Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 September 2014
Is it me or what? I mean from indications, most of our political leaders are obviously a genre of those who missed the last bus to the real world.
It shows, not only in their crass utterances but also in the government’s cyclical political stunt of attempting to pull rabbits out of the hat when it doesn’t even have a hamster.
Recent events, bizarre actions, inactions and decisions just simply raise the question of how many hard truths the administration is really ready to face given the blizzard of statistics that are evident across the land. But pride comes before a yawn; except that our brethren bear the brunt of this sleep-walk.
Sierra Leone is in a very terrible state. The people are gasping in palpable fear. The political establishment has completely failed them and even the incurable optimist is beginning to wonder why things are going from bad to worse.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 September 2014
There was pandemonium in the central district of the capital Freetown this evening, when a madman fully dressed in a brightly coloured Ebola protective wear and goggles ran amok, sending market women and shoppers running for their lives.
Freetown is tense, and all it takes is the irrational behaviour of one mad individual to bring chaos to the streets of the capital.
Ebola is no longer a joking matter. People are dropping like flies; dead bodies lying in the streets uncollected; doctors and nurses working without pay, and without proper protective wear.
But a madman was able to get hold of his own personal protective wear, with which he succeeded in scaring the lives out of commuters and shoppers in the streets of Freetown. What is happening to Sierra Leone? What is happening to governance?
Indeed the whole country is now on a knife edge, as the number of Ebola infected cases rise with alarming speed, especially in the capital Freetown and the northern district of Port Loko.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 September 2014
After several days of desperate, frantic efforts and pleas for president Koroma to spend some of the vast amount of money that he and his wife have collected from private donations, as well as from international aid to save the life of Sierra Leone’s first female doctor to contract the Ebola virus, she is now confirmed dead.
Rather than dig deep into their moral conscience and do what is right, State House instead had chosen to sit and watch Dr. Buck die, just as they presided over the death of Dr. Khan, Dr. Modupe Cole, and Dr. Rogers – four of Sierra Leone’s finest handful of doctors.
History will not judge president Koroma kindly, nor will the people of Sierra Leone ever forget the fact that he has now become known as the weakest and most docile of presidents, to ever occupy State House.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 September 2014
Most economic commentators have always argued that Sierra Leone’s economy has been and still is too fragile and narrow to withstand any national crisis of the magnitude that is being witnessed today.
Since the end of the war in 2001, which devastated the country’s infrastructure and industries, economic growth has been largely driven by the mining, construction and agricultural sectors, which saw GDP rose from zero to an annual average of 5% between 2003 and 2008.
But in 2011 came a huge surge in iron ore exports, following massive investments by African Minerals and London Mining Ltd.
As mining production rose, so too did GDP, from an annual average of 5% to a high of 15% by 2012.
Although the 2008/2009 global economic downturn slowed down global industrial production, yet China’s appetite for raw materials, such as iron ore did not wane, and this benefitted Sierra Leone immensely.
Sierra Leone’s GDP growth trajectory has maintained its course fairly well, though a slow down and possible decline was forecasted for 2015.
But it seems Ebola has now brought forward the economic meltdown that many had feared, predicated upon government’s failure to build a diverse economy, strong enough to withstand a national crisis.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2014
Report from Freetown says that Dr. Olivette Buck, who works at the Lumley Hospital in the western area of the capital Freetown, has contracted the deadly Ebola virus.
Dr Buck is said to be very sick, but currently stable, though doctors are anxious about her prognosis, as the international community have so far failed to attempt to save the life of every single doctor that has contracted the virus in Sierra Leone.
Three senior doctors have been left to die – Dr. Khan, Dr. Modupe Cole, and Dr. Rogers.
Friends, colleagues and family members of Dr. Buck are working frantically to get WHO to help fly Dr. Buck out of Sierra Leone, so that she can receive treatment in Hamburg, where a hospital is willing to treat her.
But Dr. Buck’s family are desperately trying to raise the cost of her treatment, which is believed to be in the region of 300,000 Euros.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2014
As Sierra Leone prepares for a complete closing down of business for three days – starting Friday, 19th September, the international community is now stepping up support for the health agencies and the ministry of health in tackling the Ebola virus.
Latest official report shows that over 1,300 people have contracted the virus and almost 500 dead in Sierra Leone, as health agencies struggle to contain the spread of the disease.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation yesterday announced that it will commit $50 million to support the scale up of emergency efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and interrupt transmission of the virus.
The foundation will immediately release flexible funds to United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the response to enable them and national governments to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries.
In addition, the foundation will work with public and private sector partners to accelerate the development of therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating patients and preventing further transmission of the disease.