Analysis

On the Speech from the Throne

8 October 2007 at 08:09 | 543 views

By Mohamed Boye Jallo Jamboria,Bergen, Norway.

The first speech from the throne by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma from it’s logical structure is a statement of vision.It is a statement of vision in the sense that it outlines some if not all the basic human and material infrastructural needs of Sierra Leone as a country ,not only coming from war, but as a sovereign state that must function and experience growth and development.

Right enough there had been speeches of same if not similar nature from the leaderships of the past and all have come to zero.Those aspects of such past speeches that have been implemented have been harphazardly done and the consequent effects have not been reflected in the social and economic standards of the country and populace.

That is one of the key reasons why after 46 years of independence Sierra leone is still in the backwoods and is classed with a very,and unrealistic,Human Development Index by the UNDP.

From a very personal but albait technical point of view,the speech by the president is food for thought for those who would like to see a better Sierra Leone and a posterity that shall be proud of their forefathers like the present generation of Americans are proud of their ancestors.

However saying is just the begining;doing is the ultimate aim.How can it all be done is the million dolllar question and this is where other unexpressed factors and parameters come in.

Naturally it is not to be expected that Rome ,especially that Rome where building had never commenced,will be built in a day.This implies that the people of Sierra Leone must not expect all that has been said to be executed within the present term.This,on the other hand should not serve as a parameter for excuses from the leadership but as a caution to the people of Sierra Leone that though the expectations must be high yet the applications are on the very lowset of low.

The question is why should the applications be low or as low as has been expressed?The answer lies in several factors that are going to be examined in this article.

DEVELOPMENT
This is a combination of individual and collective efforts will do to make it better!
Development as the ultimate visible change and improvement in the human and material standards of an individual or a colllective is not the relative reflection of the ability to use available resources ,especially money.Instead it is the absolute and sustainable reflection of the structures and dynamics that make every member of the affected social group more comfortable and be able to operate in that social setting with more ease.

To achieve this it is incumbent on every member of that soico—economic grouping to take every possible step to help the processes and contribute in positive ways to the overall achievement of the set goals that shall make development possible. This premise excludes specific considerations such as political or such social associations.There may be diverse points of political or other views but where there is a unified overall goal to make it better irrespective of race,sex,religous affiliation and political or other opinion then development can be enhanced.

Sierra Leone as it is today needs to take the above very seriously.One underlying reason why development has been delayed is that since independence a national objective(s) has been hard to come by and where it exists, it is like little or no attention has been paid to the significance or relevance of such statements.

Take the economic and social objectives(section 7 and 8) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone parts of which states the economic objectives as;

“a. harness all the natural resources of the nation to promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy;

b. manage and control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare and freedom of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of opportunity;

c. protect the right of any citizen to engage in any economic activity without prejudice to the rights of any other person to participate in areas of the economy;

d. place proper and adequate emphasis on agriculture in all its aspects so as to ensure self-sufficiency in food production; and

e. ensure that Government shall always give priority and encouragement to Sierra Leoneans to participate in all spheres of the economy in furtherance of these objectives...
and the social objectives as;

a. every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law, and the State shall ensure that every citizen has an equal right and access to all opportunities and benefits based on merit;

b. the State shall recognise, maintain and enhance the sanctity of the human person and human dignity; and

c. the Government shall secure and maintain the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law and unfettered access thereto, and to this end shall ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity, and that opportunities for securing justice are not denied any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.”

Further states that ; “
a. every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations, and opportunities before the law, and the State shall ensure that every citizen has an equal right and access to all opportunities and benefits based on merit;

b. the State shall recognise, maintain and enhance the sanctity of the human person and human dignity; and

c. the Government shall secure and maintain the independence, impartiality and integrity of courts of law and unfettered access thereto, and to this end shall ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity, and that opportunities for securing justice are not denied any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.”
how far have these been implimented and who is to impliment them?

A combined look at these objectives and the role of government vis-a vis the roles and obligations of the citizenry points to why development have been delayed.
Of course some schools of thought may want to argue that these are recent as the document,i.e. the constitution,the bears them is also recent.The document may be recent but the objectives outlined have been the song of every leadership ,put in diverse syntax but always convering the same underlying meaning-which is appempting to build a nation with a common outlook ,aspiration , developmental goal with /and structures of social justice and equity in the distribution of wealth from the point of view of merit rather than compensation for specific allegiance and /or association- which up to now is the order of the day.

So if the vision expressed by His Excellency is to produce results then there is reason to look beyond this speech in the sense of asking some pertinent questions especially those that concern the individual obligations to the welfare of the state which is the collective.
Simply put Sierra Leone has always been a nation that operates on hope by unfortunately with a wrong approach.The development of Sierra Loene cannot be realised if sierra leoneans dont take steps to modify some social and mental outlooks that are part of the inherent social status quo and which affect the modus oprandi as of now.
Put in very simple terms there can be no change in the national gains if the beliefs of waiting for GOD AND GOVERNMENTS to do everything and foot every bills.The attitude of waiting for gifts from God and Government cannot and will never produce the things we need.

As a correlate the misuse of the limited national fiscal resources to satisfy that belief cannot anylonger help the dire situation Sierra Leone is in.Pubilc officials must stop encouraging overdependency and the syndrome of hope for compensation on the individual level.Now that elections are over ,people will stream everyday to the offices and parliament to seek favours.That must stop because it is one key factor responsible for the stebacks that Sierra Loene has been faced with.

Yes it is hard and over 75% of the people live under the poverty line but if time is not given to the leadership to work out solutions within the shortest possible time it will always be like that and worse.

Given that the objectives outlined in the President’s speech are to be met in the shortest time then it implies the government need both time to effectively work and the absolute co-operation of all.Co-operation ,it must be noted is different from support in the sense that there will always be differnig opinions be them political or otherwise but wherein all work towards the fulfillment of the collective then progress will be a guest in the doorsteps of the country.

On the otherhand,whereas the government may want to do it right and the people have a different motive and operate on a different wavelength then hardship and misery will ,as it is now, always be the guest.

Of course the people may have a justified case for the way and manner they behave.When their rights have been hijacked and compromised by those who they see as the vehicles of progress,the educated class who also form the political leadership, they left with little alternative but to copy the institutionalised modus oprandi- which is absolute dependency on relationships and circumvention of rules and obligations.This is exactly the underlying reason to corruption-compensation for political,ethnic and regoinal relations-which in most cases his to overlook merit thereby:(1) putting squire pegs in round holes

(2) draining the national resource to satisfy the few in power or who think they are in power in the process creating a chain of dependency that becomes cyclical ,contagious and epidemic.

(3) consequent to the outcomes above is the most times overlooked social results not only in terms of harship but (a) the centralising effects when the state can no longer operate on merit.This centralising effect will in due course create geographic pull centres that attracts the populace to the geographic centres of power and money, in the process creating regions of high population concentrations that over tax the limited material and /or physical infrastructure.

(4)destruction of the social and moral fabric where by making criminals out of people who would otherwise be upright, a situation that is now a cancer in the Sierra Leonean society.
Looking at the Presidential speech some the intent to change some of the above has been expressed in sections of the President’s speech which will be analysed in some detail in later issues.
TO BE CONTINUED.

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