By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
Charles Francis Margai, who parades as the Leader and Chairman of the partially defunct People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), ought to be one of those Sierra Leoneans who shouldn’t have any moral authority to comment on political morality. The reason is that he was brought up and educated through monies allegedly stolen from the state by his father.
Sir Albert Margai, Charles’s father, was one of the architects of institutionalized corruption in Sierra Leone. If students of History or Political Science are asked to make comparative analyses of the top 100 most corrupt leaders Sierra Leone has ever had since Independence to date; Charles’s father and Siaka Stevens will always fight for the first two spots! In fact, all the political “ions” and “isms”, which chequered and are still chequering Sierra Leonean politics, were created and put in motion by Sir Albert. Siaka Stevens only mastered what Albert Margai either created or intended implementing.
And if it is biblically logical for modern day Sierra Leonean Christians to inherit, at birth, the sins of Adam and Eve; then it might be logical for someone to infer that Charles Francis Margai might have inherited his father’s sins. So, what is expected of him, with such a father who was a glutton for wealth and political power, is for him to be engaged in penitence and spiritual intercessions.
But instead of Charles Margai keeping quiet; he likes playing the proverbial white foul to get undeserved attention. His recent gaffe is an exclusive interview he granted the local Awoko newspaper of Friday 14 October 2016 (Vol.21 No.190). In it, he accuses President Koroma of “ungratefulness” because he believes his alliance with the then Honourable Ernest Bai Koroma single-handedly brought the latter to power. And he bla-blaed so many incoherent bla-blas that gives me the impression that he might have been “tired and emotional” (to quote the British media euphemism) when he made those comments.
But let me take a quick look at what Mr Margai refers to as “ungratefulness”. When Mr Margai’s PMDC and the APC wedded which later gave birth to an APC-led government; President Koroma did his own part of the bargain. He appointed PMDC members to his cabinet and gave Mr Margai the respect he deserved as a coalition partner. The President treated him like an elder brother and was in constant consultations with him. It was only when Mr Margai repeatedly behaved like an overgrown pampered school boy that President Koroma decided to part ways with him.
What Mr Margai is failing to acknowledge is political reality. When two political parties form an alliance, it means there are certain issues or policies of common interest to both. It also means that there might be a common enemy shared by both. But when those issues, policies, and enemy of commonality are no longer present, it should not be taken as “ungratefulness” if one of the coalition partners asks for a divorce. Even in holy matrimony, a time comes when one of the partners decides to quit the marriage because of what I will One Drop-nize as Reality Confrontation.
I don’t know what Mr Margai’s own definition of “ungratefulness” is. But President Koroma has always been a man of his words. Just a quick look at his current cabinet, one will see shadows of PMDC-ness in it: Sidi Yayah Tunis the Minister of Tourism, and Osmond Hanciles the deputy Minister of Energy were PMDCers. Another bygone PMDCer, Moijueh Kaikai, would still have been in cabinet today if not for the bastardization on social media of the mainstream journalistic concept of The Gatekeeper. And Mohamed Bangura, the current Information and Communications Minister, is Charles Margai’s own Frankenstein monster. Even in some Commissions, Parastatals and Government Agencies; there are still sprinkles of PMDCers in them.
In politics, there is nothing like “ungratefulness” but political reality. Sir Albert Margai, Charles’s father, and Siaka Stevens were not only political allies but best of friends. But at some point in their political trajectories; they had to part ways without anyone of them accusing the other of “ungratefulness”. So if Charles Margai looks a gift horse in the nose and then he is asked to trek, whose fault is it? He should always blame himself for having behaved like Ezeulu, the chief priest of Ulu, in Chinua Achebe’s “Arrow of God”.
But the fact remains that Charles Margai has always had the penchant for picking up quarrels with everyone even with himself—and probably with his God! If anyone should ever be grateful to President Ernest Bai Koroma, that person ought to be Mr Margai. He is one of those who have enjoyed the President’s generosity in many ways which I will not highlight here. He knows within his heart of hearts that President Koroma has been over-grateful not only to him but also those around him.
So for Charles Francis Margai to accuse President Koroma of “ungratefulness” simply means he is playing the role of an ingrate! Didn’t William Shakespeare note in one of his plays (Coriolanus) that “ingratitude is monstrous”? Mr Margai seems to have a history of ingratitude. He showed that to the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who made him minister in his government. And if he starts showing ingratitude to President Koroma who has shown him great munificence; it is just déjà vu or the monstrosity of ingratitude which Mr Margai has carved out for himself.
Between the two if anyone should have the right to make an accusation of “ungratefulness”, that person should be President Koroma against Mr Margai. The President has done so much for the PMDC leader, and each time he is shown generosity Mr Margai plays Oliver Twist by asking for more! And whenever he is diplomatically or euphemistically told that there are others on the queue; he always behaves like an overgrown pampered school boy.
Or is Charles Francis Margai trying to tell us that he is now suffering from Alzheimer (a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour)? I don’t think so. I think he might be up to his old tricks again. Don’t ask me which tricks. Ask former Minister of Information and Communications, now Honourable Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, he will tell you which one of those tricks the PMDC leader is up to!