AUGUST 23, 2014 By Patrick J. Kamara
Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, has lambasted the erstwhile chairman of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), John Oponjo Benjamin, for publicising “wrong Ebola data”.
Mr. Benjamin had told a news conference on Wednesday (20 August) that data related to Ebola deaths in the country, released by government, were inaccurate and that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation should be transparent about how monies disbursed by government or donated by the private sector are being expended.
The minister was apparently not happy with the statement as he told pressmen it is the duty of the government, through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, to disseminate information relating to the deadly virus, adding that any news which is contrary to that provided by the Health Ministry is unacceptable.
He further claimed that Benjamin does not have any political platform to circulate information on Ebola, and that it was not within his mandate to hold government to account for how it spends money to combat the disease.
“We take exception to certain rumours that spark negative feedback to our people. We consider that information of Mr. Benjamin as unnecessary and unbelievable. He does not have the platform to give Ebola related information. He is not a political leader; the SLPP has a current chairman that has the authority. His figures are not correct,” he charged, and pleaded with members of the public to discard information provided by the erstwhile SLPP chairman.
However, Mr. Kanu commended Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for his relentless effort in fighting the disease, which has killed more than 300 persons in the country since May.
“Mr. Bio does not call a press conference, neither analysis the government expenditures on Ebola, but joins us hand-in-glove to fight the disease. That is what we call patriotism,” he averred, noting that the former junta head of state and opposition flag-bearer in 2012 is not part of those commentators who think they know everything about the disease and go around giving wrong information to the public.