By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
“A human is human because of other humans”, says a Bantu adage. How true for President Ernest Bai Koroma who needs his compatriots’ empathy and support at this defining time of his Presidency; despite he is the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone with enormous Executive powers.
Though some might want to borrow the clichéd line from William Shakespeare that “unease lies the head that wears the crown”, so he it is who should or expected to shoulder every Sierra Leonean’s burden(s) because he is the Fountain of Honour; but there are times when even the crown wearer needs the backing and responsiveness of those for whose benefits and welfare he was crowned. That again holds true for President Ernest Bai Koroma at this moment of Sierra Leone’s chequered history.
And though “destiny chooses only a few”, if I should quote a Hollywoodian (take that as another One Dropian dropped word?) saying; even the chosen few need the support and backing of the “Commonweal” at many times in the course and cause of the chosen callings. That is why the President might be keeping his fears about the annihilation of the current Ebola epidemic to himself but he is, definitely, trying all he can to share his courage with grassroots as seen in his recent provincial tours.
His provincial tours are a sort of morale boosters to those who have been greatly affected by the Ebola epidemic outside the capital Freetown; telling them by his actions that he cares and that he shares their grief and loss. Those provincial tours are also sending messages of hope and courage to those who are only seeing hopelessness and the abyss in their current circumstances. And those tours are telling his trenchant critics that he is not an arm-chair-air-condition President but a hands-on one who is not afraid to leave the creature comforts of his ivory State House and State Lodge to foray into the frontlines as the “People’s President”. As the Commander-in-Chief which is being bestowed upon him by the Constitution of Sierra Leone; he has decided to lead the battle himself: At times he is being didactic like a university professor; at times cajoling like a father who intends spoiling his children, and at times downright stern with those who want to make mincemeat of the Ebola crisis in the country.
As leadership is “the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency” (to quote Arnold H. Glasow), that is why President Koroma has been making those provincial tours because he has realized that the Ebola situation in the country is still an epidemic simply because the main problem lies with people not obeying simple health instructions and by-laws promulgated by traditional and local authorities. At a town hall meeting on Friday at the Diamond Hotel auditorium, Yengema in Kono District, eastern Sierra Leone, for example, the President noted that, “the responsibility rests with you the Paramount Chiefs, Councillors, heads of secret societies and religious leaders to ensure no new [Ebola] case emerge from your chiefdoms because you would be held responsible…”
The point President Koroma was, and still is, driving home is that he might be the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone but he needs the contributions of every foot soldier and lieutenant with the aim of writing the epilogue to the Ebola virus.
At Koinadugu District in northern Sierra Leone, also that Friday, President Koroma’s message was and still is the same: people should avoid touching and washing of corpses as a means of containing the further spread of the Ebola virus; and that his compatriots should be disciplined enough to obey law and order as there is still a State of Public Health Emergency in the country. It is here that the Bantu adage, “a human is human because of other humans”, which I intro-ed in the intro of this One Dropian dropping, comes into play.
Indeed, “a human is human because of other humans”. By reminding his compatriots that to save humanity they need to behave like humans by obeying law and order coupled with the non-touching of Ebola-nized corpses, President Koroma is trying to be human and realistic like any human being who means well for other humans and wants to protect humanity.
That is why I am appealing to all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of tribe and political affiliation, to come together and give President Ernest Bai Koroma the necessary support he needs so that the Ebola virus could be defeated in the shortest possible time. At a time like this, the President needs everyone’s support. You and I could make a whole lot of difference. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until you are called. Join the train now and save Mama Salone from extinction!