By KABS KANU
People busy promising Sierra Leoneans paradise on earth if they are voted in on March 7 need to be very cautious. They will not beat the APC, but even if they do, they will soon become the punch bag of their frustrated and angry citizens because they will not be able to deliver on ALL or even one-third of the present heaven they are promising our people. It is good to make promises because man lives on hope but we have to be careful that politics is a very unforgiving game. If you promise, make sure you will be able to fulfil it.
This article is being written to warn our people against false MESSIAHS and bogus redeemers, who are trying to enter State House by deceiving the people.
STOP PROMISING WHAT YOU CANNOT DELIVER
It is one thing for an African leader to be on fire for his country . It is quite another once he takes office. It does not appear as if Messrs Kandeh Yumkella and Julius Maada Bio understand what governance is about and the hidden traps leaders have to combat.
Bio has ruled before and I am surprised that he has not learned anything. Leadership in Africa is bedeviled with thorns and hidden dangers.
The first problem new African leaders encounter is the CORRUPT MAFIA in the body politic of the nation that has spread its falanges far and wide and that is entrenched in our ministries, agencies and departments. They know when a loan or windfall is coming in and they have perfected tricks about how to dissect and share them among themselves, leaving the government to face the music from the people. No government will survive if it launches a holy war against its civil servants, especially. They will cripple the government within seconds. They have all the aces to undermine , delay or block government projects. Therefore, you promising to eradicate corruption when you come to power, take note. It is not easy. You will do your best but at times it is like coming against a brick wall . Presidents Tejan Kabbah and Ernest Koroma can educate you on this fact. And it is not just the civil servants and public officials. Even the market women, the traders, the service providers and business community are irredeemably corrupt and will not only make corruption difficult to eradicate but will seek your downfall if you rise up against them. Did anybody ever hear about a man called ALFRED AKIBO BETTS ?
Jerry Rawlings executed people By firing squad, broke builings, bulldozed the Makola Market into rubble, deported corrupt alien business people, but what did he achieve at the onset of his revolution ? ARTIFICIAL SCARCITY OF ALL BASIC COMMODITIES. Ghanaians could not even see toothpaste or toothbrush to clean their teeth. There was a famine that drove thousands of Ghanaians abroad to seek succor.
MOST of the corruption that people complain about are perpetrated by civil servants , public officials and the business community, that the government has no power to dismiss and who have entrenched themselves in the system. I will deal with this in a separate article.
The second and most important problem your so-called messiahs will face , should they win, is the CORRUPT, HEARTLESS, ANTI-THIRD WORLD INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS SYSTEM. What these Western and European conglomerates, multinationals and donor agencies say in public about their commitments to help third world countries grow their economies, build enduring socio-economic and political systems and improve the welfare of their people is often different from what they practice.
First of all, loans and aids often have strings attached. They have conditionalities that are akin to throwing an anchor at a drowning man. When a man is drowning, you send him a raft or rope to help pull him out of the water. You do not send him an anchor that will further sink him to the bottom, but this is often what the West and Europe do. Their assistance is not designed to help us get out of our problems, but to create more debts and more problems that could lead to civil unrest. Imagine telling an already unpopular African government to remove subsidies on rice, gasoline and to retrench workers and reduce payrolls or impose austerity as a conditionality to get further help.it is definitely a recipe for disaster. They could offer better conditionalities that would not set up governments for angry reprisals from the people. Often it does not appear as if the West and Europe really want to help us. Also, there are so many red tapes and bureaucracies attached, so many experts that by the time the loan or aid gets to government, it has been halved.
Look at the unfair and unjust payments they dole out for our minerals and natural resources. They come and rip us off right in our own backyards, cart away our gold, diamonds, iron ore, bauxite, kimberlite, coltan , rubber, piassava, cocoa etc and pay us chicken change for them. Why have they not taught us how to process these minerals ourselves? They have the means to do that, but they will never do it. They want us to depend on them perpetually. As soon as we begin to enjoy a diamond, gold or oil boom, they deliberately undermine us by making the prices go down on the global market. We in Africa should never prosper. IT IS LIKE THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM IS SET UP IN SUCH A WAY THAT IT WILL NEVER GIVE AFRICAN COUNTRIES A BREAKTHROUGH.
African patriachs like Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kamuzu Banda, Seretse Khama, Sekou Toure, Nelson Mandela etc. spoke out against this blatant neo-colonialism and were punished in various ways for it.
Therefore, our presidential candidates should fully educate themselves about these hidden dangers of leadership and stop all the colorful and grandiloquent promises . OUR people are gullible and will fall for any bait. They are presently being deceived that a great change is coming to the country and that Kandeh Yumkella or Maada Bio will soon pave the streets of Sierra Leone with gold or make money fall off trees. The simple-minded and naive people are listening to these deceitful promises and are being fooled right from the onset. This is very unfair to them and inimical to the future peace and tranquility of the nation.
Even if they win, I do not see how these young men will fulfill their promises of bringing the grandly sudden and dramatic change to Sierra Leone when they will not immediately control the forces that usually undermine African leaders. We all want change but let us be honest and admit that the only change we can bring now is incremental in nature. The grand changes Kandeh Yumkella, for instance, is promising , cannot be attained too soon. But this is not the message our people are getting from him. He is promising Utopia he cannot deliver.
We are not living in a perfect world, people.
I am glad that my candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara is PRAGMATIC realistic and measured in his statements and promises. We want to continue developing our nation. We want to continue where President Koroma will stop and build more roads, hospitals, schools , farms and lift the poor from mats to mattresses . However, our own candidate is going to be very cautious with promises because he knows that it is not an easy thing to rule a third world nation and that governance is not a bed of roses. He will change Sierra Leone but he will not promise to be a miracle worker like Jesus Christ who walked on the sea, fed 5,000 people with one loaf of bread, made the lame to walk or changed water to wine. He will only promise what he can deliver.