By Maurice Kamara, Toronto, Canada. March 20th. 2024

We Sierra Leoneans face numerous conflicting issues regarding everyday life. These admittedly are very complex problems, which do not lend themselves to easy solutions. I am taking a focus on what I think is a major issue and its possible solutions. This issue may be seen as the vast difference between the words we profess (ideals), and the works or actions we demonstrate (realities) in daily life.

Sierra Leone is quite proud of having great people, great culture, religious freedom, etc. Indeed, we may be great in many ways, as we claim. Nonetheless, what needs to be noted is that a nation or a community becomes great not necessarily by claiming greatness, but through evidence and practicality. No society is perfect; that is a given.

 But what is not a given is the huge difference between our words (ideals) and actions (realities). Sierra Leone always stand near the bottom of all metrics or indices— whether it is corruption, security of life, respect for human rights, quality of life. Despite our claims to greatness, in our daily lives — In government, on the streets, in offices — we tend to show less than ideal conduct. Look at the way the public has encroached on the roads, public thoroughfares, markets, shopping areas. The most agonising indiscipline is seen on the roads everywhere — in both rural and urban settings. Breaking basic traffic laws and discipline is seen as a mark of pride, though all suffer.

We are indeed very good at upholding and observing our religious or cultural practices, which include rituals, customs and attire that are supposed to show our religiosity. We are good even in almsgiving and philanthropy, but in practice, we tend to lack in ethical values, care and concern for the larger society. 

Generally, a great many of us do not even think about these issues. Often, we say it is the government (only) who is corrupt, completely ignoring the fact that we — as common people — waste no time in making unethical choices. If one moves through small or big business areas in Freetown, or tries to drive on the roads, one is amazed as to who is corrupt! Wherever we — the common folk — can, we usurp the rights of others with impunity, and then blame the police or politicians. Not that they are angels, but perhaps we all compete in this corruption.

I think one issue plaguing society is the habit of showing off via actions that are symbols of piety, but that lack the spirit that qualifies one as a decent human being. The Bottomline is this, when there is a contradiction between words (ideals) and actions (realities) it is called hypocrisy. We Sierra Leoneans have an issue of hypocrisy.

 And the solution is we need to undertake a rigorous scrutiny of our lives to understand which aspects require serious attention. We need to pay attention to our actions, not so much to our slogans. Self-critique should lead us to focus more on good conduct, proving that actions (realities) speak louder than words (Ideals). Let us, therefore, try to do what we can to make our communities and Sierra Leone to large extent a little better with each passing day.