By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
Politics, in the Sierra Leonean context, is not something that you shelved for four years and then in the fifth year you come parroting about change of government. You need to have known the tricks of that trade; you need to have identified yourself with the people on whose behalf you are now claiming that change, and you need to have done some philanthropic work for the people.
But one cannot try his/her luck in one of the older political parties in the country, and then because of either rejection or disgruntlement that person bottles-up his/her anger in the form of a new political party and starts spewing out rhetoric of change.
And one of the laughable things about some of these New Changers (is this another One Dropian dropped word?) is that they are bemoaning the current state of education in the country yet are showing that if given the chance they will take education to the gutters. What is this “Coalition 4 Change” nonsense? As I see it, this is neither English nor Krio! That’s what I will call WhatsAppian English. Let me now do a loose translation to show you how nonsensical this “Coalition 4 Change” is. If you spell out the figure in-between the “Coalition” and the “Change”, what you will get is: Coalition Four Change! Does this make any sense to any Sierra Leonean who was taught Standard English in school? Or are the Coalitioners (is this also another One Dropian dropped word?) trying to say there are four political parties in the Coalition?
Again let me do a loose translation of this “Coalition 4 Change” in the Krio language to see how nonsensical it still is. I will begin by giving the figure “4” its rightful spelling in this context. So we now have: Coalition For Change. Now in the Krio language when you say you have or someone has something “for change”, it simply means that person has something which s/he wants to exchange for something else. So in the Krio context, Coalition For Change means there is a “Coalition” which someone wants to exchange for something! Looked from another angle, if numbers signify plural in the Krio language then the figure “4” in-between the “Coalition” and the “Change” is misplaced.
Like the Coalition 4 Change so are other political parties who are misusing the concept of “change”. But what they are failing to take note of is the fact that voters do not just vote in political parties because they make unrealistic and empty promises of change. And talking about unrealistic and empty promises, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the National Grand Coalition (NGC) did promise to make women the centrepiece of their nominations for high offices. But when the time comes for them to make true of their promise; they chicken out and it is only the ruling APC that has nominated women candidates for mayoral and chairpersons for its traditional strongholds. This just shows that the SLPP and NGC say things that they do not mean!
And in the present circumstances, the APC is the only party that does not try to build a naval base in a landlocked country. The APC has delivered on most of what it promised in 2012. On electricity; it promised and delivered. On roads; it promised and delivered. On upping Government budget on agriculture; it promised and delivered. On improving health infrastructures; it promised and delivered. On upholding human rights and democratic tenets; it promised and delivered. And on hold elections in 2018; it is on the verge of delivering.
As Ayi Kwei Armah notes in his novel, “the Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”, it is not true at all that when men are desperate they will raise their arms and welcome just anybody who comes talking of their salvation. If that has been the case, then majority of Sierra Leoneans would have embraced Charles Margai and his People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) in 2007 or Julius Maada Bio’s rudderless New Direction in 2012. But majority of Sierra Leoneans are not as simple minded like the Fishermen of Galilee, to quote Chinua Achebe. So, just as how they rejected the unrealistic and empty promises of change in 2012; so they will do the same in 2018.