Sierra Leone’s Independence triggers food for thought
Sierra Leone’s Independence anniversary has been colourful, glamorous, and above all, a historical event. Several other activities are still ongoing thus a sequel of the golden jubilee. Apparently, messages regarding a reflection on the mistakes of the horrible past, and to ensure national unity among Sierra Leoneans have been the crux of the matter. (Photo: Ambassador Stevens and Head of Chancery Mr Kondeh celebrating the independence with Sierra Leoneans in Berlin)
It is also a clarion call to all Sierra Leoneans, requesting them to bury their differences devoid of political, social or ethnic diversity in a bid to redeem the country from its socio-economic slumber.
That is why the Chief Executive as well as his heads of respective diplomatic missions across the globe, have eloquently spoken about how we as a people should come to terms with basic fundamental challenges in order to meet the set goals.
In his speech at the official celebration of Sierra Leone’s Independence on Wednesday 27 in Berlin, Germany, H E Jongopie S. Stevens had this to say:
“Distinguished Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen, our people are mostly clear about what our country should become in the next fifty years; a developed democratic country that is a global example of inter-ethnic harmony, religious tolerance, gender equity, unity, freedom and justice. Our government’s Agenda for Change is an action-oriented interpretation of these aspirations.”
Read the full speech bellow:
“Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you greetings from the Government and people of Sierra Leone who are today celebrating the country’s Golden Jubilee of Independence. Please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for joining us celebrate this momentous occasion as it depicts another milestone in Sierra Leone’s history.
Colleagues Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen, the history Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary cannot be written without mentioning the numerous contributions of successive German Governments towards making the country what it is today. As soon as Sierra Leone attained its independence in 1961, Germany was among the very first countries that established diplomatic relations with us and since then that relationship has grown and still growing to the heights of mutual benefits to our two countries.
A little over two months ago, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma paid an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany to further enhance and strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries. During that visit, President Koroma was able to brief
President Wulff, Chancellor Merkel, some members of Parliament and a cross section of the business community in Federal Republic of Germany on progress and governance challenges faced by the government of Sierra Leone since the end of the war. Those achievements could not have been attained had it not been for both the moral and financial support received from the Federal Republic of Germany. These include support in micro-financing; basic education; combating HIV/AIDS; strengthening the Anti corruption Commission; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court and many others. Let me on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra
Leone say a very big thank you to the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Germany.
However, as you may be aware, the Government of Sierra Leone is still grappling with challenges facing democratic governance in a post-war country that is put in the same lane as relative stable countries to run the same race. These include among other issues: macro-economic stability amidst global economic meltdown; food security; unemployment; re-building of destroyed and dilapidated infrastructure; maternal and child mortality; HIV/AIDS; trans-national crimes including drug trafficking and money laundering; corruption and the justice system.
Notwithstanding all these challenges, the Government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has, since assuming office, committed his government to address all the issues that could guarantee good governance and economic development in Sierra Leone as espoused in his ‘Agenda for Change’ “visioning a large-scale transformation of our economy and public services to improve the social and economic conditions of all Sierra Leoneans”.
On the global front, Sierra Leone is committed to seeing a peaceful world by supporting the democratic aspirations of the people of the world particularly in countries where democracy is being threatened. In that direction amidst our very peculiar circumstance, Sierra Leone has contributed troops to the UN Mission in Darfur, while President Ernest Bai Koroma was among the eminent group of ECOWAS Heads of State that made initial mediation efforts in the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. The role of President Koroma in transforming the UN is epitomized by his Chairmanship of the African Committee of Ten (C10) on the reform of the organization.
Distinguished Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen, our people are mostly clear about what our country should become in the next fifty years; a developed democratic country that is a global example of inter-ethnic harmony, religious tolerance, gender equity, unity, freedom and justice. Our government’s Agenda for Change is an action oriented interpretation of these aspirations. To ensure that we continue the momentum, we seek partnerships in the expanding opportunities in iron ore, gold, diamonds, agriculture and infrastructural development. We therefore crave the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany and other friendly countries in these expanding opportunities for mutual benefit.
Let me also take this opportunity to salute our international friends who stood by us at critical moments in our history and asserted their belief in the capacity of our country for renewal democracy and development. We will continue along the path of peace, democracy and development that our partnerships promise and we shall deliver on our international commitments.
Colleagues Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen, in concluding, may I kindly request you all to drink a toast to the continued good and friendly relationship between the governments and peoples of Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Sierra Leone.
I thank you.”
By Umaru S. Jah, Berlin
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