We had enough of our bitter experience from 1991-2002 Foday Sankoh and others brutal civil war in the country. Therefore, the country’s peace and stability must be a top priority. Because we need no more war. Also because of what is currently happening in the world, especially in the Middle-East, Europe, particularly London, America and Africa, especially in Congo, Nigeria, Somalia South-Sudan etc. there should be NO chance taking in terms of the country’s safety and stability. Particularly against those who think and feel that they can only achieve power by inciting violence or war situation at the expense of the gullible general public and the poor students in the country.
The fact is, regardless of whatever one may like to say, Sierra Leone is big than any individual or group of Sierra Leoneans. Therefore, the country is supreme. Because it is above all Sierra Leoneans. Whether young or old. That is whether you are a politician, human rights activist, journalist or student. Therefore the country’s interest MUST always come first. By putting its peace, security and development above anything else.
Although as citizens, sometimes our governments can wrong us but because of the love for our country’s peace and stability, we can oversight. Sometimes we too can hurt government by disseminating fake news, fake photos against it but it gives blind eyes towards that. Sometimes our political parties, especially the oppositions can wrong us by engaging on chronic political self-destructive infighting instead of fighting for us. But for the sake of peace and development we can oversight. Sometimes our senior civil servants can wrong us by embezzling the country’s wealth. But for the love of our country’s peace, we will pretend not to know anything especially because of the safety of the lives of the poor people.
For the fact that we can only talk about development when there is peace. We can talk about maintaining or forming new political polities when there is peace. We can talk about general elections when there is peace. We can talk about becoming flag bearers of political parties when there is peace. We can talk about going to school when there is peace. We can talk about attending tertiary institutions when there is peace. We can talk about writing articles and fake stories when there is peace. We can talk on TVs and radios’ stations freely when there is peace.
We can talk about going to work when there is peace. We can talk about going to the market to buy and sell when there is peace. We can talk about going to our farms to plant and harvest when there is peace. We can talk about investors when there is peace. We can talk about diamond/s when there is peace. We can talk about travelling throughout the length and breadth of the country when there is peace and if you are deported from abroad, you will only think about going back home when there is peace.
Therefore, peace is a precious GEM that we should NOT compromise with. The fact is, it is our lives saving grace. We have to cherish it. Therefore, we should not allow it to slip from us. In view of that we should protect and promote it in any way possible. The reason being, we know/knew what it means to lose peace. Particularly when our one time most peaceful country in the world, especially in West Africa lost its peace in 1991. We know what it cost us to regain it.
What I am trying to bring to the minds of my readers is, the recent students’ demonstration issue in the country. If anyone tells you that they do not have the right to demonstrate, that individual is a liar. They have the right to make their voices heard. But it depends how they are presenting their issue/s in order to make their views heard. For the fact that freedom of speech goes with responsibility. Because there are certain limitations that being attacked to any freedom on earth, including freedom of expression and association. No one has the right to trample or steps on others rights, especially when trying to exercise his or her own right by any means, including blocking roads, burning others houses, burning their vehicles, towns, villages and the use of weapons. Because others have the right for free movements, the right to live a peaceful life with security. Therefore no one has the right to disturb or obstruct others rights of movement.
That was why I said in one of my recent writings that the FREEDOM concept is a brother term. Therefore, we should always be very careful when trying to interpret it. For the fact that the term its self is a complex one because every individual or group has freedom and also has the right to live a peaceful life. You cannot join a very well attended APC and SLPP campaign train and shout fire or snake because of freedom of speech when there is no fire or snake. Whatever ugly situation that might take place at that moment because of your shouting, you will have to face the consequence of the law for doing that.
Likewise you cannot organise a demonstration or protest and infringing the rights of peaceful people that going about doing their normal business. Burning their vehicles, houses, towns and villages or offices. You will have to face the law if caught for such actions. You have no right to stop others from going about doing their normal duties because you want to exercise your right by demonstration or protest. You have no right to force them to join you. So people should STOP brainwashing the gullible public wrongly about freedom of expression or association. They normally undertake such unpatriotic attitudes and behaviours because of their own selfish gain and political affiliation interest.
However, it was really a traumatic and painful situation for the students. For them to pay their fees without receiving the service for which they paid their monies for. I knew how stressful they were because of such disappointment. The poor parents who are always battling to pay their children’s frees. Only for them to pay such fees and found out that their children could not attend classes for over three months. It was a disgusting situation because of the work of the evil hands politicians. In my view the students have the right to call the attention of the authorities concerned to put forward their concerns. But it seems as if their method of approach on the issue was wrong. As a result, some of them had to fall victims of their own circumstance for misusing their rights and freedom of expression. By blocking roads and allegedly blocking the president environments while others were alleged to have being arrested with weapons.
With such alleged attitudes and behaviours, it seems as if some political evil hands were underneath to influence the already traumatised and emotional students’ proposed peaceful demonstration at their own expense.
The fact is, a peaceful demonstration does not take place in such unpatriotic ruthless and violent way. Any demonstration that seizes the rights of others, especially by disturbing their movement, including blocking their passages, looting their properties, holding weapons, burning vehicles, burning offices, burning houses, burning towns and villages it is NO longer a peaceful demonstration. Therefore, any responsible government has the right to step in to enforce the law. By using its law enforcing agencies, especially the police to insure that sanity is prevail.
Nonetheless, any loss of life of any Sierra Leonean, is a big loss to the nation. Whether he or she is a student or not. The fact is that individual has a role to play in the nation’s development strive. Therefore, I would like to extend my sincere condolence to the bereaved family that lost their young man during the said demonstration.
However, the students should NOT allow themselves to be used like a remote control robot by wicked ungrateful, unpatriotic and unnationalistic, selfish and greedy desperate for power politicians whether directly or indirectly. They should value their precious lives. Some of those guys (politicians) children are enjoying abroad. You die for ungrateful politicians, you die for nothing. Therefore, they should know that for any action there must be a reaction. It could be good or bad reaction. The country’s national safety and stability comes first.