49 Years of Independence and Freedom – “What is
there to Celebrate?”
A Rejoinder by Abdul Kabba, Baltimore, Maryland,
6 May 2010
Dear Ms. Yvonne Atiba-Davies (PhD)
I read your comments in The Sierra Leone Telegraph
and totally agree with most of what you say and my
question now is what we do about it? Sierra Leone
has deteriorated since independence; our country is
bankrupt and only survives on subsidies provided by
the first world.
How do we emancipate ourselves from this abyss of
poverty, degradation, squalor and despair? Who is
responsible to do this, is it just the government or
is it all of us supposed patriots of Sierra Leone?
From what I have seen we have many critics of Sierra
Leone who can eloquently enumerate everything that
is wrong with Sierra Leone but it is very hard to
find critics who will tell you what it is we need to
do as patriots to solve our problems.
The usual response you will get is something along
the lines of "It is an absolute travesty that after
49 years of so called freedom, we are still walking
around with our begging bowls, looking for crumbs
falling off the tables of the rich. A nation endowed
and blessed with abundant natural resources - how
Yes we are a nation endowed with natural resources,
but we are not the only nation so endowed.
Natural resources have to be strategically exploited
to benefit the nation, but we have not done that
successfully. Is it just the government or is it us,
the people that are responsible?
Someone once said that People get the government
they deserve. Do we Sierra Leoneans get the
government we deserve because of our selfish
disposition? Have we also properly researched the
legacy of slavery, colonization and neo-colonization
and the lasting impact these have had, not only on
our economy but on our culture, psyche, social
structure and politics?
While we always look to blame somebody, usually
those in government about the problems of Sierra
Leone - have we stopped and ask ourselves what is
our own personal responsibility to our nation? Have
we looked at the man or woman in the mirror and ask
him what you are doing to help your country?
As John F. Kennedy once said “Ask not what your
country can do for you; but ask what you can do for
your country." Are we asking ourselves that question
rather than complaining and pointing fingers all the
What is the responsibility of the private sector in
contributing to the development of a nation? Here in
the USA, the leading academic institutions like
Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc, are all private
institutions that were founded by private
The leading hospitals like Johns Hopkins, the Mayo
Clinic and the likes, are all private hospitals
developed by the private sector. The private sector
employs 90% of the people in the USA and provides a
substantial tax base for the government to have the
financial resources to develop public facilities and
The private sector in Sierra Leone is severely
underdeveloped but someone would jump up and say
what about the diamonds, iron ore and bauxite.
While those might provide some revenue for the
government, the reality is that they do not provide
enough jobs or revenue to sustain our economy.
The bottom line is that it is relatively easy and
convenient for us to list everything that is wrong
with Sierra Leone but what are we as a group or you
as an individual doing about it?
What are the solutions? How do we emancipate
ourselves? How do we go forward? We all know the
problems and the situation, now let’s talk about
solutions and commitment.
Just my two cents!
By Abdul Kabba, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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