By Farla Barbu…………
Even in the throes of national calamity Prezo Ernest Bai Koroma stands firm with his policy of concentrating power into the hands of his relatives and friends; even if it means re-circling the same relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends from one office to another. The policy holds sway at State House, in the cabinet, parastatals, civil service, foreign missions, military, police – just everywhere in his government. Someone once referred to his government as “government of relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends; for relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends; and by relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends.”
The policy has completely reversed and adulterated the whole concept and ideal interpretation of what a democratic government stands for, and which serves as “government of the people, for the people and by the people.”
The latest show of this policy of “power to my own group of people alone” has again been translated into the affairs of the Ebola disaster that has shocked the entire nation and people to the core of their endurance. President Koroma over the week end appointed Major Alfred Palo Conteh (Rtd.) as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the newly created office of National Ebola Response Center (NERC) from his previous position of Minister of Defence.
Meanwhile His Excellency the President who is constitutionally the Minister of Defence will step in the position as such while Major Conteh is on what is referred to as ‘special duty’. One would have thought time like this when the President himself had called for national unity to fight the Ebola menace, he would have for once thought out of the box to engage someone from outside the family and friendly circles and give him or her the challenge. And there are a whole lot of patriotic and diligent Sierra Leoneans out there who can fit the bill.
To re-circle officials of government from one prominent position to another at a crucial time like this when all hands have been called on deck to fight the dreaded Ebola terrorist defeats the very cause. Have only the President’s relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins and friends the wisdom and knowledge over national issues? Is this what His Excellency the President mean by his government of inclusion?
Most if not all the committees appointed by the President in the fight to contain the Ebola disease are officiated by already cabinet ministers, present or former ruling party’s officials of government, advisers to the president, relatives and friends with a few cosmetic inclusion of strangers. And yet the clarion call by the President is national unity to fight the common enemy disease.
Meanwhile what becomes of the former head of the Ebola Operations Center (EOC) Ngaujia remains unexplained. Is he sacked or demoted? He is one of those re- circled officials of government who once served as Minister of Social Welfare under this same government, sacked and recently recalled to coordinate the Ebola warfare. He may be sacked, demoted or re-circled to another position.
For our President to call for national unity and social mobilization at a difficult and uncertain time like this but at the same time continue to re-circle the same people in positions of public trust is below the belt.
By Farla Barbu…………