When the lizard of the homestead fails to do the things for which its kind is known, it will be mistaken for the lizard of the farm yard. For so long Sierra Leoneans have tenaciously held on to the notion that they are a very hospitable, very loving, caring and peaceful…living in a paradise of a country flowing with milk and honey. How about the diamonds, gold, bauxite, iron ore, and other minerals virtually sprung all over the length and breadth of the country?
But today so many farmyard lizards have invaded the homestead and negatively transforming the very psyche that had created the difference and deference. Well they say the monkey and the baboon may claim lineage but the monkey remains the monkey and the baboon the baboon.
The recent spate of ugly events in the country points roundly to the fact that the average Sierra Leonean treats major issues with arrant levity and badly goes about with flagrant impunity. What beats one’s imagination is the fact that most people in authority do not just have the courage to call a spade spade. How are the many commissions performing? Very few can be described as performers. If one scrutinizes their performance indicators you may be tempted to recommend their review or scrapping altogether.
Violence is becoming so pervasively endemic because we refuse to say the truth…we window dress, pay lip service, turn blind eyes, give a damn to human dignity, people’s rights and good governance firmly rooted in the rule of law… not the rule of the raw. Despite the meticulous dexterity and forthrightness exhibited by the Electoral Commission – never mind the confusion over their creative mathematical logic on over voting – the PPRC’s brilliant efforts fell and still falls short of putting their fingers on the real issues of naming, shaming and bringing violence perpetrators to book.
One can understand however the precariousness of their job in a country where nobody dares to stand around when two elephants are fighting…not even the grass! Their job of monitoring, regulating and ensuring compliance of political parties to laws governing the electoral process hardly ever went beyond documenting violations without punishing those found wanting.
Now let’s look at the dilemma of the IMC. Until the events of last Black Friday March 13, 2009, the Commission had managed to smooth sale and tight rope walk its way with marked professionalism and benignity that makes us proud. Whoever chose Black Friday for a public event that by all indications had political overtones, did a grievous oversight. This author tried to text to the UN radio so many times to suggest the changing of this date but the cyber genies blocked it.
The whole saga has placed the IMC in a very unenviable position. I see the whole scene reminiscent of the Herod scene in the Holy Bible. Why is it that as a nation our main trade is scapegotism? Why we dae take oda pipul dem yai sleep? We all know too well that our solution to political vandalism is not in closing the party radio stations but in consciously endeavoring as a nation to call a spade a spade and graduate into civilized and peaceful citizens respected in the global comity of nations. Why do people think the IMC should have banned the party stations without enough evidence? People who monitored the two radio stations can attest that their pronouncements were not the cause of the sad events from black Friday. In any case after the suspension the key players of the two parties were on UN Radio expressing some how belligerent sentiments.
It is very interesting to note that at the heat of the Freetown invasion by rebels the 98.1 FM Radio was lauded for hitting the enemies always below the belt…what an irony! With all the huge noise about democracy at no time did we suggest the closure of that radio? Of course we the Original BoborPains who stayed in Freetown waiting for Maxwell Khobe saw it as our savior. Look they say the essence of a thing is that thing without which it ceases to be what it is. Believe it or live it propaganda is at the heart of any party radio… without it what do you call it?
Hey do you remember that lonely voice in the night from Sorogbema that called up DJ Base and reported the clash between/ attack on…many people the very next day dismissed him as an alarmist. But the truth is that what later enfolded was virtually no different ….Oh Salone politics.
With all the violence and violations by almost all major parties, no punitive measure was taken as provided by law. Such unfettered impunity has served as enough pungent recipe for the current spate of violent acts and gross use of human rights abuse that is becoming a daily occurrence in this tiny global stricken poverty-enmeshed near-goddamn country. Just critically analyze the most recent events…from alleged stabbing, vandalism, arson, and rape from Sorogbema to Government Wharf, from Government Wharf to Koidu and from Koidu to Kenema. What makes this whole horror movie revolting is the fact that the people starring are those in high authorities that control scores of followers especially the youthful population.
Is there any end in sight just now?
By S. Beny SAM