Literary Zone

Poetry: Confessions of a Murder Ring

2 June 2008 at 22:08 | 636 views

Confessions of a Murder Ring

By Josephine M. Ansumana

Planet Earth vs. the People of Sierra Leone
The death is announced of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Cause of Death: Murder by Economic Strangulation, Political
Malfeasance and International Meddling
Suspects: The Sierra Leone Population in cohort
With the Notorious Twins
Motive: Greed
Opportunity: The Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) and the Rebel War
Accomplice: Charles Taylor and the Burkinabes

The First Accused:
In the case of Planet Earth vs.The People of Sierra Leone
We the so called “Elites” were accused of first degree murder
in the wrongful death of Sierra Leone.
We were the voice, the eyes and ears of the land.
But our sense of apathy and lack of nationalism,
was summed up in our classic refrain...
“Way for do?” (What can we do?)
We refused to speak the truth.
We closed our eyes to her torture and
cocked our ears to her cries.
We neither challenged political decisions
nor agitated for social change.
Like a nation of zombies
We moved with the flow.
We held no views, principles or position
Our tongue was as slippery with the truth
as the eel and mudskippers are to the touch
Political support we gave to the highest bidder
And straddled the fence to see which way
the wind would blow. We changed with the tide
We ebbed and flowed, waved and swelled.
With each ballot box counted, we switched sides,
We bellowed, tossed and turned with the throw
Of the dice, until at last the votes were counted,
results revealed and the winner announced.
Then we sang the praise of the victor,
as loud as the cuckoo’s call to its mate
And hailed him high, with plastic smiles
As a show of our support we rallied to the fold
Mingling and mixing, we had won the day.
Politics was a game of strategy and high stakes.
A two-timing “win-win,” situation we thought,
Until we were found guilty of first degree murder
and sentenced to life in exile.

The Second Accused
The Political Leaders -
We were the second accused
in the wrongful death of Sierra Leone.
We represented the land.
There was enough to go around for everyone
But we squandered and plundered everything in sight.
We smuggled the diamonds and gold,
Bauxite and ore, we sold on auction blocks
Under-priced as if it were our private property.
We rode in smoke-tinted Benz cars
While the masses rode “ten cylinder footrons.”
We deprived the poor of their inheritance
Customized public offices,
Abused our powers, misused our offices
and took undue advantage of young women.
Those were the days, when we answered to no one.
We grew fat on the wealth of the nation, to the
Exclusion of everyone outside our circle
We were found guilty of economic strangulation
And therefore condemned to die by economic plague
Incarcerated in our ivory towers!

The Third Accused

The Public Servants-
We were the third accused in the
Wrongful death of Sierra Leone
We were the political spine of the country.
And boy! OH! Boy! We thought
We were all that we could ever be.
We dipped our fingers into the coffers, “cooked”
Financial books, destroyed Financial P&L records
and invented Voucher gates and Squander gates.
We placed square pegs into round holes;
Nepotism and tribalism became our pastime.
Our business model was a blend of
“Grafting, kickbacks, “dashing” and bribery”
In the delivery of public service, we
Padded expense accounts sky high
Bureaucracy, bottleneck and unresponsiveness;
Wastefulness and coercive whims
And caprices were our repertoire.
We were inefficient in performing our functions
And non-responsive to social and political demands
Our delivery system was ineffective
And inadequately represented,
Unfair and unhelpful to clients,
Corruption was our stock in trade.
“Call me by next week,” or
“Come “see me” in two weeks,” these were our
Classic refrain to vendors and customers alike.
We perfected the “old boys” thieving network
with such flair, it gained us international notoriety
Therefore we are forever condemned to the
Status of the “omega” male . . .

The Fourth Accused
We the Judiciary were the fourth accused.
We were accused of first degree murder
in the wrongful death of Sierra Leone.
We stretched the constitution and bent
The laws until they cracked.
Tilting the scales of justice,
Our verdicts had a price tag.
We did not care about reasonable doubt
Nor the fact that Justice delayed is justice denied.
We too bragged that we were above the law.
Non-accountable for our actions, we had
No sense of ethics or social responsibility
Self interest at the expense of National
Development became our watchword
We were prosecutor, witness, judge and jury.
Now the chips are down, and we are condemned
To be gagged on our gravel of injustice and a
Lifetime of solitude in our cold chambers

The Fifth Accused
We are the Notorious Twins.
We were accused of second degree murder
In the wrongful death of Sierra Leone,
We were the great international meddler
We dabbled in every facet of her life.
We manipulated the international markets and
Determined the market value for her raw materials
We tipped the metric weight of the scales
Her cash-crops we measured in kilograms
And paid the price for the weight of a pound
Then we sold the finished product back to her
At an exorbitant price, triple the worth of the goods
at what we called a very fair market price.
Our double tongue had the sting of the asp
We preached a sermon against privatization,
“Don’t ever sell your family silver, we cried out.”
Yet instigated and negotiated the sale of every
public enterprise in sight for our selfish interest.
Economies of Scale, Globalization and No Subsidies.
“The decision is unanimous.” our “experts” advertised.
Like loan sharks, in our game of usury
We asked for her precious minerals as collateral
For every line of credit we extended.
High administrative cost and professional fees
These we added to her daily cumulative
interest rate. Every outstanding debt
We chucked down to lack of transparency
and accountability. Principles, we have never
applied ourselves. Political manipulation,
Economic intimidation and “tongue twisting”
Economic terminologies are our “remote control”
weapons of choice. We reign with an iron fist—with no
questions asked.
We planned and plotted the downfall and destruction
Of every nation that dared to question our tactics.
Some say, we have outlived our usefulness and should be
phased out.
So we recycle old ideas and called them “new instruments”
Sadly, they finally saw through us for what we truly are.
Our reign of economic terror is now on the decline
And we are therefore condemned to fall by our own weight.