Moijueh Kaikai and the 2013 Hajj Team Deserve Accolade
In his unflinching pursuit to institute meaningful and palpable changes in every sector within Sierra Leone, His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Government deemed it necessary to take over the organization of the Muslim pilgrimage (hajj) in 2010. From right – Sheka Kamara of President’s Office and Salieu Mansaray of VP’s packing bags of pilgrims
That year, the Government formed the National Hajj Coordinating Committee headed by the Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Sidique Sam Sumana and Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray (Current Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources) as the Chairman of the Hajj Committee to Saudi Arabia. In 2011 and 2012, Alhaji M.S. Kargbo and Alhaji Sheka Kamara, both of the Office of the President led the Hajj Mission to Saudi Arabia respectively.
One of the objectives of the Hajj Committee is to effectively handle the hajj program in a transparent and responsible fashion and to ensure that all the hajj affairs of the Sierra Leone pilgrims are unified under one banner.
As destiny would have it, Hon. Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai, Minister of Social Welfare Children’s and Gender Affairs was also appointed the Chairperson of this year’s Hajj Committee. The primary responsibility and functions of Hajj Chairmen are to reform and bring sanity to the entire hajj program in a manner totally different from how things used to be done in the past.
Why Kaikai and team deserve accolade?
As one who have been on the scene and closely following up the phases and sequence of hajj rituals as they unfold, all the above-named Chairmen performed remarkably well and Kaikai’s chairmanship is very exceptional. My conviction is due to the following undeniable facts:
In June this year, Minister Kaikai led a three-man delegation to Saudi Arabia on a pre-hajj arrangement. His visit to Saudi before the hajj enabled him to see things in a clear perspective as this gave him the opportunity to better identify the areas of importance as far as the improvement of the welfare of pilgrims for performance of hajj is concerned, and to know the actual needs of Sierra Leone pilgrims which must be properly addressed, if they are to perform the hajj rituals in a comfortable and smooth manner. Come October, now as Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Kaikai has proven his mettles and clearly manifested his determination that under his Chairmanship, he would leave no stone unturned until he has ensured that his compatriots (Sierra Leone pilgrims) are better served, and comfortably enabled them to carry out their hajj duties accordingly.
Arrival of pilgrims is the first test for any hajj official. Here, Kaikai didn’t leave the premises of the Hajj Terminal of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport on the day of his arrival, until all the Sierra Leone pilgrims who came on the final batch had completed the arrival formalities and peacefully left to their accommodation.
Thereafter, he closely monitored the welfare of the pilgrims to ensure that they were all accommodated and fully fed with their three daily meals. What was more admirable was the fact that the Minister categorically refused to have any food or rest because, according to him, the affairs and well-being of the pilgrims are his paramount concern. He would only have time for food and other things after making sure that his compatriots are well taken care of. He was oftentimes seen distributing food among the pilgrims himself to ensure that everyone got their ration. And what was more overwhelming was the fact that he was seen doing this on a daily basis.
He manifested the same attitude and high sense of commitment in all the holy sites of Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, Makkah and Madinah. It’s indeed worthy to note that Muzdalifah, the next point after Arafat was another test case for the Chairman. Having learnt that some of the Sierra Leone pilgrims were stranded as they got stuck in the extraordinary traffic jam, the Chairman forced his way through until he reached the stranded pilgrims and made sure that they were safe and sound until they were taken back to their tents in Mina.
On the other hand, the Chairman has always made sure he looks in no way different from the ordinary pilgrims by wearing the same attire and living in the same place of the pilgrims. He has been seen many a time physically catering for the disabled and sick people. As a matter of fact, the status of the weak among the pilgrims has been his priority as far as dispensing services is concerned.
What a devoted and exceptional leadership!
If things are to be called by their right names, the Chairperson of 2013 Hajj mission has set a number of good records which, I hope, should be emulated by future chairpersons. Without any exaggerations, for the first time we have seen a chairman so physically close to pilgrims at all times.
Further, he never made himself distinctive in whatever form, except for the fact that he would call a spade a spade whenever he felt or saw that rules and regulations were not being respected accordingly. That was the only time he would demonstrate that he was an authority, and that was for the sole purpose of keeping the situation in an orderly manner. And I believe that is part of the job of a responsible leadership.
Another indelible impression Hon. Kaikai left on the minds of the pilgrims was when he seen carrying their luggage on his shoulders. I guess nobody could tell the exact number of bags he carried the day pilgrims were to leave Mecca for Medina.
That was one of the most hectic and frantic days for Kaikai. He was all over the place to render help to those who were in dire need of it. And, at the end of the day, he felt honoured to have part of his mission accomplished. That was indeed a rare but an admirable quality one could hardly find in today’s leadership because leaders would normally delegate such physically demanding tasks to others. But truth to tell, it is only a leader of a special breed that would display such an outstanding and selfless leadership quality. Hence, Hon Kaikai deserves all commendation and accolades on our part and on the part of President Koroma’s Government as well.
President Koroma pleased with this year’s hajj
In an interview I conducted with Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma via telephone from Germany a couple of days ago, His Excellency said he was tremendously proud of the Hajj Delegation headed by Moijueh Kaikai and his team for the “spectacular job” they have done so far. He characterized their services as a glowing example of patriotism. He said he has been told by the pilgrims he spoke to how effectively and satisfactorily the hajj team carried out its functions, and that is what has been most pleasant to him.
President Koroma was also elated to learn that the head of the Hajj Delegation, Hon. Moijueh Kaikai, his deputy, Alhaji M.S. Kargbo and a good number of pilgrims were present at the slaughter site this year to ensure that the number of sacrificial lambs slaughtered conformed to the exact number of the pilgrims. That act of the hajj team, President Koroma told me, was unprecedented and was an immense source of relief to all the pilgrims and to him as well.
Pilgrims expressed satisfaction
Come and see the high spirit the pilgrims were enjoying. Whoever you speak to would express their gratitude and appreciation to the Government of President Koroma, but they would also cite and commend the great contribution of this year’s hajj team for the overall success of this year’s pilgrimage.
In years to come, I believe, His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma would be gleefully remembered by Sierra Leone Muslims and the country at large for the spiritual legacy he has bequeathed to his nation.
With his excellent performance as the Chair for the 2013 Hajj Committee and the extraordinary commitment and patriotism he has demonstrated this time around, I personally believe, and I believe a large portion of compatriots here do, too, that Minister Kaikai and team deserve an accolade. Sierra Leone needs such officials who are selflessly committed to serve their compatriots at all levels and under any circumstances. Chairman Kaikai has embodied the saying of Prophet Mohammad (May peace and blessing be upon Him) that goes, “The leader of people is their servant”. That is exactly the sort of leadership the Chairman has endeavored to practice during this year’s pilgrimage. I therefore, believe that Hon. Kaikai’s appointment as Chairman of the 2013 Hajj Mission is no mistake by the Government of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
Thank you Mr. President, congrats Hon. Kaikai!
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