The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 August 2014
Unconfirmed reports from Sierra Leone yesterday said that the trade and industry minister – Usu Boie Kamara has died. Still there is no official statement from State House to clarify the story.
Sierra Leone is the only country in the world where a government minister will be urgently flown out of the country on a private jet the nation can ill-afford, without accountability to the peple.
Whether the minister is critically ill in London or not, State House owes it to the people to let them know what happened so as to stop speculations.
Everyone in the country is in fear of ebola and will be forgiven to believe that any health emergencies involving a minister being urgently flown abroad, is ebola related.
Why was Dr. Modupe Cole not flown out of the country on a private jet for treatment elsewhere, even to Liberia whose president has the common sense of phoning president obama to request the ebola drug now being used in Liberia?
Why was Dr. Khan not offered the same luxury of being flown out on a jet plane?
Are some lives more precious than others in Sierra Leone?
In a separate development, there is growing concern in Freetown and overseas about the welfare of the family of Dr. Modupe Cole, who are still being locked up indoors for almost a week – with armed soldiers posted outside, since Dr. Cole was removed to the Kailahun Ebola centre where he was pronounced dead yesterday.
Members of the Cole family living at the doctor’s residence have not been tested Ebola positive, but are being kept prisoners in their own home.
Surely, there has to be a fine balance between the need to promote public health and protecting the human rights of the Cole family.
Treating them like criminals will not stem the tide of Ebola in Freetown. The government must either declare them Ebola positive and move them to a treatment centre, or give them back their freedom.
This kind of extreme action by the authorities is seriously encouraging those that are suspected of contracting the virus to go into hiding, and will not help the fight against the disease.
The arrival of ebola has really and truly tested the ability of those elected to govern Sierra Leone.
At the best of times ministers have woefully failed to manage the affairs of State.
Now with ebola, it is obvious that they cannot manage an akarra stall in big markit.
The management failures that are being witnessed must be placed squarely at the doors of State House.
The president and ministers are not a rag tag band of volunteers.
They are elected public servants who by Sierra Leone standards are being paid hefty salaries to perform their duties effectively, while doctors are being paid pittance to save lives.
This will most surely be considered by the people at the polls in 2017, or soonest.