By Amadu Bah in Australia……
I have been keeping quiet all these days since Hon Chernor Bah was selected as Running Mate of the APC in Sierra Leone but I thought within myself to break the silence.
We are besieged by social ills stemming from the evils of tribalism and racism on a daily basis. We know that every human being is a member of a particular ethnic group. But we are all born without prejudice; people are not born tribalists, racists or bigots.
Unfortunately, they acquire these evils through teaching and socialisation. Society shapes our beliefs and characters. It is natural to be born without prejudice; is it unnatural to practice prejudice.
Therefore the practice of prejudice against other people, discrimination, tribalism or racism is outrageous. The spirit of our compatriots that once captivated our liberation from our colonial masters is now almost gone. Tribalism and racism have eaten deep into the fabric of the social, economic and political tenets of our society.
After 57 years of independence, certain individuals in our society have failed to grow out of village or tribal politics and have created their own tribal loyalties and racist cliques and our true national identity is in peril.
On a daily basis, Sierra Leone witness racist and tribal tendencies where individuals exhibit loyalty exclusively to tribal or racist groupings and communities. They exhibit group hegemonic bias – they see their group as better than or superior to other tribal, ethnic or racial groups.
We fought and won battles on many fronts; but we have not triumphed over all the evils of tribalism, racism and the evil in the human spirit.
We see it when racists and tribalists call fellow citizens derogatory and disparaging names. This trend threatens to destroy our democracy, our social fabric, and socio-economic development.
This is witnessed in the promotion of nepotism and mediocrity, suppression of meritorious performance, entrenchment of corruption, disunity, perpetual discrimination and ultimately poverty for those discriminated against and oppressed.
Tribalism and racism skew the distribution of natural justice and national resources and privileges. Tribalism and racism thrive on nepotism as people belonging to a tribe or race tend to favor only their own. These results in the unjust distribution of jobs, government tenders as well as opportunities in the private sector.
In essence, this leads to state capture, which is the practice of hijacking state resources by a certain group of people for their own benefit. State resources belong to all equally.
Any practice contrary to this is unjust and criminal. We must not ignorantly or arrogantly close our minds to views that conflict with our own. We must strive to continue to live in dignity, unity and in harmony with an open conscience.
We must vigorously weed out tribalism, racism and state capture and promote tolerance and national unity on the premise of ‘One Sierra Leone One Nation’ in the true sense.
The late liberation icon and national hero Andimba Toivo ya Toivo said it so well: “Tribalists will never be revolutionaries, and revolutionaries will never be tribalists”.
To transform, Sierra Leone we need revolutionaries who are not tribalists, for tribalists and revolutionaries are mutually exclusive.
Rather than discussing or deliberating or debating on developmental issues of our country we are merely engaged in petty things that have the potential to plunge our nation down the drain.
Are you a revolutionary dedicated to the advancement of our Sierra Leone, or are you a tribalist/racist dedicated to the destruction of our society?