Tuesday, July 14, 2009


submitted on June 14, 2009 1:18 PM EST
donald cole
Email Address:
hi mohamed,i read your whole article.i must first of all tell you that it was well written.if fact i was just asking your brother about you on saturday 06/13/09 @ a cook-out.please continue to do what you are doing.good job. i will keep in touch. peace, sincerely, donald


The new path to public servicewritten by Fenthi, July 12, 2009
There are some of us that are almost getting tired of these theoretical outlays of Sierra Leone's shortcomings.Sierra Leone will never develop or significantly improve on its present poor standing in development with the help of appeals alone. A country where corruption is almost becoming a religion, especially in the civil service, and for that matter in all works of life, can not just make it in the pace of time we would have wished for our country. Some bit of a radical leadership is really needed. The anti- corruption commission should be given more teeth, should be supported by a well paid, two to thee tier system of an anti corruption inteligence sevice that can lead to the implimentation of clearly visible purnishments as deterrents. This is what the Government of Flt. Lt. J.J. Rollings instituted during the PNDC and NDC days in Ghana, the result of which is one of the reasons why President Obama decided to select Ghana for his first Sub-saharan african visit as USA president. Our opposition should learn that after loosing an election, constructive opposition and cooperation with the ruling government in achieving clearly set goals towards achieving national development is what is necessary and not a total determination to make fruitful governance difficult and almost impossible through defamation, blackmail and sabotage.This is not the stable democracy the US President mentioned in Accra. A President Obama will definitely never select an african country for his next visit, where all these characteristics are prevailent.


Written by Mohamed C. Bah Guest Writer Friday, 10 July 2009 15:01

In this era of the twitter generation,we need a new political formula,a good nationalistic orientation and fundamentally a different approach to the way we govern and how we solve national problems in Sierra Leone. Enough to citizens or elected officers who believe that contributing to the socio-economic developments of our society is to destroy existing progress or blocking the good works of other patriotic citizens for political necessities. Enough to the hate culture, where those who genuinely work to promote the welfare of our nation are targeted and destroyed. A new line should be drawn on the sand that there are differences between those who faithfully serve the people and those who frivolously engage in warrant less infighting at government level which leads only to the bridge of nowhere.
Do we really believe that the self-defeating concept of “individualism” would ever reform our health and educational institutions or build roads and take us to the path of self-sufficiency? Why is that many of us do not support brilliant initiatives and ideas that are not our makings or choose to contribute in our own little ways for the good of Sierra Leone? When are we going to develop the culture of team work and pro-activism over the impulsive thinking of always looking at what is wrong? Infact,when we look at what everyone seek to accomplish,we can see clearly that the easiest and convenient way to succeed is to solve our problems together.
Enough to the politics of “search and destroy” the numerous half-completed donor funded projects that always display the mind set of some of the “old political mavericks” who deceived the people by their calculated actions of institutional mismanagements. Enough to the troubled political brinkmanship of an older generations of politicians,who time and again have defrauded the people by selfishly promoting their own personal agendas. Enough to the poor “maintenance culture”, where public properties are not regularly maintain and protected to keep its values, structural integrity and architectural beauty. Enough to the politics of “divide and conquer”,where the same people are separated into tribes and regions, class and status, friends and enemies.
The citizens of Sierra Leone have been given many reasons not to believe in the ability of government to deliver public services and improve their fragile living conditions. As a matter of fact,life for the average Sierra Leonean have worsen over the past decades with little signs of improvements. And campaign promises have been broken by one political party after another. Is politics in Sierra Leone a spectacular sport or a life time opportunity to transform a nation from the dungeon of poverty into a haven of human prosperity? Is public service a noble profession called the absolute“service to mankind?”
Indeed,slow progress have been the political play books of our national parties ever since we raised our flag of freedom. It is the pulse of our political life in Sierra Leone today. If you are doing the same thing over and over with no measured results and what you are doing is causing “more pain and no gain”,i think it is time to stop the repetitive cycle of deception. It is time to charter a new course and pursue a new concept of good governance while putting “county first” over the “what-is-in-for-me” mentality. Rightly so: The institutions of government is not a wall street investment center, where the motive of operation is profit driven and the overriding goal is wealth creation. Government is for the people, by the people and of the people. Public office is a sacred platform, where good citizens serve their people with honor and distinction, where the core principles of changing the lives of ordinary citizens becomes the enduring legacy. Thus,the new political game-changer must be a public service ideology that gears towards improving the socio-economic well being of Sierra Leoneans and not working for the self-interest of parties, regions, friends and families.
Like most Sierra Leoneans, I wonder that day when will our country utilized its minerals and natural wealth to pay for national development programs. I wonder when will Sierra Leone dismantle the “life-support machine” of multi-donor dollars and formulate,develop and independently fund national priority projects. I imagine a Sierra Leone, solvent with surplus mineral revenues to fund completely a full electricity or water supply projects. I think of a young nation,where every Sierra Leoneans enjoys a quality and decent education ,one that broaden their imagination and expand their capacity of nation building.
Indeed,i pray for a Sierra Leone where the sick have an opportunity to avoid premature death sentence,where access to quality health care and preventive medicine are available to every one. I dream of a modern super high ways and railroad system that connects towns and cities, where good commerce and tourism flourish to every corner of Sierra Leonean society. I imagine a nation where its people don't have to live in a constant strain of inadequate water supply system, when its is even surrounded with abundant water resources. Like most Sierra Leoneans,I dream of a nation, where job opportunity defines the new middle class structure and where the median income of Sierra Leoneans exceeds all of sub Sahara Africa.
While, I am hopeful of a Sierra Leone that will be the fastest growing nation in Africa,i believe that the common enemy that impedes our national progress are our negative thought process, our misguided intentions, our character of poor statesmanship and our inability to build a team of good public servants around the common purpose of nation building. Thus, a call to public service is an urgent reality, one that every patriotic-loving Sierra Leonean must consider and be willing to do. It starts with our communities, our towns, our cities and eventually our country. It begins when we answer the question of what President John F. Kennedy posed many years ago: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This attitude of public service must be the new thinking and behavior, especially among our youth population,who by design are the future leaders of tomorrow.
I have long wonder how can we be endowed with vast mineral and natural resources but yet considered very poor on the UN human indexes? How can we have so many citizens who go to bed hungry every day,millions of children who have never been vaccinated against diseases and heart attack victims whose chances of survival are at the mercy of destiny. How can we live in a nation and a culture that does not always value the physically disabled or mental impaired?
We should not be ashame to identify our challenges and predicaments as long as we are willing to act in good faith to solving them together. And we must not ignore the fact that our government is doing its best and some how making some modest gains in other areas of national developments. But the work is far from over and it takes all the political leaders including our citizens to do their parts in building a better Sierra Leone.
George Admittedly,a Ghanaian economist clearly defined the two generations of leaders in Africa. In his lectures,he categorized the “hippo generation” and the “cheetah generation.” Interestingly, the hippo generation are the old ruling class who have enriched themselves from the nation's coffers,who sees Africa's problems as the root causes of colonialism and imperialism. The cheetah generation are the new breeds of Africans, who see salvation and solutions to Africa's problems through self-reliance approach,independent thinking and constructive political management. The cheetah generation also believe in accountability, democracy,a corrupt free and a transparent society, where justice is protected and valued.
And the question now:Do we have many cheetahs in Sierra Leone?Indeed, the latter should be the new path to public service in our beloved homeland. First,we must learn to work together for the common good of promoting the well being of our people. To just consider those who disagree with our political philosophy as “mortal enemies” disables the engine of progress and put us on the “reverse gear” of political confrontation and economic stagnation. And to just believe that effective opposition is to say “NO” without alternative solutions are disingenuous and counterproductive. We must be the guardians of justice and freedom through our patriotic works and compassionate relationship with our fellow citizens.
We must change the flamboyant “egoist-culture” of thinking that everything runs through our emotional hemisphere. Public service is never about the person but rather about what the person do for the public. We must not be emotionally misguided to believe that we are superior than others because of our class status or positions of wealth. We must not ignore the common facts that we share the same hope and fear, passion and determination to building a Sierra Leone of peace ad prosperity.
We must focus on human development initiatives,community empowerment programs, restructuring of our political systems, replacing Aid with trade, establishing a transparent financial system and breaking away from the cycle of poverty. These are the greatest challenges we face as a nation,not the egoistic warfare that rages like a “California wild fire” in our local communities, social organizations and even the hallways of our government. When we bring down one Sierra Leonean because of ethnic,gender or professional differences,Sierra Leone loses the opportunity of benefiting from the gifts and talents of its own citizens or nationals.
Furthermore,the character of honesty and integrity in public life should be the new “map quest” on our long political journey. Public service demands a high level of moral and ethical standards. Like any civil society, government represents the mandate of the people and operates under the constitutional laws of the land. The constitution defines the power and functions of each organs of government, rule of conducts and manner of operation,how justice is dispense and the right of citizens under the law.
For decades now, we have generally being a “non-conformist society” where we disobey the laws that are design to create fairness,orderliness and sanity. Often, we have created so many short cuts and undermined the moral standing of the law by either buying our way out of our transgressions or promoting the pseudo-social doctrines of tribalism and nepotism for political expediency. We cannot build national unity,inspire a generation of Sierra Leoneans and create a lawful society, if we break the laws or allow others to become habitual law-breakers. No modern society have enjoyed shared progress with a system and people who recklessly do not value, respect and obey the laws that keeps them functional and cohesive.

Finally,the question of nationalism and patriotism lies at the cross road between the path of public service and those who wear the “wolf garments” of destroying the future of Sierra Leone. Imagine a Sierra Leone where ever citizen gives her the most cherishing love by investing their talents and capitals, contributing in building dams, roads, schools and bridges through the tax revenue system. Imagine a government that manage and distribute its revenues to public service sectors in a transparent and accountable environment,where our justice system takes a strong stand against corruption and the state of lawlessness. Imagine, citizens who take pride in their community and nation by obeying the laws,performing their civic duties and paying taxes. Imagine, politicians who value the legacy they will leave behind over the vanity and material wealth their public offices brings. What an end to a successful journey we could have reached since the dawn of April 27, 1961.
Indeed,Sierra Leone needs a new moral vision,a major political change in how public service is viewed as a profession. It is not about access to fame and fortune,but the opportunity to share the gift of human love, the power to change the future of a generation and the self-fulfillment such lofty mission brings to the soul of mankind. If Sierra Leone is serious about making giant progress in this era of the Internet,we must unconditionally love our country and love the people of Sierra Leone. Then, graciously take the majestic part of public service that leads us to the monumental palace of accomplishments and achievements for the people. For now,it is true that the old system has not work.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Posted by Daniel Lavin, RPCV, on 9 June 2009 at 17h21
I’ve been traveling and working in Sierra Leone since 1988. My original experiences in places like Freetown, Makeni and Bo were to see ex-pats and NGO workers and a few wealthy Sierra Leoneans enjoying restaurants and services, with the bulk of the citizens only observing. In the last few years, something amazing has happend. I went into a restaurant in Freetown, walking in to the room to see every table taken by local people. This wasn’t a special occassion. They were simply having lunch and were heading back to work. They were dressed professionally, and very comfortable in this new world. With my eyes open, I started noticing the changes around me. Expectations and reality have changed in Sierra Leone.
See the work we are doing at http://cipsierraleone.blogspot.com
The road to a middle class in Sierra Leone
- Monday 8 June 2009.
By Mohamed C. Bah, EX-President Sierra Leone Community Atlanta, USA.
"Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor." Said a famous African-American writer James Baldwin. The road to a middle class demography in Sierra Leone is an inevitable journey that must be taken if our democratic nation is to transcend from the colossal mountain of poverty into the high beautiful plains of human prosperity. If Sierra Leone is to take a unique and bold approach against poverty,not the poverty reduction programs that is just a “program-in-theory”,the urgency to building a strong middle class society must be the new thinking in this age of global competition.
After 48 years since independence,the faces of poverty have been a disturbing landmark on the socio-economic lives of millions of our people. This abhorrent and undesirable way of life have bought an untold suffering on the mental,physical and social well being of Sierra Leoneans. Today,many of our fellow citizens are grossly neglected,under-served and poorly represented in their common pursuit to seeking a better future for themselves and their families. Many are unable to fulfill what Robert Kennedy once said “i dream of the things that never were and ask why not.”
While, there are hopeful signs that Sierra Leone is emerging and growing to meet the broader aspirations of the people,it is just a revealing truth that poverty is so deeply entrenched and more visible in our society today. That,as good as,the government is working to influence changes,more needs to be done to radically transform Sierra Leone from a poorly managed and corrupt society into a viable,vibrant and progressive nation. Sierra Leone cannot afford to live another 48 years of the same cruel,unnecessary and unjust human suffering.
To understand the concept of a middle class society,it is profoundly significant to see how modern economies such as the USA, Europe, Canada and other developed nations are structured, how the operates and how this demographic group have created the source of wealth,increased government revenues and stimulated the economies of these countries. Without a strong middle class, the financial engine of any nation will never gather the speed of national progress nor the traveling distance to alleviating this shameful condition of poverty.
The concept of a middle class is fundamentally rooted in the foundation of peace and prosperity through education,medicine,technology and economic investments. It is where countries like Sierra Leone becomes the hub for economic and political developments,where the democratic institutions of transparency and justice are protected and valued and where good governance are manifested in governments ability to increase its tax revenues,triples it accumulated foreign reserves through mineral revenues and increase its human capital. Thus, a new middle class culture with greater socio-economic latitude must be the new wind of change that should be blowing across our promising nation.
The philosopher, Confucius succinctly describe wealth disparity in this way: “In a country well governed,poverty is something to be ashamed of and in a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” Any government without a middle class “agenda” that does not find a strategic path way to building the educational capacity and economic independence for its people are bound to widen the gap between the few greedy rich and the depressively poor population.
Indeed,such is the confluence of events in Sierra Leone today; a nation paralyzed by greed and corruption,a politics driven by fear over hope and a system that rewards the “anything goes mentality.” The few public servants,who have amassed tainted wealth from the vaults of our nation’s treasury are artificially some of the so-called “middle class” group. And the most vulnerable among us are the poor who seem to constantly wonder when will their long journey of poverty ends. While the privilege "few" have built mansions along the coastal lines,the common citizens are disproportionately subjected to poor housing conditions,little or no food to eat and no hope for the future.
The burden of poverty is a moral issue and the overwhelming need to tackling this man-made disaster must be politically, socially and spiritually compelling. Realistically, the bench marks to determine a middle class category are: income level, tax ratio,educational standards,belief in the “bourgeoisie” values such as housing or property ownership,strong purchasing power,stock market investments,small business establishment and job security such as professional doctors, lawyers, and engineers.
In February 2009, according to the Economist magazine, it is believe that over half the world’s population now belongs to the middle class, as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterized the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income, so that they do not live from hand to mouth as the poor do, and defined it as beginning at the point where people have roughly a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter.
Subsequently,this allows people to buy consumer goods, improve their health care, and provide for their children’s education. Most of the emerging group consists of people who are middle-class by the standards of the developing world but not the rich one, since their money incomes do not match developed countries level, but the percentage of it which is discretionary does.
The Economist predicted that the surge across the poverty line should continue for a couple of decades and the global middle class will grow enormously between now and 2030. This may have profound social consequences, since the middle classes which emerged in Europe and America tend to be much better informed and politically active than the poorer classes. This must be the future,Sierra Leone, should work towards in a collective and significant way.
Does the road to a middle class society runs through the heartland of Sierra Leone?From an analytical perspective,poverty is a perception, a thinking and a state of mind. For Sierra Leone to begin the journey to a middle class society,we need to change the culture of sabotaging good works,the obsession of working against national progress and the deceptive physcology of “wishing-you-will-fail” syndrome. Collectively, we must create a just and equitable Sierra Leone for everyone. Government must understand the magnitude and serious obligations bestow on them to promoting the welfare of its citizens. And public service must not be consumed by the politics of confrontation and division or the mindset of everybody is my enemy if you don’t believe in my party or belong to my so-called “party club.”Sierra Leoneans must understand that only through taken personal responsibility of our destiny and working with our government,can we move our country from a state of poverty and into a land of abundant wealth and collective prosperity.
Indeed,real meaningful progress comes from an inclusive leadership,one that embraces a team of diverse backgrounds and the participation of principled citizens who shared common objective of a prosperous Sierra Leone. History reminds us that a nation and its leaders are remembered for their positive impact on people and society,not their personal fortunes or the emotional and professional challenges they faced with those whom they fundamentally disagree with.
More importantly,we must import technology,expand our basic infrastructures,reduce health care disparity and create income for our people through job markets and small business ownership. The need to restructure and revamp our education system is long over due. Government must invest in education by allocating substantial funding to accommodate the the growth of new technology and labor skills required to be competitive in today’s global market. Merely reading the history of “the “Songhai empire” or knowing the “molecules of the universe”,as important as they may be, are insufficient to creating a supply and demand work force in Sierra Leone.
We must reform existing universities and build new colleges of engineering,computer information,allied science and medicine in Sierra Leone. These learning institutions must be modernize and streamline to train highly qualified professionals,who are ready to join the community of the middle class family. It is a shame to have more Sierra Leonean doctors practicing medicine in Chicago (USA) than in the homeland.
Furthermore, we cannot grow a middle class when our towns and cities are without access to electricity,water supply,poor feeder roads,inadequate financial infrastructures and weak business protection laws. Vietnam had a history of a long brutal war and massive poverty rates some decades ago,but now enjoys a modernized electricity,good commerce,better infrastructures and increasing foreign investments. They have made themselves the “little giant of Asia.” with their source of exports and transparent democratic institutions.
However,despite the poverty and the lack of governing resources we face today,i still see a more hopeful and promising future for Sierra Leone. The road to a middle class is just miles away from within reach if only we have the political will and determination to bring about the changes we wish to see. I am convinced that our nation will rise to meet the challenges and the new opportunities of the 21st century. And with great optimism, Sierra Leone will soon take the lead of becoming the “new economic giant” of sub Sahara Africa, thereby building a peaceful and more prosperous future for every Sierra Leonean and the rest of Africa.