From the Editor’s Keyboard

The anti-Ebola fight should be a collective effort

By  | 19 May 2015 at 20:58 | 1555 views

Two things happened in the last couple of days that are both joyful and sad: The World Health Organization says Liberia has eliminated the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) while the same WHO says there has been a resurgence of Ebola in Guinea while Sierra Leone still struggles with single digit new cases.

The situation seems hopeless for the three countries because more infections in Guinea and Sierra Leone simply mean a cause for apprehension in Liberia; there is no way you can stop Guineans and Sierra Leoneans from entering Liberia just as you cannot stop Liberians from travelling to Guinea and Sierra Leone. The people in those three countries (united by the Mano river, therefore commonly known as Mano River Union countries) are virtually the same people only separated by colonial boundaries. They speak the same African languages, eat the same food and so on. Their various European official languages are just a convenient and useful distraction as far as they are concerned.

I do not really see how Ebola could be eliminated if the three countries do not fight the scourge collectively. I am surprised Guinea is still struggling with Ebola because that’s the country the renowned Ebola fighter, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) first set up their base, not only because Guinea is a former French colony but because it was there Ebola hit first among the three countries.

On reflection, however, I realize that Professor Alpha Conde’s government in Guinea is facing enormous problems with the opposition whose supporters have been demonstrating almost every week for some time now. Nothing seems to be working in the country right now with opposition supporters defying the government’s order to avoid demonstrating. President Conde has meanwhile told Guinean police to exercise the utmost restraint and not to use live bullets but water cannons and tear gas only on the demonstrators.

Why are the opposition parties sending their supporters into the streets? They want the electoral calendar changed again (Guinea is about to have another election). A calendar that had been changed at least three times in the past. This time Professor Conde says NO. Meanwhile Guineans are dying of Ebola all over the country.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is Guinea needs help in this Ebola fight. Now is the time for Liberian and Sierra Leonean health workers to go into Guinea to help their brothers and sisters with the right way to do things and to provide moral support to those Guinean health workers who are not out in the streets demonstrating against Professor Alpha Conde and his government. Helping Guinea is helping Sierra Leone and Liberia too.

And Professor Conde, a real Pan-Africanist, will appreciate that very much. We Africans should learn to solve our problems ourselves whenever or wherever possible. Others should only come in when we lack the expertise and resources to do so.

That’s what the late President Ahmed Sekou Toure (Le Guide), Guinea’s first leader, had been endlessly preaching and writing about when he was alive. That’s what Ghana’s first President the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who once lived in Guinea, had been preaching and writing about till his death.

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