebody from the north as presidential candidate and a Fullah as his running mate. Also, the SLPP elected a presidential candidate from the south and also he is looking out for somebody from the other side of the country, this is a clear example of a regional divide in our politics of Sierra Leone,” he said and alleged that President Ernest Bai Koroma has allocated a large chunk of development programmes to predominantly his home region, while depriving other parts of the country.

He said the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah played a statesman’s role during his leadership by ensuring that most of those at the helm of decision making where professionals rather than politicians.

“We went into the 2007 election with an Inspector General of Police from the north, the Financial Secretary at that time was Samura Kamara, head of NASSIT from the north and President Kabbah gave position to Ernest Bai Koroma and all of them were not SLPP,” he said.

But fast forward to the current regime, Gaima said: “There is a complete reverse with this administration. Majority of those heading government offices are from the north and members of the ruling party. For example the Chief Justice, head of NASSIT, head of SLRSA, the head of police, among many others, are from the north.”