Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 September 2016
I can’t believe this madness. What is this? What is happening to us as a people?
When will reason, which has long gone out of stock, make a return to the shelves of our subconscious? Even denial has an endpoint.
Like everything else, when faced with public relations disaster, or when their rattling cupboard gets exposed, our leaders who know that putting on the cloak of dynamism will magically give them results, have once again succeeded in dictating the pace and focus of national discourse and got us dancing to the melody of their tune, like sheep to the slaughter. (Photo: Young boys gunned down by trigger happy and reckless police officers).
The situation is crazy. Recall, we have been on hope line for over a decade, with a view that Sierra Leone which is experiencing a total systems-collapse will develop. Sadly, what we are witnessing now are no good signs of the future for the country. As a matter of fact, to point to one organ or one system in particular is to miss the wood from the trees.
Opportunists know what is wanted and are happy to invent it. So we have been dragged into the muck and nettles of controversy, even while two innocent citizens are lying in the morgue – victims of an unjust system of licenced executioners and murderers.
I’m sorry, but it is only in the glorified world of our coercive, slavish, despotic and draconian politics can we pretend that justice has been done in snuffing out the lives of two of our future leaders, who had the guts to protest the happenings in our hustlers’ paradise masquerading as a nation.
Instead of an explanation, empathy and sympathy from the authorities, with the culprits cooling their heels in custody, it is the victims of the police brutality that are behind bars.
It is the families of the deceased that are left to pick up the remains of their shattered lives. Like our leaders, the rest of us have abandoned them. Instead, coerced puppets are now being forced to apologise.
Out of the blues and in a short-cut to vainglory and democratic shambles, which provokes outrage in sane societies, we are being side-tracked by a classic example of the savage loathing of political decency by those adept at deception and abracadabra, razzmatazz and scam.
All of a sudden, an attempt to siphon $3000 (three thousand dollars) has become such a national outrage that we are supposed to just look up to our benevolent crime-busters and forget the gutter, where those who have taken hold of the stick with which to beat the country, have taken us.
Beg your pardon, but since its inception, corruption has been a soap opera in the life of the present administration – right from the very top to ordinary liaisons, who simply pass through the corridors.
When you think of the Ebola money; when you cast your mind back to the wave of foreign currencies poured into our coffers in the early part of the life of this administration; when you pierce into the very history of the executive, judiciary, legislature; the Afsatu Kabbah fraud; the cocaine saga, timbergate, etc., and see how little justice and success has been achieved in tackling those who have cornered our commonwealth, reigned in absolute impunity and rubbed our noses in the mud, then you would be able to put this latest melody into perspective.
It will reveal the hollowness of the alleged concerted effort at fighting corruption. It will only confirm that it is fallout of the extreme rottenness at the upper echelon of avarice, exemplified by our national leadership.
So the most encouraging features of the drama of the thieving brother of a man, who himself is the beneficiary of a corrupt manipulation of the system, lies not in the screaming headline. (Photo: Vice president Foh).
Believe me it is buried in the bowels of the proverbial Transylvanian vampires who litter the landscape; stealing the people’s money, soul and intellect, while they devastate the land with the alchemy of cash from foreign wheeler dealers and garnish it with all the props of a seeming battle against graft.
My problem is that I cannot get my head round the fact that obviously, shame is not in the DNA of those in the corridors of power, or that we are such mugs in awe of our leaders, so much that we are mesmerised by their continuous morbid display.
They never even bother to change the script. Every time something happens we get screaming headlines calling for applause for the ‘saints’ at the top. A little while later, the music is turned off and we return to our daily drudgery.
The quality of a society depends very much on the quality of those in leadership positions. The continuous display of jungle justice or rather injustice, is a sickening and primitive reminder of what passes as leadership in Sierra Leone and the pit to which we have dumped ourselves.
It is why the foremost police boss finds it beneath his status to express regrets and deal decisively with the fallout of the shooting in Kabala. It is why no government spokesman has bothered to touch on this brutal anarchy under this ‘democratic era’ of incompetence and kleptomania.
Above all, it is a reflection of the very grim reality of our highly skewed tendencies and our failed system – nasty, brutish, short. God help us… we all need to see the shrink to help check the state of our sanity.
Lives are sacred and people who are paid to protect the lives and properties of citizens, must not turnaround to become a threat to the very lives they are supposed to be protecting.
The act of killing unarmed citizens by the trigger-happy police personnel, who feel they are above the law because the strings of their actions are tied to the whistle of the ‘Pa’, is very barbaric and condemnable, and I strongly believe that the government must put an end to this without further delay.
If not, I’m getting worried that the solution might be too sudden and drastic in the long run.
Unfortunately, when the rain falls, it won’t be on one man’s roof top.
The crop of dissident youth leaders that will evolve, albeit temporarily, will not know anybody. And believe me, the mess is brewing.
It is only those with tinted integrity that will ultimately look beyond the Kabala riot and change the focus to that of blaming the youths and residents for burning down houses and buildings, out of sheer frustration and as a result of embedded anger, which brought out the animal in them.
The youths gathered to express their dissatisfaction. Their annoyance escalated when they realised the insensitivity of the way and manner the decision to rob them of a token dividend of democracy is being snatched away from them.
To most youths, Sierra Leone is now a place where hope goes to die.
The death of those youths, who were simply fighting against what they see as injustice, is a weeping wound for Sierra Leone. It is nothing short of obscene.
Today, one of the major threats to our economic and social stability is the army of unemployed and under-employed people, especially youths that are roaming our cities and villages.
These youths, no doubt, constitute huge security risk to us all, as they are willing tools for mischief-makers and desperate forces. They should be of great concern, as indeed it can be likened to a volcano on the verge of eruption. Kabala is a pointer, we ignore at our own peril.
If the elites are afraid of losing control of what might result from this, they need to realise that when the latest guns are therefore silent, the cycle of dysfunction in our society which whet the savvy conscious appetite of our rag-to-riches leaders and blind loyalists like Inspector General Francis Munu and his hyenas in uniform, will still indicate to all that Kabala is still the calm before the storm.
It is extremely disheartening that after five decades of independence, and while the rest of the world, including hitherto hard-nosed backward nations are making efforts to change, our governance and police force remain very barbaric indeed.
Where are we heading when unarmed youths are being harmed by the police because of a protest. When did it become a crime to gather and speak out for our rights? What do you expect when anger is confronted by intimidation?
What about the willpower and the sense of propriety and responsibility that is expected of the police in the course of their duty? Where is the neutrality expected from the police when it comes to politics?
It is simply inexcusable for the police, because of their barracks mentality, to employ maximum force against innocent citizens, when in saner climes, security operatives are supposed to protect lives, not waste them.
So the vagabonds in power cannot truly deal with the politics of grievance, which is a direct response to the fantasy politics they sold to us, but which has obviously not helped the people – especially the youths, to get on with their lives?
How can there be peace in a land, when youths, buffeted by unemployment, look on with forlorn despair as mindless politicians gorge on the nation’s resources as if there would be no tomorrow? (Photo: A new multi-million dollar mansion built by an APC government minister. Where did he get the money?)
How long must this depraved behaviour go on, before there is fire on the mountain?
How long the reign of injustice, before the temple of iniquity is brought to ruins?
We can colour the landscape as much as we want, but the truth is that Sierra Leoneans are de-humanised and most of them now live in frustration, regret, dejection, hopelessness, misery, pain and suffering. Worst affected, are the youths.
Their identities have been literarily stolen away from them by greedy leaders, rogues, imbeciles, selfish bastards, mercenaries and embezzlers who have invaded the land like locusts, and who care less whether the people are going into second slavery or whether they are deprived of the very little crumbs that often fall from the gracious table and hands of people, whose names are now like manure in watering holes.
Even though the bedraggled children roaming the streets and thousands of able-bodied men and women with forlorn looks and hopeless six o’clock faces still shout ‘hosanna’ in deference to them, the rest of the ‘class acts’ cannot see that waving the keys to their bulging vaults and denying people of even the least that they hoped for, in utter stomach-churning, contemptuous political indecency, is a dangerous and complacent psychology and power play.
It is a brand of greed compounded by arrogance.
Sadly, the police, which is the most corrupt institution outside the political realm, reflect the very attitude of our society to true reform and change. It is one body which is stuck in the political stone-age.
It is this, more than anything else that has damaged the trust between the police and the policed, and turned the Munu-led force into a most detestable outfit.
Outside the Shaki-era, it is this current police administration which has totally compromised ethically laid down rules. It has shamelessly become an appendage of the all-encompassing hallowed impunity and mediocrity that permeate the stinking and rotten sepulchers of our governance.
Expectedly, the imperative of police reform which has been a long call is further strengthened by this latest shenanigan of a police force that can hardly contain any security threat, however simple, except against defenceless populace.
A country without a system of social accountability and moral responsibility equals disaster. No debating this.
The families of those victims of incredible atrocities and governance deficit, deserve justice and accountability as do the rest of Sierra Leone.
The time is also well overdue for the police to undergo a thorough professional and psychological surgery that will help them to really perform their function of chief internal security organ, and appreciate the necessity of true independence, as well as and the realisation that everyone is equal before the law.