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Bockarie Kargbo: Sierra Leone Actor and Commercial Model

Bockarie Kargbo
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Bockarie Kargbo: Sierra Leone Actor and Commercial Model
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Bockarie Kargbo is a 29-year-old Fashion, Commercial Model and Actor from Bo Town Sierra Leone currently residing in Johannesburg South Africa. With a burning passion for performing arts and modelling, he decided to join 33 and Me Talent Agency in July 2021 and immediately fell in love with the craft. He soon blew away the team at 33 and Me with his talent, dedication and willingness to learn and apply knowledge.

While in Freetown he studied at Bluecrest College (SL) where he obtained his diploma in Network Engineering in 2014. What motivated him was the fact that he could change his story, and create a future of which he could be proud. Bockarie is also very passionate about fitness and taking care of physical strength and endurance and is an avid Tennis player, Coaching young people and creating an awareness and love for the sport he so enjoys playing.

His biggest inspiration in life is his friend and mentor Dr Onyeka Nwelue, who is Lecturer at Oxford University, and a Book Writer and Film Maker. Bockarie believes in facing fears, which will allow him to speak with crowds and teach others how to be brave in the face of adversity.

In 2021 Mr Kargbo auditioned for the International ARTS Talent Showcase, Africa’s largest talent convention where he obtained an award for the Best Commercial Male Model and he earned himself a spot to showcase Infront of the world’s prestigious and international celebrities such as Nate Butler – Jnr Casting Director for Steve Harvey Show, A&R for X-Factor America and a Singer that has sold over 52 million copies at last count. Blaze Johnson – The Voice of America, Rhavynn Drummer – Executive Casting Director for Tyler Perry Studios, AMDA and IMTA Representative Joey Hunter – The President of Ford Models in New York City for the past 30 years. He represented his country very well after he obtained a $60,000 scholarship from AMDA the largest performing arts academy in the world. Even though the scholarship was for his presence on stage as a model he dreams about a career in acting and is currently hard at work honing the skills acquired to polish his talent. He will be jetting off to America in July 2022 where he will be representing his country in front of more than 250 agents, managers, record labels, etc…

He has also been on several TV commercials like VISA, GLO cell and GoTV which were shown all over Africa. This boosted his self-confidence and credibility within the industry in Africa. He is adamant about showcasing his skills in becoming a well-known Actor. Currently, he is studying Computer Science at the University of the People in America and is hoping to achieve a First World education to be able to apply knowledge gained to help the people of his nation in understanding and apply technology effectively. He came from a place with few opportunities and to be able to make it to America motivates him to work even harder physically, emotionally and mentally.

To be chosen to represent himself and his country in America is a dream come true for him and the people that believe in him. His biggest role model is his loving mother Abie Kargbo. A strong woman that he has never seen giving up in life even when things got tough, she stands strong and is a strong believer in equality rights. A people person, and a formidable woman that always smiles and stays positive

POISONING THE WELL OF SLPP NATIONAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN MESSAGE

SLPP
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POISONING THE WELL OF SLPP NATIONAL YOUTH CAMPAIGN MESSAGE
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Failing to value and respect the types of data that minoritised scholars are collecting and the ways we are collecting them—is a form of silencing us, writes Jackson Wright Shultz.

I write my truth.

In fact, my entire goal as a writer and author is to open a bit of my world to others. Many written works about my country and political parties have been distorted or fictionalised, even by sources claiming to provide honest exposés. So when I write about the SLPP 2018 general elections national youth campaign message’s inability to efficiently and effectively address the welfare of our youth at the national level at a crucial time like this, I write exclusively nonfiction.

As a nonfiction writer, I attempt to balance the risk of being overly tedious in my writing with the rewards of painting accurate depictions of our potential human resources. True, the rewards are subtle and often come in the form of quiet head nods from the country that I try to represent. But in a country of sensationalised stories rooted in misconceptions of what it means to be an objective writer in a country like ours, even the slightest appreciation from other patriotic, partisan and none partisan individuals is the highest praise.

I write the truth apparent to my country with special attention to the potential human resources of our country.

The national policy meant to address the welfare of the youth is deliberately shifted away from direct political processes to administrative processes which in turn pose a potential threat to the stability of any nation. Division of labour with sound minds in handling youth welfare in a poor country like ours helps create a solution to standard political-economic models which suggest that having vibrant policies to ‘sell and effect’ the potential human resources of any political party in governance is valuable to politicians that are keen to protect their political party in governance.

However, bad politicians within the governing SLPP with the thirst to hang on to positions at all cost and cause division within their party and the country at large often appear to avoid taking sensitive stands, they duck such responsibility and hide behind others to cause problems for their party and country. Such politicians also actively design mechanisms to deflect political pressure by faking their political achievements to the detriment of their political party and country.

We can understand such a level of desperation from greedy and desperate politicians that are in the majority of President Bio’s government who fail to catch up with the test of time. However, when those involved in these deceitful tricks and naked sense of aggression against our national youth to satisfy their selfish desires are individuals that benefited from President Bio’s empowerment scheme to help spread wealth nationally, then it becomes worrying for a country like ours and concern to all that President Bio’s national youth empowerment has been destroyed by very few people that believe they’re supposed to be the only beneficiaries of his national empowerment project. It’s extremely painful when such odd actions directed toward our potential human resources with the intention to make a mockery of their future are orchestrated and effected by a specific set of individuals that are empowered by President Bio’s national empowerment policy and later charged with the responsibility to unearth the facts and make salient recommendations that will be equally and concretely effected to address the welfare of our youth within their party and across the country.

This is what the majority of President Bio’s government officials have reduced themselves since they were charged with social positions of trust. They’ve failed to put the interest of their party’s youth and the national youth ahead of their interests.

Unfortunately, even after they’ve exploited the youth at the party and national levels after President Bio appointed them in 2018, they’re now desperately chasing the youth right down the rabbit hole to sustain their greediness in governance. This means the majority of the people President Bio appointed in his government are yet to scale their performance to tell the youth and other people of this nation their achievements in empowering the potential human resources of our country since the time they were appointed. Right-minded nationals consider it imperative to seize this opportunity and make it known to these greedy people in our social positions of trust that the Bio-led SLPP is a nonprofit organisation which should measure its progress in fulfilling its mission to its party’s youth and youth across the country, its success in mobilising resources that genuinely address the inherited challenges of our youth nationally, and the effectiveness of those charged with social positions of trust to genuinely tackle the huge challenges of our country’s potential human resources, especially as most of these greedy people in our social positions of trust want to sustain governance and their positions to further exploit the already suffering majority.

We continue to hear from the very greedy President Bio’s appointees that formed the bulk of his government officials about their leadership skills and how efficient they claimed they are in addressing the welfare of their party youth and youth across the country and that they continue to win the SLPP more youth votes. Fair enough, provided they’re up to the mentioned task. However, this begs the question of why the greater majority of our youth are jobless, frustrated, helpless and without someone to complain to. This shows there’s a clean and clear sense of disconnect between the majority President Bio appointed in our social positions of trust and the majority of our oppressed youth. The majority appointed by President Bio in our social positions of trust often arrogantly sit on top of the pyramid enjoying our national youth suffering miserably.

And to make matters worse, these very greedy SLPP politicians that dominated President Bio’s government and their campaign teams are now mocking the youth that they failed to benefit because the SLPP doesn’t recognise them since they aren’t registered members of the Party. May I remind these very greedy politicians and their team that the majority that voted SLPP in governance in the 2018 general elections weren’t registered members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party? To grasp the effectiveness of the majority of President Bio’s government appointees’ leadership towards the challenges of our national youth and how efficient they’re in delivering their tasks to our national youth, one would be tempted to further ask what metric system President Bio and the very few right-minded nationals within his government used that told a tale of genuine success in his government leadership solutions towards the challenges of our country’s youth?

Do President Bio and the very few right-minded nationals within his government understand that the Sierra Leone People’s Party as a nonprofit organisation rationally minded individuals would expect it to track the performance of the organisation by metrics such as cash raised to empower our national youth, youth membership growth within its party, number of concrete projects meant to empower youth nationally, number of youth that is concretely serving in entrepreneurship programmes and overhead cost, are monies spent in youth projects commensurate to performance outcomes? These metrics are certainly important and they do measure the real success of the Sierra Leone People’s Party in achieving its national youth mission as per its campaign manifesto.

Taking the above into consideration, it soon becomes clear that Bio’s government leadership qualities towards our national youth are ineffective as they were geared towards raising money for projects that appealed to donors to satisfy the personal interests of the greedy people that dominated his government, but didn’t necessarily advance the SLPP 2018 national manifesto campaigned promised—also left much to be desired. It further sends out negative signals to praise singers that take the option of praise-singing people in society out of sentiment that they must avoid the trap of oversimplifying it and treating the symptoms rather than the cause of a particular social problem. President Bio’s greedy appointees have so far failed to show clearly what the several pragmatic approaches used in quantifying the success of the SLPP national youth campaigned message as stated in their 2018 general-election manifesto.

Given the diversity and the significance of our national youth and to enhance effective and efficient practices in the government of President Bio, it’s imperative to avoid vague or baseless methods in measuring the success of the government. The greedy politicians that dominated the government of President Bio must understand the relevance of this and stop the stereotyping method of measuring success to be in a much better position to sustain trust from donors in order to efficiently tackle the challenges of our youth for the general good. Years of experience and research indicate that as a political organisation, the SLPP indeed, must measure their performance and track its progress towards achieving its mission. The party owed its clients, members, donors, and society at large nothing less than this in pitching its campaign programmes especially when it is aspiring as an incumbent to sustain governance.

THE DECLIVITY INTO TYRANNY

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THE DECLIVITY INTO TYRANNY
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When you lean over in a canoe on a river, the boat tilts but then rights itself. But if there is too much pressure on one side, the canoe tips past a certain point and becomes a capsized canoe. It has flotation pads at both ends, so it doesn’t sink, but the situation of the canoe has changed from a floating maneuverable craft to a new stable, but the sad, state.

The tipping point from one condition to another can occur unexpectedly to those who have never experienced a capsizing. People in undemocratic countries are not surprised when their government turns over, but those of modern democracies like Sierra Leone grew complacent, even though we know that democracies that appear stable can capsize. Sierra Leone turned into a tyrannical state between 2007 and 2022. Within these years, there has been a massive increase in the number of people living under tyranny, with the majority of Sierra Leone’s population living in a country that Freedom House classifies as not having “free” government systems.

It is tempting to think, “It can’t happen here.” But Sierra Leoneans are more concerned about that now than they have been in decades. From the 2007 to 2018 general elections, many nationals think it is “likely” or “somewhat likely” that state actors will successfully overturn the results of a Sierra Leone election because their party did not win.

We, the present authors, are worried that putatively upright Sierra Leone after the presidency of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is today in danger of descending into tyranny. A tyranny—once capacities for control and despotism are constructed, in some cases including expansive government employment, dependency, and largesse—can be nearly impossible to reform. The key to the descent into tyranny, and the stability of tyranny once it is achieved, is this: Tyrants use tyranny to fortify their keep and to protect themselves against the sanctions due to them for their crimes.

Calling tyranny “stable” may seem paradoxical. Tyrannies suffer from chaotic upheavals and violent paroxysms. But the state of tyranny itself is stable, like a capsized canoe. Ordered liberty is better for everyone—aside, perhaps, from the despotic faction and their affiliates. It is difficult to restore the rule of law once it is debased. Rectification would call for changes in personnel, operations, and attitudes. The relative power and privilege of the despots would disappear with rectifications. Tyrants use the tools of tyranny to protect themselves against the sanctions due them.

How can that faction be so base and corrupt? It’s hard to understand the psychology of depravity and delusion; some say Satan is at work. And if we are feeling hopeful about God’s goodness deep inside the despot, consider yet another difficulty: Even if more virtuous reformers persuade the despots of the errors of their ways, there may be no way for them to credibly guarantee that the despots will escape sanctions, such as forfeiture of ill-begotten wealth, prison sentences, or execution for their crimes. The inability to commit to clemency may make it impossible to admit to wrongdoing and “cut a deal.” Also, there is, in any case, the disgrace that comes with the restoration of liberal norms and condemnation of the fallen.

What prevents systems from capsizing are the virtues of liberality and liberalism. So long as enough people disapprove of illiberality, as systematized, for example, at Twitter, Facebook, and Google-YouTube, and of anti-liberalism, the system can right itself and avoid capsizing. Election integrity is vital, of course.

In Sierra Leone, we are accustomed to thinking that modern democracies are always like a pendulum—a swing far in one direction is balanced by a swing back in the other direction. But the descent into tyranny can mess with the whole pendulum mechanism, preventing the counter-swing. We are concerned that the mechanisms that, thankfully, have thus far prevented us from reaching the tipping point and capsizing after the eleven years of brutal civil war are being dismantled. The dismantling is being done to some extent intentionally, by despots and wannabe despots, who act variously from greed, depravity, delusion—God knows what! 2023

Politics is always a matter of lesser evil, but our point is not directed at only the greater evil. In the Sierra Leone context, we observe illiberality and anti-liberalism among some who vote for the Sierra Leone People’s Party and some who vote for the All People’s Congress. The people who advocate the seizing of control of the government often do it for (what they see as) the best reasons: achieving a good society. One function of liberalism is to call out and oppose, the influence of the government on social affairs, even when it is done with the hope of putting the “right” people in charge.

Some of the founding fathers of liberalism can help us understand how to oppose tyranny. The thinkers, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke represent the original liberalism that now is aptly called not only “classical” but “conservative.” Hume, Smith, and Burke opposed radical alteration in the institutions of government. The original liberalism is conservative when it comes to altering the polity drastically.

However, the conservative element of conservative liberalism depends in part on how liberal status quo institutions are. Events that led to the eleven years of brutal civil war in Sierra Leone are a sharp illustration of why a liberal does not always oppose fundamental reform. And they illuminate our main theme: the hazard of descending into tyranny.

The act of oppressing the suffering majority by the selected few, but very powerful within Sierra Leone is simply inconsistent with liberal values. Tensions grew when the government of Ernest Bai Koroma tried it, with many intellectual voices in and out of the country pointing out that “all men are created equal” and asserted clear precepts about personhood and citizenship. The system descended to further evils which led to the election of the Bio led Sierra Leone People’s Party to power. What precipitated the change were movements and growing recriminations against the oppressors, for being unjust. The then oppressive government of Ernest Bai Koroma responded with more injustice. They could not control the suffering majority. Oppressors and the oppressed resorted to “cancel culture” and heightened oppression, to protect the profoundly illiberal and anti-liberal institution of the legal oppression of fellow nationals. The system passed a tipping point into a more fully institutionalized system of repression, with the outlawing of voices advocating a change of tactics and a code of conduct that made any questioning of oppression socially unacceptable.

Liberalism involves a self-correcting system of propriety that calls out violations of liberal norms in defense of liberal institutions. In the face of illiberal institutions, the liberal must sometimes be a challenging voice; in the context of liberal institutions, the liberal looks like a conservative, calling out initiatives corrosive of norms and a presumption in favour of liberty. Sierra Leone is unique, or was until recently, in having a framework that allowed a “fusion” of conservatives and libertarians: the status quo to be “conserved” was a liberal coalition built around “Unity, Freedom and Justice” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

What we saw in the eleven years of brutal civil war and among despotic actors in governments today is the use of despotism to perpetuate their position and to shield themselves from the just correction of their injustice. As long as they hold the whip, the injustice may not only persist but grow worse and worse. The fate of the oppressed in the eleven years of the brutal civil war was horrible indeed. The shackles grew tighter. Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service is hiring. If we do not figure out a way to defuse despotism in Sierra Leone, our own future may be permanent slavery for the suffering majority.

The horrors of August 2022 and fascism led some to believe that liberal civilization was soon to perish. However, some people, in some parts of the country, waged a war against totalitarianism, in a movement mobilized under the banner of “freedom” or “liberal democracy.” After the brutal civil war, positive criticism is not just against the selected few oppressors, but against the spread of authoritarian ideology. In our future, will there be Winston Churchill and Václav Havels to resist the despots? Or will the governments of all the two major political parties belong to a network of tyrannical governments?

It is not just dystopian fiction—that has furnished us with the image of a once-liberal civilization under the presidency of the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah now capsized. Some of the great liberal writers have warned us against the very real march toward a capsized civilization. May we heed their warnings. They told us that the governmentalisation of social affairs is a tool of would-be despots and that it hatches despotism even if not by design. We must bravely speak out against the governmentalisation of social affairs and against the unjust sentiments and beliefs that forward it.

SIERRA LEONE YOUTH CHALLENGES ARE HUGE, LET’S INJECT NEW IDEAS

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SIERRA LEONE YOUTH CHALLENGES ARE HUGE, LET'S INJECT NEW IDEAS
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As the huge challenges within our country in tackling the issues of our youth keep on inciting new dangers; I ask whether there’s a way that leads forward. The “youth trap” as I call it, has profound potential implications for the SLPP government of Julius Maada Bio to sustain governance and this was well exhibited in the recent 10 August 2022 chaos.

When it comes to contempt for political party democracy, the rule of law and simple fidelity to the truth in the lives of our youth, examples have crowded in from around the country. It’s as though a generation’s worth of latent symptoms. The hard truth is the deplorable conditions of our youth expose a current and potential far greater source of national regret and frustrations on their part.

The rule of law when addressing the challenges of our national youth implies more than official adherence to status or national treaty obligations. It requires that those who exercise power on behalf of our youth maintain a moral commitment to the disinterested search for the truth and to good faith in policy making in all matters that have to do with our potential human resources of the country. The consequences for even a robust democratic political party in power when it shirks the spirit of its constitutional mandate in addressing the concerns of its national youth are enormous.

“Setbacks in trying to realize the ideal do not prove that the ideal is at fault,” observed the eminent peacemaker and U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

New ideas in addressing the vulnerable plights of our youth must not be seen as a threat or incitement, but rather as sincere solutions to help address the vulnerable plights of our country’s youth especially as we face the very CRUCIAL 2023 general elections. Youth in Sierra Leone want the government of President Bio to treat them as they treat their best friends: accepting the youth as they are but expecting the best from them after creating the necessary environment for them to thrive successfully. Even with aggravating—sometimes heartbreaking—setbacks, youth in Sierra Leone like living under a government where the arc of history is irreversibly dispersing power. Community solidarity in the form of addressing the welfare of all youth, expanded education in the form of scholarships to keep on empowering our youth to sustain the Bio-led SLPP in governance, use of our national youth in collaboration with government stakeholders to champion issues nationally, partner with our country’s youth Minister to give our youth-free public libraries as milestones on the unshakable trend line towards an inclusive, and fairer society.

For good, for social entrepreneurs, the national youth concept of a just Sierra Leone we export to communities around the country will generally attract youth to believe in President Bio’s government. We are our own role models.

Therefore, for any incumbent political party that wants to sustain governance, learning how to respond to the spoken or unspoken feedback, it receives from its youth is a science and an art. And, how well you receive feedback impacts how well you give it.

Feedback is at the heart of good leadership, effective teamwork, efficient problem solving, developing talent, and the ability to understand and serve the needs of the greater percentage of our constituents (youth). Yet, most politicians within the ruling SLPP feel they have it “right” despite when our youth keep on sending negative signals.

The results we are producing now from the deplorable standard of living from the majority of our own very youth across the country are feedback. Our results are evidence of how well our youth are being served by the beliefs of our current president and the actions of his government. His beliefs and actions up until this point have produced the exact results that we are experiencing right now. If his government is not producing the results our youth want right now, then he needs to take note of the feedback he’s receiving; his government surely needs to change its beliefs and behaviour towards the youth across the country.

No matter what feedback President Bio’s government is receiving now if his government’s relationship with the youth across the country is not what he wants it to be, there is feedback available to him. Unhealthy beliefs would have him believe the reason his government’s relationship with youth in the country isn’t what he wishes is “their fault.” He might also be able to confess the other party’s sins, keeping a careful score of all the ways his government has been wronged. His government can keep these beliefs and take the same actions it has been taking, but if his government’s results haven’t changed before, why would it now?

If his government isn’t producing the national leadership results, he wants, then his beliefs and actions with youth are informing him that changes are necessary. Some people’s beliefs about power are terribly unhealthy. They believe that power is scarce, that there isn’t enough, and that someone would have to give them more for them to be better off power-wise. These beliefs and the accompanying behaviour literarily repel power away from them. Poor results provide feedback. And when one fails to treat the feedback seriously, he risks creating a situation where others will suffer as a result of his greediness by creating the scenario where all will lose it.

This is the hard but uncomfortable truth,’ isn’t it? We are compelled to speak about the true vulnerable leadership results of our youth generally under the government of President Bio, are we not? Very poor youth welfare now in the country is simply feedback. When you don’t put up the numbers, there is something amiss. Your beliefs about sales and selling are not serving you. Since your actions precisely follow your beliefs, your actions—or lack thereof—are responsible for bad numbers within the majority of our youth.

A lot of people will tell you they believe things that are in complete opposition to what you see them do. They will tell you that they believe prospecting is necessary to generate new opportunities for our youth. But they don’t prospect. They will tell you we need to put up fake survey propaganda to deceive your opponents. But the suffering youth who are the majority aren’t interested in fake things any longer, but authentic ones. They’ll tell you that they want to make more money to address the issues of our national youth, and then they’ll hit the snooze button three times and find ways to avoid responsibility for greater outcomes.

Here’s the thing: to believe something and not act on it is the same as not believing it. To know the right thing to do and not to do it is the same as not knowing it. The result is the same for you as it is the person who doesn’t know any better.

If the Bio-led government changes, its beliefs, and actions and listen to voices of reasoning that will assist the government in addressing the challenges of our national youth, that may help the government produce the results it wants. But if it fails to, it’s simply because it isn’t taking its feedback seriously and that it needs to change again and then try something else for the good of the potential human resource of our country.

MAKING ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION THE PEOPLE’S COMMISSION

Francis Ben Kaifala
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MAKING ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION THE PEOPLE’S COMMISSION
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The national struggle against corruption in Sierra Leone today goes far beyond civil society organisations’ compliance with the Anti-corruption Commission. More elusive is the deep and worsening trust deficit that exists between institutions and individuals.
The far-flung belief that public and private institutions are not acting in the interests of the people they are supposed to serve diffused through the thinking of communities across the contraption. Civil Society and news organisations, which have historically served as the watchdog for Ministries, Departments, Agencies and business people, are less trusted by the public than ever before.

Public confidence has been corroded by a concentration on near-term priorities and payoffs, propelled by election-cycle politics or quarterly results targets that too often leave children worse off than their parents. Instead of looking toward a sustainable future that works for everyone, many have been left with a sense of desperation about the ideals of progress in addressing social service protection for the good of all nationals in Sierra Leone.

We must make integrity the norm, driven by public-private cooperation, innovative leadership, and effective technological tools. As is often quoted, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Transparency is more important than ever. We must remember that the business community, too, is a victim of corruption.

THE POWER OF MESHWORK:

Partnering against the corruption Initiative is one of the cross-industry collaborations the Anti-corruption Commission should conduct. In years to come, the Anti-corruption Commission must seek to rebuild trust in both the supply and demand side—working with Ministries, Departments, Agencies, journalists, business leaders and civil society to promote transparency.

The Commission needs to build networks across sectors and supply chains to encourage best practices and share products that improve transparency. For example, one promising new advance is “speak-up systems,” which will encourage individuals to report questionable or corrupt behaviour from peers or supervisors.
Harnessing new technology is also important, creating opportunities for us to engineer corruption out of the system. New systems like distributed ledger technology—a formation of replicated, shared, and synchronised digital data nationally spread across multiple sites or institutions across the contraption —can contribute to creating a more secure environment for real-time data sharing.

KEY OUT THE CHOKE POINTS:
The Anti-corruption Commission must up its game to identify and announce new measures in its latest step toward restoring trust: A Strategic Dialogue Series will be useful here. By convening government and business leaders from diverse regions and sectors in the contraption, the Commission will create opportunities to develop knowledge and share practical solutions.

First, they will invite business executives and public officials around the contraption to participate in an anonymous survey. The Commission and other leading experts will analyse the results to identify opportunities and challenges for effective public-private cooperation on the issue of battling corruption.

Next, they will convene government Ministers, heads of Departments, Agencies and business executives to discuss issues and bottlenecks and then identify and prioritise solutions. The Commission will encourage them to propose and advocate actionable solutions.

Finally, the Commission will provide an interactive platform to distribute key findings. To foster transparency, the Commission will publish all findings to inform and stimulate further collective action.

WHAT BUSINESS CAN AND SHOULD DO:
Advancing the Anti-corruption agenda is more than a business imperative: it is our duty, and it is in everyone’s interest. We must preserve and nurture the niche in which we do business. We must uphold our business integrity, enhance transparency, and maintain robust checks and balances on inappropriate behaviour.

Promoting an ethical culture is a necessary element of good management. The best way to protect this culture is to actively promote it from the top—with the clear commitment of leadership to a culture of integrity and to the fundamentals of effective corporate governance: fairness, accountability, transparency, and responsibility. And the commitment must be ongoing and continual.

The business community is uniquely situated to help unite all elements of society to identify and share innovative ways to develop collective action, deepen our shared understanding of the issues, and prompt change. Now is the time to develop working solutions that combine strong corporate governance and effective Anti-corruption initiatives to restore trust in our governments and corporations.

Fidelity in rebuilding trust is essential to the success of businesses, governments, and societies around Sierra Leone. The system simply doesn’t work without it.

POLITICAL PARTY MANIFESTO OR CITIZENS MANIFESTO?

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POLITICAL PARTY MANIFESTO OR CITIZENS MANIFESTO?
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By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

In all our elections in Sierra Leone, preponderantly from 1996, when our nation returned to multi-party constitutional rule, political parties released what they call their Manifesto, incorporating their vision and action plan for the nation. This has become what I refer to as a “quadrilingual political illicit affair”, whereby the political parties use semantics and charming words to woo voters. As susceptible to attack as the typical Sierra Leonean voter is, party slogans are enough to slake their five–year thirst, hunger, poverty, etc.

Deplorably, these manifestos, which are escorted by pomp and pageantry when they are being launched, are hidden in a hole and covered with a huge and bleak lid until the next election approaches. The ordinary voter hardly sees the colour of these manifestos, let alone glances through them. Parties fail to carry out these manifestos when they come into power and are left off the hook. This has reduced manifestos to mere rhetoric of political parties to hoodwink unsuspecting and vulnerable voters.

All the above happen and are repeated every five years because there are no legal backings to political party manifestos. Parties are not obliged to fulfil promises contained in their manifestos since there are no legal authorities, at least not that I know of, to compel them to do so. Interestingly, there are always nicely packaged lies to tell the electorates during elections.

For instance, both the current SLPP and previous APC governments of Ernest Bai Koroma and Julius Maada Bio promised to improve the suffering majority’s standard of living by upholding the constitution’s values. This has never seen the light of day.

The hard but uncomfortable truth is that after 61 years of independence with all the minerals we own as a nation, most of our nationals still live in abject poverty. This means our political party rulers simply cannot lead but can only rule. So do we really need a political party manifesto or Citizens Manifesto?

Not long ago, civil society organisations and journalists released a development plan for Sierra Leone, which they named the “Citizens Manifesto”. Members of various civil society and journalist organisations trekked the length and breadth of the country to solicit ideas from the citizenry before finalising the document to which all political parties committed themselves. The billion-dollar question is, how are the SLPP and APC party manifestos launched four years back, propelling the Citizens Manifesto into action? How were the other political parties’ manifestos launched fashioned along this grand Citizens Manifesto development plan?

With the current system, one party takes the nation to the right, and the other comes to power and takes us to left. Why can’t we as a nation get a national manifesto but always have to depend on the manifesto from parties which go to protect the parochial interest of the particular party?

Years of experience continue to teach us that we need to have a Citizens Manifesto to collectively tackle key national developmental issues such as education, health, economic management, and agriculture, to mention but a few. No party manifesto should supersede the Citizens Manifesto to the point that programmes, policies and projects initiated by previous governments are abandoned and discontinued by successive governments. Why should one government introduce a three-year Senior High School programme for another party to come to power soon afterwards to increase it to four years and again revert to the same party that introduced the initial three years? Did we go or did we come?

Many would not be surprised that the various political parties are oblivious of the content of the Citizens Manifesto, either than that APC and SLPP would not be fighting over who is stealing whose ideas.

With the current Citizens Manifesto, there is still a way forward. In order for us to share, politicians try to distance themselves from it. The current system has been trial and error, where our rulers are toying with our lives. There should be a common plan for almost all aspects of our nation. This plan should be part of our curriculum to imbibe in our students right from the onset.

Again, political party manifestos should be fashioned along the line of the Citizens Manifesto or Development Plan. With this, parties cannot force any policy or programme down our throats simply because it was captured in their manifesto.

We have advanced far in the wrong direction. The solution, however, does not lie in us pressing hard on the accelerator but rather turning backwards; better late than never.

OUR CONSTITUTION AND EXECUTIVE POWER

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OUR CONSTITUTION AND EXECUTIVE POWER
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What does Executive power protect?

Executive power is the constitutional principle that permits the president and high-level executive branch officers to withhold information from Parliament, the courts, and ultimately the public. This presidential power is controversial because it is nowhere mentioned in the Sierra Leone Constitution. That fact has led some scholars to suggest that executive power does not exist and that the Parliamentary power of inquiry is absolute. There is no doubt that presidents and their staffs have secrecy needs and that these decision-makers must be able to deliberate in private without fear that every utterance may be made public. But many observers question whether presidents have the right to withhold documents and testimony in the face of Parliamentary investigations or judicial proceedings.

Executive power is an implied presidential power that is recognised by the courts, most famously in Supreme Court cases. There are generally four areas that an executive branch’s claim of privilege is based:
1) presidential communications privilege;
2) deliberative process privilege;
3) national security, foreign relations or military affairs, and
4) an ongoing law enforcement investigation. In previous controversies over Parliamentary access to Department of Justice documents pertaining to an attempt on Furious scandal investigation, the presidents and Attorney Generals often relied on the deliberative process power and also ongoing law enforcement investigation defence.

Most Presidents in Sierra Leone have not used this power for the public good; instead, some have claimed executive power to conceal wrongdoing or politically embarrassing information. In certain controversies where our Presidents claim executive power over documents, critics suggest that their actions constitute improper use of that power. Presidents and their defenders argue that they are instead protecting a core presidential function by stopping Parliament from intruding into areas where it does not belong.

No president in Sierra Leone ever used the phrase “executive power” until when his rots were about to expose. The truth is the phrase is not a part of the common language. Nonetheless, all presidents going back to Siaka Stevens have exercised some form of what we today call executive power. Often the use of this authority occurred when Parliament demanded from the Executive administration information regarding the unwise use of Sierra Leone taxpayers’ monies or entered into negotiations at the national expense. Parliament specifically requested State House records and testimony from presidential staff familiar with the event. State House convened his Cabinet to discuss whether a president possessed the authority to deny information to Parliament. The Cabinet and the president agreed that the chief executive indeed had such authority when exercised in the public interest. The president communicated this view to Parliament in writing. State House eventually decided to cooperate with the Parliamentary inquiry and turned over the requested materials. But he had first laid the groundwork for the presidential use of executive power.

State House established the proper standard – that presidential secrecy must be used only in the service of the public interest. The evolution of the exercise of executive power and of the legal decisions governing its use make it clear that this is a legitimate presidential power when used appropriately. Nonetheless, most of our Presidents gave executive power a bad name when used to try to conceal sensitive information about rogue deals at the expense of the State.

Like other constitutional powers, executive power is subject to a balancing test. Just as presidents and their advisers need confidentiality, Parliament must have access to executive branch information to carry out its constitutionally based investigative function. Therefore, any claim of executive power must be weighed against Parliament’s legitimate need for information to carry out its own constitutional role. And, of course, the power of inquiry is not absolute, whether it is wielded by Parliament or by prosecutors.

In our constitutional system, the burden is on the executive to prove that it has the right to withhold information and not on Parliament to prove that it has the right to investigate. Executive power should be reserved for the most compelling reasons. It is not a power that should be routinely used to deny those with compulsory power the right access to information. Short of a strong showing by the executive branch of a need to withhold information, Parliament‘s right to investigate must be upheld. To enable the executive to withhold whatever information it wants would be to establish a bad constitutional precedent that would erode a core function of the legislative branch and upset the delicate balance of powers in our system.

There have been proposals in Parliament to develop a clear statutory definition of executive power. Yet no such legislation has ever passed, and it is unlikely that such an effort would reduce interbranch conflicts over access to information. To date, the branches have relied on their existing constitutional powers to negotiate disputes over assertions of executive power. For the most part, the system failed to work well without a legislative solution.

BIO’s “PAOPA” MUST DITCH THE “ANIMAL FARM” MENTALITY

Maada Bio
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BIO's "PAOPA" MUST DITCH THE “ANIMAL FARM" MENTALITY
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“Paopa!” try less fighting and speaking and doing to get “your” way—and a lot more sitting, listening, questioning, and being still.

What can the resistance against ‘Paopa’s” greed learn from George Orwell’s allegorical novel “Animal Farm”?

As many of us work to resist the largest inequality gap created by the current Beo-led government in Sierra Leone, we often get caught up in the question of whether “we” will “win.” Then I wonder whether the oppositional thinking of “us” and “them” and “winner” and “loser” and “our side” and “their side” and “99 per cent” and “1 per cent” can lead to transformational and lasting change. I think, in particular, of George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm, especially with the current Beo administration behaviour.

The quick plot

The pigs on the farm lead an animal revolution against the oppressive humans. A central tenet of the revolution is that “all animals are equal.” But after the farmers are killed, the pigs move into the farmhouse—the place of the privileged—and even begin to walk upright on two legs. Ultimately, they rule as maliciously as the humans did. When questioned about the tenet that all animals are equal, they reply, “Yes, but some animals are more equal than others.”

This is exactly how Beo’s government is currently treating the suffering majority in Sierra Leone.

In what I will call a masculine-principled revolution, the uprising to remove the previous despotic government of Ernest Bai Koroma under the All People’s Congress itself served as much to consolidate power in a new SLPP “‘Paopa” ruler as to democratically oust the incumbent APC and their handpicked presidential aspirant. With an understanding that the hierarchy of oppression changes under the new ruler as a reward for supporting that consolidation of power. The selected few groups that supported the new SLPP ruler were granted new privileges with no effective checks and balances, and the group that was backbit by the selected few sycophants surrounding the seat of power and the suffering majority had privileges taken away.

Oftentimes, the rulers of the revolution end up concentrating more on maintaining the part of the power than the part of the suffering majority. Privilege is reassigned according to what maintains their personal interests. The foot soldiers in the revolution must content themselves with slight changes in their currency.

Here’s what that looks like under the current Beo-led government: The “resistance” reacts to Beo, whose supporters reacted to Ernest Bai Koroma, and on. The Orwellian animals become the humans, who become the animals, and so on. Meanwhile, the truly oppressed remain that way (this is the shadow truth of our binary choice system), and not much changes as we get distracted by the overly masculine-assertive desire for control.

Moving away from “us versus them” opens up the possibility of what I call “Only Us.”
The oppressed of each “side” is rewarded just enough to convince them to support the leadership without actually taking part in that leadership. Thus, the pendulum swings back and forth.

Masculine-assertive energy is not good or bad, but rather adaptive or not, according to the circumstances. Too much reinforces the regime of extracting resources, and while it might have once advanced society, it is now killing us and our habitat. So there is an argument to be made that using masculine-assertive energy to fight masculine-assertive energy by the current Beo administration reinforces the pendulum swinging.

The choice becomes either being content to have the pendulum swing “our” way for a time or working toward an end to all that swinging.

Moving away from “us versus them” opens up the possibility of what I call “Only Us”—an all-inclusive state of being for all sentient and non-sentient existence.

To move toward Only Us may require a massive move toward feminine-receptive energy. What does that look like? Less fighting and speaking and doing for our way and a lot more sitting, listening, questioning, and being still. Mobilising includes listening—especially to the oppressed of the “other side”—and receiving what is offered as opposed to taking what is not. The so-called talking and doing system of the Beo administration is now well understood by what we keep on learning day in and day out.

Are there models for the feminine-receptive approach? Yes.

Mobilising includes listening.
My own life story has brought me deep familiarity with 12-step recovery programmes. One of the things that I have most admired about these groups of people is their tradition of all-inclusive governance. Their second tradition goes something like this: There is but one ultimate authority—loving wisdom as it expresses itself in our group conscience. Leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

The amazingness is this: Workable and effective self-governance by some of the most downtrodden and disempowered people in our society—those trying to manage addictions. The will of so-called recovered or expert leaders are not imposed on the groups; they are required to fulfil the will of the group. Further, the will of the group is not that of the majority but of the consciences of the individual members and factions synthesised into one—ideally—unanimous group conscience.

The process is feminine-receptive principled in that it is about listening to one another and attempting to synthesise individual views into one community view. When a decision has been made that the entire group supports, there is no tyranny of the majority. There will be no need to overturn the group decision when a new majority takes power. Of course, this process is predicated on a faith in another recovery movement tradition—that “our common welfare comes first” because personal well-being depends on the well-being of the whole. Not us and them —but Only Us.

Let’s also consider the work of Elango Rangaswamy, the former mayor of the village of Kuthambakkam in India.

Rangaswamy pioneered a form of direct democracy by listening to his villagers, writing plans based on their views, and returning the plan to the villagers to discuss and rewrite in a circular process of receptiveness and assertiveness that refined itself to reflect the needs of all villagers. Again, no tyranny of the majority or the Executive Arm and a balance of masculine assertiveness with feminine receptiveness.

Rangaswamy then went on to train hundreds of village mayors throughout India in his methods.

The recovery movement and Rangaswamy’s self-governance models require a fundamental understanding that there is no use moving the fascist humans out of the farmhouse only to move in the equally power-hungry pigs. The models also require faith that the pendulum swing that comes with a masculine-energy revolution is not the best we can do, that “us versus them” degrades both “us” and “them.”

A model of receptivity by all rather than assertiveness by some can be used to create an Only Us that stops the pendulum and allows a longer-lasting highest good for the highest number. A question for those of us who are working to stop the current greed in the Beo-led administration for the general good is this: How do we use the feminine-receptive principle to create a dialogue with the oppressed of the “other side” and then move forward together?

Hajj Special 2022 Newsletter

Sierra Leone Embassy Saudi Arabia Newsletter 2022

Today, we present to you our second edition of the Newsletter of the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Saudi Arabia.

This edition gives you a comprehensive reportage on the just concluded (1443/2022) Hajj. We provide you with an insight into what the Hajj is about and we also distinguish between Hajj and Umrah for our readers to get an in-depth understanding of these highly important forms of Islamic worship.

This edition also features the recent visit of Sierra Leone’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Alpha Osman Timbo to Saudi Arabia and the signing of the Labour and General Workers Agreement between the two countries as well as the follow-up visit of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) delegation to Sierra Leone for the implementation of key projects, among others.

We remain committed to reaching out to our international public and also informing citizens back home of our activities.

Do have a good read!!! Thank you.

Abubakarr Bah
Information Attaché
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

EMBASSY OF SAUDI SEPT EDITION

PARTISAN/REGIONALLY BIASED CIVIL SERVICE – THE VULTURES ARE GATHERING…

Vultures
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PARTISAN/REGIONALLY BIASED CIVIL SERVICE - THE VULTURES ARE GATHERING...
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By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

Informed observers and commentators on the Sierra Leonean socio-economic and political terrain, indigenous and foreign, all agree on one fact regarding the swift collapse of the national economy after late President Ahmad Tejan Kabba left– Sierra Leone’s economic depression is policy-induced! It certainly is not by accident that a country of few million dynamic and hardworking people, that had successfully begun to diversify itself from a uni-product economy to one hinged on diverse sources suddenly awakes to find its fortunes violently depleted and reversed, with the supervisors of the national economy each passing day churning more regulations geared towards causing more harm and creating more confusion domestically and causing disinterest from genuine foreign investors.

In their quest for legitimacy, democratic regimes in Sierra Leone, after the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, find themselves having to balance two values that can be in some tension: fair and non-politically partisan public service delivery and, subject to the law, the responsiveness of public servants to the policies of the past Koroma and current Bio executives.

Neutrality in the sense of political non-partisanship in public administration is, of course, a precondition for ensuring that, regardless of their political orientation, citizens are treated fairly and in an equitable manner. Operationally, it is delivered by emphasising professionalism, merit and competence amongst public servants. These values are important to the level of justice and continuity in public administration – arguably a significant determinant of how much trust citizens place in their system of government. At the same time, public servants must be accountable to the government for the effective delivery of its programme, and responsiveness of the administration to the government of the day within the law and the constitution is key to the effective implementation of our government policies. As stated in the Principles of Civil Service Code In Sierra Leone:

(e) “Impartiality”

(i) “Justice, fairness, equity and impartiality are the prime values of the Civil Service. Therefore, in carrying out public business, Civil Servants shall not display partiality as a result of personal or family ties or of gender, religion, region or ethnic background. They shall treat all people fairly, in making appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards, promotions and other benefits and shall make choices based solely on merits”.

The Civil Service Act depicts how Sierra Leone developed institutional arrangements that balance these two concerns to avoid the extremes of a self-serving public service immune to political leadership or an over-politicised public service hostage to patronage and serving partisan, regional, tribal rather than national interests. With this in mind, I investigate past, and current secrete and open appointments to mainstream public service managerial positions by the Koroma and Bio governments. Other than for some occasional comparisons, my investigation does not consider the appointment of political advisors outside of the usual public service hierarchy.

The tensions between the values of neutrality and responsiveness are not at all evident in the past and current recruitment and appointment actions of the APC and SLPP governments. Political responsiveness can be enhanced by selecting staff on the basis of both merit and commitment to a particular policy programme. The question is whether those staff would just as willingly assist in the implementation of the policy priorities of a new government and the next, especially when they aren’t going through the “Regrading Committee” of the Civil Service.

My investigations unearth that, for the past and current APC and SLPP governments, political involvement in administration is essential for the proper functioning of a democracy. According to my sources, their incoming political administration would find itself unable to change policy direction without this. However, we are again experiencing a government that is deliberately ignoring the reality that public services need protection against being misused for partisan purposes, they need technical capacity which survives changes of government, and they need protection against being used to impair the capacity of future governments to govern. This was clearly stated in our Civil Service Act under Recruitment and Appointment;

Rule 2.1:

In principle, unless the commission directs otherwise, all vacancies shall be fully advertised by appropriate notice within the Civil Service or through the Gazette, the press, other media, employment exchanges, or other appropriate means for the information of the general public. There must be a reasonable period of time, with a minimum period of one month, between the date of advertisement and the deadline for applications to be received.

Rule 2.5(d) selection procedures must be reliable and guard against bias, and equality of opportunity must apply throughout the recruitment process.

Put starkly, when there are multiple principles, the single political principle with some responsibility for the sector portfolio (Ministers, Permanent Secretaries etc.) faces a distinctive incentive for politicisation as it gives them a stronger handle on an otherwise unresponsive bureaucracy. This conclusion argues against the assumption that underpins much public management literature, which warns about the negative effects of political involvement and often suggests that purely administrative determination of staffing decisions is the preferred state and that any steps down the path of political involvement are intrinsically damaging to governance. This was what late President Tejan Kabba believed and succeeded in building Sierra Leone despite the fact that he inherited one of the World’s most brutal wars.

Those not familiar with the geopolitics of one of Africa’s richest nations in terms of natural resources and the erstwhile projected fastest-growing economy will wonder how any Government will be willing to deliberately ruin a national economy, cause great harm to the citizenry, heighten the prospect of potential internal chaos, and ultimately destroy economic prospects and potentials. Well, welcome to the oddity of the Sierra Leonean nation under the “New Direction government” this time around.

When at his assumption of office, the present Sierra Leonean ruler, Julius Maada Bio, a former Head of State who had in his erstwhile stint in office over 20 years ago contributed in driving the economy into depression, embarked upon a global frolic of major capital cities of the world telling whosoever cared to listen that he is now presiding over the ‘most corrupt people in the world’, and with the damaging effects of such self-deprecation just beginning to manifest the regime rolled out conflicting fiscal pronouncements, particularly in the area of accessing foreign exchange, amounting to policy somersaults which has the potential to scare off multinational companies from Sierra Leone (including Airlines, Extractive and service-sector conglomerates); and eventually capping the dire situation by deliberate acts of maligning the Judiciary and Legislative arms of government creating an impression before all and sundry that Sierra Leone was and still is a banana republic where powers resided and emanated from one single individual; the hand writing on the wall was clearly discernible to all who were discerning – Sierra Leone was being systematically and serially depleted with cynical ulterior motives.

Finally, those who doubted reality are now able to have a glimpse at the wider picture via the recent kite flown by those who are profiting tremendously from the deprecation of Sierra Leone: having succeeded in pauperising the Sierra Leonean State, depreciating the value of the country and its national assets, reeking in enormous profits from a fraudulent foreign exchange regime, suggestions are now being arrogantly floated that the remaining real natural resources of the Sierra Leonean State should be auctioned off for peanuts to supposedly “reinvigorate the economy with the redenomination of the national currency”.

Really?

Sierra Leone’s prime national assets, the Gold, Bauxite, Rutile, Iron Ore, Diamond etc. operations, are now being particularly targeted by these hawks (World Bank/International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, Britain, European Union, United States, China etc.). Also in their sights are other critical national infrastructures such as Water projects and Roads.

If these vultures are so smart and so rich, why don’t they build industries in Sierra Leone to add value to the mentioned raw materials and other critical infrastructure and compete with advanced countries to add genuine value to our economy?

Knowing how the fraudulent system works in Sierra Leone, an avalanche of ten-a-dime ‘experts’ (local and foreign) will be assembled to support the floated idea, and more punitive fiscal and socio-economic policies will be rolled out to squeeze the populace into believing that anything that brings in whatever amount of foreign currency into the system is good, and pronto, the economy and social service protection of the suffering masses, and other major critical infrastructure would be auctioned for peanuts to spurious portfolio-companies registered in some offshore tax havens by the unscrupulous who will suddenly turn up in “Forbes list of the richest” as Frank Timis did in the very corrupt African Minerals, and SL Mining rogue deals, whilst the poverty caused locally will unleash more domestic abject poverty for the majority.

As these vultures gather, is there anything a Government populated by vultures and or their stooges can do to forestall an impending disaster? Nothing! The people have to decide what they want of themselves by themselves. The people with these assets have every right to resist brigandage in the name of governance or government policies.

Restructuring and renegotiation of the Sierra Leonean contraption will minimise these vile practices.

SLPP MORE VALUE CREATION – HOW FIRMLY GROUNDED ARE OUR ECONOMIC PROCESSES?

SLPP
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SLPP MORE VALUE CREATION - HOW FIRMLY GROUNDED ARE OUR ECONOMIC PROCESSES?
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By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

The national financial crisis, which began in 2016 which the current SLPP regime promised to fix when they were in opposition, and whose repercussions will continue to echo in Sierra Leone for years to come, has triggered myriad criticisms of our capitalist system: it is too ‘speculative’; it rewards ‘rent-seekers’ over true ‘wealth creators’; and it has permitted the rampant growth of finance for the selected few at the expense of the suffering majority, allowing speculative exchanges of financial assets to be compensated more than investments that lead to new physical assets and job creation.

Debates about unsustainable growth have become louder, with concerns about the rate of growth the regime inherited and its direction. Recipes for serious reforms of this ‘dysfunctional’ system include making the financial sector more focused on long-run investments; changing the governance structures of corporations, so they are less focussed on their share prices and quarterly returns; taxing quick speculative trades more heavily; legally blocking financial leakages and curbing the excesses of the wage bill.

I have argued that such critiques are important but will remain powerless – in their ability to bring about real reform of our economic system – until they become firmly grounded in a discussion about the processes by which economic value is created. It is not enough to argue for less value extraction and more value creation. First, ‘value’, a term that once lay at the heart of economic thinking, must be revived and better understood.

In Sierra Leone, value has gone from being a category at the core of the economic theory, tied to the dynamics of production (the division of labour, changing costs of production), to a subjective category tied to the ‘preferences’ of economic agents. Many ills, such as stagnant real wages, are interpreted in terms of the ‘choices’ that particular agents in the system make; for example, unemployment is seen as related to workers’ choice between working and leisure. And entrepreneurship – the praised motor of capitalism – is seen as a result of individualised choices rather than the productive system surrounding entrepreneurs – or, to put it another way, the fruit of a collective effort. At the same time, the price has become the indicator of value: as long as a good is bought and sold in the market, it must have value. So rather than a theory of value determining price, it is the theory of price that determines value.

Along with this fundamental shift in the idea of value, a different narrative has taken hold. Focused on wealth creators, risk-taking and entrepreneurship, this narrative now seeped into political and public discourse. It is now so rampant that even ‘nationalists’ critiquing the system sometimes unintentionally espouse it. When the APC lost the 2018 election, certain leaders of the party secretly claimed they had lost because they had not embraced the “wealth creators”. And who did they think the wealth creators were? Businesses and the entrepreneurs leading them. Feeding the idea that value is created in the private sector and redistributed by the public sector. But how can a party that has the words “All People’s Congress” in its title not see workers and the state as equally vital parts of the wealth creation process?

Such assumptions about the generation of wealth have become entrenched and have gone unchallenged. As a result, those who claim to be wealth creators have monopolised the attention of past and current governments with the now well-worn mantra of; give us less tax, less regulation, less state and more market. By losing our ability to recognise the difference between value creation and value extraction, past and current governments have made it easier for some to call themselves value creators and, in the process, extract value. Understanding how the stories about value creation are around us everywhere – even though the category itself is not – is essential for the future viability of our economy.

To offer real change, we must go beyond fixing isolated problems and develop a framework that allows us to shape a new type of economy that will work for the common good. The change has to be profound. It is not enough to redefine GDP to encompass quality-of-life indicators, including measures of happiness, the imputed value of unpaid ‘caring’ labour and free information, education and communication via the Internet. It is also not enough to tax wealth. While such measures are important in themselves, they do not address the greatest challenge: defining and measuring the collective contribution to wealth creation so that value extraction is less able to pass for value creation. As we have seen, the idea that price determines the value and that markets are best at determining prices has all sorts of nefarious consequences.

This narrative emboldens value extractors in finance and other sectors of our economy. Here, the crucial questions – which kinds of activities add value to the economy and which simply extract value for the sellers – are never asked. In the current way of thinking, financial trading, rapacious lending, and funding property price bubbles are all value-added by definition because price determines value: if there is a deal to be done, then there is value. By the same token, if a pharmacy can sell a drug at a hundred or a thousand times more than it costs to produce, there is no problem: the market has determined the value. The same goes for Ministers, other political appointments and professionals who earn 100 times more than the average worker. The market has decided the value of their services – there is nothing more to be said. Our economists must be aware that some markets are not fair.

Price-equals-value thinking encourages rogues in the investment world to put financial markets and shareholders first and to offer as little as possible to other stakeholders. This ignores the reality of value creation – as a collective process. In truth, everything concerning an investor business – is intimately interwoven with decisions made by our elected governments, investments made by schools, universities, public agencies and even movements by not-for-profit institutions. Corporate heads in Sierra Leone are not telling the whole truth when they say that shareholders are the only real risk takers and hence deserve the lion’s share of the gains from doing business.

This market story confuses policymakers. By and large, policymakers of all stripes want to help their communities and their country, and they think the way to do so is to put more trust in market mechanisms. Step back and let the market magic work; this has become the slogan of our governments in Sierra Leone. The crucial thing is to be seen to be business-friendly. As a result, Sierra Leone politicians and all too many government employees are like putty in the hands of those who claim to be value creators. Regulators end up being lobbied by businesses and induced to endorse policies that make incumbents even richer. Examples include ways in which our governments have been persuaded by the World Bank and other rogue neocolonial institutions to reduce capital gains tax, even though there is no reason to do so if the aim is to promote long-term investments rather than short-term ones.

And lobbyists, with their innovation stories, have pushed through with rogue policies, which reduce tax on the profits generated – even though the policy’s main impact has been merely to reduce government revenue rather than increasing the types of investments that led to strengthening the economy. All of these serve only to subtract value from the economy and make for a less attractive future for almost everyone. Not having a clear view of the collective value creation process, the public sector is thus ‘captured’ – entranced by stories about wealth creation which have led to regressive tax policies that increase inequality.

The confusion between profits and rents appears in how we measure growth: GDP. Indeed, it is here that the production boundary comes back to haunt us; if anything that fetches price values, then the way our national accounting is done won’t be able to distinguish value creation from value extraction, and thus policies aimed at the former might simply lead to the latter. This is not only true for the environment where picking up the mess of disasters will definitely decrease GDP (due to various services paid for) while a cleaner environment won’t necessarily (indeed, if it leads to no disaster, it could increase GDP), but also as we saw to the world of finance in our contraption where the distinction between financial services that feed industry’s need for long-term credit versus those financial services that simply feed other parts of the financial sector are not distinguished.

Only with a clear debate about value can rent-extracting activities in every sector, including the public one, be better identified and deprived of political and ideological strength.

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