By Prof Sankara Kamara
The three-day lockdown has come to an end. Freetown’s beleaguered citizens can heave a slight sigh of relief, after regaining freedom of movement and the right to eke out a living, in very trying times. Barely hours after its conclusion, it is too early to test the efficacy of the three-day lockdown.
The lockdown left me with the belief that Sierra Leoneans are so tired of being miserable that they are ready to comply with, and sacrifice towards, any undertaking that could lead to a better Sierra Leone.
Even by the standards of our semi-authoritarian system, the order to put a whole capital city on lockdown came as an extraordinary display of executive power. Desperate times require desperate measures.
Desperate to see an Ebola-free country, Sierra Leoneans complied with the order, when the time came for its enforcement.
What did President Koroma learn from the three-day lockdown? Although it is mere wishful thinking to expect a radically changed president, Ernest Koroma should learn the following fact: Sierra Leoneans are ready to work with any leader who means well, for our unfortunate country.
Had Ernest Koroma declared a genuine and determined war against corruption and lawlessness, Sierra Leoneans could have given him ALL the support he needs to usher in a politically cleaner, and indeed efficient, country. When a president becomes so unprofessional as to put friends and relatives in high places, politics will become a business that attracts looters and profit-making opportunists.
Today, even the most educated Sierra Leonean, WRONGLY believes that politics is a passport to easy wealth, looted wealth, that is! Heaven knows, politics–especially in the REAL democracies of the West—is about serving and protecting the community. In Sierra Leone, politics has become a lucrative business, analogous to a jackpot.
Even among educated Sierra Leoneans, the IGNORANT, and sometimes criminal, belief exists that politics is the easiest way to get rich, filthily rich! When he came to power, Ernest Koroma could have given us a NEW APC by declaring a “Mini-State of Emergency” against corruption by, among other things, employing people based on merit. He didn’t!
The NEW APC could have refurbished our judiciary by freeing it from political control, de-tribalizing the police force, and producing a disinterested president who would stand aside and let the judiciary investigate and punish dishonest politicians.
All those opportunities and virtues were ignored, sadly reverting to the politics of theft, incompetence and the employment of unfit people in high places.
We will continue to pray for an Ebola-free country. After all the horror and misery, the expectation is that Sierra Leoneans would find a SOLUTION to their national nightmare, by raising their political standards and organizing themselves to demand a cleaner, political system. Sierra Leone is too beautiful to indefinitely tolerate a politically pungent government.