Sierra Leone needs leaders – not looters

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

 Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 May 2015

President koroma and victor foh at APC conference 30 april 2015

One thing is sure, you can suspend, sack or even kill a man, but you can never do the same to truth.

And the truth right now is that the APC stinks, the SLPP reeks and the current political class and climate is diametrically opposed to national aspirations.

Sierra Leone has been going round in circles, because the current political set up and its operators from the three tiers of government have all passed their sell-by date.

Our salvation lies in rebuilding our society, governance and orientation from the grassroots and under a healthier environment.

To some of us, the state of our country creates a deep pain and frustration within our hearts. The future seems clouded by uncertainty, while our blighted realities appear to have loosened the hinges on the trapdoor of our dysfunctional system, which is threatening to burst at its seams.

Despite our prayers and the false hope at the inception of this current dispensation, there seems to be no ray of sunshine amidst the political gloom.

Back in the mist of time, we left our pots unwatched and now our foods are burnt. No thanks to the vaunting ambitions of fellow Sierra Leoneans, whose political antecedents reek of primitive tendencies.

Rag to riches politicians who had nothing before public office, but have managed to amass so much to the chagrin of those whom they govern.

In this regard, I believe we should endeavour to start discussing those things that will uplift and build our nation in the light of our aspirations, instead of continuing to perpetually live in the realm of the political class, whose stock in trade is to sow the seeds of cynical lies, bitterness and disunity, through reckless utterances and parochial actions.

Anything that is made well is made slowly, just as anything that is worth having is worth fighting for and worth working hard for. If we are to achieve the truly organic and organised change in all the sectors of our polity, we need to arise and take charge of our own destiny.

Our predicament has nothing to do with Governor Clarkson’s curse or prayer, neither is the fault in our stars.

salone poverty1

Rather, our current situation of being enmeshed in the besmirching mud of corruption, bad moral value system, ideological pretensions by a tiny unrepresentative manipulators, who want the rest of us all to live in a gloomy dystopia, has to do with the total and utter ignorance that is presently the staple diet of our society.

By their legacies, past and present, our politicians, who continue to behave as if they are detached from burden of lesser beings, have written their own epitaph. We, as a people, now need to write the future of Sierra Leone outside the existing tainted socio-political structures.

Unfortunately, this is a challenge we have turned into an elephant in the room. But, there is a need for all of us to get in front of the mirror and stay there for a long, hard look.

Because, where there is no vision, the people perish. And only a fool will claim that we are where we should be, with all our human and natural resources.

Nevertheless, a bright new day dawns after the persistent darkness of our existence. But the question is: are we awake yet?

Are we as a people, ready for the silent revolution of setting ourselves free from the deluded political class who, believes that its manipulative machinery has got us where they want us – perpetual servitude and moronic slumber?

In my view, I hasten to say with an extremely heavy heart and beyond the increasing political doolally on display, that the continued ignorance of the brain-washed majority of our compatriots, that have allowed politicians to toy with their future and that of our nation, is a social minefield, when one realises that patriotism has become an evil in our national life.

The political class continues to move from the diabolic to the indecent. Their intellectual and constitutional dishonesty robs us of an all-hands-to-the-pump society, where there will be no opportunity to return to the well-beaten path of insanity that has kept us shackled.

When we look across to the three tiers of our governance, what we see, are the images of men and women who represent the past that this country would like to forget in a hurry, but who are hell-bent on fighting perennial battles for the very soul of our society and the nation, as they view the yore days of Siaka Stevens with nostalgic fondness and enjoy a reign of absolute impunity.

VP Foh - 15 May 2015 2

Personally, and with no melodrama, I find the crop of present day political gladiators in the ruling party and the comatose opposition, as annoying and irritating as the smell of a dead mouse lying rotten on a hot water pipe.

I mean, when you survey the past eight years for instance, and see how the majority of the people have become nothing but invisible to our leaders, except where it is in deference to their desires, rather than democracy, you will begin to find their deluded nostrum of wanting us to eat the veritable mountain of shit that they keep depositing on our doorstep, as nauseating as an annoying song.

The twists and turns that have been the feature of our governance, defeats the essence of our social contract and the rationale behind giving a mandate of rights-of-administration to a few people in society.

One day the god of the powerless will definitely catch up with them, when posterity awards a mark of integrity for their actions and inactions. Our political class remains not only the beating heart of our painful mediocrity, most of its practitioners are the symbol of our nation’s underdevelopment.

Politics is a wonderful thing – an opportunity to serve mankind and make a difference. But it is just a game to most of those who go into it in our part of the world – an avenue for them to be what they could never have otherwise become in their wildest dream – relevant.

sam sumana and president koroma at war

But, can we really blame them?  Is their toddlers’ tantrums at not being able to run us aground the way they want it –  a sign of their intolerance; or a confirmation of the depressing truth that Sierra Leone is now a nation of political nitwits?

Is the gross indecency in the behaviours of those who rule as well as some of those aspiring to the position, not another example of the belief that, lamentably, we do not know what is good for us and we ought to be guided by their own false moral and political intellectual superiority?

Because, where are the progressives to champion the march towards the socio-political emancipation of the nation? How can things be different when all we do is willingly recycle the same old brigades or the products of their loins?

Who is to blame when those who know the depth of the rottenness of our political development, prefer to play the ostrich; or to hob-nob with the very same clique that play lip-service to the evolution of a new nation?

If we give carte-blanche cheque to hypocrites and parasites, how can we turn round and blame them for dragging us, along with their vaunted ambitions into their depraved, deranged, selfish and manipulative world. Truth and service are strange bedfellows with our politicians anyway.

As for greed and nepotism – these entrenched cankerworms, along with tribalism and religious bigotry, which we have become adept at shielding, have been mixed to form a lethal cocktail.

Absolute disregard and lack of faith in the basic tenets of democracy, coupled with intolerance of dissenting opinions as well as snobbish disregard for decency and entrenched social values, have instead become the elixir of those in power.

This is why, within the solipsistic hive-mind of most of those we often elect to lead us in the search for a better society, has sprung up an idea that I suspect to be a delusion on a grand scale, as that which assume that the people cannot live without them, or that they are the long-awaited messiahs.

Despite our insistence to the contrary, they seem hell bent on feeding us with the deception that they have some magic water that can cure all our diseases. Little wonder that instead of their stock soaring, the shabby behaviour of this class of humans, which is tumbling down the staircase of incompetence and bumping its head on every step, is beginning to be like an unpleasant tickly cough to the people.

As we survey our society, our governance and our future, one issue that should be paramount in our minds, is therefore how to get out of our present quagmire and move the nation forward in the true sense of the word.

How we got here is no longer in dispute, the question is what to do to chart an irreversible course away from our calamity of misfortunes. It is how to be able to vet those who will arise within the next two years and dress up as lambs only to turn out to be another set of wolves.

With the premise that our adventure into the democratic wonderland has continued to falter, optimal benefits, particularly for the nation, can only arise from the positive activities of governance and the political education of the people as a means to total liberation and selfless service.

Sierra Leone’s social, political and economic development will come only within the realm of a new order created by a better empowered and politically educated populace, against the background of the psychological warfare being waged by the current neo-feudal class of politicians.

The humiliation of the masses has become the glorification of the ruling class whose, mantra is meaningless platitudes and democratic tokenisms that dazzle the poor, but has no depth to assuage the pain of the masses.

Sadly enough, our weakness in the face of the political onslaught by the vultures of oppression, is pathetic, as a result of years of deliberate brain washing of the generality of the people. Even then, and despite unfortunate circumstances, the political circuit continues to remain in understandable frenzy, with activities that throw up the usual mud and mire.

The flickering torch of political and social change is crying to be picked up, while the current desperate attempts to fossilise us along religious, ethnic and ideological components has to be totally rejected with the firmness and utter contempt that it richly deserves.

It is this realisation that makes it imperative for agents of true social progress and emancipation of our society to begin to come together, and by their concerned efforts and the framework of unified planning, engineer the harnessing of the people’s yearnings to change the course of the present national debilitating events.

Beginning with the re-orientation of the people, we need clearly defined strategy to connect the penthouse of aspirations and the cry for a lost era, with the pavement of the current dramatic widening of inequality and widespread worshipping of the golden calf.

The masses who are the ones who troop out mostly to elect those who claim to have their interests at heart, deserve leaders and not rulers. They are entitled to those who have the fear of God in their hearts and who will accept in public what they have endorsed in secret.

As we approach 2017, what Sierra Leone needs is to start combing every nook and cranny for leaders, not looters.

faceless

The people deserve a Moses who will look at the plight of the common man with the eyes of compassion and compatriot, not with the eyes of the privileged few and from the vision of a conclave of cabals.

To do that, we need an all-inclusive, capacious political and social platform, which will serve as an engine that is capable of powering a new national vehicle.

We need those who have a hole burning in their hearts for a better Sierra Leone. Those who will say: “If I perish, I perish”.

We also need leaders who are not a product of our romantic imagination, lacking the requisite qualities to drive that vehicle; nor those who act as if their illusion is itself a moral force that will automatically sweep away the mess of their creation and replace it with the elusive mantra of change.

Elections, without the political education of the generality of the people, will only further exacerbate our pathetic situation in which everybody feels short-changed.

It will only end up promoting the dubious compendium of a series of impositions upon which rests, the present faulty structure that has consistently produced social traducers, political rogues and vagabonds, who subject the people to second slavery and dehumanisation.

If you cannot fathom out what I am saying, let me ask you: How will you feel if you are forced to go round to meet the burglars who broke into your house and find them watching programmes on the plasma television which they nicked from you?

Ah… got the drift? Good.

The same passion that we exhibit towards those places that we call civilised and which has turned some of us to fugitives, needs to be channelled towards the kind of change that we earnestly desire.

All it needs is unity of purpose and the emergence of true leaders who will not spit on the avowed national cause.

Every action or lack of action has consequences. Let us resolve to say goodbye to a dismal past once and for all. Let us begin to put OUR house in order. The need for true, in-depth and total overhaul of our socio-political life which has seldom been so endangered, has never been greater.

I did say at the beginning of this year, that 2015 is the womb of a new beginning. Let’s grasp it. Arise oh compatriots.

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2 Comments

  1. Raymond,
    You speak from the heart. Always good to read your thoughts about sierra Leone, prescribing solutions on what needs to be done to fix the mess we are in as a country.

    Apparently to our political elites, it’s still business as usual, while the rest of the citizens are at pains.

    We ask that you continue to push and make that case for reforms for the good of mama salone. I’m still optimistic about change but it’s going to take some few good men and women to make it happen.

  2. The main problem is the house is so dysfunctional it’s impossible for those within to restore it. It’s like cancer curing itself; it won’t happen. The saddest thing is the people keep doing the same thing, but expecting a better result.

    APC and SLPP have both shown the people they can’t be trusted with power. They keep operating within the narrow limits these two parties keep boxing them in. There is absolutely no reason to support either group. They will continue looting for as long as they are allowed to. If there is no accountability, these leaders will just keep robbing their own people.

    I said it years ago. Foreign aid should be tied to accountability. For those who say this will cause the people to suffer, maybe it will open their eyes to see their leaders are the ones causing their suffering. Besides, the people are already in a perpetual cycle of suffering caused by their leaders.

    Votes also need to be earned and not just given along tribal and regional lines. If this pattern continues, there will be terrible APC leaders voted in, then out of frustration terrible SLPP leaders will be voted in, and it will be a never ending rotation of bad leadership.

    Just look now. The Koroma administration seems determined to dismantle Fourah Bay College for some alleged development projects. The college has been there for hundreds of years and now it doesn’t have documents to prove it’s the legal owners of the land it sits on.

    I wonder if this land encroaching institution had the authority to grant EBK his degree or perhaps he lied about being a graduate of this illustrious university.

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