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EBOLA: A NEW FORM OF DENIAL IN THE MARATHON FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Editorial
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, Makpele Chiefdom, 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.

 

Editorial

26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.

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Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.

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Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

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Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

 

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Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”

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How and Why I endorse Julius Maada Bio for President?

I have

I have endorsed Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for the SLPP presidential ticket in the March 7 2018 elections because I strongly believe in his project and ability to succeed as our next president if given the opportunity.  Perhaps I need to provide  some context as to how, when and why I took this decision.

Maada Bio is the second presidential candidate I have ever endorsed in Sierra Leone. The first was late president TejanKabbah during the campaigns in the 1996 general elections, which he won. I was then publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Expo Times, which won the best-selling newspaper award from the National Vendors Association that year. At the time, my newspaper was the largest circulation and most widely read newspaper in the country and my nearest competitors were For Di People and Concord Times. When the presidential election campaigns became heated and the battle lines were clearly drawn with the three front-runners, TejanKabbah of the SLPP, Karefa-Smart of the UNPP, and Thaimu Bangura of PDP (SORBEH), For Di People declared for and endorsed Karefa-Smart and the UNPP while Concord Times declared for and endorsed Thaimu Bangura and the PDP. Dr Prince Harding and Banda-Thomas then approached me to endorse and help TejanKabbah of the SLPP, who was then the clear frontrunner according to Opinion polls, to win the elections. 

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Freetown, SIERRA LEONE, 17 October 2017-Unless inequality is urgently tackled and the poorest women empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, countries could face unrest and threats to peace and development, according the The State of World Population 2017, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

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Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.

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