Sierra Leone : Backward today, backward forever ?

By Yanguba Kai-Samba

Sierra Leone is backward today and has ever been so because of the historical animosity between the two party system and their do me ,I do you politics.

The fight for power and to keep it for themselves, between these two parties has never been more alarming and injurious to the future of Sierra Leone.

But perhaps there is a biblical imputation to why a country that was given a head start under the British colonial rule now trail behind almost every comparable African countries that was under British colonial rule.

There are now nothing authentic in Sierra Leone. The rule of law can’t hold and exert the supremacy of the law where immerse executive power and influence is bestowed on the president.

Nothing works or moves in Sierra Leone without the president. Society should be more robust and critical to be able to build a participatory democracy. Conversely, a passive society that accept things uncritically end up losing most.

The ability of the police force to enforce the law equitably and impartially has always come under scrutiny whenever either the SLPP or APC are in governance. The police force is what we all look up to for our collective security and protection of properties. Political interference, seemingly covert or by remote control for the promotion of the interest of any shade of government and characters in power will undermine effective policing, their impartiality and more importantly the rule of law.

Civil societies and journalists, except few, appears to be subdued and less robust in their scrutiny of government.

The police force is under strain, under equipped, low paid and low moral.

Few in Sierra Leone society today can now stand up for the truth, by the truth and defend it to the hilt.

Amidst the searing economic hardship that is tearing and demoralizing the deprived communities across Sierra Leone, an uncomfortable acceptance, it seems, of a dishonest mentality, have engulfed the nation – the feeling that one needs to be corrupt to get rich, be a sycophant and turn blind eyes to the truth inorder to get what you want and survive.

Sacrifices have to be made, even when this nation is on the verge of anarchy. Invoking the serenity, tolerance , compassion and dignity of some of the country’s proud past and honourable men could minimize the idiosyncratic conflict in seeking political leadership and the accumulation of money from the state by stealth.

Many with no knowledge of their history or facts are corralled through the pressure of lack of opportunities in to acquiescence to an incompetent and insidious rogue self -perpetrating political establishment, which have blighted their lives since independence with very little means to change the political narratives and their own destiny.

The search for sanity and justice for the people of Sierra Leone is yet to be won but not in my own life time.

This promising nation once saw a cabinet minister like Kutubu Ibrahim Kai-Samba RIP, refused to accept bribes in office,but instead called in the police who arrested the Lebanese business man who offered him a bribe. This same nation had also seen its first prime minister, Sir Milton Margai RIP, who gave free medical services in the rural communities across Sierra Leone ,as a British trained medical doctor, passed away without any symbol of wealth, mansions or bank accounts stuffed with stolen money.

Their time is no more- such men of exceptional selflessness are lacking in today’s dog eat dog politics in which making a living out of politics instead of service to the nation and getting rich quick are the overriding attractions for many in politics.

Today Sierra Leone is in chaos, it economy crumbling and moving on the path of significant instability and social disorder as the ousted APC government, now in opposition battling with the elected government for survival.

Past rogue forces of desperate rulers in the 70s and 80s have thrown the country in to a never ending despair and chaos that has destroyed our collective sense of humanity and wisdom.

We are now a nation of people with no clear purpose or direction but divided along tribes and regions without a central unifying national leadership trusted to unit us as a people and a nation.

Sierra Leone has never been a nation of patriots and few who had shown such attributes are no longer with us. The country hasn’t been fortunate to have a political leadership of supreme sense of selfless nationalism and purpose, who can tune in to the mantra of unity bequeathed to us by Sir Milton Margai to fight and conquer political tribalism, nepotism, corruption and allow institutions to function independently without executive influence , pressure or covert interference.

The continuing prevalence of these maladies in the body politics of the country, their hovering presence in every government ever since after the first five years of independence underpinned the underdevelopment of Sierra Leone.

Subsahara African countries have moved on with their development strongly influenced and correlated to changes in their political dynamics, progressive engagement and thinking.

New parties or coalition of parties have taken over power with emphasis on new philosophical country first vision, instigated by past failures, due to party political governance, to forge an inclusive national unity , better resource management and equitable distribution of the country’s wealth, as the old political parties that led these countries to independence have been ditched by voters at elections.

Ghana is such country including Ivory coast, Senegal, Rwanda,Uganda,Tanzania , Gambia, Liberia, Guinea and many more .

So the underdevelopment and the problems with Sierra Leone is fundamentally due to the failures of the two parties inability to work for the national interests .

Party political apologist, in fear of losing their grips on their regional and tribal dominant support bases,would be tempted to argue that parties are not the problem but the leadership.

While I have sympathy for this argument, I reject it within the context of the two parties history and their activities and combined misrule of Sierra Leone.

Their fight for political supremacy and dominance ,often expressed by violence,thuggery, intimidation, denial of rights, lawlessness and economic mismanagement underlines my premise that they are a menace to the unity, stability and progress in Sierra Leone as a nation.

My informed view is that of a cumulative consequences of of bad governance and mismanagement of the country’s resources involving both the SLPP and the APC.

By 2023, I expect the people of Sierra Leone, for the sake of peace ,unity and the integrity of our country to say NO to either APC or SLPP.

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