23rd October 2017
Is the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) a Family Property?
Asks Abdul Fonti, Guest Editor (01/10/17)
The present make up of SLAJ has more questions than answers. A situation that does not auger well for the Sierra Leone media.
Opinions are sacred and cannot be suppressed. Freedom of speech is a basic human rights. Every human being and institution in the society must respect the freedom of individuals to express their opinions. Anything other than that is a human rights violation that should be resisted stoutly.
When internal mechanisms to deliberate or express views in any organisation collapse, the members can easily resort to expressing their rights in public. This is the current case in the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) where certain members are suffering from dictatorial tendencies exhibited by the association's President Mr. Kelvin Lewis.
SLAJ is governed by a constitution that clearly outlines rules and regulations governing the institution. Sadly however, Kelvin Lewis continues to run the affairs of SLAJ outside the dictates of the constitution with TOTAL CONTEMPT. He seems to be suffering from what I will describe as 'election hangover' at the expense of unity and progress in the association.
The Kelvin Lewis led executive has refused to interview a single journalist for membership in SLAJ since he assumed power. This is totally against the spirit of unionism which the association represents. Dozens of practicing journalists have bought application forms awaiting invitation for interviews to no avail. Kelvin's executive has collected those monies and has refused to invite a single member for interview with no explanation whatsoever.
More troubling is the fact that the SLAJ constitution clearly dictates the qualification requirement for membership into the association. If even for argument sake some or all of these applicants are not qualified for membership, the SLAJ executive should be moral enough to at least communicate to the applicants or interview and reject or accept them, especially so after collecting monies from these applicants.
As if that is not dictatorial enough, it would surprise the public to note that journalists in Sierra Leone are parading the streets without identification cards as SLAJ members, thanks to Kelvin Lewis. As shameful as it may sound, this is just the sad and unfortunate status the journalist association find itself.
No wonder the association was shamefully celebrating the other day when BBC Media Action donated a motorbike (Okada) to them. Is this not the same BBC Media Action that SLAJ engaged in a foolish media battle quite recently? Shameful to say the least.
And SLAJ is also operating a Whatsapp social media platform that could best be described as being manned in the North Korean way. Fully paid up members of the association are prevented access to join the SLAJ Whatsapp group with no explanation from the executive.
It would seem that the group is mainly composed of loyalists of Mr. Kelvin Lewis aka Uncle Mr. Kelvin Lewis. While becoming a member of the SLAJ Whatsapp Group is like Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Staff in Sierra Leone applying for U.S Visitors Visa that would not be granted, being in the group will seem that you either support the Kelvin Lewis regime with no objection or you are whisked or thrown out or dragged from or being attacked or accused unjustly.
I am a victim of dictatorial leadership in SLAJ. Kelvin removed me unceremoniously without any authority from the Whatsapp group. My ONLY CRIME was because I referred to President Lewis as Uncle Mr. Kelvin Lewis.
He has however FAILED WOEFULLY to explain which section of the SLAJ Constitution frowns against referring to the SLAJ President as Uncle Mr? Which justification really does Uncle Mr. Kelvin has to unilaterally remove or refuse to add a fully paid up member to a SLAJ Forum, while the person is still a fully paid up and legal member of SLAJ?
Let me rest at this juncture as this is ONLY the first among series of planned publications to expose the excesses of the Kelvin Lewis led executive of SLAJ.
Courtesy: The Author, Mr. Abdul Fonti is a leading Journailst in Sierra Leone
Local Content Policy is Excellent Achievement for Ernest
By Ranger, Guest Editor (03/09/17)
One of the good things under the present APC administration is ushering the Local Content Act that empowers local businesses to excel.
Today, various businesses hitherto reposed in the hands of foreign entities are now allowed to be performed by Sierra Leonean firms that have the requisite skills and expertise. Undoubtedly, this new development has served as one of the panacea to unemployment and widespread poverty.
The country’s economy, prior to the passage of the Local Content Policy, was nothing good to write home about as most of the business enterprises contracted to perform certain tasks were foreign owned and based.
What this obviously led to was marginalisation of Sierra Leoneans to healthily compete with foreign business entities, the accruing of benefits in terms of payment of salaries or wages to hire foreign nationals, stemming the business development of indigenes or local entrepreneurs etc.
When the current APC government successfully marketed this country internationally through organised conferences and diplomatic engagements, portraying it as a place very ideal to do business plus putting the necessary parameters in place to easily do business in-country, we saw the influx of various multi-national companies in the likes of African Minerals, London Mining Companies, ADDAX, Bollore Logistics, Socfin etc and other subsidiary entities all determined to make huge investments for profits.
Many saw this trend as a big blessing for the country as such could assure of job opportunities, surface rents to landowners, increased revenue in the form of payment of taxes to Government and an immense boost to the country’s economy.
However, it must be highlighted that because the Government was so eager to encourage direct foreign investments it granted certain concessions to these companies which later turned out to be very inimical to the growth of the country’s economy.
Though in actual fact these direct foreign investments initially impacted positively on the country’s economy, however, because there was no Local Content Policy in place local Sierra Leonean businesses and indigenes could not benefit from such developments. It was largely noticeable that companies like African Minerals and London Mining were contracting certain expertise from overseas to perform tasks which Sierra Leoneans with the requisite qualifications and skills could perform with ease.
Indeed, because of the way in which our educational curricular is framed there are certain courses that are not offered here meaning that there was a dearth of knowledgeable or educated Sierra Leoneans in areas that were highly needed by these companies which inevitably required the bringing of foreign experts.
But what became so disheartening was when London Mining Company decided to contract a foreign entity to transport mined ore from the mining sites to the queen Elizabeth Quay in Freetown when in actual fact there are competent Sierra Leoneans who had the wherewithal to do the same. Coupled with that was also bringing individuals from other countries to do certain jobs, a trend that ran across all these multi-national companies. All these led to indignation among our brothers and sisters including local transporters who stoutly resisted the status quo and called for fair play.
That was just one of the major catalyst that probably propelled the current APC led Government, through the pro-people stance of His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, to ensure that the Local Content Policy comes into being. Seen to be in the best interest of the economy there were certain clauses that were factored in the 2016 Finance Act which largely favoured the flourishing of the Local Content Policy.
It was enshrined that even if there is any form of direct foreign investment it must be ensured that even if there are no Sierra Leoneans who do not have the necessary qualifications to perform certain tasks they must be incorporated as apprentices to understudy with the aim of them later taking over certain positions.
It goes without saying that since the Local Content Policy became legally binding, indigenous businesses have grown exponentially as could be seen in the expansion in the productivity of farmers of sorghum who supply the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL) Company the product to manufacture Guinness and Beer drinks.
Another thing which is indisputable is the fact that because of the Local Content Policy the migration of qualified Sierra Leoneans to overseas countries to seek greener pasture has reduced.
Today, we have engineers here who are engaged in various projects who hitherto found it difficult to have spaces to compete. The likes of Gento Group of Companies, Pavi Fort, Secon etc are indigenous companies implementing big projects.
When the August 14th, 2017 flood/landslide struck Regent and other parts of Freetown we saw the instrumental roles that Gento and Pavi Fort played in mobilising their machineries alongside the Chinese road construction company to help in the search and rescue operation.
These Companies have now come forward to construct 52 affordable houses for the victims of the recent flood/landslide victims. In the absence of the Local Content Policy that could hardly have been possible.
It must be reiterated that the passage of the Local Content Act is a big blessing to this country evident in the many advantages it has brought. As a country we must embrace it as it serves as an engine for economic growth.
African Leaders Must Emulate Tanzanian President Magufuli
President Magufuli is unquestionably Africa's best. He is just one year in office but his achievements so far are second to none in Africa.
With his 'work and serve' motto, President Magufuli has transformed Tanzania from hopelessness to hope and progress. His government has ushered transparency, a corrupt-free society to name a few positives.
His maiden government has cut down unnecessary government expenses, ushering punctuality in government offices and merciless slashing down of large government contingent travelling abroad on official duties.
President Magufuli has passed a legislation to ban first class and business class travels by government officials in place of economy class, abandoning expensive government official vehicles and cancelling exorbitant allowances for government officials etc.
In one year, his government has saved millions of US dollars that he is now spending on refurbishing hospitals, schools, road constructions, improve salaries and so on.
President Magufuli has even cut down to size his own contingent thus saving millions to spend on improving the lives of ordinary people, who are in actual fact the masters and not the servants. Sad that many governments do not consider the electorates as masters but rather the other way round.
Magufuli’s popular vision brings to mind the teachings and practices of other true sons of Africa namely Moise Samora Machel, Steve Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Osagyefo Nkrumah and many others in Africa and abroad.
No surprise that some media outlets in Tanzania are crying foul because their paymasters are being squeezed day in day out by the Magufuli revolution. Crying for press freedom does not really bother the long suffering people who see their president as their saviour.
May God protect the likes of President Magufuli from all evil forces; Mr. President, the Organiser newspaper salutes you for truly serving the forgotten people. God bless.
APC Must Drop Complacency to Win the 2018 Elections!
By Guest Editor (09/07/17)
Complacency, party affiliations and overconfidence are the causes why the APC lost the bye elections at Kechun in Kambia.
A big disgrace for a ruling political party to lose to an independent candidate! In short, it is a shame, a stigma, a smear on the APC insignia.
The APC party members believe they should treat any coming elections with the credit it deserves as if they are in opposition.
“Let us seek for correct, down to earth candidates. We need to win all the seats in Freetown and other parts of the country with the right candidates,” APC members warn.
“Please let us endeavour to give correct candidates to our party. Any loss of election of any form is a plus for the oppositions.
“Let us treat all elections with the sincerity and concerns they deserve. The coming elections are a transition. We must be tactful,” they appeal. A tabulated result of the Friday 30 June 2017 elections below:
OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS COORDINATOR
Ward 139 By-Election
Party - Votes - % (Valid Votes)
APC - 871 - 49.0%
Independent - 881 - 49.5%
ADP - 27 - 1.5 %
Total No. of Reg. Voters: 3027
Total No. of Valid Votes Cast: 1779
Total No. of Void Votes Cast: 89
Total No. of Votes Cast: 1868
Voter Turnout: 62%
Alhaji Salieu Mansaray, Elections Coordinator - Northern Province
Did the ADP Leader Arrested for Illegal Possession of Gun Violate the Law?
Asks Editayo G. Temple, Guest Editor (11/06/17)
The arrest and detention of the ADP leader for illegal possession of arms has brought focus on the Sierra Leone arms law.
Embattled leader and chairman of a newly registered political party in Sierra Leone, the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray, was recently arrested and detained at the Dura police station in Kenema District, Eastern, Sierra Leone for allegations of the illegal possession of small arms and ammunition, (Pistol & Teaser).
Apparently, the ARMS AND AMMUNITION ACT 2012, PART 4 SECTION 11: reads:
(1) No person shall have in his possession, custody or control any small arm or light weapon unless that person holds a licence issued by the Registrar under this Act.
SECTION 29 PARAGRAPHS 1-3: furthered that:
(1) The Registrar shall have such powers as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this Act, including the power to inspect any premises, vehicle or place in which he believes small arms and light weapons prohibited under this Act may be found, seize, confiscate collect or destroy any small arm or light weapon prohibited under this Act.
(2) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Act commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than five million Leones or to a term of imprisonment of not less than twelve months.
(3) Any person who conspires to or knowing or wilfully attempt, aids, abets, counsels, procures or commands the commission of an offence under this Act, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or term of imprisonment as a principal offender.
Be it as it may, it is now left with the judiciary to decide his fate and to ascertain whether Mr. Mansaray was in possession of the said weapons legally or illegally in accordance with the Sierra Leone Constitution.
Is the NEC Boss Competent to Hold the 2018 Elections?
Asks Editayo G. Temple (12/05/17)
This is the burning question on the lips of many Sierra Leoneans as we prepare for the March 7 general elections next year.
Are the Biometric Voter Registration Machines supplied for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) National Civil and Voter Registration, 2017, the right model contracted for in terms of efficiency and speed?
Who are the contractors? How many vehicles were supplied and who were the Agents or Contractors, as the case may be?
How effective is your monitoring and evaluating oversight, in relation to the ongoing aforementioned process?
How prepared is NEC to conduct a successful long anticipated referendum slated for September, 2017?
However, most people have been calling for referendum in a bid to let them know what is in the reviewed constitution, ahead of its enactment. It is also eminent that the new government may not have time and resources to conduct such task and other pressing developmental issues, so it's significant we do away with it now.
On the premise of ‘contributing negligence’ not only N'fa Alie Conteh, the National Electoral Commissioner should be held responsible, but his accomplice, Joseph F. Kamara, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Suspiciously, if N'fa Alie Conteh, the National Returning Officer, has started making and confessing to vivid mistakes, his ability and capacity to conduct a free, fair, violence free and credible transitional general elections, is open for debate.
Congratulations Parliament, for the indefinite extension of the registration process as an act of allowing NEC to propose further extension without going through the Well. Bringing N'fa to book exhibits your readiness and competence.
That NEC's ability and competence to conduct the 2018 elections are still questionable and required remedy. But some Sierra Leoneans think his acceptance of his mistake shows his leadership qualities that the country must reap. “It takes a man to raise the white flag when a mistake is done,” one admirer noted.
Courtesy: Editayo George Temple, The Investigative Journalist +23279316750
NEC's Herculean Tasks for the 2018 Elections
By N'Bompa Turay, Guest Editor (06/03/17)
Sierra Leone's National Electoral Commissions (NEC) gears up for the much awaited General and Presidential Elections in March 7, 2018.
Reports say NEC authorities are saddled with herculean tasks to prepare the battle fields for the political giants in their respective political parties in the Presidential and General Election.
NEC has vowed to conduct the elections with infallible impartiality, honesty, strict discipline implementation of all legitimate rules in democratic free and transparency.
The indomitable APC won the 2007 and 2012 Presidential and General Elections and now determined to win the forth coming one contained in their catalogue of materialised development programmes, nationwide.
Generally, there are irreconcilable differences in the midst of some political parties including rebellion, greed, covetousness, introduction of unprintable manicures, cane flogging, devilish satanic threats to invite Satan into the country with proliferation of falsehood etc.
Dr. Nahim stated in a radio programme few years back that the leader of the RUF was one of his patients for mental problem. If this revelation was known to the public, thousands of misguided and gullible people would have refrained from joining the mad band-wagon of Cpl. Foday Sankoh in the eleven years murderous, barbaric and senseless war.
Dr. Nahim statement was verified when Cpl Foday Sankoh developed dread locks in prison due to lock of mental drugs.
The indomitable APC has its own problems to bring back into their fold, the frustrated, disappointed, neglected members who had been deserted by their elected member of Parliament. It is alleged that some of their MPs had failed miserably in the political collectivism of their party as one unit. Some alienated themselves from their constituencies.
A political analyst started that some political parties had received colossal billions of US$ Dollars and Leones to buy the votes of gullible and corrupt voters. Another area of paramount importance is the urgent need for sufficient sensitisation to avoid thousands of invalid voters due to ignorance of the voters.
Sources within some political parties revealed that if the indomitable APC continues to wins the third term in governance, the government will complete their development programmes and the opposition will be dumb founded with nothing to captivate the public confidence.
An APC stalwart stated that the opposition parties will vehemently campaign and contest against the APC, but that they will be fragmented into defeat. 2018 indeed will be the battle for supremacy by the political giants/gurus in a democratic, fair, free, transparent and non violent election.
JFK: The Man Next Door, Lecturer's Thought‼
By Prof Septimus Kanu (14/02/17)
Politicians in Sierra Leone are a notorious set - they top superstars list.
And this is especially true for Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara our current Attorney General and Minister of Justice. If I may recalled after collecting series of awards, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General said winning such awards was down to passion and determination and above all education.
He emphasized. He continued to say that he would be very happy if many more Sierra Leoneans will win those awards in years to come because it will help rebrand the country and development will move at a faster rate. The Attorney General averred that Sierra Leone needs more quality people in positions to turn around the economy and this will be possible if we put more emphasis on education for the future generation. "Education he said is a human right.
And, like other rights, it cannot be taken for granted. Across the country, more than 60 percent of the population is illiterate and we must endeavour to lower that percentage. No country has developed with such high percentage of illiterate population. He further said that the challenge is daunting, but will be achieved because that is the only way the country will developed.
"My dream for Sierra Leone is to strengthen our educational sector, produce more educated people to run institutions including foreign ones. When we have more than 90 percent Sierra Leoneans at the helm of affairs, they will be able to win more laurels for the country and the local content policy will be more effective."
He concluded by saying that currently there are many jobs that Sierra Leoneans cannot take because they are not qualified, but his dream in the coming years is to make sure where ever a job is advertised at least a Sierra Leonean should be able to apply for it.
Courtesy: Justice Freedom Knowledge (JFK)
Watch Out for Sierra Leone’s Next First Lady!!!
By STN, Guest Editor (12/01/17)
In 2018, Sierra Leone will go in to general and presidential elections. Many politicians are now parading with the future First Ladies.
As the momentum to succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma develops in both the ruling All People Congress Party (APC), the main opposition Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP) and other political parties, many aspirants are beginning to campaign with their wives and children while others are not doing so.
Amongst those that have been coming out with their wives are Julius Maada Bio, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Andrew Keili, Alimamy Pepito Koroma, Victor Bockarie Foh, Minkailu Mansaray, John Bono Sesay and Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella. Those that have not been moving with their wives, either because of being single or are not ready to do so, include John Oponjo Benjamin, Alie Kabba, Abubakarr Kalokoh, Alpha Khanu and Kamarainba Mansaray.
The reason for them not to move around with their wives may not be unconnected with the fact that some of them have no homes that they can manage and control. The first lady in any country normally has a pivotal role to play in running the state concomitantly with the President who needs a stable home to make important national decisions.
At times, the first lady also helps the President in developing and implementing programmes that will help the vulnerable particularly women and children in the state. There are times politicians do not only campaign with their wives but also the rest of their families to show how responsible they are in running and managing their homes.
Thus it is good for Sierra Leone to assess the families of those who have declared or are yet to declare their intentions to run for President come 2018. Assessing our aspirants for the most coveted political seat in the country, we need to know NOW how responsible and competent they are. Courtesy: Salone Times Newspaper
Season's Greetings from the Organiser Newspaper
Wish you Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year to all our readers. As we enter 2017, the Organiser newspaper will continue to serve its innumerable readers with factual news around the world. The Organiser newspaper is also soliciting advertisements from our stakeholders at reasonable costs.
For more information, surf our Contact page. Thank you, Editor/Publisher.
Journalist's View on: 'Why SLPP Thug Attacks APC Spokesman?'
By Tony Bee, Guest Editor (10/12/16)
A must read editorial penned by Guest Editor Tony Bee from Australia.
A warning for the disorganised SLPP to wake up. When I read one of the stories captioned: “Why the SLPP Thug Attacks APC President Spokesman,” that was published on the 2nd of December 2016 from one of the Sierra Leone online newspapers, The Organiser', many thoughts came into my mind. First thought, how the newspaper itself really organised the story.
It was well organised just like how its name rings a bell on the ears of good organisers in the world, especially in Sierra Leone. But unfortunately the 65 years old retired SLPP is not in the global group of good organisers, particular in Sierra Leone. The hard fact is, very good organisers are not brutes. They are always polite, cool, calm, gentle and peaceful in their daily activities.
But for SLPP as a party, it’s no secret that it comprises of many violent men and women in different crack circles always bent on bringing their fellow peace and development loving Sierra Leoneans back to the dark days of Foday Sankoh and his Libyan Green Book Lieutenants in and out of the country. Therefore, anywhere they go, they will go with their violence and thuggery baggage along with them.
That was why Foday Jangray of SLPP tried to molest the polite, cool, calm, gentle and peacefully calculated APC Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay. My second thought was why SLPP Foday Jangray trying to molest his fellow peaceful Sierra Leonean in the public? Is it because of jealousy or envious mind? Or is it because the cool, calm and calculated Bayraytay is the APC presidential spokesman? Or is it because Bayraytay refused to pick up his phone calls when he wanted to invite him to his birthday party? If the alleged invitation was true, was it really based on a sincerely and genuine friendly motive invitation?
Or was there a satanic plan against the young man? Was it part of the plan that Foday was trying to bring to the attention of the general public at Cheznous Restaurant? The fact is we have read and heard about a famous Sierra Leonean DJ, who was invited to a birthday party and how he was allegedly found dead. Sierra Leoneans beware of SLPP thugs.
They can do anything stupid for the sake of power. However, my third thought was on the interesting comments from the extract. When Jangray was alleged to have said: “We are going to remove them, APC from power. We too supposed to be in power now because we are tired of being in the opposition." Honestly speaking these statements are very interesting to me and I also believe that other Sierra Leoneans do enjoy the comments.
The other interesting part of Jangray’s comments, where he said, it is the people of Sierra Leone that continue to vote for APC. It is really good when SLPP know that it is the people of Sierra Leone that are voting APC into power. Is that not an interesting comment? Yes, it is. The fact that Jangray did not say APC came to power by violence or by inciting war, but by the people’s mandate, is interesting.
Now, please read the extract from The Organiser’s newspaper what SLPP Foday Jangray allegedly did to Bayraytay and what he also said to him: “Pointing his fingers at the forehead of the Presidential Spokesman whilst barking at the top of his voice like a mad dog in the country’s linqua franca, Krio “nainh dae tok for the President. Den wan yah we go pull dem nar power. Wisef for cam in now because we don tire for dae na de opposition en de pipul den still dae vote for this useless APC government ya so.” Translated in English: 'He is the one speaking for the President. We shall remove them from power. We too should come in now as we are tired of being in the opposition but the people still continue to vote for the useless APC-led government'.
Sierra Leoneans, have you seen how hungry and desperate SLPP wants to get power by all means (Pa-O-pa). Please be alert in watching their movement in and out of the country. A party that engulfs violence and lawlessness, a party that does not have respect for its authorities, that does not obey its own laws and cannot speak with one voice even when the elections are coming closer, such a party is as useless as Foday's SLPP.
If I may continue to educate Foday Jangray and his SLPP by asking few more questions: who put them in the opposition bench? Is it not because they do not normally put the interest of the country first in their party activities? They always think that their selfish interests are more important than the nation. If they are not in power the country should not be at peace? Is it not because of that the electorates are always voting them out through the ballot box? Are they well organised like a serious opposition part that the people should listen to?
If not, which way are the SLPP going to remove APC from power? Is it through the ballot box that they are seemingly afraid of? If not by what means? Is it by inciting violence or war in the country? Or by joining Sama Sumana who had already made himself well known to the whole world, particularly to Sierra Leoneans all over the universe, especially those in the country that if he is not reinstated as vice president of Sierra Leone he would wage war against the poor innocent people in the country? Are they, SLPP ready to use the poor and defenceless masses children in the country to go and kill themselves in the streets of towns and villages for them in the name of protest or demonstration for fuel price increase by government?
If so, are these poor parents, especially the school going children really willing to go and put their precious lives at stake because of important SLPP one party with many problems? Ebola virus had made the students lose almost a whole academic year without going to schools, colleges and universities. Will they again allow some of the unpatriotic SLPP members whose children, close families and relatives are attending schools, colleges and universities abroad to fool them in the name of demonstrations against inflation in the country while they have their political devil-incarnation motives up their sleeves? Time will tell. My brothers and sisters, especially the students, I value your precious lives.
Therefore, beware of SLPP sinister political motives against the country. Praising you as heroes or heroines at the expense of your valuable lives and those of your poor parents struggling to pay your fees at the same time fighting to get you something to eat is NOT a praise. They are doing you more harm than good. Mind you, they are too ungrateful. You risk your lives for the sake of them, you are just destroying yourselves for nothing.
Let the SLPP bring their own children and relatives abroad to come and demonstrate for them in the country. I will not talk about the arm chair mushroom political organisations so-called civil societies or human rights’ advocates in the country. Such negative groups are only in the country to only protect their own jobs at the expense of the poor nation because they lack the early intervention positive initiatives that will prevent the abuse of individuals or group’s rights.
Courtesy: By Tony Bee, Sydney, Australia
Reminiscing the First 4 Brilliant Years of the APC in Governance
By Thorlu Guest Editor (18/11/16)
In 2007, Sierra Leoneans were running to the polling stations to vote for the New APC back in to power leaving their priceless shoes behind.
Simply because of frustrations and the failed policies the SLPP party appalling implemented in the country. Sierra Leoneans were sick and tired of the way the SLPP was doing bad business in the country during their two terms in office. Simply because of frustrations and the failed policies the SLPP party appalling implemented in the country.
Sierra Leoneans were sick and tired of the way the SLPP was doing bad business in the country during their two terms in office. The entire country was in total disarray, full of drugs, underdeveloped roads, crippling economy, shambolic health care system, people dying from all kinds of diseases, schools became the idle zones and drug dealings centres for the drug lords. And to make matters worse the country was in complete darkness for almost 13 years during the SLPP tenure.
The future generation was forced to make big choices in their early lives, whether to go to school, which they can't afford because of the high cost of school fees, or the other alternative was to drop out of school and either embraced prostitution or engage in any violent activities or gangs as a way of life at such tender age. These innocent kids have to sacrifice their bodies or future to engage in awful acts just to make ends meet. What a shame on the SLPP led by President Tejan Kabbah.
The poor leadership skills of the SLPP became the biggest problem in Sierra Leone, based on their unproductive results and failed policies. It came to a point that the citizens of Sierra Leone started to give-up their dreams and ambitions and they felt like SLPP has ruined their futures. The entire country was in complete jeopardy, people came into the conclusion that only one political party in the entire COUNTRY that could seek their interests.
And that party was no other than the APC under the leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma. That's why the ruling APC party came to power in 2007. In the first 100 days in office, the New APC delivers light, something the SLPP cannot accomplish in 13 years in office. The Bumbuna Dam Hydroelectric Project was revived by the APC and the installation of a 1Tomegawatt thermal power generating machine from Japan that eventually alleviated the chronic power shortages.
Electricity generation improved by 49% in 2010 and 70% to present, since Minister Henry Macauley took over (170.45 gigawatt/hour or More ). President Koroma also demonstrated pure leadership skills when he made peace with certain senior APC members that took him and his APC party to court. Because he knew that our country cannot afford another war or discomfort. He publicly apologised for the old APC past activities and reassured the people of Sierra Leone that the new APC is totally different from the old APC, a change that was very visible during the first term in governance.
But very hard to convince us now that the new APC is not looking more like the old APC. He was the first President in the history of Sierra Leone to declare his assets, and urged the rest of his Cabinet Ministers to follow suit. He was the first President to live his entire life in Sierra Leone, doing business in one of the lowest private sectors in Sierra Leone as an insurance broker. He is the first President that spent more money in the educational sector than any other government in Sierra Leone, such as increasing salaries and subventions of teachers.
He is the first president to take an active role in the agricultural sector. President Koroma lived an ordinary life within his community of his fellow countrymen and he perfectly understands the depth, sorrow, pain and sacrifices his people have gone through in the past by the preceding government. For some of these simple reasons above, President Koroma has the fortitude to relate directly to the least common Sierra Leonean and his humble attitude that most leaders do not have.
Some of Us Will Continue to Support President Koroma Forever
By Gunther AB Daramy (19/10/16)
This prolific Sierra Leone journalist Mr. Gunther Daramy, like others, is very impressed with President Ernest Koroma's presidency.
The reason for this is simple. Under Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma, as Chairman and Leader of our glorious party, and as President of Sierra Leone, we have witnessed tremendous empowerment of young folks of our party and the country as a whole. The appointment of the Secretary General of the National Youth League of the All Peoples Congress (APC), Alie Conteh, as Presidential Youth Aide, at State House, does not come as a surprise to me.
This is because I know our darling Leader will one day reward his hard work and resilience. As a member of the Editorial Team of APC We Yone Newspaper and an Honorary Member of the League, I am au fait with some of the happenings of the APC NYL. Comrade Alie Conteh has served the party diligently. For this reason, some of us are proud to say as young people, there is reason to be resilient and hold the forth to rally around the party in thick and thin.
Comrade Alie Conteh can selflessly pinch from his little and make things happen for needy young people of the party. I can still vividly remember when he disclosed to me some time ago, that he is going to quit his job to serve the party. It was a bold decision indeed.
This is a lesson for all of us whom are in the party young people arm to learn from. At this point in time, let me say Kudus to our President of the APC National Youth League, Bai Mahmoud Bangura, for creating the platform for young party folks. As a way of background, Alie Conteh has served as President of the National Union of APC students (NUAS) in 2007/2008. A lot of achievement on his single head. Meanwhile, I remain APC forever.
Courtesy: Gunther AB Daramy, AKA APC OSE PIKIN
Bondo Society and the FGM Debate Rages on in Sierra Leone!!
By The Ranger (08/09/16)
The nation has lately been embroiled in a heated debate on social media concerning the Bondo Society and the Female Genital Mutilation.
It could be recalled that hostility towards opponents of the practice was underlined in 2009 when four female journalists in the city of Kenema were forced to strip before being frog marched through the streets because “they spoke unfavourably on radio against female circumcision or FGM as fearfully coined by the West. Anti-FGM campaigners are divided on whether an under-18 ban will have any impact.
Some believe it is a small step in the right direction, others say it will matter little as traditionally a parent makes the decision for a daughter, irrespective of age. Anti campaigners cite ugly medical consequences of the operation being done with unsuitable excision instruments and various health complications that after birth and traumatize those who go through FGM, adding that it has no benefit to those who go through it. Among the womenfolk, according to the Secretary General of the Soweis Association, majority who live in the rural areas accept the custom as a mark of honour in society.
She sees nothing harmful in cutting of the clitoris which anti campaigners call FGM and compares it to male circumcision which nobody opposes. Those accused of advocating for a ban against the Bondo and FGM, have explained that they are not against Bondo which is widely practiced by women of all tribes in the country but against the initiation of girls below the age of consent and discretion.
On the other hand, the government as a signatory to the Maputo Declaration which promotes the rights of women has said it is highly committed to attain the highest possible standard of health for girls and women, particularly their sexual and reproductive health rights. The Bondo is seen being a traditional rural women institution as a means of raising a girl properly. Communities practice it and its associated FGM mostly for cultural reasons. Since it is such a powerful social norm, most families will have their daughters cut despite the health risks and harm.
FGM is practiced under the belief that women and girls will remain pure and ensure a proper marriage. Reasonably, the age old tradition and custom cannot be banned overnight but can gradually be eliminated through education of girls and their families. Research shows that many educated girls and children of educated mothers are opting not to join the Bondo. This is the position of African educationists like FAWE which has built schools for girls in communities to educate and liberate them from their past.
In Nigeria, a civil society organization, Girls Power Initiative's weekly safe space lessons provide an opportunity for hundreds of 10-18 year old Nigerian girls to become empowered with factual information on gender, life management skills, adolescent sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Girls graduating from the three year program use the information gained to carry out social work interventions in rural communities on issues of early marriage, teenage pregnancies and FGM which have led to a reduction in these practices.
Africa Must and Should be the Last Destination!!
In a bar in South London, two African guys were saying the West is the last destination to achieve success and prosperity.
A Jamaican listening intently, immediately disputed their viewpoint and said Africa supposed to be the last destination. I nodded in affirmation and added that that is only possible if Africans, especially educated ones, get rid of the mental slavery stigma that continues to disturb many of their rational thoughts. It pains me when I hear educated black men and women easily conclude that the West is the last destination or heaven on earth.
Yes, it's true the West is politically, economically far advanced than Africa. Not because they are richly endowed or more brilliant than Africans but because most African nations lacked leaders who have their own independent national visions to propel their countries progressively without undue interference and pressures from 'Big Brothers or Sisters'.
Unarguably, Africa is the richest continent in the world because it is naturally endowed with everything priceless you can think of. But we are still poor in every aspects of human imagination. Some of our forefathers are to blame for this current painful situation where majority of Africans think coming to the West is the only option to progress.
However, many Africans are excelling admirably in Africa surpassing many of their compatriots who live in the Diaspora. Until Africans are emancipated from mental slavery, if I may borrow a quote from Pan African guru Marcus Garvey, Africa will never emerge from these doldrums. But how can we when there is a massive brain drain from Africa coming to the West to seek greener pastures? It's a difficult situation indeed.
Diasporans are currently contributing over 30% to the fragile economies of many Africa nations through the weekly or monthly monies sent to family members and friends. For us the lucky or unlucky ones residing in the developed countries, we have to thank the Almighty for having the opportunity to enjoy all the basic fundamentals of life available in the West, a far cry from the destitution and poverty that markedly identify majority of our compatriots back in Africa. No place like home.
But how can you go back home when the spirits of African revolutionaries like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Bai Bureh of Kasseh, Thomas Sankara, Moise Samora Machel, Samory Toure, Amilcar Cabral etc. are still burning with rage for the letting their beloved Africa down?
I still believe our continent is down and but not totally out yet. We must pray for divine intervention to help get Africa the true patriots that it urgently needs to reshape the continent. A loud knock on my door woke me up suddenly from my deep slumber. Ooh I was dreaming. What a dream!!!!!
Fighting Corruption: Allow Dr. Sylvia Blyden to be the Sacrificial Lamb
By Guest Editor (23/07/16)
Corruption is endemic in Sierra Leone regardless of effort being made by President Koroma to give the Anti-Corruption Commission prosecution powers.
Political heads of ministries, departments and agencies carry the bulk of the blame for the underdevelopment of the country, amid serious corrupt practices at all levels. But if proper investigative journalism is done, you will agree that the problem we have in this country is how civil servants are engaging in serious act of corruption.
It is for this reason that I support moves by the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs for exposing corruption in her Ministry. While those senior officials indicated by the Minister are presumed innocent, let us allow the due process of the law and at the same time encourage other MDAs to follow suit. Dr. Sylvia Blyden will go down in the history of this country for representing this country with all honesty and sincerity.
It is apparent that government ministries should be devoid of graft. This is because the presence of corruption will hamper socio-economic growth. For this reason, well-meaning Sierra Leoneans should join force with this drive. How many MDAs are embattled by corrupt practices unreported? Why is that many government policies stop at half way?
The ugly reality is many vote controllers, whom necessarily are not politicians are involving in serious act of corruption.
Guest Editor: By Gunther AB Daramy
APC: Institution that Produces Inspirational Leaders
The ruling All Peoples Congress APC is one institution that always produces meaningful leaders to head the party.
Sierra Leone is getting closer to an important election which has to determine someone who can take over the good and hardworking leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma. President Koroma has been a grass root president throughout the country dotted with experience, accommodation, tolerance, sacrifice and dedication to his Job.
With no surprise, the institution which he is representing the All People's Congress (APC) is well known for producing leaders that are dedicated to the country's development. Many opposition members who know the political history of the APC are very eager to know who could succeed President Koroma. From findings, these names - Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, John Bonoh Sisay, Joseph F Kamara, Alimamy Petito Koroma, Moseray Fadika, Lawyer Abu Bakarr Sidiq Kaloko,
Hawa Zainab Bangura, Minkailu Mansaray, Dr. Keifala Marrah, Dr. Sam Sesay, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Diana Konomany, Pat-Sowe etc.) are all capable hands who could represent the country well. They all have proven track record to step in after President Ernest Bai Koroma come the 2018 elections.
Sierra Leoneans just need to be patient and continue to help implement Agenda for Prosperity and surely when the time is ripe, the APC will present you one of these patriotic Sierra Leoneans.
Courtesy: DE SUN-Sun Rise Communication Unit
Use Sierra Leone Artists Not Foreign to Celebrate Our 55th Independence Day!!
This newspaper understands foreign artists are being lined up to celebrate our Independence Day with us. We hope this is not true!!
The National Stadium in Freetown has, in recent times, been the melting pot of celebrating Sierra Leone's Independence with pomp and pageantry that permeates the festive mood of Sierra Leoneans and foreign guests in the country.
Sierra Leone became politically independent from colonialist Britain on April 27, 1961. But if what we are hearing now about bringing Nigerian and Ghanaian artists to grace the occasion is anything to go by, then this year's Sierra Leone's Independence celebration would not be as nationalistic as we have hoped for.
Nothing absolutely wrong with importing the services of foreign musicians to join us, but such a move, if true, should be done with the understanding that our local artists should take the lead role in the celebrations. Sierra Leone has many talented artists who are capable of entertaining the population with performances of the highest pedigree in music, dance and drama. Recruiting our local artists for our own Independence celebration is logically rational, cost effective and most importantly, it ushers national pride.
Any form of importing artists with huge sums of money is tantamount to killing our growing music and entertainment industry which we are supposed to guide and nurture for the future of Sierra Leone entertainment. We have our own superstars who can provide us the sweetest of Salone music like Emerson Bockarie , K. Man, Famous, Ragga Spice, Steady Bongo, CJ, Wahid, Sarra De Great, Star Zee, Empress, Lady Felicia, Vida, Vicky Fornah, Rossay, Lady Macky, Mackmuday, LXG, Morris, Rumpel, Ark Man etc.
The Organiser newspaper cannot recall foreign countries importing Sierra Leonean artists to celebrate their own Independence Day anniversaries. This is because all nations have patriotic pride etched in their DNA with the spirit of nationalism embedded. We too have national pride aren't we? We hope the government ministry responsible for entertainment and culture would advise the entertainment gurus organising the Independence Day celebration in Sierra Leone to ditch their unpatriotic agenda and instead seek the services of our local artists to do the job.
The Organiser newspaper therefore wishes all true Sierra Leoneans a happy Independence Day in advance. Sylvia Blyden is a Book: You Don't Study Her, You Read Her!! (30/03/16) Ever since the cabinet nomination of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden as Social Welfare Minister, rumour mongers have gone overdrive to distort the facts.
Rumours making the rounds that Sylvia Blyden is engineering an investigation in to alleged corruption at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs before or after she takes over as minister is absolutely untrue and is only designed by detractors to scare the ministry staff to pieces. Scaremongering is the vice that enemies of progress are currently nurturing to spread unnecessary fear and innuendo in to the workforce of this important government ministry.
The Organiser newspaper is coming out now to re-assure all the staff members at the Social Ministry that Sylvia Blyden is not going there as an enemy or a dinosaur to wobble the hell out of anyone. Rather she is going there as a humble servant, a good friend, a new employee and a team worker in order to help propel the affairs of the ministry to the hill top of Sierra Leone. She is clearly someone who knows that she alone cannot make miracles to happen unless and until she gets the full support and blessings of the workforce she is meeting there.
This newspaper believes in Dr. Sylvia Blyden's work ethics as the publisher/editor Abu Shaw has had the golden opportunity to work with her before. Memorable characteristics that emerged from Sylvia Blyden during that time was her attention to details, diligence, honesty, hard work, punctuality, dedication, staff protection and her determination to make the Awareness Times newspaper the best.
As former editor of Sylvia Blyden, I can re-assure you that she is neither a witch-hunter nor a foe as far as her workforce is concerned. For those spreading fear in to the staff of the ministry that investigation in to alleged corruption is imminent is unfounded. Sylvia Blyden has nothing to do with any media outlet currently investigating corruption allegations at the ministry.
She has said so many times and the Organiser newspaper believes her. Sylvia Blyden is someone who does not hide behind her fingers. She says whatever is in her mind honestly. Since the nomination of Sylvia Blyden by President Ernest Koroma a couple of weeks ago, detractors-in-chief and their agents have launched a smear campaign against her person but what many of them are failing to grasp is the fact that Slyvia Blyden is a book. You will never study her. You will only read her and learn from her natural born talents. Nobody intimidates her.
The APC government and the Social Ministry are particularly lucky to have her as government minister so too is Sierra Leone generally. The Organiser newspaper is therefore calling on all the gallant men and women of the Social Ministry to calm down and ignore the rumour mongers and carry on their national duties.
Give warm welcome to your new minister and her deputy with open hands and friendship because Sylvia is a REAL FRIEND to work with. Thank you and God bless.
Mohamed Kamaramba Mansaray Stop Misleading the Public!
By John Sorsor, Guest Editor (18/03/16)
The audacious campaign by Mohamed Kamaramba Mansaray against Mohamed Bangura's ministerial appointment is full of lies.
Mohamed Kamaramba Mansaray (MKM) has been engaging in wild ranting, criticising the appointment of the former Chairman and Leader of the United Democratic Movement, Mr. Mohamed Bangura, as the Minister of Information and Communications.
MKK has been running from one media house to another and writing a bogus and unsubstantiated letter to the Speaker of Parliament and copying diplomats on the grounds that President Ernest Koroma has violated our sacred 1991 Constitution by appointing Mohamed Bangura, who some months ago, resigned from the UDM party he established to join the ruling All People's Congress (APC) Party, as a minister.
The failed legal base for MKM's claim is Section 56 (b), which connotes that a person should not be appointed as a Minister or Deputy Minister if he has contested and lost as a candidate in the GENERAL ELECTION IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING his nomination for appointment. For the self-comprehension of my readers, in verbatim Section 56 (b) states that: "...he has not contested and lost as a candidate in the general election immediately preceding his nomination for appointment."
The catch area is that: "CONTESTED AND LOST AS A CANDIDATE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING HIS NOMINATION FOR APPOINTMENT." Oh yes! Mr. Mohamed Bangura was a presidential runner in the 2012 election but withdrew as a candidate at the brink of time and threw his weight behind President Ernest Koroma. According to my view, the time for his withdrawal was too poor as his face was already on the ballot paper, but some schools of thoughts are saying that he didn't inform National Electoral Commission on time.
And unfortunately for him, some of his supporters voted for him and he garnered 5096 votes. Does that disqualify him from becoming a minister? A BIG NO! HE IS QUALIFIED. One would like to ask HOW? The very Section 56 (b) that Mohamed Kamaramba Mansaray is relying on has a very important phrase which is "GENERAL ELECTION".
The consolidated electoral law of Sierra Leone called the PUBLIC ELECTIONS ACT, 2012 gazetted on 24th May, 2012 with a volume No 26 in its interpretation Section (page 3), says "GENERAL ELECTION" means a general election for Members of Parliament." This interpretation leads us to the question; was Mohamed Bangura a Presidential Candidate or a Parliamentary Candidate in the 2012 Election?
If he was a Presidential Candidate, then he is well qualified to be appointed as a minister. Now, is MKM telling the public that he is not aware of the existence of the Public Elections Act of 2012 which is a federate of all the electoral laws in Sierra Leone or he just wants to misdirect the public or wants to be needlessly mischievous? I pause!
Put Sierra Leone First - Guest Writer Sides Centre for Research
By Mahmud Kargbo, Guest Editor (10/03/16)
The Centre for Research, Documentation Policy Studies and Development of Law is challenging everyone to put the country first!!!
With the recent stubbornness by fuel importers in Sierra Leone to reduce the pump price of fuel to match the international prices, I am sure everybody is disturbed whether you take sides or not. That is why I believe the Centre for Research is saying the truth. The biggest challenge the coming generation would face is lack of ‘clarity of thought’.
And it's got nothing to do with their genes or DNA or anything else; but for the way this country is changing. Truth is slowly dying its own death; courtesy of ‘perception’. There is nothing absolutely nothing called Truth in today’s Sierra Leone. There are lots of truths, which are now just perceptions. So what happens when perception takes over truth? They can be mended to one’s advantage or disadvantage; while truth is not. Sierra Leoneans have grown to such a stage that they are now capable of manipulating anything.
Though the basic truth might remain same that every human grows old day-by-day, we have changed the perception to growing younger with new medication and other deceitful treatments. While our politicians and those in social positions of trust say they hate exploitation, they supply deceitful tricks to fuel business people to cheat the poor. Everyone knows the true intentions of not reducing the pump price of fuel is to maximise profit for most of our people in social positions of trust who are incidentally also shareholders to the fuel companies operating within Sierra Leone.
We know those who are supporting them are direct beneficiaries of the system. This is one of the most beautiful ways of converting truth in to perception. So the point I am trying to make is that we have reached a stage where you can never prove anything right or wrong to someone. Irrespective of whatever facts or truths that you show to the other person, he will go with his own perception rather than believing the actual truth especially when he's benefiting with his/her deceitful tricks at the expense of the majority.
The people in social positions of trust, especially in Western nations, can die to redeem their people from poverty and make them great, but not in Sierra Leone. Many men and women who are living in this magnificent land built NO greatness, over many decades and it continues unfortunately. We possessed great mineral resources for which all of us should take pride; but only the selected few are benefiting from these resources.
With quality leadership we should feel fortunate to have born on this great land, but how can we, in a land where truth doesn't prevail for a long time. We all need to introspect and ask ourselves to pick sides. You always have a choice, to choose Truth or Perception. If you are not in a position to choose, all you can do is to pray to the almighty to ‘Save our culture, save our country.’
Putting our political affiliations aside coupled with intensive calls for divine intervention, I am convinced our beloved Sierra Leone will rise again.
Courtesy: Mahmud Tim Kargbo
Delayed Stipend Payments Not Good for Youth Farm Project
By Guest Editor (04/03/16)
The vision by the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Youth Affairs needs to buckle up to make the youth farm project a success.
The large expanse of land under cultivation and the energy exhibited by a group of young people we met at the National Youth Farm near Masiaka was clearly indicative of an excellent vision by the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Youth Affairs. On the other hand, a derelict farm tractor (said to be the personal property of the Youth Minister) and the absolute absence of modern agricultural inputs and starving crops also mean a sustainable youth farm project shall remain a farce or rather turn out to become a monumental failure.
The 250 hectare farm is by no means an ambitious project by the Youth Ministry. What we however discovered when we visited the farm recently speaks volume of the seriousness by key stakeholders like the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure the success and sustainability of our national youth farm project. Speaking to Platinum Media, Senior Farm Supervisor, Abu Bakarr Sesay lamented over the delay of "stipend" payment to some 300 volunteers at the farm.
"75% of our volunteers are women and most of them work in a large farm like this is by manual labour..." he said as he used an improvised handkerchief to clear his sweaty face. Mohamed S. Kanu who introduced himself as Head of the Marketing Department said his office merely exists on paper as there are no processing or marketing facilities to add value to whatever little produce they have harvested since the farm was established two years ago.
"Some of our volunteers don't receive any stipends....most of the produce we harvest is stored as seedlings for the next planting season," he disclosed. Mr. Kanu also believed the initial support the project was getting from donors is no longer forthcoming. "Only government is supporting us now and we are still not able to stand on our own because the support is far from being enough," he lamented.
The youth farm is clearly struggling. The shocking aridity of the land points to the absence of proper soil management practices. We discovered that some of the large water tanks reportedly provided by an NGO for irrigation purposes were actually empty. We were unable to get the Youth Affairs Minister, Alimamy Kamara for his comments. However, we left the youth farm with the impression that another brilliant vision by government to harness youth potential may hit the rocks if something is not done immediately.
Sierra Leoneans should not be surprised to see our youth farm producing crops that are barely enough to feed a single household. Platinum media cannot understand why there appears to be very little intervention from the Agriculture Ministry and other agricultural institutions towards the national youth farm. We will press further to talk to officials from both ministries on the unforgivable state of our national youth farm project.
Courtesy: Platinum Media
Killer Car Seats Killing More! Police, SLRSA on Sleep Mode!
By Guest Editor (22/02/16)
The alarming rate of vehicle accidents on our roads cannot be unconnected to reckless driving and persistent use of derelict vehicles.
Platinum Media has discovered that a major cause for the horrific deaths and injuries has been the continued use of improvised iron seats mostly in "poda podas." We were unable to access reliable statistics from the traffic division of the Sierra Leone Police but a senior police officer confirmed that many Sierra Leoneans have perished under the thinly covered pieces of iron converted into seats by greedy car owners.
The officer however fell short of telling us what his institution has done to prevent more horrible deaths and injuries on passengers. Sources at Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) have said there were initial moves to ban the use of Iron seats. "We were working with the police to arrest these vehicles...but I cannot explain why that exercise suddenly stopped," explained a traffic Warden who also asked to remain anonymous.
Mahmoud Dumbuya, a professional welder at Kissy, Eastern Freetown said he has been approached several times by drivers and vehicle owners who would ask him to replace the soft original mini car seats with metal ones. "The vehicles normally come as three-seaters....the welded seats will ensure additional sitting capacity for the poda podas and more money for drivers," he maintained.
Platinum reporters visited the Clay Factory Lorry Park recently and out of 22 "poda podas" they inspected, 15 had makeshift iron seats in them. As we call on government to take immediate action on this, it staggers our imagination to learn both the police and SLRSA have failed to remain proactive over a major cause of death and injury for poor Sierra Leoneans on our highways.
Courtesy: Platinum Media
As 10,000 Pre-Paid Meters Destroyed by Fire. Is this a Conspiracy?
By Guest Editor (15/02/16)
The rampant fire outbreaks in the capital Freetown today has made tongues to wag as to whether these fires are the result of sabotage!
Information from our very reliable source has revealed that 10,000 prepaid meters were destroyed by the latest fire outbreak at the Electricity House on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown. The element of alleged foul play became apparent when we discovered that the meters, worth over one million United States dollars were destroyed the same day they were to be transferred to the EDSA sub-station at Falcon Bridge.
Reports also confirmed that there was a pending audit of the said meters. It was also revealed that an undisclosed quantity of these meters had earlier disappeared, prompting earlier investigations that suggested the existence of a long thriving criminal syndicate at EDSA. Seven people earlier arrested by police are reportedly in custody but police sources say there are serious challenges in acquiring strong evidence to charge them to court.
This has further exposed the poor capacity of our law enforcement agency to investigate and prosecute such offenses. There is not yet an official statement from the Ministry but we learnt that the Minister Henry Macauley has been collaborating with police investigators to nab the culprits. He has temporarily relocated to Brook Street as his office at Electricity House was on the floor that was severely affected.
As the energy situation improves across the country, Sierra Leoneans believe government must put in place a mechanism that will sanitize our corrupt energy sector. Such mechanism must not be devoid of aspects of capacity building and ways of developing an ethical work culture among all categories of staff. People are convinced the energy sector is plagued by shameless rogues determined to reverse the gains made by government in that very sector.
Minister Macauley who has been praised recently for the improved power supply in Freetown must act decisively on this matter or risk being lambasted by an increasingly angry public.
Courtesy: Platinum Media
Stop Politicising a Matter that is Before a Competent Court of Law
By Guest Editor (10/02/16)
Alie Kabba's bigamy charge has prompted the clarion call to stop politicising a matter that is before a competent court of jurisdiction.
The rule of law presupposes that no one is above the law. Therefore, if the "Almighty" Alie Kabba contravenes the law of this land do you expect him to go Scot-free? Without law and order, the life of man will be nasty and brutish. On the issue of bail, the Master and Registrar approves the bail conditions. If the sureties failed to comply with the bail conditions, there is no need for us to cry over spilt milk. Similarly, we should put aside the ancient fashion of male chauvinism.
This is the modern trend of globalisation where gender parity is holding sway. Diana Konomanyi, the complainant, has the right to institute a legal action against an individual who cheated her passion, fate and confidence. Do you know the emotional and psychological stress she might be going through all these years? Why are we using politics in an issue that has to do with a life-long happiness and sorrow?
Are we chewing more than we can bite on this particular issue? We need to be circumspect the way and manner we come out with sound judgement on a matter of such magnitude. Diana has life after politics which is why she initially accepted the hands of Alie Kabba in marriage 2013.
Let us assume that Alie Kabba, who is vying for the SLPP flag-bearer post, did the right thing; do you think that Diana will institute a legal action against him? If the answer is no then we are merely beating a dead horse.
After Thought of Alie Kabba: "OMG is it the Beginning of my End?"
In my ignorant exuberance, and maybe due to the effect of illegal substances I took, I introduced the people's court to humiliate fellow students.
After my rustication from college, my greed set in and I shamelessly squandered money meant for the education of fellow students. The money and my lust for popularity led me to Libya via Ghana where I personally introduced Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh. I personally pleaded with Ghadafi to help sponsor a revolution in Sierra Leone. That was how RUF was born. I stole money from RUF and sought asylum in the US.
The U.S. System was too stiff for my lifestyle and I had my fair share of problems with the System. I beat my wives, abandoned my kids and my mentor ended up in prison. Nothing worked. I lied about several things to preserve my image. Having fell through the cracks on the TRC I saw a perfect opportunity to repair my damaged image - marry Lady Diana because I knew it would not cost me a dime and that I will live comfortably under her shadow.
The problem was I was still married to Edith Kabba but tricking Diana was easy for an old crook like me. After my marriage to Diana, I realized that the woman had far more personality than I can stand. I was always particularly upset when people referred to us as Madam minister and her husband instead of Alie Kabba and wife. After all it was I who staged the riot against President Siaka Stevens in 1985 not Diana.
I was returned unopposed in the Gardeners stage managed Student Union elections not Diana. That is not me so I decided to redeem my image and personality by declaring to run as flag bearer of SLPP. My supporters did well on social media and my lost glory seemed to have returned - with some help from the practice I had demonstrating for Ebola money and the sacking of Sam Sumana. Even though this was unrelated and directly in conflict with my aims it was still good practice.
Thanks to a few sycophants who followed like blind rats my message went far and wide. Unfortunately, social media was not reality on the ground. I found that out late after making a few stupid remarks in gatherings. My luck ran out and I spent the new year in prison. I was so afraid of going back in that I had to submit an expired passport to prevent it. That did not change my fate because I was in again for a couple of days.
I am out now but this time I have realized I am in deep trouble - which is why I ordered no clapping or dancing. I am so scared. Could it be that this is my nemeses for all the bad things I did to this country and my people? US is not safe for me either. Edith will be waiting with her court case, the child support issues, the monies I owe to the hair braiders in Chicago and above all I am no longer part of the United Africans Organisation UAO. The campaign has been trashed into an abysmal hole. OMG is it the beginning of my end?
Courtesy: Awareness Times
The Naivety Behind the Comparison of FBC and UNIMAK
By Claude B. Davies - Guest Editor (23/01/16)
It amazes me to read a piece on the social media captioned: "UNIMAK defeats FBC."
For those who might be lost about what UNIMAK means, it is the University of Makeni and of course, FBC (Fourah Bay College) is one of the premier colleges under the University of Sierra Leone. I shall endeavour to write this piece in the simplest form of the English language for all to understand. For crying out loud, the deliberate attempt to bring down the hard-earned reputation of FBC by a one-off attainment of a UNIMAK scholar in the Law School is good for nothing.
What is the fuss behind that piece promulgating the success of a student from the University of Makeni and tending to suggest that that is the end of the long celebrated glory of FBC? Whether the author of that piece is numb to the fact that UNIMAK is a University and not a secondary/high school, and that they have also got students with equal potentials as those at FBC is another question for that author to ponder upon.
Oh yes! What does that author have to say when for over the years, Fourahbites (students from Fourah Bay College) have been emerging as 'Star Pupils' on the Bar examinations on many occasions since the establishment of the Sierra Leone Bar in the 90s? Would that have suggested the supremacy of FBC to other Universities in England, the United States and other countries where students come from to sit to the Sierra Leone Bar? If your answer is NO, then start to see the naivety of such an author.
Again, does being the Star Pupil of the Bar exams suggest that that student, upon becoming a legal practitioner when being called to the Bar will be the most brilliant and successful lawyer in practice? Of course not. Does the author of that piece know that there were 3 students from UNIMAK from among which, one failed and the other was expelled? Please pardon my mathematics, but to get 1 student to succeed out of 3 when one failed and the other expelled is far from being the best. So why the fuss of saying UNIMAK defeats FBC? I ask again.
Am sure, even the administrators of UNIMAK are counting on FBC and/or the University of Sierra Leone as a sister University to complement their development in the academic sphere in this present dispensation. I pray not to be otherwise interpreted by my reaction to such a piece as is being circulated in the social media. I sincerely give a doffing salute to the Star Pupil from UNIMAK and would accord her the mutual respect as a soon-to-be colleague in legal practice, and hope she becomes a beacon to the others who are to come.
The establishment of more Universities should not by any means prompt severance in our country's educational stride, rather, it should be complementary. It is therefore my expectation that the success of a student from another University within the Sierra Leone jurisdiction should be celebrated in unison rather than drawing strings of comparison.
Courtesy: Guest Editor Claude Bhamee Davies
APC Will Stop at Nothing to Maintain the Credibility of the State
The recent questioning of Honourable Ibrahim Ben Kargbo over the Lebanese garbage is a step in the right direction.
The questioning of Honourable Ibrahim Ben Kargbo by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over the Lebanese garbage debacle is victory against those who think Sierra Leone is still locked in the dark days of condoning wrongs done by highly placed state officials. Indeed, this development continues to show how President Ernest Bai Koroma's government will stop at nothing to maintain the credibility and sanctity of the state.
Few years ago, he was on record saying: "I will be offending many people including my closest friends and relatives to ensure Sierra Leone moves forward." President Koroma's government is now on record for sacking the highest number of cabinet Ministers and other state functionaries who have failed to live up to the expectations of the people of Sierra Leone.
We have equally witnessed the highest number of high profiled prosecutions for corruption related offenses under this government. Certainly, you don't need a soothsayer to tell you about our government's commitment to re-brand and promote a culture of transparency and accountability in Sierra Leone. It is clear that corruption has been rife among successive governments but the culprits have only succeeded in stealing more as cases were swept under the carpet.
We therefore, want to salute the President and his government for giving Sierra Leoneans hope for a new dawn. Corruption has no place in our society. Thank you Mr President❗❗
Pademba Road Prison is Still an Eyesore in Sierra Leone's Democracy!
This is a big disgrace for our Sierra Leone politicians who continue to wilfully ignore an important institution of our democracy.
The absolute abandonment of Sierra Leone's maximum Pademba Road Prison over the decades is as humiliating as it is disgusting for our prisoners and country. Why can't our current Internal Affairs Ministry led by Minister Joseph Bandabla Dauda do something decent now to improve Pademba Road Prison?
Since the Organiser newspaper recently saw the horrendous pictures leaked from Pademba Road Prison, where our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, grand children and other nationals are detained for various reasons, it exposes the lack of attention given such an important institution. Sierra Leone should not be proud at all to see such prisoners so emaciated, hungry, dirty, sick and looking like skeletons in human flesh.
The Sierra Leone politicians should hang their heads in shame for allowing Pademba Road Prison and other prisons in the country to sink so abysmally. This scenario is wicked and inhuman to say the least. The dilapidation and sordid nature of Pademba Road Prison is a massive dent on human dignity and it only shows the total disrespect of our fellow Sierra Leoneans by our governments past and present. In democracies around the world, in which Sierra Leone is a photocopier, such horrible state of affairs for prisoners do not happen.
Prisons are primarily meant to rehabilitate law breakers, offenders, criminals so as to become good citizens whenever they are released from jail. Being imprisoned especially for minor offences, which the Organiser newspaper believes is mostly the case at our various prisons in the country, does not mean such prisoners should be punished to extinction.
The only punishment allowed for prisoners in a democratic setting, is to curtail their freedom of movement and association. FULL STOP. PERIOD. The fundamental human rights of prisoners, which they are entitled to by law, must not be tampered with at all cost. Their rights to good food, safe drinking water, hygienic cells to sleep in, frequent baths and exercises, rights to education and medical facilities are basics that any sober government should make available for their prisoners. But our politicians and governments continue to punish prisoners willfully totally forgetting the fact that these prisoners are human beings like themselves but are just unfortunate to be on the wrong side of the law.
Politicians must always remember that majority of prisoners should be rehabilitated for the good of society so that when they are freed they will become better citizens and stop them from re-offending. Many politicians today in Sierra Leone have graced the four walls of Pademba Road Prison in different times of their political life and it infuriates the Organiser newspaper that these politicians tend to forget so quickly.
Politicians like Vice President Victor Foh, former Information Minister IB Kargbo, Immigration Chief Kholifa Koroma are just few examples of decent politicians who had promised to renovate Pademba Road Prison whenever they are in power. That promise in 1998 can still be recalled by Editor Abu Shaw who was also detained with them at Pademba Road during the bloody SLPP government of Tejan Kabbah\Solomon Berewa.
The appalling conditions then at Pademba Road Prisons are the same disgusting scenario existing today. It is a big disgrace for this to happen at this time of our history. What many of these short-memory politicians are failing to grasp is the fact that Pademba Road Prison is their second home. No condition is permanent in Sierra Leone the wise people often say.
Today when you have the authority and power, why can't these politicians use their influence to start a thorough renovation and refurbishment plan to lift Pademba Road Prison from these doldrums? The Organiser newspaper thinks it is not a difficult thing to do for the government to improve the standard of our prisons. The APC government has renamed our prisons CORRECTIONAL CENTRES. This is a brilliant move and reports say the APC government has refurbished some prisons in some parts of the country.
But President Ernest Koroma must go further by paying special attention to the dilapidation presently engulfing Pademba Prison today. Otherwise the nomenclature 'CORRECTIONAL CENTRES' will be meaningless. A word for the wise is enough!!
Release of 152 Prisoners is Christmas Come Early for Many Families
It was a tremendous relief for thousands of families when President Ernest Koroma pardoned 152 prisoners in Sierra Leone.
The Organiser newspaper joins other well wishers to wholeheartedly welcome this recent presidential pardon during this festive season when families come together to pray and rejoice. The 152 prisoners, which include 10 females, are believed to have come from various prisons in the country.
These released prisoners were mostly jailed for minor offences ranging from loitering to traffic offences and the freedom of these prisoners is a good sign of leadership shown by President Ernest Koroma.
Forgiveness is a shining example for all Sierra Leoneans to emulate, irrespective of creed, religion or political affiliation.
Steven Gbekie is Not an Informant for the Organiser Newspaper!!
Mr. Steven Gbekie has confirmed how people are calling him all around the world accusing him of giving information to this newspaper.
The Organiser publication wants to make it abundantly clear that Mr. Steven Gbekie has never divulged any information pertaining to the Alie Kabba campaign team to this newspaper. This ceaseless accusation by disgruntled Alie Kabba supporters against Mr. Steven Gbekie is misleading and unfortunate.
Editor Abu Shaw is reiterating that this medium has more than enough information about Alie Kabba's clandestine vision for Sierra Leone and does not depend on anyone inside the UK/I campaign team for information.
What these rumour mongers have quickly forgotten is the fact that the Organiser CEO Mr. Abu Shaw was - as recent as a month ago - an active executive member of the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I campaign team for the past one year. It beggars belief that these fabricators think Mr. Abu Shaw is so daft and not clever enough to know or understand all these vital information associated with Alie Kabba and his campaign team.
Editor Abu Shaw is clearly conversant with every little vital information in this team and is only releasing some of them now because of Alie Kabba's clear plan to tarnish the good image of this newspaper. Editor Shaw initially wanted to de-escalate his resignation by keeping a low profile for the good of everyone.
But when Alie Kabba started escalating it by publishing the business proposal on social media, a business proposal that he himself requested persistently, then Abu Shaw came to the conclusion that he has to defend his own reputation 24/7. That was how all hell broke loose. Now some Alie Kabba diehards and rumour mongers have continued their disrespect for Editor Abu Shaw by fabricating more lies against an innocent person like Mr. Steven Gbekie.
Even after Editor Abu Shaw resigned on December 5, 2015, he spoke with many other Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I executive members who equally expressed their disappointment at their leader's dictatorship tendencies. Name calling is not part of Abu Shaw's journalistic ethics. And it is going to remain so. That is why the Organiser newspaper is calling on all those Alie Kabba sympathisers to desist from stigmatising the good name of Mr. Steven Gbekie.
Using him as scapegoat for Alie Kabba's political ineptitude is wrong and counterproductive. Mr. Steven Gbekie is a man of honour and integrity. He has neither given Abu Shaw any information nor is he an agent of this newspaper. FULL STOP!! The earlier those spreading this false accusation apologise to Mr. Steven Gbekie, the better.
Let it be known that Mr. Steven Gbekie, after his resignation as Chairman of the Alie Kabba UK/I team on December 5, has had no intention to speak to Dr. Sylvia Blyden as was falsely circulated in the social media.
Nor does Dr. Sylvia Blyden have anything in her diary to interview Mr. Steven Gbekie on this issue. Sorry for any misunderstanding. The Organiser newspaper will continue to publish and refute any form of misunderstanding in the future. Thank you for your custom.
Shame that Sierra Leone Politicians Continue to Use Honorary 'Dr'
When would Sierra Leone politicians desist from using the 'Honorary Doctorates' in their names?
This puzzle is like looking for a needle in the haystack. Sierra Leone politicians must learn from other rational politicians. The Organiser newspaper doffs it's hat to Sierra Leone's former Foreign and Health Minister Zainab Bangura for being the latest recipient of Honorary Doctorate Degree from Oxford University.
She really deserves this prestigious conferment in cognisance of her enviable role in promoting good governance, human rights, and advancing women’s empowerment in Sierra Leone and worldwide. Her capacity as Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, was the crown jewel that ignites Zainad Bangura to the world stage, which eventually convinced Oxford University to give her this fitting honour.
Our main concern is that Zainab Bangura would follow the bad precedent already set by previous Honorary Doctorate recipients in Sierra Leone who continue to prefix the honorary 'Dr' in their names. It is apparent that this habit is in the DNA of Sierra Leone politicians past and present who parade themselves as 'Dr This' or 'Dr That' to show off Honorary Doctorate Degrees conferred on their persons by various universities around the world.
This is absolutely a public ridicule for those who receive honorary degrees and add the 'Dr' prefix to their names. There is no short cut to becoming a real PHD holder. You need to achieve this PHD feat academically to deserve the honour of adding Dr in your name. That's the fact, like it or not. This shameful habit is very rampant in Sierra Leone. You hardly see enlightened politicians in developed countries masquerading in this type of false life.
Have you ever heard of Dr. Tony Blair, Dr. George Bush, Dr. Barack Obama or Dr. Nelson Mandela? Never. This falsehood is not part of their DNA. These enlightened politicians, though not perfect, do not do such things even though they have bagged innumerable Honorary Doctorate Degrees in their life time. In Sierra Leone unfortunately, we have a catalogue of 'Dr This' and 'Dr That' within our political presidency past and present.
Remember Dr Siaka Probyn Stevens, Dr Joseph Saidu Momoh, Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and now Dr Ernest Bai Koroma - the list goes on indefinitely. What is the point in masquerading in 'Dr Who' when you are already a President and Head of State of a country? Being President of a nation is the highest position one can achieve in a country. There is absolutely no need to demean your reputation by dressing in borrowed robes.
Enlightened politicians believe that Honorary Degrees are just a formal recognition of honouring individuals for their outstanding work nationally and internationally. Honorary Degree is not an entitlement to academic excellence. That is why they prefer to be called Prime Minister David Cameron or President Barack Obama. Full stop. How come an individual who does not even have a Masters Degree can label himself or herself a 'Dr'. It is shameful to say the least.
The Organiser newspaper thinks it is time for our attention seeking politicians to wake up to reality and stop adding such academic titles to their names which is likened to a car crash. We are therefore advising Zainab Bangura to desist from being another car crash in Sierra Leone politics. We expect her to be a spectacle to impress the public by ditching the 'Dr Who' syndrome.
We hope she would not listen to some money grabbing PR journalists or selfish advisers who might tell her otherwise. Displaying her Honorary Certificate in her office or at home as an inspiration for other Sierra Leone women would be the best thing for her to do. Whether she listens to our advice remains to be seen. It is up to her to choose what she likes. It's her human right. But what a disgraceful way to exercise one's human right!!
The Organiser has set the pace never to label a politician 'Dr' who does not really deserve the accolade in the true sense of academic achievement. We will continue to do so until the 'Field Marshall Dr Alhaji Idi Amin Dadas' of Sierra Leone wake up from this slumber. Word for the wise is sufficient.