Analysis

Embracing PMDC’s Contract with Sierra Leone for Positive Change

8 August 2006 at 22:59 | 556 views

"July 2007 will provide an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to change their history of poverty, violence, and failure by acting to restructure their institutions of governance through positive change for stable and sustainable development. Ideas are going to play a cardinal role in this transformation process, and any decisive process of change can only be effected through great vision, for it is true that “every great thing done was done in the name of expectations too great.”

By Kenday S. Kamara

Is there a way to make Sierra Leone, once a great actor in Africa’s history (a British colony to which freed slaves returned in the late 1700’s and an inheritor of a University hitherto known as the Athens of West Africa), come alive again and take its own destiny into its hands, and accomplish its resurrection through a determined and unifying integration? Are Sierra Leoneans today not wasted on internal strife with tribes, classes, and party politics pitted against one another and in ideologies that are vain, anachronistic, and unworkable?

Is it not in the interest of all Sierra Leoneans to look to their country as one entity, and then rise above the straitjacket of illegitimate tribal politics, transcend the constriction of state structures that are being maintained against all odds by an egoism constantly renewed by a myopia constantly revived, by the intransigence of some of the indecision of others?

One should wonder why as an inheritor of the courage and wisdom of heroes like Nemgbana, Dala Modu Dumbuya, Bai Bureh, Almamy Suluku, Nyagua, Madam Yoko, Sengbe Pieh, Foday Tarawaly, Alimamy Rassin, Manga Sewa, John Ezzidio, Africanus Horton, Sir Samuel Lewis, Casely Hayford, Isaac Wallace-Johnson, and Haidara Kontorfilli; and a great modern university system fittingly hailed as the Athens of West Africa; endowed with great economic potentialities; and populated by only 5 million inhabitants, Sierra Leone still enjoys no housing, electricty and clean water in the contemporary world. Sierra Leone looks more and more like the poet’s canoe, which turned “around and around and no longer knew whether the breeze was gleeful or grieving.”

In almost two quarters of a century of independence, the balance sheet on Sierra Leone’s political and social conditions provided by Africa Analysis International (AAI) presents an agonizing appraisal of a State machine that is not made to work. The SLPP regime is reported to “hide under the shadow of the international community, particularly the United Nations, to seek continued humanitarian aid, grants from foundations and others while at the same time remaining a vehicle for corruption and injustice, as well as the breeding ground for uncontrolled greed, both for state power, wealth and unguided social influence.”

Every facet of the country, public or private, is found to be highly corrupt. Even in the security arena, the civil service system, and mainly within the political high-ups, there is corruption. Almost all of the top officials in government are reported to be either ‘diamond agents’ or ‘principal conduit’ for diamond smuggling outside of the country.”

Clearly, Sierra Leone is in a state of disrepair. A country struggling with an internal conflict that is rooted in deep resentment of the majority of have-nots missing out in life, missing out even on the very basics of life itself. It is like one standing outside of a house that is surrounded by a fence, looking in at the festivities, the music, the food, the joy of the “swegbehs" while one’s stomach growls with hunger and hopelessness.

Over three decades of misguided leadership, the long gone APC and the ruling SLPP have succeeded to impose on Sierra Leoneans an ethos and a distinct culture of lethargy and kleptocracy which has so badly influenced the national character. There is, therefore, no APC or SLPP solutions to the kind of problems these political organizations have created for Sierra Leone. The foundation of the institutions of these parties over their combined decades of exploitation is characterized by the big family or “the-‘Pa’-and-his-boys” run institutions.

This has institutionalized an element of rigidity, conformity and save-your-skin attitude in which case the evil of "non-action” has been compounded by that omnipresent fear of losing the job. The Sierra Leonean worker is not pushed into performing. Thus, he just does go with the flow of a do-nothing-public-servant and fails to innovate. This is going to change.

July 2007 will provide an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to change their history of poverty, violence, and failure by acting to restructure their institutions of governance through positive change for stable and sustainable development. Ideas are going to play a cardinal role in this transformation process, and any decisive process of change can only be effected through great vision, for it is true that “every great thing done was done in the name of expectations too great.” Sierra Leoneans are thus going to rally around a party of ideas, a party that represents the desire for positive change.

The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) has been embraced by millions of Sierra Leoneans, including this author, as a fitting “response to that call for a radical departure from the negative and unprogressive political traditions that have characterized governance over three decades.” With the APC and SLPP bankrupt of solutions to the miasma of problems they have helped to create, a PMDC government thus offers a clear approach to development and “a fresh clean breath of change” for Sierra Leone. The PMDC has predispositions of a party that is going to succeed as a government that “will guarantee and foster the basic values of unity, freedom, justice and equal opportunities and set a clear vision and direction for Sierra Leone.”

PMDC’s ideology, composite of the inalienable right to representative government and the right to individual liberties supported by sound democratic, transparent and accountable institutions, is going to create a Sierra Leone that can become powerful again once it breaks out of the lethargy which has been institutionalized by the SLPP. Sierra Leoneans are going to wise up to rally around a political party and a leader come July 28, 2007, that will fight the maladies of mediocrity and approaches of conservatism and conformism, of adjusting and satisfying, which are major drawbacks when it comes to making good governance.

Though a blessed nation, boasting of natural abundance and consistently benefiting from generous international community aid and World Bank support, Sierra Leone is not going to be any better if well defined management structures continue to be lacking. The people of Sierra Leone are therefore going to legitimately take action and directly reclaim their country-specifically, by taking action against corrupt leaders, assisting the fight against corruption, and enhancing institutional performance.

These positive highlights provide an opportunity for work to be done in areas of designing an integrative and functioning system of national governance that is fundamental to the vision of the PMDC. These highlights, at best, represent meaningful features of a contract with Sierra Leone-a contract “to provide honest, forthright, decisive, enlightened and robust leadership that would inspire the people and re-kindle their confidence in politics and governance so that together in partnership we can lift our beloved Sierra Leone out of the doldrums.”

About the author:
Kenday(photo) is founder and Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Alternative Development Strategies (CADS) (www.cads-sierraleone.org) and is currently Ph.D. Candidate at Walden U School of Management and Decision Sciences, specializing in Leadership and Organizational Change. Kenday is also a Salzburg Fellow (www.salzburgseminar.org). He can be reached at kkama002@waldenu.edu

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