By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
If the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) “inherited a battered economy” that still allows President Julius Maada Bio to fly out of Sierra Leone more than the number of times President Donald Trump has flown out of the United States of America since he occupied the White House; then I wonder if our Commander-in-Chief would not have been travelling every day to the Moon, for breakfast and lunch, if he had inherited a healthy economy.
The only reason why I have not yet made the painful decision to go to Assad’s Syria and be a refugee there is because President Bio is yet to announce that he inherited his entire cabinet ministers from the erstwhile All People’s Congress (APC) government of Ernest Bai Koroma. The day he makes that pronouncement; that the day I would be faced with the Hobson’s choice of leaving my native land for Syria!
But let’s, for the sake of “Long Bench” banter, assume that President Bio with his SLPP “inherited” several “battered” things and issues which are still debatable. Certainly, one of the things he inherited soundly was a police force that was so fit for purpose that the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) believed that its personnel were qualified for peacekeeping missions abroad. But within two years of the SLPP behind the rudder, the Sierra Leone Police Force has lost so much credibility in terms of impartially maintaining internal peace that the recent World Internal Security and Police Index has ranked it as “one of the worst performing police in the world”!
That ranking, just within two years of the Bio presidency, shows that the heavy-handedness with which the Sierra Leone Police always descends on the Brookfields headquarters of the APC has not gone unnoticed by the entire world. That abysmal ranking, of our police force by the World Internal Security and Police Index, is a premonition of what is to come in terms of seeking the services of our police personnel for peacekeeping missions abroad. That latest Index is telling us that if the Sierra Leone Police is so horrible in maintaining internal peace then its personnel could no longer be trusted to maintain peace in foreign countries.
If the Sierra Leone Police, under the watchful watch of the SLPP government, is still finding its extremely challenging to curb or minimize lawlessness in the country which is one of its cardinal functions; then it logically follows that it has either been under-performing horribly or allowing itself to appear as if it is the vigilante wing of the ruling SLPP. For the World Internal Security and Police Index believes that maintaining peace, in any country, should not be a process of selectivity. What is bad and unacceptable for the supposedly miscreants of the APC should also be bad and unacceptable for those in, and of, the SLPP!
But, again, if the Sierra Leone Police appears to be clay-footing on the issue of curbing or minimizing lawlessness it might be that the SLPP government seems to have given lawlessness a vogue-ish normalcy which, in figurative terms, could be compared to a group of unsupervised boys tasked to choreograph William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. The SLPP is so fixated on badmouthing the APC that its own hatred and wishful thinking have consumed it so much so that they are now its defining character in governance.
And because the SLPP is still on the “we inherited this and that” business, the ruling elite are always looking for anything to everything to blame on the last APC government for their inability to solve the bread, rice, and palm oil issues in the country. For two years now, the SLPP elite have been spewing out out-dated propagandistic clichés to clad their administrative ineptitudes. They have repeatedly asked the nation to “trust the process” of their governance style, but their processes seem to be taking the entire country from the Samba Gutter to the pigsties of Kroo Bay! Under SLPP’s steering, hardship has been foisted on majority of Sierra Leoneans so heavily that abject poverty is now hobnobbing with hopelessness!
Even at the height of the Ebola outbreak, the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma was able to pay salaries on time; electricity supply was never as erratic as it now is like a Christmas Tree; the roads were being fixed nationwide; inflation was caged, and lactating mothers and pregnant women were still enjoying the fruits of a Free Health Care system. At no point in time, even in extreme difficult times, did the last APC government cry-babied about inheriting this or that from the SLPP government of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabba (h).
But the current SLPP government has become such a cry-baby that even when any of the ruling elite wakes up with hangover from last night’s binge of alcohol consumption; s/he is sure to blame it on the APC. As the English idiom goes, “it is only a bad workman that always blames his tools.” Most of the ruling elite sucked illiteracy from their mothers’ breasts but that didn’t prevent them from working hard in school to later become academic doctors and professors in life! As I see it, a man who inherits a dilapidated house from his parents will always be regarded as productive and well-focussed if he renovates that house with stoicism.
SLPP apologists and propagandists should stop looking for anything to everything to blame on the last APC government for their inability to run the country. For even Angel Gabriel will not dispute the fact that all the current World Indexes, in which the current SLPP government has ranked abysmally, were not inherited from the APC government. And, certainly, the SLPP did not inherit a police force whose credibility was being questioned by the UN and AU.
It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from Chinua Achebe’s “Anthills of the Savannah” that says, “If you cross the Great River to marry a wife you must be ready for the risk of night journey by canoe…” Now that the SLPP has finally got the woman as a wife from Bonthe Island; he has started complaining about the risk of making nocturnal journeys by “pampa”. I hope I have not been writing double Latin?