Politics is our biggest problem in Sierra Leone

Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 October 2021:

I am not saying that that we should trash politics from our governance. I am saying the deep-seated divisive partisan politics in our nation is our biggest problem.

A few months ago, our law firm tried to hire an administrative secretary. We received more than 30 applications. Great, we thought.  We would certainly secure a proficient employee from the crop. At interview, the task assigned to each of them was to type out two duties of a secretary at a law firm within three minutes, using double-spaced size 13 Times New Roman font. That was how we ended up with no one. But just put out a call for party agents to deploy at polling stations and you would get them in droves. Ones whose eyes won’t blink for 24 hours while manning ballot boxes.

Nowadays, competent, blue-collared employees are hard to come by. The plumbers, cooks, mechanics, domestics, masons have all gone into politics. One would think they have gone there to fix our water pipes or electric lines or our homes. No, they are there to hop on the high-speed train to destination wealth. The gravitation is simple. Their friend who couldn’t finish their schooling or degree and joined party politics is now building a house or driving a big car.

So, the message is clear: join politics “the accelerated route to wealth”. And since the good ones who are meant to be training apprentices are all taking the accelerated route, we are mostly left with the inefficient and clumsy.

There is no longer any need to wait because merit has been exiled. It has become mostly about whom you know or if your party is in power. This is why it’s easier for one to find party branches and chapters all over the country and abroad, instead of cooperatives and partnerships. Party politics instead of competence appears to be the concern into which a lot of our viable young energy is poured. It seems and it is the case that in this business the dividends are high with low risk. Entrepreneurship is uncertain and too arduous a road.

Most of our young and vibrant have abandoned creativity for the perks of politics and are prepared to be used as tools to perpetuate any exploit for their political group. The young person appointed to run an office they hardly know anything about, knows that it is their loyalty that gets them the job and it is continuous loyalty that would secure it.

Few weeks ago, a video of some APC bigwigs dancing to a song with lyrics labelling their rivals as “baster-pikin” (bastards) made rounds on social media. Unless I’m unaware, there has been no condemnation of that song by the leadership of the APC or any attempt to dissuade their membership from using the song at their party functions.

Earlier this month some serving ministers abandoned national duties for by-elections in Kabala. One APC stalwart’s newly constructed house was pounded with stones, but it seems only APC supporters have been rounded up and held in detention for more ten days. I doubt that APC supporters would be pelting at their own.

But this is the politics we have. This is what has held back our progress and development more than anything.

You know I have been approached many times by folks who’d ask “why you nor go join politics?” “When you dey join politics?” As a young man (worse if you’re making progress in your career), everybody thinks you should be in politics.

Don’t get me wrong, I love politics. I am a rule of law enthusiast and governance activist. I told myself I won’t get into politics until I made a life for myself. Politics won’t be a means of survival for me. It would be a place of service. Sadly, for many people this is not the case. And that exactly is the driver of our divisive politics.

Wherever divisive party politics rather than progress festers, it is the nation that suffers!

6 Comments

  1. Politics is part of the human condition. There is national politics, office politics and family politics. The article touched on two aspects.And the messages it conveyed has always been there with us.The only surprises here, there is no surprises at all. We all know the institutions in our country are heavily ran like a family business. Is not what you know, is who you know. Majority of the country’s politicians are made up of circus wannabees that can’t tell the difference between day and night. And they have an army of illiterate youths that keeps them on top of the political pyramid . As a nation we are led by unashamedly corrupt, biased and lacking the skills set political classes that found themselves in the pyramid of decisions making process that they are ill prepared to convey or countenance. where opportunities are in short supply, the only route out of porverty is to become a politician. And this problem is replicated across the broad spectrum of how our society is structured and run.

    Everyone wants to go into politics because that’s where the money is. And the insututions and structures that made it possible are nurtured and maintained by nepotism and cronyism. Nepotism, is define as, when powerful people running the affairs of the state offer job opportunities to their families and close relatives. Nepotism by itself is not a crime. But it is ethically wrong because of the lack of transparency and accountability. And its promote corruption and under developments, because the people running this insututions are there solely because of their connection to powerful peoples.

    Cronyism is define as when powerful persons give favouritism to their friends and associates. Since our country’s illiteracy rate have always been high, due to the lack of investment in education, especially in the 1970s 80s and 90s,which was exacerbated by the RUF, which saw a whole generation of our young recruited as child soldiers, it is difficult to see how our country can recover from this malice any time soon.

  2. Thanks for your great views Sir, if I may ask, how can we rectify this issues as a nation? Some of us are not know in the country by our leaders but we are making great sacrifice for mama salone, currently I am lecturing electrical engineering principles at Sierra Leone Opportunities Industrialization center SLOIC Makeni campus with no salary only a hundred and fifty thousand Leone is being given to me as stipend, what do you expect that money to run my affairs? We have to forget about this politics and employ the right person in the right job for the development of mama salone for we all and children yet unborn.

  3. Politics is also a big problem in the United States based on the fact that there are “ BLUE AND RED” States. Political loyalty is part of the politics. But violence and intimidation which has always been the 99 tactics of the APC party under their 35 years of misrule is the problem. Now since they have nothing to offer as opposition, they think only “Mammy Cuss”, sending thugs in their strongholds to intimidate opposition voters is their main weapon to win an election. That will continue to happen mainly in their “RED ZONE”.

    In the past, during the days of late Vice President S.I Koroma, they tried it in the “GREEN ZONE” under their 25 years one party dictatorship. Even former President Earnest Koroma implemented it during the 2012 presidential election campaign when then presidential candidate Retired Brigadier Maada Bio sustained head injury, and his presidential bodyguards physically attacked late Tom Nyuma. But because of the peace and security of our nation, Retired Brigadier Bio continued his peaceful campaign.

    The recent election in Kabala which is close to Makeni was full of Makeni thugs because SLPP didn’t even think about bringing people from the South/ East to intimidate opposition voters. So I believe that some the SLPP Kabala youths were reacting against their actions. Complaining about our esteemed and respected youth Minister Mr. Mohamed Orman Bangura who has generated youth farms around the country was rather unfortunate because he is a decent and hardworking young man like our Education Minister David Sengeh and Honorable Ibrahim Tawa Conteh. Finally, there is an ongoing competition among the potential APC presidential candidates for the 2023 election for “WHO WILL REPLACE LATE S.I KOROMA ( AGBA SATANY)” to implement intimidation and violence during any election process.

  4. This article is politically sumptuous. It gives clear indication of how Sierra Leoneans have become. They can do anything for everything politics. Even those who did not finish high school or those who finished but cannot get a decent job. We find ourselves in such precarious situation because corruption has for decades become an institutionalised norm.

  5. The SLPP have not learnt their lessons. In 2007, President Kabba gave four senior cabinet positions to people from Tonkolili District. In the 2007 elections, the SLPP secured their worst votes from Tonkolili District.

    Fast forward to 2021, the SLPP has two senior cabinet and two junior cabinet post to people from koinadugu District. The recent by elections in koinadugu District history is repeating it self. In 2007, Kenema District had no cabinet minister in Kabba’s government. That was where Margai PMDC started his campaign. Today, Kailahun District with twice the population of koinadugu District has only one cabinet minister. We will see how 2023 will play out.

  6. I agreed with the article on the fact that people tend to be more enthuasistic in politics than any other thing. When I traveled back home few years ago, I met my young nephew, He was deep into politics. He can tell you the newest political data in Sierra Leone. After watching him for two weeks, I suggested to him that I am willing to pay technical institute fee for him to go and and do an electrical course. For good two weeks he did not give me an answer. When he finally gave me an answer he said it will take him a long time to complete the course and therfeore he is not intrested.

    On one of his converstion, he told me that had it been his candidate on the local headmanship elections won at Hammulton he would have able to be a team leader to sell sand. At that point I disowned him and cut him off.

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