Saidu Bangura, PhD: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 July 2022:
If it is not intimidation and detention of political opponents, it is police brutality against the people and rival politicians of the governing party. If it is not electoral hurly-burly, it is inciting the youths to kill other youths for the political gains of politicians. Rather than serving our people, our politicians are dividing us for their selfish gains. So it was yesterday, so it is today. Welcome to the political ecology of Sierra Leone.
When ethnolinguistic otherness and political party kerfuffle are promoted in society as the norms of orderliness, and when these consequently feed into the fabric of a people whose modus operandi used to be “one for all, all for one”, all we see around us is social and cultural degradation that lead to destruction. Let us make our country a peaceful paradise!
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning
When we create boundaries of who are true Sierra Leoneans based on their political colours, geographical origin and/or place of residence, the languages they speak or based on their names, we miss the opportunity of enjoying our beautiful rainbow of a multilingual and multicultural nation. Let us live as one people, we are all Sierra Leoneans.
When those who left the shores of our country either willingly or forcefully due to our recent socio-political and socioeconomic past and the violence that ensued and that we all suffered are seen as “others”, we are building walls to separate a people that once enjoyed their unique characteristics of tolerance and cultural co-existence. What happens in Sierra Leone impacts Sierra Leoneans at home and all over the world. We must, therefore, put down the walls between home-based Sierra Leoneans and those in the diaspora. We are all Sierra Leoneans.
When our politics is gendered and it does not favour our women for being women, and our women are bulldozed for being hardworking and tough as they fight to cure the ills of our country, we are maiming our mothers in whose wombs we were made, and who are the linchpins of a successful family, community, and nation. Without women, men are nothing, families inexistent, and nations fail. Degenderize politics in Sierra Leone.
I shed a tear each time our Parliament sits and I hear our parliamentarians speak and debate bills that are not in favour of our people and their aspirations and needs, bills that benefit only parliamentarians and other politicians while the challenges of the country for which they were elected remain undebated and continue to affect all and sundry and Sierra Leone continues to be in the list of the least developed nations of the world.
Can you help me shed a tear for our country and people, especially our vulnerable people who will soon be fooled again with flamboyant promises of a better tomorrow while they continue to languish in abject penury and despair in the midst of numerous natural and mineral resources? Why do our people suffer amid all that we are blessed with?
Why is Sierra Leone, a potentially rich but an inconceivably poor country?
Political leadership. The leader – that one person that can lead the transformation of our nation; that one person that can keep her/his promises and forge a way forward for our people and country by bridging the past and the future in what s/he does today and the way s/he conjectures the future through a thorough analysis of the present; that one person that can depoliticise development, detribalise governance and unite our country and people is the solution! That singular person, the leader – the trailblazer to the changing of our political narrative is what we are in dire need of.
Sierra Leone needs a good and disciplined leader, a leader that is not regionally and ethnolinguistically biased and divisive, a leader that is not selfish, a leader that is not self-centred, a leader that cannot be remote-controlled; a leader that can make Sierra Leone attractive; a leader that is true to country and people; a leader that is progress and development oriented – a Jerry Rawlings of Ghana or a Paul Kagame of Rwanda?
Maybe, we need a leader that can combine the positive characteristics of both Rawlings and Kagame. It is not the political philosophy nor the geopolitical orientation of the leader that matters, but her/his vision of making the country a place worth living in for its citizens and those who choose to live and work in Sierra Leone.
How I wish we had good leaders – leaders that can serve their people, leaders that are patriots, and leaders that can learn from our recent history and hence thrust the country to the future for generations yet unborn.
But can that leader exist in a vacuum and act solo? Or is s/he going to come from a political group? What if that group, the political party, does not have a transformative agenda and solid political structures and plans to deliver our country from the decadence it has witnessed for 61 continuous years?
The importance of political party structure, agenda and leadership cannot be overemphasised. Political parties as political institutions are responsible for training and guiding their political leaders in delivering not only a political platform for electioneering and building a political roadmap through their manifesto, but equally so for ensuring that these leaders deliver election promises by working according to the institutional plans and agenda of the party.
When political leaders sway away from delivering the promised services as outlined in the manifesto, the party should hold them responsible and if possible, remove them from their party by passing a vote of no confidence either in parliament or within the party structures. Have we ever seen such an action taken in our country irrespective of the constant failures of our political leaders? Our political leaders act as demigods and their party followers follow them as blind disciples.
The tears I shed this morning should be your tears, our collective tears for the redemption of our country, Sierra Leone, from our common misleaders and political parties that have not delivered our people from poverty and underdevelopment. We deserve better!
I am still shedding tears for Sierra Leone for our disregard for what used to bind us and how politics has divided us, the pain that the tears from that division bring, and how our politicians and political parties have failed us for 61 years.