When politics becomes a disservice and a pain on the necks of people: a lament


Saidu Bangura, PhD.
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
If it is not intimidation and detention of political opponents, it is police brutality against the people and rival politicians of the governing party. If it is not electoral hurly-burly, it is inciting the youths to kill other youths for the political gains of politicians. Rather than serving our people, our politicians are dividing us for their selfish gains. So it was yesterday, so it is today. Welcome to the political ecology of Sierra Leone.
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
When ethnolinguistic otherness and political party kerfuffle are disseminated in society as the norms of orderliness, and when these consequently feed into the fabric of a people whose modus operandi used to be “one for all, all for one”, all we see around us is social and cultural degradation that lead to total destruction. Let us make our country a peaceful paradise!
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
When we create boundaries of who are true Sierra Leoneans based on their political colours, geographical origin and/or place of residence, the languages they speak or based on their names, we miss the opportunity of enjoying our beautiful rainbow of a multilingual and multicultural nation. Let us live as one people, we are all Sierra Leoneans!
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
When those who left the shores of our country either by option or forcefully due to our recent sociopolitical and socioeconomic past and the violence that ensued and that we all suffered are seen as “others”, we are building walls to separate a people that once enjoyed their unique characteristics of tolerance and cultural co-existence. What happens in Sierra Leone impacts Sierra Leoneans at home and all over the world. We must, therefore, put down the walls between home-based Sierra Leoneans and those in the diaspora. We are all Sierra Leoneans!
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
When our politics is gendered and it does not favour our women for being women, and our women are bulldozed for being hardworking and tough as they fight to cure the ills of our country, we are maiming our mothers in whose wombs we were made, and who are the linchpins of a successful family, community, and nation. Without women, men are nothing, families inexistent, and nations fail. Degenderize politics in Sierra Leone!
I shed a tear for Sierra Leone this morning.
I shed a tear each time our Parliament sits and I hear our parliamentarians speak and debate bills that are not in favour of our people and their aspirations and needs, bills that benefit only parliamentarians and other politicians while the challenges of the country for which they were elected remain undebated and continue to affect all and sundry and Sierra Leone continues to be in the list of the least developed nations of the world.
Can you help me shed a tear for our country and people, especially our vulnerable people who will soon be fooled again with flamboyant promises of a better tomorrow while they continue to languish in abject penury and despair in the midst of numerous natural and mineral resources? Why do our people suffer in the midst of all that we are blessed with?
Why is Sierra Leone, a potentially rich but inconceivably poor country?
Political leadership.
The leader – that one person that can lead the transformation of our nation; that one person that can keep her/his promises and forge a way forward for our people and country by bridging the past and the future in what s/he does today and the way s/he conjectures the future through a thorough analysis of the present; that one person that can depoliticise development, detribalise governance and unite our country and people is the solution! That singular person, the leader – the trailblazer to the changing of our political narrative is what we are in dire need of!
Sierra Leone needs a good and disciplined leader, a leader that is not regionally and ethnolinguistically biased and divisive, a leader that is not selfish, a leader that is not self-centred, a leader that cannot be remote-comtrolled; a leader that can make Sierra Leone attractive; a leader that is true to country and people; a leader that is progress and development oriented – a Jerry Rawlings of Ghana or a Paul Kagame of Rwanda?
Maybe, we need a leader that can combine the positive characteristics of both Rawlings and Kagame. It is not the political philosophy nor the geopolitical orientation of the leader that matters, but her/his vision of making the country a place worth living in for its citizens and those who choose to live and work in Sierra Leone.
How I wish we had good leaders – leaders that can serve their people, leaders that are patriots, and leaders that can learn from our recent history and hence thrust the country to the future for generations yet unborn!
I am still shedding tears for Sierra Leone for our disregard for what used to bind us and how politics has divided us, and the pain that the tears from that division brings as I once voiced my pain on paper in the poem below written on November 25, 2020:

A voiced pain

This is a voiced pain –
and how the pain
that pains me
continues to pain me
that I cannot understand
why I cannot understand
how I cannot understand
that we cannot see
why we cannot see
how we cannot see
that which is obvious
where it is obvious
when it is obvious
that our people are misled
by those who misled
them and continue to mislead
them and they in turn mislead
others that politics
and those who do politics
who play politics with politics
can save our nation
while the nation
continues to wreck in pain
and how the people live in pain
and how that pain pains me –
the pain that pains me
in this voiced pain
that continues to pain me!


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