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By Abdul Suhood Komeh,
London, UK.

Makeni is a culmination to a most depressing low for Sierra Leone. Not only should we all condemn what happened on Thursday (8/10/2020), we must demand that such activities are not repeated again. Not in Makeni, or elsewhere in the country. They diminish our standing around the world and above all, they imperil our progress.

Societies the world over, are protesting for increases in justice and the rule of law. To foster opportunity, equality and prosperity. Yet, here we are, 2020. So successfully conditioned to expect little for ourselves, we are repelling the implementation of rules on our behalf. Shamefully, in defence of those who directly plotted and benefitted from the arrest of social mobility in the country.

Not even Niccolò Michiavelli, the master of political pragmatism or manipulation if you like, could have envisioned a society in which a tiny group of self-serving individuals, can so easily have so firm a grip, on so many, and for so long. To a point where colonisation of their subjects’ minds is near total. Commanding them without saying a word - at least openly - to do as they want. Providing the beholding a weak air of exoneration and invincibility. At no cost at all. Except for an imaginary association on the part of the subjects, of whom the reward is nothing.

Four months ago, the Makeni people cried foul. Mourned painful losses. Justifiably, demanded accountability for government and police brutality. They invoked sympathy and almost national solidarity. As it should be. Suddenly. Most disappointingly, quite apart from the families whose loved ones were killed (no disrespect meant here), some of those same people, exposed themselves on Thursday, to be seen as hypocrites who are not interested in the law but political victimhood. Even more unfortunate, not for themselves, but for political Gods of their own creation.

Well-planned, and with dogged determination. They mounted road blocks as if to keep the rule of law out of their city. They brought out and politicised previously sacred-societies, just to demonstrate their contempt for justice. What lessons in self-harm and self-defeatism.

How can ‘Makeni Lives Matter‘ be seen as a seriously-heartfelt campaign if the same Makeni people, can conveniently flip the argument, to defend the guy whose failures are reflected in public institutions that hurt them? How can ’Makeni Lives Matter’ be depoliticised if the city that collectively made the moral call, can simultaneously tie itself to the political party and dominant figure of the opposition?

Kick Maada Bio on other issues if you may. Excoriate him for failures elsewhere. But what his government has done, re: Commissions of Inquiry; and achieved re: ACC, are as stunningly Progressive, as they are unprecedented in the history of Sierra Leonean politics. Only those whose minds have been paralysed by tribal/regional affinities, and disposed to not understand the concept of the ‘Common Good’, would say otherwise.

It’s simply ludicrous that an investigation on corruption was turned to a party-political rally. Utter waste of activism in an attempt to shield one man from accountability. In the end, all that drama, for nothing but a spectacular definition of futility. Koroma still has to answer the questions. Be it Thursday, Friday or Monday. Porro society, ‘Arra Foh Ju Silleh’ or Eastern Paddle. The ACC is mandated by law, to question whomsoever they suspected of wrong doing. In that regard, nothing was achieved on Thursday, apart from invalidating a perfectly essential cause, ‘Makeni Lives Matter’.
The social scientist, Herman Bianchi said this: ‘[The lawbreaker] is no longer an evil-minded man or woman, but simply a debtor, a liable person whose human duty is to take responsibility for his or her acts, and to assume the duty of repair’. Maada Bio’s stand on corruption aligns itself with that Progressive thought. It is unconscionable for any citizen to paint him or his government as villains, to undermine his efforts against corruption. Even the worst of leaders, will always achieve something, an increment of some sort, beneficial to their country.

Bio is not threatening to kill or jail anybody for corruption. Rather, he’s demanding reparations on our behalf - for all of us. He is saying, those found wanting, regardless of standing, must give back to the people what they took. That is his job! How complicated is that?

Surely, that cannot be this brand new, radical idea to provoke a scotched-earth response in which Makeni will have to demand political independence from the rest of Sierra Leone. For one man? No way. Even Ernest Koroma agreed with that principle when he was president. ‘No one is a sacred cow‘, he told the BBC’s Sir David Frost. So what’s the kerfuffle for?

Koroma may well be exonerated. In that case, the processes have taken course.

The situation remains unchanged. Sierra Leone is at a very important juncture in its modern life. There are two simple but pertinent choices for citizens: (1) A democratic leadership that is accountable, or (2) An imperial leadership that takes and behaves as it pleases.

Demanding that Koroma walks free because you love him, is to say Bio, who is in control of the purse now, should take as much as he might need. As long as the people of Pujehun love him. That’s absurd.

But, one day, Oona go learn.