Is The Hale And Hearty President Bio Sick?
By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
It is very easy for a hale and hearty man to feign sickness if he doesn’t want to go to work or do something which he doesn’t want to do. But it will be difficult for a sick man to pretend that he is as fit as a fiddle because the body organs have their way of revealing their true statuses.
And the manner in which most Sierra Leoneans convey messages, most of the time, might tell you where s/he was born and bred. For most Temnes and Mendes from, and in, the provinces, when a Paramount Chief dies; they will tell you that he is seriously ill. But for “Kontri Pipul” like us who were born, bred, and educated in Freetown; we have a forthright way of conveying messages.
If a man is sick; we say he is. And if he dies; we say so in a disrobed manner!So, those of us who know some people that know some people who know some people at both State House and State Lodge knew that the Commander-In-Chief was not as hale and hearty as most, if not all, of his so-called media experts were presenting him to be.
After the President’s 14-day self-isolation in April 2020, which he had taken “as a precaution after one of his bodyguards tested positive for COVID-19” (according to the BBC reporter Umaru Fofana), some of us began to notice the Head of State’s gaits and the laboured manner he was delivering his speeches. We knew that those were traits that didn’t portray the fitness of a fiddle!But because the President’s so-called media experts were sort of acting a Nollywood movie; some of us decided to become actors and actresses.
Yea, William Shakespeare notes that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women [Sierra Leoneans] merely players…” (“As You Like It”) Why not? If high-profiled government functionaries were play-acting; we the lesser mortals too should partake in the play-acting by pretending that the Fountain of Honour was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!So, when we were told by State House that President Bio would be going to Lebanon “on a private visit”, some of us “knew that cunning had entered that talk” (to quote Achebe in “Anthill of the Savannah”).
For it was, and still is, not logical for any sane man to go on “a private visit” to a Government-less country where things, generally, were, and still are, so bad that her citizens had transformed their capital into a kind of a war zone. But when the hale and hearty President allegedly ended up being “discharged from the American University Hospital” and supposedly recovering in “a hotel”; then some of us muffled our laughter at the comic script which State House had written earlier.Why all these cloudiness surrounding the presidency?
If President Bio is sick, let his so-called media experts tell us so in plain and simple words. After all, he is just as human as any fishmonger at the Dove Cot Market and he could get sick like any of them. What was so difficult in State House telling us that the President would be going to Lebanon for medical treatment?
Former President Ernest Bai Koroma used to go to Germany for his annual routine medical check-ups, and the then State House Communications Unit always told the nation so in Press Releases.But in the case of President Bio everything appears to be a sort of a secret society. Has the President been afflicted with an ailment which his so-called media experts are scared to let the nation know about? Is there more to the “private visit to the Republic of Lebanon” than what is now being dished out in piecemeal? Do the so-called media specialists at State House know that a cockerel can be owned by a single household but its voice is owned by the entire community? Do they know that both in sickness and in good health; President Bio is the Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone so citizens have the right to know everything about him apart from what goes on in that “other room” (to quote President Muhammadu Buhari) at State Lodge?
We the lesser mortals of, and in, Sierra Leone are now concerned about the sudden secrecy surrounding President Bio’s “private visit” to Lebanon. And we have never known the so-called media specialists surrounding the presidency to be opaque in their propagandistic comedies! When the Head of State was “remarrying” the First Lady (with all the emphases in capital letters!) in the Catholic faith; the nation witnessed a pomp that was reminiscent of the Lady Diana-Prince Charles-like wedding ceremony in Britain. During the Commander-in-Chief’s last birthday, videos surfaced on a million-and-one WhatsApp fora in which the “first family” (to quote Yusuf Keketoma Sandi) was gleefully cutting an expensive birthday cake at State Lodge. And about two months ago, a video was shared on many WhatsApp groups in which the First Lady and the First Gentleman were seen driving a new toy in what appeared to be a farm.
But all we are now getting from his “private visit to the Republic of Lebanon” are bland messages that only make sense to mad people at the Kissy asylum.If President Bio’s “private visit to the Republic of Lebanon” is for him to seek medical treatment, let us know so that we can offer our prayers for his speedy recovery. We could ask the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone to organise nationwide all-night prayers for our Head of State. Or even the Traditional Healers could be contacted if the need arises.
The President’s health is equally of concern to many citizens as his policies.As Franklin Pierce Adams, the American columnist who was well known for his good sense of humour, once said, “[Good] Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year”. Indeed, this September, which the Government of President Bio has declared “a month of delivery”, could only be the best time of the year if the President is hale and hearty.