Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 August 2018:
The political class which kidnapped our tomorrow for a ransom, now wants to buy our today as well. Going by the torment of the past decade, the reality is that the political class sees ours and the nation’s future as a game on the field, of which they constitute the players, while the rest of us are nothing but spectators.
Their perception is completely different from ours in a game that is essentially a combo of amorality and mediocrity layered on a thick spread of narcisstic insecurity.
This explains the repugnant insolent and pernicious display of arrogance on Sunday, by Ernest ‘Ali Baba’ Koroma and his APC, who seem to be suffering from hubris syndrome – a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been held for years with minimal constraint on the possessor of the said power.
The lack of personal integrity by this bunch of puny and Lilliputian opposition characters , trying to hoodwink the nation into believing that they were never engaged in the ‘feast of vultures’ that left the nation prostrated, is not only infantile, but an escape into the realm of illusion.
It is a hollow chest-beating exercise to obliterate the painful reality of their worst nightmare of losing power.
This fiendish lot who left their subjects bleeding and weeping in sorrow and abject penury, insulted our collective sensibility by showing us that they have no remorse for their sins and the state in which they left our beloved country.
The show of strength becomes more incorrigible when you realise that the same party and personnel who are crying ‘witch hunt, tribalism, etc, as the date with nemesis approach and during whose tenure, such an arrogant display of fillip was a taboo, find it expedient to attempt to tell the rest of us that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Fair enough.
Except for the jobless youths recruited to give a semblance of respectability to the choreographed stunt (we saw same during campaign and what good did that do for them?), I’m sure most Sierra Leoneans are not that gullible to forget the fact that elections are not for another five years.
Koroma and his ilk should let it trickle down to their medulla that things are no longer the same. It is no more business as usual and there is nothing they can do about it.
If Sierra Leone is to have more than a fleeting chance of escaping the quagmire into which the decade-long APC misrule has taken us, we cannot allow these regressive elements to deploy their cunning tricks to deter us from the task of making our society an accountable one, through a gradual convergence towards the truth ultimately.
We have a people problem at all ends of the spectrum, but especially at the leadership ends. It is painful to watch otherwise intelligent people compromise and attempt to justify this lunacy.
It is also unfortunate that Ernest Koroma’s old and new fans nudging him to continue to display insensate arrogance, don’t have an idea about the dilemma and quandary, him and his acolytes are facing.
Payback they say, can be a Bitch, especially when you think you would never have to pay back.
So welcome to the sunset boulevard, in our journey for a new Sierra Leone. Sit back and watch the X-rated class C movie coming to a cinema near you, as we pierce through the artifice of the corruption flumes which is giving an indication that it will exit in a miasma, whose configuration we are not quite sure of yet.
But don’t worry, we’ll have a much clearer picture of where this is all going soon. Everyone will then have to reach for their heavy weaponry and it will be a NO HOLDS BARRED contest. Just make sure that you book your ticket for this blockbuster of a movie that promises to be vicious and ugly.
The evolution of the government’s fight against the acrid stench of the malodorous corruption fart of the last administration, has opened a new play in which the other side, which deliberately made the enlargement of the poverty-league a state policy and which was notorious for foistering a culture in which anything goes, scurrying for the canopy of tribalism, victimisation, witch-hunt etc.
Rather than regret or recollect the time when they were serving the innocent and the vulnerable, a changeless diet of looting and explain how our commonwealth was spent; or how they acquired their choice properties all over the world and boosted their bank balances to obese proportion, those going under scrutiny and their acolytes are whipping up provocative political, ethnic and religious sentiments.
In the ferocity of their pathological refutal and as they resort/ed to the usual abuses, religious and tribal tirade, they forgot that those for whom poverty was the currency of the day during their profligate reign, could decipher that it is corruption simply fighting back.
That, no matter what they spew and how much they try to protect the abominable and despise the truth, Lady Justice is usually blindfolded for a reason and the putrid worrisome chaos of their din and the power of disinformation, especially through social media, though scary at times, is simply first class delusion.
It is the collective desire of the people of Sierra Leone not only to see things done differently, but to have an insight into the macabre dance of the last leadership cadre, with whom they had to eat with a long spoon.
In this regard I’m not sure that the emasculated and emaciated silent majority will allow the bad but vocal voices, to damage our collective, unchallenged again.
There is no doubt that the looting spree of the last administration is a grotesque insult to the people and the sordid recklessness, again shines a pitiless light on the culture of avariciousness in the corridors of power where greedy politicians treated the public like nincompoops.
The hideous action did not come out of a vacuum though and vital questions scream to be asked, if such an atrocity is to be prevented and our societal morals to no longer stay entirely elastic.
I am aware that when the Koroma regime was changing and chopping ‘contractors’ for our ‘commonwealth’, some of the same people crying crucify them today, clapped and cheered them on then.
When they told us we’d never had it so good and should be grateful for the cosmetics they provided, some went bonkers, slapping them with the ‘world best’ appellation.
While the Kleptomaniacs of the past government were popping up all over the landscape, putting up mansions that an honest worker could only dream of, people smarted back in amazement and fell down in gratitude for the crumbs that fell from their tables.
We went into voluntary hypnosis as that inept and gluttonous bunch of narcissistic Draculas created distortions that destroyed our society and fuelled widespread poverty, unemployment and social discontent.
Even though the scars from their unkindest cut were deep, we wallowed in a subjugation that had been embedded in our psyche, forgetting that even the maddest of madmen enjoys a flash of lucidity once in a yellow sun. But then the self-delusion of a once progressive society was not only comforting, it was virtually complete, until the arrival of a new sheriff in town. No cycle runs forever.
The question is: Has the new administration learnt from the horrible mistakes, deceit and outright criminality of our governance in the past, especially when it comes to change?
Is the proposed commission of inquiry a sleigh of the hand by a punctiliously polite brigade commander, revelling in the confident eccentricity that makes the poor go weak at the knees, when he turns up at the fancy dress party?
Judging by the penchant of the executive to convoluted governance and the portrayal of the centre as a fiefdom, emitting signs of operating under the morally despicable parameters of the past, which has elicited mistrust and doubts, how much optimism and confidence will the generality of the people be given, that this time there will be no truism in the adage that ‘a mosquito that sucks blood from the testicles, receives the softest slap’?
With the vuvuzela accompanying every move of the battle against corruption, as well as the actions of the ACC, the insidious culture of purportedly ‘independent’ institutions helping to play out perceived agenda is one of the reasons that an otherwise cleansing exercise becomes nothing but a first-class delusion in actually serving its purpose fully.
Past exercises have incessantly demonstrated a predilection of partiality to those that picked them and even though the inquiry is to be headed by a Nigerian judge said to have been chosen by the British government, reports that compromise deals whereby some of those who had their hands in the till are plea-bargaining, is already being seen by some, (and rightly too), as part of a game of sound and fury from a synthetic and utterly unedifying politics.
It will be fascinating as we go on, to see how the government copes with the distant thunder of ethnicity, the roars of sinister political payback as well as screams of betrayal, in an atmosphere where it is seen as simply spending big, talking big and acting big, so that the fete could look good.
Sierra Leone politics has and is a cesspool of perfidy. It often promotes nepotism way above the giddy sky-highness of impunity and creates an atmosphere that enables the heaviness of coercive force, to franchise mal/ misadministration, after an initial inflation of the balloon of hope.
This is not going on a condemnation lane or playing devil’s advocate. The challenge as I see it, is that amidst the euphoria, the government seems to have failed to realise that it is in a bear-pit and it has to stand up to that; or else, the seismic shift to the new direction, which taps into the greater truth of the sub-conscious, will become a shaming manifestation of political double speak.
A population down in the dumps amidst the increasing cost of living, insecurity and pulverisation of the immediate past, can only feast on the drink of showmanship for a while. It might have become inured to the vacuous egoistic political ranting and displays, which is an axiom, that the political class does nothing but pull the wool over the eyes of the citizens.
They can only buy into the promised social and welfare promises of the new direction including the proposed inquiry, when every move of the government is devoid of the repetition of the catalogues of intrigues, impunity, double-standard, kleptocracy and cancer of circus, of the past.
It is not the amount of hours of propaganda and sensationalism accompanying every move of the stage actors that really gels with the people. Instead of the constant illusion of hope of the past four months, our leaders need to ensure that while no system is perfect, their task is to ensure that in improving the imperfections that have held us back for so long, the people are first made to appreciate that the New Direction’s own cure, will not be worse than the diseases of the immediate past, for which they claim to have an antidote.
Quite a number of people are not sure of the fanfares and gleeful handling of governance. The jury seems to be still out even in these early days of the administration. Some wonder whether it is the sound of the wagon’s gear in reverse, especially since there is a belief that politicians do not fight each other as part of the unwritten rules of their game.
Similarly, the wheels of the new administration had barely begun to turn when the vehicle hit a major gulley in its attempt to raise national interest and context above the rickety train of fraud, mediocrity, non-charlance and collective hypocrisy as well as nepotism and tribalism, with the shenanigans of the ruling party in parliament, the reckless display and Déjà Vu of the police force, as well as some power paradox from the executive.
The mass hypnotism that accompanied the new administration is also gradually giving way to social, political and economic realities.
And as agents of the government turn the law on its head and deploy state instruments of coercion to achieve illegal ends in parliament and on the streets against opponents, the stark truth that we are only a pun in the political chess game becomes more vivid.
This is a multifaceted conversation which can only be enriched by a multiplicity of views on how not to sell our future for the greed of those who were in charge of our past as well as our present.
All the time, the clock is ticking; the arithmetic of governance is working against the pantomime on display in the society but the people still find safety in the total fog of disbelief of the political class, having taken so many bullets to the heart.
A new Sierra Leone is not a wish or preference or even a debating position, it is an endpoint, just like in titration.
The intellectual convergence is already happening never mind the looters and their supporters’ ostrich noise, even as the indignation towards the apology of the past hurtles towards a critical mass for effective change to take place. It is rising by the day.
The specific how, is beyond any person’s prediction ability. The individual components cannot direct the system. The system, just like a crowd, has its own dynamics. Not a very satisfying answer, but anyone who claims the ability to predict the specific point and nature, does not understand complex adaptive systems of individually-acting agents.
We have a golden opportunity once again to seize our politics which is like a mad riddle, by the scruff of the neck in this era , which demands that political ideas must be draped over distinctive personality to cut through the Babel of parochial noise.
The promised new direction and our hunger for something different, after the frenzy of political malice against the people of Sierra Leone by the last administration, has acted as a maypole of sorts around which the less pragmatic of us are dancing manically.
For now, what a serious drama going on in our governance. Welcome to Act 1 Scene 1. seat back and watch the c-class movie that confirms that making a distinction on political governance based on parties is at best mental masturbation, at worst intellectual self-gratification..