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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Ernest Enjoys Traders Red Support
By Dauda Koroma & Abdul Fonti
Mar 11, 2011, 18:04
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Yesterday Thursday 10th March 2011, there were scenes of jubilations, singing and dancing along all the major streets in the Freetown municipality by traders dressed in bright red and white outfits. This was in commemoration of the first-ever Traders Day that was declared by the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, His Lordship, Herbert George Williams.


In recognition of the significant roles of the traders towards social wellbeing and economic growth, March 10 was declared by the Mayor as traders day.

Market women enjoying themselves at PZ with pro-APC and pro-Ernest songs


The day also witnessed the launch of an operation called Operation Pick A Plastic.


The traders were all called upon to mark the day with mass processions from various parts of the country, through major streets of Freetown, on to the national stadium.

Abacha Street Traders displaying their banner


Street traders, shop owners and other business people who received the mayors declaration with excitement stormed the streets in their numbers (though not the usual thousands) to commemorate the day.


A large percentage of the traders who joined yesterdays procession were claded in red and white dresses. They displayed banners with various inscriptions of traders groups and messages. Using traditional musical instruments and modern musical appliances, the traders danced and sang throughout the day, and most of them never returned to their market places even after the six-hour commemoration period had expired.

Elderly participants displaying brooms during the procession


Some of the banners displayed by the traders read thus: Ernest you done woke 2012 we go put you back, Well done APC, Ernest Koroma is Sierra Leones best president.


All of the songs by the traders were centered on what they described as the good work the president was doing.

Whistle blowing formed part of the processions


Though the President did not grace the National Stadium programme as was announced by the FCC, he later addressed the traders at State House.


The presidents address to the traders was severally and frequently disrupted by thunderous applause from the traders; an occurrence that indicates that President Koroma still enjoys support from the traders, especially the Abacha Street traders. 

Pupils joined the procession


President Koroma, in his statement, thanked the FCC for declaring the traders day in the municipality, while assuring that his government is committed towards improving investment in the country.

He called on the traders to be law abiding and patriotic in all of their endeavours.


Irrespectively of the widespread condemnation the traders received yesterday for transforming a traders procession into a political rally, the traders have a different view altogether for their actions.


Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Abacha Street Traders Association, Fatu Conteh, told the Awareness Times that there was no political motive behind the dress most of the traders put on yesterday.

It was just a coincidence that the colour choice of the traders coincided with that of the ruling party, she explained, adding that nobody can ban them from wearing any colour they choose simply because it belongs to a particular political party.


She said they used the day as an opportunity to raise awareness among the general populace of the must to keep the city clean as we celebrates 50th independence anniversary. On the pro-APC and pro-Ernest Koroma songs that were sang throughout the occasion, Madam Conteh said it was their own small way to express appreciation to the APC and Ernest Koroma for what she termed as the good job they were doing.


As we have now formally launched the operation pick a plastic, we will from now henceforth embark on massive cleaning exercises all over the city, she pointed out.


Several other traders expressed similar views.  


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

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