From the Editor’s Keyboard

Pound of Flesh

By  | 5 July 2012 at 07:39 | 2311 views

A ‘pound of flesh’ was an envil demand Shylock laid as a requisite to lend peace-loving Antonio money for a request made on behalf of a friend in need. This shows us three things: Firstly, some people could sacrifice their life for either a friend or a situation; secondly, a friend can be a victim of his humane sacrifice; thirdly, the enemy could end up being a victim of his own circumstances.

These are circumstances that are seen in every aspect of life, especially in a world of unthankful attitudes, greed and envious human species. We could experience such odd circumstances in political, economic and social aspects of life. But my area of interest is on the political aspect of ‘a pound of flesh’ in Sierra Leone which has seen many individuals acting either like Antonio or Shylock. Such sacrifices and demands had occurred in the past, manifesting themselves now and I would not be surprised if the next generation experience a similar situation.

Looking at past events, Brigadier Bangura (RIP) paid a pound a flesh to restore Siaka P. Stevens in 1968. Unlike Antonio who was saved by the wife of his friend in need, Bangura paid a colossal price to shylock (Siaka P. Stevens) who demanded nothing but death (a pound of flesh), the ‘anointing of his body with acid, and the desecration of his grave in an undisclosed location around Kissy road.

Prior to the ‘political resurrection’ of SLPP, the ‘political John the Baptist’ military junta (NPRC) overthrew the Major General Momoh-led APC and arrested Colonel Yayah Kanu (RIP), IG Bambay Kamara (RIP) and others. Like Bangura, Yayah Kanu and other APC loyalists paid a ‘pound of flesh’ of death for their loyalty to Momoh and APC.

In the run-off of the 1996 presidential elections, Hon Thaimu Bangura (RIP) accepted a deal of a ‘pound of flesh’ to the northerners by supporting Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabba against Hon John Karefa-Smart (RIP). Though Thaimu Bangura did not receive death, he was removed from his position as Minister of Finance after the restoration of the SLPP in 1998.

In contemporary politics within political parties, many personalities have paid a ‘pound of flesh’. In the 1996 presidential elections, the name APC was analogous to a grave insult. Hon A. F. Serry-Kamal, His Excellency Eddie Turay and others offered their integrity as a ‘pound of flesh’ to ‘resuscitate’ APC with the glamour of hope and had 5 parliamentary seats. After a long legitimate internal battle between the ‘fathers’ of APC resurrection and His Excellency E.B.Koroma, a deal was struck that paved the way for APC to attain the reins of power once more. Unfortunately, the political glory of these fathers of the APC resurrection was short lived when the internal APC Shylocks demanded their ‘pound of flesh.’

Now, Sierra Leoneans are preparing themselves for another political contest between the incumbent leader of the nation, His Excellency E.B.Koroma and the SLPP challenger, Maada Bio. With evidences of violence, one of these contenders could be like Antonio to sacrifice his integrity as a ‘pound of flesh’ for the serenity of all Sierra Leoneans and the other probably like Shylock demanding destruction and blood bath.

But as I had earlier indicated, that Shylock could end up being a victim of his own mischief. I therefore admonish these contestants and their agents to desist from preaching tribal and regional divisions, hate and desperation and a ‘win or die’ approach in the November presidential and parliamentary elections.

Sierra Leoneans do not deserve to pay ‘a pound of flesh’ of death and destruction. Their sacrifice to vote peacefully should be acknowledged by the winner and loser. May God save Sierra Leone!