Its not about leadership in Sierra Leone anymore – its about all of us

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 May 2017

Since my arrival in town, I have realised that by embracing that delusional emotion called expectation, Sierra Leoneans have been able to devise a survival strategy against the steady rumble of the old political clans across the horizon from the existing parties, who are unable to resist another moment in the sun.

However, one noticeable fact from conversations across board and amidst the rising babel and cacophony of crude and embarrassing noise makers, who reflect the values of a sick society that is drunk with democratic excesses, is that Sierra Leone’s salvation lies in the hands of its citizens, especially those currently out of the country who need to be reprogrammed from the tribal, political and cultural ethos that defines their parent society.

Right now, courtesy of our leaders whose hearts have been sired by the devil and who have totally become impervious to the genuine lamentations of a totally dehumanised people and a completely desecrated nation, Sierra Leone simply wobbles like the midriff of a Turkish belly dancer.

Unbelievably, we have so regressed that I am now convinced that if we don’t stop the rot, the next decade will only continue our doom and gloom as we watch our downward spiral, in ultra-high definition.

Economic illiteracy and reckless incompetence are two key factors that have led Sierra Leone to the despicable position it finds itself.

We are simply walking on crutches along a road littered with thorns, and we are now at low pitiable ebb that only exists for less than humans. We are in such a daze that we are saying and doing things still in the same style and ways they were celebrated some donkey years ago.

What a pity – the inescapable hallmark of a society in terminal decline. Dead nation. Hustlers’ cove.

More painful still is the near-absolute control of our entire being and lives as a people, by foreigners. As we struggle to govern ourselves with any modicum of self-respect and dignity, and take our destiny into our own hands, we tighten the noose of servitude further around our necks – unable to cast off the yoke and burden, even though we claim to be independent.

Our leaders, whom we placed our hopes on for redemptive change, have simply towed the path of decadence and are now pure thieves, who have not only cornered our commonwealth, but have also stolen the future of this and coming generations. They compete in out-stealing each other with an ‘I-am-the-world’ attitude of all sound and fury, which signifies nothing. They are as useful as a pair of sunglasses on a blind man with one ear.

Let’s look at it this way – our sorry plight which we thought was at its lowest ebb some two and a half decades ago, has worsened in the last five years or more, depending on your strata in the national social pyramid. Today, the entire pyramid has literarily crumbled or submerged.

We exhibit the attributes of a society in terminal decline. Magical, mythical and mystical mind-set. No wonder we have become our own worst enemies.

We are busy deceiving ourselves. We lie to ourselves. All the beautiful submissions of our acclaimed and applauded progress have woefully failed to address our real issues. Yet we all clap.

We are busy selling our fast-diminishing bauxite, iron ore and diamond to any Tom, Dick and Harry; French, Arabs and of course our adopted parents – the Chinese, for pittance.

For their hefty bribes, they then steal us blind and with all concessions granted to them, go on to use our God-given resources and wealth for new development in their homelands, leaving us further down the well of underdevelopment.

Our government has spent what we cannot earn in another decade while the country has been mortgaged to shylocks who treat us like dirt without creating extra revenue sources for us. From indications, we are doomed to continue with the begging bowl for decades to come.

No wonder religion is rising faster in the country than development, while the rest of the world are moving out of digitalisation to new vistas. Doesn’t that remind you of the biblical ten maidens who went to the wedding without oil for their lamp.

Instead of us to develop tourism, agriculture, education, information technology and culture as new sources of revenue, we continue to be nurtured on the milk of utter dependence and seem to be ignoring or grossly underestimating the pivotal role of the environment and situation on developments in natural systems.

Our fully degraded educational system limits intellectual curiosity and pays lip service to knowledge application, even though innovations in today’s world require deep knowledge and passion, not formed knowledge and hollow sounding degrees. This is why our youths are acquiring knowledge models from all nooks and corners of the globe – genuine and fake.

Result? Babel of knowledge. Confusion get accident. No fallow, no positive future. It’s not a preference but an inevitability. The future is even worse.

However, what I’ve come to realise is that we are all guilty in the hopeless situation we find ourselves in Sierra Leone, as we engage in a dance step of stupor.

We are the ones who have collectively failed to rein in the display of empty, hollow pompousness and offensive arrogance of our political leaders as well as the gut-wrenching acts of the lazy-patronage-seeking associates, who flood the corridors of power and manipulate us all like puppets.

Am I a part of this messy order created by ambitious, pseudo-intellectual, self-publicists who cleverly thrust their mediocrity and opinions on us and flaunt their borrowed, half-baked, ill-digested ideas, concepts, jargons and clichés into our sub-consciousness?

Certainly, yes. None of us can pretend not to be part of it, in one way or the other, in differing roles. Only that some exacerbate it more than others.

When I refer to Sierra Leone as an asylum in which only the mad can thrive, it’s only half in jest, to be honest. I think the total system break down means shock therapy is the only kind of group therapy that stands a chance of working. Remember we are not a culture given to counselling and soft therapies.

We are over-ripe for a non-violent revolution which will shake us all up like a volcanic eruption from our present stupor. I believe it is time for us to begin anew.

Let us begin to lead our lives as normal human beings, and not in self-delusion and self-deceit. This is the real transformation needed. This is the revolution we yearn for at this point in time in our national life.

Change is not easy, and admittedly for years, people have given up hope and dared only to dream of a major roll of the dice, one fine day. So, the question is, who will sweep out the quacks and charlatans in our midst? Who will guarantee us enduring values? Who will cleanse the cobwebs from our national home? The list is endless.

Group therapy is not a bad idea. Guilt and conscience are two healing forces that can be brought to bear. We are all guilty in the hopeless situation we find ourselves. Let’s see what this does to us while we are still productive.

We need to constantly encourage those who believe in doing the right thing for the country to continue to do so in their own sphere regardless of the madness around.

I am not yet ready to give up yet, even though I am aware that having therapy when you are incapable of changing your context in line with the therapy is like winning the jackpot inside a dream.

One of our major problems with leadership is that while our politicians still breathe, they assume that they are the greatest thing that ever happened to mankind. Nevertheless, it’s quite possible that all our contemporary dysfunction as a nation, can throw up a class or group of innovators that will rectify the situation.

I’m not looking at this from the perspective of social cleansing, but creative innovations in governance, economy, politics, investments, engineering, entertainment, sports, science, technology and social engineering. Hopefully, some measure of sanity will creep back into the system.

No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come. 2018 represents in my opinion, the last opportunity we have to get things reasonably right. Otherwise, we risk a total system collapse. This is why we all need psychiatrist help.

The amoral desperadoes on the political dancefloor now, will do anything to entrench themselves in our psyche even at the price of overheating the polity. Which is why, if the APC rattles its collection tin, you can be sure that the SLPP and most of the mushrooming coalition dunces and emerging new parties, would give generously. That will be the Coup-de-grace for our sanity.

A tsunami takes all in its path. We have to realise our present travails in its true form and stop having our heads in the clouds on the challenges posed by the determination to unseat the ruling regime and the entire corrupt political elite, who fail to realise that being erudite doesn’t equate to having values.

For most of them, the eyes are open, the mouth moves – but Mr. Brain has long since departed. A classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and that of the brain.

The death of a lion cannot be announced by a goat. Most of those parading themselves as worthy of our trust in 2018, if picked, will be like hiring a man-eating shark as your children’s swimming instructor.

Let’s remove our political balaclava. The system we have, in place of democrats, produces emperors. Emperors dictate and select, they loathe elections, especially of the plural type. This is why our political system has turned out to become a monster rather than a development-inducing organ.

We must give back what we have taken from ourselves, we must give back to ourselves the love and appreciation of Salone’s beauty, diversity, of the wonder of the people, of the little children; and we must give back to ourselves a sense of searching for these things in ourselves that would want to make gestures to repair.

It is regrettable that by collective wrong actions, we have ended up wrecking the entire political system to the point that what we are practicing now is not democracy, but shambolic kind of political administration.

Despite the agonizing frustrations; despite the infuriating hardship; and even when I am being driven daily to the brink of desperation, I am comforted by the thought that sometimes, you have to play the role of a fool to fool the fools who think they are fooling you.

We are now at such a time.


  1. This well written article is so melancholic, so despairing, so perplexing, that one should be forgiven for allowing tears to flow freely to ease the emotional pain which sips through all spheres of life in Sierra Leone, particularly among the down-trodden.

    Whenever the current state of Sierra Leone becomes the topic of discussion, I cannot help recalling George Orwell’s classic – Animal Farm, a satire of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Soviet Russia. Old Major – the pig, had a great dream for the animals, where they would live in peace and prosperity once the hated humans – principally Mr Jones and his cohorts, were out of the way.How mistaken Old Major was.

    Once Napoleon took over control of the Farm in a cleverly orchestrated coup with the help of his dogs, he went on to destroy everything the animals had hoped for. Those who dared to disagree with him were summarily tried and put to death. Animal Farm never made it. In the end the much hated human beings resurfaced on the Farm by which time there was no telling the difference between the pigs, who were the elite and leaders, and the humans.

    Our own Old Major – Sir Milton Margai, passed not long after the British departed. In the political chaos that followed, Napoleon – Siaka Stevens, emerged and together with his henchmen, went on to destroy everything that Sierra Leoneans once held dear.

    I cannot see salvation or recovery on the horizon, for ordinary Sierra leoneans have been forced to lose the will to fight for what rightly belongs to them, which is why their exploitation continues by both politicians and foreigners. Foreigners merely ride on the unpatriotic behaviour of our leaders.

    S.L.P.P. and A.P.C. are one and the same. Our only hope is for a third party to rise up to which we, the electorate, without caring about tribal or ethnic affiliation, should gravitate. But for as long as our ballot is cast on emotional or sentimental trappings, we should be prepared to shed more tears for generations yet.

    Mother Sierra Leone has all that it takes to sustain her own, but she has never been given a chance. May the Almighty Allah/God help us.

  2. Sierra Leone is the modern day “Pool of Bethesda” where most handicap use to sit or hang out for decades waiting for miracles to happen to them without making any effort So now we need another messiah to show up and command us to get up and walk instead of helping us to get up.

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