I have always been in wonder at the comparisons between some Scriptures in the Holy Bible and Politics in the Sierra Leonean context. I always smile with disdainful relish whenever I hear a Sierra Leonean Man of God or, better put, a Man from God, quoting Scriptures to suit a political situation or situations with the aim of subtly promoting a political cause or causes.
But again, the Bible tells me in Genesis 3:19 that, “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.” But most Sierra Leonean Men of God or Men from God appear to be eating bread not by the sweat of their brows but through deceptions or complicity with rogue politicians or political parties. Most of them have even been in connivance with successive governments of the day to disadvantage certain regions in the country or sections of the citizenry. Most Sierra Leonean Men of God or Men from God seem to be part of the problems which Sierra Leone is, at present, being faced with simply because they have never had the audacity to speak truth to power!
And it is because most Sierra Leonean Men of God or Men from God can’t even muster the courage to speak truth to power that’s why the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and its chieftain, President Julius Maada Bio, have been repeatedly turning the basic tenets of Democracy on their heads. Our Commander-in-Chief and his SLPP know that whenever they do something that appears to be inhumane or undemocratic (or even unconstitutional) in the eyes of right thinking Sierra Leoneans; some Men of God or Men from God will water it down with religious platitudes like national fasting and prayer sessions. Or in worst case scenarios; they will ask the victims to turn the other cheek and not to raise fingers in any defiant gestures—arguing, or trying to convince their flock or congregation, that what has, or had, happened in the country might have been “the will of God [or Allah]” so they should lick their wounds like frightened dogs!
And to justify the unjustifiable undemocratic or unconstitutional breaches by any government of the day; some of these Sierra Leonean Men of God or Men from God will quote verses in their Holy Books to convince their congregations that it is better to suffer in this world and enjoy everlasting bliss in the hereafter. They will always iced their summons with the apocryphal saying that, “leaders are appointed by God.”
And what most Sierra Leonean Men of God or Men from God are feigning ignorance of is the factual fact that political issues are never, or will ever, be solved by divine interventions. I have never heard of a political conflict, in any part of the world, where the Almighty God came down from Heaven and solved it. Political conflicts are created by human beings and they are always solved by human beings themselves! Even in Theocracies (governments by the Clergies) or “Mullahtocracies” (governments by the Mullahs as seen in present day Afghanistan and Iran), political conflicts are being solved through earthly interventions not heavenly intercessions (I know some of our Men of the Cassock and Collar or Men of the Turban might be tempted to proffer an antithesis to this submission. But in their hearts of hearts; they know it is truly true!).
It is a sad realistic reality that in Sierra Leone today, one can identify countless churches and mosques that could rightly be classified as pro-government or anti-government. Equally so, there are countless Men of the Cassock and Collar or Men of the Turban who are unashamedly pro-SLPP or pro-All People’s Congress (APC). From the manner in which they quote from their Holy Books and twist God’s or Allah’s words, whenever they ascend the pulpit or the “minbar” to deliver their sermon or “khutbah”, one would always have the nauseating feeling that the Almighty God has taken political sides in Sierra Leone!
So, whenever I hear the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) engaging in a kind of fire brigade approach on national issues; I always smile with disdainful relish. Why would any sane set of people keep mum in seeing a group of political citizens recklessly toying with a jerry can of petrol and firecrackers inside a “bod ose” and wait until an inferno has engulfed the entire house before screaming blue murder? The painful pointless point is: the IRCSL appears to be politically politicized like all the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Sierra Leone including those of my two estranged friends!
Our Men of the Cassock and Collar or Men of the Turban appear to have failed Sierra Leone. Despite the country is currently facing erratic electricity supply; soulless taxations and killing costs of living; a health care system that seems to be death’s facilitator; the lack of clean drinking water; a Judiciary that appears to have been blindfolded by the Executive arm of government, and a Civil Service which seems to have been politically politicized; yet Our Men of the Cassock and Collar or Men of the Turban are eerily quiet in their pulpits and “minbars”. It is as if they are fulfilling the Scripture because “…seeing they see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (to quote Matthew 13:13 from the Holy Bible) what is currently taking place in Sierra Leone.
So, no doubt, Sierra Leone is now in urgent need of religious leaders who will use their sermons and public activities not only to tell truth to power but to advocate for true and honest national unity, social and political justice for all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of tribe, region, or political leaning.
But I’m still in doubt whether this will ever happen in a country where every issue, and any issue, is being discussed and analyzed through political lenses. Sierra Leone appears to have reached that stage, in its history, in which even the Almighty God is being seen as a supporter of either the SLPP or APC.