Change of Attitudes: Part Two

9 March 2008 at 08:04 | 696 views

By Mohamed Boye Jallo Jamboria, Bergen, Norway.

How do both the governor and the governed make profits?

In the last issue, I ended with the question above and have waited for some time so as to gather a bit more material and information especially those emanating from columnists. Naturally a lot of water has flowed under the bridge of time and some very pertinent remarks have been made from diverse quarters.

Some of these remarks have been positive whilst others have, as usual been negative. I have said as usual because it is like now a tradition to see and hear negative things about people and places in a land that was once the Athens of West Africa and where western education and values were first implanted. It is like the social surgeons, the colonial masters, did not do their work properly.

However this paper is not about the colonial masters as it is time we move forward and stop blaming them. If ever we mention them or what they did let it be for the sake of identification of the origins of the problem but not for the sake of crying over spilt milk for which new bottles of milk can be provided if and only if we are all ready to work the farm with a clear and committed participation and a view of “us” not “I” being the actors and affected of the actions of the actors. In summation we are faced with a Catch 22 situation in both the intellectual and administrative sense of the concept.

How and /or why this kind of situation? This follow up, I mean this article, took a long time in coming because I had to allow time to produce more materials for substantiating the premises that clearly spell out the lapses in our psycho social set up.

First, it is clear that the gap between the governors and the governed is still very wide. This gap centres on governance and the mental visual we project both as governors and governed.

For us Sierra Leoneans and more so as Africans, governance and government is all about ordinary people ascending to a position of ubiquity and absolute limitlessness. In this same light, politics becomes an issue of life and death.

In the process we wilfully though most times unconsciously invest our energies on issues that do not actually pay off or rather make profits for us and for our nation.

A living example but which is ignored is that since the APC took up office there has been an increase in a lot of activities. First we have seen an increase in the number of assuming enlightened minds who write and express their views in the name of “wisdom and freedom of expression”.

The question now is where have all these “enlightened minds been over the last decades and why have they allowed past governments to misuse and abuse the rights and privileges they are now making claims on? Well, the answer to this all important question will come in various shapes and forms.

Some will even say this question is irrelevant and it only expresses what the responders will think of as my being pro APC. Of course such a response will not deter me as I serve my conscience and not the opinions of others. My conscience tells me that I must serve my nation and at a time like this when people still wallow in their emotional and ego oriented outlooks there must be some who stand above and see if not tell it from the other side of the horizon with a different approach.

To come back to the issues in focus: Since the APC took up office there has been a lot of changes in the mode of events and some have even become more pronounced and frequent. An example is the recent killing of a Foulah trader which was drummed up by some to mean political retaliation because the Foulahs are considered to be pro SLPP.

That summation as it was is very outlandish and clearly illustrate the fact that the first victim that suffered before the war is still the victim. That victim is TRUTH! Of course I do not want to be a philosopher and will not defend this concept as “truth” varies with place and time. However what is clear is that unless and until we all learn to examine and make a fairly reasonable assessment of the concept as and when it is required and more so giving precedence to the general interest ,we will ever remain to make losses in our governor and governed relationship.

In the days of the last regime another Foulah trader was killed in a hotel room and feelings were drummed up against Nigerians at that time. Now the feelings are against the APC as some high level propaganda is doing the rounds that the APC wants to revenge on those who are against them.

Well and good, but what about all the Foulahs in the north, a region that is normally misconstrued to be basically pro APC? Also what about all those who supported and voted APC in the north? Have they been killed? Why it is that all the skirmishes are concentrated in the areas that are not predominantly pro APC?

Is there some underground factor responsible for all these fracases because some person or groups of persons want to make the new government unpopular? I am not pointing fingers, I am only making a reasonable assessment of events because from the look of things some ungodly activities are being perpetrated to make the new government unpopular and to drum up support for the coming local government elections. That is why I have said “groups of persons” implying that even some members of the APC may be involved because of certain agenda they may want to execute.

However the question is why should these men do such a thing when they are aware that the legal prescriptions of governance are different now and the APC cannot in any way change the constitution to make them rule for ever? The answer is simply that the monkey trick is still being used to coerce those simple minds that form the majority of the governed.

It is really hard for people to move away from their ways and normally we do not change with change and so change changes us and we suffer the pain of change changing us. Look around in Sierra Leone; it is because we have allowed change to change us that “in the abundance of water we are thirsty!” No God or foreign power can make us what we want to be and we are just what we want to be but always dream about being somebody else. We still have to come to terms with coordinating our wishes with our actions because if our wishes are always in divergence with our actions then there will never be that correlation between the governor and the governed.

How do we develop this correlation? What is it that we are failing to do as a collective called society?
Why do we always want to make the other side look foolish, unpopular and uncomfortable? Are we still in the 16th century as far as politics and governance is concerned?

Most importantly why is it that that group that is considered “educated” cannot for once sit as one and examine the challenges facing the country but instead they are the very ones drumming up propaganda and lies and continue to poison the minds of the unfortunate ones. Are we really serious about making our country a place we can all be proud of or is it that we have still not got the concept of what a country is all about right up till now? Are we still wallowing in the concept of country meaning only our region or tribe? A concept that prevailed in the colonial days and which has been much propagated to the extent that if one asks about the origins of a Sierra Leonean the usual answer is “I am Mende ;I am Temne or I am Susu or Limba etc”.

A lot of us if asked about what has to be done will say change has to come from the top; the leaders have to change etc! If that same group is honest enough are we not seeing change from the leadership now? Have we not seen expression of tolerance and good will from the new leadership? Above all why is that it is only incidents of negative consequence we normally pick up as issues? What about those of positive consequence?

Well, journalists always say no news is good news but are we all journalists preaching guile and destroying our ethereal and spiritual self without notice that this will one day be translated to physical destruction? Why do we have to destroy ourselves spiritually and when this is translated into the physical we blame God and government?

Can we for once stop talking and listen to our spiritual selves by asking ourselves what we actually want for our country and ourselves and how do we compromise these two? Are we so religious and yet so spiritually blind and dumb? Or is religion only practiced by a greater majority of us for the ocular benefit of others? Or is religion only an expression of our blind wishes, hoping against a hope that cannot be actualised?

If we cannot understand and comprehend what it means to be spiritual and Godly and cannot translate that into profitable use in our daily lives then let us close all the places of worship and allow the animal side of us to take precedence over our human side that is supposed to be civilised.

If we cannot at this time tolerate ourselves after all that has happened, if we still revert to those old ways that led us to war then we are not fit to govern ourselves and may be we are expressing an intrinsic aspect of what we are -uncivilised; helping to make a theory out of an hypothesis held by the western civilisations.

If that is the case we must either revisit our educational curricula or close all schools and go to the farm as may be physical activities will make us feel better. If that further more is the case then let us all stop adorning ourselves with titles which we call university degrees; they are not of any use to us if we cannot use them to effect positive change.

It is not all westerners that are university graduates but their societies operate on the norms of civilisation in the sense that they are tolerant enough to live as one even though they have differences that may be equal to or greater than ours. Or is it that we are always going to live and operate on the destructive principle of survival of the fittest proving the anti civilisation principle of manifest destiny in our small domain called Sierra Leone?

Don’t we realise that there can only be national profits when we act our roles as governors and the governed and not when we do those things to stifle the processes of governance because we are not in the boat that governs? Are we going to equally stifle the same by misusing the powers of governance?

If we are to make profits both as governors and the governed we must first build the appropriate foundations and these foundations must be in the spiritual realm. We must stop preaching the messages of grievance and hate and start preaching the messages of tolerance and coexistence for progress.

We do not need any expenditure on a team to preach attitude changes when we are not internally ready to change our mental status quo.It will be like pouring water on a duck’s back and at the end of the day we are going to suffer more losses in material and spiritual terms.

More to come!