''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 2

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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October 2005


The answer to the above question question appears to be so clearly defined that many would perceive such a waste of time and a lack of something worth writing about. Agreed? But then take a closer look.

President Kabbah, despite his many faults, has been raising one point - a dull point one might say, but worth examining although the context in which he plays around with it points to his affinity to the corrupt and a penchant to defend corrupt officials.

President Kabbah believes that corruption is a two-way street. That the traffic cop who demands something from motorists keeps on plying his trade because there are defaulting motorists who are willing to pay their way out of any traffic offence.

This is not to say that it is good practice to encourage such acts, but it points to something that is often ignored and like many a wrong-doing in Sierra Leone, becomes readily accepted by perpetuators and victims, unaware that it is wrong doing that must be punished.

And this brings us squarely to why we think both sides of the corruption equation must be punished to send a message that such wrong doing can no longer be encouraged nor allowed in a Sierra Leone trying to shake off the mantle of corruption, nepotism and all the ills that continue to plague the mother country.

The United Nations and its specialised agencies, NGO's be they local or international and other international "aid" groups, all bear a responsibility for the widening circle of corruption in Sierra Leone and now that Mr Blair has touched on the right nerve, the Sierra Herald would urge him to take a closer look at the activities of British nationals working/operating in Sierra Leone.

It is no secret that while Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown drowns in stench and filth, new and impressive dwelling/accommodation keep going up and up, far removed from the reality of the filth and over-crowding that is the lot of ordinary citizens and if the capital is being treated with such scorn, the good Lord helps our folks trying to eke out a living in other parts of the country.

But who occupies these mansions being built by corrupt government officials in Sierra Leone?

Do a survey and you will discover that a number of them are designed to cater for the needs of expatriate staff working in the country.

How do they pay their rents and accommodation costs?

Check and you will discover that these are paid for in foreign currency that never sees the light of the banking system and get safely deposited in overseas "safe" accounts.

And who helps in the illegal transaction? - The self same "helpers" and "aiders" who believe that they have never had it so good. Two examples will help illustrate the point.

Somewhere in the 70's a master plan was drawn up that would have seen the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service, SLBS, housed in a building that should have taken care of the needs of staff - offices, studios and all that was needed at the time for a truly modern broadcasting system. That building was left unfinished, abandoned and left to the habitation of all creatures great and small, creeping as well as crawling bar human habitation.

At the same time that building was being erected, a top gun in the management of the SLBS was busy putting up a structure "fit for a king" on the highway, just before you turn into the campus of the then Milton Margai Teachers College.

Cheap labour was provided by some staff of the SLBS that then boasted of a woodwork section. That imposing building was finished and its first occupant - a top UNDP official while the SLBS complex, to give it its real name was left in ruins, never completed.

Quite recently, a certain British military officer serving with IMATT, the International Military Assistance Training Team was reported to have retired from the force only to become a king pin in the recruitment of Sierra Leoneans to serve Iraq. Why? Because he could have seen the level of corruption and poverty in Sierra Leone; could have seen how those put in positions of trust are willing to do anything to line their personal pockets. He could have seen the attitude of an uncaring government and went into a very profitable deal that dishes out peanuts to the youths.

The Sierra Herald dares that former British military officer to dream of such a caper in the United Kingdom and see what happens to him and any government that acts in concert with him. But this is Sierra Leone. This is the land flowing with milk, honey and great opportunities to make a fortune - a land that is hardly noticed by the struggling masses of Sierra Leone.

Mr Blair, please start with the activities of UK nationals in Sierra Leone and help us nail all those encouraging corruption in Sierra Leone.

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002