Sierra leone can overtake Rwanda – Deputy Information Minister
The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Hon. Sheka Tarawalie (jn photo), has said the socio-economic developments that he has seen in Rwanda are phenomenal and worth commending, especially against the background of that country having gone through perhaps the most atrocious war in contemporary times.
“It’s great. It’s amazing. The roads, the electricity, the water supply, the co-habitation, the peace. It simply tells the story of a resilient people, a people ready to put the past behind them and strive forward. For this, there’s need to commend the strong and disciplined leadership of President Paul Kagame,” the Deputy Minister and Co-Government Spokesman who’s visiting his wife’s home-country for the first time said. “Here’s a country which went through terrible circumstances much more than we did in Sierra Leone; but you can’t imagine how rapid they have recovered, how fast they have catapulted themselves into an enviable nation. You see progress everywhere. The people are merely saying through their action that love can conquer evil. A mere agrarian society has turned itself into the cleanest and arguably the fastest-growing country in Africa.”
Notwithstanding, the Deputy Minister is positive that Sierra Leone now has what it takes to match Rwanda’s record and even overtake it: “The age-old problem of Sierra Leone was that of leadership. But by all indications, we now have a committed and development-oriented leadership in President Ernest Bai Koroma. You can see that his style of leadership bears the marks of President Kagame’s, and it’s no wonder that the former Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair has openly said the two Presidents are the best in Africa. However, I am very optimistic that Sierra Leone will overtake Rwanda under President Koroma’s leadership.”
In explaining his optimism, the Deputy Minister said, “We have what Rwanda does not have. We are not a landlocked country. There’s so much we can accrue through the sea – through our port, through our marine resources. And we have the gold, the diamond, the iron ore, the bauxite, and you name them. With President Koroma’s leadership style as encapsulated in the Agenda for Change, I see no reason why we would soon not be able to overtake Rwanda.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister ensured he spoke to the Special-Court-imprisoned Sierra Leoneans in Rwanda via telephone, but could not see them in person. He told them that he was speaking to them as Sierra Leoneans, and that even as Sierra Leone is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, their “incarceration is a reminder that never again should Sierra Leone go to war against itself. You cannot celebrate with us because apparently you contributed to the evil that befell us; and you are paying for that. But you need not totally lose hope. Today is Good Friday. Remember that there’s an Easter too. Your families back home will celebrate with us,” he told the former leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and the Kamajor/Civil Defence Force (CDF) who are serving varied lengthy sentences. He told them that since they are provided with facilities like access to satellite television, they would be able to monitor events back home now with the upgrading of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation television to a satellite status “to see the quiet revolution that is going on under the leadership of President Koroma.”
Abdul Karim Koroma, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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