We have a leader, but lack patriots !
By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
Since his (Ernest Bai Koroma) coming to the Presidency in 2007 Sierra Leone has experienced tremendous transformation in every sphere of economic activity and thus opening the minds and desires of Sierra Leoneans to be asking for more.
Asking for more is not just a Sierra Leonean mentality but a worldwide phenomenon so long the desires of people continue to grow. Our needs will increase as opportunities continue to increase and therefore our Government must be mindful of the changes in pattern of the various needs and strive to maintain a balance between those needs and national expenditure.
Once upon a time in Sierra Leone, prospect for sustainable electricity supply was hardly thought of neither access telecommunication systems- such as one making a call from his/her farm. Prospect for job opportunities were like a blind man wanting to catch a thief – thus the rooted sycophancy, tribalism and favouritism in work places.
But with his coming to the Presidency in 2007, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has radically created positive dimensions in the developmental landscape of Sierra Leone. The ‘favourable business climate’, the sustained liberal economic practices, easing the conditions for international investors, encouraging Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to come back home and invest, sustainable media activities without reprisals, improvement in the road networks, increase in job employments and empowerment of women’s rights- such as Gender laws, among many others, have today enlightened Sierra Leoneans to know what was lacking in their livelihood, and are asking for more.
Now is the time for every Sierra Leonean to help address the needs of the people. The elections are many months away but the country goes on. We must put our differences aside and realize that we are all Sierra Leoneans craving for a better Sierra Leone.
When a ruling Government of Sierra Leone fails we all fall; when President Koroma and the All Peoples Congress Party fail it is the SLPP, PMDC, UDM and others that fail the people.
This is the time for all our political stakeholders to put aside their differences and help each other for the development of the state. This is about being patriotic and to help in the development process rather than being retrogressive in nature. This is about Sierra Leone and not the APC, SLPP, PMDC or UDM, but the provision of bread and butter, security and opportunities for everyone in Sierra Leone.
The APC, like all the other political parties, want the betterment of the state and improvement of the livelihood of the people but if we continue to allow defunct reasons to influence our actions in life we become the master minders of own destruction.
This is why all Government workers must now own the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ and make it work because Sierra Leoneans are now asking for more and don’t want to know from which hand/hands the goodies come from.
Before now there was nothing to provide hope and now that Sierra Leoneans believe they have a leader who cares, they are asking for this and for that. The SLPP and others should take advantage of the growing demands of the people and present their case in Parliament for Government to act.
The Government, though having its own objectives, may include positive suggestions from the opposition so long such suggestions fall within its manifesto and where it does not, can through positive engagement, incorporate their proposition in the interest of national development.
That is what democracy is all about. The people want positive change in their livelihood and now that things are moving they will be asking for more and though the opposition may not want to be associated with the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ yet they are part of it- they too want prosperity for Sierra Leone.
Just recently, a group in Regent, dressed in white T-Shirts matched to State Avenue to demand the improvement of their community. They want electricity; they want improvement in their road and water supplies. The President, at the time wasn’t at State House but they where there, they knew he cares and they believe he would answer them.
When told to relocate to the Sewa Grounds by the Freetown City Council, traders were unmoved and like the Regent people, again went to the Streets – not to sell this time- but to meet their President; because they know he cares, and I was later told, he answered them.
The Okada Riders, trade unions and people from all walks of life, including opposition political bodies- in one form or the other-are meeting their President, because he cares; indicating Sierra Leone now has a Leader.
But can Sierra Leone be like other better countries with all our reliance placed on the President? Can the Agenda for Prosperity succeed with only the President pushing the process?
Everyone in Sierra Leone is shouting ‘The President’s Agenda for Prosperity’, meaning the President’s own. Even ministers are communicating in this way as if they are not part of it while in fact they are the implementers of the Government’s policies to making the Agenda for Prosperity successful.
The Agenda for Prosperity is encompassed in the manifesto of the President and like continued electricity supply in the city, the Revised Anti-Corruption Act (ACC) 2008, the Three Gender Laws, the friendly business climate, road constructions and rehabilitation, improvement of bilateral relations, sustained peaceful elections and robust agricultural investment, among others, are platform for a robust economy and prosperity.
Therefore, I find it unfortunate when state men and women most often fail to make themselves part of the process by stating to the public ‘Our Agenda for Prosperity’, because by owning the process one will put all his/her efforts to making it work.
It is time we look at ourselves and assess whether we are serving the Government because we believe it is the only way we can get employment or we are in Government to serve the people.
It is therefore unfortunate to state that we now have a leader but lack patriots!
Most Sierra Leoneans know that the President is dedicated to his people and means well for all but they are skeptical of some of the people around the President.
The ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ will work when the implementers of the process standout and own it rather than continue to shy away from it. The process is the President; it must be yours and us all. And therefore as we strive to work away from the ‘vicious circle’ of poverty we must all own the ‘Agenda for Prosperity and make it work. This is a matter of patriotism and dedication to national duty.