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Nightmares from 96 and the Tenth Day in Thampèreh.

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Nightmares from 96 and the Tenth Day in Thampèreh.

By Jaime Yaya Barry

It was in a bright hotel room in the Disunited Kingdom. Thampèreh’s Painter was awakened by the screams of the Nomoli pacing around his room. The object had the numbers “9” and “6” written on its forehead. It flew over his head and took a last scream on his face before disappearing.

The Painter was scheduled to attend a special fund-raising dinner organized by the Palm Tree’s Women’s Wing in the faraway Kingdom. It was part of plans to raise funds for the Painter’s re-election campaign.

Back home in Thampèreh, food and commodities prices have gone over the roof. Villagers can barely afford food to eat. Many have abandoned their construction projects due to the unaffordable cost of cement, iron rods, and other construction materials. The mighty dollar of the Not-so-United States of Amerikkka continues to render the Thampi gold coins useless.

Exhausted from his numerous travels across kingdoms and villages, the Painter summoned his beloved wife, Yidador-Ka, and told her about the Nomoli’s “9-6” message.

“I think some people want to take my PhD from me,” he told her.

“No man born of a woman will take it from you,” she replied.

On the tenth day of the eighth moon in his fourth circle since becoming Thampèreh’s Painter, riots broke in several parts of the village. There were calls from the crowd for the Painter to “go.” The riot led to confrontations between civilians and the N. A. Gbadass, Thampèreh’s version of the police, resulting in the death of six N.A. Gbadas and dozens of civilians. It was the bloodiest riot in the village’s recent history.

Hours into the riot, the Painter thought of the Nomoli’s “9-6” message. Could it be Nineteen Ninety-Six, the same period he obtained his PhD in coup d’Etat, according to Yidador-Ka?

As images of Thampèreh’s warriors marching with rioters emerged, the Painter felt the message was clear. That the Nomoli’s “9-6” was a sign from the gods and some people were, indeed, ready to oust him and take his PhD from him.

Since the beginning of the PhD crusade, many villagers felt the need to defend their PhDs at all costs. And in an effort to protect the Painter’s PhD, the end of the riot became the beginning of tales of extra-judicial killings, public executions, unlawful arrests and detentions, rape, and the sudden disappearance of hundreds of villagers.

The message from the Painter and his cohorts was that what happened in the village was a failed insurrection, and they will, by all means necessary, hunt those responsible and hold them accountable for the bloodshed. This led to panic and fear across the village. Even the 8th moon’s usual heavy rains and flooding couldn’t wash away the fear left behind from the Tenth Day.

The Nomoli’s “9-6” remains the biggest misery from the Tenth Day incursion. The gods are known for sending unclear messages, leaving villagers to interpret the numbers differently, each from where they stood. While some villagers on one side saw a “6-9” representing a bloody protest due to the high cost of living and unbearable hardship, others on the other side of the numbers saw a “9-6” representing similar events from Nineteen Ninety-Six when the Painter first took power in a coup. In the middle of the number is the Special Committee that was set up to investigate the real cause of the riot.

As the committee is busy looking into this issue, one division in the security sector issued another “generic operational orders for policing and monitoring (on a) planned nationwide riot” for the 10th moon. Acting upon intelligence received, the sector instituted an “Operation Vigilance” to quench any planned “massive attacks nationwide.”

Ever since he democratically took over power, the village’s Painter has accused many of trying to overthrow him. It is unclear if he’s hunted by ghosts from his past coups or based on thoroughly vetted intelligence. The events that followed the various coup accusations resulted in the loss of many lives and the destruction of properties.

For a man who handed over power from military to civilian rule, and believed to have paved the way for the start of Thampèreh’s would-be democracy, his heavy-handedness in responding to many issues has left stains on several of the village’s efforts in building and strengthening its democratic principles and institutions.

And with the recent memo from the security sector, it seems there are more stains ahead even as the village is moving towards its elections for either a continuation of the current Painter or elect a new one.


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By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

Amid the disheartening continuous reception of pervasive indifference in sharing national wealth pierced by shrieks of criticism against this current government of ours, the ordinary people received an extraordinary tax increase in all essential commodities under the “Earn More Eat Less” IMF Structural Adjustment Programme Austerity Measures. It’s very important for nationals to note that our government is currently making huge money from taxes, but the money isn’t meant to address the social challenges of the people. Our government is using the bulk of the amount it’s collecting as taxes to service the huge international debt. So, the government of Sierra Leone is currently squeezing poor nationals to pay for loans they never truly benefited from but were unwisely spent by the majority of our government officials who are left to slip away with these crimes or recycled to other positions of trust whilst poverty keep on destroying the lives of the ordinary people worse than before.

Each second, minute, hour and day, rationally minded people with nationalistic sense of purpose in Sierra Leone grow increasingly concerned that Sierra Leone’s economy and democracy under the current government of President Julius Maada Bio are growing in danger of belying the existential essentials of the human spirit. Many keep on voicing their preoccupations in masterful and lengthy discussions and essays.

We shall keep on calling those at the helm of our State affairs that we signed a social contract that clearly states NO individual(s) personal interest(s) should supersede national interest and they must adequately understand that they are supposed to be our servants, not masters. Those who are hiding behind political party loyalty to execute their rogue missions and illegally amassed wealth at the majority expense must grasp this fact clearly. Some of us prefer being the spirited critiques of the current Sierra Leone democracy and our proposed solution — calls for an original and ennobling national body of literature as the means to cultivate the people’s mentality, character, and ideals — this keeps on ringing remarkably true today, perhaps even truer amid our current disenchantment and dearth of idealism, accentuating by the spectacle of poor leadership that keep sending us backwards with all the minerals we own as a nation.

Literature, I am sure, constructs the scaffolding of society’s values and has become the only general means of morally influencing the world, its archetypal characters shape the moral character and political ideals of a culture. This is so because, long after the political structures of the ancient world have crumbled, I remind you, what remains of Ancient Greece and Rome and the other great civilisations is their literature.

At all times, perhaps, the central point in any nation, and that whence it is itself really sways the most, and whence it sways others, is its national literature, especially its archetypal poems. Above all previous lands, great original literature is surely to become the justification and reliance, (in some respects the sole reliance,) of Sierra Leone’s democracy. Few are aware of how great literature penetrates all, gives hue to all, shapes aggregates and individuals, and, after subtle ways, with irresistible power, constructs, sustains, and demolishes at will. After so many well monopolised bad mining contracts signed by this current regime with no benefit to the ordinary people who are the suffering majority, when our minerals finish and the country has nothing truly positive to gain from them, literature will tell our potential human resources those that masterminded the bad deals and they will potentially save themselves from such unpatriotic repetitions. The literature will also tell the potential human resources of this country those that championed the very exploitative IMF COVID-19 pandemic loans that have currently widened the inequality gap and put many lives in abject poverty than before.

In the civilisation of today it is undeniable that, over all the arts, literature dominates, serves beyond all — shapes the character of Mosque, Church and school — or, at any rate, is capable of doing so. Including the literature of science, its scope is indeed unparalleled.

We best look our times and lands searchingly in the face, like a physician diagnosing some deep disease. Never was there, perhaps, more hollowness at heart than at present, and here in the Republic of Sierra Leone genuine belief seems to have left us. The underlying principles of the country as inscribed in our legal books are not honestly believed in, (for all this hectic glow, and these melodramatic screaming of baseless “New Direction” which was blindly delivered from the propaganda centre of the “Paopa Salone for Betteh “,) nor is the orders from above itself believed in.

Our well-bastardised democracy, with great success in degrading the masses into more sloughs, deliberately killing materialistic development, increasing the tax prices of essential commodities and cutting down the budget on health, education, etc. in a country where the majority are unemployed and were even poorer before the tax increase on essential commodities, and in a certain highly-deceptive superficial popular intellectuality, is, so far, a complete failure in its social aspects, and in really grand religious, moral, literary, and esthetic results. In vain have we annexed the majority of the current set of people we have in our social positions of trust, Parliamentarians, Ministers, Paramount Chiefs, and Civil Servants and reach certain none state actors too. It is as if we were somehow being endowed with a vast and more and more self-interest thoroughly-appointed body and then left with little or no soul for nationalistic sense of purpose.

To take expression, to incarnate, to endow a literature with grand and archetypal models — to fill with pride and love the utmost capacity, and to achieve spiritual meanings, and suggest the future — these, and these only, satisfy the soul. We must not say one word against real materials; but the wise know that they do not become real till touched by emotions, the mind.

Should some two or three really original Sierra Leone poets, (perhaps artists or lecturers,) arise, mounting the horizon like planets, stars of the first magnitude, that, from their eminence, fusing contributions, races, far localities, together they would give more compaction and more moral identity, (the quality to-day most needed,) to this State, than all its constitution, legislative and judicial ties, and all its hitherto political, inhuman like, or fraudulent materialistic experiences in illegally gathering national resources.

I know the set of people very wicked in social positions of trust, very deceitful, full of personal interest, ready to bleed the very people that voted them in governance to make money, full of worse negative behaviours than the past, determined to promote the dangerous habits of corruption against the majority, than the majority in this current government. Sierra Leone, it’s the truth, was doing very well during late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s Presidency when we had a bloody civil war than it is doing now,  notwithstanding these antics of the parties and their heads, these half-brained nominees, the many ignorant ballots, and many elected failures and blatherers. It is the dilettantes and all who shirk their duty, who are not doing well. Sierra Leone, if eligible at all to downfall and ruin, is eligible within herself, not without.

The sole antidote lies in our own hands and the ballots we hold — in not shirking our duty as voters. Let me share my advice with the young:
Enter more strongly yet into politics. Always inform yourself; always do the best you can; always vote and always put the interest of our country and people first.

The role of government and those in power, I soundly argue, is not to rule by authority alone — the mark of dictatorship rather than democracy — but “to train communities, beginning with individuals and ending there again, to govern themselves.” Above all, the task of democratic leadership is to bind “all tribes, all men, of however various and distant regions, into a brotherhood, a family. Many decades before women won the right to aspire for the Presidency and long before our irresponsible independence, The majority of our rogue men rulers should have realised that a robust democracy is one in which women and youth are fully empowered and included in that “brotherhood” on equal terms. I have sometimes thought that the sole avenue and means of reconstructed sociology depended, primarily, on a new birth, elevation, expansion, invigoration of women and youth… Great, great, indeed, far greater than they know, is the sphere of women and youth.

Reflecting on the perils of inequality in any guise, for any group, I soundly think of this: Of all dangers to a nation, as things exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn — they’re not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account. The supreme tool of reconstructing a more equal society, I assert, is literature — a body of literature that gives voice to the underrepresented, that elevates and expands and invigorates their spirits by mirroring them back to themselves as indelibly worthy of belonging to society.

A newly founded literature, not merely to copy and reflect existing surfaces, or pander to what is called taste, but a literature underlying life, religious, consistent with science, handling the elements and forces with competent power, teaching and training men — and, as perhaps the most precious of its results, achieving the entire redemption of women and youth and thus insuring to the Republic of Sierra Leone a strong and sweet female and youth race – is what is needed.

But my most pertinent point is that true dedication to democracy isn’t a mere fleeting fixture of election season. Rather, it permeates the very fabric of society and must be upheld in every aspect of our lives, at every moment — something best effected by literature.

Far, far, indeed, stretch, in distance, our Vistas! How much is still to be disentangled, freed! How long it takes to make this Sierra Leone world see that it is, in itself develop as per natural resources, the final authority and reliance? Do you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flowers and fruits in manners, in the highest forms of interaction between men, and their beliefs — in religion, literature, colleges and schools — democracy in all public and private life.

The literature, song, “land that we love” and so many other lines in our patriotic song plus the “National Pledge” of our country are of importance principally because they furnish the materials and suggestions of personality for the women and men of our country, and enforce them in a thousand effective ways.


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By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

The first principle of unalienable rights recognises that everyone is naturally endowed by their Creator with certain rights that cannot be infringed or given away. Amongst these rights are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
In order to secure or safeguard these vital rights, “…..governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Constitutions are also made for the purpose of securing, protecting, and promoting good governance, accountability and welfare of all citizens-the governed. The governments instituted among men are the elected representatives who are also known as the politicians. In sober nations, these politicians are required to implement social reforms and policy measures that contribute to the general welfare of the populace.

A politician is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision-making in government. Politicians play a central role in our lives. They are the concentrated voices of the people that make all efforts to improve their people’s welfare. Good and dependable politicians in other countries are delighted to serve the people and consider themselves servants and the people their paymasters. They represent the hopes, aspirations and interests of every citizen in the state.

In decent nations, a politician’s qualities are characteristics that are natural, while some of the qualities are a result of external influences. Promising politicians’ qualities are often backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, and instincts-all combined together to achieve their goals. First and foremost, the best quality of a politician is honesty, God fearing and loving. A faithful and effective politician is trustworthy and reliable. He must capture the essence of truth, display sincerity, and candour and practice what he preaches. He makes decisions and accepts responsibility for his actions and his words. The same is true in his dealing with his people. He makes promises and keeps those promises. Somebody that people may be relied upon. Loving people with all his heart, might, mind, and soul and striving to help them is a true mark of a responsible politician.

Moreover, the majority of our past and current fake politicians in Sierra Leone, will after taking the oath of office with the Holy books and lousy thanksgiving services, use their power as an end in itself, rather than for the public good, making them indifferent to the progress of their citizens. A good politician becomes the image of his Creator. A good and responsible politician will give high regard for morality, law abiding with no tendencies to corrupt even a single cent or Leone. The greatest strength of good politicians is deriving joy in serving people and not stealing from taxpayers. They know that a fulfilling and meaningful life is created through service to others. To be an effective politician, your followers must trust in you. And the very best way for a politician to build trust is to display a good sense of character and qualities composed of values, beliefs, traits and skills not by fanning the flames of discord in the contraption.

Another important quality of a good politician is integrity and technical skills to handle those challenging assignments, fiscal matters, policies, plans, projects, and ideas and initiate solutions to problems. Integrity in the consistency of actions, methods, measures, values, principles, expectations and outcomes. It is doing what is right, both legally and morally at all-time even when no one is looking. Since politicians play very significant roles in the administrative processes, especially having hands in thousands of important laws and policies to our contraption, thereby they should be well-educated, modest, with experience in social welfare, volunteering or should have done some good work for the society. A politician should have a thorough knowledge and up-to-date information about the constituency where he is going to contest an election.

A good politician should be of a well-disciplined personality with selfless service to make life better for his people. This should be reflected in the community where he lives in all ramifications. Discipline is necessary for an orderly society and political life, without it, social life would become miserable. Selfless service is putting the welfare of the people you’re representing before your own. A good politician firmly believes in taking care of and maintaining the community of his people. He believes that community service is about giving back. According to Theodore Roosevelt, “the most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice”. A person or politician who is with a criminal background or any links with criminals or whose allegation of corruption has not been cleared by a competent court of law should be disqualified to participate in elections.

A transparent politician is nearer to his people and meets them to understand their problems. Only fake politicians in Sierra Leone are seen by voters when an election is coming or change parties as footballers change clubs. As every parent has the responsibility to teach their children the principles of morals, culture, truth, and sincerity to be self-responsible, so politicians need to integrate their citizens with the importance of political responsibility and democratic values.

A politician leads by example and knows his minimum responsibilities as an elected representative. A politician comes to politics to work for his constituents and not to work against them. He is the beck and call of the people and is ready to listen to everybody. All of these build a strong foundation for a dynamic society in Sierra Leone which will create solutions for any challenges, and finally, develop strategies and political systems that will help implement those solutions automatically.

Great politicians or statesmen in decent nations, use their talents, skills, experiences, honesty, integrity, challenges and constraints with the positive effect that they can have in touching other human lives. A politician must leave his constituency or country better than before elected. Greatness is within reach of a politician who consistently does things they ought to be doing. He learns from mistakes and criticisms. It is only a bad Sierra Leone politician that will see that all the good is on his side and that all the bad lies with his opponent or just because someone does not agree with him, does not mean that all their ideas and solutions are bad. Good politicians show respect for the views and experiences of others. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom. He/she who aspires to be a great politician in Sierra Leone should have the ability to find and analyse problems in the contraption and find the best solutions for all these problems.

There is no problem in this world without solutions. A good politician knows that simply giving consistent effort in the little task of services, social reforms, kindness or sacrifice in day-to-day life leads to the true greatness of a nation. If the majority of our politicians make it a point of responsibility to develop and make life better for people in their units, wards, constituencies, cities, regions and country-we will definitely have a great Sierra Leone.


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Failing to value and respect the types of data that minoritised scholars are collecting and the ways we are collecting them—is a form of silencing us, writes Jackson Wright Shultz.

I write my truth.

In fact, my entire goal as a writer and author is to open a bit of my world to others. Many written works about my country and political parties have been distorted or fictionalised, even by sources claiming to provide honest exposés. So when I write about the SLPP 2018 general elections national youth campaign message’s inability to efficiently and effectively address the welfare of our youth at the national level at a crucial time like this, I write exclusively nonfiction.

As a nonfiction writer, I attempt to balance the risk of being overly tedious in my writing with the rewards of painting accurate depictions of our potential human resources. True, the rewards are subtle and often come in the form of quiet head nods from the country that I try to represent. But in a country of sensationalised stories rooted in misconceptions of what it means to be an objective writer in a country like ours, even the slightest appreciation from other patriotic, partisan and none partisan individuals is the highest praise.

I write the truth apparent to my country with special attention to the potential human resources of our country.

The national policy meant to address the welfare of the youth is deliberately shifted away from direct political processes to administrative processes which in turn pose a potential threat to the stability of any nation. Division of labour with sound minds in handling youth welfare in a poor country like ours helps create a solution to standard political-economic models which suggest that having vibrant policies to ‘sell and effect’ the potential human resources of any political party in governance is valuable to politicians that are keen to protect their political party in governance.

However, bad politicians within the governing SLPP with the thirst to hang on to positions at all cost and cause division within their party and the country at large often appear to avoid taking sensitive stands, they duck such responsibility and hide behind others to cause problems for their party and country. Such politicians also actively design mechanisms to deflect political pressure by faking their political achievements to the detriment of their political party and country.

We can understand such a level of desperation from greedy and desperate politicians that are in the majority of President Bio’s government who fail to catch up with the test of time. However, when those involved in these deceitful tricks and naked sense of aggression against our national youth to satisfy their selfish desires are individuals that benefited from President Bio’s empowerment scheme to help spread wealth nationally, then it becomes worrying for a country like ours and concern to all that President Bio’s national youth empowerment has been destroyed by very few people that believe they’re supposed to be the only beneficiaries of his national empowerment project. It’s extremely painful when such odd actions directed toward our potential human resources with the intention to make a mockery of their future are orchestrated and effected by a specific set of individuals that are empowered by President Bio’s national empowerment policy and later charged with the responsibility to unearth the facts and make salient recommendations that will be equally and concretely effected to address the welfare of our youth within their party and across the country.

This is what the majority of President Bio’s government officials have reduced themselves since they were charged with social positions of trust. They’ve failed to put the interest of their party’s youth and the national youth ahead of their interests.

Unfortunately, even after they’ve exploited the youth at the party and national levels after President Bio appointed them in 2018, they’re now desperately chasing the youth right down the rabbit hole to sustain their greediness in governance. This means the majority of the people President Bio appointed in his government are yet to scale their performance to tell the youth and other people of this nation their achievements in empowering the potential human resources of our country since the time they were appointed. Right-minded nationals consider it imperative to seize this opportunity and make it known to these greedy people in our social positions of trust that the Bio-led SLPP is a nonprofit organisation which should measure its progress in fulfilling its mission to its party’s youth and youth across the country, its success in mobilising resources that genuinely address the inherited challenges of our youth nationally, and the effectiveness of those charged with social positions of trust to genuinely tackle the huge challenges of our country’s potential human resources, especially as most of these greedy people in our social positions of trust want to sustain governance and their positions to further exploit the already suffering majority.

We continue to hear from the very greedy President Bio’s appointees that formed the bulk of his government officials about their leadership skills and how efficient they claimed they are in addressing the welfare of their party youth and youth across the country and that they continue to win the SLPP more youth votes. Fair enough, provided they’re up to the mentioned task. However, this begs the question of why the greater majority of our youth are jobless, frustrated, helpless and without someone to complain to. This shows there’s a clean and clear sense of disconnect between the majority President Bio appointed in our social positions of trust and the majority of our oppressed youth. The majority appointed by President Bio in our social positions of trust often arrogantly sit on top of the pyramid enjoying our national youth suffering miserably.

And to make matters worse, these very greedy SLPP politicians that dominated President Bio’s government and their campaign teams are now mocking the youth that they failed to benefit because the SLPP doesn’t recognise them since they aren’t registered members of the Party. May I remind these very greedy politicians and their team that the majority that voted SLPP in governance in the 2018 general elections weren’t registered members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party? To grasp the effectiveness of the majority of President Bio’s government appointees’ leadership towards the challenges of our national youth and how efficient they’re in delivering their tasks to our national youth, one would be tempted to further ask what metric system President Bio and the very few right-minded nationals within his government used that told a tale of genuine success in his government leadership solutions towards the challenges of our country’s youth?

Do President Bio and the very few right-minded nationals within his government understand that the Sierra Leone People’s Party as a nonprofit organisation rationally minded individuals would expect it to track the performance of the organisation by metrics such as cash raised to empower our national youth, youth membership growth within its party, number of concrete projects meant to empower youth nationally, number of youth that is concretely serving in entrepreneurship programmes and overhead cost, are monies spent in youth projects commensurate to performance outcomes? These metrics are certainly important and they do measure the real success of the Sierra Leone People’s Party in achieving its national youth mission as per its campaign manifesto.

Taking the above into consideration, it soon becomes clear that Bio’s government leadership qualities towards our national youth are ineffective as they were geared towards raising money for projects that appealed to donors to satisfy the personal interests of the greedy people that dominated his government, but didn’t necessarily advance the SLPP 2018 national manifesto campaigned promised—also left much to be desired. It further sends out negative signals to praise singers that take the option of praise-singing people in society out of sentiment that they must avoid the trap of oversimplifying it and treating the symptoms rather than the cause of a particular social problem. President Bio’s greedy appointees have so far failed to show clearly what the several pragmatic approaches used in quantifying the success of the SLPP national youth campaigned message as stated in their 2018 general-election manifesto.

Given the diversity and the significance of our national youth and to enhance effective and efficient practices in the government of President Bio, it’s imperative to avoid vague or baseless methods in measuring the success of the government. The greedy politicians that dominated the government of President Bio must understand the relevance of this and stop the stereotyping method of measuring success to be in a much better position to sustain trust from donors in order to efficiently tackle the challenges of our youth for the general good. Years of experience and research indicate that as a political organisation, the SLPP indeed, must measure their performance and track its progress towards achieving its mission. The party owed its clients, members, donors, and society at large nothing less than this in pitching its campaign programmes especially when it is aspiring as an incumbent to sustain governance.


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When you lean over in a canoe on a river, the boat tilts but then rights itself. But if there is too much pressure on one side, the canoe tips past a certain point and becomes a capsized canoe. It has flotation pads at both ends, so it doesn’t sink, but the situation of the canoe has changed from a floating maneuverable craft to a new stable, but the sad, state.

The tipping point from one condition to another can occur unexpectedly to those who have never experienced a capsizing. People in undemocratic countries are not surprised when their government turns over, but those of modern democracies like Sierra Leone grew complacent, even though we know that democracies that appear stable can capsize. Sierra Leone turned into a tyrannical state between 2007 and 2022. Within these years, there has been a massive increase in the number of people living under tyranny, with the majority of Sierra Leone’s population living in a country that Freedom House classifies as not having “free” government systems.

It is tempting to think, “It can’t happen here.” But Sierra Leoneans are more concerned about that now than they have been in decades. From the 2007 to 2018 general elections, many nationals think it is “likely” or “somewhat likely” that state actors will successfully overturn the results of a Sierra Leone election because their party did not win.

We, the present authors, are worried that putatively upright Sierra Leone after the presidency of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is today in danger of descending into tyranny. A tyranny—once capacities for control and despotism are constructed, in some cases including expansive government employment, dependency, and largesse—can be nearly impossible to reform. The key to the descent into tyranny, and the stability of tyranny once it is achieved, is this: Tyrants use tyranny to fortify their keep and to protect themselves against the sanctions due to them for their crimes.

Calling tyranny “stable” may seem paradoxical. Tyrannies suffer from chaotic upheavals and violent paroxysms. But the state of tyranny itself is stable, like a capsized canoe. Ordered liberty is better for everyone—aside, perhaps, from the despotic faction and their affiliates. It is difficult to restore the rule of law once it is debased. Rectification would call for changes in personnel, operations, and attitudes. The relative power and privilege of the despots would disappear with rectifications. Tyrants use the tools of tyranny to protect themselves against the sanctions due them.

How can that faction be so base and corrupt? It’s hard to understand the psychology of depravity and delusion; some say Satan is at work. And if we are feeling hopeful about God’s goodness deep inside the despot, consider yet another difficulty: Even if more virtuous reformers persuade the despots of the errors of their ways, there may be no way for them to credibly guarantee that the despots will escape sanctions, such as forfeiture of ill-begotten wealth, prison sentences, or execution for their crimes. The inability to commit to clemency may make it impossible to admit to wrongdoing and “cut a deal.” Also, there is, in any case, the disgrace that comes with the restoration of liberal norms and condemnation of the fallen.

What prevents systems from capsizing are the virtues of liberality and liberalism. So long as enough people disapprove of illiberality, as systematized, for example, at Twitter, Facebook, and Google-YouTube, and of anti-liberalism, the system can right itself and avoid capsizing. Election integrity is vital, of course.

In Sierra Leone, we are accustomed to thinking that modern democracies are always like a pendulum—a swing far in one direction is balanced by a swing back in the other direction. But the descent into tyranny can mess with the whole pendulum mechanism, preventing the counter-swing. We are concerned that the mechanisms that, thankfully, have thus far prevented us from reaching the tipping point and capsizing after the eleven years of brutal civil war are being dismantled. The dismantling is being done to some extent intentionally, by despots and wannabe despots, who act variously from greed, depravity, delusion—God knows what! 2023

Politics is always a matter of lesser evil, but our point is not directed at only the greater evil. In the Sierra Leone context, we observe illiberality and anti-liberalism among some who vote for the Sierra Leone People’s Party and some who vote for the All People’s Congress. The people who advocate the seizing of control of the government often do it for (what they see as) the best reasons: achieving a good society. One function of liberalism is to call out and oppose, the influence of the government on social affairs, even when it is done with the hope of putting the “right” people in charge.

Some of the founding fathers of liberalism can help us understand how to oppose tyranny. The thinkers, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke represent the original liberalism that now is aptly called not only “classical” but “conservative.” Hume, Smith, and Burke opposed radical alteration in the institutions of government. The original liberalism is conservative when it comes to altering the polity drastically.

However, the conservative element of conservative liberalism depends in part on how liberal status quo institutions are. Events that led to the eleven years of brutal civil war in Sierra Leone are a sharp illustration of why a liberal does not always oppose fundamental reform. And they illuminate our main theme: the hazard of descending into tyranny.

The act of oppressing the suffering majority by the selected few, but very powerful within Sierra Leone is simply inconsistent with liberal values. Tensions grew when the government of Ernest Bai Koroma tried it, with many intellectual voices in and out of the country pointing out that “all men are created equal” and asserted clear precepts about personhood and citizenship. The system descended to further evils which led to the election of the Bio led Sierra Leone People’s Party to power. What precipitated the change were movements and growing recriminations against the oppressors, for being unjust. The then oppressive government of Ernest Bai Koroma responded with more injustice. They could not control the suffering majority. Oppressors and the oppressed resorted to “cancel culture” and heightened oppression, to protect the profoundly illiberal and anti-liberal institution of the legal oppression of fellow nationals. The system passed a tipping point into a more fully institutionalized system of repression, with the outlawing of voices advocating a change of tactics and a code of conduct that made any questioning of oppression socially unacceptable.

Liberalism involves a self-correcting system of propriety that calls out violations of liberal norms in defense of liberal institutions. In the face of illiberal institutions, the liberal must sometimes be a challenging voice; in the context of liberal institutions, the liberal looks like a conservative, calling out initiatives corrosive of norms and a presumption in favour of liberty. Sierra Leone is unique, or was until recently, in having a framework that allowed a “fusion” of conservatives and libertarians: the status quo to be “conserved” was a liberal coalition built around “Unity, Freedom and Justice” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

What we saw in the eleven years of brutal civil war and among despotic actors in governments today is the use of despotism to perpetuate their position and to shield themselves from the just correction of their injustice. As long as they hold the whip, the injustice may not only persist but grow worse and worse. The fate of the oppressed in the eleven years of the brutal civil war was horrible indeed. The shackles grew tighter. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is hiring. If we do not figure out a way to defuse despotism in Sierra Leone, our own future may be permanent slavery for the suffering majority.

The horrors of August 2022 and fascism led some to believe that liberal civilization was soon to perish. However, some people, in some parts of the country, waged a war against totalitarianism, in a movement mobilized under the banner of “freedom” or “liberal democracy.” After the brutal civil war, positive criticism is not just against the selected few oppressors, but against the spread of authoritarian ideology. In our future, will there be Winston Churchill and Václav Havels to resist the despots? Or will the governments of all the two major political parties belong to a network of tyrannical governments?

It is not just dystopian fiction—that has furnished us with the image of a once-liberal civilization under the presidency of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah now capsized. Some of the great liberal writers have warned us against the very real march toward a capsized civilization. May we heed their warnings. They told us that the governmentalisation of social affairs is a tool of would-be despots and that it hatches despotism even if not by design. We must bravely speak out against the governmentalisation of social affairs and against the unjust sentiments and beliefs that forward it.


Map of Sierra Leone
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

As the huge challenges within our country in tackling the issues of our youth keep on inciting new dangers; I ask whether there’s a way that leads forward. The “youth trap” as I call it, has profound potential implications for the SLPP government of Julius Maada Bio to sustain governance and this was well exhibited in the recent 10 August 2022 chaos.

When it comes to contempt for political party democracy, the rule of law and simple fidelity to the truth in the lives of our youth, examples have crowded in from around the country. It’s as though a generation’s worth of latent symptoms. The hard truth is the deplorable conditions of our youth expose a current and potential far greater source of national regret and frustrations on their part.

The rule of law when addressing the challenges of our national youth implies more than official adherence to status or national treaty obligations. It requires that those who exercise power on behalf of our youth maintain a moral commitment to the disinterested search for the truth and to good faith in policy making in all matters that have to do with our potential human resources of the country. The consequences for even a robust democratic political party in power when it shirks the spirit of its constitutional mandate in addressing the concerns of its national youth are enormous.

“Setbacks in trying to realize the ideal do not prove that the ideal is at fault,” observed the eminent peacemaker and U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

New ideas in addressing the vulnerable plights of our youth must not be seen as a threat or incitement, but rather as sincere solutions to help address the vulnerable plights of our country’s youth especially as we face the very CRUCIAL 2023 general elections. Youth in Sierra Leone want the government of President Bio to treat them as they treat their best friends: accepting the youth as they are but expecting the best from them after creating the necessary environment for them to thrive successfully. Even with aggravating—sometimes heartbreaking—setbacks, youth in Sierra Leone like living under a government where the arc of history is irreversibly dispersing power. Community solidarity in the form of addressing the welfare of all youth, expanded education in the form of scholarships to keep on empowering our youth to sustain the Bio-led SLPP in governance, use of our national youth in collaboration with government stakeholders to champion issues nationally, partner with our country’s youth Minister to give our youth-free public libraries as milestones on the unshakable trend line towards an inclusive, and fairer society.

For good, for social entrepreneurs, the national youth concept of a just Sierra Leone we export to communities around the country will generally attract youth to believe in President Bio’s government. We are our own role models.

Therefore, for any incumbent political party that wants to sustain governance, learning how to respond to the spoken or unspoken feedback, it receives from its youth is a science and an art. And, how well you receive feedback impacts how well you give it.

Feedback is at the heart of good leadership, effective teamwork, efficient problem solving, developing talent, and the ability to understand and serve the needs of the greater percentage of our constituents (youth). Yet, most politicians within the ruling SLPP feel they have it “right” despite when our youth keep on sending negative signals.

The results we are producing now from the deplorable standard of living from the majority of our own very youth across the country are feedback. Our results are evidence of how well our youth are being served by the beliefs of our current president and the actions of his government. His beliefs and actions up until this point have produced the exact results that we are experiencing right now. If his government is not producing the results our youth want right now, then he needs to take note of the feedback he’s receiving; his government surely needs to change its beliefs and behaviour towards the youth across the country.

No matter what feedback President Bio’s government is receiving now if his government’s relationship with the youth across the country is not what he wants it to be, there is feedback available to him. Unhealthy beliefs would have him believe the reason his government’s relationship with youth in the country isn’t what he wishes is “their fault.” He might also be able to confess the other party’s sins, keeping a careful score of all the ways his government has been wronged. His government can keep these beliefs and take the same actions it has been taking, but if his government’s results haven’t changed before, why would it now?

If his government isn’t producing the national leadership results, he wants, then his beliefs and actions with youth are informing him that changes are necessary. Some people’s beliefs about power are terribly unhealthy. They believe that power is scarce, that there isn’t enough, and that someone would have to give them more for them to be better off power-wise. These beliefs and the accompanying behaviour literarily repel power away from them. Poor results provide feedback. And when one fails to treat the feedback seriously, he risks creating a situation where others will suffer as a result of his greediness by creating the scenario where all will lose it.

This is the hard but uncomfortable truth,’ isn’t it? We are compelled to speak about the true vulnerable leadership results of our youth generally under the government of President Bio, are we not? Very poor youth welfare now in the country is simply feedback. When you don’t put up the numbers, there is something amiss. Your beliefs about sales and selling are not serving you. Since your actions precisely follow your beliefs, your actions—or lack thereof—are responsible for bad numbers within the majority of our youth.

A lot of people will tell you they believe things that are in complete opposition to what you see them do. They will tell you that they believe prospecting is necessary to generate new opportunities for our youth. But they don’t prospect. They will tell you we need to put up fake survey propaganda to deceive your opponents. But the suffering youth who are the majority aren’t interested in fake things any longer, but authentic ones. They’ll tell you that they want to make more money to address the issues of our national youth, and then they’ll hit the snooze button three times and find ways to avoid responsibility for greater outcomes.

Here’s the thing: to believe something and not act on it is the same as not believing it. To know the right thing to do and not to do it is the same as not knowing it. The result is the same for you as it is the person who doesn’t know any better.

If the Bio-led government changes, its beliefs, and actions and listen to voices of reasoning that will assist the government in addressing the challenges of our national youth, that may help the government produce the results it wants. But if it fails to, it’s simply because it isn’t taking its feedback seriously and that it needs to change again and then try something else for the good of the potential human resource of our country.


Francis Ben Kaifala
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

The national struggle against corruption in Sierra Leone today goes far beyond civil society organisations’ compliance with the Anti-corruption Commission. More elusive is the deep and worsening trust deficit that exists between institutions and individuals.
The far-flung belief that public and private institutions are not acting in the interests of the people they are supposed to serve diffused through the thinking of communities across the contraption. Civil Society and news organisations, which have historically served as the watchdog for Ministries, Departments, Agencies and business people, are less trusted by the public than ever before.

Public confidence has been corroded by a concentration on near-term priorities and payoffs, propelled by election-cycle politics or quarterly results targets that too often leave children worse off than their parents. Instead of looking toward a sustainable future that works for everyone, many have been left with a sense of desperation about the ideals of progress in addressing social service protection for the good of all nationals in Sierra Leone.

We must make integrity the norm, driven by public-private cooperation, innovative leadership, and effective technological tools. As is often quoted, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Transparency is more important than ever. We must remember that the business community, too, is a victim of corruption.


Partnering against the corruption Initiative is one of the cross-industry collaborations the Anti-corruption Commission should conduct. In years to come, the Anti-corruption Commission must seek to rebuild trust in both the supply and demand side—working with Ministries, Departments, Agencies, journalists, business leaders and civil society to promote transparency.

The Commission needs to build networks across sectors and supply chains to encourage best practices and share products that improve transparency. For example, one promising new advance is “speak-up systems,” which will encourage individuals to report questionable or corrupt behaviour from peers or supervisors.
Harnessing new technology is also important, creating opportunities for us to engineer corruption out of the system. New systems like distributed ledger technology—a formation of replicated, shared, and synchronised digital data nationally spread across multiple sites or institutions across the contraption —can contribute to creating a more secure environment for real-time data sharing.

The Anti-corruption Commission must up its game to identify and announce new measures in its latest step toward restoring trust: A Strategic Dialogue Series will be useful here. By convening government and business leaders from diverse regions and sectors in the contraption, the Commission will create opportunities to develop knowledge and share practical solutions.

First, they will invite business executives and public officials around the contraption to participate in an anonymous survey. The Commission and other leading experts will analyse the results to identify opportunities and challenges for effective public-private cooperation on the issue of battling corruption.

Next, they will convene government Ministers, heads of Departments, Agencies and business executives to discuss issues and bottlenecks and then identify and prioritise solutions. The Commission will encourage them to propose and advocate actionable solutions.

Finally, the Commission will provide an interactive platform to distribute key findings. To foster transparency, the Commission will publish all findings to inform and stimulate further collective action.

Advancing the Anti-corruption agenda is more than a business imperative: it is our duty, and it is in everyone’s interest. We must preserve and nurture the niche in which we do business. We must uphold our business integrity, enhance transparency, and maintain robust checks and balances on inappropriate behaviour.

Promoting an ethical culture is a necessary element of good management. The best way to protect this culture is to actively promote it from the top—with the clear commitment of leadership to a culture of integrity and to the fundamentals of effective corporate governance: fairness, accountability, transparency, and responsibility. And the commitment must be ongoing and continual.

The business community is uniquely situated to help unite all elements of society to identify and share innovative ways to develop collective action, deepen our shared understanding of the issues, and prompt change. Now is the time to develop working solutions that combine strong corporate governance and effective Anti-corruption initiatives to restore trust in our governments and corporations.

Fidelity in rebuilding trust is essential to the success of businesses, governments, and societies around Sierra Leone. The system simply doesn’t work without it.


Map of Sierra Leone
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

In all our elections in Sierra Leone, preponderantly from 1996, when our nation returned to multi-party constitutional rule, political parties released what they call their Manifesto, incorporating their vision and action plan for the nation. This has become what I refer to as a “quadrilingual political illicit affair”, whereby the political parties use semantics and charming words to woo voters. As susceptible to attack as the typical Sierra Leonean voter is, party slogans are enough to slake their five–year thirst, hunger, poverty, etc.

Deplorably, these manifestos, which are escorted by pomp and pageantry when they are being launched, are hidden in a hole and covered with a huge and bleak lid until the next election approaches. The ordinary voter hardly sees the colour of these manifestos, let alone glances through them. Parties fail to carry out these manifestos when they come into power and are left off the hook. This has reduced manifestos to mere rhetoric of political parties to hoodwink unsuspecting and vulnerable voters.

All the above happen and are repeated every five years because there are no legal backings to political party manifestos. Parties are not obliged to fulfil promises contained in their manifestos since there are no legal authorities, at least not that I know of, to compel them to do so. Interestingly, there are always nicely packaged lies to tell the electorates during elections.

For instance, both the current SLPP and previous APC governments of Ernest Bai Koroma and Julius Maada Bio promised to improve the suffering majority’s standard of living by upholding the constitution’s values. This has never seen the light of day.

The hard but uncomfortable truth is that after 61 years of independence with all the minerals we own as a nation, most of our nationals still live in abject poverty. This means our political party rulers simply cannot lead but can only rule. So do we really need a political party manifesto or Citizens Manifesto?

Not long ago, civil society organisations and journalists released a development plan for Sierra Leone, which they named the “Citizens Manifesto”. Members of various civil society and journalist organisations trekked the length and breadth of the country to solicit ideas from the citizenry before finalising the document to which all political parties committed themselves. The billion-dollar question is, how are the SLPP and APC party manifestos launched four years back, propelling the Citizens Manifesto into action? How were the other political parties’ manifestos launched fashioned along this grand Citizens Manifesto development plan?

With the current system, one party takes the nation to the right, and the other comes to power and takes us to left. Why can’t we as a nation get a national manifesto but always have to depend on the manifesto from parties which go to protect the parochial interest of the particular party?

Years of experience continue to teach us that we need to have a Citizens Manifesto to collectively tackle key national developmental issues such as education, health, economic management, and agriculture, to mention but a few. No party manifesto should supersede the Citizens Manifesto to the point that programmes, policies and projects initiated by previous governments are abandoned and discontinued by successive governments. Why should one government introduce a three-year Senior High School programme for another party to come to power soon afterwards to increase it to four years and again revert to the same party that introduced the initial three years? Did we go or did we come?

Many would not be surprised that the various political parties are oblivious of the content of the Citizens Manifesto, either than that APC and SLPP would not be fighting over who is stealing whose ideas.

With the current Citizens Manifesto, there is still a way forward. In order for us to share, politicians try to distance themselves from it. The current system has been trial and error, where our rulers are toying with our lives. There should be a common plan for almost all aspects of our nation. This plan should be part of our curriculum to imbibe in our students right from the onset.

Again, political party manifestos should be fashioned along the line of the Citizens Manifesto or Development Plan. With this, parties cannot force any policy or programme down our throats simply because it was captured in their manifesto.

We have advanced far in the wrong direction. The solution, however, does not lie in us pressing hard on the accelerator but rather turning backwards; better late than never.


State House and Parliament
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

What does Executive power protect?

Executive power is the constitutional principle that permits the president and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Parliament, the courts, and ultimately the public. This presidential power is controversial because it is nowhere mentioned in the Sierra Leone Constitution. That fact has led some scholars to suggest that executive power does not exist and that the Parliamentary power of inquiry is absolute. There is no doubt that presidents and their staffs have secrecy needs and that these decision-makers must be able to deliberate in private without fear that every utterance may be made public. But many observers question whether presidents have the right to withhold documents and testimony in the face of Parliamentary investigations or judicial proceedings.

Executive power is an implied presidential power that is recognised by the courts, most famously in Supreme Court cases. There are generally four areas that an executive branch’s claim of privilege is based:
1) presidential communications privilege;
2) deliberative process privilege;
3) national security, foreign relations or military affairs, and
4) an ongoing law enforcement investigation. In previous controversies over Parliamentary access to Department of Justice documents pertaining to an attempt on Furious scandal investigation, the presidents and Attorney Generals often relied on the deliberative process power and also ongoing law enforcement investigation defence.

Most Presidents in Sierra Leone have not used this power for the public good; instead, some have claimed executive power to conceal wrongdoing or politically embarrassing information. In certain controversies where our Presidents claim executive power over documents, critics suggest that their actions constitute improper use of that power. Presidents and their defenders argue that they are instead protecting a core presidential function by stopping Parliament from intruding into areas where it does not belong.

No president in Sierra Leone ever used the phrase “executive power” until when his rots were about to expose. The truth is the phrase is not a part of the common language. Nonetheless, all presidents going back to Siaka Stevens have exercised some form of what we today call executive power. Often the use of this authority occurred when Parliament demanded from the Executive administration information regarding the unwise use of Sierra Leone taxpayers’ monies or entered into negotiations at the national expense. Parliament specifically requested State House records and testimony from presidential staff familiar with the event. State House convened his Cabinet to discuss whether a president possessed the authority to deny information to Parliament. The Cabinet and the president agreed that the chief executive indeed had such authority when exercised in the public interest. The president communicated this view to Parliament in writing. State House eventually decided to cooperate with the Parliamentary inquiry and turned over the requested materials. But he had first laid the groundwork for the presidential use of executive power.

State House established the proper standard – that presidential secrecy must be used only in the service of the public interest. The evolution of the exercise of executive power and of the legal decisions governing its use make it clear that this is a legitimate presidential power when used appropriately. Nonetheless, most of our Presidents gave executive power a bad name when used to try to conceal sensitive information about rogue deals at the expense of the State.

Like other constitutional powers, executive power is subject to a balancing test. Just as presidents and their advisers need confidentiality, Parliament must have access to executive branch information to carry out its constitutionally based investigative function. Therefore, any claim of executive power must be weighed against Parliament’s legitimate need for information to carry out its own constitutional role. And, of course, the power of inquiry is not absolute, whether it is wielded by Parliament or by prosecutors.

In our constitutional system, the burden is on the executive to prove that it has the right to withhold information and not on Parliament to prove that it has the right to investigate. Executive power should be reserved for the most compelling reasons. It is not a power that should be routinely used to deny those with compulsory power the right access to information. Short of a strong showing by the executive branch of a need to withhold information, Parliament‘s right to investigate must be upheld. To enable the executive to withhold whatever information it wants would be to establish a bad constitutional precedent that would erode a core function of the legislative branch and upset the delicate balance of powers in our system.

There have been proposals in Parliament to develop a clear statutory definition of executive power. Yet no such legislation has ever passed, and it is unlikely that such an effort would reduce interbranch conflicts over access to information. To date, the branches have relied on their existing constitutional powers to negotiate disputes over assertions of executive power. For the most part, the system failed to work well without a legislative solution.


Maada Bio
SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

“Paopa!” try less fighting and speaking and doing to get “your” way—and a lot more sitting, listening, questioning, and being still.

What can the resistance against ‘Paopa’s” greed learn from George Orwell’s allegorical novel “Animal Farm”?

As many of us work to resist the largest inequality gap created by the current Beo-led government in Sierra Leone, we often get caught up in the question of whether “we” will “win.” Then I wonder whether the oppositional thinking of “us” and “them” and “winner” and “loser” and “our side” and “their side” and “99 per cent” and “1 per cent” can lead to transformational and lasting change. I think, in particular, of George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm, especially with the current Beo administration behaviour.

The quick plot

The pigs on the farm lead an animal revolution against the oppressive humans. A central tenet of the revolution is that “all animals are equal.” But after the farmers are killed, the pigs move into the farmhouse—the place of the privileged—and even begin to walk upright on two legs. Ultimately, they rule as maliciously as the humans did. When questioned about the tenet that all animals are equal, they reply, “Yes, but some animals are more equal than others.”

This is exactly how Beo’s government is currently treating the suffering majority in Sierra Leone.

In what I will call a masculine-principled revolution, the uprising to remove the previous despotic government of Ernest Bai Koroma under the All People’s Congress itself served as much to consolidate power in a new SLPP “‘Paopa” ruler as to democratically oust the incumbent APC and their handpicked presidential aspirant. With an understanding that the hierarchy of oppression changes under the new ruler as a reward for supporting that consolidation of power. The selected few groups that supported the new SLPP ruler were granted new privileges with no effective checks and balances, and the group that was backbit by the selected few sycophants surrounding the seat of power and the suffering majority had privileges taken away.

Oftentimes, the rulers of the revolution end up concentrating more on maintaining the part of the power than the part of the suffering majority. Privilege is reassigned according to what maintains their personal interests. The foot soldiers in the revolution must content themselves with slight changes in their currency.

Here’s what that looks like under the current Beo-led government: The “resistance” reacts to Beo, whose supporters reacted to Ernest Bai Koroma, and on. The Orwellian animals become the humans, who become the animals, and so on. Meanwhile, the truly oppressed remain that way (this is the shadow truth of our binary choice system), and not much changes as we get distracted by the overly masculine-assertive desire for control.

Moving away from “us versus them” opens up the possibility of what I call “Only Us.”
The oppressed of each “side” is rewarded just enough to convince them to support the leadership without actually taking part in that leadership. Thus, the pendulum swings back and forth.

Masculine-assertive energy is not good or bad, but rather adaptive or not, according to the circumstances. Too much reinforces the regime of extracting resources, and while it might have once advanced society, it is now killing us and our habitat. So there is an argument to be made that using masculine-assertive energy to fight masculine-assertive energy by the current Beo administration reinforces the pendulum swinging.

The choice becomes either being content to have the pendulum swing “our” way for a time or working toward an end to all that swinging.

Moving away from “us versus them” opens up the possibility of what I call “Only Us”—an all-inclusive state of being for all sentient and non-sentient existence.

To move toward Only Us may require a massive move toward feminine-receptive energy. What does that look like? Less fighting and speaking and doing for our way and a lot more sitting, listening, questioning, and being still. Mobilising includes listening—especially to the oppressed of the “other side”—and receiving what is offered as opposed to taking what is not. The so-called talking and doing system of the Beo administration is now well understood by what we keep on learning day in and day out.

Are there models for the feminine-receptive approach? Yes.

Mobilising includes listening.
My own life story has brought me deep familiarity with 12-step recovery programmes. One of the things that I have most admired about these groups of people is their tradition of all-inclusive governance. Their second tradition goes something like this: There is but one ultimate authority—loving wisdom as it expresses itself in our group conscience. Leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

The amazingness is this: Workable and effective self-governance by some of the most downtrodden and disempowered people in our society—those trying to manage addictions. The will of so-called recovered or expert leaders are not imposed on the groups; they are required to fulfil the will of the group. Further, the will of the group is not that of the majority but of the consciences of the individual members and factions synthesised into one—ideally—unanimous group conscience.

The process is feminine-receptive principled in that it is about listening to one another and attempting to synthesise individual views into one community view. When a decision has been made that the entire group supports, there is no tyranny of the majority. There will be no need to overturn the group decision when a new majority takes power. Of course, this process is predicated on a faith in another recovery movement tradition—that “our common welfare comes first” because personal well-being depends on the well-being of the whole. Not us and them —but Only Us.

Let’s also consider the work of Elango Rangaswamy, the former mayor of the village of Kuthambakkam in India.

Rangaswamy pioneered a form of direct democracy by listening to his villagers, writing plans based on their views, and returning the plan to the villagers to discuss and rewrite in a circular process of receptiveness and assertiveness that refined itself to reflect the needs of all villagers. Again, no tyranny of the majority or the Executive Arm and a balance of masculine assertiveness with feminine receptiveness.

Rangaswamy then went on to train hundreds of village mayors throughout India in his methods.

The recovery movement and Rangaswamy’s self-governance models require a fundamental understanding that there is no use moving the fascist humans out of the farmhouse only to move in the equally power-hungry pigs. The models also require faith that the pendulum swing that comes with a masculine-energy revolution is not the best we can do, that “us versus them” degrades both “us” and “them.”

A model of receptivity by all rather than assertiveness by some can be used to create an Only Us that stops the pendulum and allows a longer-lasting highest good for the highest number. A question for those of us who are working to stop the current greed in the Beo-led administration for the general good is this: How do we use the feminine-receptive principle to create a dialogue with the oppressed of the “other side” and then move forward together?

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