By Prof Sankara Kamara…
As Sierra Leoneans, what lessons have we learnt from the most unforgettable episodes in our current history? In March 1991, our country imploded, touching off one of the most sadistic conflicts in post-colonial Africa.
The eleven-year civil war was supposed to teach us lessons in accountable politics, patriotism and the rule of law. After the war, common sense behoved us to discourage, and subsequently STOP, practicing criminal politics. Unfortunately, we REFUSED to learn from the poignancy of the civil war.
Criminal politics, in the form of tribalism and impoverishment of the people, continued to prevail in Sierra Leone. At the beginning of this year, neighbouring Guinea-Conakry attracted Ebola, inadvertently giving the Sierra Leone government enough time to guard against a viral assault on its population.
Thanks to the criminally reckless men we have in power, nothing was done to prepare our country against an impending, Ebola attack.
Like the civil war, which was supposed to teach us a lesson, Ebola has come with a MESSAGE, for Sierra Leoneans. Here is Ebola’s message to Sierra Leoneans: If you rely on tribalism to choose and support your national leaders, you will end up with idiots, thieves and dismally incompetent men, in power.
If we want democracy to be meaningful, tribalism should NEVER be the criterion for choosing and supporting national leaders. Do NOT vote, or support, a candidate based on his or her tribal origins.
If we want to reverse poverty and work towards a healthier and safer Sierra Leone, we MUST be prepared to hold our leaders accountable.
The attainment of accountability should essentially begin with the de-tribalization of our politics. Before you vote for a ministerial or presidential candidate, PLEASE ensure the candidate possesses a noticeable trace of each of the following qualities: integrity, intelligence, patriotism and a MIND, free of ignorance.
Integrity refers to honesty, a much-needed characteristic in a horribly abused country like Sierra Leone. Intelligence is required to ensure the president is mentally sharp enough to avoid being manipulated by crooks.
Equally essential, is the fact that an intelligent national leader, can be relied upon for far-sightedness, a much-needed trait for detecting and neutralizing trouble, thereby saving the people from victimization.
Ebola has loudly told us that voters who use tribalism to choose and support national leaders, will consequently SUFFER under politicians who LACK honesty, intelligence and the degree of patriotism needed to steer a nation towards a sunnier, future.
As a Sierra Leonean, that is the message I received from Ebola, the bugbear that is currently killing us with malice aforethought.