John Baimba Sesay – Beijing China
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 March 2017
Beyond the outright display of mendacious propaganda by a certain few in the opposition, Sierra Leone has beautiful stories to tell: from her commitment to tackling graft, building on her democratic credentials and sustaining those values of good governance, to being able to properly use domestically generated revenues for development projects, a long way we have come.
The most disingenuous political ploy by the opposition is to present Sierra Leone as a nation not progressing. It is worth celebrating, when one looks at where we were, and where we have come so far.
A comparative look at events and development efforts by the former regime to the present will be too depressing, noting the failures of the former regime to have met those basics they had promised. Let us look at few issues here:
A nation’s growth depends largely on her ability to be able to generate revenue internally. The tax base of a country goes a long way in determining her development path.
It was with this sense of reasoning that when this administration was elected, it worked towards broadening the tax base by the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). (Photo: John Baimba Sesay – Sierra Leone Government Information Attache in Beijing China)
Today, NRA is doing exemplary well in the area of revenue collection. Since 2010, government has undertaken major infrastructure projects in roads, energy, and water funded from internally generated revenues. Unlike when it was just established, the institution has had an impressive performance record in the last nine years of operations.
The introduction of local councils was aimed at ensuring service delivery at the local level and full community participation in the development of their localities. We now see how the process itself is being used to strengthen the country’s democratic credential.
In making the process effective, billions continue to be transferred to Local Councils for various health projects at the local level, including the construction of a Maternal Health Post in Kenema city and the Rehabilitation of the Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema Town, Kailahun District.
Infrastructure has been a landmark achievement of this administration. Billions have been spent in fixing a broken infrastructure inherited by this government. The country has been linked through road projects connecting cities, towns, and villages.
In addition to other road projects in the West side of Freetown, this administration has undertaken the construction of the Hillside Bye-pass Road, eventually connecting the central and western ends of the capital
Today, roads are being constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated in every region and district of the country, connecting people and opening up the country. What government did was to not just limit the infrastructural projects to just roads. It equally invested in social projects.
It is true, that the former government created the anti graft commission- the ACC. It is true, also that the Commission prior to 2007 lacked the political will to tackle corruption. It was more of a spurious organization, at some point, serving as a political weapon, used to silent political opponents.
In fact, prior to the 2007 elections, Britain, the largest contributor of aid in the country stopped all aid coming since corruption had permeated across the board.
A new National Anti-Corruption Strategy was to be launched in 2008 by the new APC government subsequently enacting what is believed to be one of, if not the toughest anti-corruption legislations in the continent.
The Act provides for offences on illicit enrichment, abuse and misuse of office, provides protection for whistleblowers and informers, and makes it obligatory for all civil servants to declare their assets. Prominently, the Act allows the Commission to initiate prosecution with no reference to government, as it was before 2007.
Under this administration, an Anti-corruption System and Process Reviews of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) is ensured, all for the purpose of improving their systems and processes. The integrity of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) has been strengthened to a point that, it now has the free hand to operate independently.
Prior to 2007, the mineral sector had lacked proper regulatory regimes, leading to non-transparent transactions, and an eventual decrease in investor confidence and failure to attract large scale investments. Government had to establish a new institutional framework that had an investor-friendly legal framework.
The granting of two large scale mining licenses to Africa Minerals Limited for the mining of Iron Ore in the Tonkolili District was a great success story, added to the decision to grant a Post and Rail Agreement to the same company for the purpose of the shipment of Iron Ore and the Pepel port reconstructed.
The operations of African Minerals Limited at Ferengbeya, Tonkolili helped in ensuring thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars as revenue to government.
The sector continues to enhance the country’s Gross Domestic Product and creating employment opportunities. The company had been a major player in sustaining the country’s economy.
We have sustained our democracy. Governance institutions are effectively contributing to the growth of our democracy. Media and right groups have an open space to operate, with an encouraging level of press freedom and free speech. Never have we heard of political prisoners, or media practitioners jailed.
Deepening good governance requires the rule of law, free speech, political tolerance, and the conduct of regular free and fair elections. In all of these, we have come a long way in the last decade. Generally, the country continues to support strengthening the institutions of democracy and good governance.
Yes, there still are huge challenges. But why not when we all saw how ebola devastated our development efforts. We should also not ignore the adverse effect that global trends like the drop in prices of raw materials had on us.
This governing Party has seen it all; it has had a feel of what it takes to move the county; it knows how to fix that which is broken. A reason for it to be reelected.
About the author:
John Baimba Sesay is the Sierra Leone Government Information Attache in Beijing, China.
Well that is your opinion. And I can say you are one of them. Now go back and tell them that with all their good work, they failed to satisfy the majority of us; they failed.
We have voted them out, so let them go and rest…Full stop. We nor wan yerie wan word.
My Fellow Sierra Leoneans, let’s pray to the Almighty Allah for good leaders and good followers, chosen by the Creator Himself for the betterment of our beloved nation. And please guys, let’s forget about blaming each other for the progress of this nation. All we need to do is come together and put our beloved country first.
And mind you, this country is bigger and better than all political parties, and in fact, our politicians don’t even know what is affecting them now. Let me tell you that the pledge of our beloved country is affecting them, because they are doing the opposite of what is right.
The MOST DISRUPTIVE POLITICIAN in Sierra Leone is Maada Bio. I’m a member of the party but his hunger for power at all cost has divided our party. How many times must he be defeated in elections before we come to our senses that with him as our candidate we will never win?
It is very interesting to see how the educated citizens of one of the poorest nations of the World are praising the government that is directly responsible for messing up its economy. Wake up Africans, wake up Sierra Leone, wake up to the realities of life in Sierra Leone.
The common man in Sierra Leone is crying everyday for the increased cost of living; the youths are crying because they are jobless; school children are crying because their teachers are not paid; no functioning hospitals in the country, with government ministers running to other countries for basic health care; government officials can afford to sponsor their children into expensive institutions abroad; the problems are countless.
You guys are talking about development in a country that is virtually dying, with falling developmental indices in most areas.
I am not an SLPP supporter, but I can praise their efforts in restoring the country to some normalcy after the brutal civil war, which was created from the APC misrule. The APC misrule from 1968 to 1992 made Sierra Leone the darkest country in the world. The APC misrule made Sierra Leone fall from ‘the Athens of West Africa’ to the ‘dungeons of West Africa’. The dollar was worth 75 cent (less than a Leone) in the 70s. Please compare what it is worth now in Leones?
Let those praising APC confront the facts and ask themselves what true development really is. I wish they were in the predicament of the common Sierra Leonean. They will condemn all the government officials to death for a ‘mass man slaughter’ of Sierra Leoneans through sustained deprivation.
The SLPP have failed because of putting forward the wrong candidate. A party that was known for excellence has chosen to present a mediocre candidate at a time when excellence is highly on the agenda. I wish the founding members were present to resound their resentment!
We all wish the elections will be free and fair to show the wisdom of the electorate. Long live Sierra Leone.
Majority rule only works if you´re also considering individual rights, because you can´t have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner in the interim.
Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation. And this means we must develop a world perspective. My beloved brothers, let´s put our country first. To do so, we should be guarding ourselves with the principles of neutrality and impartiality in our undertakings as a SIERRA LEONEAN.
According to Y.C.James Yen – ´go to the people; live among them; love them; serve them; plan with them; start with what they know, and build on what they have´. So my fellow citizens lets forget about comparing governance. You and I can make change if the above is followed.
Can the people of Sierra Leone forget the 2007 elections?
People were crying for good roads, electricity supply, water supply.
The present government gave at least 70 percent of that – why cant we appreciate them?
It is their duty to work and develop. We don’t have to thank them; we voted them in and we expect them to work and deliver. We pay taxes and get TONS of aid coming in for which a lot of it is looted.
Yes Mr. Mose you are quite right the President has done ‘too much work’ for the people of this country. He left this country in the hands of the corrupt police to do whatever it takes them to. He has a secret execution against any military personnel he thinks might be a threat for him.
The Ebola victims blood will fight this President. This President removed the elected Vice president unlawfully, with the whole world watching without no hesitation. Also the mudslides victims having no sympathy for them.
This president unlawfully discriminated against all Sierra Leonean diasporas abroad in order for him to remain in power for life as his did in China.
The late president Kabba signed a dual Citizenship with the United States; so who is E.B. Koroma to trash that mandate? Now his children are doing good courses in London and wants a good future for them. In 2007, his campaign promise was to run this country as a business concern. Hmmmmm Mr. President Thank you.
Mr. MOSE, if you are a typical Sierra Leonean, you won’t defend President Koroma. He totally destroyed KKY an all.
Talking about roads, he didn’t start it; he was just completing that which was started by Kabba. If you don’t know what you are saying keep quiet.
Yes, they have tried, but their trying did not please the majority of Sierra Leoneans; they failed. We need change…full stop.
John Baimba, What will you call the arrest and detention of David Tam-Bayor?
Please, let us be honest with ourselves. Despite the fact that you want to protect your job, you can be honest for the sake of posterity.
Like one of the speakers mentioned, you are breaching the code of ethics of our noble civil service on a daily basis but in-so-far-as you are doing it in favour of the ruling party, you are protected. This is what your people know as good governance. When others say the truth about the reality on the ground, they are harassed or even fired from their jobs.
Be mindful of what you say today because your utterances could be used against you tomorrow. “LONTA KARABAI”
The only “dangerous weapon” we have in the country of Sierra Leone is President Koroma and his collaborators. However, Mohammed Kamarainba Mansaray must be released immediately and without harm. We are tired of intimidation and they should know it.
So, any form of intimidation is a call for serious concern. We are not just going to standby again waiting for them to keep destroying our people and country. It’s time for every voice to be raised and without the fear of harassment or intimidation from the government.
The government should be embarrassed for the illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Kamarainba Mansaray. The reason(s) for his arrest do not make sense and he should be released as soon as possible, and again, without harm.
It’s a shame because Mr. Mohammed Kamarainba Mansaray should have been protected by the government instead of illegal arrest. The government has continued to fail her citizens and focusing on intimidation to keep destroying the country.
The action of the government to arrest Mr. Mohammed Kamarainba Mansaray is retaliatory because he is opposing the government’s illegal activities and ongoing violations against humanity, as well as marginalizing of citizens in parts of the country. Sierra Leone is one nation!
Why the call to release Kamarainba Mansaray? Was he just grabbed without any reason? Or is Sierra Leone one of the countries where the law should only be obeyed by the poor?
Why are people so naive? Or are they just turning their backs on reality? John, have you ever asked where most of the money for these infrastructure projects came from? if you don’t know, ask the people you are talking for.
You guys are just feeding on what other people worked for, because they had the vision and long-sightedness; and now you are swimming in their sweats. Everybody is suffering today because of their mistake, but it is not long now. Salone una wake up!
In 2006, did SLPP have something to tell the people of Sierra Leone in terms of development? The answer is big NO! In a time like this the International Committee froze funding in Sierra Leone.
Did the International Committee stop funding the APC government? the answer is big NO! Why? Because they are doing what pleases the people of Sierra Leone and the International Committee.
It is sad to know that, SLPP met 10 Mega Watts and left 10 Mega Watts; during the time of SLPP rule Sierra Leone was the darkest country in the world; the South/East you call stronghold was so bad to travel; during the rains people spent two days from Kailahun to Kenema, now you can travel every where in the country without any struggle.
Aren;t you people ashamed to call APC a corrupt regime? Why did late Mahamed Gadafi travel from Liberia to Freetown? Because he funded the Kailahun Road to Kenema. Did SLPP construct that Road? The answer is big NO! So in this aspect who is corrupt?
The International Committee give SLPP billion of dollars ( the Rehabilitation Fund) but what SLPP did with that money? Where did SLPP rehabilitate?
I am a neutralist and i just returned from Sierra Leone, what i saw made me to ask some of you who are talking about corruption. If you are saying APC are corrupt, with their corruption the people of Sierra Leone are benefiting from their corruption. If APC completes the Hill bye pass Road and Victory Park Market they have solved the congestion in Freetown.
It is from that stage the beauty of Freetown will show up and the water problem in Freetown. I saw a new project with large tanks standing by taps and the solar pumping the water into the tank; this project can be found in many places in Freetown.
After SLPP’s eleven years you cannot point to any tangible infrastructure implemented by SLPP, but if you ask APC they have lots to talk about.
Abdulai, sorry to say that these are not parameters to determine what corruption is or not. The issue of corruption shouldn’t be comparing political parties or individuals. In Sierra Leone corruption is regulated by the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, which sets out a number of offences, including the following:
(i) corrupt acquisition of wealth;
(ii) possession of unexplained wealth;
(iii) offering, soliciting or accepting an advantage (defined to include gifts, loans, rewards, office, payments, benefit, favour etc)
(iv) influencing a public officer
(v) peddling influence
(vi) bid rigging
(vii) bribery of a public officer to influence decision of a public body
(viii) conflicts of interest
These are the considerations to look at and judge.
The roads, electricity are all true but that doesn’t mean this Government is not corrupt. If you want to know whether they are corrupt or not; go and grab a copy of the audit report to see how corrupt these guys are. It is not an issue of APC/SLPP; we have decent Sierra Leoneans. Dr. Keifala Marah is one such decent Minister. But a bunch of these guys on seat are naked crooks. The audit report reveals for example an expense of 45million dollars on arms and ammunition; this is blatant fraud. The report went further to unfold how unit costs for such ammunition were quadrupled. I wonder what will be the faith of the country if we were at war (May Allah forbid) we would have sold the country to fight the war.
To tell you who are better off so far, it is the guys in power and not the ordinary people. Check where they were before governance. The President is a typical example of how his life has transformed; he was definitely not a rich man. See what he owes now. He has done better for himself, families, friends and cronies than the country. Lonta
“It is sad to know that, SLPP met 10 Mega Watts and left 10 Mega Watts; during the time of SLPP rule Sierra Leone was the darkest country in the world; the South/East you call stronghold was so bad to travel; during the rains people spent two days from Kailahun to Kenema, now you can travel every where in the country without any struggle.”-Abdulai Koroma
Abdulai Koroma you are so correct. The SLPP met 10 Mega Watt of electricity.
However, how come that SLPP in 1996 met only 10 Mega Watt when the almighty APC had been in power for closed to three decade?
What did the APC do to the infrastructure they inherited in 1968 when even my village in Lunsar was boasting of 24 hours electricity every day?
I heard that of the 10 Mega Watts the SLPP inherited in 1996, by 1998 when they came back from exile it was Zero Mega Watts- thanks to the AFRC and RUF.
Indeed, they were able to build from scratch to leave 10 Mega Watts, and have Bumbuna upgraded to 95% near completion before they left in 2007.
This was from 2002 to 2007 when you and I could travel from Freetown to Bumbuna without fear of running into an ambush.
Between 1991 and 2002, thanks to the APC mishandling of our economy and human resources, even the north of the country which is the APC strong hold was mostly inaccessible and insecure for you and I to go for vacation.
Do you expect any meaningful development at that time? Unless you were part of the problem to me I would say No?
Well thanks to the effort of the SLPP, the second APC came to power in 2007 when you and I can travel from Freetown to Makeni at any time of the day and at any time of the night without fear of running into an ambush.
After 10 years of Peace that the SLPP brought, the current APC government should have turn Sierra Leone into Paradise and not a home-monger country with national debt chasing three billions. This is a disgrace and a national sin.
Not true taking into account the way numerous contracts have been signed. The relevance and the structures and the scrutiny which was not done properly with cross party decisions!! The airport, roads and many others.
Within this remit, it is quite reasonable that we need a change of governance so we can make comparisons. Also the lack of proper opposition in the last two parliaments makes it easy for the ruling party to make many decisions. Possibye for their own favour without the rule of law
The beauty of democracy. Appreciated!
What I would like to know is this. What is John Baimba going to do after a change of government next year. Will he then defect to the opposition that he is now rubbishing?
Will he be grovelling for another job or I guess he would like his master at State House have amassed a lot of stolen public funds to retire from service.
Salone sorry. Only in Sierra Leone can a paid employee of the civil service write such naked political propaganda in support of a failed government that gave him his job in China.
If president Koroma respects and abides by the civil service code of conduct he would have sacked John Baimba for this serious breach of the civil service code.
Civil servants are supposed to be apolitical and must show imparliality. Does John Baimba know this. I guess not. I agree with the previous comment that all he is doing is protect his political masters and trbesmen, and ofcourse his job. These guys are shameless. Baimba represents all that is bad in the civil service.
I agree with you. As someone living in the country it is hard even without concrete facts that the government and the civil service are corrupt. If not, can someone please explain how they have amassed such personal wealth when we know their salaries. Government services are supposed to be provided free because the employees are paid.
However, try reporting crime to the Police, apply for passport, buy state land etc. If you don’t grease the palms of these officials nothing is done. If this is not corruption I don’t know what it is. Corruption had always existed but under the APC government, it has been taken to a whole new level. They have normalised it.
Once upon a time, there would have been an uproar. Now, no one cares. Even some civil society organisations are not exempted. Where does one go for transparency good customer service? Enough is enough!
O Lord please help our people of this broken nation. At a time like this when all honest and right thinking people of this country believe that poverty, unemployment, corruption and poor governance have got worse, there comes John Baimba telling us that all is bright.
Mr. Baimba all you are interested about is saving your job. You can try to twist the facts about the plight of the people of this country but you cannot change the truth.
Life in this country for the 90% of population has got worse under APC. We want a change of government. Noy continuation of this your corrupt gang of thieves.
Even the blind can see that salone is better off today than during the dark pipe line SLPP govt. Oh ya we don forget woosai we commot. Today we talk of light, water and good roads. Are we where we suppose to be? The answer is clearly NO.
But one has to be in the race to win it, and this govt – although we are in lane 7, we are in the race and that’s what matters. Both the APC and SLPP are responsible for the state of the country today. But fairly speaking this current APC, although not perfect, has given us hope for the future.
However, I’m very worried about the choice of the SLPP flagbearer – Maada Bio. Maada is a perfect example of how to be a loser. No job, no career or credential to talked about. If Maada was in the US today, he will be one of the first people Trump will deport. Because he is very useless to society.
But then the blind SLPP spends their time bashing at the APC while their proposed replacement is nothing to be hopeful for, rather than a perfect example of how to be power hungry and a sole loser.
The reason why Sierra Leone may have to find realistic development a little strange and difficult, is because there are lots of dishonest and lay belleh blokes in the country, who think their personal interest surpasses the general or national interest.
For this reason , a few shillings from those cursed political and national thieves can cause them to ignore the truth and say all manner of untruths and far fetched stories just to please them, so that more shillings will drop. But curse upon such idiots to their last generation. The past government of the hot burning sun did nothing to help Salone, but to further disintegrate her into deeper dungeons of shame and disgrace the country had never seen before.
‘Di Pa don woke’ is regularly expressed – for whom to hear? Was that not the reason he vied in for the position? After they distorted and frustrated the Nation’s pride and glory, and the people were determined to pay back, the next strategy was baseless injunction of an unwitty lawyer, taking a dead matter to court only for idiots to call him a valor, when he is no less than a coward.
The ballot box decides. A life chairman quitting his position is not relevant to the nation but to his organisation only. I cannot see the reason why some lay belleh journalists think the disclosure of this issue was nationally significant. It really was not. It was basically a party affair.
I was also disappointed in some civil society idiots calling a weakling leader a great man. It is expedient for that heartless civil political spokesman, to relinquish his civil society interest and drop off with a FRAUDULENT LEADER. MULTIPLE SHAME ON THEM.