From the Editor’s Keyboard

Sierra Leone: Agenda for Prosperity Demands Gallant Fight Against Corruption

By  | 8 April 2014 at 20:31 | 1871 views

It is now crystal clear to most Sierra Leoneans that corruption is our number one problem, the cankerworm (to use a dead cliche) that is slowly bringing down our country when we should be sprinting forward.

Our country, which for now depends almost totally on foreign aid including loans and grants from friendly governments and international financial institutions, is being treated as a pariah because of the massive corruption in the country.

Now, when we talk about corruption we should not be thinking solely about government officials and the political elites. There is what is known as petty corruption (corruption by the ordinary Sierra Leonean) which is everywhere from the lowly clerk that demands a bribe for the simplest service to the customs officer
at the airport (at Lungi) and at the seaport in Freetown. It is a national malaise that should be severely curtailed.

The President alone cannot do it (he is just a human being, not Superman or Zorro). This should be collective action by all Sierra Leoneans including the local media in Freetown which has been described as a "sick joke" by a foreign journalist friend of mine who recently visited the country and by the so-called civil society actors in the country.

The government’s Agenda for Prosperity, which is superb on paper can never be implemented if the present level of corruption is maintained. Something has to drastically change.

The Anti-Corruption Commission is doing a good job but the problem to me seems to be the judiciary. Our magistrates and judges need a wake-up call, they need some real discipline and impetus to take the fight against corruption seriously. Too many criminals are being set free, no prison terms, as required by law, are being imposed on those found guilty. THIS MUST STOP!

Happy Holidays to all.