“Loyalty To The State Shall Override Ethnic and Other Loyalties,” Sierra Leone’s 1991 Constitution
“Loyalty To The State Shall Override Ethnic and Other Loyalties,” Sierra Leone’s 1991 Constitution.
By Saikujohn Barrie.
As Sierra Leoneans prepare to vote for their president on June 24, I think I should write this piece to remind the Sierra Leoneans who are level-headed of their duties as citizens as espoused in the 1991 Constitution.
I am happy that I am capable and have the capacity to discuss both legal and journalistic issues anytime and anywhere.
Firstly, I want to remind my compatriots that Section 13 of the 1991 Constitution states, “Every citizen shall—(b) cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that loyalty to the state shall override sectional, ethnic, tribal, or other loyalties.”
I am compelled to remind my fellow Sierra Leoneans about this section of our constitution because, for the past months, I have noticed a pattern of dishonesty and loyalty to political parties as opposed to loyalty to the state being demonstrated during political discussions.
Additionally, I think if there is any time Sierra Leoneans should be reminded about loyalty, it is now. Sierra Leoneans need to be patriotic and genuinely advance the interests of the country instead of parochial political, tribal, regional, and other interests to the detriment of the state.
In as much as the constitution espoused the fundamental human rights and freedom of the individual, wherein Section 15(b) guaranteed freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, and association, this should not mean that loyalties should be attached to political parties rather than the state.
In my view, most of the political party supporters are more loyal to their political parties and their political leaders than to the state of Sierra Leone. The thirst for political influence, money, and other personal interests has blinded most Sierra Leoneans compatriots. People no longer recognise truth and reality as long as they are the beneficiaries of the state’s loot.
In addition, some people just want to be associated with the powers that be, even if they suffer the most.
What I have noticed for the past ten or so years is that most times the opposition tends to speak on behalf of the suffering masses in the country, but as soon as they catapult to power, the way they perceive and deal with national issues changes.
When they assume power, they completely change into non-listening human beings who are arrogant, aggressive, wicked, and careless about the plight of the poor Sierra Leoneans. This should not be the reality of our thinking and behaviour in Sierra Leone.
Being a legally minded professional journalist, Section 11 of the 1991 Constitution states, “The press, radio and television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Constitution and highlight the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.”
In light of the above, I will always continue to exercise my constitutional responsibility by highlighting the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of Sierra Leone.
As I have been doing in the past, I will always focus on holding those in power to account, no matter the labeling and name-calling.
To me, I will always strive to cultivate a sense of nationalism and patriotism so that my loyalty to the state will always override sectional, ethnic, tribal, or other loyalties.
On this note, I remind Sierra Leoneans that loyalty to the state should override ethnic and other loyalties.