Lamin Costo Daramy: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 October 2020:
One question that always linger in my mind, and I have tried on a number of times to figure it out, are the challenges Sierra Leone is faced with – issues that we discuss on our various social media platforms. The citizens are aware about the issues. These issues are discussed everyday be it with families, friends and colleagues: Poor healthcare system, poor infrastructure, poor electricity and poor schools, etc.
When His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio was inaugurated in 2018, he made a promise to fight corruption and to revamp the economy which was close to the brink of collapse under the APC with former President Ernest Bai Koroma at the helm. A troubling challenge is corruption. Corruption seems rooted in the citizens everyday life; in offices, in schools, markets on the streets, in homes, agencies and government institutions, the list is endless.
Now let us all take a minute to look at the question, eat it, swallow it or spit it out if you like. What are we going to do when corruption fights back? Bear in mind corruption which undermines our democracy, peace and stability is a bane to the development of our country, Sierra Leone. This predicament has exposed us all to the things we fear may happen to us. Things like armed banditry, civil unrest, money laundering.
Corruption has deterred progress and development in Sierra Leone. It is because of corruption that our hospitals lack the equipment they need to perform well, it is because of corruption the life expectancy rate is low, it is because of corruption we still have roads that are killing us and our schools are poor. It is because of corruption that basic necessities have become a luxury.
That is why the Anti-Corruption Commission Boss, Francis Ben Kaifala at the 1st African Anti-Corruption Forum said “I bring you greetings from Sierra Leone; a country that epitomizes the full brunt of decades of corruption; but is now more determined than ever before to fight corruption under the leadership of His Excellency, President Rtd. Julius Maada Bio, whose roadmap to victory against corruption and economic development blueprint are predicated on the pillars of conscientious anti-corruption reform and campaign”.
When I think about the real fight corruption is waging against the people of Sierra Leone, I think about the lawlessness and recklessness demonstrated by some youths – for example in Makeni who yesterday prevented Anti-corruption officials from interviewing the former President on corruption allegations.
According to the ACC Boss, on their way to Makeni, “our work to cleanse Sierra Leone of corruption continues in Makeni today; but some of our compatriots have hijacked the highway to prevent us from interviewing former President Koroma. They have deployed roadblocks and violence”.
When I think about some youths burning down health centres and breaking police station windows, youths trying to prevent the ministry of energy from moving standby machines from Makeni to Port Loko – what comes to mind is – this is corruption fighting back.
The ACC as an anti-corruption body has been doing a fantastic job in keeping the media and citizens abreast with their work, but also canvassing the support of every Sierra Leonean to fight this monster – corruption. (Photo: ACC Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala).
Fight against corruption collectively will not only help us galvanise force, strength and resources together but will also help us get victory as Sierra Leoneans.
I always recall the African parable our parents would say to stress the need for unity and be each other’s keeper: “The danger of not working together leads to destruction as life would knock us down one after the other.”
When corruption fights back, I think about those who ravaged our country with impunity, parading on social media accusing the government and the ACC of witch-hunting. I also think about those youths who came out to cause havoc for example in Lunsar, Tombo and Makeni.
When the monster corruption fights back, we all become victims, be you SLPP, APC, NGC, C4C or PMDC. When the monster corruption fights back, it knows no boundary, be you in the south, north, east or west of Sierra Leone. When the monster corruption fights back, be you young, old, rich or poor – suffers.
Why not pledge your love and loyalty to your country Sierra Leone today, so we can all work together to defeat corruption.