A video of the All People’s Congress (APC) 2018 Presidential candidate, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, addressing a gathering of APC supporters is making the rounds on social media late During his address, he alluded to the reality that the Bio-led administration is so steeped in tribalism and division that nearly every person working for the government is a member of the Mende tribe or is otherwise related to it. He further said that unless “your surname is one that hails from the Southern Province…..” in Sierra Leone, you have a one-in-a-million of being hired by the government in any major position. As a result, many SLPP supporters alleged on various social media platforms that Dr. Samura is promoting tribalism to his people. What is paradoxical is that the SLPP is generally known for being the most divisive political party in Sierra Leone’s history.
Whenever we think about tribalism, we tend to look at the patterns and behaviors that people have acquired when it comes to identifying their tribes. This influences how we act, respond, think, and speak. Our perception of what is fair or irrational to accept, what arguments are convincing or not, what sources are reliable are altered as well…It’s well obvious to see how increased tribalism in our tribal psychology may lead to major social and political difficulties, as well as a mistaken view of our country and the world at large. Despite our differences, we have a lot in common that we can utilize to our advantage and build a society where we can all live and work together amicably. Our differences, in my opinion, do not hinder us from being polite to one another. We should regard members of other ethnic groups as allies rather than adversaries…… We may differ on a variety of matters of national importance at times. But, we should not dispute other people’s ability to reason or their right to be recognized as Sierra Leonean citizens.
However, a current compilation of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, as well as those working for other Ministries, agencies, departments, and other parastatal leaders. Surprisingly, nearly 95% of those on the list are Mende tribal members. Sierra Leoneans have become accustomed to the reality that since assuming power in 2018, the SLPP government has demonstrated to the nation that they are primarily interested in promoting the Mende people while marginalizing those from other tribes. The list in question is a clear expression of what Dr. Samura Kamara and other patriotic Sierra Leoneans have been expressing for quite some time.
Tribalism is a one-way ticket to the total ruin of any country. We are all tribal, yet tribalism may be carried too far and may lead to ethnic cleansing or genocide (we all know what happened in Rwanda). Everyone has a tribal instinct and a need to belong. It is common knowledge that tribalism has no place in our culture and has a detrimental influence on Sierra Leoneans. This, in turn, deteriorates public dialogue and polarizes our people. Tribalism is believed by most people to be motivated by hatred, uncertainty, and fear, among other things. However, my fear about tribalism and political division stems mostly from my concerns about its influence on our ability to think autonomously, critically and rationally. As polarization reduces, it becomes more difficult to find areas where we agree so as it can be utilized to our advantage as a basis for discussion in resolving our disagreements. Because our minds are so centered on the beliefs of our tribal communities, we fail to see things from a different standpoint or point of view. As a result, any belief that contradicts one’s fundamental belief is false, asinine, or unethical.
Democracy necessitates opposition political parties participating in constructive opposition and the government, in turn, using the country’s human and natural resources to better people’s livelihoods. However, thanks to the selfishness of some politicians in governance who lack the ability to perform a simple task like caring about the well-being of their constituents. In addition, the SLLP government has succeeded to persuade Southeasterners to believe that they have superior other ethnic group. And that they must do whatever humanly possible to guarantee that the highest office in the land does not fall into the hands of members of other ethnic groups.
To conclude, the level to which tribalism and division are rising in Sierra Leone is concerning. It is heartbreaking to see our dear country in such a state of affairs that benefits absolutely nobody. Since taking office in 2018, the Paopao dictatorship has been no stranger to this. If you are not a Mende or in some way connected to a Mende, good luck finding meaningful work in Sierra Leone.