President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday 12th May told the people of the Eastern provincial district of Kenema that the Agenda for Change & its successor programme, the Agenda for Prosperity have equitably distributed national development projects all across the country.
He made this statement whilst addressing throngs of people during his stop over in Weima, Malegohun Chiefdom as well as a meeting held in Tongo Field, Lower Bambara Chiefdom, Kenema district.
President Koroma stated that since Sierra Leone is being admired among the comity of nations for its unique religious tolerance, we should do everything possible to be recognized globally for political tolerance as well.
He encouraged all politicians to inculcate the culture of inclusiveness and political tolerance, and assured that development will surely go to not only Lower Bambara and Malegohun Chiefdoms, but the entire Eastern region.
Presenting the Head of State to render a statement, Information and Communication Minister, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Khanu described both meetings at Malegohun and Lower Bambara chiefdoms as a national conference on development and political tolerance.
Hon. Alhaji Alpha Khanu described President Koroma as the epitome of political tolerance in Africa.
Hon. Francis Amara Konuwa of Constituency 14 said, "We did not invite you to come so we can declare for the APC, but to register our thanks and appreciation to you for your good work in the country."
He noted that if President Koroma had failed to honour their invitation, the people would have perceived Ernest Bai Koroma as president only for the APC. "The time for politics is over. Now is the time for development," he cried.
Hon. Konuwa appealed to the President for the rehabilitation of the road network from Mano Junction to Tongo Field, on the one hand, and Tongo Field to Sefadu, on the other. This, he said, will help alleviate the plight of the people in those areas.
He also pleaded with President Koroma to prevail on OCTEA mining company which has spent nine years on exploration alone to start mining in order to create jobs for the youth.
Chiefdom Speaker Amara Gandor of Lower Bambara acknowledged President Koroma's outstanding role in the promotion of religious tolerance in the country.
At Weima, the political base and stronghold of the embattled Minority Leader in Parliament, President Koroma said when news of his visit to Hon. Bernadette Lahai's constituency broke out, it was interpreted differently by detractors to the extent that certain people said the SLPP MP was going to declare for the APC.
According to the President, the SLPP Leader in the House of Parliament went to declare for political tolerance, good governance, the construction of roads in her constituency, the construction of a Tech-Voc institute, NPSE centre, and for the upgrading of the Eastern Polytechnic to the first university in the Eastern province. He pledged that government will support the construction of the technical and vocational institute and upgrade the Eastern Polytechnic into a university in the not too distant future.
President Koroma recalled that Dr Lahai is not the first person from the SLPP that he has good relationship with. "I will support her to develop Constituency 13," he declared.
President Koroma commended supporters and stalwarts of both parties for their collaboration especially in welcoming the Minority Leader and her entourage to constituency 13, and therefore encourage all to further develop the culture of peace and political tolerance.
Hon. Dr Bernadette Lahai of Constituency 13 in Kenema district, described President Koroma's visit as historic, and profusely thanked him for reaching out with development to their communities. "The road is bad. But the road to a friend's home is never too bad," she said, beaming.
She called on the President to help rehabilitate their road network, especially the ten miles distance from Weimar to Tongo.
Hon. Lahai also called for the establishment of National Primary School Examination centers and secondary schools. She reiterated her call on President Koroma for the upgrading of the Eastern Polytechnic into a university.
Internal Affairs Minister, Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda said President Koroma, including past and present leaders of the APC love Kenema district, citing some legacy projects that were and are still being undertaken in the district by the party.
He informed the meeting that since President Koroma became Head of State he has visited Kenema more than any other part of the country, which clearly manifests his love for the people of Kenema district. JBD as he is fondly known, challenged the people to reciprocate.
In her welcome speech, PC Madam Sallay Satta Gendemeh of Malegohun Chiefdom also profusely thanked President Koroma for the visit and for the construction of polytechnics in Bunumbu and Kono. She disclosed that President Koroma is the first President to visit her chiefdom.
Speaker after speaker lavished praises on President Koroma for the ongoing development and transformation of the country and called on him to consider their communities in the ongoing transformation.