An open letter to the father of Sierra Leone – president Julius Maada Bio

Femi Claudius Cole: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 May 2020:

We waited with anticipation for your address to the nation, as we hoped you would somehow make us feel better and hopeful as we all struggle with the Corona virus pandemic. You spoke to us and we are grateful, but we did not feel your fatherly embrace.

You spoke of Covid-19 but said nothing to health workers on the frontline who are endangering themselves and their families, who in some cases are ostracized from their communities. They are scared but still working, taking care of patients. Nothing to the sick who are too scared to go to hospital. They are afraid they will be “arrested” and taken into quarantine centers where living conditions are poor, food is inadequate, and where the risk of catching Covid is high.

You, Sir, could have allayed their fears reassuring them that quarantine is for the safety of us all. Nothing to those whose loved ones die and cannot be buried with all their loved ones and family and friends present. We acknowledge it is a pandemic, but words of sympathy would have been comforting to hear.

Nothing of thanks to mortuary staff and burial teams as they handle dead bodies. You could have cautioned them to handle all cases with compassion, and not use the distress and desperation of families for monetary gain.

Nothing to the traders whose produce are rotting as they are unable to get them to the markets due in some cases to delay and corruption at check points. This then impacts prices of commodities for us all.

Nothing to the school and college children whose education is being interrupted?  No words of advice to them, their parents and their teachers encouraging them to study at home, to listen to the learning programs on the radio? Nothing on the status of their upcoming exams, BECE and WASCE? Nothing to the young girls and boys on sexual and intimate partner violence, rape and teenage pregnancy?

Nothing to the hundreds that have been laid off, house helps, nannies, drivers, shop workers and many others.

Nothing to business owners whose businesses are closed in fear of spreading the virus?

Nothing of thanks to our men and women in uniform as they strive to maintain law and order?

Nothing of sympathy to the families left grieving when they die in carrying out their duties? Nothing to remind them that they are a “FORCE FOR GOOD” and to be fair and empathetic as they discharge their duties? Nothing to the families of the guilty and to the innocent?

Nothing to the transporters as they see their income shrink due to passenger no restrictions. Nothing to the hundreds of commuters struggling for transportation at the end of the day, trying to get home in time for curfew? Nothing to those unscrupulous market /shop traders who hike prices as soon as a lockdown is announced?

Nothing to those who feel they should not comply with wearing a mask in public and wear it properly. No advise to them sir??

Nothing to our young people who are jobless, hopeless and see no future for themselves?  No words of chastisement, encouragement and advice to stay away from drugs and cheap and easily available alcohol, and to avoid being used by desperate politicians, and to be protectors not destroyers of their community?

Nothing of thanks to those in the EOC who are working tirelessly to get Covid under control with so many challenges; no cautioning them to spend our tax Leones with transparency and accountability?

Nothing to all the Banks, associations, companies and private individuals who are donating in big and small ways to assist the government in the fight against Covid 19?

We know Covid-19 is a global problem. We can only fight and win, if we fight together. Casting political blame is not the way to go Mr. President, our enemy is just too vicious, it has no respect for anything and anyone, and “WE” are all at risk.

We must all play our part, it will be uncomfortable and painful but we have to “bia”. We MUST and we WILL defeat Covid-19.

We need our first couple to give us hope and inspiration as we navigate the effects of this pandemic.

The possibility remains that more lockdowns may be inevitable. As our infection rate increases so does the possibility that people may have to self-isolated in their own homes. Therefore, we must prepare the population to ensure compliance and cooperation.

Embrace us Mr. President –“SOFT WORDS SOFTENS ANGER”. This is not the time for a war cry. You are our duly elected President we must respect – not fear you.

About the author

Femi Claudius Cole is the Chairman and  Leader of the opposition Unity Party in Sierra Leone.

7 Comments

  1. Femi Claudius Cole should be given a prominent role in this COVID19 fight. She knows what the problems are and how they can be tackled. Well done for spelling out what we expected from our dear president.

    I read that a medical doctor Dr Samuel Seisay passed away yesterday due to Coronavirus. May his soul rest in peace. Now that medical doctors have started dying, you know that this is a very serious danger already in the country.

    I hear traders are crossing the border into Guinea to buy goods and then cross back into Sierra Leone straight to the markets. Why are the borders still so fluid? I also notice that citizens at least in Freetown are aware of the use of face masks, but it is worn underneath the chin!!! What nonsense. The face mask is not a fashion statement. It has a very protective purpose and needs to be worn properly and responsibly, covering the nose and mouth, all the time, whenever out of the house.

    I saw a video of a funeral sometime last week. It was so full, people so close jowl to cheek. There was no social distancing. The Bio government should be firm and enforce the guidelines they had set – which is maximum 20 people at funerals and weddings. If this is not done, then the battle against COVID19 will be difficult to win.

  2. Madam Cole said it all, the absolute truth. President Bio’s bad governance approach is killing Sierra Leone slowly. The last time immediately when he took over, he talked on BBC that Sierra Leone’s economy is zero, failing to understand that no business team would take their cash to a country where there is no money. Another time, Bio said Sierra Leone is a rape country; that there were rampant rape cases in Sierra Leone to the extent that he had to naively declare the country a rape State of Emergencymergency.

    Since then you would all remember, no investors have ventured into the country. The few ones that were there folded business quickly and ran away. Now again he has branded Sierra Leoneans as terrorists. So investors will just keep running away from such a country. As there is no export done, when will the economy stop going down? Even Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia who is 20 years younger than Bio would not make such appalling speeches because he has common sense and uses it well.

    His predecessors never won a Nobel Prize, but Abiy Ahmed has won it due to his good leadership when he took over governance.
    When will Bio qualify to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize when he has no clue on how to build peace in the nation he leads?

  3. Mr. Fatorma Gabba, I personally welcome you to this glorious forum where according to the rules and guidelines- You have the right to express your opinion freely and respectfully. So please don’t feel intimidated by some of our diehard APC supporters.

  4. Mr. Young4na, I’m going to take the high road by answering your questions respectfully, because during this trying time, the lockdown can affect people mentally so I give you the benefit of the doubt. First don’t misquote me, my statement started with “ Some Sierra Leoneans . Secondly, please listen to the video clip of the presidential address one more time and direct that question to your lifetime leader of your APC party because the burden of proof is upon him. Please ask him to admit or deny these accusations.
    I hope you are having a good day.

    • How ludicrous can someone else be? The characteristics of a typical propagandist on full display here? Making up countless unsubstantiated claims, faced with the facts, and demands answers, all we get is deflection and dodging. Please Mr. Fallay, don’t ask me to ask EBK for answers. You known darn well he didn’t fabricate those claims. You and your demigods did. So you either validate them or cease to propagate such falsehood. Seriously, it portrays you in a bad light, you can do better.

  5. One day the truth will be revealed on the things that are hiding. For men will render an account for every careless word you uttered. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.God will bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or it be evil (Eccl 12:14). He or she who is righteous let him or her remain righteous. And the filthy, let them remain filthy. But one is sure, the wicked will NOT go unpunished.

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