Francis Ben Keifala

By Amin Kef Sesay

“We live in what we call a fiction State due to decades of misrule and breach of social contract due to abuse of power, corruption, ignorance and lack of ambition” – ACC Boss at NU

On Tuesday March 10th, 2020, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., the ACC Commissioner delivered a highly intellectual public lecture at the Njala University auditorium that was broadcast on Radio NU titled: “Results amidst doubts: unchaining the mindset of chronic societal cynicism to win the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone”.

We decided to feature the gist of the ACC Boss’s lecture to remind the nation that if we are on a journey of a thousand miles to reach the dreamland called prosperity for one and all, we have begun to take the first tentative steps and must consider as a nation that with hundreds of miles more to cover to our destination, we should as a governing class and as ordinary citizens whose inputs matter a lot along the way to prosperity give very serious thought to what Mr. Ben Kaifala said at NU.

The ACC boss noted at the start that the topic and this lecture is timely as we continue to battle for the soul of the country to restore it firmly on the path of transparency and accountability in the New Direction.

Hitting the nail on the head right from the start, he stated that our society is acutely afflicted, by a behavioural problem known as “Chronic Societal cynicism” arising from a prolonged breach of social contract and the lack of good models; which has chained the minds of our people for generations.

Looking beyond this to the future, the ACC Boss stated that if the country is to become the next Rwanda, Singapore, or Malaysia, our strategic objective has to be focused on how to break societal cynicism, noting that in the 21st century, the statistics of our progress is damning.

THE EVIDENCE

Our history is replete of facts and evidence that support the claim that we are at the point when no one believes in the social contract and citizens behave as though nothing good can come out of others, including themselves, even with the best efforts of others.

Social cynicism is he said “…a negative assessment of human nature, a biased view against some groups of people, a mistrust of social institutions, and a belief that people disregard ethical means in achieving their ends.” Underlying such belief systems are claims that “Powerful people tend to exploit others; “Kind-hearted people usually suffer losses;”…So people focus more on the pleasures of the present than sacrifice for the future.

This phenomenon, he said, is cultural and very difficult to deal with. The result of this has led to an abysmal failure of social contract between the citizens and the Governments over the years.

We have therefore remained in fragility even with the best efforts of various Governments and sometimes, individuals –particularly. Below is the up-to-date statistical representation of the reality of our existence collected from indexes across the World:

According to Global Hunger Index 2019, Sierra Leone ranks 107 out of 117 qualifying countries, with the level of hunger considered “serious”. Sierra Leone is ranked 106 among 113 nations in the Food Security Index 2019. Stunting has improved in the world but remains high in Sierra Leone at 38 percent in 2013 according to World Bank data.

Hospital beds per 1,000 were 0.4 in Sierra Leone in 2006. Physicians per 1,000 were 0.025 in Sierra Leone in 2015. Life expectancy is 54 years – the World’s fourth lowest in 2017, only ahead of Central African Republic (52 years), Lesotho (53) and Tchad (54); all of which have dramatic physicians’ shortages.

Malaria remains the number 1 cause of death in 2017, followed by lower respiratory infection, neonatal disorders, and diarrheal diseases.

Only 13 percent of Sierra Leoneans were using safely managed sanitation services in 2017.

Only 23 percent of Sierra Leoneans had access to electricity in 2017, the World’s 8th lowest percentage.

Sierra Leone has been in severe stagnation between 2014 and 2020. Its GDP dropped 22 percent in 2015 because of the Ebola crisis.

The country ranks 167 with economic growth said to be undermined by “restrictive regulatory environment, inadequate infrastructure, and weak enforcement of contracts” and a financial system lacking capacity.

To put things into perspective, even with all its good intentions, the great plans and aspirations of the current President, His Excellency, Brig. Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Bio and the New Direction will fail to yield the desired result if the opposition and/or the people do not adjust accordingly but instead systematically undermine the strategies and policies aimed at realizing them, concluded the ACC Boss.

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