Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 March 2015
I am not really dumb enough to draw from my realm of imagination, the fanciful idea that the contraption presently known and called Sierra Leone, is anything near the entity that was wrestled from the British colonialists.
Today though, our story is a tale of a failed state. A pitiable advert of self-rule. It has become a big contract that attracts termites.
It is the playground of the bulldog. It is the chessboard of vampires in human skin, who are ready to put the rest of us between the chipping blades of their deadly guillotine.
But despite the nondescript country that we have finally turned the nation into, I will not subscribe to the idea in some quarters that we be re-colonised.
True, the process of ensuring that we do not end up a banana republic is long and weary; and likewise drastic filth like the one in which we find ourselves, requires drastic cleansing.
I do not however believe that our solution is unearthing the ghost of Napoleonic rule as a magic phrase.
It is true that the people are weary and no longer have hope and trust in their leadership.
But isn’t it a bit contradictory that a potential leader of our beloved nation, wants us to reach out to outsiders to solve one of the key reasons why the barometer of our development remains in the drop-zone?
Is he trying to say that as a nation, we cannot find the magic cure for our problems outside the clinics of those who turned us to hypochondriacs, laid the foundation for our inherent predicament and have continued to surreptitiously prevent our progress, through their national policies and the actions of their citizens?
By subscribing to the ludicrous notion that our credibility can only be restored by the intervention of a (foreign) Special Judicial Commission – headed by a Chairman, preferably a Senior Judge from the United Kingdom, appointed by the British Government, after more than half a century of independence, is an indication that Sierra Leone’s salvation is far from near.
In the fifteenth year of the 21st century, it is preposterous to suggest that we advertise to the world our incapacity for a dynamic and efficient self-government. We might as well cede our governance to foreign agents. (Oops, I forgot we are doing that to a large degree already).
But then, where is that patriotism that propelled our forefathers and other compatriots to lay down their lives, to not only secure independence, but also to ensure that the country’s heritage for the future generation is one of hope and progress?
Apart from the national indignity, were he to be the head of state and his administration is subjected to such a suggestion, would he be avowed to that? Why should we embark on such a retrogressive step?
It is sad that suggestions like the one being peddled, raise the valid question about whether those who aspire to lead us actually gauge the potency of their submissions, which shapes the thoughts and vision of the ordinary masses.
The romantic connotations that are often spewed by role models, who see everything foreign as the gospel truth or the panacea for all our problems, continue to be one of the major impediments to the true reformation of our dysfunctional society.
This same perverted societal value that instills in us the notion that, we can never govern ourselves and that the white man is always better, is one of the reasons why we are where we are. Yet, we read about the scandals of the British parliamentarians and the perverted nature of some of their judges.
Aside that, the call fails to realise that the ‘special one’ has to rely on the internal machinery of our government, judiciary and the politically-tainted civil service to carry out his duties.
Given the toga of greed and desperation on display, how on earth do we think the magician of a judge is going to succeed? Remember the experience of so-called international electoral observers?
Look at our mines and our choice resources and you’ll see the hand of the White-man in our continued, inexcusable and inexplicable dawdling.
Anyway, going down that route fails to give recognition to the effort of the auditor-general in laying bare the depth of the deviousness of the political class and their cohorts, who seem to have vowed to hold us all to ransom with impunity and unbridled arrogance.
To even imagine that there is not a single human being in Sierra Leone that is capable of doing the best thing in the interest of the nation – if given the opportunity, is not only demoralising, it is unpatriotic and arrogant nonsense. It is deceitful political reinvention of the wheels.
Apart from the rhetoric it churns out occasionally, I am yet to see a bullish attempt to change the status quo from its own representatives in parliament, who are also beneficiaries of the rotten system that we operate.
Let’s not forget the minority party leader’s strenuous effort at defending the indefensible, when news of the largess to parliamentarians first broke out at the onset of the Ebola crisis?
Without a shadow of doubt, the class of leaders that we have in the country today – across the political spectrum, are people without credibility and the requisite traits of patriotism.
Calls for foreign intervention in what is essentially a national affair, coupled with the non-performance, seeming rascality and nonchalance being exhibited by the ruling party and the near moribund opposition, offers the outside world, the convincing view that the complexities of Sierra Leone tend to vanish in the binary view.
True, the present administration has been a classic advert for turmoil and scandals; and a cynic might even wonder if the audit brouhaha is not deliberately bubbling in the press, for the purpose of divide and rule as well as image laundering for the government.
Nevertheless, in turning it into a pointless bitch fight, rather than seizing the opportunity to force the government to reform the system and become accountable and more transparent, we have succeeded in turning it into a situation of the bland leading the bemused.
Post Ebola is the sort of examination where a pass is required to justify any chest-beating claim. If we fail to seize avenues for national introspection, such as presented by the Audit report, we would lose the moment of glory to let the government know that it failed one specific paper – the final one.
One can go on and on. But let’s see all these as issues of national significance, which we need to ponder on, and come up with sound policies and a national cohesion plan, so that this project called Sierra Leone may have a meaning for future generations.
The truth is that, both the national cake and the current generation of politicians are like a radioactive substance – their import and impact is decaying exponentially!
Just watch, some will still be strutting around like players when they have actually become the ball!
The truth is, no matter with what tinted glasses we look at it, collectively as a people we have to reform. We have to ensure that a few in power do not continue to ride roughshod over the rest of us because of the flaws of our society.
We have to stop this fantasy gobbets of misinformation and opinion moulding, whereby those in leadership positions in or outside of government ensure that smoke is always coming out of their over-heating hype machine to leave us too busy wiping our tears, than see our commonwealth being carted away.
Perhaps equally as pertinent though, is the fact that what we need now is to start challenging the status quo and drag our socio-political system screaming and kicking into the modern age, rather than take backward steps.
This is the time for national soul searching on why we are getting it wrong. A time for sombre reflection on why we are not developing as a people and a nation.
How come we are still unable to curb or minimise the predatory and parasitic instincts of our political elites?
Do we hold our leaders accountable for their actions and even inactions? So if we cannot rise up as a people and make them accountable, how then can we make progress?
Is it the one-off foreign searchlight that will solve the problem permanently?
The boat of colonisation has long sailed away. And any attempt to yearn for those glorious past, instead of being phenomenal, is unfortunately a phoney trek. It does not inspire confidence, nor show that there are men with vision, mission, skill and verve to pull Sierra Leone out of the woods.
At independence, the future was bright. Over half a decade after, the nation is in pains. How can we change anything if we lack the courage and wisdom for change, and when our best effort is to put all our hopes in unknown soldiers?
I have said it on numerous occasions that every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself to a people to put their personal and short-term interests aside and make a collective decision that will impact the journeys of many future generations.
What we have now, is that in this increasingly selfish, materialistic and corrupt world of ours, our present predicament is reminding us that what will have a lasting and truly meaningful effect for generations to come, can be achieved by civilised, passionate debate and discussion on those things that are wrong with us.
A run of serial leadership failure has kept our nation crawling, but the reality is that all segments of the society – the government, opposition and the people have performed within the failure range.
Just like the western world that we adore – thrives on its knowledge structure, we too need to map out our own structure that takes cognisance of our culture and idiosyncrasies.
Where is the voice of sanity in the current hysteria and insanity?
Our problems require commando teams and tactics and not huge infantries.
Let’s remember that only those who are within can do something from within. We need to shape up, knuckle down and change the system by force if need be.
The change will happen in spite of us, not because of us.
Our future is in our hands and the change must begin now. Our collective desire for our welfare will provide the needed impetus that will propel the desired change.
With a recourse to such negativity, the future seems empty, even quaint. How sad.