May 30, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Leader of the opposition National Grand Coalition (NGC), Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, has called on his colleagues to wage war on the increased corruption in the educational sector in order to ensure quality and standard education in the country.
Dr.Yumkella observed that some parents do fund their children to enable them engage in examination malpractice, while teachers too want to make extra monies by aiding children to do same.
“We need to call for emergency and wage war on education corruption as it is increasing every day. We can now see children protesting for leakages to be given out to them. Quality is what we need to attain in the educational sector. It is urgently needed. Let us take this action just as we did for the numerous increases in rape and sexual violence against women and girls,” he urged.
Hon. Yumkella claimed that in 2018, there was massive increase in election malpractices detected by the ruling party and followed by other political parties.
He noted that if the democracy of a country is corrupt, government will be corrupt and so the people in governance would be.
He urged political parties to be tolerant in electoral system and also start to dialogue properly.
The NGC leader called on the Speaker of Parliament to prepare a draft document for the Presidential Transition Act, as it is done in Ghana and other African countries in order to prepare the minds of the state in the smooth handing over of power after elections.
“In the interest of new political parties that want to take over governance unlike the APC and SLPP, we need to have a system as to how people can be replaced. It is unjust and wrong to relieve people of their duties without being given their gratuities or salaries. For real change to take place, we cannot repeat what happened in the past,” he said.
He urged Sierra Leonean women to follow the footsteps of those in Rwanda and other countries by increasing their participation in governance and help develop the country.
Dilating on the energy sector, Hon. Dr. Yumkella said when energy agreements and treaties are brought for ratification, there was need to first make them available to members of the oversight committee so that they could peruse them.
He said the supply of power still poses problem across the country as 20% is provided in the city, whilst 5% goes to the provinces.
He stated that committee members should look into the Karpower and Bumbuna 2 agreements as there was more to be received in that sector.
The ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party Hon. Charles O. Abdulai representing Constituency 79 urged his colleagues not to criticise the President’s speech as the country cannot be transformed in just one year, but rather they should help the government by proffering better development strategies.
He commended the president for developing human capacity especially in the provision of the free quality education, which he said has reduced spending for parents and guardians.
He urged that the flagship programme of the president must be monitored by Members of Parliament.
He said most of the schools in his constituency and other districts have been approved by the Ministry of Education.
In the area of agriculture, he said no country can develop without food and that the agricultural sector must be applauded and be treated with all seriousness, adding that the country was losing a lot of currency through cocoa plantation.
On the issue of ministers establishing farms, he stated that the president was simply inspiring ministers and Members of Parliament to be involved in agricultural, hence commendation must be given to him for that.
He noted that since the introduction of the Ambulance Services, most of their constituents have stopped requesting for supports for their sick ones.
Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh,also from the SLPP, said Le12 billions was retrieved through the technical audit report and that the president was ready to work in combating corruption.
On his part,Deputy Speaker of Parliament,Hon. Segepor Solomon Thomas said the primary reason why the speech was brought to Parliament was for them to input their contributions to make it perfect for the people of the nation, but stated that MPs do criticize instead of providing relevant answers to the numerous problems.
He said the nation has accepted the free quality education and that he was expecting MPs to go and explain to their people in their various constituencies, adding that the effect of paying fees for children in the province was huge.
He urged the president to shift the educational system to technology as most of the modules offered at the Universities were unnecessary, and further urged him to proceed in doing what he thought was good for development and national cohesion.
Deputy Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said he has seen where people were too quick to condemn earlier than expected.
He said the former President did improve roads across the country and that the road from Kenema to Pendebu was one of the best.
He said history will tell it that there were certain people that undertook development in the country hence they must be congratulated.
He said the president mentioned that environment is very important and that deforestation should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
He said the president did promise to develop the youth and that those in the rural and mining areas must be included.
Hon. Kargbo noted that the development of ICT sector was very important and the possibility of installing a roaming system in the country too was a welcoming initiative and must be commended.
On his part, Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis commended the president for his detailed speech to the House, noting that most of the MPs approved the address.