Back with Afrobeat’s new album, veteran musician Bockarie asks for better Sierra Leone

Bockarie is back in his home country after a four-year stay in Nigeria with fresh relief amid heightened political friction over accusations of corruption, tribalism and politicization between Sierra Leone’s two main political parties.

The album “9 Lives”, released in August, addressed the same social effects that have made it a target of opposition and opposition supporters.

Singing at the local krio pidgin, in a track called “Kokonat” (Coconut Head) Bockarie sings: “No matter who is in power, there will be no change because they know we have made a strong decision to be a partisan party. ”

“Because of their fight that has no end date and most of all, it makes no sense that the country is in a reversed mood,” he sings.

Over the rhythm of the heartbeat Afrobeat, Bockarie sends home the message that while power can move hands, living conditions will remain the same for the poor as long as Sierra Leoneans continue to elect corrupt and incompetent officials.

“We’ve been crying for 59 years,” Bockarie told Reuters. “We deserve better. Whatever happens between the political parties, not our concern … All we ask is a better Sierra Leone. “

While President Julius Maada Bio’s current government is pouring out a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, the Afrobeat singer says Sierra Leone continues to face the same problems as tribalism and politicization that led to civil war between 1991 and 2002.

The country’s two largest political parties, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (NPA), have alternated since independence from Britain in 1961.

Bockarie started making his political brand of Afropop in 2002. His 2007 album is often credited for helping turn that year’s presidential election in favor of the then-opposition NPA.

But by the time the SLPP regained power in 2018, Bockarie was living in Nigeria after receiving death threats from NPA supporters.

Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption body summoned former president Koroma for questioning in October over allegations of graft while in office, but had to postpone after a crowd of demonstrators barred investigators from entering his property.

“We take the same routes over and over again,” says Bockarie “We don’t ask for the world. We ask for basic, basic amenities such as pipe-borne water. “