A Fool at 60 - The Story of Sierra Leone
By Pastor Mustapha Konneh (pictured)
Vamboi would be sixty on April 27, 2021. A man who is privileged to have everything that life can offer. Gold, diamonds, good soil to cultivate the land, wonderful beaches for recreational activities and even foreign financial help from friends all over the world but alas Vamboi is as poor as a church rat. WHAT HAPPENED TO VAMBOI?
The story of Vamboi is the story of Sierra Leone. The British colonial rule ended on the 27th April, 1961 when Sierra Leone attained independence. The country was first led by a British trained medical doctor, Sir Milton Margai, who passed away on April 28th 1964. His brother, Sir Albert Margai was appointed Prime Minister. The appointment of Sir Albert Margai was the beginning of political gymnastics and hullabaloo in Sierra Leone. Coups and counter coups were the order of the day. At this point, development and economic planning took a back seat while crooked and divisive politics took center stage. Finally, after some chaotic years, Sierra Leone settled for Siaka Stevens. Siaka Stevens was the "grand wizard" of corruption. He practically endorsed corruption with his proverb, "a cow feeds where he is grazed". (Who sie den tie cow nar dae he dae eat). He virtually laid the foundation for a corrupt and unethical Sierra Leone.
Politicians and Sierra Leoneans in positions of trust buy into his narrative and everyone wants to make money where he works or does business. Corruption has continued uninterrupted and unabated until this day.
Sierra Leone have got two political parties who I will describe as twins who don't get along well. One thing that is common between them is that both see politics as an avenue for private benefit rather than an engine of public service.
The two main things that have crippled Sierra Leone are: its politics and the mindset of its people. The mindset of the average Sierra Leonean voter is party- centered and not country- centered. Patriotism has left the shores of Sierra Leone long long ago. It has been replaced by tribalism, regionalism and nepotism. The end product being poverty, backwardness and squalor. Politics has become a BUSINESS PLAN for failures in society including SOME PARASITES IN THE DIASPORA! Instead of creating businesses or thinking about economic prosperity, individuals are always hanging around political parties for jobs, crumbs and whatever they can lay their hands on.
Party offices have become IDLENESS HEADQUARTERS where young people go to waste their lives waiting for crumbs from their political patrons.
Our generation have not learnt productivity. We have learnt dependency and the "begging mentality ". No systems, no structures, no one to motivate young people to believe in hard work, innovation and self reliance. Some young people are used for electioneering and campaigning.
Our political leaders have failed us this sixty years. Our educational elites are a curse to our society. NOW, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE???
The transformation we need is a change of our mindset. A change of how we think as Sierra Leoneans. The country should be bigger than any individual, tribe, political party or region. Let's go back to our Judeo-Christian values: RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALT A NATION BUT SIN IS A REPROACH.
We have time, we can save the next generation otherwise: A FOOL AT 60 WOULD BE A FOOL FOREVER!