Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 May 2017
It is disappointing – but sadly, unsurprising that amidst the clamour for a new brand of politics in Sierra Leone ahead of 2018, another tranche of clapped-out politicians and chorus cheerleaders have been aroused from their slumber. Their existence has inevitably stirred a fresh round of anti-democratic utterances and actions.
Behind their interest of dictating who fits their bill rather than who is good for Sierra Leone, is a determination to ruthlessly prevent a change from the ‘paddy-paddy’ arrangement that has brought us down to our knees and which has us fretting about the future of our children.
These are salient points for us to begin to chew and spit out, until it sinks deeper and become permanently embedded in our sub-conscious. It is then that all of us will truly appreciate the precarious situation that we are in today.
Believe me, it requires a lot of carefulness to kill the fly that is perching on our scrotum.
If truth be told, the trouble with the contraption of a nation called Sierra Leone is double standards, ethnically-tainted, tribally-misrepresented viewpoints and dogmatist hollow standpoints. (Photo: President Koroma – right, and his heir apparent and tribesman – John Sisay).
Hypocrisy has become the national policy and ethos within and outside governance; with the mentality of our elites, at a stenchy-gutter depth. Even journalists and others who should champion the cause of this basic knowledge have become Janus-faced and are behaving like ostrich in a zoo.
The churches and mosques which are supposed to be our moral conscience have failed us woefully. Instead, Satan now seem to walk and reside in a bloodbath wagon amongst us, as he skewers the poor on a double-edged red-spike of social and political ignorance. The so-called educated, have suddenly become only schooled, but functional illiterates.
We lie even to our own souls and live in deceit. We cover morality, which should be the foundation of our shared values, with boastful vanity and perpetual mediocrity.
Honour and integrity are no longer the watchwords and have been replaced by corruption and influence peddling. We adorn the garment of instinct for wishful thinking; and idealism trumps practical considerations.
We have become a society where those in politics don’t really value the people or need their approval until polling time, because our judgment of success has been tainted by the lenses of poverty and the passion of survival instinct.
Ours is a country of political cronyism, instruments of repression and propaganda, as well as the sewer of corruption where the dollar has become the almighty that everyone must worship.
We have become a cowardly but resilient nation, where everybody is blaming everyone about something: Where the youths are blaming the older generation for the country’s underdevelopment; and those on their way to the grave, in turn blame the youths for not being a catalyst for political change – while pointing accusing fingers at the colonialists who packed their bags and baggages over fifty years ago.
As for me, I will not so much as blame a generation that has never seen a hero in their lives? Young men and women who have been raised in a country of all-consuming vanity and whose heroes are yet in the cradle.
There is evidence to prove that our political class continues to deliberately pollute our culture, to help in their stranglehold agenda and subsequent underdevelopment of our society.
No one will ever listen or ever vote for those with any sense of decency, judging by the way our people see politics. Such puritans are seen as too decent, speak too much grammar, won’t spend money frivolously, will have a plan that will take time, will not appoint idiots (and most of them are), will not loot and will not share the resources etc. etc. especially if they are not from the same ethnic stock.
Do you therefore see the problem of our collective mindset and the fiasco of a society that we exist in? Do you see how we cut charlatans too much slack and proffer excuses on their behalf?
Yet, it is this class of compatriots across board that, in their game of musical chairs, fool the masses as they go for the jugular when in search of power, but in reality are of one accord in the desecration of our commonwealth and the pauperisation of the constituent whole.
To lose sight of the above narrative is like knowing the answer to a maths question without having a clue about the problem. But this train ride leads to nowhere and many of us want to get off this gradual transportation to the abyss of state failure.
Today, we stand at a dangerous crossroad in history where we must have the courage of our principles and remember our history, our shattered dreams, hopes and aspirations.
While some countries have started to correct the anomalies introduced by the colonial masters and upgraded by past generations of leaders, we in Sierra Leone are yet to articulate and accept the flaws inherent in our socio-political structures and what has really gone wrong for us, not to even talk of starting anything to redress the problem. A shame indeed.
With the many brains that litter our landscape, it is sad to see our national socio-political ethos so tainted by the current mass laziness of mind, ideological poverty and lack of reflective evaluation.
I’m not sad about the situation per se, but sad because of the realisation that we actually have nothing left. That we have been left nude and dancing in the rain; that we are gone to the brink of the abyss and in real trouble.
Believe me, I am troubled because it is now clear that there is nowhere to hide, and what obtains now will still continue for a long time because our politicians have made it look as if that is what the people want and that, that is what the mutilated masses deserve. That, this is the symbol of the best of a society that we can provide.
Unfortunately, until we take responsibility for the sound of broken chains and start being collectively responsible for our actions, we, in collusion with the political class, will never allow our denigrated nation to move out of the pit of the underdevelopment it finds itself.
It is interesting to note that there are hundreds of forums springing up online, expressing similar frustrated sentiments. It is worthy of note that as election approaches, coalition movements are making a debut to join hands in shifting the Cotton Tree-like position of our decadence.
But to what purpose are these efforts, when it is apparent that they may have no effect on the minds of the people in order to create an impact? Goat breeding goats?
We cannot make progress in this country until we apply the same standards of justice on everyone without fear or favour. This is why we need a true mass clamour for higher order of shared values.
We have got to have the national socio-political dialogue that is essential for our development and renewal, without succumbing to the dictates of the hustlers that make up the political class at the moment.
Let’s remove our head from the sand for a change and admit our madness, so that we can start a treatment that works for our emaciated socio-political entity.
Because if we continue with the poverty of character, class, finesse and integrity that passes for political leadership by the nuisances masquerading as trail blazers in this hustlers’ paradise of ours, we can safely conclude that, with the prevailing circumstances, our expectations of white from the existing political culture and structure, is at best possible only in our minds.
If at all we seek redemption, it can only be by starting afresh. But tell me, how do we get our best to govern us? How do we fish out the person who can truly walk the walk to bring the now admittedly unfit-for-purpose political structure that currently exist, to an end?
You don’t give what you don’t have. Most of our political class – new breed or old brigade, have not got the wherewithal to take us to the red sea, talk less of the Promised Land.
Did I hear you say the increasing self-adapting aggregation towards attaining critical mass or the fervent effort at the acceleration of political awareness by several emerging groups will do it?
Fair enough, the thesis and anti-thesis will certainly form the synthesis. Gradually, thoughts will crystallize and form a collective and positive force.
But for now, I’m afraid that the situation is beyond the capabilities of those organising the growing political backlash, simply because it is far greater that what they envisage and can tackle in patches. But experience is a comb that life gives you after you have lost your hair.
Much as this is a welcome development, the people – burdened by poverty, stripped of their dignity, self-esteem, their pride and self-worth, need to become the focal point of the thrust for change so that they can come to the realisation and implication of the symptoms of an underlying and debilitating malady enveloping them – injustice and its unintended consequences.
Similarly, it is increasingly becoming obvious that most of those who symbolise the hope for change are only riding on the waves of the movement and are not truly the messiahs that we seek.
Therefore, simply changing the guards of the two main parties alone; and/or replacing the crème of leadership with those equally steeped in the same current mentality, will not suffice.
TRUTH MUST BE TOLD:
It is disappointing – but sadly, unsurprising that amidst the clamour for a new brand of politics ahead of 2018, another tranche of clapped-out politicians and chorus cheerleaders have been aroused from their slumber. Their existence has inevitably stirred a fresh round of anti-democratic utterances and actions.
Behind their interest of dictating who fits their bill rather than who is good for Sierra Leone, is a determination to ruthlessly prevent a change from the paddy-paddy arrangement that’s brought us down to our knees and which has us fretting about the future of our children.
These are salient points for us to begin to chew and further spit up, until it sinks deeper and become permanently embedded in our sub-conscious. It is then that all of us will truly appreciate the precarious situation that we are in.
Believe me, it requires a lot of carefulness to kill the fly that is perching on our scrotum.