SIERRA LEONE : The nation that lost its moral compass

By KABS KANU

First of all, I want to assure some of those who have defected from political parties before that the thesis of this article is not that defecting from a political party is wrong. Not all defections from parties are out of wrong motives and not all who have defected are villains. Many people who have jumped  ship  are very good and responsible citizens who did it for noble motives.

However, in politics, just as in commerce where we have genuine and fake money, there are genuine and fake politicians. In politics , there are noble and ignoble characters. And so it is that motives are either noble or ignoble.

 

Many people have defected from political parties who had genuine reasons that border around patriotism and nationalism and where they went they excelled themselves in the interest of the nation. Therefore, defecting from a party is not by itself wrong . And this article is not premised by any argument that anybody who defects from a party ceases to be good.

What this article is about is how politics has made many Sierra Leoneans to lose their moral principles and how evil and good have become relative , all due to the corrosive effect of politics on morality.

Events in the past years and months have proved that in Sierra Leone, you can be a very corrupt and discredited government or public official today and overnight become a hero, just because you defected from a political party some people dislike. The very people who condemned you and reigned insults at you and even demanded your arrest for corruption yesterday overnight can turn into your most admired and supportive fans because you resigned from a party they dislike.

Let us look at some examples.

SAM SUMANA

Can anyone name any politician who was much discredited and despised for corruption and Yuki Yuki than the man who answers to the name, ALHAJI SAM SUMANA. ?  That was the man who was caught red-handed in one of the biggest scandals to have ever befallen any nation , TIMBERGATE. The crime was so direct and reprehensible that newspaper front pages screamed with banner headlines asking for his dismissal as Vice_ President and arrest and prosecution. Sam Sumana’s shame was not helped by two Americans he had allegedly conned in the U.S. who went public not only demanding their money but threatening to sue the government.

Today, though, Sam Sumana is a hero to many Sierra Leoneans and they are putting him up to become President of Sierra Leone, a nation founded on Christian principles. His redeeming quality ?He fell out with the ruling party and lost his job as Vice-president. Haters of the ruling APC quickly embraced the villain for whose blood they had been crying and even staged demonstrations on his behalf asking for his reinstatement. To them, Sam Sumana was  now an angel, not a criminal. He ceased to be a criminal when he was booted from the  APC. Opponents of the government now berate anybody who reminds them that the man they are hailing today was the unrepentant Timbergate accused  yesterday who tarnished the image of his country by being named in an international crime. They hailed him all the way to the kangaroo ECOWAS Court where he sued the government and won on a matter where the court lacked legal competence or jurisdiction. Very soon, supporters will start CAMPAIGNING for him to be President.

MUSA TARAWALLIE

He is Sierra Leone’s equivalence of the land rustlers and land thieves we read about in cowboy novels.. As a Minister of Lands , the only lands he did not grab and  sell,  using  the proceeds to enrich himself,  are the ones in the cemeteries. There are no belittling and shaming names he was not called. But his days of infamy ended when the government fired him from his job. Today, the name Musa Tarawallie , a name that once stunk, smells deliciously in the nostrils of those who once vilified him for his thuggish and criminal records and he too will soon be running for the highest office in the land, the Presidency.. When he was recently arrested for fraud, he was declared innocent in the court of public opinion and his arrest was deemed a politically motivated act. Musa Tarawallie today is a hero. He became a hero after the government fired him. Anybody who falls out with the APC  immediately becomes an innocent angel, a persecuted personality and a fitting candidate for the presidency, despite his previously well-trumpeted crimes .

The sum total of life in Sierra Leone today is that politics and political alliances govern moral conclusions. Anybody who associates with the APC is considered evil by opponents of the APC and the government . But whatever crimes he commits, if he is fired or leaves today, he will become the most liked and hailed character, a decent patriot , who even deserves to be President.  A man or woman is only evil now when he is with government.

So, if you hear Sierra Leoneans vilifying a public official associated with the APC in the media and public discourse today, do not be impressed. The criticisms are coming not out of moral compulsion or principles. And even if that is so, do not be carried away. Their tunes will change and the official will become a hero tomorrow when IF HE RESIGNS OR IS FIRED.

VICTORIA SAIDU KAMARA

Yesterday, an unknown  woman became a heroine. She became a heroine because she resigned from the APC. Her past  records in public service did not make her a heroine. What made her a heroine was that she resigned from the APC. She is Dr. Victoria Saidu Kamara , a woman who, AS A MATTER OF FACT,  should have been renowned because she was at one time Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. The only reason that everybody seems not to know who she  is is that she was the epitome of incompetence and inefficiency when she served government . She was one of the most obscure ministers ever and was eventually fired for non -performance.  But when supporters of the APC  mentioned that in trying to demonstrate that her departure did not hurt the APC  in any way because she was not a bright performer on post, they received all kinds of insults from  opponents of the APC . She has become a heroine and a progressive citizen because she resigned from the APC yesterday.

What a shame. Politics has made many people to lose their moral sensibilities. Evil is no longer evil in Sierra Leone. Evil in Sierra Leone has become relative. It depends on what side of the political aisle you belong.  Evil has a colour and it is red. That is, to opponents of the ruling APC, though the party still has enough supporters and MOMENTUM to win next year’s elections. You can now commit the worst crimes in Sierra Leone while serving government. You need not worry about public reprisals because if you get fired , there is a public out there waiting to receive, embrace you, make you a hero or heroine and start preparing you for the presidency.

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