Oh! My God. The power play towards 2017 is in full swing, albeit in hushed tones. But looking at the emerging signs, the political configurations that define success and loss in elections are practically unchanged within the two main parties; neither has the political arena thrown up any new untainted personality.
My fear as like those of a number of others is that Sierra Leone cannot afford the luxury of shallow interlopers at the very beginning of what I pray will be the beginning of a new socio-political culture after years of a flawed and weak democratic culture.
The pathetic path of our political history and ‘democracy’, courtesy of all our political contractors masquerading as leaders, have taken us since independence to the verge of collapse, series of misfortunes ranging from coups, one-party state, civil war, human right abuses, emasculation of the freedom of expression under different guises and the denial of the express wishes of the people via the ballot box.
The virus of political rascality which has left Sierra Leone virtually desolate and in a spiral, often comes to the fore of my thoughts when I read or hear that eight years into what was meant to be an agenda for a new beginning, what we are still being served, is the presentation of fundamental functions of government accompanied by tumultuous aplomb for which the people are meant to be eternally grateful. Most times it is road construction.
The riddle of this continuous tyranny which is supported in the University of Inordinate Ambition and that of the Polytechnic of greed, where our politicians turn water into wine, in a conundrum of failure, is the case that needs the attention of all lovers of true progress.
This is 2015. A decade and a half into the 21st century; and at least a decade of continuous socio-political and economic stability. Yet, our hospitals are still no better than mere consulting clinics; Njala University is reported to have resorted into a shift system. Our schools and indeed the educational sector are in complete tatters. Darkness continues to envelope the nation. Ebola exposed our rear.
Our God-given resources are more in the hands of the new ‘colonialists’, who are busy buying the democracy of developing nations and to whom our leaders, in an insipid display of crass condescension, have willingly handed our future.
We plod on, shepherded down the fantasy island of those who conned us with personal narratives and who simply cover the rot in our corrupt system, with a fig leaf. As a result of their failures, we have become refugees around the world and our country is at the mercy of predators and those who dictate our existence.
The present set of politicians fails to hear or read the latent anger and hunger of the generality of the people. They cannot imagine the pain they cause. Rather, they continue to hoodwink the electorate through a trapdoor of ethnic and political mechanism that leaves the people with very little choice.
Their culture of impunity and phoney man-of-the-people bonhomie, have ensured that a terribly wounded lion is now unleashed into the socio-political space.
Yet, in spite of all the machinations and political infamy by past and present treasury-looters; regardless of the intimidating resources, the lies and deceitful campaigns of power-wielders, there appears in the horizon, an indication of a determined effort by the generality of the people for an end to the wobble and fumble of politicians.
One can sense a new awareness and seriousness in several segments of the society to instigate a new wind of change, through a truly collective participation that will restore power to the people and haul the nation out of the abyss, to which the political elite have steered the ship of state.
Our fifty year lesson is simply that we cannot swap competence and conviction.
Now, our collective subscription to the perpetuation of entrenched corruption in all facets of our society is why we are where we are and the reason why we continue to recycle the same set of leaders and their ‘offspring’.
For so long, we have sat down silently and watched the political class bastardise our society and governance and we have said nothing. We have watched them grab more and more power for themselves and all we did was idolise them the more. As they elevated themselves to the position of ‘gods’ we have bowed down in complicity and worshipped them.
Even when they make a mess of all that they touched, we have clapped and declared such as the result of geniuses. When we yearned for true development and we were instead given token and cosmetic gifts, we jumped up in joy and sang hosanna.
When they screw us, we simply turn around and screw our fellow countrymen and the nation itself. Like the Pied Piper they led us into the present debilitating mess in a style that is as easy on the senses as root canal surgery without anaesthetic and all we did was follow like zombies.
Our leaders became the best thing since slice bread while we endorsed their subordinates by subscribing to the notion that the cow eats where it is tied. They took a sledge hammer to the very soul of our society and even when we knew that those worse than Draculas were on a carnival, we still trooped out to vote for the worse of the lot because of religion, tribe and party.
We can go on and on but the ugly truth is that we are all, in one way or the other, united in the corruption that has damaged the very foundation of our existence and which has left our nation struggling for oxygen.
When the current administration came with its Agenda for Change, we brought out the drums like kids who had never seen wealth before, without looking deep into what was being offered and their enduring values against our pressing needs collectively.
Unbridled greed, hypocrisy and selfishness have all combined to ruin a once glorious, innocent and peaceful nation; and while most of us know the true picture, we keep sealed lips because we are too enmeshed in the crushing failure of good governance.
Our leaders have continued to fail on their mandates to the people and instead, having realised that ninety percent of the uneducated and semi literate that they rule over have become a willing tool, prefer to play up their personality, rather than enunciate principles and indelible standards, beside which future aspirations to public leadership can be eternally measured.
There appears to be a disconnect between the realities of achieving the transformation agenda and the desire to make a true difference in the overall existence of the masses; simply due to the inability to optimise real potential resources. A task, which requires vision, strategy and innovative thinking.
Fact is that unless we return to those institutional structures for selecting and growing our best, we may as well continue to spit in the wind. True change will begin with the reinstatement of true meritocracy.
Right now, the kind of change we want is still beyond the horizon. That change, is one that needs to be instigated by the people themselves, if the nation is to move forward.
So as I hear and watch the sound of the tanks on the lawns, the unsightly polemical contortions coming into view in the renewed political activity, fills me with dread.
Sierra Leone is definitely due some genuine luck. Therefore we need to get the leadership of the country right, next time around. If we do not, there will never again be a strong enough base to carry the errors of the future.
The trend of our socio-economic and political indicators also points to the fact that if we do not initiate a well-planned and organised change that takes cognisance of the down-trodden, we are setting the stage for a violent social whirlwind.
We ignore this fact at our own peril and those who will not see this clarion call for what it is, hopefully will be alive to see the result of the continued neglect of the masses and the outcome of feeding them with cosmetic crumbs from the overflowing tables of our leaders. But I pray it does not reach that stage. Which is why, patriots and champions of equity, justice and true change, need to arise and begin to buffer the growing swell of the dam.
The down-trodden have been dragged through the mud for so long; they have started living like pigs in a pigsty. Things are so bad for those down there, that many have adopted the mentality of that lifestyle and have become conditioned to the fact of their existence as being unchangeable. It is a misnomer of what they were promised. Like a mini-skirt which tantalises but gives nothing away, they have salivated about promised El Dorado
I am not one of the evangelical preachers of any of those whose exciting glint towards 2017 are now being polished or unwrapped.
However, I am aware that every attempt to heal a sick country is an affront to those who benefit from its illness; which is why there is indeed a need for caution in the process of deciding who is championed to lead the new march towards true progress.
It may be two years away, but the battle for the next election is very well underway. Within the ruling party, jostling for vantage positions is reaching a frenetic speed within the various cliques. Even the SLPP, whose cord is virtually stretching to breaking points, has members dusting their fancy clothes.
Publicly, there is the Maada Bio’s Diaspora town meetings and local good deeds, the Yumkella’s boogie fund-raisings at home and abroad as well as the John Benjamin’s calculated octopodial philanthropy; and the bold incursion of a few brave hearts who claim to be ready to take over from the current scamps whose clothes are infested with stardust.
As in all crooked and ill-run political systems, in the midst of this, the truth can no longer be told.
But talk we must. Simply because, as the people’s expectations and hope for a better life remain sky high, the new leadership required must possess real innovative thinking and I’m not sure all the declared actors have the desire or the capacity to think differently and I hold no apologies for that view.
Meanwhile, aside the current dreary cabal politics and governance, those in the execu(thieves), the legis(looters) and the judi(sharing) have abandoned their oversight functions, as they peacockly strut the land under the assumption that the deregulation of our very national existence, especially our natural resources, now and post-Ebola, is a panacea for the miracle that has not occurred in the last eight years.
But forget Ebola for now because despite it, tomorrow still looms large on the horizon of the future of Sierra Leone; where the consequences of our unmitigated regression in all critical spheres of national life, has left us struggling to catch a whiff of the trailing dusts of some of the countries that got independence about the same time as we did or even shortly after us.
Small minds, who see my reflections on the necessity of a national conversation and also a new value orientation, as well as the need for reformation at all levels, only in their often theatrical, short-term, myopic and partisan perspective, can be pardoned for not catching the view of the imperative of outlining the politics and the developments of at least the last eight years, which has left the people who jumped on the Agenda for Change, so exasperated.
Demoralised and deeply broken, the ‘common man, watches gleefully and run political commentaries on the injustices of our leaders while wondering how all the vague promises and ‘Barbie-doll transformation’ affects the price of rice or even foofoo.
Our beloved Sierra Leone, sits atop a volcano of potentially dire social discontent, which is probably why those who care, ought to be worried by the latent clamour for change which is particularly building momentum on social media and is beginning to permeate the mass of the underprivileged that have been neglected for so long in the general scheme of things. Obviously, sooner than later, it will take root and nurture an enduring attitude as well as the concrete outline in terms of positive impact on social being of the mass of our people.
We have a responsibility to educate the generality of the people and to assist them to take over and see for themselves; which may trigger a revolution faster. Indeed I believe that there is a need for external impetus to focus us right; in the guise of a leader whose head is screwed on and who possesses exemplary leadership qualities. The people are capable of change when inspired by a righteous cause.
Transformation can only happen in a country where the power sector is in comatose and where corruption of all kinds, continues to ravage the polity, if we as a people, start doing things right. We should never encourage, support or idolise anyone. We can start the change and cannot afford to wait for anyone else to change us.
Our decadence and failures today have been largely caused by the failures of our entire previously working moral and other institutions, which, without a single exception, have now collapsed. We need to go back to basics and make them to work
Imagine the IMC, a government creation expected to serve as a moral latitude, refusing to obey a court directive and going into confrontation with the legal system. Rightly or wrongly, the rule of law, which is often touted as one of the achievements of the current administration, demands compliance. Yet the IMC can bear its fangs against individuals and media organisations perceived as anti-government or anti-individual lackeys, simply because of government backing. A tiger that roars, only when its strings, are pulled from the seat of power, where the control mechanism resides.
Which is why, as I glance ahead towards 2017, there seems a sense of déjà vu. Because all that I can see so far, is a branch of those who have consistently failed to realise their mission and have consistently sabotaged the aspirations of the poor ordinary man desperate for change. There is no one yet, with a co-ordinated and determined effort for the establishment of the process for this desired change.
What the nation needs, is a principled-based struggle. What we collectively need to do, is to identify a competent arrow-head with the burning desire for such a reform and not those who want to capitalise on the murky waters of the euphoria for a better society.
In politics, you play for tomorrow by proper positioning today. The doctrine of necessity demands that the clamour for change is led by someone who is focussed like a laser if the process is not to suffer premature ejaculation. I fear that if those clamouring for change are not extremely careful in the process and search for that change, the players will soon become the ball.
We need our Sierra Leone back. Anyway and anyhow. The people need to fight for what is true and indisputably, their inheritance and domain. They cannot sit idly by and continue to allow the political class to continue to ride roughshod on their well-being or remain forlornly in their little corners as they swallow the lies of politics as usual.
The mistakes of the past is what has left the streets of our beloved Sierra Leone still soaked with the drying blood of fellow countrymen, while the sweat and tears of those, whose loud cries about the unending pain of the people and the desecration of everything that is good about the nation, are being shouted down or tainted by the huge machinery of those in power.
The unification of minds of ordinary people this time around will certainly steer the country away from this famished road, and put the country on the new road to change and recovery.
Things would never be the same again because once we stop to revere an individual to the detriment of the truth, there will be change. Without a shadow of doubt, true change is on its way.