December 3, 2018
By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing
Officials of the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Beijing Friday, 30th November, hosted a delegation of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) which was in China on the invitation of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The SLPP delegation, which is expected to return to Sierra Leone 6th December, is in China to learn and get first-hand knowledge on how the CPC has been able to develop the world’s most populous country since its formation.
Head of Chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, Unisa Sahid Kamara, said the delegation was welcomed to the embassy, which is home away from home.
“The CPC has invited a high-powered delegation of the SLPP and the delegation in turn must take advantage of this opportunity. We have heard rumours that China is more aligned to the previous All People’s Congress government, but it’s a lie. The Chinese government is like a civil servant in Sierra Leone, who should not align themselves with specific political party. The Chinese government will always work with the government of the day,” he said.
He advised the SLPP delegation to put Sierra Leone’s development proposals in line with that of the CPC, if the SLPP administration was desirous of transforming Sierra Leone.
Head of delegation and Secretary-General of the SLPP, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, said the CPC invited them to come and rekindle their friendship as both political parties have always been good friends.
“The CPC has never forgotten the role SLPP played to help China to get a permanent seat at the United Nations’ Security Council. Even though the SLPP was no longer in power when they achieved that dream, but it was the SLPP that laid the foundation for it to be actualised,” he said.
He recalled that when the SLPP was out of power for 10 years, the CPC officials who visited Sierra Leone during those years also visited the SLPP headquarters in Freetown to show the importance they attached to their friendship.
Koroma, who also head the National Privatisation Commission, said that after the SLPP came to power in April, the CPC invited executive members, who were drawn from all the regions of Sierra Leone, to come and see how the Communist Party has developed China, and what possibly the delegation could learn from China’s development path.
“Since we came, we have held meetings with top CPC officials who asked us what plans the SLPP has got to develop Sierra Leone. We told them the plans and we are putting together a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both political parties. China is moving forward under the CPC and we need them to assist us to transform our country,” he said to the audience.
He revealed that they have met with the women’s federation of the CPC in Beijing, who extended invitation to the SLPP women’s wing to pay a working visit to them next year.
The SLPP Secretary General said they have been taught party discipline, eradication of corruption, and poverty alleviation, including strategies used to map out poverty-stricken provinces in China.
“The next visit is a provincial tour, where we are expecting to see how some communities were before, and what steps the government has taken to transform residents’ social and economic status,” he revealed.
He noted that the delegation has positive impression about the embassy in Beijing and its officials, thereby thanking Ambassador Ernest Ndomahina and team for a job well done.
Ambassador Ndomahina, when addressing the delegation, said the SLPP ideology of “One Country, One Country” is similar to that of the CPC of China, adding that it was a very good move by the latter to have invited the national executive of the former to discuss key issues germane to Sierra Leone’s development.
“I want to thank President Bio for sending me to China as ambassador after the embassy has been without an ambassador for two years. I will represent him and the country very well here. Frankly, there was a disregard for Sierra Leone in the absence of an ambassador for those years, but since President Bio has sent me and my deputy here, we have regained our respect in the eyes of the Chinese government as a country,” he said.
He said he represents change because it is part of life, noting that currently he is busy rebranding the embassy with key strategies that would improve things for the betterment of country.
Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Ambassador Mohammed Foday Yumkella, who is part of the delegation as a government representative to observe the process, said the deliberations with the CPC officials have been an eye opener for them to transform Sierra Leone.
He said the delegation, upon their return to Sierra Leone, would do a report and make a presentation to President Bio, adding that the latter would succeed in his quest to transform Sierra Leone if he replicates the Chinese development model.