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Michael Allison’s death and Ebola are lessons we supposed to learn by now

Michael N. AllisonBy Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

 

 

As a reactionary group, Liberians are good at speaking after something happens.

And when we speak, we don’t speak to find practical solutions to a problem that we can spearhead and solve, our utterances are reduced to empty talk and sheer ‘intellectualism’ to show that we are the most bookish people on earth.

If we are so bookish then why our country – the country we claimed to love from the comfort of our foreign hideaways is so much behind in infrastructure development and everything imaginable on this planet?

The recent death of lawyer and whistleblower Michael Allison, and the prolonged debate that ensued about the cause of his death and who could have done it continues to remain a reason to point fingers at the Sirleaf administration for the way it mishandled the investigation.

It is so true that the administration did not meet our expectations, however, what is our solution? How can we help?

Knowing the non-transparent ways in which Liberian presidents often mishandles everything – from the investigation of official corruption to the deaths of Liberians and those in custody for their anti-government activities, are reasons not to trust the Liberian government.

I mentioned “Liberian presidents” and not the Minister of Justice and the Criminal Investigation Division of the ministry, or an independent counsel because in the Liberian experience, the imperial Liberian president is a micromanager who appoints the individuals, and is also the one who often influences and manipulates the proceedings to favor the government’s side.

In this case, the government did a sloppy job when President Sirleaf jumped in the middle of the case to play coordinator, referee and administrator.

The Sirleaf administration also raised eyebrows when it failed to turn the matter over to an independent counsel, knowing the public’s negative perception of the way her administration and previous administrations dealt with other explosive cases that had the imprints (true or not) of government all over it.

Machael Allison’s death should be investigated independently, and his family and loved ones deserve closure, and nothing but the truth. Because had a member of my family encountered similar deadly fate, I deserve to know what happened, and how it happened.

I am not suggesting that his father’s ‘sins’ led to his own death.

However, what would Michael Allison’s dad, the fearsome and ruthless former Defense Minister Gray D. Allison say or do had he lived today, knowing he too was a mastermind who allegedly caused the deaths of Liberians when he served in the administration of the dictator, President Samuel Kanyon Doe?

I am sick and tired, and sick and tired of the Liberian government running to neighboring countries and other African countries – time after time to borrow their pathologists to conduct autopsies on the Liberian soil.

Why can’t we train and have our own pathologists, medical examiners and coroners?

With no local pathologists to perform autopies, no wonder some Liberians continued to believe in witchcraft as the cause of death of their relatives and friends.

With our own medical school in our own backyard that graduates hundreds of doctors every year, I will think the Liberian government would encourage budding medical students to study various disciplines such as pathology, radiology, nephrology, psychiatry and public health, et cetera, to serve the public.

The Liberian government needs to increase funding of the A. M. Dogliotti School of Medicine at the University of Liberia, and the TNIMA School of Nursing to produce as many medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to meet the healthcare needs of the Liberian population.

In order for these Liberian doctors to remain in the country and serve their people, the Liberian government also needs to establish tax incentives and other financial incentives, establish a healthy business climate and an independent and non-intimidating climate that encourage doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to want to live and practice in Liberia.

Not too long ago, the Liberian nation was caught flatfooted with the Ebola virus that killed thousands. As of April 2015, the Ebola virus hasn’t been fully eradicated.

This is a lesson learned, and a reason to focus on building the nation’s healthcare infrastructures and funding on a massive scale existing infrastructure, and increasing the salaries of the healthcare professionals that do the work.

Instead of the Liberian government continuously providing heart-wrenching salaries to the bench-warming, rubber-stamping members of the legislature who are out of touch with their rural constituents because they don’t live there and hardly visits the area, the Liberian government will have to re-visit its priorities.

We have the same problems in our political system.

Our future presidential candidates are in hibernation, awaiting the 2017 presidential elections to come out of seclusion.

So far, I have yet to see them or know what the candidates will do for their country and people.

There are no policy papers on various issues that contrast the administration they want to replace.

I guess we just have to take them for their words, and we also have to buy our pigs in the bags because they individuals are too good to spell out their positions and policies.

We Liberians cannot continue to sit back and always react to events at home. When we react to events and later forget that it even happened, there is a possibility for that same problem to show its face later.

Do we always want to continue to talk about the same thing with no solution? I don’t think so.

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