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The Sycophancy in Sierra Leonean Politics

By Abdul Suhood Komeh,
London, UK.

The sycophancy in Sierra Leonean politics is not just stupefying, but a strain of cancer in the country’s continued decline. So widespread, and continuous, and unchanged, it‘s almost like people took indoctrination classes.

Suddenly, supporters of the government who don’t give a damn about the country but their party, are sharing denial statements from a bank, and a mining company involved in an allegation of bribery pertaining the government’s chief minister.

This is after the Chief Minister had a journalist arrested and detained for asking him for clarifications before going to press. Which by the way is the normal, minimum standard for a story of that magnitude. But again, save your dollar, please don’t alienate yourselves from some people by explaining this most foggiest of facts.

Except for those blinded by tribal loyalties, every reasonable Sierra Leonean accepts, the country has some distance to go. But since when have things deteriorated to a point where a private question, from a journalist to a public servant can be the subject of a criminal investigation?

Why didn’t the Chief Minister answered the journalist’s question but forwarded it to the CID? What does it say about our democratic chances and criminal justice system that the country’s premier investigative outfit, the CID can be used to executively degrade a legitimate question, that was executed in the best practices of journalistic ethics, as criminal and worth wasting public resources investigating? Why was the journalist detained when the story was not even published? One would have thought if not just as an exercise in political bullying, we have gone past arresting someone as a result of psychologically guessing their intentions.

That some compatriots turned this straightforward issue that had the potential of bolstering the government’s anti-corruption position to a partisan concern is telling, of the mental paralysis inflicted on the country by tribalism.

It is stunning, that the same people who were and still are, rightly, it must be added, denouncing the last government for corruption, are now staunch defenders, wavers of allegations of corruption against the party of their choice as clever distraction. They’d rather there is no investigation because they have been conditioned to protect their people from censure. That is even as they push for the investigation of the last government. This is neither contradiction nor propaganda but below, way below the two - saboteurs of the national interest.

Absolutely nothing, nothing can exonerate the Chief Minister now in most people’s rational computations because this episode is just another reminder for Sierra Leoneans that the government is the law. And that justice has long been politically co-opted to a determination of government. No way, is the system ever likely to burn its own - wrong optics for the selective anti-corruption mantra. To the country’s detriment, there are enough who even against their own interests, are too keen to support the tribe - scraping the barrel.

Finally, this might seem arrogant to those of the green persuasion, but thankfully a precedent exists: is the president going to apologise on behalf of his chief minister like he did for his ACC chief? I think not.

Change the system, not the people.