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Liberian authorities should lead by example

Many Liberians are not only astonished but totally confused about news that high-level officials leading the COVID-19 fight, returned from a Joint Security meeting here recently with mass infection and one death. Yet these are the same authorities enforcing State of Emergency and lockdown, flogging citizens and residents for not washing their hands regularly, observing social distance, and wearing facial masks, among other preventive measures.

The Inspector General of Police Patrick Sudue, nearly blew up his head, screaming on radio Monday that the Police would enforce all public regulations with full force, including flogging of violators, which was demonstrated early Tuesday at the Duala, Waterside and Paynesville Red-light markets, respectively, leaving desperate residents scavenging for food brutalized, including women.

But the paradox is joint security officers enforcing these regulations are themselves not wearing masks or observing social distance. From crowded canopies they approach vehicles for inspection at various checkpoints with their faces exposed, directly endangering drivers and occupants. In fact, some are more concerned about tips from drivers than the purpose for which they are deployed along the routes.

That high-level officials such as the Ministers of Justice, Information and Defense, respectively, along with other senior authorities from a meeting got affected, including one death is very worrisome, to say the least.

Are the authorities enforcing one thing on the citizens and doing something totally different themselves or what is really going on in Liberia? We think there is a need to return to the drawing board in our strategies to fighting the novel coronavirus or else, situations could become worst before they get better, as the current realities indicate.

We were very disappointed the other day when a reporter called Joy FM in Monrovia and disclosed that several lawmakers, including Montserrado County Representative Hassan Kiazulu had converged at an entertainment center in Brewerville late in the afternoon to drink alcoholic beverages amidst the State of Emergency and lockdown. This was hardly exemplary of the lawmakers allegedly involved, as it sent a very wrong signal to the public.

Liberia’s Minister of Health Doctor WilheminaJallah is quoted as suggesting that the country appears to be wasting badly needed testing kits on dead people than those living, which seems to insinuate that the right things are not being done by our health authorities.

The government should stop playing lip-service in this COVID-19 fight and wake up for real business. Our authorities should not use the State of Emergency and lockdown to squander our taxes and donor funds under the disguise of tackling the health crisis in the country.
When a senior official such as the Minister of Health could raise such concern about unfolding realities in treatment centers, it means something is fundamentally wronged that should be corrected immediately to make progress in our fight.

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If Liberia should win this battle, and we are confident we will, it is about time our leaders lead by examples from top to bottom to give ordinary Liberians and the public generally a clear focus of where we are heading as a people in defeating this global pandemic.

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