The chairperson of the Kenema District Council (KDC) Patrick Sarmu has last weekend defied his critics by making a surprise appearance at a public forum organized by Search for Common Ground Talking Drum studio in collaboration with the Media and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall along Blama road in Kenema city.
In his opening remarks the chairman of the ceremony Augustine Sannoh of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) Sierra Leone, thanked all for attending the occasion describing it as day the public will make use of to audit their council and to suggest the way forward for the Council. He therefore appealed to all in the hall and those outside to positively participate in the program.
Addressing the invitees during the Kenema district council community interface session the Chairman of the Kenema District Council Patrick Sarmu says most people in the district lack sufficient information about their operational mandate, a factor which he says is sometimes responsible for the undue castigation of the Kenema District Council by inhabitants of the city. The District council chairperson also stated that most of the development activities of the District council were centered in rural communities while the city council is implementing its development programs within the city of Kenema.
Patrick Sarmu used the occasion to highlight some of the projects the Kenema District Council have implemented in the district and further disclosed some of the Council’s future development plans among which he mentioned the construction of two mini studios at Largo and Tongo field in the Lower Bambara chiefdom, the construction of roads and a market at Ngebgema in the Tunkia chiefdom and the building of a Junior Secondary School are among some of the things for which the Kenema District Council would be credited.
The chairman dismissed claims of impartiality in the award of contract emanating from the council. He says there is no law in the local council Act that exempts or forbids them from construction projects after some members of the civil society questioned the neutrality of the Kenema District Council chairman and the Chief Administrator C.P.J. Kallon, both of whom were accused of manipulating contracts, building projects in favour of what they referred to as their construction companies.
In response the Chief Administrator C.P.J. Kallon explained Councils development initiatives which he says are arrived at with the help of Ward Development Committees (WDC) adding that they are reviewed annually. He disclosed to the public that the procurement section is facing problems because the community people have not been responding to their procurement adverts. He called on all and sundry to contribute to Council’s march towards development in the district in the interest of all.
Making a statement the Development Procurement Officer Alex Ngegba informed the meeting that more will be expended by the Kenema District Council informally on their behalf. Ngegba said the office is operating under mentioned procurement policies which have respect for time; quality, accountability and transparency.
In her closing statement Nancy Sesay of Talking Drum Studio thanked the Kenema District Council Chairman Parick Sarmu and the public for attending the public forum but could not hide her frustration on the low turnout of people at the session. She appealed to all to cooperate with the Kenema District council for the development of the district and the nation as a whole.