Sierra Leone is 59 today – President Julius maada Bio addresses the nation

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 April 2020:

Sierra Leoneans are more or less used to the unofficial cancellation of celebrations marking the nation’s Independence Anniversary, and today will go down in history as in the 2014/2015 Ebola pandemic; and in the dark troubling days of the ten-year rebel war which started in 1991  and ended in 2001, killing over 50,000 people, at a crippling cost to the economy  – estimated at over $50 Billion.

Today, the whole country is in partial lockdown, as the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 200,000 people worldwide, slowly begins to impact on the daily lives of people in Sierra Leone.

With a total of 99 COVID-19 confirmed cases now reported and four dead, today is not a day for celebration but for national reflection on how best the nation can come together to tackle a virus that could so easily become endemic.

The president of Sierra Leone – Dr Julius Maada Bio has today addressed the people of Sierra Leone, and he is in no mood for national celebrations, given the enormity of the task and the challenges now facing the country in fighting this deadly virus called COVID-19.

This is what he said:

“Fellow Citizens, in this Holy Month of Ramadan, Asalamualaikyum warahamatu- ilahi ta allah wa barakatuhu.

On this 59th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we are once again reminded of how we are a resilient people, who have stood together as a nation in trying times and come out every time a stronger and better nation.

These are not normal times in our country and in the world at large. The ravaging Coronavirus has overwhelmed nations and left over two hundred thousand dead in its trail. This pandemic has changed societies, unsettled notions of unilateralism, and left economies in shambles.

As we mark this day, I would like to thank our healthcare and other essential workers, Chiefs and community leaders, journalists, development partners (local and international), and Sierra Leoneans who have volunteered to work hard to rid our great nation of COVID-19.

I am also profoundly grateful to every Sierra Leonean who has complied with restrictions on movement, assembly, livelihood, and lifestyles. Those measures may seem intrusive and unbearable now, but they are necessary to break the chain of transmission so we can return to normal life and routine.

For all you do to prevent, protect yourselves and others, and to curtail the disease, I thank you. Let us all be communicators and social mobilisers who do not only act to prevent Corona but also educate our loved ones, neighbours, and our communities about this highly infectious disease.

Fellow Sierra Leoneans, you all know that before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had made steady progress as a nation. There had been improved macroeconomic stability, increased revenue mobilization, and we had taken measures to open the country up for competitive and rewarding investments in various sectors.

We had allocated 21% of national budget to support free quality education for two million children regardless of gender and ethnicity. We were building effective and resilient institutions and fettering corruption because corruption is inimical to our development. We were deploying new technologies for governance, education, healthcare, agriculture and for business. We will continue pursuing these and many more as we fight to contain COVID-19.

Fellow citizens, the baseline for our national development remains to be human capital development. As I have always maintained, a fit-for-purpose education that nurtures talent and promotes innovation; a resilient healthcare system that is affordable and accessible; and, a vibrant agriculture sector that targets food security through promoting modernized farming, value-addition, and agro-based businesses for our citizens, are the very precursors and the very foundation for our development.

Fellow Citizens, let me remind all of us that the task ahead is arduous. Now is the time for every patriotic Sierra Leonean to unconditionally contribute his or her fair effort for Sierra Leone. Patriotism is not about standing up only for people with whom you share the same political loyalties, ethnicity, or region.

It is about embracing and caring about people who hold different views, and who belong to different ethnicities and different regions. It is about standing up for the ideal that your country’s call in its hour of need is supreme.

Only with our collective commitment, determination, focus, and unity of purpose, shall we prevail over Corona. I, therefore, entreat every Sierra Leonean to strictly adhere to all hygiene protocols and healthcare directives, and to report anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. You must also continue to use healthcare facilities for all other illnesses.

Fellow Citizens, if natural disasters, war, and the Ebola pandemic never vanquished our resolve to survive, we shall overcome this yet again, and together build a strong and productive SIERRA LEONE. I thank you. Asalamu alaikyum. God Bless Sierra Leone.” (END)

11 Comments

  1. Every patriotic Sierra Leonean should wear the Green, white and blue, and at least cease fire on politics for a day and wish Mama Salone a happy birthday and God’s blessings.

  2. But Mr. Koroma, whether or not you crossed reference for the purpose of validating your argument, the simple fact is that by stating that developed countries share a similar fate with Sierra Leone as far as hunger is concerned, you basically compared developed nations to Sierra Leone of dealing with similar situation . It is just that simple. Stating that the developed world has hunger issues as well when the initial topic of discussion was about Sierra Leone hunger plight leaves no room for second guessing as to what you were doing – comparing.

    The choice of being an arm-chair critic in my view seem favorable compared to being a semi sweet talking embezzler who has no realistic vision of nation building except to relentlessly beg the country way out of poverty. I say good luck with that. I’ll rather have a sit than to mislead 7 million lives who over 90% of them are barely hanging by the thread into thinking that they have some kind of savior in their hands who will get them out of their life sapping conditions. Mr. Koroma, I rather be a chairman who critic than be a professional swindler who most likely would never seek medical attention in the country that he presides over but would anticipate his countrymen to do exactly what he’s not willing to do.

    Now, you might say to yourself that every misleader in Africa seek medical accommodation oversees, so what in the heck are you on about? And I suppose by stating so you’ll be making a case since that has become the rule; however, the same reason that these vagabonds feel obliged to take medical trips outside of their respective countries, is the same reason why most of them think that merely giving out lip service to the people, and leaving behind mediocre roads that they have no practical plans of maintaining is enough an achievement to have given the honor to rule a country. In the same breath, the citizens in those countries are left in the same exact conditions that they were in prior to these so called leaders taking over – deprived as they have always been.

    And how dare you put the blame on the people who are starved from any kind of social program that any respected nation should have, to facilitate business ventures that the citizens may want to get into? How do you expect the people to operate from a business standpoint when there is no money or incentive to start a business to begin with? What in the heck are you on about? You seem to be making an argument you have no business making, because only nations who can afford to back their citizens from a business point of view should be able to speak that way.

    ” When I argue that politicians are there to govern…I mean that the act of governance involves the formulation of policies and the conduct of the affairs of the state with the objective of promoting long-term sustainable growth.” So tell me, what’s new under the sun? What formulated policies are we exactly talking about here? Do you mean the one that permits the president and a couple of parliamentary members traveling expenses to go unchecked? Is that the one? Or is it the one that was passed not long ago that foresaw government officials salary raised substantially? That one Mr. Koroma? No, not that one. Oh it must be the one where the president is at liberty to fund his wife’s interest using the country’s money and nothing happened as if it was just another day. Let me know Mr. Koroma, because to be quite frank I haven’t heard a policy being passed that’s worth mentioning since this government took over.

  3. Mr. Young4na, you expounded on what exactly these mediocre leaders who’re misleading the people are all about. But somehow they want to be respected for running a failed state. The audacity.

  4. Mr. Koroma, me mentioning one meal a day is merely to keep from going into detail about the plethora socioeconomic issues that the country is faced with, because if decide to touch on them I’ll end up writing a book the size of an encyclopedia. I’m sure you and most likely everyone who visit this site are aware of what exactly I’m implying here. Second, it’s utterly unfair for you to compare developed countries to any country in Africa, let alone Sierra Leone, on any front, as to what a modern nation should look like, or how the citizens of those countries are being treated in comparison to citizens on the continent of Africa.

    Attempting to do such a thing would end up a lose lose situation for you Mr. Koroma. Also, there is no habit of citizens looking for handouts from the government in Sierra Leone, so I’m not sure what exactly you are referring to in the part of your first paragraph.

    However, for argument purposes, let’s suppose that there was in fact extending hands from the citizens towards the government for handouts, if so, what exactly would they’ve gotten from reaching out for help from the government? As it stands what doed the government of Sierra Leone has to offer to deprived Kemoh, who’s lingering in abject poverty and don’t know where his next meal will come from? Are you trying to tell me that there’re incentives in place from a governmental standpoint to facilitate the needs of socioeconomically deprived Kemoh and his ilk?

    There are no hands out for handouts because there is nothing there to give. Sierra Leoneans have figured this out long ago and are pretty much in despair about the ways in which their government operate.

    “Politicians are there to govern” Would you mind explicating and give a descriptive detail as to what that suppose to mean? It’s an abstract, and I would like for you to expound on it for the purpose of a better understanding if you don’t mind.

    “The man is a straight shooter who delivers his message right from his heart.” Well then his heart must pump kool-aid – not blood. Because this whole pandemic fiasco and the rest of the word salad he’s dishing out here are nothing but inflated propaganda.

    “Do you Remember the pandemonium that broke out in the days of Ebola when competing APC rogues devoured every penny of Ebola donor fund?” I suppose you’re implying that I’m a APC supporter. Nah! I’m good. Nice try though.

    • “Second, it’s utterly unfair for you to compare developed countries to any country in Africa, let alone Sierra Leone, on any front, as to what a modern nation should look like, or how the citizens of those countries are being treated in comparison to citizens on the continent of Africa.” Mahmoud Kaloko

      Mr. Kaloko,

      It is unfortunate that you would conflate a cross reference with a comparison. I was not comparing any country in Africa to the developed world. I was making a cross reference to underscore my implicit point that hunger is not unique to Sierra Leone and other African countries as there are folks in even developed nations that go to bed hungry. Look, it is not lost on me that comparing two regions of the world that are on different stages of development can be problematic.

      What I find interesting about arm-chair critics and self-proclaimed connoisseurs like Mahmoud Kalokoh is that they have totally lost sight of the structural changes that President Maada Bio and his government are implementing, changes that would usher in long-term sustainable growth. Instead, Kalokoh and others are hungry for a president that would stand in front of Cotton Tree every day distributing food to the lazy masses. Is that what good governance entails?

      When I argue that politicians are there to govern and not to deliver diapers and food to the governed, I mean that the act of governance involves the formulation of policies and the conduct of the affairs of the state with the objective of promoting long-term sustainable growth.

      It follows that it is repugnant for citizens to be looking out for handouts from their government. Citizens should be involved in the process of governance by respecting state and local laws, using their skills to participate in community projects and paying income and other taxes honestly. Holding violent rallies at party offices, drawing the police into confrontations or carrying a pistol to State House to blow away the president violates the fundamental contract between the state and the governed.

      Lastly, I am not here to determine which political stripe you wear. I am here to debate. And unless you want to impress upon me that the APC kaptan and agbada fit you quite nicely, I could care less what your political persuasion is.

  5. At 59th years of independence,we are still DEPENDENT on others nation for funding, medical and crying for help all over the world. We are not united as a nation,to steadily move ahead with our economic growth and economic development. We are divided by party lines, threatening our foundation.

    Tribal sentiment and regional ethincity divisions have led Sierra Leone to a land were patriotism is no longer valued. Fake politicians are at their agenda. APC and SLPP have been at he helm of affairs since independence, yet again, we cannot even compare ourselves with other WEST AFRICA COUNTRIES.

  6. Such a lousy speaker. I think he’s convinced that he’s this great orator, but that’s far from the truth. Seriously, someone has lied to him. It’s almost as if he has speech impediment. As if there is a paleness to his enunciation. Nonetheless, Mr. president, attempting to occasionally sweet talk the people of Sierra Leone is simply not enough. This way of yours is becoming a pattern, and to be quite frank it starting to look like that is all you have. But I’m afraid that you’re gonna have to do better than that to fulfill your responsibility as the leader of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

    Simply relying on empty speeches, for the purpose of dazzling the crowd, is cool and all, but honestly those words need to be materialized. Those words need to bring about something greater. The people of Sierra Leone need tangibles, something that is fundamental to their wellbeing. We ought to make that happen for those who’re living in debilitating conditions, and can barely afford one meal a day Mr. President. Whats your say, Mr. President?

    • Couldn’t agreed with you more Mr. Kalokoh. Our man at state house and his handlers thinks perfecting frivolous speeches delivery is all it takes to get through the governance circle. Every now and then, our tone deaf president will come out of his mostly hibernation mode to deliver a well polish speech written by his out of touch PAOPA elites. Almost in all cases, the contents of the speeches are mostly peppered with propaganda and deceitful claims of certain accomplishments. In this independence day speech, the president calls for Sierra Leoneans to be patriotic. The irony is that, his team of PAOPA elites personifies the highest extreme of being unpatriotic.

      While over 90% of the citizens continue to languish in abject poverty, they are living an extravagant lifestyles and at the same time subduing opposition figures and non-party supporters. Their definition of patriotism is looking out for oneself and giving out government jobs to party supporters or individuals whose last names have a connection to a certain region of the country.

    • “We ought to make that happen for those who’re living in debilitating conditions, and can barely afford one meal a day Mr. President. Whats your say, Mr. President?” Mahmoud Kalokoh

      Mr. Kalokoh, there are folks living in developed and wealthy countries that cannot afford one meal a day. The habit of looking up to the government for the provision of everything associated with living explains why some perpetually live in “debilitating conditions” as you argue.

      When I lived in Sierra Leone, I always visited my grandfather in the village. The man had no formal education but could afford three square meals a day. He used his basic human skills to engage in rice farming and provide for his family. Never once did the man complain about government not providing for him.

      Politicians are there to govern. They are not there to deliver diapers and food to the governed. And even with good governance, there is no guarantee that a country’s economic potential could be unlocked. There are countries in Africa that are well governed but are still poor.

      Additionally, contrary to what you may believe, a politician’s oratorical skills have nothing to do with his effectiveness since public speaking can simply be a performance. While President Bio has never been boastful of his oratorical skills, he has never also resorted to theatrics to make his point. The man is a straight shooter who delivers his message right from his heart.

      Love him or hate him, Bio can get things done. We have seen how he has held the country together in the face of threats from a global pandemic. Do you Remember the pandemonium that broke out in the days of Ebola when competing APC rogues devoured every penny of Ebola donor fund?

  7. Happy 59th Independence Anniversary to Mama Sierra Leone. May the Almighty continue to bless our nation and Leaders during this difficult period.

  8. Happy anniversary to our beloved nation Sierra Leone; oh God what a nation; after the english men arrested our grand parent Bai Bureh; then our independence and the civil war; now we are living in peace and democracy. May God bless and forgive Sierra Leone. May God bless pa Bio.

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