By IBRAHIM SOURIE MANSARAY
This week seems to be historic for the people and country of Sierra Leone. It marked the 58th Independence anniversary of the country’s troubled past. During this period, some countries that are far younger than us have achieved the basic necessities needed for human development, namely pure borne water, constant electricity, free access to medical facilities and many more. Infact, some countries in the world are boasting of making internet accessible to their citizens. Our country at its mature stage of 58 still lacks basic needs for its citizens. Yet, undeterred with perennial blackout and poor educational system, Sierra Leoneans all over the world celebrate their independence with pomp and pageantry. But what are we really celebrating? Continuity of dependence or Independence? Whatever is being celebrated, it is worthy to celebrate.
My piece is not focused on the independence celebration but ironies, contradictions and double statements emanating from the presidency. Last year, President Maada Bio cancelled the independence celebration on the pretext of economic hardship he inherited from the erstwhile APC government. Fair enough, the reasons given were apt and convincing; especially when his government was new and people thought his new administration is geared towards instilling financial discipline into a system that was allegedly fraught with financial impropriety. But wait, why should the First Lady organize a national independence celebration at the stadium where her husband had cancelled all celebrations? Why should the First Lady form a Women’s wing of the President and expect other parties to join her? When did national celebrations like the Independence become a political event? I listened to the president’s independence message and he rightly quoted the missions of our forefathers who fought for independence for the country. Sir Milton Margai, a modest leader fought for independence on the basis of uniting the nation.
With recent events happening in the country, one may be tempted to ask, who draws the shot? The Sierra Leone Peoples Party has a women’s wing headed by Madam Fatmata Sawaneh, who was very instrumental during the campaign; forming another wing called Julius Maada Bio’s Women’s Wing to undertake state functions, is it not sending a clear message of cracks and disunity within the party? So what if someone is not a member of the JMB Women’s wing and prefers to stay SLPP through and through? Forming such organizations are normally associated with campaigns or electioneering periods and not when your party is in power.
How can the president cancel the independence celebration but organize a dinner for his one year in office? A critic may ask, is this financial fiscal policy? So what happens when the SLPP women’s wing and JMB Women’s wing organize events on the same day? I watched the opening ceremony of the bridge at Juba and the scene clearly shows the path of power within the administration; who is being used as an affront for political subterfuge and who is conspicuously absent from performing state functions?. Where are we going as a nation? The First Lady may have good ideas to promote the image of the country, but there are certain things that should be explicitly explained the First Lady for the benefit of the country. Naming wings after presidents are normally attributed to dictators and electioneering periods. Such hallmarks are the pathways to develop good intentioned leaders into despots and dictators.
Mr President, the country is still going through tough times and the people yearn for change though it will never come overnight. I heard the people have started expressing concerns over your numerous overseas trips, in as much as some have started yielding dividends, but that is why we have ambassadors, ministers and senior diplomats in the country. Your recent trip to Canada to attend the Technology Conference was really nice, but don’t you think you should have engage a senior minister or even the prime minister of Canada on establishing a consulate in Sierra Leone? Just a random though Sir!
As we celebrate our independence, the people of Sierra Leone are looking up to your administration for changes as promised in your campaigns. If your administration starts making the same mistakes as you used to accuse the past APC government, do you think the country will be at ease?
Please sir, the people of Sierra Leone wants to be at ease.
God Bless Sierra Leone