When Sierra Leoneans go to the polls in June this year the ruling party the Sierra Leone Peoples Party will be asking them to pass judgement on five years of unprecedented reform and promises of a new direction for the country which President Julius Maada Bio made when he took office in 2018.
In preparing to take the reins of government Bio promised to change the trajectory of governance in the nation from one of privileged opportunity for public servants to one of service to the masses. His first priority on attaining the exalted office of President was to convince the majority of the populace that his
commitment to keeping this promise was real. He had to establish his credentials as a transformative leader very quickly and he set out to do this by announcing that his focus would be on the education sector.
His mantra, which he announced in his very first address to the country was that Human Capital Development would be the major objective of his government and that looting of the national treasury was a practice that he would eliminate from the annals of Sierra Leonean governance. Many average citizens would most likely have taken these pronouncements with a healthy dose of cynicism and doubt when he first made them but five years later they are being asked to judge whether he has lived up to his promises.
In a recent interview with a Britishbased journal he said, “Since I assumed office in 2018 we have been fighting corruption decisively across the board. It’s a long and brutal war. When corruption becomes a culture even fighting it is dangerous. Because it’s a way of life that existed even before I was born. And some people have thrived in the corrupt system. Our recent efforts in fighting corruption is making it less fashionable because we will go after you to ensure that what is meant for the state is kept and used for
its purpose. I keep saying it’s a fight that we must fight. And it’s a fight that we will win.” His dedication to corrective action has been so stringent that many observers have expressed anxiety over the opposition’s counter-active plans to demean popular perceptions of the Government’s performance as a means of
undermining its electoral chances.
However so far it seems that the success of the Bio Administration’s education initiative and its commitment to the welfare of the average citizen has won the peoples support and admiration. The
fact that he came to power on the ticket of the party that had fathered Sierra Leone’s independence is symbolic of his commitment to promoting reform under the aegis of the New Direction Agenda and
he has signaled his intention to maintain this commitment if granted a second term. He has said, “My focus is not on the next election but on the next generation.”