COMPILED BY: MOHAMED AMARA GANDO
60 YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE: WHICH AREAS DO YOU THINK SIERRA LEONE IS TRULY INDEPENDENT?
Rev. Paul Kamanda (Pastor)
We have nothing to celebrate in this country. Sierra Leone is not an independent nation because we have nothing to show that we are an independent country. Our fallen fathers who fought for independence were in haste. I think they should have allowed the White People to put so many structures in place for us before crying for we would have fought for an independence. Currently, we almost import everything in this country. I think one of the issues with our independence is that we did not fight for it. I think if we had fought for our independence, we would not have been in this mess. Imagine, since independence in April 1961, Sierra Leone has not been able to feed itself. So where is the independence? Look at other countries that fought for their own independence they are far ahead in terms of developmental activities, but as for us, we are still grappling with our basic needs. We cannot even feed ourselves as a nation. After 60 years of independence, we are still begging other countries. Where is our independence?
Mariama Fofanah (Hon. Member of SL Parliament)
There are some areas which I think we are truly independent. I still believe that 60 years of independence is an important milestone. We still have much to celebrate, including a future in which we can right the wrongs of our past. While getting Sierra Leone to the point where it can realize the full potential of its mineral resources has been slow going, the country appears to be on the right track. As I speak right now, Sierra Leone long-awaited National Mineral Resources Bill is almost on its way to Parliament for ratification which is intended to bring transparency and new life to the country’s minerals. So like those who celebrated their nation’s independence in 1961, I’m hopeful about Sierra Leone’s future. My optimism might be tempered a bit by Sierra Leone’s unresolved challenges, including continuing concerns about government transparency, but it has not by any means been extinguished. I truly believe that Sierra Leone can learn from its mistakes, take a strategic approach to the opportunities before it, and create a country where all Sierra Leoneans can begin a chapter of safety and prosperity.
Mohamed Koroma (Civil Society Activist)
60 years after independence, I don’t think we have been independent in any area. Since April 1961, we have been a dependent country in almost everything. We depend on support from the western world, especially America and the United Kingdom. We cannot feed ourselves; we cannot support ourselves in terms of anything. We still rely on other nations to support us even with our basic needs. Sierra Leone has not made any progress in the last 60 years. Every developmental activity we embark on is either the support is coming from the World Bank, the IMF etc. When we are talking about independence it means you are now able to take care of yourself, but as we speak Sierra Leone is still a dependent country because we depend on people to feed us. We almost get support for everything we do in this country. So where is the independence? If I were the president of this country, trust me, I will not even declare April 27 as a Public Holiday. As for me, I don’t think if Sierra Leone is truly independent. It would have been better if we are still under the colonial era.
Feremusu Marah (Student)
If you are an independent nation, you should be able to take care of yourself, feed yourself, clothe yourself and probably do everything for yourself. But for Sierra Leone, as far as these things are concerned, we are not an independent nation. Because after 60 years, we still ask for help for almost everything. So I suggest we go back to the colonial era, because we have not been able to achieve anything since independence. My only advice to the government is that let them not waste our State resources in the name of independence celebration as it used to be with previous governments. Because whenever we attempt to use State resources for any Independence Day celebration, people will also use that particular event to enrich themselves.
Sarah Paul Kamara (Journalist)
I don’t think after 60 years Sierra Leone is truly independent in any area. Sierra Leone is battling with almost everything in terms of development, even after 60 years of independence, we are still begging for everything. As a nation we still cannot feed ourselves. So where is the independence? We have to make it known to other countries that we are independent. Let us stop begging other nations; we have everything that will make us truly independent. We have so many minerals in this country like diamonds, bauxite, and iron ore. Sierra Leone used to be called “the Athens of West Africa” in terms of education but not anymore. We are currently behind as a nation for almost everything while other countries are fast ahead of us, especially countries that used to admire us are now the countries that we admire. So it means we have not been able to actually achieve anything since independence.