The New Direction - "Nar Empty Bongo"
By Abdul Suhood Komeh (pictured),
A ‘New Direction’? Absolutely. A new direction in the same old way of doing things. And unless the route is dramatically carved to a new course, and quickly, the outcome is familiar. In other words a failed dictum is revised - the ‘New Direction’ is the new ‘Agenda for Change’. Remember that scientific wonder? Empty vibes. Where are we?
Sierra Leone as a country is pervaded by corruption in every nook and cranny. If a new leader sacks the head of the Anti Corruption Commission without a credible reason, he/she is for corruption, not against it.
He’s chosen to continue with the old way, period. The act itself, undermines and render impossible any chance of building integrity in the institution.
Regardless of how academically adorned, or enviously credentialed the replacement. Or ambitious, or promising, he/she is soiled even before taking office; susceptible to be tagged the president’s man/woman. Two outcomes await him/her: 1) a resignation as a result of not being given the independence of duty required for the job or, 2) resigned to the ignominy of being the president’s puppet - going after his rivals while at the same time looking the other way on his interests.
Absolutely certain, with every unexplained sacking this early in his administration, Bio is manifesting signs, he would be just like the guy he replaced - above the law and dictator of the law. What change?
Nobody is trying to strip his presidency the prerogative of the new famous phrase, ‘hiring and firing’. And the issue is nothing to do with the legality of his action.
Rather, the president himself was given legitimacy to govern by a public. This means, every serious action he takes, must be explained to the public as a matter of transparency. And above all, to promote justice in society.
Tragically for Sierra Leone, the concept of justice is so alien in our discourse, we only scream for it when personally, or those we consider comrades are victimised.
For most Sierra Leoneans, injustice is something that happens to somebody else. If that person happens to be an enemy - imagined or real - we punch the air in delight - ‘Dem miss am’, ‘God nor dae sleep’, and every other banality going.
Take for example another high profile dismissal by Bio last week, of the Attorney General.
Two months after being appointed, Charles Margai’s firing without an explanation, or a serious demand for one by opposition parties, their supporters and some members of the public, proves one thing above all else: The mental representation of government as an acceptable bully, even in the most unnecessary circumstances is fully complete.
That ordinary Sierra Leoneans, unpaid, not the government, were making the argument that the government owes the public no obligation to explain the dismissal of an Attorney General; a man the ‘New Direction‘ president felt had the intellectual and moral fortitude of serving as the public‘s legal representative in governance, just two months ago, is a measure of the public’s blasé attitude to justice and government injustice.
Make no mistake, Charles Margai’s sacking, and now the ACC’s Ady Macauley’s is everything to do with successive governments’ noncommittal approach to justice. And consequently, so misunderstood is the conception of justice, the preference it seems, is not a president/government that is just and answerable. But an imperial power that owns our beings, our thoughts and resources, to do as they please.
It’s that recklessness, a good chunk of the public’s ignorant failure to hold government accountable and demand justice, the new Dearest Leader is exploiting to such ruthless effect. What Bio is doing now is sow discord when what’s needed is to harmonise after a bruising election.
Last week, he sent the head of the Anti Corruption Commission on leave for no reason but because he could. Followed by his unexplained sacking yesterday. As if the guy is not Sierra Leonean, and without family and friends. What injustice.
There is absolutely no evidence, Ady Macauley or Margai, posed a security threat to the state. In fact overwhelming opinion is that both gentlemen are distinguished citizens who have served Sierra Leone. Therefore they deserved to be treated better and justly. Unless Bio and his government hold evidence to the contrary, in that case the public deserves to know, so the two men cannot be falsely valorised. That’s justice too.
In that regard, Bio has nothing to lose in explaining the reasons behind the sackings if one is to go by the flaunted rationale of the ‘president doing what’s right for his administration and ultimately the country’s progress’.
Not giving an explanation however, is not only dictatorial, but confirms the suspicion, the ‘New Direction’ is just fictitious sloganeering - empty bongo.
Even more profound, a degree of vindication of the last administration’s high profile sacking of its Vice President, also known as ‘Alhusain en Alhassan nar twin’ - same dorty trick.