When you are born of a country that is in desperate need for a dramatic overhaul of its political and economic systems, and you are positioned by virtue of your trade, experience and education to help turn around its fortunes and you then decide because you are offered a more lucrative employment to turn your back on your country, you are guilty of the worst crime ever inflicted on your people.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a brilliant education. Some are hampered because of lack of financial support, some because of inaccessibility to the best education can offer and some because they just don’t have the academic make-up to challenge what the higher institutions of learning has to offer. So, if you have been fortunate to darken the walls of a university and have the opportunity to help lift your people out of poverty, it must be with pride that you should take up the challenge.
Abdul Tejan Cole was recently the Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Sierra Leone, a nation in transit from a battered economic and political infrastructure to one where its new Head of State is embarking on the biggest economic transformation any African Country has ever experienced in the shortest possible time. The President of Sierra Leone accepted Tejan-Cole’s offer to take on the ACC Commissioner’s role because Tejan-Cole had all the qualifications and background that the role of ant-graft boss required. The Head of State also showed confidence in his abilities by quickly passing through legislation that will eliminate any hindrance in the discharge of his important duties. And as such making his position as ACC commissioner, free from political interference with the power to go after anyone found wanting of corrupt practices.
It would shock you to know that during Tejan-Cole’s tenure as ACC commissioner, he was at the same time pursuing another job with the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundations Network, that had offered to pay him four times more than he was already earning. It is important to know that there are privileges that comes with the office of ACC Commissioner. You get free official cars, a government provided apartment rent-free, personal assistants, free travel expenses and so on. And you also get a salary of well over $5,000 which in Sierra Leonean standard makes you one of the highest paid officials in the country and will also enable you to have a comfortable life and maintain a healthy lifestyle. What is also shocking is the manner in which Abdul Tejan-Cole left his job. He didn’t even give the Head of State enough time to find a replacement for the job. Instead, he tendered his resignation through the Secretary to the President without discussing details with the Head State with whom he had unprecedented access to.
But it seems this was all not enough for this graft master, who at a moment when the country is faced with enormous challenges, walked away from his job when in fact he had just instituted serious cases of fraud and embezzlement against top government officials whom he had accused of malpractices of which cases he had already prepared indictments and were about to be prosecuted in court. To resign from a job at this critical time and moment for the apparent stated reasons was more or less a reckless attempt to sabotage the ongoing efforts by the president Ernest Bai Koroma to wipe out corruption in a country that has been plagued by graft for over two decades but made more rampant during the SLPP-led government. The SLPP government presided over the worst period of economic mismanagement in the history of Sierra Leone. The government of President Ernest Koroma inherited an economy that cannot even function enough to service its annual expenditure the very year the APC assumed office. Funds had to be solicited immediately from foreign aid donors just to get the new government started.
The resources of the country had been looted to levels unseen and unheard of in Africa’s political timeline. President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah of the SLPP inflicted the worst human rights abuse the people of Sierra Leone had endured in a generation. Political rivals were murdered and ECOMOG fighter jets were ordered to bomb citizens at random in the quest to regain power. SLPP Cabinet ministers were building mansions all over the place from meagre salaries they received. Corruption was then at the heart of government. And the country was in total darkness for a long period of time as the SLPP government didn’t think it was a priority to provide electricity for the people. How can any country function as an effective democracy when its people are deprived of the basic human services? Sierra Leoneans around the world still have fresh memories of the hard times the SLPP inflicted on them and the possibility of another SLPP government is a far-fetched dream that can only stay in the abdominal cavity of its political masters.
Sierra Leoneans cannot afford another term of an SLPP government. And the attempt by this party in opposition to sabotage the efforts the government of President Koroma is making to help bring the country out of the mess they put us in, is shameful and utterly disgraceful. Political masters of this party should hang their heads in shame over the untold misery they inflicted on the people of Sierra Leone.
Abdul Tejan-Cole has demonstrated that he was not prepared to make the necessary sacrifice that is imperative of all of us as citizens to help build a better society for our future generation. But the Head of State should not be deterred by this sudden lack of foresight from someone he had entrusted with such serious responsibilities. I am sure that President Ernest Bai Koroma’s unwavering determination to succeed in eliminating the ills in our society will continue, as he expresses his commitment to build a new Sierra Leone. We all owe it to our country to support our new leader as he embarks on implementing the changes our nation so desperately need. This president may not have all the answers to solve all our problems immediately, but he is definitely the best hope we have as a people to see our fortunes take a different direction.
© 2010, Ahmed M Kamara. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.
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