‘I Am Far from Being Tired’

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Seventy-five-year-old President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has assured members of the National Ebola Task Force that she is very far from being tired in handling the affairs of the state.

President Sirleaf, who chaired Tuesday’s National Ebola Task Force Meeting held at the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sternly responded to comments made by Mr. Natty B. Davis, former Chairman of the National Investment Commission of Liberia.

During the meeting, Mr. Davis, who said his NGO—Feed The Future—provides for surviving family members of Ebola victims, had commented among other things: “Madam President, I have one concern, if I may. I am wondering if you are getting tired. Outsiders have told us that the situation is an emergency. What are you doing, Madam President? It starts with you. This is about containing the virus. For example, some of us from the southeast would begin to stop people from going that side so that it doesn’t spread that way, too. We need to contain it.”

President Sirleaf, who had been moderating the meeting in a very quiet and somber tone before this comment, replied sharply with all of the force she could muster: “I am far from being tired. If you think I am tired, try me.”

She contended that what a responsible leader does is not to make rush decisions.  She stated that her government was further observing the situation, not to be misconstrued as fatigue.

The Liberian leader also disclosed that she is in constant communication with her colleagues in Sierra Leone—Ernest Bai Koroma and Guinea—Alpha Condé.

Neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea are also being ravished by the deadly Ebola virus, which has now claimed more than 600 lives in the Mano River Union Basin, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Mr. Davis was buttressing earlier speakers, including Mr. Musa Bility, president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA).

Mr. Bility and other speakers had urged the President to declare a State of Emergency.

“Madam President, we don’t need to keep dodging the issue, a State of Emergency is needed,” Mr. Bility stated and called on authorities of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Security Sector to present a blue print plan that can be the document the National Ebola Task Force can work with.

Responding, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, whose Ministry has been struggling to contain the virus’ spread, told the gathering that his Ministry had already presented a copy of the plan to the Office of the President.

Concluding the meeting, President Sirleaf reminded the audience of some of the measures her government had taken so far. They include a ban on all public gatherings and solidarity marches, where people would come into close contact with one another or be forced to shake hands.

She stated, however, that the government has not stopped people from going to church, mosque, video clubs, cinemas, or limited the number of persons in transport vehicles. Nevertheless, she used the occasion to call on people going to said places and using transport vehicles to make space between them.

The President added: “We are in this boat together; let’s fight to eradicate the disease.” She announced that the next meeting will be held next Thursday, August 7, 2014.

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