President Ernest Koroma’s dream to see Sierra Leoneans cultivate an attitudinal
and behavioural change in order to foster national development makes its maiden
move by holding its first consultative meeting yesterday at the Miatta conference hall.
In his keynoted address, Vice President Sam Sumana noted among other things that “attitudinal change is a catalyst for development of this country.”
“Attitudinal change is not political but a national programme that cuts across the board,” he pointed out.
In his welcome address earlier the minister of state, Leonard Logus Koroma, noted that President Koroma had pinpointed the need for attitudinal change for the development of the country.
He further highlighted that, “discipline is key to attitudinal change.”
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Alpha Kanu who co-chairs the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) steering committee in collaboration with Information minister Ibhriam Ben Kargbo, noted that, “we need to change our attitude towards work.”
In his statement, the minister of Information disclosed that over the years government had come with ideas that faded along the way. “We are determined to see the attitudinal and behavioural change campaign succeeds,” he noted.
“After the war the attitude of Sierra Leoneans became retrogressive instead of progressive,” the minister said.
He heightened that the president’s dream to change this deplorable state must not only be echoed but “we should ensure that it is materialized.”
Anti Corruption Commissioner, Abdul Tejan Cole, noted in his presentation that “for many years Sierra Leone has been experiencing a rapid erosion of moral and ethical values…” For many people, he said, “being corrupt has rather been the norm rather than the exception.”
“The few in society who have stood up against these [ills] have often been treated as societal deviance and most times subjected to mockery and the few men of relative integrity within the country are often being cried down,” he said.
In the draft national anti corruption strategy, the anti-corruption commission pointed out that, “there are hardly any morally sound examples in public life to emulate, especially for the present generation of young people; dishonesty, insincerity… disregard of the golden rule “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you’ grabbing public property and greed are commonplace; and a cross combination of these vices constitute a negative value system which generates apathy that breeds corruption,” he said.
The ACC commissioner accentuated that some blame colonialism and its ideals as what laid the foundation for corrupt practices. “Even if colonialism is to be blamed, as we are about to celebrate 47 years of independence, little or nothing has been done to rectify the situation,” he stated.
“Corruption became systemic and political leader blatantly endorse it,” he said, adding that,” Statement such as ‘chap u chap make u foot cover…’ our politicians help ensure that corruption engrain in our society.”
Commissioner Tejan Cole highlighted that there were numbers of other factors that made corruption became a norm such as the “politicalization of the civil service; the absence of the rule of law and the failure to reform our educational system.
“The fight against corruption has to begin with us… changing our attitude especially when people see it as a cultural norm can not be easily achieved; this entrench attitude can only be change by the people. Change must be from the individual to the family and then to society as a whole,” he said.
By Ophaniel Gooding