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" The Early Morning Dew Has Passed Away At Noon"

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

17 June 2010

Yes. The swarm of wasps has descended to haunt us. There is now a crushing sense of déjà vu. The resolute and forthright realm that I, for one thought beckoned, has given way to the politics of emotion. The hunter has become afraid of his gun.

Just when we thought we had banished the ghost of political rascality and entered a new era, we get clobbered with what must be one of the most ill-advised and ill-timed political judgement. We are about to negotiate a major intersection very badly but those driving believe it is classy manoeuvres.

But temptation is always the father of distortion. It is obvious that to save its face, the government will not retract its steps; even though it knows that the swirl and spin of its decision on the impending move against the NPRC; or to put it more bluntly, against some perceived opponents, will reverberate long after the numbskulls pushing for the cock-up would have departed.

Deep down it knows that this indeed, is the start of a vicious circle. It is a rough road to truth. But really, the best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. That is why it always comes. The families of those killed or incarcerated deserve to seek justice and truth.

However, I do not believe that it should be for political expediency or at the expense of the rest of the nation. If indeed justice is the goal, then the minute politics is introduced, they should seek their succour elsewhere.

The past cannot be changed but dealing with history is a very difficult terrain and this is why even countries like the UK tread carefully with issues like the Bloody Sunday or even the Iraq inquiry. Civilised countries carry out independent investigation.

For the sake of argument, why has this issue taken such prominence all of a sudden? Why is it three years down the lifespan of this government that it realise that the issue is so essential to our very survival that every available financial and human resources must be diverted from a better life for the people into unravelling the ‘truth’? Yet, a vital body like the Youth Commission, to deal with the burden and dilemma of our ‘future’ is still in the realm of the imagination and the easel of our artists.

Why are other cases also crying out for justice not included? For example, Aminata Fornah has campaigned ceaselessly for the truth to be told about her late father yet this does not warrant any intervention or succour? Is it because she is not in the corridors of power? Why now? Etc, etc, etc.
Argue as much as possible.

Slaughter the ineffective opposition SLPP and even the defunct NPRC as much as you want. Turn anybody that has been in power into the scapegoat and let all those wringing their arms with glee and grinning like Cheshire cats, kid themselves that they are on to a winner and getting their pound of flesh.

In fact let them rejoice in advance that once the trial by proxy gets underway mouths would be shut forever. But believe me that is missing the point. Because this is about more than getting justice for a few aggrieved. This is about setting a very, very dangerous precedent.

As it is, the trifecta socio-political issues have been (1) polarised and politicised (2) the key actors have been criminalised even before the start of the exercise and (3) in a move that casts shadow over the transparency of the probe, some of the major players in government have given a clue as to what the judgement would be and the general direction of the investigation even before the commission in charge is set up.

And then just imagine this. Another twenty years or so and power has changed hands. What happens then if the new hungry hyenas then decide that the cocaine saga was a dent and the trial a sham with the wrong persons made scapegoats?

What happens if they decide that errors like the Income Electrix mismanagement; to which the present government has admitted its error in black and white, was not a mistake but a web of fraud by this same set of people today who are not afraid to tread where even angels fear to go?

This adamant step will come back one day to haunt those turning deaf ears to the voice of reason to let sleeping dogs lie and bygone be bygone. One of the easiest things to do in this world is to find excuses for whatever action or inaction that we take.

In fact if I were to be Maada Bio, I would stay and fight my corner. And considering that he says he loves the country so much as to want to rule it; to give the masses a better future, let him show his credentials and ‘die’ a martyr by being persecuted. Let him put his money where his mouth is. Let him dare the ‘saints’ that are marching into ‘Zion’.

No matter what people like the UN Secretary General, who is not conversant with the socio-cultural and political DNA of Sierra Leone is quoted as saying (was he given the true picture in the first place?), a politically motivated and obviously ‘phoney’ search for truth and justice in this hour, ignores the very ingredient it seeks to unearth and is a disastrous return to the very mistakes of the past that we wish to leave behind.

It will only raise more questions than answers since the finger of blame itself falls on the antics of the APC-led joke of a government headed by Momoh and which ultimately gave birth to the emergence and perceived shenanigans of the delinquent NPRC.

Therefore, combining the killer instinct of a paid assassin with the torture mechanism of a psychopath in dealing with the issue; almost two decades on, is a sad commentary on the brave new world of level-playing field under the banner of Attitudinal Change. It says the worm has wasted no time in turning.

Sadly, instead of being the embodiment of stoicism in the pressure cooker of our national malaise and much adversity, President Koroma has once again allowed the egalitarian spirit of vindictiveness that runs through the blood of some of those around him or to whom he is indebted, to rear its head.

Although there had been hints that the present generation of power wielders were reared on the political milk of their forefathers, I had thought that the wind of change promised and sometimes displayed by the President - EBK, had incinerated the last vestiges of the damning index of ‘dirty’ politics and blinkered views.

Actions such as being displayed by the government is why the world’s most valuable individual prize, specially for political leaders in Africa, is not being awarded for the second year running. African leaders are often tempted to want to hang on to power at all costs by annihilating those seen as threats or by implementing strategies that will perpetuate their hold.

The government as it is, is trapped in a parochial navel-gazing set-up that it ought to have outgrown by now and some officials in and around governance are fading disciples of the struggle for change. So, instead of the lockjaw determination of a pit bull, the regime is being enveloped by a sudden flurry of graft and lack of vision.

As the nation sinks deeper into economic and social disorder, those scheming to cover up our motion without locomotion, appear contented because the anarchic environment is conducive to plunder and predation; while behind the mirth, something chilling is going on and we remain in denial of the realities on the ground.

Where did we miss it? Our drivers keep telling us they have the destination in mind but the passengers only hear the hum of the bus’ engine but cannot perceive substantial motion. Our bleeding economic cut continues to fester and we remain perpetually stranded at the bus stop of under-development. These are to me, the issues of the day and we shall return to them next.

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

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