The Culture Of Silence

For long we have maintained the culture of silence.  There are things we need to criticize but because we want to keep the peace we kept quiet.  The government is my government; there is every right to constructively criticize the government on things you feel that are not correct.  We voted the government, and we must assess the works of the government, grade them to know whether they have been doing what is expected of them.

Education is a flagship program.  We saw government paying tuition fees, buying books and paying the teachers for their services.  They promised to feed the children but not all of them were fed.  Again they promised to build schools, making the classes more accommodative.  We continue to wait till these days for the schools, especially at this time of COVID-19.

Jobs were promised but we saw job replacement with no job creation. Everywhere people are grumbling! Transportation has become the threat to our social security.  Drivers are charging at high cost to passengers and no one to defend the cost of transportation.  In the market, the prices have escalated; nobody cares to ask why?

Yesterday it was not so.  The government promised to fight corruption.  Corruption is everywhere.  It is in the schools, in the streets, markets and work places, etc.  The fight against corruption is not the fight only for the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC).  It is a fight for all and sundry.

Corruption deters growth and development of a nation, and this we must not keep quiet about.  The need to pass on information of corruption to the ACC is good but must be done with the sufficient evidence.

Sierra Leone is our country.  We have no other country except Sierra Leone.  We cannot continue to keep quiet, while others have gracefully vowed to destroy the country.  We need to protect the future of our born and unborn children.  They need better homes and better amenities to make life very meaningful.  We cannot subject our children to corruption; we need to change their mindset to work in a corrupt free society.

Coming back to education, as a flagship program, it is the expectation of the nation that all mechanisms have been put in place to welcome the flagship program.   To date, the program is still struggling to meet the challenges.  Every academic year there is expansion on the number of children for enrollment, creating inconvenience for the school authorities and the government.  We need more schools, more books and more teachers, etc., if only we want our education to be free and with more quality.

People are grumbling because the country is difficult.  The country is difficult because those in governance care too little about the people.  We must begin to feel, see the government everywhere addressing issues and proffering solutions.   The common man must be cared for.  The taxi drivers, van drivers, the market women and traders need to be regulated.  The government has allowed these people, depriving them of food on the table.

Where are the government buses?  People are stranding for transportation and no government buses to ease the transportation problem.  If the government buses can come in to assist, then we can say we have a caring government.

Passengers are left at the mercy of the drivers.  Drivers are asking for halfway, charging exorbitantly.  Passengers have no option but succumb to the dictates of the drivers.  The police are seeing all these messes but with no solution.  But whether the police are aiding and abetting the drivers constitute another part of the argument.

Justice delayed is justice denied! This has been the common catchphrase.  We have cases in the Magistrate and High Courts that have spent so many years without judgment. People have been denied their right, and are psychologically suffering from the hands of injustice.  Others are still in remand waiting for their cases to come up in the court.  What is wrong with the justice system of this country remains our concern.

Time in time out, we have been in this system and we are advocating for a change.  The justice institution is supposed to be a strong institution, and not only to see that justice is done but to maintain the tenacity of the institution.

Agriculturally, we cannot maintain the value of our independence.  Our ordinary groundnut is coming from the Republic of Mali.  Rice, which is our staple food, cannot be produced in the country; we still rely on Asian countries for our staple food.

Sierra Leone is coming to 60 years, and come 2023 Sierra Leone will be 60.  This is no time for celebration, but to assess our development since we gained independence.  We advocated for independence because we believe we can take care of our socio-economic activities.  But this is not so.  Our national budget is still funded by the international community and we have been receiving other material and financial support from the same international community.

We were not expecting to beg after gaining independence but to work hard to maintain the essence of our independence.  Sierra Leone has been classed as a donor driven country, and we still continue to dance to the dictates of our development partners.  We still rely on them for our survival.  Then, when shall we be free from all the hooks and hinges of our colonial masters?

The COVID-19 is here, devastating our development aspiration.  The donors supporting us have been affected, looking out for a way to address the appalling situation.  We have received COVID-19 support to address economic issues, but it is still not enough.

Ministries, Departments and Agencies are preparing their annual budgets, but where do we expect the government to outsource these money to address the needs of these MDAs?  Meaning, another budget deficit is expected with more projections and no work done.

Indeed it is difficult!  Government cannot adequately finance all its institutions. The government institutions are still crying, waiting for funding from the government.  These are issues we need to address to make the institutions very functional.

The culture of silence must be stopped!  Let us learn to call things by their proper names.  It is good for the government, setting them on their toes.  Sierra Leone is bleeding, crying for financial attention.  All is not well; the government need to do more to address the needs of the people.  We cannot pretend that all is well.

The Ministries, Departments and Agencies are financially handicapped to perform their mandatory functions.  We need to stop the culture of silence, address things by their nomenclatures.  The government needs to know the suffering of the ordinary citizens.  This is the time to make the government aware.

 

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