Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 October 2017
Let me say this – should the 2018 elections be shifted by even a day, the opposition collectively has no iota of right to complain or cry foul. Are they just being unhinged? Where are the so-called nationalists or activists?
I know that this may be politically toxic, but I remember writing sometimes early this year that the necessary constitutional milestones toward the elections were being missed or muddled up. Yet not one of those who want to roll on the ground now, cottoned on to the fact that a whole charade was beginning to play out.
Instead, reputations were being bought and laundered because they cannot flourish naturally; unweighted by the fiddly details of qualities that will make the wide-eyed enthusiasm for change by the people embrace them.
They were too busy jostling for the frontline, fighting one another, talking big and definitely showing us that we are indeed stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Most have shown that it is better to jump on a life raft for their own sake, than stay on the Titanic to defend our national values, social and democratic ethos, culture, heritage and indeed – nation.
Truth is, the makers and guardians and followers of the rules have all abandoned the rules in reality – never mind their posturing. They are virtually all desperate ethnic political chauvinists.
And if I may say it, Ernest Bai Koroma is not really our problem in Sierra Leone. An adage says that until the lion, which never shies away from a fight, when it is hungry, nor blame the buffalo for refusing to be eaten, learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.
The political class has continued to dictate the narratives of our national existence as a result of the oppressive systems in place in our governance and the total destruction of our core values, which is enough to make one go insane, but to which we all play the ostrich.
History is a stern tyrant. And while we cannot rewrite or change it, its virtue is that it encourages us to evolve our moral compass, especially when the back-projection of morality is the darkest form of historical distortion.
Stagnant water will eventually stink. The avoidable is becoming the inevitable and an irreversible reaction is gradually brewing. Can you hear the drums of relativity being beaten from our one-storey theatre festival?
Can you hear the faint chorus of the Mighty Diamonds – weeping and wailing and the gnashing of teeth? Chaos theory couldn’t begin to capture our unfolding drama.
You see, no matter the script, corroded actors will always give a corroded performance.
I think at times, we are collectively deluded, as we continue to pretend as if we are unaware that we have a massive problem of a failed system. This is simply because mediocrity, impunity, selfishness, tribalism and greed are infused with the loss of our value system. But, we play the ostrich to our own detriment.
While I do not pray for the political perdition that we are bent on enacting, unless something dramatic happens, I am afraid that all pointers from next year’s edition of our five yearly mass pilgrimage to the polls, will hardly yield the desired result of getting rid of the decadence that has continued to define us.
A huge symptom of the systemic and foundational malaise that pervades the land and indicates that we are truly a hustlers’ paradise masquerading as a nation, include the strangulation of the last breath of the SLPP, the heightened and carefully choreographed and glib auditions and withdrawals of candidates, as well as the equally pathetic display of the Electoral Commission.
Of course, we cannot forget Ernest Bai Koroma’s paralysis of the APC, and for that matter, the nation’s political process; or the amateurish display of most of the potential younger contestants as well as the increasingly mushrooming coalition groups that are nothing but avenues for the vain glory of those whose main goal is to be seen as being relevant in the scheme of things, or simply because they cannot see themselves as playing second fiddle to anyone else.
But then I guess that is the kind of nation we have become. We angle for change and yet those who are becoming the symbol of the aspiration, are all but nothing more than disgruntled elements with personal or political scores to settle, or stooges and hustlers ready to fill the vacuum of our desire.
Obviously, for most of them, had things worked out, they would not be the ‘beacon’ they now claim to be.
Some of the names bandied about for the presidency will make you angry, get you excited, or tickle you into laughter. They also convince me that kakistocracy – a system of government run by the worst, least qualified, and most unscrupulous citizens, may soon eviscerate democracy and disembowel political sanity before our eyes.
Words about change are easy to chant, but deeds are much tougher. Most of those coming out to try and take over and vowing that the future would be different, are doing so not because they are true agent of change, but because they know the polity has not changed and is neck-deep in the cesspool of gullibility.
Most are decking under the cover of the political mood for change, less they be tainted for their impertinence to be truly who they are – power mongers.
While my future is not totally behind me, the future of Sierra Leone is worth fighting for. Leaders need to imbibe the wisdom of other leaders. They need to steer the country from the rough seas of insecurity, incompetence, parochialism and want, to the calm harbor of inclusive development and national transformation.
Therefore, a critically adaptive system in a self-deceiving and prostrate country, which has deteriorated to levels such as ours, can only be resolved through large scale mass criticality solutions and a comprehensive mass ideological orientation.
The science and body of knowledge for that position are of course, well founded – to be honest. Unfortunately, our problem is way beyond aggregating local sentimental political solutions. And this is why our capacity to actualise effective positive change is hindered on more than a few fronts.
These include the general population’s corrosion and the limitations of the leadership pool, which is primarily the political pool – with the full ramifications of what that means, directly and indirectly.
Having reflected on Sierra Leone’s unfolding drama and our current national travails, I stand prepared to get all the flak today. But 2018 or whenever we eventually go on our twice a decade pilgrimage to the polls, is not yet our UHURU as some are want to believe. Neither is it time to sing the Halleluiah chorus because the much-sought messiah is not yet at the gala.
With the absolute lack of solid integrity and uprightness on the part of the very core of our political class as indicated from the systemic calibration of our values and governance, as well as leadership, I would counsel against assuming that we have cracked our old chestnut
Sierra Leone bleeds and the last thing we need is another slick politician. For one, the mission of our generation is to rediscover our national purpose and collective destiny.
I am sorry, but nation building is a continuous and dynamic enterprise. Those who make peaceful change difficult or impossible make violent change inevitable. If the clamour now is for political change, it is not whether it is right or not, but let us hear the voices of those who want it.
It is called pluralism and it allows for multiplicity of views and voices. Let us be aware of the fact that it is unwarranted to make the call for that change antithetical to political unity.
We need a new coalition of enlightened leaders who believe and can wield the courage to articulate a vision of a new nation, based on the values of positive science, solidarity, enlightenment and civilisation.
As emotions run high over the countdown to next year’s poll (whenever it will be) definitely, calls to have a new breed of leadership core should open up the wider conversation about our values, simply because most of those capitalising on the sorry mess that we find ourselves are equally as guilty as all those who put us in this mess.
I have refrained from commenting on individuals vying for the throne that Ernest Bai Koroma is having problems vacating. However, I always believe in the maxim that “he who comes to equity, must come with clean hands”
Every individual has a story line that never changes in its essence. Today’s thief has always been a thief; he’s just never been caught. Some of those who are portraying a squeaky clean image today were also among those who connived with bad elements to corrupt the socio-political mechanism that is worse than Samba gutter.
How many of them are not a leviathan of graft and graft; or one of the country’s oppressive and sozzled impresarios of corruption? Sincerely how many are not directly or indirectly, tenacious members of the fraternity of garroting grievous hyenas troubling Sierra Leone?
And talking about that, now that Maada Bio has succeeded in virtually tearing the SLPP apart and Ernest Koroma (editors please don’t add President, that is not part of his name) has caused a permanent paralysis in the APC, with the ripple effect yet to vibrate, the question is how come our forefathers dared death and everything to give us a sane society and see where we have taken it? Shame! A very big one for that matter, on all of us.
Nothing shocks me anymore about human behaviour in this land. I have seen educated men argue on purely emotional basis, while brandishing their Ivy League ancient language in your face. This land is mentally and morally corrosive. Not palatable truth.
Let’s not sugar-coat the bitter pills of our division or airbrush the depth of our socio-political problems.
But as we recover from the series of devastating social and political disasters of the recent past, there is really nothing much to learn from the hajj scam; government’s handling of the pre- and post-mudslide disaster; the tollgate con, as well as the hybrid pontification on national issues by some potential candidates about their own small sphere of influence, among other intriguing incidents that mark our very existence as a nation.