Sour Independence Anniversary in Sierra Leone as sullen citizens keep away from government and public events


Realizing that there was nothing to celebrate , many Sierra Leoneans, especially in the capital city, Freetown, stayed away from any merriment during Sierra Leone’s 63rd Independence Anniversary celebrations last weekend.

Shockingly but unsurprisingly, though for the Independence Anniversary,   President Maada Bio lifted the ban he had surreptitiously placed on masquerade processions and dancing when he came to power in 2018, Sierra Leoneans ignored the so-called goodwill and stayed away from any merriment.

Some citizens who spoke to COCORIOKO  said they rejected President Bio’s gesture because of several reasons but primarily because there was nothing to celebrate . The country is too tough and life has become more intolerable than ever before, with no electricity, water and escalating food prices , citizens complained. “How do I celebrate with all these problems biting us in this country ?” , Issa Turay from Kambia, asked our reporter .

Some government employees complained that unlike the past when they received their salaries, to be able to celebrate the Independence Anniversary, the Bio Government failed to do so as Sierra Leoneans now seem to have entered another era of delays in the payment of government workers every month.

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For also not taking part in the masquerading, Some other Sierra Leoneans cited the fact that President Bio was hypocritical. They said that he was vindictive to sections of the country when he banned masquerading in Sierra Leone in 2018, while at the same time allowing people in the South East—The stronghold of his SLPP party – to masquerade.

During the ban, Jobai, Gorboi, Poro  and Bondo masquerades freely paraded in Bo, Kenema, Moyamba and Kailahun in the Southeast but Police threaten to shoot and arrest anybody found masquerading in the Northwest during holidays or festivities. “Now that Bio has lost control of the country and people are not interested in celebrations, he wants us to go out masquerading ? ” one angry man asked an internet talk show.

Despite lifting the ban on masquerading , the SLPP Government itself realized that Sierra Leoneans would not be in the mood to celebrate but most events once identified with independence anniversary celebrations were not scheduled. There was neither a national march past at the national stadium or international football thatatches or even a state banquet. All the government scheduled ( Hypocritically also, according to the people ) were muslim prayers on Friday and christian prayers on Sunday.  But though government urged Sierra Leoneans to congregate to mosques and churches to pray, the events were very poorly attended.

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