Elected Vice President and flagbearer of the Coalition for Change (C4C), Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana has laid out an ambitious industrial revolution plan to provide jobs and improve the economy of Sierra Leone.
According to Sam-Sumana, immediately he is voted into office as the country’s president, he would declare a “ONE DISTRICT ONE FACTORY” programme which would require each of the 16 districts of Sierra Leone to identify one viable economic activity to be harnessed with private sector participation to add value to the local raw materials.
Speaking at the maiden presidential debate of aspirants ahead of the March 7 elections in Freetown last Thursday, Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana said there must be a drastic change of attitude to revitalise the economy.
He also disclosed that his government will declare “OPERATION FEED SALONE” programme to upscale the cultivation of rice and other cash crops across the country using latest farm implements and irrigation technologies.
To power the industries, the elected Vice President submitted that a comprehensive renewable energy generation mix would also be implemented.
“Diversification is the key. The current 100megawatt power we have from hydro is not enough. We shall approach solar, wind, thermal and other renewable ventures,” he disclosed.
According to Mr. Sam-Sumana, his plan should make Sierra Leone the energy hub of power supply within two years ready to export excess power through the West African power pool.
On housing and local materials, he said:“We have a lot of clay in this country. Latest technology can be deployed. So you can also come to hydrofoam. These are cheap items we can get here,” he observed.
When debate moderator, BBC’s Hassan Arouni confronted him about priorities, Alhaji Sam-Sumana observed that on the scale of preference, he would attack rent issues and food supply before talking about a new airport, a statement understood to be a direct swipe at a recent contract the President Koroma administration signed with a Chinese firm to build a new airport while poverty and homelessness are the people’s lot after an Ebola outbreak and a recent mudslide.
Alhaji Sam-Sumana disclosed that the housing deficit of over 200,000 in Sierra Leone was a headache that should attract the attention of anybody wishing to ascend the high office of president.
He said when voted into power, his government of C4C will mobilise the people to change direction from the current APC government where corruption and bad governance are the primary occupations.
“If you want to succeed as a people, the only way is to utilise the natural resources well. We intend to cut reckless expenditure and channel them to fund free compulsory primary education and progressive free secondary and tertiary education.
“We will also expand the healthcare system and train more personnel while paying them realistic salaries and wages. If you the government don’t pay the people well, you generate corruption.”
On water supply, the elected Vice President disclosed that he has a plan to comprehensively review the mining laws of the country to make way for responsible acceptable practices so that the water table will not be jeopardised.
HE Sam-Sumana also used the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to peace, unity and rule of law.
“I was a victim of injustice, unconstitutionally removed from office. I did not seek the path of violence as has happened in South Sudan. I left you, my people of Sierra Leone, in peace. Now, am back my people to lead in rebuilding our country together,” he said, adding that he represents the epitome of experience and was the only one qualified to take up the job of president currently.
The maiden presidential debate was put together by a consortium of journalists, civil society organisations, the National Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Registration Commission.
Lead organisers, AYV Media Empire, thanked all for the support in putting together such a wonderful event to dialogue on the myriad of challenges confronting Sierra Leone and gauge the readiness of the presidential aspirants to solve them. The debate had three thematic areas: Human development, economy and inclusive government.
A total of six presidential candidates participated in the Thursday 15th February, 2018 presidential debate. Musa Tarawallyof the Citizens’ Democratic Party (CDP), Dr. Samura Kamara of the All People’s Congress (APC) and Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
The rest are Mohamed KamarainbaMansaray representing the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP),Dr. KandehKollehYumkella of theNational Grand Alliance (NGP) andAlhaji Chief Sam Sumana ofthe Coalition for Change.
Organisers of the debate said the six political parties qualified to participate after fulfilling the criterion of fielding at least 25 per cent of parliamentary candidates, a step that make them parties with national reach.Currently, 16 candidates have filed their nominations to contest the March 7 election as president.
Reactions are mixed as to which of the candidates performed better in the debate. Though Samuel Sam-Sumana and KandehYumkella are widely tipped to be top performers, the former is said to be ahead in terms of right policy framework and experience to take up the enervating of governing Sierra Leone.