Random Musing: Letâ€™s get the cobwebs out of the system please
I am aware, like so many others, that it is symptomatic of our society to turn our noses up at issues that will come to haunt us later while pretending that all is well.
Since perception is a large percentage of reality, we do sincerely need discernment in our long march to â€˜freedomâ€™; to avoid a shorter walk to oblivion and ending up like Haiti, where all the aid in this world appears not to make a jot of difference.
The challenges ahead of Sierra Leone are massive and the stakes are too high for us to fail. Our darkest hour, though gradually fading into the distance with time and meant to be the dawn of a new beginning, is still nothing but a tower of silence.
So, as the nation crawls to its fiftieth birthday, letâ€™s make this the season of truth. Letâ€™s leave the bouncy castle world of politicians and go up the river without a paddle. And in the wake of all the theatrics, let the wave of hype subside and let the blinkers in our eyes fall. Letâ€™s now then face reality and think really different for a change.
Letâ€™s see our discussion about events and happenings as a national duty not only for posterity but for our collective future and that of generations yet unborn. Let even the unprincipled find principle for a change.Â Letâ€™s forget about the glory of individuals, because history is there to judge them and give them due accolades or otherwise.Â Because today, taking the comb to the root of the nation, seems like questioning a sacred belief. The truth has become the elephant in the corner; the thing that no one really wants to talk about. This is despite the fact that contrary to claims, paradise has yet to arrive, especially for the many at the bottom rung of the ladder. The socio-economic and political realities simply do not bear the cost.
There is no point rejoicing that Sierra Leone is out of the woods because as we are now discovering, it is such equivocation that has set the mood of drift and inertia enveloping the nation. Also, there is something definitely and deeply disturbing about the contemptuous relish with which the government appears to be ignoring three core issues â€“ the dilemma of our youths, the plight of the many and the state of the economy.
Yes, infrastructures have greatly improved from the ruins of yesteryears; but while the rest of the globe is on the cusp of tomorrowâ€™s world, we are still trawling yesterdayâ€™s realm. The barometer of national vitality is frantically warming in the red zone.
The new, much-vaunted Sierra Leone is still scarred by extreme poverty and high unemployment; by lack of basic facilities, political and social intolerance etc.Â But specifically and most notable, is the lack of an effective mechanism for translating into reality, what is obviously EBKâ€™s vision for Sierra Leone as well as his policies for and of greater achievements.
During a recent visit, I discovered that the populace and especially the youths, who were so full of hope and potential; so naively enthusiastic about change; so utterly fearless about the future that the promised change offered, are now the ones forlornly gazing into the sky; longing for an assurance that their adventure into wonderland can still reshape the world according to their dreams.
True that the current regime has had to make silk purses from sowâ€™s ears but the reality is that the nation is still in financial intensive care with an element of â€˜Christians being fed to the lionsâ€™ and the Christians in this case, being the ordinary people.
The government may be unutterably pleased with itself so far, but again, the truth is that it is clearly labouring under the misguided delusion that it is a hell of a lot better than it actually is.Â There is no point lionising or demonising President Ernest Koroma yet; even if some blindly follow him over the parapet because heâ€™s dragged the nation from a state of nadir. Remember, any kid will run an errand for you if you ask them at bed time.
Expectations can be debilitating in terms of getting the actors to perform to the required level and this sadly enough is where we are. This makes it more vital that the present administration at this stage leaves politics out of our search for the Holy Grail of Redemption and the sacrifices of success.
Today, as the clock ticks towards the end of the third year of the Ernest Bai Koromaâ€™s administration, if I were the President, my jaw will be set in a smile-free zone and my Colgate smirk replaced by a stern face.Â And the reason is very simple. Looking in the personal, internal mirror to which no one else has access, I will realise that I was elected to try and do something special. That I promised not to disappoint.
While there are certainly grounds for getting carried away, I will appreciate that the expectations from the start was for me to take what was available on the shelves and in the pantry, add a few ingredients to the cake mix and come out with something special. That on assumption of office I promised paradise â€“ light, clean water, good roads, better health; the eradication of hunger, poverty, illiteracy, greed, wickedness, corruption and a million other goodies that weâ€™ve lacked for sometime or that needed mending- within three years.Â That deep in the charisma-bypass, I pledged to turn vinegar into wine and to transform our nation into an El-Dorado within a little over the halfway mark of my first term. It was a tall order but it was one that was not impossible.Â I will realise that I was not pressured into making the pronouncement but in the heat of the political euphoria surrounding my electoral victory, I showed that winning was unexpected and ended up displaying remarkable naivetÃ© in my utterances.
On a serious note, no one can dispute the fact that responsible and visionary leadership shows even in small, easily ignored things, like the plight of the masses,as they do in big things, like electricity and courting every foreigner that comes calling or that opens the door to us.Â For those pointing to electricity, let us remember that the cityâ€™s bright lights donâ€™t represent the real Sierra Leone.
The underclass of poverty-stricken and gaunt looking fellow Sierra Leoneans, living as second class citizens, are indeed an indication that despite the promises and the efforts, our leaders are still at best, scrambling to deliver the goods.Â No doubt, the global realities of the past few years are of course the stuff of nightmares. But the governmentâ€™s deception to chant boom in the austere realm of world recession was a chilling, ill-judged plan.Â That false hope, is one reason why the level of expectations has come back to haunt the government right now. It is why despite all that is being bandied, all we have is a hollow laugh for many.Â Because if you run around trumpeting and raising all sorts of hopes, it could just as it is doing now, have the perverse effect of philosophically turning the people against you, when things donâ€™t go according to plan.
The short-sighted and counter-productive policy of literally handing the keys of the nation to those without a clue about our peculiarities and with vested interests that have no bearings on our aspirations, just because they flash or claim to have a few bob, is also nothing but an unwise move as it blunted our thinking and the ability to fend for ourselves; or at least to change our orientation to that of cutting our coat according to our â€˜country clothâ€™.Â Hence we have now resorted to the acceptance of tokenism and sometimes to even go all out to find excuses for the slow pace of our development while doing our level best to absolve the leaders from culpability.
For those who continue to see those of us who raise issues as anti-government or opposition members, read this piece from the BBCâ€™s Allan Little,
â€œDespite receiving hundreds of millions of pounds of humanitarian and development aid from Britain, 10 years of peace have done little to shift the entrenched poverty, unemployment, and high adult and child mortality across Sierra Leoneâ€
â€œThere has been no discernable development here, and generation after generation of children are coming out of school with no prospect of a job. The anger and the frustration that fuelled so much of the war are still tangible, and people are hungry for the benefits they thought peace would bring.â€
â€œIt is more than 50 years since the British left Sierra Leone and the country embraced independence, while the whole of the continent of Africa freed itself from the shackles of colonial domination. But now Sierra Leone wants its former colonisers to return with more help.â€
â€œIt is both surprising and counter-intuitive to hear this enthusiasm for foreign interference. But British political influence in Sierra Leone is far greater now than it has been since the end of the Empire. British government officials sit in the main offices of state here – monitoring what the ministers do, supervising, scrutinising, guiding the country toward European-style good governance.â€Â (Newsnight: Wednesday 23 June 2010. BBC Two)
Need I say more? Is there a need or not to get rid of the irremovable cobwebs? Or will EBK dare to dream, work and sweat for the majority of Sierra Leoneans so that they will not remain enslaved to Western, Chinese and Arab ideals?
To be continued.By: Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
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