In life, one should always learn to make history and not to repeat history. The wrongs should always be corrected and not to be repeated.
This is what this government has been doing these past years, instead of re-writing the wrongs of their predecessor; they have been repeating the same mistakes to the lowest point that the slogan of attitudinal change has become a farce.
Returning to Sierra Leone after two years was supposed to be a happy homecoming, instead it was clear even before I left China that what is going on in the country is worse than what I left.
I would never have believed if someone had told me that the meager students grant to help overseas students would be politicized and tribalized by this government. The former minister of Education Dr Alpha Wurie who believes that ‘brain drain is better than brain in the drain’ did everything in his power to pay all students their grant regardless of political affiliation, tribe or region.
But the new ‘Attitudinal Change’ has finally caught up with many students especially in China who have nothing to do with politics as they have been indirectly told that they should belong to the ruling government if they want to get grant in aid.
Two years of APC rule has brought back negative memories of tribalism and politics in every sphere of life. When the campaign was on, they criticized their predecessor of tribalism and regionalism and promised us in good faith that if they win the elections they will change the status quo for the better, to our greatest shock, they did the worst.
The city of Freetown has become a jungle with no direction. Many people wake up and do not know where they are going, what they will eat as the predators are all over ready to descend on us and devour us. It is like we are all in the Animal Farm where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.
Every day a government official is sacked or resigned, no doubt the new official would definitely come from the North or a member of the ruling party. They are just repeating history instead of making history.
Attitudinal change should come with visions and innovations to develop the country and not to politicize every little thing in the country. People who can deliver should be given the chance to do so regardless of tribe or political base. Why sack someone viable and replace him with dead wood because of political sentiments?
But as we always say, not every change is positive as well as not all movement is forward. The change we aspired for was a positive change full of economic and social gains, we wanted to see change in our daily lives, peoples faces full of smiles and laughter, but instead we see negative change that has brought sadness, death and sickness in many faces.
Many enterprising young people who have always been filled and fired up with the zeal to serve their beloved country Sierra Leone, are at certain times caught up in the web of limbo with their minds boggling on the big question is Sierra Leone worth dying for?
The reality of this question is exemplified in the very sad and awful manner in which some people who in the quest to serving mother Sierra Leone are wrongful penalized because of politics and tribalism; cooked up and framed up in some unsaintly matrix of factual inaccuracies, innuendos, and blatant fabrications just to mar their hard won reputation and integrity and possibly as punishment for no crime committed.
One such case is the way some Sierra Leonean students in China are being treated by the Education ministry, using politics of envy, jealousy and hatred that characterized their policy of attitudinal change that is inherent in their party politic in general. For students to be told that they are not recognized because they got their scholarship from the Chinese Embassy or because they do not hold a party membership card is rather unfortunate.
Having the will to speak is one and the same as the will to be understood. However, in everyday situations of interaction the will to speak is also sometimes the will to baffle, puzzle, deceive, and to be misunderstood. Surely, this article is bound to baffle some readers, and others might just ‘switch off’ from reading it entirely for, they have the right to exercise that right!
Indeed, the recent political change in our country involves not only changing political ideology to accommodate the needs of the majority of Sierra Leoneans but also changing identities of those elected to govern us. Following an interesting political argument that I had with a friend sometime ago, I have come to realize that unless you are one of ‘them’ who dare you to say this government is failing its citizens, but rather the epitome of ineptitude.
Perhaps, history may be kind enough to take a sympathetic view of the previous APC government and their ideals. The issue is the way the APC regime pursued them was unforgivably incompetent, to say the least. It takes a very special courage, the sort only certain politicians possess I suppose, to wait until someone is out of the room before speaking ill of him. To me this is absurd for, I have been politically aware through close observation of the changing political climate in Sierra Leone that, I have chosen the last two years of this government to say what a disaster their economic policy and many others had been.
Take for example, the political slogan; ‘zero tolerance on corruption’ and ‘attitudinal change’ doctrines that did blur the perception of some Sierra Leoneans for the last two years through the notion of political deception.
The last index finger of individuals electorate, crowned with the ink of the Electoral Commission, and the country then spoke out loudly leading to the government from SLPP to APC today! Deception as a political tool of this government is relevant to understanding other people’s minds simply because it involves trying to make someone else believe that something is true when in fact it is false.
In other words, it is all about trying to change someone else’s mind during the political change period, for example. The changes in which we are now experiencing thus provide a basis for an argument that individuals within our society generally need to become more flexible.
However, a question remains as to the extent to which our current rate of change outstrips an unspecified capacity among adults for flexibility. In other words, are insecurity and uncertainty the always present other side of the coin of flexibility?
The unshakable ideals of some people believe that this regime is synonymous with arrogance, ignorance, greed, reckless insolence, violence and ineptitude.
Many people always agree to disagree on many political issues that we discussed for example that, the end of a president’s term in office is never the best time to review his record. Giving leaders a second term after failing in the first is absurd. In any case, can anyone suggest an antidote that would enable one to eradicate these painful experiences from his body system? A Marxist Polish philosopher stated that, “you suffer, your suffering is caused by others that are powerful; these oppressors must be destroyed”, and indeed, we collectively did it in 1996 through the ballot box! On the other hand, a French philosopher Foucault noted, ‘…knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all’.
But, what right have I got to reflect on behalf of some students that have been abandoned by their own government in China? However, I cannot remain far too divorced from divulging some of the political experiences endured by some of the people of Kailahun Court Barry constituency before, during, and after the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2007. I see some of these experiences as, ‘pre and post election bullying’! For, most of us cannot deny the fact that we might have been bullied in one form or another during our life time for instance, our peers, siblings, and even by parents, thinking of it makes it hurt some of us.
The people of Sierra Leone that have their wits around them and students that have been abandoned by their own government will continue to strive until we succeed and we will serve our nation regardless of which party is in power or which tribe or region the political party is coming from, because we know we shall win and we will always be confident on the victory of good over evil.
By Austin Thomas