By KABS KANU :
Many people think that our problem in Sierra Leone is only political or economic. From the complaints heard in online forums, Facebook and newspapers, it would seem that the only things people find wrong in our country have to either do with politics or the economy. But Sierra Leone has very deep and underlying problems that need equal attention . These serious problems have to do with the attitudes of the people at the top and how they treat others.
It was probably in recognition of this fact that President Ernest Bai Koroma, as soon as he came to power in 2007 , launched the BEHAVIORAL AND ATTITUDINAL CHANGE philosophy that led to the creation of a special agency dealing with the concept and attached to the President’s Office.
THE APC MANIFESTO 2012: TRANSFORMATION FOR NATIONAL PROSPERITY
This very valuable document placed the government’s concern for behavioral and attitudinal change at the core of the ruling party’s desire for the promotion of the rights and privileges of all citizens, whether strong and able-bodied or weak and vulnerable. The document makes a succint statement about this : ”For a successful transformation of our society, the emphasis must be on attitudinal and behavioural change. It underpins almost all of our development challenges and cuts across every social, political, cultural and economic issue. Since coming to power in 2007, the APC recognized and acknowledged that a paramount priority in transforming this society requires spearheading fundamental changes in our attitudes and behavior. Consequently, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma established the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat and also used it as the platform to campaign for changes in our attitudes and behavior. ”
WATCHDOGS OF THE SOCIETY
As a newspaper , we are going to start highlighting how some of these philosophies propounded by government are being applied by the very people appointed by the government to help it actualize its dreams for the ordinary man . How are these philosophies highlighted by the APC and the government affecting the lives of our people ? Are the ministers, deputies, ambassadors, diplomats and civil servants and other public officials appointed by the government helping the government achieve its goal of creating a just, fair, equitable and honest society ? We believe that whatever socio-economic and political reforms our government makes in Sierra Leone, if we are not treating right the next man near us, the gains from these reforms will only be enjoyed by a few rascals in our midst who believe in trampling on the rights of others .
As a newspaper, our duty is not only to highlight and propagate the programs and achievements of President Koroma and the Government. Newspapers are watchdogs of the society and should equally beam the spotlight on evils in our society which affect the government’s efforts to change the lives of the people for the better. Beginning from 2014, COCORIOKO is going to become a watchdog in the society and we are going to do a lot of WATCHDOG JOURNALISM. In so doing, we will be also helping President Koroma and the Government because there are lots of things going on in ministries, public corporations, embassies, Missions and consulates that the President and his team may not be aware of, because people are afraid to complain for fear of reprisals. There are many victims of the corruption and highhandedness of officials but they are afraid to complain.
Some public officials take advantage of their subordinates with impunity because they know the offended employees will not complain. This is the most annoying part of the problem. These officials are fully aware that we live in an unfair society where the person who complains the loudest is soon characterized as a troublemaker . Also some high-placed officials are lazy and complacent and do not give themselves the time required to investigate complaints and give justice where it is due. Therefore, some public officials take advantage of their workers with impunity, knowing that the complaints will never get to President Koroma, who is very swift and proactive in taking actions to defend and protect those being taken advantage of in society.
Well, if people are afraid to complain because of reprisals, we will not be afraid to expose bosses that are not doing right , because as journalists, we believe that it is our duty to expose wrongdoings in the society. We are going to start exposing public officers who are taking advantage of their positions to infringe on the rights and privileges of others. We will not sit down and allow the President and innocent members of his government to continue receiving the stick for the malevolence of others.
People talk of Sierra Leone not being selected by the Millennium Challenge Corporation ( MCC ) Compact Award and they turn around and blame President Ernest Koroma. They fail to realize that leadership is like being at the head of a chain in which every link in the chain must hold fast and strengthen the performance of the other links in the chain. If there is a weak link anywhere, the chain as a whole suffers.I am not talking specifically about the MCC Award .I am talking generally about the performance of the people who should help President Koroma succeed in his determination, commitment and efforts to transform our country socio-economically and politically for the benefit of everybody in the nation. Many of them are the weak links and they are responsible for the blames being poured on President Koroma and the Government. Outwardly, they create the impression that they are doing their work , but many are not really doing the tasks they were appointed to perform. How can you claim to be doing your job when you are not getting along with the people you are supposed to work with ? How can you claim to be doing your job when you do not respect the supremacy of the President and Fountain of Honour and Justice and you are rewriting your own rules of engagement that are contrary to institutional standards of fair play and justice and the effective utilization of the talents and abilities of your co-workers , in the process unfairly trampling on the rights and privileges of your colleagues ? Is that what you call work. Government work is not a one man show.
We are seeing many examples of injustice in our society being perpetuated by those who should be helping to propagate President Koroma’s philosophy of BEHAVIORAL AND ATTITUDINAL CHANGE. They are failing to realize that behavioral and attitudinal change must start from the top. If the boss is anti-social and unfair, a bully who thinks only about himself, rude, uncouth, pompous and insolent to his/her employees, behavoral and attitudinal change will never succeed as a concept and way of life , because no good examples are being set. The people at the top should set better examples of behavioral and attitudinal change.
If you are a victim of the impunity of malevolent public officials appointed to serve the government , please send your complaints to COCORIOKO for publication. We will protect your identities where necessary. President Koroma and innocent members of the Government need to know what is happening .
IN OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT , WE WILL BEGIN TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE INJUSTICES BEING SUFFERED BY WORKERS AT THE HANDS OF THEIR SO-CALLED BOSSES. WE WILL USE HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLES IN SOME CASES TO PROTECT THE IDENTITIES OF WHISTLE-BLOWERS.
The author is the PROPRIETOR and Executive Editor-In-Chief of COCORIOKO