By Unisa Kanu, Saudi Arabia
POLITICAL events in our post-independence history have clearly shown the birth of an unholy pattern. Whenever there is a systematic disintegration of law and order, and a government comes to change hands, there has always been one benefactor – the main opposition!
As we keenly watch the unfolding events over the Ebola devastation, it’s quite likely that the same pattern of misguided eventualities will be allowed to repeat in the land of Siaka Stevens’ ancestors! For anyone with a critical mind, observing the political atmosphere from a distance, Sierra Leone might as well be witnessing the making of heroes – some truly dedicated to a national cause, while others heartlessly pursuing a partisan plot!
Meanwhile, a few good men have refused to embrace the ills of destiny by doing nothing about the gross politicizing of a national disaster! Instead, they have decided to utilize the computer keyboard to explicate the plot that they perceive to have already been set in motion! Admittedly, opinions differ in content and context, but in the age of social media, an outlet is readily available to engage the beautiful minds of our compatriots! It will be up to them to analyze and a judge!
It’s quite unfortunate that the Ebola virus was to infiltrate our good society from areas of opposition stronghold! The situation was admittedly compounded by a series of administrative lapses by the Ministry of Health – particularly when we talk of the early sensitization project! True to the core, the growing numbers of fatalities as well as infected cases must be causing panic across the country! Disturbing indeed, are the incessant rumours of conspiracy theories that dwell on the mistreatment of suspected cases – including the ‘lethal’ injection! Even in some quarters, the extremist notion that Ebola virus does not even exist, is gaining currency! ……. No doubt, these are all validly challenging scenarios that can put any government anywhere on the tough spot! Indeed, this is a crunch times for tough decision-making!
Yet still, we still expect the government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to lead with those cool, calm and matured character traits that has seen him win the hearts and minds of the ordinary citizen! No one will expect his established reputation as a kind and caring statesman to be catapulted, or suffer a tailspin by NOT going into Ebola affected regions! Where fairness prevails – and I’m quite certain our society is generally fair – we simply don’t expect the established credentials of the President to go up in smoke if he had chosen to spend more extra hours in his office, dedicated more quality time in the planning process! Or perhaps, we might have to qualify the planning – PROPER planning, so to speak!
‘Or-Man!’ Let’s be frank for a minute! I can generously go along with the presidency embracing suggestions put forward by the cream of politicians that lay claim of origin from the East and Southern parts of the country, but one cannot entirely base the ensuring plan of action on their fact-finding mission alone!!! Our people cannot be technically enthused by a collection of power-hungry politicians out to capitalize on a national catastrophe! It was just too obvious that what they will end up presenting, as a unanimous decision, will be full of ‘badwill’ and thus will operate in the shades of ‘counter-productive’ realities!
‘Bit-wa!’ We’ve all seen the negative connotations that resulted from the Kenema-Kailuhun mix-up! The petrol theory lends a helping hand to the inflammatory mockery! All the goodwill of the gentle statesman has been portrayed as publicity disaster! We’ve all seen the wreckage of ridicule that is just beginning to make enticing headlines in our major media outlet!
Besides, this idea of a fan-fair, morale-boosting justification to visit disaster enclaves is more of a western import when it begins to take a propaganda dimension! No problem, playing along modern civilization! But if we are going to emulate the concept, it has to be applicable with discretional margins of limitation! A pre-diagnostic finding should have in fact conveyed to all and sundry that the high profile visit was already doomed to fail. Too many negative misconceptions were already floating in the atmosphere to deliver a healthy reception for any visiting government official to deny! Cautious minds that expressed concerns were not far off the mark!
From all indications, heroes in the making must have hatched a perfect plot in Kenema that is going largely unnoticed! But they stand to claim it afterwards, if all plans go well! For a mad woman to articulately make a serious allegation against the state, in favour of an entire Ebola-affected region, is something that remains incredibly ironic to this date! And how on Earth did the sane people of Kenema knowingly come to react to the statement of a mad woman is yet another matter for elders to unravel! Significantly, the ensuing crowd trouble that had to be quelled by police tear-gas, should have been enough to warn the ‘visit’ advocates that the idea was not going to serve any useful purpose! You can only impress a mind that is willingly tuned to be impressed!
Yet again, another school of thought would have preferred to delay the visit for a time when improvements on the fight against the Ebola virus would have been registered. The President could have successfully fallen back on the time consumed during his robust planning as a justification for the delay! No one will deny the fact that, the fundamental principles of a successful CEO is set out a clear workable vision from the top!
Strangely though, the President exhibited a high-spirited connection between his executive actions and his Islam bearings when he chose to address the public about the Ebola crises on two occasions during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Is there any message behind such actions?
Well, I gave it a thought, and I knew I don’t have to be a hero to give a commentary! Ramadan is a month when Muslims are put to the test in terms of controlling their physical, mental and emotional desires! Although the public domain matters in the display of self discipline, yet, the significance of the ordeal carries more weight and value when a Muslim encounters one-on-one temptations and still refrains exclusively for the sake of the Almighty Allah! Yes, appeasing the public can be good, particularly in politics. But there comes a time, when the assessment of your pledge, your commitments, and your dedication be better judged by the Almighty Creator! We just cannot please everybody! That is why the Almighty Allah mentioned in His Holy Quran that: ‘’All the work of mankind is for himself, except for Ramadan. Behold! Ramadan is for Me! I give the reward!’’ [Not exactly a certified translation!]
It’s high time President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma begin to consider seriously about embracing Islam ! Let me end with this sad note – the leading virologist who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients died from the disease Tuesday, 29th July, 2014. Dr. Umar Khan was widely praised as a national hero for treating the disease in his country. The courageous and brave young man would be remembered for his selfless service to the nation. May his soul rest in peace!!