NJALA UNIVERSITY - UNCHAINING THE MINDSET OF CHRONIC SOCIETAL CYNICISM TO WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE
8. build our own Rwanda here. We can transform the lives of the people, we can control corruption and subdue that monster. We can change our story. We only need to confront our cynicism and overcome it with results produced by the will of those who believe and pursue. 36. Despite the potentials in our human and natural resources, the poverty rate in Sierra Leone is alarming. The irony of Sierra Leone is best illustr ated by the axion “poverty amongst the plenty ”. Various studies have supported the position that if we seriously maximize our revenue mobilization; utilize our resources judiciously by negating corruption and corrupt practices of all kinds; it would be ex treme for Sierra Leone to need foreign loans and donations. 37. We can build our own schools; equip our own hospitals, with the best brains, best equipment, and medicines available without waiting for China or begging the West. We can transform Sierra into th e paradise it truly was meant to be. Now is the time to make that positive difference. I call on all of us to push for that difference. Let us make it happen. Where else can victory be harvested; if not from us? We have to make it happen. The positive diff erence Sierra Leone has been yearning for can be realized through us. I thank you all Long Live Sierra Leone FRANCIS BEN KAIFALA, ESQ COMMISSIONER ANTI - CORRUPTION COMMISSION SIERRA LEONE
4. 18. In Economist Intelligence Unit D emocracy I ndex 2020, Sierra Leone ranks #102 tied with Bosnia Herzegovina, up two notches and is also considered a hybrid regime. In the Global Peace Index 2019 Sierra Leone ranks #52. For Freedom , Sierra Leone in 2018 is only partly free. 19. Sierra Leone ran a fiscal deficit of 8 percent in 2017 and its public debt rose from 55 percent in 2016 to 64 percent in 2017 according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Sierra Leone’s fiscal deficit has been negative between 2010 - 2018 , the public debt has increased accordingly. Inflation in Sierra Leone has been consistently high between 2002 - 2018 , and acquired dramatic proportions in Sierra Leone in 2017 reaching 18 percent and in 2018 at 16 percent. In 2018 Sierra Leone had the World’s 9t h largest inflation rate. 20. Remittances have stagnated for Sierra Leone at around $50 million between 2011 - 2018. Between 2012 - 2017 , net migration was negative in Sierra Leone. Net trade in goods and services has been systematically negative since 2004. A mere 57,000 international visitors entered Sierra Leone in 2018! 21. In Insead’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2019 , Unemployment in is 4 percent; youth unemployment is at 9 percent. Sierra Leone’s currency, the Leone is floating and is challenged with low level of per capita income, market size, and long history of depreciation, inflation and fiscal deficits. As a result, the Leone has significantly depreciated against the dollar and euro since 2009. 22. Sadly, as a culmination and crippling effect of all of the above , Sierra Leone ranks #129 among 156 nations in the World Happiness Report 2019 . THE DIAGNOSIS 23. What then is responsible for such abysmal failures to make our own lives better almost 60 years after independence ? It certainly is not that good efforts are not being applied. While corruption has certainly played a major role, w e continue to exhibit Bounded Rationali ty & Williamson’s Contracting Man in our social contract structure. Bounded rationality (the basis or transactional theory) assumes that most transactions occur with limited information (though actors try to be rational). In this situation people try to us e problem solving and decision - making processes to negotiate transaction s while monitor ing and adapting the transaction over time. Our situation is worse because we have high levels of Opportunism an assumption that people will do whatever it takes to maximize their interests – lie, cheat, steal, etc. Deception and misinformation are common tactics within our structure. For example, we ha ve been seriously doubting the 2017 census figures because it is believed the figures were inflated in certain regio ns for political gain. This is a troublesome source of behavioural uncertainty in economic transactions.
6. counts), the judiciary has to align its decision - making approach and judicial education with respect to dealing with corruption cases and the punishment regime applicable thereto with the collective interest and gre ater good. However, i f, with all due respect, the Learned Honourable Justices continue to apply archaic Woolmington v. DPP test to corruption cases - even with the glaring support and evidence that the P rogressive World has moved beyond those general guidi ng tests on policy grounds in countries like South Africa , when dealing with corruption cases, and they remain stoically prone to find ing in favour of accused persons whenever there is the existence of even a scintilla of doubt (including those that they and the ingenuity of defence counsel can create) , and then proudly proclaim and justify same in their judgements to acquit , then the collective interest with regard succeeding in the fight against corruption is going to remain in jeopardy and at their merc y. 28. If this perpetuates, and we do not as a country, decide for ourselves to move away from some of these socio - economic, political and behavioral anomalies that have held us to ransom , t he effect is a social reproduction premised on: “ Bad drives out good ” . We are creating a society where the “ good ” in us will be forced out by the “ bad ” . A culture of social and societal cynicism makes society to applaud when change makers and people with good intentions and vision are attacked. They then , over time , loose t he steam and zest to bring about social good and substitute it with lackluster plans, actions and policies to please everyone. Those who cannot do so, will eventually give up or be forced out so as to give way to others who will do what the cynical social system appreciates . When this happens, the country becomes locked in a behavioural prison where we think “ less is more ” . In that case, only a revolution will reignite the ferment of change as happened between 1991 and 2002. Like Ziggy Marley said in his music “Diamond City” with reference to Sierra Leone , every day there will be a need for a revolution – a danger for all ; because that is what gave rise to Foday Sankoh and his deadly RUF . 29. This is even more dangerous to the collective goal, when ou r socio - political fragmentation has made a ll else to be a minority with only two political parties providing a realistic route to power. This has created a dangerous desperation for access to power and control of the wealth of the country. As a result of th e winner - takes - all mentality, the production of pure public goods i.e. basic health, social, political and physical infrastructure have over the years be en lower . Simultaneously, the public provision of private goods – targeted to benefit specific indivi duals and groups through corruption and nepotism has been, and remains, higher. 30. Polarization is getting higher . Historically (pre - independence) it was Western Area vs Protectorate . Now (post - independence) , it is the South East vs North - West . Also very evident is a lienation . Perennial polarisation of politics may have led to a de - emphasis of the national interest , thereby nurturing a contemporary habit of unbridled opportunism that – even in war - time - crossed ethnic lines . The prevalence of information f ailures due to the high illiteracy rates makes us prone to moral hazard . With Leaders like Siaka Stevens as examples, o ur society has been built on a p re -
1. ANTI - CORRUPTION COMMISSION CATHEDRAL HOUSE "RESULTS AMIDST DOUBTS: UNCHAINING THE MINDSET OF CHRONIC SOCIETAL CYNICISM TO WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE" PUBLIC LECTURE BY FRANCIS BEN KAIFALA ESQ., THE COMMISSIONER OF THE ANTI - CORRUPTION COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE AT NJALA UNIVERSITY AUDITORIUM, NJALA ON TUESDAY 10 TH MARCH, 2020. SALUTATIONS 1. Mr. Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Faculty and staff of the University, President and Ministers of the Student Union Government, Students, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. I bring you greetings from the Anti - Corruption Commission. 2. I thank the organizers of this Lecture, the Radio Njala University, particularly Jonathan K u r a bu who went all out to ensure that I am here today to deliver this lecture at Njala Campus on the topic “ Results Amidst Doubts: Unchaining The Mindset Of Chronic Societal Cynicism To Win The Fight Against Corruption In Sierra Leone” . 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 under the leadership of his Excellency, Brig. Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio . INTRODUCTORY 3. In this battle, I must begin by pointing out to you that the challenge is enormous. This is not because of the usual problems that fighting corruption can be confronted with, like the lack of political will and resources, but more difficult one: Our societ y 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. The evidence abounds that the r e is a mass acute affliction known as Leung’s Social & Societal Cynicism - a cultural syndrome associated with a general mistrust of social systems and other people . 4. If the country is to become the next Rwanda , Singapore, or Malaysia, o ur strategic objective has to be focused on how to break societal cynicism. In the 21st century,
5. 24. We exhibit George Akerlof’s Lemons and the Economics of Dishonesty at almost all levels . Nothing is what it seems. We want “ oranges ” but we get “ lemons ” . Deception and dishonesty underlie our actions , and that includes the teaching quality in our universities and the degrees and titles we carry . We prefer to stay at the bottom because we think at all given times, yesterday is better than today. Tru st is lacking and the centre is not holding. We are in Dixit’s Multi - Person Prisoners’ Dilemmas where knowledge sharing is governed by the perceived payoff we hope to benefit . 25. We are exhibiting , constantly Hardin’s tragedy of the Commons – not mine not yours mentality . The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared - resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self - interest , behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their individual or collective action. Therefore, for example, the Anti - corruption Commission relies on the Judiciary to make corruption a “ high risk and low return venture ” . B acked by prevention systems, it is the formula under the new direction to defeat corruption . However, while there are some very good judges who are doing their best to ensure this by holding the right posture and application of the law , some prefer to put their interest above the collective interest. So, for various reasons – not excluding bribery and kinship, they continue to treat corruption as a commonplace and impose punishment s that defeat the essence of the fight against corruption. In other words, they deliberately or inadvertently undermine the fight against corruption by their inexplicable unwillingness to impose a high cost (like custodial sentence with no option of a fine ) and blame it on everyone and everything else but themselves or their selfish tendencies or inadequacies. As a result, Sierra L eone continues to lose. 26. The result of all this is that, if they, as important actors in this equation, do not recalibrate and be willing to do the needful, we will continue to fail as a nation because we are dangerously trapped in a Nash equilibrium – which, in economics and game theory, is a stable state of a system involving the interaction of different participants, in which no participant can gain by a unilateral change of strategy if the strategies of the others rema in unchanged. 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 desire d result if the op position and/or the people do not adjust accordingly but instead systematically undermine the strategies and policies aimed at realizing them . 27. For example, the Anti - Corruption Commission recently launched the National Anti - Corruption Strategy 2019 to 202 3 with enforcement of the law at its heart. That strategy will only succeed if other actors in the fight against corruption like the government, the police, civil society, the justice sector, the journalists and above all, the people, also break away from the past and change strategy and mindset for the better. More importantly, since, at the heart of that strategy, is the need for the judiciary to be willing to impose custodial sentences and hefty fines (and not make them unnecessarily cumulative so as to defeat the end of multiple conviction on
3. number 1 cause of death in 2017, followed by lower respiratory infection, ne onatal disorders , and diarrheal diseases. Only 13 percent of Sierra L eonans were using safely managed sanitation services in 2017. Only 23 percent of Sierra L eonans had access to electricity in 2017, the World’s 8th lowest percentage. 11. Sierra Leone has be en in severe stagnation between 2014 - 2020. Its GDP dropped 22 percent in 2015 because of the Ebola crisis . The country rank s 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. 12. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Index for African Governance 2018 , Sierra Leone is 26 out of 54 in Africa . When looking more closely at Sierra Leone’s performance, weakness is observed in the following in dicators: absence of corruption in government branches #39, absence of government involvement in armed conflict #40, women’s political representation #42, sustainable economic opportunity #39, budget balance #49, tax & revenue mobilization #39, infrastruct ure #50, transport infrastructure #38, reliability of electricity supply #35, human development #44, health #49, absence of child mortality #51, absence of maternal mortality #53, absence of communicable diseases #44. 13. In Transparency International C orruption P erceptions I ndex 2019, 180 of nations and Sierra Leone ranked #119. In this index, Sierra Leone has improved significantly in the last two years ; but there remains a lot more to be done if we are to proudly claim victory in the fight against cor ruption . 14. In the World Bank cost of doing business ranking 2019, Sierra Leone ’s performance is particularly weak in dealing with construction permits #182, getting electricity #178, registering property #167, getting credit #161, trading across borders #1 66 and resolving insolvency #161. 15. In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2017 - 2018 , Sierra Leone’s performance is particularly weak in the following indicators: infrastructure #120, macroeconomic environment #128, health and primary education #124, higher education and training #132, market size #129, innovation #125. 16. In the World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 , Sierra Leone’s performance is particularly poor in travel and tourism policy #127, health and hygiene #139 (only ahead of Mozambique), prior itization of travel and tourism #125, price competitiveness #132, air transport infrastructure #129, tourist service infrastructure #134. 17. In Yale University’s Environmental Perform ance Index 2018 , Sierra Leone’s standings are particularly poor in household solid fuels #175, water and sanitation #175, water resources #143.
2. the statistics of our progress is damning. We live in what we call a fiction state due to decades of misrule and breach of social contract due to abuse of powe r, corruption, ignorance and lack of ambition. THE EVIDENCE 5. 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 them selves , even with the best efforts of other s . Our social and historical reality is that we have had societal fragmentation, polarization and alienation starting from pre - colonial era to date , that has cul turized cynicism and lack of trust . 6. Social cynicism is "...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;" "It is rare to see a happy ending in real life”. So people focus more on the pleasures of the present than sacrifice for th e future. The citizenry also believes that the “world produces malignant outcomes” and is, “on average, distrustful, unhappy, and dissatisfied with life”. It is the belief that they are surrounded by a “nature red in tooth and claw, suppressed by the power ful and others and subjected to depredation of willful and selfish individuals , groups and institutions.” SIERRA LEONE’S STATISTICAL REALITY 7. This phenomenon is cultural and very difficult to de a l 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: 8. With an area of 71,740 km2 and 402 kilometers of coastline , Sierra Leone’s population is expected to increase from 8 million in 2020 to 16 million in 2100. Sierra Leone’s capital’s population will increase from 1 million in 2020 to 5 million in 2100 according to OntarioTech . 9. 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 remain s high in Sierra Leone at 38 percent in 201 3 according to World Bank data . 10. 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 shortage s. M alaria remains the
7. meditated effort to “mislead , disguise, obfuscate and confuse” . This has created a predatory nation wi th everything not working. 31. W here the institutions and agents of a government are predatory, investors and traders have to cope with this. Failure to manage this , increases transaction costs and reduces economic activity and all are worse off than under better governance mechanisms. We have to understand that morality is “system - sensitive” . A system with poverty - producing values may sustain itself, as bad conscien ces tend to drive out good consciences . Collective ruin comes from the unregulated freedom of individuals to rationally satisfy their “ego - serving decisions” in relation to resources of collective interest . That is the foundation of corruption. 32. Understand ing these difficulties and societal ramifications, that is why I have worked with the team at the ACC to focus on results while trying to address the behavioural problems of the countr y . I n a country that has this mass social affliction as the evidence sug gests, opposition to policies will always be massive because of what is known in Political Science as “ Machiavelli’s Problem ” – “...all those who profit from the old order will be opposed to the innovator, whereas all those who might benefit are at best tepid supporters of him. This lukewarmness arises partly for fear of their adversaries who have the laws on their side, or partly fr om the skeptical temper of men who do not really believe in new things unless they have been seen to work well” FEHR & TYRAN’S STRATEGIC SUBSTITUTABILITY 33. To succeed, the country does not need every one to shed their cynicism. Our best hope lies in the last sentence of Machiavelli’s Prob l em – “unless they have been seen to work well”. To produce that result, a small share of rational individuals may generate an aggregate positive outcome in a manner disproportionate to their individual contribution . Tha t is how Kagame is changing Rwanda. That is how Liu Kwan Yiu changed Singapore. That is how Jerry Rawlings Changed Ghana. That is how Donald Trump is changing the US. strategic substitutability, a minority of rational agents may suffice to generate aggrega te outcomes consistent with the predictions of rational models . 34. These mass of individuals , by their actions and results , wield and disproportionately influence access to social, cultural, symbolic and economic capital . Symbols matter. To succeed, we need to s et standards and police ourselves well . We should “ Trust, but Verify. Sanction or Reward ” . We should give a positive outlook to things. For example, we should stop being “ Anti ” something and be “ Pro ” something . Instead of Anti - corruption Commission, Let’s have Integrity and Accountability Commission. When we are against something, it breeds resistance. When we are for something positive it signals surrender. 35. It is this belief system, the belief that results are what will cu r e ou r cynicism that underlies the revolution that is happening in the fight against corruption. We can
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