By Tejan Mansaray – Whilst Ministry of Health and Sanitation is currently undertaking investigation into the burning of the medical stores at Sandaeyallu, Constituency 001 in Luawa Chiefdom, nine miles from Kailahun, where drugs meant for the suppression and containment of the deadly Ebola outbreak were stored, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday 25th June 2014, announced the reduction in Ebola deaths in Sierra Leone.
A very positive news indeed that was welcomed by all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone, but was however bitterly saddened by the arson on the drugs store by unknown persons. This unfortunate event may have also precipitated concerns to the point of drawing the attention of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, who has urged members of her party to redirect their attention towards fighting the Ebola outbreak in the country, rather than wasting resources on court cases.
A Fortnight ago, President Ernest Bai Koroma encouraged leaders of all political parties in country at a meeting held in Freetown, to galvanize and collaborate to fight the Ebola epidemic which he described as a national cause that deserves concerted efforts.
The SLPP was fully represented at the meeting by top executive members in the persons of National Chairman and Leader, Chief Sumano Kapen and National Secretary General, lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan Sie, who wholehearted joined other opposition parties in assuring government of their total support in the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
On behalf of political parties, Chief Kapen extended their sincere compliments to government for efforts at containing the Ebola disease, and described Ebola as a deadly virus, whilst assuring the president of their support to tackle the epidemic.
But Koroma’s clarion call on political parties seem to have fallen on deaf ears because the SLPP which is expected to be leading the campaign trail against the Ebola outbreak, is busy focusing on divisive internal party conflicts, with series of failed attempts to unseat the indefatigable SLPP Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Lahai. The SLPP is now bent on trying to stage another palace coup to also dethrone legitimately the elected Chairman and Leader, Chief Sumano Kapen and Secretary General, Banja Tejan Sie, instead of looking at the bigger picture-the national concern that really has to do with the fight against the Ebola outbreak in especially their own backyard.
Even though the deadly disease is reported to have besieged the eastern bastions of the main opposition SLPP, yet the party is still treating the Ebola outbreak with little or no concern by deliberately ignoring and sabotaging government strides, and that of President Koroma’s call for collaboration with development partners and neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.
What is really baffling observers at home and abroad is the absence of the so-called opposition representation in constituency 001, where Hon. Patrick Foyah of the SLPP, is claiming to be his party’s stronghold. And this lack of concern by the SLPP MP Foyah, for the people of constituency 001, is indicative of the SLPP’s ineptitude to respond to and address national issues of such nature. Is that a party that calls itself a government-in-waiting, while a handful of people from within are preoccupied with Julius Maada Bio’s National Provisional Ruling Council tactics of staging palace coups, and plotting to unseat legitimate executive members of the party?
It is therefore worthy to note that the reminder from Hon. Dr Lahai to all SLPP members that they should focus on national development issues rather than wasting the party’s meagre resources on intra-party court cases, sounds a stern warning in the ears of all enemies from within the SLPP to know that much as they are desperate to re-impose certain people on majority of party stalwarts and members, yet national issues need to be addressed with collaborative and concerted efforts by both the opposition in firm partnership with government to help in the eradication of the deadly Ebola virus from the country before it spreads any further.