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Our Country; Our Responsibility

Our Country; Our Responsibility

Words are just words until they are put into action. The trend of unfolding events in our sweet mama Salone is not encouraging. And the sad thing is, many are silent as if we are all waiting for things to happen on their own. Are we dumbs in this country? Have we all been infected by the blind loyalty disease?  Or are we on a recess? That’s the last thing we need in Sierra Leone. Countries like the US never go on a recess; in spite of there being known for its milk and honey that’s in plentiful supply.

In order to live, life has to be a continuous process….you live, die and wake up to face judgment day. Life continues even in the world hereafter.  Why doesn’t seem like there is no more life in this country.

Do we really need a recess or be lifeless in this country? After a dehumanizing civil war, a devastating ebola epidemic and a horrific mudslide that left us all deeply and emotionally broken, the least we should do as a nation is to face our challenges. But what are we witnessing today? Politics is becoming a religion….sad! Being loyal to a particular party doesn’t mean you are being patriotic. You can only be referred to as a real patriot/nationalist if you work towards or support what is good for the Country.

I hear some people saying that “we are going to respond again through the ballot boxes”. No doubt it’s a fundamental democratic tenet that a citizen’s voice is heard through the ballot box. Come to think of it, should we always wait for our voices to be heard after every 5 years? This is what has made us wait for things to change since 19 zote…..

I can still remember some of the unpleasant things in my teen years such as the queuing for rice during the APC led government in the early 80s. I had to join the queue because my family needed the additional 20 cups of rice that I could bring home. No one was allowed to buy more than that amount except if you were highly connected with the powers-that-be. A trend that is still alive in some places of work and institutions these days…a sad reality.

I have come to realize in this country that the saying “the more things change, the more they remain the same” is a truism. I have witnessed numerous challenges during both administrations….the APC and the SLPP. I casted my first vote in 1996. I have been here through thick and thin. But one thing that have always given me a reason not to give up is that I believe this Country will be whatever we want it to be one day. It’s this hope that keeps me going.

If we love our leaders and want them to succeed, we have to support them in nation building. At the same time we should learn to hold them accountable when they go wrong. Partisan politicking can’t take us anywhere.

I hear people say come 2023 “we go…!” I ask once again, do we have to wait for another 5 years for positive things to happen? Do me a favour and add 5 years to your age. What does it come to? And are u happy to throw away yet another 5 years, just let it be wasted in the name of partisan politics? For those of us in our early 40s it means until we are in our 50s we will have no sound lives to live. Let me remind you that the expected lifespan in Sierra Leone is below 30years. This presupposes that we may not live to speak through the ballot boxes again, unless we are favored by Allah.

I have always tied my loyalty to my Country. Moving forward, I am not taking anyone back on what the previous government did or didn’t do. They have their consciences to live with and a God to answer to. Let’s gear our focus on the platter before us- the current President Bio’s Administration. Let’s accept our differences and work towards achieving a common goal; what’s best for Salone. We read his manifesto, and we have something to hold him accountable for. Let’s remember that it takes us to save us. If we allow this administration to fail, all of us would have failed and we may have failed our next generations too.

Some have been clamoring for a Third Force to salvage this country. There is no third party coming to save this Nation. We, the people, are the third party and we have been waiting for ourselves endlessly. It all depends on us- we either sail or sink together. Let’s resolve that there is no sinking for us. We are all going to sail through.

Let’s do some reality check: basic food prices are skyrocketing, the health care system sinking. Do you know what is happening with the appointment of officials in governance? I will like to learn a bit from you – help me because I don’t seem to get it. But I know and believe that we are going to succeed as a Nation. Our President needs to stabilize the prices of our basic commodities. I also see the timber ban has been lifted. How prepared are we in mitigating Climate Change? So much to say but it’s just too early to judge. At the time of writing this, our President is less than 100 days in office. We look forward to a brighter future for our people.

We have laid down laws that must be respected/obeyed or else there is no point of having them in the first place. Let’s set a precedent that we would proudly look back at. Let’s save ourselves by being selfless in our approach towards our Nation. Sabotage doesn’t leave without hurting it’s owner. We have got only one Salone….Lets build it together. Let’s fight and beat corruption together. It’s the cancer that eats into any Nation’s development. Until we beat it to death we will have ourselves to blame. But keep this in mind….we are the ones to save us and no leader is going to save a divided Nation.

If we really love this Country, we should be able to tell our leaders the truth when they go wrong. And our leaders must understand that if their advisers fail to tell them the truth when they go wrong it means they really do not deserve to be in those positions. And the truth is, a lot of things are not going right in this country at the moment.

We have waited for too long. We need the New Direction to be what it is meant to be – pushing through new approaches and ways of doing things that will lead this country to paradise.  Lifting this Nation up in prayers.

(The author, Fatmata B. Jalloh, is a social, community and gender activist. Former Board member of STEP-K, an indigenous development NGO in Koinadugu- Falaba Districts)

By Fatmata B. Jalloh

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