THE COMMISSIONS OF ENQUIRY, A ROADMAP TO MAKING SIERRA LEONE A BETTER NATION.
I will open today’s article with a quote from one of world’s greatest and most admirable former state-man of South Africa, Nelson Mandela who once asserted that ‘’poverty is a manmade decision’’ and a Sierra Leonean-Uk based entrepreneur, Musu Samuels states that ‘’ a nation that fails to care, empathize or have compassion for one another is poor politically, economically and socially.
True, this is what Sierra Leone, a mineral rich nation has gone through over the past years. Sierra Leoneans have described a culture of self-centeredness that has gripped Sierra Leone, creating a once admirable and loving nation now obsessed with rampant corruption, massive decline in education (formal and informal), lack of integrity and moral values in highest places of work. Men has created poverty for others and thinks of only themselves.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said that our lives end the day we become silent to things that matters, it is on this backdrop that Sierra Leoneans has raised their voices to the highest peak, asking for a commission to enquire/look into the activities of our past government officials and I argue that, particularly in the field of education and youth development, inquiries should be considered not only for matters of great public concern, but in relation to ethical and policy decisions.
The economic costs of the commissions of inquiry are clearly important, but such contingencies must be weighed against social advantage. There have been several commissions of enquiries set up in the past in Sierra Leone but the proposed Georgewill commissions of enquiry by the embryonic Bio government with no iota of doubt I will assert that, it is a roadmap to the development of Sierra Leone.
For the purpose of few misguided inhabitants of our great and beautiful country who calls themselves Sierra Leoneans but thinks less of the country’s development but more of their personal gains, who commits themselves to worshiping their party idols than God the creator, I will in this article brief them on the importance of the ubiquitously demanded commissions of enquiry proposed by a leader who truly believes that Sierra Leone is for Sierra Leoneans and they have the utmost right to demand their leaders to be accountable for the works they were entrusted to do and I will highlight points gained from an evidenced based research that the enquiry is a roadmap to national development.
A commission of enquiry is an independent judge led tribunal set up by a government, mandated by the Constitution to investigate certain issues of national/public concern.
It's a dialogue base platform to explain or answer to certain questions, it's not a prison, it makes recommendations to the government that set it base on its findings and it is left with the government to accept or reject the recommendations.
The reason we are having sycophantic attitudes or behaviours about the proposed commissions of enquiry is due to the fact that for over ten years, we were deprived of quality education that will enlighten us on issues that matters most to us. They locked the doors to quality education and opened street trading to us, thus causing high rate of corruption, rape, teenage pregnancy, violence, ignorance etc.
We are left with nothing but to judge things from a chronically indoctrinated perspective, thus making us blind to the truth. It bleeds my heart when I hear university students opposing the commission of enquiry and when asked why, they tell you there is none that is corrupt free.
First and foremost, these commissions will achieve three common benefits. The first of these is a weak justification. Yes, we know that millions of Leones will be spent on the commissions of enquiry but it will lead to a better psychological outcome for those involved. When the GTT report was published, several folks questioned its credibility since most of its components were to be seen appointed to top ranking public offices, most of the people named in the report were given travel restrictions, thus undermining their freedom to movement as a punishment to a crime that they have not been proven guilty of by law. Such people might be suffering psychologically and the only way out is to justify the allegations in a tribunal which in this case is the commissions of enquiry - an independent body from the GTT officials
Secondly, these commissions of enquiries will help restore public confidence, which is of more value. Several sentences in the New Direction Manifesto repeatedly accused the past political administration of being corrupt and not excluding the GTT report. The irony here is that not only the GTT report or the New Direction Manifesto, but the world bank, IMF, several investors and about 78% rational thinkers in and around Sierra Leone perceived that the past APC government was not only corrupt, but won an award in condoling corruption. This makes it boldly important/a call for the commissions of enquiry.
In order to restore public confidence in not only those past government public officials but Sierra Leone as a whole, the commissions of enquiry must hold. I cannot afford trying to apply for scholarship in a reputable international university only to be turned down because of my country’s perceived high rate of corruption, thinking that it’s a disease which they may not want me to infect them.
The third importance of these commissions of enquiry is to be forward-looking, to improve public services and prevent the same mistakes from being made again. This is the true essence of a public inquiry: a contribution to the wider public interest. Whereas the legal system exists primarily to promote justice, public inquiries aim to further the common good, not by apportioning responsibility and blame, but by learning from mistakes. (This in turn contributing to the restoration of public confidence.)
With these, if all those the commission will call to answer to allegations made against them are patriotic and law abiding Sierra Leoneans, then they must see it as their constitutional rights and obligations to be accountable for their service to the public/nation. They must begin to sensitize their blind followers whom they have badly indoctrinated on ‘’party first and the country last’’ we may not be able to because we don’t know which injection they gave them.
This brings me to the conclusion of my piece for today, the plain fact is that inquiries do tend to develop a life of their own, however efficiently or carefully they are managed. The excessive cost and duration of public inquiries are the arguments most commonly cited against them. Sierra Leone has had several commissions instituted to look into public official’s dealings with the nation’s economic, political and social sector, but little good has come out of them despite the huge resources poured into it. But to restore the public confidence of Sierra Leone especially at the international stage, to instill discipline, integrity, compassion and patriotism in the lives of our young generation who will in a short moment take over the leadership of this great nation, to ensure every penny meant for Sierra Leoneans is properly utilized for the benefit of every Sierra Leonean, in order not make those mistakes again, we all must support the president’s vision for holding our leaders accountable and together, we will create a better, transparent and a socially fair nation. Let the youths in the ghettoes, in the bars and on the streets start jubilating that we have gotten a leader that thinks Sierra Leone first, that want to instill disciple, end corruption and poverty not only for us, but our great unborn generation. When all this is achieved, Sierra Leone will be better than you think.
At a time when Sierra Leone was looking for a political redeemer to take us from the world greatest social problems - poverty, indiscipline and corruption incurred on us by an unpatriotic group of individuals, God sent us a redeemer whom many of us including my very self has openly criticize at a point in time. Forgive us for our quick irrational conclusions, we were foisted into believing and following what was not tested and proven. Now that in a very short moment you have clearly demonstrated to us by your actions that you will be the president of the people of Sierra Leone and not an exploiter of the masses, some of us may not support your political party but will support your great initiatives in making Sierra Leone a better place for all. In this very short moment, your government has not only succeeded in minimizing corruption, but have taken the right step in eradicating corruption by giving us the commission of enquiry, which is here to become a tradition in our political landscape.
His Excellency sir, we are proud to have you serve us as you promised to serve us diligently and take us to a new and better direction, but sir, as you serve, do not bite in doing good.
I wish you GOOD LUCK!!!
Aloysius Tamba Foryoh.