Via allAfrica.com, an IRIN report: Liberia: Mistrust of Government Spurs Ebola Spread. Excerpt:
Decades of corruption, deep-rooted mistrust of government and weak public services in Liberia have hastened the spread of the Ebola virus, and much more needs to be done to bridge a communication gap between government and citizens, say civil society groups and analysts.
On 30 August, authorities lifted an enforced quarantine on the West Point area of Monrovia, 10 days after police officers sealed the slum, fuelling frustration and sparking clashes in which a 15-year-old boy was killed.
After the lifting of the cordon, West Point residents marched through Monrovia singing, in Liberian English, "West Point no Ebola! West Point come let go!"
"I'm happy to be free," West Point resident Boakai Passawe, a construction worker who was unable to work during the quarantine period, told IRIN. "But people are not going to forget what happened. I feel I was cheated of my work, of my life. When you have a child to take care of you don't just go away from them," he said of the government's handling of the quarantine.
Liberia may have a reputation as a post-conflict success story on the surface, but for years a quiet fever of discontent has been brewing. Civil society groups say the Ebola outbreak has pulled it to the surface and highlighted the government's inability to cope.
"This is a crisis of governance as much as it is a crisis of Ebola," Blair Glencorse, executive director of the Accountability Lab, an organization that empowers citizens to build creative tools for integrity and accountability in their communities, told IRIN.
"Capacity and accountability haven't been built within systems; not just healthcare systems, but financial management, education, and all the systems that allow the state to deal with crises," he said. "So when you have an emergency like this, it quickly indicates that the government doesn't have the trust of its people, it doesn't have the capacity and it doesn't have the tools it needs to handle such an outbreak."
By 26 August, Liberia's Ministry of Health had reported 1,471 cases of Ebola and 834 deaths, more than either Sierra Leone or Guinea. All three countries have similarly fragile healthcare systems, but in Liberia, a long history of mismanagement, exclusion and poor communication strategies have fuelled discontent among Liberians that the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in power since 2005, has not been able to shake.