I was busy working on this piece when I first got a call that the Minister of Transport had been relieved of his duty. I could not believe until BBC’s Umaru Fofana confirmed that, and then backed by a news release from the Press Secretary at State House.
I must say bravo to President for the belated decision to fire Kemoh Sesay from the Transport Aviation. It is often said that it is good to be late than never. The president has started well and we [independent press] are hopeful that, it will continue
We have been calling for this action not because we have no love for Kemoh Sesay but for the simple fact that, the issue that has to do with the alleged cocaine scam surrounds the Minister. Kemoh Sesay is be relieved of his responsibility as Transport and Aviation Minister and it is left with the police to either or not investigate him
The alleged cocaine scam must be dealt with seriously and the decision by the president is an indication that, the chicken has come to roast. Somebody said, heads are going to roll in this scam and we are waiting on that. Kemoh Sesay is gone and they are others to go likewise.
Ad said by the Secretary General of the SLPP, the decision b y the government shows some level of seriousness attached to the alleged cocaine scam, though it is belated.
But may I now talk on the transition report that is yet to be in public domain. This is not an attempt to give an autopsy of the current Koroma led government, mindful of the very fact that, soonest; his government shall be a year old in office, and that would be the time we shall be giving our assessment of its performance.
However, this is a look at the government’s commitment towards the fight against corruption, which has often and again been referred to as an endemic disease, or a cankerworm that eats the fabrics of society. Again, I may want to relate the Koroma’s commitment towards the fight against corruption to that of the one being exhibited by the current Kenya President, Moi Kibaki when he assumed political power some few years back.
Kenya, during the days of Daniel arap Moi was overwhelmed with political and economic corruption and so, the defeat by an opposition party of the party in power was greeted with overwhelming triumph since it was believed that, the former president and his allies were going to give account of their days in power.
Not6 only that, when Kibaki took over power, he demonstrated hi political will towards the fight against corruption to the point that, Transparency International Kenya’s Executive Director, John Githongo was appointed as the country’s first permanent secretary for the Ethics and Governance ion the office of the President
The new government at the time was believed to have all reasons as to why the Kibaki’s government should lead his fight against corruption especially beyond fulfilling his political campaign but moving further to like ‘deter potential errant members of the regime itself , thereby holding corruption in check and maintaining positive relations with donors and investors,… [Legacies of Power, Leadership Change in African Politics]
In fact, the opposing perspective were of the view that, without accountability for misdeed by past politicians, future occupants of public offices will be tempted to preside over such irritable in the act of corruption. But after years in office, the first Kibaki regime could not prosecute anyone with regards corruption.
This could be related to the current government. When President Koroma took over the leadership of the country, it was made clear that, the fight against corruption was going to be at the echelon of his priorities and no wonder that, in most of his median speeches to the nation, the word ‘corruption’ was kept repeatedly measured .
Upon assuming office, the president was very fast in making changes in certain areas of trust with regards leadership and so, when he appointed Tejan Cole to head the AC, it came as a welcome news not only to Sierra Leoneans, but top even the donor community, because, with a young man at the helm of the fight against corruption, success was bound to be made.
We have seen pr heard about how former ministers, including John Benjamin, were challenging the current government to produce evidence that, they were corrupt. But to this date, nothing of such happened.
When President Koroma took over the helm of affairs of the country, there was the formation of a Presidential Transition Team that was to do a stock taking exercise of all the ministries that were left by the then SLPP government, and not only that, drastic changes were made in institutions like the ACC.
The Presidential Transition Team was, among other functions meant to work with the then out-going government ministers to ensure a smooth transition, assess the current state of government institutions in term of policy, programmes and resources and to take stock of the then situation in the machinery of government including assets, liabilities etc.
But as said by the Vice president at State House on the 2nd of July during presentation of the report for publication, efforts were made by members of the Transition Team to allay the concerns of people that the team was not a ploy meant to arrest previous government ministers.
The Transition Report according to the Vice President, made reference to certain ministries, among them Education and Tourism about how these ministries were neglected and how millions of cash went missing, especially at the education ministry, but all of these could be accepted when once the report is made public for public analysis
The is not a matter of taking what our politician say, as the gospel truth, as there is every need for the report to be made a public document. When journalist and members of the international community turned out in their large numbers on the 2nd of July at State House, it was a surprise that, the document could not be given out, but were promised that, it was going to be out within tow weeks. But here are we, over three weeks now; nothing has been said by the government.
The APC government should tell the people of this country whether ex-ministers have been granted amnesty or whether we are going towards the dictates of good governance that look accountability as a key word. When once people are made to account of their misdeeds, then we are sure of seeing a government that will not condone corruption.
President Koroma’s determination in the fight against corruption must be pout indigo action, rather than mere words. It is only when president Koroma sets a consummate example that; even his current ministers could be made to work in a corrupt free environment.
From all indications, the APC led government wants to use the Transition Report as a political weapon against perceived political opponents. The findings of the Transition Team became laud when we were moving towards the conduct of the Local Council Elections, realizing that, they [APC] were having a big political challenge from the SLPP.
Let the APC government be bold enough in telling people what is happening with the Transition Report. We want to know so that, people could be held responsible for their actions. Let them stop hiding behind the report when wanting to make political gains.
They must be serious with the fight against corruption and this could be started right the current cocaine saga that has been linked to the Transport and Aviation Minister. President Koroma. People must be made to account now for their misdeeds, or immunity be granted to all those involved in corruption, and when that is done, then we can understand where we are moving towards as a state. Till then, [email protected] is my email By John Baimba Sesay