Opinion

Making Politics Clear

11 February 2013 at 09:08 | 1746 views

By Titus Boye-Thompson, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

African political systems have a commonality that escapes those who are not all too familiar with the tenets of the Continent’s social and economic dynamic. Politics in Africa is based to a large extent on privilege. It is the type of privilege that your nexus to the political machinery can give and not such that can be usurped. For in attempting to usurp such a privilege, there is always the tendency to meet a comeuppance unbecoming. So when those who are considered to be well outside of politics in Africa try to engage in the nitty-gritty of political machinations, there is often the disjoint between what is playing itself out on the ground as against the perception, mostly convoluted and unhinged from reality.

The need therefore to eradicate such obfuscated rationalizing of seemingly difficult situations is well engrained in the necessity for development communications as a deliberate strategy to inform rather than to allow idle minds to make the play in an environment where idleness in its very unraveling creates harm and danger.

Sierra Leone is symptomatic of the African political setting but is more so increasingly becoming a beacon for transformation as it destroys some of the barriers and established paradigms in contemporary critique of political and social dysfunctionalism. The challenge that Sierra Leone poses to the myths of hitherto traditional African expectations of widespread and unrepentant graft, nepotism, hegemony and political instability has come about due to a number of reasons, chiefly guided by the vision and dynamism of its current Head of State, Ernest Bai Koroma. There has not been any other single individual who is set to mount such a radical tasking of a Nation state as is the case here but with slightly casual references to the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Anwar Sadat, Juxon-Smith or Murtala Mohamed. The mention of Juxon-Smith here is a reminder of his stoic regard for order and accountability and whose conduct is asymptomatic of President Koroma’s vow of not having any sacred cows, but in his own inimitable and soldierly way of course.

Politics should be made very clear in such circumstances when the achievements of an individual counts for the progress that the Country is expected to make over time. Politics should be made clear also in a situation where the activities of others may very well cause undue approbation to befall an otherwise focused and determined leader. That the difference between politics and envy is as in the fine line between love and hate, so will it be unclear when those who have no relationship to political actions are seen to be taken as fodder for political struggle.

President Ernest Bai Koroma’s stature is growing in Africa and growing very fast. He is recognized as one of the astute minds in African politics at the moment. His counsel is sought widely and his contributions to recent upheavals and crises in the Continent has been significant indeed. His interventions in Mali and Sudan have been invaluable to international efforts to contain the spread of terrorism in Africa in general and to the stability of the West African sub-region in particular. At the recent AU Summit where a donor’s conference was called, President Koroma signaled his intention to be recognized as a sub- regional player of substance when he matched the contributions of both China and India. Such have been the making of a determined leader, well versed in international diplomacy and politics to recognize the value of being seen as a contributor to strategic causes and concerns that would affect even this Country that he leads. The inter-dependency of African Nations is now well entrenched considering the fallouts of major threats such as Boko Haram and other types should they be allowed to grow unfettered and unchecked by strategic interventions wherever and whenever they occur. That is the diktat of current African politics and it is only within such a frame of mind that challenges which endanger the peace and stability of the Continent should be determined.

There is also the rapidity with which actions need to be taken and issues addresses, locally and internationally. The determination and rive to address issues are a mark of leadership and a conduit for others to follow. When France entered Mali, it was with the specific intention to send a clear message that France will take its strategic interests seriously. Following on from that intervention was the rapid support for France by the ECOWAS States enjoined by President Koroma that gave France’s position such fluidity, international support and acceptance. It is becoming clear that other European powers had to look to their own cohorts on the ground as a conduit for their participation so Sierra Leone and Nigeria became close and significant partners to the British Government with high level Military personnel criss-crossing the two Countries prior to a British expeditionary force being mobilized with appropriate logistics to engage the Mali corridor.

Such are the achievements of President Koroma in the West African sub-region that his support in the donor conference in Ethioopia came back to back with his two recently trips to Ivory Coast first to engage on the ECOWAS position and then swiftly on to Addis Ababa for the African regional strategy to be finalized. Not resting, he found the time to turn the sod on a new Mission building for Sierra Leone in Addis Ababa that will house Sierra Leone’s permanent mission to the AU as well as Sierra Leone’s diplomatic mission to the South Eastern corridor of Africa. This is the stuff of politics. Of high politics and in some cases high drama to boot. President Koroma’s stature in regional and international politics is secure and his statesmanship in directing discussions and negotiations for the benefit of the continent will be an assurance of the high esteem to which he is held across the Continent.

For Sierra Leoneans, this is a time to be proud about their Nation state. It is a time to enjoy the gains that have been made as the country moves on from a fractured economy, an unstable environment, a war zone to that of post conflict donor dependent fragile economy. President Koroma has moved the country on from that state by the implementation of the Agenda for Change in his first five years. The hope of further benefits by way of development dividend is assured in the promises enshrined in the Agenda for Prosperity. It is also a time to take stock of what happens around the country even as the post-election environment settles with political parties imploding and others wiling away into obscurity with nothing short of a constitutional upheaval to re-invigorate political engagement. It is that prospect of change in the body politick that may yet signal the greatest challenges and by correlation, the greatest triumph and a lasting legacy for Ernest Bai Koroma.

Politics therefore should be set down in full and clear terms when those who are outside of governance attempt to obfuscate reality with maligned commentary and malicious diatribes. There is a whole body of work to be done and a Country to develop. This is the time for Sierra Leoneans to put their shoulders to the will, forget about politics and get engaged in the process of national development, onwards and upwards to prosperity.

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