Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 April 2021:
Junior doctors across Sierra Leone yesterday decided to go on strike after a female colleague doctor – Dr. Catherine Jackson-Cole was assaulted by senior government offcials in the ministry of health.
Dr Catherine Jackson-Cole was pounced upon at a peaceful protest organised by health workers at the country’s main Connaught Hospital in Freetown, where cleaners have refused to clean hospital wards leading to uncollected rubbish strewn across the hospital.
The hospital cleaners say they have not been paid their salary by the government for the past twelve months.
Dr catherine Jackson-Cole said she was trying to take photos of the protest when senior government officials – including the Chief Medical Officer pounced on her, trying to grab hold of her phone when she got injured.
Writing in a statement released yesterday this is what the Junior Doctors Association said:
The minister of health – Dr Demby, is calling on staff at the hospital and all doctors to return to work while investigations into the assault on Dr Jackson-Cole as well as the issue of unpaid cleaners are investigated.
In another development yesterday, the female student protester – Fatmata Binta Bah who was beaten, stripped and arrested by police at a peaceful protest at IPAM, has been denied bail by police. She is being kept behind bars along with other protesters.
Writing on Twitter, this is what the former President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association – Bassita Michael said:
I personally believe that most critical thinking voters in Sierra Leone and the international community will be scratching their heads and wondering – How politics has become so toxic in our beloved country to the extent that even doctors that are supposed to be saving lives during this Pandemic are now engrossed in cheap politics. President “Talk and do” Bio made his first proclamation at the national stadium immediately when he was elected that he believes that “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. So he instructed his Finance Minister Mr. Jacob Safffa to immediately finance his MONTHLY CLEANING project which cost at least Le 3 Billions every month. Fortunately for almost 3 years, our “darling” Mayor of Freetown Mrs Yvonne Aki- Sawyer decided to collaborate with the opposition party by first avoiding the destructive APC party office in order to restore Freetown to its past glory as one of the cleanest in our region.
I even suspect that there was negotiations between the local government and the New Direction government to convert the monthly cleaning money (Le 3 billion) for daily cleaning during the pandemic. Lives and properties have been saved because of the flood mitigation program and less mosquitoes which causes malaria. Even used hazardous materials like needles and syringes from the Connaught Hospital which were seen on the shores of our beautiful beaches immediately disappeared. My point is that no one should question President Bio’s commitment on cleaning. Unfortunately 3 years later, Mayor Yvonne Aki- Sawyer decided to return to the destructive APC party office to launch her campaign for party symbol for 2022 local elections, and suddenly cleaning has once again been politicized.
I hope and pray that our young doctors will continue to honor their OATH of SAVING LIVES rather than playing Paparazzi politics with the lives of our citizens. Since Coronavirus is still killing people around the world, I also believe that they should be focused and continue to collaborate with NACOVERC to save lives and livelihoods, and convince our citizens to take the available Vaccines.
Papanii, there is nothing you can do to those you claimed to have identified. It’s a threat, and no one is afraid of it.
My honest opinion about the Connaught hospital incident is for the government to immediately establish an investigation committee to bring perpetrators to Justice. We hope that government will immediately look into the issue of payment of wages to the cleaners, they have families and needs to attend to, they are humans and need to be treated as such.
With regards the IPAM incident, it’s like the SLP needs reformation, we are tired of the brutal behavior of some police personnel. Also, it’s high time citizens of this country put stopped to this madness of taking the law into their hands. If a peaceful protest are to be staged with the permission and guidance of the SLP, such brutal maltreatment cannot happen. But it’s dishearten to see people protesting in Mama Salone not for a just course, rather their may be politician at the back scene trying to gain political advantage at the detriment of the innocents.
God will some day help the people of Mama Salone to positively work on their mindsets & attitudes. Only through these we will experience a peaceful coexistence and achieve national development.
This is a mischievous article not meant to educate people but to as usual project smear campaign for your paid pipers.
Mr Dukulay – please note that the Sierra Leone Telegraph has never and will never accept funds from any political party or politician. We are an independent newspaper providing news, analysis and commentary on issues affecting the people of Sierra Leone. If you dont like what you see and read here, please exit quietly. Thank you.
Mr Kef Dukulay, if you ever wonder why our country is so backwards, where ten uniform police felt they are entitled to beat up Ms Fatima Bah for protesting for not get her results. And a member of Bio’s government beating up a medical doctor. I wonder in the court of public opinion is this your own contribution to issues affecting Sierra Leonean women beaten up by Sierra Leone police officers, and stripped naked. And despite the overwhelming video evidence, you’ve got the brass neck to say its political opportunitism. I wonder if that was your sister or family member, you will come on this forum to make such ridiculous statement.
I hope what happens to Dr Cole and Ms Bah never happen to your family members. I don’t think you will take such position. Your mentality epitomises every thing that has gone wrong in Sierra Leone. You seem to be wedded in the principles, anything that doesn’t affect you or the politicians you support is a fair play. Good luck with that. Misogynist behaviour whether its by Bio or Joe Bloogs is unacceptable in our country. You need to educate yourself more on how women are threated like sub-humans in our country.
Today its two females assaulted by Bio’s unruly minister and trigger happy police officers. Next time will be your family members or friends. We need to condemn Bio and his government. Hands off our girls, what does that mean in today’s Bio’s Sierra Leone? I wonder what their patron saint Fatima Bio make of it all. Dr Martin Luther king Jr said “There comes a time when one must take a position that is niether safe, nor politic, no popular, but must take it because conscience tells him it is right”. And that moment of truth has finally arrived for all right thinking Sierra Leoneans that are interested in justice and fair play. The idea of the civil society, the Catholic Church, Islamic organisations, human rights groups can sit on the fence and see which way the winds are blowing doesn’t apply anymore.
The assault on citizens’ rights that started with Bio’s inauguration as president of our country that to some extent is still trying to find it feets after the horrors of eleven years of civil war, and all that hard won peace, have once again been squandered by his government. By repeating the same mistakes that brought us the RUF war. For those of us who lost loved ones in that senseless war, it will be an unmitigated disaster if we allow this rotten government to take us back to those horrors in which more than fifty thousand people lost their lives. We live in a rough neighbourhood. Any sensible government in Africa will try by all means to avoid policies that trigger such upheavals in their country.
When we had the RUF war, we didn’t have these Freelance jihadists that are now holding most of our West African and other neighbouring countries as hostages. Nigeria, Niger, Buokina Fasso, Mali, Cameron, Libya, Chad, Somalia and recently Mozambique. And all these wars are started by people whose governments have failed them. So when these Islamic State terrorists come knocking they have willing partners. Bio needs to stop his assault on our democracy. We call on the British and the Biden administration that have professed to have an ethical foreign policy, based on respect for human rights, to start imposing travel bans and freezing of assets of Bio and some of his ministers. If you can do it on Myanmar military dictatorship, the same rules should apply to Bio’s government. The British and American governments know which people qualify for these sanctions.
A sorry state and we have identified six senior police officers who are derailing the gains of the police institution all these years. To these officers I say: you will surely have your days in court. The damage you are inflicting to this nation is irreversible to say the least. The judiciary side, we have identified two to three lawyers/judges, who have almost dragged this nation to war again through injustice. So much work for the oncoming administration.