By Ambrose Boani
Presidential candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, Julius Maada Bio yesterday officially launched his party’s “Manifesto Development Process” at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex in Freetown. Addressing stakeholders from across the citizenry, he said that there was often a disconnect between the needs of the people and the Manifesto of presidential candidates.
Bio said that a manifesto should be of the people and not of the elite few. He said what Sierra Leoneans needed now was an informed debate around issues addressing unemployment, poverty, the standard of education and the rule of law. He said the development of the Manifesto aimed to put emphasis and premium on national interest guided by “accountability and transparency, unity in diversity, equal opportunity for all and respect for human rights”.
Addressing the meeting, the presidential running mate, Dr. Kadie Sesay committed herself to working with the women to make sure issues concerning their empowerment were well captured in the development of the social contract.
She said that the social contract was going to be based on the needs of the people. “Development can only be realized when development initiatives are people or citizen-led” she added.
The chairman of policy and research committee of the SLPP, Andrew Keili said the SLPP was looking forward and not backward. “We will only look back to learn from the past” he said, adding that the manifesto would help turn anger into hope and frustration into ambition. “The manifesto will reflect the great and common purpose of national renewal”, he said.
The Deputy National Chairman of the SLPP, Chief Somano Kapen, said the manifesto should look into the management of the economy, the management of power and the achievement of ideals. He lashed out at the government saying it had demonstrated “its inability” to develop Sierra Leone and accused them of backsliding from democracy and the rule of law.
However, the government spokesman has shrugged off the allegations of the chief, saying he is “totally unwilling to accept the facts as they are”. Speaking to Politico Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that his government had continued with the laws they inherited and had improved on the country’s governance system to allow for freedoms. He said the country’s human rights commission had been singled out for praise internationally and that they government had effectively removed the death penalty.
The government spokesman said that government had improved on infrastructure and electricity and was poised to do more.