By Musa D. Ronsho
Those who’ve been around social media for some time, would likely be familiar with The Emperor’s new clothes a short tale written by Hans Andersen. In years past, Dr. Charles Curtis-Thomas usually referred to it to explain the dire circumstances of the political leadership of Sierra Leone. In fact, to give credit where credit is due, he was the first one who pricked my interest to read the story in its entirety some time back. In truth, there are many derivatives from the fiction that applies to Sierra Leoneans (the crowd) and the rulers (emperors) at the top. From my point of view, never has there been such a close and clear semblance between political reality in Sierra Leone and the Emperor’s new clothes as we see now under the current new direction. I shall here point out some of the similarities. Upfront, the truth is that Bio is exposing his nakedness as a FAILED leader with a stylish smile.
Let me give a brief synopsis of the emperor’s new clothes for those who are not familiar with the tale. Subsequent to this, I shall here again describe the simple realities of the FAILED new direction. By the way, I must jump before myself and paraphrase the little boy in the story, by saying, the new direction is nothing at all; the paopa swindlers are just fooling their ruler to make him think he’s doing an excellent job. In Sierra Leone the blatancy of the current emperor is being exposed daily. However, because of “pluralistic ignorance” and the “spiral of silence,” phenomenon, the people go along with the emptiness parade since they are afraid of speaking truth to power. Although many people discard the paopa new direction rule, they go along with it assuming most others accept it which is false.
As adapted from Wikipedia, “A vain emperor who cares too much about wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who claim to make the most beautiful clothes with elaborate patterns.” They were con-men “who convinced the emperor they are using a fine fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. It is not interesting that those who speak the truth about the nothingness (the illusions) of the new direction are often than not called, hopelessly stupid, idiots, fools? Wikipedia continued, “The con lies in that the weavers are actually only pretending to manufacture the clothes. Thus, no one, not even the emperor nor his minister can see the alleged “clothes”, but they all pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions.” Going along with the parody today in Sierra Leone is driven out of fear more than anything else.
As the tale progresses, “the weavers report that the suit is finished, and they mime dress the emperor who then marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk uncomfortably go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or being called stupid.” Although the emperor had nothing on, everyone in the march-pass cheered in jubilation as to how beautiful, lovely and elegant their royal leader looked. However, a little boy “in the crowd blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all, and the cry is then taken up by others. The emperor realizes the assertion is true but continues the procession.” It was too late for him to call off his emptiness parade. So, although his nakedness became evident after the child’s proclamation, they still went on with the show flattering themselves with fake accomplishments. The child’s truth was mercifully free from corruption, painful to accept but also correct to be ignored.
In so many ways, this is the exact reality about the new direction in Sierra Leone today. Instead of calling things as they are, paopa hirelings are busy saying, “Oh, it’s beautiful-it’s enchanting.” Heaping meaningless praises at emperor Bio, they say, “Such a new pattern, sophisticated governance, dynamic leadership, for sure we’ll tell Bio how lovely we are with his new direction.” I contend that the ‘imaginative beauty’ we desire in Sierra Leone is not going to happen if we are afraid to challenge authority or speak truth to power. We are misleading ourselves. Because of the fear of isolation, fear of being called stupid, idiot or a fool, no one dares to say the truth that the new direction is about nothing at all. No one dares to say that the swindlers in governance are parading the naked reality of disastrous leadership. Bio is bad for the nation. He is exposing Sierra Leone to the mockery of the world as they see the inevitabilities of his FAILED presidency.