Time to salvage our democracy

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9th April 2017

Self-delusion is bad – but collective self-delusion is truly the ultimate. (Photo: Selling the presidency to the highest bidder?)

It is clear that the government of Sierra Leone cannot be trusted to exhibit or stand with integrity. But whether the abnormal, modish and immoral scoundrels in the legislative and executive arms of government, who are promiscuously focused on fevered partiality, at the expense of the sea of troubles that their political corruption and ethical lapses will cause the nation, like it or not, 2018 elections will hold.

To be spewing technicalities in the face of overwhelming rot and the harrowing cry for a truly equitable society, speaks to the depth of negative morality. Without keeping to the original spirit, anything created by those who see themselves as masters of the dark arts, is simply delayed failure.

Justice exists to preserve our shared values – morality. Legal technicalities in avoiding the intent of justice are institutional fraud. It’s the difference between getting the marks and absorbing the knowledge. The truth will converge to its true match.

The road to salvation is now evoking a level and feeling of shared belief and emotion in the consciousness of the people.

Despite the creeping return of discriminatory ethnic-based socio-political statism, masquerading as progressivism and the crushed hopes of the generality of the people, the real issue of our future, which is being warped in such mystifying ways as to tear us apart and prevent the unity of purpose will be resolved sooner than later. (Photo: President Koroma – right, and his heir apparent – John Bono Sisay). 

Next year’s polls or whenever the powers that be choose to conduct one, will see the starting gun. All we have to do is stand up as a people united in the fight against the putrid and horrendous greed as well as break-dancing in the corridors of power. And their little game will be over.

The only thing is the attendant collateral damage. But then, a revolution of purpose has never loomed so large in the history of our abnormal political system and equally abnormal nation. Governance by the worst can only create the worst society. It’s no rocket science.

So, instead of respecting the people of our beloved country and working round the clock to lend credence to our democratic ethos, the ruling party and those in power who have pauperised Sierra Leone by their sheer greed and gross maladministration, can continue to be busy, engaged in chasing shadows and un-necessary intrigues that are bound to cost the nation precious and devastating socio-economic and political future.

These undesirable acts, with long term distractions and monumental consequences, on the eve of supposedly setting the alarm clock ticking on national elections, brings bitter tears to the keen eyes of observers of the deviousness of an administration that is peopled by selfish miscreants. For God’s sake, the whole world has been aware of when elections were due. How come we are so unprepared as to cast doubts on the very integrity of the system?

Those who do not want to give up their corrupt style, who care less about the plight of the vast majority; or the prosperity of a rich but bankrupted nation; and whose deeds are nothing but a testimony of their callousness, prefer to further ignore the challenges of a comprehensively backward economy and sacrifice the hopes and aspirations of a nation, on the altar of their short-sightedness and the devastating history of Sierra Leone. Let them continue.

It is unfortunate that because of our brand of politics, which turns our leaders into demi-gods, most people were fooled and twisted by the grandiosity and illusion of change and action that heralded the inception of President Koroma’s administration.

Yet the warning signs were there and the alarm bell started ringing from the official reaction to Sylvia Blyden’s depiction of the ‘King’ as a demon in disguise. As we got enamoured by the Colgate smile and the olive branch laced with poison, we ignored the ego-driven brinksmanship on display; even as our constitution and political arena came under bastardisation and exploitation.

Even a bad wine doesn’t get better with age; and rather than put President Koroma and his class to pasture in Animal Farm terms, we patronised them in their wanton looting and state-sponsored witch-hunt against the few noble citizens with conscience who craved for a better Sierra Leone.

As the administration expectedly turned out to be more of a freak show – better still a circus, accelerated us to the combustion point, it turned out that our trust which soared at the misplaced joy of the infrastructural blitz, was nothing but a confidence game.

With foreign dough flooding in, our democracy effectively went crazy and patently worked only for a few protégées and hustlers in selected conclaves. How the hell we somehow ended up wagging our dog, never mind the tail, is something that must be studied to death in the future.

So, despite the increasing tsunamic waves of tragic political and social uprisings against the current status quo in our governance, the nauseating, peculiar mess at this time of the day is perhaps the greatest scandal of the cruel desecration of our democracy by the current leadership and their cohorts, in and out of government.

The shambles of an opposition, which erroneously prides itself as the people’s party, is also doing nothing to help the approaching criticality in checkmating the shenanigans of the evidently indolent ruling party that will rather the country burn, than lose power. They obviously cares less about the welfare of Sierra Leoneans and issues that can move the nation’s developmental trajectory forward.

As a matter of fact all the existing parties have served their purpose and it is my hope that we as a people, especially those who are able to stay above the personality-loyalty game, have learnt our lessons from their annoyingly false philosophy of moral dualism and the double-dyed incompetence and corruption that have been our political lot and which has brought a once glorious nation almost to a screeching halt and still further nose-diving.

It is clear that life has thrown Sierra Leone a curved ball. However, since we don’t get to choose our fate and it appears we cannot overcome the unpalability of our situation at this point in time, my take is that this should lead us to reflection, decision and action-time, on the only choice and solution that we have left.

We are fast approaching criticality. The water is beginning to bubble as a prelude to boiling. It is ‘game goes’ time. Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point is a book worth reading at this point. We live in interesting times.

So, if there was ever a time for profound thinking and deep and sober reflection when it comes to the affairs of our nation, I believe it is now. There’s absolutely no reason for Sierra Leone to continue to be dying by a thousand cuts. There is no reason leaving truth twisting in the breeze. Now is the beginning of that Salone’s renaissance that some of us have been dreaming of.

Let us stop being a people without shame; collectively shameless in a shameless nation without a destination.

It’s time we began to speak out. These years of looting fiesta has to be met with the change of all changes that will see the history and names of some of those hell-bent on national destruction, deleted forever, for reasons of their infamy, in the new document of our desired nation.

We don’t need to be told that most of our politicians have third class brains and fourth class personalities. They act it and they breathe it. As a result, for too long, we have had to put up with the absurd blemish that our political system has become. Therefore, radical change must surely come.

And if the price of our new history and theory, is the temporary loss of blood and the misery of the many at the expense of the few that have kept us at the backwaters of underdevelopment and who are hell bent on continuing their stated intention to conquer, then to hell with them and all those who are against prosperity and development that will leave no one behind.

However, I doubt if an enfeebled electorate, possess the courage of its convictions to checkmate the haughtiness of some of the slippery, pit-helmeted actors on stage at the moment and who are now screaming louder with their pack of lies and bogus ideological dreams of a colonial-era mindset. (More of this in follow-up articles)

Sierra Leoneans are still at or below the basic-needs level, in terms of food and knowledge and cannot be expected to be ideologically nuanced at this stage of our underdevelopment, thanks primarily to the years of political abuse.

I am convinced that the democracy we are practicing is NOT suitable for us. We don’t have the requisite context in place for the system to be meaningful never mind useful. The union is on. The earlier everyone begins to realise that, the better for this land.

The mercury is rising – that’s a fact; and neither an opinion nor an insight. Truly, with the increasing clamour for social and political change however, it is clear that we live in interesting times.

The question is: amid the cacophony of voices and a trend that’s becoming a groundswell across the land, the intrigues of the incumbent President Koroma and his party as well as the scheming of fifth columnists and the dark knights of the realm, how do we gauge sanity in our asylum?

No doubt, it is indeed time for us to salvage the reputation of our democracy. We’ve become a hustler’s paradise masquerading as a nation and a fertile ground for ethnic and religious sentiments. Both of which now dictate the thrust of our governance.

Our obsession with narrow political mindedness has led to utter contempt, impunity, gross maladministration and a fascinating abuse of the values and ethos of a decent society, by some of those whose political currency is falling faster than the Leones against other international currencies.

It is increasingly becoming expedient, that we have to open our eyes and shed our timidity if our years of hurt are not likely to stretch into another decade, as some of our political henchmen are now within striking distance of power.

We need a vision of a future that isn’t just the latest liberal elite account. We need the three ‘Rs’ – Radicalism, revolutionary and realism. This is why we need to salvage our democracy, our future and what is left of our history.

My clarion call is that for us to understand the solution, we have to lead the reset analysis and implementation. Every cycle has an end. The mindless looting cycle is coming to an end. The rebuilding won’t be mouthing off. And we will go through a foundry.

The problem has always been self-inflicted. Therefore, it is our responsibility collectively, to clear up the mess. The obstacles to progress have always been in part – the level of denial, self-interest and lack of leadership.

For so long, people revelled in mediocrity and chaos. It was the given. That is the way things are, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

So to all interested participants, it is time to get serious and get down to the detailed work that will recognise the difficult choices and priorities – all of which entail patience, maturity and tolerance, as well as sacrifice, on top of serious hard work. Words spoken like mantra, rather than a political reality will not suffice.

Personal fantasy of potentials, which currently appear far above the grim reality and the self-indulgent egotism that we are unwittingly massaging, will not berth us at the dock of the change and desire from the shackles of poverty we are experiencing.

President Koroma is a lesson of history. In fact, most of our leaders bar one or two have been bitter lessons of history. But the cry of pain coming from the strains of the voiceless masses, should become a salient cause that will obliterate the dark sides of those whose finger nails are nothing but claws at the itching back of the nation.

We are standing at a dangerous crossroads in history, where we must have the courage of our principles and remember our history, our shattered dreams, hopes and aspirations.

It is time for new revelations that will override the old societal order, as if it were a new file on a hard drive that has reached its storage capacity.  So far, this government has not only broken all the rules of effective governance and political conduct, it has simply and completely destroyed them.

It is time to salvage our democracy.

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