Will cowards make good leadership?

By James Musa Kaikai
Today marks a solemn ocassion in Makeni as mothers of the fallen cry in anquish, not only for the wanton loss of life, but mainly for the reason that they know and understand that theirs have been the ultimate sacrifice any family is asked to make in the face of State sponsored tyranny and oppression.
The system of government has been reduced to a state of anarchy and the protection of life and property is relegated to a misnomer in police operations. It is unfortunate that these young people had to die and yet no one wants to accept the blame.
It’s difficult to see why people are pontificating as if there is a moral high ground somewhere? Or rather that there is a justification for anarchy, lawlessness and subjugation of the inalienable right to dissent or for that matter, to organise and question government action through protest?
Whomever said this was nothing to do with politics has not got a clue about what’s going on in Sierra Leone. The whole event has politics written all over it and the sad thing is that it is the wrong type of politics and the wrong type of cause to make a political fight out of. Sadder still, that those who knew of these events even before they were played out, never thought about the ramifications of their actions or the repercussions of their making that one wrong turn that brought is to this crevice
Without a doubt, the security forces took aggressive or otherwise brutal force to Makeni and they should be condemned but by who?
They should be condemned in the first instance by those who believe that live bullets and guns are not the way to quell a riot of young people armed with sticks and stones. They should then be condemned generally by people with the moral fortitude to say what is right, irrespective of the circumstances and despite the hurt to the egos of those who may be seen as demigods.
The streets of out towns and cities are not the theatre for armed conflict, altercations or insurrections with our country’s soldiers and armed police aiming to make a point to ordinary citizens.
Who is it that is holding the people of Sierra Leone to ransom? Many a time, the matter has been raised about why our politicians are not being man enough to clean up after themselves and yet they give complete disregard to their responsibilities. They seem to relish the rubbish bins left out in the open for others to pick up
The Minister claimed that he consulted with the stakeholders in Makeni and beyond and that statement catapulted the whole activity of reordering a standby generator into the realm of politics.
If you consider that all of these deaths would not have happened because men fight and stumble over each other to prove they are the most loyal to a defunct hegemony.
Long story short, no one, not even the Government Minister wanted to upset Makeni’s most prestigious citizen by creating the impression or prospect of undermining his assurances to the city that it will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted electricity supply.
It took a while before the APC’s NSG, Ambassador Osman F. Yansanneh accepted that he knew about this intention to move one of the standby generators from Makeni to Lungi.
Heaven knows, the minute he was so informed, he contacted his boss, the APC Chairman and Leader and if we are to believe the twist and turns, between the two of them, Adebayor and Gibril became weaponized on the issue.
In all circumstances, the Minister should have waited for clearance from the stakeholders, he should not have asked for Police protection to undertake what is inordinately an administrative function. Better still he should not have attempted to move the equipment under the cover of darkness, otherwise as many are asking, why did it have to be so clandestine as to create the aura of a thief in the night?
The police have no reason to the fear sticks and stones of young people in Makeni because they have riot shields but from all accounts, the police were not there to protect themselves or the people of Makeni but to engage the enemy and to shoot to kill, something they eventually did and so they brought out their guns and bullets bought for them.
So this brings us to the stark reality that governments in Sierra Leone are unvariably about the Party and nothing to do with the people, hence the party is dominant on every activity that has to do with government action.
With a quiet and unassuming character in its President, Sierra Leone has lost leadership and the acumen to make a difference.
It is interesting to see a silence of acquiescence so deftly played out by a diplomacy which in turn merly window dresses the divisions in our polity.
It is critical to note that even in the midst of the sabre rattling, the people are aligning themselves against government action not only to register dissent or protest against the oppressive actions but also to accentuate the differences of tribe and identity that has no right to exist in the equation of economic rationalisation of state resources.
In the event, the state is edging closer to failure, the capacity for violence6 becomes a dynamic by product of government actions and what all of this boils down to is the question of whether cowards can become leaders?
This is not the way we should be going. As the people of Makeni mourn, others will seek to take political gains out of their sufferings and this is where rent seeking becomes unpardonable.
Any silence on the part of those on whose back these troubles would always entreat political communities will be their betrayal.
Let no one fool the people anymore, all this was done for the sake of politics but who said again that cowards do not make good leaders?

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