Opinion

Tribalism, nature and nurture

4 March 2008 at 06:46 | 962 views

By Ahmed Ojulla Bangura, UK.

It is widely believed that human beings were created equal despite characteristic diversity. The human race is beautified with different human colours (Black, White), varying height (Tall, Short, Medium), the ability to speak different languages (Temne, Mende, Limba, Krio, Russian, English, French, Arabic, Chinese etc).

Yet, human beings choose to trouble themselves in acts of discrimination on what they called Tribe or ethnic group. They use this tribalism to influence their unethical decisions in politics, education, and business. This unethical act is evident in recent political affairs in Sierra Leone and is tilling the ground for instability nationwide.

Sierra Leone is a country with many ethnic groups but divided into two ethnic/tribal Zones known as ‘Temne Line’ and ’Mende Line’. These two commanding tribes/ethnic groups in the Northern and Southern provinces respectively have, since independence in 1961 determined the political status quo in Sierra Leone by aligning themselves with the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) respectively. Despite the current political attachments, these two political parties historically had their roots in the Northern Province.

But the prevailing political support from the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans in determining the political dispensation has shown that Sierra Leone is not a freely democratic country. Ethnicity is still a big factor in political choices.

Political support is subject to ethnic divide with the exception of a few patriotic individuals who vote wisely and patriotically. This odd perverse political support is not only with the illiterate or deprived poor Sierra Leoneans but also include so called professionals and literate selfish Sierra Leoneans. These egocentric personalities have used their institutions, wealth, and education to deceive Sierra Leoneans on tribal or ethnic grounds. Thus slowly transforming the once war torn nation into another ‘TIME BOMB’.

Tribal bigots of the one time opportuned SLPP, during and after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections use their media outlets to provoke tribal discord under the pretence of freedom of speech and education.

This is clearly evident in the fact that most of these media houses, for reasons of tribal and egoistic support of the SLPP have failed to be objective and would rather publish articles that provoke further zonal ethnic divide and political affiliation in Sierra Leone.

They have persistently and insistently abused their right to free speech by vividly promoting ethnic political tension that clearly questions their independence as professional business entities that are expected to educate Sierra Leoneans and foreign nationals alike on what is supposed to be a civilized and democratic Sierra Leone.

Recent pro-SLPP publications in Freetown depicting the president of Sierra Leone as an animal and naming a faction of the recent violence in Bo town in Southern Sierra Leone as ‘APC Terrorists’ manifests brutal and stunning partisanship in the media atmosphere of Sierra Leone.

Prior to these recent articles, these media houses have relentlessly and unpatriotically refused to acknowledge the impeccable efforts of the APC led government to deliver one of its promises to bring light to Freetown and its environs. Instead, they choose to blackmail and defame everyone associated with the achievements of the electricity project.

What have these people to gain from affiliating with the SLPP, a party massively rejected at the recent polls? Why have they chosen to be nakedly pro-SLPP by sending through the window their ethical social investment? The answer is simply due to an unpatriotic reason which is TRIBALISM/ETHNICITY.

The reason is just an act of ignorance. People who believe in TRIBALISM should look at themselves and compare their physical, behavioral and educational attributes with others they perceive as non-tribesmen. There will be no distinct characteristic except the nature-nurture attribute.

By nature, they should know that no one is born with tribal or ethnic language and behaviour until that individual is influenced by the environment around him or her. He learns what he or she is taught and influenced by the environment. A Mende man born and bred in the north will not be different from a northerner and vice versa.

Therefore, unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans who believe in ethnic politics should examine their actions and reform for the good of Sierra Leone.

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