Never in our political history has a political party flagbearer candidate come out with a clear blueprint aimed at stimulating economic growth and leading Sierra Leone to achieve well-defined and actionable development benchmarks.
John Sisay’s manifesto, titled “My contract with Sierra Leone” has come at a time when Sierra Leoneans of every creed have constantly and consciously asked for answers and actions from those leading Sierra Leone. Examining the key sectors highlighted in the manifesto will give us a better perspective of John Sisay’s vision for a Betteh Salone for all.
Education is the very foundation upon which developed societies are built. The recruitment and training of 10,000 high quality teachers is perhaps one of the most important initiatives outlined in the manifesto and critical to the success of the education sector. Promoting access to education for 100 remote communities with a technology driven approach as well as realistic financial incentives to ensure families keep their children at school clearly demonstrates JBS’ commitment to improving education for all around the country.
A nation that forsakes its youth is like a farmer who fails to water his crops. The consequences of having a less skilled, less motivated youthful population are far reaching. The civil war and the devastation it left behind will forever remain a scar in our collective conscience. It will most importantly remind us of the need to positively tap into this readily available human resource ….YOUTHS!! John Bonoh Sisay’s blue print for youth development is the most ambitious and realistic benchmark to come from a political candidate in recent times. The former Sierra Rutile CEO has been paying rapt attention to President Ernest BaiKoroma’s enviable youth development policy. John Sisay will introduce a youth employment scheme with significant entrepreneurial training and development which is sure to set the tone for rapid economic growth. John Sisay’s manifesto has also prioritized a demand driven university education system that will enable young people to be employed in the world’s emerging markets and industries. The manifesto also highlights “a national apprenticeship programme to offer thousands of young people a good start in life with valuable training leading to real job opportunities.” There has been a palpable sense of disillusionment among young people in recent times. Stemming this growing wave of disenchantment is crucial for our growth trajectory and social harmony. John Sisay’s policy on youth development certainly looks like an excellent solution to this issue.
HELP IN HARD TIMES
A compassionate leader prepares for times when his people might be in need due to unforeseen circumstances. Helping them through hard times must be a priority and Sisay will ensure that no family is left behind. Practical steps must be taken to limit the impact of price rise by empowering families through a National Social Safety Net that will benefit 100,000 families a year with room for expansion. The system exists in the present administration and John Sisay's manifesto will serve as continuation of the legacies of President Koroma.
ECONOMY, FAIRER SALONE
Sierra Leone’s economy has faced challenges in recent years due to Ebola and a drop in commodity prices but we can create a better economy. What Sierra Leone needs after President Koroma is a successor with the requisite skills to transform the economy and bring economic growth to Sierra Leone.
Economic diversification, a key to a better economy, is Sisay's focus. He will promote the growth of a vibrant small business sector and remove barriers that hold businesses and the economy back.
Tax breaks that will encourage creation of jobs, access to finance to enhance growth and working with big companies to ensure they pay their fair share in tax are all part of Sisay’s plans for a better economy.
Infrastructural development stands out in the Agenda for Prosperity and will be remembered as President Koroma's greatest achievements. To maintain that,
Sisay commits to establishing a Prosperity fund to invest in national infrastructure.
Injustice is highlighted in Truth and Reconciliation Commission as one of the major causes of the civil war. Therefore, every leader must prioritize judicial reforms.
Fast track courts to ensure that justice is not delayed nor denied, tackling corruption, one of the major causes of our system and a landmark Human Rights law to ensure all are equal before the without prejudice of status class or association all form part of John Sisay's judicial reform.
Countries around the world remain confronted with challenges in their health sectors…even advanced economies are not entirely immune to this. Sierra Leone, under the current leadership, has made significant progress in rebuilding its broken health care system. The rising demand for accessible and affordable health means that we have to do a lot more if we are to improve on our health care indices. Achieving this feat can only be possible through visionary leadership and a clear roadmap as clearly elaborated by John Sisay’s comprehensive manifesto. Increasing our health budget and making primary health care more accessible and affordable is a potent way of enforcing the idea that a nation can only thrive with a healthy work force and healthy people. Sisay also plans to address the human resource deficit through the training of an additional 5,000 health workers and introduce a campaign to transform the quality preventive care which would will save government those resources that could be used to address other important sectors of the economy.
A STRONGER SALONE
A nation is never strong without economic independence. The destiny of Sierra Leone must be in the hands of Sierra Leoneans.
John Sisay is honest enough to say it wouldn't happen overnight but proposes to negotiatewith partners in the international community to ensure a rising proportion of funding goes through government. Sisay will also ensure that support is focused on measures that will develop our capacity as a nation to drive long term growth.
Sisay hopes to once again position Sierra Leone as a leader among other African countries.
Politics is better when citizens feel part of the decision-making process.
Access to their leaders when they have complaints, youth involvement or face to face meetings to ask their leader the hard questions are all ways John Sisay thinks he can make politics better. From conversations with people around the country Sisay learnt that the public are fed up with politicians who make promises and don't fulfill them. That is why he is offering realistic solutions not pipeline promises.
It is John Sisay's belief that continuing the path built by President Koroma and being honest with people on the challenges we face whilst engaging them in a real conversation about the direction of the country will restore trust.
The Manifesto, which is the product of many consultative engagements with professionals, students, civil society and grassroots representatives represents a paradigm shift in our body politics. If endorsed by the All People’s Congress, John Sisay would have clearly begun to showcase those leadership traits that proudly booked him a space among the world’s most innovative thinkers.
We therefore have a choice as a country to shape the destiny of our country for years to come in the leaders we choose in the next election.
We have a choice to change the lives of millions of people if we choose a leader with a track record of business success, who has bold ideas, understands how to win in a changing world and can deliver results.