Deputy Information Minister Shekito
When I was a student at Fourah Bay, there were three aspiring student journalists whose writings I really admired. To contextualize, I was a social science student at the time who had made the academic transition from biology and chemistry in 6th form at Sierra Leone Grammar School to Economics at Fourah. I was accepted to read economics at Fourah bay the same year that I was accepted to read biological sciences at Njala University. But the vision of the color of the semolina blended wheat I had met my brothers eating at Njala convinced me that my days of rural education were over and from then on I will only be educated in an urban environment. I love organic potato, but four years of existing primarily on that stuff was a challenge I was not willing to undertake and I never set eyes on Njala again.
To come back from my meandering, there were three budding journalists whose articles I really looked forward to on the walls of either the student cafeteria or "third world," (aureolites would no what I mean). The three were Idriss Conteh (Atomic Pen, Sheka Tarawallie (Shekito) and Lans Gberie (Gberie). Gberie and Atomic Pen's articles were more fluid and intellectually stimulating, but Shekito's were witty, sharp, sarcastic and occasionally cynical. One article that Shekito wrote that I will always remember, was an admonition to students to be skeptical of the new National Provisional Revolutioary Council (NPRC) government. At the moment when the euphoria over the end of 23 years of APC misrule was palpable, I found it particularly gutsy and in hindsight foolhardy for Shekito to take the stand he did, but at the time I developed some new found respect for him, though I did not then share in his pessimism, as for me at the time, even a dressed up orangutan would have been better than the buffoonish clown that we had for President, Joseph Saidu Momoh. It was only years later that I realized that Shekito's stance had been purely for self interest.
Youth and Employment Dealth With?
Shekito's writings as a government minister these days tell a different story. It is almost as if the man is in academic decline. Now to be fair to him, I am a far more educated person than I was in 1992 and probably more analytical. When we were also in college, Shekito and I were almost always on the same side in student politics so maybe I could have then read his articles from a more subjective and welcoming angle, as opposed to objectivity. However, Shekito's writings and world view these day are simply put, pathetic. From his mediocre tribal attacks on political opponents to his lack of knowledge of contemporary economic issues, Shekito's writings are a shadow of the wit and brilliance that once flowed from his pen. I discussed my observation with a close friend of mine who was a classmate and friend of Shekito's at FBC. The friend said the problem with Shekito was that in spite of his brilliance when he was at Fourah Bay, Shekito had always been very tribalistic and opportunistic and that had limited his intellectual maturity. From his writings over the past few years, the friend seems to have hit the nail right on the head.
Shekito current article in his Torchlight News sheet titled "President Koroma has already dealt with the Youth and Economy," is not only a gross manifestion of ignorance by someone educated at the once great Fourah Bay, but is a painful journey into economic naïveté and self delusion. Even the title is laughable. Shekito's arguments in the article are so childish that when I showed the article to a friend and told him that it was written by a government minister in my country, he had only one thing to say, " God save your country!"
Shekito started his article with the disclaimer that the opinions stated by him were his own about the opposition SLPP and their presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and not an official position. As a government minister, how in hell can you write against the leader of the opposition party in your country and accuse him of extrajudicial killings, describe him as rat-like, accuse him of shallow and narrow mindedness, accuse him of bonding with homosexual foreign MPs of a friendly nation, and then have the stupidity and audacity to state that you are not writing in an official position? Does Shekito not know that as a government minister, your public pronouncements or actions cannot be taken as private opinions or actions. If you want to make a private opinion why not take some friend into a corner and tell them, are you that naive?
Let us take a look at even the title of the article, "President Koroma has dealt has already dealt with the youth and the economy" Can we ask ourselves how the president has already dealt with the youth and economy? Is there any country in the world, even the most advance nations that can claim to have already dealt with youth and economic issues? Sierra Leone and President Koroma must have a magic formula or the deputy information minister must not have the foggiest idea about what he is talking. I will advise the minister against writing an article of such seriousness in the middle of the night when he is drunk. When a man is drunk, he can find the solution to any problem, including world peace. It is only a drunk or a fool that can claim a solution to youth and economic problems. And when such claims are being made in Sierra Leone of all countries, by a government minister, you can just wonder in awe at the destiny of the country today. It is a sorry case of the blind leading the lame, while telling stories to the deaf. Shekito when you taste some of that ministerial whiskey my advice to you is simply to go to bed. In a country where the youth unemployment is over 70% the claim to have "dealt" with youth problems is almost criminal.r
Maada Bio SLPP Flagbearer
Shekito goes on to talk about economic problems in France, Spain, America and bank closures in America and states that Maada Bio should not be talking about these problem in Sierra Leone when they are happening all over the world. Wow! The people of Sierra Leone must now go to bed hungry, confident in the fact that in France there are people are hungry too, what a consolation! It is almost like an economics class for dummies taught by a professor who is an idiot. If the poverty in Sierra Leone was not so horrible, the scenario would be almost comical. Does Shekito not know that to sleep on a full stomach is now being thought of as a fundamental human right? These are the guys that are the close advisers to our president. May God save Sierra Leone.
One area of Shekito's ignorance of simple economics is to somehow assume that president Koroma has given wage increases to nurses, teachers, and so on and therefore they should be better off than they were in the past under president Kabba. What Shekito does not realize is that the real value of money is what money can buy. If a man is paid one hundred and fifty thousand leones and a bag of rice is one hundred and fifty thousand leones then the man's real wage is one bag of rice, because that is what he can buy with his monthly income. If you increase the man's salary to 200 thousand and the price of rice increases to 400 thousand, the man can now only buy half a bag of rice, even though you are claiming to have given him a salary increase! Mr. Minister the rate of inflation over the last four years has been over 100%. You guys met rice at sixty thousand and it is now at almost 200 thousand leones. So what the hell are you talking about your half percent salary increases. Wake up and smell the crap, the electricity you are shouting about will only help the poor man to look inside his pot under a very bright light and realize that he has no food, nada!
And this talk of foreign investment is one thing we should be careful about. Those who are aware of neocolonialism and predatory investing would tell you guys that in your enthusiasm to claim investment success so as to fool people to vote for your abysmal misgovernance, you are mortgaging the future of that country to unscrupulous investors and pseudo investors. We all saw the Aljazeera documentary in which some of your close allies were only to willing to sign shady deals for kickbacks. The documentary exposes the haphazard nature of the criminal enterprise being run under your government in the name of foreign investment. You are leasing thousand of acres of land for hundred of years to shady investors, who are doing nothing to add value to what we have, but are essentially taking our own resources and giving us chicken feed while those of you getting the kickbacks and bribes are buying houses all over Europe. Even UN is becoming concerned at the foreign land grab in Sierra Leone under the APC.
And this promise of 24 hour hours electricity by November 2012, was it not supposed to be December 2007? It it déjà vu all over again. We were promised that there would be light in 90 days turned into years. The country was supposed to be run like a business and we are just praying for this business not to file for bankruptcy. Investment to the economists represent value added not just exploitation of a country's resources. If greed allows us I mine every mineral we see in the country, what are we going to leave for the next generation. If those who came before us had decided to open the country to a floodgate of mining firms, what would we have been left with? How are our children going to survive or are we just going to say that they will figure it out when their time comes? The pronouncements of Shekito are things you would expect from AFRC, as it was a rebel government, not APC, but maybe it is a case of birds of the same feather.
I think I have to stop here, reading more of the long senseless rant by a guy I once considered smart is given me a terrible headache. I will take some Tylenol and maybe continue reading the dull, uninspiring, misleading and terribly mediocre article that tells us we have found solution to youth and employment problems. Let us sit now and wait for the Nobel prize.