With George S. Khoryama………….
The turn of misfortunes in the lives of people sometimes cause them to clap their hands in despair, look up in the sky and wonder whether God is still there in heaven, and if so why he should let those misfortunes to happen. This is the case with Kailahun district; call it Kailahun court barray.
For a very long time now Kailahun district has remained the butt of evil and unthinking history as if the place was destined to be the sacrificial lamb for Sierra Leone. The fear and hatred of miseries, despair and sense of not belonging that has become the people’s lot in the district as a result of those misfortunes over the years therefore cannot be under rated.
Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in his dastard mission to come and settle old scores with the All People’s Congress (APC) party government of the late President Joseph Saidu Momoh chose Kailahun district as a launch pad for that mission. With hired mercenaries armed to the teeth and with support of Charles Taylor and Burkinabe President Blaise Campaori, Sankoh’s rebels went into a maddening blood bath in the district killing, raping, looting, torching homes over our people’s heads, maiming and destroying anything that struck their fancy unnecessarily and needlessly.
There was a band of rebels aggrieved with a sitting government hundreds of miles away in Freetown but chose Kailahun district as the slaughter house to set an example of the shape of things to have followed all over the country. Why Kailahun? And while the people were being massacred each passing day in the district, some wicked and indecent politicians in Freetown and elsewhere in the country rejoiced over the carnage suggesting that Mende people like power and therefore, the rebels must deal with them. With prejudice others were asking whether rebels were human beings and had tails, all in their wicked machinations to down play the tragedy that engulfed the innocent people of Kailahun. The people of Kailahun district bore the brunt of being the first war casualties, first internally displaced, dispossessed and first refugees.
Again when the people of Kailahun district resident in Freetown and Western Area presented a petition to President Momoh at State House about his government’s careless disposition towards the war that was raging in the district, Momoh told them to go and take slings, matchetes and stones and chase the rebels out of their district.
Then came the 2007 general and presidential elections with a cold-hearted lady by the name of Christiana Thorpe as chairman of the electoral commission. She had earlier taken to becoming a nun in a catholic Coventry but little by little she thought that it was a lean, starving and mean affair at the Coventry and of becoming a nun.
She abandoned the Coventry mistrusting the catholic to bring her real happiness, monetary and material possession and the good time. As lucky as she may be, and as unfaithful to her conscience as she is, Christiana Thorpe’s dream for the good life was fulfilled by becoming chairman of the national electoral commission to conduct the 2007 elections. In those elections Kailahun district became the butt of her unthinking cruelty by cancelling some 477 polling stations there to satisfy her pay masters.
That is the same so-called Sierra Leone chief electoral commissioner who allegedly illegally used the signatory of one of the former commissioners on a delineation document, turned round and had her dismissed by the President. She is today though the richest woman in the country materially, financially, influentially and otherwise. Notwithstanding, her conscience is as dead as if burnt with a hot iron.
And now comes EBOLA with its first port of call – again Kailahun district. In less than three weeks of its outbreak it has, according to official statistics, already claimed some 12 deaths, 42 confirmed cases with 113 persons tested. These figures by all indications are conservative. They could be far higher given the myth surrounding the scourge among the people. Anyone coming from the district is now being looked at by others with suspicion and convulsion.
To the time of this writing people including NGO personnel are moving out of the district in droves; institutions of learning throughout the district are closed while others elsewhere remain open.
Like the rebel war that claimed the district as its first port of call, the EBOLA scourge has already began to spread its tentacles further afield to other parts of the country sending a strong message of its deadly consequences – like the rebel war. No doubt mining companies have begun sending some of their personnel and family members home.
Kailahun district is Sierra Leone’s backwater at which borders most meaningful national development projects stop. It is notorious for its awful road network, bad public health facilities; the district has no senior cabinet representation in government and most of its citizens have been dismissed from their jobs. They also suffer political persecution like beating, detention and seizure of their Constituency 005 from them by the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party government.
The fear and hatred of those prevailing misfortunes that befall the Kailahun people so often naturally make enemy out of them. Why should it more often than not be Kailahun district to be at the raw edge of most of the evil things politically, naturally or otherwise?
For the Kailahun youth to have gone on the rampage, chased and stoned an ambulance carrying EBOLA infected patients is damnable and unacceptable in all its forms. As unfortunate as the incident was though, it could have occurred at the height of the people’s frustration at the turn of those misfortunes. The people’s sense of national belonging, future hopes and prospects are being eroded gradually by those misfortunes as to become resentful to even goodwill purposes.
Could it be then that government and other forces have conspired to make Kailahun district a sacrificial lamb of Sierra Leone?