Then the Special Executive Assistant to the President himself, Sylvia Olayinka Blyden took to social media and criticized the inept handling of the official response to the presence of the disease in the country. She lamented that her persistent calls for preparedness had been ignores and stressed the unwillingness of health officials to listen to her, even though, as she claims, she was a qualified medical doctor who new more about infectious diseases than the minions surrounding the President.
This of course enraged those of us who heard daily news about the confusion surrounding the response to the disease. If the Special Executive Assistant (SEA) herself was critical of government response and lamented the failure of people to defer to her education and experience, we thought that her outrage was genuine, borne out of patriotism and genuine regret at the unnecessary loss of life that could have been preventable had she been listened to.
Now we are unfortunately learning that Sylvia Blyden was going on this self righteous, self promoting indignation not because of any genuine affection she felt for the people, but simply because of personality conflicts between herself and other members of the President's administration. She is feeling that as an individual with what she loves to stress, "of cabinet rank" lowly people like John Baimba Sesay the opinionated Sierra Keone Press Attaché to China and others not of "cabinet rank" should not be challenging her in public, ascribing this to "fit yai," which means disrespect in the local Sierra Leone parlance Krio.
Now we hear that Sylvia has not been going to work, not even to work for the Ebola victims she so suddenly cares passionately about, but is at home, crying over the fact that she had been disrespected by people who are not of "cabinet rank." Of course, she will still continue to be paid full salary from the sweat of the poor taxpayers of Sierra Leone, as her position is of cabinet rank and she is answerable only to the President. Unfortunately the President is afraid of what she will write about him where he to let her go, as she has seen the internal working of his administration and would likely wash his dirty linens in public.
I was truly very pleasantly surprised at this sudden turn about of Sylvia Blyden. This was the same woman who said that she was sad that Charles Taylor was jailed for war atrocities in Sierra Leone, as the war was actually started by people of Kailahun district. The deaths of thousands of Sierra Leoneans meant nothing to her at the time. So her now caring so affectionately for the people of Kissi Teng got her so much sympathy from people equally surprised as myself. But, now we are learning that it was just a charade. All Sylvia care about is her ego and herself and she could care less if the whole population of Kaiahun was eradicated by Ebola virus or hunger. Sylvia Blyden care only about Sylvia Blyden.
We are also learning that though the government response was not without criticism, there had actually been plans in place to confront the disease were it to occur in Sierra Leone. We are learning that the government has been working in close partnership with WHO, Oxfam, MSF to handle the occurrence and a task force had been in place since the disease surfaced in Guinea. Health care personnel we are also learning have been trained rapidly in the identification and management of the Ebola outbreak.
Why would Sylvia Blyden deliberately mislead Sierra Leonean just because her ego is bruised? Does this lady care about nothing but making political points? Is there no sense of loyalty to anybody but herself?
As people continue to die, with the virus currently on the rampage in Daru, we will continue to take Olayinka's egomaniacal outbursts with a pinch of salt and continue educating the people about the outbreak and how to appropriately respond to the outbreak in their communities.