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Where are the protesters now?

Where are the protesters now?

Texas, USA: June 29. Analysts described it as an implicit and explicit attitude when Sierra Leonean protesters skipped their busy job schedules to parade along Washington and London streets earlier this year crying for reinstating a Vice President. Where are they now? They must have been sleeping and dreamt that it is difficult to sustain a collective action that challenges the political status quo. Within social psychology, it has been proposed that to understand how collective action creates social change, it is relevant to examine the role that other members of society can have on it.  (Photo:  Sanpha Sesay, author)

From Freetown – Kenema and from Washington – London, the hodgepodge groups that participated in the so called protest against president Koroma, especially in another man’s country, to reinstate the sacked Vice President had no genuine interest to defend the position of the former VP, nor showed they were concerned about a violation of the constitution, neither did they have an obvious leader behind them. Many believe that they were highly politically motivated. Certainly, some of them have regrettably felt deceived by their repudiators, and we will continue to ask, where are they now?

We the patriotic Sierra Leoneans, want to acknowledge that president Koroma is deeply sensitive of the great obligations of his position which he was elected for, and advances his great policies with vigor and submissiveness. He is not perfect, but an action against him for errors or violation of whatever you can call it, should be well addressed in Sierra Leone, not in foreign countries.

The resentment against the president and his government started way back in April 2014 when the Ebola epidemic insurrected. The hard-core opposition exercised their clout to politicize the crisis in a bid to knock down the most prestigious president in our history. The cry for the so called “Ebola money” might be a legitimate course to cry about, but NOT in another man’s country so to speak. There is no doubt that corruption is widespread in the country, but what would impact you to protest against that issue in a foreign land? I will say absolutely nothing but to dampen the effort of foreign donors who have good intention to invest in our country. If that happens, whom do you think will suffer? Ernest Koroma, Obama, David Cameron or Sierra Leoneans, you tell me.

Political emotions have led so many of us missing the point of being Sierra Leonean citizens. We failed to consider ways to become good role models of our country. Some of the good role model attitude I mean are including the duty and obligation to educate ourselves about the presidents of the Republic of Sierra Leone and to protect the good image our country and its leaders. It is nothing for Sierra Leonean immigrants to outcry their president on the streets of London and Washington when the gentleman is getting frustrated over the Ebola epidemic. If we had been at work on the days of protest and got paid, then we should put together that money to buy medical equipment to accelerate the effort of eradicating the Ebola, which would have been the right direction.

It is very important to understand what good mirror. Because of our attitude and behavior, it is easy for everyone outside of our culture to know who we are. Being a Sierra Leonean and raised in that country, I know that Sierra Leoneans do not know how to protest compared to various countries. Sierra Leonean protesters will never follow the protocol and rules of common courtesy and decency entailed to protest as civilized people. They will use offensive and inappropriate language and attack each other. Other people who believe in the values and principles of the president made a counter protest, but they themselves did it in the interest of the political party they belong to. What was the result to both party protesters and where are they now?

To give a manifest expression to an objection or disapproval of wrong doing by our democratic president could be more appropriate in our home rather than showing our bad colors in another man’s country. Protesters in Washington during our president’s visit demonstrated clearly that we are still behind in the scope of civilization. Many protesters used derogative language against the president in the capital of the most powerful nation in the world. Notwithstanding that, the United States government response will be usually amount to little more than rhetorical appeasement, and certainly no CNN news coverage, perhaps saw it as nonsense or are aware that Sierra Leonean protesters will be using coarsely insulting language. It is surprising how little these crowd of protesters in London and Washington achieved. Absolutely nothing and where are they now?

One great thinker said that, “The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language (Emerson). After all this resentment with massive rallies, they failed to create significant changes in the decision made by His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to replace his vice president. Why the ugly protests in the UK and the US? Such a massive and seemingly well-organized initiative should have had a greater impact back home in demand of their beloved vice president. Their message could have been echoed everywhere around the world.

Now many people will begin to ask, how can so many extremely political motivated people achieve so little? The fact is that the point at issue has been handled by a fundamental proposition of the Supreme Court. No matter how long it takes, it will have to tell us whether the president was right or wrong. But, it is a dangerous illusion that Sierra Leoneans took into the streets of London and Washington to demonstrate against our president for an internal problem that has nothing to do with the international community neither the western powers.

I am not taking sides on the issue that led to the protest, but I am very much concerned about a protest that is contrary to the values of our norms and culture. I know many people’s patriotism is fervent, but narrow and exclusive, based on political influences. It is unacceptable to disrespect our president in a foreign country for whatever reason one may have.

I think that our utmost priority in the moment is to accentuate on improving our quality of lives through a collective effort of every Sierra Leonean back home and across the globe. We are still ranking low in the United Nations Development Program of Human Development Index as a result of the Ebola epidemic. This social issue is what is necessary to rally for help across the streets of London and Washington. Let us be aware that the underlying problems of our country are challenges that every Sierra Leonean should face not limited to the government so that we can achieve the millennium development goals which emerged from the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2002.

Sanpha Sesay, Texas Chief

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  • From my reading of your opinion piece, its clear you do not see any wrong committed by those entrusted with the Ebola Fund,when US$14 million of those funds were misappropriated by a cabal of your government. That is why concerned Sierra Leoneans were demonstrating in order to bring this issue to the attention of the international community, and not about the sacking of the VP, a matter that is still in the courts. You may call them whatever names you care to refer to them, but they feel it is their inalienable right to make their views known since Sierra Leoneans inside the country have been silenced by your’s truly. And you asked “where are they now’, well the answer to that question will soon be known on Friday, 10 July, in Washington- stay tuned!

    8th July 2015

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