General elections are slated to take place in Sierra Leone on March 7, 2018. The whole country is abuzz now with an onslaught of candidates crawling out of the woodwork. Several of the 2018 contenders are hoping to become standard-bearers for their respective parties. Every candidate is claiming to be the one who is capable of redeeming the people of Sierra Leone from the deplorable condition they are currently enduring.

But Mama Salone maintains that the majority of the candidates vying for the presidential candidacy have shown no substantive indication of their capacity to justify their claim of saving the people of Salone. The majority of standard-bearer aspirants of the Salone 2018 elections are no less deceitful than their predecessors and worst of all, they are misusing the most vulnerable and severely deprived segment of the population, the youth.

Like generations of politicians before them, the so-called aspirants of today have no real plans to develop the youth of Sierra Leone. Yet they all seem to have no other means of promoting or managing their campaigns except by exploiting the youth. Vulnerable youth, who are often clad in candidates’ t-shirts, are used as pawns in the fracases between candidates and often bear the brunt of the physical violence that ensue between the various political camps.

In a country where 70% of the youth are unemployed, politicians have no problems enlisting desperate young men and women, who join political campaigns on the basis of politicians’ deceitful promises of a golden future; a future that has never happened through a politician.

Most of these t-shirt wearing youth get no more than the t-shirts, food, alcohol, drugs and free ride from town to town to make the candidate look popular. Their zealous rallying for a candidate never amounts to gainful employment for the majority of the youth, whose lives become embroiled in election campaigns for several months prior to the elections.

When the elections are over, however, the winning candidates and their network cronies go on their political gravy trains, where they all take nice smooth rides in the land of corruption, grow nice round potbellies from the ill gotten wealth. A peculiar thing happens once they get on their gravy trains, none remembers the youth they misused so shamelessly.

It was the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court, who once said, Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over. Election after election, regime after regime, the youth of Sierra Leone remain uneducated, unemployed and vulnerable. Yet during each election, another generation of vulnerable youth is ready and willing to wear various colors of t-shirts, rally around the country, get stoned or stone others, get stabbed or stab others and worst of all, put their studies and all other productive activities aside to follow and promote the careers of deceitful politicians.

There are many other means for youth to participate in the political process. Allowing verbose and crooked politicians to MISUSE them as pawns in their rogue endeavors is actually detrimental to true political participation.

the youth of Sierra Leone must wake up and face reality, they will be kicked to the curb tomorrow by those politicians for whom they rally today!!



Old Tricks, Young Guns Elections and violence in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission Press Statement on 2018 Elections

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