By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :
The last time I wrote about it, I received two phone calls backed by a follow-up letter from the Independent Media Commission (IMC). But I will write it again, today, that just a perusal of the surnames and regional backgrounds of most—if not all—of the most vociferous Executive Directors of many Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in Sierra Leone; one will realize why they have always been spitting fire and brimstone on their country just because it is the All People’s Congress (APC) that is in power.
I have always tried to dish out the truth in raw forms—no adulterations or euphemisms whatsoever. The truth must be told. And it must be told in its disrobed form! One of the cardinal truths about most Civil Society Organizations is that they are SLPP-centric. That is why they have been doing subtle campaigns for their SLPP in the guise of Freedom of Expression. It is a truism that those who call a spade a garden spoon are nothing but truth-economists. For why is it that it is only now they have finally found their voices to shout about issues which were either perpetuated by or endemic when the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) was in power for eleven years?
Those who were no spring chickens during the eleven years’ rule of the SLPP know that there were indeed challenges (I don’t like to use this euphemism for “ills” or “problems”) like lawlessness, corruption, lack of effective monitoring of government’s programmes, impunity and politicization of state institutions. And, surprisingly, most of those who are now the so-called voices or faces of the CSO in Sierra Leone either acquiesced or overtly supported the SLPP to perpetrate and perpetuate those ills.
Now, suddenly, these SLPP-leaning Executive Directors of CSOs are noticing lawlessness, corruption, lack of effective monitoring of government’s programmes, impunity and politicization of state institutions for the very first time in their lives! It is like Pope Francis’s Camerlengo (an Italian word for “Chamberlain”) suddenly begins speaking out about Pope Benedict XVI’s defrocking of nearly 400 priests for sexually molesting children as something distasteful! Why didn’t these people squeak when Ex-president Tejan Kabba(h) bastardized the country’s Constitution and appointed as Finance Minister Dr James Jonah who conducted the 1996 elections which Kabba(h) won? Why didn’t these CSOs’ Executive Directors shrill when the SLPP was politicizing state institutions like the National Revenue Authority (NRA), the Office of National Security (ONS), the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), the Sierra Leone Roads Transport Authority (SLRTA), NaCSA, the Decentralization Secretariat et al?
And talking—sorry, writing—about lawlessness. When the SLPP introduced the ‘Kamajorization’ (a One Dropian coinage, please) of Freetown, with Ndorgboryosoi-jumbobla-like Sierra Leoneans terrorizing people at Brookfields; where were these CSOs’ Executive Directors? When the SLPP disbanded the national army and replaced it with a tribal militia, why didn’t these vociferous CSOs’ Executive Directors shout against it from the top of the Sam Bangura building? And guess what? The Abacha-Streeters were at Kissy Street—ops!, Abacha Street, since 1996 to 2007 but there were no bla-blaing from CSOs’ Executive Directors. It was only when the Abacha-Streeters showed that they were redder than red in 2007 that the Abacha-Streeters suddenly became, and still are, an anathema and menace. And why didn’t these now vociferous CSOs’ Executive Directors repeatedly speak out about regional imbalance in governance when there was no Limba person in the cabinet of the last SLPP government of eleven years? I don’t know whether this is a deliberate policy of and by any SLPP government because it started during the SLPP of Sir Albert Margai whose government in 1964 had “no Limba and no Kono representation”, according to page 20 section 79 of the TRC report Vol. 3A.
Yes—“History Alive”, to quote Professor Joe A.D Allie’s series during the run-up to the 2007 elections! And of lack of effective monitoring of government’s programmes? The SLPP’s “Sababu” and “NaCSA” projects were good examples “of lack of effective monitoring of government’s programmes”. But why would these now vociferous CSOs’ Executive Directors cry about them when some of them were direct beneficiaries of those projects?
The major problem within the ranks (not the file!) of many CSOs is the inability of their Executive Directors to put the past behind them and focus on the critical issues that continue to derail Sierra Leone’s development aspirations. Another problem is that many of these CSOs’ Executive Directors are still fixated with the supremacist idea which their fathers and grandfathers brainwashed them with! Which is why, they still believe that the only people fit to rule Sierra Leone are their tribesmen!
That is why it’s more apt when President Ernest Bai Koroma told some Executive Directors of Civil Society Organizations (CSO), including two of the most noisy amongst the current pack, when he met with them last week at State House that, “It is no more about me as my name will not be on the ballot paper in 2018, it is no more about the APC, but it is about laying the foundation of a country that we will all be proud of…“Put Salone above all political, ethnic and personal issues…when we fail, we fail as a nation”.
What the Head of State was, and still is, telling them is for them to start looking beyond the SLPP-regional supremacist ideology which they might have been indoctrinated with since their cradles (and I believe, even to their graves)! He’s giving them a sort of Class One lecture on nationalism and the ideals of a united country.
That clarion call by President Ernest Bai Koroma is, no doubt, the panacea for the way forward for Sierra Leone’s development and modernization. If only those toffee-nosed CSOs’ Executive Directors could put the past behind them; if only they could become Sierra Leone-centric than SLPP-centric; if only they could begin to re-whitewash their supremacist ideology, and if they only could begin to see the glass under any APC government as “half full not half empty”, to quote Dr Kandeh Yumkella, then their “noise” will be really regarded as “positive noise” not negative ones aimed at the SLPP scoring more off-side goals!
But if Executive Directors of some CSOs continue to script the current national conversations in the form of horror movies; then I have no problems in supplying them with the ghosts, cross bones and skulls, or Dracula-like costumes complete with choreographies.