Monday, July 28, 2014

Sierra Leone and the Politics of Ebola

The Ebola Candidates
If there is one thing Sierra Leonean politicians excel at, it would be the politicization of tragedy. While the Ebola outbreak is growing rampant in the country, ravaging the countryside,  striking fear and terror, and bringing the cold hand of death in the unlikeliest of places, the infection is fast becoming the latest publicity tool in the hands of our country's chronically political statesmen and women.

To our President's Special Executive Assistant  Sylvia Blyden,  Ebola fell like manna from heaven. Our President's Special Assistant now sleeps with a laptop either under her pillow or between her knees, ensuring that the first word she types upon waking up every morning is -E-B-O-L-A, Ebola.

SEA's Ebola Plane
To a person like the SEA, the Ebola has been a golden opportunity to get back into the limelight at a time when many people had started ignoring her daily drama and meaningless rants. Ebola has replaced seditious libel. Rumor has it that the first thing the SEA does every morning with religious regularity is to call Kenema to update her Ebola journal; how many tested,  how many negative,  how many positive, how many deaths. Every single death is of course Miatta Kargbo's fault, as she had never asked the SEA for advice and now the people were dying.

Kamaraimba's ADM Chlorine

Fresh from her recent Ebola trip to Canada,  the SEA made sure that there were cameras at the airport to snap the plane from all angles when it landed. Those at the airport said she made a grand entrance, as the Ebola hero of the  Sierra Leone.  Just as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a camel to save the jews, so did the SEA land in Freetown to save the Ebola afflicted. Word was that anytime a journalist came on the scene, they would take all the supplies out again and load them on trucks for the photo opportunity.

Well Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, the former potential flagbearer of the All Peoples Congress (APC), who was told he was never APC and who has now formed his own party, the ADM, was not going to be upstaged. He also went to Kailahun district with his own supply of drums of chlorine,  ensuring that ADM was boldly printed on each drum, so that the people will get the message,  "After Ebola nar MKM."
No Lipstick Shop in Luawa?

Miatta Kargbo has yet to visit Kailahun,  but as she says, "all the workers at the Ebola centers are her heros." She just doesn't think her make-up will hold well in Kailahun. There would probably be no bottled water in case she runs out. Somebody said that Kailahun had rats too. Since she came back from America,  she still hasn't gotten used to sleeping without electricity and where would she get her nails done, Segbwema? Somebody also told her that in the whole of Kailahun town, there is not a single shop that sells lipstick. How can she survive in such a place for even one night?

Now, who were these journalists saying the President should go to Kailahun,  incurring the wrath of the President's own personal man of God in New Jersey,  the well proportioned Kabs Kanu, a d'jeliba even my Madingo brothers would have been proud of.
"How dare they?" He wailed, "How would they expect the father of the nation,  the fountain of honor,  on whose divine shoulders the destiny of the country rests. How dare they,  to expect him to go expose himself to the Ebola virus?"
Helicopter Without Fuel: Amen

Well EBK decided that this time he was not going to listen to the Reverend. State House sources quoted the Pa:

"I love Kabs Kanu like he loves Burger King, but this time I am not going to listen to him." With that said,  President Ernest Koroma got on a red helicopter to go see Ebola with his own eyes. The President reached Kenema and saw the torment on the faces of the people.

Unfortunately they could not go to Kailahun,  the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.  The Presidential helicopter had run out of fuel, and as there was currently no functional filling station in Kailahun. Somebody told the President that there was only "jebu" (black market) fuel in Kailahun. The trip was canceled.  The President wanted badly to go to Kailahun,  but he ran out of fuel and he did not fancy putting "Jebu" fuel in his red helicopter!  Kabs Kanu's prayers were answered.
Kamaraimba in Segbwema

Today we heard that Vice President Sam Sumana finally broke his long silence on the Ebola. God be praised!  Despite Ebola hitting Kailahun hard,  a district neighboring his home district of Kono,  Sam Sumana had been loudly silent on the outbreak, not even a word. But now that other potential presidential wannabes have started talking, he also will talk, and talk he did. 

Sam Sumana wants Sierra Leoneans to know that he had not kept his mouth shut on the Ebola outbreak by accident. As Chairman of the National Platform for Disaster Management, he had quickly convened a meeting as soon as he heard about the outbreak in Kailahun. As soon as State House heard about this, they yanked the National Platform for Disaster Management from the Vice President's office direct to State House before you could say, "red lorry, yellow lorry!" Sam Sumana was not going to make any name with this Ebola.

Realizing that he was marginalized and sidelined as is now so common,  he decided to keep quiet. But now that the outbreak is getting serious,  he just can't keep quiet anymore. Is anybody listening?
Well VP, how can Kamarainba distribute Chlorine before you?  You better head to Segbwema!

As Ebola becomes the new politics of Sierra Leone,  we hope that at least something good will come out of all this posturing.

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