RANDOM MUSING: Are the Dark Nights of Our Political Soul Making a Comeback?

Right now, Sierra Leone is like a bridge broken at the farther end.

Our conflicting interests are not only making national identity and total reconciliation so problematic, the lack of collective, coherent and cohesive focus, as well as the range of political identities, debilitating social and economic interests and ethnic histories, also offers a compelling depiction of the decadence of our society.

Right now all sorts of snide remarks are making the rounds, especially after the recent parliamentary debacle which prompted the opposition presidential flag bearer, to naively reach out to President Koroma (Can’t understand what that is meant to achieve)  not to put his signature to the legislative changes in the pipeline.

Actually, the murmurs about fifth columnists helping to lay the groundwork of a coordinated agenda for political perpetuation by the ruling party started well before the last election and have continued to gain momentum. What is not clear is whether it is sour grapes; angry reaction to the widespread defection to the APC by disgruntled SLPP elements or the fact that the ruling party’s domination is assuming a colossus stature and a once dormant legislature has suddenly woke up from its slumber.

Whatever the truth, I say without equivocation, that the last thing the millions of Sierra Leoneans who bear the brunt of the licentious and imperious presence of the political class and the exceptional contempt for good governance by the ruling elite, need at this period of time, is for those in power to unleash an agenda that has the potential to ruin all the fragile components of our collective socio-economic and political existence.

After the senseless civil war that dragged us back into the Stone Age, it is imperative for those wielding power at this point to ensure that there is no arrogant and unjustified display of power which has the potential to lead to conflict or violence.

What political leaders and indeed the rest of us should also not forget, is that the spectre of the past, returning at this stage in the political cycle, will amount to a savage drama that parades the failings of our political system, the society's sense of inadequacy and the lack of moral scruples in the very fabric of our nation.

It simply means that we as a nation have NOT LEARNT ANYTHING. It will succinctly be a reminder that all we have done is to paper over the cracks in our very heart and that politicians are not interested in cleaning up their in-house morass which left us at the bus stop of backwardness.

While I simply do not share in the increasing tittle-tattle of a deliberate attempt by the present government to establish a de-facto one-party state, it would be trite to say that its  conduct and eerie silence to the increasing fears of a segment of the society, following events of the past fifteen months especially, is not worrisome.

By not emphatically putting a halt to such divisive and potentially incendiary issues and by allowing it to fester at a time when the priority should be getting national policies right and meeting the people's need for jobs, housing and good wages, the government should be prepared to take political responsibility for any unrests and discontent that might ensue, if the idea grows into full blown discontent.

Because to a segment of the society, indications from the dummy political runs and shenanigans on display in Sierra Leone today, is that the government intends to truly go down the line of Siaka Stevens. That there is a rabbit to be pulled out of the hat, in a blitz of political razzmatazz.

Although if this happens, then I think the opposition SLPP should take a long hard look at itself for unwitting collusion and complicity in the process and for allowing the ruling party to don the gift handed to it by a factious opposition.

The truth is that it is the travails of the opposition parties that have given the controlling government, a riding hat in an open patch of field for its political plaything, where it can marry its ambition with realities and sink its teeth deeper into the political pie.

Fair enough, in allowing mud-slinging to overshadow serious issues and with the recent legislative amendment which smirks of political arrogance by those who should be the custodians of our laws; (especially when a constitutional review is supposed to be in the pipeline) as well as the recent vigorous tug-of-war with the media, pointers are towards a calculated intent by the nation’s leadership to change the political landscape and give it a lick of red paint as much as possible.

But then this is not new and emphatically we need to realise that it is the inability of the SLPP and other opposition parties to get their acts together and play their role effectively, that has given the government the leeway to, if at all it has such plans, attempt to push through, any sinister agenda which its leadership believes will help build a legacy for the ruling party.

It is true that we have a habit of airbrushing our nation's history, especially when sheep and lions lie down together for sumptuous meals and the defence of their realm, but I do not share the hysterics about the possibility of an emerging one party state.

Ordinarily, the issue would have been one to ignore with a dismissive yawn but knowing the manner in which the opposition were rendered ineffective before the last general election, it ill behove patriots to totally take their eyes off the ball; just in case for once, the wolf’s cry is not totally false.

Without doubt, the type of politics being practiced in this part of the world inflicts reputation-carnage on an already shifty-looking political class and of course there is always something about the second term of incumbent leaders when they suddenly see power, pomp and the trappings of leadership floating away from them.

But unless those in power have taken leave of their senses, I cannot for the life of me see how going down this route will be considered as an imperative political lifeline for Sierra Leone or a very welcome move to be embraced by the generality of the populace.

For one, none of the current actors has the savvy of a Siaka Stevens nor is the society as emasculated as during the reign of that ‘dictator’.

Therefore, apart from having all the chemistry of a stink bomb, the issue is about as popular as malaria in the rainy season; or pork in a mosque, except to some leeches in the corridors of government who cannot still fathom out the consequences of the late Siaka Stevens conducting national affairs, as if it was a personal orchestra.

However, a thorough search of the metaphoric dustbins will reveal that a big chunk of our history has always being about fighting against political domination under various guises and struggling against each other for freedom.

So today, there are sufficient reasons for those who may want to make an attempt to take us back to the dark days of dogmas that have proved to spell nothing but disasters, to appreciate that the nation is not in the mood for such manoeuvres, which will only create riveting theatrics around the real state of our socio-economic and political problems.

The people yearn for a better life for themselves not the perpetuation of glory for a few.

The deliberate creation of apathy; and the pantomime surrounding our politics, as well as attacks, abuse and sound bites, not only erode democracy but it also puts a damper on the legitimacy of every administration and scare decent individuals away from serving the nation.

True there is doubt in several quarters about the integrity of those in the executive; and emanating signals, impugn the honesty of the judiciary. Yes, the legislature is showing that they are not morally qualified to exercise the duty of being the conscience of the people and the fourth estate of the realm – the media- is virtually like a watchdog asleep in the yard.

But, no matter the irrelevance of the opposition, to toss the future of Sierra Leone as well as the will of the people into the ocean, like an unwanted catch, for the sake of personal ambition would not only be catastrophically heart-breaking, it will confirm my submission once, that ninety percent of us are muguns, five percent semi muguns and the others are those leading us by the nose.

We may not be on the cusp of a new nation but we cannot deny the fact that if we share a cherished national aspiration, then a new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past.

OK. The disparities of wealth and the extremely high level of poverty has created a subservient populace as well as a high level of sycophancy; while an ingrown and corrupt political system plagues the country. However, the masses have always often been able to see through to the bottom of hypocritical and self-serving agendas, no matter how refined or enticing they are repackaged.

Even though it appears that the present administration has no inclination to rein in the runaway rumour- beast and events within the three arms of government all seems to fit a pattern, we cannot allow the pedestal of hope on which Sierra Leone now stands, to wobble; nor our common purpose and coherent idea of where we want to be, to flounder.

There are many unanswered questions about what exactly is the political direction of the country but one thing is sure, our common future depends on the actions and plans of our leaders, whether in government or the opposition.

Together, they now have a historical opportunity to open the door to hope and the possibility of a better future for all. Bread-and-butter issues, particularly at a time of economic crisis, are more pressing.

Amidst the continuing dire poverty, massive inequality and rampant corruption, things will only get better when the government steps up and actually concentrate on providing the cardinal requisites of qualitative education, adequate housing and gainful employment for the people.

While those in the corridors of power might be inured to whatever is being said and may be ready to expend energy on irrelevant and possible suicidal legacies, let the well-connected coterie of think-tankers, political advisers and groveling supporters help the government concentrate its focus on how practical solutions on the above social needs can come to full fruition.

If not, then as President Obama reiterated, “There are too many people who happily embrace Mandela’s legacy of racial and political reconciliation but passionately resist even modest reforms that would change chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Mandela’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people”.

We can only add then that there are many leaders who grab power or have it thrust on them; but find it difficult to let go, like Mandela.

Whether the current storm of cynicism, divisionary tactics and alleged sinister motives will die so quickly; or, whether it is the equivalent of two bald men fighting over a comb, is the key question.

Anyway, the stable door appears to be bolted; but is that a horse we are seeing on the horizon?

About CEN 755 Articles
Critique Echo Newspaper is a major source of news and objective analyses about governance, democracy and human-right. Edited and published in Kenema city, eastern Sierra Leone, the outlet is generally referred to as a level plying ground for the youths, women and children.

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