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Page added on May 11, 2011
This is the one million dollar question on the lips of well-meaning Sierra Leoneans as the country runs aground. (Photo: Adeyemi Paul, author)
Many of us did witness the role this body played while the rebel war raged on in this country. That was when the likes of Osman Barrie (of blessed memory) the M’ba Kabus, the Alpha Timbos, the Zainanb Banguras (now cabinet minister) and the Festus Minahs, to name a few that laid their lives to save mother Sierra Leone.
In those dark days, it was the combative spirit of civil society activism backed by the resilience of the civil populace that put the madness of the rebels under control.
It was the kind of civil society that could mobilize bare handed civilians to confront blood thirsty rebels to demand an end to their senseless carnage. That was when men and women, old and young marched on to rebel leader, Foday Saybanah Sankoh’s residence to tell him enough was enough. The outcome of that confrontation is an open book for posterity.
Scarcely had the war ended when we began to witness another brand of civil society activism – the bread and butter type that anchors on personal and or partisan interest, the kind of activism that now reduces many activists to the level of bootlickers, thereby betraying the cause of the people.
For me personally, there is no serious civil society activist that one could count as the peoples’ mouthpiece. I see all of them as nothing but glorified sycophants.
Even Festus Minah cannot be referred to as a civil society activist per se. How can any sane man address him thus when he has misplaced his role with that of a politician?
Political opportunist Charles Mambu is more of a government apologist than a civil society activist; so are all those who label themselves as civil society spokespersons, including SLTU Davidson Kuyateh who continues to serve government interest rather than those of teachers he purportedly represents.
If I should recall, I read recently a press release from Charles Mambu’s coalition of civil society groups, expressing an opinion on the current state of affairs in the country relating to the high cost of living.
Sheer hypocrisy I dare say!
I could have given him a nod for his concern, a man known for his outspokenness, but the fact that he has in many instances served as the mouthpiece of this present dispensation, I cannot give credence to his opinion.
So, in the absence of any formidable civil society organization in the country, the people now grope in the dark for solutions to their dilemma.
It is therefore not surprising that while the economy is in doldrums with the corresponding hardship that bites across society, the so-called civil society groups remain toothless. None has come out in the open to articulate the concerns of the masses. How would they when many look forward to rewards of some sort from their masters.
Such could also be said of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) which has been engrossed in intra-party squabbles to an extent that they have become indifferent to the plight of the people they are fighting to serve if elected into office.
Today every average Sierra Leonean is crying under the weight of a pushover economy. The fact is many Sierra Leoneans can no longer afford even the basic one square meal for the day, not to mention transportation cost which has now forced many to walk to their destinations on daily basis. The vicious circle has made the poor even poorer.
But who really cares? The government’s agenda for change is only a concept that is yet to be translated into economic reality.
In the heat of the crisis, the people look forward to a redeemer, but there is none. The opposition parties like the civil society groups are dead under water. Instead the populace has been subjected to the ‘how for do’ situation, accepting whatever comes their way.
Perhaps the only saving grace is the media. But the media too cannot do much other than conscientizing society. It is for civil society or political parties to mobilize society for the common good. But, if I may ask again, where is that civil society in today’s Sierra Leone?
This is the heart beat of our dilemma as a people!
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