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Death trap… Mabantha ferry denies Ebola access to two chiefdoms

Death trap… Mabantha ferry denies Ebola access to two chiefdoms

Mabantha, Sept. 30 (SLENA) – Perhaps there is hardly any better way through which the ‘Lack of Maintenance Culture’ often attributed to Sierra Leone can actually be visualized than to have a thorough look at the Mabatha ferry, SLENA reports. (Photo: Workers battling the old age ferry with bare hands)

The Ferry is situated between Dibia and Sanda Mabgolonton Chiefdoms in the Port Loko district and has existed since colonial era. It has now outlived its usefulness and has become one of the most dilapidated ferries in modern times.

As was illustrated by the Paramount Chief of Sanda Magbolonton chiefdom at a sensitization campaign meeting recently organised by the Member of Parliament of constituency 52, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu who is also the Leader of Government business in parliament, the people of this chiefdom would not have been bothered if the Ebola virus was going to travel by the Mabantha ferry. Paramount Chief Alhajie Sanda Sorie said the ferry has been so neglected and became so dilapidated that the Ebola virus could not survive such a voyage.

In fact, the general prayer by the people of that chiefdom was that God Almighty would deny the virus any access to Sanda Magbolonton as the chiefdom has been denied access to all forms of development for far too long.

Most descendants, inhabitants and even well-meaning people have confirmed to Sierra Leone News Agency that Sanda Magbolonton is one of the most deprived and least developed chiefdoms in northern Sierra Leone. As was imbedded in the concluding message of Paramount Chief Sanda Sorie to President Ernest Bai Koroma, the people of this Chiefdom were very much aware of the series of constraints government is faced with in the fight against this killer disease and how many development projects have been stagnated .However, the Paramount Chief, on behalf of his people, made a humble reminder to President Koroma of his promise to address the issue of the Mabantha ferry during the 2012 election campaign.

It should be noted that the ferry was strategically situated to serve as the key and most convenient link for the people of Sanda Magbolonton Chiefdom to the district headquarter town of Port Loko and other chiefdoms in the district.

The Mabantha ferry also links up with Kambia, Kamakwie in Bombali and the rest of the country. But the ferry in question is by every means a real death trap. Apart from the fact that the workers are very poorly motivated, they are equally ill-equipped. The pads and hand gloves they were supposed to use to roll the Ferry from one side of the river to the other are worn out such that the workers are left with the only option of using their bare hands on the run down wire rope to drag the ferry to one side of the river and vice versa. Perhaps what is most scaring is the huge hole underneath it. As explained by one of the workers, the leakage has often subjected them to spend more time in trying to bail out water from the ferry.

Credit SLENA
Hassan Bruz

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