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21st January 2019

The New Direction of the SLPP Must Do More to Fulfil the World Bank Governance Indicators!

By Ranger, Guest Editor (30/11/18)

The World Bank Governance Indicators define government effectiveness as the quality of public services and the degree of political independence etc.

Public sector management, accountability, legal framework for development, transparency and information have been initially identified as the core elements of governance.

This is how Governance Indicators of the World Bank Institute defines government effectiveness: "Measuring the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service, the degree of independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies."

Without good public sector management i.e. improvement in efficiency of public institutions, no government can succeed to deliver effectively the goods and services that amount to poverty reduction and its ultimate elimination.

Special attention within the scope of public expenditure management has to continue to be put on public investments, budget planning concerning operation and maintenance, and on strengthening the budgeting process. Civil Service reform in context of the good governance agenda is also a priority in achieving the New Direction policy proclamations.

Reform of public enterprises should include privatization of those public enterprises that are not commercially viable. This should go together with improving the market and competitive conditions, and reform of cooperation mechanisms between public enterprises and the government in order to strengthen the management of public enterprises and to give less opportunity for politically motivated influence.

Accountability is at the heart of good state governance. Accountability is holding public officials responsible for their actions in office. Another description of the contents of accountability has to do with holding government responsible for their actions. At the political level, it means making rulers accountable to the ruled, typically through the contestability of political power.

According to these definitions, accountability works in two directions. On one hand, there is an internal effect within public institutions regarding financial accountability and the creation of internal control mechanisms. This is very much related to the topic of Public Service Management as explained above.

On the other hand, there is also an external effect of accountability which relates to involvement of the population. The internal effect of accountability is referred to as horizontal accountability, the external effect as vertical accountability.

Voice refers to the possibility of the public to influence the quality and quantity of public services by e.g. improving access to information and involving CSOs. This means the success of the government must be measured by how much it is able to satisfy the needs of the population, not only its economic performance.

Voice mechanisms will give way for a more participatory approach to development by focusing on access to information and including CSOs as partners in the development process.

A very important topic related to accountability is the fight against corruption. The legal framework for development represents the rule of law approach in governance defined as follows: "The rule of law represents the legal dimension of good governance by a country in an economic environment where business risks can be rationally assessed and the cost of transactions are lowered. Both aims will only be achieved in an appropriate legal system."

Summing up, judicial reform within good governance encompasses improvement of the judicial system - including dispute settlement mechanisms - legislative reforms, and the improvement of legal education and training. With regard to corruption, the main weapon against it is to reduce the opportunities for it to a minimum.

The challenge to improve the interaction between government and the public in terms of rendering more transparency in the decision-making processes has to be addressed seriously in implementing the New Direction.

 

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"The Youth is the Future, the Future is the Youth," the SLPP Party Reminded!

By Melvin Max-Conteh, Guest Editor (21/11/18)

The youth and the future will always be linked, because none can exist in the absence of another. Will the SLPP take a leaf from this dictum?

A nation that fails to invest in the future of its youth is a doomed nation. The youth is a significant symbol of strength and persistence.

The youth of the 1960s clearly demonstrated the capabilities of the power of unity with a purpose and the strength of profound minds. These young heroes and heroines definitely changed the socio-political landscape in Sierra Leone .

The youth of 1960s should not only be celebrated, they should be imitated. They should be remembered as young Lions of the Lion Mountain. The brave and courageous ones that roared.

The youth of 2019 should take some time to meditate on the brilliant examples the youth of 1960s had set for them. And the sacrifices they made to make it possible for today's youth to enjoy certain privileges in today's education system.

It is very disturbing to see how today's youth underestimate the importance of education. Some of them drop out of school, some of them go to school without priorities, only a few of our youth understand the importance of education.

I quote the late South African President Nelson Mandela: "Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face".

So it's very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country. The youth of 2019 should wake up to the reality of today's challenges and difficulties.

Today we are faced with unemployment, HIV/Aids, drug abuse and crime etc thanks largely to government's inability and unwillingness to prioritise youth advancement.

We have to take a stand against anything and everything that threatens the possibilities of a brighter future. Our governments must also wake up to realise the importance of youth and make sure they are given all the necessary incentives to develop.

Today's youth must be directed to learn and have a clear vision and focus to have a bright future. Our youth must definitely be redirected to reach greater heights. That's why parents and governments must play a pivotal role in this direction.

Courtesy: By Melvin Max-Conteh, Youth Activist

 

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Greedy Demands by Sierra Leone Parliamentarians as Jobless and Hungry Voters Live on Crumbs!

By Cyril Barnes, Guest Editor (14/11/18)

Representatives that care more about themselves than those they are representing are money-mongers who do not deserve to represent the people.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Baw Baw Quarry where many youths, children and old people hit their youthful (the young) and exhaustive (the old) energies into a hill of granite rocks just to save their souls from the demands of life.

I have never seen a group of people so willing to work in desperation in an unwilling environment, save the moment I stood on the edge of what looked like an artificial canyon to watch as their chisels wedged their ways into the pile of tectonic granites. The quarry has been a leftover from the CSC Construction Company who was contracted to construct the Lumley-Peninsula Road.

I approached one of the youths to ask him some few questions bordering on their activities. He told me most of them do not have any other option but to labour for a living by quarrying granite rocks to take care of their needs.

"It's not that we are happy working under harsh conditions, but who will provide for us if we do not. If I don't work here, I won't be able to pay my college fees and other members here won't be able to pay their house rents, pay school fees for their children and take care of other basic amenities. It's really sad to say, but this is where we are making ends meet at the moment; therefore we must accept our fate," said the youth.

To tie the knot to my introduction, I will like to bring up the proposed over bloated salary increment of parliamentarians tabled for approval. Few days ago, Parliamentarians, in chime, proposed for a pay rise enveloped with other improved working conditions. I have never seen a mixed multitude of parliamentarians so united unless for their increment.

I begin to wonder why one set of parliamentarians was against another when the Commission of Inquiry was being tabled. I wonder again if this will be the same energy they will exert to pass a development bill that caters for the suffering masses - into law.

Obviously those suffering people at the Baw Baw Quarry have a representative in Parliament who is totally oblivious of what is going on in his community; who thinks more about his increment and other personal aggrandizement than the employment schemes and well-being of his people, who thinks his electorates do not deserve to get access to proper healthcare facilities, who thinks the community must not have a share in the Free and Quality Education.

The boiling pot of Parliament, filled with political assortments, has agreed that they should have a 300% increment while they selfishly refuse to agitate for better conditions for teachers, health workers and other civil servants. Not even the "Put Salone Fos" Parliamentarian has sounded the gong on that and don't even tell he has made his position clear they unanimously agreed for the said increase.

The 300% increase is quite a sum that will even drain the economy before it is fully recovered, and I believe the parliamentarians will deserve only such an increment when their constituencies will have had pipe borne water facility, electricity, good schools with conducive classroom environments, good health centres and on the other hand an increment in the salaries of health workers, teachers and other civil servants; apart from that they don't deserve even a 1% increment.

I have the feeling that this is not the appropriate time for increment in anything whatsoever, especially when we have an economy that is slowly recovering from the shocks and sharps of the past APC government. This move, if approve, will worsen the whole situation and further throw our nation into the muddy state and we will be left with no option than to resort to international begging and domestics borrowing which President Julius Maada Bio is sternly against.

President Bio has invested hugely into the Free Education Scheme and we (including the very 300% parliamentarians) must ensure that he succeeds in that drive because if the scheme fails, then the nation will have failed. There are other things which need urgent financial attention for their completion of which the president has focused his attention to and not even the parliamentarians will divert his attention.

I humbly call on President Bio not to approve it because 70% of the parliamentarians want him to fail. They have done absolutely nothing to develop their communities. All they have done is to make cheap contributions for marriages, funerals and naming ceremonies in the guise of development; thus the self-representative parliamentarians do not deserve anything. President Bio must succeed!

 

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If Highly Paid Parliamentarians are Crying, What about Poorly Paid Teachers Ecetera!

By a Disgruntled Teacher (07/11/18)

Our members of parliament who should be representing the interests of the voters are now selfishly campaigning to enrich themselves more.

Right now, over paid Sierra Leone parliamentarians are demanding salary increase from 20,000,000 Leones a month to 37,000,000 Leones while the likes of teachers continue to languish in man-made poverty.

The almighty Speaker of the House and his Deputy currently receive a monthly take home pay a whooping Le 70,000,000 and Le 50,000,000 respectively.

Not to mention the MPs call for hefty increments in allowances ranging from medical, rent, transportation etc. This means that the least member of parliament will take home Le 37,000,000.

While the poor teachers and the likes languish with a meagre Le 500,000 monthly salary. This is an insult to valuable teachers who fight day and night to ensure that they improve the human resource of this country.

This beggars the question. Are the members of parliament there to represent themselves only, or are they not voted in to make laws for the benefits of the general good of all?

The SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio chose free education as its flagship project but pays less attention to the livelihood of the drivers and agents of this project.

The bulk of the work in transmitting this project rests on the shoulders of the teachers. Many traps have been set to humiliate teachers who are often found guilty of trying to sabotage the project but nothing is being done to improve the lives of teachers to make this project a success.

To tell you the truth, there is no union or body that advocates on teachers' behalf. The union that knifes a huge junk of the teachers' salaries is dumb on such important issue. No wonder we consider such unions more political rather than apolitical.

The Sierra Leone Teachers Union is being used as a breeding ground to assume political positions. People use the union to gain political recognition. Current Minister of Education Alpha Timbo was once head of SLTU. But how politics can change people!

The MPs are sensible enough to put politics aside and advocate for their improvement in salaries. While other Sierra Leone public and private servants who contribute meaningfully to developing the nation are left to feed on crumbs. Very shameful.

If the SLTU is not competent enough to do the advocacy thing for the benefits of all teachers, I suggest its dissolution with immediate effect is the best option to spare us the embarrassment. A word for the wise is sufficient.

 

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Who are the Krios and what Makes Krios Krios in Sierra Leone?

Asks Amadu Bangura (31/10/18)

Krio is a people, a language and a culture. The Krios are Creole people who were the first speakers of the Krio language.

They are a mixture of mainly West African tribes with some British. The four main groups that comprise the Krio people include free ex-slaves from England who chose to return to Africa.

Second, they are free ex-slaves from Nova Scotia who wanted to return to Africa. Three, they are Jamaican Maroons, who ran away rather than be slaves and fought to maintain their freedom.

And four, they are liberated Africans, captured after the British declared slavery illegal, from a myriad of tribes and countries, but recaptured en-route and liberated by the British who took them to Freetown.

These four groups united helped to administer Sierra Leone according to British law, but kept aspects of their respective African cultures. As a result, Krio culture combines traditions and customs of British and many African cultures. This blend created a unique culture of its own.

Krios are an ethnicity, a culture and a language in their own rights. The debate is only whether Krio people make up their own tribe or not. I believe nobody objects to Krio being referred to as an ethnicity.

The point of contention is only with the word 'tribe'. The British used divisive methods to keep us from overpowering them. They separated the Krios from the 'native tribes'. So they conditioned us to use the words 'native' and 'tribe' only on non-Krios, creating the 'us vs them' mentality.

Krio descendants are of course just as native to Sierra Leone as the other ethnic groups because they are all born in Sierra Leone and have been for many generations. So you see, Krios are also natives.

The word 'tribe' is defined as 'a social division, usually defined by blood, marriage or kin. Krios fit the definition of a tribe. So let us accept it and do away with the divisive distinctions.

Courtesy: By Amadu Bangura of Krio Language Forum

 

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Education Prisoners: "Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me…"

By Andrew Keili (21/10/18)

I couldn’t help but be impressed by schoolchildren in my village on the day school reopened.

Many of them had woken up early, dressed and were eagerly trooping happily to school. These included those who, because of fees had kept away from school but were now darkening the walls of a school for the first time. Such was the enthusiasm that some parents chose to accompany them right into the primary school. The enthusiasm for the government’s free education programme has been effusive.

It was therefore a surprise to me when I got to Kenema on the same day and found out on visiting a sick Aunt that I discovered that a little boy about seven years had abandoned school on the very first day and had hidden under the bed when he saw my vehicle. “Comot under da bed, norto policeman!”, my Aunt shouted to him as I alighted from the vehicle. I soon found out that the Police had been rounding up errant children that had chosen not to join the free education programme. I later learnt this was not just a Kenema situation but all over the country. Children selling various wares were rounded up by police in Makeni, Kabala and various other places and forcibly taken to school.

What good support from the police for the free education programme! Some community police had also caught on to the act. The situation rather reminds me of how reluctant boys were caught and sent to a famous school in Bo meant for sons of chiefs, that now has a President. The story goes that many chiefs, not valuing education sent their wards instead and the reluctant ones must have been rounded up in the same way, although the Native Administration police did not have vehicles in those days. I have no doubt that my uncle Dr Sama Banya aka Puawui has his own yarn on how Bo school boys were caught in those days!

There are now many more education prisoners in Sierra Leone that ought to be arrested. These include not only the victims that should be forcibly taken to school but those not valuing education and helping to mess up our educational system who ought to be sent to a correctional center, I will suggest a few:

Children who work in mines: Thousands of children work in the artisanal mining industry playing some role in gold or diamond mining. They do arduous and dangerous work and are exploited by adults.

Children who are made to sell wares during school hours: There are thousands of children who are made to sell various types of goods to bring bread to the table for their parents. Whereas some who sell after school hours could be said to be arguably be justified in doing so, there are those who do not go to school and sell for the whole day.

Children who are stone miners: There have been recent embarrassing stories about Sierra Leonean kids as young as three years old making a living from mining stones. One vivid story on YouTube shows children breaking stones to earn enough money for their school fees, studying on candlelight in a squalid room. Thousands of children in Sierra Leone are working as rock-breakers for the country’s construction industry. Many of these children do not attend school.

Children who help the disabled: There are countless children who are used as guides for their disabled parents that go begging. The parents may be blind or crippled and one could see them begging in lorry parks and other public places.

Children who just roam the streets: A 2015 report from the Needy Child International indicates that about fifty thousand Sierra Leonean children work and live on the streets. Spare a thought for young girls who get pregnant whilst at school or their colleagues who do not even go to school and get pregnant in their teenage years. A recent phenomenon in the country is the rape of women and young girls and even children by depraved people.

There are also those who are not children but mess up our educational system. There is the recent case of some students, teachers and examiners caught illegally sitting to public examinations at a night syndicate. This is currently being investigated by the ACC. In numerous educational institutions sex or money for grades has been become much too commonplace. The net result is that we churn out ill qualified students and our qualifications are frowned upon by employers.

Beauty Queen pageants and other socially oriented competitions have shown the parlous state of our educational system. Many of us now show empathy for our young girls who assassinate the Queen’s language in public fora-this seems to be much too commonplace.

The truth is that if one were to round up all the defaulting children to be taken to school there will not be enough space for them. If you were to extend this to parents and guardians who prevent them from going to school or those who collectively together mess up our educational system including parents, guardians and teachers, we will most probably have to build more new correctional centres than schools.

The government must be commended for the free educational programme. However well begun is half done! Many children suffer from severe educational deprivation. Severe Educational Deprivation applies to children aged between 7 and 18 who had never been to school and were not currently attending school (no professional education of any kind). To improve the quality of education and to ensure every Sierra Leonean child has equal access, education policies must focus on expanding access, especially at the basic education level. However, eliminating educational deprivation alone is likely to have only a small impact on the incidence of child poverty when compared to eliminating other deprivations, especially housing deprivation.

Free education is a good start but this goes only part of the way to address Sierra Leone’s child poverty situation. A child is considered poor if he or she is deprived of at least one of the following rights which constitute poverty: housing, education, information, water, sanitation, health and nutrition. The following scenario representing a moderate child poverty situation is much too commonplace in Sierra Leone: A child going hungry on occasions, having no access to water in his/her dwelling and water more than 15 minute away, having sanitation facilities outside the house, inadequate medical facilities, few facilities in dwelling, having more than 3 people in his/her room.

A recent analysis finds that 77.4 per cent of Sierra Leonean children are poor as they suffer a violation of at least one of their basic rights. That means that, on average, 8 out of every 10 children can be considered poor. Breaking results down by dimension, the highest incidence of severe deprivation is found in housing, where 62 per cent of children either live in dwellings with mud or sand floors or in dwellings with more than five occupants per room. Severe deprivation is the lowest in education, with just over 17 per cent of children aged 7–17 found to have never attended school. More than 50 per cent of children suffer from at least two severe deprivations. 28.1 per cent of children are deprived in three or more dimensions.

It should not be forgotten however, that reducing children’s vulnerabilities, improving their quality of life and cutting child poverty are important targets in themselves, and should be part of the Government’s strategy for improving the welfare of all its citizens. The situation is indeed grim with children. A save the Children report states that 38% of girls 15 and older are literate, 29% of school-age children are out of school, 114 out of 1000 children die before their 5th birthday and 37% of children are engaged in child labor. Grim figures indeed!

Whatever the case one has to start somewhere and it is good the government is taking the issue of education seriously. It is important to acknowledge that for many children, even those in schools, the quality of their education remains poor and they are learning very little. Government needs to ensure that schools have adequately trained teachers, sufficient and well-resourced classrooms and necessary facilities like water, sanitation and appropriate text books, to create the enabling environment necessary for quality learning.

Whilst improving education the government should not lose sight of the child poverty situation. Child poverty gained prominence in the new Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015. Countries must now consider child poverty in their development plans as it has implications for their overall achievements of the other goals. Sierra Leone has taken the bold step of including child poverty, both monetary and multi-dimensional aspects in its SDGs, to track over time. This is commendable. With an absolute child poverty estimate of about 77 per cent and a severity of about 30 per cent, policy measures that ensure equity are appropriate to turn around the deprivation of children in Sierra Leone.

In a recent study to determine which countries were the best to raise kids in, researchers looked at the following eight attributes: care for human rights, family-friendly, gender equality, happiness, income equality, level of safety, well-developed public education system and well-developed health care system. Yes, we know we are ranked at the bottom of such a study but we must start from somewhere. The government must not lose sight of the fact that the commendable educational programme is just a start and should be part of a holistic programme to address child poverty.

We must not neglect our children and should give them every opportunity we can as a nation. A famous man who lived on this earth some two thousand years ago reaffirmed this when he said: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."-Luke 18:16

I also rather like the hymn that this episode inspired:
When mothers of Salem
Their children brought to Jesus,
The stern disciples drove them back
And bade them to depart:
But Jesus saw them ere they fled
And sweetly smiled and kindly said,
Suffer little children to come unto Me.
For I will receive them
And fold them to My bosom:
I’ll be a shepherd to these lambs,
O drive them not away;
For if their hearts to Me they give,
They shall with Me in glory live:
Suffer little children to come unto Me.

Indeed, the government must receive these children, fold them to her bosom, shepherd them and say "Suffer little children to come unto us".

Courtesy: By Andrew Keili's Ponder my Thoughts column. Andrew Keili is the Deputy Leader of the National Grand Coalition NGC party.

 

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The Isha, FIFA Impasse not Trivial as it Hinges on Public Confidence on Public Officials!

By Habib Munda (14/10/18)

The Isha Johansen and FIFA impasse is a serious matter that do not require triviality at all as it hinges on public confidence on our public officials.

Both the Anti Corruption Commission ACC boss Francis Ben Kaifala and our Chief Minister Dr. David Francis are always too quick to react on public matters that are complex which require some critical analysis before drawing any decision notes.

There is no one strategy in public governance today as you cannot rely on one lens in situation of this nature with a national, regional and international outlays. The dynamics of events and circumstances surrounding the Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA and FIFA issues in our society do not require a sacrosanct methodology as the stakeholders involved in these processes have vested interests that they keep manipulating government after government.

We live in a complex world and society today that you don’t rely on a single element in resolving societal and global problems of this nature.

Our two brothers should learn from their boss President Julius Maada Bio, SILENT IS GOLDEN....My grand father who was a Second World War veteran used to say: “PEMIE EHEYIA AR TEHGIE” . Meaning, leaders don’t start spilling beans.

We should be honest to tell our brothers that they were too quick on the matter as there are several options to handle this issues without drawing much of public attention.

The ACC rushed to set a side the suspended SLFA President Isha and Chris Kamara, the axed FA Secretary General while they were yet to institute legal proceedings failing to seek other options as the timing was inappropriate in such a circumstance, while Chief Minister was too quick to go public against FIFA and follow ACC boss on a complex matter without any reflections.

All of a sudden the same Chief Minister was seen chairing a meeting at State House with Isha and Chris in attendance and later Isha requested to sign a letter to FIFA on behalf of SLFA. This is why he should take a responsibility and seek wider consultations on this matter as there is still room to resolve it and stop the blame game.

Setting Isha and Chris aside was not strategical though-through at that time, and by asking Isha and Chris to attend a high profile State House in the absence of both the ACC and its installed acting SLFA executives is a miscalculation in public administration.

Go back to a new drawing board and institute a wider consultations and collaborations as FIFA’s doors are still open to ensure our young people don’t miss the golden opportunities.

 

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Maada Risks Losing Popularity if he Fails to Put Food on Citizens' Breakfast Tables

By Ranger (07/10/18)

Many difficult existential realities confront ordinary Sierra Leoneans living on less than the United Nations poverty figure of $2 dollars a day.

Or 16,000 Leones a day, which has very obvious implications for the vast majority that are not formally employed and worse of all many have several mouths to feed every day.

Back in the 1960’s when lots more people were living in the rural areas and engaging in farming etc. Sierra Leone’s population was less than 2.5 million. Then, many average Sierra Leoneans were not having food problems at all.

Back in those days, a middle-class earner could send his wife to market with 50 cents. Out of that money, believe it or leave it, the wife would buy a pound of beef, fish, palm oil, pepper, yabass, maggi, salt, to cook a nutritious meal for a family of five or more.

Maybe, the only thing she would not buy would be rice, because every middle-class family living in Freetown could afford a double bag of good quality imported rice. And for those living in the provinces, they eat varieties of locally grown rice that was cheap and abundant in markets.

We, old-timers, like to remind our leaders who come up with all kinds of fantastic development theories about taking the people to the moon and back; forgetting that for every human being, food is the most elemental existential need; without which one has very little ease, well-being, laxity and freedom.

And yet, our leaders since the 1970’s have woefully failed to place the correct emphasis on agricultural productivity - specifically aimed at achieving national food self-sufficiency as a pre-condition to ensuring every man’s fundamental need is met.

We do not want this President to be carried away by praise-singing; forgetting the fact that the minimum wage in this country is still Le500,000 per month - that is for the relatively few percentage of the population that are lucky to be regularly employed.

Now let us take Le500,000 to the market for the month and let’s see what it can buy for a family of five for a day’s meal - be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. But let us first focus on dinner. As for the majority of poor families, this is the only meal that is guaranteed in these days of inflation and unemployment.

You buy fish. Let us say because you are poor and must manage the little you have. Let’s say, you have Le5,000 and with this money, you buy a pint of palm oil at Le3,000. You then buy three ties of plassas for Le3,000. You then buy yabass at Le1,000, pepper at Le1,000, charcoal at Le2, 000, five cups of rice at Le6,000.

Without adding any other item, let us check how much you have spent…You have spent at least Le21, 000 and your husband earns the minimum wage of Le500,000 a month. Multiply Le21,000 by 30 days. How much you and your family need for only one meal per day for one month?

We have brought up this fundamental existential issue in this editorial to remind the current government that they have to really roll up their sleeves and pull up their trousers to first of all ensure that a stop is put on inflation.

Secondly, let the Government not tell us about this being a free market economy. The fundamental duty of Third World developing governments is to protect its citizens from the greed and selfishness of the capitalists and their agents who control market forces and calibrate it only to fit the size of their greed.

That means that the Ministry of Trade and Industry must put in place robust monitoring institutions and mechanisms for monitoring the prices of all goods, items, commodities and services bought and sold in the country to ensure that they reflect true market force reality in terms of how much they are bought for and how much they are sold for.

Failing to do so, this government too, like the two previous ones we had after the war, would end up being very unpopular to the masses and reviled for promising what it cannot deliver - a better Sierra Leone predicated on shared prosperity.

Last but not the least is the vital suggestion that government must consider increasing the daily wages for low earners as the present salary structure for ordinary citizens is a pittance and an insult.

 

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In the Wake of the Mile 91 Killing, Who Polices the Sierra Leone Police?

Asks the Ranger (30/09/18)

The aftermath of the combined security forces raid in Mile 91 has drawn all round condemnation from human rights activists and organisations.

It is important to note that this is not the first time that security forces, particularly the police, have used the wrong rules of engagement in dealing with civilian matters of throwing stones at them. Firing at an unarmed civilian in a non-military situation is definitely a crime of murder.

The police have killed civilians in cold blood in Ferengbya, Kabala and other places without any conclusive action taken against those accused of doing the killings. It is not yet even two decades since the civil war came to an end.

Let it be noted that it did not happen overnight but after long years of accumulated grievances against state highhandedness and utter disregard of the human rights of its citizens.

We must be warned particularly as a government that like causes eventually lead to like consequences. The fact that the Mile 91 killing took place in an opposition party stronghold makes it seem very sinister. Democratic governance and human rights are critical components of sustainable development and lasting peace in an country.

Countries that have ineffective government institutions, rampant corruption and weak rule of law have a higher risk of civil war and higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.

To help change this narrative, the government must concretely integrate defence and promotion of the rule of law throughout our core development work, focusing on strengthening and promoting human rights, accountable and transparent governance, and an independent and politically active civil society across all our work.

At the same time, the government must remain committed to fundamental democratic empowerment activities, including supporting freedom of the media, as well as the rule of law.

By protecting the basic rights of citizens, we prevent conflict, spur economic growth and advance human dignity, knowing that countries with democratic freedoms are more just, peaceful and stable-and their citizens can fulfil their potential.

The Commonwealth MPs were in Sierra Leone for one week training of our politicians including the main opposition APC party, the ruling SLPP party, plus parliamentarians from the C4C and the NGC parties.

Meanwhile, NGC and APC party members have teamed up to serve as lawyers to defend the poor villagers charged to court by the SLPP regime for the Mile 91 fiasco.

 

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President Bio Must Restructure, Renegotiate and Not Destroy Sierra Leone!

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (21/09/18)

I have been repeatedly asked as to why I refer to my country as 'contraption’. The answer is trite. Sierra Leone is truly a contraption.

As the Sierra Leonean contraption approaches its 58 years, the internal dynamics which has continually seen its various component factors, ethnic, regional and social, pitched in perpetual deterioration, one against the other, appears to be approaching a climax.

Referring to Sierra Leone as a ‘nation’ would tantamount to telling a lie, as the country is not! There is however nothing wrong in being a contraption - many nations today started off as contraptions, such as the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America (US) which started off as a contraption of 13 British colonies. The problem is however what you do with your contraption.

With regards to the US, its founding fathers, worked hard towards transforming their contraption into the behemoth success it is today, setting in motion policies and practices which sought to integrate the various diverse people and cultures in their contraption into one homogeneous entity. Transformation from contraption into nationhood is however a continuum, as can be gleaned at from the racial-tensions which continue to blight the American dream.

Ours on the converse has been most retrogressive. From a contraption which saw ourselves as divided along regional and tribal lines by very greedy politicians that lack what it takes to lead.

Since 'Independence', and rulers under a primitive, thieving and self-destructive ‘elite’ class who, as a collective, seem to derive joy in inflicting hardship on their fellow co-travellers in the contraption has further widened the gulf between the various peoples of Sierra Leone, the rulers continue to manipulate people who had previously felt some form of amity into blood enemies; brothers are turned against brothers; and brethrens against brethrens.

The worrisome state of our contraption has engendered despondency amongst the populace. All manners of criminal political organisations (most of these are actually pseudo-businesses, as the leaders of such groups smile home to the bank on the back of the hapless coerced membership and the silence of the enlightened), each laying a bogus claim to representing one segment of the contraption or the other, have sprung up to feast on the decay.

Moreover, as can be gleaned at from the modus operandi of these ‘very divisive pseudo-business political parties i.e. (SLPP and APC), the people such groups claim to represents will fare far worse under the dictatorship of the ethnic and regional rulers in the event of an all out explosion of the contraption.

Resulting from inept rulership being experienced/experiencing in all strata of previous and current governance, more easily noticeable at the State House because of the over concentration of power and resources there, too much innocent blood has been, and continues to be shed directly or indirectly, to sustain our contraption. Certainly, it is better to be alive in family-group republic than to be a corpse in the gigantian contraption.

Do We Throw in the Towel? Certainly Not!

My persistent call for restructuring and renegotiation of the contraption is being cunningly re-crafted, reconstructed and presented to the populace, by an equally lethal and dangerous band of kleptocrats currently posturing as ‘progressives’ and their cohorts comprised mainly of sycophants, bootlickers and stooges trained up by the authoritarian Ernest Bai Koroma, as a call to merely replace the present crop of rulers at the national level.

Let me be explicitly clear in this instance. Rather than falling into the trap being spawned by the band of opportunists led by and comprised of previous and current organised state rogues who see nothing wrong in placing their entire families, sycophants and bootlickers in different political offices, ethnocentric extremists who are out of touch with our present realities.

And have no affinity across geo-political divides, and discredited criminal elements who after fleecing public coffers in the offices they were opportune to be appointed/(s)elected into now turn around and have the temerity to deem themselves as ‘tolongbos/paopa New Direction disciples’ described in the preceding paragraph, we will be far better off continuing (at the national level)!

If the nightmarish probability of falling into the trap of the same rogues who are only different by party colours was to ever occur, it will tantamount to a re-destruction of the contraption. My call has been for a restructuring and renegotiation of the contraption and certainly not for a re-destruction.

Julius Maada Bio Now Simply has to Buckle Up!

Agreed Maada came into office primarily on the basis of Ernest Bai Koroma not believing anyone within his own APC party to protect his and family looted wealth after his presidential term expired as reported by African Confidential. Further agreed that entrenched interests who had fed fat from the blood and resources of Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leone continue to engage in lawless activities against the state by entering in to illegal government contracts.

Also agreed that these same ‘opposition’/’progressives’ via their ruler Ernest Bai Koroma have unleashed benumbing destruction on a scale unprecedented in the history of our modern days democracy against the polity to ensure public ill-will within the contraption by politicising all democratic institutions an action Bio is sustaining in his government; The reality remains that for now, someone occupies the office of President of the Republic, and that person should act accordingly based on our laws.

In the interim, and certainly before any further pretense at national elections, Sierra Leoneans should be allowed the opportunity to discuss the framework for the continued existence of our contraption with a view to ensuring peaceful coexistence of people not only within the papers of our contraption, but also practically forestall upheavals that will, with all certainty, impact negatively and make our democratic institutions independent to sustain our democracy. Time is running out!

 

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The SLPP New Direction Agenda is Slowly Showing Signs of Human Rights Violations!

By A M Fatoma, Guest Editor (14/09/18)
The horrible scenes this week in Mile 91 where a 29 year old man was gunned down by security forces signal a democratic crisis in Sierra Leone.

In a democratic state like Sierra Leone, literally speaking, I believe each state organ and each public official should be responsible for acting in accordance with the Constitution and Laws of the country. What a stark contrast to what transpired in Mile 91.

A combined team of Sierra Leone Police and Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces raided two villages in the Mile 91 area leaving poor Abdul Kamara, a 29 year old man dead from gunshot wounds.

According to the LUC Chief Superintendent in Mile 91 Alimamy Sesay who was ridiculously sacked by the SLPP government this week for simply exposing the heavy handedness of the raid, the security team arrived in his area of operation without his knowledge which is against police protocol. He said they claimed the operation was ordered by State House. "They came as if they were prepared for war," he said on 98.1 FM radio in Freetown.

That is why I think the Constitution must reign supreme at all times. It establishes principles of political responsibility of holders of official functions to the entity, from which they derive their authority. Everyone agrees with the government's position that the security forces' raid in Mile 91 was purely to confiscate the illegal drugs like Marijuana, but the manner in which the raid took place contravenes all what the Sierra Leone Constitution stands for.

In other words, public officials should be held accountable for their conduct in the framework of procedures established by the constitution or laws which foresee political or legal responsibility, or both. We all must ensure that our constitution is properly written and, more importantly, that it is strictly adhered to.

Respect for Rule of Law a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.

If as a public official you don’t want to be accountable for your actions, do not run for public office the benefits of public office goes hand in hand with accountability.

Clearly, the SLPP New Direction agenda has many goodies but it falls short in regard to the selective ways the Governance Transition Team on Corruption have driven itself in to criminalising many of the former APC government officials including ex-president Ernest Koroma.

The democratic crisis will only worsen if the SLPP New Direction continues to promote and prolong the divide and rule policy, a stark contrast to the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution.

 

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Rest in Peace Journalist Samura Bangura, God Will Fight for You!

By Pastor Mohamed Sesay, Guest Editor (07/09/18)

Samura Bangura, you were among the finest journalists that this country has seen. Rest in Peace and God will fight for you. Amen.

You were a police officer but you were to find a place in the offices of another fine journalist who is now late, Olu Gordon from where, I believe, you developed your radical approach to journalism.

You were the type that never minced matters but rather laid bare the truth on the floor for all to see. We had many encounters out of which you proved yourself to be a fine gentleman also.

One day I sent a distressed friend to you for you to help him with publications. The friend later told me that you not only told him the truth but you also gave him money for his transport.

Another time we were together at a Beach party thrown by Annie Metzger. You were with your sidekick then who made you so very happy. I could sense the glee in you as you treated her with the utmost respect that a lady deserves.

You exhibited your radical nature when we met at now President Julius Maada Bio's office on the day of the 1st round of elections in March this year when the then ruling APC party sent security officers to harass the SLPP leader.

I could remember when you put a question to President Bio and President Bio said: "Bo Samura You Sef." You were not even moved that you were being chastised by the next President of Sierra Leone but you rather concentrated on your interview. You and President Bio were to later laugh it off.

The last time we met was when I went to your Kroo Town Road office to interview you on the merciless beating you suffered under the brutal hands of some APC thugs.

Your best friend, Dixon was present during the interview. After the interview I asked your permission to publish which you granted.

I was to be shocked later when I found you have found the spirit in your heart to forgive your assailants. But this I am sure you did not realise the seriousness of the beating and also did not realise that you were a corpse in waiting.

After your death I tried my best to seek justice for you but I have met with a brick wall standing my way. You have been forgotten now by even your colleague journalists and even those in authority now.

But let that not move you from your grave. You have God Who has said that vengeance is His and He will repay. Let us together wait for Him and those who murdered you in cold blood will soon get their own visitations.

Rest in peace my beloved brother and may your gentle soul rest in perfect peace and may light perpetual shine on you forever till we meet again in that far beyond.

Your brother, Pastor Mohamed Sesay.

 

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Moving an APC Bombali Hospital to SLPP Pujehun Stronghold is Divisive Politics!

By Aruna Baimba Sheriff, Guest Editor (31/08/18)

I hope this frightening news making the rounds that the hospital based in Bombali is on the verge of being moved to Pujehun is not true!

On Sunday August 26, 2018, the former President Ernest Bai Koroma worshipped at a Church in his mother's home town of Kamabai in Biriwa Limba Chiefdom Bombali District.

After the church service, I was present when Kamabai residents bitterly complained that the SLPP government of President Julius Bio seems to be on the verge of moving a donor funded hospital project from the needy northern province town of Kamabai to Pujehun town in the south of the country.

The southern town of Pujehun is where President Bio grew up. This will be sad if it is true. Especially in the light of recent revelations made by the SLPP government that the northern parts of Sierra Leone need more health and social service facilities than any other areas.

Some critics have even linked the recent laudable steps of President Bio's spontaneous visit to the dilapidated Cottage Hospital in Freetown as a damage control mechanism to lessen the fierce criticisms regarding the Kamabai hospital project.

President Koroma, a son of Bombali, showed true unifying leadership when he channelled donor funds to build a fantastic hospital in SLPP Kailahun stronghold despite Kailahun people refusing to vote for his APC party, now the main opposition party.

President Bio should learn to emulate President Koroma's unifying leadership style! Kamabai hopes it is NOT true that their hospital project will be moved to Bio's Pujehun District.

 

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Strong Message to Africans and African Leaders: Stop Killing our African People!

By MLK, Guest Editor (20/08/18)

There are many people today that never existed during the time most countries in Africa were under the yolk of colonialism.

But what they know or learned from their parents are that, during those days, everything was there in galore, that everything was cheap and the value of the money was supremely appealing and unquestionable. Still then, our politicians had to strive for political independence.

Questions that Come to Mind

Was it just in envy of the colonial masters so that the educated Africans felt compelled to want to do it for themselves rather than allow strangers to continue enjoying that advantage or privilege?

Or did the educated African revolutionaries just want to govern for the sake of power or control over others or just for the sake of political pride?

Was it not the case that during those early years, that almost all the African independent champions or political freedom fighters actually did well during their era? How did all of that change and who was responsible?

What has caused most of the African leaders to become so disconnected from the ideals of the independent freedom fighters that today, they are acting as though everything in Africa was utopian?

How has it become harder to be proud of being African after the so called political Independence than the time our countries were under foreign colonial leaders?

But why is that the whole of Africa with all the so-called great organisations like the OAU which is now the AU, and the regional organisations like ECOWAS, SADEC, MRU, etc. are doing so little or virtually nothing to withholding the ideals of our colonial liberators if it would be right to refer to them as such?

One would want to question these developments as whether they are inherently buried in the DNA of Africans or just utter display of misuse of power or utter tyranny? The trouble is, why are the many other African leaders not saying or doing anything? I ask the above questions for the following reasons:

Events in Nigeria!

Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with largest economy and the richest on the continent in terms of natural resources is Congo. Bloody rebels Boko Haram has been buried in that country for quite a while now and their main victims are women and children. The trouble with this is, none of the African politicians has taken action to rid our people of such a menace.

Why? Why is it that Africa is unwilling to join Nigeria to address the issue of Boko Haram? Is it because Nigeria is not shouting loud enough? Would it not be wiser for African leaders to approach the Nigerian leadership and profer solutions? Is it not the case that Nigeria acts promptly to events in other countries without these countries asking Nigeria for any help? If that is so, then why not reciprocate? Why should we be looking at Nigeria going through pain and leave it on her to deal with that pain alone? Or is Nigeria too proud to ask for help? Africa is truly a scar in the conscience of humanity, according to former British premier Tony Blair.

Events in Congo!

Congo might well be the second largest country in Africa only led by Sudan in relation to size and probably the richest or the second richest country in Africa. But events in the Congo have not been anywhere near celebration. Congo saw the biggest colonial massacre in African history, and as I write, tears are flooding my eyes because of the tragedies Congo has had to deal with and continue to deal with. Whether you call it the Democratic Republic of Congo or Congo Kinshasa or Congo Brazzaville, that is not my problem.

The truth is, all those boundaries were engineered by the scramble and partition for Africa by European nations and those boundaries to me are just as imaginary as the lines of latitude and longitude. The history of the Congo is hurtful. If it is not about the destruction of Patricce Lumumba and his friends, it is about Ebola or about Laurent Kabila, and now the killer of our people Joseph Kabila. All of these only leave one memory behind. Anguish to our people. Should this continue indefinitely? Have we got eyes to see, ears to hear and brains to ponder or conscience to review things? Truly, it hurts?

Events in Cameroon!

If history hates to be referenced, then we will choose not to talk about history, and will therefore focus on events currently taking place in the Cameroon. When a Head of State becomes too old to walk freely for themselves and the system maintains them in place, and the entire African continent choose to remain silent about this, then the problem is no longer for just that country alone, but for the whole of the African continent.

Are the African politicians not seeing or hearing what is happening in Cameroon? Are the African leaders becoming so fearful as to express any revulsion at the terrible sufferings inflicted on our defenseless African people by the very people that stood on oath to look after them? What is wrong with Africa? Once upon a time, a black American Pastor being on record as saying that Africans are neither fit nor capable of governing themselves. Infact, he even went further to state that Africa needs to be re-colonised. Some of us were deeply angry at such remarks at the time - especially the way he said them.

But playing his video now and focusing on the current negative trend of things happening in Africa, one may be forced to apologise to the black American Pastor - simply because it appears that he was right.

If in doubt, then check about human rights abuses in Cameroon and tell us whether we are right or whether we are required to offer an apology to the sleeping and uncaring African politicians. The truth is, Cameroon is on a time bomb, and if western powers don't act, African powers don't know know pain and will never take action. But why? Simply because they are already too immune to suffering and hardship as a result of slavery and colonialism/imperialism, such that the pain or anguish of their own kind don't bother them at all.

BUT WE WILL HOPE THAT AFRICAN POLITICIANS WILL USE A BIT OF THEIR CONSCIENCE TO REVIEW THE CURRENT TREND AND TRY TO END THE POLITICAL KILLINGS DIRECTED AT OUR VOICELESS AND DEFENCELESS AFRICANS IN THE CONGO ON ONE HAND, AND IN CAMEROON IN PARTICULAR.

With this, I pause.

Courtesy: By MLK ++447914751531 from the whatsAapp forum called: African Leaders Should Stop Killing the Africans.

 

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How Seriously Sick is the Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio?

Asks Pastor Mohamed Sesay, Guest Editor (14/08/18)

The rumour mill has gone overdrive recently regarding the health of the Sierra Leone Head of State. Now questions are being asked.

Journalist Pastor Mohamed Sesay, an ardent SLPP party supporter writes: For the president of a country to be sick, it raises real concern to the whole nation considering the repercussions if anything serious was to happen to that president.

And since rumours started going around that President Julius Maada Bio is sick, there has been many concerns raised and my newspaper which has always supported him since 2011, has been overwhelmed with calls from readers trying to find out if at all the rumours about the sickness of President Bio are actually true. And if at all he is sick, how serious is the illness?

Readers cannot be left in doubt about a serious matter as this so we have decided at the Comment Newspaper to tell readers the truth about the health of President Bio. To tackle the rumours head on we must first let readers know the origins of the rumours:

The outgone All Peoples Congress party has a member residing in the United States of America called Gibril Bangura who prides himself in rumour mongering and no doubt, has started the rumours about a sick President Bio.

Gibril Bangura circulated a video which he purported to use as evidence enough to show, according to him, that the Sierra Leone President Bio is seriously sick.

Now, before going into his video evidence proper, we must first of all try to find out who this Sierra Leonean who called himself Gibril Bangura exactly is.

First, Gibril Bangura is not a doctor, neither is he a psychologist to be able to just look at the countenance of a person or the way the person walks, to form a conclusion about that person's health.

Gibril Bangura is in his 50s but claims to be in his 30s and he has spent many years in the USA doing mostly odd jobs like toilet cleaning and all that. In one social media group, a man who knows Gibril well said that Gibril Bangura must have seen more human faeces in his life time than any other human being alive today as he is said to have cleaned hundreds of thousands of toilets since he went to the USA close to 30 years ago. In effect if he is in Sierra Leone, he could have been named a 'kaka bailer' meaning one that survives on cleaning human excrements.

Gibril Bangura himself made a commentary on the video he posted concentrating mostly on President Bio's right knee which he appeared to be buckling. Gibril claimed the knee was braced and that President Bio was suffering from some kind of pain.

Recently I, Pastor Mohamed Sesay was suffering from a swollen knee problem which made me to walk as if the knee was buckling. At the hospital I was given an education on why people suffer from knee problems. Various reasons can trigger a knee problem as I was told.

According to the doctor, a sudden bust of anger or depression can cause adrenaline to flow into the knee cap area and when the adrenaline is there, it dries up the oil meant for lubrication. And as a result, a bone will grind against a bone, which causes excruciating pain sometimes.

Another cause, the doctor told me, can be attributed to cold which creates pain around that area. Past dislocations of the knee area, I was told, could recur in later years. Nothing was said to have linked a knee problem with either stroke or heart attack. In my case, a past dislocated knee recurred causing the knee problem for me which, thankfully is getting better by the day as I take me prescribed medications.

Gibril Bangura has been an attention seeker for long having lobbied for recognition and position at the All Peoples Congress party administration of ex President Ernest Koroma but none came. To try to gain that cheap recognition, for years Gibril has been embarking on caricaturing members of the SLPP including President Bio and my humble self when Gibril claimed that I am gay. Gibril's hatred for President Bio and his defenders is deep and he will not spare anything to try to ridicule us.

To Gibril, a knee problem is tantamount to a heart attack which is totally wrong. In his faeces fantasy world, Gibril Bangura now sees himself as a kaka bailer doctor qualified enough to make diagnosis.

His case is really serious and one just fears for his wife and children who are said to have been fathered for him by his wife's boyfriend as Gibril is said to be impotent and suffering from an extra large scrotum disease.

Readers must be rest assured that President Bio is in excellent health and that, as I right, he is busy working for the development of the country as a true patriot.

 

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Research, Research and Research: Why Research is Necessary in Sierra Leone!

By Professor Osman Sankoh, Guest Editor (06/08/18)

This guest editor strongly believes that money spent on research is money equally well-spent for a brighter and healthier people in Sierra Leone.

Professor Osman Sankoh alias (Mallam O), presented this piece at the launch of the Academy of Natural and Social Science (SL) "A Think Tank" At MMCE Conference Room Thursday 26 July 2018 at 10:00 am-12:00 noon. He writes:

Ladies and gentlemen, without doubt, it is difficult for a poor country like Sierra Leone to give high priority to research. Without doubt, Sierra Leone has urgent, visible and tangible needs to spend our limited resources on service provision to the poor and vulnerable than on research.

However, let me make it clear upfront, that money spent on research is money equally well-spent for a brighter and healthier people. Research provides the requisite data that our country needs to plan for our people and to develop policies. Let me give you a few examples why availability of credible data through research is good for our country.

In April 2015, Nigeria became Africa's richest country and it happened overnight. The country's economists realised that for over a decade they had been measuring gross domestic product (GDP) using the wrong yardsticks. When they recalculated the size of the economy and took into account previously unconsidered factors like the thriving mobile telecoms and film industries, they found that Nigeria was nearly twice as wealthy as was previously thought, and the country leapfrogged South Africa as the largest economy in Africa. Ghana went through a similar process a couple of years ago.

But it's not just economic data that are often unreliable in African countries. Health data suffer from similar problems. For instance, global malaria mortality estimates range from half a million deaths per year to over a million, depending on which international agency you listen to.

Births, deaths, and causes of death are not always registered in the poorest countries, and data from health facilities omit those who do not use health centres. Data on other social questions, meanwhile, are often piecemeal and limited to small samples or brief points in time.

We at Statistics Sierra Leone put efforts in collecting data such as Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, but these are not collected all the time.

So there is a huge data gap in our country, and this lack of regularly collected reliable data – be it on population, health, or other social issues – makes it very difficult for policymakers in many of our countries to meet the real needs of their people.

Policymakers who are guided by robust evidence are in a better position to design more effective health and other social programmes, not only saving money but also improving their countries' prospects of measuring progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

And just to give you one very small but instructive example of the importance of data to health. A few years ago the government of Kenya decided to withdraw the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine, which had previously been widely administered to young children to protect them from diseases including meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis.

Researchers at the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System in Kenya, questioned this decision, because their research showed that the vaccine was highly effective in preventing these dangerous diseases in children, and that it was a highly cost effective public health intervention. The researchers showed their data to the Kenyan government, which accepted the new results and reversed its decision to withdraw the vaccine, potentially saving thousands of lives in the process.

We need research initiatives to address the lack of reliable population-based data on health and other issues in Sierra Leone. Initiatives such as ANSS (SL) will attempt to break the link between material and data poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, it should be noted that epidemiology in many of our countries in Africa suffers from a dual lack of reliable population data and human capacity to make use of them. The immediate consequence is that health policy making often lacks its essential evidence base, resulting in a failure to use scarce resources effectively in some of the world’s poorest countries.

I am happy to head Stats Sierra Leone at a time when the country has some professionals and ministers alike in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development as well as in the Ministry of Finance who are convinced that reliable statistics will be essential for measuring progress towards the SDGs.

I have been involved in research in the past two decades and have published extensively. I therefore wish to say that:

Measurement is a Key Issue – the UN must step up to meeting its commitment to Universal Civil Registration – but, while it is doing so, the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Stats SL and other research centres in this country, should make an important contribution to filling the gaps, especially in determining causes of death. I am happy to note that yesterday the new NCRA Director General and top management paid a courtesy call on us at Stats SL to strengthen our partnership.

Universal Health Coverage can only be achieved and verified if it is backed up by comprehensive health information systems that account for everyone’s birth, life-course, and death.

So I'd like to conclude by applauding the vision of our Government in establishing a Directorate of Innovation and appointing a young and capable Sierra Leonean, to lead us in charting an innovative path into research for the future.

I must however continue to call for a stronger national commitment to investing in research, development, and innovation in Sierra Leone. This is needed in many areas, but I would argue that it is particularly urgent - and also highly cost-effective - in the field of health.

Research into health threats not only saves lives – it also helps our government and donors to save money, firstly by identifying threats early and thereby avoiding the need for costly clean-up operations once it is too late to prevent the threat from spreading, and secondly by establishing which interventions work and which are cost-effective. Investing in research, in other words, makes investing in health more efficient, and its value cannot be ignored.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is for these reasons that I am extremely honoured to launch the Academy of Natural and Social Science (ANSS) Sierra Leone, an academy whose vision is "to have a society where public policy decisions are informed by independent research analysis and advocacy." Thank you and God bless you.

Courtesy: By Prof Osman Sankoh (Mallam O), Statistician General, Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL), Tower Hill Freetown

 

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No Truer Representation of a Country than our Brothers and Sisters in RSLAF Uniform

By APC Sheriff, Guest Editor (30/07/18)

I have served in the most powerful and the greatest military forces in the world today, i.e. the United States of America Armed Forces.

Am more trained and conventionally exposed to world security affairs than many could imagine. Just to let you know, optimistic men and women in our Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces RSLAF continue to play significant roles in shaping our lives in this country.

Their decisions make a difference as it is a show of patriotism. They are not average people. They got to where they are today by seeking challenges and taking risks to serve our nation.

Strong SLPP government doesn't mean simply clamping down on top military officers or an efficient intelligence apparatus. Instead, it should mean effective, fair administration - in other words, good governance for all. A mandate that President Julius Maada Bio, as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces,  must always have on his table.

In as much we all want him to succeed for better a Sierra Leone, we the citizens also have the right to voice our concerns on issues that might interfere with our peace and national security. Let me remind fellow citizens the RSLAF is us. There is no truer representation of a country than our brothers and sisters in RSLAF uniform.

Those who wear our military uniforms and carry our rifles in combats or peace missions are our brothers and sisters, and our job is to support them, because they are protecting us. We must never forget why we have, and why we need RSLAF to continue to be a professional institution rather than political, tribal, regional or nepotistic. RSLAF exists solely to ensure our nation is safe for everyone in the country.

So that each and everyone of us can sleep soundly at night, knowing we have guardians from Gendema to Balamuya and from Peninsula to Koindu and nationwide. Our gallant soldiers are always out there to protect us and secure us in rain or sun. I pause for now.

 

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Who Can Tell Me that Ernest Koroma's APC Government was Not Corrupt? Tell Me!

By Thomson Josephus Dixon (21/07/18)

People want to circumvent the issues in the Governance Transition Team Report which ordinary Sierra Leoneans know are public secret.

I strongly believe that the diversionary tactics currently being bandied around by diehard APC party stalwarts and supporters against the SLPP GTT Report on corruption will not work.

There is no perfect report in the world. Fact. That is the reason even in academia there is always need for continuous research to improve knowledge and correct mistakes.

Tell me that former Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma did not sell Sierra Leone shares in Sierra Rutile company to his millionaire cousin John Bono Sisay! Tell me!!

Tell me that Palo Conteh, another former APC minister did not give huge arms contract to his Lebanese friend for which both the 2014 and 2015 Audit Reports consistently mentioned Palo Conteh and the dubious deals! Tell me!!

Tell me that Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans were not cheated and still being cheated in the Jamel Shallop passport deal under the APC governance! Just to name but a few. Tell me!!

Tell me that government properties belonging to the country were not sold to political poodles and cronies during the APC government of Ernest Korma from 2007 to 2018! Tell me!!

Tell me that I was not almost taken to jail when I reported how government property was transformed by one of the younger brothers of Ernest Koroma at Wilkinson Road in Freetown! Tell me!!

I admonished all Sierra Leoneans to discuss the GTT Report. Let look at the meat of the Report. Let put Salone Fos.

 

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Will the Global Community Take the SLPP GTT Report on Corruption Seriously?

Asks Osman Ozboy, Guest Editor (14/07/18)

That the fight against corruption, especially in Third World countries should be confronted head on is but an understatement.

This is so because corruption has the tendency not just to continue to promote the dependency syndrome on the Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank, IMF etal, but for the debilitating effects graft also has on the provision of hitherto basic social services like clean drinking water, adequate electricity supply, and good roads etc. etc.

It is for this simple reason that any patriotic Sierra Leonean must as a matter of urgency join hands with other progressives to eradicate corruption and greed from the political fabric of our society.

It is for this reason that when the SLPP-led Government headed by President Julius Maada Bio set up an instructive transition team with a view to ascertain how the erstwhile APC Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma managed the affairs of the country that the decision was hailed in the first place.

Unfortunately, the report, by some ugly coincidence, was presented to President Bio by his Chief Minister Dr. David Francis the former Bradford University history Professor who in less than 24 hours had legitimized corruption when he was caught on tape that it was okay for contractors to pocket at least 1% of whatever contracts Government would have given them.

That is why his description of the report he co-authored graduated into a parody full of contradictions. And since the Governance Transition Team GTT Report came out, many APC officials named in the corruption allegations have denounced the reports and had even highlighted many inaccuracies in the report.

President Bio himself is caught in the hook. He still stands accused by the late President of his SLPP Party Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to have siphoned millions of US dollars of state funds from the sale of passport through dubious means through the unsavoury connivance of no less a person than Dr. Chernor Abass Bundu, the imposed Speaker of Parliament through a coup d’état.

A golden opportunity availed itself for President Bio to have exploited the declaration of his assets by making it public to vindicate himself that he did not deposit 400,000 USD in an offshore account in the Canary Islands, and that he did not use his late cousin Steven Bio to scoop from state coffers millions of dollars for the phony payments of spare parts of a military gunboat as claimed by his political protégé, President Kabbah.

Also, the dictatorial style the former ACC boss Ady Macauley was whisked out of office only to be unconstitutionally replaced by a lackey in the person of Ben Kelfala presented not just a breach of decency, but a clear message that Bio is not and will never be serious in his political mantra to fight graft.

Accordingly, the APC has dismissed the GTT report as a charade meant to becloud the nothing to show the public by the Bio-led administration as his government clocks the so-called 100 days in office in the next couple of days.

The onus is therefore on a cross section of progressive civil society and the media to accost the Government to not only implement the recommendations in the David Francis-led report with a view to fight corruption in its entirety, but Bio and his accomplices in allegations of corruption, including the notoriety of Fatima Bio and the squandering of millions meant for the birthday cum inauguration of her husband, to account to the people of Sierra Leone on how transparent state funds were disbursed.

It is only when this is done that the Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad, out financial lenders and the wider international community will take the Bio-led government serious in the fight against graft must.

To this end, corruption could be mitigated towards eradication if the fight in itself transcends political witch-hunting between the two traditional APC and SLPP political parties.

 

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Why Did Ernest Fail to Repeal the Death Penalty in Place of Life Imprisonment?

Asks Guest Editor (07/07/18)

This is an important article that needs to be taken into serious consideration by our President Julius Maada Bio.

Why is there no mention of it in the SLPP manifesto or any others? Why has Maada Bio not mentioned it in any speech since he took power and imposed an SLPP speaker on the people of Sierra Leone using armed police? Why has the current parliament not even passed any legislation since they took office or mentioned anything about the CRC and its recommendations?

Successive govts (APC, SLPP, and NPRC) have all used the LAW to eliminate political opponents or threats since independence and continue to NOT BE SERIOUS ABOUT THE POLITICAL MURDER that was committed on behalf of the "state" because one way or the other it protects them whilst they are "in power" giving them an axe to hang over the head of the opposition as they misrule with impunity and use a broken electoral system to gain power or stay in power.

Until the death penalty for treason is repealed, until it becomes criminal to attempt to change the constitution or abuse it, and until we have an electoral system that is credible and allows the voice of the people to resonate all the way to state house, all you are doing is playing political games with the memories of the unfortunate victims that lost their life to state sanctioned murder with the silent approval of the public who stood by quietly watched it happen without any challenge.

Any loss of life for politics is one life too many and my deepest condolences to ALL who have lost loved ones to politics be it for "treason" or any other political "crime" or allegation of it.

May their souls rest in peace and may their sacrifice NOT be in vain as we try to move Sierra Leone forward in a direction towards the end the damocles sword of the death penalty for treason.

I look forward to the day where no one will ever feel it justified to commit treason or use the threat of the death penalty for treason to threaten or silence the opposition in a BETTER Sierra Leone.

If you are serious about victims of the death penalty for treason, please campaign for the repeal of the death penalty for treason so that NO ONE ELSE has to suffer the loss of the life of a loved one because of it.

Every govt that executed, hanged, or shot people to death has claimed that they were tried and found guilty of treason for which the punishment is death.

If you eliminate the death penalty, you eliminate the motivation to make up those charges or allegations and life imprisonment guarantees that those people wrongly accused, as has happened in the past, have a chance to be vindicated leading to their freedom and ARE NOT DEAD when that happens.

 

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Honest Dedication at the Helm will Make Sierra Leone Free of Corrupt Practices!

By Guest Editor (30/06/18)

Our fight against corruption can only be robust and sustainable when we have a dedicated, honest chair at the helm in Sierra Leone.

The recent political opera in Sierra Leone bequeaths new series on a daily basis. We were greeted with shock when the controversial replacement of Charles Francis Margai as Attorney General and Minister of Justice by Dr. Priscilla Schwartz was announced, a female attorney whose ascendancy to the enviable position is historic.

Major media houses in the country reported the unconfirmed indictment of the former Vice President Victor Foh and other senior members of the former APC administration on a major corruption scandal-Hajjgate.

The political sledgehammer, or should I say the political-justice sledgehammer is out all of a sudden. The Anti-Corruption Commission ACC, once headed by Ady Macauley, has suddenly had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and now want to pose as born-agains in their fight against corruption.

As a nation, we welcome any indictment on corrupt officials across the political divide; however, what we frown at is selective indictments aimed at satisfying egos. The recent political chicanery exhibited by Ady Macauley has brought bewilderment to the country.

Our fight against corruption can only be robust and sustainable when we have a a dedicated, honest and an unwavering leadership at the helm of the country's counter-corruption unit. This move by the Commission lays bare an aged-long lingering theory of the vast section of the public on reasons why the ACC has failed to live up to its potential under the current leadership.

The former Commissioner Ady Macauley's moves were aimed at pleasing Ernest Koroma (even when no longer in power) will see the ACC constantly retrogress. It is an open-secret that Vice President Victor Foh's abrupt retirement from party politics and his apparent political love affair with President Julius Bio has left many teethes gnashing within the higher echelons of APC.

Many have said the life time Chairman and leader felt betrayed by his strongest political allay. "In a bid to drag the name of the former Vice President to the mud", a member of the APC-NAC I spoke with said: "President Koroma is now using his puppet at ACC to destroy the little that is left of the retired politician."

It might also be that the reason behind initiating such a move will be to curry favour from President Bio, hoping that he will be lured by such a bold move to allow the current leadership to continue - a move that will continuously cover the shady/corrupt practices of the past leadership.

But now that President Bio has replaced the remote controlled ACC boss Ady Macauley with the young and energetic lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala at the helm of the Anti-Corruption fight, Sierra Leone has more hope of seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

After the compilation of a through and brilliant audit report by the Auditor General's office almost two years ago that reported of over Le. 72 billion misappropriated - especially funds related to Ebola and mudslide, with sufficient evidence to warrant investigation, the report is lying under life support on the table of the ACC Boss's office with no action taken.

You want to know why? Simply because the office of former President was somehow gravely implicated of not properly accounting for billions of leones received from humanitarian donations and goodwill.

Whilst we commend President Bio for his swift and decisive actions of late, we wish to draw his attention to this recent political satire by the former corrupt ACC boss Ady. So far, the moves taken by this current administration symbolises sobriety and credence to sustain the fight against the thieving of public funds.

It is the estimation of the writer and the public that the President needs a swift leadership at the ACC that will share his vision of fighting corruption at every level; an ACC boss that characterises the true values of the New Direction who will champion the fight against corruption for the deprived and poor people of this nation, who bear the greatest brunt of corruption.

That is why we welcomed the new ACC boss Kaifala. A Commissioner whose biggest motivating factor will be to help the New Direction succeed, thereby leaving a blueprint on our fight against corruption.

What we have before at the ACC is a Commissioner whose only commitment is to certain egos, and most importantly, retaining the hefty pay-cheques that accompanies the office and and his blind and irrational loyalty to the country.

 

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Elitism and the Growing Protests Spoiling the SLPP Party: Six Good Reasons Why!

By Fuad Y. Bangura (21/06/18)

While I remain very optimistic that the New Direction agenda has a great potential to transform this country, I must express my dissatisfaction NOW.

Especially on the abysmal performance of the party in the just concluded by-elections in Port Loko and Bonthe. Let me dilate on the six reasons I hold to believe that we (SLPP) are standing on the brink.

1). Most SLPP public officials can only be seen now in exclusive bars and pubs with armed OSD police personnel. Not even to interact with the people (voters), but to speak Cambridge grammar, talk about how Ghana was transformed and restrict other people from taking seats close to them in entertainment places.

2). The National Party Executive structure is not seen to be functioning anymore. We now have party executives fighting for public offices as if they needed employment badly to recoup losses. Hence leaving Unity House in the hands of disenchanted and poor youths who idle around with no hope in sight.

3). Ego and Arrogance: The first thing that happened when appointments started was that as soon as one suspects that he/she will be appointed to a public office he changes his mobile contacts and leave all SLPP WhatsApp groups. Making it difficult to reach by other SLPP supporters, and thus making these people resemble like idlers! If you can't read and reply a simple WhatsApp or SMS, then you have no business to be part of such a change or this so-called New Direction.

4). With all due respect and without prejudice to Alie Kabba, being the National Campaign Manager of the party then, did he visit any of the constituencies where the by elections were held? No. In the quest for appointments and jobs, the SLPP campaign structure collapsed on pretense that their job is done and all is well. Now is time to enjoy.

5). Although we have one of the best PhD cabinets in the world, one would like to know what experience these academics have outside the classroom. Some of these PhD carriers cannot even win all the votes in their household, let alone Port Loko or Bonthe.

6). The Charles Margai sacking seems to be sacred. Without contempt and prejudice, the gamble to appoint that learned man who put the SLPP in opposition was really unnecessary. Now he is sacked after 2 months in office without no explanation. How can we continue on this apologetic trend? We lost Bonthe on protest!

Should this protest continue, I pity those recently appointed 'First Time Car Owners' who do not respond to the calls and text messages of their constituents.

"3 Raray boy votes Betteh pass 2 Professor votes. Say no to elitism and cronyism in the SLPP," angry and forgotten SLPP supporters continue to blast.

Courtesy: Fuad Yusuf-Bangura#PaopaFrontline

 

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Over Wasteful Spending, APC Party Left 22 Billion Debt for New Energy Minister!

By Lamin Sheriff, Guest Editor (14/06/18)

Any government that lacks the requisite leadership only leaves behind a mess to be cleared.

Quite apart from the plethora of domestic and foreign debts the APC government subjected this country into, the leadership of the former president Ernest Bai Koroma in a diabolic attempt to wreck the economy, left behind them a debt totalling twenty two billion eight hundred and eighty seventy million, six hundred and forty six thousand, five hundred and seventy Leones) just for fuel under the Ministry of Energy.

It is believed that the company has in many times written a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy in other for the then government to fulfil their commitment in honouring the payment of the debt, this step by the company has always fallen on deaf ears.

The management of the National Petroleum NP (SL) Limited has in a letter dated 25th May 2018 written a letter to the Minister of Energy informing him about a substantial debt for fuel which the past government left unattended to. This act to many reasonable Sierra Leoneans will be looked at as a deliberate attempt by the APC who knew too well that they would lose the 2018 March election.

Many critics have stated that the past government may have used some of the said fuel for their campaigns during the just concluded elections, no doubt their campaign convoy was as long as God knows how.

The NP (SL) Limited is presently constrained with funds to effectively man their businesses and operations. This act has the tendency to negatively impact on the NP as a company and the economy of the state at large.

The Social Contract Theory states that the citizens of a state surrender their rights to the government and the government in turn provides the citizens with security as needed by law.

NP (SL) Limited in fulfilling this theory has committed their cooperate responsibility in providing fuel for past governments to be paid later.

The then APC government breached the contract thereby refusing to pay for the fuel they collected and used. This is unfair, unpatriotic and attempt to trample upon the right of the company.

 

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Electricity is Not Cheap and its Not Free! SLPP Govt Must Spend!

By Chernor J. Bah, Guest Editor (06/06/18)

Electricity is not free. Frightening that President Bio's administration and henchmen have decided they won't pay to generate electricity.

Sierra Leone will be in darkness for a long time if the SLPP government adhere to this crazy thrifty plans. A lot of infrastructure is in place to generate electricity but there are everyday expenditures that MUST be paid for.

President Bio’s government has decided that buying fuel is a waste of the country's resources and Bumbuna has never and will never be enough to generate maximum electricity to serve our growing demand for energy. It's their prerogative, but this means that the country will be in darkness until they work out their mechanics on what to do next.

You can't blame former President Ernest Bai Koroma's APC government for today's blackout. That's utter nonsense! Ernest Koroma's government made a lot of progress with regards to energy generation and supply.

His energy distribution drive was complemented by several factors including Bumbuna Hydroelectric Power Supply, Addax and several other smaller hydroelectric projects. The new government led by Julius Maada Bio seems to think that electricity must be free because we have hydroelectric dams.

Firstly, those Dams don't generate enough electricity to serve the entire country and secondly, regardless of how electricity is generated, there is a cost involved in the generation of energy.

I can understand the fiscal policy this new government has taken but it wont yield good fruit. Their approach is stifling development. Energy generation and supply involves huge capital and failure for any responsible and progressive government to invest in energy is tantamount to backwardness.

Energy is the backbone towards any form of development and if a country is in complete darkness, the rate of attractive foreign investment will be very minimal. In order to achieve this, there has to be a balance, and the new Minister of Finance needs to calculate properly and place the equations.

Courtesy: Chernor J. Bah, The Fearless Patriot

 

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Health Gist: Prostate Gland and its Effect on Men Over 40!

By a Guest Editor (31/05/18)

Is prostate strictly for men? Yes, ONLY men have prostate and ONLY men over 40 years but the healthcare enlightenment is for everyone.

Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) or in simple terms, Enlarged Prostate. Diet is the most important part which is something within our control; and it works. Responsible health promotion must provide three things: 1. Information, 2. Reassurance, 3. A Plan of Action.

Background on Prostate Health

Everyone has a pair of kidneys. The job of the kidney is to remove waste. It is the LAWMA (waste management company) of your body. Everyday your blood passes through the kidney several times to be filtered. As the blood is filtered, urine is formed and stored in a temporary storage tank called the urinary bladder. If there is no urinary bladder, urine will be dropping as a man walks on the road.

Now think of the plumbing work in your house. Think of the urinary bladder as the overhead storage tank. From the storage tank, a good plumber will run pipes to other parts of the house, including the kitchen. God in His wisdom ran pipes from our urinary bladder to the tip of the penis. The pipe is called the urethra. Just below the bladder and surrounding the urethra is a little organ called the prostate gland.

The prostate gland is the size of a walnut and weighs about 20 grams. Its job is to make the seminal fluid which is stored in the seminal vesicle. During sexual intercourse, seminal fluid comes down the urethra and mixes with the sperms produced in the testicles to form the semen. So semen technically is not sperm. It is sperm + seminal fluid. The seminal fluid lubricates the sperm.

After age 40, for reasons that may be hormonal, the prostate gland begins to enlarge. From 20 grams it may grow to almost 100 grams. As it enlarges, it squeezes the urethra and the man begins to notice changes in the way he urinates.

If you have a son under 10, if he has a little mischief like we all did at that age, when he comes out to urinate, he can target the ceiling and the jet will hit target. Call his father to do same, wahala dey. His urine stream is weak, cannot travel a long distance and sometimes may come straight down on his legs. So he may need to stand in awkward position to urinate.

Not many men will be worried their urine stream cannot hit the ceiling. Toilets are on the floor and not on the ceiling. But other symptoms begin to show.

Terminal Dripping

The man begins to notice that after urinating and repacking, urine still drops on his pants. This is the reason why after an older man urinates, he has to ring bell. A younger man simply delivers to the last drop and walks away. Just see an older man coming from the bathroom. Sometimes he may clutch the newspaper closely to hide the urine stains, particularly on plain colored trousers.

Hesitancy

At this point you wait longer for the urine flow to start. There are 2 valves that must open for you to urinate - the internal and external sphincters. Both open but because of obstructions in the urethra, you wait longer for the flow to start.

Incomplete Emptying

You have this feeling immediately after urinating that there is still something left. As all these things happen, the bladder begins to work harder to compensate for the obstruction in the urethra. The frequency of urination goes up. Urgency sets in. Sometimes you have to practically run into the toilet. Nocturia also becomes common. You wake up more than 2 times at night to urinate. Your wife begins to complain.

Men being men may not talk to anyone even at this point. Then the more serious complications start. Stored urine gets infected and there may be burning sensation when urinating. Stored urine forms crystals. Crystals come together to form stone either in the bladder or in the kidney. Stones may block the urethra.

Chronic urinary retention sets in. The bladder stores more and more urine. The size of the bladder is 40 - 60 cl. A bottle of coke is 50cl. As the bladder stores more urine it can enlarge up to 300cl. An overfilled bladder may leak and this leads to wetting/ urinary incontinence. Also the volume may put pressure on the kidney and may lead to kidney damage.

What may likely bring the man to hospital is acute urinary retention. He wakes up one day and he is not able to pass urine. Everything described above is associated with prostate enlargement, technically called benign prostate hyperplasia.

There are other diseases of the prostate like: 1. Prostatitis - inflammation of the prostate; 2. Prostate cancer - cancer of the prostate. This discussion is on prostate enlargement.

Bad News and Good News

The bad news is that everyman will have prostate enlargement if he lives long enough. The good news is that there are life style changes that can help the man after 40 to maintain optimum prostate health.

Nutrition

Look at what you eat. 33% of all cancers, according to the US National Cancer Institute is related to what we eat. Red meat everyday triples your chances of prostate disease. Milk everyday doubles your risk. Not taking fruits/vegetables daily quadruples your risk.

Tomatoes are very good for men. If that is the only thing your wife can present in the evening, eat it with joy. It has loads of lycopene. Lycopene is the most potent natural antioxidant.

Foods that are rich in zinc are also good for men. We recommend pumpkin seeds (ugbogulu). Zinc is about the most essential element for male sexuality and fertility.

Men need more zinc than women. Every time a man ejaculates he loses 15mg of zinc. Zinc is also important for alcohol metabolism. Your liver needs zinc to metabolize alcohol.

Alcohol Consumption

As men begin to have urinary symptoms associated with prostate enlargement, it is important they look at alcohol consumption. More fluid in means more fluid out. Drink less. Drink slowly.

Exercise

Exercise helps build the muscle tone. Every man should exercise. Men over 40 should avoid high impact exercise like jogging. It puts pressure on the knees. Cycling is bad news for the prostate. We recommend brisk walking.

Sitting

When we sit, two-third of our weight rests on the pelvic bones. Men who sit longer are more prone to prostate symptoms. Do not sit for long hours. Walk around as often as you can. Sit on comfortable chairs. We recommend a divided saddle chair if you must sit long hours.

Dressing

Men should avoid tight underwear. It impacts circulation around the groin and heats it up a bit. While the physiological temperature is 37 degrees, the groin has an optimal temperature of about 33 degrees. Pant is a no - no for men. Wear boxers. Wear breathable clothing.

Avoid Smoking and Have Regular Sex

Avoid smoking. It affects blood vessels and impact circulation around the groin. Regular sex is good for the prostate.

Celibates are more prone to prostate illness. While celibacy is a moral decision, it is not a biological adaptation. Your prostate gland is designed to empty its contents regularly.

 

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Six Failings of SLPP Government's Inauguration at the Siaka Stevens Stadium!

By Fuad Y. Bangura (21/05/18)

President Julius Maada Bio's Inauguration on May 12 at the Siaka Stevens Stadium has come and gone but more organisational questions remain.

This writer has highlighted many problems that marred the smooth organisation of the Inauguration of the SLPP government of President Bio. Below are some of the author's viewpoints. He questions the capability of the First Lady Fatima Bio who was chief organiser of the event:

1. Crowd management was very poor. Even when managing a peaceful and jubilant crowd, the police perceives it as a riot. Thus causing stampede and loss of innocent lives. Even the SLPP "one million man march" was better organized.

2. The use of an SLPP chaplain (Imam) in a national event is totally wrong and to a great extent contemptuous to the National Council of Imams and council of Churches (CCSL).

3. The abysmal way the National Anthem was sung is unforgivable. We can't have hip hop rappers to sing a solemn anthem like that. At least we have Balanta Music Academy, Freetown Choral Society, Victoria College of Music and many choral groups. Why not allow these experts to showcase their talents?

4. The non invitation of the 14 tribal chiefs of the Western Area is a very bad start for an inclusive government.

5. The non-inclusion of an item to allow EBK to make an address is very disappointing to say the least...all that we saw on the program was "transfer of staff of office". EBK did just that!

6. What happened to the involvement of the SLPP Women's Wing? Just asking for my cousin in Maforki!

Going forward state events must not be turned into celebrity" papi-show". SLPP is bigger than all its members. R dae na me paddy ein church, una kam meet me dae.

Courtesy: Fuad Yusuf-Bangura, PaopaFrontline

 

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APC Law Makers' Continued Silence in Parliament is Undemocratic!

By Saikujohn Barrie (14/05/18)

I notice opposition APC Members of Parliament have adopted a policy of not saying a word during parliamentary debates on issues so far.

They are constantly conspicuously silenced during debates on the approval of appointed ministers or other national issues.

My question is between the APC party and your constituents, whose interests come first? I know about Sec 77 K, so don't tell me about it.

In fact the APC as a party should be answerable to the people of Sierra Leone. The interests of the electorates should not be surbordinate to the interests of the party. Now that you adopted the dormant strategy, are you depriving your people or who?

I know you resumed sitting in order not to lose the financial benefits etc. that are attached to you being MP, but why are you receiving money without doing what you are elected to do? Is that not an other form of roguely stealing from your electorates? Why can't you negotiate if you are aggrieved rather than refusing to represent your people.

Do you think you are harming Maada Bio or his government? Anyway the government business is continuing without your contributions so keep keeping silent.

How I wish there is a sober system that guarantees electorates in your constituencies to petition you for not representing them.

You may argue that it is your right to remain silent. However it is also the right of those who voted for you to be effectively represented in parliament by articulating national issues that may have impact on their lives.

I wonder whether the unpatriotic silence strategy by the angry APC parliamentarians is part of the agreement with the ECOWAS delegation. I rest my case.

 

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The Sierra Leone Bar Association is APC and APC is the Bar Association!

By Elkass Sannoh, Guest Editor (07/05/18)

The Sierra Leone Bar Association has recently become a political stooge for the main opposition APC party in defence of the party's interests.

In the words of former United States of America President-Barrack Obama, "Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men" for the development of the continent. Unfortunately, the Bar Association has been relegated to any mushroom organisation/association at the detriment of its core values.

Many practicing lawyers have criticized the Bar Association because the Association has failed to stand the test of time during critical national issues bordering on constitutionality and democratic good governance.

"The Sierra Leone Bar Association’s existence in the current democratic dispensation is a disgrace. The Association has been widely politicized," averred the Outreach and Media Advisor of Global Africa Media-Arthur Aiah Kabbah. The current President-Mrs. Rhoda Nuni is reportedly a member of the APC party.

It could be recalled that executive members of the Bar Association issued a press release dated 30th March 2018 calling on the National Electoral Commission to fully comply with what many called an "irregular High Court Order" handed down by Justice Abdul Rahman Mansaray in a matter brought against the Commission by a member of the ruling APC then (Ibrahim Sorie Koroma) through his lawyer-Lansana Dumbuya, another staunch APC member.

This politically motivated press release was countered by seasoned lawyers. In their rebuttal, the Renaissance Movement dissociated itself from such "clandestine and an unpatriotic public statement that undermines the Bar Association and the legal profession.

The bogus press statement was reportedly influenced by the husband of the current Bar Association President (Mr. Nuni) who is a card carrier of the APC. He was working with the former First Lady (Sia Nyama Koroma).

Like the previous executive, information reaching us indicate that the bulk of the current executive are members of the APC. Called made to hear from the Bar President proved futile. Few weeks ago, Mrs. Nuni says she can't respond as she was busy at the time of call.

The Bar Association should resist being used for political reason/s as the Association was not formed to be remotely controlled by politicians.

In another opposition press release dated 28th Day of April 2018 the association states with specific reference to "the forceful eviction of elected Members of Parliament from the Well, by the Sierra Leone Police on that day; and the current impasse which hangs over sittings of a properly constituted Parliament as established by law."

The release signed by Ashmia Fofanah-General Secretary, the association says they condemned such act. Funnily, the Bar Association is now part of the main opposition APC party.

The unanswered questions are: Where was the Bar Association when President Ernest Bai Koroma violated the national constitution by sacking his Vice President-Sam Sumana?

Where was the Bar Association when the Minister of Local Government sacked an elected Mayor of Koidu City? Where was the Bar association when Lawyer Ansu Lansana lost his seat unconstitutionally?

Where was the Bar Association when Lawyer Charles Francis Margai was arrested and unlawfully detained at the CID? Where was the Bar Association when Theresa M'bomaya (FBC student) was arrested and unlawfully detained.

Bo leh Bar Association Sidom in Opposition and Support Development.

 

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Mr. President, Nip this Mess in the Bud Now Please!

By Mahmud T. Kargbo, Guest Editor (30/04/18)

"Our President has NO right to summon Parliament as he did in this case last week," many Sierra Leoneans have echoed very loudly.

To those who, under the pretext of partisan or avenge activism, continue to fan the embers of illegality and desecration of the Constitution by denying the fact that our President has NO right to summoned Parliament as he did in this case, bear in mind that when the polity goes up in the flames we are all stoking up, there will be no hiding place for any.

Relying on the following Section as stated below in this case was absolutely wrong as it can only be apply on emergency situations, otherwise one would be tempted to ask where is the separation of powers when the President is cleanly and clearly influencing the activities of the Legislative Arm of government: (1) - The President may at any time summon a meeting of Parliament.

The unruly events played out in the Well of Parliament on Wednesday April 25, 2018, when MPs designate of the All People's Congress in a most unbecoming fashion, scaled the situation of the Well and forcefully tried to disrupt proceedings in our Parliament. If not properly addressed could signal the commencement of a quickened slide down the path of infamy which most observers have long foretold will be Sierra Leone's lost since we have failed to effectively restructure and renegotiate our polity.

Under no circumstance should these MPs designate of the House of Representatives, and whatever determination of unruly actions they might be able to assemble, have been allowed to desecrate the hallowed chambers of our Parliament.

Whilst I congratulate the security officials stationed at the premises of the Parliament for exercising utmost restraint in the face of attempts at forced disruption of Parliamentary proceedings, it behoves on the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the laws are implemented with regards to persons disrespecting lawful orders issued by Police and Security authorities in the dispensation of their duties and people forcefully trying to put an end to Parliamentary proceedings irrespective of whatsoever positions they may hold in society.

I knew we had some dishonourable characters who had infiltrated the membership of our legislative houses; I however never believed in my wildest imaginations that the dishonourable characters were in such huge numbers as was displayed in the shockingly unruly behaviour of so many of them as they forcefully entered the Well of Parliament yesterday - no wonder we are where we are and the rest of the world are where they are forging to.

To gauge the direction the Sierra Leone State is drifting to, it is pertinent that the following queries be clarified by the Presidency:

1. Did the Presidency actually write a letter or ordered the Clerk of Parliament to reconvene the House for MPs designate to take their oath and conduct elections for the Speaker of the House and his Deputy?

2. If yes, considering that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice role is to advice the President on legal matters of such nature, did the President get advice from his Attorney General and Minister of Justice Charles Margai before ordering the Clerk of Parliament to reconvene the House?

3. One SLPP Member of Parliament openly told the House that there was a bad precedent set by the past administration in slamming court injunctions against MPs designate to prevent them from partaking in Speaker Elections. He added they are following the set precedent with only the numbers making the difference from what happened in 2012 where 2 MPs designate got injunctions as compared to the current 16 injunctions for MPs designate in 2018. Was this not a testament that the injunctions were influenced in court by what we often refer to as 'powers from above'?

The Presidency simply has to get its act together and right. Continued prevarications, docility and unwillingness to proactively and effectively exercise the powers vested in the Presidency by the Sierra Leone Constitution to ensure stability will boomerang with horrible effects! There simply must be a limit to the depth we are willing to descend.

Courtesy: By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

 

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Freedom is Here! Tyranny is Dead in Sierra Leone!!

By Elkass Sannoh (18/04/18)

We campaigned on a platform of CHANGE demanded for by majority of Sierra Leoneans.

A decade rule of rampant CORRUPTION, Oppressive rule and poor governance structure. A government where square pegs were in round holes. Tribalism and regional affiliations took center stage. This is not the Sierra Leone our forefathers sacrificed for.

Sierra Leoneans resisted and refused a despotic continuity. As a journalist, we engender the debate and entrust our loyalty to the citizens. This was the reason why we advocated a COMPLETE CHANGE.

COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY

Many Sierra Leoneans are clamouring for President Julius Maada Bio to set up a commission that will do a brief comparative assessment of APC’s 10-year rule and come out with a summarised report on the status of the country.

That is, what amount was left in the national purse, MDAs performance contract signed with former President Ernest Bai Koroma, road contracts, donor supported projects and the implementation status etc etc.

This is important as it will give an insight to ex-President Koroma’s tenure. It will then prepare the stage for the NEW DIRECTION on a platform of accountability and change.

UNITY AND PEACE

President Julius Maada Bio's life is an open book worth reading and emulating. He is coming to unify the country that was built on DIVISION and ETHNICITY. REGIONAL CRACKS and injuries in the hearts of many Sierra Leoneans.

Unlike Ernest Koroma, Julius Maada Bio should symbolize UNITY. He fought and put his life on the line for us to enjoy PEACE and not VIOLENCE, for us to enjoy DEMOCRACY and not POOR GOVERNANCE, for us to enjoy PROSPERITY and not AUSTERITY. This is a pay back time Sir. Congrats!

Congratulations from The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans. God bless Sierra Leone and God bless President Bio.

 

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"Close Borders," a Journalist Urges the New SLPP Government!

By Sankara Kamara (07/04/18)

For national security reasons, President Maada Bio should close our borders, for at least two weeks. The reason?

Politicised civil servants and certain political criminals in high offices are probably sabotaging the nation by looting the coffers and other resources in their offices.

The fourteen-day border closure can be used by the new government to secure and protect some sensitive offices, including our financial institutions. Some corrupt politicians and unprofessional civil servants have become so dangerously disgruntled that they could UNDERMINE the new administration by looting the offices they control, and disappearing into thin air.

A national leader should have the disposition to make unpleasant but essential decisions. If I were Maada Bio, I would issue an executive order, necessitating a two-week border closure.

The border closure can discourage criminally-minded civil servants and political criminals from sabotaging the nation and slipping out of the country. The borders will reopen when the new government protectively secures some offices and takes control of sensitive installations.

Some looters and tribal extremists can do anything to sabotage Sierra Leone, the only country Sierra Leoneans call home.

 

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March 31, 2018 Presidential Run-Off and what the Future Holds!

By Mahmud T. Kargbo (28/03/18)

Interesting twists and turns these days in our politics. Where will this take us as a nation developmentally only God can tell.

But I have the strong feelings that whosoever wins this run off election on March 31 - after the disastrous March 27 high court postponement - the future will be difficult for the majority. All these nice speeches are purposely for political manoeuvring in order to get political mileage.

The bottom line is so many things went wrong in the last ten years which we cannot easily recover. Especially with the level of indiscipline in the lives of the majority in our social positions of trust (from politicians in the main opposition party to the ruling party and civil servants).

For instance, setting up sound economic policies with the commitment of the leader to effect such policies as per our legal books will be difficult for the potential leader. Similarly, difficult for the potential leader is his commitment to ensure independent institutions are genuinely independent to truly sustain democratic values for the benefit of the current and future generations.

This is NO child's play in a society where specific set of people over the years in social positions of trust believe they are the law or are above the law.

Surely tough times ahead for whosoever wins. The danger is it is always bad for those in our social positions of trust to pretend as if they have respect for the law, but in reality they harbour NO respect for the laws they took oath to defend.

For 56 years we continue to elect the wrong people in social positions of trust who bulldozed their ways to our social positions of trust with their military and political gears and pretended as self Moses of our land, but in reality they only amassed unexplained wealth for their selfish desires at the expense of the majority.

Are we going to repeat the same mistakes for the future. Only God knows what awaits us in the next 50 years or more?

Courtesy: By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

 

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Calls to Dismantle the Rigging Cabal within NEC as Run-Off Looms!

By a Guest Editor (20/03/18)

It started long ago. Whilst we focused on posts in other workplaces; they focused on posts in National Electoral Commission.

Whilst we were mobilising voters, they were mobilising NEC; whilst we were talking of victory based on registration figures, they were strategising on victory based on the persons who write on RRF papers, the persons who input into the computer, the persons who review what is inputted, and the entire result information system at NEC.

And then the specifics on elections:

Whilst we were busy mobilising voters to vote the night before the elections; they were mobilising Ward Coordinators and all who were storing ballot papers for deployment.

And on elections day, whilst we focused on activities outside polling stations, they focused on activities inside polling stations and very close to the ballot boxes.

And more, they focused more on elections night, on the RRF papers, on the transportation of the RRF papers, on their inputting into the database.

Yes, it is good to mobilise voters, for the fact is that our massive numbers prevented the planned knockout blow through massive rigging in the first round.

But. But. But.

Bottom line is, whilst it is now very good to mobilise voters on elections day during the second round; whilst it is very good to remove Polling Agents selection from the sole hands of constituency executives, and get more matured Polling Agents- whilst it is very good to do all that- if we don’t dismantle their NEC network, if we don’t watch the transportation of ballots and RRF papers.

If we don’t demand manual tallying that does not rely on the non- transparent information system at NEC - whatever we do, if don’t do these things- these elections are dead finish for us even before the results come out.

Ar bin done say am, en ar go say am back. We must continue to mobilise voters, but we must mobilise to get a system audit, to get a review of NEC field staff, and make NEC processes super transparent and results tallied and announced at district, regional and finally at the national level.

 

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Peace at Risk as Politics Becomes Means of Amassing Unexplained Wealth!

By Mahmud T. Kargbo (11/03/18)
It is always easier for our politicians to talk about virtues in the abstract or when it relates to others in distant climes.

When, however, they are forced to confront issues surrounding such virtues at close quarters, stoic silence where possible in expectation that such issues will disappear of own accord and or subtle, but quite effective, acts to scuttle the realisation, at close quarters or within one’s own domain, of previously extolled virtues, are set in motion under various spurious premises.

Now we all understand our PEACE is always at risk when politics become a means of amassing unexplained wealth by our politicians. It is now very clear that youth in Sierra Leone must avoid being used by our political rogues who are only concerned about their political gains. Sierra Leone youth should know we need each other even after this elections. The youth should not accept to be used by our politicians who want us to fight and harm each other just because of their political differences.

The twin virtues of Freedom and Democracy have in keeping with a new global order, become pedestals upon which States are rated as either ‘developing’ or ‘developed’; ‘Democratic’ or ‘Totalitarian’; ‘axis of evil’ or ‘champions of freedom’, and so on. In some instances, the level of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ our state is deemed to accord its nationals have served as rationale for some states to impose crippling economic, social and political sanctions on other states.

A state perceived as denying its peoples freedom and democratic practices is at every given opportunity, lampooned and cajoled until it is falls in line – until it is ‘certified’ as allowing its peoples freedom to choose their leaders, the right to democratically elect a leader of their choice and other fundamental rights encapsulated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and various other international instruments and recognised norms.

Past and current ugly events, in Sierra Leone, have placed huge question marks on the sincerity of the majority of our political leaders passion to advance the universal rights of peacefully electing our leader, freedoms and democratic precepts.

The evolving situation in Sierra Leone is providing a closer-to-home opportunity to appraise our stance and perception of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.

The reality is that the people Sierra Leone have in a very peaceful and democratic manner, exercised the universally recognised and acknowledged right to electing their potential leader by voting for him. The world is watching over the next few days/weeks, taking in every step Sierra Leone democratic process.

Will this elections truly reflect the choice of the people? Will economic and social strangulation be deployed to weaken the resolve of those who dares against freedom and democracy? How will the security forces react to quest for freedom and democracy within our territory?

The answers to the above questions will go a long way to determining how Sierra Leone issues of freedoms and democracy and good governance will be tolerated and perceived.

Courtesy: By Mahmud Tim Kargbo

 

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APC and SLPP Parties Recycle Sierra Leone to the Dustbin of History!

By Emmanuel Saquee (28/02/18)

Sierra Leone's two oldest political parties, the SLPP and the APC, are the greatest disappointments in the country's history!

The clarion call for them to replaced is getting louder by the minute. The Presidential Debate is over, and we have had various opinions on who won or didn't. Whilst the raucous continues, I would like to look back at the history of post Independence politics with special focus on SLPP and APC misrule.

I intend to lay the facts bare as I know them, and hope they'll make sense to the ordinary Sierra Leonean who has been the ultimate victim of the bad governance by both parties.

History tells us the SLPP dominated pre and the immediate post Independence political landscape of Sierra Leone up to 1967. The APC took over for most of the period from 1968 until 1992. I'm deliberately minimizing details of military rule in order to narrow my readers' focus on how the SLPP and APC have in duality of action/inaction put our country backwards over 56 years since Independence.

Starting out with One Party politics, for most who do not know, I would like to present that the idea was first floated by the late Sir Albert Margai as Prime Minister under SLPP rule in the mid 1960s. This idea was staunchly opposed by his former comrade turned-arch rival named Siaka Stevens. By 1966, Sir Albert was forced to drop the idea. Fast forward to 1978, when Siaka Stevens was at the helm under APC, he succeeded in convincing so-called diehard SLPP folks to team up with him and declared Sierra Leone a One Party State.

As a little boy in boarding school in Kenema I didn't understand the implications of such at that time, but as I grew older, and as a middle aged 2-sim guy, things have become clearer by the day. The year 1978 marked the beginning of the SLPP sellout. If the same Siaka Stevens who vehemently opposed the idea of a One Party state under Albert Margai and SLPP would end up convincing the SLPP that it was a good idea under the APC, what does that say about the SLPP?

The years that followed 1978 up to 1992 by every estimation should the remembered as the period of massive free-for-all corruption. The term "wusai den tai cow nar dae ee dae eat" (cows graze on the grass around them), was popularized as a justification for corruption.

This came from no other person than Siaka Stevens himself, and what followed after that was a race among civil servants as to who will get rich faster. The Military, Police, Judiciary, Educational Institutions and all Government Institutions became openly corrupt. Even with the uncovering of the Vouchergate scandal, corruption continued unabated.

Tribalism, nepotism were also revamped and the wonderful Ekutay (a Limba tribal organization) was birthed and became a parallel government. Within that period you had prominent politicians from all over the country registering as Ekutay members and there were rumors of some even building houses in Binkolo (Headquarters of Ekutay).

In summary, what all these led to was disgruntlement amongst the ordinary Sierra Leoneans and some took it too far as to going to the bushes and launching the bloody Civil War which spanned from 1991 - 2002.

The NPRC coup of 1992 that overthrew the APC Government of J.S Momoh, was viewed by many as a rebirth of hope for the ordinary Sierra Leoneans. What it also presented was an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to send the APC permanently to the political wilderness. To the contrary, both didn't happen. The military boys who were young and clueless soon found themselves doing the same things they overthrew the APC for. They were unable to end the war, they committed extra judicial killings, harassed civilians, engaged in unchecked corruption, and generally abused their power.

Back to 1991, before the overthrow of the Momoh government, the foundation for the return to plurality rule was laid in the new Constitution. With the war still going on, the pressure on the military to return the country to civilian rule, and the apparent condemnation of the APC to the political wilderness, the people of Sierra Leone voted the SLPP back in power in 1996. With the war still going on, the country was still too shaky to govern.

The AFRC interregnum in 1998 and the January 6, 1999 rebel attack on Freetown attest to that. However, with a lot of international support the war ended in 2002, and the SLPP continued in power until 2007. Before then, with all the post war international support, the SLPP had more than enough opportunities to get the country back on track, but "as usual as SLPP's as usual", they slept at the wheel of governance. They failed to improve the quality of life of the ordinary Sierra Leonean, corruption was not attacked, tribalism showed up again, opportunities were not created for the youth, disgruntlement remained a part of many people's lives. All these perfectly laid the foundation for an APC comeback in 2007 with Ernest Koroma as President.

So, in all sincerity, with the APC at her lowest ebb, if the party could comeback and defeat SLPP in an election, what confidence should we put in SLPP again? It is very clear from this narrative that these two parties have not proved to be capable of taking the country forward since Independence, and to trust anyone of them with steering the ship of state come March 7, will amount to an endorsement of their maladministration.

If for more than the period of the life expectancy of the average Sierra Leonean (46 years), these two parties have not moved the country forward, is it not insanity to continue to vote them in? Wake up Sierra Leone and vote for change during the March 7, 2018 presidential elections. Vote for Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, leader of the National Grand Coalition NGC.

 

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Democratic Erosion Under Ernest Koroma and the 2018 Elections

By Dr. Jimmy D. Kandeh, Guest Editor (14/02/18)
The expectation that governance will improve under President Koroma has instead witnessed steady democratic erosion under the APC.

Forty years after Brigadier David Lansana’s praetorian intervention derailed the peaceful transfer of power from the SLPP to the APC in 1967, the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabba graciously handed over power to Ernest Koroma after the latter won the 2007 presidential election.

This was Sierra Leone’s first peaceful alternation of political parties in power and many at the time saw this transition as marking an important milestone in the maturation of our fragile electoral democracy. The expectation was that governance will improve under Koroma, as it had under Kabba, and that the ballot box will continue to determine who rules Sierra Leone.

But instead of improvements in democratic quality our country has witnessed steady democratic erosion (trashing of our constitution, manipulating rules of contestation, weakening state institutions, coopting the opposition and civic organizations, polarizing our country and undermining public confidence in elections) since Koroma became president.

While Koroma is not the only elected authoritarian to assail and subvert democratic rules and institutions that made possible his rise to power, the backsliding of our democracy under his watch is far more disturbing and consequential than in countries like Rwanda, which is viewed as one of the better governed states in Africa but whose leader is an elected autocrat. The difference between Rwanda and Sierra Leone is that the former is a developmental state that promotes development while Sierra Leone is a predatory state whose leaders impede development.

Ernest Koroma is a danger to our democracy because he does not, in the first place, respect our constitution. The lame duck president is not known for respecting constitutions, having violated both his party and country’s constitution for which he was respectively taken to court by some APC leaders and his former Vice-President. Respect for the rule of law by leaders begins with constitutionalism and a president who has little or no regard for his country’s constitution cannot be expected to respect the wishes of the electorate. If Koroma can dismiss his Vice-President who was elected by the people, there is no reason to believe he has any qualms about overturning the electoral verdict of the people if he can get away with it, and not many people are confident Koroma will hand over power to the opposition if his party is defeated in the forthcoming elections. Failure to comply with the wishes of the electorate, however, is certain to plunge our country into protracted crisis that is not likely to have a happy ending for the Supreme Leader.

Democracy does not have a chance if actors fail to play by the rules (procedural consensus). Electoral outcomes can be uncertain, as they often are, but not the rules and procedures for democratic competition, participation and representation. A leader who resorts to manipulating procedural rules in order to exclude competitors or give himself and his/her party an unfair advantage is not above tampering with electoral outcomes and stealing elections.

Gerrymandering of electoral districts to favor the incumbent party in parliamentary elections, clientelizing leaders of the opposition and civil society, converting public offices into rental havens, politicizing every sphere of social life and protecting reserved domains that are above the writ and beyond the reach of the law (‘buff case’) are among some of the many ways Ernest Koroma has undermined and assaulted our fragile electoral democracy. That the opposition is the weakest it has ever been since the end of the war is in large part due to Koroma’s patronage offensive directed at its members. By weakening public institutions and the opposition SLPP party, Koroma emasculated two of the main pillars of a functioning democracy, namely an effective state and an effective opposition.

Low state capacity or an ineffective state is not good for democracy and the rule of law but what makes our state ineffective is precisely the manner in which power has been organized and exercised. Public institutions generate sufficient power and tend to function effectively when they are: (1) not beholding or subordinate to political incumbents and powerful interests, and (2) are responsive to the needs and interests of average citizens. It is impossible to improve state capacity or effectiveness when public institutions take a backseat to patronage networks that crowd out merit, transparency, accountability and other universals.

Denying public institutions any semblance of relative autonomy from political incumbents makes them less effective in the performance of even the most basic of tasks. Parliament and the judiciary are weaker today compared to when Kabba was president and the public bureaucracy is as corrupt as it has ever been. In the absence of effective horizontal accountability mechanisms, no public institution has been able to escape the corrupting influence of the sitting president.

Complementing the functional enfeeblement of state institutions under Ernest Koroma is the hijacking of the civic realm through cooptation of civic organization leaders which allowed the outgoing president to pursue his self-aggrandizing agenda with little or no resistance from both institutional sources and civil society. The once critical and assertive Campaign for Good Governance (CGC) has, for example, mysteriously gone silent, as have many other once promising civic organizations. The country’s broadcasting services have become notorious mouthpieces of the government and many journalists have been compromised by “brown envelopes” from The Supreme Leader.

The entrepreneurial class, both foreign and local, is so closely tied to the state that it is incapable of posing a reformist challenge to political incumbents. Wealth, in short, does not check power in Sierra Leone because the processes of accumulation (wealth) converge or overlap with the avenues of domination (power) and the predominantly foreign entrepreneurial class is not interested in democratic governance. Weak institutions and a less than vibrant civil society may serve the narrow interests of predatory incumbents but they do not further the cause of democracy, socio-economic development and good governance.

The spectacularization of corruption under Ernest Koroma represents a clear and present danger to our democracy and the effectiveness of state institutions. Since Koroma became President it has been one scandal and calamity after the other (mining contracts, oil blocks, Timbergate, Ebolagate, Tollgate, Hadjgate, Mudslidegate, Munku Mansions, etc) and, in the clearest abrogation of our sovereignty, Chinese clients of the President are now collecting taxes on a public highway in our country. Reports by the Auditor-General that cite and document cases of financial irregularities and possible misappropriation of public funds are never acted upon or even tabled for discussion by parliament, whose members are often in the habit of assailing such reports, or followed-up by the President.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is visibly powerless and only investigates and prosecutes petty offenders outside the orbit of the Supreme Leader and other important personalities. The absence of mandatory jail sentences for corrupt officials incentivizes them to be corrupt since the penalty for corruption (a mere slap on the wrist) is vastly outweighed by gains to the individual. Unbridled corruption under Koroma has weakened public institutions, alienated popular sectors, incubated poverty, stifled development, fostered insecurity and endangered democracy and good governance.

To the degree that economic development helps to consolidate democracy, lack of progress on the economic and social front under Koroma does not augur well for democratic consolidation. Dodgy mining and road contracts, procurement mark-ups, a preference for shady start-up companies that have mostly gone belly-up, conversion of every misfortune (Ebola, mudslide) into an opportunity for embezzling state and donor funds are some of the lowlights of the APC’s economic record. Health care and education, two sectors that can make a vast difference in the lives of ordinary people, have not improved and the majority of our people still live in poverty and lack access to clean drinking water and electricity.

We still occupy the bottom rung of the global development ladder with some of the highest infant mortality, maternal mortality and illiteracy rates. While mass poverty does not prevent democratic emergence, democracies are consolidated as populations are lifted out of poverty and as economic change transforms social structures. Economic development serves democracy by improving living conditions of citizens, exposing our electorate to cross-pressures, creating a middle class, broadening the outlook of citizens, fostering associational life and engendering universalistic norms.

As the date for the March elections approaches, there are many who are concerned about the prospect for violence, especially after the recent display of wanton violence by some APC supporters (on the day their party nominated its candidates) left many Freetown residents running for their lives and scurrying for cover. This is in sharp contrast to the peace and tranquility that prevailed on the day the other parties nominated their candidates. If what happened on the APC’s nomination day is any indication of what to expect on voting day, the APC will unleash violence to suppress voter turnout and skew election results in its favor.

Also, because Paopa fanatics of the SLPP are convinced they can counter APC violence, the potential for violent confrontations between these two group of supporters is real. Violence in whatever shape or form is not, however, going to work for the APC because the electorate’s fervor for change is strong and will overwhelm and dwarf the lame-duck President’s determination to steal the elections for his party and hand-picked successor.

Any attempt to hang on to power against the wishes of the electorate will be unsuccessful and can only plunge our country into protracted crisis and international isolation. Public protests, cascading peaceful demonstrations and widespread civil disobedience (Burkina Faso and Senegal are sub-regional precedent) are likely to chase the APC out of power if its leaders fail to accept the verdict of voters in the March elections. If rigging is the last resort of the outgoing President and his cronies, peaceful protests will be the ultimate democratic response of a populace that is sick and tired of bad governance under the APC.

The impact of democratic erosion on the conduct and outcome of the March elections remains to be seen but our people are not going to accept fraudulent electoral outcomes or acquiesce to leaders whose power is not derived from the consent of the governed. Elections are supposed to function as safety-valves that allow electorates to change their leaders and hold them accountable. They give democracies a regenerative capacity that is lacking in authoritarian regimes and it is important for the electorate to continue to have confidence in the integrity of the electoral system as a mechanism for bringing about genuine change.

 

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Serious Threat to Peaceful Elections in Sierra Leone Come March 7, 2018!

By Sorie Fofana, Guest Editor (01/02/18)
The arrest and detention of a clique and gang leader Sheik S.I. Koroma, a strong member of the ruling APC Party, is welcome news.

'APC Sheik S.I. Koroma, alias 'Street Ambassador' has been in the forefront of organizing clique and gang members in every nook and cranny of this country.

It is reported that twenty eight members of his group have also been rounded up and detained by the Police. They were out in full force on Friday 26th January, 2018 when their Party was busy nominating its Presidential and Ordinary Members of Parliament.

They caused a lot of havoc on that day. In fact, it is reported that one person was brutally murdered on that fateful day. This is a threat to the conduct of a peaceful election on 7th March, 2018.

The decision by the Police leadership to ban vehicular and pedestrian movement on elections day is uncalled for. The Police should not be seen to be colluding with the ruling APC Party to rig the elections of March 7, 2018.

The new Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police Force, Dr. Richard Moigbe is a highly respected man in this country. He should not allow some Politicians to mess him up. No way!

It is understood that some APC supporters intend to wear fake Police uniforms on elections day in order to intimidate voters in opposition strongholds. This is totally unacceptable!

It is also reported that some people sympathetic to the APC Party intend to disrupt the election of March 7 in order for it to be postponed. All these pieces of information, though unverified but credible, are a threat to the conduct of a free, fair and peaceful election.

The Presidential candidate of the SLPP party Julius Maada Bio has insisted that his Party will not accept the outcome of any rigged election. His words must be taken seriously, since he commands the largest opposition party in the country.

We call on President Ernest Bai Koroma to ensure that a level playing field is maintained at every level of the electioneering process.

As outgoing Head of State, he should ensure that the process is free, fair, credible and peaceful. He should preside over a peaceful transition of power in order to ensure that the nation does not slide back to a state of anarchy.

Let us all pray for the elections to come and go peacefully so that our country will remain a shining example of the fastest growing democracy in Africa.

All of us should endeavour to avert any seeming threat to the conduct of a free, fair and credible election in March 2018.

Let us all wish our outgoing President, a peaceful retirement as he leaves office in the second week of March, 2018 after ten years. God bless Mama Salone!

Courtesy: Sorie Fofana, Global Times newspaper Sierra Leone

 

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Who is More Loyal to Sierra Leone? Diasporans or Homebase?

By Sankara Kamara, Guest Editor (20/01/18)
The dual citizenship ploy by the ruling APC government has put in the limelight the question about patriotism in Sierra Leone.

This is the burning question in and outside the country at the moment in the aftermath of the dual citizenship imbroglio. Who is more loyal to Sierra Leone? Is it Disaporans or the Homebase?

During the Ebola tragedy, Diasporan-based Sierra Leoneans showed loyalty to nation, by organizing and contributing towards the motherland's welfare. Conversely, politicians within the APC killed more compatriots by embezzling millions of dollars, earmarked for the war against Ebola.

Since the "dual citizenship" debate was reportedly prompted by the need for loyalty to Sierra Leone, let us examine the Ebola-produced scandal to determine who is more loyal to, or malicious against, the motherland.

Whereas Diasporan Sierra Leoneans responded to Ebola by patriotically dispatching emergency assistance to the motherland, APC kleptomaniacs dishonourably stole some of the internationally-donated funds, thereby causing the deaths of thousands of Sierra Leoneans.

Who, therefore, is more loyal to Sierra Leone? Is it the patriotically-driven Diasporans who responded with emergency assistance, or homebase embezzlers who turned a containable problem into a national tragedy? Who is more LOYAL to Sierra Leone?

I posed that question because homebase looters within the APC have chosen to cannibalise the constitution and use its clauses to STOP opponents from running for public office. I am an unwaveringly nationalistic Sierra Leonean. Can an Ebola-producing and poverty-intensifying APC government, realistically use my American passport to question my loyalty to Sierra Leone?

When did the lawless APC, which is treacherously selling Sierra Leone to the Chinese, pinch itself to realize that dual citizenship is dangerous? We are naturally Sierra Leonean-born sons and daughters. Each time the APC comes to power, democracy must suffer a reversal, followed by the institutionalization of dictatorship and, sadly, civil strife.

For democracy's sake, Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad need to put aside their political party affiliations and stand against the APC's desire for one-party dictatorship, before it is fatefully too late.

 

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How APC Caused the Spread of the Deadly Ebola Virus Disease!

By: Jacob Jusu Saffa, Guest Editor (10/01/18)
Fingers are now pointing directly at the corridors of the APC governement for the careless spreading of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.

In December 1989, armed forces of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) under the leadership of Charles Ghankay Taylor launched an attack on Liberia through a northern town in Nimba, bordering Ivory Coast. Quickly, the NPFL overran major towns and approached the capital city, Monrovia. Acute humanitarian crisis loomed the country with splinter fighting groups everywhere. ECOWAS responded by quickly establishing ECOMOG to help control the situation and create safe corridors for humanitarian support.

Under the watchful eyes of ECOMOG, Samuel K Doe (then Head of State) was assassinated in a brutal manner by Prince Johnson's mad INPFL rebels, unprecedented in the history of Africa. The then APC government received credible intelligence that Sierra Leone would be the next target. Even Charles Taylor on a BBC broadcast informed the world that Sierra Leone would taste the bitterness of war. He truly followed that statement with action. He supported the mobilisation of disgruntled Sierra Leoneans in Liberia to form the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) led by Foday Sabannah Sankoh.

On March 23, 1991, the RUF launched an attack on Bomaru, Upper Bambara, Kailahun district, eastern Sierra Leone. Within a year, the RUF had taken over many towns and villages in the East and South of the country. The excuse by the then reckless Momoh regime was that they were not prepared for war and did not have experience in guerilla warfare. That war was ended by the SLPP led Government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah after 11 years of brutal onslaught on the people of Sierra Leone.

President Ernest Koroma in 2007 promised to run Sierra Leone like his predecessors, Joseph Momoh and Siaka Stevens. He has indeed done what he promised. He and his cronies kept saying, EVD was new and they had no experience in managing it. This was an indictment and nothing could have been more reckless than that. It was an utter bunkum and Sierra Leoneans should dismiss it. Any responsible government should be prepared to manage disaster. If it cannot, then it has no place in governance.

The first EVD outbreak in the Mano River Union (MRU) was in Guinea in March 2014 followed by Liberia a month later. In Sierra Leone, our first outbreak was on May 25, 2014. Between March and end May, 2014 our government led by the then Minister of Health and Sanitation, Miatta Kargbo and Minister of Information and Communications, Alpha Kanu were busy telling the public that government was prepared for any outbreak and assured the nation that a government had the wherewithal to tackle any outbreak.

In particular, Alpha Kanu was busy demonising Dr. Sylvia Blyden who was very honest in her reports on the spread and management of the disease. She was forthright to raise the alarm and warned the government about our ill preparedness to manage the scourge. Yet, nobody listened. Between June and July, the Ebola had spread in many towns and villages in Kailahun and Kenema District and by August, we had our first outbreak in the Western Area.

Affirmatively, I can establish that the management of the EVD was poor in the first three months and the APC was responsible for the spread of virus to many more communities in the country for the undermentioned reasons. 

First, the APC government was indecisive and failed to effectively man or close our borders throughout the EVD period. Few months ago, the Minister of Internal Affairs, J B Dauda (Late), publicly accepted the fact that our borders are poorly manned and by extension we are vulnerable to attack and disease outbreak. The Government of the Gambia like many other serious governments even banned persons travelling from Sierra Leone to the Gambia.

The Gambian government was responsible enough to realise that such outbreak would not only cause loss of lives, but a slowdown in economic activities as well as damage to our international reputation. Sierra Leoneans were denied entry Visas to some countries and for two years now, we did not participate in the yearly pilgrimage in Mecca. Our spurious defence as a nation remains to be the porousness of our borders and the fact that border closure has serious implications. What could have been more eccentric like this?

Second, this government was busy collecting money and establishing bogus structures instead of strengthening existing state institutions. A friend of mine once shared with me at a community joint as follows “Borbor, you watch TV yesterday, de Pa en mammy dae collect Ebola money (meaning both President Koroma and Wife, Sia Koroma were receiving donations). An unwieldy Presidential Task Force was established with very ambiguous focus. Months later, an operational body referred to as Emergency Operational Centre (EOC) with conflicting roles with the Task Force and Ministry of Health. Already, we had state institutions like the Ministry of Health, Local Councils, Office of National Security (ONS) that houses the Disaster Management Unit and NGOs working in the health sector.

After 7 years in office, the APC failed to strengthen capacities for managing disease outbreak despite all the loud talk about commitment to national health care. Our capacity for disease surveillance continues to be weak, our laboratories are still nothing but mere structures with poor capacity for basic diagnosis and only a few districts had functional ambulances despite the huge resources provided in previous years. 

Third, the initial commitment of the APC government to fighting the scourge was tepid in every respect, largely because it has no compassion for where the disease started. Instead, they were busy blaming the Kailahun district MPs for spreading false rumours about the disease. No budgetary resources were made available to the then affected local councils and chiefdoms for social mobilisation. Instead, the councils were instructed to vie money from funds disbursed to them earlier and were already committed for other activities. It was much later; government disbursed funds for constituency development and instructed that such funds be used for social mobilisation.

Fourth, it was nearly 3 months when this hopeless and corrupt APC government succumbed to pressure from the Civil Society, particularly the fourth estate to institute a State of Public Emergency. In fact, President Koroma wanted to travel to the US for UN General Assembly but the pressure from the Civil Society led by Lamarana Bah and Umaru Fofanah. He eventually cancelled it in shame when his counterpart, President Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia did so.

Fifth, president Koroma only visited the eastern regional towns of Kenema and Kailahun two months after the outbreak. His earlier visit would have indicated his commitment to fighting the disease, motivated the frontline workers, heard from affected communities the true story and given him a better sense of what to do. Sure, that would not have been the case if the first outbreak started in Bombali. The bogus argument by the government’s spokesman after the public outcry was that, “during war commanders do not go to the front”. If Alpha Khan was a scout during his school days, he would never have said so. I am not military man but I know serious commanders lead in battles.

Sixth, the management of Ebola funds was reckless. The Audit report on management of EVD confirmed this. There was no system for approving of activities, no monitoring of the use of such funds and no report. Some activities were approved by the Task Force, the Minister of Health, the EOC and sometimes by the President using his ‘Supreme Executive Authority’. It was a messy situation. To date, nobody knows what this government received in cash and kind and how it was spent. The argument is that it was an emergency context. This is hogwash at best. We have adequate provisions for procurement and financial management in emergency situation. All guidelines were ignored because the operating context provided them the opportunity to embezzle state resources.

Seventh, between March 2014 when the EVD started in Guinea to end May 2014 when we had the first outbreak, this government failed to assess our human capacity to handle the disease. We had sufficient time to have sent a delegation to DRC and Uganda to gain first-hand experience of how to manage such deadly disease. We cannot say we lacked the resources to do so. If we can spend huge amounts on Presidential delegations why not do so for the well-being of our people. Such study tour would have enhanced our capacities to detect an outbreak, manage the spread of the disease and care for infected persons. The mediocrity in this government and its naive outlook of serious issues could not allow them to think about that. 

Eighth, unlike what the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Mali did, this government failed to establish holding centers in border towns and even treatment centre in readiness for possible outbreak. The Ivorian and Malian Government established holding centres and treatment centres to curtail the spread of any outbreak. This explains why Mali was quick to stop the spread of initial outbreak. Additionally, basic things like PPEs were not available and our frontline workers never benefitted from local training within the first three months of the outbreak.

Ninth, by the time of the outbreak, as a consequence of its record of corruption as revealed by the MCC report card, the APC government has lost donor confidence. It was not initially capable of mobilizing international support. President was crying all over the place for donor neglect and call for assistance. It was only when US had the outbreak and the fear of further spread that the WHO through the influence of the US, the EVD was declared an international health emergency. It was only then donor started supporting the country to fight the disease. Thus, the international support provided was effortless and was so to prevent the spread to other countries and a global crisis. This government had no credible system to track donor inflows. In fact, it does not serve the interest of this Government to have one since such messy situation creates a perfect platform to duplicate spending. 

Tenth, the EVD sensitization messages were inadequate and incorrect. Initially, we were told there is no cure and any infected person will die. We could not distinguish between symptoms of cholera and EVD. The wrong message scared away people from reporting to health facilities for immediate care which at any rate never existed. It was months later we were told to report to health facilities when we fall ill and that infected persons can be provided palliative care and has chances of survival if they report earlier for treatment.

As if the poor management of the fight against the disease is not enough, even the design of the Ebola Recovery Strategy was faulty. It is highly centralised and not participatory. No serious consultations were done with the chiefdoms and district councils. I am not sure of any national data collected to guide the design. It was quickly put together to meet the requirements of donors meeting. A strategy was first presented to the EU in Brussels, later to the World Bank and IMF at the spring meeting and recently at the UN. The question is who was driving the process? How different are the various presentations? Why was this government not smart to prevent Sierra Leone been used as a battle ground for donors? Why did we not insist on traditional resource mobilisation platforms or a single resource mobilisation platform? How much new money is raised in each of this forum?

The implementation like the designs was even more challenging. We have the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), a state institution with credible record of managing resettlement, recovery and post-war reconstruction. This hopeless government neglected this institution and established a centralised structure at State House in the office of the Chief of Staff which has no district office, no system in place for managing recovery, no fiduciary or monitoring system in place and is busy with more strategic issues. A preferred option for managing recovery is use the local councils and MDAs to implement, NaCSA coordinate and monitor with an inter-ministerial committee to oversee.

Recovery had no place at State House except for the purpose of control, chopping of funds and basing resource allocation on political considerations. Strengthening the health system could have be better done through MOHs directly with reports provided to the coordinating structure; education support can naturally be channeled through the local councils and MEST while social protection can be done through local organisations or local councils using a social fund mechanism. NaCSA could have coordinated, provided implementation support (where necessary) and monitored.

This would have prevented huge spending on staffing and laid the foundation for sustainability of the interventions. The current chief of staff knows that. He was in NACSA for many years during the SLPP regime, served as Commissioner NaCSA under the APC and would have surely objected it if he was the Commissioner. Unfortunately, this nar salone, all minister wan project.

This is a general assessment of how the APC government managed the Ebola Virus Disease and how it could have done things differently to prevent the spread to all districts. Rigorous assessment should cover the planning process, social mobilisation, contact tracing, treatment and care of infected persons.

Courtesy: By Jacob Jusu Saffa, Development Economist/Evaluation Specialist

 

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Season's Greetings from the Organiser Newspaper

(22/12/16)

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.

 

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Africa Must and Should be the Last Destination!!

(10/08/16)

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!!!!!

 

 

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An Institution that Produces Inspirational Leaders is the APC Party

(05/06/16)

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

 

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Sierra Leone Artists Must Perform at Our Independence Day, Not Foreigners!!

(10/04/16)

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.

 

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APC Will Stop at Nothing to Maintain the Credibility of the State

(14/01/16)

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❗❗

 

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Pademba Road Prison is Still an Eyesore in Sierra Leone's Democracy!

(07/01/16)

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!!

 

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Release of 152 Prisoners is Christmas Come Early for Many Families

(01/01/16)

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.

 

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Steven Gbekie is Not an Informant for the Organiser Newspaper!!

(27/12/15)

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.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

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.

 

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Cannibalism News in Moyamba! People Warned to be Vigilant!!

(02/01/18)

Political cannibalism has always taken centre stage before and during elections in Sierra Leone.


It is no surprise this shocking news is resurfacing again as the March 7, 2018 general and presidential elections draw closer. Moyamba district is the latest to be hit with this cannibalism allegation.

Residents in Moyamba, who have confirmed this inhuman exercise, are getting jittery and anxious for their own safety and the protection of strangers in the town.

Reports say strangers have been advised to come home before midnight as they believe that's the opportuned time the cannibals often capture their preys for their blood thirsty rituals.

Most frighteningly is the fact that family members are often involve in this inhuman practice. They sacrificed their own family members to the highest bidder, who are mostly prominent people in society who wants human parts as rituals to boosts their political or business careers etc.

An anonymous Moyamba indigene recounted a recent incident when a man took his nephew to a village passing through Jama. The man left the boy on the road and decided to enter the bush to ease himself. Cannibals waiting secretly nearby almost caught that innocent boy had he not escaped. Latest reports say the uncle has been arrested and is still in custody as investigations continue.

From Taiama Junction to Moyamba, local residents believe cannibalism is rife eventhough it is largely unreported in the media. "My mom always advise me to be very careful when going to our town Mano," one irritated resident said.

Moyamba, like other districts in the country, is well noted for encouraging cannibalism in the district especially during electioneering times. "Some man dae deny say dis tin nor dae dae but dis norto today business," another resident noted in local Krio parlance.

The Organiser newspaper however believes locals must exercise caution and be vigilant in areas suspected of cannibalism in the country until after the March 7 elections at least.

 

 

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An Excellent Constitutional Tutorial for all Sierra Leoneans!

By Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh, Guest Editor (20/12/17)

Sierra Leone's veteran and revered politician of the APC party fame, has openly admonished President Ernest Koroma on the constitutionality of the Sierra Leone presidency.

This excellent constitutional tutorial is a must read for all Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad.


Your Excellency,

Please permit me to write on a matter of grave national constitutional, legal and political concern that has come to engage the attention of our compatriots both at home and abroad.

I have accordingly taken the liberty to make the format of this letter an open one, as its contents address matters of public national interest. This relates to the position of the Vice President of the country.

Your Excellency, up until 1991 when the current national Constitution was, after a nation-wide consultation and referendum, adopted as the Supreme Law of the land, the position of the vice president was an appointed one. This was the position after the inauguration of the republican form of government in 1971, and the introduction of a one-party form of government in 1978.

The record shows that we even had the positions of First and Second Vice Presidents. But both offices were appointive and in the gift of the President as it were. The then national Constitutions (1971 and 1978) designated the Vice President to be the successor to the presidency in the event of a vacancy in the latter office.

The record will also show that in 1985, just prior to the then President, the late President Siaka Stevens, demitting office, there were moves to change the constitutional and legal position regarding the succession to the presidency by the vice President. But these moves were debated and adopted in Parliament and the necessary legislation enacted. Mercifully, the country was spared any political rumpus that could have resulted from these changes so late in the day and the ill-fated Presidential Council literally proved still-born.

Therefore, in order to put matters beyond conjecture, surmise and any chicanery and to make the whole process regarding the position of the vice presidency transparent, the 1991 national Constitution, for the first time, clearly made the office of the Vice Presidency, not appointive any more, but rather, an elective one.

Thus, after 1st October, 1991, when the national Constitution became operational, the people of Sierra Leone stipulated and granted to themselves the right to have a say as to who shall be their vice president. The position is now covered in clear provisions of the national Constitution, namely, section 54(1), (2) and (3) of the Constitution.

These provisions require that a candidate for the office of president must have a running mate designated as vice president. Together, if the slate containing the candidate for the presidency and his running mate are successful in the presidential elections; they are declared elected President and Vice President respectively.
Thus, gone are the days when a President can appoint a vice President. The two offices are now conjointly elected at the same time by the will of the people, at the time of electing the presidential candidate with his running mate as the vice presidential candidate.

Furthermore, by the constitutional provisions, either the President or the Vice President is removable from office, but not at the will or instance or fiat of one or the other, but rather, by a Parliamentary process colloquially referred to as impeachment

The constitutional provisions on removal from office of either office holder, are, I dare say, clearly stated in section 51 of the national Constitution. It is no doubt instructive to note that there are no separate and particular provisions for the removal of the vice President, but rather, in the event there is a need to remove, the same provisions applicable in the case of the President himself will come into play.

Your Excellency, I note with particular care the reasons given in a Release from your office dated 17th March, 2015, for removing the current holder of the office of Vice President. I hope I fairly summarize these as: i) the expulsion of the vice President from the All Peoples Congress (APC) by a decision dated 6th March, 2015, of the National Advisory Committee of the APC; and ii) your taking note of the fact that on Saturday, March 14, 2015, the vice President sought asylum from a foreign embassy, which the Release states is indicative of “a willingness to abandon his duties and office as Vice President…”

These are matters now in the public domain and it is not intended to debate them here. But the simple and irrefutable fact is that they do not and cannot, in the face of the clear constitutional provisions, provide, with the utmost respect, the warrant or legal basis “for relieving with immediate effect” the Vice President from office.

Your Excellency, with the utmost respect, as the guardian of the Constitution, as stipulated in sub-section (3) of section 40 of the Constitution, you have not been properly advised or served in terms of the provisions of the Constitution you have invoked for taking this most extraordinary measure.

Your Excellency refers to sections 40 (1) and 41 (b) of the national Constitution, as warrant for the measure you have taken. A simple, plain and teleological reading of these provisions would readily show that they vests or grant no such power in you or anyone else for that matter for the following reasons: First, section 40 (1) proclaims you as the President of the Republic to be the Head of State, the supreme executive authority of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

It may be noted that this section vests or grants no power, it is merely declaratory of the attributes or incidence of the office of the President. However, Part II of the Constitution on Executive Powers, in section 56(1) vests executive power in you as the President.

This power may be exercised by you directly or through members of the Cabinet, Ministers, Deputy Ministers or public officers subordinate to you. But importantly, the exercise of executive power is expressly subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

In plain terms, this means that executive power, whatever it may mean or import cannot lawfully be exercised in disregard of the provisions of the Constitution. Executive power is nowhere defined in the Constitution. But the Constitution does clearly provide for the removal of the vice President from office and how this should be done.

This clearly puts the issue of the removal from office of the Vice President beyond the exercise of executive power, and cannot, on any view, be subsumed under it. Section 54 of the Constitution establishes the office of Vice President. Sub –section (8) provides for the removal from office of the Vice President in terms as follows: “(8) The provisions of sections 50 and 51 of this Constitution, relating to the removal from office of the President, shall apply to the removal from office of the Vice President.”

In short, Your Excellency, neither you nor the Vice President can lawfully be removed from office except as provided for in sections 50 and 51 of the Constitution. Permit me therefore, to say, and please believe me when I say that it pains me to say so, that the removal from office of the Vice President, as stated in the Release from your office, is nothing short of an exercise of power that can find no validation in the text of our national Constitution. The second justification provided in the Release for removing the Vice President from office is a reference to section 41(b) of the Constitution.

Your Excellency, again a plain reading of this provision will readily show that it is most inapposite to the situation. This section addresses the qualification for election to the office of the President. Paragraph (b) of section 41 clearly states: “41(1) No person shall be qualified for election as President unless he- (a)… (b) is a member of a political party” (c )…(d) …” It is when section 54 of the Constitution on the Vice Presidency is read along with section 41 (b) that membership of a political party becomes an important qualification for an election to (a) the office of the President and (b) to be a candidate for the office of Vice President.

Needless to say since 2007 and certainly since 2012, neither you nor the Vice President is running for election or is a candidate for election to your respective offices. Your successive election to your respective offices is now a matter of history. Both sections 41 and 54 address the situation of candidates for the respective offices of President and vice President. Neither section requires continuing membership of a political party as a qualification for continuing or remaining in either the office of the President or that of Vice President.

Therefore, reliance on the expulsion of the Vice President from the APC as a warrant for his removal from office, can find no justification in the textual provisions of the Constitution. Membership of a political party is a qualification for election to the office, but nowhere is it stated in the Constitution that membership or continuing membership is a necessary qualification for or coterminous with continuing or remaining in office.

For the avoidance of doubt, Your Excellency, I should make it clear that what is alleged against the Vice President, may or may not be impeachable offences amounting, in the words of section 51 of the Constitution, to “gross misconduct.”

If the latter is the case, then, with respect, it is a matter for Parliament to put in train the impeachment process contemplated and provided for in the national Constitution. president koroma1Please allow me to close by stating that the use of executive power to remove the Vice President from office is irreconcilable with the provisions of the Constitution; and in my humble view, sets to naught the sovereign will of the electorate and people of Sierra Leone so eloquently expressed when in 2007, and again in 2012, you and the Vice President were elected to your respective offices.

I therefore respectfully urge that nothing should be done, least of all, in the guise of executive power, to defeat, disappoint and render nugatory the people’s will and choice. This is the essence of democracy, which I want to hope and believe Your Excellency handsomely subscribes to. It is also an affirmation of the rule of law.

I end by saying that this is not the time for political diversions or brinkmanship. In the midst of fighting the devastating scourge of the Ebola virus which is set to bring our dear country and our neighbours to ruination, we should all strive as Team Sierra Leone, to beat back this scourge and not dissipate scarce human and other resources and goodwill on avoidable and needless diversions.

I remain in faith and with highest esteem,

Your dear compatriot,

Signed

Abdulai O. Conteh
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal
of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas”

 

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Advice to Mr. President as March 7, 2018 Elections Draw Nearer!

By Mohamed Zackew (07/12/17)

Mr. President, I write to inform you about the way you have ruled this country some ten years ago. You came into power by popular votes in run-off polls! Political situation was normalized but less than 72 hours of your victory, the opposition office in Freetown was attacked by your party members, since then, no reaction, no justice. 

 

Subsequently, some attacks happened in Kono where APC members attacked SLPP office with human faeces. Again, no arrest, no justice!

 

Less than 95 days to elections, you have concentrated on various security sector ranging from, ONS, POLICE, ARMY, now ministry of defence and ministry of internal affairs. This is bringing some food for thought into the minds of Sierra Leoneans, especially when we all running to national elections. 

 

Mr. President, your governance system may end up into chaos if you do not handle this election properly. Your leadership style has forced civil servants to bow to your party membership or you don't get the job. 

 

You have succeeded to make yourself a life leader in a party that has capable people to hold position that you have held on to. You have also succeeded to force members of your party to bow and worship you, whatever you say, remain final. 

 

You succeeded to remove the legitimate vice president where the country's legal Supreme Court acted on your dictates to do the wrong judgment. You succeeded to transform many wrong things including contractors being APC before gaining contracts, foreign embassy of China to meddle into our internal political affairs etc. 

 

The relationship between security forces and people has been friendly and cordial after the war. The people of this country love the ARMY AND POLICE and other security apparatus.  We all expect to continue with this cordial relationship. Do not allow any set up between civilians and security forces. 

 

Mr. President, you came into power peacefully and please do not leave peace into pieces.  The people of this country are concerned with your untimely security arrangement on this crucial period we are running into elections. If I may ask, what is the meaning of security changes at this crucial moment? 

 

Mr. President, we honour you for strives you made in development during your tenure, CONGRATULATIONS but you cannot do everything. Have your rest now and allow smooth transition of powers peacefully?

 

Do not force power to where the people of this country do not want. Do not force the security forces against the people of this country. Ballot box in a free, transparent, credible and fair is necessary and relevant to foster peace and unity.. 

Mr. President, we cannot allow you to destroy what you met, the country SIERRA LEONE does not belong to Koroma family alone but many families. 

 

Lastly, we keep close eyes on your new security arrangement especially on Paolo Conteh. I love you so I volunteer to advise you for better Salone. Many heroes have come and gone. 

 

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Who Erects the Bankasoka Hydro in Port Loko, APC or KKY?

By a Guest Editor (16/11/17)

Both the ruling APC and the KKY Movement are claiming responsibility of Bankasoka! Who is saying the truth? Sierra Leoneans want to know!

The National Grand Coalition NGC firebrand Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, the founder of the KKY Movement during his SLPP years, continues to publicise the Bankasoka Hydro Electricity Power Plant in Port Loko as his personal achievement during many of his political campaigns trails recently.

But APC stalwarts say otherwise and refuted all the claims made by the NGC regarding the Bankasoka Hydro. "Dr Kandeh Yumkella Koroma reaffirms his true nature of habitual impersonation and lies!!!," an ardent APC supporter blasts.

The APC press release reads: Days ago, the people of Port Loko chose to give the self-acclaimed flag bearer of the NGC a second chance to turn their minds away from the initial forgery and lies he used to kick-start his political career. Track records form a vital portion of ones integrity and ability to lead. We the people of Sierra Leone have been deceived by Dr Kandeh Yumkella's forgery of his SLPP party membership to the most recent mother of all lies.

The Godfather of all liars (Dr Kandeh Yumkella) fabricated a lie that will remain a negative legacy crafted from the pit of hell. This phenomenal lie obviously took a lot of time, resources and devilish craftiness to put together. From the deceitful edit of a forged video to a disgraceful speech aimed at deceiving our beloved nation to believe that he initiated and executed the Bankasoka Hydro Project in Port Loko.

An interview with Momoh Lawrence Turay, the Community Liaison Officer for the Bankasoka Hydro Project, was enough to clear the air, expose and shame the reincarnation of the "Father of all Liars".

Momoh Lawrence Turay stated with proof that the Bankasoka Hydro Project failed under UNIDO after the official launch of the project. The then UNIDO Secretary General was Dr Kandeh Yumkella who could not ensure even the commencement of a project that was designed to benefit his motherland.

President Ernest Bai Koroma who epitomises true leadership could not afford to have one unfinished project to his name. Two years ago President Koroma approached the Chinese government and successfully convinced them to efficiently ensure the commencement and completion of this project.

The Ministry of Energy has proceeded to prove that the Bankasoka Hydro Project was in fact the idea of the late S.I. Koroma who drew his inspiration from the Bumbuna Project. Due to unforeseen circumstances the project never could not commence in the 90s. Years later, UNIDO showed interest in the project but again nothing came out of it.

In 2007, President Koroma approached UNIDO which once again promised to rejuvenate the project. With all enthusiasm, the President held a meeting in Port Loko where he publicly appreciated UNIDO for their said commitment to bring this project into a reality.

Dr Kandeh Yumkella led UNIDO returned to demonstrate his inefficiency to see projects through by confidently and without remorse broke the hearts of his fellow countrymen by stating that UNIDO was incapable of funding the Bankasoka Hydro Project. Obviously, as then Secretary General of UNIDO, he was in position to ensure UNIDO fund the project.

The government of China without hesitation after meetings with President Koroma, the Minister of Energy and Power Henry Mccauley and a top Sierra Leonean delegation wasted no time in funding the construction of the dam which was contracted to Shanzi (a Chinese firm). Subsequently SCSE were contracted to efficiently execute the transmission and distribution network of the dam which is practically completed. The full commissioning of the completed Bankasoka Hydro Project is slated for midnext month.

A milestone has been achieved that promises to bring the entire nation closer than ever to uninterrupted electricity supply which all Sierra Leoneans desire. All thanks to His Excellency President Koroma, the ever resolute and progressive APC government and the government of China which remain our strongest ally.

We remain one nation bounded by one Love, one family that denounces liars and remains loyal to the truth for our greater good!!!

Courtesy: True Talk Media

 

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Attack Chericoco on Performance, Not on his Fula Ethnicity! Crazy!!

By Alhaji U Njai, Guest Editor (01/11/17)

Since Chernor Bah aka Chericoco was selected APC running mate, he has been attacked for his ethnicity which has angered many Fulas.

The Fulanis have felt indignation and angry because of the constant attacks unleashed on Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah not on the basis of his performance and record over the years but on the basis of his Fula ethnicity.

I support no one and will likely be one of those independent voters voting with one hand and holding my nose with the other. But to de-legitimize Chericoco's candidacy based on ethnic origin is wrong, absurd and extremely retrogressive.

Apart from everyone in Sierra Leone except maybe Limbas, Lokos and maybe few others, came from somewhere, this divisive ethnocentric based politics is bad for our country and doesn't reflect the diversity, powerful mixtures and melting pot of cultures in Sierra Leone.

I mean only in Sierra Leone will you find Pateh Johnson; Mende: Daramy, Sillah, Kandeh; Limba: Kamara, Sesay, Samura, Koroma, Conteh; Temne: Mansaray, Marah, Fofanah, Bah, Timbo, Conteh, and so on (you name them) which we should proud of.

Chernor Bah is as legitimate Sierra Leonean as Krain Krain, Red Palm oil and fish. It will be better to attack him and tie him to fail policies of the administration, rather than attacking, bashing or insulting an entire productive segment of the society.

For those throwing missiles now at Fulas, it is very OK to go to the corner store get bread from the Fula man, ride a taxi, or get some menial task done. But it is not OK for a Fula born in the country, who has worked hard, served his community to vie for political office.

So what message are you sending to young Fula boys and girls in this country? How do you expect them to fully embody this country as a place that values them and recognize them as legitimate beings of the state.

To move Sierra Leone to a progressive state we want, we must all aspire towards social justice, respect diversity, and strive for greater inclusion of all those historical marginalized by our biases and false perceptions.

Nobody questions your Sierra Leoneanness if you have a Nigerian, Ghanaian, Liberia or any of the Mende sounding (Kamara, Konteh, Mansaray, Koroma, etc) last names. By comparison, all hell breaks loose when its a Jalloh, Bah, Barrie, Sow, Shaw, Njai, Jah, Faal, Sall, Jeng, Cham, Diop, and so on sounding names. So next time before you get hyper, all against, and get hooked on ignorance, here is a little primer on Fulas in Sierra Leone.

First, they are diverse in heritage, origins and dialect, and have played significant roles in the history of Sierr Leone. After all, Sir Banja Tejan-Sie, the first Governor General of Sierra Leone is a Fula from the Fouta Toro in Sierra Leone. Momoh Jah and Momoh Kai Kai are huge in islamization of the South and East of Sierra Leone.

Second, they are an economic force and provide a strong middle manpower from the bakeries, corner stores to car mechanics in Sierra Leone.

Third, there is the inter-marriages to the point you may be insulting your half Fula nieces, cousins, brothers by being ignorant. I however agree the Fulas need to integrate more in society by giving their daughters away more frequently to other Sierra Leoneans for marriage purposes than is the case now.

Fourth, they are a huge voting block in Sierra Leone based on demographic shifts. If you take all the Jallohs, Bahs, Barries, Shaws, Talls, Njais, Warnes, Diops, Timbos, Kaikais, Jahs, Wuries, Bundus, Chams, and so on, you are pissing off a large segment of the society.

So discussing Chernor or any other Fula candidate should be devoid of ethnophobia and hate, rather focus on policy differences, transformative ideas that will move this country and uplift society from abject socio economic malaise. Jarama Buii!!

 

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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 

 

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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. 

 

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African Leaders Must Emulate Tanzanian President Magufuli

06/08/17)

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.

 

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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

Constituency: 42

District: Kambia

Provisional Results

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

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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)

 

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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

 

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Season's Greetings from the Organiser Newspaper

(22/12/16)

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.

 

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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 

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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Africa Must and Should be the Last Destination!!

(10/08/16)

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!!!!!

 

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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

 

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APC: Institution that Produces Inspirational Leaders

(05/06/16)

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

 

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Use Sierra Leone Artists Not Foreign to Celebrate Our 55th Independence Day!!

(10/04/16)

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.

 

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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!

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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After Thought of Alie Kabba: "OMG is it the Beginning of my End?"

(01/02/16)

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

 

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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

 

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APC Will Stop at Nothing to Maintain the Credibility of the State

(14/01/16)

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❗❗

 

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Pademba Road Prison is Still an Eyesore in Sierra Leone's Democracy!

(07/01/16)

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!!

 

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Release of 152 Prisoners is Christmas Come Early for Many Families

(01/01/16)

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.

 

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Steven Gbekie is Not an Informant for the Organiser Newspaper!!

(27/12/15)

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.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

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.

 

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Shame that Sierra Leone Politicians Continue to Use Honorary 'Dr'

(10/07/15)

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.

TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

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By Mahmud T Kargbo (14/01/19)

President Julius Maada Bio will end like Albert Margai whose tribalism testimony in 1965 that subsequently swept him off in to political disgrace.

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