Home Opinion Press Releases Sierra Leone Is 63 Years Old, PDL Gives Message Of Peace

Sierra Leone Is 63 Years Old, PDL Gives Message Of Peace




Happy Independence Day to Sierra Leoneans, both living in Sierra Leone and abroad. On the occasion of the nation’s 63rd Independence Day Anniversary, the People’s Democratic League (PDL) congratulates all Sierra Leoneans for achieving another milestone in the country’s history.

The Sierra Leonean Independence Day is observed annually on April 27. It is one of the most important holidays in Sierra Leone since it commemorates the country’s freedom from the colonial bondage of Britain. Some of us will remember the pride we felt sixty-three years ago in 1961 when Sierra Leone’s Green, White, and Blue flag was hoisted to replace Britain’s Union Jack.

For us in the PDL, we take great pride in the education and understanding that our country’s Independence was not won on the battlefield with guns, bombs, and missiles, but on a battlefield of ideas, patriotism, and aspirations, through determination, patience and hard work. We have today grasped the belief and reality that our political independence from Britain in 1961 dashed us a National Flag, National Anthem, Motto, and other emblems, but failed wholly to give us economic freedom.

Today, we continue to commemorate this historic day with pride and gratitude for the priceless sacrifice and efforts made by our forefathers who fought for our flag independence. Most Sierra Leoneans mark this day also to acknowledge the privilege of our country being a sovereign independent member of the international community through the United Nations and other instruments. This is a day set aside by the PDL to reflect on the pains suffered by those who were born before our national independence, and to remind Sierra Leoneans never to allow this event to fade away from our memories.

We are at a crucial juncture in our political journey as we commemorate 63 years of independence. The PDL acknowledges that tribalism, political party dynasties and regional bigotry are some of the social vices and degeneracy that wreck havocs on our country’s peace, democracy and development. The PDL believes that the lack of political will to address these issues will take Sierra Leone nowhere.

The PDL recognises that throughout the sixty-three years of independence, selfish politicians have dug deep divides amongst Sierra Leoneans, inciting hatreds between the two larger ethnic groups, i.e. Mendes and Temnes against each other. The ethnic issue for instance, has widened the gap between the country’s regions and has caused distrust and disunity amongst Sierra Leoneans. Despite the change of governments over the last sixty-three years of independence, selfish, self-centered, egoistic, unpatriotic, and corrupt, and inept politicians have done a lot to make our independence bogus and a laughing stock to others.

There is no gainsaying the fact that today, most Sierra Leoneans have become unhinged from those cherished principles that define our national identity. Principles such as national belonging, social justice, human rights, rule of law and national dignity have been mortgaged. The result has been the rise to the ever increasing poverty on the land. In a country endowed by abundant and rich mineral and natural resources, it is not fair, and it is unjust to see the majority of the citizens swindle in wholesale poverty, while the few rich and the connected live ostentatious life.

The unfairness of tribalism, regional hegemony, corruption and misguided beliefs have robbed our young people of their dreams; this is obvious. Sixty-three years of what supposed to be independence, too many Sierra Leonean children still go to bed hungry and too many of our elderly citizens have become street beggars. These are not the marks of freedom, but decadence in all social sectors. In such a situation, no one is innocent or immune; and none of us is without sin. The time is now to fix Sierra Leone or else we allow Sierra Leoneans to become paupers in this 21st century.
The PDL recognises that Sierra Leone is still struggling to come out of the adverse impact of the 11-year brutal fratricidal war. But turning back to the date of our independence in 1961 to the present period, there is nothing to write home about development in our country’s sixty-three years journey of self-rule. Our struggle for economic transformation and reasonable standard of living for Sierra Leoneans will remain elusive as long as we continue to produce leaders who are not interested in the development and prosperity of Sierra Leone.

The PDL is of the belief that leadership is not about personal gain, but about providing a noble service to the people you supposed to serve, particularly the poor, the weak, downtrodden and impoverished in society. All those ingredients and tenets that made up of democracy and freedom have come under severe assault in Sierra Leone for so many years now. We therefore commemorate our country’s independence in an environment devoid of national self-confidence and optimism.

Take for instance, instead of inclusive participation in the country’s decision-making process, we see the gradual erosion of democracy and democratic good governance. Instead of a sustainable economic growth, we see an economy that isolate and deprives the masses of our people. Instead of a harmonious community based on national belonging and unity, we see the loss of people’s confidence in our democratic process and the further erosion of initiatives for national development and prosperity.

The PDL is of the belief that nation- building is not about wishful thinking but it is about love, patriotism, commitment, participation and hard work. Every Sierra Leonean must shoulder his or her responsibility of making contribution to sustainable peace and democracy, and to engage in the development and prosperity of our country.

The spirit of patriotism recently manifests on full display even for all the world to see the resilient of the PDL in pursuant of its right and democratic freedom to become a full-fledged political party for Sierra Leone. What we know and the reality is that, the PPRC (Political Parties Regulation Commission) has failed our democracy, our international partners and above all, the people of Sierra Leone. But this journey embarked upon by the PDL was destined to reach its final destination with victory for the Sierra Leonean people against the greed and selfish behaviour we see being displayed by those in high offices in the country.

There are pertinent questions that we need to ask ourselves, the reasons why since independence sixty-three years ago Sierra Leone still in the bottom line as one of the poorest and educationally backward nation on earth, according to United Nations Human Development Index (UNHDI). Why we have not been able to build a nation of peace, democracy, unity, justice, freedom and dignity? Why is it that we have had a brutal fratricidal war and several politically-motivated crisis with the loss of thousands of lives? Why is there so much indiscipline, tribalism, corruption, waste, selfishness, incitements and hate messages in both our national and public lives? Why do we reject those who speak a different language or hold a different political view, since the Constitution of Sierra Leone guarantees all Sierra Leoneans equal rights and an equal place in the country? Sadly, these are happening in a country that is being regarded as the nursing mother of West African civilisation.

On this day of our country’s national Independence, the PDL would like to remind our political and civic leaders that as a sovereign nation, we inherited a legacy built on the conviction that with unity, together we can and must serve our people and country, with humility, integrity and honour. However, the PDL acknowledges that Sierra Leoneans have lost their independence as they are ever divided due to the unpatriotic and wicked acts of some leaders with a lust for power. Sierra Leone has declined in all aspects of development.

Common sense teaches us that in a genuine democracy, change comes from the bottom–up. This is where the PDL is different from the rest. The PDL upholds democratic principles and the belief that it is only through the ballot box that we hold those who govern accountable for their actions.

The PDL believes in the Sierra Leonean project, and as such, irrespective of our divergent political beliefs and persuasions, Sierra Leoneans must think beyond ethnicity or regional hegemony and work towards creating an environment where there would be strength and independent to stand against bad governance. Sierra Leoneans must abandon all those bad things that are at variance with peace and harmony. We must strive for real unity, not unity for the sake of unity, but unity of purpose; and stand in defense of each other.

Sierra Leone’s development solely depends on the unity and how sincere in our patriotic zeal and commitment to develop a practical approach to achieve unity and co-existence among our various communities across the country. And this is possible only when people are treated with dignity and self-respect. The PDL is confident that together we can build a Sierra Leone that works for everyone.
As a grassroots political Movement, the PDL holds the belief that Sierra Leone can and must move forward towards sustainable development and prosperity. The PDL has built its vision on it conviction that freedom and dignity can be guaranteed to all Sierra Leoneans, that good governance can prevail, and that national happiness and self-confidence can abound.
But these transformations will not occur automatically. They must be envisioned, planned, and implemented with patriotic zeal for the benefit of all citizens. As the current political impasse deepens, Sierra Leoneans must, more than before, use their voices to condemn tribalism and other anti-social actions that threaten social cohesion, peace and the country’s democracy.

Let us on this historic day, use the occasion to reflect on our national identity and consciousness with honesty to take Sierra Leone forward towards prosperity by living in peace and co-existence with the assurance of good governance. Let us reflect on the bonds and common goals that hold us together as a nation and people. Let us pledge to remove all those artificial barriers that undermine our country’s Motto: Unity, Freedom and Justice. Let us further embrace our shared destiny.

We believe we can fix Sierra Leone again, and make it become one of the best countries to live in the world. Our country has been blessed with abundant and rich natural and human resources to make our independence meaningful and benefitting to all Sierra Leoneans. What is required now, and which is the center of PDL’s message is a national leadership that puts the needs, rights, and entitlements of the people first before any other parochial interests.

While we pray that the Almighty God showers His blessings on every citizen of Sierra Leone, who would make an effort to bring unity, peace and tolerance, we call upon all Sierra Leoneans to come together to find a reasonable and acceptable political solution, which will have an enormous impact in rebuilding our shattered economy and broken political wall, and in restoring peace and harmony amongst our people.

To all Sierra Leoneans everywhere, we say: Long Live Sierra Leone! Happy Independence Day!

(Chief) Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
Founder and National Leader
The People’s Democratic League
For and on behalf of members of the PDL

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