“President Koroma is an African Voice at the Global Stage” 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 July 2016

president koroma off to washington - April 2015

When president Koroma of Sierra Leone took office in 2007, there was huge national expectation for change and progress towards economic prosperity, as well as an end to impunity and corruption.

Nine years on, his performance report card, based simply on the promises he had made to the people of Sierra Leone, speaks of a different Koroma. His critics say that he has not only failed the nation, but has failed to live up to the very standards he had set for himself and his ruling party.

But his supporters, ruling party and some government officials believe otherwise. Many are now describing the president as one of the best leaders on the continent.

This is what John Baimba Sesay – the country’s press attache in China says about the president’s record in office.

JOHN-BAIMBA-SESAYWith my close to five years in the diplomatic service, having had the opportunity of serving as aide to a number of Ambassadors at high-level meetings, I have had the privilege of knowing and having a feel of how strong our nation is held in high esteem, added to commendations for the progress we continue to make in our growth efforts. (Photo: John Baimba Sesay).

From our collective efforts to putting behind us a decade long civil war, to our post war rebuilding drive, fixing the post war challenges, contributing to regional peace keeping and peace building efforts, and today serving as a voice for the continent in the advocacy of the global body- the United Nations, now serving as a platform through which Africa’s voice could be heard, and her concerns profusely articulated, we proudly would say, we indeed have come a long way.

Coming to office in 2007, President Ernest Bai Koroma had not only had a desire of simultaneously maintaining macro-economic strength in relation to the economy, he had also ensured we moved towards ensuring “increase revenues, improve international confidence in the management of the economy, promote investment and re-align government expenditure in favour of infrastructural development”- (President Koroma, State Opening of Parliament, 2010).  

In fact, the ‘Change’ trajectory, he had said in a 2009 address at a Trade and Investment Forum, was to “put our country on the path from aid dependency to a dynamic, self-sustaining economy. It focuses on investment and reform in the key strategic sectors which are most critical to unlocking the full productive potential of our economy.”

salone industry - Freetown-roads-The country had not only moved towards maintaining macroeconomic stability, it also ensured a leap in investment in public services, infrastructure, among others.

We have been hit by numerous challenges, not least the outbreak of a debilitating and deadly virus- Ebola. It didn’t only affect our potential for sustained economic growth, but also had an adverse effect on our development path. But that never deterred our zest or quest for a better tomorrow.

The country came together, mobilized all it could, with the president visiting Ebola hotspot zones, providing the required leadership and assuring the nation of his willingness to move in tandem with their wishes and desires.

With global support, initiated by the Chinese, and with dedicated mindsets among Sierra Leoneans, above all with the astuteness demonstrated by the presidency, we were to later defeat the virus. We have been moving, now pushing, doing all we could to see a closure to that chapter.  

The country has been building its armed forces, eventually enabling them to participate in international peace keeping operations abroad. This, undoubtedly, is as a result of the success story we have had in peacekeeping and peace building. That success, analysts believe today serves as a “model for successful peacekeeping, as well as a prototype for the UN’s new emphasis on peace building”.

President Koroma promotes his Agenda for povertyWe are now a nation, guided by strong commitment to international peace and stability and ensuring international support for our growth roadmap. We are not there yet, but we are not relenting, for there is the will politically, and the platform, established as encapsulated in the two development plans-the ‘Change’ and ‘Prosperity’ drives.

Our respectability at the world stage is immense. The image that the current administration has built will for a very long period be used to determine our position at global platforms. President Koroma today serves as Coordinator of the African Union Committee of ten on the reform of the Security Council, leading negotiations on the issue of fair global representation at the global body- UN. This speaks highly of how far we have come.

The C-10, as a mandate, is to convey continent’s position and point of view on the reform of the body of nations- the United Nations. Amongst other areas, it is Africa’s call “to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security.” These are discussions Sierra Leone, through President Koroma is chairing and leading.

During a 2015 Zambia Summit, President Koroma spoke of how it “…is not acceptable that while the entire membership of the United Nations sympathizes with Africa for being the only region absent in the Permanent Category of the Security Council, there continues to be a lack of momentum in the Intergovernmental Negotiation process”, eventually calling on humanity to correct such disproportion against Africa. (http://allafrica.com/stories/201505110818.html).

President Koroma just returned home from the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, where, he had taken the centre stage in conducting the meeting of the C-10 on the reform of the UN.

This was immediately after his three-nation tour to Chad, Egypt and Zimbabwe, on consultations with his colleague leaders on the same issue. He then was to report to the general body. This, according to Rev. Kabs Kanu, is “an enviable assignment that every Sierra Leonean must be proud of”. (cocorioko.net).

The continent’s voice has again been heard, through President Koroma, who, during his address in Kigali on 16th July, 2016, called for views to be exchanged on, amongst others, “Regional representation as opposed to individual Member States’ admission to the Permanent category; restate our position on the Veto and resist the creation of a third category of membership of the Security Council; resist an intermediate/transitional arrangement; encourage other African countries to delink membership of other interest groups which creates the impression of a divided Africa…”

As citizens, we should be proud of this moment which is demonstrative of the extent to which we have come and how we now serve as a voice for the continent.

The president has indeed laid the foundation upon which coming generations would build on – both locally and at the global front.

About the Author

John Baimba Sesay is the Press Attaché at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing, China

3 Comments

  1. 20 October 2016

    Who is ERNEST BAI KOROMA?

    Ernest Bai Koroma became president of the Republic of Sierra Leone after rigging the country’s Presidential and General elections in August 2007 against Solomon Berewa and also against Julius Maada Bio in November 2012.

    These election rigging were possible because the major opposition party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) fought very hard under the leadership of the late president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to end the twelve years civil war (1991-2002), which copped-up in Sierra Leone during the All Peoples Congress (APC) party reigns under the drunkard and womanizing president Joseph Saidu Momoh.

    Let me remind all supporters of All Peoples Congress (APC) political party under President Ernest Bai Koroma that it was in the country’s interest when President Kabbah himself passed the power of baton to Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma for the purpose of balancing the democratic position of the politics of Sierra Leone which was for years eroded by APC’s Siaka Stevens.

    President Ernest Bai Koroma must also remain thankful to Julius Maada Bio for respecting the democratic process and civilized manner of living in our country as politicians that was also under the germinated seedlings of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (SLPP); but why did President Ernest Bai Koroma lay the foundation stone to undermine the values of political system by stating in 2007, upon coming to office that:

    “he (President Ernest Bai Koroma) had not only had a desire of simultaneously maintaining macro-economic strength in relation to the economy, he had also ensured we moved towards ensuring “increase revenues, improve international confidence in the management of the economy, promote investment and re-align government expenditure in favour of infrastructural development”- (President Koroma, State Opening of Parliament, 2010).

    Now, having good intention to undertake a task and having the ability to undertake the same task is not the same. The problem with President Ernest Bai Koroma is that he had surrounded himself with “square-pegs in round holes” such as BAIMBA SESAY who he has washed-up with the post of Press Attache at the Sierra Leone High Commission in China.

    Baimba Sesay has no knowledge about development ideas that can be initiated towards any form of innovation to effect any form of change in Sierra Leone, but unfortunately, President Ernest Bai Koroma is relying on such praise singers to make him feel big in his shoes on a daily basis.

    President Ernest Bai Koroma, let me advice you that the journey of life process needs the perfect care of selecting the group members you travel with and hang around with. If you hang around with the wrong group you will eventually develop the habits and become the wrong habit itself.

    That is your problem and it is just too late to turn back your clock. APC has woefully lost and it is just better for you to accept the Tejan Kabbah’s theory of politics and not Siaka Stevens this time, even though you are APC.

  2. Sierra Leone is ranked among the most, if not the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.

  3. Thanks to our Late president Ahmed Tejan Kabba for laying the foundation, Sierra Leone now has credibility around the world. And I hope President Earnest Koroma will try to maintain it.

    Since the international community is using our country as an example of success in terms of peace, democracy and rebuilding of institutions – and our president as the preacher, I hope and pray he will also continue to practice what he is preaching in his country.

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