|Miatta Kargbo Sacked|
The above was the statement released in Sierra Leone last week, announcing the "sacking" or "recalling"of the most incompetent Health Minister in the history of post independence Africa. This sacking of course came only after mountains of pressure had been piled on Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma. He may finally have been convinced that his health minister was the very symbol of incompetence, both in how she prepared for and how how she responded to the Ebola crisis that is now battering the small West African nation.
When Ebola entered the country from Guinea and Liberia, the health ministry was totally unprepared. There was no comprehensive strategy, the Ebola test kits that had been stockpiled were expired, the personal protective equipment-PPEs- used by the health workers were for standard precautions and totally inadequate for Ebola, and consequently the infection spread as quickly as wildfire in the harmattan.
|Poor Quality PPE in Sierra Leone|
Miatta Kargbo's dilemma could be likened to a mediocre student who has prepared studiously for junior school exams being forced to take the final year exams of a university honors program with the expectations that she will pass with flying colors. It was never bound to happen. The computer experts have a term they call it;(GIGO)- garbage in, garbage out.
Everybody, except President Koroma, knew that Miatta Kargbo was a walking disaster. How she managed to stay as Health Minister from May to August, the President will one day be forced to explain to the souls of the hundreds who have died due to the disastrous handling of the Ebola outbreak in the country. Many people, including those very close to the President have blamed the hapless minister for the poor response to the crisis. In my honest opinion, what many of her critics fail to comprehend is that this was truly a failure of presidential leadership. Miatta Kargbo's failure was the failure of President Koroma to see that square pegs are just not meant for round holes. If you have a round hole, you look for a round peg.
|President Ernest Bai Koroma|
President Koroma is the type of leader you need in a country which is completely disaster free, a country where the only role the ministers play is to praise the President and shower him with superficial platitudes. The only blessing that Sierra Leone has is that during country's protracted civil war, Ernest Bai Koroma was never voted for as President, as that would have been catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.
In Periods of crisis, President Koroma has proven over the years that time and again, he simply cannot rise up to the challenge of good leadership. The President's major flaw, both as a leader and a human being, is his inability to make quick decisions and his affinity for meaningless platitudes. In periods of crisis, he has sometimes asked people to engage in periods of fasting. One irate lady once said that if she had wanted a President who encouraged her to fast, she would have voted for her pastor.
President Koroma is so indecisive that he will take two months just to appoint a cabinet, only to appoint people like Miatta Kargbo who are simply clueless or other characters with dubious backgrounds and shady credentials. Just a few months ago, the president's own Chief of Staff, Dr. Richard Konteh was caught forging his signatures on official documents. The fiancee of this same Chief of Staff, a 50 year old nanny in USA named Kadiatu Sahid Kamara, who also happens to be a close acquaintance of the President is currently facing the possibility of spending 22 years in jail in the state of Maryland, USA for having defrauded a family she was employed to as a nanny out of a total of $430,000.00 by writing scores of fraudulent checks, the same crime her fiancee Richard Konteh is in jail for in Sierra Leone. Richard and Kadiatu were a match made in forgery heaven, Sierra Leone's own real life version of Bonnie and Clyde.
|President Koroma with Criminal|
Nanny Kadiatu Sahid Conteh
Just a few months ago another Koroma appointee, a deputy Minister of Education Mahmoud Tarawally, who was supposed to protect the interest of students in the country, was charged with violently raping a female student. He had lured her on the promise of helping her get an overseas scholarship and then proceeded to brutally violate her in broad daylight. She ran to the police naked and bloody and today he is still walking about a free man.
|Ex-Dep. Education Minister Mahmoud|
Tarawally (The Rapist)
These are just a few examples of the poor choices among a catalog of many, made by the president, even when he spends months making up his mind. The President is simply not a crisis leader. Two years ago a simple cholera outbreak in the country quickly got out of hand, becaused at the same time the health ministry was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. President Koroma's response to crisis is to simply order the many journalists whose pockets he greases to engage in widespread campaigns of misinformation. President Koroma is the rich uncle you want to enjoy Christmas with, but who you do not want to be with in a boat that is sinking.
The majority of Sierra Leoneans were not only disappointed by Miatta Kagbo's incompetence, they were even more stupefied by her lame statements. She initially blamed the promiscuity of health workers for the spread of Ebola, even providing the names of some of them as boyfriends and girlfriends in Parliament.
According to the press release announcing her removal from office, the Minister has now been transferred to State House to serve in the Strategy and Policy Unit, a move seen by many as an undeserved reward for her monumental failure. Whatever this unit is responsible for, one can only hope it has nothing to do with Ebola.
The new Minister of health Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah, a graduate of Sierra Leone's College of Medicine was Miatta's deputy, but it is rumored from reliable sources that they never got along. The President's loquacious Special Executive Assistant, Sylvia Blyden, who is apparently very close to the new minister, has been praising him in glowing terms all over social media. One can only hope that even if half of this praise is true, there could be the chance that a better outcome may be in the future for this crisis.
Many Sierra Leoneans I know heaved a collective sigh of relief when the announcement was made that the minister was relieved of her duties. One of her ardent critics even went as far as saylng that even a chimpanzee from the forests of Congo would do better than Miatta. We will just have to wait and see, as my honest opinion is that the incompetence in Sierra Leone is at the very top.
|President Receiving $50.00 check from|
Sierra Leone Football Association
These days money to fight Ebola is pouring into Sierra Leone from all over the world to fight the Ebola plague, and guess what, now that the money is pouring in, the fight against Ebola has suddenly moved from the health ministry to State House. It took much pressure from journalists last month for the President to even make one visit to the Ebola infected areas. Now that the dollars are pouring in, the President is now personally in charge of the Ebola response. With Ebola cash pouring in, there are already reports filtering out that Ebola funds are being mismanaged and Richard Konteh is not even there to forge checks. May God bless Sierra Leone.