Mass Deception in Sierra Leone(Part 111)

8 January 2006 at 18:31 | 621 views

It has been some time now that this topic has not been further elucidated upon because Gbakanda was too busy with some exams.

However the way is clear now, the light shines and forward shall this piece of enlightenment go!


Gbakanda Kamara

In the previous articles mass deception as a phenomenon and modus operandi in Sierra Leone had been treated with specific but unbiased references .In this article, the topic will continue the elements of mass deception as they are used by both the body politic and the people themselves, all in a bid to survive.

However before going to the crux of the issue it is worthwhile to quote the one and only Robert Nesto Marley (BOB) of blessed memory;`` In the abundance of water it is only the fool that is thirsty”. This axiom may not have originated from him but he made it globally popular in his song ``RAT RACE”.

Also it will be worthwhile to quote another great reggae artiste, Jimmy Cliff; now a devout born again Muslim with the name Hashim Basshir baptized(by Islamic traditions) by a great Sierra Leonean missionary , Alhaji Sheik Koroma commonly known as Jamaican Sheik.

Cliff said; “we are living in a synthetic world” in his song with the same name in the early 1970s.

Readers may ask why all these quotations? Well, the answer to this question will be found in the text that follows.

The issue of mass deception in Sierra Leone is one of everybody fooling everybody and a dog eat dog scenario. This can be clearly seen if on looks at the social, administrative and moral conduct of every Sierra Leonean from the grassroots level to the very top. In a sense it is a rat race situation compromised and consolidated by massive poverty.

Poverty not only of wealth but of the correct mental resource to harness the natural wealth of one of the world’s resourcefully rich lands, if not the richest, taking into consideration the geographic and demographic measures and comparing this to other countries that are by far bigger but with less resources.

Everyone, and especially those outside the political mainstream, cries foul but a critical look into the cries soon reveal some of the worst evils plaguing that rich land; selfish interest, egotism, greed , parochialism, shortsightedness ,etc. One can continue to list the faults to infinity.

The question here is why should such a situation exist? One of the answers is the prevalence of the phenomenon of MASS DECEPTION.

A look at the socio- spiritual outlook of the average Sierra Leonean quickly gives a picture of how mass deception limits progress both at the personal and societal levels.

There is a saying in krio;” wae u nyams wite kuhbar am”. It is an axiom that has several interpretations but the one most widely used is that it is always good to put up a front or fool the world.

This can in some cases pay off but in most cases it is one of the root causes of the problems of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leoneans are prone to believe in superstition, black magic and mentally limiting concepts. These beliefs are translated into the functional and religious capacities and performances of the average Sierra Leonean.

The results are that instead of facing the realities of life, there is the general tendency for egoism and deception to be the sine qua non.

This massive and disgusting love of deception is a national malaise acquired and imbibed from most so- called civilized homes and social settings, i.e. urban communities and homes. It involves putting up a front about what is not to deceive others and in most cases implies creating pictures of sufficiency in want.

Also in other circumstances this is translated into beliefs, by both the pretender and those pretended to, that soon become accepted as real and factual in the society. In the 50s and 60s it was called nyanga, later it became known as junky life, swank, bongo, plan, hippy,foreign and so on.

This love of falsehood and pretence has been part of the social intellect and has always revolved around deceptive living by and of the society.

It has become a way of life and is transfused into the political and administrative life of the Sierra Leonean society. In the end a cycle of deception and lies, that does not distinguish between truth and falsehood has come to be accepted and has become the modus operandi.

It is on this nasty principle that politicians, the business community and even those at grassroots operate on. Take a few examples: people go around with briefcases with fake stamps and documents, dressed in coats and ties or expensive looking African attires claiming to be business men; people wear plated ornaments like chains or rings to put up an appearance of affluence; owning a car becoming synonymous with affluence. The list of fake and deceptive living is unending!!

These unrealistic realities become translated and used in the political arena, in some cases unintentionally, to keep the masses on the hope train, and they are satisfied with it.

Another aspect of mass deception is that whilst a system is in place, people may know that things are wrong but passively accept or grumble in the corner and curse. They refuse to exercise their democratic rights and continue to vote in the same system because of ethnic, regional affiliations, petty bribes like a bag of rice or promise of a job after elections.

Within the body politic the actors within all team up under the same or diverse parties, with the same goal of fleecing the nation, and when later there is a change of government they are the first to cry out against the old system. Why they never tried to change that very system when they were part of it, only God knows. There are a lot of examples of such recycled and redundant politicians in the present parliament and government.

The most hypocritical in the Sierra Leone system are the civil servants. They hide under the notion that their code of ethics prescribe that they should be non partisan but they are always the bootlickers and praise singers of all governments for as long as such governments last. Why do they act this way? The answer is simple, they benefit from the looting of the nation most because they control the finances and dish out contracts and give kickbacks to the “beloved honorable ministers”, in the process acquiring wealth themselves by corrupt means.

The public, in all these processes, operate on the principle of quick benefits, hence the saying “get u man en chap u chap!!” This same public, change coats as they are the first to cry foul when there is a change of government by coups or otherwise, dancing and singing praises to the new leadership, not questioning the entrance legitimacy of or before even assessing the performance legitimacy of the government in question.

In the end everybody lives on a synthetic plane of existence with the people fooling the rulers and the rulers in return deceiving the ruled! The beat of mass deception goes on and on!!

To be continued.


Photo: Part of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone.