Written by BITING THE BULLET WITH MBATILUI-+232 88 028 041/+232 76 748 827
Monday, 01 September 2014 17:21
“EBOLA is here, is real, is deadly, and is preventable, treatable, but not curable. So be RED ALERT!”
“Conscience is a dreadful thing when it accuses the mind and the pettiest forging thing is an individual in the prison of their own conscience”
In the context of the prevailing circumstances, it is an indisputable fact that the knowledge and acceptance of the Ebola outbreak has increased dramatically and in essence the initial denial syndrome has wane dramatically. With the tragic deaths of over 400 Sierra Leoneans (including some 40 medical personnel), the imposition of and the biting effects of the public state of emergency (including drastic restrictions on movements and other social activities as well as the indefinite deferral of BECE, Private WASCE and reopening of schools), and the scaling down, suspension, and in some cases closure of businesses including airlines that has culminated into the lattest sacking of the Health Minister (long overdue)and the restructuring of the National Ebola Operations Centre, it is the author’s candid view that MOST (if not all) Sierra Leoneans are now fully aware of the existence and grueling consequences of Ebola.
Against this premise, I can’t agree more with the popular ongoing debate that what is imperative now is the provision of badly needed logistics including PPEs, disinfectants, and sustained adequate support to those infected and affected by Ebola (quarantined areas, families of deceased, and survivors). Suffice to say that the bulk of resources mobilised locally, nationally, and internationally should be directed towards that end and not the belated heightened social mobilisation activities being organized across the country including the Le 7.8 billion dished out to MPs (who are never health professionals).
Fast forward, the new phase of denial that has surfaced is arguably even more dangerous than the initial one. The first one has to do with the denial of representatives of the MOHS on all media outlets. At every opportunity, they continue to deny or resist the realities on the ground with every fibre of their being. In the process, the “spin doctoring” even contradict themselves thereby exposing their dishonesty as they struggle to (mis)inform the public. Even more disheartening is the fact that as they doctor the information, the ordinary people on the ground always know the reality of the situation.
The same is the case with representatives of the office of government spokesperson. At this critical point in time, the ing thing to do is not to continue to be deceitful (just to justify errors or blunders just to save the faces of their inefficient spin masters and in essence keep their own jobs) but rather to be PATRIOTIC. So far, all the regular government spin doctors since the outbreak of this catastrophic Ebola have at best been apologetic. That is, after initial futile denials, they end up window dressing one erroneous act or omission after the other once overwhelmed by the facts on the ground. This has been the unfortunate situation since the Ebola outbreak in May 2014. If President Koroma’s Friday afternoon decision to sack the former Minister of Health and effect strategic changes in the National Ebola Operations Centre (all coming after several on-the-spots visits of the President to certain strategic EBOLA management health facilities last week) did not send a warning shot to those deceitful spin doctors, then nothing will.
Another level of denial is coming from the majority of public health personnel who because of both genuine and perceived fear are refusing to either report for work or to see patients; Ebola and non-Ebola alike. When the ordinary people who are bearing the brunt of such unprofessional behaviours continue to complain through the various media outlets across the country, arm-chair professionals (especially their mouth-pieces) who more often than not are stationed in either Freetown or the Provincial Cities, dishonestly dismiss the genuine concerns with all sorts of ready-made excuses. Well, to those deceitful spin doctors, the fall of a yellow leaf should be a warning shut to the green ones. Lunta!
Frankly, if denial of the rights of persons at Ebola holding/observation centres and those quarantined by those entrusted with the responsibility to support them is not a deadly denial, then nothing can be. From Kailahun to Kenema and right across the country, those quarantined are constantly complaining about inadequate provision of food items, water, and other basic necessities they were exposed to hitherto, and now entitle to as a result of their “open detentions”. It is an open secret that many people quarantined are denied medical and psychological care in addition to food and other supplies. The lattest cases include two suspected cases that were allegedly starved to death in Zimmi town, MakpeleChiefdom, Pujehun District.
The business people are also in vagrant denial of the public state of emergency by wickedly escalating the prices of essential commodities thereby making life very unbearable for the ordinary people. At least there is a 25% increase on the prices of foodstuffs and Ebola related items since the Ebola outbreak in May 2014. And all this under the watchful eyes of personnel of the Ministry of Trade and Industries. What a denial of the rights of ordinary people!
Also, contrary to the existing fact that the Police are in connivance with certain individuals to flout the restriction of movement to and from Kenema and Kailahun Districts, the police are vigorously denying that fact. Equally, with the tacit connivance of the Police and traffic wardens, commercial motor drivers are in open denial of the emergency regulations against body contacts (don’t touch) through overloading especially along the provincial routes both day and night. Finally, recipients of Ebola resources are in total denial of the public request to redirect the resources at their disposal towards the provision of logistics including PPEs, chlorine and other disinfectants, food items, and other necessities. Conclusively, until the issues mentioned above are thoroughly addressed, the new stain of DENIAL will continue unabated.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.
In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.
Press freedom has come under severe attack in West Africa as security agencies, particularly the police, appear to be on rampage against journalists and media workers. In a space of 38 days (January 5-February 12, 2017), 30 media workers have been arrested, detained and/or assaulted by security forces, prompting fears that the gains that have been made in recent years on press freedom and freedom of expression could be eroded.
The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.
In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.
A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN
The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.
A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.
The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.
(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)
Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.
Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest. Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.
April 24th 2017: On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, Movement for Social Progress (MSP) had requested the Sierra Leone Police to provide the necessary security for a peaceful Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally that was planned to coincide with the official celebrations. The procession was planned to start from Clock Tower to Brima Atouga Stadium in the East end of the city while the official events are scheduled to take place in the West end of the city.
In a meeting with senior members of the Sierra Leone Police at the SLP headquarters, on Monday 24th April attended by the Inspector General, Francis Munu, the Head of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Al-Sheikh Kamara, AIG Memuna Konteh Jalloh, AIG FUK Dabor, among others, the police top brass told members of MSP that they would not be able to provide security for the procession and rally.
The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, informed the meeting that they were overstretched with covering the official events, the traditional masquerade (or Odele) parade as well as the Lantern Parade on the eve of Independence.
Sierra Leone has joined other countries in the world to commemorated World Malaria Day on the theme: “End Malaria For Good” with the slogan: “Sleep under a Mosquito net always” on Tuesday April 25, 2017 at the St. Anthony Parish hall Brookfields in Freetown.
Launching the World Malaria Day 2017, the Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey 2016 Report and the Sierra Leone Malaria Business Plan 2016 -2018, the Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister 1, Madam Madina Rahman said malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population and presents an alarming threat to global development.
She informed her audience that as of 2016, an estimated 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population in 97 countries and territories including Sierra Leone are at risk of being infected with malaria.
LAB wants transports to allocate seats to the blind
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has disclosed plans to launch a White Cane Campaign in the coming weeks.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the Waterloo Community including stakeholders at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017 in a meeting to plan the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the WesternArea Rural District on 6 May 2017.
She noted that the campaign will seek to address the challenges faced by blind people in using public transport. ‘Blind people have been suffering in silence for far too long,’ she said. ‘They have been discriminated against because of their disability and this cannot be tolerated.’
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate", en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes after the aircraft landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".