Published on August 25, 2010 by Cocorioko News · 1 Comment
Sierra Leone may be an underdeveloped country like most of the nations of the world , but whatever our straits , we , as a sovereign nation , still cherish our good name. In one of William Shakespeare’s classics , Romeo and Juliet, Juliet soliloquizes and says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (Act 2, scene 2, lines 43–44).
A name is a word by which a man is known. A man’s character is very important to him. His reputation is what others think of him but his character is who he really is. Shakespeare , in another of his greatest plays Othello , says “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.” (Othello”, Act 3 scene 3 ) .
Given the value people and nations place on their good name, we are sure that our international partners -in-progress can understand where this newspaper is coming from when we say that as a sovereign nation, Sierra Leone cherishes her good name very much. We are sure that all patriotic Sierra Leoneans will agree with this newspaper that whenever our country is stigmatized unjustly , that is , without concrete proof, we are made even poorer .
Secondly, in today’s international geopolitical climate , a good name is everything for a struggling nation beset by economic problems and a fragile political atmosphere. In this scenerio , it is not far-fetched to say that a good or bad name is a national security issue for a struggling country like Sierra Leone where the agents of chaos, anarchy and destabilization are still active.
When officials of countries from whom we expect more evaluate the progress of our national reconstruction and socio-economic and political recovery efforts, we expect them to first try and get tangible proofs of our shortcomings before coming out with spurrious allegations against our country that destabilizing forces within our borders can misconstrue as tacit endorsement of their vicious propaganda against the government .In seeking to create a very bad impression about a country without first getting proof, a country’s foreign friend and development partner could be inadvertently playing our national security into the hands of forces of destabilization who still desire to provoke chaos in the country. Malicious propaganda being the first weapon of choice of anarchists in a fragile state like Sierra Leone, there is nothing these agents of bedlam and national destabilization cherish more than a donor partner or country making outlandish allegations that undermine the integrity of government.
There is no doubt that Sierra Leoneans of all shades and colour appreciate the indelible efforts of our country’s foreign backers and development partners in not only helping restore peace in the country but working diligently to assist us in achieving sustainable socio-economic and political stability and development. Sierra Leoneans yet unborn will certainly join the present generation in heaping praises and appreciation on countries and international organizations that have helped to bring us this far.
However, we as a newspaper , wish to appeal to our partners-in-progress not to be taken in by the diabolical propaganda being orchestrated against the President Ernest Koroma Government by the nebulous detractors trying to smear the image of the country internationally. They must not be too quick to embrace and promote stereotypical beliefs about us that undermine our character. We want them to judge our nation based on the facts on the ground , not on suspicions or yet unproven facts. If they believe that there is corruption in any sector of government, they must get all their facts in order before making public pronouncements based on mere suspicion or speculation that undermine our self-respect and credibility. Our foreign partners must realize that Sierra Leone, as a sovereign nation, is entitled to her good name.
Since the Ernest Koroma government came to power, it has been fighting diligently to combat corruption. In recognition of the task it set for itself to end corruption in Sierra Leone ,the government immediately gave the Anti-Corruption Commission full powers and teeth to prosecute those engaged in corruption. Top officials of government have been indicted for corruption and in cases where they were found guilty were fired from their jobs and forced to pay hefty fines.
The government is not treating corruption with kid gloves.It is just that, as some of these developed nations themselves can confess , based on their own experiences of rampant corruption, the evil seeds of corruption cannot be uprooted from any country easily. It takes diligent time spent prosecuting offenders and re-educating citizens and others living within our borders in the virtues of probity. With the efforts being made by the President to end corruption in Sierra Leone, we will get there. However, it is not an easy job . It will take time.
We enjoin nations who want to see us prosper to help us fight corruption instead of threatening to cut aid to us. This is the essential ingredient of development partnership. Our ears are not closed to suggestions and assistance in formulating the best possible strategies to combat corruprion in Sierra Leone. We still need logistical and technical support in our fight against corruption.
We want donor partners to help us fight corruption instead of trying to tarnish our good name , based on mere speculation and suspicion. We , as a nation, are certainly quite willing to work hand-in-hand with our development partners . We need them as much as they need us. But our good name is equally important to us.