John Pa Baimba Sesay
15 April 2012
As the November 17th presidential and Parliamentary elections draw closer, the President of the republic of Sierra Leone – Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has said that; based on the performance of his government in the last five years, he is sure of not only winning the November 17th elections, but that his party “is going for a first ballot victory”.
President Koroma is contesting the pending elections under the banner of the All Peoples Congress, a party often referred to as a party meant for the grass roots. In 2007, President Koroma made record in Sierra Lone by removing a serving government and party from power through the ballot box.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with this writer in his office at State House on Tuesday, 10th April, President Koroma disclosed that, people all over the country have demonstrated their appreciation for what the government has been able to achieve, especially government’s achievement in relation to the ‘Agenda for Change’.
When President Ernest Bai Koroma assumed power in 2007, one of his first priorities was to work towards the implementation of an ‘Agenda for Change’. The programme is aimed at developing the country’s agriculture, infrastructure, education, health, and energy sectors.
According to President Koroma; “the evidence is all over the country and people have been appreciative of our achievements as a government” – making reference to his successes in the area of agriculture, the provision of electricity, job creation and the growth of the country’s economy. He said: “we have sustained our progress as a government.”
The Bumbuna Hydroelectric Dam, which got the attention of President Koroma in 2007, was completed and commissioned in 2009.
To date, it has helped largely in the supply of electricity in Freetown. Also, the government ensured the installation of a 10MW thermal plant at the Kingtom Power Station, West of Freetown.
When asked about the position of Sierra Leone in terms of attracting investors, President Koroma said that, Sierra Leone is now an attractive country for investors and investments as indicated by the country’s booming oil and mining sectors.
The National Electoral Commission is the body charged with the responsibility of conducting elections across the county. So far, they have been preparing for the forthcoming November’s elections. The voter registration process has been completed.
Asked what he thinks about the NEC’s performance so far, President Koroma said that, he is “reasonably happy with what they (NEC) have done. They have behaved in a professional manner and I am hopeful they will continue with the process in that manner to its final conclusion”.
President Koroma is being challenged by an ex-military leader, who also once ruled the country, under a military government that had removed the previous APC government of Joseph Saidu Momoh from power.
When asked whether he thinks he is faced with a strong challenge from the opposition parties, President Koroma said that; “in politics, you don’t underestimate any opponent, but what I will say is that we (APC) will have a 1st ballot victory come November 17.”