Is Honesty in Sierra Leone the Best Policy?

13 July 2008 at 20:46 | 708 views

By Essa Thaim Kurugba, USA.

As the wind of change is blowing over our African Continent, I was duty-bound and compelled to ask myself this question about our country. Is honesty really the best policy in today’s business in Sierra Leone?

This conundrum was once commented on by the genius business tycoon in Kambia Pa Keh Turay. He said my father (Late Pa Thaim Kurugba) was hardheartedly sharp in any business deal, but could be unquestionably, one hundred percent trusted on a matter of integrity.

Of course, being hard in business doesn’t necessarily mean being dishonest, it simply means undercutting the competition to get the contract or business deals.

Is honesty really the best policy in the Koroma Administration? Yes, of course. Not only is it the best policy, it is the only policy worth following.

In Sierra Leone, if one wants to live within the skin of a good character and not have a character with an itching palm then honest is the best policy. In some financial institutions, ministries, and private businesses in particular, just one dishonest act, can destroy one’s business reputation forever.

Telling a lie, does not necessarily equate or have a lot to do with being dishonest. A person in certain circumstances can tell an honest lie. For example: If your child had been kidnapped and there was a demand for ransom, and you could not afford the demand, then it would be an honest and indeed moral act to stall for time, pretend you did have the money and ’play out this game’ until you could meet the demands.

Moreover in today’s world, there are exceptions to honesty being the best policy. If you were a hostage negotiator, then part of your ’remit’ is to often lie and bluff. If you knew that your honest answer to one person could get another person killed, then the honest course of action would be to lie. Of course in such circumstances, there is no loss of integrity or honesty. Indeed, if one decided not to give the wrong impression about such circumstances, one would be considered a dishonest negotiator and not fit for the job.

Here are other reasons for not being fully open and honest:
We all have parts of our private life which we like to keep private. When someone asks a private question into your personal affairs, it is not at all dishonest to simply tell the person it is none of their business (politely of course).

One could of course argue that in politics, dishonesty is the best policy. Politicians that are good at fleecing or swindling the general public with their spin often get the votes and the honest politician is left floundering and wallowing. But dishonesty in politics may get one out of public office in a very short time. History often finds out that being a compulsive liar in politics and having worthless ideas means a short and ruined political career.

Conclusively and overwhelmingly, yes indeed, honesty in the Koroma’s Administration, is the best policy. In fact it is the only policy worth following if one wants respect and continued stay in public office.

Indeed, if one does not want to lose respect for one’s self one should be honest. If you wish to lose respect or a public office and have your character forever destroyed by deceit, deception, fraud and untrustworthiness, then just start being dishonest and say good bye to the Koroma Administration.

Be vigilant and cautious when you are a team member in the Koroma Administration or else the ACC boss Mr. Abdul Tejan-Cole will catch you and that’s it.