John Mannah: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 January 2018:
The vast majority of Sierra Leoneans have been yearning for change in the last two decades of the country’s history – most especially, change from economic doom and gloom to prosperity. And it will be an understatement, to say that we have been disappointed by those, whose hands we have entrusted our destiny to bring the change we so desperately desire.
However, this time around, things are different, for we have seen how those who have prepared themselves for moments in history can rise to the occasion when the moment call upon them to do so.
This is exactly what Dr. Yumkella has done for those of us who desire and demand that things should change this time around, in the governance structure and political direction of our beloved Sierra Leone.
Dr. Yumkella returned to his beloved Sierra Leone after a stellar international career, and has put everything he has on the line to effect the change we have all been yearning for.
We have seen how this gentle academic can handle difficult situations when everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink was thrown at him from the two traditional political parties the SLPP and the APC.
He dug deep into his inner core and replied to the disrespectful, tribalist, and elitist charges that were thrown at him, by coming up with what has culminated into the new NGC party, which he now heads as presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections.
Dr. Yumkella has also dug deep and presented us with an opportunity by selecting an engineer and policy wonk – Andrew Keili as his running mate, to bring this all important and much needed change in Sierra Leone, which will enable us stand up to the challenges of 21st dynamic, complex and globalized marketplace, in which we have not done well at all due to poor management and stewardship of our human and natural resources.
Engineer Keilie by the side of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, is the best chance Sierra Leoneans have been presented with, since our return to multiparty democracy to change the narrative of our country’s economic story. He brings 40 years of experience to the ticket of the NGC.
The question then becomes: what will this academic knowhow and practical experience do for the youth-man and common-man in the streets of Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Kabala, Port Loko and Kambia?
The answer is that engineer Andrew Keili’s knowledge and experience will inject a paradigm shift into the governance structure of Sierra Leone.
This shift is analogous to what Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has done to the book business in the United States and around the world. Engineer Keili is going to help Dr. Yumkellah transcend, supersede and overthrow the existing orthodoxy and manner of running government in Sierra Leone.
Just as Amazon pioneered the move from selling hard copy books in shops, to selling books online, and successfully so, it is the same way we should join, and help engineer Keili and Dr. Yumkella win the election and govern Sierra Leone, by first hiring the best Sierra Leoneans to work in ministries and government agencies that match their competencies and qualifications.
An electrical engineer for example, will be hired with a business background or MBA in Management and Finance to manage the electricity corporation, so will an economist be hired to head an office of economic advisor to the president. These professionals will be well placed to entangle, and synthesize the complex and difficult policy issues the new government will have to deal with and make recommendations to the president who with his vice will make decisions that will be beneficial to our country in both the short-run, and long-run.
Good economic policies will create the right macroeconomic environment, by reducing inflation to single digit, economic growth to above 6 percent, manage fiscal policy so that government waste and corruption is cut, and create the economic space for the private sector to invest and create jobs for our youths.
Engineer Keili will use his science and engineering background to design policies through the ministry of education to encourage our young people to concentrate on STEM education in schools and colleges, so that more young people will undertake studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, instead of Greek and Roman Culture, Peace Studies and the like whose marginal contribution to the life of graduates is at best minimal and at worse zero.
He will point to himself, Dr. Yumkellah, Dr. Dennis Bright, Dr. Spencer, Ms. Jusu Sheriff, etc., as examples of people who acquired good education and have used it to do well in life with honor and integrity.
To the youths, women and common people of Sierra Leone, don’t let anybody fool you that the NGC is elitist because they have educated people in their leadership.
Yes, they have educated people, and these educated people are what our country needs at this time in the country’s history to engage, analyze and synthesize the complex, and dynamic global issues in the marketplace and bring in the necessary policies that will help put our natural resources to better use for the long-run betterment of our country.
We have tried common sense, with Ernest Koroma and his APC simplicity. It has not worked, because the world is a complex place, and thus, we need leaders who understand the complexities of global issues to make decisions that will help market our country for the betterment of all.
The combined experience of Dr. Yumkella and Engineer Andrew Keili, and the rest of the NGC leadership, will do the job for Sierra Leone this time around. Let’s seize the opportunity that has been presented to us, folks as it will never come again.