Saturday, August 18, 2007

Country Teaching Africa

The image of Africa as a land of civil war where belligerents cut each other's ears, hands, and feet is being rehabilitated by a nation which suffered the worst atrocities in the history of Africa's conflicts.

The most striking development in Sierra Leone's election is its participatory nature. The Independent Electoral Commission is truly independent and is in full control of the process. The ruling party appears to be one of the contestants.

The outgoing president speaks more like an important umpire advising everyone to listen to the dictate of the Independent Electoral Commission.

The Chiefs also make public declarations that they should not tell people how to exercise their franchise; that people should be allowed to make up their minds without the influence of the traditional or religious leaders and vote freely. Nobody is heard promoting tribe, religion or any form of sectionalism. The youths are not talking about the age of presidential candidates. They talk about the need to have a leader who will guarantee them jobs and social amenities. The whole campaign was about issues.

It is clear from this approach of politics that the people will always emerge as winners even if their candidate happened to fail to win.

In short, when people cast their votes those who vote for the winner will also regret and turn to support the losers if their aspirations are betrayed by the person they supported.

This is why the integrity of the process is so important. It enables people to see their mistakes very quickly and rectify them wherever the opportunity avails itself.

What Sierra Leone is achieving that few nations achieved is the power to make people win or lose.

The people have become more powerful than state power or wealth because the vast majority are refusing to be intimidated or induced by power or wealth. This is the hall mark of a mature democracy. When the people value their votes more than silver or gold, they become a truly sovereign people. The people of Sierra Leone are having a good start after the war. Ahmed Tijan Kabba can easily continue to prevail on the people not to be dragged into violence by any leader by simply saying: "If I can turn my back at greed for power for life and be like any of my opponents for years, why should helping someone to take my place cost you your life. This place belongs to no one. It is a place of service. It belongs to all. We should each know the extent and limit of our power and exercise it within those limits. All of us should submit to the collective will. If it fails to serve us, all of us will have opportunity again to effect change. Let us guard the institutions that enable you as a people to control who governs you like the apple of our eyes, irrespective of our party affiliations. When that happens leaders will only come and go but Sierra Leone will remain triumphant and the people redeemed forever from the tyranny and omnipotence of leaders

Foroyaa congratulates the people of Sierra Leone for defeating the politics of patronage. They have taught the lesson that the best fort developing countries have so far to put an end to self perpetrating rule is establishing a two term limit to the presidency.

In fact, the greatest obstacle to African unity are regimes where leaders equate the sovereignty of their countries with their aim to be presidents for life. Those who serve only two terms know that they have no future in leading their countries beyond the term set for them. Such leaders are likely to support the doctrine of collective sovereignty which federation implies.

allAfrica.com: Sierra Leone: Country Teaching Africa (Page 1 of 1)