The erstwhile Presidential flag bearer of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio has bemoaned the Ebola virus and cried over it as “a demon” that has caused mass grief and unhappiness in the country.
He said he fells sad and unhappy whenever the thought of the virus crosses his mind, as the killer virus “is wasting the precious lives of our people.” He remarked that the outbreak of the Ebola virus I the country and its effect on the lives of the people, is reminiscent of the RUF rebel war thereby declared, “the Ebola outbreak is Sierra Leone’s second war.”
He damned those he referred to as “bigots” for mixing up the Ebola outbreak with politics, and called for all and sundry to put hands on deck to fight the menace. He said that because he sees the outbreak as “a national concern” which is why he said, he left behind his busy schedules overseas to come and join hands with the government and the people to contain and eradicate the virus from the face of the country.
The retired Army Brigadier cum politician went on to give his analogy of the Ebola outbreak with the 1992-2002 rebel war. He said like the 1991 to 2002 rebel war which started in the Kailahun district, the Ebola outbreak has its genesis in the Kailahun District; and just like the war was not initially taken serious by the authorities, so was the Ebola virus at its onset not taken seriously serious until it has almost engulfed the whole country. He maintained that like the war ended because of the commitment an determination of Sierra Leoneans, so will the Ebola virus be eradicated from Sierra Leone.
“So it will be with the Ebola; together as a people, as a nation we will flush it out of our beloved country,” Bio asserted, and appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put aside their differences and fight the virus. “Whether you are APC or SLPP we are all Sierra Leoneans. The Ebola virus is no respecter of persons,” he said.
He explained that he has since joined forces with the government in this national fight, by writing a letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma, stating his position on the outbreak and proffering solutions as to how to tackle it.
He pointed out that the Ebola virus since its outbreak in March this year, has had severe socio-economic consequences on the country, noting that it has slowed every aspect of life in the country. These consequences he said range from loss of lives and the consequent devastation to families to impoverishment and dehumanization of people and the dependence of families from alms in order to survive because their movements have been restricted by law.
Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio therefore donated 320 bags of rice to the Ebola Task Forces of Kailahun, Kenema and Bo, with Kenema and Kailahun getting 100 bags each, the northern region 100 bags and 20 bags for Bo.
Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Kanja Sesay earlier described the gathering as “not a normal political gathering” but one for the Brigadier to show solidarity with the sufferings and grieves of the people.
The Bo District Chairman, Joseph M. Bindi also initially revealed that even though Kenema, Kailahun and Bo are the most affected of all the districts in the country, they have received the least amounts of money from the central government to fight the Ebola virus spread.
The former running mate to Maada Bio, Dr. Kadie Sesay informed the public that the current suffering faced by the people should not be mixed with politics. “This time is for us to sympathize and not to politicize;” Dr. Sesay stated.
By Jenkins Bawoh
Friday August 22, 2014