The 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations have demonstrated without any iota of doubt that hope eternal has sprung in the hearts of all Sierra Leoneans. For a whole nation and its citizens in the diaspora to be so united in their celebrations, it means that national pride and national love for the country has been reborn and the credit goes to President Ernest Koroma whose inspiring leadership and achievements under his AGENDA FOR CHANGE Program have given Sierra Leoneans hope that regardless of whatever the problems our nation is facing today there is a light at the end of the tunnel. (Photo: President Ernest Bai Koroma)
Human beings have certain criteria they look at to get motivated about the future of their country. They go beyond their country’s problems, for instance, to see if the government in power is making serious and honest efforts to turn around their country’s fortunes. Sierra Leoneans are encouraged that President Koroma is making honest and determined efforts to make their country a land of plenty in the not-too-distant future. Sierra Leoneans know that whatever the situation problems do not go away at once in a nation. They know that there are global factors that will always influence socio-economic events in their country. Sierra Leone, for now, is not an oil-producing country and we are at the mercy of international market forces like demand and supply. Sierra Leoneans at times talk as if their whole heads are buried in the sand and they are oblivious of events in the whole world. Anybody who reads newspapers online knows that there are presently fuel crises in many countries including Nigeria, Liberia and the Great United Kingdom. We have learnt that the present fuel crisis in Sierra Leone is not unconnected with the recent change from the imperial to the metric system (from gallons to litres ).
Why is that we always amplify our own problems as if we are the only nation facing them? It is one thing to announce that there is a fuel crisis in your country .There is nothing wrong with that, but to write as if it is happening only in Sierra Leone is dishonest and distasteful. Read the latest editions of the British Daily Mail , Daily Express and The Guardian – which I receive everyday by subscription – and the first thing of note on the pages of these papers is the astronomical rise in fuel prices and the many cuts going on in social services . Even those who watch the news on TV in the U.S or read newspapers know that the American media have been buzzing lately with distressing stories about increases in the price of fuel and basic commodities as well as budget shortfalls which are causing massive layoffs of workers, including the police and teachers. Sierra Leone is not the only country bedevilled by socio-economic problems. The industrialized countries like Britain, USA, France, Germany, Russia etc. are also neck deep in social and economic woes.
As long as Sierra Leone remains part and parcel of the socio-economic and geopolitical configuration of the world, whatever affects other countries will come to our shores. We will never be exempted. The Sama Banyas and other crybabies know this fully well but they will not pass by any opportunity to make political capital out of any problems facing our country. They are foolish enough to speak as if we never had these problems during SLPP rule. The positive thing that any rational being can take out of it all is that the anti-government propagandists have still not succeeded in dampening the mood of the nation .The overwhelming turnout at the events marking the Jubilee celebrations depicted a nation where there is a huge sense of anticipation that there is cause for optimism in the future of the country . Sierra Leoneans showed that they still have faith in their country which would not have been possible if we had a non-performing President and government in power.
People may be lining up to buy fuel but all around them they also see hope , through the progress and developments going on and on the radio they hear more good news like the recent opening in Sierra Leone by the U.S of its first Special Economic Zone in Africa . Said the U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Michael Owen:” The project is the first and only American-owned Special Economic Zone on the African continent with an enormous potential for growth.” Sierra Leone, through this project, will start exporting Mango and Pineapple Juice pretty soon and the Economic Zone has the potential to provide thousands of jobs to Sierra Leoneans. President Koroma negotiated the project when he was in the U.S. last year for the UN General Assembly.
Richard Schroeder, chief executive of First Step, which runs the factory, gave this heart-lifting appraisal of the project : “Our aim is to bring ethical foreign direct investment into Sierra Leone, providing space for international businesses to process Sierra Leone resources instead of exporting the raw material,”
Under President Koroma, Sierra Leone has opened up to business , commerce and investments and given the present momentum created by the resumption of mining activities all over the country there is definitely a silver lining in the cloud. It is not all bleak. And if Sierra Leone becomes an oil producing country soon, one can just imagine the dramatic changes coming to the socio-economic fortunes of the country.
With President Koroma at the helm, masterminding progress in the nation, first class highways are being constructed in the capital and all over the country in the largest road construction enterprise ever undertaken in the nation. These infrastructural developments which will improve the quality of life of the people and boost commerce and farming, show that the Ernest Koroma government is working diligently in the interest of the people. No wonder people are so hopeful of the future.
President Koroma has even set the machinery in motion for Sierra Leone to achieve food security. Said the President: “Our goal is for us to move away from subsistence to commercial agriculture, agro-processing ,adding value to our agricultural products and realizing maximum benefit from the richness of our soil”. In this respect, President Koroma launched the Smallholder Commercialization Project which has brought together over 10, 000 farmers in farmer-based organizatioons to make agriculture more proftable. The result is that farming activities have intensified in the country. Lots of Sierra Leoneans are now going back to the soil and this is a good sign that Sierra Leone is headed in the right direction.
In years to come, especially during President Koroma’s Second term, it is obvious that Sierra Leone will be in a new dispensation of socio-economic and political renaissance. Sierra Leoneans would have started reaping the benefits of the investments presently being made by President Ernest Koroma. Let us therefore eschew negative thinking and pandering to the vicious propaganda being peddled by retrogressive journalists and hoodlums masquerading as media men and women. There is hope for Sierra Leone and if somebody does not deliberately try to be block-headed, he can see the signs all around him. Let us therefore throw our weight behind President Ernest Koroma and support his Agenda For Change, which bodes well for our beloved nation.
The tremendous sense of anticipation in the country is not misplaced. President Koroma has brought hope to Sierra Leone and it is our duty as citizens to jump on the President’s bandwagon to provide the help he needs from all of us to make Sierra Leone a better place for ourselves, children and generations yet to come.
Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, New York, US