If I were you, Mr. President
Sierra Leone has suffered tremendously as a result of a foolish eleven years civil war and has lagged far behind on sustainable developments due to ineffective and bad leaderships. In the presence of war and instability it is impossible to effect proper development. It is time we picked ourselves up, dusted off our negative and backward driven past and try to positively focus and forge ahead rapidly to a brighter and enviable future for Sierra Leone. (Photo: Alfred Sorie Kargbo, author)
Now that we have relative peace and political stability we should hasten in our efforts to rebuild Sierra Leone. The strides towards development should be wider and quicker in order for us to make up for our darkened past and loss of precious time. To rejuvenate the country we need a focus leader, proper democracy, a modern and higher standard of education, media freedom, effective judiciary, better infrastructures etc. , you name the rest.
Perhaps we have been blessed with a good leader, President Koroma. It is crystal clear and with evidences that he meant good for Sierra Leone. Not only Sierra Leoneans are appreciative of his Hercules efforts to make Sierra Leone a better place but the international communities are pleased as well. The president should continue to do his utmost best to restore the country once again as the Athens of Africa. To rebrand Sierra Leone for the better of the aforementioned elements and many more are indisputably required. From my perspective the speedy spreading of modern and higher education throughout the country could lead to the better functioning of the others.
We are appreciative that our country has been blessed with much needed natural resources: diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, chromites, gold and most recently oil. Wow! We are indeed blessed but are we actually reaping the blessing? No. Who are officially doing the exploration, exploitation and extraction of these God given endowments? Foreign companies do. They tell us what they have discovered, carry out the exploitation and extraction process and measure the quantity they have extracted. We have to accept whatever they put forward to us whether it is true or false. Sierra Leone in particular and Africa at large are still living in the world of ‘In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty’. We have oceans yet we are washing our hands with spittle. Yes we need these foreign companies now to do the exploration, exploitation and extraction of our natural resources because we absolutely lack the technical know-how. What have we done to learn, copy or imitate the required knowledge to carry out mineral exploration, exploitation and extraction? The West learned how to do it. Let us likewise take the first step to acquire this knowledge, one day we would reach there. Until we try to do things on our own we will never enjoy the real benefits of our natural resources.
If I were you Mr. President I would embark on a massive spending on spreading modern, high quality, and effective education throughout Sierra Leone which will increase the proportion of high literacy rate in the country. This in turn could produce much needed learned people that would promote positive social mobility from being in the dark to a brighter future. Schools, colleges and universities should be heavily subsidised, well equipped and properly monitored for outstanding students who could be offered scholarships for further studies in areas were we completely lack the human resources: engineering (how to explore, exploit and extract natural resources; engineers that can build bridges, roads, railways, ports, transport tunnels etc.), scientist (in medical and innovative research and development), technology experts (in computing software and hardware) etc. These are the basics for rapid development. Though it may take 10 to 30 years to have these technocrats, it is imperative to do it as they would serve as resources to enhance sustainable development. Let us focus to live in a world of ‘learning to catch a fish and not to eat a fish’. The philosophy of complacency and laziness must be let go and let Sierra Leone press the reset button for sustainable and meaningful development and recharge our energy towards a result driven attitude and accomplishment. We should now try to work smarter and not harder. Let us use more of our brains and not our physical being.
Written by Alfred Sorie Kargbo, Netherlands
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