By: Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
As I write, there are reports of frenetic activities happening or simmering in the diplomatic and political circles. The details are not known beyond what the winds and their dry, rustling leaves tell. But as the pseudo-feudal virus of political impunity jumps and transcend decency, the warning by John Pepper Clark that: “war casualties always go beyond those who started a fire and now cannot put it out” willsuffice.
Because whatever might be going on, it is disheartening to see how the opposition has taken advantage of our carelessness, deliberate ignorance, collective amnesia, socio-ethnic division, and the absence of truths of history, morals, and values, to hedge us into a political quagmire by trampling on the remnants of our pride, for their shoddy, incompetent, selfish, visionless, and self-serving attempt to capture state power and by extension the commonwealth.
Even in the smug world of African politics, the hubris demand of the opposition for countries with suspect democratic credentials to force an independent Sierra Leone to cancel its elections and probably install them, instead of working assiduously to kibosh any damage to Sierra Leone’s glorious future, is startling and ludicrous.
For political actors with subversive agenda and their collaborators who claim to love Sierra Leone, the continued demand that a USA, whose own election as led by Trump who begged openly for Georgia to rig results and sent thugs to claim a pyric mandate, should arm-twist our democratic process and government into submission, not only show the shape of their moral compass, but speaks volume about their determination to shove their delusions down the oesophagus of many of us.
The political impasse, good dollop of insincerity and cacoethes of war mongering, being mendaciously organized in the political realm in cahooted propaganda with some enemies of our progress, to “disarm and paralyse those in power” and by extension, the rest of us who are looking up to a Sierra Leone on the trail of a better tomorrow, will not only boomerang but the poisonous toxins and tragic coda of it might just lead to unintended consequences and our overall detriment if we continue to play the ostrich, seeing no evil.
British and other observers who are said to have described the poll’s results as lacking integrity and transparency must be serious jokers who are displaying gross disrespect for the seven million odd Sierra Leoneans and our national sovereignty with an ingenious packaging of their reason, since an election’s integrity is a farce. Just cast your mind back to how the British Prime Minister emerged in an abracadabra process without a mandate from the people.
For one, it is only sheer ignorance, mischief, and partisanship for extraneous reasons, by ‘exalted observers’ not to realise that if there are irregularities as being claimed, then each party would be guilty, as it is common practice to try one funny thing or the other in areas where each group is strong.
based on the evidence, arguments, and more importantly, the lack of statutory and case law precedents for the removal of an inaugurated President, it would be interesting to see how the current mediated dialogue, pans out for the compromise being sought by those who have always been determined to make the country ungovernable in a plea bargain for soft landing for their nefarious past.
Nevertheless, if the Bio administration, whose mixed messages continue to nit-pick; even as its reaction appears behind the curve, succumbs to this latent political blackmail and international arm-twisting by those whose love is to see a dystopian Sierra Leone society, beneficial to their cause, as well as local, faceless, predatorial morality-police, just to justify peaceful co-existence and placate a handful of individuals, then it would have failed in its avowed new direction of radical re-orientation as a key to reclaiming the country for future generations.
The implication of acceding to such action, is the institution of a recurring decimal in the national political scheme; where all losers who do not like the outcome of an election, will use blackmail as an ace in the pack by bad-mouthing the country and setting it out for the hangman’s noose.
It must be remembered that our actions and choices are forever recorded in the annals of history where it constantly reminds us of our triumphs, failures, good deeds, and missteps. Our legacy will be judged by history, and it is up to us to strive to impact the honour and sovereignty of our nation positively.
Let us not forget that it is the duty of patriots, intellectuals, and lovers of peace, to expose outright lies and sheer propaganda, which as a result of our not being alive to our responsibility years ago, caused the lives of hundreds of thousands of our fellow countrymen and women in an internecine war. It was the price of our collective endorsement of improprieties in the public space that allowed charlatans to fill the vacuum and manipulate fellow compatriots into the destructive ethno-political division still tearing the nation apart today.
It’s time for us to take back our power and stand up against the disgraceful actions of and assault on our institutions. Whatever, the perceived irregularities and imperfections, the fact that a total of 36.6 percent of Sierra Leoneans bothered to take part in the June 2023 election and only 15 percent were from the losing opposition, is an indication that the losers prefer to hold the nation by the jugular because they want to rule at all costs.
Perhaps it can’t be too trite to argue that this year’s poll is possibly more contentious and consequential than that which caused us to fear what could happen to dogs and baboons were they to be drenched in blood in 2018, but now is the time to take a hard look at the country and speak straight to all those who have given the impression that they could fix the nation while ignoring the basic reason why the load on the head of a man with crooked legs remains permanently unbalanced.
Evidently, Sierra Leoneans are tired and emotionally exhausted because of the trauma of years of bad leadership that has trapped them for so long and left our nation behind in global development indices. Their desire for growth, security, stability, and well-being has been suffocated by those who are prisoners of their ideological bigotry.
This is our current reality as a nation and people. However, we need to move past this conundrum.
It is expeditiously vital for us to begin a retrospective soul search. What do we want as a people?
Do we want responsible men with integrity and values to occupy positions of authority, or do we want charlatans and those who scandalously enriched themselves at our expense and who have no scruples, to continue to hold us to ransom? Whichever one we choose; will ultimately determine the kind of society we live in and the future of Sierra Leone.
So, clap, clap, clap for our carnival of madness as we continue to climb unrestrained to the apex of a whirlwind tree and we better be prepared for the rampaging bull that will definitely come of age, once the society and the government succumb to the antics of mean men of moral decadence that now tower over the grovelling, undiscerning political claptraps. It can only get worse, not better; if our attention continues to be diverted from the real-life issues and what matters most to living in a decent society, such as trust and speaking the truth to each other.
We should all know the fact that some animals think they are smart simply because they can swing like a monkey. The snail is one of such animals. It knows it has horns but when a meeting of animals that have horns is called, the snail does not go anywhere near the venue, let alone attend, because it knows its horns are mere false, soft filaments incapable of any fight or contest that requires horns.
Coming from the embryo of political manipulation itself, does the present APC ‘nouveau’ rich, political leadership, cladded in a hood or cassock that would never make them a monk or priest, even as they continually seek saintly and sagely acceptance from the society, possess the moral candour to confront the ills that it claims torments the nation?
Where is the political latitude to extricate the country from the very inward looking, uncompromising, and political selfishness they are displaying as well as the recourse to eliciting foreign manipulation and destructive influences that have become their sleeping bag?
It’s ignorance that makes the dog call out to the cat for a fight and if much of the current outbursts from the opposition and those who cannot remove the party blinkers from their eyes, is leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations that cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, then it simply means that we are collectively on the march again to where we were yesterday and yesteryears. It is simply turning Sierra Leone into a fraud which is why we’ll forever continue to cruise into absurdity.
Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right for every citizen to express their thoughts, beliefs, social, cultural, and political opinions. Craving for unnecessary attention and heating a fragile polity is not patriotism but social irresponsibility and an act of state sabotage while the garrulity and minions’ antisocial vituperations can only turn us into the dark side of history.
After six decades of independence, one aspect of our reality is that we have not learnt from history. We are still divided along socio-political and ethno-religious lines which has ended up creating a system and society of frustrated citizens. Not displaying integrity and uprightness have become our by-story, and no one gives a toss anymore. It is a free-for-all regarding impunity, irregularity, corruption, and moral decadence that are mentally rattling and jarring.
This immensely blessed and gifted land given by God as a diamond populated by a peerless people, and which was the Athens of Africa and envy of sub-Saharan nations, has been pulverized now and again by ethnopolitical poseurs whose sheer greed, viciousness, exploitation, and manipulation has often led to bloodshed, destruction of the poor and desolation of our commonwealth.
The Bio-led administration has a challenge indeed, which is simply that it is now time more than ever, to ‘Tok and do’ as it professes. We cannot change our narratives if we continue to water down the framework of decency in the fight to change the direction of the multiple headwinds facing Sierra Leone.
As the feeding bottle generation continue to roost with the aid of the sugar-coated grains of speeches, laced with disinformation, misinformation, reckless, irresponsible, inciteful, and harmful to a fragile society, we must stop being lawful captives and having our human reasoning imprisoned, as we turn ourselves into robots in the hands of charlatans.
I plead for empathy and certain mild socialist approach to life. But five decades ago, the Asian Tiger countries like Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia among others, were a part of the third-world, like Sierra Leone. They’ve found their way out of that labyrinth. In the 1990’s, Rwanda went through a genocide and civil war. Today, it is a reference point for all that is positive in the upward African trajectory of national development. Let’s hope that same can be said of Salone five years from now.
Truth is, Sierra Leone is a work in progress and hopefully, we’ll remember that, especially in the midst of global economic, social, and political realities. If not, then let us remember that when the fowl perches on a rope that sways precariously, there’s no succour for either the rope, or the avian. We underestimate how difficult it is to get things done. But instead, we talk as a people oblivious of how much has been done. Those who live without tomorrow will always eat the fruit of regret.
It is time for the coalition of sane and reasonable people to pick the gauntlet, roll up their sleeves and double down on efforts to regain control of our nation from the intrinsically corrupt political hegemony, whose core values are artifacts of sorrow and trauma. The onus is on people with integrity to mend our already broken lives by presenting alternative narratives. A new paradigm that fosters equality and justice for all must emerge.
We need to see things with a fresh lens on old truths. We must begin to blur the dividing line, and eschew societal values of dishonesty, as well as denormalise impunity. Until we can understand where we are and intentionally decide to change our narratives, we cannot begin to grow as a nation. Also, loving one another regardless of the ethno-religious divide is antidotal and denies those manipulating this weakness from gaining a foothold.
Tears in the Rain? —- Our apathy is the crooked usurpers’ strength.