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.
For a head of state to be weak, docile and inept is one thing, but to lose that one critical leadership quality that sets heroes apart from the chaffs, is something else.
And that something else can only be described in two words: immorality and hubris.
All that the family, friends, colleagues and the entire nation were asking for, was for president Koroma to undo the moral wrong he committed against Doctors Khan, Cole, and Rogers, by leaving them for dead in woefully inadequate conditions at the Kailahun Ebola treatment centre, where so many – including nurses and other health workers have died and are still dying today. (Photo: A president shamed by his own conduct).
What kind of a president chooses to lead from the back, abdicating their sacred responsibility to save life by conveniently delegating and subcontracting key decisions to so called presidential task force and other committees?
Clearly, those who in 2007 believed that Ernest Koroma was unfit to take up the mantle of state leadership, have been painfully vindicated. They were right, and the people of Sierra Leone have now discovered that they have been shortchanged.
What kind of a president would collect donations from citizens and private corporations, amounting to millions of dollars to help fight this deadly Ebola, and failed to dig into the coffers to pay $100,000 needed to airlift Dr. Buck to a hospital in Germany for treatment?
This is what the government’s media told the world on Friday: “Arrangements are being made to send her to another country for better treatment, said Health Ministry spokesman Sidie Yahya Tunis without specifying further.” (Source: Cocorioko News).
Why did the government lie to the family and people of Sierra Leone that they were going to fly Dr. Buck to Germany for treatment, knowing full well they had no intention of doing so?
Can president Koroma ever be trusted?
What kind of a leader would allow dozens of Ebola sick citizens to die, and their bodies left on street corners to rot?
What kind of a leader would order all citizens of the nation to remain behind closed doors for three days – 19th – 21st September, only to then announce last Friday, that the country’s airport and seaport will however remain opened?
Is this a confused president or what? When is a nationwide lockdown not a lockdown Mr. president?
What kind of president would allow his ministers to announce that the lives of those citizens, unfortunate enough to contract the Ebola virus – a mere 0.02% of the population and hence insignificant?
What kind of president would allow his ministers to announce that there are no dead bodies left on street corners, rather than apologise to the people of Sierra Leone for their serious failings, in managing this Ebola crisis and take steps to ensure that dead bodies are promptly collected from homes?
The people of Sierra Leone are now fully aware of the president’s inability to show leadership and moral backbone when it matters most. And few will regret seeing his early departure from State House.
What kind of a president celebrates, with so many of his people living in filth and squalor?
Money donated and funds remitted to the government through international aid, is now making a few people in the government very rich, whilst doctors, nurses, health ancillary workers and Ebola burial teams, continue to work without pay and without adequate protective wear – six months after the arrival of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
Last week, the government announced a new enhanced pay package for doctors, nurses, health workers, and burial teams, which everyone believed was generous and sensible. But little did the undiscerning public know that it was all a big con, simply aimed at quelling the unrest that was fast developing.
But today, there are reports of health workers in treatment centres and hospitals across the country, laying down their aprons and refusing to turn up for work.
This developing situation is dangerous and likely to accelerate the number dying from the Ebola virus, which now stands at more than 500.
The people of Sierra Leone are now faced with their worst nightmare – a government that has not only lost its moral compass, but increasingly losing its legitimacy to govern.
Afterall, its their hard earned cash, and it is their prerogative to choose who, what and where they spend their money.
But one thing is certain. It is not the prerogative of president Koroma to choose not to save the life of any of his citizens.
President Koroma is not the lord of the manor in Sierra Leone. He was elected by the majority of people of Sierra Leone to promote the wellbeing of the nation, protect and improve quality of life of all citizens.
Today, it is clear that president Koroma and his government have, after seven long years in power, become a law unto themselves and the masters of the people, rather than their servants.
His government has woefully failed the people of Sierra Leone.
Corruption in high places and across the seat of government, smells to high heavens, as monies meant for promoting economic development and job creation, education, health, provision of clean and safe drinking water, electricity and good standard of sanitation are being squandered.
Make no mistake, the world is watching developments in Sierra Leone. But as they watch, thousands are sadly and unnecessarily going to die in the coming months of Ebola and other diseases.
First it was the evil men of wanting violence – the RUF rebels, who presided over a senseless ten year war, and an APC government impotent to stop them, that took the lives of 200,000 people.
Today, its a deadly virus – Ebola, which could have been prevented – but for the inept, corrupt and moral bankruptcy of those in power, that more than 10,000 citizens of Sierra Leone – like Dr. Olivette Buck, Dr. Khan, Dr. Cole, Dr. Rogers; nurses – Nancy, Hajara, and Georgia, are going to die, by April 2015.
President Koroma must bear full responsibility for the death of every single one of those citizens, due to the appalling mismanagement of the Ebola crisis, the worst of which is yet to come.
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