63 years of stagnation: Reflecting on Sierra Leone’s challenges and chatting a path forward

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By Alhaji Haruna Sani

As Joseph Cole, a 63-year-old Sierra Leonean, voiced his frustrations about the state of the nation to a group of young men playing draf game, he echoed the sentiments of many across the country. Born on the eve of Sierra Leone’s independence, Cole lamented the lack of progress and development over the past six decades.

“This country don spoil and we nor get for betteh again. Tribal politics, bad heart and bad leadership don put we bien. Make Almighty God help we normor”. (This country has been destroyed and it would not get better anymore.Tribal politics,bad mind and bad leadership have placed us in a stagnation position.May God help us).

His words resonated with the disappointment felt by countless citizens who see little improvement in their quality of life.

Indeed, after 63 years of independence, Sierra Leone remains stalled in sluggish progress. Basic amenities such as water, electricity, and good roads are still inaccessible to large segments of the population.

Poverty persists, and social welfare programs are inadequate. The legacy of tribal politics, perpetuated by the two major political parties-the All People’s Congress (APC) and the  Sierra Leone Peoples Party(SLPP) continues to undermine national unity and hinder progress.

However, amidst the hopelessness, there is still a glimmer of hope. It is not too late for Sierra Leone to change course and realize its potentials. Political leaders must transcend partisan interests and prioritize the well-being of the nation. The cycle of empty promises and divisive politics must be broken for meaningful progress to occur.

Beyond politics, all sectors of society must come together with a shared vision for the future. Religious leaders, community activists, and ordinary citizens alike must prioritize the common good over narrow interests. This begins with a shift in mindset—a recognition that Sierra Leone’s greatest assets lie in its people and natural resources.

Indeed, the country possesses immense potential for growth and development. With concerted efforts and collective action, Sierra Leone can overcome its challenges and emerge stronger than ever before. It is time for politicians to heed the call for change and for all citizens to unite in pursuit of a brighter future for generations to come.

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