Although there are reports of decline in cases of Ebola and more survivors emerging from Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) president, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, has attributed the spread of the virus to the lack of trust in the Government of Liberia on the part of its citizens.
Mr. Kemayah in a keynote speech delivered on his behalf by a proxy on October 25, emphasized that because of the wave of corruption in Liberia that has eroded public trust in officials of government, many Liberians denied the presence of Ebola by saying, “The Government wants to eat money, that’s the reason they say Ebola was in Liberia.”
It can be recalled that when Ebola outbreak was announced in Guinea in March and subsequently reported in Liberia, many in the general public, including people of Lofa where the outbreak first occurred, denied the existence of Ebola in Liberia and attributed the news to an alleged ploy on the part of government to receive money from donors.
According to Mr. Kemayah, on the basis of such perception people have about the government because of rampant corruption, Liberians refused to accept information about the reality of Ebola and take precautionary measures.
These perceptions and statements, Mr. Kemayah said, “suggest that we have serious credibility issues that need to be addressed from the social, political, and economic standpoints. In January 2006, when the President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led Government was inaugurated, the Liberian people had complete confidence and trust in the leadership ability of… her Administration.”
He contended that when President Sirleaf took over in 2006 and promised that “papa will come” with a black plastic to impress the home; Liberians had complete confidence in her administration.
But after a few years, especially beginning her second term, the confidence has apparently withered away because they are not seeing anything being done as promised earlier.
“The increasing level of hardship and downward trend in the standard of living amongst the masses in Liberia, long before the Ebola virus outbreak, are among many reasons why the trust/confidence in the national leadership has been eroded,” Kemayah stressed.
Mr. Kemayah in the loaded speech also questionably stressed, “Can the citizens trust their national leaders again when, for example, the papa na come pronouncement is far from tangible realization? Can they trust their President again? Can they trust their Senators again? Can they trust their Representatives again? Can they even trust their religious leaders again? To answer these, one must first agree that the fabrics of these institutions have broken down from an analytical point of view.”
The LIBA boss indicated that when statements by people concerning failure of the government to meet its promise are analyzed, one deduces serious problem with the national government in misapplying fund.
“If one analyzes the views by the ordinary people on the streets, you could deduce that there is an issue of concern. If we say people are not eating money from this Ebola fight, why is it that giving proper account of the initial United States Five Million Dollars (US$5,000,000.00) to fight Ebola has been an issue?”
He said while there are reports of decline, community dwellers need to still be conscious of its prevalence because it can break out at any time when people avoid precautionary measures.
Mr. Kemayah’s statement was delivered in proxy by Rev. Garlison George, head pastor of Mount Nebo Baptist Church, of which Kemayah is a member.
The occasion at which Rev. George spoke marked the launch of the Paynesville Town Hall Community Anti-Ebola awareness campaign, where a total of 100 hand-washing buckets were presented on behalf of the Kemayah family.
LIBA, which has a presence in the City of Paynesville with its national headquarters located on AB Tolbert Road, also participated in the program represented by its vice president, David K. Sembeh. In remarks, Sembeh urged the business community to strengthen its contribution to the fight against Ebola.
Mr. Kemayah is currently in Uganda defending his thesis at the Catholic owned Martyrs University, where he is expected to graduate with the Masters of Arts Degree in Development Studies on November 13.
Members of the community represented by Darlington Kpayili commended Mr. Kemayah and his family for the gesture and acknowledged his role played in the lives of many in the community.