From the Editor’s Keyboard

President Koroma is Not Weak

2 November 2013 at 22:03 | 1076 views

I had a conversation with a friend recently at a Vancouver coffee shop and the subject of Sierra Leone came up. With some anger in his voice he told me point blank: "It looks like President Koroma is weakening day by day." He even compared the President to former President Joseph Saidu Momoh who many Sierra Leoneans considered very weak and helpless.

I vigorously defended the President citing the number of officials he has fired over the years but my friend insisted that firing people was not enough; that the President has to reform state institutions and instill strict discipline.

Former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was very good at creating sensible state institutions but was very weak at seeing that they work or to deal with laziness and indiscipline among state officials. I hope President Koroma does not walk on the same path.

Another area President Koroma should do something about is the installation of a maintenance culture of state infrastructure. It is sad to see roads and other infrastructure on which government has spent trillions of Leones go into disrepair especially during the rainy season to the discomfort and even death of road users. When budgeting for such projects, I would suggest government should have some funds put aside for maintenance; otherwise such projects will be meaningless or disappear after a few years.

Finally the President needs to take some bold actions now apart from sacking people although sacking of useless people is always a good way to start reformation. He is no longer contesting for the presidency after this term and should be free to act and let people know he really means business, no sacred cows.

I know he will do that; I know he is not another Joseph Saidu Momoh who, it must be said, was too scared or too weak to do the right things leading to a disaster that swept him away from office and traumatized the rest of the country.

Momoh, an innocent, kindhearted and somewhat naive ex-soldier pitch-forked into the dog eat dog world of politics, was too scared to clean the stables and deal with some gangster-like apparatchiks and layabouts that had hijacked both the ruling government and party .