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April 19th – The People’s Day

April 19th – The People’s Day

Independence Day fever has taken over Mama Sierra Leone and the smoke from the giant Weber grill set aside to do some “roasting” is beginning to cloud the Lion’s Mountain. Do you smell what’s cooking? (Photo: Jariatu Sesay, author)

Oh well … How can you smell what’s cooking when you have not been given the opportunity to cook your own meals? Even when you manage to scrape and find some ingredients to cook yourself a simple “One Pot” dish, there is no pot in sight, and when you eventually find a small pot, you still have to search for fire wood or charcoal …

Even if at the end of the day you end up cooking your rice one pot, there is so no way you can eat it by yourself because you have the whole village lining up with plates and spoons to partake of your small dish.

As the aroma of whatever this current government fills the air, please put your plate and spoon down for a moment and think about what you will be able to cook for your self if you are given the opportunity to buy your own ingredients, own your own pot, and be able to buy fire wood or coal pot to cook it yourself.

The reason we negotiated for INDEPENDENCE is not to line up with our plate and a spoon waiting for whomever is cooking to feel sorry for us and dish a spoon our way.

We may smell “jollof rice” from the government’s pot but our plate may end up with “bonga soup”.

“Leh we sharp we nose ehn warch the plate” Politicians are all cut from the same cloth.

I must say that so far this government has been throwing some “meat” here and there to cover the bonga soup on our plates, but I wonder what will happen after the 2012 election?  Keep your eyes open … Let’s not forget what the celebration of OAU in 1980 did to our coffers! …. We spent Jollof Rice money, and was left to chew “raw cassava” the next 30 years

No wonder the fracas and many carcasses followed our OAU celebration.

I am all for Independence celebration but what happened to our REPUBLIC DAY?

I do understand that there will be no Republic Day without Independence.

April 19th marks the 40th anniversary of Sierra Leone becoming a Republic.

This is the day we formed our Constitution so that we would not spend our life lining up with a plate and spoon from the colonial masters

This is the day we created a MAP to guide us into the future… We may have lost our moral compass along the way to salvation but this is the time to dust off our map and start our journey all over again after the big hoopla on April 27th

The essence behind celebrating our Republic Day is because it’s the People’s Day.

On Independence Day, the past is re-called, but on Republic day, the PLEDGE is renewed.

It is the day to feel proud of our culture, languages, traditions, religions and what makes Sierra Leone a tolerant nation in spite of its turmoil.

It is a day not to look at how miserable a life we are living, or how our political system has gone down the drain, or how corruption is exponentially increasing, but it is a day to start thinking about how we can start working a little harder to change what has been hampering our beloved Sierra Leone.

I understand that being too optimistic can be mistaken for being naïve, but I know that if we go back to celebrating our Constitution, there is a chance we may be able to follow its guidelines and head towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Please take a look at a very small portion of our Constitution, courtesy of Sierra Leone Web…

The Constitution was written by our people and for our people

THE CONSTITUTION OF SIERRA LEONE, 1991

(Act No. 6 of 1991)

6. Political Objectives

7. Economic Objectives

6. (1) The motto of the Republic of Sierra Leone shall be Unity, Freedom and Justice.

(2) Accordingly, the State shall promote national integration and unity and discourage discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties.

(3) For the purposes of promoting national integration and unity, the State shall—

a. provide adequate facilities for and encourage free mobility of people, goods and services throughout Sierra Leone; and

b. secure full rights of residence for every citizen in all parts of the State.

(4) The State shall protect and defend the liberty of the individual, enforce the rule of law and ensure the efficient functioning of Government services.

(5) The State shall take all steps to eradicate all corrupt practices and the abuse of power.

7. (1) The State shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this Constitution—

a. harness all the natural resources of the nation to promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy;

b. manage and control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare and freedom of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of opportunity;

c. protect the right of any citizen to engage in any economic activity without prejudice to the rights of any other person to participate in areas of the economy;

d. place proper and adequate emphasis on agriculture in all its aspects so as to ensure self-sufficiency in food production; and

e. ensure that Government shall always give priority and encouragement to Sierra Leoneans to participate in all spheres of the economy in furtherance of these objectives.

Let us acknowledge the CONSTITUTION and those who took their time to construct it by celebrating April 19th.

Let us strive to constitutionalize our minds and never allow the government to institutionalize our brains.

HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY

By Jariatu Sesay

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