The much talked about Commission of Inquiry is about to begin in Sierra Leone.
The commission’s mandate (as I understand it) is to harvest accountability and help government recoup embezzled funds during the ten years of APC rule under the leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma. Following the Government Transition Report GTR, the need for such an inquiry became essential.
This report was put together by key figures of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party.
Since their ascension to power, the appalling state of the country’s economy left behind by the Koroma government is public knowledge. The transition report highlights the nucleus of extensive and unrestrained corruption during the 10 years reign of APC. As perceived by the ruling SLPP and their grassroot supporters, this justifies the Commission of Inquiry.
Acceptably there were corrupt elements within the All Peoples Congress administration. Notwithstanding the huge development projects undertaken by Ernest Bai Koroma government, hundreds of millions remain unaccounted. Donor funds meant for the suffering masses were diverted to personal use in careless and “I don’t give a dam” way.
Most disheartening is the fact that those whose responsibility it was to save lives, engaged in enormous dishonest practices as Sierra Leoneans lost their lives in droves during the Ebola crisis. This was wrong and inhumane especially given the fact that south-easterners suffered the most from the deadly virus than other Sierra Leoneans. In fact, thousands had already died in the south-east before the APC government publicly acknowledged Ebola in Sierra Leone.
As fellow Sierra Leoneans lay dying, for authorities to engage in swindling funds meant to save lives was categorically immoral and wrong. It was out of place and show the north-western APC officials as lacking empathy for the lives of other Sierra Leoneans outside their region. The fact is, despite the province one is from, we are all Sierra Leoneans. That President Julius Maada Bio’s priority is to protect Sierra Leonean lives should always be expected; it is a must. Unlike Ernest Bai Koroma, all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans should pray Bio never forgets that this is his most sacred duty. Ebola blemished the leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma and this was accentuated by the Mudslide and other disasters. Having said that, of what use is the Commission of Inquiry other than exposing raw regional wounds that are never healing?
Apart of the clamor from the SLPP supporters, the outcome of the commission is NOT going to change minds or views. Backed by the government, the prosecutors can bring or submit into evidence all the facts they possibly can lay their hands on. However, the minds or views of Sierra Leoneans won’t shift a bit; it’s already made up. Those supporting the ruling SLPP have by now concluded that the DNA of all APC is stamped with corruption. Therefore, they are guilty whether tried or not.
Furthermore, they stole the people’s wealth which they should payback or be forced to do so by the Bio government. Supporters of the APC have concluded that despite the evidence against their politicians, theirs was the best government Sierra Leone has ever produced. Therefore, the current SLPP is simply trying to settle a regional score by singling out APC officials.
Sierra Leone is not a moral nation where absolute truths prevail. Sierra Leonean truth is highly subjective and never dependent on what the facts are. Truth in Sierra Leone is centered on personal perception, political leaning, and tribal sentiments. In other words, regardless of the facts, truth don’t matter in Sierra Leone. If truth matter, the late Ahmed Tejan Kabbah would not have rose to the presidency following his CoI conviction in the 1960s.
If truth matter, Victor Bockarie Foh would have remained banned from holding public office instead of rising to the VP position following his CoI banned decades earlier. Don’t forget Bio less than one year ago rose to the presidency following Kabbah’s grave indictments against him in the late 1990s.
Given this tendency, the outcome of the CoI will involuntarily immortalize Ernest Bai Koroma as the greatest leader the APC has produced.