''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 7

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Monday September 3, 2012 - The beginning of another working week in Sierra Leone - a working week dedicated, like other weeks before and after to the accumulation of wealth by all means necessary. A story of how an uncaring and undemocratic regime, playing mere lip service to the plight of the poor whose numbers continue to be decimated by a disease that need not have reached such alarming proportions had their lying and equally dishonest and corrupt hired media outlets, the internet flying toilets, stated things as they were happening on the ground.While children and pigs roam the sources of drinking water in Freetown, US APC party activists deny there's any cholera afflictions or deaths in Sierra Leone.How can the poor get clean or treatable water in this kind of situation?

Sierra Leoneans lucky to have escaped the ravages of the cholera epidemic now decimating the poor and unconnected wake up this morning not knowing just how many have been affected or indeed succumbed to the ravages of the cholera onslaught as the government plays opossum, ostrich head in sand, pretending that cholera was not in Sierra Leone and that the President's health programme was the best the world has ever seen until the lying hyenas were forced to admit that indeed the outbreak was for real and getting desperate throwing the health care illusion just where it belongs.

The UK Government, in what can only be seen as a slap in the face for the thieving cabal led by one Ernest Bai Koroma chipped in using UK tax payers money to help a reckless and uncaring government stem the rising tide of infections and deaths from a cholera outbreak that need not have taken such a devastating toll had the authorities taken due care and diligence when the local media in Sierra Leone started reporting the outbreak of the disease including figures for the dead in a couple of districts.

The death toll is now past the two hundred mark with those affected by the ravaging disease said to be in their thousands. The latest report released on 29th August by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation showed eleven of the thirteen districts including the Western Area where the capital is situated have now been affected - a rather shameful and uncaring picture that need not have got to this stage had smoke and mirrors President Ernest Bai Koroma acknowledged that the country was in the grips of a cholera outbreak. The new figures which reporters on the ground say is a "modest estimate" state that a total of 14, 521 cases have been reported. These are reported cases and this figure does not include the unreported numbers who are not reached by the make-shift support systems that government has been forced to implement - thanks to the pressure put on it by the international community as well as non-governmental organisations operating within the country.

The official death toll, according to the 29 August figures now stand at 243 - and this is the official picture of deaths from reported cases. Poor and unconnected Sierra Leoneans who have not been reached or who live in areas not served by the new emergency procedures, who do not even know that such a system exists die off in pain and massive dehydration after all traditional medications/treatment failed.

The uncaring attitude of the government could best be discerned by the so-called "Messages of the Day" rants carried on websites, on radio and whatever means President Koroma's Task Force could come up with. These "Messages of the Day" are quite devoid of the realities on the ground where the reach of the media has yet to be assessed and where illiteracy rules the roost.

It is a message for the donor community not quite aware of what obtains on the ground, not aware of the economic stranglehold on the lives of the ordinary Sierra Leonean in a country where the present vultures are on a feeding frenzy trying to recover from those fifteen years that their bloody maws were kept away from the coffers of state (April 1992 - 2007). Kindly take a look at these cynical messages - two example are below, if you will.Signs of the times - dirty water combined with a filthy environment allows cholera to spread rapidly....and the government refuses to invest in public health

Always drink safe water (boiled or treated with chlorine). Drinking water must be stored in a clean covered container.

Where is the ordinary Sierra Leonean going to get safe water when the outlets for the poor are all polluted sources with government operatives and those who can afford it diverting water trucks to fill tanks in homes?

Where are the poor going to get chlorine and do they know the concentration that is needed to make water safe?

Where are the poor going to get clean covered containers knowing that such luxuries are well beyond the reach of the poor and unconnected?

This is a message aimed at making a mockery of the plight of the poor. Kindly take a look at this other cynical message.

Always wash hands with soap and safe water after using the toilet, before eating, and after caring for a sick person.

Where are the poor and unconnected going to get the water to wash their hands?

Where are they going to get the soap and above all who supervises what they eat and how they eat - that they are doing things in a safe environment?

How this going to work in an environment where getting one square meal a day is beyond the reach of many?

The latest we hear is that APC activists have been supplied with a number of kits which they claim would be for their constituencies. Of course these never got there but have been diverted into "pharmacies" run by them. We also hear that despite all the noise about providing these health care measures for free, agents of the greedy and uncaring in the form of nurses, porters, drivers, all and sundry have been doing a roaring trade selling off these kits, intravenous fluids, needles and the necessary paraphernalia at exorbitant prices to the desperate who would be willing to part with any and everything just to stay alive.

And yet even as concerned citizens expressed alarm at the rising tide of deaths and afflictions, the APC-appointed ambassador to the United States, one Kortu Bockarie Stevens got together his type to celebrate on one pretext or the other - engorging, wining and dancing the night away - demonstrating just how uncaring the gang can be and showing all and sundry that his appointment to the United States was to represent the interests of the ruling party, the APC and not the people of Sierra Leone he was sent there to represent.

This callous and uncaring attitude of Kortu Bockarie Stevens, a man who should know better, a man who knows what it is like to be in and out of power, a man with enough experience in the diplomatic field to know how important timing is - decided at the height of the cholera outbreak to celebrate using one excuse or the other to have APC party members engorge, dance and drink to their heart's delight even as compatriots in the mother country die. Is this action at such a time a reflection of what State House could have instructed all persons carrying the portfolio of Sierra Leone as could be found in the sustained biased reporting of Sierra Leonean activities by the APC-appointed so-called press attaches, civil servants who have now made it a duty to become the mouthpieces of the ruling APC?

The Presidential candidate of the main opposition SLPP, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party one Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio visited Europe a while ago starting off in the United Kingdom where he delivered a lecture at Chatham House, a think tank institute. Not a word was published by the APC-appointed "press attaches", nor was there a line about his activities when he visited other European countries including France and Belgium clearly demonstrating once again that these press attaches, APC functionaries it would seem, should not be paid from the country's coffers and that the APC as a party should be footing all their bills while performing their role as mouthpieces of that party rather than for a country called Sierra Leone in West Africa.

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©Sierra Herald 2002