By Prof Sheikh U Kamara
It was a sombre announcement of the death of shame and seriousness in our body politic when the Majority Leader of our House of Parliament, the sacred House in which our national laws are born, as well as our Minister of Information, one who is mandated by our national constitution to exercise subordinate executive power, danced out their levity on the streets of New York. When one realizes how much the UN knows about what goes on in our country, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu and Mohamed Bangura’s immature theatricals only added to the image of irresponsible and unserious leadership for which Sierra Leone is known within the walls of the UN and the World Bank.
What a spectacle to behold!! The Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, a towering six-foot mass of unbridled flummery, gyrating a protruded stomach assuring his Master that he is ever ready to “sɛn am go dɔŋ (fling it to the bottom).” Well, he succeeded only in flinging our Parliament to the bottom. It was even more pitiful when Mohamed Bangura, the thickest square peg in our national ministerial round holes, was struggling to control the front line of vassals dancing to the tune of the Master, a symbolic struggle to hold on to his ministerial position. Why would this concern me?
Well, I know a little bit about African dance, both the traditional and the modern. I know that traditional African dances like the ritual dance, the religious dance, the ceremonial dance, the communal dance, and the griotic dance, are all deeply serious and meaningful. They serve to mark life experiences, celebrate weddings, and mark rites of passage, among other things. I also know that dance can also be used for entertainment. However, in Post-Colonial Africa, especially in autocratic environments, dance has acquired a different texture and complexion. Dance has become an expression of political statements. A new form of dance called Political Dance, has emerged. People of a particular group, tribe, or party, dance even when the others are being oppressed or persecuted; they dance even when the majority die of hunger; they dance even when they really do not know why they are dancing; they only dance to appease their regional, party, or tribal demi-god. While I do not condone this kind of dance, I can understand how the poor and vulnerable, both in the country and the diaspora, can avail themselves for this abuse.
It is quite a different thing for our government officials. Our government officials take an oath to defend and protect the constitution. They serve the nation, not a tribe, party, or region. The Constitution whose values they swore to uphold, frowns upon the abuse or misuse of public office. So, when Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, Majority Leader of Parliament, Mohamed Bangura, the nation’s Minister of Information, Logus Koroma, the nation’s Minister of Transport and Aviation, and other government officials, all paid from our national coffers, participated in this jamboree of misguided pleasure, it should concern any Sierra Leonean.
We have witnessed our Parliament dance to the Master’s tune of “More Time” in the sacred well of Parliament. We have witnessed this Parliament dance to the Master’s tune when EBK rejected what the Parliament had passed and signed into law; we have witnessed this Parliament dance to the Master’s tune when EBK usurped Parliament’s role and illegally sacked his elected Vice President. We have witnessed this Parliament turned into a rubber stamping institution. All those dances were done at home. Now our Parliament must export its dance of buffoonery and toadyism to the international stage. And Sierra Leoneans should be amused?
The clash between the seriousness of the UNGA meeting and the levity of the APC charade outside the walls of the UN Building, points to something deeply worrisome: it points to what has been referred to as, “Poverty of the Mind.” In French, it is called, ‘La pauvreté de l’esprit,” in Arabic, ‘Faqr aliaql,” and in KaThemne, “Mɔnɛ ma merʌ” It is a signal of an impoverished mind when a Minister of government and a Parliamentarian who are supposedly on the serious business of international diplomacy, turn themselves into foolish revelers on the streets of New York.