The political excuse to use the Ebola outbreak for an extension of the political term of President Ernest Bai Koroma has been met with more ridicule and scorn as the second outbreak of the Ebola scourge has got Sierra Leoneans thinking as to whether the president will now ask for more ‘more time’.
A rather disturbing news of a woman who died of Ebola late last week, potentially exposed dozens of other people to the disease, raising the risk of more cases to spread among Sierra Leoneans has got the people worried more so when the scars of the just ended sojourn is still fresh on their minds.
The handling of this Ebola case has also lead to many social disturbances in the northern district of Maburaka where it is said health practitioners willfully handed over the infected corpse to the people for ceremonial processing and burial, exposing hundreds to the virus and more potential spills in other parts of the country.
This development has led many Sierra Leoneans questioning the motivation behind this recent reckless blunder by health practitioners in the district, a situation many have said is deliberate and ill-motivated.
Just a day earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared that “all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa” after Liberia joined Sierra Leone and Guinea in going six weeks with no reported new cases.
These three countries had borne the brunt of a two-year epidemic that killed more than 11,300 people.
The incident has led to anger in some quarters. Dozens of young people gathered outside the hospital on Friday in a noisy demonstration, some holding placards accusing the health department of negligence.
“We are demonstrating because we want the authorities to explain to us why the woman was discharged and allowed to go home, where she died, and her corpse was given to her family to bury. We are now concerned that some family members may have been infected,” said local youth leader Mahmud Tarawally.
Asked about apparent errors in handling the case, spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis said that the patient had been tested for the virus and had received treatment in a government hospital. He did not give further details.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leoneans both in country and in the Diaspora have taken to the social and other media that no matter the circumstances ‘Koroma has no legitimate reason for an extension of his political term’.