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The evil that people do

The evil that people do

Hello Wonde Gboyama.  Happy New Year Sierra Leone.

Like in politics, everything to me is local. So why not start my New Year salutation to my country with my place of birth, the Great Wonde chiefdom?

Thank God, I have done it and I hope all is well out there as we look forward to the rest of the New Year, while reflecting on the one we have just let go.

New Year is time for reflection. That may be the reason the month of January was named after the two faced Roman God of gates and doors, Janus.  Janus had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backwards.  As a country, while we prepare ourselves for the New Year we must take our time to reflect on the past year, to enable us make the corrections from the past to be kind to the present.

The question is, are Sierra Leoneans capable of such reflections? From what happened on Saturday, January 14th during the council elections in the East end of Freetown tells me that we as a people are incapable of correcting ourselves. I extend my sympathy to all those who were wounded in that fracas. Be they active or passive participants.

Madam Thorpe has given us the date for the elections and if what happened on Saturday the 14th is anything to measure our political maturity by, I’ll say 2012 elections will be the vilest election year in our country. I pray I am wrong; but many things have been done and said to make me think I am right. I am sure you all know my drift here. Personal attacks, character assassinations and in some instances even murder will be committed.  It seems to me that in our country, all is fair in politics and war, and politics today is war.

In America we say “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”.  The political game been played today is too often quite putrid. Many decent people, who will want to run for office, will not. Because, they don’t want their names and family members to be dragged through the mud.  When you have facts, argue the facts, when you have neither, you holler. As we approach the election month our politicians and their supporters are doing a lot of hollering, because they have no facts to argue.

The title for this opinion is deliberate. Because, of what evil politicians have done in the past and are doing today. Politics in our country have become a sole propriety of evil men/women. It also reminds me of a line in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Marc Antony said,

“The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” It was part of Antony’s eulogy at the funeral of his friend, Emperor Caesar. Antony had earlier been banned from speaking at this funeral, but there was a change of heart with a condition that Antony will only speak if he promised not to speak ill of Brutus and the conspirators who killed his friend for the “good of Rome”

Today, our politicians and their supporters kill off the competition for “the good “of Sierra Leone. And these deaths unfortunately do not come only from smear campaigns, but from the same dagger Brutus and his co-conspirators used to kill Caesar for “the good” of Rome.

Though Marc Antony agreed, (Under duress) that Caesar was evil; he also was able to mix facts, innuendos and sarcasm to remind his fellow Romans of Caesar’s good qualities. “Friends, Romans Country men, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”. That speech was made thousands of years ago but politicians of merit, of the likes of Reagan, Sadat, Lula, Clinton and Obama etal have taken a cue from that political oratorical masterpiece skill to persuade their listeners to their view points.
In Sierra Leonean politics today, skillful debate and genteel discussions and comparisons of records are for the museum of antiquities. There is today little discussion of the issues of the day.  Hey, check the Sierra Leone discussion forums, the newspapers and even in our downtrodden communities. You’ll find a plethora of personal attacks on opponents and even their families. Each competitor is trying to muzzle the other by refusing to debate, but rather prefer to use violence to push their “ideas” whatever that may be forward, thus frightening us the voters and denying us the opportunity to make informed comparisons.

The season of lies, the season of deception, the season of promises to build a bridge where there is no water has begun. They say you are only used the way you allow yourself to be used. These politicians who under normal circumstance will not find Wonde on the map of Sierra Leone will find their way there to lie to my people that  after the elections the forests of Fayama will be turned into gold. The youths of “long step” Kroo bay, potee and other deprived areas of our country will be visited by these politicians to try to win their hearts with drugs and promises of turning those areas into Hollywood.

But how many of these politicians will go around Malama, Hill station and other posh areas of Freetown with bull horns to campaign? They will not, because the people there know them and they know they will read through their lies. Instead they will look for the vulnerable Long step, Kroo Bay and other deprived area residents.

No doubt these elections are very important for our country but it is not a do or die. No matter what happens we may go but the area called Sierra Leone will forever be around.  The electorate must ask the “HOW” questions of every promise these politicians will be making to them. How are those promises going to be fulfilled? Know your candidates. Read their lips.

That brings to the question many people have asked me.

“Whis party you dae now”?   The answer is none.  But let me it clear that I have been a member of the SLPP, APC and the PMDC for various reasons. I was a member of the SLPP because growing up there was no other political party my people knew about; and by circumstance of my birth I was automatically SLPP.  The APC was the law of the land. And as a law abiding citizen, the best way I could change a law and I don’t like is by obeying it. So I was APC de Jure.  I became PMDC by choice, because I saw it as an alternative to the two big guns that have messed up our country. Alas! Margai proved to me that it is not what the party manifesto/constitution says but what the man in the party says about its manifesto.

I couldn’t stay in a party with a dictator waiting for him to die before changes may come.

So in the forthcoming elections party does not matter to me and it should not matter to any Sierra Leonean. These parties have been there since independence. Look at what our wholesale support based on tribe, region have done to the country. . It is the individual that matters. Sierra Leone is currently presented with two evils, the APC and the SLPP.  We have been given a lemon; don’t kill yourself by trying to make apple juice out of a lemon. From a lemon you can only make lemonade. How sweet that lemonade comes out is what matters. A choice has to be made between not necessarily the two parties, but the individuals heading these parties’ tickets. If it was not Sierra Leone I would say our choice will be easy, because for the first time we have a choice to look at the records of both candidates not from what they will tell us they will do, but what they have done. After all both have been in that seat before that each would want to reoccupy after the these elections.

I am a contributor to campaigns of various candidates from both parties. I even chair the campaign of a potential SLPP candidate for Kono central, Mr. Nat Dawonde. Mr. Dawonde knows fully well that I do retail and not wholesale party politics. But party affiliation will not make me shy away from supporting a decent, honest and progressive man like Mr. Dawonde who says what he means and always means what he says.

No matter whom or which party each and every one of us support, one thing that will be at the helm of that support should be for the common good of our Salon. It is for the common good of Salon that I support Mr. Nat Dawonde in his quest for a parliamentary seat from Kono. It is for the same reason that  I support President Koroma over his challenger.

The late Barbara Jordan, the first black from the South to be elected to Congress once said:  “A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good”

And yes we should never forget that the evil people do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. Let us be careful not to bury our good with the bones of today’s politics.


Cillaty Daboh

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