President Ernest Bai Koroma has officially opened the first session of the third parliament in the second Republic.
In his first speech from the throne President Koroma in poetic tones heralded “a new dawn has broken on the horizon of our nation bringing forth a new Sierra Leone.”
He proclaimed his “commitment to make a positive difference to the lives and welfare” of Sierra Leoneans stating “that is why I am in politics … to make a difference.”
He briefly outlined his governance plan for the first three years of his administration.
Among these he highlighted keeping the peace and maintaining national security, instilling discipline in the conduct of Ministers of Government, public servants and the general public, introducing performance targets for all government functionaries and parastatal managers and employers, and instituting emergency measures to restore the supply of electricity while accelerating the completion of the Bumbuna Dam Power generation project.
The President announced that a presidential Energy Emergency task Force will be set up shortly.
He said that his government will focus on health, deliver clean potable water, regulate the mineral resources industry, and maintain traditional relations with Sierra Leone’s international development partners.
The President also spoke about bridging the gender gap, implementing the TRC report and ensuring free basic education for all children of school going age.
President Koroma drew attention to the Sierra Leone constitution, which he said makes for separation of powers.
He announced that his government will discontinue the Ministry of Parliamentary and Political Affairs and that civil servants currently employed in that ministry will be deployed.
The President promised to ensure the independence of the judiciary and parliament by strengthening them so that they can each function effectively and independently.
The President did not forget to talk tough on corruption; he reiterated that there would be zero tolerance on corruption, and that his government intends to review the Anti-Corruption Act 2002 to strengthen the powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission in order to ensure its independence in the full discharge of its duties.
To demonstrate his vim to fight corruption the president declared that Public officials including himself will declare their assets and that the modalities for that process are currently being worked out.
Opposition SLPP Member of Parliament Hon. Frank Kposowa said of the speech “it is not achievable”
PMDC Member of Parliament Hon. Legacy Sankoh said that if all Sierra Leoneans worked together what is promised in the speech will be achieved.