We must accept Ebola survivors and not stigmatise them pleads Rtd. Brig. Bio in Kailahun
Kailahun District has been very symbolic as the district where the Ebola outbreak started and recorded the first Ebola death. Therefore, it was no surprise that Rtd. Brig. Bio chose Kailahun District to complete his most successful nationwide social mobilisation tour and made a passionate plea to Kailahun and the country at large.
On Tuesday 3rd November, in a very compassionate address in Kailahun town, Rtd. Brig. Bio pleaded with the people of Kailahun for communities to accept Ebola survivors and not stigmatise them.
After thousands upon thousands of people braved the rain to welcome him, Rtd. Brig. Bio thanked the people, traditional leaders and stakeholders who helped in the eradication of Ebola from the district. However, he admonished them that there are still four days left for the country to be declared Ebola free so he asked all to continue to comply with the bye laws and protocols.
Whilst thanking the people of Kailahun for their massive show of support Rtd. Brig. Bio said he was not in Kailahun on a politics mission but assured them that when the time comes he will come back and ask for them to top up the 38% to enable him win the presidency.
The reason why Rtd. Brig. Bio has also added his voice for communities to accept Ebola survivors is because there have been serious concerns that because of fears by members of some communities across the country Ebola survivors still face stigmatisation which undermines their psycho-social rehabilitation and integration back into their communities. In an exclusive report by the British Independent Newspaper published last month, it revealed amongst other things how Ebola survivors were refused to be sold food in a market because stallholders would not take money they had touched, that motor bike riders could not carry them because of fear of bodily contact and that they get blamed for bringing Ebola in their communities.
Also adding her voice to the social mobilisation event in Kailahun town, the dynamic Dr. Kadie Sesay expressed condolences to those families who lost loved ones in the Ebola fight but praised the people for their massive support stating “It is only Bio who can mobilise this huge crowd”.
On his way to Kailahun town on Tuesday, Rtd. Brig. Bio also made a brief stop at Pedembu where he and entourage where welcomed by thousands of people. Hon Mustapha Brima welcomed them to Pedembu and expressed delight at the large turn out because the Paopa Ebola must end social mobilisation is very laudable.
Other speakers such as Hon Philip Tondoneh and Dr. Kadie Sesay amongst others praised the people of Pedembu for their large turnout which is a demonstration of their unending love for Rtd. Brig. Bio. In his short speech, Rtd. Brig. Bio told the people of Pedembu that he was there not for politics but to help in social mobilisation efforts. He admonished all to comply with the bye laws.
During a courtesy call on Paramount Chief Cyril Foray Gondor II of Upper Bambara Chiefdom, PC Foray Gondor II expressed his delight for the visit and the tour as a show of concern for the people.
As a Paramount Chief who has listened to his people, PC Foray Gondor II declared “My people voted for me so I have to do that which they want. My people want Bio, so I cannot hide the fact”.
On Monday, 2nd November, Rtd. Brig. Bio’s first stop in Kailahun district was in Segbwema Town. Even the court Barry was too small to contain the thousands of people who came out to give Rtd. Brig. Bio a heroic welcome to a place he has always called home.
Welcoming Rtd. Brig. Bio to Segbwema, Alhaji Kallon, one of the constituency chairmen and popular grassroots politician, told the ecstatic gathering he was welcoming Bio to Segbwema where he once sacrificed his life to defend during the war. He said the people of Segbwema love him because during the rebel war when the people wanted to flee for their safety he told them to stay that he would defend their lives, property and the town and he did.
In his short statement in Segbwema, Rtd. Brig. Bio thanked the people and traditional leaders for their efforts in the Ebola fight and encouraged them not to be complacent until the country is declared Ebola free. To the excitement of the large crowd he told them after the Ebola he will come again but that time will be for politics.
In Segbwema, Rtd. Brig. Bio also made a courtesy call on Paramount Chief of Njaluahun Chiefdom PC James Sheriff Coker Jajua. During the courtesy call, PC Jajua stated amongst other pleasant things “Maada is a son of this land. He fought for us and we wholeheartedly welcome him back home. He is a patriot”.
On Wednesday 4th November, as part of his routine, Rtd. Brig. Bio and entourage visited the officials at the Kailahun District Ebola Response where he was given an Ebola situational report in the district and thanked officials for their selfless services in the Ebola fight.
On the same Wednesday, Rtd. Brig Bio continued his extensive tour of Kailahun district to Mobai, Mandu Chiefdom, Jojoima, Malema Chiefdom and the town of Daru where thousands of people came out to welcome him. At the Jojoima Court Barry, Rtd. Brig. Bio appealed to traditional leaders and a very large gathering to keep to the protocols until the country is declared Ebola free. Paramount Chief Ngevao of Malema Chiefdom revealed that the chiefdom did not record a single Ebola case and thanked Rtd. Brig. Bio for the visit.
At the Daru town field where thousands of people gave Rtd. Brig. Bio another heroic welcome, Rtd. Brig. Bio thanked the Paramount Chief of Jawei Chiefdom, other traditional leaders, stakeholders and the people for their efforts in eradicating Ebola. As he reiterated his message of no complacency Rtd. Brig. Bio also expressed his condolences to all those who lost their loved ones during the deadly Ebola fight.
Even though the visit was not about politics the welcome events of Rtd. Brig. Bio in different chiefdoms and towns in Kailahun district will go down in history as the largest non-political gatherings in recent years in Kailahun and to get such multitudes of people town after town coming out singing praises for Rtd. Brig. Bio showed his popularity is beyond boundaries. A political commentator in Kailahun openly declared “It should not surprise anyone that Maada is very popular in Kailahun district. Even politicians who are born here cannot get such welcome and when politics starts proper it seems Kailahun district will be at the forefront leading Maada’s campaign to be the next president”.
However, our attention has been drawn to two separate unintelligible and fake reports written by a notorious junior staff at State House Sheriff Mamoud Ishmail and the owner of Awareness Times, Sylvia Blyden on social media. As expected of two utterly confused minds, the incomprehensible reports attributed two contrasting statements to Rtd. Brig. Bio in Kailahun: “I need more time for SLPP Flagbearer Position” and “I don’t want more time to continue being SLPP Flagbearer”. We believe as a society we expect grown-ups to behave responsibly and do not reduce themselves to mere social media harbingers of fake news regardless of their desperation and nuisance value. We admonish people who ought to know better to desist from writing and spreading fake news about Rtd. Brig. Bio.
By: Julius Maada Bio Media and Communications Team
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