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The Media should be careful with Kangaroo Investigations

By Maada Gumbu

One of the most dangerous phenomena in our society over the past decades are so-called investigations most times mounted as a result of stage-managed incidents or in pursuit of the objectives of a clique or somebody who wishes to settle old scores with a person or a group of persons. They have become irresistible baits for the media who are on the lookout for sensational or scandalous news items but the end result is sometimes dangerous for a country. The populace are also most times gullible and uncritical, accepting whatever comes from the media or from certain channels without questioning their certainty.

In their quest to fulfill their objectives, the first innocent vehicle to be used for carrying dangerous goods is the media. That is why the media should censor every report from institutions or organizations. Press releases should be subjected to the objectivity and fairness principles; by getting the other side of the story from those whose names are mentioned in the report or press release—whatever the case may be. We all know that Sierra Leone is a country where mischief and malevolence have become a culture, and it is inherent in the Sierra Leonean’s character and dispositions, no matter what public position he holds or in what profession he finds himself.

History is replete with cases in which many events were stage-managed in this country or facts concocted or distorted to suit the whims and caprices of certain groups so as to hound out certain people from certain institutions or professions. The coup trials in the past are examples, some of which were contributing factors to the eleven years war in the country. The mischief making is still going on and nobody is watching for the signs. People gleefully hug each other for being successful in being the architects of kangaroo investigations and they claim that they are setting standards, which are not bad but the ulterior motive is what is dangerous. When things are done we should not look at the “why” but “how” it is done. In such situations, so-called investigation committees could not be trusted. You know why? It is easy to stockpile them (investigation committees) with manipulative elements who could easily enhance the wishes of the mischief makers. Then the press would then be used to do the dirty work by destroying innocent people.

Now let me tell you what you need to know about kangaroo reports. Such reports presented to the press could appear to be authentic, credible – reflecting the “findings” of so-called committees appointed to perform certain tasks. But if you have an investigative mind and go to the bottom of things, you would discover so many scoops against those who conducted the investigation. You would discover that selective justice has prevailed. That is where the press should start to get itself acquainted with intrigues of investigations. It is easy for those who perpetuate acts or who belong to a certain clique to find scapegoats by linking certain people to an age-old phenomenon which many would frown at if it is unearthed.

Knowing this fully well, the propaganda machine would be set in motion on the need to stop the phenomenon continuing, but the questions that should be asked are: are the victims the real people? Do they not have a justification for what they did? Were they allowed to give the true side of their own story (hear the other side)? Is the story presented to the public not twisted? The mischief behind such projects is what I am concerned about. So, what next? The mischief makers would give you the impression that they are actually against such a phenomenon or are trying to clean the system or are trying to set up what they call “standards”, when in actual fact they are just mischief makers who want to destroy a certain set of people. Their own records would testify that they themselves were of poor standards.

What we have discovered in this country is that there is always a propagandistic drive towards convincing people that somebody has discovered a phenomenon which needs to be got rid of.  But on the other side of the coin the argument as to whether such a phenomenon exists is not tenable because even simple minds would know that it has existed for ages. But what should be argued is how things are done in this country and not why. The “why” always goes with plausible reasons that can convince any critical mind. But when you look at how things are done then you see the procedural irregularities and mischief itself holding hands together and walking side by side.

Watch out those of you in the media. Do not allow mischief makers to use you in bringing their dreams to fruition. The media should be very critically minded and realistic. Do not forget that yesterday we fought for eleven years because certain things went wrong, which were not just issues of bad governance, unemployment, economic problems or lack of exercise of democratic rights, but merely malevolence and mischief that destroyed so many people either through the hands of the law, in administration, investigations, in politics and so on and so forth.