Salone News

Separating local councils from party politics will be the best option for Sierra Leone

2 December 2020 at 23:01 | 1203 views

Opinion

By Rodney Michael, Freetown, Sierra Leone

It was believed to be the wish of former President, Dr Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, of blessed memory, to separate local councils from party politics.

The proposal died a natural death and we have had multiple local council elections since Pa Kabbah assumed office in 1996.

However, in the new decentralisation policies proposed by the Ministry Of Local Government, headed by Minister Tamba Lamina, the proposal has once more resurfaced and forms part of the recommendations.

Over the last quarter of a century, since multi party democracy was restored, we have heard stories and witnessed a series of disputes between Central Government and Local councils, mostly fuelled by partisan interests.

A few instances come to mind, like the Pujehun District Council under the SLPP’s Sadiq Sillah as Chairman and the Dr Ernest Bai Koroma Led APC Government. Many believed Pujehun lost out of major development projects because of the lack of cooperation between the Central Government and the local council.

Then there was the Musa Tarawally, as Resident Minister during President Koroma’s reign vs Dr Wusu Sannoh as Mayor of Bo City Council. This clash escalated to a point many feared would have led to violence but for the timely intervention of the President to promote MR Tarawally to a Cabinet Minister and replace him with an easy going Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai.

However the City of Bo suffered considerably due to this clash, and the one significant example was the fight over the Bo Sports Club. The Government, to spite Dr Sannoh, removed the Club from the City Council and the Management Committee, of which Bishop Gbonda was President and I was his Deputy, and handed it over to the District Council led by SLPP’s Chairman Bindi.

In a complex scenario the Ministry of Finance funded the rehabilitation and the council leased the property to a private businessman, on a long term negotiation, removing the element of community/membership control.

In recent times, the most serious example of the negative impact of partisan politics in development is the Central Government, Under President Bio vs Mayor Aki Sawyer of the APC Party.

The issues have been many but in reality so simple to resolve, but for the partisan influence and loyalty.

I must confess I am not a fan of party politics in Sierra Leone and believe every country should design its own form of Democracy. I may be a radical or an extremist but I would love to see every election conducted on merit and not on party line, with every candidate contesting as an independent...even the Presidency. That will not happen so it remains an imagination and I concede to that.

But what can and should happen is to remove the local council elections from Partisan Politics and influence.

Let all Chairmen, Mayors and Councillors contest as independents and their loyalty be to their Localities and the Nation, while their obligation and responsibility is to work with the Government of the day for the development of their communities and constituents.

This would remove the issue of tribal and regional influence as well and will open up for candidates to be elected purely on merit and/or popularity rather than on partisan sentiments. It is a proposal worth debating and should be extensively discussed. It should be taken very seriously as it would be best for National Development.

*I am with Tamba Lamina - let the debate begin!*

I am a friend, not a foe! I mean well!

Advertise in the Patriotic Vanguard. Contact our Freetown Manager, Ibrahim Koroma, at: 011-232-77-445688. For more information please go to our Contact page.

Comments