Saidu Bangura, PhD: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 August 2022:
Fetus in fetu is as rare an occurrence as it is an inferno. This human developmental abnormality occurs when a fetus is formed inside the body of its twin. The fetus in fetu begins as a normal fetus but is encased inside its twin. It can equally be considered as a highly developed tumor. It is a parasitic, deadly, diabolical, and controversial biological condition; a condition that shows a fetus living inside an adult, and in some cases inside a child: a twin or twins’ fetus-like structure living inside another person or twin outside of its natural habitat, the placenta.
This brainless and dependent fetus lives and survives inside the host twin. The adult male person carrying the fetus-like structure feels pain and the normal disturbing sensations of a pregnancy. Fetus in fetu was first mentioned in the 1809 work of George William Young: “Case of a Fœtus found in the Abdomen of a Boy”.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary (accessed August 15, 2022), Siamese twins, are “one of a pair of congenitally united twins”. This is another rare biological occurrence in which twins are joined by a single fertilized egg that does not completely split (a process known as “fission”) during the formation of the twins or a “fusion” of two fertilized eggs which takes place during the earlier stages of the development of the twins. Siamese twins had its origin from the world’s famous Siam (now Thailand) twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, who lived from 1811 to 1874. Conjoined or Siamese twins share a single chorion, placenta, and amniotic sac. Siamese twins can be separated at birth or later. Siamese twins are mostly females.
The fetus in fetu or Siamese twins’ analogy I allude to in the title is simply to say: the SLPP is inside the APC just as the APC is inside the SLPP or they are an inseparably conjoined political collateral damage on Sierra Leone and its people.
While some people might consider them as political Siamese twins, I see them as fetus in fetu. Those who claim they are Siamese twins, see them outwardly as two sides of the same political outfit in different colours and fashion. I see them as the same political party which lives inside of each other and are prone to committing the same human rights offences and underdevelopment crimes when in office and are as detrimental to the national cohesion and development of Sierra Leone. The historical journey that both parties have made can attest to the fetus in fetu analogy. That apart, their chauvinistic and male gendered political dispensations make them more fetus in fetu than Siamese twins. This argument is sustained by the consideration that most Siamese twins are females.
Both the SLPP and the APC should be seen as this diabolical and parasitic inferno destroying what should hold us together as a country and people. These two political parties that have misgoverned Sierra Leone for the best part of our sixty-one years as an independent country can best be described as fetus in fetu! They parasitically live on the internal make-up of the country through their collaborative siphoning of our resources and leave us hungry, poor, and destitute, and the country underdeveloped while they, their families and associates live well and healthy and take our resources to other countries, mostly developed nations. They also divide the country into political strongholds and use our ethnolinguistic connections to sow the seeds of discord among a tolerant people.
We are quick to say that a Sierra Leonean from the North, North-west and Western Area is APC; and a Sierra Leonean from the South-East is de facto SLPP. The regional divide apart, without asking you or knowing to which political party you belong, if at all you have a preference between the two, your ethnolinguistic group and your (sur)name are also selling points to which of the two political parties you will be assigned. This is how we have been conditioned politically by both the SLPP and the APC. They are as destructive as they are divisive within the Sierra Leonean political and economic ecology. Their politics is to divide the people and loot our resources, and never to develop the country.
Considering the natural, mineral resources and the young population that we are blessed with, Sierra Leone should have been far ahead of many African countries with regards national and human development. Why are we where we are today?
The SLPP-APC one-party coalition is the cause!
Look at Rwanda and where that country is today twenty years after it decided to take a different route. Where is Sierra Leone? Same place as it was in the late eighties and early nineties!
Sierra Leoneans outside of this political divide created and maintained by this fetus in fetu in the SLPP-APC one-party coalition must unite to fight the common enemy that has denied us the much-needed development and national cohesion that the country is in dire need of.
Well-meaning Sierra Leoneans inadvertently caught within this demonic political divide whose conscience eat at them every day and want a way out should join those outside this catastrophic political coalition and chart a way forward to a bright and promising future. Sierra Leoneans must not fight themselves nor fight for these parties. Fight the SLPP-APC coalition!
How attractive is Sierra Leone to national and foreign direct investment considering both the political climate and the rhetoric from the SLPP-APC politicians? Where are the production industries that should have employed our youthful population twenty years after the war? Aren’t all Sierra Leoneans who can’t afford generators suffering from the perennial blackout delivered to us by our governments in a country with favourable weather conditions for clean energy?
Aren’t all Sierra Leoneans who can’t afford processed “watawell” water given the lack of pipe-borne water in a country with abundant rivers and rains suffering from a free flow of clean water from our taps? Don’t all Sierra Leoneans who are not politically connected to both the SLPP and APC feeling the pains of their misgovernance, unemployment and economic underdevelopment that they offer the people? Why is Sierra Leone still creeping economically given the natural wealth we have after 61 years of political independence? Don’t we all suffer from the politicization and the capture of state institutions by this coalition of fetus in fetu political parties?
The answer to all these questions has to do with good governance and good service delivery. Has good governance ever been delivered to Sierra Leoneans? Have Sierra Leoneans ever received good services from this fetus in fetu political parties?
What is the way-forward?
Like many African countries, Sierra Leone hampered by this fetus in fetu political parties has not been able to live the self-determination dream promised after we gained independence. Sixty-one years after independence, Sierra Leone is still struggling to curb corruption and create an independent and modern civil service system that serves as the engine of development. Sierra Leone has still not been able to develop an economic system that close the gap between the haves and have-nots and the subsequent eradication of poverty and illiteracy.
Sierra Leone has failed to develop an educational system that is relevant within the context of our sociocultural and socioeconomic reality and that caters for sustainable development. Sierra Leone is yet to create a robust health system that ensures the protection of lives and that reduces the death of Sierra Leoneans from curable health conditions. Sierra Leone has not been able to ensure the creation of a gender evenhandedness and balanced society and the protection of women and the economic empowerment of vulnerable groups.
Sierra Leone is still finding it hard to create jobs for its youths and keep the brightest of citizens in Sierra Leone. What the country is doing through its respective governments is serve as an advertising agent for jobs in other countries for its young minds, the future of the country. These challenges and the ensuing state dysfunction, socio-politically and socioeconomically, that continue to mar our country are fed by ethnic lineages and the political regionalization of Sierra Leone championed by the SLPP-APC coalition.
Under the governments of both SLPP and APC since 2002, we have failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and we are slowly failing on the Sustainable Development Goals. Both parties have had, at least, ten years running the affairs of the country, but we have almost nothing to show for their stewardships.
Given the above challenges and shortcoming of this fetus in fetu political parties, we need a second party to challenge the one-party rule of the SLPP-APC coalition; not their offshoot political renegades, but a true patriotic and pro-people party that will deliver Sierra Leoneans from their economic and political sufferings. Enough of this nonsense division among us.
Enough of the killing of innocent people by others whose socioeconomic conditions will never be improved by this coalition of our common enemy. We need a party that will not condescend the people that they govern; a party that will not trivialize the problems of the people nor politically tribalize them; a party that will not regionalize the country into political strongholds.
Sierra Leone needs a party and government with a human face that will build strong institutions for the development of the country. Sierra Leone needs a party that will not put a wedge between Sierra Leoneans at home and those in the diaspora. We need a political party that builds on our religious and cultural tolerance so that our young democratic dispensation will thrive for the good of all.
While both parties may seem like Siamese twins that can be separated after almost sixty-one years of their existence and running the country like their current and reserve account, they have both become to Sierra Leone and its people as fetus in fetu, a parasitic infernal tumor that survives on the resources of the country and its people. I argue above that they both live on each other, but they have behaved as a tumor that needs to be removed for the continued existence of Sierra Leone as a nation and the co-existence of its people. Their pain is too much on the people.
Sixty-one years after independence and given the natural resources we have, Sierra Leone is still an underdeveloped country – and we keep postponing its development; most Sierra Leoneans are poor, and their economic situations are not getting any better; clean water and constant electricity supply are not promised, and we are still searching for that leader that will take the country away from these challenges.
The SLPP and the APC, individually and collectively, as the two political parties that have misgoverned our country since 1961, are a threat to our national unity, human and economic development, and peaceful co-existence.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. It is well-researched and well-penned. Its core argument woven around the felicitously chosen medical metaphor of conjoined twins is well made. The metaphor captures beautifully the undesirable malformation, not to say cancerous growth, the SLPP and APC parties have become within our body politic. Which deadly tumour calls for the most radical and invasive of surgeries.
I will stretch the excellent metaphor further and remind readers of the great Nigerian novelist Achebe’s magnum opus ‘Things Fall Apart’. In that much-celebrated work, Achebe takes to task the people of his native, pre-colonial Igboland for the ill-informed and morally repugnant practice of the killing of twins. Conjoined or not, I presume, these were considered evil and were taken to a so-called evil forest and left there to perish.
It should be clear that whereas Achebe is right to call out those pre-colonial African customs and traditions that facilitated Europe’s colonial dismemberment and subjugation of our continent, the same cannot be said of the SLPP-APC conjoined malformation of our time. The malformation must be seen and condemned for what it is: an oversized, malignant political growth deserving of a stroke of the scalpel and of an evil forest where the ablated repugnant body part should be left to rot away. The infamous politically conjoined twins must not be saved.
Thank you sir for the comments and for taking me to Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. I will take that reading into consideration as I am preparing to publish my poems and essays into a book by the end of this year to early next year.