28th May 2017

Save Sierra Leone Democracy from Destruction Post Ernest

Save Sierra Leone Democracy from Destruction Post Ernest

By Mahmud T. Kargbo (12/05/17)

The identification of faults in any area can often lead to the discovery that an individual or an institution is acting improperly contrary to law.

Few weeks back, the Parliament of Sierra Leone squeezed the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission to admit he made a mistake in the whole electioneering boundary delimitation process. 

Whether the National Electoral Commission Chairman was pushed to twist his initial statement where he said he did his own part of the job and handed over the documents to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for detail legal consideration, one can't say. We were further made to understand by Hon. Rogers in the popular AYV on Sunday Programme, that the National Electoral Commission didn't procure the machines they are currently using for the voters and civil registration process. 

According to Hon. Rogers, the machines were procured by the Government of Sierra Leone.  Government in it part is saying the National Electoral Commission is an Independent Institution that's suppose to carry out its activities based on its Constitutional and Statutory mandate so they have no business in procuring machines for the National Electoral Commission. An inside source speaking to me in condition of anonymity said: "The machines were procured by one of our International Development Partners, specifically the British Department for International Development.” 

This is quite significant for obvious reasons. First, if the National Electoral Commission Chairperson can admit at the Well of Parliament that he made a mistake in handling the boundary delimitation process, what is the possibility that he will not continue to make more mistakes in this whole electioneering process? 

We all know that there's a price if one fail to go by the laid down rules and regulations of any Institution. In short, ignorant of the law is no excuse. But if our law drafters and enforcers decide to forgive the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, we know immunity is a perk offered by prosecutors in exchange for valuable testimony that they cannot get otherwise, so the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, who changed his initial statement, must have something good to tell especially if he did meet with State House before he faced the Well of Parliament or, at least, he seems to think he does. 

Second, our politicians know immunity is only valuable to people who are guilty - an innocent witness has no obligation to tell anybody anything, really, since they are just free to go; in other words, it doesn’t make sense for our Parliament and the National Electoral Commission Chairman to bargain for immunity unless the Chairman and Parliament are fairly sure he’s going to be found guilty of something in the first place.

Third, my sources told me NEC budgeted to procure U 40 machines, but my sources revealed to me they are currently using U 20 machines, if so why? 

And fourth, am reliably told that from NEC budget, there was provision for NEC to hire vehicles that are suppose to transport technicians to fix machines that will go faulty during the registration process, why this isn't happening?

So far, nobody has seriously taken the NEC Chairperson on these matters, and the investigation on the boundary delimitation possibly treasonous violations continues. But, there’s truly only two ways in which this rout could end: Either President Koroma is implicated in all of this, or he isn’t. 

If he is, the consequences are understandably disastrous: We elected a President that turned out to be comfortable in appointing people in our social positions of trust that are enjoying their jobs with the highest pride when they're working against the rules and regulations of their institutions, or are traitor to his government and the people of Sierra Leone – or, at minimum, they're so careless that their actions amounted to treason.

But even if President Koroma isn’t implicated, his most senior staff already are: Bai Mahmoud Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs, was a "More Time" campaigned Agent. Mohamed Bangura, Minister of Information and Communication, he was very vocal on national issues prior to his appointment, but never campaigned for the recommendations of the Auditor General Report to be actualised. 

Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, openly called the Auditor General Report "Mere Opinion" and he's suppose to advise the Government legally on the importance of the said report. And a combined APC and SLPP, but an APC dominated Parliament failed to genuinely press the Executive Arm of Government for the actualisation of the Auditor General Report. The list can go on. 

And, frankly, the consequences are equally disastrous: We elected a President whose some senior staff seems to be – unbeknownst to him – packed with rogue nationals ready to do dodgy dealings with foreign agents as reported in Panama Papers or are best known as traitors. In this case, President Koroma might not be as personally shaken, but the damage that will be done to the institutions of Sierra Leone democracy that he admirably fashioned over the years might be in danger.

True, the question is, can Sierra Leone democracy outlast this butchery? The dependability and uprightness of these institutions are under unexampled threat in our modern democracy. Not only are the very loyalties of our chief executive in question, but the damage molten upon the bureaucratic apparatuses that run the national government smoothly is also substantial. 

Instead of act as a professionalised, technocratic moderating force for President Koroma, his bureaucracy – or, at least, the appointed, high-ranking, non-civil service segment of it – seems to be acting more like an extension of buffoonish, incompetent past regimes it once claimed never to repeat their odd actions.

Honestly, there's no way we can put the blame on President Koroma. However if President Koroma administration ends, will the institutions of Sierra Leone democracy lead to carnage? - more so than ever before. But, as many must furtively admit in frustration - President Koroma’s efforts in democracy may erode after his tenure if few of his competent lieutenants do not step in. True, the economy was improving very fast before Ebola struck. True, things are improving now but not as fast as the electorates expect. Many Sierra Leoneans are feeling the pinch while the few are having a good time, which is grossly unfair.

Faith in Sierra Leone government and institutions has been tumbling and national approval ratings on government institutions in terms of social service deliveries are not encouraging. That is not on President Koroma. In fact, that disenchantment with government is likely one of the factors that put President Koroma in State House to begin with.

These institutions, and even democracy by its own, do not exist in the synopsis. Laws, rules, norms - all these things exist not for their own sake, but because they are meant to serve the people. 

And until our institutions can earn the trust of the Sierra Leone people by genuinely serving their interests and helping them in their time of need, and by providing them with real solutions in the face of deplorable standard of living, provide affordable, quality housing and education for all nationals and clean up the general atmosphere that is currently promoting the feeling of unease and displeasure within the majority, rather than continue to exist in some self-expressing good wishes numbness of sluggishness or inertness, there appears to be little reason why any administration, with or without President Koroma at its head, could gain legitimacy again.

Hopefully, after President Koroma, which ever political party assumes power after March 7, 2018 elections, the democratic ideals and institutions gained under the APC government will be maintained and improved.

Courtesy: By Mahmud Tim Kargbo, Centre for Research Documentation Policy Studies and Development of Law 4 Lamina Sankoh Street Freetown Sierra Leone Tel: +23278102619 23rd April 2017

 

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Ideas to Strengthen the APC National Youth League

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (03/04/17)

Have you participated in any activities of the APC National Youth League? Do you want to be in the midst of those sharing their experience? 

Do you admire the concrete peace in the APC National Youth League? Do you have ideas that you can put into action in strengthening progress in the APC Youth League? Then this is your event, come to celebrate and share with the APC Youth League!

In what is constitutionally suppose to be the last Youth League Conference for President Ernest Bai Koroma as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; APC Youth and Elders from home and abroad recently trooped down to Port Loko District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone to witness the All People's Congress Youth League Conference. 

One thing that continue to manifest itself clearly is that even when President Ernest Bai Koroma is doing his last constitutional term as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he still remains highly popular among APC Youth and he's in full control of his government and political Party activities with almost all decision makers within the party and even beyond host serious amount of respect for his leadership qualities. 

His leadership qualities in terms of vision, pragmatism, consensus building, charisma and trust are still at their basking days according to them. This is why the youth of APC are fully behind his leadership and are very willing to throw their unflinching support behind whosoever he chooses as his successor to sustain the APC Party in power in the 2018 transitional elections. 

The truth and what many believe is the greatest disappointment for President Koroma is the fact that youth unemployment still remains a serious national concern under his regime. Unfortunately there's a looming greediness to the fault among most of the people President Koroma empower in his regime, they never have his type of spirit to pay back to the youth of the party by empowering them with skills and finances. 

President Koroma promised to die for the youth of Sierra Leone, but unemployment rate among Sierra Leone youth is still high and to make matters worse, the few youth in the country who are gainfully employed most of them remain academically incapacitated to catch up with the test of times and be in a quality position to positively contribute to our economy. 

In short, human capacity to efficiently provide the skilful labour force for our labour market continue to be a serious problem for sustainable economic growth in Sierra Leone.  It was a 3-day national event between APC Youth League from various aspects of life in Port Loko. 

The rendezvous targeted: Thematic stories, positive debates, creation of advancement stuff and other activities to share and celebrate, laying the centre of attraction on inhaling stories of the youth with an act of explaining the importance of youth joining the APC political party, partly through the sharing of past experiences of ex-APC National Youth leaders with a sense to sustain the party in governance in the coming transitional elections.

Most loyal APC members were expectedly in attendance and the conference gave participants the opportunity to reflect, review and evaluate past cooperation of the youth within the APC, but also expanded on everyone’s knowledge on APC in general, within the context of the APC National Youth League. The conference objectives was focused on the revision of the past and looking towards the future by:


- Analysis and assessment of APCNYL, looking at their strengths and weaknesses;


- Lessons learned from APC National Youth League in Action and what can be taken forward;


- APC National Youth League project placements – how to make sure both young people enjoy the fruits of the party without facing discrimination; 


- Improvement of the quality of future APCNYL projects as well as to strengthening the capacity of affiliating partner organisations in delivering quality youth projects promoting true brotherhood within the party;


- Development of ways of promotion of APCNYL, informing young people within the party about the opportunities it
offers;


- Promotion of evaluation of youth projects as a tool of self-assessment and of an increase of quality of future activities.

 

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Has the Deadly Ebola Returned to Sierra Leone?

Asks Ahmed S. Nasralla (06/03/17)

It was on a sunny afternoon, when the village hunter returned from the Gola Forest.

And he has his catch strapped loosely to his back; visibly sick and walking lazily to his thatch-roofed house. Suddenly, his family- wife, children and relatives- as well as neighbours come out to receive him, and the hunter collapses into their arms. Despite some care at home, the hunter’s case worsens. So the family decides to take him to the village herbalist for further treatment. 

Moments later the hunter dies, and family members start to fall ill. Cries and wails fill the hot-burning atmosphere as the villagers, gripped with panic, lament the calamity that has befallen them.

Finally, somebody calls the health emergency line 117 for help, but little help comes a little too late. Mobile network connection is on-and-off in this area. It happens that there is only one health official at the Peripheral Health Unit (PHU) and he’s overwhelmed with other patients. The PHU is about 200 meters from the centre of the village; you have to cross a bridge and walk a bit to get there.

An ambulance with wailing siren screeches to a halt. Three health officials dressed in PPE suits disembark, scaring the villagers some distance away. They walk purposefully into the herbalist’s hut, apply disinfectant all over the room and carefully cart the hunter’s body into the waiting ambulance. They speed off, with the villagers running and shouting after the vehicle.

A flurry of activities follows. Lab officials revealing the result of the tests done on the deceased hunter; contact tracers tracing all those that came in contact with the hunter; quarantine officials leading contact persons to a secluded unfinished building; the town crier announcing an emergency meeting summoned by traditional authorities to institute bye-laws; surveillance team; community health workers (CHWs), infection, prevention and control (IPC) team, burial team, social mobilization team all move into action.

This beckons the question: Has Ebola returned to Sierra Leone? The answer is no, not for now. The events just described were not real but part of a ‘Simulation Exercise for Community Based Ebola Response’, involving about 25 local actors all performing various roles and the community of Mano-Jeigbla as participants. 

The simulation exercise was organized by the NGO SEND Sierra Leone in cooperation with the Rapid Response Team (RRT) of the Kenema District Health Management Team (DHMT). It took place in Mano-Jeigbla Village in Tunkia Chiefdom in Kenema District on 21st February 2017. 

The activity was supported by the project “Prevention of Zoonotic Caused Health Epidemic in Sierra Leone”, implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, SEND Sierra Leone and The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone with support from Welthungerhilfe (WHH).

A simulation exercise is an interactive drama event that involves people as active participants rather than a mere audience, framing and placing them in a certain scenario and inviting them to act and behave as if the situation was real. 

The objective of this simulation exercise was to test the emergency response protocol of the DHMT in practice and the level of awareness and preparedness in the community two years after the Ebola outbreak. 

Would the various stakeholders – health professionals as well as the community leaders – remember and assume their roles and responsibilities to take rapid action if Ebola (or any other infectious disease) were to return to the community?

“We want to test the people’s knowledge about Ebola; whether they remembered what happened and what to do if it happens again,” said Augustine Brima, a field staff of SEND Sierra Leone who was among the advance team to prepare the community for the exercise.

Mano-Jeigbla village provides the perfect scene for the Ebola response simulation exercise. Located about 40 miles from Kenema town and a walking distance from the Liberian border, Mano-Jeigbla has a population of about 1,287 with 225 houses, most of them mud buildings with thatch-roofs. It is one of 12 villages in Tunkia Chiefdom with a total catchment population of 5,482. (Population and housing statistics from EDC Unit, PHU, Tunkia Chiefdom).

“The human traffic here is high,” said the Town Chief, Saffa Allieu Kallon. “People come and go from the Liberian border and travel to Kenema and other areas.” 

As the simulation exercise goes on, commercial motorbikes ply the route to and from the border transporting people. On the second day of the simulation exercise, 22nd February 2017, the whole community gathered at the village centre to review the exercise and proffer recommendations. 

Meanwhile, if it were real the families quarantined would have been held for 21 days and might have suffered some form of stigmatization on their release.

After the exercise, the villagers went about laughing as they recounted their experiences, but also emphasized that being part of such an exercise had enabled them to reflect and remember better.

Also present were officials from the implementing partners, the DHMT and the World Health Organisation to discuss what the simulation exercise had revealed in terms of gaps and challenges in the communities’ and health system’s ability to respond, share information, coordinate and work together during a health emergency situation. 

The villagers, as well as the officials, highlighted gaps in the exercise and proffered recommendations. "The success of the exercise does not depend on whether the community is perfect in their response to the mock outbreak. It’s about really getting them to do their own thing naturally and together we identify the gaps and plan how to address them,” said Mathilde Gronborg Helms, WHH’s Head of Projects responsible for monitoring the project, adding that the simulation exercise had proved to be a very interesting tool to raise awareness about Ebola and other diseases, and learning easily how to respond to the situation, and putting in place response mechanisms that work well on the ground. 

As such, the exercise served as a reminder of the need for sustained community based surveillance and strengthening of health monitoring and reporting, to promote resilience of the health system to prevent any future epidemic.

“We are not saying that Ebola will return,” said Josephine Jenneh Saidu, District Health Sister at the DHMT in Kenema. “We just want to be prepared, especially as we are now having cases of Lassa Fever, which has similar symptoms to Ebola. That is why the awareness raising should be sustained.”

Awareness and capacity gaps were observed during the simulation exercise and highlighted during the meeting, including the touching of a sick person; taking the sick to a herbalist instead of the health centre or alerting CHWs; eating of bush meat and lack of proper hand-washing practices. 

The villagers further lamented the fact that the only PHU in the chiefdom is grossly understaffed and that the vigilance of CHWs is declining due to lack of support.

Furthermore, lack of access to clean drinking water and toilet facilities is a huge challenge for general health and well-being and could as well accelerate the spread of communicable diseases. The community depends on a nearby stream and a well for water. Only few of the 225 houses have toilets, while the rest use the nearby forest as their rest-room.

“The challenges with the systems will always be there,” said SEND Sierra Leone’s Country Director Joseph Ayamga in an address to the community. “That is why when we work with community people it is their mindset that we challenge. If you don’t have toilets and water wells for example, we challenge you to dig them yourselves like the mud houses you built.  It is about what you can do to help yourself before help comes. It is that same mindset you will approach every challenge, including disease prevention.”

Courtesy: Asks Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

 

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Time for Our Politicians to Protect the Trees that Provide Shade

By Abu Shaw (03/02/17)

It is indeed worrying for my beloved APC party.

The prolonged infighting between the genuine Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden and her Deputy Rugiatu Turay and with no end in sight is good news for the opposition parties.

For bad blood to brew between an APC minister and a deputy like this since last year should have been nipped in the bud by the Ernest Koroma government long time ago.

It is incredible why my government has not done enough to resolve this impasse in-house rather than allowing such a serious problem to escalate to a full blown national and international issue.

President Koroma and all the peace lovers in the APC should not keep quiet any longer on this issue. An amicable resolution must be found NOW to end this madness. 

Our ministers do not have enough time to carry out their national duties and anything that hold them back from performing their constitutional mandates must be discouraged at all cost.

From the Sylvia/Rugiatu imbroglio to the imported marabou man from Niger to the CFN Minors conspiracy are all detraction that the APC government must not condone if we are to win the 2018 elections hands down. For Deputy Minister Rugiatu Turay to continuously disrespect her boss Sylvia and even disobeys government policies is not only an affront to the constitution she swore to uphold, but it raises questions as to who is actually propping up Rugiatu to the road of self destruction. It remains to be seen.

A competent minister like Sylvia should be appreciated rather than demeaned. We are very lucky to have the likes of Sylvia in the APC government. That is why I always doff my humble hat to President Koroma for having the sixth sense to recruit the best minds.

It is an open secret that Sylvia Blyden's switch to the APC after ending her sympathetic feelings for the disunited SLPP party is still felt in the inner circle of the Palm Tree, though many SLPP diehard would hypocritically express happiness to see the back of Sylvia. SLPP loss is an APC gain. She is great addition to the ruling APC party.

I vividly remember the peace pack that SLPP Maada Bio engineered in 2011 for him and Sylvia to smoke the peace pipe. That historic handshake picture is still fresh in many minds. 

If the PaOpa chief can sum up the courage to strike a peace accord with Sylvia, I see no reason why my APC stalwarts cannot do the same to end the Sylvia/Rugiatu continued brouhaha.

We need lasting peace in the APC, not infighting. I am therefore humbly appealing to EBK to intervene ASAP and to usher sanity at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. 

It's a blessing to have a brilliant mind like Sylvia in our midst. Lets allow Sierra Leone to enjoy the shade of brilliance instead of cutting the tree down. Thank you.

 

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Are the Likes of Maada Bio Really 'Fathers of Democracy'?  

Asks Mahmud Tim Kargbo (12/01/17)

Maada Bio's Pa-O-pas and the likes think they would achieve by deceitfully labelling themselves 'fathers of democracy'!!

Are these lies representative of the Pa-O-pa new generation leadership style and distributing such irresponsible baseless claims indicative of the end of the quality leadership of Maada Bio? Many politicians from all political divide, are completely at odds with the needed democratic leadership qualities to succeed President Ernest Koroma.

Is Maada Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction think these deceitful tricks for the ‘Democratic Leadership Qualities’ that must be protected at all costs for good governance can be misused without repercussions? Are Sierra Leoneans and the wider international community expected to fall for the likes of Maada Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction for such deceits?  No way!!!

It is high time a thorough evaluation of the past and current activities of the various people eyeing the seat of the Presidency in Sierra Leone be put under the microscope because many of the people planning to occupy State House, the seat of power in the country, have question marks.

And to buttress our democratic credentials, we also need to open some free thematic leadership lectures for the likes of Maada Bio to attend in order to bolster their capabilities and preparedness for the most important job in Sierra Leone. 

It’s either these negative politicians did not benefit from the modules of the democratic training institutions they attended, or Sierra Leone politics has not grown up enough over the years under the Agenda for Prosperity to potentially expose these intellectually dangerous leaders to the seat of power. 

The arbitrary killings of fellow nationals by Bio and co during their so-called National Provisional Ruling Council junta in 1992 eventually added to their desperate efforts to destroy our budding democracy when they partnered with the rebels to asked for 'Peace before Elections'. That was hypocritical deception of the highest order!!!

Not to mention Bio's act in embezzling tax payers' monies that he whittled away abroad and subsequently joined the academic field to improve his education with blood money. All these could have taught Bio and his Pa-O-pa faction that democracy never sleeps in the same bed with people that are true criminals.

Maada Bio's political character is incompatible with the description of 'father of democracy.' And to imagine that the Pa-O-pa faction can still parade these lies around in this modern era where facts and figures are very easy to come by, is itself disgraceful to put it mildly. 

Clearly, some of these corrupt Sierra Leone politicians have continued to be more clueless than one had ever imagined and the malaise is clearly getting worse by the day. 

God help our beloved Sierra Leone from the clutches of sheep in wolf clothing. Amen.

 

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The APC Party will Continue to be Pacesetters

By Mohamed Sankoh (22/12/16)

In Britain, former Prime Minister David Cameron shot himself in the head by provoking Brexit.

In the United States of America, the Republicans came from the opposition to topple the incumbent Democrats. In Nigeria, the opposition won the last General Elections. In Senegal, the opposition came from behind and breasted the tape. 

And in tiny The Gambia, a coalition of the opposition has won the Presidential election of December 1 this year. These victories might have given the opposing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and its supporters a glimmer of hope. 

But wait a minute. There is a catch or catches here. From Nigeria to Senegal; from Senegal to Zambia, and from Zambia to The Gambia; opposition parties were able to unseat incumbents because they were able to sweep the capitals of those countries. 

But since Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, has no ‘Kamajor’ initiation bushes or ‘Ndorgboryosoi’ mentality; the SLPP should first try to win two seats in Freetown in the next General Elections, and from there they should think of winning three more seats in the next-next General Elections before they should start thinking of coming back to power in the third elections after 2018. 

Also in those countries, where opposition parties magically won the incumbents, the oppositions were not only organised but were seen as forces of change. They were seen as credible alternatives to the ruling parties. And they were also seen as parties whose leaders did not have credibility problems. 

But in the case of the SLPP, majority of Sierra Leoneans still regard it as a tribal and regional outfit not a political party with national appeal. There is no way a single tribe or region could win an election in Sierra Leone.  Not in this planet.

And besides, the political demography of Sierra Leone has always been favouring the ruling APC. The last Local Council by-election in Waterloo showed that, despite the austerity measures, the ruling party still has grip of the Western Area. And since the APC has been making in-roads in the southern and eastern parts of the country while the north and Western Areas are still culs-de-sac for the SLPP. 

It logically follows that in the face of all odds, and even in the optimistic figment of every SLPPer’s imagination, the APC is sure to always take gold in every election. Because whenever Freetown speaks on any matter; that matter will always be settled! And since the electoral voice of Freetown is always echoed by the Abacha Streeters (connotatively used in the generic form here), Freetown will be in APC’s grasp for the next ten or more years. 

And again, for any opposition to wand-flick the feat of defeating an incumbent government that party should be seen to be financially credible. But the SLPP is fiscal hysteria in itself. At present, it is unable to meet the deadline to repay a huge loan at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and the SLPP is now mooting the idea of filing for insolvency. How can any sane citizenry vote for a party that is not only bankrupt but whose leaders are still unable to give account of funds received before and during the last General Elections? Hey, I don’t think a starving man should be made manager of a restaurant (hope you are getting the sharpness of my metaphor?)!  

And it is only an unremorseful pessimist that will think that as things now stand so they would be before and during the next General Elections in Sierra Leone. This is only 2016. And before the would-be 2018 General Elections, things would be better than they now are.  

I am optimistic that before 2018, export of iron ore and other minerals would have increased; Dangote Cement would be in full production by the second quarter of 2017, and the Leone would have appreciated. 

By late 2017 as more companies begin to report more profits, this would translate into more taxes for the government; more investments; more jobs for our youths, and economic buoyancy for local sub-contractors. So, in 1-2-3 language, Sierra Leone as a nation would be expecting huge inflows by 2017.

Courtesy: By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) 

 

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If the Fuel is Stolen, How Could Subscribers Get Power?

Asks N'Bompa (16/11/16)

The National Power Authority (NPA) handed the baton to EDSA and EGTC after going through several mishaps.

The loss in that company National Power Authority) was through mismanagement, illegal connections, defaulting subscribers, several fire incidents etc.

EDSA fought it hard to stand on their feet but it seems the struggle continues. A lot has changed in the system of the power supply. The pre-paid meters are highly appreciated by the subscribers. The administration seems like coping till them recent alteration in the tariffs for power many cried over those changes but remained as subscribers.                                   

Most recently the Anti Corruption Commission and Sierra Leone Police caught a fuel tanker offloading fuel in a petrol station instead of the designated EGTC. The dry season is around the corner and repairs on the turbine of the hydroelectric plant must take effect. Here, the energy company must set up for the distribution of power using the thermal power house.                                                          

But if the fuel is stolen, how could the subscribers get power? This is the similar situation the former NPA had to put up with. Again, I am asking that we change and love our country. Bravo to ACC.                                                                                  

The Minister of Energy Henry Macauley and the EGTC General Manager Mr. Dennis Garvey are asking the general public to bring to their notice if any corrupt or any illegal fuel activity is seen. 

Well meaning Sierra Leoneans are dreaming of seeing real progress in the activities of the fuel company.

I wish to congratulate the Makeni people for their valuable contributions in the hound for fuel criminals and saboteurs. Keep it up and I hope others will follow suit all over the nation.

 

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Why we Need to Smoke the Peace Pipe for Our Country

By Abu Shaw (02/05/16)

Sierra Leone has suffered immeasurably over the years. Thousands have died needlessly for no justifiable reasons. Now, we have physical peace in the country since 2002.

But there are certain minds that are still sadly far from peaceful. Political affiliations have blinded some Sierra Leoneans so much so that the country has now almost become less and less significant in their eyes.

This is glaringly wrong. Sierra Leone does need minds that are peaceful at all times. Patriotism is the most significant virtue that citizens of any country must always uphold irrespective of their creed, religion, political partisanship etc. etc.

As journalists, we have the noble obligation to inform, educate, entertain the public with analytical news based on facts and figures. The Organiser newspaper believes many learned journalists in Sierra Leone are shining examples of professional journalism with high integrity and patriotism, a feat that garners respect both nationally and internationally.

As the first country in West Africa to start a newspaper publication, Sierra Leone journalism must always remember the ideals and dreams instituted by the pioneers of this noble profession.

We fervently believe the indefatigable penman and journalist late Wallace Johnson and the likes would oppose the way some of our media colleagues are misrepresenting the ethics of journalism.

We should all be proud of being members of Media Junction, Salone Thinker and other social media interactive forums as they give us the opportunity to brainstorm current news correctly for the benefit and development of our country. That is patriotism of the highest order.

But what is unfolding in the Media Junction for instance where some members are bent on publishing stories about their colleagues based on half truths, provocations and disrespect, is unacceptable and is a real cause for concern.

There is nothing wrong to write factual things with substance but when stories are geared towards provoking others just because they are not supporting the same political party, then we know there is a serious shortage of excellence in the media industry in Sierra Leone.

Such unprofessionalism deters the growth of the country. It is in this vein that we call on all our colleagues home and abroad to put their differences aside and stop attacking one another unnecessarily at the detriment of true journalism and our only beloved country SIERRA LEONE.

 

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Why Alie Kabba Lacks the Nutrients to Lead the SLPP party and Sierra Leone!!

By Abu Shaw in London (12/12/15)

Nineteenth century British politician and historian John Dahberg-Acton once stated: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

The appropriateness of the above 19th century statement when applied to Alie Kabba, who is vying for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party flag-bearer position, is as timely as the Big Ben in London. 

It was apparently euphoric when Alie Kabba, who dubbed himself, ‘radical progressive nationalist’, declared his intention to go in to Sierra Leone politics one year ago. Many who knew him, including myself, jumped at his vision and immediately joined the campaign bandwagon to fight for the SLPP party leadership and eventually for State House, the seat of power.

One year on however, the Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba’s idealism has waned in strength because he has gradually shown his true colours to the astonishment of many former admirers. The Alie Kabba of NOW is a stark contrast to the individual that initially convinced me and others to lend unwavering support to his SLPP campaign. He is virtually not the same Alie Kabba whose extraordinary vision was based on democracy and the rule of law by having constant consultations with members and the decentralisation of power and respect for one another.

ALIE KABBA'S DEMOCRATIC DREAM EVAPORATES

In my one year membership of the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/Ireland team, Alie Kabba was living the democratic dream. During these formative months, everyone including Alie Kabba, participated in the formation of the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I and he unhesitatingly endorsed London as the headquarters of his campaign team. He had extensive consultations with the executive members as to whether to run for the SLPP or form another political party - a third force.

After the SWOT analysis, the consensus was for the campaign team to choose the SLPP instead. Everything was rosy and smooth sailing. New members joined the executive team in droves as a result. From London, to Bristol, to Manchester, to Holland to Belgium, Alie Kabba was very humble and very consultative with the team on any decision making, an important tool he used throughout the tour of continental Europe 2015. How his positive attitude changed so quickly for the worse in recent times beggars belief!!

DICTATOR IN THE MAKING DESPITE ORATORY SKILLS

Alie Kabba’s oratory skills are amazing. Alie Kabba is one of the most brilliant speakers Sierra Leone has ever produced. His oratory gift can make any hard nut to crack. It is a gift that God has endowed in him, which in the African setting is called ‘Jayleebaa’. It means praise-singers with extraordinary talent and oratory skills. That is Alie Kabba’s most powerful weapon throughout his political life. But in real life, I believe, action speaks louder than words. In recent weeks, Alie Kabba started showing his true colours. He resorted to doing very strange things hitherto unknown to his character. He suddenly stopped having constant communications with the UK/I executives. Alie Kabba would neither take calls nor respond to emails from some executive members. He started imposing new policies on the UK/I campaign team without any form of consultations.

Consultation became non-existent in Alie Kabba’s lexicon. He secretly transferred his campaign headquarters from London to Europe, with the connivance of very few UK/I bootlicking executive members. I honestly do not have a problem if a leader decides to appoint people here and there to positions of trust as it is his/her functionality to do so. I have nothing against a leader who institutes brilliant policies on its membership. But when such a leader feels he/she has all the answers in the world, then such a leader has a democratic problem. Exhibiting the lack of consulting or brainstorming with close confidants in matters pertaining to governance, are the hallmarks of dictatorship. I absolutely abhor any leader, like Alie Kabba, who used and misused people with no semblance of respect in the guise of democracy. That was how Alie Kabba became a dictator.

AIR TICKET REFUND DENTS HIS CREDIBILITY

One conspicuous fact that came to light recently was Alie Kabba’s determination to enrich his personal coffers at all cost. After the Alie Kabba UK/I Dinner and Dance in September 19, 2015 in London, he emailed the UK/I Chairman, the Finance Office and the European Chair asking for refund of his Chicago-London-Chicago air ticket that he used to grace the London Dinner & Dance where he was Keynote Speaker. It was a real surprise for the rational executive members. It was unbelievable why Alie Kabba would ask for a refund of his air ticket that cost over 1,500 US dollars from the UK/I campaign team, a team that is financially handicap to carry out his own campaign functions? The refund issue eventually made tongues to wag and then questions about Alie Kabba’s real financial standing started to crop up. Is Alie Kabba so hard-up financially to stoop so low?

After lots of arguments, the money was reluctantly transferred to Alie Kabba through Western Union. Since the formation of the UK/I in London, he has never contributed a single penny to top up the meagre finances of the UK/I campaign team. We the few rational executive members started wondering whether Alie Kabba actually has the financial capability to propel his SLPP campaign. Or is he just one of those politicians who has the finances but is naturally greedy and selfish? I cannot remember any other SLPP flag-bearer or other Sierra Leone politicians who go cap in hand to ask for air ticket refunds for his/her own campaign. It was a real blow to Alie Kabba’s credibility. Or perhaps he is an opportunist to the core who is just trying to look for a job!! Posterity will tell!

ALIE KABBA’S PROMISES ARE EMPTY

When Alie Kabba highlighted his vision for Sierra Leone a year ago, I, like many others, plunged in hook, line and sinker. That was why I joined his campaign train in London. If the political and economic promises made by Alie Kabba for Sierra Leone are anything to go by, then there will be a big disappointment for Sierra Leone’s future considering his recent dictatorial tendencies.

Alie Kabba’s empty promises lured me in to joining the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, a party that I actually regretted affiliating myself with. I have never joined any political party in my life in Sierra Leone. To be lured in to the membership of the opposition SLPP thanks to Alie Kabba’s deceptive vision, was very painful to say the least. It was the SLPP party that incarcerated me without justification in 1998.

The SLPP ceased to be my favourite political party after the Tejan Kabbah/Solomon Berewa government arbitrarily arrested and persecuted me at Pademba Road Prisons for 10 months on the flimsy ‘collaboration charge’ excuses. Had it not been for Alie Kabba’s sake, I would not, in my wildest dream, associate my person with the SLPP party.

Alie Kabba has made lots of promises to see Sierra Leone on the hilltop of Africa. He said he wants to see the railways back to catapult the country’s economic growth for the 99% and not only for the 1% of Sierra Leoneans. That is why twelve months later, I have no doubts that Alie Kabba’s glorious promises are empty and deceptive for SLPP, country and man.

ALIE KABBA FALLS FOR FAKE IRON LADY’S CHARM

There are lots of twists and turns in the Alie Kabba dictatorial saga. One who perfectly fits the bill is his so-called Iron Lady Sia Evelyn Nyandemo. She barely knows Alie Kabba proper. She was introduced to the fake radical less than one year ago. But this empty Iron Lady has been elevated by Alie Kabba in so short a time that, suspicion about her real intentions to become First Lady is gradually becoming a reality. However, age is not on her side as Alie Kabba would definitely prefer a younger woman to suit his insatiable desires. 

But the fake Iron Lady, who was recently appointed by her leader as Global Fundraising Chairman, is alleged to have reportedly used one of her closest female relatives to lure Alie Kabba in to her charms. Reliable sources say she tricked Alie Kabba in to this love-nest early this year in London where she positioned her relative called ‘Amy Something’ in to her leader’s waiting hands. Alie Kabba even missed a very important radio interview in London to have a good time with his mysterious mistress. 

Alie Kabba also used his power to sideline the UK/I leadership by appointing another new lady called ‘Janet Something’ as his new Global Chairman. Janet is based in the US very close to her leader. His Global Fundraising Coordinating stooge is well remembered as a former PMDC party heartbreaker. These are the types of supporters currently aiding Alie Kabba’s campaign team. God help Sierra Leone. Amen.

USING AND MISUSING THE ORGANISER NEWSPAPER

My greatest regret was allowing my newspaper (theorganiser.net) to be the mouthpiece of Alie Kabba’s campaign team. My credibility was put on the line which pains me most especially after realising that Alie Kabba is a political LIAR, a former shadow of his political ingenuity. After all the voluntary publications in The Organiser newspaper to promote the messages of Alie Kabba, all I got from Alie Kabba was this disrespectful remarks: “Your newpspaper is not my priority in this campaign."

Alie Kabba sympathisers might say I am exposing him now because he refused to support my newspaper. Far from it! I am doing this because of a culmination of different negative things he has done in recent times, things that have the propensity to affect the SLPP and Sierra Leone in general. If these facts remain untold my conscience will ever remain to haunt my person. Making the dark side of Alie Kabba NOW KNOWN, is vital for the electorates in Sierra Leone.

In fact, Alie Kabba’s ingratitude dawned on me immediately after The Organiser newspaper hits the newsstand in May 2015. In the first week of my newspaper, majority of the executive members in UK/I and in Europe called to thank me for the publication. Alie Kabba made the call to me two months after the resumption of the newspaper and said: “Thank you and I like the name of the newspaper.” I did not take note of his ill conceived perception then. Alie Kabba has always hailed The Organiser newspaper as his main news dissemination outlet for the campaign. But he did not prove it practically. 

It was like a stab in the back but I am delighted now he did not mention my newspaper in his speeches as it would have dampened and tarnished the good image of my newspaper that I personally spent over 1,500 pounds sterling to set up. Now I understand why Alie Kabba requested few months ago to email him a  business proposal for my newspaper. I did as he persistently requested but he deliberately failed to even acknowledge receiving the emails.

He pretended not to know! The newspaper issue is just one of a catalogue of broken promises Alie Kabba has schemed in recent times. But he has woefully failed to have The Organiser newspaper paled in to insignificance. Now he is shamelessly using my business proposal as the main reason for my resignation. What has happened is a real blessing in disguise for me!

Be that as it may, I am now very delighted that the newspaper has moved away from the shackles of this false prophet. Now I am vowing to recommit my editorial stance to the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of my future political affiliations.

HYPOCRISY WITHIN THE ALIE KABBA TEAM

The most worrying episode about the Alie Kabba campaign is the conspicuous hypocrisy that continues to permeate the team. This vice, I believe, has tremendous contribution to the lack of positive attitude in the campaign. The irrational executive members, who are in the majority, are so scared of Alie Kabba that they almost always endorse every policy put forward by the fake radical progressive nationalist whether good or bad. Whenever the few rational executive members called Alie Kabba to attention from straying away, the hypocrites would blindly jump to their leader’s defence.

Few weeks ago, Alie Kabba became so rude and disrespectful that he started shouting at executive members and made loud commands during one Skype meeting with UK/I campaign team. Reports say the former UK/I Chairman Steven Gbekie, was so infuriated with Alie Kabba’s outbursts that he had to tell him three times, in equally commanding voice, to ‘CALM DOWN! CALM DOWN!! CALM DOWN!!! It remains to be seen whether the fake radical knew that he had indeed stepped on the wrong toes.

Alie Kabba did not say sorry for his rudeness and I believe Steven Gbekie’s intervention to calm him down did not go down well with the leader. Instead, Alie Kabba immediately stopped having any form of communications with Mr. Steven Gbekie. The incommunicado went on for a month until Mr. Gbekie tendered his shocking resignation on Saturday December 5, 2015.

“PUBLISH OR PERISH” - SAYS POET YEATS

The legendary Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, one of the foremost figures of the 20th century literature once said: “Publish or perish”. For fear of being burned up with dictators like Alie Kabba, I have decided to publish the dark side of him rather than perish not sharing these salient facts today for the people of Sierra Leone to judge. I do not want Sierra Leoneans to ask me in the future: "Why didn’t you tell us earlier."

I must confess, the Alie Kabba of Kay School years in Kenema is not the same Alie Kabba of today! Alie Kabba of Bo School years is not the same Alie Kabba of today! The Alie Kabba of FBC glorious years is not the same Alie Kabba of today! Within one year of my close association with the Alie Kabba campaign, I have noticed how Alie Kabba has metamorphosed in to a political dictator.

How three decades have changed a radical genius in to an unapproachable politician is beyond belief! This dramatic change from his humble demeanour and selflessness to something different was enough for me to quit the campaign team. And concomitantly, from the SLPP party membership.

How power can corrupt some individuals like Alie Kabba so easily is frightening. If Alie Kabba can be corrupted by power so easily when the REAL power is still far from his grasps, only God knows what the SLPP party and Sierra Leone in general would experience if he grabs presidential powers in the future!!

The 300 year-old 'Power Corrupt Statement’ by John Dahberg-Acton, son of Sir Ferdinand Dalberg-Acton has indeed stood the test of time. Politicians, like Alie Kabba, only justify how absolute power can corrupt some individuals so easily.

The facts above, among others, only indicate that Alie Kabba definitely has no NUTRIENTS OR GOODNESS in him to lead the SLPP, let alone Sierra Leone. God help us.

 

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How SLPP Supporter Are You?

By Abu Shaw in London (06/06/15)

This is the burning question that continues to confront me each time my media colleagues see a picture of me and Alie Kabba on social media networks. Even family members continue to ask if it is indeed true that I am now a member of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP.

It is ostensibly a big surprise to many who still could not believe their ears. Many close confidantes are very conversant with the deep-seated hatred and animosity I had for the SLPP for the past 17 years. It stemmed from the persecution I personally suffered from the SLPP Tejan Kabbah/Solomon Berewa 'democratic' era.

Detained and incarcerated for 10 months at the Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown by the SLPP government, it was the worst experience I have ever had in my journalism work. The prison was overcrowded with nearly 2000 inmates for a prison that was established to accommodate only 300 inmates. It was a nightmarish situation for me and very unbearable for my family and loved ones generally in 1998.

My only crime was working for a newspaper that strongly opposed military intervention to resolve the bloody conflict in Sierra Leone. The Expo Times newspaper, of which I was the Production Manager strongly advocated for a negotiated settlement to the civil war in our country. We were vehement in our opposition to the Nigeria led ECOMOG soldiers bringing arms and ammunition to fight the RUF and AFRC rebel forces. We believed the best way out of the conflict was dialogue and more dialogue as history taught us that very few wars had ended in battlefields.

This position was totally misunderstood by the military intervention propagandists and the SLPP government. Or did they pretend to misunderstand our position? I believe the latter is the answer. When I was arrested by ECOMOG in Freetown in early 1998, I was charged with collaboration, aiding and abetting the infamous AFRC military junta of Major Johnny Paul Koroma. My innocent dad lost his life as a result of the untold humiliation he endured when the rag-tagged and poorly trained Kamajor fighters took him to the bush hours on end at the outskirts of Kenema town. Only the timely intervention of the Paramount Chief and elders of Nongowa Chiefdom that helped him gain freedom. But my innocent father never really recovered from the shock. My father was the Chief Fullah Imam and Deputy District Imam in Kenema. He died in Freetown whilst I was still languishing at Pademba Prisons Cell 4 Blyden House. His corpse was flown to his resting place in Kenema.

Cell 4 at Blyden House was streets away from freedom as seven padlocked gates, that were heavily manned 24/7 by prison officers, stood between me and the road to liberty. It was there that I joined my colleague inmates Mr Victor Bockarie Foh, President Koroma's controversial Vice President; Mr Hilton Ebenezer Fyle, the former BBC Network Africa presenter; and the former Resident Minister East Mr William Juana Smith of blessed memory. I am still haunted by the summary executions of the 24 soldiers by firing squad in 1998. Nightmares continue to affect me to this day, as I vividly remembered that awful day when wicked prison officers jubilantly commanded all prisoners to enter their cells very early that day. We knew something strange was about to happen. Watching curiously from our small windows upstairs, we saw well armed ECOMOG soldiers marching towards the condemn cells, where the 24 Sierra Leone soldiers were detained since the death penalty was passed by the SLPP kangaroo court martial. There and then we knew that the dreaded execution was going to take place that day. 

Even the heavens noticed the impending nightmare that was underway. Dark cloud instantly overcame the bright weather as Gborie, Zagallo, Hassan Conteh and the 21 others dressed in black shorts and tops embossed with 'C' (connoting condemn), were lined up with their hands cuffed behind their backs. The gallant soldiers were then led away and we could hear their brave voices singing biblical rhymes as they were trucked away to their painful deaths. We cried inconsolably in our cells that fateful night. I was never the same person again after that as bitterness and trauma engulfed me up to this day. I cannot understand why some Sierra Leoneans who do not really know these 24 soldiers would quickly dismiss them as 'bad soldiers' without giving a second thought. As for me personally, I will ever remain to respect these 24 gallant soldiers. I met most of them in prison for the first time and because of the close bond and interactions we had during my 10 months of terrifying ordeal, I immediately changed my misconception I had before about these 24 gallant soldiers.They were decent ordinary Sierra Leoneans, who were only trying to implore their Commander-in-Chief to improve their conditions of service in the military. Even the Nigerian Captain lawyer who defended them at Solomon Berewa's kangaroo Court Martial in Freetown could not understand why the crème de la crème of the Sierra Leone army could  face such unjustifiable execution. It only highlights the utter stupidity of some of our selfish politicians in Sierra Leone.      

After 10 gruesome months of incarceration at the overpopulated prison, I was luckily acquitted  by the Tejan Cole Committee of Investigation in late 1998. The commissioners, after a month of trial, found me not guilty of the collaboration charge. But my colleague Conrad Roy, our brilliant News Editor was not so lucky. He lost his precious life in prison for no justifiable reason. The three other Expo Times staff namely Ibrahim Seaga Shaw the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief; Gibril Gbanabome Koroma General Editor and Charles Abayomi Roberts 'Punchy' Business Editor had to flee in to exile. The rest is now history.

After all the killings and destructions of our country, where did it all end? On the negotiating table of course! We suggested this peace path long before the rebel war escalated. But all our efforts fell on deaf ears. Representatives of the SLPP, RUF and AFRC subsequently met in 2001 in Lome, the Togolese capital, to trash out a negotiated settlement that finally ushered in real peace in 2002.

The wise often say time is the best healer. The timely arrival of Alie Badara Sanjan  Kabba in the political scene to vie for the SLPP flag-bearer position was the turning point in my own political affiliation with a political party for the first time in Sierra Leone. And with a heavy heart, I decided to join the SLPP party for Alie Kabba's vision. That is why I believe the SLPP is a very lucky party to have a natural leader like Alie Kabba in their midst. The SLPP must count on their lucky stars to have somebody like Alie Kabba, though many of the SLPP core members are so tribally blind that they could not see beyond their noses.

When Alie Kabba speaks, you feel his sincerity to the cause. You hear his determination to turn around the misfortunes of our country to the hill top of Africa. This is the vision that converted me in to supporting the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I campaign team. Besides being tried, tested and succeeded, Alie Kabba is truly one of very few Sierra Leone politicians today who can bring back the glory years of Sir Milton Margai.

That is why I think all SLPP members, especially the delegates, must use their heads and every parts of their body that has even an atom’s weight of life, to vote for Alie Kabba as he is the only credible candidate who can take the SLPP to State House. Do not allow any political rivals to dissuade you either through the brown envelope format or otherwise, from supporting Alie Kabba. I have no doubt that Alie Kabba is a luxury for the 99% of Sierra Leoneans yearning for salvation since the country attained independence in 1961.

The Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I Chairman Steven Beckie and Secretary General Abdulai Braima and our Chairlady aunty Evelyn have all noted that they would have supported any political party that our leader Alie Kabba should have chosen. This is just a classic example of the trust we have in our leader.  

As the Media Officer for the Friends of Alie Kabba UK/I I have to say this: “Yes, I am now SLPP for Alie Kabba’s sake. Yes, I have forgiven the SLPP for Alie Kabba’s sake. I only hope that my innocent dad would forgive me for doing so. Ameen. For more information, please click www.aliekabba.com

 

TRIBUTE: ALPHA SHAW


1958 -1980

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