• August 11, 2023

NEW APPROACH TO SIERRA LEONE POLITICS

NEW APPROACH TO SIERRA LEONE POLITICS
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It is time we start admitting that as a people the way we have been doing things since Freetown was established in 1792 and since we were given Independence from the Great Britain in 1961 as Sierra Leone has resulted to where we presently find ourselves. The people’s expectations in terms of public service delivery in governance are bigger than what their elected leaders have been offering. Regime in and out have failed to meet the people’s expectations, for which they continue to suffer.

We should have been far ahead of a lot of countries in the world had we done things the way they should have been done. We have allowed things to deteriorate to where we presently find ourselves as a nation, under what is being described as a ‘democratically’ elected regime operating on a ‘controversial’ elections victory mandate.

Consequently, our way of thinking and doing things have not produced the kind of country we have always aspired for. The Sierra Leone we have today is a figment of our imagination of what it should have been like had we done things the approved way. Our backward way of thinking, the level of intolerance, ignorance, emotional and physical violence, the cycle of high place public sector corruption one regime after the other, elections management fraud, among couple of other misgovernance issues can be blamed on how we think and do things as opposed to how they should or should have been done.

The lasting solution to all our governance and social issues will start with a new way of thinking. It would require a whole new way of doing things and looking at life in general. We need a new approach to politics in Sierra Leone.

Education will play the central role in this our new way of thinking nationally. Once we start on a proper public orientation for our people based on how things are supposed to be done, we should expect our society to develop alongside countries it is as old as, including but not limited to the West. Had we done things by their proper procedures and by the unbiased application of the rule of law, no country in Africa would have been able to stand next to Sierra Leone.

As opposed to doing things in the interest of an individual, a community, party or tribe, this new way of thinking would consider the nation’s interest as the start off point. By putting the interest of the country over all else we will start doing things with such a focus in mind. This follows then that anything, planned or action that is not in the interest of the nation and people will and should not even be considered. Any politician and political party that are seen as doing things against the interest and progress of the state and people will have a very difficult time making headways or gaining political gravy points.

This way the people will always know what’s good for them hence the country. We as a nation would have come to expect a politics of delivery instead of one full of rhetoric. This way it would be very difficult for politicians to fool or mislead the people as all will and will be expected to be done with the nation’s and not the individual’s or interest of the political parties at heart.

In the world over, there is the way things are done that is generally accepted as normal or according to accepted rules and procedures, then there is how we have been doing things in Sierra Leone so much so that when one attempts to correct a certain abnormal behaviour or action based on how things should be or have been done, it is not uncommon to hear a Sierra Leonean say ‘Well, what else can be done, that is how we have been doing it or this is what we are used to’. If there is a prescribed way for doing something, it then naturally follows that there will be proscribed ways of getting the same things done.

Correcting such an anomaly would require a new way of thinking. For example, with the current political impasse, a new way of thinking would see the people and our moral guarantors speaking with one voice against what has been considered a broad daylight electoral misconduct. The old way of thinking has kept us going this long even after the controversial 24 June polls despite how we all know this ‘victory’ was won. We must stop lying to and deceiving ourselves, our children and emerging generation Sierra Leonean will continue with this ugly legacy only that they will take it to lower levels of depravity. Where there is a lack of steady progress there you will always find all kinds of issues bordering on the illogical.

Such a change takes time and patient focus to getting the mission or task or objective accomplished. For example, despite the manner in which President Julius Maada Bio won his second term, those ignorant of the elections and the democratic process are saying it follows then that every regime should do ten years in line with the late Alhaji Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma doing two terms.

 

Then this way of thinking is completely wrong!

 

The real or proper way is that for anyone wanting to be president of Sierra Leone, the law puts a limit of ten years, after which you can no longer be president. The focus is to discourage presidents from wanting to be in the position for life. You can either do your ten years in two consecutive terms as the past two presidents after winning a second election. But you will have to win the second term; it is not handed over to you on a silver platter. If presidents were given two five- or four-year terms, then Donald Trump should have still been president of US at present. Biden’s term would have started in 2024, not 2020.

We surely need a new way of thinking as a people. Just as we can offload all the nation’s problems on the two main political party governments, APC and SLPP that have ruled since 1961, so we can blame our current level of underdevelopment including but not limited to how we conduct our electioneering processes, our rights, duties and obligations in a democracy, the rule of law and procedures guiding how our governors behave in this Paopa or New Direction regime.

Our country people, our old way of thinking has not worked, for which we need a new way of thinking going forward, with democratic good governance, sincere fight against corruption, accountability and transparency, upholding other key democratic values.

Had we done things right after our great start as sub-Sahara Africa’s leading light, then this nation would have been in the same league as the United States and many of the world’s leading nations instead of finding itself at the bottom of every human development indicator, because we are stuck in our glorious past while the rest of the world is adapting to the change that has seen many of them going past Sierra Leone with regards development and progress.

Change, however, is easier said than done. The nation needs an overhaul of every attitude, every thought, every mentality and a national programme of proper political, social and economic orientation for the people.

The change will be slow and arduous but it will happen with a steady resolve to get things done, and done right.

Presently the people of Sierra Leone see themselves as belonging to two contending mentalities for which they have their corresponding behaviour. We have allowed for us to be polarised along tribal, regional and political party lines so much so that we see red and green wherever we go. Our politics have become a zero-sum game for which the winner takes all and the losers always expected to wait for another five year election cycle for another opportunity to get their party or regional interest accomplished while in the nation’s driving seat.

The usual scenario is that for every five year period able body men and women of learning and experience are made to suffer the indignity of not having access to public jobs and opportunities because their party is not in power. Meanwhile, all this is done or accomplished at the detriment of a large segment of the population.

This is the foundation for all the divisions we are faced with as a society.

In the old way of thinking, elected leaders see themselves as the lords of the people. The new and proper way of it is that as voters the electorate or electors are the power behind the power exercised by politicians and political parties. It is the people that hire the politician to work in the interest of the people. The politician does everything to please the people that elected him.

The new way of thinking would see our elected leaders seeing themselves as the people’s workers, with the police and other state security apparatus as the public’s protectors.

The nation needs a new way of looking at political parties, public leadership and accountability, corruption, financial leakages, violence and lawlessness, how often electricity goes off and on, how we treat each other before, during and after elections and seeing Sierra Leone as our tribe with our local dialects being secondary to the national tribe.

Sierra Leone can be anything we want her to be.

 

FORUM strongly believe that we just need a new way of thinking that will not consider respect for the person or his or her position over what is established or acceptable practice. Lonta!

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