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President Koroma, Finding hope in trying times – a look at Sierra Leone before 2008

President Koroma, Finding hope in trying times – a look at Sierra Leone before 2008

As 2010 just ushered in less than five months, our able president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma had unearthed the most deceitful and corrupt activities some of his team members are practicing. He has recalled some diplomats back to base as well as relinquished other ministers from their ministries. These political nemeses have brought shame and disgrace within our society. The activities portrayed by these individuals are unacceptable and distasteful. They brought shame in our government and their behaviors were wrong, deceitful and embarrassment for our political leaders in trying times.  But, we will say: Thank You Mr.  President Koroma. (Photo: President E. B. Koroma)

Growing up, as a child during the good old days, was a good thing to remember.  Peace, love and harmony were the words being chanted by our fathers, section chiefs and all people around the world who questioned authorities, were against all the wars around the world. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to grow up. I knew in my young mind, it was only a matter of time before these youthful rebels would age and mature and to eventually be able to take their place in the world of politics and public opinion. With it, in 1977 we took up the streets in Kambia to elect Hon. Alhaji Sheriff Kebe in Kambia Central, in order to be able to change all the things we saw wrong, with the “establishment” from a place of power and influence and not from the streets during that era.

I recall my excitement, especially with close friends like Mr. Mustapha Ojukwu, Harouna Dumbuya, Amadu Touriss, Idriss Ka-Foll, Abdul Katuss, Alimamy B.S. Conteh, Paul Yayah, Essa Gbenga and Yayah “Roto” to name a few, thinking what a wonderful world it will be for us, knowing that these brave crusaders were blazing a trail before me, their radical new views and opinions becoming a reality. And at that young age, I recognized I would be the first generation to reap the benefits of their efforts. I felt blessed to be born in such a historic time.

WOW! Was I, Wrong?

No! Often I ask myself, to where have all the flower children gone? Where are the young men and women who fought for life of the APC party, liberty and the pursuit of their happiness after the brutal civil war in our country? Where are the people who burned flags, looted banks, government offices, and; who marched on college campuses so their voices could be heard? Where are they now? I find it hard to believe the thoughts and values they fought so valiantly for have disappeared and are only a fond memory of a golden age gone by.

Over the past few months around the globe, this point has become painfully obvious. As I work with other Sierra Leoneans and talk with friends, they echoed the global economic hard times and hopelessness in their voices. They watch as gas and food prices soar around the globe. They gaze in disbelief as senseless violence escalates. They stand by helplessly as their jobs are moved to other greedy countries and their personal freedoms are taken away one-by-one. In the end, they are left feeling impotent because they are unable to control the path of their lives which are taking away and feel powerless to change it.

It’s interesting, because on an individual basis, all that President Ernest Bai Koroma wants is for his nation to be happy, healthy and live the lives in a mannerism of integrity. He wants all Sierra Leoneans to have a job to go to on every day to enable them fed their families. He also want people to be able to feed their family, their own children, free health care, breathe clean air around them, drink clean water and step outside their homes. Instead, we have become increasingly alienated by the harsh reality of our world, a reality which creates conflicts between how things are and how we would like them to be. Thus we end up feeling dissatisfied and give up all hope of a better, simpler life.

Before APC came to power in the Kambia Central, hopelessness was the order of the day.  My people experienced a hard emotion which befell on them; once we have embraced our lives for the better and at some point in our lives, things started to go on nice and easy. It seems to happen just before we hit rock bottom, when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel during the SLPP reign or when life seems futile and we just want to give up. It is a natural part of the human condition. The SLPP reign was a nightmare.

Over the last few months, the feeling of corruption, exploitation and ineptness within the corrupt institutional heads was felt everywhere, it has become overwhelming painstaking for many of us. The wind of change was blowing everywhere. Every time we turn around there’s a crisis. Someone we love dies, we loose our job or our child falls ill. After a single situation we are facing is handled, it isn’t long before another challenge steps into our lives and once more the drama begins anew. With this unrelenting pressure, we are left feeling tired and disillusioned – transforming the most optimistic person into a pessimist.

In Sierra Leone today, the pressures being experienced are not only coming from our personal lives but also from a much larger community – the world of a big business and the political arena. As we watch what is going on in the world we may think “What can I do to change or have a positive affect on what is going on?” Unfortunately, our country was domineered of fruitlessness and corruption by the SLPP, the answer we receive is “nothing”. We thank God for President Koroma’s leadership.

Let me bring this to your attention that, it is always said the darkest period before the dawn, is an hour after midnight. During the Tijan Kabbah Administration (SLPP), for many of us, the truth was for us not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and nobody wanted to listen to us. We are living in the midst of darkness, hoping and praying for even the faintest glimmer of light to emerge. And so while this period in human history may not be fun, there are many blessings that will come from it if we try to stay away from misuse of power and the preposterous, absurd, and silly embezzlement of government funds.

When President Koroma took office and brought in his able Anti-Corruption Team, the ineptness left behind by the SLPP, causes us to go within the cracks to mend off all the faithful citizenries. It forces us to reflect and evaluate our lives. It provides us the opportunity to uncover steps necessary to alter our life course. As a result, we find a strength which helps to build our inner resolve and restore our faith.

We also have to realize that we are not alone. There are countless millions who are feeling trapped, hopeless and at the end of their rope. What the “Powers-That-Be” don’t realize is that it is only a matter of time before they push us far enough into a corner that we will have no choice but to take a stand. When that happens, it won’t matter what they say or want us to do. When we determine enough is enough the strength of our unity as a whole will make a difference and a change will begin on all levels. This is the main reason why our able President Koroma is nailing them one after the other into their respective coffins.

cotton tree 2So, for all of us, the sick, the tired, the forlorn, remember…It’s just a matter of time. Things can’t keep going the way they are. Change is inevitable. So whether today, tomorrow or next year, we must let the light shine into our darkened tunnels to lift the veil of corruption, hopelessness and despair in our country. With this newfound sense of hope, we will be able to walk peacefully through the darkest of night. We will find through our renewed courage, fortitude and sense of self that we will be able to create a world of change. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, your leadership is blessed. Keep the leadership torches burning in finding hope in trying times.

By, Essa Thaim Kurugba, New York, New York, USA

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