From the Editor’s Keyboard

Trust Ernest Bai Koroma to do the right thing

17 November 2011 at 05:24 | 461 views

By Titus Thompson, Guest Writer, London, UK.

Politics is a dirty game, so it is usually said and it is definitely not cricket. Politics is not played in the field like cricket which is a gentleman’s game but the linkage between Cricket and Politics was exemplified by the late J C O Hadson-Taylor, who was an alumnus of one of the foremost schools to excel in cricket in Sierra Leone.

His symbolism was effective in that he was able to prove that he can be a gentleman, a lover of cricket and yet still be involved in Politics. The late great man would never be seen without his trademark white suit, especially his safari suits, always well turned out and looking dapper, always with a beaming smile and a pleasant countenance as he goes about his various business and political activities and responsibilities. That the late JCO was a keen admirer of the game of cricket and a seasoned politician should never be lost on those who came to know him. Ernest Bai Koroma knew him well enough and it is probably in the lives of such men that his political career may have developed as he went through the ranks at the APC party.

So it is that when it comes to doing the right thing, Ernest Bai Koroma should be trusted. His has been an administration of unveiling, since September 2007 when he took up office. His first unveiling had been the Attitudinal Change mantra that has metamorphosed to the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat. That this vision was needed in Sierra Leone needs not be qualified but it is a mark of the dearth of initiative, self motivation and servitude that has contributed to the seeming lack of progress in moving this vision forward.

It is a shame that the management of this Secretariat was weak and ineffective to the extent that a raft of senior officials were castigated by the Anti Corruption Commission recently. Their ineptitude must not in any way point to a defect in the vision for attitude and behaviour change in the body politik in Sierra Leone. In fact, it should be recognised as a mark of leadership, a commitment to an avowed sense of purpose and therefore a feather in the cap of the Presidency that he allowed an institution for which he holds such a high personal responsibility to be taken to shreds in such a public manner. Again, trust Ernest Koroma, when it matters, he will do the right thing!

That attitudinal and behavioural change is necessary in Sierra Leone at this particular point in time and moreover as a herald to the new dispensation that came with the APC victory in September 2007, is a very astute point. Attitude change is based on a critical examination of behavioural trend analysis, and is recognized as a tried and tested strategy in business management especially in the area of change management dynamics, exhorting commercial organisations to identify with those attitudes and behaviours that impact their strategic environment and for such organisations to plan for change by restructuring their core practices and management styles, production processes and decision making so that corporate performance is adapted to meet the challenges of the external environment or otherwise to address issues that will affect their profitability from within their own corporate environment in order to meet the demands of external factors. As an accomplished management practitioner, a leading light in the insurance industry in Sierra Leone, President Koroma is to be trusted to know what risk analysis is. In the end, he must be in a position to identify the variables that would enable his decisions to be more risk averse than mercenary, so much so that given all the variances of decision making, he is much more likely to do the right thing!

That the SLPP flag-bearer has seen fit to appoint Dr. Kadi Sesay as his running mate does not touch an iota of Ernest Bai Koroma’s psyche nor would that inhibit his resilience in making a very deep impression in the sands of time, so that when the history of Sierra Leone comes to be written, the historians will see his tenure of office as one characterised by a single word: Change! He has brought change to the way politics is perceived in this country to such an extent that the primordial characterisation of a “two tribes” political dispensation is now in danger of being seriously questioned.

His election changed a political trajectory that ran out of steam, both in terms of governance and of engaging the country’s infrastructural development. The capital city was unkempt; electricity, a problem solved over a hundred years ago was still a mountain for the Sierra Leonean to climb; roads in urban areas were congested and the national road network was so bad that it was impossible to reach some parts of the country, produce output were dwindling and the institutional framework established to support farmers and agriculture as a whole was ineffective, health care provision and delivery was so bad that the country languished at the bottom of the UNDP Human Development Index consistently since records began; the prospects for children being born and reaching age 5 and /or their mothers surviving pregnancy were dismal, not to talk of high youth unemployment and endemic corruption. Ernest Koroma has changed the prospect for continued decay and continues to work towards significant improvement in the standard of life for ordinary people right across the country. He has proved himself pedantic with change, engaged with progress and a custodian of growth and prosperity. In all his endeavours, he strives to do the right thing by himself and by this country,

The recent spate of political violence seemed to be getting out of hand, until Ernest Koroma regained firm control of the situation and took steps to allay the fears of the people of Sierra Leone. He had to make some tough and difficult decisions and his zero tolerance approach sent a very strong signal to perpetrators of violence that his administration will not tolerate such lawlessness. In the event, he has shown that his finger is on the pulse on the key issues that are of concern to the people of this country. His has been a working team. His Vice President has been a loyal assistant, complementing the leadership style of the President throughout as any credible Vice President ought to do. For such loyalty, he can only be repaid with the vote of confidence that a validation of his contribution to nation building now commands. The country will expect him to be judged against his commitment to public service and that diligence in the execution of his duties as Vice President for the past four years.. He has endeared himself to a country that now embraces him as they do the President. When you consider that he was hitherto unheard of as he is now, he has been resolute in his support for the President’s agenda for change and has been very vocal in his support for the principle of One Country, One APC Party, One Agenda for Change.

Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam Sumana has done well so far and it is hoped that his maturity in his current role, will provide the most credible legacy for Ernest Koroma’s tenure – to provide the country and the APC party with transparent leadership and predictable succession as opposed to internal rift and power struggle. In the end, choice is a matter of prerogative.

Ernest Bai Koroma must be trusted to do the right thing!