Sierra Leone – the day governance degenerated into a complete disillusionment

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 September 2015

President Koroma at malabo ebola conferenceThe day 40 became greater than 50 was the day that hope died. It was the day that national aspirations for a true and decent society where justice and equity reigns, became less a hope and more of a pipe dream.

It was the day governance degenerated into a complete disillusionment.

It was the day that national interest was trumped by vested and individual interests. It was the day the national dream was sold for a quick buck, position and political subservience.

It was the day that judicial and executive rascality, in an unholy matrimony, jumped into bed and murdered democracy in Sierra Leone. (Photo: President Koroma).

It was the day that the agenda for the prosperity of the very soul of the nation, was unwittingly exposed as a farce.

It was the day that governance, as presently constituted, lost all sense of decency, uprightness and morality. It was a day that said a lot about our society: Dysfunctional – a nation where there has not been a conscious effort to build a culture, based on fairness, equity and justice.

What has been transpiring in the political system recently and especially in the last two years, buttresses the fact that politicians are power-drunk, greedy, selfish and corrupt. Feeding them of course, are the other fingers of a leprous hand.

Today, as we reel from the not-unexpected outcome of the judicial interpretation of the constitution, the honest truth is that President Koroma and his foofoo and hog foot eating poodles, may be toasting their victory; but THEY STAND ALONE, HOLDING ALOOF A SILVER TRAY WITH NO GLORY, AS A TROPHY.

Winning ugly has its place. Grinding out results has its moments. They are both part and parcel of politics. However, they are sometimes a case of tiger by the tail. Siaka Stevens did it and see how he ended. After all, governance and development is about people. No one man can do it alone.

In Sierra Leone of today, honesty is a dying art. Similarly, conscience – that little unseen police that God created as a moral guard, has, like in the rest of our real life, become embedded in the corruption that envelopes our bankrupt world.

Amidst the propaganda, dramatic charade and conceit of political narcissists, who have declared war on our democracy, there’s nothing but contemptuous laughter.

law courts building freetownThe fact of the unanimity of the Supreme Court’s decision, is a concrete evidence that there was no way the red-in-tooth-and-claw Draculas that were bent on drinking blood, were going to sit down and lose the battle that they created the rules.

The whole thing became a circus, when people who will not and cannot abandon their deepest held principles of being lickers of where the sun don’t shine, turned the whole political stalemate over the sacrosanct position of the constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone to a brawl, in the further denigration of a position hitherto held by an already tainted Sam Sumana.

The waste of oxygen in silk robes for whom dollar is what gets them out of bed; and the protection of their job is the hanky they use to wipe their drenched faces, decided on the expediency of the occasion rather that the legacy of the future.

The Supreme Court was simply asked to interpret and clarify whether the constitution gives the President supernatural powers to remove his deputy. What it has ended up doing, is to justify how the President, standing powerless in all his glory on the top of a sand castle, with the tide coming in, has done it.

The decision can only be a surprise to a handful of politically naïve spectators. That’s why my own initial reaction was a hilarious HA! HA! HA! HA! Because no one who is politically conscious of the wiles of our politicians and the ways of those who dance to the music: “Follow your leader, leader…” is fooled or really shocked.

Even a layman knows very well that section 54 (8) and section 55 are very explicit and unambiguous. Anything else is one of those government magic and judicial trickery of sounding both novel and vintage.

One point I have continued to stress especially in most of my writings recently, is the fact that we need to look ourselves in the eyes and tell the truth, if ever we are to begin the journey to redemption.

No one is saying that the judgement cannot be right in its entirety. No one is saying the interpretations of the ‘learned’ men are not correct. But why treat, instead of lancing the boil?

The suspicion about their abracadabra, arises when the central focus became the right of the president, rather than whether the constitution gives legal backing to the removal of an elected vice president, in the way that the president did.

But no matter what, this country will not die. Don’t worry your mind about that. Nature has a way of managing itself. Sierra Leone was here before us and it will be here after we are all long gone.

Those who turn things upside down and inside out, even when they are as ludicrous as ever, should not shout Halleluiah yet. The incredible devaluation of governance for selfish, ethnic, religious or political bias, does not cover anyone in glory. Rather it indicates depravity.

Two things that we know, we humans are but an infinitesimal fraction of what is there to know, which is why we often spread beyond arrogance. We think we’re a big deal component of the universe. But we are not.

Freetown floods 20154My point is, nature populated and vegetated this land; it will sort it out. But it has its own time scale, very different from ours. Believe me, this land will be up-righted, and I know that.

I don’t know how and when it will be, but up-righted it will. It has a great narrative as a nation, and I’m sure nature put it together for a purpose.

Just do your bit and contribute your little. Leave the interlopers masquerading as leaders alone. They are nothing but navel-gazing peacocks.

They might think they are immune to the pathology of power and that their self-righteous insistence, is the only way.

They will realise that someone was there before them and many more will come, after they are long retired to the mansions of glory, built with the sweat and commonwealth of the generality of the people.

However, historians can remind us of every single momentous and contentious issue that needed truth as a lifeline and the end of all those who refuse to listen.

The main narrative of our past, especially the last five years, confirms that the post-colonial beneficiaries of a defective system, have simply carried on those aspects of governance and expectations that we are not happy about.

The good thing however, is that recent socio-political developments should serve as a trigger for the prospect of a different perspective to our governance.

As we approach the next election, these experiences of power intoxication should be a catalyst for the reframing of the debate of what our democracy should portend. It should serve as a barometer of the criteria for leadership and control when in office.

sam sumana and president koroma at warGrabbing power should not be made a priority for aspirants, because, therein lies self-interests and empire building.

The key criticisms of politics in our part of the world, have to do with the absence of ideas and ideology from which a population, desperate for leadership, can cut through the colouration of wily individuals that spew platitudes and promises of great service when seeking votes.

But the beauty of democracy goes beyond providing social amenities, welfare and what is good governance. It entails smooth transition of government, choice of political parties from several options, competitive opposition, which is free from betrayal and conspiracy among others, as well as strict adherence to the rule of law.

It also goes beyond the trend of bed hopping from one party to the other and the tendency of destabilising the opposition so that the ruling party can run haywire and leave undone, those promises made to the electorate.

Good governance in particular and democracy in general, does not entail the massacre of the very tenets of democracy.

Internet cafe and social mediaThe saving grace for Sierra Leone at the moment, from turning into a banana republic is the fact that the voices of those who have been oppressed and want a better country are now being heard, through social media; and they are getting louder – louder than those of the minority voices who have held the nation in a comatose state and who continue to benefit from the dysfunctional set up which they have either created or which they are perpetuating.

The lack of a defined strategic national interest is still however a main sticking point.

Because of the long years of oppression and political manipulations, we have lost the will to live and where we do, we too are prone to ethnic, religious and political bigotry; even where it amounts to cutting our nose to spite our face.

Day in day out, those of us who bother to lift ourselves beyond the realm of mediocrity on offer, wake up, eat, drink, go to work, embark on revelries and return home, completely unaware that there is more to the world than we can see on CNN, while the helpless majority console themselves with the English Premier League or the Champions League.

Then when a leader takes us to the cleaners, we begin to rant and rave until the next distraction (which I can bet my life will be very soon and likely to be orchestrated by the three main engine room of perversion – the Anti-Corruption Commission, the ‘Independent Media Commission or the Legislature).

I am aware that history cannot be written fully, while the drama is still being played out.

President koroma and victor foh at APC conference 30 april 2015Nevertheless, the drift towards a more authoritarian regime by a shop-soiled President Koroma is not only a worrying development for a paradise lost, but a confirmation of the widely acclaimed submission, that evil persists, only when supported by the silence of good men.

And by the way, if Sam Sumana does not know what he wants to do with his own slice of the ill-gotten wealth from his erstwhile chums, can I please forward my bank details so that he can pay in the legal costs of the battle in the ECOWAS court. I would put it to better use for him.

The plastic VeePee is here to stay, unless Sierra Leoneans wake up.

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