Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 March 2018:
Dark. Scary. The tragedy of a nation and the demise of integrity. That is what is playing out as we bring to conclusion the 2018 electoral process in Sierra Leone.
Let’s be frank, if the victory theory for major elections is “The Better Devil”, I’m afraid, we have a very long journey ahead to the Promised Land.
If post March 7, and at this stage of our democratic evolution, loyalty to tribe and political base dwarf our search for progressive change, then isn’t it clear that the lunatics have taken over the asylum and the asylum has taken over our society?
Across the strata, emotions, tribalism and sentiments as well as selfishness, rather than political ideas and patriotic sacrifice have tainted our search for a new beginning; which is why our political system has turned out to become a monster rather than a development-inducing organ.
So where are the acclaimed change agents in this hour of need? Why are they behaving like an octogenarian crying over her lost virginity? Why have the people been left like sheep without a shepherd when this is the crucial time to lead them in the process of mind reset?
Doesn’t it occur to those sulking over their inability to grab power that their post-election reaction shows the insincerity of the avowed love for Sierra Leone and the claim of putting the nation first? It unmasks the true nature of the hypocritical lot.
It exposes the fragile ego hidden behind the ‘meekness’ that was being displayed in the run up to the contest. It shows that the people who now need guidance from them were simply tools for the achievement of their selfish prospect of capturing power. It was neither about the masses as they claim nor about a new beginning.
If it really were about Sierra Leone, then those who purported to be agents of change cannot now turn around to play the blind, deaf and mute to the wave of scepticism and bewilderment elicited in the nation as well as the blind followership-disorder of about ninety per cent of the impoverished masses.
This is not the time to unleash their personal wolves to the door of our hopes and aspirations; or continue to make a mockery of our clamour for change, in the name of politicking. To not accept plurality is to not be a democrat but a defender of the status quo.
Institutional mediocrity is when the focus is on who should be in charge rather than how best to get it done. That’s what you get in a largely narcissistic society where you define yourself with reference to others. Couple that with unrelenting verbal and social coercion, and you see that it is the completely predictable model outcome. Sad.
Where is the nation’s fourth estate of the realm which has not only simply and partisanly accentuated the emotional hysteria and manipulation of the mess that is our governance and polity?
I’m talking of the press which also abandoned its crucial educational responsibility as well as the sacred task of enlightening the emasculated masses who are very busy on the micro level, looking for the next meal or school fees, that the long-term implications of the macro, hardly registers on their radar.
Let’s not play politics with serious issues involving the very future of Sierra Leone. You guys don’t get it and will probably never get it. When the mass of crumb seekers finally have enough, there will be no hiding place.
Truth is: Whether we like it or not, we are faced with two choices – Samura Kamara or Maada Bio. Period.
As a result, one thing is sure: There will be a change in the country’s leadership profile after the whole process of the poll is completed. We’ll either get the best of the devils we have; or the man with the most power, not the best ideas, might just become king. No thanks to the shallow hero-worshipping clowns who have made us more confused than a bat in broad daylight.
We are in a bad enough shape from the results of the serial, shallow, kakistocratic leadership contest that has driven us to the ever-deepening pit, which, if we don’t face squarely, outside our selfish and self-centred orientation, will only perpetuate the suffering of the greater majority.
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. (William Butler Yeats).
As a very pragmatic construct of necessity, the central issue has become the future of Sierra Leone. Not the prospect of who rules. We need to make a choice because we simply do not have any other option.
Patriotism is different from party affiliation, especially in the current situation where the party is nothing but euphemism for state capture.
Why then has the issue been reduced from the sublime to the ridiculous? Why is it becoming impossible to have robust arguments about our search for a new Sierra Leone, without resorting to tribalism, nepotism, increasingly vitriolic hoard of emotional and verbal coercion and disparagement?
It is not that we are going round in circles as a result of our narrow minded tunnel vision that is even nauseating. What is, is the fact that we do so, assuming what can best be described as the worst form of witchcraft.
At this stage, a totally corroded and corrosive system cannot be improved, only rebuilt. A morally and mentally bankrupt lot is still a morally and mentally bankrupt lot.
Applying measures of sane environments to a chaotic and corroded environment is futile, and that is the point. Those laws hold under standard temperature and pressure, not in a rule-less, standards-less chaos of an environment like ours.
At least, we know something is wrong with us as a people as well as the monstrous system that lacks any cohesive value but ends up producing only ultra-selfish political looters and prostitutes of the lamp-post type, whose personal lust for power has been vigorously promoted as the answer to our quest for good governance, through a complacent national and social media.
To be clear and without a shadow of doubt, champion hustlers are fully in charge of our political spectrum and the teams, the referee and the linesmen, as well as the ‘football’ association and even the spectators, are corrupted. You get?
The myriad of our national problems has more to do with processes. We need as a nation to think outside of the box and explore and find solutions that are fit for purpose, rather than resort to extremist ethno-religious and political bases and the coercive dissemination of worn platitudes as answers to protracted problems, of which our shallow party-political leaders are the grand masters.
We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
Fair enough, things cannot continue the way they have been, but we have not gotten our leadership compass right; while the effort to move the level of our development faster and higher as a country, has remained futile, simply because the absence of self-sacrifice prevents us from finding genuine and collective solutions to our problems.
However, protecting the future will be largely determined by the nature or kind of change that we pursue, the kind of change that we need and the kind of change that we get. A lot depends on our roles both as followers and leaders in our political undertakings. We must be unanimous in what we desire for our country.
What a 21st century Sierra Leone urgently needs now, is a new generation leadership that will not only enhance our democracy, but which will be result-driven and devoid of the gross impunity and the entrenchment of corruption which have been the cardinal features of most of the past administrations.
Live and let live, that’s the spirit of democracy which is nothing but a subset of the spirit of humanity. Afterall, it is a democracy. A wide array of divergent views is the usual hallmark. And that’s where we seem to be missing the boat. Party politics is a subset of democracy (the whole society) and never a superset.
Having impoverished the electorate to existence eking levels, they can only respond to instant gratification or stomach infrastructure hand outs. Having degraded the educational system, how do you expect the electorate to think?
This is what I was driving at when in my last piece I stated that “As we watch the chaotic and manipulative political ensemble in the countdown to March 7 …. I can smell the fear of reset, thickening”.
It is regrettable that by collective wrong actions, we have ended up wrecking the entire political system to the point that what we are practicing now is not democracy but shambolic kind of political administration.
As I watch desperadoes and interested players engage in politics of “if I don’t get something, nobody else will” and the display of “US versus Them” capture the scope of our system and the particular components of focus I realise that development and indeed true change won’t come until the system can turn out people within, who have the capacity to think and be unselfish.
Sooner or later, every society converges on its reality. If you leave a mentally challenged person to bury his mother, don’t be disappointed if he tries to make suya from the corpse.
We cannot continue to practice kakistocracy and expect honey as output. How Sad. Does the pattern look familiar to you?
You cannot hold water in your hand, neither can you pocket smoke. We need a holistic approach while the nation cries for all hands to be on deck.
Sierra Leone is still a fragile state and gradually and slowly moving to a failed state. We still have the judiciary which does not look at the implications of their action on the masses but decides what best fit them, their employers and their pockets. The judiciary has lost its credibility and neutrality in this country. Sierra Leone should not always quote bad examples in other countries. For example Liberia postponed its runoff from the 27th Dec to the 4th January. We do not have the same constitution my fiends.
I still have a few questions for the so called judiciary – the High Court:
1. Why did you send police to stop the distribution of election materials when a decision was not yet reached? If you were wise, impartial and neutral, you should have allowed the distribution to proceed but warn NEC not to conduct elections until judgement is passed. The over-exercise of your power and dragging the police into it, had led us to this mess.
You people are not mindful about the slow pace the country is in – schools not functioning well, business and field activities of all sectors have slowed down, movement of people has been limited etc. For example Government Secondary School, Bo has no food and so no student is on campus as they closed since the last election break. If you had allowed those materials to be distributed the election would have proceeded as planned, after your so-called judgement of normally throwing cases out of court.
Sierra Leone’s High and Supreme Courts should be re-branded and given new names. I suggest we call them ‘Thrown out of High Court’ and ‘Thrown Out of Supreme Court; your action has caused thousands of workers who were given election break to return to their offices and travel back to vote on the 31st March 2018, costing huge amount of money and travel inconveniences. You have traumatized millions of Sierra Leoneans by your single indecisive and inconsiderate judgement.Your actions in support of a single person, held millions of voters, observers, the media, workers and the entire state at ransom.
2. Was the matter between APC and SLPP, who are contesting the runoff or just between an individual and NEC?
3. Is the so called individual contesting the presidential election? I was expecting this guy to have sued NEC for the constituency which he lost and not the entire nation? In fact the state should sue this guy to court for holding the entire nation to ransom and for not attending court sitting?
3. Is there any timeline when all electoral cases should be filed in and beyond such a date, no matter will be accepted or investigated?
4. Are there procedures to follow in doing this? For example NEC, PPRC or any other body before moving to court etc?
5. Will NEC not be sued once more to court for postponing the election after the 27th March? Has it got the mandate to do so? If yes, who gave NEC this mandate – Parliament or the citizens?
6. What is the fate of the current President? Has he the constitutional mandate to still be in power after March 27th? If no, what arrangement was made to extend his tenure for a day of two?
I think, we need to review our constitution to reflect a new trend that is unfolding during this current electioneering process. Our constitution should allow any current President whose term has ended to step down during presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.
There is the tendency for excessive and overuse of powers, state resources and other advantages when the president is still in power and conducts elections. Too much interference in the security sector, the police/military, judiciary, civil service, financial institutions, the diplomatic sectors, the press and the general populace, and these are still controlled by that president.
A body should be set up to man the affairs of these three elections. The president should not conduct it or be in power while his party is contesting the elections, even if he is not contesting.
The only way this country will move forward with a fair and credible election outcome will be for the court to throw President Earnest Koroma out of office on March 27 2018 when according to NEC the election should be held and power should be handed over to our new president.
So it’s counterproductive for the president and leader for life of the APC to undermine the integrity of NEC . Just in case this election period is extended for few days or week due to the president’s undercover tactics, the constitution clearly states that the Chief Justice since there is no parliament as we speak should act as the interim president of the runoff election. Hopefully we will have a free and fair outcome without any political interference or intimidation which will likely lead to violence.
My advice to the President is to immediately step aside and give peace a chance because Sierra Leone is bigger than your ego which you are interested in protesting by hand picking your successor (Samura Kamara). And I hope you will finally listen to the voters.