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VOX POP with Yusufu S. Bangura and Haja Humu Barrie: What citizens think about Sierra Leone’s 61 independence anniversary?

Sierra Leone gained independence on 27th April, 1961.  April 27th 2022 marked the country 61 years since it gained independence from the British Government.  

As the nation celebrates 61- year of independence, citizens expressed mix feelings about the journey so far.

In this Vox Pop, Concord Times’ Yusufu S. Bangura and Haja Humu Barrie took to the streets of Freetown to gauge the views of citizens, policy makers and civil society activists on what they think about the journey so far since 1961 to date.

Ibrahim Sillah, Businessman

There is need for us to celebrate our country’s birthday because we are 61 years old. Just like us human beings celebrate our birthday irrespective of their status or situation, so we also need to celebrate our country despite the hardship we are undergoing.

As we are observing the Holy month of Ramadan, I want everyone to stay at home and celebrate our country’s birthday with peace, joy and happiness.

Isata Jusu, hairdresser.

As for me there is no need for us to celebrate 61 years of independence because there is nothing good to celebrate. I have even forgotten the date we gained independence as before they used to dress the country with our flag, paint the streets, and so many celebrations were going on, but for the past years nothing like that have happen.

I want Sierra Leoneans to stay at home and thank God for giving us the opportunity to celebrate another birthday. We also need to pray for things to be better.

Alimamy Koroma, Commercial motorbike rider

As citizens of the nation, we need to celebrate our independence day because we used to celebrate it every year, despite the challenges. So, there is no need to snub our nation because of leadership failures.

Over the years, we used to celebrate our country with joy, peace and love. We need to thank God for making us celebrate this day again, but there is definitely nothing good to celebrate because every day things are getting difficult for us.

I am pleading with the government to allow us to celebrate our independence day so that all Sierra Leoneans can come together to celebrate this day with happiness.

Joseph S. Massie, Network Marketer

For me, independence is very good, but there is no improvement that will make us happy as there is no joy and happiness in Sierra Leoneans that would make us celebrate independence. Our country is going down every day because things are hard for us. It is only God that would help our nation.

Government needs to do something for us  and make us happy, if not we would continue to celebrate independence in dark as there is no happiness in the country. To be realistic there is no improvement in the country.

Alusine Sesay, popup seller

As a citizen of the country, I did not see much improvement in the country in terms of development from 1961 to date. Our elderly relatives used to tell us that they were enjoying the country some decades ago but for now things are not easy for us.

In my own view, there is nothing much we should celebrate because we are supposed  to celebrate joyful things but not miseries. We only have one national stadium in the country since 1961, so I did not see anything that would move me to celebrate.

I am calling on the government and authorities to help improve our country as they are seeing development in other Africans countries, so our country too needs to be like them in terms of development.

Ibrahim Samuel, car wash

For these 61 years of independence, we only need to thank God for seeing us through this hard time because we are able to maintain peace within these years and in terms of development we also need to thank God.

The government needs to improve on all the sectors both public and private because as a country I have not seen any improvement and the only thing we achieved as a country from 1961 to now is peace, apart from that nothing is good about this country.

Joseph Obie, driver

Since I was born to date, my first independence I enjoyed and felt good about was the 50th Anniversary  because there was a lot of activities which I was so happy about.

Over the past years we used to dance lantern on the 26th April, but nothing like that is going on again so we only thank God for life. However, we only need to celebrate our country’s freedom but I did not see anything that we need to celebrate in terms of development.

Abdulai A. Bangura, dealer in used clothes

There is no need for us to celebrate independence because we are in a serious crisis as prices are just increasing, including exchange rate. We are in the Holy Month of Ramadan and things are so difficult, so there is nothing good to celebrate.

For the past years people were celebrating independence because things were going on smoothly so there was lot of enjoyment during the 1990s but the way things are going we are not happy.

I want the government to help reduce the cost of dollar; pump price of fuel should be reduced so that prices of other commodities will drop down.

Memunatu Bangura, trader

As a single parent and mother, I am not happy to celebrate this independence because I have gone through hardship and for the past four months now, I am not selling because I don’t have money to run my business, so am not happy, but I thank God for my life.

I am pleading with the government to make things better for us the women as we are suffering with our kids and I want my fellow Sierra Leoneans to keep praying for our nation.

Juma Bah, Businessman

Since I was born in Sierra Leone I have not witnessed any soba transformation. I only thank God for my life. On this day we only need to pray for those that risked their lives for this country to have freedom from the white people.

Am pleading with the government to mourn this particular day and give respect to our past heroes because they fought for this nation. We should also pray for the country because politicians preach to us the same story that things would change for better, but we never see that.