We need to water the perishingly shrivelling tree of national unity – Op ed

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 September 2023:

Today mocks yesterday without appreciating the fact that tomorrow, it will also become the same yesterday.

None of the actors in our crisis-ridden political environment is solely responsible for our present national problems. It is a combination of the ordinary Sierra Leonean, the APC, CoPP as well as the SLPP and several other combinations of political and economic forces put together, that bear responsibility for everything that is wrong with Sierra Leone today.

There is no doubt that it is also the mismanagement of the past, which some of those who want to now play Moses, never warned us about, that has led us to where we are today. We are seeing the products of generations of leaders and followers shouting equity with a mouth full of dirt; but nurtured on a diet of impunity, inattention to service delivery, lack of patriotism as well as a sense of entitlement. Coupled with widespread corruption, tribalism, and gross incompetence among others, the inevitable is what is playing out today.

Above all, it is our continued collective complicity as a people that keeps exposing the carcass of our inherent issues and ensure the tsunami of our national disorientation is on high velocity wind. Those we call leaders have very little blame on how they trample on us since we made ourselves pivotal ready-made weapons despite our growing hunger and thirst. We clamber like dogs in the day barking their names and supporting the very same people who have been the caterpillars destroying our commonwealth.

But, as we envision a better future, then, it becomes imperative that we engage in genuine conversation (as opposed to the current shouting match) if we are to reposition our country for peace and prosperity. And before we all start carrying cutlasses and kidnapping albinos in place of the over-flogged white man,in our bid to push the boundaries of ethno-social politics past the point of no return, we need to appreciate one fundamental truth – majority of Sierra Leoneans are exhausted by dark days of suffering and long nights of pain and despair caused mostly by the political class, through actions and inactions, irrespective of the colour of the symbol.

Make no mistake though, inevitably, the wilderness is still the road to Canaan. I am not saying Sierra Leone is where it needs to be. Far from it. However, considering where we are coming from, we should put in context progress made and ongoing, in our discourse. Today, it is Maada Bio, tomorrow it would definitely be someone else. Yet, it is our future and that of generations unborn, that is at stake. It is our tomorrow that is being made to go up in bonfires and regression.

An insightful look at some of the self-delusion and bigoted statements, which are causing unnecessary arguments and hatred among the people now, confirms my long-held fear that we have lost all sense of morality, and nothing is too sacred for us. It makes my heart bleed for who we have become.

But the truth is that our political class is full of scammers, schemers, hypocrites, and jokers. Indeed, as you continue to study the national landscape, you’ll see nothing but ‘the audacity of hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of competence.’ Which is why politicians are forcing our reasoning, pummelled by years of division, to commit suicide on the altar of partisanship, ethnicity and the delusion of the afterlife that makes it difficult for the masses to shrug off the dependence on whatever slogan and addiction they are fed.

The rubbish being spewed on social media about the country in general has become a singsong of the lost mind and to see rival parties flying the flag of patriotism and yet full of disdain and hatred for one another; even as they unkindly sacrifice the interest of the nation on the altar of their practice of politics, is akin to dripping poultice.

Truth is bitter but better. To those whose primary asinine dream and fantasy is the destabilisation of the nation, I’ll simply say keep undermining your country’s reputation and the integrity of its institutions and processes because you found some particular outcomes contrary to your narrow expectations.

Obviously where political priorities are concerned, truth finds it difficult to breath and so we resort to the low-hanging-fruit syndrome. But conscious of the cost of how past fraudulent claims and political subterfuge have haunted us, those who have been unleashing the dogs of hell on our streets in a political calculation to defenestrate the mythical political might of the current administration and are said to be planning several more, are forcing a reaction that means the psychodrama is going to be one hell of a long-running block buster.

Unfortunately, when some of us bring the monster to the slaughter stable…the butchers of Lebanon will fight tooth and nail with all weapons of mass destruction… insults, political colouration and deceit that has all the appeals of a dose of monkeypox.

Some of these angry people and propaganda machineries, especially on the most vicious social media, whose very textbook definition of cerebral dissonance is an attempt at gaslighting the gullible masses, live in their own bubble, where they spit, urinate, sweat, and bring out wind from their rear to take the public space and skew conversations in favour of their agenda, without giving the agenda away. They enjoy the sty and call it the new scent in town. They peacock but are hardly the juice worth the squeeze.

It is all part of freedom of speech and opinion; and yet, is it not interesting that no single disgruntled element has come out with a result to demonstrate and confirm alleged fiddling of the electoral process, yet they keep stoking a time of heightened national storm and stress and shifting the dial of our national issues with absurd delusion of grandeur, nauseating arrogance, and infantilised open sewer of singsong from the lost mind of politicasters.

Eventually the masquerade will be unmasked but the significance of this matter is the commitment to rules and processes especially in the futility of their chase. This is arrant nonsense. Elections are over. It’s time to wear thinking caps and proffer solutions to myriads of problems confronting Sierra Leone. That is not through blackmail and absolute disregard for the rule of law which is the lyric of their anthem.

Likewise, what an irony that some of these fellows responsible for the continued denigration of Sierra Leone and trying their darndest best to drag the noble image of the country into such basal state of anomies which has ultimately backfired, spilling yoke all over their faces, are unmindful of backing all of us into a corner with their bridled tetchiness, ideological blindness, self-righteousness, and viciousness. (Now you know why the cry lingers all day). Sadly, power, position and glory belong to the Almighty God NOT HUMAN BEINGS.

Fair enough, a man whose lover promises to come at night, hears the footsteps of the spirits. As a result of our very broken narrative, corrosive division, and historical monumental and catastrophic disasters, especially of the last three decades, the enemies of progress under the garb of a righteous jihad are taking us on a sobering journey into time – a journey gathering hailstones, lightning and thunder, hypocritical intolerance, blatant political arrogance, and gross misunderstanding of the fact that politics is more of a game of brains and not emotions.

The dripping sound I’m hearing from their phallus is that of a crushing nadir of offensive and acidic urine and not progress; or peace; where statesmanship is needed. Don’t they get it? Elections Are Over. The world has moved on. While it is common for leaders to have divergent views, it’s crucial to align criticism and complaints with reality, and to premise discourse on tangible results; rather than delving into some inexplicable, illogical, irrational, scarcely digestible and barely conceivable narratives which do not provide the complete picture.

The desperation on display, especially in the past year, which has spawned many an emotion, caused death and mayhem; profiled and stigmatised parts of the country and cut the cords of ethnic peace and amity in our society makes it abundantly clear that we need to stop deceiving and deluding ourselves.

All it has done, is to reveal the real truth and challenges that Sierra Leone faces. A battle that will not go away, even if we, as usual, ‘elect’ to bury it, rather than acknowledge it, understand it, and own up to it.

Because if nothing else, the heightened socio-political developments, give a concrete indication to the fact that we do not have shared values for a national project that puts the country at the centre of our collective dream and unites us in the drive for that attainment. Truth must be told that anyone who is not bringing us together is consciously tearing us apart.

As touched on previously, it just amounts to my own minuscule contribution to perhaps stir the conversation that could lead to solutions for the innumerable problems inhibiting our people. Many of which are a cause of external influences. And most definitely also, a result of our own indigenous negative machinations.

Undeniably, there are things wrong and the new direction’s five years in office invites deconstruction and energetic interrogation by all Sierra Leoneans, from several angles. There might also be some element of truth in the belief in some quarters that unbearable hardships, colossal inefficiency, crass nepotism, and a creeping but dangerous tribal sentiments riffing through the nation is what has awakened some hearts to a sense of guilt and a desire for amendment.

But let us not fool ourselves with the tale of a newfound messianic zeal, by those beneath the shadow of the night, who are trying to occupy a place of honour. So, for whomever you worship’s sake, I plead, let no one make any attempt to justify the increasing stand-off, mayhem and socio-political and ethnic conflagration in any shape or form.

For those who have not only chosen to support this morally hollow incubator of fratricidal psychosis, but who also make feeble attempts at defending this politically adulterous episode; in addition to tying it to the cost-of-living crisis, may posterity reward you accordingly. We are destroying a generation that is upcoming and needs to be built by feeding them with lies. Period.

When your eyes are determined to only look for bad things to see and say about your country, you will not see benefits. Your eyes will show you what your minds want it to see, because the challenge is your mindset about Sierra Leone, not necessarily Sierra Leone. The conundrum: A pathway to nationhood?

Watch other nationals and you will notice that they attack their leaders, but they don’t attack their country. They promote their nations. But in Sierra Leone, we attack our leaders by attacking our country. We strangulate our national development larva, for our personal sentiments. But remember, leaders come and go, but Sierra Leone is forever. Those who are not proud of their country are free to continue their propaganda group and engage with their cohorts. But please stop using the nation for seditious agenda.

Very soon we will leave you to engage in a fruitless moonlight dance without drums and do whatever you like while the comprehensive show finds expression in the train that has left the station. It shall sooner than later reach its destination, which is real change. Either on this or other journeys down the line.

We must tell ourselves the truth. The change we all hanker to behold in this country will never be realised until we change ourselves. It begins with us. The truth is always the truth.

Most of us cannot possibly predict how our progressive evolution will occur. But I’m confident it shall happen eventually. Humanity can only take unmitigated abject dysfunction for so long before they can’t take it anymore. We’ve got to wrest our destinies from rogue leader. We can do it hoping. We must look inwards.

Even in the midst of all our failings and failures, there are quite a few things good about the country. Let’s not always de-market our country. Let us also project the good side and prevent phlegm spitters from owning the narratives.

Now, eyeglasses tinted with ethnicity, religion or politics will never give you a clearer vision of any plain object. We should not continue to pretend or be hypocritical about what is going on in the land, lest we package, yet again, a ‘war’ seemingly won today, but a much-more destructive ‘battle’ for generations unborn to tackle – a horrible legacy that will surely be for this generation. The suffering of others comes with a price. Know this and know peace. We will pay later, or our children and grandchildren will pay. Remember, payment comes in different forms.

Sierra Leoneans – as you forward those destructive write ups on our leaders and the nation, remember that each of your wrong action or inaction can destroy our national entity. Think, think.

I am not talking about any party; I am talking about our national Heritage. some are using the youth to destroy the future and heritage they will inherit. WELL, DONE.


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