The chameleon is always admired for changing its colours to suit the environment. Well recently somebody from Sierra Leone sent wise words to the BBC network Africa. It said “No matter how many times the chameleon changes its colours it will never change its face.” Here is an issue of identity. We have personalities we hardly change in our life time. These traits always end up showing up. They say character is like pregnancy, you can only hide it for a while but it will definitely surface. The chameleon remains a chameleon and can actually be recognized as such.
Now let us drag this whole thing to politics. A lot of politicians are referred to as “political prostitutes” because they change parties almost like pants. A lot are loyal to the party of the day… any government in power (agip). Do you really blame them in a poor country where some people live on politics? You see the whole thing is that if you have a lot of principles hangings on your neck, then please don’t join politics. The simple reason is that it is not so much doing it the right way but meeting your personal objectives… the Machiavellian way, where the end justifies the means. Some people believe that the journey should be as interesting as the destination. Others really believe that what is important is the destination. Whether you get there in the end. It does not really matter how you get there.
What compounds the issues around this is that the world is getting more materialistic today especially with the advancement of technology. How many people would not want to have a phone of their own, I mean a mobile phone? Mobile phone thefts have so increased that in a place like Freetown it is a nightmare carrying your phone in your hands and actually using it in public. You always have some smart guys who are there to snatch it. Some months ago they almost cut off the jeans of my back pocket…a whole chunk of it was neatly cut. It was a little kid who later told me that my trouser was torn. When I placed my hand on my back pocket then I realized I was half naked on my right bottom. Can you imagine I had to find a makeshift tailor who managed to temporarily fix it while I had a lady’s lapa tied round my waist like a woman.
I still remember the blind Musical flames at the time the NPRC took over power. In one of their songs they made a very telling statement that it’s like politicians belong to every and any political party. It is always the one in power that attracts. Which politician actually wants to give up power? None at all, never mind all this talk of power sharing and democracy. With so much stress on good governance, human rights and the Rule of Law, many people thought by now the world will not be having megalomaniacs leading their countries. But just recently, about a week ago after the Gabon elections we heard about Alie Bongo, the son of the late President Omar Bongo of 40 years rule fame, has been declared winner, something occasioning violent protests. It is largely believed that the results were manipulated in favor of Alie Bongo. Indeed that family’s bongo is on the all time high. Well Libya is celebrating 40 years oh sorry, 40 years since Col Muamar Al- Gaddafi seized power. This is all on the hills of his first ever visit to the USA. Although some protests were registered in the US the trip was made anyway. Incidentally the protests were for the Libyan welcome of the alleged Lockerbie bomber Al Magrahi.
Can someone tell me why there is so much hypocrisy in politics? Everyone agrees that Zimbabweans are suffering because of Mugabe. Why should a whole nation suffer because of one man? If the US can allow Col Gaddafi to visit that country, why can’t the West bail Zimbabweans out of their present predicament unconditionally. Many people had long thought that the days of dictators were over but events in this 21st century Africa has proven otherwise. You look around Africa and you’ll see that the political madness stinks to high heaven. How do we hope to improve the livelihoods of people when in many countries citizens are suppressed? In some cases the ironies are quite naked indeed. Take the Gambia; they say although infrastructural developments spring up all over the place the press is muzzled at every opportunity… if you listened to the BBCs’ Network Africa some few days ago you will know what I am talking about. I sometimes wonder what is the use of people dying for a tomorrow that may never come? You know what happened to the pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square in China. You know what happened to Ken Sarowiwa in Nigeria.
We have a long history of sacrificing on the African continent but the results are yet to come…maybe tomorrow… may be the day after tomorrow, or perhaps never! You see why most people now choose not to be political or whatever heroes or heroines in Africa? Definitely you will die wretched. Indeed we will continue to have political prostitutes as long as people live on politics. We have seen technocrats, great professionals, when once they enter politics, their official profession changes to politics. Many people think when you reach retirement age then you join politics. These go in there because they really think they have nothing to lose. When their party loses they join the winning party. They will tell you that they cannot afford to wait for another five years… of course hope cannot put food on their table. Do you blame them in a country where the life expectancy is around 40? Can you blame them in a country where all the MDGs are priority challenges but then the wherewithal to address then is yet illusive? As I have said before the most successful people of this world are those who have learned to play ball, more along like sycophants but at the end they reach their goals. This is the ugly and naked bane in our political adventurism.
Just check out the many offices all over the country… it is not really the qualified or most hard working that gets all the motivation, it is the loyal boot licker. One thing this later group is sure to do is do anything and everything to maintain their position with the big Boss even at the expense of his or her colleagues. The honest faithful worker is only honored after death since the dead will pose no threat to anyone. Whoever said if you do not conduct yourself well on earth things will be better in heaven. My brother most part of your next world is right here! Who has ever actually opted for death so that he can quickly go to heaven? The truth is no one wants to die and go to heaven. Even men of God pray fervently to stay alive.
At the heart of and after the Kosovo war the Canadian Red Cross handling the refugees had this slogan: If you have survived the war, try to survive the peace. When we had our rebel carnage we thought all we needed was the end of the war and everything else will fall in place. Now eight years on and we are still grappling with basic needs for survival. But the good thing though, we are alive. Yes being alive is good but living the good life makes being alive more meaningful. Why are criminals increasing? The gap between the rich and poor keeps widening by the day and yet what development practitioners do all the time is improve the livelihood of poor and marginalized citizens. It is a tough job eh? It is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole at the bottom. Yes we have come this far …but we still got a long way to go. If you like run, walk or crawl but keep moving, as Martin Luther King once said.
By S. Beny SAM