Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2016
Members of the Board of Directors and the entire Management team of the African Achievers Awards, have selected the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone – Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (JFK) as recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Leadership Award.
The Award has over thirty categories, including Most Valuable African President, Lifetime Achievement Award, African Hero’s Award, African Change-maker, African Impact Award and African Industrialist of the year, to name but a few.
In their letter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the conveners of the African Achievers Award explained that, the selection was “in recognition of your commitment to public service and fighting for the nation – especially injustice and corruption.
“We are convinced that the service to your country is immeasurable, and that makes you a deserving recipient of the African Achievers Awards.”
This selection will add to JFK’s long list of achievements in the field of public service and anti-corruption in the continent.
The former Deputy Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, now Attorney General and Minister of Justice is also a member of the African Union Board on Anti-Corruption.
JFK is also the proud recipient of the World Bank Integrity Award 2010, joint winner of the International Association of Prosecutors Award in recognition for promoting International Criminal Justice, and Avon International Award in recognition of support for Women’s Rights.
The African Achievers Award is highly rated in the continent as one of the most prestigious award ceremonies that exemplifies the trajectory of progress, and quality in the whole of the African continent.
It is said to attract over 230 million viewership on local and international Television (such as DSTV & SKY Dish), with over 95 million views online.
The ceremony brings together Africa’s best and brightest deserving achievers, who have distinguished themselves in various fields.
Previous recipients include President Jakaya Kikwete, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara will be Sierra Leone’s first and finest example, among a long list of potential winners in the continent this year.
Many observers believe that this award will provide added momentum and motivation to the learned Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in his determination to improve the quality of, and access to justice in Sierra Leone, especially in strengthening judicial performance, expedition of trials, freedom of expression, women and children’s right in the country.
After just thirty days in office as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Kamara was able to accelerate the pace of access to justice in Sierra Leone, despite the odds.
According to figures released by the attorney general’s office, between 4th of January and 4th February 2016, 95 indictments were filed and 53 refiled. Of the 53 indictments refiled, 15% were for offences of a very serious nature, and 27% were in regard to sexual and gender based violence related cases.
And. on the 11th of January 2016, Joseph Kamara – the man many in Sierra Leone say is the hottest favourite to succeed president Koroma as the ruling APC party’s presidential flagbearer for the 2018 elections, made history, by becoming the first attorney general and minister of justice to publicly hand in his asset declaration form to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Joseph Kamara later told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that, he has always complied with the requirements of Section 119 of the ACC Act of 2008 – the duty imposed on all public servants to declare their assets, even as the head of the ACC.
First and foremost, I wish to extend my fervent congratulation to our Justice Minister for being rewarded with such a prestigious award for professional excellence. Sierra Leoneans pride their compatriots who excel in knowledge, wisdom and duty delivery of international recognition.
However, this admiration falls short and urges to ask the question; why does this know-how and wisdom not applied in our governance system where excellent professionals abound, in both ruling parties (the APC and SLPP) in order to salvage this nation from the pool of poverty and backwardness, as they take turn in governance – to Put in place, the right polices that can impact on the progress and development of the country, perceived and felt by the people.
We are none the wiser about the criterion with which this prestigious African institution measures performance and result outcome, to grade candidates for these laurels. On the question of women’s empowerment, Sierra Leone is far from meeting the 30% mark in terms of equal opportunities for women’s inclusion in top management positions. Which means our government fails the test here.
Corruption in Sierra Leone government is a serious menace that stunts national progress and sinks our Human Development Index to the bottom, found among the least developing countries. Our government also fails the test here.
In recent times, corruption in top government offices skyrockets more than three folds during the Ebola epidemic crisis. There are a number of reports presented to the government that proves naked corrupt practices in government offices, but we are yet to see all those involved held accountable.
All of this happened under the stewardship of our current justice minister and Attorney General, as commissioner of the Anti Corruption commission by then.
Sierra Leone people are wallowing in abject poverty, lacking the most basic services for a decent living, across the country. The performance of authorities in government offices makes no impact on improving their living standard. So, these laurels might just be too irrelevant to the poor suffering people of this country.
African institutions alike should help build strong institutions, especially government’s institutions across the continent. Laurels of this nature should be awarded to institutions for their good work and service delivery to the people, the transformation undertaken and its impact on the lives of the people they serve.
The strides made towards progress, the human development advancement and the people’s perception about the institution. All of these aspects should be reckoned with in the award process.
At this critical time of transformation efforts on the continent, Africans should desists from the making of strong personalities who may later become monsters in the society as past experiences had taught us. We don’t need strongmen or women, what we need are competent governors with the right focus to drive African nations to progress and prosperity. We need to urge our governors for a change of mindset for good governance across the continent.
The immense majority of Sierra Leoneans are far from being gratified with the performance of our governors and the country’s leadership at present.
I am totally disappointed in the Board of Directors and the entire Management team of the African Achievers Awards for selecting this man for such an award. I wonder what criteria or yardstick this Board used to select this man for such award.
This is the man who was until recently in charge of our Anti=corruption Commission as the boss. Before and or during his tenure in that office he never declared any asset to the public, purported to belonging to him. (May be he had not gathered enough then).
Secondly, his record of performance in prosecuting criminals both private or government officials who were allegedly brought to his attentions as having been engaged in corrupt practices were far below expectations.
Under his watch there were many sacred Cows particularly from among officials of the ruling APC government and from the side of interest of President Koroma. This man was a failure and a big disappointment. I can say with authority that it was because of the dubious unprofessional activities by Mr. Kamara that President Koroma compensated him as Attorney General and Minister of Justice at the expense of his predecessor Frank Kargbo who was kicked out of that office because of his refusal to collude with Ernest Bai Koroma to tamper with the/our National Constitution.
It is this man, Mr. Kamara, current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, that this very important respectable body ‘The Board of Directors and the entire Management team of the African Achievers Award’ had mortgaged its international professional reputation to select such a discredited personality for such award.
I can assure this body that your award has not done any good for Sierra Leone. On the contrary it brings sad memories.
Thank you anyway for deceiving our people of Sierra Leone.
I have no doubt about this fine dynamic and gentleman. I knew the sky is his limit. Fly…you are unstoppable!