We need a moral reset for Sierra Leone to rise again

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 April 2016

Freetown Poverty - Courtesy of National Geographic

The one painful conclusion that came to mind during my recent visit to Sierra Leone was that the original model is beyond broken, it is shattered.

Today, we are a swelling disaster of disorder, mismanagement and corruption, impunity and hopelessness, greed and poverty, selfishness and dysfunction.

Our streets are choked with a people who have no clue as to our challenges; as well as those who see the current crop of those in power as making past leaders look like papal altar boys.

Our problems are deeper than we think. And to get out of our present predicament, Sierra Leoneans must ‘put their mouth where their money is’, because only unconventional solutions or the introduction of extra-model variables can reset the constituent aspects that we have bastardised and ruined beyond recognition.

It seems we have been held captive for so long, that Stockholm syndrome has set in. There is a semblance of unity for ethno-religious and political bias, which pushes us to protect the guilty.

How could our once glorious nation have missed the moral compass so terribly?

Even though we are aware that a leash does not look good on a chicken, we look at the immoral and senseless infection that has paralysed our nation and which at the moment is confusing but at best perplexing and yet look the other way.

My prayer is that our collective suffering should begin to spur us to a greater sense of true nationhood, so that Sierra Leone can rise again.

If not, we will be lucky to escape either a popular uprising leading to, or a direct action of indignation, manifested in a very, very bloody uprising. The clock does not stop ticking, neither would the evolution of the people of this nation.

We need to realise that we have to put a permanent halt to the parochial approach to the crippling of the next generation and indeed, the very future of our beloved Sierra Leone.

We need to collectively have the courage and conviction to right so many of the ills of the past.

Our future depends on it. In other words, the time has come for us to do away with what is abhorrent and which makes a farce of any iota of collective morality we have as a people and a nation.

The future, our future, will have to be built from scratch. It will not just happen, at least not to our satisfaction if we remain as bystanders or onlookers, much in the same way that our lives so far was not constructed by someone else, let alone our colonial masters or the locusts that have ravaged our commonwealth, alone.

president koroma off to washington - April 2015I realised that for a very long time now and even under the current dispensation, we have continued to run our nation on fraud and deception.

I could see and feel the pains of the nation; the tension brought about by the robotic existence of majority of the people and which our leaders have described as progress.

Despite the fact that there is suffering to alleviate, trauma to soothe, normality to restore to a battered and bruised economic and social fabric of our society, majority of the people have chosen or brainwashed into denying the obvious and pretending that all was well or would soon be fine.

As the core victims of our past recklessness and deceit, regaled me with their woes and even erstwhile, aloof and wealthy-individuals vented their frustration at the state of affairs, I realised that a lot of mess was made either out of omission or commission and that true change will take a while, and only if and when we are ready to gird our loins.

I could feel in the narration of many, the pain and agony they are going through and I sensed the collective hurt while many tried to rationalise why we are where we are.

Nevertheless, the pain and suffering of the masses right now is best described as insurmountable. Only a selfish and inconsiderate person would not see and acknowledge this fact.

Yet, just like now, all the socio-economic and political problems we have today were created in the recess of our yesterday, when we connived with our political leaders to short-change this very future that we are now craving.

So, it’s not just our leaders that are guilty, we all are. The question is: When will our indignation for the present, come to the fore, if ever?

Like it or not, it has become imperative that we craft a different future from the one that the ill-fortunes of our history have laid out.

The reckless spending of public funds, the ostentatious lifestyle of our leaders, the abuse of power, perversion of justice and culture of impunity; as well as ethno-religious favouritism and nepotism, misery and squalor, which have stunted our growth and turned us to a beggar-nation, despite our abundance of resources, are all pathways that need to be cleared.

This is my thinking and I hope some people will reason with me. Those who don’t, have a right not to be swayed just as my musing is my right.

I am not exonerating any segment of our society from blame, but laying the facts as they appear to me.

While you have the right to be angry, please be angry with sense. For once, leave the realm of fantasy and let’s speak truth to power.

This is not about going to Freetown with bags of dollars and pounds sterling and being able to have a swell of a time, believing that all is well. Neither is it about looking at the construction works all over town, or the roads in progress and believing that we are achieving growth and on our way to the premier league of countries.

What is even more ethically repugnant is that some enlightened Sierra Leoneans from the safety of their palatial kingdoms at home and abroad, built from the sweat and labour, tears and blood, present and future of the majority, make ‘logical’ excuses to support known and accused looters of our commonwealth.

In a nutshell, the current chest-thumping claim about positive attitudinal modifications resulting from the rebranding of our country in the eyes of the world is fiction, not fact. Go see for yourself.

Ernest Bai Koroma,  Hu JintaoThe idea that growth, development and prosperity can, or indeed ought to be separated from the entrenched values found in other saner climes, or that our brand of politics is the best for peaceful and progressive intent, is ultimately delusional.

Fact is, without going back to the basics, no structure that will truly lift us out of the present abyss can be built – whether it’s in the socio-economic realm or even in governance. Not even the second stage re-colonisation that our leaders seem hell-bent in taking us into.

If we don’t get it right today, given our fragile socio-economic configuration, the long term effect will be so ferocious that it will consume the nation and leave us even worse than what we are currently experiencing. The social fabric of our nation will further be eroded. The gulf in social strata will get wider.

While some of us who want true change in the course of our daily existence are patient, with the absolute belief that it will definitely come sooner than later, the majority are tired of the hardship.

Oh how I wish I could provide an answer for the nation’s ailing health or, wish that we could come together as citizens and find a solution to this puzzling illness, which has seen us taking Gammalin 20 to treat dysentery.

4 Comments

  1. Based on my recent visit to Freetown last December, there is competition going on in the city among the politicians, Senior civil servants, business people, traders, Okada riders, and lawyers, to name but a few, who can do the most damage to the nation in the shortest possible time.

    The energy they are using to destroy the nation is so intense that the whole world have no choice but to award the medal to us as the LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRY in the whole planet.

    Congratulations Mr President, you have achieved your aims and objective because all this happens under your watch, so you deserve the credit.

  2. My sincere thanks to Dr Raymond Awoonor-Gordon for his insightful, deep concern and pity towards our fellow Sierra Leoneans in our motherland and who are bearing the brunt of a corrupt, repressive, enemies of progress, and tribalistic regime in Sierra Leone.

    Dr Raymond is a real patriotic citizen of Sierra Leone and he is among the few who can take the bull by its horns to tell us his heartfelt frustration with the current situation in our motherland.

    My thanks also go to the team at The Sierra Leone Telegraph for publishing the articles of Dr Raymond.

    Whom are we to blame but ourselves, especially Dr Christiana Thorpe, as the then Head of the Electoral commission during the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. One thing that people fail to realise is that this lady is wicked, deceitful, cruel, etc

    After Dr Arthur Abraham ceased to be the Minister/Secretary of Education, Christiana Thorpe became the new Minister/Secretary of Education. The first thing she did was to dismiss the services of assistant teachers who were mostly GCE Ordinary and Advanced level graduates and who were starting their careers by taking the long route due to financial reasons.

    The previous Ministers of Educations and those after her, never dismissed the services of high school graduates in the education ministry – she was the first to do that.

    This was ample evidence of what was to come. She was then appointed as Chief Electoral Commissioner and went on to cancel hundreds of thousands of votes that had been cast during the 2007 general and presidential elections.

    Please, to understand the wicked deeds of this lady we should ask her why as Minister of Education she dismissed the services of high school graduates as assistant teachers when the country was at war. I was also an assistant teacher then.

  3. Dear Mr. editor, this is not a comment but a concern note to you sir. I am curious as to why my comments will not be published. I am a nationalistic citizen of Sierra Leone and I am embarrassed, ashamed and angry with the status of Sierra Leone.

    The so-called northern-led APC leaders are using and misusing the people of Sierra Leone and instituting the worst kind of governance in human history, making it impossible for nationalists and sierra Leoneans with common sense to speak out or even contribute to their country’s development.

    Today, Human Development Index (HDI) ranked Sierra Leone 181 out of 188 poorest countries in the world wherein 77.5% of Sierra Leoneans are living in extreme poverty. Sierra Leone is also the worst place in the world for women to get pregnant or give birth to children.

    Under the APC administration, Sierra Leone is the world’s most corrupt country, a place wherein 80% of its population are living by the day and are hopeless about their futures and the country’s. Sierra Leone is always use as example of failed and disastrous society and the worst place for human living.

    The so-called northern leaders are moving from one country to another begging for everything under the sun. Sierra Leoneans are the least respected people in the world, the world referred to us as subhumans, stupids and mere beggars.

    I don’t know for you sir, but I am totally embarrassed and ashamed of Sierra Leone, therefore, I don’t know why my contributions will not be published anymore.

    I might not be the best writer or highly educated Sierra Leonean, but I am a nationalistic citizen living in total shame and disgrace. I care for Sierra Leone, I care for the healthy survival of all Sierra Leoneans, I care for the image of Sierra Leone, I care about the world’s perception of Sierra Leone or how Sierra Leoneans interact with the rest of the world, therefore I would like see the minds of Sierra Leoneans liberated or the country developed before I die.

    Please feed me with the reason(s) why my comments and articles will not be published any more. Thanks for your relentless contributions.

    • Mr Margai you have not been barred from posting your comments. You are welcome to post comments but please be aware that all postings are subjected to our editorial scrutiny to ensure they abide by our strict code of conduct.

      We reserve the right to edit or reject posts that are deemed to be tribalistically offensive without informing the sender.

      Our advice therefore is for commentators to show restraint in their choice of language so as not to demonise any tribal group in Sierra Leone.

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