The National Commission for Democracy NCD has engaged officials of the Public and Civil Service including officials from the security forces on a day’s workshop with the theme ‘Post Ebola Accountability, Transparency, Service delivery and Good Citizenship” in a bid to further raise consciousness and patriotism as they continue with the fight against the Ebola scourge. The trainings that attracted 70 participants in each of the two regions were hosted at the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema and Bo District Council Hall on February 17 and 20 respectively.
In his keynote address, the Chairman of the Commission Dr. Abubakar Hassan kargbo underscored the need for accountability and transparency in a democratic setting noting that these two principles of good governance are fundamental to the development of a state. Dr. Kargbo said his Commission is poised to accelerate its effort in enhancing its public education campaign on the need to promoting good citizenship and patriotic public participation in the governance process of the state. He applauded various stakeholders for their role in the fight against the virus encouraging them to continue to enforce the by-laws and also adhere to medical advice whilst warning them against complacency until the virus is finally defeated.
Dr. Kargbo urged participants to be resolute in pursuing the various components of good governance encouraging them to make every effort in promoting national development agendas in order to raise the profile of the country, “development comes as a result of hard work,” he added The Chairman disclosed that his Commission has embarked on reintroducing civic education back to the schools in order to instill in the minds of pupils about the need to solemnly uphold the values of the state and to further cultivate in them patriotism and nationalism
In their welcome address, NCD Commissioners of both the Eastern and Southern Regions Alhaji Sheku Kamara and Jonathern Menjor respectively encouraged participants to take the training very seriously as it will enhance their capacity and increase their determination to genuinely serve the interest of the country.
In his presentation, District Medical Officer Kenema District who also doubles as the lead facilitator for the training Dr. Mohamed Vandi delivered a comprehensive lecture on the vices and dangers of the Ebola virus making a thorough analysis on the spread of the virus and strategies used in the fight against the disease. He noted that the virus is very easy to kill outside the human flesh but very difficult to eliminate when it gets into the human body. He noted that the country lost a good number of medical staff to the disease because local doctors and nurses were not well informed about the signs and symptoms of the virus which are similar to that of other common diseases like malaria and typhoid hence Ebola symptoms were mistaken for other diseases that are common in the country.
He said according to research, it’s highly likely that the virus will hit back after it would have been defeated but added that, however the virus will not be as catastrophic as it was when it came for the first time due to the fact that there has been a massive public awareness about the nature of the virus. Dr. Vandi also noted that a lot of research needs to be done about the virus in order to fully understand its nature of mutation saying that a lot of questions about the virus still remained unanswered.
In his presentation the Communications and Public Relations Manager of the Commission Rev. Gibrilla kargbo delivered a lectured on the topic: Raising Civic Consciousness through the National Symbols, pointing out the need to treat them with utmost regard and honour. He carefully explained and defined national symbols as anything that represents the values and aspirations of the country citing examples of statutory symbols like the national flag and the coat of arms and non statutory symbols like the national pledge and the passport whose honour should be upheld as they are symbols of independence and sovereignty.
Rev. Kargbo noted that national symbols should be seen to instill loyalty, allegiance and selflessness in the citizenry of the state since the symbols are signs of unity that should bring all Sierra Leoneans together regardless of region, tribe or political affiliations
In another engagement, the Commission also provided training for Councilors and ward development Committee Members in the Southern and Eastern Regions with the theme “Promoting the Principles of Good Governance at the Local level – Post Ebola” with a focus to providing capacity for local councils so that Councilors and their Ward Development Committee Members will be equip enough to adequately handle the affairs of their communities. The training was held at the Kenema District Council Hall and the new Bo District Council Hall on February 18 and 21 respectively with 70 participants in each of the regions drawn from various constituencies in the Districts.
The Deputy Mayor Kenema District Council Mrs. Esther Kaisamba urged his colleague Councilors and ward Development Committee Members to take the training with utmost seriousness so that they will be well informed about their roles and responsibilities in order to adequately execute their functions.
Making a presentation, Mr. Albert khanu Jr. deliberated on the importance of the local councils saying that the councils are created primarily to bring power closer to the people in order to provide them with the opportunity to be part of the decision making process of the development of their localities.
He further clearly explained the different roles between the Councilors and the Development ward Committee Members saying that Councilors are the political heads of the Ward and their primary role is to provide political leadership and supervisory role to the activities of the community whilst the Development Ward Committee Members are the real administrators of the ward and therefore needs to work closely with their people in the communities on matters of development for their Wards.