Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
24 April 2012
Forgive me for breaking my promise that I was taking a short break in honour of my brother, the late Olu Gordon.
But even he would have been filled with rage as he surveys the political scene and sees the chilling and ruthless determination of some politicians and commentators with cold-blooded contempt for the normal, acceptable rules of political warfare, dictating the pace of events in the run-up to November.
I know that it is impossible to shame a person or group who/which appear to enjoy its shame but as far as I know, if you’ve got people who are moving away from you and choosing another path, you do not need your strategic superiority to turn to strategic liability.
Caesars in ancient Rome used bread and circuses to pacify restless locals. Food and fun made a winning formula, permitting NERO and the rest to rule the world.
That exactly is the conclusion that made me grimace like a sniper’s victim, as I appraised developments during my recent visit; except that in our case, food is missing and the fun is dry humour.
Really, we have no nation yet; nor do we have a political system with the streak of quality needed to take us to the next level.
The cinematic truth about our realities is that political manoeuvrings by those in the corridors of power and with ‘influence’ are conjuring situations that are guaranteed not to push the nation towards the needed new plateau.
Instead, the message being sent out to the frustrated fraternity demanding real and sustained change is that charting a fresh course which can only emanate from a new group of untainted, visionary leaders, is an unwelcome far cry.
As I watched tribal wars, dirty tricks, outrageous insults and withering attacks sounding like a cracked record; as well as outlandish claims and counter-claims; it pained me that our politicians have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing in their fifty one years of foray into the murky world of their chosen profession.
Our society has evolved into a ‘me’ first, grabbing and grasping society in which the strong, under delusion of separateness, tread down the weak; where a cruel blood cult – who derive their strength from a frenzied and insatiable lust for blood and confusion, are carving up the people and turning them into pawns, knights and rooks on a chess board of the dark science of politics.
I am aware that election time is a crucible, when all the tensions between truth and power are being played out.
But, the vogue of carpet crossing is becoming a valued currency once again, and giants within wilting shells who could not make their money or popularity count when it mattered, now wresting with alligators, is a sad indictment of today’s Sierra Leone.
I am not interested in party political spat, which appears to be a malignant tumour in the very heart of our national democratic evolution. But, I have continually stressed that we need to begin a long over-due conversation about Sierra Leone, as well as the dramatic consequences of the deliberate criminal choices being fostered on our psyche.
Before the brow-beaters blow a gasket at the cynicism of it all and work themselves into a boiling cauldron of righteous indignation, the crucial difference in this case is the cynical exploitation of the emotion of the masses by selfish vultures along with their supporters.
They say that they are protecting democratic norms, but in reality, they are concealing dirty party politics, while they prey on the innocent and make money for themselves.
So for whatever it is worth, my advice to the various parties – especially the ruling party is to tread softly in rolling out the red carpets for defectors.
It might be politically expedient, but the entire story won’t be foretold, it will unfold and inevitably form the backdrop to the future of our politics.
While the APC and its cheerleaders may be desperately trying to change the subject, the medley of macabre events in which politicians – whose parochial pride is at stake, are out-doing one another in seizing the limelight, are not only affecting the vibrancy of our democracy but also stoking up more trouble for the ruling party and indeed, the nation.
Believe me popularity is found deep in the recess of the hearts of the people, and true power comes from the grassroots. Quality has a price. It is definitely not cheap. So does integrity and ideology.
The trending topic of the “arms race” of carpet crossing, therefore, makes a mockery of not only our nascent democracy but also the Agenda for Change and the determined effort of socio-political reforms.
The seemingly decisive move, calculated to show immense popularity, may end up a tangled mess, just as the irresistible and irritating PR gold of digging up dirt as a weapon of mass destruction against the opposition is a set back to the desperate stunt of being seen as a government of new beginning.
The unwarranted hysteria that soothes the fashionable gods and political whims of desperate individuals, carries the insignia of the gospel according to power chauvinism.
Instead of shaping a new future, the APC and its leadership, by openly lending their drums to the orchestra of this doctrine, are pushing the people towards reinforcing some of the fundamental errors of the past, under the guise of hammering ‘crumbling’ oppositions.
It is so easy to lose one’s head when the applause is very loud. But the current scenario when properly analysed, shows that the defections only strengthen the African saying that: “the one sent to steal by his father, does it with bravado”.
Amazing how fast everything recedes into the fading memory of those with political Alzheimer, whose arguments that the orchestrated mass carpet–crossing is not a throw back to the heady days of Siaka Stevens and the eventual sole party state.
Even more astonishing is the fact that supposingly serious people have defended and almost applauded this grotesque behaviour, claiming that it is a result of the ruling party’s allure and a master plan to show which party is best. Sadly enough, not one word about what is best for our democracy or nation.
From all indications, weakening the opposition groups appears to be a fig leaf for a grander political agenda.
But we should all remember that the same desperate corner-cutting by some malignant and malevolent elements and dark forces in the political circle of the past, led to the cruel decimation of our beloved Sierra Leone.
Consequently, what the current wave of defections shows, is a gap between the zeal for abstract ideals and true service.
It exposes those involved as solitary images, who when their sterile ideologies fail, are ready to attempt a “triumphal entry” into the paradise of insatiable lust, where the drum of destitutions always bring dishonour to great revolutionary projects.
Their ‘yo-bro’ moment is a reflection of political and tribal absurdity that has more diversions than a London bus.
What most of those who do a u-turn fail to realize is that, this disposition is consistent with the antecedents and characteristics of unpatriotic and selfish politicians, who lack the moral disposition to defend their long held ideological beliefs without selling it for coco-ebbeh.
As a nation, we should resolve to call a spade by its name, because if sentiments are allowed to swallow our sense of judgment, the political structure that is called Sierra Leone will take only the inordinate ambition of a handful of people to pull us into the ditches again.
The country’s destiny is not tied to the apostles of those who cannot render service as part of a group – unless it is all about them.
The recurring war of attrition – within the opposition and between diametrically opposed individuals that see their desires as indispensable to the political evolution of Sierra Leone, should be put in perspective.
Fair enough, maize cannot get justice in the chicken’s court. But the turn-coats who are currently dancing to the chorusing “hosanna” of mere clappers, are also failing to appreciate the fact that, while it is perfectly within their rights to do whatever they want, the race does not always belong to the swift and wise.
Their display can be likened to a bird that falls in love with fish, but does not know where to cast its nest.
Post November 2012, do these politicians believe in their hearts of hearts that the hawks in their new found clubhouse, are going to sit down and watch usurpers cream away juicy bits, without making mince meat of the ambitions that has led them into abandoning their so-called “numerous” supporters?
Great occasion do not make heroes and cowards, they simply cast them to the eyes of men.
Irrespective of any internal disagreement that has stirred the bees’ nest, would it not have been better for defectors to have realized that the end of their yesterday is the beginning of their tomorrow; probably more honourable and more promising?
Charles Margai’s blend of reality and myth is an example.
At any rate, the bullish defections will further give a cacophony of interpretations to the rational socio-political permutations. The familiar ego-driven dictates of so many political and media figures indicate that, the interests of the masses cannot even dwarf the naked ambition and thirst for power.
Infantile and sudden surge of determination to prove political relevance in national discourse, makes the path being followed in the purported search for justice, very, very questionable indeed and betrays the social contract as well as the multi-party democracy.
The truthful consideration of the abysmal traits of the whole episode appears to be a desperate attempt to sustain the tempo of the hidden agenda.
“The smaller the lizard, the greater it’s hope of becoming a crocodile.” But giants are giants; midgets are midgets. My advice to those dry functional rabbles, who do not know how ridiculous their behaviour is, is that: “the poorest man on earth is he whose only wealth is money”.
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