Most successful HAJJ 2013
Since I was opportune to monitor the hajj process for some eight (8) years now, I believe I am in position to give a fair and balance judgment for the sake of Allah only.
It is true that it is widely acclaimed that this year’s hajj is most successful but I am of the view that if we do not document the successes, put it on record, at the end of the day nothing will be achieved as we need to move on by maintaining our successes, improving on our mistakes.
It all started with over10 agencies and more than eighty (80) agents scattered all over the country, all these agencies operates with the sole aim of having the highest number of pilgrims to the extent of putting other agencies out of the hajj business.
Since the various agencies were working differently with the sole aim of making profit, this gave rise to the Haja Abuja, Haja Conakry etc. instead of coming under one accord, all tried to put forward their organizations instead of the religion of Islam.
In Saudi Arabia, you will only receive some facilities depending on the agency you paid to and the agency that have representatives on board the flight to serve pilgrims and most times, only big agencies have agents on board to serve pilgrims.
There were so many complaints and this led to the intervention of the Government in 2010 to bring sanity to the hajj process in order to help with the sufferings that pilgrims had to go through in performing Hajj.
In 2010 His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in his wisdom reconstituted the Hajj Committee and appointed Hon. Minkailu Mansaray supported by other members of the former agencies with direct supervision from the Vice President Alhaji Sam Sumana’s office .
In any transitional process, lapses are bound to occur. The Chairman Hon. Minkailu Mansaray at that time in an interview told me “Wusha am observing every step”. Despite the successes gained deleting from the books of Hajj history in Sierra Leone “Haja Abuja” “Haja Conakry” it was marred with errors as the very agents continued their old tricks.
Since the intervention of the Government in the Hajj Process in 2010 it changed from Agencies to three groups i.e. State House, Vice President’s Office and the rest of the Committee. In 2012 four groups operated i.e. State House, Vice President’s Office, Sheikhs and the rest of the committee.
This was not the case in 2013 where we saw the Chairman Hon. Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai taking the sole lead as it was vividly shown at the Hajj Camp where he had a tough time making his points that he is in charge as Chairman and no one will over ride him as he is the one that will be responsible if anything goes wrong.
Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai made his points very clear with some vigor though and he was in front of every process, he gave assignments to others but closely monitored it till the right thing was done.
For the very first time he clearly separated the passports; those that were on the first batch and second batch. Usually it was done at the nick of time at Lungi there they will decide who will be on the first or second flight. The passports of Pilgrims travelling with the second flight were under lock and key.
The use of the African Muslim Agency as Hajj Camp was commendable, this saved a lot of problem to separate the relatives and the pilgrims. The only problem was the need for the provision of food whilst they were spending time at the camp especially in the late hours as a cup of tea might be necessary for them to go through whilst waiting for the flight.
RECOMMENDATION: The need for more buses to shuttle pilgrims from Kissy Ferry terminal to the Hajj Camp and also from the camp to the Airport
RECOMMENDATION: The need for buses to take Alhajis and Hajas from Lungi Airport to ferry terminal as that will help reduce the fleet of vehicles to be ferried over to Kissy Terminal.
RECOMMENDATION: The need for the availability of ferries to more especially transports our Alhajis and Hajas from Tagrin to Kissy terminal or Government Wharf.
RECOMMENDATION: The need for more buses out there in Saudi Arabia to help pilgrims to move to and fro during the hajj process and one important area that the bus helped this year is the slaughtering of sheep in hajj and also it allowed the hajj committee to witness meetings organized by the Saudi authorities.
RECOMMENDATION: There is need for more commitment of hajj committee members though some were really doing extremely well but some of them were really doing things for personal reasons, not for the general good of the pilgrims or the country.
RECOMMENDATION: There is need for some changes and time limit so that others will grow but if some are there for life then there is tendency for them to do whatever they like as we are all humans.
RECOMMENDATION: There is need for all students in Saudi Arabia to be treated the same as most of them have been assisting pilgrims every year, not to just choose few out of them to be constant helpers to the committee.
RECOMMENDATION: The need for the Hajj committee to be a commission after hajj no postmortem everything comes to a standstill till few months before another hajj before they start another preparation there is need to turn the hajj to a commission supervised and monitored by the Government.
This would help more people to pay for their would be pilgrims by installment so that at the end of the day so many people will pay for their pilgrims and more people will benefit from the Government Hajj Scholarships.
The saddest of everything I must conclude is who will take over after His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma would have left in order to continue his good deeds to the Muslim Community in this our beloved country Sierra Leone.
By: Alhaji Mohamed Wusha Conteh
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