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A Stone Cold Cell

By Titus Boye-Thompson 

You cannot help but feel for the guy. How hath the mighty fallen? It is always a loser’s game, politics. The only sure outcome of a politician is failure because come what may, you have to relinquish that which you fought so hard to cultivate, power. I am also pleased to have been spared the sight that a colleague admitted to have encountered. He caught Richard Konteh being led into Pademba Road Prisons. I do not wish him ill for the simple reason that we are all fallible, even gullible at times to think we can ride through any storm in politics. So it is not an easy life to be in the public domain because like most prisoners in there, Richard will swear his innocence to everyone who cares to listen and so would all the other jailers there, feigning empathy with him. ‘Bra me sef, na lie den lie pan me wey make ar don spend six months nar ya so’.

The complexity of his situation is not assisted by the fact that he is related to President Koroma. In this game, His Excellency loses out twice. He would have been vexed by Richard being caught out and then again castigated by other relatives who would have expected his hand to stop things going thus far. For him, that is the most agonizing part of his ordeal. How does he look Richard in the face and say to him “my hands were tied?” I feel also for H.E. He will not get through this unscathed, no matter what he says or do. The measure of him though is his steadfastness on taking a decision. For now, no one dares call the name of Richard Konteh before him or within hear-shot and that makes the case even more unpleasing. The matters under consideration in this case will now come out into the public domain.

Those who rushed to judgment against him will have the chance for their stance to be tested. I cannot say openly that Richard is my friend nor would I admit to a silent loathing of him. But yes, he gave me an unfavorable response when I went to him for his support at one time. He gave me short shrift on another occasion when all he had to do was kept to his promises to me. That said, our relationship was always cordial and he always had time to see me when I knocked on his door. Apparently, his meekness or ease of approach does not help him here but nonetheless, that may count for something when the chips are all up in the air.

Will he make any revelations that would harm those he left up there in power, I cannot say. I know he will nurse his grudges and plan his revenge but how much good will that do him?

Politics is a game played by only the brave. Some with the experience of these things warn their children and relatives away from politics with such vigour as much as a caring parent would warn their girl child away from an unserious boy in the neighborhood. Funny though that such girls do come home with a more unserious man from somewhere else later on in life and in just the same way as some of us get ourselves into politics against the wishes of our forebears.

The simple truth is that as one grows up, the socialization, and the care for others does get into your psyche and steer you into that career which you may know would end up to your chagrin. Do we see the signs? Not in all cases but then again, we do keep our eyes on those who have managed to steer a clear path in politics and have made a mark for themselves and their kin.

Nelson Mandela, a man whom I met in my formative years in politics and community engagement, gave me the assurances that going for what your heart tells you is true must not diminish your expectations even if the outcomes do tend to be scary at times. Success in politics, he told me, is never measured by what you see as your achievements but by what others can account as your contribution to the enhancement of their lives.

The test is whether some may attest to things that Richard Konteh did that contributed to the enhancement of their lives. A hard call if we are to go by the allegations against him, that he caused this nation to lose revenue by bad representation. It is just as if he is being told that he scored badly in a Latin test. There should be a moral in this for watchers and practitioners in politics, not in my purview to expatiate though….more anon!