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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

What a 50th Independence Anniversary!
By Abdul Karim (Fonti) Kabia
Mar 8, 2011, 17:04
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It is already an open secret that April 27 2011 marks fifty years since Sierra Leone gained its independence from her British colonial masters.

 

In terms of development, one cannot be wrong to say Sierra Leone has achieved little as compared to its age of independence in relation to other sister countries she had independence before in Africa.

 

Considering the countrys abundance in natural and human resources, Sierra Leone is far from its rightful position in the world. Sierra Leones backwardness cannot be dissociated from the numerous negative vices of corruption, tribalism, regionalism and disparity, to name but a few. The aforementioned and more have marred the fifty years of Sierra Leone as an independent country.

 

At a time like this, we need to reminisce on the things that have held our countrys development to ransom for the past several years. In my view, Sierra Leone is still not an independent country in its true sense. How can a country boast of independence when it still depends on its colonial master for its wellbeing? Ironically as it sounds, nobody is seemingly paying attention to that. Sierra Leoneans must now be more focused on fighting for the countrys independence rather than complacently believing that Sierra Leone had achieved its independence fifty years ago. We are still under colonial rule because as it stands now, Sierra Leone is non-existent without financial support from Britain and other countries. The financial support being given by these countries is in itself a whole topic for debate. In my view, any country that largely depends on international funding is still under colonial rule. These international countries will not support a country if that country does not succumb to its benchmarks. They do not only set the criteria for a country to qualify for donor support but they also give you people they refer to as expatriates whenever you receive funds from them. Since these expatriates are paid from the very money they give you, does that not amount to colonialism in the strict sense?

 

Now that it has been established that Sierra Leone is far from been called an independent country, let us now look at the circumstances surrounding the commemoration of the countrys so called 50th independence anniversary.


Though the government had earlier promised that we were going to have a year-long commemoration, it is sad that nothing has happened in that direction. This is March, the third month of the countrys 50th independence anniversary year of 2011, and there are no indications that Sierra Leone is commemorating fifty years of independence.


With no attempt to politicize this issue, the two major vices responsible for the awkward situation Sierra Leone presently finds herself are corruption and economic hardship. How do you expect multitude of have-not nationals to commemorate an independence anniversary in pomp and pageantry amid stinking corruption and total economic strait? Making a mockery of the situation is whilst observing this Golden Independent Jubilee under a presumed climate of attitudinal and behavioral change the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating at least five officials of the Independence Anniversary Committee set up by President Ernest Bai Koroma. They are being investigated for embezzlement of funds meant for the commemoration of the countrys fiftieth independence anniversary.


Notwithstanding this unfortunate development, the recent appointment of Logus Koroma to serve as Coordinator for the 50th Independence Anniversary Committee has restored some hope in the minds of Sierra Leoneans. This is the man that had always maintained integrity and cordial rapport with the media. Logus Koroma appears to posses the zeal and forthrightness to make things happen for the country, but the fears of many Sierra Leoneans is hinged on the short time left to right the wrongs. But with the type of Logus I know, Sierra Leoneans might one day say better late than never.


The least talked about the hardship that has besieged Sierra Leone, especially in the past few months, the better. Nothing is virtually happening Sierra Leone is actually not on a standstill, but it is dangerously retrogressing from bad to worst.


The people of Sierra Leone are now refusing to cooperate with anything that has to do with the independence commemoration, not because they are not patriotic but because they are dying of hardship and frustrated over the news of massive corruption in the country. Thats the reality and nothing good will happen if the various stakeholders fail to map out strategies to either change the perception of the people or reverse the negative trend in Sierra Leone for the better.


The green, white and blue flags are supposed to be flying now all over Sierra Leone. But come to even the center of Freetown, PZ, and you would be shocked that not a single flag is positioned there. Sierra Leoneans are yet to heed to the calls to paint their houses; we are not seeing the green, white and blue attires; Ernest Koromas call for people to dress in African or Sierra Leonean outfits on Fridays has not yield any dividend. Nothing is happening. What an independence commemoration!


Let this year serves as a year of reflection. We have come a long way but we sadly have nothing to show after fifty years. Sierra Leone deserves better than this.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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