Timbergate saga: “The long winding road to no where!”

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

19 December 2012

President Koroma and Vice-President Sumana

Let’s end the game of wits.

We all know that politicians when whipped into mob frenzy can take banality to frightening heights. But the government creating a siege mentality – an ‘us versus them’ culture and an over-hyped monument to deadliness with mediocre performance, is nothing but a desperate addiction to the approval of nincompoops.


It is as ferocious and effective as a liquidised Rottweiler.

The questions were asked, but despite a detailed, elaborately crafted and official reaction, the answers were not supplied. Government’s belated and frenzied response to the Timbergate drama, through its recent press conference and public statement therefore amounts to nothing but political exhibitionism, full of strobe light and noise, signifying nothing.

After a staggering inertia and complacency that saw as much action as that of a blind eunuch, those leading us have come out looking like grinning laboratory rats, wondering about the growing drumbeat of disbelief in the national polity, and trying to whip everyone back into line with what amounts to a dismissive yawn and criminal impunity.

No matter the political leanings of any commentator or the cast of the Timbergate comedy, as those in the corridors of power are want to believe or make out, it must be said that the central issue as far as I am concerned, is that the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone are for once voicing concerns and opinions about an issue, and wanting answers from those that they elected to guide their moral, political and social conscience.

They are not asking for the moon. They are not challenging our servant-masters even though they have a right to. They have not accused anybody, and even if they did, they have a right to and it is the responsibility of that person(s) to clear his or her name.

If the government sees itself as being on trial, it needs to do a soul search and realise that there must be reason for the disappearance of the initial goodwill; and the earlier it does this the better for all of us.

Therefore, if the government thinks that it has carefully negotiated its way through the twists and turns of the fickle relationship with the generality of the people in the aftermath of the Timbergate drama, I’m sorry to say: “It ain’t seen nothing yet.” Because there are indeed more questions than answers.

Why now? Was the long silence meant to give time for the grand stage of deception to be set? Is the statement and submissions for the benefit of the international co-conspirators in the rape of Sierra Leone?

Can we therefore have the one for local consumption please? Who, apart from those in power believe or think American interest in the saga is for the sake of Sierra Leone alone?

If nothing unwholesome has occurred, how come humdrum key elements who used to strut around town like colossi have suddenly done a vanishing act just like GK (remember him) and decided it was time for their Christmas holiday?

The recent hogwash release from one of the conspirators is even more baffling than anything done up till now.

So far what we are seeing is the trend of exposed culprits brazenly and confidently turning on their accusers in the rays of official endorsement and the collaboration of executive agencies; with slanderous fabrications and a muddying of the waters to obscure clear vision and to sap the resolve of interested parties.

From the moment it adopted the see-no-evil; hear-no-evil and talk-no-evil stance, the government created a pathetic matinee that left a mixture of revulsion and bafflement.

We need to tell ourselves the brutal truth, if there is to be a modicum of change in our society and how we as a people are treated by our modern day ‘colonialists’.

Trying to educate us about what they have done about the forest and how proud the rest of the world is with that achievement – basically misses the point of why they were forced out of their velvet armchairs to share the reasons for their gaiety with us.

Can’t those in power just man up, and not only read the mood of the people but also talk sense for a change? Because the pantomime simply points to taking the entire citizenry for a bunch of suckers who’ll continue to buy into a well-choreographed and orchestrated tune, while national looting continues to be baptised at the alter of greedy, powerful toes.

Sierra Leoneans are not talking about what measures have been put in place, but about the unwholesome practices alleged to be going on now, and which no doubt will continue long after the remains of Timbergate has been laid to rest and we have departed the graveside.

The continued outcry from the public and the world of sane people is evidence of the increasing disillusion with the state of affairs in the nation, and the high level of perceived corruption by politicians who have made a mess of running the country.

Governance can be fraught with difficulties and critical decisions; but when arrogance gets in bed with absolute power, the result is the monstrosity playing itself out in our political theatre at the moment.

In my opinion, never before have there been such an abyss between the political class and the citizenry, over a fundamental issue of probity, integrity and accountability.

Wringing their hands and sprouting gobbledygook, after, rather than before external forces waded into our internal affairs, smacks and hints of diabolical behaviour from those in authority.

It only confirms the consensus that we, the generality of the people, do not matter and that our leaders know where their bread is buttered. That they are more interested in what the outside world thinks of them than whatever image we have of them. How sad.

But let all of us remember this treatment next time we hear yet another politician preach that the current plight of the country has nothing to do with them.

No one is fooled or hoodwinked by massaged figures and submissions that promote the very essence of government, but which are being propped up as extra-ordinary service to the development of the entire mankind, least of which is the people of Sierra Leone.

This monstrous scandal has festered this long without a reaction, due to our leaders who continue to take us for fools and tell us in plain language that they are not accountable to us. That, their realities – not ours.

Having suddenly found themselves on the horns of a dilemma, a section of our political strata, cheered on by some faceless and shameless knuckle-draggers, are popping out like a new strain of an old virus ravaging the body.

I must confess that I am actually surprised that the present administration after its initial declaration of commitment to change is managing to destroy the credibility of its worthy and avowed claim in a spasm of puerile extremism and nervousness.

In the midst of the associated drama, hysteria and political claptrap that has left the nation’s media being used by politicians and vested interests to conduct by proxy, the arguments and battles that they do not know how to handle, patriots who truly want a new socio-economic and political Sierra Leone should please stop tittering at the back of the class.

Such lovers of Sierra Leone and its future need to start walking among the casualties of the fight for a complete overhaul of our society and the system; which appears to have taken away the power of the masses and stuffed the mouths of the media.

The molten fury being spewed out by the combined spin machinery of a desperate clique is fuelled by a burning desire for the retention of the status quo and desperation to keep the tenets of their secret society, rather than the national interest or the promotion of a new political behaviour and the cleansing of the system.

To some of us, the continued deception of commitment to a change in governance has become an annoying itch that we should be desperate to scratch away.

Let the government tell us that the political point scoring and the absolute and total disregard for the people over whom they exercise genuine control and power – which should have been left to rot and fester in the darkest recesses of our sad and twisted past, is now being legitimised and promoted as a cause for its own selfish protection.

Plunged into the eye of the storm by the unlikely source of opposition, those in power have suddenly realised that they are like the emperor that is wearing no new clothes, let alone a suit of invincible armour

Different regime – a familiar sense of déjà vu. But sometimes it takes one magical moment, one act of bravery, one occasion, to change everything.

The seemingly irreversible gloom of moral decline that is like darkness enveloping the nation needs to change at our dictate and not at the pleasure of those who lord it over us or who see such concession as a token of governance.

Months of hyped-up rubbish about the great extent to which the government has gone to sanitise our society, is gradually drifting away like an oil slick in the deep water horizon disaster, to reveal a sustained cancerous abuse of power at the very heart of government.

Everyone, including our politicians, knows that corruption is the lifeblood of our political class. They roast in its heat like a pig on a spit. So, the onus is gradually turning to President Koroma to show he’s not a busted flush.

His government’s handling of the entire saga has fuelled conspiracy theories and left him stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. His administration is now damned if the characters in the blockbuster are found guilty and will cynically be sniffed at if they are not.

Theories that he’s been trying to get rid of his deputy will be strengthened, if by some stretch of imagination, investigations find him guilty; and if he is cleared, those who are half expecting nothing different will shout from the rooftop: “We told you so.”

All because President Koroma is too busy being held hostage by those he thinks hold his political future. Let him realise that it is the people of Sierra Leone and not the sectional and political tribalists who control enclaves where the people are in perpetual servitude and poverty.

I am sure the President will know that these are tough times when the real life political nightmares facing his government are gloomier than the wet and rainy day up the mountain areas, where he went hoodwinking the people a few months ago, with promises he has yet to keep.

Blimmey – don’t Sierra Leoneans and not the greedy foreigners who have already cornered all our wealth, deserve anything better than they are getting right now from our leaders? Who matters most to our leaders?

If I were thinking of asking Father Christmas for a present this season of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, it will be this: “Please give us leaders without party tricks – but with Sierra Leone burning in their hearts and a glorious future for the nation in their mind.”

“Oh Little Town of Sierra Leone, in ruins thy conscience lie(s)…..” Sing along everybody!

Compliments of the season to every reader!

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