A couple of years ago, all you could hear or read about Sierra Leone in the global media is horrible and terrifying news. From perpetually occupying the last position is successive UNDP Human Development Index to a helpless and battered economy which rendered us vulnerable to World Bank and IMF conditionalities; from squalid poverty to one of the highest infant and maternal mortality nation; from the darkest city in the world to terrible roads and potholes capable of wrecking the strongest Japanese Toyota ; from one of the most corrupt nations in the world to website blistering horrible photographs of the carnages of our senseless war – some websites are still loaded with child soldiers and worn-torn Sierra Leone in the 1990s.
The proliferation of such negative information has constituted a terrible national PR disaster. It challenged our nation’s pride, sapped our self-esteem as a people, scared investors, and inactivated donor funds. We were alienated from the company of progressive nations and rather classified as one of the poorest nations in the poorest continent – a model of bad and undemocratic governance, squalid poverty and conflict -ridden.
Addressing the Africa continent in a packed-audience recently in the Nelson Mandela Hall at the AU headquarters in Addis Abba, President Obama referenced Sierra Leone as a model of growing democracy and good governance:
“I believe Africa’s progress will also depend on democracy, because African’s like people everywhere, deserve the dignity of being in control of their lives. We all know what the ingredients of real democracy are. They include free and fair elections, but also freedom of speech and the press, freedom of assembly…From Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, to Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, democracy has taken root”
Since the reintroduction of democracy in 1996, our nation has been taking advantage of opportunities to deepen our democracy at every moment. We acknowledge our challenges but our brave and consistent pursuit of democratic tenets remains unwavering and have be recognized and trumpeted by the President of the most powerful United States whose utterance reflect US policy. From our impeccable demonstrated gallancy in pressuring the NPRC junta to hand over power to civilian regime to our worthy resolved to cast our vote in the first democratic elections with the consequence of having one’s voting finger chopped off, from the emergence of a viable opposition which clinched power in 2007 with a peaceful transfer of power to the enviable status of being among the fastest growing economy pre-ebola outbreak, etc, have not gone unnoticed.
Indeed, the cataloguing of our national virtues continue to produce the fragrance of sweet smelling savour – the death penalty has not been used for over a decade; with no sufficient evidence, all persons charged with treason were acquitted and discharged recently; opposition members have never been thrown to jail for unleashing the most robust opposition against government; journalists have never been jailed for expressing their opinions on public issues; and broader space continued to be created for a functional civil society ; there is access to information law and an empowered ACC – one of the fiercest in the continent, etc.
Yes, we had a senseless war from 1991 to 2001: yeah, but it ended fourteen years ago. It has not relapsed! Twas not a tribal, regional or religious war. We are united with impressive socio-economic strides as well as being one of the safest place in the continent – a peaceful nation on the march to a viable economy and evidential good governance. Herald it! Herald it! Herald it in global media houses and paste it in all the websites like President Obama opined with rapturous reception:
“Africa’s progress will also depend on security and peace…..In Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone; we’ve seen conflicts end and countries working to rebuilding their lives.
Such lofty commendations graciously lift our the soul of our nation and embolden our robust trajectory approach in achieving our national aspirations. It awakens the sleeping giant in us to keep moving and invoke the catapulting of our nation into a middle income as a result of our impressive socio-economic pursuits in the last couple of years. To this end, government have been creating the conducive atmosphere for private sector growth, youth unemployment was stemming down especially with a seeming booming extractive industry, infrastructure and energy continue to top government priorities. Roads are being constructed throughout the country with a modern international airport.
Our unflagging resilience for tolerance and respect is huge! We are among the most religious tolerant nations on planet! We are a friendly people! Hospitable is deeply buried in our national DNA!
Since our ACC Act was empowered in 2008, , our anti-graft campaign have been receiving global accolades as one of the most effective anti-graft campaign in the continent.
We were among the fastest growing economies in the world in the first- quarter of 2014 when hit by the notorious ebola. It affected every facets of our nation and ruined our economy. But as I write, the scourge has been overcome by over 98%, hence, the resumption of most normal activities. Though, we remain focus in strictly adhering to ebola infection control measures in order to break the slightest possible transmission. As we embarked on the last push to eliminate this unwelcomed visitor, our national energy has fast been reposition to our pre-ebola socio-economic standing which is bound to usher us into a middle income nation – a donor nation.
Tell it out! Tell it out! Tell it out to the world that Sierra Leone is brazenly marching forward!
CIRCUMVENT THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT
JOIN YALI NETWORK ANDbenefit the Mandela Washington fellowhip online course