The National Task Force on Ebola, established and chaired by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf since its establishment on July 26 this year, continues to be criticized not only for its inability to adequately respond to the current health crisis, but also its composition. Its critics continue to suggest that politicians, including the President of Liberia, are assigned dominant roles, while the role of medical practitioners are just nominal when, in fact they should be at the forefront.
At the core of the ongoing public criticisms, mainly channeled through the Liberian media, are some members of the Liberian Legislature, among whom are Senators George Tengbeh of Lofa County and Sando Johnson of Bomi County, as well as Representatives George Mulbah of Bong County and Bhofah Chambers of Maryland County.
Their public contention is that the national effort against the Ebola Virus Disease currently under the auspices of the National Task Force Chairman by President Sirleaf, be outsourced – i.e., it must be placed in the hands of international medical organizations as a way of fast-tracking the battle. But what’s more troubling and unfortunate, is the inability of these senators and representatives to have first utilized all of the opportunities they enjoy to access the Presidency and the Task Force before going public.
It is no secret that the President of Liberia avails herself to members of the Liberian Legislature at any time as possible in person or through a telephone conversation for meetings of the minds on national issues in consonance with the coordination among the three branches of government emphasized by the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. Regrettably, Senators Tengbeh of Lofa County and Johnson of Bomi County, as well as Representatives Mulbah of Bong County and Chambers of Maryland County chose to thrive on the path of “mecky mouse” politics as a way of scoring political capital against the ant-Ebola national efforts.
While these so-called honorable men and their likes continue to take to the airwaves and front pages of the newspapers as if they were on top of things, little did they know the National Task Force on Ebola had since been re-configured with President Sirleaf as Chairman of the National Consultative Group, comprising all major sectors of the Liberian Society, including political parties, religious and civic organizations, as well as diplomatic missions and international organizations, among others.
The senators and representatives must also be made to understand that the entire management of the Ebola Virus Disease or EVD is being handled by a National Incident Management Committee, Chaired by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare represented by Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyesua, with all of the international medical charities, including Medicins Sans Frontiers or MSF, while there is also a National Resource Committee, chaired by Dorbor Jallah to mobilize all of the resources needed for the battle against the deadly Ebola disease.
These are information that must be at the fingertips of the senators and representatives, if and only if they meant well for their consciences as our leaders and not political triviality. Handling the current national health crisis with which we are confronted must be holistic, i.e, it requires the efforts of all Liberians. Our primary focus is to eradicate Ebola once and for all and not politics. Senators George Tengbeh and Sando Johnson, as well as Representatives George Mulbah and Bhofah Chambers must follow the good examples being set by their colleagues (other Senators and Representatives), who continue to exert all efforts against the EVD in their respective counties and constituencies, other than making themselves comfortable in Monrovia.
In fact, it would be more patriotic and rewarding, if Senators Tengbeh and Johnson, as well as Representatives Mulbah and Chambers were to follow the example of their colleagues in neighboring Sierra Leone by introducing/sponsoring a bill to have at least 50% of their salaries and benefits directed to the fight against Ebola in their respective counties – this, indeed, must be their primary focus, other than engaging in useless politics.
Let them understand that POLITYICS FOR NOWE IS USELESS.