Chamber of Parliament, Tower Hill, Freetown, Tuesday 25 April 2023 – His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio, in his address as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces officially dissolving the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic, recounted his remarkable stewardship after five years.
In the Chamber of Parliament, before lawmakers from all political parties and a cheering gallery brimming with people from all walks of life, mostly Sierra Leoneans who wanted to see and hear the Sierra Leone People’s Party, SLPP, leader present his case for a clean win in the 24 June 2023 elections, President Bio demonstrates gratitude, grace, and humility as cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus look on while he makes history.
“I want to thank this Parliament for the excellent service it has rendered to our great nation over the last five years. As President of the Republic, I thank you immensely for working closely with my government. Even with a hung Parliament, we have repealed, amended, and enacted over seventy (70) laws. That is as commendable as it is unprecedented in our nation’s history.
“You have shown us that although we come from different parts of our great nation and we hold diverse political views, a lot more unites us than divides us,” the President says, gently raising his head, looking at the assembly of lawmakers, and reminding them that that kind of unity is “a testament to the enduring spirit of democracy that we gather here today in this Noble House charged with the solemn duty of overseeing the actions of the Executive and delivering the dividends of democracy to our fellow citizens”
The President tells Parliament that he knows that while no relationship is perfect, he firmly believes in the pivotal role the legislature plays in upholding the tenets of democracy and ensuring good governance prevails.
A couple of days ago, the leader of National Grand Coalition, NGC, in in Parliament, Hon. Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, was a guest on the country’s biggest radio breakfast news show on Radio Democracy and paid tribute to President Bio’s leadership mien. He emphasised that that, including the need to unite the country, was why his NGC formed a progressive alliance with the SLPP, noting that the last parliament was the most successful in the last 20 years.
President Bio, who believes in investing in people, also talks about his first-of-its-kind budgetary allocation to education and health, with unprecedented results in the last five years. He refers the nation to similar plans to ramp up efforts in agriculture and post-harvest production, ultimately addressing food insecurity, creating jobs for young people, and building resilient businesses.
“My SLPP Administration’s future aspiration is to take advantage of our nation’s soil wealth, grow agriculture as a business in climate-smart ways, and leverage it as a fundamental source of jobs and wealth creation for national prosperity. This will inspire citizens, especially the youth, to see agriculture as a profitable and sustainable business. Using a public-private partnership model, we established a US$10 million agriculture credit facility to de-risk and support private-sector agricultural investment.
“Four years on, I ask Sierra Leoneans to judge me and my government today on the concrete actions we have taken to realise this bold vision. I am proud that these actions have already resulted in free, quality school education, an improvement in women’s empowerment, and bold steps to protect and promote women’s rights.
“These transformational investments and impactful results since May 2018 that I have highlighted so far have been significantly enabled by our government’s efforts to improve the nation’s economic and debt management as soon as we assumed office,” says a president who is very confident of winning the next elections to build on the foundations he built in the last five years.
He continues to show instances of how he served the great Sierra Leonean people with commitment and passion, to the best of his ability, with the help of the Almighty God.
“I am proud that we have made huge strides in modernising our national infrastructure, doubled energy access, and created renewed development partner and investor confidence in Sierra Leone. I am also humbled by the task that remains before us as we seek to achieve the New Renaissance—humbled yet energised to continue the leadership journey that we have started.
“Leading our beloved country is the greatest service any citizen can be entrusted with. It has been my privilege to lead Sierra Leone, albeit in unprecedented and turbulent economic times. My party, the great SLPP, and I are committed to serving with renewed vigour in the next Parliament, and I am excited about a future of new possibilities and hope for our nation.
“We have come a long way since the Sierra Leone of 1961, with its limited resources and infrastructure.” Today, we have a growing population and modern technology that has improved the quality of life for all Sierra Leoneans.
“As your president, I have worked tirelessly to champion policies and initiatives that benefit all citizens, and I will continue to do so until my last second in office. As we approach the upcoming elections, we must stand together, united in our commitment to upholding the Constitution and the democratic values of our nation,” he says.
After some intermittent thunderous applause, President Julius Maada Bio looks into the crowd and up into the massive show of support and calls on all to reject the centrifugal forces that seek to divide the country by sowing seeds of acrimony. He warned that violence has no place in a democracy, and people must be watchful for those who profit from chaos and destruction.
As he concludes, the candidate for the SLPP says: “Let us campaign on our development track record and embrace debating our development policies and plans for our people. We must uphold national integration and unity and discourage discrimination based on sex, religion, ethnic, or linguistic association or ties.
“Like every Sierra Leonean, I now look forward to inclusive, free, transparent, and peaceful elections on 24th June 2023. May God bless us all and our beloved Sierra Leone, making her great and prosperous,” the President prayed.
Immediately after the closure of the Presidential Address and dissolution of Parliament, Leader of the Coalition for Change, C4C, in Parliament, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, who was already a big admirer of the transformational leadership in government, rallied around other heavyweights in his party to declare and pledge their support for President Julius Maada Bio and his SLPP party.
For More Enquiry: State House Media and Communications Unit