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Random musing: Toxic memory versus attitudinal change - Part 1

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

12 September 2011

As Bo signals the start of a long journey, itís that time again: Time to torture data, until it confesses. Itís time to throw someone into the water just to declare the necessity of rescuing him. Itís time for the volcanic eruption of hurrahs; as historic hypocrisy and sponsored aggression take the centre stage of our daily chants.

Itís time for our politicians and their allied enemies of progress and truth, to revel in their favourite pastime- the power of indoctrination. Gags and punch lines delivered, they are ready to shuffle into the last shafts of twilight as the 2012 political kettle comes to the boil.

The tell tale signs that welcomes you to the seasonal, pantomime rehearsal of 'poli-tricks' when everyone wades through raw sewage and expects to smell of roses.

The continued scramble for the best of gutter language to use against perceived opponents as well as the hysteria over the emergence of the 'wrong' opposition flag bearer on our political landscape and the subsequent war of attrition, is an indication of the failure of our system to deviate from the rigid toga of crudeness, vendetta and the perpetual cycle of sentimental myopia.

If ever a night at the political theatre left a mild glow of hope for the future, it was the first two years of the present administration which initially indicated and confirmed the imperative of national reinvention.

Leadership and followership alike realised, appreciated and embraced a turning point of ethical values and hope; capable of transforming the society into a productive entity and the people, self-reliant agents.

Such opportunities were seen as the Viagra for transiting from poverty to prosperity and battling real issues while entrenching the government in the hearts and minds of the people and fixing the course for the future.

Not for long though.

Because it didnít take long to realise that despite the fact that poverty remains the next door neighbour knocking persistently on the conscience of a deaf nation, our politicians and their cohorts, who are entering their season of pantomime, just cannot do things differently.

As decorative as lace handkerchiefs and with their verbal boots loaded, they have once again decided that ethnicity, anger, fear, scaremongering and intolerance rather than issues should take the centre stage of our political discourse.

Knowing that the citizenry has been fed on a diet of parochialism, fear has become the operative word by a segment that seem to know nothing better than the politics of intimidation, confrontation, bribery, rigging and other underhand values.

They have started to hum the music of paranoia knowing fully well that with their plates full, the battle-weary voters who just want to focus on things that will relieve them of the chronic weight on their shoulders need an equally burdensome distraction fashioned out of the remnant of our collective misdeeds.

Indeed, who is it among the political class at present that can be described as an icon of democracy and its ideals; or an enduring symbol of moral courage?

In reality, who can we point to at present as a hero of the struggle for a better nation; not on the pages of newspapers or on the lips of chorus singers; but etched in the lives and minds of the ordinary man on the streets?

We are currently staring at a lifetime of anonymity as a nation and all we are being led to do, is to stare blankly back in a merry-go-round. As if riding a camel in a space age is not painful enough for us; personal agenda have suddenly become the dish of the day in the manic jostle to describe whatís on the menu for 2012.

But it is the media that should be blamed partly for this whole faÁade. Its failure to set the agenda for the political class, rather than being a vehicle for the manic Ėdepressives who want to sink further into the black pit of the past, makes national moral high ground look decidedly shaky.

Despite the fact that millions of our compatriots continue to trudge on the long journey to their economic Eldorado; and in a land full of milk and honey, those who profess to love Sierra Leone and who claim to be social and political leaders have in their infinite wisdom, decided that concerns like the challenge of homelessness, stunted and wobbling economy, terrible state of infrastructure, energy crisis and galloping kleptomania should play second fiddle to the conflict of who killed cock Robin; as well as exhuming the ghost of the past.

This distraction, when people are expecting immediate policies and programmes that will touch their lives positively and alleviate their suffering, thus become another scenario of the doctrine of necessity.

Making the polity ever more combustible as a leverage for political advantage at this time when the economy craters and the society is being pushed to breaking point, is indeed a funny kind of democratic change on display.

I find this development a manifestation of the illiteracy in our system as those clamouring for a duly elected flag bearer to be deposed at all costs or jettisoned through the subversion of the will of those who chose him are displaying crass insensitivity to the will and wishes of the same citizenry they profess to be protecting.

Their crass utterances are the gateway drug to political chaos.

What the advocates are saying in essence is that they arenít sure that letting him get to the dance floor will not be catastrophic for their interests just as he surprisingly clinched the ticket of his party against all their odds, political calculations as well as in defiance of all the obviously glaring machinations and sponsored destabilisation-incense and intrigues.

The irony is that in all these tiff over the garden fence, the poor souls that will troop out, come rain or shine on polling day, are being totally sidelined by those who are afraid of the masquerade and making an individual, the paramount issue in our national life now.

They are unwittingly saying that because the electorate can always inadvertently at times, opt for candidates of their choice, then something urgent needed to be done to checkmate a choice of 2007 a la carte?

Consequently, what is now happening is not the desperately needed defence of a vision but the exercise of narrow self-interests. The 'acclaimed' fantasy about advancing democracy and justice by putting the past on trial is simply the equivalent of trying to catch a fish by climbing a tree.

In the pantomime and monochromed world of our leaders and their self-opinionated lip-spittle suckers, exhuming the theory of equity and justice from past evils, overrides present predicaments of our national life.

Iíll take you all back to what I wrote once, when the government wanted to go for the jugular of the last administration. The same point still rings true today. I said that:

"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. To me the probe (issue) is like saying it does not matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches the rat.

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." (RANDOM MUSING 02/07/08).

Hiding behind the threadbare veil of personal vendetta, we are being deafened by the howling of the wolf pack and forced to dance to the drumbeats of the jungle salsa while our economy continues its stunted growth and poverty adjusts its silk robe like a mayor on parade.

Why are we, or the ruling party and its hurrah mongers I should say, spending so much time and effort bloviating about the past misdeeds; the genesis of which the party is also culpable; and so little time trying to untangle the immediate economic, social and political mess that we are in.

If our political class spend as much time as they do in fighting for and trying to secure re-election, on tackling national problems, the dream of the people would be an automatic springboard for them

Perhaps it is no co-incidence that so many of those yawping and whinnying the loudest about justice for past injustices are new members of the beneficiary club as well as those who see themselves as victims and the ones who can smell an opportunity to rebrand their credentials.

The same righteous people who have so spectacularly gone AWOL on the pressing issues of our economic and social woes have suddenly found the voice to stimulate our softer side to the injustice of almost two decades ago.

What are the senior advocates of 'poppy Sunday' doing about the feral ruling class who are inflicting cuts by a thousand blades on defenceless, poverty-stricken masses through their cockamamie economic policies.

So, why then are we still lighting candles at the shrine of a cause that is neither beneficial to the generality of the people who have a million reasons to be cheerless about whatever outcome is achieved in digging up the graves of victims of the pseudo-political monster we created.

After all, if Siaka Stevens had not eventually ruined our political realm and lumbered us with an inept Joseph Momoh, there is every possibility that the domino effect afterwards would never have occurred. Are we then going to exhume the body of Pa Shaki for justice? While we are at it, letís not forget our Nero (Momoh) who fiddled with women while Salone burnt to ashes.

(To be continued)

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