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Politicizing a national tragedy for whatever reason is cruel and ungodly

Politicizing a national tragedy for whatever reason is cruel and ungodly

Some of the articles being written by Sierra Leoneans on this Ebola disaster are very unfortunate, especially coming from people you would want to  call “educated” , because of the letters behind their names (yhough we know that paper qualifications and education are two different things ). The writers are not expressing any sensitivity to the suffering of our people. This Ebola issue is becoming a political theatre for callous and godless  people to expatiate their political proclivities. It is a shame, but also, it is tragic.

The people of Kailahun are just unfortunate once again that the Ebola outbreak started from their region.

I continue to share the grief and sorrow of all citizens hailing from   Kailahun. May God intervene once again and deliver the region from evil. They are a hardworking, progressive and productive people. They provide a very significant amount of the food products and cash crops that help to feed our nation and also bring in hard-earned foreign exchange and revenue. They have also provided some of the brightest minds  in the nation, people who have contributed immensely to the development of the nation. They are very good and progressive citizens, as well as being among the most peaceful and law-abiding people  in the country.

However, because they live by Sierra Leone’s borders with Liberia and Guinea, the inhabitants of Kailahun are vulnerable to many dangers. If there is war or an outbreak of any pestilence or deadly disease in our neighbouring countries, they will suffer first, given the heavy volume of cross-border  traffic, cross-border human interactions and trade between them and the people of Liberia and Guinea  . In all African countries, people who live by the borders take the brunt of unfortunate spillovers of wars, transnational crime and sicknesses from the other side. We have seen it in Central and Southern Africa. We have seen it in East and North Africa. The rebel war and the ongoing Ebola plague hit Kailahun first because of her location on our borders with Liberia and Guinea. Nobody deliberately planted the Ebola virus in their midst.

It is therefore an unscrupulous act of wickedness for some anti-government agents  to insinuate that the rebel war and the Ebola outbreak were conspiracies hatched against the citizens of Kailahun by the All People’s Congress (APC) Government of  the late President Joseph Momoh,  who was in power when the RUF rebels invaded the country through Kailahun from Liberia and President Ernest Koroma, who is on the throne presently when the Ebola disease was imported to Sierra Leone from the same Liberia. It is not true at all that both tragedies were/are conspiracies against Kailahun. This is dirty, dangerous politics and it is a godless act to politicize human disasters that often do not choose where they originate or hit next .

Mentally disturbed people and political psychotics  in our midst,  mindlessly seeking political leverage and capital,  have chosen to politicize the Ebola outbreak for their selfish ends, as they did to the rebel war. In so doing, they are not only acting in a most inhuman and unfair manner to the people of Kailahun but creating distrust and conflict between our precious people of Kailahun and their government. Avaricious, evil, greedy and ungodly political malcontents and trouble-sowers  are using the pain of the Kailahun people selfishly to embellish their political credentials, ambitions and devilish ends.

These wicked political agitators  do not love the people of Kailahun any better than the government officials they want to accuse of orchestrating the Ebola outbreak or not doing enough to save the lives of citizens of Kailahun. When you seek to politicize somebody’s pain for your own selfish ends, it is not love at all.  It is selfishness. It is easy to detect from the writings and utterances from some of our journalists and politicians that it is not about the Kailahun people; it is all about these selfish political agendas. It is not about love for Kailahun . It is self-love,   cruelty and insensitivity to the pains of the people of Kailahun.

Please let us stop politicizing this natural disaster that has befallen our nation. Politics is not everything. We should not allow politics to turn us into monsters  without natural compassion, empathy  and love for our own people. Let us demonstrate genuine concern and love for our brothers and sisters in distress in more compassionate and humane manners. Let us help to sensitize them about the dangers of Ebola and the precautionary measures they should take. Let us leave politics out of the equation.

President Ernest Koroma’s  Government has nothing to gain in orchestrating an outbreak of deadly diseases in an opposition stronghold.(As if it is in fact possible ).  The APC party and Government have the capacity  to remain in power by winning successive elections. If an election was held today, President Koroma would win again. Also, some of the constituencies in Kailahun affected by Ebola voted for the APC in the last elections. Even if that is not the case,  it is still  insane for anyone to even harbor such an ungodly  thoughts that the government is treating Ebola less seriously because the epicenter is an opposition stronghold.

The Government’ s response to the Ebola outbreak in Kailahun has been commended by international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Why would the Government adopt a laissez faire attitude to the Ebola outbreak because it wanted to see harm visited on an SLPP stronghold ? Such behavior is unSierra Leonean and antithetical to our moral and political ethos. Neither the APC nor the SLPP or PMDC would ever do that. I can defend the opposition SLPP and PMDC  that they too would never be that heinous. It is not the Sierra Leonean way.

Since this government came to power, it has concentrated more on political tolerance and political accommodation to  woo opposition political players from Kailahun. It has never used coercion or subterranean methods. No government has used the art of  winning over  its political opponents through political rapprochement  and consensus than this Ernest Koroma Government. The Government has delightfully wooed Kailahun District politicians because it values their political participation and input in nation-building.

Nobody can provide evidence of any instance when President Koroma or his ministers have engaged in any overt or covert act of hostility ( Not to mention brutality )against the citizens of Kailahun. Some of the Government’ s leading functionaries are from Kailahun District.

in the eyes of citizens, we  know that no government’s response to any crisis can ever be perfect and citizens will always find faults with  their governments after disasters.  Even in the great United States , which is the richest and the most technologically advanced nation in the world, the President Obama government was faulted  by citizens for its “slow response”  to Hurricane Kathrina , which killed scores of people and left Louisiana mired in flood waters for long. The same scenario occurred when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Similarly,  the President George W. Bush Government was extensively blamed for its response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks .But what the Americans  never did was  to give a political ( Republicans Vs. Democrats )  bent to  their accusations of presumed slow government responses to these calamities . We in Sierra Leone must stop polarizing everything, even natural disasters, to the APC Vs, SLPP traditional feud.

It is very unfair to the Government for political actors to  hastily conclude that  the perceived slow Ebola response was   a  deliberate attempt by Government to neglect the people of Kailahun because they live in an opposition stronghold. We know the Ernest Koroma Government  far better than that . This is a government that cares for all its people. It was the APC Government that carried electricity and solar lights to Kailahun District. It is also the APC Government that is constructing a modern highway to create a safer and convenient link between  the rest of the Eastern Region and Kailahun. The Government has many other lofty plans to lift the standard of living of her citizens in Kailahun. The Government has no ill-will towards Kailahun or any other district for that matter. The Government’ s development projects are spread throughout the nation. President Koroma has many times lauded the people of Kailahun for the support to his government. The relationship between the government and Kailahun is very cordial.

We want to appeal to our citizens of Kailahun not to allow themselves to be used on the chessboard of the poison politics prevailing in the country. Some people are just obsessed with partisan politics and regionalism and will spare nothing to politicize anything in the country, even national tragedy. Others want to use the Ebola tragedy to pave their way to State House as they did with the rebel war. This is cruel and ungodly.

Now that Ebola is with us, let us look at it as a national tragedy and  spend more time now sensitizing our people against acts that help the  spread of  the disease. The Government is doing all it can to stop the disease from spreading with the help of international organizations . We must throw our support behind the Government to help it achieve its goal, while also  praying  for God’s intervention to save our beloved people from this plague that is also affecting our neighbours across the borders.

Let us put politics aside for now and step up the fight with  whatever means at our disposal to save our beloved nation.

By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the UN

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