By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
Sierra Leone’s political activities have always been tense, regional and tribal sensitive, and filled with a flair of cultural display reminiscent of the tribes and regions of contesting politicians.
Political campaigns in Sierra Leone since 1967 were troubled by spates of vandalism, tribal and regional sentiments, hyped by negative public propaganda by political actors. This sad situation, since 1967 to 1992 when the Government of Joseph Saidu Momoh was overthrown in a military coup, following the civil war outbreak in 1991, continues to haunt Sierra Leone’s political climate.
It is unfortunate that despite what the country went through during those trying times, when millions of her children starved, raped, murdered, and made to live as refugees, some Sierra Leoneans are still bent on taking back the country to that old path that rendered the nation naked, homeless and begging for international support.
The international community is making efforts to lift up our country to once again regain her long-lost glory but that will only be successful if political stake actors (APC, SLPP, and others) take responsibility of making the interventions meaningful to the people regardless of their region, tribe, or status.
What Sierra Leone wants now is the platform for economic development so that the millions of young people struggling for better livelihood will get jobs and live better lives. And this could only come to reality when efforts being made are appreciated, supported, and public utility services are made accessible to the wider public without hindrance.
When has the cloud of Ebola horror over the country cleared? Has the country forgotten the agonies and cries of families whose loved ones were swallowed by a virus which would have been halted had the country a healthcare infrastructure that is strong?
Would Sierra Leone have had such crises had members of the major opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party joined earlier in the fight when the government wanted them to reach out to their strongholds and demystify claims that the virus was a means to disenfranchise their rights to register?
Should the nation continue to contend with some public servants whose roles in governance are nothing short of ‘ineptitude individuals whose jobs were rubber-stamped with tribal or regional colours?
The challenges are infinite; however, ongoing economic infrastructural development such as investment in road network and electricity is vital in providing the platform for long-term goals to be successfully accomplished. So much has happened since 2007 and the nation wants continuity of the developmental trend that’s now raising the hopes of people. But regardless of what President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is doing, the recent pronouncement that ‘MPs will vote for a motion that would make sure the Presidential and Parliamentary elections slated for March 2018 postponed’, will dampen his good image.
Sierra Leoneans are looking forward to 2018 to cast their votes and are looking forward to the president to guide them through the process for peaceful democratic elections. Ongoing intra-politics in all the political parties in the country should in no way spill from their headquarters and hurt the people. Nor should politicians be left to propagate views that may create political instability in the country.
The country’s polarized politics and growing numbers of mushroom politicians hiding under cloaks of NGOs and the media to propagate nefarious information to influence change will not help the country. Lobbying government stakeholders and challenging policies through constructive criticism aimed at creating positive change are what is needed in Sierra Leone; and not messages that smell of tribal or regional incitement.
It is time politician realize that the people are tired of their mind games and want a better Sierra Leone run by honest people and not those individuals who find politics as a thriving employment ground.