Jarrah Kawusu-Konte & Sheriff Mahmud Ismail: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9th October 2021:
Following former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma’s decoration with the award of the Medal of Merit in Leadership by the African Bar Association (AfBA) on Monday 4th October, instant, commendations and congratulatory messages have been pouring from across the world extolling his style of leadership during his tenure of office (2007-2018).
Ivorian President H.E. Alassane Ouattara congratulated President Koroma for this mark of recognition which he described as “the crowning of a commitment to democracy and peace in Sierra Leone and throughout Africa”.
According to President Ouattara (Photo), he fully associates himself with this celebration of the work accomplished by President Koroma for democracy, through the reforms he was able to initiate in his country and the leadership which he continues to demonstrate for peace in Africa under the auspices of the African Union.
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Laurette and Former President of the Republic of Liberia, recounted that:
“I had the opportunity for collaboration and interaction with him as we served as Presidents of our two countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. He was a pillar of strength in our regional institutions, ECOWAS and sub-regional Mano River Union.”
Johnson Sirleaf also pointed out that former President Koroma’s efforts to transform Sierra Leone was nothing short of exemplary adding that, “His commitment to national and party constitutions and law tells of a person with the self confidence that brings success to any endeavor.
The Nobel Laurette further acknowledged the fact that former President Koroma “continues to enjoy the popularity of a grateful citizenry for his multiple achievements” and she emphasized that, “with continuity, sustainable national development is assured.” (Photo: Johnson Sirleaf and Ernest Bai Koroma).
H.E. Dr. Amos Sawyer, former Interim President of Liberia, noted, “I led a post conflict country just like President Ernest Bai Koroma and I fully understand the huge challenges associated with building democracy, consolidating peace and rebuilding the country. On all fronts, President Koroma acquitted himself admirably. His leadership of Sierra Leone and at the regional and continental levels no doubt distinguishes him as a champion of peace and democracy in Africa. He is a worthy recipient of this AfBA award!”
The commendations did not only come from political leaders, but leading organisations also working on peace, democracy and the rule of law have joined in.
The African Leadership Magazine wrote that “President Ernest Bai Koroma stands out as a committed democrat and an icon of peace. His ten year tenure as President of his country brought about enviable good governance reforms that safeguarded civil and political liberties and promoted inclusive participation. Coming from 11 years of war, Sierra Leone became a beacon of peace in Africa under his leadership. I would have been surprised if he was not on this AfBA list of deserving awardees. Congratulations President Koroma”
The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) stated: “Africa will always need great visionary leaders like Ernest Bai Koroma. His advocacy for an African Peace Engineering Corps would address much needed social infrastructure issues and enhance our peace and security architecture. Congratulations on this remarkable recognition of your leadership”.
These accolades transcend the African continent. Russ Feingold, former United States Senator and Chair of the Global Steering Committee for the Campaign for Nature, has this to say:
“Since he left office, President Koroma has been at the forefront of advocacy for peace, the environment and social justice in Africa and the world. This is a well deserved recognition!”
Closer to home, in Sierra Leone, Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (Photo), said: “With the worrying signs of democratic decline particularly in West Africa, it’s refreshing that those who have shown great leadership in respecting constitutional term limits are being duly recognised. President Ernest Bai Koroma led Sierra Leone from a dire post conflict situation to becoming one of the most democratically reformed and peaceful countries in Africa. And even as he continued to enjoy tremendous popularity, he graciously bowed out and presided over a smooth transition of power. He is indeed a worthy candidate for any distinguished leadership award, and I congratulate him heartily on this AfBA recognition!”
Dr Samura Kamara, Presidential Aspirant of the All People’s Congress, heartily congratulated President Koroma on this well-deserved AfBA award, and said: . “His tenure as president of Sierra Leone will be remembered for the remarkable good governance reforms, his expansion of access to legal services, education, health and the rebuilding of other critical social infrastructure. His emphasis on consensus building and deliberate efforts to evenly spread national infrastructural development across the country were unprecedented and integral to holding the country together. He was as remarkably inclusive in his appointments as he was open in his governance. These were critical in Sierra Leone becoming one of the most democratically reformed and peaceful countries in Africa. This award is indeed a worthy recognition of President Koroma’s sterling leadership.”
Ambassador Alhaji Dr Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General of the All People’s Congress (Photo), said: “President Koroma is an incredible African statesman who is among those who have clearly shown the world that in terms of effective democratic leadership, Africa can proudly stand to be counted. He led our country and party with such extraordinary effectiveness and success that even in his retirement, he remains the most respected political leader in our country. Since he left office in 2018, he has been active in promoting the AU and ECOWAS peace and democratic aspirations. The APC Party is immensely proud of our outgoing leader and I therefore warmly Congratulate him on this well-deserved AfBA Leadership Medal!”
And not to be outdone by others, the Office of the Former President has also joined in the celebration of the recognition of President Koroma’s remarkable leadership.
“We most warmly congratulate former President Koroma on the highly coveted AfBA leadership award. We have no doubt whatsoever that our Former President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, would attract such recognition from a credible and prestigious body like the African Bar Association. As witnesses to his enduring legacy, this award confirms our trust in a man who’s vision and commitment towards a peaceful and democratic continent has remained as solid as his desire to promote a safe and healthy environment for all. We are profoundly proud to be associated with such a great leader.”
No doubt, President Koroma served his country well; his legacy cannot be discounted in the recent history of Sierra Leone and it is remarkable enough to endure for posterity.