In a national broadcast on New Year’s day, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has expressed hope of bright days ahead for Sierra Leone, saying that the new year “has come upon us with the assurance of an economy on the path to full recovery.”
He pointed out that every citizen must be commended for the sacrifices and adjustments they made in order to overcome the challenges facing the country. “…from the fisherman at Funkia to the farmer at Buedu; from the petty trader at Abacha Street to the bike rider in Pujehun and our compatriots in the Diaspora – Sierra Leoneans have shown great resilience and have been at the forefront of discussions and actions to turn this country around,” the president said.
He thanked the people of Sierra Leone for their support in rolling out the recovery priorities as well as in returning the economy back on the pathway of the pre-Ebola era and pre-drop-in-iron-ore-prices days.
In 2014, Sierra Leone was hit by the twin shocks of the slump in iron ore prices in the world market and the Ebola outbreak, which we already know reversed the gains made as one the fastest growing economies in the world. With help from the international community and the personal leadership of the His Excellency the President through his social mobilization drive for community ownership of the fight against, what many described as a “horrific” virus, the country triumphed.
During this period, President Koroma showed great and remarkable leadership and he always had the backing of the people. Sierra Leoneans endured huge challenges but were determined to support their leader in fighting Ebola as well as the economic difficulties the country is facing, which I’m sure the president has already promised to review by mid 2017. He added: “…we will review the austerity measures we are implementing and we will reassess the progress we have made under the Recovery Priorities to determine where we are and to define our new actions going forward.”
The president said that although Sierra Leoneans have shown the world their ability to pull together in times of adversity as well as to succeed against all odds, he urged his countrymen to approach national issues with nonpartisan lenses; “…we must adopt the imperatives that put Sierra Leone first in our actions.” The Commander-in-Chief noted that the destinies of Sierra Leoneans are bound together and their “fortunes intertwined” and, therefore despite tensions that may arise between aspirants seeking political office, he encouraged all and sundry never to lose sight of the fact that Sierra Leone is bigger than everyone; “is it bigger than every group and every political party.”
He called on citizens to pay attention towards the development programmes and act as monitors of the implementation of projects in chiefdoms, constituencies and districts.
In the foregoing one clearly sees that President Koroma is setting the tone and mood of the next general elections in terms of appealing to the better nature of Sierra Leoneans for peace, development and a sense of patriotism. He is not oblivious of the challenges that lie ahead in the country’s transition as a viable democracy. He takes on them head on by appealling to the better nature of all Sierra Leoneans because after all, we owe it to posterity to stay together, work together and build our beloved country together. By and large, the speech is forward looking and full of optimism for the land that we love.