…President Koroma tells Kono people
January 20, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The State of Emergency regulations pronounced by the President some five months ago as a measure to curb the rampaging spread of the Ebola virus in the country will remain in force until the disease is completely eradicated, declared President Ernest Bai Koroma while addressing the people of Kono over the weekend.
He said though his government will continue to uphold the rights of individuals, yet it is his responsibility to protect the rights of other citizens across the country.
The President’s pronouncement is coming at a time when many Sierra Leoneans, as well as development partners, are of the view that continuous isolation of people, ban on trading activities, and restriction on movement may not be the best ways in fighting the epidemic.
But according to President Koroma, it makes a lot of sense and in the interest of the state to maintain the regulations until the Ebola virus is finally defeated.
“If we want the regulations to be put aside, we need all of us to work together to bring Ebola to an end,” he said. “I want the regulations to end now but because of the current situation, we will continue to extend the State of Emergency. We also have by-laws which were given to the chiefs and we have all agreed on them.”
He urged the Kono chiefs: “Again we have sensitized everybody but if you have by-laws and people do not still obey, then it means that you are not enforcing them. Try to enforce the laws and let us see who will challenge them.”
He pointed out that the Ebola fight is not a religious, political or tribal fight but rather a national fight which should be the collective responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans, noting that some months back during his visit to Kono district, he got assurances from the chiefs that they will fully implement the by-laws in order to protect their communities from the deadly Ebola disease.
“Sometime back when I visited Kono, the Ebola figures were 59, now it has increased to 278. We have noticed that there was no accurate reporting in the figures; Ebola is not about sentiment. So if you hide a patient, it will gravely affect you and that is the reason we are stressing on reporting cases of Ebola in various communities,” said President Koroma.
“As a government, we have deployed more people and capacitated them to fight the disease. Social mobilization is very important and chiefs should enforce the laws because some people think they have right in their little corners and when they are grabbed, people will now come to appeal for them. This fight is for the survival of everybody. We want to take the country back to the point of development as the disease has hardly hit on every sector of society. Mining companies and other institutions have closed and there is a lot of stigma both in and out of the country about Ebola. All those who think they should use Ebola to make money should have a rethink because the disease should not be used as a money making event.”