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‘Maturity’ or ‘Coming of age’

‘Maturity’ or ‘Coming of age’

In his national bestseller ‘Hardball,’ Chris Matthews – political commentator and host of the MSNBC show with the same name – gives a tell-all revelation in a sort of funny way, how politics really work. He delves into tales of raw ambition and brutal rivalry, to stories of famous disagreements, and further reveals the truth about so-called master politicians while attempting to explain the importance and real meaning of choice words such as, “Only talk when it improves the silence;” “Positioning is everything;” and “Always concede on principle.”

The world of politics, wherever it is practiced world-wide, guarantees absolutely nothing, and furthermore Matthews alludes that nothing is forever. Different players enter and leave the political arena, but the common man – the electorate – will always be there; and to forge ahead, politicians must always be ready to be team players, never forget old allies more so the people who worked tirelessly to help them attain their political goals. In the world of politics also, advantage in knowing people who matter, have connections, are in position and can sway others is the proven key to success.

Reading about Mr. Julius Maada Bio finally conceding defeat in the recently concluded elections in Sierra Leone, leaves one with so much pride and satisfaction for who we are and have become as a people. Our country continues to progress and advance democratic values in a continent that for the most part has been portrayed by the developed world as having power-hungry dictators, who were unwilling to relinquish power, even to the detriment of their own people.

We truly do not need the ‘powers-that-be’ to impose on our politicians how elections should be decided. We have been witnesses to concepts that are only designed for the poor peoples of the African continent, as I am yet to learn of any country in any other continent in the world where the concept of ‘power-sharing’ has been imposed by the international community. They form coalitions of sorts, or have their various legal systems decide the outcomes as in the “perfect tie” of the November, 2000 presidential elections in the United States – George Bush vs Al Gore; or David Cameron’s Tories and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats forming a coalition in the United Kingdom to kick the Labour Party out of power in the British elections of May, 2010.

One only has to look at places where the concept of ‘power-sharing’ has been imposed on the people to see how well that has worked out – as in the cases of Kenya and Zimbabwe to name a few, not forgetting that which was imposed on us with the elected government of the day and the rebel RUF after the years carnage we would all like to so much forget.

It is in this spirit that I truly and humbly doff my hat to the defeated SLPP presidential candidate for such a bold step and to remind him that there is nothing wrong with accepting defeat, whatever one’s reason or perception. There is always dignity in humility, Mr. Bio, and we thank you for putting the interests of our dear country, Sierra Leone, before that of everything else.

To say that we have “come of age’ or matured as a nation would be truly a mild expression, given how we have been perceived in the global spectrum; but such actions – as undertaken by Mr. Bio – can only lead to a better image of Sierra Leoneans in general as being caring, peace-loving, and above all politically matured. Proverbs 22: 29 in the Holy Bible states that, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” For you Mr. Bio, I would like to share these words by Machiavelli, the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist.

In all my wardrobe, I could not find anything
more precious than the knowledge of the
conduct and achievements of great men,
which I learned by long conversation
in modern affairs and a continual
investigation of old.
A wise man ought always to set before him
for his example the actions of great men
who have excelled in the achievement
of some great exploit.
                                                                     Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1532

By Gabriel A. Johnson, St. Louis, MO. USA

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