Sierra Leone At 58th Independence Anniversary by Ranger
The People Say: We ‘Angri’ O!
A Commentary By Ranger
Unlike back in the days when Sierra Leoneans of all ages, in all corners of the country, looked joyously to the coming of holidays, especially the Independence Holiday; it is sad to note that these days, majority of Sierra Leoneans welcome holidays in a dejected mood.
Try as much as they can, the SLPP Government in spite of its Finance Minister’s promise before the party was voted into power by a hungry nation, said that they would be up to the task of solving the basic bread and butter issues sooner rather than later.
However, the cry today amongst the masses is: De gron dry-o; meaning in English that the times are rough and there is no food to eat. Added to this is another cry from the masses: Man dem angri o; meaning in English that the people are very hungry for lack of food!
Maybe what the Finance Minister and his team have found out quickly is that whatever macroeconomic juggling they do to recalibrate a wobbling economy to make it stand steady on its own two feet, there is no quick fix measure to the basic bread and butter issue of cheap, nutritious food on the table especially on the table of those the PRSP identified as living on less than USD2 a day.
It is understandable that the government as we celebrate what will surely be what one SLBC broadcaster called a ‘sombre’ Independence has been doing a lot that is positive and constructive to remedy deep socio-economic wounds left by the past government.
However, one thing that still defies remedy is that of the unhealthy, unprogressive rivalry that exists between the SLPP and the APC, which honestly many people are saying cannot happen unless we are able as a nation to grow beyond the parochial, provincial mentality, thinking and behaviour of these two parties. Whatever development the country makes will only benefit one segment of the population; depending on which of them is in power at the time.
Let us look at it this way: why for God’s sake should 7 million people endowed with abundant land resources, water for irrigation, plenty of sunshine for growing any kind of tropical food, vegetables and cereals continue to be unable to feed itself; instead has to spend over 200 million dollars annually importing foods that it can overproduced here, why?
Why should our youths of both sexes out of hopelessness and desperation turn their backs on these beautiful shores to go into hell elsewhere in the sub-region, the Middle East, Europe and America? Why?
In the same way an empty bag cannot stand, in the same way a man or woman without a job to do, a means of earning an income legitimately becomes a criminal or a prostitute.
Sierra Leone at 58 is poor, sorry, and hopeless; yet, if its people open their eyes wide like an eagle they would clearly see that they do not deserve to be classified among the wretched of the earth but why? Why?
As we celebrate this year’s Independence, honestly, despite my dispirited opinion of my country, there is a lot to celebrate.
However, there will be much more to celebrate as a nation if we come to understand that divided, only a few of us will enjoy the limitless wealth of this blessed nation whilst the majority of us, whether it is the SLPP or APC in power will continue to wallow in abject poverty and misery, simply because we have not come to realise, even after the horrors and tribulations of the civil war that first and foremost, Sierra Leone is ours, regardless of what tribe or region you come from and that it is only when we come together as one to honestly, diligently, consistently and constructively work in the interest of the county that things will become better.
Let us conclude by saying that Lebanese, Indians, Fulas, and Madingoes will always dominate us and be richer than us the indigenes.
This is because according to one woman, Sierra Leoneans, both as individuals and as public servants are not honest, unreliable, and do not pay their debts (ask the commercial banks and those who Sierra Leoneans borrow from) and have little or no love or compassion for their fellow brothers and sisters. Once God favours them with the good things of this world, they become greedy, selfish and unkind to each other.
That is the main reason we are poor and will continue to become poorer until we change our attitude towards ourselves and the State we serve.