Lansana Fofanah: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 March 2021:
Demonstrating leadership by example, the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, Julius Maada Bio, his Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, and key government officials are among the first Sierra Leoneans to take the first dose of newly arrived Coronavirus vaccines.
This was after the government had engaged development partners on Friday 12th March 2021 on plans for a nationwide rollout of the vaccines.
The Deputy Leader and Chairman of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party – Minkailu Mansaray, and Secretary-General – Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, were also among those taking the vaccine at State House on Monday 15th March 2021.
Taking his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, President Bio noted that it would be unwise for his leadership to ask Sierra Leoneans to be vaccinated during the planned nationwide exercise, without him first taking the lead.
President Bio went ahead to allay the fears of Sierra Leoneans by assuring them that the vaccines are safe and called on everyone to take the vaccine.
What caught the eyes of many was the proactive move by senior opposition politicians – Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh (Photo above), Minkailu Mansaray, and Alhaji Alpha Kanu of the APC to endorse the vaccination roll-out programme at State House, even though they represent the main opposition – All Peoples Congress (APC) Party.
Their decision to take the vaccine led to criticisms and social media bashing from some members of their party, who believe that the fight against Covid should be left to the current government.
Such unpatriotic thinking should never be allowed to breathe in our political space, for Sierra Leone has grown above hate and bad politics.
Since the outbreak of the covid pandemic in 2019, the Government of President Bio never considered the Corona fight a one-man show, but a collective responsibility of everyone; a reason he appointed Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu (Photo) of the opposition APC as Strategic Adviser Social Mobilization & Food Security at the National Coronavirus Centre (NaCOVERC).
Interestingly, this is not the first time our leaders are coming together to put aside their political differences for the collective good of the nation.
In 2014, the outbreak of Ebola was challenging, but those challenges were overcome due to the collective responsibility of the then APC government and the active participation of members of the main opposition – the Sierra Leone Peoples Party at the time.
With nationalistic and patriotic thinking, President Bio and team were seen traversing the length and breadth of the country, taking the message of Ebola to hard-reached areas. This made the fight against Ebola a success story in the strongholds of President Bio at the time.
Now that Government is planning to embark on a nationwide vaccination, traditional leaders, civil societies, and political parties should call on their constituents to emulate the bold and encouraging steps of Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, Minkailu Bah, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, to get vaccinated.
A collective approach to the fight against Coronavirus is all that Sierra Leone needs.