By Juliet Rogers
As defined in the Oxford Dictionary, Progress is: “Development towards an improved or more advanced condition.” Merriam-Webster defines it as: “The process of improving or developing something over a period of time” or, more concisely, “gradual betterment.”
1. Progress means gains in: a) Increase in incomes in real terms. b) Increase in life expectancy. c) Food availability, affordability, variety, quality and sufficiency. d) Public safety. e) Speedy and fair and affordable justice. f) Accessible, affordable and available health care services g) quality schools and colleges. h) Peace and stability. I) Increase in human quality. j) Effective and efficient transport services etc. All these equal improvements in the quality of life within a geographic entity will enhance sustainable progress.
In accordance with my research, the concept of “progress” was introduced in the early 19th century. Social theories, especially social evolution as described by Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. It was present in the Enlightenment’s Philosophies of History. As a goal, social progress has been advocated by varying authorities of political ideologies with different theories on how it is to be achieved.
2. Good Stewardship : Zero corruption, zero tribalism, protecting and educating children, appreciable rights and decency to females. Protecting the minorities. Conserving national wealth for the benefit of the citizenry. Government decency to the population – no lies, no why-yoness, no favoritism, no square pegs in round holes. Objective treatment for all. No stealing of public funds. Developing the infrastructure. Providing good excellent infrastructure, and so on.
Bad leaders keep their country backward and suffering. Good leaders are the ones who create or modernize the type of countries most Africans want to runaway to.
Bad leadership is why many African countries are first on international indexes measuring evil and last on the same indexes measuring good.
Factors of Good Stewardship
➖“Full stakeholder involvement” (JNCC)
➖ “The seeking of public engagement in regulatory policy developments” (CFIA)
➖ “Build[ing] coalitions of support from different groups” (WHOa)
➖“Inclusiveness – ensuring that advice is drawn from many disciplines, all sectors and, when appropriate, international sources” (GC)
➖ “Building public trust” (EPA)
➖ “A willingness to think and partner globally” (GC)
➖ “The negotiation of international principles of safety and guidance, sharing information and providing expertise” (CFIA)
➖ “Monitoring and performance assessment” (WHOb)
➖ “Review – keeping stewardship regimes up to date as knowledge advances” (GC)
➖ “A climate … that is accountable to the public” (GC)
➖ “Collaborating with our regulatory partners” (EPA)
➖“Transparency and Openness – ensuring that all processes are transparent, and that stakeholders and the public are consulted” (GC)
➖ “Ensuring transparency of the decision-making process” (EPA)
➖ “Generation of intelligence (intelligence contributes to more informed decisions)” (WHOb)
➖“A climate … that is predictable” (GC)
➖ “Maintaining consistency and fairness” (EPA)
➖“Defining the vision and direction of … policy” (WHOa)
➖ “Formulating strategic policy direction” (WHOb)
➖ “Ensuring a fit between policy objectives and organizational structure and culture” (WHOb)
➖ “Working with a set of clear objectives” (JNCC)
➖“Sound science” (EPA, GC)
➖ “Early issue identification – anticipating policy issues arising from new knowledge” (GC)
➖ “A strong knowledge base, access to specialized expertise” (GC)
➖“Greater use of socio-economic assessments” (JNCC)
➖ “Responsible management of risk” (HC), etcetera.
Cosmic civilizations boost on:
– Wealth creation and redistribution not on poverty,
– Pure and SMART innovations not on fatal and self destructive innovations,
– Human capacity development & management, not absolutely on natural resource management,
– Organisational capacity building, not utterly on partisan individual[s] capacity building,
– Building research capacity,
– Sophisticated spirituality and elegance,
– Future projections and strategies not purely on history,
– Health promotion and disease prevention, not barely on the cause and cure of diseases,
– Longevity not on child mortality (and, or ) premature deaths,
– Arts not entirely on science, and so forth.
I have said it again and again, Sierra Leone is suffering from archaic cultures designed for isolated survival in the bush but of little use and much havoc in modern times. Politicians are content to exploit this situation rather than work to reform it.
And Kevin, please come home a little bit and add these to your Himalayas of Sierra Leone native incongruities:
Provincials want freehold estates in land in the Western Area but won’t grant the same rights to Freetonians in their chiefdoms.
Provincials want to be MPs and Mayors of Freetown but won’t allow Creoles to contest either for parliamentary seats or chieftaincies in their provinces.
Very successful natives want Creole home training for their offsprings but they will discriminate against Creoles whenever an opportunity arises.
Politicians want Creoles in their parties to help them solve all kinds of problems but will never grant Creoles equal rights and opportunity within any party.
In accordance with history, the creoles were essentially a mix of all tribes in Sierra Leone and across Africa. But it is like that monkey which has gone into captivity and is no longer accepted in the monkey kingdom, because your fellow monkeys now see you as a reagent that smells something different.
In earnest, our colonial masters banged the heads of the creoles and the natives so that they can rape our resources as they are doing today. They know and understand that, ‘they can only control us if they can divide us.’ There is this documentary which I watched few years ago that disclosed some of the diatribe exchanges between Milton and some of the prominent creole leaders, reflecting the deep hatred which the British fan into flames. Earnestly, if we are busy fighting each other, we cannot see the common oppressor that is fighting us.
Sierra Leone once had the greatest opportunity at pre-independence to be far developed than Singapore and some of the top nations in the world today. In fact, Singapore was no where compared to where Sierra Leone was. Sierra Leone then was Freetown and it was like an overseas territory. On that account, people in Freetown were well educated. As a matter of fact, at that time Africans in Freetown were far educated than African-Americans in America. When they setup Fourah Bay College in 1827, blacks were not allowed into colleges in America.
During the Second World War, there were Sierra Leonean pilots who were recruited by the British Air Force. They fought and drove war planes.
There was a famous incident of a Sierra Leonean pilot that was shutdown by a German war aircraft. That pilot was able to jet-out and land. When the German soldiers went to arrest this British enemy pilot, they were shocked to see a black Sierra Leonean pilot coming out. It was like: “African fly plane! Slave fly plane!” They couldn’t understand what their eyes were seeing.
That was how developed Sierra Leoneans were. Eventually, when some tribalistic statesmen took power, they oppressed the Creoles who were the lawyers, judges, civil servants et cetera…and to a greater extent, they tribalized everything. A lot of mess up which led to the collapse of our country started to happen, so some Creoles who could not afford the unprotected opulence of compromising with the tribalistic system left Sierra Leone for their other home, England to be precise. We lost all that mass exodus of human capital which would have continued to give us leverage to develop. “For too long, we have focused on our differences – in our politics and backgrounds, in our race and beliefs – rather than cherishing the unity and pride that binds us together,” Bob Riley once said.
“There was a time when members of a tribe were required to see benefits of their tribe of more significance than personal fulfilments, which ensured a bitter-sweet survival of that specific tribe over the survival of other tribes. But now that our tribal days are over, we stand at yet another crossroads in the history of human evolution – now we must make a choice, not as tribalistic ape-men but as conscientious human – we must make a choice whether our own country, our own religion, our own language, our own skin color, our own cultural heritage is more important to us than anything else, or are we going to finally let go of our instinctual tribalistic traits and be humans above all sectarian identities,” as Abhijit Naskar wrote in his book, The Fabric of Humanity.
I hope our generation will put tribe, tribal politics and personal envy aside and learn to work in unity and high class discipline for the betterment of Sierra Leone. As for me, I look with sadness at the terrible state of our educational system. It used to be best in West Africa but alas today, it is one of the worst.
In the meantime, reflect on these words:
The most successful of the nations of the world are those who do not fall into the lure of secession but who, through thick and thin, forge unity in diversity. – Yemi Osinbajo
I have said this in the past and I will continue to repeat it as long as I live: Until conscious thoughts and diligent efforts are made to reform the foundations of our political, educational, economical and social systems, progress shall forever remain a myth in our nation.
As Walter Gropius has written:
“Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward Heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”
Tribalism is pro-tribal selfishness. Tribalism insures that fellow tribes people are always favored in decision making for all kinds of benefits and awards to the detriment of the public good. These include jobs, funding, scholarships, medical services, housing, land grants, development projects, government benefits and so forth. Hence, the standard for achievement under a tribalism regime is not what you can do for the public good but who you know.
Tribalism is the surest way to destroy the merit system that was used to create developed societies because tribalism is based on favoritism. In a society under tribalism, the cream of society never rises to the top. It is the yes men, stooges, rabid tribalists and crooks who gain the upper hand. The real producers are kept at bay.
Tribalism encourages the decline in state discipline, law and order and increases instability because justice is based on favoritism and lawbreakers in the tribalists group are shielded from prosecution and punishment – an unfair and unjust practice.
When members of other tribes become aware of such unfair and unjust practices, they get resentful and peace and stability would be the casualties should the situation remain uncorrected.
Tribalism tends to prevent national progress because of several factors.
1. The merit system is likely to be grossly weakened and eventually scraped as the practice of favoritism gains the upper hand. This means those who can get the job done are denied the opportunity which goes to the favored regardless of qualification and bad character.
2. A weakened merit system means production will contract, retrogression will increase and consumer prices will inflate. This create a chronic hardship situation Sierra Leoneans refer to colloquially as “sufferness” and “tranganess”.
3. A prolonged hardship situation or injustice and unfairness could in time flare up into violence and any such violence could be virulent as was the case during the R.U.F. War. That war was the direct consequence of economic hardship and perceived tribal favoritism by the One-Party Administration.
4. Where production becomes contracted, poverty spreads. As poverty spreads corruption becomes more widespread and social mores break down, pestilence may emerge and ordinary living conditions systematically contracts. The result could be inter-tribal violence.
To address tribalism, the initiative must come from the top and instigated by progressive civil society organizations. Or it could be encouraged by the international community and the media in a place like Sierra Leone where, because of tribalism, governments cannot generate adequate resources internally to fund national operations.
A tribalistic government cannot be expected to reform itself and become nationally oriented. Civil society organizations with the help of the international community, NGOs, religious groups, artists, writers, dramatists, cartoonists, musicians, activists, media practitioners et cetera…must push a tribalistic government to reform or loose power.
Once a tribalist government reforms or is replaced, care must be taken to keep tribal agitators out of public power.
Finally, to rebuild our broken nation, let us all come together and work in unity. To work in real earnest, should be the sine qua non for development of a nation. The story goes that “work is the best physician.” It can heal all the diseases in one’s body. So, let us embark on that, and avoid the ills of society namely: corruption, bribery, favouritism, nepotism, injustice, tribalism, self-centredness, cupidity, sloth, envy, treachery, sycophancy, undue partisan fervour in politics and unpatriotic tendencies etc. We need to do this, in order to forge ahead as a nation. Ken Blanchard observed that “none of us is as smart as all of us” This is another fantastic entry in the “every single one of us is important” category. No single member of a society has the knowledge, understanding and experience of that society as a whole. That is why it is important that members of a society hear out one another’s opinions, learn from their peers, and respect others.
1. Marc Saner & Jake Wilson – Policy Brief No.19 (December, 2003): “Stewardship, Good Governance and Ethics.”
Juliet Rogers is a Societal Engineer, Life&Emotional Intelligence Coach.