Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 March 2021:
Former President of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma, last Thursday convened a second virtual Round Table meeting under the auspices of the Horasis Community. During the discussions, the former president and Sierra Leonean statesman re-echoed his calls for an African Engineering Peace Corps (AfPEC).
The high profiled participants including former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, as well as peace and security technocrats discussed the way forward for the rolling out of what they described as a commendable initiative. When implemented as proposed, AfPEC seeks for African countries to utilise or contribute a percentage of their armed forces to a special engineering outfit that would address Africa’s infrastructural challenges.
In his opening remarks, former President Koroma articulated his vision for sustainable peace and development for Africa which he said requires “innovative and collaborative approaches in order to maximize the continent’s growth potential in ICT, technology and agriculture”. To this end, he said the world should come together to support the AfPEC initiative.
Former President Koroma made a strong case for AfPEC by sharing his personal experience regarding how the army was instrumental in his efforts to consolidated peace during his ten years leadership of Sierra Leone.
He also made specific reference of how the military played a phenomenal role in fighting against the devastating Ebola outbreak and in responding to the mudslide disaster – both of which killed thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
“During the Ebola outbreak, I successfully utilised the services of the army in building treatment centers, enforcing quarantine and in distribution of food, provision of water and other social assistance. But importantly, the military were also effective in managing some of the holding and treatment centers. And to the amazement and appreciation of the public, treatment centers managed by military medics eventually turned out to be the ones with the highest number of recoveries from Ebola”.
President Koroma emphasized that “…with more engineering and peace building training for Africa’s youth and military, we shall develop, in alignment with UNSDG and innovative capacity in the engineering sector and peace-building efforts throughout Africa.”
Former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria strongly agrees, saying that the COVID -19 pandemic has exacerbated Africa’s development challenges and caused “increased poverty levels”, adding; “a call for a new African renaissance in multilateralism to promote sustainable peace and economic development is therefore imperative”.
On all fronts, the consensus among the participants is that now more than ever, Africa needs to be united in rebuilding better in all areas, and they viewed AfPEC as a strategic mechanism by which to generate the much-needed social infrastructure development outcomes.
Great idea by the former Commander in Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. I can’t wait without commenting on this article, although I have limited time to spare right now. When the most loved and popular former President and Commander of the Sierra Leone armed forces speak, I believe most Sierra Leoneans listen. Please stay on as the leader of the APC and make sure the batton of Leadership is given to the right man.
By the way, Sierra Leoneans and the whole world are counting on you to make Sierra Leone and Africa more prosperous. Lovely to see you on the front pages of the newspapers once more. God bless the APC leader Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. Yeah. TBC.
This initiative is great. If only Sierra Leone has built up and upgraded our military capabilities, then that would have been a starting point. Israel has shown the world your country’s size doesn’t matter. How about creating a robust Republic of Sierra Leone army engineers corps, that can be deployed and put to work in constructing our much needed roads and bridges that interconnect our country. Then we can share our ideas with the rest of the continent. We need to sort out our diabolical roads, before we dream of any development. We live in a rough neighbourhood. Nigeria one of the biggest military in African, is battling Boko Haram Islamist banditry like kidnap for ransom of school children in the Northern and Western states. Which is now turning out to be a lucrative business for the bandits. As a result majority of boarding schools in the North and the west are now shut. Which was the original aim of Boko Haram.
The name itself suggests western education is evil. As if that is not enough to deal with, the Nigerian government is trying to stem ethnic conflict between Fulani herdsmen and local farmers. With French help and other countries, Mali which is 816 miles away from us is embroiled in a life and death fight against Islamic state fighters in the Sahel. And it doesn’t stop there, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Burkina Faso are all fighting the same insurgencies. When you ask the reasons this Islamist terrorist are able to get a foot hold and poisoning the mind of their Youths, they say its government corruption and lack of employment opportunities. Now if you add the effects of climate change, our country should invest in our military so we are stronger and can stand our own ground to defend our country from outside threats.
The initiative is more welcomed than ever. This is simply because some Contries are under dictator who brutalized their citizens and go free. Therefore, there is the need for an AFPDC.