Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sunday 16 June 2019 – His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has launched the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah Foundation for Peace and Democracy in honour of the late statesman who served as President of Sierra Leone during the war years and later brought peace.
He said President Kabbah retired gracefully from politics at the end of his term of office, having led the country between 1996 and 2007 with diligence and integrity, noting that his persistence demonstrated great courage and faith.
“Today, we celebrate the life and legacy of a worthy citizen, our former President – a man of great faith and courage who remained passionate about fostering a culture of peace and building enduring institutions; a man whose humility, simplicity, and dedication to service and nation will forever live on,” he told the gathering in Freetown.
He reminded the occasion that every part of governance was as important as the whole because the unity, shared values, and shared sense of service to nation, in spite of pluralities, would make the nation better and stronger.
He quoted the former President Kabbah as saying that: “I need not remind you that this is your Government: its institutions are your institutions, and its resources are your resources. They are yours to use, yours to enjoy and yours to protect against abuse, wastage, or misappropriation”.
President Bio also emphasised that as leaders and citizens, they had a duty of care to manage the nation’s resources well, adding that they also had a duty of candour to admit when they got it all wrong, apologise, and make amends. He said that was is good citizenship and good leadership.
“His legacy lives on in legal and social protections for children, women, the poor, the disabled, and pensioners. His legacy lives on in initiating the Anti-Corruption Act and insisting on accountability and transparency in public service. His legacy lives on in decentralisation and local government. His legacy lives on in extensive civil service reform. His legacy lives on in judicial, legal, and security sector reforms. His legacy lives on in institutional reforms from the first ever national youth policy to NASSIT, NACSA, NRA and more,” he said.
Representative of the Mo Ibrahim Award, Ambassador Abdulai Janneh, said he was pleased to be in attendance and commended the initiative of keeping the legacy of the late former President and expressed hope that the Foundation would carry the attributes of the late man. He said President Kabbah was a humble man who lived his life serving his people.
Former President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said she was pleased to join the many others that had gathered to memorialise and give honour to President Kabbah for his achievements in ending the bloody civil war in Sierra Leone. She commended the vision to champion a historic approach to peace and justice and to preserve the peace of the country.
Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Isatu Jabbie Kabbah, said the initiative would support the principles and values left behind by President Tejan Kabbah. She said the event was in appreciation of the good work and contributions of the late man both in and out of Sierra Leon.
“This Foundation will support and promote the immortalisation of the distinguished life, works, achievements and principles which encapsulate the legacy of the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. This Foundation strives to support government in consolidating peace, unity and national cohesion in the country,” she said.