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PMDC Manifesto Released

23 February 2006 at 18:22 | 692 views

MANIFESTO OF

PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT

FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

FORWARD
The founding fathers who ushered in independence on the 27th day of April, 1961, had a dream for Sierra Leone. A dream that was intended to put Sierra Leone on the International stage with all the attributes that go with it. The March towards this goal was not only reassuring but comprehensive enough to embrace all components of a true Democracy. In this regard, tolerance, probity and accountability were guiding principles in this forward March. This was to the admiration of all both within and without Sierra Leone. Sierra Leoneans of all ages, creed and status lived a happier, healthier and fulfilling life. This was however to be short lived.

For some reprehensible reason, which may not be unconnected with greed and self-aggrandizement on the part of the leadership, the decades declined into decadence with the set goals degenerating into despair and wanton suffering. Democratic ideals were replaced by dictatorship short of a police state. Integrity, probity and accountability gave way to rampant institutionalized corruption with impunity. Sierra Leone is almost on the verge of collapse.

The birth of PMDC was God sent, if only to rekindle the hopes and aspirations of compatriots.

As interim Leader of PMDC, I have pleasure in writing this forward whilst assuring all and sundry of PMDC’s determination to resuscitate all core values taken away from the people of this country by selfish and unprogressive leaders who have little or no regard for the welfare and well-being of the citizenry, but their own self-interest.

The future of this our beloved nation lies with PDMC, God being our helper, this is assured.

Charles Francis Margai
Interim Leader

A. Background

The PMDC Is Born

People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) is born of the desire of the people of Sierra Leone for positive change. It is in response to the people’s call for a radical departure from the negative and unprogressive political traditions that have characterized governance over three decades.

Reforms therefore underpin the Movement’s policy - reforms which are fundamental, profound and comprehensive enough to address every aspect of national life, both socio-economic and political.

The avalanche of home-grown protest songs such as Daddy Saj’s ‘Corruption’, Emerson’s ‘Borbor Belleh’ and Sweg beh’, “Big Waite Fol’ and many more attest to this longing for change.

The negativity of the practices of the political ruling class not only marginalizes the people but also undermines their confidence in the state. Such alienation and disillusionment wrecked a once sound national economy, destroyed civilised values and reduced a nation ranked 12th in Africa in natural resource endowment, to languish second to last according to the UNDP’s Human Development Index.

The people desire a fresh clean breath of change from the unprogressive leadership which has fouled the political atmosphere for decades. They desire a more dynamic and pro-active leadership committed to inspiring the people, rather than lulling them into complacency with false promises.

A PMDC government will guarantee and foster the basic values of Unity, Freedom, Justice and Equal opportunities and set a clear vision and direction for this country. PMDC stands for freedom as enshrined in the national constitution - i.e. freedom of Speech, Assembly, Association, Worship and Movement.

PMDC believes that only a clean break from the traditions of the current and past political dispensations, and the infusion into governance of a forthright and firm leadership, can free this nation from the vicious cycle of bad governance and poverty.

The Movement is poised to give our people the honest, robust and committed leadership so that in partnership with the citizenry, the nation will be taken out of the doldrums.

PMDC faithfully pledges that in the fight to promote sustainable peace and security, in the struggle to turn the economy around, in the cause of equal justice for the rich and poor, in pursuit of good governance and war against corruption, the Movement is poised to give unstinted leadership in the spirit of one for all and all for one!

B. PHILOSOPHY AND IDEOLOGY

PMDC’s political philosophy is grounded on tested political systems that brings into being a government that truly represents the mass of the people with the rights of individuals safeguarded.

PMDC’s ideology is composite of:

(1) The inalienable right to representative government and,
(2) The right to individual liberties.

In practice the essential features of PMDC’S approach are as follows:

(1) Sound democratic institutions based on majority rule, through a pluralistic electoral process attested to as free and fair.

(2) Devolution of political power such that limits the powers of the central government.

(3) Transparency and Accountability in the process of governance.

(4) Freedom of expression, assembly and association as guaranteed by the national constitution

In the people’s desire for a positive change, PMDC shall be judged on the following benchmarks:
(1) Evidence of constitutional government.
(2) Evidence of free and fair elections for local councils and parliament.
(3) Evidence of true separation of powers with checks and balances between the three organs of government: executive, legislative and judiciary.
(4) Evidence of good livelihood for citizenry
(5) Evidence of sound social services
C. A synopsis of goals and aspirations

1. Governance Enhancement

1.1 Security, law and order.

Taking into cognizance the fact that this nation is barely coming out of war, and that the maintenance of security, law and order are paramount, the Movement’s policy prioritises security and translates it to include the welfare of the masses in order to avoid mass discontent.

PMDC appreciates the invaluable contributions made by the various security agencies in stabilizing the situation in Sierra Leone. This stability notwithstanding, with the imminent withdrawal of UNAMSIL and the resultant fears of the citizenry, there is an imperative need to enhance the capability of the security forces to meet the challenges ahead. Such enhancement shall include improving their conditions of service, professionalism while ensuring meritorious promotions.

Policing our porous borders shall be paramount to our national security strategy. Smuggling, illegal cross-border activities, money laundering, human trafficking and security threats across our borders continue to threaten national stability. There is grave public concern about our immigration control measures. A PMDC government shall set up mechanisms for the sharing of information on security and transnational crime with modalities put in place to ensure effective control of immigration.

1.2 The Judiciary and the Rule of Law.

The rule of law is a sine qua non for any democratic society. It is the cornerstone for good governance leading to a stable society. The laws as they are, are partly discriminatory, anachronistic and inadequate to address the fundamental issues, such as the land tenure system, inheritance, and family law. PMDC is committed to upholding the rule of law and guarantees a free, open and just society by ensuring independence of the judiciary as opposed to what obtains now and had long been. PMDC undertakes to reform the judicial and justice system to make them more efficient and attractive. The Movement shall embark on comprehensive legal reforms to address the imbalances in our society, further pledging to guarantee the constitutional and democratic rights of all citizens. viz: freedom of speech, worship, association, access to information and the right to free, fair and expeditious trial.

It is without doubt that many of the laws are outdated and therefore needing reform. One of such areas calling for review is the Public Order Act No. 46 of 1965.

1.3 Devolution and Local government.

PMDC is committed to ensuring people’s participation in governance to the fullest, thus the decentralization of power would lie at the heart of our policies. Towards this goal, the Movement pledges to empower all local councils to mobilize their community’s resources to generate the necessary funds for their advancement, as they are better placed to determine their communities’ felt needs, developmental priorities and aspirations. Greater autonomy shall be given to them to determine the destinies of their respective communities in order to economically empower them.

1.4 Civil Society Participation.
The People are the cornerstone of the PMDC. They are at the very heart of its policies. The Movement believes that the people are the surest vehicle for their own salvation and economic emancipation. PMDC shall therefore provide the leadership to galvanise civil society participation at all levels of governance to move this nation forward.

PMDC shall do this by providing credible leadership in partnership with the people.

PMDC shall endeavour to accomplish, encourage and promote community spirit and service.

1.5 Extra Departmental Commissions.

As the business of governance becomes ever more complex, modern state management requires the creation of extra-departmental commissions to perform specialized functions which normal government departments are not tailored to do. Examples are National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), National Commission for Privatization (NCP), and a host of others. Controversy and suspicion however have dogged the operations of such commissions.

PMDC pledges to make the operations of such commissions more transparent and accountable to the people.

A PMDC government shall ensure that funds are channeled to the right priorities and such funds are properly accounted for and that the commissions themselves do not become duplicates or super ministries but actually complement and supplement the programmes of mainstream government departments such that development may be coordinated and cohesive.

1.6 Parastatals.

Poor management of many parastatals has rendered such institutions national liabilities rather than assets - hence, the hue and cry for their privatization. While the Movement acknowledges the need for privatization of many such parastatals, it however advocates a cautious approach that takes into account what is privatized, how it affects the people, what is benefited by the nation and how it is spread.

The Movement posits that privatization for privatization sake could impact negatively on society and cause the exploitation of our people. The Movement therefore pledges to encourage full Sierra Leonean participation in the privatization process to ensure that our people derive the benefits.

1.7 Non-Governmental Organisations
Though not a novelty in Sierra Leone, even going back thirty years into history, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) proliferated here only during and after the war. Considered more flexible, less corruption prone and in touch with the grassroots than centralized government institution, NGOs became more fashionable to the donor community and therefore more involved in project implementation funded by such donors.

Whilst PMDC acknowledges their invaluable contribution as our partners in development, the Movement believes that the efforts of NGOs should be better coordinated in order to avoid duplication of efforts and waste of funds and resources and ensure that the greatest benefits of their activities actually meet the people for whom the funding was meant.

In pursuance of this goal, PMDC intends to put in place a monitoring and tracking system that would enhance greater coordination, eliminate duplication and waste and guarantee more transparency and accountability in the operations of NGOs, both local and international. PMDC will further ensure that programmes embarked upon dovetail into overall government development policies so that development would be made more holistic, cohesive and sustainable.

2. Foreign Policy and International Relations

As globalization brings the world’s diverse peoples and cultures ever closer, as advances in science, information technology and the Internet increase communication between nations, as international trade and cooperation facilitate enhanced cross-continental contacts and as man made or natural disasters stir the human heart making people reach out to each other in times of crises, PMDC takes cognizance of the fact that no nation can afford to live in isolation.

PMDC therefore takes this opportunity to thank all members of the international community who reached out a helping hand to us Sierra Leoneans when we were in dire need. The efforts of the international community towards the restoration of peace and democracy are highly commendable.

The Movement therefore pledges to embrace the Articles and Principles enshrined in the Geneva and Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Practice and Consular Relations and adhere to the Protocols and Articles of regional associations and international organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union and all global alliances which are committed to the pursuit of liberty and peaceful co-existence. The PMDC further commits itself alongside all well - meaning nations to the fight against global terrorism in order to ensure a more peaceful and stable world.

In this regard the Movement fully endorses an enhanced and more dynamic and robust role for the UN in the maintenance of international peace and order and the resolution of conflicts wherever they occur. It is the preference of PMDC that the UN adopts preventive measures in addressing conflicts rather than embarking on crisis management. The Movement further pledges to meet to the fullest all its obligations towards the realization of this goal within its capabilities.

The Movement realizes the important role the Mano River Union (MRU) could play towards restoring the cordial relationship enjoyed by the three nations of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. PMDC is therefore committed to an invigorated MRU that would play its rightful role in ensuring the peace and stability in the Mano river union basin. When mutual trust is once again restored between our three-sister nations, only then can true peace, stability and development be sustained and cross-border infiltrations and violations left to the ugly past.

PMDC further pledges to pursue vigorous multi as well as bi-lateral agreements to promote greater international cooperation in the areas of economic development, trade, the war against drugs, human trafficking etc. We also commit ourselves to initiating robust diplomatic efforts to raise our national stature in the international forum and expand our bi-lateral relationships with other nations in furtherance of mutually agreed goals and programmes.

A sound foreign policy is the surest means for us to win back the respect and confidence of the international community in Sierra Leone, which successive governments have failed to address.

The Movement will ensure that compatriots in the Diaspora fully participate in national development. Such participation will extend to making them eligible to vote and be voted for at national elections. Reciprocally they will be expected to pay their taxes to meet their civic responsibility.

3. Economic Activities

3.1 Financial Management.

Prudent, honest, resourceful and proper management of any nation’s financial resources is indispensable to economic development and sustainable growth. This has been woefully lacking in Sierra Leone, accounting for the scanty evidence available on the ground to justify the millions of dollars of donor intervention. PMDC shall guarantee transparency, probity and accountability in the management of the nation’s finances; introduce fiscal policies to achieve maximum benefit to the nation and restore credibility to the National Treasury as well as other state financial institutions.

A programme aimed at re-establishing macroeconomic stability, rehabilitating the social and economic infrastructure and rebuilding capacity for policy development and implementation will be one of PMDC’s priority.

The above programme will be achieved through the following strategies-:
Collaborating with our development partners to reduce both domestic and external debts to a minimum through debt cancellations, debt-swap and buy-backs, and the mobilization of maximum domestic and external resources (in the form of enhanced tax administration and collection for domestic resources and in the form of programme and project grants and concessionary loans at a minimal cost).

The maintenance of strict fiscal discipline driven by measures to rationalize the tax system and strengthen control over spending.

Enhanced monetary policy directed towards controlling money supply growth to levels consistent with inflation objectives while ensuring that sufficient bank credit is available to the private sector.

Reduction in capital gains tax to encourage entrepreneurship, especially indigenous entrepreneurial activity and business creation.

Introduction of Volunteer Corps for Youths in both agriculture and road construction. This would be done by creating farming communities and small-scale contractor companies for youths throughout the country, whose involvement will be encouraged through provision of scholarships for those intending to continue any form of education and the formal employment of those no longer wishing to be enrolled in educational institutions.

The introduction of adaptive technology that befits the endowment of each district for the establishment of small-scale factories, for example, Garri making factories in the Bo and Moyamba Districts, Ginger in Moyamba District, Fruit canning factory in the Koinadugu District, Garra and Cloth making factory in the Bombali and Kailahun Districts respectively, Groundnut Oil and Cream making factory in the Port Loko District, local building materials factory in the Pujehun District, Fish processing factory in Shenge, Tombo, Gbondapi and Goderich, cocoa and Coffee processing factory in the Kailahun District, cashew nut processing in Kambia and Port Loko Districts, to list a few.

Establishment of an export processing zone.

Linking the educational system to the labour market through the introduction of a comprehensive active labour market policy, this will largely depend on the type of education and training system in place.

Concerted effort in Infrastructural Development to enhance investment and information/communication technology (ICT).

Concerted effort in the provision of safe drinking water and health facilities throughout the country.

PMDC shall revisit taxation policies to ensure that the people are not over-burdened, as is currently the case, which militates against investment and increased productivity.

3.2 Development and Economic Planning.

Uncoordinated and disjointed planning has characterized national development and economic programmes. Failure to implement such plans further compounds the problem.

In the year 2003, farmers in the Eastern region of Sierra Leone amongst farmers in other regions toiled and achieved bumper harvests which they could not get to the markets because of poor road networks and misplaced priorities in road construction.

Sierra Leone is a paradoxical case of a resource-rich country afflicted with growth collapse and pervasive poverty. The country’s deteriorating growth performance from the early 1970s can be attributed to adverse terms of trade chocks, the misguided political economy, a diamond curse mobilizing labour and investment from agriculture and manufacturing to the diamond mining areas, a sizeable informal sector, ethno-regional divisions facilitating the emergence of poor political leadership, growth hostile economic policy and urban-biased policy inimical to growth.

Sierra Leone’s labour market is segmented into a small formal urban sector; a large informal urban sector; an informal rural sector and a diamond-mining sector. Concentration of infrastructure mainly in Freetown, severe information asymmetry and the diamond lure were inimical to growth, inducing large-scale rural-urban migration, resulting in rural labour shortages, and hence reduced agricultural output, while increasing unemployment and crime in urban and diamond mining areas.

Economic growth in Sierra Leone will depend on two factors: the quantities of available inputs, such as capital and labour, and the productivity of those inputs. Economic growth cannot occur unless the quantity of inputs increases, productivity improves, or both. To achieve pro-poor economic growth requires an efficient legal system that protects property rights and enforces contracts, a developed infrastructure to reduce transaction costs, an institutional and regulatory framework that promotes healthy competition and the creation of employment.

PMDC is resolved to providing leadership in ensuring holistic planning such that projects embarked upon are accomplished. In this way, growth and development are made sustainable and coordinated, to reap the maximum from the advantages of the economies of scale.

4. Engine of growth

4.1 Agriculture and Food Production.

The vast majority of Sierra Leoneans who are rural based are employed in the agricultural sector. Agriculture being the economic mainstay of the nation, It is not only a job for farmers but also a way of feeding the people and ensuring sustainable national economic growth.

Sierra Leone is endowed with bountiful arable land, which must not be left to lie fallow. PMDC is therefore committed to providing the leadership necessary to put such bounteous farmlands into cultivation, as agriculture is the surest gateway to sustainable economic growth. No nation can develop fully if it cannot feed its people.

Under a PMDC government, the agricultural sector shall be restructured and adequately equipped to ensure the production of sufficient food to meet the nation’s needs and boost foreign exchange reserves through export.

Efficient management of this sector is the centerpiece of our policy. A necessary component of such management shall be to encourage the establishment of agro-based industries that will undertake the processing, preservation and canning of agricultural produce for both local consumption and export.

A PMDC government will radically reorganize the Agricultural Sector in favour of mechanization so as to move our farmers from the current subsistence farming to self sufficient mechanized farming. The restructuring will also take onboard large scale live - stock rearing and fish farming as well as revamping agricultural cooperatives and Trade Fairs.

The Movement shall play a greater role to ensure that our womenfolk in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products get the necessary legal safeguards to achieve gender parity in benefits and foster national growth and prosperity.

4.2 Trade and Industry.

Trade is both domestic and international and dependent on the level of economic activities in the state. With productivity stunted because of the plethora of a host of problems, imbalances in trade are bound to occur.

Small Businesses are the engines of our economy. They create and sustain employment and provide flexibility and innovation for all sectors of the economy. People’s Movement for Democratic Change will be committed to creating an economic environment in which small businesses prosper. A Small Businesses Commission will be set up to examine government interventions, monitor the progress of small businesses and keep their needs on the government’s agenda.

Shortages of skilled labour throughout the economy hamstrung the development of firms and stifles wealth creation. PMDC shall, in a liberal market economy, free businesses from the shackles of low skills and shortages of trained workers.

PMDC therefore commits itself to stimulate productivity and provide the conducive environment in which such productivity would be marketed. Addressing restrictive trade practices and policies is also a cornerstone to PMDC’s objectives to promote both domestic and international trade. The goal shall be to improve on the volume of trade from which government could earn revenue to embark upon developmental programmes.

4.3 Transport and Communications.

Commercialization is the key to development and economic growth as it facilitates exchange, which stimulates greater productivity. Meaningful commercialization of economic activities can only take place when sellers and buyers are brought together to transact business.

Existing and past governments have failed to improve on transport and communications facilities and therefore have limited the ability of buyers and sellers to transact business. PMDC shall put priority on improving the transport and communications sector in order to boost trade and in that pursuit inspire greater productivity.

Cognisant of the fact that the entire road network in the country is in a deplorable state, PMDC shall embark upon an extensive programme of road rehabilitation and construction. This would bring communities into closer communication with each other and therefore accelerate exchange of goods and services.

Emphasis shall be placed on both major trunk roads as well as feeder roads.
Seeing that the protection of lives and properties of Sierra Leoneans is central to our overall objectives, PMDC is committed to putting in place measures to safeguard and improve air, sea and land travel and make these more accessible, convenient and safe.

In the area of telecommunications, PMDC shall pursue policies to ensure advancement in technology and competitiveness in the provision of services for greater customer satisfaction at reasonable tariffs.

4.4 Marine and Fisheries Resources

With a coastline of about 506km, territorial sea frontier of 200 nautical miles, fish catches of more than 62,000 tons per annum from pelagic species (surface dwelling) taken by small-scale fishers and 106,000 tons per annum from demersal species (bottom dwelling) taken by the industrial sector, Sierra Leone has little to show for it. The coastline and beaches are also mined disconnectedly ensuing inordinate erosion and environmental degradation.

Recognising the fact that activities of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources are unfortunately confined to fisheries (biological) resources - a PMDC government will identify and encourage the functional incorporation and management of other economic activities like sand, stone and rock mining, salt production etc. in the Ministry and make the aquatic resource sector in general more accessible and accountable to the people of Sierra Leone

PMDC shall focus on the following:
- Food production for the population
- Provision of employment
- Provision of Income
- Earning foreign exchange (Export)
- Provision of recreational facilities

Fisheries resources from Sierra Leone are banned by the European Union largely because of unsanitary condition which is hampering the economic capacity of artisanal fisher men.

The industry urgently requires investment in a fishing harbour nationwide, which would attract well-meaning investors, ensure/assure quality and allow monitoring, control and surveillance of our aquatic resources. This will facilitate canned food production/value added processes in Sierra Leone; systematic research in the marine environment; generate reliable data and statistics for the much needed management information system for management of aquatic resource.

For sustainability, a PMDC government will encourage appropriate fishing innovations and exploitations of the relatively “Untapped” resources like Tuna, Sharks etc possibly off the continental slope.

4.5 Mineral Resources.

Sierra Leone is endowed with abundant mineral resources. Returns from the exploitation of the mineral resources of this nation have never impacted positively on national development, or the welfare of the people. The benefits are not reflected in the conditions of life of the people to whom such resources truly belong.

PMDC’s goals in the mining sector are to restore its significance to the economy through increased output, employment, fiscal revenues and foreign exchange earnings. The strategies in the large-scale sub-sector include promoting exploration of favourable geological targets.

The Movement shall promote the primary processing of minerals locally as it is happening in other African countries, to add value to the products, ensuring sound environmental and safety conditions.
The principal objective of any arrangement for the marketing of minerals must be that of obtaining the highest price for the goods. PMDC shall adopt measures to curb illegal mining and eradicate smuggling of precious minerals. An attempt will be made to attract the interest of more of the leading international diamond merchants to participate in the industry. The number of exporters’ licenses will be limited and restricted to organized companies or groups. Foreign exporters shall be obliged to train Sierra Leoneans on the marketing of minerals on the international market.
PMDC promises to ensure that the exploitation of such resources goes towards the national good and such exploitation is carried out without disastrous consequences to the environment in which it takes place. Measures shall be put in place to curb smuggling of our precious minerals while mining policies shall be revisited in order to ensure that the people get a fair share of their God-given resources.

4.6 Tourism and Culture.

Sierra Leone can boast of potentials in tourism, second - to - none in the West African sub-region, with the world’s longest unbroken beaches. It is also a repository of rare fauna and flora, with a potential to attract droves of tourists. Yet these bounteous gifts of nature are grossly under-utilised.
Tourism is an ever increasing and growing sector of the economy. A PMDC government is committed to providing greater incentives and support for tourism based on investments. At the same time it recognizes that tourism and tourism development must be sustainable and carried out in a manner which causes minimum disruption to the environment and traditional ways of life.
Tourism remains undiversified and confined to the western area. The industry needs to be properly marketed nationally and internationally. This sector should be efficiently managed and coordinated to improve on the employment situation and create net benefits in terms of foreign exchange and tax revenues to government.
PMDC shall identify the country’s tourism assets - physical and wildlife assets, monuments, relics and historical buildings and cultural assets. The Movement shall undertake effective marketing and promotion of all facets of tourism.
The party shall establish, update and develop regional tourism attractions, involving the local people in the planning and development of tourist assets. This requires providing local communities with appropriate education and training in tourism projects planning, implementation, management and monitoring.
This can be achieved by working closely with chiefdom and district authorities, related NGOs, and other government agencies to promote and sustain community awareness.
Successive governments have undervalued the arts, culture and heritage, but we the PMDC will be proud to champion them.

Civilized societies value culture for its own sake as well as its undoubted benefits to other areas, such as the economy, health, education and creating a sense of community. It is also an important part of personal development.

5. Social Services

5.1 Health, Sanitation and the Environment

Life expectancy in Sierra Leone averages 37 years, one of the lowest in the world. Maternity and infant mortality rate in Sierra Leone are among the highest in the world. There is a high prevalence of preventable diseases due to inadequate and ill - equipped health infrastructure, inadequate access to health and other social services in both urban and rural areas. Doctors, nurses and supporting staff are relatively few in number.

PMDC believes that prevention is better than cure. The Movement will create the enabling environment for citizens to live healthier lives, as good health is an important catalyst to economic and social development necessary for national prosperity and political stability. Our pledge is a fulfilling life for all citizens as the PMDC is committed to promoting a good health care delivery system through expanded/outreach and sustainable programmes in partnership with local communities nationwide.

PMDC further considers the issue of sanitation as very pertinent to the health of the citizens of this country and will take measures in collaboration with other agencies to rid our towns and cities of filth and garbage to ensure a healthy and safe environment.

A PMDC government will work in partnership with local and international organizations to fight HIV/AIDS and all communicable diseases.

The People’s Movement for Democratic Change will be at the forefront of the new Environmental revolution, by integrating environmental concerns into our policy making, both at local and national levels. PMDC will promote environmental improvement using the bottom to top approach. This is why we will give local people greater control over things that affect their lives by establishing community trusts to protect local environmental issues for the benefit of the community.

We believe that by productively sustaining the environment, we will collectively enhance our economy.

5.2 Education.

Human resource development is crucial to turning the economy around. Notwithstanding the billions poured into the education sector over the years, the best we could get are poorly constructed schools with few trained teachers, resulting in disappointing results in public examinations

Sierra Leone, once heralded as the Athens of Africa, now lags behind less endowed nations in the provision of education.

As a political Movement, PMDC recognizes education as a key investment in human resources, which is grossly lacking at the moment. The thrust of the PMDC’s education policy shall be geared towards addressing the following issues:
Quality education at all levels
Affordable education for all
Accessibility to education nationwide.

A PMDC government will be totally committed to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education and adhere to other international targets aimed at reducing the imbalances in the provision of education. This is in a bid to reduce the high level of illiteracy currently prevalent in the country. Towards this end our government will keenly focus on the following:
Education of the girl child
Gender parity
Quality in education delivery
Promotion of skills acquisition for self-reliance and self-actualization.

PMDC will put premium on improvement of conditions of service for teachers to be as competitive and rewarding as in other walks of life.

PMDC will guarantee collaboration between University, Government departments and other organizations in the promotion of Scientific and Cultural programmes to attain national development.

PMDC will review conditions of service across the board making it attractive for qualified Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora to come home and make meaningful contributions to national development.

Whilst acknowledging the invaluable contributions of the teaching profession towards human resource development, PMDC recognizes the need to improve on their professionalism through enhanced in-service training and the establishment of a professional council.

5.3 Public Works and Housing.

Public buildings and offices, quarters, barracks, their furnishings and trappings nationwide are in dire state of disrepair and grossly inadequate. Meanwhile a significant number of our compatriots have no place to lay their heads

The institutional and legislative framework for a housing scheme in this country is weak and inadequate. The Party is committed to policies, plans and programmes that will satisfy the housing requirements of the nation. The Party’s policy and objectives on housing will be geared towards meeting the national housing demand and satisfying the hopes and aspirations of the low-income sector of the workers of our country.

The party shall create the enabling environment that will facilitate local and foreign investor-participation in housing schemes through appropriate incentives.

5.4 Information and Social Mobilisation.

Information is power. Yet successive administrations have failed to avail themselves of this power to mobilize the people through the effective use of information.

They have instead kept the people in permanent ignorance in order to continue misusing, abusing and refusing them the right to a decent existence.

PMDC will create the environment and ensure individual liberty and freedom, safeguard the freedom of the press and endeavour to keep citizens as well informed as possible at all times.

PMDC is determined to make information free, open and easily accessible.

5.5 Sports and Recreation.

Access to sporting and other recreational activities makes a healthy nation. Facilities for these are lacking nationwide. While other nations are positively impacting the international sporting arena even in our sub-region, Sierra Leone has vanished from the sub - regional spotlight.

PMDC shall provide focused leadership to improve upon sporting and recreational facilities whilst putting premium on promoting and marketing Sierra Leone’s sporting prowess worldwide.

Although football the nation’s most favourite sport will occupy front stage in our priorities, other sporting activities such as cricket, basketball, lawn tennis and athletics, to name but a few would also be given the attention they deserve.

The Movement would also mobilise Sierra Leoneans both at home and in the Diaspora to try to generate funds necessary to host a major continental sporting event such as the African Nations Cup finals.

In a bid to catch talents early emphasis shall be placed on schools sports confined not just to Freetown and the provincial headquarters but spread out through every district and chiefdom. Chiefdom and Local Councils would be encouraged to promote sporting events in their respective areas in order to spot and develop talents.

5.6 Energy and Power.

Electricity and safe drinking water are a must for the functioning of any modern state. The vast Majority of Sierra Leoneans have no access to electricity and or safe drinking water. The effect of the absence of these fundamental necessities has resulted in the lack of industrial development.

The Movement is totally committed to human development and therefore intends to provide electricity supply nationwide.

Low access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities is one of the contributing factors to Sierra Leone’s position in the UNDP Human Development Index for decades. Statistics show that only about 35 to 40% have access to treated drinking water in the urban areas, and it is almost non - existent in the rural areas.

The Movement is committed to reviving the defunct water supply systems in the chiefdom headquarters and will extend such facilities countrywide.

Our long term aim is to make sure that every settlement has access to electricity and safe drinking water. We will promote effective research and other initiatives in the field of renewable energy, such as solar, small hydro and biomass energy.

5.7 Land Acquisition, Distribution and Utilisation.

Acquisition, distribution and utilization of land resources constitute some of the most contentious issues in today’s Sierra Leone. Poor land management has caused serious tragedies in our country.

The Movement shall put in place policies to ensure legality of possession, equity in distribution and social acceptability of the processes of utilization and exploitation of land resources. Land development shall be given prominence and policies shall be designed to attract substantial investments in land and land-based resources.

Priorities shall be given to Country Planning and proper land management.

6. People’s Empowerment

6.1 Children’s Affairs.

Children constitute the future of any nation. Yet the children of Sierra Leone are so underprivileged that their future is a grim and unwholesome prospect. Child trafficking and use for forced labour continues to deny them the opportunity to fully develop their talents and make themselves gainfully employable to become contributing citizens of the state in the future. Grinding poverty denies them food; shelter and clothing while deplorable health facilities cause their premature demise - thus the high infant mortality rate.
PMDC is poised to put in place child protection measures in partnership with parents, guardians and communities as well as International and national non-governmental organizations (NGO), such that the welfare of the child becomes the concern of all. Their wholesome development is our commitment.

The issue of street children is one that would be addressed by encouraging the establishment of child support institutions in partnership with the international community and non-governmental organizations in order to provide these children adequate shelter, upkeep, training and education.

6.2. Youths.

Youths are the bedrock of any nation. The quality of youths therefore determines the dynamism of a people. Yet Sierra Leonean youths have been the most abused, misused and deprived by successive regimes. Youth empowerment therefore is a commitment that is at the very core of PMDC’s objectives.

Youths are the cornerstones upon which a sound nation is built, and that leadership required to move them to dynamism is what the Movement is focused upon providing. Greater participation of youth in governance will also be fostered with their interests and welfare prioritized.

6.3. The Aged.

Like women and children, the aged in Sierra Leone constitute yet another disadvantaged and vulnerable class. They are deprived of basic facilities such as shelter, medicare, food and proper care. The lack of such facilities results in their early demise. The PMDC is committed to developing policies friendly to the aged as well as catering for their welfare and promoting their well-being.

6.4. People with Special Needs (The Disabled)

This is yet another of the vulnerable groups in our society through no fault of theirs. Current and past government policies have been grossly inadequate in tackling their predicament and addressing it with the seriousness it requires. PMDC pledges to promote policies to address the plight of the handicapped and provide them opportunities for a decent existence. Supporting organisations shall be encouraged to provide funds towards adequately addressing the issue of handicaps so that they are not reduced to the permanent status of beggars all be it on a short-term

6.5 Gender Affairs.

Women make up majority of the national population. Notwithstanding their size, they have been marginalized and as such have become victims of gender discrimination.

PMDC is poised to creating gender parity and to give equal opportunity without gender bias, this will be done by mainstreaming gender in all its programmes.

PMDC will also revisit those laws that have been discriminatory to our womenfolk and would grant them equal opportunities in governance.

6.6 Rural Development.

Rural Sierra Leone makes up most of this nation’s land mass and accounts for a large proportion of the national population. It also provides most of our natural resources upon which the state is dependent for economic development. Yet current and past governments have directed very little of the national wealth to the development of rural Sierra Leone and as such rural dwellers are among the poorest of the poor.

PMDC shall endeavour to direct more resources and planning of rural communities in order to upgrade facilities and amenities in such communities such as electricity and pipe- borne water.

PMDC is also committed to halting the mass exodus from rural environments to urban centres by facilitating the provision of such essential services; such as job opportunities, recreational facilities, and effective decentralization that would make migration to the cities and big towns less attractive.

D. The Pledge

For over three decades Sierra Leoneans have known nothing else but bad governance, massive corruption, poverty, dehumanization and degradation. Successive generations have been born to grow up into adulthood without experiencing a decent existence. For these deprived generations nothing like three-square meals a day; nothing like decent clothing or housing and nothing like guaranteed quality education, proper health care or the opportunities for growth and personal realisation. Even the basic family unit was rent apart pitting brothers against brothers, fathers against sons and mothers against their daughters.

During these lost decades all Sierra Leoneans suffered, but our youths, children and womenfolk suffered the most and have been the most marginalized.

The abuse of political authority wreaked havoc to national morality and eroded core values of our society plunging the nation into lawlessness, wanton crime and finally civil strife and chaos described as one of the most brutal in human history.

Even after the ten - year gruesome war, nothing much has changed. The exploitative mindset of the political ruling class remains the same. If anything, all the factors that precipitated the civil war are still present in today’s Sierra Leone and amplified many folds.

We Sierra Leoneans must not despair. Our destiny lies in our own hands. With commitment and determination we could join the rest of humanity in the forward march to global development and self-sufficiency.

Given the current approach to governance, there is no way Sierra Leone can meet the Millennium Development Goals or the benchmarks to be accomplished by 2015.

To move from this present quagmire into a promising future we need a change predicated on a visionary, decisive and strong leadership.

PMDC pledges to provide honest, forthright, decisive, enlightened and robust leadership that would inspire the people and re-kindle their confidence in politics and governance so that together in partnership we can lift our beloved Sierra Leone out of the doldrums.

These are our humble pledges to our people.

TO GOD (ALLAH) BE THE GLORY

Photo: PMDC leader Charles Margai

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