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A call to national unity

A call to national unity

Fifty one years ago, Sierra Leoneans may have been wondering about the strength around national unity and cohesion.  In as much as every citizen of the country is aspiring towards a developed country presupposes that the ideals of a unified country must be evident in every aspect of our efforts at sustainable national development. Sierra Leoneans all over have been praised for their peaceful conduct in the just concluded multi tier elections. Amidst all of these praises it is expected of us all to put the country in the fore and work towards achieving the desired aspirations of moving forward.

The renowned German Human Rights Activist, Joy Bell, once said that we are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct and individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don’t share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.

Writing this piece brings to mind the call of the president to all Sierra Leoneans to come forward and build a unified country. President Koroma in his astute leadership in the past five years has made tremendous effort towards national cohesion, reflected in his ambition of having a government of national character. Upon achieving the people’s endorsement to govern the affairs of state for the next five years, many believed was as a result of the achievements made in the Agenda for Change. Even though the last administration has made remarkable successes, much or better is now even expected in the government‘s Agenda for Prosperity. The expectations I believe will take different shapes considering the socio-economic milieu of the country. Even though there are suspicions of questioning the government strides to prosperity, it could also be noted that the last administration has not discriminated any district or region in its development programmes.

The call to national unity, to a larger extent, will be seen as a ray of hope for a new Sierra Leone.  Making some recollections, one may be wondering the bleak past in this republic when governance was in the hands of power thirsty politicians that had no passion in themselves to move the country forward. The repercussions of bad governance has crippled the development of this our beloved nation. A call to a unified country is being reinforced in the president’s statement that he has entered a new contract with the people of this country. This is a contract that will be focusing on youth employment, training of our youth in seizing the immense employment opportunities in the infrastructural, mining, agricultural and investment sectors.

Over the past three to four months, the entire country was seen enmeshed in politicking; filled with enthusiasm to advance self acclaimed reasons to see their different candidates elected into the various positions. Borrowing lines from the president’s re-election speech, he entreated all Sierra Leoneans that the time for politics is over, the moment for continuing the transformation has come, and continued that, this is a time for all Sierra Leoneans to embrace each other. This clearly tells you that we must put Sierra Leone first and that has to be replicated in our relationship with one another and our attitudes towards our avowed goals.

I may not be forgiven if I fail to bring to the fore the political divide that was reflected in the voting pattern of the just concluded multi tier elections. In all of this one may tend to ask what has the past administration done in bridging this gap and efforts made to have a government of national character. Such a question is key to good governance and unity, but one may also want to note the political mitochondrion of the two major political parties. Of course it is a fact that the ruling APC has more support in the North-West, whilst the main opposition SLPP has its power base in the South-East. The APC being in governance, therefore makes no gainsaying that its appointive positions are mainly from the North-West but rather to take a critical look at the number of appointments made from the South-East during President Koroma’s five years in governance. On assuming power in 2007, several cabinet positions and public appointments had been made from the South-East ensuring the government had a national picture of which JB Dauda, Vandi Minah, Musa Tarrawallie, deputy minister of political affairs, deputy minister of transport and aviation, deputy minister of tourism, director general of SLRA, deputy commissioner of NASSIT Charles Rogers, resident minister south to name but a few. This sends a clear message of government’s effort towards that aspect of governance but however there is lots of envisaging around improving on this impressive beginning. However, the president faces a delicate balance game to satisfy the needs of the regions that presuppose equal participation.

By Mohamed Thullah

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