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Page added on November 3, 2012
I have always emphasized in my writings that tribalism is a bane to any society, be it rich or poor. Tribalism has torn many African countries apart – The DRC, Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya, etc; it is also taking its toll on Sierra Leone. Sierra Leoneans however have the opportunity to wriggle out of this ugly situation by adopting certain positive steps for positive development in our country. It is time for all of us to unite as one and put aside tribal identification, regional linkage or political affiliation and replace them with peace, development, love and respect for one another. It is only by adopting these strategies that we can develop our country and make it a better place for the little kids coming up. (Photo: Tony Bee, author)
I must emphasize without hesitation that the period we have at hand today in Sierra Leone is a God-given period for the development of our land, our minds and our spirits. The warning is that development will never come if we concentrate our minds and energy on senseless words like “political stronghold”, “tribal stronghold” or “regional stronghold”. Until we all unite with one voice, one energy, and one spirit, development and the fulfillment of national aspirations will always elude us.
We must all know that any tribal grouping that does not have peace and development in its agenda can never be strong and progressive. A tribe that lacks peace is like a whole country without peace and tranquility; the end result is chaos and destruction, and genuine investors and other business people will shun it. Business people or any other sensible people for that matter would rather not risk their investments in a chaotic society.
Therefore if we deliberately repel investors from our land through hatred and senseless politics, the whole land will continue to suffer, the people will lose immensely and posterity will bear the burden of our foolish deeds. If opposition party stalwarts frustrate the country’s development projects simply because they are not in power, if they happen to come to power in the future, the same thing will be done to them by other opposition parties and it will end up being a vicious circle, with the country being at the losing end.
Maada Bio’s recent ruthless utterances in London and other places through which he painted a bad picture of Sierra Leone is a typical example of an over-ambitious politician throwing his patriotism into the mud. The good side of it was that he failed to know that he was exposing his own nakedness to the international public because they had already seen the clownish and bloodthirsty side of his character. The bad side is that the ugly image he had created had no doubt created a funny image about Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leone politics.
I have a friend who always says that when people talk about “stronghold”, it could be a stronghold of sycophants, a stronghold of ape-like fools who see nothing good in things that others describe as excellent. Such a bunch of people are always ready to tear down in a minute what sensible people have toiled to build in many years, and they are always critical of every commendable deed of others.
I will give credit to only one person among the bunch of sycophantic and naïve tribal supporters of SLPP, because it is always good to give credit where credit is due. This person can be described as a patriotic and outstanding personality who, in spite of his support for the opposition SLPP, has openly chosen to speak the truth for the world to hear.
This personality is no less a person than the Member of Parliament (MP) for Constituency 98 in the Western Area, Hon. Mohamed M. Jah for his recent call for Sierra Leoneans to pray for peace and stability in the country after his return home from a visit to America. He also called for prayers for officials of the country’s electoral commission so that the officials and other stakeholders would be able to handle prudently the affairs of every phase of the election for a fair and credible outcome.
Hon. Jah, as far as I know, is the one and only SLPP personality who has ever thought of calling for a national prayer for peace and tranquility in the country. Most of the other SLPP stalwarts want nothing for the country but total destruction, simply because they are not in political power. If you wish for the destruction of the country you want to rule, then where are you going to be based as a ruler? This shows the narrow-mindedness and arrogance of over-ambitious politicians who wish to grab power “PA-O-PA”. It pains me to see a group of people who are so blinded by political fanaticism that they wouldn’t mind to destroy the whole world to satisfy their insatiable hunger for power.
Thank you very much, Hon. Jah. Please continue to put your country above everything else and God will continue to richly bless you. After all, no matter where we are, no matter how long we stay outside, Sierra Leone is the only country for Sierra Leoneans. No matter how comfortable you are in another country, you are always either a settler, a refugee, or an asylum seeker. People will give you many names that you will not be able to carry, but in Sierra Leone, all the name people will call you is “Sierra Leonean”, which is more respectable. Vices that will tear the country apart can never pay good dividends; they bring backwardness and consequent lifelessness.
From the moment President Ernest Bai Koroma set foot at the doors of State House after the elections in 2007, Maada Bio and his tribalistic cabal have preached vicious verbal hate messages, messages of division and messages tainted with lies and innuendoes; those messages have shamelessly been echoed and re-echoed by SLPP newspapers in and out of Sierra Leone. It is rather absurd to see a group of people who describe the day as night even when the sun is shining brightly.
If certain news reports can be trusted, then I will believe that Maada Bio and his so-called supporters recently went from one village to the other in the Pujehun, Kailahun and Moyamba Districts to incite people to rise against those who do not belong to their tribe, region or political party. According to the reports, Maada Bio was introduced as the Mende/SLPP Warrior who had come to give back the Mende tribe and SLPP their lost dignity Pa-O-Pa. Maybe the news reports aren’t true but we must remember that a child in a village who always sets fire to buildings is always guilty even when a house is on fire in his absence. So whether or not Maada Bio did go from one of those villages to the other to spread his diabolic messages, he will always be guilty because he has already branded himself as a troublemaker. The people in those areas should have first asked Maada Bio what development projects he had brought in those areas in his heydays in the NPRC military government.
This brings me to the question that people always want to ask: When SLPP was in power for almost 11 years, what major developmental projects did they leave in Freetown and provincial areas? Did they build good hospitals, good market places, community centres, community health centres, electricity, good road networks, good sanitation, and good drinking water? In fact even the seat of power, the nation’s capital Freetown, had been without electricity supply until President Koroma assumed the presidency of the country.
Instead of thinking of providing basic amenities for Sierra Leoneans, the SLPP busied itself milking the country dry of its natural resources and squandering funds provided by international donors. Instead providing electricity for the country, former President Kabbah and his government made a deal with Chinese manufacturers of poorly made electricity generators, which made frustrated citizens name the generators as “Kabbah Tiger”. The name came because it was Kabbah’s government that made the Tiger Brand generator more popular in Sierra Leone.
It was symbolic of the fact that President Kabbah at the time could not provide even the shortest period of electricity supply to residents of Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown. Now he started parading with a man (Maada Bio) he, former President Kabbah have since labeled as one of the most corrupt individuals in the country to be voted as president in November elections as if patriotic and sober minded Sierra Leoneans are still sleeping in their wings.
Today, under President Koroma and his APC government, the use of private generators has minimized because the city can now boast of national electricity supply, not to mention the hundreds of kilometres of good road networks covering the whole country. Areas like Pujehun, Kailahun, Bonthe, etc., which were neglected and their roads were cut off because of lack of maintenance, are now enjoying good roads, have good hospitals and health centres, good markets, etc.
Most areas previously neglected by previous governments can now boast of having basic amenities to make life go on. Mind you, those are some of the areas that the SLPP shamelessly regard as their “stronghold” and it was also the areas that President Koroma got poorer votes in the 2007 elections. But President Koroma, in his magnanimity, has not discriminated between areas “belonging” to SLPP or not; he has continued to share development projects equally among all areas. This is what makes a good leader, a Man of the People, a Man of Peace.
President Koroma’s kind-heartedness has left Maada Bio and his gang with no campaign programme to help them sell themselves even to people in their own areas. They have nothing to promise to the people that President Koroma has not already done for the country. Their only strategy now is the construction and reconstruction of lies and the promotion of tribal and regional hate messages to fool vulnerable people as the November elections approach.
I will also add as a word of passing that SLPP fanatical journalists think they can bring division in President Koroma’s camp by dwelling on the issue of President Koroma’s running mate issue as they also attempted to do the same thing amongst the Temnes. I will say without hesitation that it is a headache for the SLPP but not for President Koroma and his APC party. So no matter what those senseless and tribal-conscious journalists write, they can never succeed in fanning discord in the APC camp. I will not hesitate to say that the APC is a party that has been strongly united by President Koroma for a common goal.
My advice to Maada Bio and his Pa-O-Pa SLPP gang is that they should think of putting their house in order and turn a new leaf for the next election in 2017. If not, they will still end up losing any election that is held in the country in this century. My advice to fellow Sierra Leoneans is that we should continue to be awake and alert and continue to differentiate the truth from falsehood. Maada Bio and SLPP fanatic supporters, please the people of Kailahun, Pujeh etc need peace and development in their districts, tribalism and regionalism political promotion will not development their towns and villages. LONTA!
I will still continue to launch my appeal to all peaceful and development-oriented Sierra Leoneans to continue opposing fellow Sierra Leoneans who are enemies of the state, enemies of progress, and enemies of the hard-earned peace in the country. In view of that, I encourage all patriotic journalists, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), National Electoral Commission (NEC), Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Bar Association, Teachers Union, religious groups, civil societies, human rights organizations, Labor Congress, women’s groups, youth organizations, musicians and other artists, traders associations, market women’s associations, student unions, disabled organizations, cassette sellers associations, booksellers associations, photographers associations, newspaper vendors, etc. to rise up and oppose the promoters of tribalism, violence, regionalism, hatred and dishonesty, especially the turn-coat politicians and the devil- incarnate political chameleons in the country before it is too late.
PLEASE, PLEASE, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THIS IS THE TIME TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY; THERE IS NO OTHER TIME MORE SUITABLE THAN NOW. WE SHOULD NOT WAIT UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS BEFORE WE BEGIN TO SHOUT. NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO SHOUT ALOUD TO SAVE OUR MOTHERLAND FROM ANOTHER CATASTROPHIC WAR. BULLETS FROM AK-47 RIFLES AND OTHER DANGEROUS WEAPONS DON’T DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN A JOURNALIST, AN SLPP OR APC SUPPORTER; EVERYBODY IS A TARGET IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT TRIBE YOU BELONG TO, WHAT REGION YOU COME FROM, OR WHAT POLITICAL PARTY YOU SUPPORT. WE SHOULD THEREFORE WEAR THE COAT OF WISDOM BEFORE DESTRUCTION COMES.
WHEN GOD SAYS YES, WHO WILL SAY NO?
By Tony Bee, Sydney, Australia
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