Corruption Is A Moral Issue
The word ‘Corruption’ could best be described as ‘catalyst for poverty, bad governance and economic starvation’. Corruption is the dying pregnant woman who cannot afford medical bills, the thirsty water taps, abuse and violations in public service, the ghost teacher who does not teach but receive salary, and the many prowling tigers that preyed on the carcasses of the poor!
This situation, as I paint it now, can be seen on the walls of our houses, the state parapets and in our museums. But this picture is beyond anything I have painted in my mind, because this picture breaths and walks amongst us and the faint cries of the children could be heard as they call for food from the backs of their mothers.
The cause for our unabated poverty, despite the resources that are in many, centers on one common enemy, ‘Corruption’, something which for years has deprived our nations, fueled tribalism, regionalism and wars.
Millions of our people were and are pitched into a senseless tribal war where they lost their lives, killing many and displacing millions while the machinators make merry with the loot.
We (Sierra Leone) were a mess of this unholy doldrum in 1991-2002 when our nation was battered by a senseless war which history continue to glare at us.
Today the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) can now prosecute corruption cases without going through the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and we are hopeful the power given to the ACC could be used in the best interest of the people of Sierra Leone and be a pacesetter in Africa.
It is my hope that the picture in my imagination which haunts me daily could be made to show hope and confidence and the faces of children, no longer in tears, but in happiness.
When corruption becomes a cultured phenomenon the fight to eradicate poverty will be futile and until radical steps are taken and perpetrators exposed and made to pay for their deeds, the people will look at the fight against corruption with apathy.
The Anti-Corruption Act has been reviewed and the ACC empowered to prosecute but then though cases are being taken to court and those found wanting are penalized yet stories of corruption continued unabated.
However, while most Sierra Leoneans continue to press the ACC to squeeze the major stakeholders in society to address the corruption malaise they should also look back into their homes and try to correct practices of corruption in their kitchens.
Many Sierra Leoneans expect the big men in society to be relentlessly pursued. Yes, the lions; those that can corrupt the lad with impunity and trod upon the impoverished with impunity must be pursued and made to pay.
But then, the ACC Commissioner, Joseph F. Kamara, said recently that there is need to ‘reengineer the narrative against the fight against corruption’. Indeed we should ‘reengineer the narrative against the fight against corruption’.
It is common knowledge in our society that most of our families care only about the money brought back home and not where it (money) comes from. This is critical in our fight against corruption in Sierra Leone. Everyone wants to be rich and families don’t mind whether the money was meant for the construction of a clinic for the poor as long as it serves their household needs. And while millions of Sierra Leoneans are crying for clean water, better schooling facilities, hospitals, shelter, among others, moneys for public service utilities are ending in private houses and luxuries.
The lions today in our societies were the desperate cubs at home thus the need for the fight against corruption to be look at as a moral issue. The Ebola crises in Sierra Leone do not only expose our poor and unprepared health system, it also exposed the corrupt nature of our very selves.
Sierra Leone is fast losing her culture and thus morality. What we are lacking in our everyday life is morality which is vital in our decisions. The ACC, therefore, should raise the platform on civic education and take the campaign to the grassroots so that children and their parents will know the importance of the fighting against corruption in Sierra Leone.