|The Prodigal Son|
|World's second largest diamond ever|
The Star of Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is like God's prodigal child, blessed with diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, bauxite, iron ore, gold, forests, fisheries, and even granite. But every ten years, Sierra Leone blows through all the cash raised from these assets with not much to show for it and goes around the world begging for help. The only difference between the prodigal son and Sierra Leone is that the country resembles the prodigal son with dementia. In the case of Sierra Leone, the father keeps on giving him his own share of the wealth, he blows through the wealth, totally forgets that he was even given any share of the wealth, comes back and always asks for more.
This prodigality is so pervasive in Sierra Leone, that it is spreads from the government to the littlest man in Lunsar. When we were growing up in Segbwema, there were three main choices we had to make; continue in school and maybe go to college and hope to get a teaching or some white collar job some day, or give up school and go back to your village and join the ranks of subsistence farmers who marry very early and become fathers before their nineteenth birthday, or head for the diamond mines of Tongo field and hope to strike fast cash in alluvial mining. There were not many things to steal in Segbwema those days, or even now, so the thought of being a 'raray boy' did not even cross one's mind, as that would just have been a recipe for starvation.
The typical example of Sierra Leone's pervasive prodigality could always be seen from those of our brothers who went to Tongo. Occasionally some of these guys would come across some valuable diamond which they would take to Kenema and sell for some serious money. They would then come to Segbwema with everything new; new toothbrushes in new bags, new shoes and new socks, new shirts and new trousers, new briefs and new towels, new tape players playing new tapes. When they came back, they even got new girlfriends; usually a girl they had been eyeing while dead broke and never had the courage to ask, but suddenly found fresh bravery when there was some serious jingle in the pocket. To cut a long story short, these good fellows would blow through their new found wealth in less than a month. The new things would start to get old and they would start selling the rest, little by little. After a month or two, these once newly rich guys would join us again in Daru park looking for Mama Mamie's morning cookery. When even this ten Leones a plate rice was not affordable, they would head back to Tongo again, hungry, destitute and poor, hoping to repeat the insane cycle all over again.
|The New Rich|
The behavior of these Tongo bound brothers is in no way different from successive Sierra Leone governments that have ruled the country since independence in 1961. I was not born in the days of the Margais so anything I would have to tell anybody is just like talking about the transatlantic slave trade, John Leigh says it made them more civilized than "traditional folks", but Joe. A. D. Allie says it was never a beautiful experience and nothing to brag about. Though I believe A. D. Allie more, I really do not know; I was not there. So I will talk about what I saw and witnessed with my own two eyes and heard with my own two ears.
Siaka Stevens used to say our country was the most blessed in the world. Our national anthem implores us to exhalt the land of the free. In primary school we were told to pledge our love and loyalty to our country Sierra Leone. But all I can say, after seeing the true picture and listening to all these hollow words is "who is fooling who?" Our leaders told us of the beauty and wealth of Sierra Leone, the quality of the diamonds, the gold, the bauxite, but for decades the country became the repeated prodigal son of the International Monetary Fund, coming year and year again for more conditionalities. President Momoh was so frequent at the IMF that some people thought he was an employee there. It was only when he refused to go buy a cup of coffee for one of the IMF managers that people were told he was a president. Do not be surprised, in America there is so much food that you may mistake messengers for presidents, if you do not believe me ask Essa Thaim Kurugba.
|Siaka Stevens on a Prodigal Mission|
|The Top Prodigal|
God may not even be listening to Sierra leoneans any more. In November we have the chance to chase Koroma and his thieving caboodle out of power, some people will still vote for Koroma's hunger and starvation and go to Church the next Sunday to ask God for food. My people, God wants to save you from hunger in November through the ballot box. If you go again and vote in this cocaine loving, timber sellling and diamond smuggling thieving bunch of Hutus back into government, do not blame God if he puts cotton wool into his almighty ears so that he does not have to listen to your nonsense anymore.
|UN's own Prodigal-Ahmed Tejan Kabbah|
If you do not remember today's prodigals, remember another big Kahuna prodigal who the world fought to bring back and govern our country twice when he was chased out of Freetown by his own army and colluding rebels, that is the United Nations' own favorite prodigal Tejan Kabbah, the only president in Sierra Leone's history who actively partook in the refugee experience first hand.
If you did not understand anything that I wrote, I am sorry, I just got tired of simplicity.
Product of a prodigal system