Mayors and Councillors in the six Local Councils in the Southern Province were sworn in on Friday min the Bo City Hall.
The hall was shadowed by green representing the dominance of the opposition SLPP party, amid singing and dancing competing with speeches.
Resident Minister South, Musa Tarawallie, who chaired the occasion, said President Ernest Bai Koroma had assured before the elections that all political parties should be allowed to enjoy their freedom to operate.
The minister said the struggle for political supremacy between the parties would always continue but in a violence-free atmosphere. He referred to the day as “special”, saying the region was the only place where all the major political parties were well represented. Internal Affairs and Local Government Minister, Dawda Sulaiman Kamara said a heavy task awaited the new councillors. He said the ceremony was testament to government’s avowed commitment to the devolution of power which he referred to as an essential ingredient in democratic governance.Mr Kamara said that since the reestablishment of local councils in 2004, they had performed satisfactorily in meeting the expectations of the central government despite teething constraints they had been fraught with due to the lack of funds.“The nation is anxious for development,” he said, adding that the councils must seek alternative ways to mobilize funds to deliver on the needs of their people.The minister assured of his government’s continued commitment to “always aid and facilitate the councils in the spirit of partnership”, adding that government had, as a start, disbursed Le 33 Billion to councils. He appealed to the new councillors to put on the “new garment of attitudinal change for all Sierra Leoneans” in handling state resources. “I want us to put Sierra Leone first,” he concluded. The Chairman of the Pujehun District Council, Saddiq Sillah said this was the first time in the new political dispensation of Sierra Leone that he had witnessed voters voting based on “performance, service delivery and result.” He assured they were taking on to their job as the President’s lieutenants as this was time for all Sierra Leoneans “to work, to develop and move Sierra Leone forward.”
By Bawoh Jenkins