It has been one year now since last year’s elections and over the past couple months, I have been trying to assess the differences between this and the old regime. During the colour coded, rally, and manifesto infested campaign period, we were bombarded by promises and catch phrases the likes of “kaka wi noh wan yeri”, “loose u face”, and so forth. And like many others, I was inspired and moved by Sierra Leoneans determination to participate in the electoral process and use it to change the status quo. Despite the Court Barray, rumours that Kabbah was being indicted, and the infamous transitional team report which has yet to make it into the public hands, things went on as usual, nominations and assignments of APC supporters to key government positions.
I have been reluctant to speak of the APC government because I like others believe that change is a process and that results take time to manifest. However, I think that even before you see results we can look at planning and projections get an idea for possible outcomes. I have been asking myself, what is the difference between the APC govt and the SLPP? What can the APC government show us now or have shown that would let us know what kind of results to expect in the short term i.e next 12months and long term in by the end of the 5 year presidential term? So far I am still waiting for the party to formulate its ideology and hence guidelines/steps to develop the nation influenced by the ideology. SHOW ME THE PLAN? SHOW ME THE PLAN? Or are we using the PRSP as a framework for national development?
It is my belief that what we lacked in the SLPP regime we continue to lack in the APC regime as well. But fortunately for the previous government much was handed to it under the post war peace building agenda. Theoretically the SLPP could survive in office without a political ideology and still provide results and claim them as government led initiatives while in actuality, it was the UNDP, UNAMSIL, World Bank etc. So while the SLPP ideology was more “donor tell me what to do and give me money to do it and I will eat di moni and do some fekehfekeh version of what u want me to do because if I do it right the first time I cannot come back and begabega u fo more money to do what u have told me again” the APC is not so lucky. We have consolidated the peace process and have transitioned from the post conflict emergency phase.
When I was in college I tried everything I could to not take a course in political theory. Some how I thought that I wanted to know more practical stuff about case studies and present day questions of statehood and international relations. The thing is though it dawned on me that from political theory come political ideology and state development agenda. Sierra Leonean governments since before independence have neither had an agenda nor ideology. Governments have only been concerned with staying in power and manipulating ethnic and regional primordial ties for their political advancements and we the people uneducated as we are have followed suit. But that has got to end if we have any hopes for actually developing this country. Sierra Leonean school children should know as young as possible whether they live in a socialist, capitalist, Marxist, Pan-Africanist, or communist country. These political ideologies provide guidelines for development. Depending on which u choose to follow it lets you know the “how to develop” the country. Without ideology then u can promise to bring electricity, or build a road or schools, and if u do manage to do all those things there’ll be no synchronicity to their development. Someone looking at what has been done, will not see the correlation between the different accomplishments.
Our political parties do not have ideology, a belief system that guides government actions and decisions. Recently, I have been making more frequent visits to Accra and staying for longer periods of time. Each time I visit I become more and more aware that what they have and probably always had, has been ideology. Ghanaian governments democratic or military have all had a plan and though some deviated from the plan the guidelines for state development from my perspective have always been Africanist. The different political parties in Ghana stand for different things and just as Democrats and Republicans know what to expect with each government so too do they. Through out the months that led to the elections last year I was in limbo for whom to support because neither party had clearly stated what they stood for. Instead they made promises of what they would do when they got elected. What I learned in college and hope to remember for as long as possible is that development can happen in the variety of ways and that state’s especially poor ones need to have a clear concise vision of where they want to be and they must ensure that they have ownership over the development process. Basically, there are various models and we need to know where we want to go and but most importantly, how we gonna get there?
While the government should be focusing on these issues it is instead plagued with news worthy only of gossip columns. For example, did you know that someone in the APC administration tried to get a pay raise for president Koroma and VP Sumana that would have increased their salaries to somewhere close to 9thousand dollars a month? Its not that I disagree with the idea of a pay raise rather it turns out that neither the president nor the VP were aware of the effort to increase their salaries. The whole situation was such a mess that the request which was placed before parliament had to be withdrawn and word on the street is that the Secretary to the President had to resign over the issue. So on the eve of the APC one year anniversary all I can say is, I am not impressed although I still love Earnest Bai like my Daddy and I believe that he’s capable. Yet still, I think that the government lacks direction and vision and the only consistent message that I hear is that the country is ready for and needs foreign investors…last I checked we had loads of foreign investment in Sierra Leone, infact a bit too much. If Basha Bakery is an example, it seems the Lebanese seem to be on an expansion project and very soon they’ll own all of Freetown. How many former peace keepers and ngoers have now started their own business…or better yet you need only visit paddies to know that foreign investment is overwhelming in a certain industry. The government desperately needs to get a clue cause man dem still noh gladi, dem noh day talk am right now but di system way wi all bin day manage don ton global
Maybe where we need to start is a national dialogue with all stakeholders from paramount chiefs to market women…all focused on developing a national plan for development…..or like a friend said the other day…BO Vickie Lef mi…a year is too soon to tell