Monthly Archives: April 2018

57 YEARS OF POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE: 57 YEARS OF SOCIOECONOMIC DEPENDANCE

Today, April 27, 2018, is the 57th Anniversary of Sierra Leone’s political Independence. I pray for the Almighty’s mercy on our small nation, which is rich in natural and mineral resources, yet one of the poorest in the world. I also pray that the Almighty forgive us, as a people, whose shortcomings keep us in the dire socioeconomic bondage that is wrecking havoc on the most vulnerable among us.

Photo credit: The Sierra Leone Telegraph

This is not ‘Happy Independence.’ I know some might disagree with me, I respect that, but I believe it is foolhardy to celebrate an anniversary for which we have nothing to show; this is the bitter pill we must ingest, just as we swallowed quinine to cure our malaria in those days when we were children.

  • It is not ”Happy Independence” when, half the population is food insecure, which means over 3 million people do not have sufficient food to eat in Sierra Leone (World food program, 2016).

  • It is not “Happy Independence” when the majority of women in our nation is illiterate and our nation has been labeled the worst place to be a pregnant woman due to the high maternal mortality rate.
Photo credit: Amnesty International

Photo credit: Amnesty International

  • It is not “Happy Independence” when a high number of adolescent girls are dropping out of junior secondary school due to pregnancy, never to return
  • It is not a “Happy Independence” when the majority of the youth are under-educated, unemployed and out of school
  • It is not “Happy Independence” when a good number of our citizens are dying from curable and preventable illnesses, including children and the youth, because we lack the most basic healthcare

This is not the time to celebrate “Independence” when our nation is so heavily dependent on donors for our most basic needs, especially donor aid that come with strings attached.

On this 57th Independence Anniversary, we as a people must do some serious soul-searching. A country does not fall into such decay without the thoughts, actions, and behaviors of its citizens. We must reflect on our role in what has led to our nation being in such a deplorable state.

We can blame the leaders all we want, but that does not change the fact that we the people are a major contributor.

As we gradually inch our way to the next independent anniversary, we need to reflect on what choices we are going to make to be sure positive change is actualized for the next generation.

Please watch the video below, a poignant message from a man who understands his Naga society, a society with which ours has similarities.

What kind of person are you in Salone society?

Are you the,

  • Idiot?
  • Tribesman/tribeswoman? or
  • Ideal Citizen?

please leave a comment below!

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President Bio Appoints 12 Men and 2 Women to Cabinet

Sierra Leone’s new President, Julius Maada Bio, has started appointing members of his cabinet. As promised, Mama Salone is paying close attention to the gender mix of this administration. The Press Release indicates that more appointments will be following soon.

Meanwhile, out of 14 appointments, only 2 are women, so far. Since this is just the beginning, we are hoping that Mr. Bio will do better than his predecessor, Mr. Koroma of the opposition APC party, whose first full cabinet of 21 members consisted of only 3 women.

Even though this is just the beginning for President Bio, and we do want to remain positive, we cannot help but feel that 2 out of 14 is not an impressive start.

President Ahmed Tejan Kabba of the SLPP, who was replaced by the APC President Koroma, was not much of a friend to women in his appointments either. His first full cabinet of 25 members consisted of only 2 women. Pathetic!

Is President Bio heading down the same path as his predecessors of both parties in his cabinet appointments? Is he going to change this misogynistic trend in the cabinet and administrative appointments by Sierra Leone presidents?

Time will tel!

 

An Open Letter to Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio: Our Nation is a Half-Baked Cake Without Women’s Contribution

Contributed by Fatima (Wahab) Babih

Photo credit: nairaland.com

Congratulations Your Excellency, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, on becoming president of the Republic of Sierra Leone!

Mama Salone Blog wishes to express our utmost respect for you and sincere support of your leadership. May the Almighty bless our nation with abundant Peace. May He guide and protect you every step of the way. And May He guide your leadership decisions as you rule our beloved country in the next five years or beyond!!

Mama Salone Blog may not be on the band wagon with many of our compatriots whose way of showing patriotism is by glorifying you, before you even get the chance to tackle the smallest of our national issues. Rest assured, however, that Mama Salone Blog will commend you whenever your performance deserves it.

Mr. President, as the election dust settles, and the reality of governing a nation with dire challenges sets in, we hereby take this opportunity to call your attention to girls’ and women’s issues in our beloved country.

Mr. President, as you well know, a little over half of our country’s population is female (51%). But majority (63%) of this better half of the nation is illiterate and absent in the non-agricultural labor force and national governance.

This means that you have inherited a nation in which a huge percentage of its vital human capital is unable to contribute meaningfully to the development of our nation.

You are also no stranger to the fact that women in our country are perishing every day in the performance of the most natural of their human function in society, childbirth.

Our maternal mortality rate is so high (1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births) that our country has been labeled by international media as the worst place in the world to be a pregnant woman.

You are also aware, Mr. President, that the majority of our girls (over 60%) do not complete senior secondary school, that a high number of our adolescent girls (68%) succumb to early pregnancy, and that a high number of pregnant adolescent girls are dying in childbirth (40% of maternal deaths in the country).

To make matters worst, a huge number of our girls (52%) are married before the age of 18.

From the perspective of Mama Salone Blog, these problems are tantamount to national crisis, no less devastating to the nation than disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

Mr. President, would you eat a half-baked cake?

 

Given its current deplorable condition, if our country were a cake, Mr. President, it would be a half-baked cake because of the incapacity of women to fully partake in its development, due to the systemic gender discrimination in our society.

As we are sure you would not eat a half-baked cake, so is our assurance that there could never be true socioeconomic progress for Sierra Leone, until girls and women attain equal opportunity to develop their capacity and fully contribute in nation-building.

In Mama Salone Blog’s view, the gravest crime committed by your predecessors, (both APC & SLPP administrations), is their neglect of issues affecting girls and women in our country.

Your predecessors failed girls and women woefully; they did not treat women’s issues as national priorities. Instead, your predecessors paid lip service by enacting toothless laws and policy instruments that were never effected. At the end of the day, your predecessors left women and girls in worse conditions than they found them.

As you can see Mr. President, the majority of girls and women in our country have endured a dreadful existence for decades, due to actions and inaction of your predecessors.

But make no mistakes, Mr. President, our Salone women are some of the most intelligent, resourceful, capable and resilient human beings you could ever find anywhere in the world. With beauty and grace to boost!

We are quite sure you will agree with us, especially since you know very well that you could not have won this election without the massive effort of women. Even though the surface of your campaign was male dominated, we all know that women were the grassroots foot soldiers that maintained the lifeline of your campaign. Not even illiteracy could stand in their way.

Mr. President, girls and women are not asking for charity or handout from you or anyone else. All they need from you is to level the playing field, by empowering them through education, healthcare and equal chances in national governance.

Mr. President, it is a moral imperative for you to shift the paradigm for women in Sierra Leone, so that our national cake could be fully baked for all to enjoy.

We believe in the honor system; therefore, Mr. President, we are putting our trust in your words, as expressed during your campaign and in your Manifesto (New Direction). We know that you have the ability to right many of the wrongs your processors inflicted on girls and women in our country. We have faith in your willingness to make good on your promise to take, not only the nation, but the trajectory of girls and women of Sierra Leone in a “New Direction.”

On this note, Mr. President, Mama Salone Blog will, henceforth, pay close attention to your decisions, actions, inaction, and general treatment of socioeconomic, civil, political, and other relevant issues pertaining to the welfare and empowerment of girls and women in the Land That We Love.

Once more, Congratulations president bio!

May the Almighty guide you and

may he bless Sierra Leone!!

 

References

Maternal deaths in Sierra Leone

Girls out of school in Sierra Leone