by Mahmud Tim Kargbo.
26th April 2021
When we celebrate Independence Day on 27th April every year, we must not feel proud of the way in which Sierra Leone achieved her Independence. The story of how she attained Independence is not epic in itself, revolving around self-centred people that lacked sacrifice for the nation and a passion for genuine change. An example of their actions was to form a very oppressive establishment that eliminated right-minded people immediately after Independence to enrich their greedy desires and plunged Sierra Leone into death and destructions. Real patriots and voices of reasoning within the independence team that were committed to the cause of effecting genuine positive change for the good of all nationals were eliminated out of the so-called system and declared the country an unattractive zone for all bright and progressive-minded nationals.
No doubt, Sierra Leone has not made huge strides since 1961; it is now one of the world poorest countries in any sense of the word. Sierra Leone, once value as a giant reservoir of talent in Africa, never acknowledged these days in Africa, not to talk of the world over. However, are we really free?
All people deserve freedom. Yet, freedom is not just political or for the selected few who are well determined to sustain the country backwards in a number of odd ways. Real freedom is freedom from poverty, illiteracy, disease, addictions, environmental pollutions, terror, crime, corruption, discrimination and other forms of injustice.
Sierra Leone poverty is rooted in an unfair economic system and in political instability apparently caused by the irresponsible actions of our people in social positions of trust. Without a doubt, Sierra Leone poverty is man-made.
Understanding Sierra Leone and understanding the whole context surrounding the crisis the country has been through before, in and after the eleven years of civil war; is crucial to decipher the problem of the country’s poverty. From the origins of colonisation to corruption, indirect tribal, regional and ethnic issues, nepotism, sycophancy, bootlicking, greed, continuous fall of living standards in Sierra Leone, selective justice. All are the impact of poor leadership.
Overall evidence suggests that the scale of poverty in Sierra Leone continue to worsen despite investments in poverty alleviation. In this analysis new approach to our politicians and other people in social positions of trust is suggested, based on lessons derived from past and current experience: since independence till date, it is clear that our political leaders are totally dishonest or are lacking a well equipped participatory and environmentally sustainable growth strategy in their DNAs based on poverty alleviation, with the mobilisation to sincerely tackle the poverty they continue to deliberately inflict in the lives of the suffering majority at its core. This is evident in their actions to the people of Sierra Leone; as our past and current political rulers (save Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who was a true leader) and others in social positions of trust cannot genuinely assist in the design and implementation of salient strategies that will address the issues of the poverty they continue to create and sustain through their negative actions in our country.
In other countries, political problem causers can also be a solution to the problems they cause in their nations. However, Sierra Leone politicians continue to prove that they are unable to tract the man-made poverty they continue to inflict in the lives of the suffering majority. So there has to be a clean line drawn for our politicians between patriotism, greed and incompetence. They travel to other countries around the globe and see development in its real sense. Yet, they cannot copy from these countries and effect the positive change they are experiencing from these countries in Sierra Leone. Right-minded nationals absolutely see no reason why a competent political leader(s) in a country with huge mineral deposits like Sierra Leone cannot cater for a population with a questionable seven million population.
Let’s recall that Johnny Paul Koroma of the illegal AFRC regime, led Sierra Leone for 9 months. He paid salaries, provide electricity and pipe-borne water for the people in the midst of sanctions and embargoes. His regime did this without tampering with the National Reserve Funds. Johnny Paul Koroma’s regime wasn’t raising revenue from Iron Ore, diamond, gold, bauxite Timber, NRA, etc. He was only selling diamonds and gold his regime got from mining fields. Very important to understand that he also used money he got from the said mining fields and acquired weapons and medicines.
Clean examples of Mr Johnny Paul Koroma’s leadership expose the nakedness of our politicians’ inefficiencies in diverse ways.
If our past and current politicians are not unpatriotic to Sierra Leone and are committed to tract the issue of poverty with actions, not just ordinary words; they would have look into the following problems with a sense of double purpose: poverty measurement; education; socio-economic processes that affect poverty; access to land, infrastructure, technology, social services, labour and capital markets; reorienting government policies and institutions to improve the access of the rural poor to productive resources and markets; poverty alleviation through natural resources management and conservation; the situation of rural poor women; strategies for targeting specific vulnerable groups including youth and partnerships in development and the poor’s participation.
FROM INDEPENDENCE TO INTERDEPENDENCE.
In today’s Sierra Leone, political freedom does not translate into financial independence for the majority, but only for the selected few plus their sycophants and bootlickers dancing around them. The order of the day has changed to interdependent.
Finding fake unity in diversity and moving together is the way ahead with the realisation that Sierra Leone is one. Political parties, nepotism, regions, greed and status divide us, but when the borders in our hearts melt, the entire Sierra Leone will attain real freedom- freedom from war, terror, man-made poverty, and prejudices.
We depend on others for almost everything. In the outside world, it is not possible to gain complete individual independence. But internally we can feel a sense of independence, at the level of thoughts, feelings and emotions with correct leadership. Something Sierra Leone is truly lacking since independence to date.(save Ahmad Tejan Kabbah).
To usher in real freedom, we need to take a multi-pronged approach. All facets of our social, political and spiritual systems need to be addressed.
GIVE THEM A DREAM
It is important to raise the self-esteem of our youth. Of course, we need to empower them financially, but at the same time, we have to give them a vision. (Past APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma failed in this. And by all indications, it looks like the current Bio led administration will also fail to deliver this important goal.
Youth empowerment must not only be a campaign tool to design political parties manifestos but must concretely cut across in a number of tangible ways after a political party gets the mandate of the people to govern. Politicians in Sierra Leone must understand that when youth are empowered to have a vision or a dream, they usually do a lot to develop their societies. A person becomes motivated to do something, either to fulfil a need or to realise a dream. Our youth should have a dream, a strong vision about the country, the State or the village. We must educate them, skill them, enable them to build their future and realise their dreams. At least to stop the spreading of the current sycophantic, greed and bootlicking acts around the present-day youth in Sierra Leone; thereby enabling them to positively use their youthfulness in sustainable economic growth and efficiently eradicate poverty in Sierra Leone.
People in business have a dual role to play in society, like the Sun drawing water from the Earth and giving it back in the form of rain. They are dependent on society and society expects something in return. They must devote some money, some energy in empowering the societies where they operate. They will have to take on social responsibility. This is what I call socialising business.
Ethical and holistic ways of doing business will bring about trust, boosting productivity and ultimate growth.
SHOW THEM A NEW HIGH
Drug abuse and alcoholism are two of the major problems the country faces. (Our politicians are not particularly bordered about it at all). They not only ruin human lives but also degrade a country and its civilisation. Alcoholism and other drugs are a key factor for poverty in Sierra Leone, as most of the earnings are spent on buying liquor. They also render many unproductive. They are also the source of many heinous crimes in the country. Most stabbings and many other crimes happened under the influence of alcohol and other drugs!
Spirituality and education are two powerful tools that can change Sierra Leone. Spiritual values will make our youth see a bigger meaning of life and seek alternatives kicks in life!
THE HAPPINESS EQUATION
We have to create a better Sierra Leone and a better society for our children and future generations with no sense of separation in terms of classes and leave this country (Sierra Leone) in a more prosperous state. We should not leave behind a society that is suffering from fear, injustice, poor education and corruption, poor health facilities, poor electricity supply, poor pipe-borne water. We have to take the responsibility for strong, self-reliant Sierra Leone and upgrade the value for money in our national expenditures.
The time has come for us to wake up and take responsibility. Take out one hour every day for our society, your country, starting today. If you are busy on weekdays, take out time on the weekends. Dedicate time for society. It will not only do good for society but also give you a source of inner joy, unlimited happiness!
We can really be free when only we have a progressive society and everyone is happy!
It’s time we go back to the ideals that brought Botswana and other countries freedom and usher in real freedom! Let’s reignite in ourselves the sense of patriotism!