Anxiety gripping Sierra Leone – a nation on knife edge

Alpha Amadu Jalloh (The Fox): Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 March 2024:

Sierra Leone, a nation once known for its resilience and spirit, is now grappling with a pervasive sense of anxiety that has gripped every facet of its society. In the past, despair may have been the prevailing sentiment, but today, it is anxiety that looms large over the lives of its people.

It’s a distressing reality that even children, with parents still alive and well, worry about where their next meal will come from. In Sierra Leone, the basic necessities of life have become luxuries, and the spectre of uncertainty haunts every corner.

Despite promises of free education, the cost of living has skyrocketed, leaving families struggling to make ends meet. The question looms: Are people truly better off now than they were just five years ago?

For many families, providing the bare essentials has become a Herculean task, often achieved through means that are dubious or outright criminal. Yet, amidst this struggle, the leadership of Sierra Leone appears indifferent, devoid of empathy for the plight of its citizens.

Those who dare to speak truth to power are swiftly silenced, their voices drowned out by the machinery of oppression.

In Sierra Leone today, the pillars of law enforcement and justice serve not the people, but the interests of a single man – President Julius Maada Bio. Ministers in the government, though perhaps well-intentioned, find themselves shackled by compromise, silenced by the fear of losing their positions of power and privilege.

Rather than advocate for the people, they extol the virtues of the president, turning a blind eye to the suffering that pervades their nation.

The consequences of this pervasive anxiety are manifold, with families torn apart by the strain of daily existence.

Drug abuse and alcoholism have become coping mechanisms for many, while the breakdown of homes is a harsh reality often overlooked.

In a society where the father is traditionally seen as the breadwinner, the inability to provide for one’s family strikes at the core of masculinity, leaving many men adrift and desperate.

In desperation, some parents resort to unthinkable measures, encouraging their daughters to seek relationships with men old enough to be their grandfathers in exchange for financial support.

It’s a heartbreaking phenomenon where parents, facing dire circumstances, become unwitting pimps for their own children, trading their daughters’ dignity for survival.

As Sierra Leone grapples with this pervasive anxiety, the future remains uncertain. Will the nation continue on this path of despair and desperation, or will there be a collective awakening, a turning point towards a brighter tomorrow? Only time will tell.

But one thing is clear: until the root causes of this anxiety are addressed, the people of Sierra Leone will continue to suffer, their hopes and dreams overshadowed by the relentless spectre of uncertainty.


1 Comment

  1. What else will you expect in a country brought down to her knees by guess who? In the process, the guess who is winning us the following unwanted accolades:

    – the 4th unhappiest country in the world in 2024.
    – the country with the 3rd worst performing currency in 2023.
    – the 3rd poorest country in the world in 2023 in terms of GDP per capita – a metric that is in decline in 4 of the past 5 years.

    If I was on the ground, I wonder if I would not have been under the kush as well to create my own bubble and escape from the very harsh realities of that dystopia or construct called Sierra Leone.

    It seems the more nautical miles the globetrotting President clocks with an  even larger begging bowl at hand, the poorer and unhappier Sierra Leone becomes.

    It could very well be that the soldier-cum-President is also escaping those same unbearable conditions on the ground, hence his documented unprecedented overseas trips by a Sierra Leonean Head of State.

    His latest escapade is on the speakers’s circuit in America pontificating on his contribution to, and lessons learned in democratic governance, transformational politics and inclusive development in Africa, with a focus on the Sierra Leone.

    That will be rich coming from a man whose legitimacy as a democratic leader is being questioned both at home and abroad after performing statistical gymnastics on his country’s elections there by attaining a defacto pariah status.

    It is probably a case of preaching about follow what I say but do not copy what I do. The way he runs rings around the political opposition; and widens, deepens and entrenches the tribal and regional divide in his country is all but inclusive leaving his country sitting right in the middle and on top of shifting tectonic plates, powder kegs and tinder boxes ready to quake, explode or conflagrate.

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