Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 May 2022:
Last Thursday, 28th April, a day after the country celebrated its 61st Independence anniversary, President Bio of Sierra Leone welcomed a group of 59 African Americans to the country and granted them Sierra Leonean citizenship.
Although it is not certain how much revenue the government is generating from what has now become an all too familiar lucrative cash stream for the government, what is also not clear is what role the new citizens of Sierra Leone are going to play in helping to develop the country.
There are speculations the Bio-led government has accumulated millions of dollars from the sale of Sierra Leonean citizenship and passport since coming to power in 2018.
It is this lack of transparency regarding the revenue generated from this enterprise and how that money is spent, that is very often prompting accusations of corruption which the government may not deserve.
Addressing the new citizens of Sierra Leone, this is what President Bio said:
“Ministers of Government, The Chief Immigration Officer, Fellow citizens, especially those with whom we are grateful to be sharing our common ancestral home, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Oona kusheh kusheh kusheh.
It is a great honour to welcome all of you on the day after we celebrated our country’s 61st.
We thank you for joining us to continue those celebrations here today. Today, we celebrate our common ancestry. We welcome each and every one of you home with open arms. You never left. Your DNA says you have always been of us and with us.
All around us are dotted historical reminders and monuments of departures and of arrivals –some sad and harrowing; some celebratory – from Bunce Island to the Cotton Tree, under which the very first set of resettlers gathered to thank the Lord for their safe return home in 1787.
On these very grounds too, the company built a fort – one that guaranteed the physical safety of the colony’s inhabitants but also assured that they were here to stay and make this home. And as they stayed, so too do we urge you to stay and make this place home.
Yesterday we celebrated our nation’s independence. We celebrate in peace – the peace that only the fourth most peaceful country in Africa and one of the most-friendly people in Africa know.
The joy of living in a country that fought off three successive waves of COVID-19 and is now certified by the CDC in the United States as a very low-risk nation; a tough and optimistic people whom history has kicked down several times, but who always get up, dust themselves, and keep moving on with purpose.
The freedom of living in a country where we have abolished the death penalty, removed all criminal libel laws, unfettered the press, reduced prison populations, joined the international religious freedom or belief alliance, and protected and promoted the rights of women and the disabled.
The optimism of living in a nation where every child is assured of free quality education; where every girl will get justice if she ever becomes a victim of sexual violence; where more people especially in the rural areas have access to quality healthcare within a five-mile radius, where there is increased access to electricity and potable water, where quality roads and infrastructure are opening up markets, trade, and services.
The hope of knowing that one is living in a nation that has successively passed the scorecard of the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States for lowering corruption and ruling justly.
The assurance that this Government is business-friendly and has opened up the business eco-system, especially for private investments where your investments are protected, and you can make and repatriate or reinvest profits as you so wish. This is our Sierra Leone under our New Direction administration.
I am informed that you have been engaged with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies in a heritage business and investment workshop. Some of you are in the process of acquiring your very own slice of beautiful Sierra Leone and planning to relocate families.
Some of you have immersed yourselves in local communities and cultures of your heritage. Always be positive ambassadors who will rebrand and promote Sierra Leone. Make this your home, a destination for investment. Promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and invest in areas and at rates you can afford.
They do say life can turn on a dime, and here, there are great opportunities to make dollars out of dimes. Leverage your contacts and your own skills to support inclusive growth and sustainable development in our common home. With that mindset, I see no reason why the Government of Sierra Leone should not assign acres of land for free anywhere in the country to our diaspora families that wish to put those lands to productive use.
A “Salone Reunion City” it could be, and I hope we believe in and pursue the dream with unrelenting energy. However, if you want to be a Sierra Leonean, be so! This is the land of your heritage; this is your ancestral home. It is the realm of the free. Exalt and protect its good name at all times.
Great, should be the love that you always have for this our country. Together, firmly, let us stand united to sing the praises of our native land. In all you do and in all you want to do, know that my government will always give you a nurturing hand.
You can probably relate to Elvis Pressley’s lyrics that “Home is where the heart is.” This is home. This is where the heart is. Welcome to Sierra Leone. Oona kabor. Ehkusheh.”
Thanks Mr Leo Africanus.In 2022 we should not have laws that discriminate against a particular group of people , based on ethnicity, race or region in our country.Charity begins at home .If the Bio government can boast of championing the removal of libel laws and the death penalty , it goes with out saying where is the political will is always a way .This denial of the Krio community,who are part and parcel of Sierra Leone , just like any of the ethnic groups in the country, but for whatever the reasons are denied the right to owe lands in the provinces, I think is about time some members of the krio community come together and challenge the government of Sierra Leone on the grounds of discrimination.There should be a test case in our courts . No doubt they will get wide public support because the ordinary Sierra Leonean sense of justice and fair play is part and parcel of our DNA.Back in eighties when Hon.Thaimu Bangura and like minded MPs wanted to impose what they called “WOREH TAX” on Fulani herdsmen , the bill was withdrawn because the uproar it caused .Because Hon.Kawusu Conteh argued to Presidents Stevens the law will be seen as targeting Fulanis.So the proposal was muted and died in it’s infancy .I wonder why the Sierra Leone media have failed to pick on this issues .Clearly we have what can only be called apartheid laws against the Krio community owing lands in the provinces , while at the same time we are welcoming African Americans to Sierra Leone .I wonder whether this new Sierra leonean citizens are all going to want to set up residence in our over crowed Free town metropolis.
Succinct point Mr Jalloh. Charity begins at home. They dislike the Creoles intensely, yet admit that they could be kin. An analysis of Creole DNA would be interesting.
Since 2019 when the Ghanaian government declared it officially as the year of return for African Americans that wants to traced and return to their ancestral homes ,we’ve seen an explosion of African Americans brothers and sisters make that trip back to the continent to not only find closure to the greatest injustice committed to Africans by European slave traders for commercial purposes, but to mend the biblical cord that connects a whole race of people from their ancestral home land for which Sierra Leone stands accused not only as a by stander ,but a willing partner that helped facilitate this barbaric tade on humans by humans.Bunce Island and our world’s famous CottonTree is a living testament of our past and our present .In the nutshell, both are symbolic of the contradictory nature of our country’s history to date .The Good cop, Bad cop theory in full display is a historical fact no one should
deny.On the one hand our for Father’s helped and willingly propagate with European slave traders to sell our fellow Sierra Leoneans especially the Mende people of the south who sufferedd at the hands of the slave traders and after the American civil war , they become surplus to requirements and where then shipped back to Sierra Leone as we were told to right the wrongs of the barbaric trade .The salve traders were compensated for their loss of business after the abolition of the slave trade ,but not the enslaved.I hope this fifty nine African American Sierra leoneans will help to encourage more African Anericans to come back and make Sierra Leone once more their ancestral home land.There forefathers most be turning in their graves with joy , finally they are back where they truly belong .No more Goeorge Floyed moment or host of police brutalities in the streets of America just because of the colour of their skins.And we encourage more of them to come to Sierra Leone where we are color blind but not ethnic blind to do just .But a word of caution, how well they are treated and what government funding is specifically tailored to meet the needs of these new returnees that is the government and US government to figure out .Is all well and good to give them their Sierra Leonean passports , but as we all know to start a new life in a new country is not as easy as walking in the park.And most importantly of all the government should introduce legislation to stop the discriminatory laws against decendants of the slaves trade that are not allowed to owe piece of lands in the provinces.Failing which it will undermined all the efforts the Bio government doing to encourage more African Americans to come back and resettle in our Country .Ghana has no such restriction that is why more and more African Americans are finding it easier to establish homes and businesses in Ghana .Mayb if the Bio government wants to learn one or two lessons of how to threat the Africans Americans , the Krio community or anyother decendants of this barbaric trade has to be respected and celebrated .Least we forget majority were recaptured and intercepted by the British anti Slave ships based at Hastings and brought back to Freetown for their freeom .