Wars, Violence, and Disaster A Lesson We Can Learn From

By: Sulaiman Stom Koroma

Too many of our Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters have died out of carelessness and things we should have avoided as a nation. Wars, Police brutality, or heavy-handedness against civilians, Election violence, Pandemics, Epidemics, Mudslides, and other means of deaths have cost us a lot of our brilliant, dedicated, and fine citizens. Between 1991 and 2001, about 50,000 people were killed during the Civil war in the country. We lost people from all four corners of the country, an episode we no longer want to see happen in our beloved country.

 

In August 2007, the country held its presidential and parliamentary elections. However, during the first rounds of elections, no presidential candidate won the 50% plus one vote majority so a runoff election, at this point a second-round contest was a must, this was held in September 2007, after the run-off elections Ernest Bai Koroma, who was the candidate of the main opposition APC, was elected president. He was re-elected president for a second (and final) term in November 2012.

 

In 2014 a cataclysmic satiation hits, Ebola virus epidemic. It had a widespread impact on the country and its people including forcing Sierra Leone to declare a state of emergency. By the end of the epidemic, there were nearly 3,000 deaths and about 10 thousand cases of the disease in Sierra Leone.

 

As if the country was not challenged enough, on 14 August 2017 mudslides occurred around 6:30 AM, it is still unclear the exact number of people who lost their lives during that mudslide, but unconfirmed sources say it’s close to a thousand people who were residing in that community where the incident took place. heavy rains have been causing disaster in the country especially its capital Freetown, year after year, the City floods during the raining season, but the one on the 14th of August 2017, was a red-letter day.

 

During Koroma’ s presidency, a lot of people believed that the Police needed reform, due to the heavy-handedness they demonstrated in dealing with the opposition and their supporter’s police killings in confrontations with civilians at African mineral sites, Malen plantation crisis, violence in by-elections and other operations handled by the police.

 

In 2018, the country held its general elections, in which neither candidate reached the required threshold of 55%, the election went to the second round of voting, in which Julius Maada Bio was elected with 51% of the vote.

 

To many, this was a time of reliving, as they consider this change as one that will bring hopes, jobs for the youths, transformation, economic growth, improved way of life and many other opportunities, but more importantly, a government that will unite it people and brings an end to violence and the killings. The incidences of killings at Lumley, Mile 91, Kambai, Correctional Center killings, Makeni and other areas after the election has left many lives lost.

 

In 2019 another disease that will claim lives and destabilized the nation started in China, the Coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses (CoV) are large families of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

 

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, and cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

 

On the 31st March 2020, the president made a statement during a national broadcast, confirming the first case of Corona Virus in the country. To date, we have got over a thousand confirmed cases and over 60 deaths.

 

As a nation, we have to sit and reflect on the past, think about things that have set us aside, and those that have the propensity to divide us as a nation. So many of our colleagues have died, are still dying and will continue to die if we do not come together and put our differences aside and work as one for a better nation.

 

We must all remember to learn from the past, building monuments, museums, and written books so that our children’s children will not forget the past.

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