Have our tribes become more important than our country (Sierra Leone)?


By Emmanule Macpherson Sam

Sierra Leone is a country that had gone through difficult phases in recent years. We are a country in search of a Great Diagnosis—some chief explanation for our national dilemma. Why are different groups of Sierra Leoneans savagely attacking one another? The single most important intellectual trend of our time is the politicians’ rediscovery of human tribalism to score political goal. We thought we had it licked! To satisfy our hankering for group affinity, we transferred our tribal loyalties from clan and caste to abstractions.

To some politicians, our opinions and emotions as a nation, loyalties and affiliations, religions and customs, and even perceptions are shaped by their need to belong to a group — and by our proclivity to hate rival groups. The current tribal sentiment exhibited in our elections is enough for us to be emotionally fraught for the future. I have been observing the conducts of out elections with keen anticipation of the development of democratic principles in our country. But I’m saddened to say that our democracy has not just degenerated to the least ebb but it has been used by some few educated desperate politicians to fuel division and preach hate. Tribal and clannish politics have heightened in our country more than ever. The sad part of this is we are in the 21st century.


You engage some of these political-desperados about the clannish politics they are preaching, they tend to argue on the contrary. Some forget that clannishness is a set of behaviors and innate behavioral traits and predispositions which, when found in a population, result in the members of that population strongly favoring, in all areas of life, themselves, their family members — both near and extended, and even closely allied associates. It is so sad that our educated elites see no good in themselves if you were to take politics from them. Some believe the only way to drive exotic cars and build mansions is by becoming a politician and rip off the people, a twisted example of evil triumphing good.

The politics in my country has become so violent coupled with the bigotry, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics preached by desperate politicians. Some people have traded last vestige of integrity for politics. It’s a shame! When it comes to the politics of survival, my educated friends in both the main political parties (APC and SLPP) show an amazing albeit unsurprising ignorance of the facts. Their condescending drift for evil over good is unimaginable. In the just concluded elections and the forthcoming run-off, I have seen the full extent of venality, moral turpitude and political corruptions to the highest degree. Some would say but you are not physically in the country. Well, Noam Chomsky used to argue that “an hour of listening to sports-talk radio revealed the astounding sophistication that “ordinary” members of the public could bring to analysis of complex questions.” I was so sad when I read the ethno-political tension in my country in an international tabloid.

I hold no briefs for any political party. However, I am concerned. This is the only country I have always called home. Some of us have seen how perversely twisted the politicians have made the elections to suit their convenience. Tribal and ethno-regional politics is not just bad but it is considered to be dangerous than the responsibility to lead a country on which the fate of our country depends. I am sad! The result of the dysfunction of our governments in the past is minimal accountability, a sclerotic personal system for them and their clans’ men. The question then becomes, how do we get rid of the blur of Orwellian admonitions and Corrollian logic that govern our country? The answer is simple. Is the presidential aspirant for the APC married to his tribe’s woman? If the answer is no, then you stop preaching tribe, Samura is not a “tribalistic”. Is Maada married to his tribe’s woman? If the answer is no, then please find another profession politics is not a profession. Finally, I know that Dr. Yumkella is married to a woman from the South. This is an indication that our leaders are not “tribalists” but the supporters who think politics is the only way to get bread on their table. All three of the leaders of the main political parties have intermarriages, so are you still convinced that we should vote on tribal lines? If your answer is a yes, then you need a psychological evaluation. Stop lying to our people in the villages, they know nothing about ethnic stratifications.

Related Posts