The John Leigh phenomenon and the search for honest men in Sierra Leone



By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu     June 6, 2006

(Culled from Leonenet-TAMU)

A long time ago, a philosopher went through the streets of Athens with a lamp looking for one honest man. He searched  houses,  attics, basements , closets and under beds but he found not a single honest man.

 If one were to do the same today in Sierra Leone, he would find not a single honest man. All he would find are rascals and rogues —  a disgrace to Sierra Leone, a country founded on Christian principles.

 Liberia, my second country,  is no better. One day, Samuel K.Doe was pressurized by his Military/Police government  to sign the death warrants for five  Police Officers who had been found guilty of corruption by the Supreme Military Tribunal .They had violated a PRC Decree that called for death by firing squad for its violators. Doe searched and searched for an escape route. He found none. Then an idea occured to him .He said : “OK, now I agree with you all .  let us execute these Police officers. They have committed corruption and the decree says they must die, so they must die. But you know what ? I want them to be executed by their own peers. Therefore, I want the Police Chief to form a firing squad, but this firing squad must consist of five police men who can swear on an oath that they have never taken bribes before or engaged in any corrupt act. When you get these police officers , let me know and we will kill those people ” ( Words to this effect )

The Police Chief went to town and made a public announcement which was broadcast nation-wide , inviting  honest police officers to come forward to constitute the firing squad. The anouncement was made and made and made and made. No Police Officer came forward. After about a month, Doe said he was giving the Police Chief one more week to complete the search because he wanted to kill  ” Those People ” and get done with it. One week elapsed. Nothing. And Doe barranta : “You want to tell me there is not one single honest police man in my Police Force ? Not a single one who can come up and see he has never taken a bribe before ? This is a disgrace to me, a disgrace to the police force and a disgrace to Liberia. “.That evening, Doe fired everybody–The Police Chief , the Minister of Justice and other top brass of the force.

The moral of this incident is that honest men are endangered species in our neck  of the woods.

 I will  therefore not sit down and allow others to destroy one of the few honest and sincere men we have in our nation. Our country has so many rascals and criminals and so few honest men that we must protect the honest ones from being sullied by political demagogues.

John Ernest Leigh may have his faults ( And who doesn’t?  ). If God had found one righteous man in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he would not have sent fire and brimstone to consume those twin cities. If man was righteous, there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come on earth.

We are making a serious error on this forum by amplifying John Leigh’s mistakes at the expense of the exemplary character that the man possesses . John may be all  that you guys are saying but he stands out as one of the few sincere, honest and credible men we have aspiring for power in Sierra Leone. John Leigh has not committed any crime by  aspiring for power in his motherland where his father, mother , siblings and other family paid taxes. It is his natural right to seek power in the country just like the rascals some of you glorify. So why all the hue and cry , my people ?

Whenever we want to analyse the character of a public official, we should look at his record of performance the last time he held a position of trust. The last top position that John held was Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States. Unless you live in your own world, my friend, you should know that John Leigh  distinguished himself in that position. When he took over the Sierra Leone Embassy, it was riddled with corruption  and dishonest men– the malaise that has destroyed our nation. Like a trojan out to remake the world, John Leigh cleaned up the whole embassy. He removed those found guilty of corruption and set stringent standards for service at the embassy. This is the main reason why some people do not like him. We don’t like honest people.The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy that in the last days, men will love evil people and hate the good and just ones. This is what is happening in Sierra Leone today. We love evil more than good. We love rascals more than proven heroes.

What most people do not know about Leigh is that he is a very FRANK MAN. He likes to vent his feelings and he says it as he sees it. He does not pretend about his feelings. He does not flatter . Should we not love this kind of man who will make you know where he stands in every issue, instead of the pretenders who flatter with their tongues but their hearts are full of dead men’s bones ? ! ! !

I am not minimising John Leigh’s mistakes. Again, let me say it : He might be all that you guys are saying but his good character, honesty and sincerity of purpose outweigh his mistakes— And we must concentrate on them , instead of his foibles. And this is the crux of my thesis here too . This is my concern in this issue. This is why I am defending him. We are paying too much attention to the man’s mistakes. We have to also look at what the likes of John Leigh will accomplish in power.

I believe that if we give John Leigh the chance to hold political power in our country, he will help to cleanse the augean stables. He will make mistakes like all of us, but his achievements will outweigh his failures. He will send the rogues and rascals packing .

I am defending John Leigh as Rev. Kabs-Kanu and not as the Editor of COCORIOKO. I am not an SLPP Supporter and I don’t have any plans to be one. I am different in the way I look at my country. When I look at Sierra Leone, I look at personalities and their character , not their parties, tribes or regions. I am therefore looking at John Leigh, the man , not John Leigh, the SLPP aspirant for power.



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