Opinion

Party Politics: Contemporary Issues and Social Implications in Modern Sierra Leone

1 August 2009 at 21:53 | 517 views

By Sanpha Sesay, PV Correspondent, Texas.

A major obstacle confronting the so called brains in the Diaspora about Sierra Leone politics is the definition of what honesty and patriotism mean and how they are interpreted.

Many of us in the Diaspora tend to view patriotism in a blind folded way and ignore the relevance of the presence of truth in the heart of every patriot. Without the presence of truth, honesty and moral integrity, no one must consider him/her self a patriot. Why are fellow Sierra Leoneans shelving the truth on the back burner just to prove a point in favor of their political party?

All the false and immoral personality and tribal wars going on in the electronic media (Internet) point to a debasing of the country’s cultural and historical values. How can we afford to transform the once “Athens of West Africa” to a country of self-styled academic hooligans living in the Diaspora? Whether we are successful Sierra Leoneans abroad (of course success is a relative term or not, we must not engage in an aggressive negative campaign against our country to achieve personal/political gains.

If all of the “commandos” in the press, fighting to prove who is who could redirect their thoughts to help Sierra Leone (rather than sabotage), 2012 will meet us in a better position and there might not be need for a mass exodus of Diaspora folks to the country.

We need to take precautions in our political views and understand that distortion is another morbidity that is slowly germinating in our midst to frustrate the overall development of Sierra Leone. Negative and false allegations among us could result to tribal resentment. Despite the long ten year war that was supposed to teach us a lesson, people still continue to develop a rancorous attitude that will cause adverse effects on our lives and could devastate the good cultural values of our country.

While repressing the media is sabotaging the basics of our freedom in the country, we must also refrain from becoming irresponsible journalists although it seems many people throwing irresponsible articles on the internet news papers could either be non journalists or even without a high school diploma. We cannot afford to abuse the ease of communication facilities provided by the internet to falsely disseminate erroneous information about our country because of party politics and sentiments. We must recheck and cross check our information before rushing to the media. May be our press editors must start to sanction people for sending in erroneous information for publication.

Individual attacks with false allegations against our leaders by the two main political parties’ supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s party (APC) on the internet newspapers has raised serious concern from many Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora. After making a general assessment on the series of articles being published in defense of the two political parties on the Sierra Express Media, The New People, Patriotic Vanguard, Awareness Times, and mostly the New People, I have seen that supporters of these two parties are losing their sense of patriotism and nationalism.

The right to fight back is eminent, but at this point in time when our country is in dire need of help as well as the struggle to restore our moral values on the outside , it is important to remind ourselves that dishonesty in reporting will destroy[rather than help] our beloved country.

We as a nation must remember the hard work that our fore fathers did in bringing our nation together. They tirelessly incorporated the twin doctrines of Christianity and Islam to restore the cultural integrity of this country. The chains of brotherhood that had tied us together in unity must not be broken by a few selfish individuals preaching hate and tribalism in a political setting. The Nation of Sierra Leone is bigger than any political party or tribe and we must all come together to defend it in all areas of politics, economics and social integrity. This can be achieved by our display of honesty, love and integrity to each other irrespective of political affiliations. Our small country has been made historically smaller and currently further reduced by our bonds of intermarriages and religious tolerance. These are values we must never ignore.

Imparting negative information to the majority of our illiterate brothers and sisters at home will do more harm than good. I believe it is tenable to oppose a regime that is not fulfilling its obligations and promises in the right way, but we must not forget our values, such as loving one another, tribal connections, and religious tolerance that bind us together as a nation.

To most of us in the United States, we must be willing to export the core values of freedom, equality and justice for all embedded in the American constitution to our folks at home. Why are we not trying to align those values in our societies and respect each other? We have the right to oppose any unproductive government, but we must carefully do so in a moderate disclosure with facts, rather than framing defamatory stories on the World Wide Web.

After conducting numerous interviews across the United States and Europe about the irrational fairytale stories which supporters of the two parties SLPP and APC have published on the internet news papers, many people asserted that it is a wrong time to put up such an ugly fight that continues to tarnish the image of our country. People must realize that information is now reachable to many Sierra Leoneans wherever they are. Giving negative information in the media will create a general negative impact on us. The people at home will sometimes react violently due to the misguided information received from us in the Diaspora.

Keep in mind that governments change from time to time, but the people remain the same. I want to believe that it is time to set aside all ideological perspectives and make an honest, fact-based assessment of our various governments’ activities. Many people I have talked to believe that the Democracy that we practice as a form of freedom of expression in a developing country like ours should be different from those of the developed countries because culture and ideologies are not the same. For instance, when one party throws out lies on the other in the United States it sounds funny to the people, yet, it does not hurt the country in any shape or form. The country’s economy continues to thrive because United States depends on no one. On the other hand, it has an adverse effect on us if we keep publishing defamatory stories especially what our resuscitators do not want to hear such as raping, maiming and any form of murder.

It is not good to remind ourselves about the ugly war in a world-wide publication by making false allegations on others about it. It is also inappropriate to look low upon one tribe and class the other as superior in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is for Sierra Leoneans and she is proud to be a multicultural and a religious tolerance nation.

Tribal and religious rifts shall never have a place for accommodation. We have to realize that intermarriages has bridged that gap from time immemorial, therefore we should not allow untrustworthy politicians to submerge us into their cupidity. Stop publishing false stories as head-line news on our respectable media. Continue to advocate for peace, love and unity. Unity, a form of brotherhood, is a deep and wide concept that actually guarantees our safety, moral values and integrity.

It is time for truth, reconciliation and the display of honesty among us. Think about education as a standard value that we urgently need to recover our lost glory. People must emulate the good perception that Dr. Alusine Jalloh of University of Texas at Arlington in the States has. His ambition is to strengthen people’s ability to develop innovation and put education at the top of their priority list of development. Can any other so called educated élites and professors follow the right path of Dr. Alusine Jalloh to improve our values through education?

What really affects our psyche is the tendency to “lie” Let us avoid wallowing in deceit and deception. Telling the truth is the right thing to do in our civilized country. Do not tell what you feel is true but will affect the country by scaring donor agencies from coming to our aid. Let us be honest and try to be patriotic at all times.

From President Ernest Koroma’s speeches, he has laid down a road map for development projects like energy supply, health care , education etc. etc. What he does not spell out is the possible reaction of “right to oppose.” No matter how difficult the economic trends are all over the world, there must be a fulfillment of what the president says before and after his overwhelming victory of the presidential elections in 2007.

It is right for the public to cry out about the promise President Ernest Koroma made on electricity. In fact many people in the Diaspora are desperately demanding that the President come on the air and give an explanation about the cause of delay on the nationwide electricity distribution that he promised to do. That is a true and honest demand. On the other hand, people must not misrepresent the President in a form of campaign in a public forum to suit their party’s aspirations and beliefs. That is unpatriotic and completely NOT part of our traditional values. We must believe that it is an obligation to honor and respect our President equally as we respect our national pledge.

President Ernest Koroma is a man of integrity. We have seen how he has been striving for achievement with high aspirations for overall success of his party and now striking hard with development projects to remove the country from being ranked as least developed in the world. I believe he does not have the consequential personal ambition that would make him incompetent.

He has a superior intellectual ability which is a big requirement for presidential success. Most of us see him as somebody that is very attentive to his emotions. Let us give him chance and use our psychology to make a correct assessment of the president. Continuing to misrepresent our president be it from APC or SLPP supporters could jeopardize many efforts that are geared towards change and developing our country. Let us remember that if the president misguides us or allow being misguided, we will vote him out of office in the next elections. God bless Sierra Leone.

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