DIGESTION: Sierra Leone and it’s hypocrisy conundrums

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By Joseph Sesay(Josestar)

“He does not believe that does not live according to his belief, and I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be good whilst being wicked all the time., that would be hypocrisy.” Feigning to be what one is not or to do what one does not. The word hypocrisy entered the English Language since c.1200 with the meaning, “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness’’. According to British political philosopher David Runciman, other kinds of hypocritical deceptions include claims to knowledge that one lacks, claims to a consistency that one cannot sustain, claims to a loyalty that one does not possess, claims to an identity that one does not hold. American political journalist Michael Gerson says that political hypocrisy’’ is the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit”.

 Today ‘’hypocrisy’ ’often refers to advocating behaviors that one does not practice. However, the term can refer to other forms of pretense, such as engaging in pious or moral behaviors out of a desire for praise rather than genuinely pious or moral motivations. In moral psychology, it is failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles.

Hypocrisy debilitates the crux of our practice of religion, the integrity of our political and democratic institutions, the quality of education and integrity of educational institutions, the tenets of professionalism and canons of business transactions.

Religious men and women are often accused of hypocrisy in diverse ways, whether it’s with reference to political affiliations, mixing religion with local traditional beliefs or being religious and worldly simultaneously.

Not too long ago, and just before the peace dialogue facilitated by the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC)Sierra Leone, the opposition All Peoples Congress(APC) leader, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara ‘mentioned, “In the face of such deliberate institutional failures and day light fraud, others including some “Men of God”, are busy running around, desperately preaching peace. I am compelled to state that many of these ‘‘men and women know the truth’’. It is just that they are not bold enough to speak the truth where they should, May the fear of God resurrect and prevail in their hearts, alongside the architects of such unprecedented electoral fraud”.

Empirical evidences as well points out that the majority of youths under the influences of drugs alcohol and other immoral activities such as prostitution, burglary and the likes come from either Christian or Islamic homes. But our inability to frown at hypocrisy continue to dampen our moves towards building our society the way it should.  Night clubs, bars and entertainment pubs boasts Muslims and Christians alike, not to mention those religious folks that transverse the streets with masquerade. You begin to wonder where we really belong as a people and whether we really practice what we preach.

  From the article titled, The True State of Our Political Environment and The Role of Hypocrisy (Sorie’s Column August 22, 2023. Publisher Kab’s Kanu-Cocorioko Newspaper) it is highlighted,

“In the inception of President Bio’s first term, he declared war against poverty, lawlessness, corruption and indiscipline. These on the flipside, were rather declarations to celebrate him and his government. In evidence, immediately after the declaration of the war against corruption, a fearless and seasoned journalist, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh, the proprietor of the Times SL Newspaper, mounted an investigation against a senior cabinet minister, the Chief Minister, then Professor Francis, in respect of a One Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars which the journalist alleged was clandestinely received into one of his bank accounts at Eco Bank (bribery proceeds allegation)’’.

However, not only was the journalist prohibited from concluding his investigations and provide his final report, he was arrested and incarcerated with the intention of curtailing further information on the matter trickling in. The ploy to silence him succeeded with the aid of the police and the inaction of the anti-corruption commission.

This and several revelations uncovered by the Africanist Press Media not only put our political institutions such as the police, anti-corruption commission etc. under severe pressure, but it indicates the manner at which hypocrisy is pervasive within the halls of our democratic realm.

‘’The sad reality also is that we are busy focusing on political points scoring rather than addressing a cancerous situation that could lead us to further flaws as a people. Education that leads to human excellence is far more holistic in nature than merely syllabuses and standardized exams”, N’jai, Alhaji.U,15 October,2022 (The Sierra Leone Telegraph).

 It was incredible with light at the end of the tunnel as the Anti- Corruption Commission -Sierra Leone, raised the bar high in monitoring and bringing out examination malpractices. But hypricrisy crept in with political points winning the focus rather that the quality promised us by the President Bio lead government with arguable and inconsistent pass rates and surprises in the results scored by candidates in recent years. What’s raising eyebrows the more is that the heightened hunt for the situation has dwindled drastically not to mention preventive mechanisms. The government opts to celebrate record passes in recent years as Dr. N’jai states. “Our educational system calls for introspection., if deceptively celebrating 100 passes in the standardized exams is the goal, then we should just merely abolish them.  Just allow everyone to move to college and save the population from additional fees. If cheating is celebrated and fake degrees, certificates, awards go unpunished, why do I need to work hard, why do I need to display sense of integrity”.

 Our professional tenets and business transaction are a mockery of what we pride ourselves in as a nation. Very rarely do we live up to the expectations of the oaths we took as professionals. Not only do professionals absent themselves from work, but integrity is lacking in the work places with empirical evidences showing lecturers accepting sex for grades, money and other forms of corrupt practices in schools and other institutions of learning.  It saddens to convey that even after the declaration of the Free Quality Education in Sierra Leone, parents continue to pay exorbitant monies to maintain their kids in schools. People continue paying fees for services and buying drugs from medical practitioners in hospitals even when the initiative for under-fives, pregnant women and lactating mothers is on course.

The police seem to be turning night check-points into businesses transactions, extorting monies from commercial vehicles and motorcycles plying the streets and major roads especially at night

When it is day time, they allow their own bikes and those of their cronies to ply the Central Business District with ease while outsiders suffer the brunt of their so called monitoring aspect.

Our business transactions are nothing to write home about, very rarely do we pay back after   collecting goods on credit and even when we take loans hardly do we turn up to pay. Most market women skew measuring instruments to their advantage while others like palm wine tappers, palm oil sellers and the likes dilute their products with other solvents and additives just in the name of profiteering. Most of our newspapers lack integrity such that they lean on the support of political parties for sustenance like other nefarious sources who provide them advert while ignoring while ignoring their wrongdoings because of selfish interests. 

The justice’s system favors largely the party in power with blatant disregard for the constitution of the land and the benchmarks of transparency. Therefore, I am filled with unutterable detestation when I ‘contemplate’ the bumps and shows, together with the horrible inconsistencies.

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