CONTEMPORARY ISSUES: THE DISSEMBLERS

THE DISSEMBLERS

 Dissemble: vb, 1: to hide under or put on a false appearance: to conceal fact, intentions or feelings under some pretense; 2: to lie, and to be a dissembler is to be a perfect, natural monumental liar, the sort that will hide under any guise to achieve his real aims.

Mere lying is bad enough in itself. It is a wicked art we sometimes take for granted. However, dissembling is a more exacting science. As we all know, it is far better to tell the truth; but the truth often comes with consequences we are not ready to confront. So, whilst a liar lies to save what he thinks to be a good reputation (and you can tell a liar by several subconscious mannerisms-a twitch of the eyelids, a brief hesitation, unnecessary sighs etc); the dissembler actually builds both his personality and his reputation on lies. Let's take an example:

The question of bribery and corruption. Nigeria holds the dubious distinction of being the world's most corrupt country. We are told (and do we really need to be told) that the extremely high level of official corruption drives away development which can only come through direct foreign investment. One of the most puritanical purveyors of the anticorruption campaign is the United States. In fact by virtue of its foreign corruption practices Act of 1997 American companies involved in corruption abroad may be criminally punished at home. Same for foreign employees of American companies, such goodness, such sanctimonious goodness.

But look closer, The FCPA cleverly exempts from its definition of corruption facilitation payments for routine governmental action: which means that certain classes of bribery are okay in foreign lands if they facilitate routine governmental action. In other words, "egunje" is not bribery! Are you surprised that Kenneth lay the disgraced president of the now bankrupt Enron, America's biggest (and some would say most corrupt) energy corporation was one of the largest donors to Mr Bush's presidential campaign? What lessons are we to learn from that?

Dissembling is also a global act, you see. And on the global scene, it is also a grand exacting science. You note for instance how foreign aid is always tied to good governance, transparency, etc. such goodness, our sainted benefactors always know better what is good for us that is why they seek to shape even our thoughts. But look closer, the world Bank's latest world Development Report notes that "it is now widely accepted that corruption are associated with lower growth and lower levels of per capita income"

Read that again. The dissemblers just gave themselves away. The logic is unassailable but for them, bribery is not (as for us) an ethical or moral issue. It is simply a balance sheet issue. A matter of competitive disadvantage; an issue of simple economics, which means that corruption would be alright if it didn't have such deleterious effects, just a way of making more money. Maybe that is why the finest banks of the developed world fall over themselves to help save billions of dollars in secret personal accounts operated by prominent, salaried government officials. They are not aiding corruption, you see, only profiting from it. After all, when the corrupt liars die or are overthrown and disgraced the dissemblers get to inherit the loot with accommodated interest!

Let's take a final example closer home. Did you jubilate when you heard that Nigeria had severed ties with the IMF? We all know that the IMF uncompromisingly pursues micro-economic policies which only serve to make the people of the client-states much poorer. That it always insists on fewer government employees, less government spending on education or healthcare privatization etc so we must jubilate and commend our government for its bravery and public mindedness. Yes? Well think again.

General elections are about a year away, and your government needs to do something to justify the last three years of waste, inefficiency and the air-headedness of the political elite. They have to spend, to lavish some democracy dividends on you so as to be assured of your vote. They need to spend on ill-planned white elephant projects to sway your mind and try to blot out your memories of their non-performance. That is why the executive presented an unrealistic budget of N880 billion and the legislature in their true nature raised it to a dreamy N1.06 trillion Naira (Don't forget that the legislature is the only class of officials whose true earnings nobody but themselves know.).

As you wonder what difference those trillions and billions will make on your life (IMF or no IMF), shouldn't you just say away with all dissemblers?

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited