John Baimba Sesay-CHINA
With a date announced for the 2018 general elections, a platform has been provided for parties to officially start the process of ensuring victory at the end. This can be a herculean task for the next one year, politically speaking.
Where there had been political mudslinging and infighting for close to a decade, behind-the scene smokescreen peace process had to be initiated even if for the pleasure of supporters and other stakeholders. Well, can such moves be a clear ruse? Only time will tell!
With huge achievements scored by the governing party, efforts should yet not be reduced in ensuring the people-the masses are informed, told of what has been achieved and what lies ahead should there be a change in political leadership, nationally.
Hard facts, a national change in partisan leadership in 2018 would mean a reverse in whatever gains we have made over the years. This should be discouraged, democratically, for the very good of the country’s growth trajectory!
The All People’s Congress is seeking a third political mandate from the voters. It democratically, in 2007 removed a governing party-SLPP from political power, thanks to the likable character, added to other features of then Opposition Leader and later President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. It is politically correct to conclude, that President Ernest Bai Koroma has been a determinant force in reshaping the APC today. He has been a master player in the very growth of the Party. The Party removed brutally from power in 1992, feared to be associated with, is no more the APC we have today!
Not only in building the strength of his Party and in allowing an open political space for opposition parties, the President’s eight years in office have accounted hugely for the growth the country has undergone. From sustaining her democratic credentials, to improving her image globally, building a broken infrastructure nationally(including perceived Opposition strongholds), fighting graft, building the economy and promoting women and generally gender related issues, the country has come a long way, thanks to the collective will and the astute leadership of the President.
There has been the creation of institutional frameworks added to the physical and human infrastructural foundations; government’s expenditure profile had to be tilted towards growth related spending, with an enlarged total capital expenditure. We witnessed an extremely sturdy revenue performance, due to an improved collection of domestic taxes with a dedicated workforce.NRA today talks about trillions in their revenue collection drive. Impressive!
The launch of the Free Health Care Initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five in April of 2010 resulted to massive increase in the use of health services and better health care access across the country. Though there still are challenges, what though became apparent is, that the number of health facilities increased by an encouraging percentage, with facilities, including maternity wards, basic emergency obstetric and newborn care centers, new referral hospitals and medical stores established or being constructed.
The enactment by the country, in 2008, of the most aggressive anti-corruption legislation in the region, if not the continent saw us making steady and tremendous progress in tackling graft, with public officials being chased and made to account for their actions. The country continues to make strides in promoting integrity and fighting widespread Corruption.
Human rights and political freedom remained guaranteed, with no politician or media practitioner jailed. Generally, government’s support for the autonomy of the country’s Human Right Commission has been outstanding and commendable, thus eventually creating the platform for it to improve its effectiveness resulting in its elevation to “A” status by the United Nations.
Not only has the commission maintained a Comprehensive Annual State of Human Rights Report, it also has enabled government successfully report and participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. The country now remains committed to international peace and stability, and contributing to regional peace efforts thus eventually creating a tough self-assured democratic and nonviolent nation, accomplished with the support of the global community.
This is very important-we do have a legacy to protect and maintain first as a country and as a political Party the APC-the legacy of this President and government. The best we could do to protect these legacies is returning the party to power come 2018. But bulk of such work depends on what we do in the coming months as a political party, leading to the general elections. There is no way we could allow the accomplishments of this government be taken to the gallows of political execution (ballot box) and be killed (by allowing a defeat come 2018). This means, working assiduously and collectively if such should be protected and the work should start now and it involves a united force. The work starts now!
Elections are not won on the day ballots are cast, rather through a long steady democratic process; talking to party members, ensuring they are registered to vote and convincing them to vote on the day of voting. It is strategic to have a candidate that could get us what President Ernest Koroma got us during the last elections, and eventually demonstrating our readiness to support the single candidate we shall be having!
Our Members of Parliament and councilors- including Chairpersons of Councils are core players in all of this. They should be one of many platforms upon which the party could stand, in reaching the desire goal. The work they may have done should all be contributing factors. A win in the 2018 general elections can be a gift we could offer ourselves for his (Party Leader and Chairman) legacy, it is our duty to protect!
The APC is a mass Party; the people being the cornerstone upon which Party strength is built. The bigger picture is the Party and it ideals; the desire of one should not undermine the aspirations of all and sundry. At the end, we should be able to come together as we have always done for there is victory for us in the struggle!