This is the moment for a new kind of politics in Sierra Leone

Raymond Dele Awoonor–Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 April 2016

For those untainted by ethnic, religious and socio-political colouration, and who can  discern between reason and sentiment, peace and war, love and hate, civility and incivility, our democracy has become a metaphor for misrule and impunity.

Politically corrupt individuals as well as double-speaking, desperate and morally bankrupt leaders and politicians are not only dictating the pace of our future, they are also charting the path and dragging us down the road.

We are living in really interesting times, as those involved in the several dastardly acts that characterize our national existence, are failing to realize that if you scuttle a system for personal or group ambition, it becomes a collective tragedy .

Contrary to the belief being mostly peddled, we are stunted not by the lack of resources to propel our development, but by mis-governance, bad leadership and mindless looting.

We are behind the rest of the world simply because of our hypocrisy, and the collective failure to protect our liberties and social and political institutions.

In addition, we have allowed the nation to be driven into the pits. As if that is not bad enough, our leaders are now pushing us under the bus as they compel us to follow their inglorious personal agenda, that have very little to contribute to the national development and the aspirations of the majority.

red ratThe political animals in human skin, who have tasted blood, have gone savage and can no longer be satiated by the little we have to offer.

They are ferociously hungry for power and thirst for the throne of their ancestors. There is fire on the mountain of our animal farm, where those in power are determined to ride on the back of a tiger at all cost.

The oppressive ruling class, enthroning regional inequalities, mass poverty, Kleptomania and criminal underdevelopment and which thirst for power, is hell-bent on keeping the pigsty open.

Neck-deep in the sewage of corruption and greed, our political class at the unwitting behest of a lazy followership do not seek to enrich our collective world, but to impoverish the many and turn our society to a junkyard of shattered dreams.

Yet it is obvious that our current drift replicates that same hopelessly selfish political behaviour and economic recklessness that eventually led us to disaster.

If where we are today as a nation – unsecured, financially broke and lacking knowledge and competence in a dynamic knowledge world  is not a hole, then what is it if I may ask?

John Sisay and president Koroma - sept 2015If the rise of political lying and the tendency to put popularity before principles are not prime examples of how to reinforce the effect of moral decadence on the values of a society, then can someone show me the way?

Where thieves feel valued and recognized in the context of societal mores and mentality, no level of leadership or institutional enhancement will work.

We currently look like a multi-leaking balloon in a carton network-fountain; going round in circles with the same infected water and corroded particles.

The paradox is this: the more that we – the citizens, see politics as a soap opera because of the crass display of our leaders, rather than a process of uplifting the nation and its people, the more we’ll continue to create the platform for mediocrity, and sleepily embrace the manifest nonsense of Kleptomania and impunity as a basis of governance.

I have repeatedly maintained that you cannot give what you don’t have. And presently, our so called leadership doesn’t have it in them to give us the honest desire and drive to lead, as well as change the instruments of the sleaziest sort of political brigandage.

Once our political class lost its conscience, sense of decency, decorum, shame and self-respect, Sierra Leone became doomed.

The moment national vision became blurred and lost in the foggy atmosphere of the wanton greed of our infantile, psychopathic and contemptible leadership, our existence began spiraling downwards.

Encouraged by our silence and tacit endorsement, our politicians lost all respect for everything decent as they began to defecate on the country and its people.

They turned the country into their own private tree-house and dared us to do our worst. We succumbed to their vice-like grip and have remained shackled ever since.

‘’Ow for do?’’

It is our apathy that has condoned their abuse and irresponsibility, and today, wherever you are in the world the impunity of our leaders, as well as our cluelessness as a nation and a people, continue to dog and define who we are.

diamondOther nationals come in and slap us in the face, and yet all we do is open our doors further and ask them to sit at the throne of our empire.

They cart away our best and give us pittance in returns; still we are delighted and honoured that they find our home worthy of being the source of their own enrichment.

The solution to our problems of lawlessness, impunity and political greed, as well as the lack of properly defined national priorities which the lack of focus has turned into an albatross, lies in visionary leadership and strong institutions.

Definitely, not in propaganda. Nor the astute manipulation of public opinion. And certainly, not in the unabashed twisting and fiddling of the voice of a largely ignorant and hysterical majority.

We have to stop being blinded by the display of the political dark arts, and recognise the vile orgy of greed and maladministration by this and past regimes which have brought us this far.

There’s also a desperate need for the harmonization of our collective will, not only to tackle the increasing primitive impulsion of our leaders, but also to protect the sanctity of our nation from the grip of the minute group that is hell-bent on privatizing the country and holding the rest of us to ransom, as they bid to protect their vested interests.

However, the significant planks of achieving this goal, which I highlighted earlier, are hollow and ineffective without some form of social revolution and evolution, which involves the forging of a collective attitude of hostility to the kind of society that currently exists in Sierra Leone.

It is left to us to renew our character, so that an end is put to the arid and meaningless existence, which has continued to produce an awful stench of fear of the future.

This is not the time for a pity party, where political affiliation and tribalism assume priority over national emergency.

This is the time for a new style of politics – politics with passion, for the sake of our nation. It is time to open our eyes.

2 Comments

  1. This sensitizing and eye-opening piece deserves strong followership by all progressive Sierra Leoneans in the country and the Diaspora.

    The political scenario in Sierra Leone is devoid of competent leadership and good governance.
    Our politicians and successive governments have demonstrated clearly again and again, their inability to drive the nation forward.

    After fifty-five years of self rule, Sierra Leone continues to wallow in misery and backwardness. There will be no hope for a bright future if these current set of politicians continue in governance. We are well aware of the ills, flaws and mediocrity of these politicians.

    The nine years rule of this APC government has been a disaster by all accounts. This government is totally void of the management acumen needed to further the country to progress and prosperity. It is a pretty dismal reality for the Sierra Leone people.

    They came into politics to further their own interests – the pursuit of easy wealth, lacking the qualities of statesmanship required for good leadership. They are clueless as to how to be of service to the very communities they belong, let alone the whole country.

    This destructive culture, stemmed from the Siaka Stevens APC, has trickled down to the average citizen, entrenched in the fabric of the society and influenced by the governing class.

    The collective belief of Sierra Leoneans is that, occupying top position in government is a blessing awarded for personal success in life, and not for serving the country and the people.

    Our politicians are more concerned about power, their job security and status. Service to the country and the people is completely alien to their thoughts.

    But how long will Sierra Leoneans continue to echo these recurrent messages about our politicians and state authorities, as they continually fall on deaf ears. Isn’t it time that we stand up firmly in action to defend our Gods given right?

    We must break the chains of fear, get fully involved in the politics of our land; exert pressure on the government to abide by the rule of law and uphold democratic principles in their actions and deeds.

    Sierra Leoneans, we have come of age, we have run short of words, we have exhausted all the adjectives on the political register to name the ills and flaws of our governance system and the attitudes of authorities in government offices.

    Yet, Sierra Leoneans are taken for granted. Our plight, our cry, our plea – treated with scorn; there is no sign of things getting any better.

    We need more voices to echo the shortfalls of the political system loudly, to reach the ears of our government authorities. There is an urge for a strong civil movement to get things right in the country.

    Democracy is the empowerment of the people to decide who to govern them, the freedom to elect their governors without intimidation in a free and fear election. Sierra Leoneans need a socially-focused and proactive government, but not with wealth seeker politicians.

    In our democratic crusade, we don’t need to be flag bearers of any party, we don’t need to be party militants and we don’t need to be politicians at all. We are driving a democratic crusade to free our motherland from tyranny, massive corruption, power abuse and backwardness.

    The change we so desire in the country must begin from the top offices of governance, the change of attitudes of authorities and senior officials in government. They must set good examples and use their power judiciously to serve the country and people.

    All of these will not happen if we are not desperate in our quest for a change in the mind set of our government authorities. What we do need is competent leadership and strong institutions and not powerful leaders. (President Obama advised African leaders)

    2018 must be the turning point in the political history of Sierra Leone towards good governance and competent leadership.

  2. My sincere thanks to Raymond for your resourceful and highly educational article as stated above. Awoonor-Gordon rightly stated the apathy and lackadaisical attitudes and behaviours of our fellow brothers and sisters at home and abroad, towards their civic rights and duties that defies morality and consciousness. I believe that we Sierra leoneans are influenced by our socio-cultural beliefs and religious practices

    Of the 4 to 5 English speaking West African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia) I wonder why we Sierra Leone have missed the marks for socio-economic progress, compared to our fellow English speaking colleagues in the West African regions.

    Raymond has provided the answer in this articles. We have to look within ourselves and take the needed actions to improve our standard of living, through good governance and good leadership, which have been lacking for a long time, especially as Raymond stated “Where thieves feel valued and recognized in the context of societal mores and mentality, no level of leadership or institutional enhancement will work”.

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