Mohamed Gento Kamara and runningmate Rev. Samuel Babatunde Thomas
Sierra Leone People’s Party’s Mayoral Candidate, Mohamed Gento Kamara has officially launched its Manifesto for the 2023 Mayoral elections, titled: ‘Let’s fix Freetown. Let’s create a Freetown for we all’.
Gento said: “As your Mayor, I am committed to fixing this city so that it works for all of us. My focus will be on providing clean water, sanitation services, job creation, and public spaces – including dignified health centers, marketplaces and recreational facilities for all.
“We will enhance access to public services in a manner which appreciates the self-worth of all citizens. I will purposefully include those who have traditionally been marginalised and forgotten by society. By cleaning the mess, instilling order, and creating employment opportunities throughout the city, we will enable everyone to rise and live in dignity, from East End to Aberdeen, from the kekeh riders to the market sellers to the footballers to the fishermen to the tailors to the artists to the business executives.
“Socio-economic framework in place, we can all begin to enjoy what Freetown has to offer – a vibrant culture and beautiful city, where all citizens can pursue their dreams. I believe in an inclusive, accessible and accountable local government, which is responsive to the needs of all people no matter their heritage or status.
“Our city leadership will also respect and collaborate with chiefs, traditional and religious leaders and local community leaders, so that no one is left behind. Join me; let’s fix Freetown, together. On June 24th, vote for a Freetown for We All … Vote for Mohamed Gento Kamara as Mayor and Rev Babatunde Thomas as Deputy Mayor”.
The ‘Let’s fix Freetown. Let’s create a Freetown for we all’ has easy access and access to clean and safe drinking water as one of its key components of alleviating poverty.
“Clean and convenient water for all Freetonians is a first step to improving our quality of life in the city. Contaminated water spreads disease; water points which are far from home is a burden and a risk to those sent to fetch water. I will prioritize a multi-faceted approach to providing clean water through solutions tailored to the specific needs and challenges of each community.
“This will be achieved through a combination of approaches, including through enhancing water catchments up the mountains, boreholes, building water filtration systems and incentivizing rainwater harvesting. We will take a very radical approach to fix this water problem in our city as this is paramount to me and my team.
“A clean Freetown is possible and together we can make it happen. Historically, poor sanitation, pollution, and inadequate waste management services have led to a dirty and environmentally-degraded city. We will work to eliminate single-use plastics in our city, relocate our dumpsites to more conducive places, enhance a community collection system for rubbish disposal and strengthen a public-private network of waste collectors and recycling services.
“We will also create a sustainable system that converts our waste to electric energy to meet the needs of our city. By enhancing these services, we will improve public health outcomes, environmental ecosystems, economic development and overall well-being”. Gento said.
He added that citizens of Freetown deserve enhanced economic opportunities, whether as entrepreneurs or as salaried employees.
He said: “In general, the city has a high unemployment rate, which adversely affects youth, women and people living with disability the most. We must establish a stable and conducive business environment to attract investment, boost small-traders and informal workers, and increase good-paying jobs.
“When people are financially empowered, they are more self-sufficient and are able to give back to the city in return. We want everyone to have a chance to work and to create a better tomorrow for themselves, their families, and their community.
“A Freetown of safety and dignity for everyone is a Freetown where wellness is prioritized. In addition to the preventive public health initiatives, I will take regarding water and sanitation, I will also ensure expanded access to healthcare, recreational and other public services in our city.
“In particular, the Local Government will collaborate with the Central Government and the Ministry of Health to improve effective management of existing health facilities including Connaught and PCMH (“Cottage”). Beyond these commitments and the completion of large infrastructure projects, I will prioritize the creation of public spaces for us all – places where our children can play in safety, where we can connect with each other, sell our goods, and gather together as one.
“I envision a series of public recreational spaces, expanded and more conducive markets, community meeting points and friendly outdoor sports facilities. By turning our community fields into recreational areas and by acquiring space near existing markets to improve and expand market facilities, making them more conducive for trade, we will spark the potential within the informal sector and create public spaces for the wellbeing and dignity of us all.
“Freetown belongs to all of us – no matter whether we came from upcountry a few years ago or whether our families have lived here for decades, whether we are Muslims or Christians, whether we live in slums or in mansions, whether we are physically able or living with a disability.
“Irrespective of your identity or belief, your creed or background, I will work with you and work for you as mayor. Our traditional, cultural and religious leaders must also be part of the conversation. We must all have the chance to be seen and heard and to be involved in the decisions that impact us as residents of this city. We must ensure that services are felt on the ground and in ways that matter to us all. These are the first steps in my vision for a Freetown where we can all be well, together.
“I am a proud Freetonian. I am the son of generations of Temne and Limba ancestors who were royalty in pre-colonial present-day Freetown. I am lucky to be married to Madam Tuma Adama Gento-Kamara, whose family hails from the South-East.
“I have been honored to choose as my running-mate and Deputy Mayor the Reverend Samuel Babatunde Thomas, of Krio pedigree. We all get right to claim this city as ‘we yone’. Having grown up here, I know what it takes and I have what it takes to fix this city. I was born and raised in the East End of the city, with its myriad challenges.
“Every morning as a child, I watched my mother have to search for water for washing before she could report to work as a nurse. I passed open landfills on my way to Kissy Municipal Primary School; I breathed in smoke from burning trash and exhaust from cars and buses along the roadside. I played football in the alleys and on makeshift pitches, because there was nowhere dedicated for sports or community activities.
“I have become an accomplished businessman and owner of the Gento Group of Companies – Home of Building & Construction – despite my “borbor pain” upbringing. Through hard work and sacrifice, I made it to Lewisham College in London, where I was studying and from where I ventured into my entrepreneurship journey. Indeed, I am grateful for my time and experiences in British society, where I could sharpen my skills and have the first taste of success.
“But for me, all that success and experience I gained, I must now use to fix my home city of Freetown. As I understand both the problems and the possible solutions our city needs. This Manifesto is personal because I have experienced what it means to live without water, without basic waste infrastructure, and without safe spaces and places where I could just play and explore and be a child – where I could be well in my city.
“When our daughters, mothers and sisters are waking up early in the morning to fetch water from a distance, there is a profound cost to pay. Those are hours not spent in the classroom or in the workplace, hours not spent pursuing our dreams, our purpose. I spent so much of my early life watching girls and boys, men and women with potential – with dreams – struggle just to exist.
“What a missed opportunity for all of us! Imagine a Freetown where all of those hours were liberated. Imagine what we could achieve together! Let’s fix Freetown so that mothers and school children no longer have to struggle. Let’s fix Freetown so that the next generation can focus on education and entrepreneurship and enjoyment, without worrying about their health or safety or dignity” the Manifesto concluded.