From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

A Hopeful 2010 as Sierra Leone bids farewell to a Frustrating 2009
By Editorial Board
Jan 4, 2010, 14:14

As we bid farewell to year 2009, we welcome, with a lot of hope, the start of the year 2010 and a brand new decade in the history of the World Calendar.


Here in Sierra Leone, the year 2009 was very challenging for the citizenry. Although we were able to surmount some of these challenges, the fact remains that the reality of hardship, youth unemployment, declining educational standards, abysmal health services, alarming health indices, total disrespect for journalists, lawlessness, political intolerance, armed robberies, sexual violence and gang-raping of our womenfolk which were all shamelessly recorded as part of the 2009 Events of Sierra Leone, was nothing to write home about.


That said, the Ernest Bai Koroma led government of Sierra Leone continue to assure the citizens that prosperity is underway. Indeed, there was some positive news like the growing moral support for Sierra Leone from strategic foreign figures like H.R.H. Prince Charles and World Statesman Tony Blair. There was also the launching of the Bumbuna Hydro Electric Project and on the last day of the year, came the most welcomed news that the long-defunct DELCO Mines will soon be jumpstarted by London Mining Ltd. There is thus hope for us to believe that prosperity might be underway.


But Prosperity cannot prosper if the citizens are not allowed the right to exercise their constitutional freedoms. Prosperity in 2010 will only happen when the Freedom of Information Bill is passed in Parliament and assented to by President Koroma. Prosperity will only happen when a few aspects of Part V of the Public Order Act get reviewed; not in a bid to ignore the rights of citizens to their reputations but in a bid to ensure that the Act is not used to silent critics of this Ernest Bai Koroma Regime; a regime that has shown the clear propensity to become very draconian if left to its own devices in an unchecked manner.


The people of Sierra Leone continue to record dwindling life conditions, ranging from hardship to lack of job facilities. The prices of basic food stuffs hiked unreasonably in the year under review alongside a decline in the Leones currency and a rise in the United States of America dollar currency. The least said about the massive decline in the educational standards the better, because all what got recorded were worst results in all exams, especially public exams.


The first quarter of the year 2009, was marred by political violence. Partisans linked with the ruling APC party launched several physical attacks on the main opposition SLPP party in several places around the country not limited to Freetown and Pujehun. There were also reports of rape perpetrated against women perceived to be supporters of SLPP.


With laudable efforts of the international community and with the non-yielding, tough stance of patriotic local journalists who fearlessly led the way in publicizing every little development, backed by the active participation and cooperation of the opposition party headed by John Benjamin, calm was restored and the country commenced breathing the sweet air of political tolerance after suffering the ravages of a ruling party gone mad with intolerance.


As we welcome the year 2010, we hope and pray that this year will record some amount of progress. The Government should concentrate on fulfilling their numerous promises to the people, and desist from activities that are tantamount to wrecking the country and limiting their peoples freedoms. The Opposition, especially the John Benjamin led SLPP, must also develop some more spine and learn more strategies to apply to make them more of an opposition to the shenanigans of the ruling party.


In 2010, John Benjamin and his lackadaisical bunch of SLPP Executives should immediately start to do their democratic duties and cease the PLAYCOOK and SELL-GAME tactics that the SLPP is now unfortunately tainted with despite being repeatedly prodded to get off those unsavoury paths. Sierra Leone has suffered enough and its high time we start progressing in all sectors (Ruling Party & Opposition Party). Democracy is not only about elections and Presidential Candidates. It is an ongoing development that does not cease when elections are concluded only to restart when electioneering campaign whistles are blown. Democracy functions when an effective opposition keeps the ruling party on its toes at all times, day by day; minute by minute and second by second.


As for the Judiciary, the Legislature, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Independent Media Commission (IMC), etc. etc. the least said about how these independent bodies have allowed President Koromas Executive arm to most shamelessly influence them throughout 2009, the better for the integrity of these important bodies. We hope 2010 will see a more independent Tejan-Jalloh Judiciary, a more independent Abel Stronge Parliament, a more independent Tejan-Cole ACC and a more independent Bernadette Cole IMC than we saw in 2009.


Overall, the just concluded Year 2009 can best be described as challenging and frustrating whilst Year 2010 can be described as the start of a decade of Renewed Hope for the people of this beautiful Sierra Leone.


Happy New Year and Happy New Decade to all our cherished readers.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.