Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 December 2014
And as they look to the New Year with hope of a better future, the focus is on performance improvement and change, rather than simply calling upon divine intervention for salvation.
According to report from State House in Freetown, president Koroma yesterday called for seven days of national fasting and prayer, in response to the continuing exponential rise in the number of Ebola victims. He has had enough.
President Koroma said that Sierra Leoneans should start the New Year by committing the nation in prayers and fasting, so that “we can have the kind of divine direction and grace that is required.”
This has provoked critics into accusing the president of trying to sub-contract his leadership duties and responsibilities to the Power above.
Sierra Leone now, more than ever, needs a strong and capable leader, not one who is quick to abdicate or sub-contract his responsibilities.
Since the start of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone in March 2014, the people of Sierra Leone have been called upon, on several occasions by the president to observe a period of national prayer and fasting. But those prayers and fasting are yet to be answered affirmatively from ABOVE.
The numbers of people contracting the virus and dying from the disease in Sierra Leone keep rising, and have surpassed those of Liberia and Guinea, whose presidents prefer to personally lead the war against the virus from the front.
The number of doctors that have died of the virus in Sierra Leone says it all – eleven. And there is a lot more the president can do to tackle the Ebola crisis in the country.
The presidential edict banning the public celebration of one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar – Christmas, and in September – the temporary cancellation of Friday Muslim prayers in order to observe a nationwide lockdown, brought displeasure from the country’s religious leaders and communities.
Yesterday, president Koroma met with representatives of the Inter-Religious Council at State House. He told them that more efforts should be put in prayers in churches and mosques across the country to end the Ebola crisis.
“We must stay engaged and deploy more resources until we reach zero new cases,” said the president, whose government has been accused of incompetence and corruption.
As the current Ebola curfew in the capital Freetown reaches its peak, with the curtailing of church attendance tonight – marking the end of 2014 and the bringing of the New Year, questions are already being asked about the effectiveness and success of the restrictions, which started on the 17th December.
Before the start of the curfew, the average daily number of confirmed new cases was about 50. This trend has continued throughout the last ten days, with no positive impact from the door to door military style operation.
It is difficult to think of any of the country’s former heads of state, who had relied so much on divine intervention to improve the well being of the people of Sierra Leone, rather than providing strong and effective leadership, as well as implement sound policies.
Since elected to office in 2007, president Koroma has continuously shown his dogged and steadfast belief in the notion that, in the absence of sound government policies, the suffering of the people can only be addressed by some kind of divine intervention.
Although Sierra Leone’s GDP had been growing prior to Ebola – driven almost exclusively by iron ore mining, poverty, lawlessness, serious crime and long term unemployment remain intolerably high, prompting president Koroma on several occasions throughout 2010 – 2013, to declare days of national prayer and fasting for divine intervention.
Is ANYONE up there listening to the president?
The truth is, monies meant for development and improvement of the country’s health infrastructure, have mostly gone into the pockets of ministers and public officials.
Then came 2014. Ebola arrived in Sierra Leone with a vengeance, having visited the shores of neighbouring Guinea and Liberia with dire consequences.
Whilst president Koroma and his ministers were pussyfooting around the question of whether Ebola was real or not, the virus was very busy embedding itself in poor communities across the country, leaving thousands dead.
This prompted the wife of the president to issue a video recording, in which she called for divine intervention to cleanse the land and forgive the sins of the people.
But Ebola proved its pagan credentials and refused to be defeated. The number of new cases kept rising, along with a growing list of doctors and nurses killed by the virus.
Does ANYONE up there really care about the pronouncements, edicts and calls for divine intervention from those occupying State House?
Or is the ONE up above simply saying: “Stop calling me each time you have a problem. I created you with a brain Mr. President – use it?”
Did someone once say that there is a vast difference between selling insurance on the streets of Freetown and successfully running a country of six million people?
Best wishes for 2015 to all the readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph. God bless.