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THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN

We Need Urgent Cure for Our Collective Madness!

February 25, 2021

On February 22, 2021, in the Movement 4 Betteh Salone WhatsApp forum, this oft-repeated information was published: “UNDER THE BRITISH ADMINISTRATION  – Sierra Leone became the first country in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa to have a railway in 1898.

First to have electricity in 1927. First to have broadcast service. First to have airport . First to have… tropical hospital in 1925. First to have school in 1794 (at Regent). First to have university in 1827. First to have (psychiatric) hospital in 1920. Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court became the final Court of Appeal for Ghana, Nigeria, and The Gambia… In 1792, Sierra Leone became the first country in the world where women first cast votes, before it even happened in Britain in 1918… In 1893, Freetown Municipality became the first city in West Africa to have a Mayor… First to have a banking system – Bank of British West Africa… Where are we now?.

Let me tell you what has happened for Sierra Leone to reverse from being the FIRST in European colonial Africa to the LAST position among almost all West African countries. 

First, in the 1940s the “upline” people were united to fight the snobbish but well-educated and very professional Krios, descendants of slaves in the Americas who were brought to Africa as freed people in the late 18th century to start building a modern country.

In the 1960s, the Temnes and Limbas of the Northern Province and Western Area united to fight the Mendes and Sherbroes and Vais of the Southeast, at a time when the Southeast educated elite were next in numbers and quality to the Krio elite.
In the late 1970s, the Mende-speaking mal-educated demagogue who claimed to be a Limba, Siaka Stevens, Leader of the APC, as President  of Sierra Leone, coerced all the ethnic groups to UNITE  under the banner of the APC in a forced One Party State, and all the 1% of the  university-educated elite UNITED to STEAL from the poor to enrich themselves and impoverish 99% of the poor people. This UNITY has been solid since the 1970s.

Over the past forty years as  the  university-educated elite PRETEND to be fighting each other under the banner of SLPP and APC as senior government bureaucrats or politicians, they have had one UNITY OF PURPOSE: steal as much money as they can, build as many  houses in Freetown as they can, send their children overseas to study…

During military government interregnums of the National Reformation Council (NRC), 1967 to 1968; National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), 1992 to 1996, the houses of the politicians and civil servants and bureaucrats built with STOLEN MONEY would be seized from them, but….
But, APC Leader, General Joseph Saidu Momoh, as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, 1986 to 1992, returned the houses built with STOLEN money that had been siezed by the military NRC.

In the 1990s, a Temne man who spoke fluent Mende, Retired Corporal Foday Sankoh, led his Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels/armed combatants/freedom fighters (take your pick) and they swept through the countryside murdering men, women, and children; they chopped off the hands and legs of people of all ages, even babies; they dumped babies into boiling pots of water to  ‘baptize’ them; they publicly buried alive teenage males and females; they burned people inside huts and churches and mosques… until they got to Freetown in 1997 and 1999, intensifying their nasty brutality.  They were indiscriminate in their atrocities.  They murdered Mende people and chopped off the hands of Temne people. When they would meet people taking refuge inside churches and mosques, they would not ask, “Are there Mende people here, come out to be saved”; or, say, “Let all Limba people come out to be saved, we will kill the rest”.  They would open fire on all the people inside mosques and churches. There was a coup in 1997.
The junta formed after the May 25, 1997 coup  was called the  Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). They called the RUF to join them to form government.  The people rejected their government.  In February, 1998, the Nigerian-led West African military force, ECOMOG, kicked the AFRC, and their partner, RUF, from power in Freetown.  As they fled, they murdered and raped and burned down houses – all tribes. They regrouped in the Northern Province and started advancing towards Freetown –  murdering and amputating Temnes, Limbas, Korankos, Yulunkas, Susus, Fullahs…as they steadily advanced. On January 6, 1996, they hit Freetown, and unleashed nightmarish scenarios. For almost a month, they murdered Temnes. Chopped off the hands of Limbas.  Raped Mendes. Burnt down Krio houses. Like the university-educated  politicians would be UNITED  to STEAL government money, so the youth and children in the RUF/AFRC were UNITED to murder and amputate…anyone, everyone.
In the 2000s, SLPP Leader, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, returned to the APC elite most of the houses built with STOLEN money that the NPRC junta had confiscated from them.
When APC Leader, Ernest Bai Koroma, became President  of the Republic of Sierra Leone in 2007, he established a commission of inquiry to find out those who had stolen government money in the SLPP government of Tejan Kabbah.  Nothing came out of that.
The SLPP Leader, Retired Brigadier Maada Bio, in taking over the reins of the presidency in April, 2018, established a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to find  out those who stole government money in the eleven years that Ernest Bai Koroma was President.  Do you expect something to come out of it? Stop fooling yourself. 

This is the unwritten understanding between APC and SLPP: “When you are in government, it is your time to steal government money. Don’t look back at our own stealing O; don’t be tough on us; so when we win the presidency in ten years’ time, we would also overlook your stealing”. Which Sierra Leonean over 15 years of age is going to deny that such a covert agreement exist between the SLPP and APC?

Every five years, the SLPP would go to the people in the Southeast and say, “Vote for the SLPP, it’s for us Mende people”. And the APC would go to the Northwest and say, “Vote for the APC, it’s for Limba and Temne people”. And the people would switch presidential power from SLPP to APC to SLPP…The 1% elite would build bigger and more expensive houses; and send their children to the best universities in the world. Poverty would worsen for the 99% majority. If you tell me that 99% of the electorate of Sierra Leone are not mad, then, the best scientists in psychology and psychiatry and neuroscience need to redefine what is madness  – COLLECTIVE MADNESS. 

Former United States president, Donald Trump was right on point when he referred to Africa as having “shithole countries” – as far as Sierra Leone is concerned. Now, my prophetic tone. You may steal one or two million dollars today from the poverty-stricken people of Sierra Leone. You may have built several $500,000 houses. Your children may be studying in the best universities in the world. But, it is all cursed money. Your million dollar will evaporate.  Your houses will become decrepit, and lose value. Foday Sankoh and his RUF will be resurrected.  The AFRC will rise again. Except Retired Brigadier Maada Bio gets serious about fighting Grand Corruption, and try to do what Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings did in Ghana in the 1980s; and put Sierra Leone on the pathway for meteoric economic growth like Singapore.  Ben Kaifala, the ACC Commissioner who during a speech recently at the University of Makeni had invoked the spirit of Burkina Faso’s ascetic and revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara, can live the Sankara Ideal in his powerful corner at the ACC. Should he betray the children and youth in his position as ACC boss, the easily archival system of the internet will make sure the youth will never forget and forgive him. He is at a crossroads. Like President Maada Bio. 
I pause,

Oswald Hanciles, The Guru 

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