Sierra Leoneans Celebrate 60th Independence in Peace
Amidst restricted vehicular traffic, the presence of armed military and police in the main streets of the capital and threats of protests, the sixty years of independence was celebrated yesterday 27th April 2021, in peace and tranquility.
Four Heads of State, including President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea, President Nana Akufor Addo of Ghana, President Adama Barrow of The Gambia and President George Opong Weah of Liberia graced the occasion. Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam of Guinea Bissau was also attended the yearly State function.
The Head of State of Nigeria, President Mohamadou Buhari was represented by his Vice President, Oluyemi Oluleke Osibanjo, while the Ivorian Head of State, of was represented by his Ambassador to Sierra Leone.
HE President Bio’s predecessor Head of State of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma could not attend on grounds that he was only verbally informed about an official invitation at the eleventh hour, according to a press statement he released late on the eve of the occasion.
“The former President Kotroma believes that, without due consideration of his own schedule, such last minute informal back channeling of what is supposed to be an official invitation to an important State function relating to the 60th Independence Anniversary celebrations is on purpose to ensure that he does not attend….”, the Press Statement states.
The release expresses disappointment about a missed opportunity for national cohesion and unity. “…former President Koroma is very disappointed that even for such an important national event, which should have been a rallying point for national unity and cohesion, the State could still choose political grandstanding over genuine reconciliation”, it further states.
The event passed off without the usual public excitement and euphoria that characterized Sierra Leoneans marking the birthday of political freedom from the shackles of colonialism.
“It does not look like Independence”, said a middle aged woman on her way to Church. “Even our freedom of movement is restricted”, she said, adding that the closure of the road to her place of worship had cost her additional transport fares.
Preceded by a pre-occasion high profile dinner hosted by the Government on the forecourt garden of State House, the ceremony proper entailed the “Decoration Ceremony of Distinguished Heads of State” and “State Lunch in Honour of visiting Heads of State”.
By Abdul Kuyateh
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