Sierra Leone goes to the polls in March 2018 – there is stench of insincerity in the air

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 November 2017

You know something? As far as I am concerned, unless we review our entire societal ethos and ensure equity and operationally balanced values that will nullify the desire for power grabbing, our cry against corruption in every facet of our national life, is nothing but a melodious lie and an exercise in hypocritical grandstanding.

Even though we stand on the threshold of perhaps the most significant moment in the history of our nation; with all the political, economic and ethnic problems pointing to a constitutional and electoral crisis in the course of the next election, I am worried by the fact that not one of the so-called agents of change who are clamouring for the leadership of the country, is ready to sacrifice their ambitions to ensure compliance with electoral and constitutional provisions.

Instead, they are all desperately fighting to out-do each other. I believe, one of the fundamental problems with us is the unconsented coitus, between systematic tribalistic ways and political sharp practices. But we need to stop this age-long baloney and seek the path of true search for leaders that will herald-in our salvation.

This then raises the question: Where is the next gust of fresh air going to come from? How is the expected transition from the current insanity in our country going to be achieved? Amidst all the hype and hope, there is very little out there to send the high pulse rate into retreat, convinced that all is well and our future is guaranteed in a new dawn from next year.

For one, eloquence does not guarantee success in government. Likewise, equity as well as justice can never be disconnected from morality, because that is the well from which they spring. From what you have out there right now, it is very obvious that most of the emerging flag bearers are nothing but con- artists who want to use the tears of the people as the catalyst for their measured sympathy.

Those who say they are not interested in politics need to realise that it is a misnomer, because at the end of the day those who emerge in ruling the country determine the fate of us all. Which explains why they always seize with utmost alacrity, the naivety of the electorate who cannot often stand firm when the kitchen sink arrives, and turn them into virtual observers.

Having continuously carve open our society like the carcass of a roasted goat, we need to sting like an angry wasp to return our nation to the path of sanity. If we truly want a new society, we just cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the odour of vanity that the current political enterprise which is driven only by the ideology of grab-power-by-all-or-any-means-possible; and where the politician’s only idea of service, is ‘a-looter continua’.

We cannot continue to let those who seek to serve us, continue to surreptitiously cloak the slings and arrows that pierce the flesh of the hapless voters, who have become peripheral collaborators in the veiled game that short-changes them, as Greek gifts, whenever it is time to go to the polls.

Over the years, our ‘leaders’ of all shades have acquired the mentality of emperors and kings; and it is this tainted development that has negatively affected the way we pick and choose those we entrust with leadership.

This compromise as well as our capitulation to the overall rot encased in the loss of values and the general appreciation of the pervasive anomaly of our governance system, where the political class relentlessly strives to be what they are not, so that they can capture the imagination of the overwhelmingly tribalistic and uneducated masses, is responsible for us being where we are.

Looking for perfection might be Utopian, but the relentless striving for it is what brings substantive progress or development. That is vividly missing in our clime.

Of course, as in most things in life, the symmetry is the reason we are moving away in the other direction, through the cesspool of mindless corruption and arriving at our inevitable destination of normalised anomy. We have become worse than our caricatures. It would have been funny if it wasn’t already pathetic.

We may have lost our past and may be struggling with our present, but we must do all we can, to not lose our future. The future is ours to keep.  To accept the false premise that there is no alternative to how things are, is to acquiesce in the unfair ideology that has brought us to our current predicament.

Which brings me to the manipulative characteristics of those claiming to be agents of change in the approach to 2018. The ease and speed at which they churn out false, biased and salacious information that tickles the fancy of most of us, especially on social media, is alarming and among the greatest threats we face today, including governance.

Especially because of our vulnerabilities, there is a need to be wary and circumspect about the highly manipulative information which are churned out relentlessly in the bid to manipulate people into certain beliefs and actions, so that it etches on their minds and is seen as the gospel truth.

Right now, as we are fed a gamut of concoction of sweet nonsense, and amazing grandiloquence are flaunted at us, the various contestants for the presidential vacancy spew brilliant nonsense that are sometimes full of deep seated and entrenched ludicrous tribal, religious and political bigotry.

We are indeed living in a worryingly sullied and rapacious political society, where nothing is ever as it seems. What irks, is the glib unreality of the uninventive change-rhetoric and platitudes in the midst of the endemic flaws in our governance, which are not subject to political diktat, but are the result of entrenched socio-cultural rituals.

It is difficult to say at the moment how things would eventually play out in 2018, especially when there is no discernible difference between the ruling party and virtually all the opposition groups who are simply different offshoots of conflicting or coalescing disgruntled elements from the major parties or past administrations.

Consequently, they do nothing but offend the sensibilities of those who truly want a better Sierra Leone, not couched in deafening cacophony, but steeped in true desire to confront the myriads of problems facing the country.

As I continue to watch the approach to 2018, and see some of those at the forefront of the jostle for the Game of Thrones in the land, two pertinent questions keep reeling round in my head all the time.

Given the strong emotional and utterly antagonistic reactions it engenders across the land, who is to blame for our mess; and since we have reached the lowest point of a bar, lower than a limbo dancer’s jacksie, the other question is, where do we go from here?

The truth is that it is our collective attitude that gave rise to corruption, impunity and abuse of power, as well as gross disrespect for the populace in our society today.

How can we redeem the political class which seems to have lost the weight of wisdom only to become a model of idiocy?

We are a genetically narcissistic and docile people, who celebrate mediocrity and prefer status over substance; and we don’t like any truth that does not reinforce that mindset.

Little wonder that most of our politicians are adept at polarising us first before mesmerising us with their often deceitful notion that they alone hold the key that can negate the effects of where we have found ourselves today.

Although there are a few good men out there who are yearning for true change, their inability to compromise truth often make them very unattractive to us. As Robert Green said, “How can a moral man keep his moral code in an immoral world?”

This is why the blame of the crop of leaders we have today and those we have been saddled with in the recent past, as well as the reason for the gross failure of our governance, should lie squarely on the shoulders of each and every Sierra Leonean wherever you may be.

Change is a difficult and complicated process, which is quite easy to screw up. Therefore, while we are busy blaming the government and Ernest Koroma for dragging us further into the pit of hell, we would have ourselves to blame more in this last chance saloon, if we continue to allow the slavery of our existence and values, by a new set of ‘puritanical’ cowboys.

So, amidst the headline-grabbing displays and utterances, I have come to the conclusion that so far, virtually all the politicians are the true masters of the dark art of non-change. They are a bit like snake-oil salesmen. They embody an unwavering fidelity to the continuation of the current lack of moral high ground and ramshackle governance.

And this is not a one off, but a pervasive hue. It would be laughable – our situation, if not for the seriousness of the fact that there is really no game changer out there, since they are all using the same corrupt and warped structures to achieve their goal.

Let us be frank. Many who cry change are doing so because their personal ambitions will be better served by being seen as carrying the banner of the yearnings of the people.

They believe that they will have a greater chance at political power as the cry for something different gain traction among the suffering masses, following the chronic failure of the current administration and the ineptness of the recognised and recognisable opposition groupings and personalities.

However, one can see from the infantilised manipulation and hijack of simple democratic and political processes, combined with the conspicuous lack of urgency and unity of purpose on their part, that our problem is morality and the consequent meritocracy, or lack thereof, and nothing else.

Their soap opera and reactionary moves all tell their own overhanging story. Unless one does not want to be objective.

A clear pattern is emerging . . .  of gaffes and corrective reactions – which are not particularly indexes of competence in my humble opinion. Sad.

7 Comments

  1. Mr Amram Bangura I did not see any indirect attack of the writer on Dr Yumkellah as I am a 100% supporter of Dr Yumkellah whom I believe is the one God almighty has chosen to liberate us Sierra Leoneans from the savagery, barbaric looting, grandiose deal-making dealership and hustling of government businesses since the APC came in to power in 2007-2017.

    Dr Raymond placed the blame on us all equally including the bad and malicious abuse of power by Christiana Thorpe in her 2007 cancelling of more than 500000 registered voters who she die-enfranchised in the run-off so as to get the APC party to power.

    Finally my peace of advice to the paopa group that had messed up the current SLPP Party that Maada Bio claim of being ‘father of democracy’ is a mirage and a flash-in-the pan. The true father of democracy are men like former General Troare of Mali who conducted and handover power to the civilians when his own cousin refused to do that as head of state of Mali; and Major General Abdul Salim Abubakarr of Nigeria who with his group of patriotic Nigerian soldiers at that time were not ready for any further political instability that the late General Sani Abacha wanted to create as they overthrew Abacha and let the civilian chose their own leader as president.

    General Abdul Salim Abubakar handed over power to the democratically elected leader in 1998/99 and since then until now we have not heard of any General Abdul Salim involvement in any political activity to regain power as Julius Maada Bio is doing in Sierra Leone

    Mr Bio you have brought infighting and thuggery into the SLPP party and with the profits of the looting gained during your brief period as Head of State in the NPRC2 government after overthrowing Valentine Strasser, you were adviced to invest those looted money for instance in Ghana, the USA and finally in Brazil.

    The Tejan-Kabbah lead SLPP government was very lenient with you people even though the APC party in opposition were asking for a commission of inquiry to trace those looted money, fell into deaf ears. Mr Bio your post military life was nothing to be proud of as you where deported from the USA for your violence tendencies in a civilised world.

    I don’t see why the very delegate who rejected Solomon Berewah from re-contesting the 2012 election when Solo B lost the 2007 presidential election can now allow Maada Bio re contest the 2018 presidential election when he lost the 2012 presidential elections

  2. The verbose tone of the author is due to the frustration we are all experiencing at the moment. Forgive him for misappropriation of the words he expressed. What could be the lesser of the two evils, or is it to say better the devil you know. The country has always been polarised between the north and the south that is to say between the Red Sun and the Green Palm Tree with the Western and Rural Areas (former Colony) dancing the jitterbug in between.

    Since I was going to school some fifty years ago, the choice of our future governments and the candidates were not based on the strength and integrity of their leadership but on the colour of the ballot box. It was also the case that latently it was the alternation of the two major parties to govern post independence.

    Tell me – do you see the possibility of a third or fourth party? I do not. It is like in Britain the Liberal Democrats trying to gain popularity over the Labour or Conservative Parties.

    The two parties have failed the country Sierra Leone badly. In fact the country is operating as a one party state. I have not seen nor heard of the significance of the opposition party. The leadership of the opposition must have shown some clout during the past 10 years.

    The opposition party ought to have come up with ideas in combating the Ebola virus. They ought to have worked with the International Charity Organisations to implement the programme for eradication. That way the donations would not have gone missing. Are they accomplices to the government’s action?

    Now the United Nation have published the report on the mudslides and flood disasters. The Government has not published any follow up on the report. This is the time for the opposition to approach the United Nation with proposals for remedial actions for the Western Area Peninsular mountains. Proposals for the land use planning and population settlements of the affected areas.

    Why has the Government created a Ministry of Geographic Information, when there are Ministries of Lands; Housing and Country Planning, as well as Ministry of Forestry and Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources which have Departments for Water and Land Resources. Why waste unnecessary budgets?

    Those are ill governance that the opposition should have been vociferous about. The opposition have been dormant for such a long time. What change will they bring? Tell me something better.

  3. Born in the early 1960’s, I was fortunate to realize what to be a proud citizen of Sierra Leone meant since most of the basic amenities in life namely food, shelter and clothing were never an issue’ including education and the health system which were both free.

    In my opinion, all these miracles happened under the leadership of the SLPP which is and will always be the MOTHER OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRACY in our country. Just like in our lives, it’s a taboo to openly disrespect, lie and to be ungrateful to your mother that raised you from obscurity as most politicians did to the SLPP starting with late Siaka Stevens.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I believe that’s the root of all the problems we have been experiencing. Most offsprings (politician) from the SLPP since the 60’s and even in the 90’s always accused the party of lies, thievery or tribalism after using the party to gain recognition, but eventually end up doing the worst.

    My advice for any future politician who happens to have a dream and wants to take a leap of faith which I believe is necessary in life, instead of fabricating stories just to destroy the image of the mother (SLPP) party, just simply and publicly thank the party and members for all the good and bad times, because “kind words are worth much but cost little” and “never over promise and under deliver.”

  4. How do we review our entire societal ethos and ensure equity and operationally balanced values that will nullify the desire for power grabbing, without advocating a change from the political duopoly of the APC and SLPP.

  5. Its seems to me this writer is more concerned about Yumkella than he is about the suffering of the Sierra Leonean people. I say this because much of what he wrote is full of big vocabularies and indirect attack on Yumkella. Is it wrong for Yumkella to run for president of Sierra Leone? Is he not a Sierra Leonean?

    Is it wrong for him to preach change at this very moment in our nation’s history when we are at rock bottom? Is it wrong for Yumkella to communicate his message to the people? I think Yumkella is doing the right thing. We want politicians who can talk to us about the real issues that affects us, how they intend to tackle those issues, so that the people can hold them accountable. This is better than tribalism.

    The political parties have already made their choice of flag bearers; and the only one among them that is preaching change is Kandeh Yumkella. I question your neutrality in this issue – this writer is no way neutral but has his own bias.

    This is what I know, Kandeh Yumkella is a Sierra Leonean like any other Sierra Leonean and he has every right to desire and aspire to become president of Sierra Leone and to preach change.

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