We are disappointed that over a week (20th March 2021) since former Vice President Dr Albert Joe Demby passed away, Government is yet to officially announce the death, and begin the process for a befitting funeral to a son who has served this nation very well in the second highest office of the land.
According to Protocol Guru when someone who has served in such a high position dies, the State MUST recognise that death with an official announcement. This will be followed by the declaration of a period of mourning and other processes.
We are not only surprised, but angry about the “pregnant” silence from State House, the seat of Government. Are we going back to the hateful days of Siaka Stevens who refused to recognise the corpse of Sir Albert Margai? Is this the direction that our leaders want this country to go? The late Dr Albert Joe Demby served in the second most highest position in the country. While in retirement he has had some controversial political hiccups, like leaving the SLPP and declaring for the NGC party. But the fact remains that he did serve this country and we should be appreciative of the sacrifices he made during that turbulent period.
Dr Demby served this country when rebels and sobels unceremoniously evicted the democratically elected government from the seat of power and sent them into exile. The Vice President suffered through this traumatic period, running for his life and hiding behind doors to escape the rebels and being smuggled from place to place.
The Late Vice President was finally spirited away from Freetown in an Ecomog helicopter to Lungi where he stayed protected by the multi-national force until the government was re-instated several months later. Indeed all through this terrible period from the coup to the restoration of government Dr Demby was one highly placed official who NEVER left the shores of this country.
It is indeed very disgraceful and embarassing, that on his death, Dr Demby is not being fully recognised for his sacrifices to this country. For a former Vice President to die and be treated as such speaks volumes of who we say we are. We on this side reject that these actions are done in our name. Certainly Not In OUR Name. We Sierra Leoneans are not known for that. We are peaceful and loving people, so those in governance today must STOP portraying us in such negative light. This is not who we are.
Yes the corpse of Sir Albert Margai was rejected for State honours. Yes the second Prime Minister was buried not at Parliament but in his homeland in Gbangbatoke. Yes we watched the state funeral of President Kabbah with his coffin being carried by soldiers dressed in ‘rumpled combat fatigues’ years after he had declared the war over. Yes he was buried at Kissy Road and not at parliament.
After 60 years of Independence and 30 years after the rebel war, we have not learnt any lessons about loving our fellow Sierra Leoneans and burying our differences?
Indeed we watched the funeral of former President Jerry Rawlings in Ghana. We saw the respect accorded him by an opposition party. We saw all the divisions of the Armed Forces, the Army, Navy, Airforce, all in full CEREMONIAL dress, stand guard on the four corners of the coffin whilst it was lying in state. We saw the impressive layout of the cemetery where he was buried alongside former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan an international citizen among others.
We should not only be watching. We should also learn a few lessons. It is time for the trajectory of this country to be turned around. Today it is Dr Albert Joe Demby, Tomorrow ???
We expect this government to do the proper thing. It is never too late to learn from our mistakes. It would be good for President Bio to declare at least three days of mourning and to order all flags to fly at half-mast for the period of mourning.
Our condolences to the family of the late former Vice President. We pray that God will forgive all his sins, and may mother earth rest gently on him.