I can’t breathe  ; But ‘Democracy’ Is Not Breathing In Sierra Leone

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

 Published on: Jun 17, 2020 @ 01:00 

At times I laugh my sides to restrained archness at the hypocrisy exhibited by thousands of Sierra Leoneans who belong to the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). Just after the black man George Floyd was asphyxiated to death, on 25 May 2020, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States of America the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Fatima Bio, was so upset that she allegedly, and undiplomatically so, used the F-word on her Facebook page.
And as expected of the “Falamakata” syndrome which is very much associated with low self-esteemed Sierra Leoneans, many SLPP supporters and apologists have suddenly become human rights activists overnight. They are so distraught about the death of George Floyd that they have now set up little shrines on, and in, their cell phones—all in honour of a man they had never seen, or heard of, before that tragedy enveloped that bastion of Democracy.
And just like the acolyte who wants, or pretends, to be more Catholic than Pope Francis; so are thousands of SLPP supporters and apologists who are now over-interested in human rights issues and racism in faraway United States of America. They have now weapon-ized social media to such a nuclearized proportion that imageries of centuries-old racial slurs and injustices are now being splashed on our cell phones in graphic palpability!
But charity, the adage goes, begins at home. If those Sierra Leoneans who are now carving for themselves the statures of being the modern day Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks (often referred to as “the mother of the Civil Rights movement) are interested in the evils of racism and the protection of democratic tenets; then why are they not looking inwardly at home? Are there no perpetrations of many ills and negative “isms” currently in Sierra Leone that should have, or could have, prompted them to bring down the heavens?
Hatred for injustices anywhere should be the same for injustices everywhere. But since the April of 2018 to date, there appears to be professional pogrom in the Civil Service; Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in which only citizens from a particular region (or regions) are systematically dismissed arbitrarily from their tenured jobs and replaced with citizens from a particular tribe! But those SLPP supporters and apologists who are now saddened by the racial injustices in the United States of America are still hoarsened by the fact that those Sierra Leoneans who have been, and still, facing social and economic injustices are not their tribesmen (or tribeswomen).
And is it not an injustice to majority of the electorate who elected their representatives to the House of Parliament only for those Members of Parliament to be dragged out of the well of parliament like common criminals; whilst others were removed as MPs by judicial sleights of hand? What did those SLPP supporters and apologists who are now protesting the injustice meted out on the late George Floyd, in faraway USA, do about those parliamentary injustices? Many showed their pink gums in laughter, to paraphrase Achebe.
Since the SLPP came to power in 2018, Democracy in Sierra Leone has received so many conspiratorial stabs that will make those on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar look like chicken poxes! For the sake of political correctness; I won’t mention how the current Speaker of Parliament has his being in that House least it provokes nature’s call that will give me the reason to use the toilet! Also, I won’t even reference the countless bastardizations of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone by the SLPP government, which might make Russia’s Vladimir Putin looks like the chief rapporteur at the First Council of Nicaea (a council of Christian bishops convened by Emperor Constantine in AD 325, which resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine called the “Nicene Creed”).
Simply put: Democracy in Sierra Leone is now in handcuffs. And it is being coerced to prostrate on the ground with State House’s knee on its throat, trying to force it to vomit all the fundamental Rights and Freedoms on the forecourt of the Law Courts Building while Parliament stands with hands akimbo—as if unconcerned!
Yet, hundreds of SLPP supporters and apologists are still upset with President Donald Trump after protesters were tear-gassed to make way for him to visit a church. But when supporters of the APC were tear-gassed at their Brookfields National Headquarters in Freetown, in scenes that were reminiscent of Jews being gassed at Auschwitz in Nazi occupied Poland, those very SLPP supporters and apologists watched with gleeful conspiratorial acquiescence! As I always write, what is good for the cow should also be good for the heifer.
By hating injustices in other people’s façades and condoning it in their own backyards; SLPP supporters and apologists are behaving like the Chichidodo in Ayi Kwei Armah’s novel, “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”. The Chichidodo is the fabled bird which hates excrement with all its soul but feeds on worms that breed in faeces. If you want to stand up against injustices and racism, whose younger brother is tribalism, it should be all-inclusive. There should be no cherry-picking. So, what is good for south-easterners should also be good for north-westerners!
Democracy, in Sierra Leone, isn’t breathing because it appears as if the lives, dignities, Rights, and Freedoms of Sierra Leoneans who belong to the APC do not matter anymore. But I’m not surprised at this seemingly supremacist agenda because one female higher-up is reported to have allegedly said that, “Only those who are SLPP supporters are true Sierra Leoneans.”
It is on that note that I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from the Preface of Wole Soyinka’s book, “The Man Died.” That “the will of our people cannot be broken. The current phase of despondency is understandable; one does not see the tentative foundations of one’s nation smashed repeatedly by juggernauts out of control without an acute sense of futility. Yet the alternative, to abandon one’s goal is such a negation of existence that one can only view it as worse than physical annihilation…”

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