Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 November 2020:
A targeted review team from the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM, and the Sierra Leone National Governance Council last Friday, met with Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh in Freetown to share their mission objectives on governance and COVID 19.
Head of delegation and Zambian born Ambassador Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika presented her team, noting that as a member of the APRM panel of eminent persons, she is in Sierra Leone for the official launch of a 14-day targeted review mission on the health governance and COVID-19 response in Sierra Leone.
“We are all aware of the fact that the pandemic has brought to light health and socioeconomic weaknesses in different countries throughout the world including Sierra Leone. This is exemplified by poor conditions of basic health infrastructure in many nations in our continent,” she highlighted.
VP Juldeh Jalloh welcomed the team on behalf of President Dr Julius Maada Bio and the government of Sierra Leone.
“Let me, from the outset, express our government’s recognition and appreciation of the tremendous efforts the APRM has been making…I have no doubts that recommendations emerging from the findings of this targeted review would add value to ongoing policy discussions on the future of health care delivery in the country” he said.
This African peer Review mechanism was established by the African Union as a constitutive Act, and used as a vehicle to facilitate the realisation of its 2063 development goals agenda. Part of which is to encourage members states to promote democracy, good governance and respect for the rule of law, and work towards conflict resolution within communities and promote national cohesion and dialogue. Member states are also encouraged to compare notes and learn from each other in terms of investing in health care, education and research and technology.
Given the ravages of the COVID19 pandemic across the world, it will take an almighty effort for members states to realise their goals. Since this team of APRM are in Freetown, I wonder how much our VP, Juldeh Jalloh, will be sharing with them any take-away his government is making any of the above. So other countries will look at Sierra leone, and say they want to follow in our foot steps. Because none of the stated aims of the APRM, has any correlation of what is truly going on under the stewardship of the Bio government. The problem with the AU /APRM agenda, the key governance initiative that includes monitoring of member states, is all voluntary and trusting governments acting in good faith.
There are no enforcement rules, if member states are found to have broken any of the state aims, which in my view renders the whole thing toothless and lacking purpose. Until the AU are ready to include sanctioning repeat offenders, of governments abusing citizens rights, failing to respect the rule of law and Free press and tackling CORRUPTION – which is an African pandemic – there is no point in adding another level of bureaucracy within the pillars of the African union.