I think it was Eddy Grant who sang about political bassa-bassa. I have never really got myself to know what political bassa- bassa mean. I can only guess that it means mix-up and ojukokoro mentality. We have a problem in Africa…we hardly say something good about African politicians and I think that is why they don’t perform. Yes this is partly true. Some people will try to look sheepish just because other people do not appreciate their worth. Give somebody some responsibility and more often than not they will perform.
Try it out if you are a manager …don’t ever be afraid of challenges. Let them even call you a dog…you know you are no dog. After all what is in a name…it is politicians who have given too much meaning to names. I can remember Late Pa Magba Kamara who was Secretary-General for the ex- Servicemen’s Association had a Secretary called Ms England but she perhaps never knew the direction in which England her colonial country was. One time when he was calling Ms England who was no where to be found, I told him that England was a long way off. I think he did not enjoy my kind of joke or wit.
I did not apologize then because I was their darling youngest executive in OBBA, Western Area.
All this is not the point…the point is I have begun to have doubts on funders priorities as opposed to community needs. Let’s face it Sierra Leone is a country that has a multi-million needs line up. I don’t normally subscribe to the poverty tag on Sierra Leone…Sierra Leone is not really poor. If we were why do all these foreigners always want to come back and do business? Look at the number of banks, mobile companies’ etcetera, and etcetera. What are they all doing here if we were so poor like our project proposals show? No, don’t tell me you do not know what I am talking about…the guys always come back. Sure in the next 5 years we will be considered for an American President’s visit.
What I’m saying is that if the UN Development Index was considering a country’s potential, then Sierra Leone will not go so down… but you know those guys judge countries by their own standards, and we have learnt to cope with it.
We have had an African Secretary General whose performance at the UN by every standard was remarkable but you can remember how the former us president ignored and boborized him over the so-called Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction hoax.
Hey do not report me to Uncle Barrack. The Kenyans and Somalians are still fighting over him… the South Somalis say his tribe the Luo originates from them and the Kenyans say he is Kenyan. The point both of them lose is that Obama is an American and President of America. You see Africans who tend to be too patriotic may miss the point. African patriots may well be radicals who have their two feet firmly planted in the air. See how we have handled foreign policies in Africa. The AU might be transforming itself but how far can it go?
Life is so full of ironies, biting ones at that. Take the guys in Nigeria calling themselves Boko Haram. Most of them are/were products of Western education but now loath everything Western.
I have been following The Charles Taylor trial thanks to Sister Mariama and her colleagues at the BBC World Trust. Charles Taylor claims his incarceration is politically motivated. In any case what on earth really escapes political influence? You may not like Charles Taylor but the guy is gifted with brain and eloquence. His analysis of situations is so cogent sometimes he perforce wins many hearts and minds. When we hear the Special Court crying hard-up we wonder where all the trials will lead us? What if they don’t garner enough funds to continue the trials? For me most of the leading players of our war being dead and gone, the trials seem to have lost momentum. People have always compared the Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If the kind of money spent on the Special Court was spent on servicing the recommendations of the TRC probably peace consolidation could have gone that positively far.
See how the reparations program is barely managing to crawl… never mind the hilarious publicity. All this is having rippling effects on the development and peace everybody wants. All the developmental efforts will go bassa- bassa if there are loose ends in the pillars of Justice, Good Governance and the Rule of Law.
Just because Uncle Obama is now President of the United States of America, many Africans think they are on top of the world. They want to be close to those who wheel and deal in politics. You remember that Kenyan guy who wants to marry Hilary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea? I think his name is Gordon Cepkuruga. When Mrs. Clinton recently visited Kenya a journalist raised the issue and the man repeated his request. What is interesting is that this Kenyan Councilor is married with 2 children. Many see this as a very long shot. Why is it that everyone wants to be associated with a successful politician? Even those who are very wealthy in the African lands of the poor millionaires go for politics and join the bassa bassa train
The bobor pains of our world struggle hard to get rich because poverty is such a disgraceful thing.
There are those who strive and strive and strive but get nowhere. When you ask some European youth why they do not go to church they will tell you that God had long answered their prayers and that they don’t want to be selfish by continuing to pray. In any case Africa needs God more than any other continent. No wonder the BBC once declared West Africa as the most religious region of the world. I agree with George Farquhar, the Irish dramatist when he said “There is no scandal like rags, nor any crime like poverty”. Graicho Marx felt frustrated when he said “Look at me, I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty”. You cannot actually consume wealth without producing it. And of course there is no way you can go out of this world except by dying. Why is politics such a popular profession? We have seen professionals; call them technocrats, when once they enter politics they never want to quit. Many Medical doctors have abandoned their practice. Some University Professors have dropped their lectures for politics. This political Bassa bassa like Eddy Grant sang, hardly gets to helping the poor.
To the contrary it widens the gap between the rich and poor.
The most well-intentioned have come and tried and gone but the poverty situation remains the same. You play the independence video and you will see that the problems of today had always been there, even before independence for some. In the political bassa bassa we are always hopeful because we are made to feel very hopeful indeed. In a way it is good to stay in some kind of illusion.
Disillusionment kills sometimes faster than Malaria. Sometimes the fools paradise is better to live in.
The search for a just world will never end…it may never be provided by politicians. But we have to get them into office and gamble with the future. Do we really have a choice? Partisan politics makes the situation more complex indeed because most times party loyalty supersedes national loyalty. This is where I do not like partisan politics but it is seen as perhaps the best for now.
Civil Society efforts at transforming society are another long shot. Gross depravity in the socio- economic, health and governance is enough incentive for poverty to linger on and on perhaps till Thy kingdom come. Who will liberate humanity from all forms of misery and have the vision of humanity to live in paradise. Nobody has all the answers but everybody has some answer.
One thing politics should do is to reduce the vulnerability of young people so that they can develop into useful citizens. Provide them with skills, knowledge, resources and opportunities which will allow them to take greater control of their own lives.
Because of the tremendous role played by youth in politics, any government which batoes the young people will definitely be moving on the right footing. Please don’t ask me what political bassa mean, you will have to go to Jamaica to ask Eddy Grant.
By S. Beny SAM.