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Beyond Parody: “Only Dead Fishes Go With The Flow”

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

9 June 2010

Is it me or has it become obvious that some political, opportunistic psychos in the corridors of, or with links to power in Sierra Leone, are eccentric arsonists who will start a fire at a pacifist convention?

Because every time that we think we are taking a genuine step forward in our political evolution, they ignite an earthquake that often generates aftershocks that distract us.

Wow. These unbelievably stupid, crass and insensitive creatures, who behave like people who have had an encounter with the falling-over lotion (especially local alcohol),  for whatever selfish motives, are now ready to raise the ghosts of the past as a ploy to divert attention from burning socio-political and economic malaise afflicting the country right now.

Oh! What a circus. Not only is the idea tantamount to sabotage when the masses out on the streets, are the forlorn face of the nation’s heartache, it also amounts to treating us collectively as numpties.

Poor President Koroma. Some of his advisers and lieutenants are pure mischief makers whose daily obsession is to ensure that they create new and selfish dynamics in the polity without a hoot about the aftermath or implications for the man himself. But the buck stops at his desk and not with the cabal holding him ‘hostage’.

Because, believe me political power is very, very illusory and I think the present wielders should know; since they are the beneficiaries who ended unexpectedly with the King’s robe. Power corrupts and absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely.

Stupid, yes. A backward step, sure. A brilliant move, definitely not. It is simply a dangerous precedent that is raising the bar to a level that oversteps the bounds of discipline and decency in democratic management.

It has become obvious that some of those leading us are not only wetter than an august rain but they have learnt nothing from our chequered history, especially the one that nearly ruined us and from which we are yet to recover.

I have always been a believer of the premise that victimisation of a social minority or the silent majority, is often engineered by those in power to distract from fundamental problems of political, economic and social inequities.

What the recourse to probing the NPRC regime amounts to, is that, like in the past, the very forces that made our history a theatre of all colours and shades of absurdities, are getting set; through proxies and ageing nincompoops, to trample on all democratic norms or use every available underhand tricks, in a bid to have their way in the ultimate battle for supremacy.

This is why I beg to disagree with those who are pleading with the ilk that are planning to embark on the suicidal mission of digging up the ghost of the NPRC. Tell me why not? If it is because it might end up a consuming fire, then I can understand but have you ever seen the wicked die in the fire they light? No. Because there is always a flight out of the country; if the trouble gets out of hand.

Similarly, telling them to forget the classic idea only hardens the heart. He that the gods want to destroy they first make mad.

Why can’t those oozing power now, not settle perceived scores? Why can’t those who chickened out of probing the last administration, not still show to a potential spouse that the whip with which the first wife was beaten to death, is still very much behind the door? Why can’t the rest of us realise that anyone who stands in the way of ‘attitudinal change’ will have himself to blame?

I mean why can’t we all pretend that we suffer from dementia? Of all our woes, NPRC becomes an issue in 2010 that scarce human and financial resources must be expended to appease godfathers. What are the courts for? Human rights my foot.

As far as I am concerned, let the government, which refused to listen to our cry on the Truth and Reconciliation Report and about our Paramount Ruler and Member of Parliament for Tripoli Constituency, Lungi District, Moamer Ghadaffi (a total and manipulative stranger), go ahead and seek for justice for the handful, at the expense of the nation’s fragile fabric.

Let them raise the ghosts of our past, while stirring the bees’ nest, and helping the profile of the very same people they want to crush; all in pursuit of five minutes of fame. It will be interesting to see where it will all end.

Because if the threat goes on, then let’s welcome the ghost of Siaka Stevens, for his brutal and systematic dismantling of anything that stood in his way a la 1971 and 1974 coups, for starters. (Other violations of his can join the queue).

How about the families of Francis Minah? Not to talk of victims as well as families of the thousands of soldiers sent to the provinces when rebels decided that Momoh’s joke was now beyond a laughing matter in 1991.

While at it, let’s remember as well, all those military and civilian men that took action, rightly or wrongly; in the course of our history. I am thinking here of Juxton-Smith, David Lansana and even the Students’ Union of FBC in 1977 whose actions led to the death of others.

Please join the queue; Foday Sankoh, Johnny Paul Koroma, even Kabbah; because there are several who suffered injustice or did not receive the kind of verdict that they wanted as a result of your action or inaction.

Of course, not forgetting those who have either directly saw to the end of their opponents or contributed indirectly to whatever misfortune or otherwise may have befallen other unfortunate souls.

Come back home those who have been driven into exile and who seek justice. The wind of change is blowing. Are the families of Hinga Norman and the Kamajors asleep? Let them wake up. Justice is on the way.

In fact, let’s all revisit our past from independence, looking for the sleeping volcano to stir. Each and everyone who has lost a relative in any incident and/or is aggrieved, should head for the courts or the tribunal and let the social, political and tribal war start.

Sadly, when it comes to looking at the bigger picture, most of us are thicker than a ‘tight’ pot of plasas garnished with assorted creatures. So I won’t be surprised if this is labelled as a key component of attitudinal change and those who disagree as opponents of progress.

Obviously we often evaluate effective governance differently depending on our ideological, political and socio-economic background and belief. Because, to stir the ashes of the NPRC regime, looking for the slain dragon of the past at this point in time, is actually to say that the present regime is just another exploitative bunch of ‘elitist and desperate’ pool that will stop at nothing to cling on to power.

Unlike those who are now shouting themselves hoarse, I am not surprised that this is the latest from the messy and morally complex political world of ours.

Has the pronouncement, by that ageing (mis)Information Minister, got anything to do with the emphatic statement by the President, around the same time, in Brussels, that: “Since the day I was sworn into office as President of Sierra Leone, I had an agenda ….. I know what I want to achieve.  And I’m happy to state that I am on track……I have a focus and no one has the capacity to distract me. They themselves know that very well. My resolve…. is a challenge which I am determined to pursue throughout my two term tenure.” 

Hello? Does that mean that we have no say in judging whether Mr. President is entitled to an encore? Is it to say that the second term is a foregone conclusion? No doubt he has done enough to justify consideration for the office but for heaven’s sake………….

It will be unbelievably stupid therefore if this crass utterance of crying more than the bereaved is a reflection of the government’s thinking in the countdown to 2012. Is this the sound of an incoming train? I shudder.

What the government has done by letting slip the subtle warning to an opposition potential, who is not even guaranteed to be his party’s flag bearer, is not to pacify a few aggrieved party supporters and families; nor is it to scare potential opponents; but to give an indication that the next election may be an unending electoral malfeasance.

I’ll take you all back to what I wrote once, when the government went for the jugular of the last administration. The same point still rings true today. “Democracy is founded on transparency and accountability. Trying to drag those perceived to be responsible for the rot in the society and their incredible scandalous and obscene display of the past, before the court of public opinion, is one, doing it with equity and justice is another ball game.

Unless the government is deliberately choosing to ignore the unmistakable signal of the can of worms at the depth of the political establishment, the whole probe issue will be drowned in the clangs and fangs of intrigues and endless legal battles. To me the probe is like saying it does not matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches the rats.

How does the government plan to dispel speculations that some people are targets and that the probe is a score-settling charade? As it is, there are no clear moral theme and uplifting lessons to be learnt, and the probe will only open up the inherent division within the fabric of our fragile society. The ludicrous decision for one, lacked clarity and its timing, casts a sinister shadow over the motive and its ultimate goal.

Let me tell you; only dead fishes go with the flow. See you later. It’s almost three years without my lot changing so I’m going to seek justice.

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