Hypocrisy or double standard or two faced, whatever we call it is as dangerous as death and has been having a telling effect on our beloved Sierra Leone.
When the Saviour Jesus Christ came on earth preaching the good news, one of his main concerns was the issue of hypocrisy. Jesus Christ often used the platforms he preached to condemn acts of insincerity and false pretence. He always blasted the hypocrisy of the Israelites and made it clear that they will never see the Kingdom of God. Why was Jesus Christ so particular about hypocrisy? I’m sure the answer was because hypocrisy kills.
The greatest thing that is killing us today is not the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, or corruption but hypocrisy that has taken entrenched position in almost all aspects of our lives. We are always criticizing others while we fail to remove the dirt in our own eyes.
We paint the picture that we are saints but we do worst things than those that we are persistently criticizing. Lamentably, the plague has devoured every aspect of our lives. I want to use this article to point out some flaws in public institutions and other areas of our lives and also to provoke public discourse for the good of the country.
I want to start with the police force that is here to serve the people and not a political party of the day.
Undeniably, the police among other things are to ensure law and order and to promote peace in the country. They achieve such goal by enforcing the laws. But what is baffling is that Sierra Leoenans have been systematically duping foreign business people with ease and they have never been arrested or prosecuted, because they are working with the police to get such act done.
Many business people coming in for investment now, especially from USA will be schooled before coming and on arrival should immediately report at their embassy for more advice that most Sierra Leonean business men are thieves, wicked and corrupt, so they should not venture with their money or else they will have themselves to blame.
We the journalist are not responsible for such but the government officials know all this as it has been reported times without number in newspapers, but nothing is happening.
It is also common that when a robbery is taking place, the police will only arrive after the robbers have left the scene, nobody can explain that.
Over the years, the service has come under persistent condemnation for taking bribes and indulging in brutalities. Unfortunately, little efforts seem to have been made to make such officers face the full rigors of the law as they would have done to other ordinary individuals. This is sheer hypocrisy!
The rampant report of alleged police brutalities in recent times is very alarming and regretful. It is very disheartening when people or government agents entrusted with the needed authority to ensure law and order in our society consistently violate such laws themselves with the great impunity.
It is now a common occurrence in the country that hardly does a month pass without a report on police or military officers involving in brutalities against defenseless civilians. In the last two years for instance, there have been lots of reports of instances of brutalities by some security personnel in the country. Shockingly, all these cases have never been looked into or actions taken, why? Because this particular government in power is synonymous with police brutality and it will not be surprise to hear and see more in the future.
When SLAJ wanted to do a peaceful demo, the IG categorically denied them their rights and even went on to state that he is NOT obligated to give them any reasons why. Also in the just concluded APC Convention it was reported in many newspapers that the military band played the party song, very shocking and it is sheer hypocrisy and it shows that these two democratic institutions are crumbling and at the end of the day they will not be serving and protecting the people but the political party.
To ensure that our service/force is accountable and to guarantee the liberties of all persons, legal proceedings or adequate disciplinary measures must be initiated against any officer who acts ultra vires in the performance of his duties.
Public security officers should also be held responsible for abuses they knew or should have known of their occurrence and did not take action. It is very unfair to be incredibly fervent in prosecuting other ordinary members of the society who may be found to have breached the law, only to be unconcerned or act very slowly when these same officers jump into the same soup.
The police and the Judiciary are the ones responsible for law and order, but these two institutions have really disappointed us. The attitudes of some our court officials and judges leave so much to be desired. We portray the society to be the pillars or icons of justice but some of our actions directly and indirectly thwart the smooth running of the justice system.
Some of our court officials take bribes before they perform their required duties or they pervert justice. There have been numerous instances where some of our court officials have hidden dockets or induced those who needed their service to make some unlawful payments for their cases to be heard earlier. We are always bragging that we are promoting justice. This is absolute hypocrisy.
Lawyers undoubtedly do defend the law, and they therefore with vigilant eyes, search all aspects of our lives to see whether all that we are doing are constitutional. Majority of our lawyers in fact are prepared to fight injustice in society even unto death. However, the behaviour of some of our lawyers taint the integrity of their noble profession.
There is no question that most lawyers are the reason behind the unnecessary adjournments in our law courts, hence some of the unimaginable delays of cases. Some lawyers incessantly refuse to attend court sittings especially in cases where their chances of winning are very slim.
Besides, some lawyers aid their clients to ‘buy’ justice in their quest to win every case. These menaces obviously contradict what lawyers seek to stand for – justice for all; and this leads to hypocrisy.
It is easier for a Lawyer or a judge to become politicians and leaders of organizations and the country. During the period as lawyer he has been corrupt or known to pervert justice, when he or she becomes a leader, the matter gets worse.
Our politicians are always criticizing and failing to give credit to whom credit is due. They see whatever is done by members of the other side of the political divide as devilish. They turn blind eyes towards the positive acts of their opponents.
These same politicians would like to be adorned with credit for every little effort they make when exercising political power. Besides, most of our politicians are always preaching peace but they indirectly incite the public to some inflammatory passions and beat war drums everyday.
In addition, some of our politicians preach unity and claim to represent the interest of everybody yet they practice nepotism and rule along ethnic or party lines when they are given power.
The most pathetic side of the story is some of them embezzle or amass wealth through kickbacks in the name of undertaking developmental projects to better our lives. They preach virtues and practice vice. These are indeed perpendicular to hypocrisy!
It has disgracefully become a usual practice in this country that officials of every government in power are sanctimonious-none of them can commit a criminal offence. All the Anti Corruption cases in any government will never catch a big fish. A minister will only fall prey to ACC when he has fallen out with the party in power.
Ironically, we have, even in the present government, witnessed several instances where some former ministers of the immediate-past regime have been accused, for intentionally causing financial loss to the state. But when they were in power they were never corrupt, courtesy of Anti Corruption.
Well we the citizens too have our own role to play and we too are as corrupt and violent as our leaders. In the last two years we have seen how ordinary citizens have violently destroyed lives and properties, rape and loot innocent citizens.
We act unlawfully in our quest to weed out criminals and to protect our political parties; meanwhile, we are criminals ourselves. It takes character to criticize character and anything short of this is hypocrisy.
The question that Jesus Christ posed in John 8 is still alive and relevant in our days. Therefore ‘whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.’
We are always criticizing our leaders for corrupt practices and we are guilty of pilfering, tax evasion, insertion of ghost names on our payrolls, unreasonable use of power and water and even to the extent of refusing to pay tariffs or bills.
Pathetically, we also assist the same politicians in their illicit undertakings and share in their booty. Are we not hypocrites?
As the Scripture says Let us remove the dirt in our eyes first before criticizing others to ensure our development in all fields. Amen.
By Austin Thomas