Open Letter to His Excellency President Ernest Koroma to End the State of Emergency…
Dear President Koroma:
The current State of Emergency, which your government imposed to fight the Ebola Virus Disease and that has been in effect for almost a year now, is due to expire on August 6, 2015. Already, there is persistent chatter among your APC party supporters that you are all set to renew the State of Emergency.
When you declared the state of public health emergency, most of us gave you the benefit of the doubt because of the grim statistics Ebola was compiling in the country. The Mano River Union region and the world, not just Sierra Leone, were scared to death by this killer-virus when it showed up last year. We all put politics aside to support you and the government and gave you the tools to combat this medical terror.
This crucial support by everyone – political parties, civil society groups, the international community and private citizens – made it possible to beat back the disease and save our country from a dastardly pathogenic annihilation.
With all due respect, Mr. President, I submit to you that if it was not for your government’s gross incompetence and mismanagement of this Ebola fight, the disease would have been completely eradicated by now, and our people given back their freedom to move around without overbearing government intrusion.
Mr. President, let’s talk bluntly about the damage to the political health of the country that has occurred since you imposed this state of emergency:
1) 25 billion Leones, or 33% of the 84 billion Leones paid out to the Ministry of Health for Ebola, between May 2014 and October 2014, disappeared into the corrupt soup that the APC continues to cook for the country. Did anyone go to jail?
2) The tens of millions of dollars, pound Sterling and Euros that have been donated by the United States, Europe, the United Nations and many other donors have not been accounted for.
3) The elected Vice President of Sierra Leone was fired and government-sponsored campaign for a third term for you was nauseatingly trumpeted as if the state of emergency was a surface-to-air-missile to wage a full frontal assault on our Constitution under a menacing imperial presidency.
4) The current state of emergency has provided cover for the complete defanging of the Judiciary and making the Supreme Court a lapdog to always eagerly do your bidding: in granting nolle prosequi rulings, and seemingly conniving with you to keep the opposition SLPP tied up in knots, in interminable Catch-22s in the courts, with injunctions and cases-without-end.
5) 100 buses were bought at an astronomical price of 12 million dollars, in clear violation of the procurement laws. Despite the legal acrobatics and double-talk by various mouthpieces of your government, the fact remains that the country has been fleeced yet again, and that the perpetrators of this malignancy will be promoted, instead of jailed, just as it happened in the rotten Nassit-ferry-gate affair.
4) Your police and security apparatus have banned all public gatherings and activities of the SLPP and other legal political parties during the current state of emergency. The APC, on the other hand, has been given a blank check to hold conventions and parade in the streets to declare their support for you and your actions. SLPP supporters are harassed every day for even the most innocuous of gatherings.
Since what I have listed is just a tip of the iceberg, how can any true Sierra Leonean patriot support an extension of the state of emergency when we all know the kind of mischief that has occurred in this current one?
Mr. President, please end the state of emergency and replace it with smart, evidence-based public health measures without political calculations. Let’s marshal all medical resources at the government’s control and use best practices to finally put an end to the few troubling cases of Ebola!
I am appealing to your better angels not to listen to your yes-men, songbirds and boot-lickers in your echo chamber telling you to throw reason to the wind, embrace impunity and continue to clobber the country with this state of emergency.
It is unnecessary to impose another state-of-anything on the poor, suffering masses of our beloved country. There is broad non-partisan national consensus that we do not want a wholesale blanketing of the country with yet another state of emergency!
His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, I urge you to do the right thing so that history may judge you kindly as a leader who rejected the self-serving advice of charlatans and fuzzy-minded “Special Assistants” for the good of the nation.
Your Humble Ordinary Compatriot,