Mobile View
Tablet View
Desktop View
21st January 2019

Archive - The Organiser News Stories:October/December 2016

 

Blood Transfusion in Sierra Leone is a Giant Leap for our Health System

By Joseph S. N'Bompa (30/12/16)

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone really exposed to the world how poor the health sector has been in the country.

Sierra Leone lacked not only the experience to address the Ebola crisis but also lacked an emergency medical response team and infrastructural centre. This greatly contributed to the massive loss of loved ones before the emergence of the international community to give medical assistance. (Pictured: The Deputy Minister of Health 1, Madina Rahman).

The country knows that blood is a body fluid in human beings and animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to be parts of the body. It's transfusion is generally deemed to be safe, common procedure in which blood is given to one through an intravenous (IV) line in blood vessels. 

This is usually done to replace blood lost during surgery or due to a serious injury. In other words, it is the process that involves taking blood from one person (the donor) and giving it to someone else. 

However, there are risks, complications and side effects involved in the process. Serious consideration must be given to the types of blood and its handling. People undergo this for many reasons. Sierra Leone must be careful to watch for what to expect before, during and after a blood transfusion. Before a transfusion one must carefully consider in discussion with a doctor. 

One must find out about the condition and treatment options to make an informed decision for any transfusion. One must ask the doctor several questions such as: Do I really need this procedure or are there simpler, safer options? What happens if I don't do anything and what is the cost? 

In Sierra Leone today, blood donation is handled by the  Red Cross Society. It is voluntary but the collection, processing, handling, testing and distribution invite significant costs. How do we get this practice funded? Is funding coming from donors or the state or from both? 

Also, Sierra Leoneans have a phobia attached to blood issues some of which are personal, religious and others. Anyhow, the practice requires highly educated and knowledgeable medical professionals.

Sierra Leoneans hope their medical sector can handle the sick with great care. Honestly, Ministry of Health and Sanitation has risen to better standards and we expect more to compliment President Ernest Bai Koroma's Agenda For Prosperity and the Free Health Care programme. 

Kudos to the Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah particularly the Deputy Minister of Health 1, Madina Rahman, who is piloting the blood transfusion scheme.

Courtesy: By Joseph Saidu N'Bompa

 

White Supremacy, Institutional Racism & Prejudice on the Black Man

By Ejatu Shaw (30/12/16)

To 'abolish' is to formally put an end to a system, practice or institution. The effects of the transatlantic slave trade still shake our communities.

And although it was 'formally' put to an end, it still haunts black people through the means of more acceptable systems. I created this work with the intention of exposing the effects of white supremacy, institutional racism, and prejudice on the Black Man. (Pictured: British Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to tackle inequality and institutional racism in United Kingdom).

According to mentalhealth.org.uk, people from black and minority ethnic groups living in the UK are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, but also less likely to engage with mental health services, leading to social exclusion.

When a young black man switches on his television or laptop, he is scarred by the countless video clips of innocent black men being killed by police officers, or more commonly, one other. 

Looking at both historical events and current happenings in the world, he sees that black men are criminalised; whether it be the predator that is lynched and left hanging from a tree like strange fruit after wrongly being accused of rape, or the hyperactive black kid that spends more of his time in the head teacher’s office than he does in class. 

There is psychological trauma that needs to be dealt with in black communities, but the Black Man feels that he has no one he can turn to. He does not want to emasculate himself by sharing his anguish with another party. In some instances, he can’t quite put his finger on why he feels the way he does.

To depict this solitude, I captured some UK based black men as they went about their daily activities and pursued their passions, whilst still capturing their inner torment. One of the subjects is a musician, and we see him playing his saxophone in the centre of his living room. 

The blinds are shut to represent his severe seclusion and all we see of him is a silhouette.  There is a small amount of light hitting his saxophone, making it visible to us and enabling us to see that despite his suffering, he still has something to live for and express himself through; music.

To abolish is also to ‘do away with’ and we must not abandon the Black Man. I hope that this work brings awareness to these themes of institutional racism, and its effect on the mental health of black men.

And to also encourage the Black Man to break away from his social exclusion and open up about the problems that he faces. 

Courtesy: By Ejatu Shaw, a student of Architecture at Edinburgh University. Ejatu is also the niece of the Editor/Publisher of the Organiser newspaper. 

 

WAEC Seizes 13,488 WASSCE Results as Students Suffer in Nigeria

By Press Release (30/12/16)

The results of 13,488 private candidates for the 2016 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have been withheld.

Mr Olu Adenipekun, Head of National Office (HNO) of the WAEC, announced this while releasing results of the November/December date of the examination recently in Lagos. (Pictured: Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari).

Mr. Adenipekun said the 13,488 results, out of the 172,699 results, were withheld in connection with various cases of examination malpractice. According to him, the results withheld represent 7.81 per cent of the total number of candidates who sat for the examination.

He said that the cases of malpractices were being investigated and that reports of the investigations would be presented to the appropriate committee of the council in due course, for consideration.

The HNO added that the committee’s decision would be communicated to the affected candidates thereafter. Giving a further breakdown of the results, Adenipekun said that 176,621 candidates registered for the examination, out of which 172,699 sat for the tests.

He said that of the figure, 88,290 were males, while 84,409 were females, representing 51.12 per cent and 48.88 per cent respectively. Adenipekun said that 1,210 other candidates had some of their subjects still being processed due to some errors traceable to them in the course of writing the examination.

“Such errors are being corrected by the council to enable the affected candidates get their results fully processed and released subsequently,’’ he said. According to him, out of the 172,699 that sat for the examination, 72,229 candidates, representing 41.82 per cent obtained credits and above in six subjects.

A total of 95,294 representing 55.18 per cent obtained credits and above in five subjects, while 116,133 candidates, representing 67.25 per cent, obtained credits and above in four subjects.

Similarly, 134,152 candidates, representing 77.67 per cent, obtained credits and above in three subjects, while 149,651 candidates, representing 86.65 per cent, also scored credits and above in two subjects.

Adenipekun explained that 66,497 candidates, representing 38.50 per cent, obtained credits and above in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

Giving a comparative analysis of the performance of the candidates who sat for the 2016 Nov/Dec of the examination, the HNO said there was an improvement when compared to candidates’ performance in the same examination in the 2014 and 2015 diets.

“In the percentage of candidates that obtained credits and above in five subjects, including English and Mathematics in this year’s examination, there is improvement in the performance this year when compared to the 29.37 per cent in 2014 and 20.59 per cent in 2015 respectively,’’ he said.

Adenipekun attributed the improved performance to the impact of democracy in the country. He said that many state governments were now showing commitment towards improving education in their respective states.

“More infrastructure are being put in place, more schools also being built, while existing ones are being improved upon,’’ the HNO said. On its part, he said that WAEC maintained the standard of the examinations at all times.

He assured that the council would continue to organise seminars for stakeholders to discuss the way forward for the Nigerian child.

“We will always ensure the examinations are taken to the places of habitat of the candidates, no matter the challenges. This is to ensure that no one is denied the right to education,’’ he said.

The NHO said that 19 blind candidates registered and sat for the examination. Adenipekun said that candidates who sat for the examination would be able to check the details of their performance on the council’s website in the next 24 hours.

Courtesy: By the Ikeja Media Group

 

"Maada Bio and his Bad Supporters Must Leave the SLPP," ASB Urges

By Press Release (28/12/16)

A staunch former supporter of Maada Bio has surprisingly warned Bio and the people he brought in to destroy the SLPP to leave the party.

Whatever instigated Alpha Saidu Bangura to fiercely propagate the expulsion of Maada Bio and his political proponents has left many SLPP members flabbergasted.

In 2011, Alpha Saidu Bangura and his party cohorts supported Maada Bio strongly while they celebrated him as the SLPP flag-bearer despite the fact Maada Bio has been a rebel, a non patriotic Sierra Leonean, a political squanderer and a violator of the Constitution of Sierra Leone.

Electing Maada Bio as the flag-bearer of the SLPP in 2011 to contest the presidential election against President Ernest Bai Koroma had born bad blood within the SLPP. It has caused some of their staunch party members like Alhaji Osman Boye, Dr. Abass Bundu, Dr. Abdulai Conteh and Chairman John Benjamin to sense the indignation of tribal discrimination sedated with favouritism through bipartisanship. 

But despite the humiliation, there are folks like Alpha Saidu Bangura, who have been belligerent and are acquiescing tribalism and despotism with unrealistic obsession with a political party that has been constantly causing them embarrassment. 

Listening to Alpha Saidu Bangura strongly making disparaging statements about a man he once hailed as the flag-bearer of his party is beyond belief. He has reverted his extolling statements to be rude and demeaning; but, as words don't lie, it is important to examine some of the rude comments he made about Maada Bio.

That sentimental and tribalistic favouritism adopted through the SLPP bipartisanship have done nothing wrong to this so called "party with discipline," (according to Alpha Saidu Bangura), but has caused the party a shrinkage in its membership  with tremendous infighting and desertions. The SLPP members are disengaged in their role as the opposition party now engaging themselves in a battle against one another. 

Many were flabbergasted after listening to an audio tape that was created by the SLPP Public Relations Personnel, Alhaji Alpha Saidu Bangura: his audio tape propagates the expulsion of the man his party has once promised to love and die for.

SLPP has decided to make their political party a party for the Mendes, of the Mendes and by the Mendes, while the minority members from other tribes forming the party membership (for example: guys from the Temne, Mandingo, and the Fulla tribes etc.) are in a state of shock and betrayal. The SLPP only sees Maada Bio as the right man for the job because he is from the Mende tribe.

However, Alpha Saidu Bangura has produced a PR audio tape in which he addressed someone called Cherry: he appealed to Cherry and members of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) to stay in the party and never allow anyone to discourage them to leave. He encouraged them to stay and let go Maada Bio with the bad members within their party. 

He reminded his party cohorts that during the reign of NPRC Maada Bio had pushed for laws that could have banned the SLPP to exist as a political party in Sierra Leone; but, after he'd noticed that he couldn't succeed in making that happen, he tried to pioneer the NPRC to ban Dr. Salia Jusu Sheriff from participating in politics because the former Minister of Finance had at one time acted as Vice President in the APC government under President Siaka Probyn Stevens.

was gaining momentum and becoming very popular among other SLPP party members in Sierra Leone: he said, Mada Bio knew Hon. Salia Jusu Sheriff would have won the election for the SLPP. Maada Bio spent over $300 to form the failed NUP.

In 1996 at the Consultative Conference, (Alpha Saidu Bangura was a delegate) at Bintumani 1 and 2 conferences when Maada Bio manipulated the military to obstruct democracy in Sierra Leone.

 

60% of Sierra Leone Women in Rural Areas Want Better Social Services

By Press Release (28/12/16)

President Ernest Koroma wants the 60% of women who live in rural areas to get better social care, the Welfare Minister Sylvia Blyden says.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden told the women of Yele in Gbonkolenken Chiefdom, Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone on Thursday December 22, 2016.

Sylvia Blyden disclosed that the recent National Census has revealed that 60% of Sierra Leone women live in rural areas. She also lamented that social service delivery has since colonial days, been always inadequate in the rural areas hence the decision of President Koroma to initiate targeted programs which aim at enhancing social service delivery.

She said the President has a special focus on looking into serving the needs of rural women as it was recognised that rural women had huge gender based challenges. She said this was most marked in Northern Province. 

Minister Blyden spoke of President Koroma's Community Wellness Advocacy Groups (CAGS) which her Ministry has formally relaunched in both Bombali and Tonkolili recently as adjuncts to the ongoing Free Health Care Programme of the government for women and their children. She revealed plans to intensify research that targets constraints faced by rural women in agriculture in order to design solutions for them. 

Dr. Blyden also passionately appealed for rural girls to be empowered to be anything they wanted to be. She said the best way forward to ensure this is by allowing girls to freely grow up and become well educated women. She said extra school charges even after free education was made mandatory, Child Marriage, Teenage Pregnancy and Under-aged FGM are amongst the vices affecting girls in rural areas.

She vehemently warned parents not to forget that any girl below the age of 18 years is a child and cannot get married neither be initiated into the Bondo society. Blyden said girls were diamonds and when allowed to become polished, they add allure to their communities. 

She said an empowered and independent woman was always a centre of positive development in her community so the more empowered women in any society, the more developed that society will be. 

Minister Blyden also spoke of innovative ways whereby girls can be empowered. She spoke of an event she launched recently with Madam Isha Johansen, the female President of Sierra Leone Football Association which aims at using football to empower girls to dream to be anything they wanted to be. 

She said football can be a tool to empower girls to dream big things and go on to achieve them. At this point, the female minister distributed footballs and other designer sports items like jerseys and matching designer socks to the Gbonkolenken Female Football Team, the Central Queens FC. 

Speaking of what might be reference to a recent attempt by her detractors to use a misguided child wrongly portraying himself on the radio as a national executive member of the Children's Forum Network, the Children's Minister urged the girls in the football team to be disciplined as hard work, discipline and an unshakeable focus was why she is successful at whatever she does. She said adults in social positions of trust had to mentor children to be capable of facing challenges of adulthood. She said it was an obligation. 

"When you tell children that they can be spoilt to extent of ignoring due administrative procedures, what are you really doing? You are spoiling the future generation to grow up and become adults without respect for law & order. When you tell 10 years old children that they can be allowed to go into defective, un-serviced buses and be driven hundreds of miles in un-serviced buses, just because you want to be popular with them, you are grooming the future generation to be reckless. 

"No responsible adult can raise the next generation to be reckless, indiscipline, lawless and without respect for order. I consider myself to be in this position today with a sacred mandate to oversee the well-being of children who are the future generation of tomorrow," Sylvia Blyden lectured.

 

Ethiopia Releases 9,800 Curfew Detainees & 2,449 to Appear in Court!!

By Abdur R.A. Shaban (28/12/16)

Ethiopian authorities have recently released 9,800 people detained under the current state of emergency and will be receiving training.

According to the Command Post in charge of implementing the State of Emergency, some 2,449 others will be arraigned before the courts.

Some of the reasons given in November for the arrest of persons included creating and inciting violence, spreading terror and creating instability, burning private and public service institutions and destroying investments.

Authorities had earlier reported that over 11,000 people believed to have taken part in anti-government protests had been arrested.

Justice Minister Siraj Fegessa disclosed to journalists that the Command Post had managed to arrest 19 mob groups that had participated in the protests, the state affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate reported.

He added that a second round of arrests had led to detention of 12,500 suspects across the country. They will also be given training while culpable ones will be made to face the law. Persons were detained at different centres across the country, amongst others; Awash, Tolay, Ziway, Dilla, Yirgalem, Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa centres.

The country declared a six-month state of emergency to curtail the widening protests which started over a year ago. The government declared the curfew following a discussion by the Council of Ministers on the loss of lives and property damages occurring in the country.

The government has since promised political reforms to include a wider group of citizens. A recent cabinet reshuffle by Prime minister Hailemariam Daselegn, saw key positions handed to Oromos - who are part of the minority, their region has been the centre of protests.

The government has since released some 2000 people after they had been counselled, it is unclear whether that figure is part of the current statistic or otherwise.

The authorities also lifted a curfew directive which restricted diplomats from travelling beyond a-40 kilometres radius out of the capital, Addis Ababa without the permission of the Command Post.

Courtesy: By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, Global Africa News 

 

Annie Walsh Young Scientist Thrills UNDP with Latest Water Innovation!!

By Press Release (26/12/16)

Fatmata Bintu Barrie, an Orange Belt Holder and School Prefect at the Annie Walsh Memorial School in Freetown is a budding scientist.

Reports say Bintu's Water Tank Project was honoured by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP Social Good Summit 2016 when she was recently voted 'Best Female Innovator' in Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Annie Walsh is noted for producing geniuses like Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, right, jogging recently with I.J. Kabbah in Freetown).   

At the Mary Kingsley Auditorium Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, where the conference meet took place, Bintu explained: "Few months back I created a water purification tank using the soil profile theory in my filtration unit which allows our large community river to flow through a tank I labelled 'TANK A' filled with pebbles, stones, sand and also treated with mild chlorine.

"The water flowing through this initial tank then passes through a designed mesh barrier into another tank which I also labelled 'TANK B' treated with the same things in 'TANK A' but with less contents. 

"After minutes the filtered water from 'TANK A' and 'TANK B' then enters a reservoir tank I labelled as the 'R TANK' which holds water for the community and having an outlet or tap head for easy opening and closing. 

"I know of many costly or expensive means but this method cost nothing and is very simple,

now my community is benefiting from this scientific idea," the soft spoken Annie Walsh student concluded.

It's an award the young brilliant Bintu Barrie will be surely proud of. Amidst thunderous applause, the conference was thrilled and UNDP wished Bintu all the best in the future.

 

SL Brewery Commissions New Mini-Water Dam in Freetown

By The Ranger (26/12/16)

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited has successfully commissioned a newly-built mini water Dam at Up-Mountain, Peacock Farm, Wellington.

Sponsored by Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) and Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL) and witnessed by representatives from Ward 350 Development Committee, Religious Leaders and other stakeholders, the SLBL commissioned its newly-built mini water dam for the people at Up-Mountain and Peacock Farm. (Pictured: Trade and Industry Minister Allieu Pat-Sowe).

Receiving the new dam was the proactive Councillor of Ward 350 who noted that the Sierra Leone Brewery Ltd. has and is still playing a formidable role in the social and economic growth of Sierra Leone. 

Speaking at the auspicious occasion on Saturday December 17, 2016, held at Up-Mountain, Peacock Farm, Wellington in Freetown, Albert Ojo Collier, Corporate Relations Manager, SLBL stated that the corporate social responsibility of the SLBL spans communities. 

He said that in the last three years, the SLBL together with Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) has provided over Le2.9 billion (two billion, nine hundred thousand Leones) as part of its corporate social responsibility in the country.

“We are currently building two hospitals one each in Wellington and Calaba Town communities. We are also sponsoring a water and sanitation project at Ward 352 Mellon Street, Wellington. We also have projects here in our local communities. Through HAF, we are supporting one hospital in Yele, Tonkolili District and another one in Masanga, both in northern Sierra Leone,” said Mr. Collier.

He added that among the various projects initiated and managed by the SLBL comprise the SLBL Cares package of projects amounting to Le2.09 billion, adding that the mini-dam project, headed by the Councillor is the first project to undergo the complete process of tendering, bidding, procurement of materials and the commissioning which was done in a transparent and credible manner. He also informed his audience that this particular project will benefit well over 12,000 (twelve thousand) residents in the community.

“Our support does not end here. It is the beginning of a new era in Peacock Farm with more sustainable projects which will be intended to improve the livelihood of our people. That the SLBL requires support of all Sierra Leoneans especially that of their host community. He added that Wellington community will help promote SLBL brands like Maltina, Star, Mutziq, Guiness among others," the SLBL PRO noted.

Other speakers at the auspicious event included Unisa Conteh, Corporate Relations Assistant (SLBL) who gave the introductory address; Councillor Mohamed Jean Tholley of Ward 350, Constituency 097, who initiated the project in collaboration with the SLBL. 

In his short but impressive speech, Councillor Mohamed Jean Tholley informed his audience that the project was initiated eight (8) months ago and cost Le121 million (One hundred and twenty-one million Leones). He also called on the community people to maintain the project for its sustainability.

The Member of Parliament for Constituency 097 who was unavoidably absent was represented by a notable individual who spoke on his behalf to the appreciation of the audience.

 

Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed is New UN Deputy Secretary General

By Press Release (26/12/16)

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said Nigeria’s Environment Minister Amina Mohammed will be his Deputy.

The incoming UN boss Guterres made the announcement through Stephane Dujarric the spokesman of the outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (pictured).

Guterres also announced the appointment of two other women into high profile positions at the UN. Ms. Maria Viotti of Brazil (Chef de Cabinet) and Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea as Special advisor on policy, a new role he intends to create.

“I am pleased to announce that I will be appointing Ms. Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as my Deputy Secretary General, and Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as my Chef De Cabinet,” he said.

“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action,” he added.

Amina Mohammed, the current Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, served as UN Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser to outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals. Before joining the UN, Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals.

Courtesy: By Global Africa News 

 

African Cup of Nations AFCON Tickets Go on Sale for Gabon 2017

By Press Release (24/12/16)

The sale of tickets for the upcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017) in Gabon has started, the Organising Committee (COCAN) says.

The tickets for the continent’s biggest football showpiece will cost between 500 and 40,000 FCFA (between $0.80 and $63), the COCAN earlier confirmed. (Pictured: Mahrez of Algeria and Leicester City and the first African footballer to win the Best Player Award in England).

The tournament to be held between January and February next year kicks off on Saturday January 14 with an opening ceremony in the capital, Libreville. Rates for the ceremony ranges between 2,000 to 20,000 FCFA, about $3 and $30 respectively.

After the opening ceremony, hosts Gabon will face Guinea-Bissau, after which Cameroon will face Burkina Faso at the 40,000 seater Stade D’Amitie (Friendship Stadium). The venue will also host the grand final on Sunday 5 February.

The organisers disclosed that a total of some 500,000 tickets are on sale in the four host cities of Libreville, Franceville, Port-Gentil and Oyem.

There are however some issues with respect to the Oyem venue which is located in the north of the country. The Sports Minister Nicole Asselé was recently concerned about the delays in the completion of the new stadium with 20,000 seats.

Also, a local newspaper reported that there were also issues about the state of the road between Oyem and Bitam, 50 km further north near Cameroon. “Two teams will be lodged in Bitam and must therefore make shuttles to rally Oyem for the matches,” the newspaper added.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco and the Hawks of Togo, which will share a hotel in Bitam. The AFCON groups are as follows:

GROUP A – Gabon, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau

GROUP B – Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Zimbabwe

GROUP C – Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Morocco and Togo

GROUP D – Ghana, Mali, Egypt, Uganda

Courtesy: By Global Africa News 

 

3 Pupils Receive I.K, Edith Foday Scholarship Awards in Sebgwema

By Philip Koroma (24/12/16)

Christmas has indeed come early for three brilliant pupils in Sebgwema after receiving the I.K. and Edith Foday Memorial Foundation Awards. 

Reports say the scholarship awarded to the three successful pupils came about following their excellent performance in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in Sebgwema Njaluahun Chiefdom in Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Pupils in Sierra Leone).

According to the pioneer of the Foundation, Julius I.K. Foday Junior, the foundation was established in remembrance of his late parents who struggled with him in pursuit of his academic excellence but could not reap what they sowed. 

Mr. Julius Foday Jnr. said as an indigene of Njaluahun Chiefdom who had struggled as an orphan to complete his academic career, he has pledged to give out 10% of his monthly earnings on behalf of his family to the Foundation in order to support other pupils and students in their academic strive. 

He disclosed that the three successful BECE pupils were given a four year tuition fees, school bags, foot wears and other learning materials totally USD 400. He pledged his commitment to continue awarding the said scholarship to deserving pupils for the overall development of the chiefdom and the country at large. 

"The Foundation has also recently awarded scholarships to successful pupils in the National Primary School Examination  (NPSE) in the chiefdom and encouraged parents to monitor the movement of their children so that they can become self reliant in the future," the philanthropist admonished.

 

SLPP 98.1FM Chaps were the Goebells of Sierra Leone Civil War!

By Abdul M. Bangura (24/12/16)

APC government of President Ernest Koroma has accused Julius Spencer’s propaganda FM 98.1 radio of causing many innocent deaths.

Dr. Julius Spencer, formerly of the 98.1 FM was on countless of instances mentioned by the current ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report  for his role in fanning gross human rights abuses during Sierra Leone’s decade long civil war. (Pictured: Vice President Victor Foh, left, with former Vice President Solomon Berewa, who manipulated the SLPP kangaroo court in 1998).

Though he is shamelessly denying ever being mentioned in the TRC report, however, research conducted by this writer has clearly shown most of the areas in the TRC report that are specifying on the personality, and indications of where Dr. Spencer is said to have committed serious human rights crimes.

Current Vice President, Victor Bockarie Foh, in his submission to the TRC in 2003 said the spate of killings and burning of human beings in Freetown and the regions were as a result of measure of miscalculation and vengeance taken by Spencer and others.

Furthermore, in their submission, the APC said: “The radio totally fuelled the war in this country by deliberately misinforming the masses. During the invasion of Freetown in 1999 by the rebels, the radio misinformed the people to the extent that many casualties among the civilian population were directly the result of the misinformation bandied around by Dr. Julius Spencer and others.” 

For more bullet points of the TRC reports on the Human Rights abuses of Dr. Julius Spencer, see below: Dr. Julius Spencer's Human Rights Abuses Exposed by TRC Reports; What Victor Foh told the TRC about Julius Spencer.

THE TASK FORCE - AN UNFORTUNATE CREATION

In early February 1998 Nigerian ECOMOG Force invaded Freetown, chased out the AFRC/RUF Military Junta from power, and restored President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, his Government and the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution.

A 10 (ten) man TASK FORCE was appointed to "Arrest, Detain, Hit and Kill" ant-SLPP elements in Sierra Leone. Some Members of this Task Force included Vice President Albert Joe Demby, Attorney General Solomon Berewa, Julius Spenser and Alie Bangura of Radio 98.1. This TASK FORCE engaged in settling scores and corruption.

ECOMOG, Kamajor Militia, Radio 98.1, the Task Force, hoodlums and pro-SLPP hot heads engaged in violence and mob action against perceived political opponents, their families and their properties.

The spate of killings and burning of human beings in Freetown and the regions were as a result of this measure of miscalculation and vengeance by the Task Force. Most unfortunately, Alhaji Musa Kabia, Sheik Mujtaba, Sakoma and many others suffered this cruel ordeal. Properties worth millions of Leones were razed to the ground. Many innocent common citizens suffered the same plight. My party, the APC and its membership were the targets.

This Task Force metamorphosed into a very corrupt money making screening panel of the several thousands of alleged anti-SLPP detainees in police cells all over the country and at the Pademba Road Maximum Security Prisons. A most unholy and dirty job was done, ironically, in the name of restoration of democratically elected government of Tejan Kabbah.

CULLED FROM TRC REPORT APPENDIX COVERING PERSONAL EXPERIENCE BY VICTOR BOCKARIE FOH AS DELIVERED TO THE TRC ON

FRIDAY, 4TH JULY 2003. 

SUBMISSION BY THE ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC) TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC) March 2003

All Peoples Congress (APC) Party - Submission to the TRC

If Kabbah had taken cognizance of the possibility of an explosion taking place within each of the two major belligerent groups, innocent blood spilt during the invasion of Freetown in 1999 could have been avoided. 

We have mentioned elsewhere in this submission the way President Kabbah mismanaged the Abidjan Peace Accord and later the Conakry Accord. He also did not handle with care the Army/Kamajor and the Army/Civilian relationships. He encouraged the dissemination of destructive propaganda in the country... 

Courtesy: By Abdul Malik Bangura, Awareness Times Newspaper

 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-Net) Engages Parliament

By Press Release (22/12/16)

The Sierra Leone government has continued coordinating water and sanitation services to develop the livelihoods of people in the country.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASH-Net), a local non-governmental organisation has been coordinating and advocating for water and sanitation to be key in the development of the livelihood of the people. (Pictured: Water Resources Minister Momodu Maligi).

On Thursday December 01, 2016, at the Administrative Building in Parliament, WASH-NET engages the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Water Resources, chaired by Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma in a one day dialogue forum with the theme 'Enhancing Sector Governance and Financing'.

Giving an overview to MPs, Managing Director for WASH-Net, Victor Koroma said among other things that their aim is to have a joint parliamentary engagement on how to advocate for an increase in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Water Resources. He called on MPs to support this initiative by advocating for the said Ministry to achieve its objectives.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma welcomed the dialogue forum and pledged Parliament’s support to the process. He promised to see that the Committee on Water championed the cause of water related issues with the view of advocating for more resources to be given to the water sector to enhance the livelihood of the people.

Presenting the activities of WASH-Net, Emmanuel Sandy averred that the organisation is focused on tracking budgetary allocation to the water sector, advocacy, sector governance, trend of expenditure, and late disbursement of funds.

Representing Water-Aid, Aruna Augustine Kamara spoke on the relationship between the two organisations, whilst noting advocacy for the improvement of water and sanitation in the country. He also called on MPs to kindly support the development of the water sector.

Charting the way forward, MPs appreciated the engagement and promised to raise the issue discussed in the Well of Parliament during the 2017 budget approval process.

Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Education Ministry Dishes Out Academic Awards for 2016

By Gunther AB Daramy (22/12/16)

Week of education ends with a bang as Sierra Leone school children and educators bagged integrity awards from the Education Ministry.

Hundreds of school going children, including educators across the nook and cranny of the country, have been awarded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), at the St. Joseph Convent school in Freetown on Friday 16th December 2016. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Bah).

The Ministry awarded academic excellence of the year 2016, as this year's week of education participants who have said ended with a big bang full of positives for the education sector of the country.

The award pays keen interest to schools and pupils who performed exceptionally well in public examinations. Spicing the award programme, teachers, who were able to score high grades in core subjects like Mathematics, English Language, General Studies among other important subjects, were also awarded.

The best pupils in the National Primary School Examination (NPSE) were  Alpha Ibrahim Bah and Binta Bah with an aggregate of  358. The Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) 2016 goes to Gideen Miracle Johnson of University School Njala with an aggregate of 6. However,  Eugina Rogers of the Annie Walsh Memorial School also pulled aggregate 6 staying behind Miracle Johnson an inch.  

Impressively, the Minister of MEST, Dr. Minkailu Bah personally handed over a special award for integrity to the Awada School in Bo. The proprietor of the school, Madam Chadia Awada Talib and the Principal were acknowledged for contributing to the crusade against examination malpractice. 

The Minister recalled how the proprietor displayed high spirit of integrity when she refused an examiner to succeed in examination malpractice in return for money. Dr. Bah narrated Madam Talib called him up and other relevant stakeholders when an examiner "shamefully took  bundle of examination scripts of her pupils asking for money so that he will pass the school". 

Madam Talib, the Minister revealed, refused and reported the matter to the relevant authorities. He said the woman is among the people the nation is crying for. Dr. Bah said the transformation of the country's  education system could only be achieved when pupils, students and other learners pass their exams genuinely. 

Head of Change Unit, MEST, Dr. Chuku Dupignee said the Ministry is doing all it could to not only allow students to have access to education, but ensure they are well trained to meet society demand. He said the Ministry is tracking how students are improving. 

Dr. Dupignee said the Ministry has been more focused on access which according him,  was to get the children to school.  Now, he noted, they are focused on improvement and how the learning is taking place. The Ministry is monitoring schools to help them improve. He summarised that MEST is focused on ensuring all schools perform well. 

In a related development, education partners on exhibition in collaboration with donor partners, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 15th December 2016 organised an Education Exhibition at the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG), in Freetown.

The exhibition was intended to assemble education stakeholders in order to show or display the products, services, experiences, projects, contributions and other important aspects that are essential to the development of education in Sierra Leone. 

Donor partners who gathered at the school campus showcased some of their project implementation, plans and other valuable contributions in complementing the government efforts.

Courtesy: By Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone

 

President Koroma Attends ECOWAS Heads of State Summit in Nigeria

By Press Release (22/12/16)

The ECOWAS Heads of State meet in Nigeria will touch primarily on the political impasse currently engulfing the elections in the Gambia.

President Ernest Bai Koroma has recently departed Freetown for the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend the 50th Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State Summit. (Pictured: President Koroma and Nigeria President Buhari greeting the First Lady).

President Koroma will join his colleague Heads of State and Government in Abuja to discuss, among other issues, recent ECOWAS’ mediation intervention efforts for an amicable resolution of the political impasse in The Gambia.

A State House press release also reported that the ECOWAS leaders will deal with the progress on ongoing mediation efforts into the political crisis in Guinea Bissau. 

His Excellency and his entourage left Freetown on Sunday, December 18, 2016, according to the Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay State House, Freetown.

Telephone: +232-76-804-668 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Alternates: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

SLPP Gorama Mende Declares for the APC Party in Kenema District!!

By Vangahun DP (20/12/16)

Main opposition party, Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP, has again been deserted after Gorama Mende declared for the ruling APC.

It was a unique and historic occasion as people in one of the stronghold areas of the SLPP, Gorama Mende Chiefdom, openly declared for the APC party of President Ernest Koroma (pictured).

The people were bold enough with patriotic heart as they compliments the good works of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC government. 

Present at the historic ceremony included the APC National Secretary General Osman Foday Yansaneh; APC Deputy Regional Chairperson East, who also doubles as Minister of  Local Government and Rural Development Maya Moiwo Kaikai.

Others included Deputy Minister of  Finance Momoh Vandi, Commissioner Margaret Toronka, Chief Moijueh Gbetuwai aka Gbosgbos, Kenema District APC Chairman Mr.Prince Kamara etc. 

This latest desertion is just one of many in recent times. People are fed up with the disjointed and disorganised SLPP and had taken this painful move to leave their beloved SLPP party for the ruling APC government whom they believe has done more national good than their beleaguered SLPP.

Courtesy: Vangahun D Patriot

 

Local Govt Minister Launches Waste Sector Reforms in Sierra Leone

By Fayia Amara Fayia (20/12/16)

Sierra Leone is prioritising healthy living by committing to a cleaner environment thanks to the launch of the waste sector reforms.

The Waste Management Sector Reform Project for Bo, Kenema and Makeni Cities funded by the United Kingdom Aid (UKaid) through German organisation called Welt Hunger Hilfe was launched on Friday 9th December in the Makeni City Council Hall. (Pictured: Minister Maya Kaikai).

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Maya Moiwo Kaikai, while doing the official launching as supervising Minister for Local Councils, was particularly gratified that waste management in the cities is now a priority for the Sierra Leone government.

Minister Maya Kaikai said it was always refreshing to be in Makeni for several reasons including the convergence like epoch-making event. He added that from the Ministry’s point of view, such meetings create interactions for discussing the development challenges of the city and mobilise the impressive and rapid development strides taking place in Sierra Leone under the dynamic leadership of His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma.

“Our presence here today is the aggregate of long hours of hard work, commitment and dedication of the people of the three cities of Bo, Kenema and Makeni. It is the actualisation of a dream,” Minister Maya stressed. 

He thanked the development partners, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development  (DFID), for their timely intervention in providing funds for tackling one of the major challenges facing the country and the rest of the World, the effective and efficient management of wastes. 

The Minister said waste management poses serious challenges to development aspirations as it is invariably linked with development. Even though our country has a National Integrated Waste Management Plan, yet implementation has been a serious challenge and governments past and present, have grappled with the myriad of socio-economic and political problems of waste management.

Minister Kaikai noted that waste management is highly capital venture and that councils lack the funds needed for effective management notwithstanding the support the government continues to provide for the councils to effectively and efficiently manage their waste. He said the enormity of the task is daunting and the resources available are not adequate. What is however important to mention is that, through the decentralisation process, the enabling environment has been created for our development partners to complement the efforts of both the Central and Local Governments.

The Minister hinted that his Ministry is open to positive initiatives and welcome donor assistance that will transform the cities through effective and efficient waste management systems and that as a government determined to decisively tackle the problem of waste management, they felt relieved when DFID came to the assistance of Bo city Council at first and now Makeni and Kenema City Councils to support them run effective and efficient waste management systems. 

He expressed hope that such support will be sustained in keeping the cities clean and the same time generates wealth from waste. Maya Kaikai reminded the audience that their convergence was a pointer to the many goals scored by the APC Government which they expect every Local Councils to sustain or emulate for the betterment of the country. 

He urged beneficiary councils not to stand in the way of development of their people but rather join other development partners in facilitating and promoting all development efforts for the better Sierra Leone, adding that what they are witnessing is a testimony of the government’s Agenda for Change which was transformed into Agenda for Prosperity through waste management. 

Minister Kaikai noted that waste becomes a valuable commodity that can serve more purposes than just mere rubbish to be disposed of. Every line on the waste chain has economic value that if properly harnessed can add impetus to government’s agenda for Prosperity. 

"From transportation to reuse and recycling, waste can generate income for the masses and create jobs for the many thousands of the unemployed youths," the Minister concluded. 

 

Youths Uneasy with Jammeh and Barrow's Political Situation

By Press Release (20/12/16)

Youths are said to have been living in fear during Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years in power. They dream to seek greener pastures abroad.

But the election of Adama Barrow (pictured) as Head of State has given them some hope now, that it is possible to make it in Gambia.

“I would like to stay and work, do business here. I would like to really live in my country and make it here by God’s power,” fisherman, Ansu Sanyang said.

Ansu lives with his parents and two brothers. But with the difficult economic situation he is contemplating on whether to stay or leave the country.

“I see well our situation, the situation of my family. And I do not work here. Therefore I must leave and die for them,” Sanyang added.

Jammeh said this about migration while campaigning: “Migration is a choice. In this country, this is not because of poverty. But for the opposition, the problem comes from elsewhere." 

“It is because of the crisis in the Gambia, that's why everybody is embarking on the back way. Because if you hear the word Europe, you think that it is heaven. But this is never like that,” Gambia’s president elect, Adama Barrow said.

Just like many Gambians, Ansu was ready to stay home when Yahya Jammeh accepted defeat. The fresh hope blowing across the country turned bitter when Yahya Jammeh ate back his words by calling for fresh elections.

Ansu’s last hope like that of many others lies in the ECOWAS mediating as part of efforts to convince President Yahya Jammeh to concede power to the democratically elected president elect Adama Barrow.

Courtesy: Agence French Press

 

3 Guns Snatched from Police Officers by Unknown Persons in Kono

By Press Release (18/12/16)

Three guns have reportedly been snatched from police officers in Kono District in the diamond rich eastern province of Sierra Leone.

Explaining the circumstances under which the guns were snatched away on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, a senior police officer whose name is withheld, attached to the Tankoro Police Division said the first incident happened to an Operational Security Division (OSD) police officer deployed at Lebanon, a mining community in Koidu. (Pictured: Inspector General of Police Francis Munu).

He said the police officer in question was allegedly beaten to death and thrown into a stream close to a mining pit called Bakundu.

He further explained that the second was another Operational Security Division (OSD) personnel deployed after a riot between two schools i.e. Koidu Secondary School and the Islamic Secondary School.

He said the police officer sergeant Abu designated at the above schools went home after serving three days on duty, tired and was sleeping at his resident around Yardu Road community when unidentified persons took away his gun.

He continued that the latest was with an officer who was deployed at a business enterprise, PEE CEE and Sons Enterprises at 76 Main Kainkordu Road in Koidu City. He said the police officer was attacked and badly wounded and gun taken away. The guns in question are believed to be AK47 rifles.

Notwithstanding, a famous thug Adamu Ezzeh was on the 13th December, 2016 accused of possessing a gun by one of his accomplice.

The matter is under police investigation at the Tankoro Police Station.

Courtesy: Mamba TV Reporter

 

No Justice for Murdered Burkinabe Journalist as Observance Held

By Press Release (18/12/16)

At the Justice Palace in the capital Ouagadougou, demonstrators observed 13 minutes of silence in remembrance of Nobert Zongo.

Zongo was assassinated in 1998, at the age of 49, while investigating allegations linking the brother of Burkina Faso’s President, Blaise Compaore, to a high-profile unsolved murder. (Pictured: Electorates exercising their democratic rights at the polls).

Fellow journalists are outraged over the delays in pursuing justice on this case. ‘‘This long wait makes us ashamed. 18 years to commemorate the sad anniversary of the assassination of Norbert Zongo and his companions without the slightest justice. We revolt,’‘ said Boureima Ouedraogo, the spokesman of Professional Journalists Association in Burkina Faso.

Yet, for many Burkinabes, the fall of the ex-President, Blaise Compaore, symbolised the end of impunity. They believe that a lot of injustice was done to them.

In November 2013, nearly two years after the case was originally filed and almost 15 years after Norbert was killed, his family finally had the opportunity for the first time to put their appeal for justice before a court not controlled by the government of Burkina Faso.

“It is really sad because we thought that with the departure of tyrant Blaise Compaore things were going to move ahead. This is not good, we are still disappointed to see that the case is still untouched and nothing good has happened,’‘ said Guy Zongo, the son of the late Norbert Zongo.

The judiciary are aware of the complexity of this case and in the past 18 years, nothing has been done yet. The date of the opening of the trial has not yet been fixed.

Credit: Agence French Press 

 

Sierra Leone Parliament Approves the Appropriation Budget Act 2017

By Press Release (18/12/16)

After an arduous screening by parliament, the Appropriation Act 2017 Budget has finally been approved by the law makers.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 13th December 2016, through its Committee of Supply, after “third reading” passed “The Appropriation Act 2017” into law with some amendments for the services of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Speaker of the House, left).

The Appropriation Act of 2017 provides for the authorisation of expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the services of Sierra Leone and other related matters.

However, the Le 4.7 Trillion Budget has been approved by Parliament, with the exception of three vote heads that are allocated to The Judicial Service Commission, Mass Media Services (SLBC), and the Provincial Secretary’s Office Southern Region, for failing to appear before the respective Sub-Appropriation Committees for the scrutiny of their budgetary heads and estimates for 2016 and 2017.

The 2017 Budget has gone through an arduous process inclusive of its delivery in Parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, first and second readings (introduction and extensive debate), the scrutiny and examination of vote heads and estimates, followed by third reading before passage into law.

In rounding the deliberations at the Committee of Supply, the Acting Minority and the Majority Leaders of the House called on the 19-Councils to account for funds allocated to them for the development of their respective localities.

And Parliament should consolidate and make necessary follow-up on the observations and recommendations made by the Sub-Appropriation Committees to cut down on leakages and wastage of needed resources by the MDAs, who are good at expending and poor at revenue generation for the development of the country.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone 

 

Zainab Bangura Eyes the APC Flag as United Nations Contract Ends

By Ahmed S. Nasralla (16/12/16)

One of Sierra Leone's famous female politicians Zainab Bangura bade good bye to the UN to eye the coveted APC flag-bearer post.

Hilary Clinton may have controversially lost the US presidential elections after an illustrious political career spanning 30 years, but that has not dampened the spirit of one of her protégés, Zainab Hawa Bangura, to pursue her ambition to lead Sierra Leone in the near future. (Pictured: Zainab collecting her honorary degree at Oxford University).

After months of speculation Madam Bangura has perhaps given the first indication that she is entering the race to lead her party, the All People’s Congress (APC), to the next national polls in 2018.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, according to a very close family source, will not be renewing her contract with the United Nations when it expires at the end of December 2016 and has given notice to the incoming Secretary General, that she is coming back to Sierra Leone to be a part of the political process. The current Secretary General’s term also comes to an end on December 31st 2016.

ZHB, as she is now fondly called by family, friends and colleagues, flew in quietly back home on Saturday 12th November, 2016 on what can probably be described as the start of her journey to become the next President of the small but rich West African country.

Family sources say ZHB will be here till first week January 2017. While here, she will hold consultative meetings with the leadership of the APC as well as party stakeholders. Already, names of many personalities eyeing the flag-bearer position of the party post-President Ernest Bai Koroma have been tossing around, but ZHB’s is the only female in the mix so far.

Family sources say she’s beaming with confidence despite realising she’s got a real battle in her hands to overcome her male counterparts.

“She’s confident because she has an enviable track record. And she’s coming home because she thinks having received so much from Sierra Leone, she feels it is time for her to give back,” said her cousin Idrissa Kamara.

Meanwhile, we learnt that ZHB will spend Christmas in her home town of Yoni in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, a tradition for her according to Idrissa.

“She’ll spend Christmas with her family in the village and make sure the kids in the entire village have a memorable Christmas and she’ll inspire them to work hard to become responsible citizens their community will look up to tomorrow," said Idrissa.

It must be noted however that no date has been set for her official declaration but as we await that people have a right to know who actually is Zainab Hawa Bangura, and why she thinks she is the best person to lead the APC and eventually her country. 

Courtesy: By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

 

UN Boss Dismayed at Security Seizure of Electoral Offices in Gambia 

By Press Release (16/12/16)

President Yahya Jammeh has become a thorn in the flesh of the international community after his about-turn in the Gambia elections.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has expressed dismay over the takeover of The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) premises by the military. (Pictured: President-Elect Adama Barrow, has a long wait to take over).

He condemns this outrageous act of disrespect of the will of the Gambian people and defiance towards the international community at a time when a high-level Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was in the country to broker a peaceful transfer of power.

“This action violates the independent status of the IEC under the Gambian constitution, and could compromise the sensitive electoral material under the Commission’s custody,” the statement added.

Security officials stormed the IEC’s offices and sacked the head before taking over the premises. The UN chief reiterated his call for a peaceful, timely, and orderly transfer of power, in full respect of the will of the Gambian people.

The United Nations also called on the security forces to “immediately vacate the IEC premises and to refrain from any further acts with the intent to jeopardise efforts towards the peaceful transfer of power.”

Security officials stormed the IEC’s offices and sacked the head before taking over the premises. The UN chief reiterated his call for a peaceful, timely, and orderly transfer of power, in full respect of the will of the Gambian people.

The United Nations also called on the security forces to “immediately vacate the IEC premises and to refrain from any further acts with the intent to jeopardise efforts towards the peaceful transfer of power.”

Courtesy: Global Africa News

 

Lands Minister Diana Konomanyi Relocates Mother's Corpse in Kono

By N'Bompa (16/12/16)

The mother of Lands, Country Planning and Environment Minister Finda Diana Konomanyi has been reburied in Kono district.

Amidst a very high profile government delegation in Kono, reports say the mortal remains of Minister Diana Konomanyi's beloved mother Petti Kasandra, Pettiquoi, was recently conveyed in Nimikoro Chiefdom for reburial. (Pictured: Lands Minister Diana Konomanyi).

The massive crowd including the Vice President, Victor Bockarie Foh, the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Youth, Sports, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Deputy Minister of Lands, the Secretary General APC, Osman O. Yansaneh, the Honourable Kes Boyah and Koedeyorma of the SLPP, Hon. Tom Tucker and a host of APC stalwarts and dignitaries from in and out of Sierra Leone were in the Nimikoro to receive the corpse.

The corpse was taken to Tombodu the home of the First Lady Madam Sia Nyama Koroma where a vigil was carried out before being taken to her final rest.

Also present in the procession were the Hon. Moijueh Kai Kai, Mr. Mani Koroma, First Lady Madam Sia N'yama Koroma, Amb. Yambasu, Minister of Works and Infrastructures, Resident Minister East, Hon. Karamoh Kabba, Bank Governor Mr. Kerfalah Marah, traditional leaders, a queue of Kono Paramount Chiefs and others.

In another development, Vice President Foh visited the grave site of late Pa Abu Koroma where libation was poured. This is an extraordinary step taken by the Lands Minister to relocate maximum honour and respect to her late mother and family.

 

$31M World Bank Loan to Boosts Fibre Optic Super Communications

By Press Release (14/12/16)

Serious boosts for Fibre Optic Cable super highway communications in Sierra Leone, thanks to the World Bank financial loan investment.

With a loan of thirty one million United States Dollars ($31m) from the World Bank to the Government of Sierra Leone for the advancement of Information Communication Technology (ICT) advancement, the Fibre Optic Cable now managed by the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) has landed in Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group).

The Parliamentary Committee on Information and Communication did a conducted visit recently at the landing site of the Fibre Optic Cable where statements were made by the committee members including the Deputy Speaker Chernor Bah, Majority and Minority Leaders who expressed satisfaction on the work of SALCAB.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chernor Bah was filled with joy when they referred to Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo as “father of the fibre-optic” in Sierra Leone. He also said that he was glad to learn that IFMIS, an accounting software package had been linked to the ECOWAN, noting the challenges it had before with our financial management. He called on SALCAB to assist us to go e-parliament as a separate arm of government to reduce cost and to further enhance the operations of Parliament regarding service delivery.

Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu said Parliament has engaged SALCAB to take its work to the people. He furthered that late transmission of information to people has its attendant effects, whilst referencing the 2016 Finance Act that had been passed by Parliament and approved by the President and which resulted in the price hike of imported alcoholic content in the country. 

Hon. Ibrahim Bundu called on SALCAB to use Parliament as a vehicle of transmitting its messages to the people, and spoke on the investment opportunities such as buying shares and to provide internet service to the people besides using Africell or Airtel.

Minority Leader of the House, Dr. Bernadette Lahai as former expert of the ICT in the Pan-African Parliament underscored the importance of ICT for socio-economic advancement, whilst espousing on the comparative advantage cable has over satellite internet provision. She also said the project is a $31 Million grant of which SALCAB is the limited guarantor.

Dr. Bernadette Lahai explained the importance of Fibre Optic in the information society and for national and international socio-economic development. She added that members of Parliament need to have a very good knowledge about the telecommunications system as this will help them carry out their work effectively and efficiently.

Giving a background of the fibre optics cable landing in the country, Bernadette Lahai disclosed that in 2009, Sierra Leone requested to the World Bank for support to be connected to the rest of the world through submarine Fibre Optic cables, “with a non-repayable grant of $31 million."

She noted that the Fibre Optic Cable was commissioned by President Koroma in February 2013 and the country’s telecommunications Company, SIERRATEL was charged with the responsibility for the domestic connection of the cable.

The Minority Leader explained that SALCAB Limited was incorporated as a limited liability company with 100% shareholding system from the GOSL in 2013 and it is being supervised by the Ministry of information, with the mandate to manage the Fibre Optic backbone and to provide affordable Fibre Optic capacity to telecommunication companies. On the importance of Fibre Optic Cable, the Minority Leader said the world is going Fibre Optic as a medium of telecommunications infrastructure, to enable the transmission of high speed voice, video and data traffic in enterprise and service provider network.

Also she added that Fibre Optic Cable can increase traffic demand by increasing its capacity to millions of simultaneous voice channel per cable, offers real time transmission and very low error rate, with a transmission delay of 100 million seconds compared to 600 million seconds for satellite system. She concluded by saying that Fibre Optic Cable has the potential to reduce the cost of the bandwidth from approximately $2,700 to a mere $200 and even less.

Whilst giving the vote of thanks, Alhaji S. Mansaray assured the Deputy Speaker that in three months 'we will go e-parliament' and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications spoke on behalf of the Minister.

At the ceremony marking the end of the tour, the Managing Director of SALCAB Mohamed Sheriff said Sierra Leone is now moving to becoming a communication super highway. The Managing Director of SALCAB Mohamed Sheriff disclosed that the next stage of the technology is to ensure that not only the privilege should enjoy the system that is why with the World Bank, they are on the completion stage of connecting ten universities and colleges and ten secondary schools with free internet connections.

Mr. Sheriff said the idea for this project is about investing in the young so that they will be able to expose them to Information Communications Technology and to make them get access to universities all over the world. He said SALCAB is determined to take Sierra Leone to the Stock Exchange where every Sierra Leonean will benefit through buying of shares.

SALCAB has been selling bandwidth to different mobile companies therefore Skytech is responsible for providing marketing and communication strategy to raise awareness about SALCAB.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

"Unelected SLPP Officials Want to Hijack the Party," Chair Kapen Says

By Press Release (14/12/16)

The chairman of the SLPP has disclosed how unelected officials of the SLPP party are hatching plans to hijack their beloved party.

The Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party Chief Somano Kapen has also come down hard on Maada Bio's Pa-O-pa wing of the SLPP party, describing its members as behaving in a manner that shows intention and willingness to wreck their party. (Pictured: Maada Bio).

Chief Kapen was speaking on Radio Democracy 98.1 FM recently when he named two of the extremist Pa-O-pa supporters as being at the forefront of those advocating for parallel executives, tampering with lists, and changing voters’ names in the ongoing lower-tier elections within the party.

Mr. Kapen accused the Acting National Secretary General and Acting Publicity Secretary Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara and Lahai Lawrence Leema respectively, both unelected officials, as being among those making things worse for the party by their outrageous utterances both written and verbal. 

He said their behaviour is criminal and he could not therefore preside over a fraudulent process, which was why he suspended the elections in accordance with a National Executive Council (NEC) resolution that gave authority to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to supervise the elections. 

Chief Kapen said his position was clear: “It’s better to do things right than to open a floodgate of litigation after the process as aggrieved parties would certainly go to court and further plunge the SLPP into the abyss of divisiveness."

He said the party would not have any moral ground to stand on to challenge fraud in national elections if it could not conduct its own elections in a free and fair manner and extol the attributes of democracy. 

He countered Lahai Lawrence Leema’s suggestion for him to call a meeting at the controversial SLPP party office in Freetown saying: “How can I call a meeting there when they would intimidate others and prevent them from entering the disputed building?” 

Meanwhile, the Maada Bio camp went ahead with the elections despite Chairman Kapen's protestations and they said they would continue with district elections that weekend. 

Interestingly, Chief Kapen was the Pa-O-pa candidate in the 2013 Delegates’ Convention of the SLPP party and has been a strong supporter of Bio until now. They had previously subjected him to all types of humiliation, including being locked up in his car for several hours before being rescued by the police.

But still remained supportive of Bio. It’s as if the chief has suddenly woken up from a bad dream.

Courtesy: The Torchlight Newspaper

 

Parliament Ratifies 8 Presidential Nominees for High Offices in Freetown

By Press Release (14/12/16)

Eight President Ernest Bai Koroma's nominees for high offices in the country have recently been approved by the Sierra Leone Parliament.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Wednesday 07th December 2016 adopted the recommendations contained in the Sixteenth Report of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service by ratifying eight presidential nominees for various high offices of State. The following presidential nominees were approved by Parliament: (Pictured: Speaker of the House).

1. Professor Durodami Radcliffe Lisk - Chairman, Sierra Leone Council for Post-graduate Colleges of Health Specialties;

2.  Mr. Edward Yarrimeh Kamara - Board Member, Sierra Leone Ports Authority;

3. Mr. Kalilu O. Bah - Board Member, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Board;

4. Mr. Ibrahim M. Kabia - Member, Sierra Leone Electricity & Water Regulatory Commission;

5. Ms. Ada Conteh - Member, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency;

6. Mr. Edward Komeh - Member, Electricity Distribution & Supply Authority;

7. Prof. Dr. Kabineh Koroma - Member, Electricity Distribution & Supply Authority; 

8. Mr. Amadu Dumbuya - Member, Electricity Distribution & Supply Authority.

Prior to the approval of the presidential nominees, MPs on both sides of the aisle who spoke to the motion called on them to perform in respect of their various appointments based on their experience and the confidence reposed in them by President Koroma to serve the State.

However, the MPs also called for improvement in the distribution of electricity since power is now available, the need for effective sensitisation on the effects of drugs abuse to the youthful population. And that energy has increased in Freetown and blackout in homes has also been reduced considerably, that the MoFED should increase allocation to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency to enhance their work.

They also expressed the need for Sierra Leone to get specialised medical personnel and sophisticated medical equipment such as a dialysis machine, whilst recalling the death of a Member of Parliament who died of kidney failure, whilst civil servants were blamed for withholding relevant information for the development of the country at the expense of the politicians.

Also citing the Finance Act of 2016 which provides for increase in electricity and water tariff has generated huge public outcry because it was not communicated to the people, and decried unregulated postings in social media without regards for existing legislations, and described such acts as immoral and unpatriotic behaviour.

Pursuant to the relevant constitutional provisions, nominees having been approved by Parliament will enter their official duties after they have subscribed to the oath that will be administered by President Koroma.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

SLPP Accused of Illegally Killing Kamajor Chief Hinga Norman!!!

By Mohamed Massaquoi (12/12/16)

Dark shadow still hangs over the SLPP party after years of betraying the Kamajor hero who brought them to power in Sierra Leone.

Former Judge of the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, Cameroonian Justice Charles A. Taku has recently stated in The Hague that Chief Hinga Norman did not die as a criminal but rather as a hero that the SLPP party should honour because of his role in re-instating President Tejan Kabbah (pictured) and his SLPP regime back to power.

Taku, now Defense Counsel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, told journalists that the trial of the former Internal Affairs Minister was not prudent at the time, especially when he fought for the liberation of the country.

According to him, the decision to indict Chief Norman was taken by the then government of late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and his notorious Vice President and infamous Attorney General Solomon Berewa.

“Chief Norman fought against those who rebelled against the state and his indictment was uncalled for. More importantly, he did not die as a criminal. I hope the government of that country, especially SLPP, would honour him,” he urged. 

Counsel Taku disclosed that there is a concern now among many international legal practitioners for the review of some of the cases that dealt  with international justice system by the ICC.

Chief Norman was indicted by the Special Court on eight counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity but maintained innocence throughout the proceedings.

Despite being prosecuted as the Commander of the Kamajors during the civil war, report have it that he was still a popular figure among many and commanded  a great deal of support, particularly in the southern and eastern regions of the country. He was viewed by many as a war hero who protected civilians from attacks by RUF and AFRC rebels.

On 22 February 2007, the first accused in the CDF case, Samuel Hinga Norman passed away at a military hospital in Dakar, Senegal. Norman was flown to Senegal on 17 January for medical treatment, and underwent a successful surgical procedure on 8 February, 2007. 

It was reported that Chief Norman suddenly collapsed in the morning hours of 22 February and the Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone had ordered an independent investigation by medical experts to ascertain the cause of death.

The death of Chief Norman, while in custody at the Special Court was seen by many Sierra Leoneans as a ‘game’ because the latter repeatedly complained about his health to court officials and had maintained that his health concerns were not seriously addressed.

Chief Norman served as Deputy Minister of Defense and Minister for Internal Affairs in late President Alhaji Tejan Kabbah’s SLPP government, and remained engaged in politics while detained at the Special Court.

Courtesy: By Mohamed Massaquoi from The Hague 2016, Sierra Leone Concord Times

 

Ethiopia Remembers Castro with 21-Gun Salute in Addis Ababa

By Press Release (12/12/16)

Ethiopia held an event in the capital, Addis Ababa, to commemorate the death of former Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. 

The event which involved the firing of a 21-gun salute was held over the recently at the historic Ethiopia-Cuba Friendship Park. (Pictured: Late Fidel Castro Ruz).

Present at the event were government representatives, Ethiopians who were educated in the South American country, diplomats and members of the public, the state affiliated FANA broadcasting corporate said.

Ethiopia and South Africa and other African countries that benefited from Fidel Castro Ruz's intervention on the continent opened a book of condolence open to members of the public. South Africa’s Jacob Zuma also attended the funeral ceremony held in Havana.

An Ethiopian official, Ambassador Taye, described relations between Ethiopia and Cuba as blood tied and eternal. ‘‘Ethiopia will never forget Castro as he was with us at a difficult time,’‘ he said.

Not all African nations commemorated Fidel Castro's death. The 1977 Ogaden War: Why Somalis fumed at Castro but Ethiopians celebrate him?

In apparent reference to Castro’s intervention in the Ogaden war of 1977, when Cuban troops were deployed to consolidate Ethiopia win the Ogaden plateau at a time that the Somalian army had proven too strong for Ethiopia.

Courtesy: By Global Africa News

 

Iluka Sand Miner to Spend $290M to Improve Safety at Sierra Rutile

By Press Release (12/12/16)

Another mouth-watering windfall on the way to Sierra Leone to hopefully improve the health and safety of workers at the Sierra Rutile.

Reports say the Sand Miner Iluka Resources could spend more than $290 million on ramping up production, streamlining operations and improving safety at Sierra Rutile after completing a merger with the Sierra Leone-based miner. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Mines Minister Minkailu Mansaray).

Iluka sources said it would conduct feasibility studies on spending up to $214 million on expanding production at three mines in the West African country over the next three to five years. 

The sand miner also expects to spend $80 million on improving operational and safety performance measures at Sierra Rutile over the next two years. 

Courtesy: Australian Associated Press December 8, 2016

 

US, ECOWAS Condemn Jammeh's Rejection of the Election in Gambia

By Emma Farge in Dakar (10/12/16)

As ECOWAS suspends Gambia, Senegal has called for U.N. Security meeting over Yahya Jammeh's rejection of the Dec. 1 elections.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said on Friday he rejects the outcome of last week's election that he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow and called for fresh elections. (Pictured: President Jammeh and wife waving during the elections).

The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after the unexpected election result ended Jammeh's 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

Jammeh had conceded defeat on state TV last week, prompting wild celebrations over the defeat of a government that human rights groups accused of detaining, torturing and killing opponents during the president's rule.

"After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process," Jammeh said.

"I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission," he said.

Witnesses said Banjul, the capital, was quiet overnight, and there was particular nervousness about the president's statement that he would deal harshly with any troublemakers who took to the streets.

International reaction was swift. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Jammeh's rejection of the results was an egregious attempt to undermine a credible election and remain illegitimately in power.

Senegal's foreign minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and "solemnly" warned Jammeh not to harm Senegal's interests or its citizens in Gambia.

Senegal, which has Gambia's only land border and entirely surrounds the small riverside country, is a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Its army intervened in Gambia in 1981 during a coup.

Jammeh's announcement presents an unexpected and severe challenge to the incoming Barrow administration, which was already grappling with how to take the reins of power and deal with the army that for two decades was loyal to the president.

Army chief General Ousman Badjie has already called Barrow to pledge his allegiance, the latter's spokesperson said, although diplomatic sources say they expect a faction from Jammeh's Jola ethnic group to remain loyal to him. 

The head of Barrow's transition team said the president-elect and his staff were safe. "We are consulting on what to do, but as far as we are concerned, the people have voted," Mai Ahmad Fatty told Reuters. "We will maintain peace and stability and not let anyone provoke us into violence."

Official election results from the electoral commission gave Barrow, a real estate developer who once worked as a security guard at retailer Argos in London, 45.5 percent of the vote against Jammeh's 36.7 percent.

But the Independent Electoral Commission later corrected the results to give Barrow a slimmer lead with 43.3 percent of votes, or fewer than 20,000 more than Jammeh.

Some people had doubted whether Jammeh would accept defeat, given that he had abolished term limits and said before the election that he would rule for a "billion years."

Barrow's win galvanized many in Africa, who saw it as a step forward for democracy, and they baulked at the prospect that it could be reversed.

"The international community, notably ECOWAS (the West African regional bloc) and the African Union, should loudly protest any unlawful attempt to subvert the will of the Gambian people," said Babatunde Olugboji, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.

Barrow is set to take over in late January following a transition period.

Courtesy: REUTERS (Additional reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Leslie Adler)

 

2016 Second Campaign Immunises Children & Pregnant Women

By Adams Turay (10/12/16)

More under five children and pregnant women have recently benefited from the 2016 Second Immunisation Campaign in Sierra Leone.

The Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation and Child Health, Dr Dennis Marks said that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, UNICEF, World Health Organisation have jointly collaborated to launch this year's three-day Maternal and Child Health Week in Port loko that commenced in November 24 and ended in November 26, 2016. (Pictured: Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah).

He disclosed this information while addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Freetown on the 22nd November, 2016. Dr Marke told journalists that the main goal of the Maternal and Child Health Week is to reach communities with life saving interventions, adding that Vitamin A capsules, De-worming tablets and other health services will be administered to all children under five years as well as pregnant women. 

He noted that they are targeting 1,529,635 children under five years old. Dr Marke further informed the press that they will be using a house to house strategy and social mobilisation to reach every child. 

The Programme Manager, Health Education Division, Mr Lansana Conteh re-emphasised the need for journalists to help sensitise the public about the campaign, disclosing that they have already disseminated jingles in difficult local languages, posters, and banners about the week, and engaging religious leaders to pass on the message. 

Mr. Conteh also revealed that community health workers have been sent in advance to sensitise communities about the need to encourage their children to cooperate with the vaccination team.

 

Parliament Concludes Debate on the 2017 Austerity Budget

By Press Release (10/12/16)

The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 concluded a marathon debate on the 2017 Budget.

It made provisions for the authorisation of expenditures for national services in Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Parliamentarian IB Kargbo contributed during the debate).

The Appropriation Act 2017 having gone through second reading is now committed to the Committee of Supply for the scrutiny of budgetary allocations, subject to the approval of Parliament. 

Therefore, all the MDAs are expected in Parliament through the Sub-Appropriation Committees to defend budgetary estimates, failing which their budgets will be withheld. 

For his part on the ensuing debate, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said that the budget is consistent with the policies and programmes of Government, whilst pointing to the challenges the austerity measures had, on the implementation of the Government’s development programmes. 

IB Kargbo described the budget as an “austerity economic restructuring” aimed at tightening our fiscal and monetary policies which is not peculiar to Sierra Leone, noting without which the economy may run into serious difficulty. 

He called for the development of our stock exchange market which remains highly untapped. He also called for the strengthening of the economy through agro-based businesses. 

Hon. Francis A. Kai-Samba recalled nine years ago, the start of the Agenda for Change, Agenda for Prosperity, Ebola and now Austerity, whilst citing the current economic reality in the country that is affecting all, such as the hike in fuel prices and other commodities. 

He furthered that the condition of roads in Kenema District is deplorable, noting the recent grading on the Blama-Hangha Road, excluding other major roads in the District. He called for equity in the service delivery index for all, devoid of lobbying and begging. 

He averred that electricity service should be extended to other areas in the country, whilst speaking on the challenges of the decentralisation process in the country such as poor human resource, late transfer of funds and incomplete devolution to Councils. He also spoke on maternal deaths and accused the Government of having a bloated budget that should be cut down. 

Hon. Hassan Sesay on his part described the budget as an honest one, cognisant of the current economic situation in the country. He recalled the economic boom that had been gravely affected by a drop on the prices of ore and when Ebola struck, noting that austerity is not peculiar to Sierra Leone. 

He emphasised that the endemic problem of leakages which the Government is trying to curb is neither the making of APC nor SLPP and should therefore not be used by any to score cheap political points. 

For him, the budget is a paradigm shift from extractives to agricultural productivity and called for all Government officials to travel on economy class to save funds for the development of the country.

 

Port Loko Grandees Endorse Alpha Khan for the APC Flag-bearer Slot

By N'Bompa (08/12/16)

A 'chief is not respected in his homeland' adage is uniquely inapplicable in Port Loko for Alpha Khan on the APC flag-bearer slot.

On the calm afternoon of Sunday November 20, 2016 in the hospitable and friendly atmosphere around the Kamara Street area in Port Loko town (Blackman London), a meeting was held for partnership and support for Alhaji Alpha Abu Bakarr Sidique Kanu, popularly known as Alpha Khan, the Apprentice. He is presently Special Adviser to President Ernest Koroma. (Pictured: Alpha Khan and First Lady Sia Koroma).                                                 

Delegations from the Bombali District include the Paramount Chief Alimany Dura Modu, the Traders Union, the Texters Union to name a few. All the spokespersons of these bodies wholeheartedly pledged support for the Alpha Khan who is eyeing the APC flag-bearer position.                                                                          

Paramount Chief Alimany Dura Modu in his speech stated that he was representing his fellow Paramount Chiefs of Bombali district in the support for the Apprentice's network. He pledged their support and loyalty together with the Paramount Chiefs of the Port Loko district for Alpha Khan. 

PC Dura Modu underlined that their support this time for the Apprentice is due to the nitty-gritty that they are fully satisfied with the loyalty he has displayed towards his boss, the President of our country, President Ernest Bai Koroma, prior to, from the indomitable APC opposition Era till today. 

The revered Paramount Chief reminded all in Temni that they are the ones called 'Kollyabom', they are capable of causing the devil to enter and exit a cement block to be seen by all.                                               

The President of the Bombali Traders Union Mr. Mohamed Zara Sankoh said that they were asked by majority of their members to come and support the Apprentice. He suggested the establishment of a base in their area for the support of the Alpha Khan network. 

Mr. Zara Sankoh said that they are crying to Alpha Khan to help put together a supporting team in the Bombali district and wish to assure that at any time he wishes to pay the district a visit they will be prepared to warmly welcome him. He said that this is their first challenge and declared that they are from now on members of the network.                                                                                     

The Secretary General of the Traders Union, Mr. Dolphin M. Jerry rose with thunderous praises for Alpha Khan for his role as the Apprentice of H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma. He thanked him greatly for his support to stakeholders like Alie Commaner and others in the district. He pledged their fullest support and allegiance to the Apprentice's network.                                                                                                  

Alpha Khan responded that what they have done is wonderful. He said as an Apprentice, he fully supported his boss but if the boss is to leave, he got an Apprentice that he has trained which is why he rose up to complete the journey. Alpha Khan congratulated all the participants of the meeting and narrated a short story on the late Nat Kanu. 

He explained that Nat Kanu was a vehicle owner and driver who had his loyal apprentice Uncle Pelelay over the years they worked together. After Nat Kanu's death, his children thought it fit for one of them to succeed their father.

However, the lawyer for Nat Kanu disclosed the Will stating that the Apprentice, Uncle Pelelay is the one to succeed him in running the vehicle. All supported Uncle Pelelay. "This is why I chose Nat Kanu as my mentor," Alpha Khan stressed.

 

Port Loko Grandees Endorse Alpha Khan for the APC Flag-bearer Slot

By N'Bompa (08/12/16)

A 'chief is not respected in his homeland' adage is uniquely inapplicable in Port Loko for Alpha Khan on the APC flag-bearer slot.

On the calm afternoon of Sunday November 20, 2016 in the hospitable and friendly atmosphere around the Kamara Street area in Port Loko town (Blackman London), a meeting was held for partnership and support for Alhaji Alpha Abu Bakarr Sidique Kanu, popularly known as Alpha Khan, the Apprentice. He is presently Special Adviser to President Ernest Koroma. (Pictured: Alpha Khan and First Lady Sia Koroma).                                                 

Delegations from the Bombali District include the Paramount Chief Alimany Dura Modu, the Traders Union, the Texters Union to name a few. All the spokespersons of these bodies wholeheartedly pledged support for the Alpha Khan who is eyeing the APC flag-bearer position.                                                                          

Paramount Chief Alimany Dura Modu in his speech stated that he was representing his fellow Paramount Chiefs of Bombali district in the support for the Apprentice's network. He pledged their support and loyalty together with the Paramount Chiefs of the Port Loko district for Alpha Khan. 

PC Dura Modu underlined that their support this time for the Apprentice is due to the nitty-gritty that they are fully satisfied with the loyalty he has displayed towards his boss, the President of our country, President Ernest Bai Koroma, prior to, from the indomitable APC opposition Era till today. 

The revered Paramount Chief reminded all in Temni that they are the ones called 'Kollyabom', they are capable of causing the devil to enter and exit a cement block to be seen by all.                                               

The President of the Bombali Traders Union Mr. Mohamed Zara Sankoh said that they were asked by majority of their members to come and support the Apprentice. He suggested the establishment of a base in their area for the support of the Alpha Khan network. 

Mr. Zara Sankoh said that they are crying to Alpha Khan to help put together a supporting team in the Bombali district and wish to assure that at any time he wishes to pay the district a visit they will be prepared to warmly welcome him. He said that this is their first challenge and declared that they are from now on members of the network.                                                                                     

The Secretary General of the Traders Union, Mr. Dolphin M. Jerry rose with thunderous praises for Alpha Khan for his role as the Apprentice of H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma. He thanked him greatly for his support to stakeholders like Alie Commaner and others in the district. He pledged their fullest support and allegiance to the Apprentice's network.                                                                                                  

Alpha Khan responded that what they have done is wonderful. He said as an Apprentice, he fully supported his boss but if the boss is to leave, he got an Apprentice that he has trained which is why he rose up to complete the journey. Alpha Khan congratulated all the participants of the meeting and narrated a short story on the late Nat Kanu. 

He explained that Nat Kanu was a vehicle owner and driver who had his loyal apprentice Uncle Pelelay over the years they worked together. After Nat Kanu's death, his children thought it fit for one of them to succeed their father.

However, the lawyer for Nat Kanu disclosed the Will stating that the Apprentice, Uncle Pelelay is the one to succeed him in running the vehicle. All supported Uncle Pelelay. "This is why I chose Nat Kanu as my mentor," Alpha Khan stressed.

 

SLPP and the Renaissance Movement Marriage is a Political Chess

By Cornelius Deveaux (08/12/16)

The marriage between the Renaissance Movement and the opposition SLPP is evidently a hidden and selfish political agenda.

Borrowing a few words from Wikipedia, Civil Society Organisations "an aggregate of non-governmental organisations and institutions that manifest interests in promoting the welfare and will of citizens." Civil society includes the family and the private sphere, referred to as the 'third sector' of society, distinct from government, business and partisan politics. (Pictured: writer Cornelius Deveaux).

The positive role of civil society organisations in promoting good governance, increasing citizens participation in governance, holding government accountable and promoting the socio-economic growth of a nation cannot be denied.

But the marriage between the Renaissance Movement and the opposition SLPP, evident in the joint press release issued recently, does not only contradict this characterisation of civil society, it also clearly shows that the duo are one of the same. 

From the activities, of and collaboration between the Renaissance Movement and the opposition SLPP; the facts stare at every keen observer that the course being pursued by the Renaissance Movement is, in its entirety, a political course of the opposition SLPP. It is certainly not in the interest of the people on whose behalf they claim to speak.

And this is not surprising! When a so-called civil society organisation chooses to be a surrogate of a political party, then it means that objectivity has been buried for partisan political interests and gains.

For the SLPP, removing the APC from power through the ballot box is becoming increasingly impossible because of the government's continued development progress in almost every sphere across the country. The party's winning of recent by-elections, notwithstanding their efforts to dissuade voters, is a clear testimony to the government's prowess in winning elections.

One political observer told me that the fact that the ruling APC government has won practically every by-election in spite of all the malicious efforts by the Sierra Leone People's Party to present the ruling APC government in bad light; has caused a lot of anguish and frustration among the rank and file of the SLPP.

I believe it is this non-electable frustration that is beginning to boil over especially as we are approaching the next general elections. There is already ample evidence that their intention is to provoke civil unrest, make the country ungovernable ahead of the 2018 elections so as to force a government of national unity.

What baffles the right thinking Sierra Leoneans is that a civil society organisation like the one calling itself the Renaissance Movement, which is supposed to be a bastion of hope for the people, has allowed itself to be a pawn in an intricate political chess game.

But for many others, this is hardly surprising given that all of those who have openly identified themselves with the Renaissance Movement are card carrying members of the opposition SLPP and sworn enemies of the ruling APC party. This has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt through various Whatsapp conversations and other forms of intelligence gathering.

And I understand that this Renaissance Movement doesn't even have a formal structure and presence; it is not registered and it doesn't have any offices anywhere. They only exist in virtual space spewing anger and promoting inflammatory actions through their social media recruits such as Theresa - a university girl who has been sharing messages that incite others to set vehicles ablaze.

Their illegality owing to their unregistered status in fact, means that the Renaissance Movement is operating unlawfully with all its attendant consequences. And, as a body,  the Renaissance Movement cannot sue or be sued.

Assuming then that the Police had granted permission for a street protest which would have eventually gone berserk, it means an aggrieved citizen who may have possibly suffered damages will not have been able to seek redress in a court of law. 

Courtesy: By Hon Cornelius Deveaux Deputy Minister of Information and Communications

 

Kenema Cemetery Battle Rages on as Mayor Signs Le50 Million Lease

By Alhaji Turay (08/12/16)

Kenema City Council Mayor and colleagues have signed an initial 50 Million Leones for the construction of the new Kenema Cemetery.

Sources close to the Kenema City Council have indicated that the Mayor Kelfalah Marah (pictured), Chief Administrator Bintu Vangahun and Finance Officer have signed a cheque of fifty million Leones from the Council's Account as lease to local authorities for the once trumpeted Kenema City Cemetery. 

This move according to some councillors, is allegedly aimed at appeasing the local authorities who had continually being at loggerheads in many fronts with the controversial Kenema Mayor. 

The source further indicated the desperation of Mayor Kelfalah to resolve the cemetery issue when he broke protocol by appending his signature first on the Le50M cheque ahead of the Chief Administrator and the Finance Officer who later signed it. 

The withdrawal of the said cash is done at a time when core staff have taken to the streets of Kenema generating revenues on behalf of the Council for their rent allowances to be paid which has not been done. 

Can the IEC officer of the Kenema City Council tell us whether the cemetery land was leased or bought by the Council? Was there an agreement signed? What was the utterances of the Mayor regarding the said cemetery.  

The tax payers are eagerly waiting to hearing from the Kenema City Council regarding the newly trumpeted cemetery. It remains to be seen when the Kenema Council will liberate the tax payers from such mess by explaining when the construction of the cemetery is going to commence.

 

 

Gambia President-Elect Adama Barrow Promises a Two-Term Limit

By Dimitris Chantzaras (06/12/16)

Adama Barrow, who won the election ending 22-year rule of President Yahya Jammeh, vows to introduce two-term limit, Al Jazeera says.

The Gambian opposition leader, Adama Barrow, has won the presidential election, ending the 22-year rule of President Yahya Jammeh in the West African country. (Pictured: President-Elect Adama Barrow punching the air after becoming victorious).

News of Barrow's victory prompted thousands to take to the streets of the capital Banjul in celebration - some on foot while others rode in cars and trucks and on motorbikes - as confused soldiers looked on.

Following his victory, Al Jazeera caught up with Barrow for an interview. The transcript of the interview has been edited for clarity.

Al Jazeera: During your address to the nation and during the campaign, you pledged to carry out some electoral reforms, including a two-term limit for president. Can you elaborate?

Adama Barrow: We promised to do a lot of things, including electoral reforms. We will look at everything and avoid making any mistake to arrive at a final document. We want the democratic process to be very smooth in the future. We want a level playing field for every politician in the future, that is our goal.

Al Jazeera: What do you mean by a level playing field?

Adama Barrow: We need laws that will favour everybody.

Al Jazeera: You also talked about reforms in public service that is free from corruption and nepotism. How do you intend to go about it given that your two predecessors failed to do so? 

Adama Barrow: Well, if they failed to do it that does not mean it cannot be done. Nobody thought we could change this government by the ballot box. But the mentality of the people, the social media, played a role in voter education.

We will educate the people to carry the reforms and guarantee job security. That will help people to continue working hard and make sure Gambia benefits from the civil service.

Al Jazeera: What are some of the civil services reforms that you want to pursue immediately?

Adama Barrow: The focus of our civil service reforms are job security and review of salaries. These are the main issues that we want to start immediately.

Al Jazeera: Do you want to increase the salary of the civil services staff?

Adama Barrow: We will look at it very critically, analyse it and calculate the inflation level, living standard of Gambians, and then measure the salaries.

Al Jazeera: Agriculture was very high on your agenda during the campaign trail, how do you intend to boost the productivity of agriculture?

Adama Barrow: We don't have minerals here. The backbone of this country is agriculture. Basically, you can say 75 percent [of the people] are involved in agriculture, but they need guidance, they need government to bring in policies that will guide the farmers in improving the farming sector.

In the past, the government made efforts in that aspect. Maybe there were shortcomings but they tried setting up farming centres all over the country that was helping every farmer to do very well. And I think we will improve on that.

Under President Yahya's government, all those farming centres collapsed completely, and they no longer exist. Farmers were not able to get help from anywhere, nothing like that.

Al Jazeera: You also spoke about a focus on technology, energy production and mining. Can you shed more light on this?

Adama Barrow: Without energy there cannot be production, without energy it is very difficult for a nation to develop because we are in the 21st century now.

Every technology has to use energy so that is fundamental. If there is no energy, there is no work, everything stops. It is something that is very, very important.

We also plan to encourage mining to help develop this country. If we are lucky to mine anything that will contribute to the economy of this country.

Al Jazeera: The current mining activities are based in the coastal areas. But coastal settlements are saying that these mining activities are threatening their environment. How will you strike a balance between mining and environmental protection?

Adama Barrow: You know when you are doing these things, you have to calculate all the aspects, but at the same time, part of what is generated from there should go back to the people, should protect the environment. When we get there, we will look at that.

Al Jazeera: You also talked about judicial reform, what exactly do you want to reform in the judiciary?

Adama Barrow: We want a free and independent judiciary whereby nobody can influence the judiciary. We will put laws in place to protect those people running the judiciary. They will have that job security, they will have that independence. We will reduce the powers of the president.

Al Jazeera: Youths played a very pivotal role in electing you into the office. What do you have in store for them?

Adama Barrow: We will not forget the youth. We will focus on job creation so that we can win their confidence.

We have lot of things that we can do in this country, even the fishing industry is under-exploited. We will exploit that area. We will encourage investors to go into manufacturing and other industries.

Manufacturing is a big market. When you produce, you can export. When you produce, you can create employment so we are looking into that. We are in the 21st century so we must produce, we cannot just be consuming without producing.

So with that I think that will give encouragement to the people and it will win the confidence of the people and will create jobs for the youth.

Courtesy: By Dimitris Chantzaras/SOOC/Al Jazeera

 

ADP Chairman Kamarimba Calls the Ruling APC Government 'Thief'

By Patrick Sandi (06/12/16)

The Chairman and Leader for the Alliance Democratic Party Mohamed Kamarimba Mansaray has describe the APC government as 'thief'.

The controversial ADP leader also highlighted that the time has come for Sierra Leoneans to rise up and save the country from criminality. (Pictured: Controversial ADP leader Kamarimba, a thorn in the APC flesh).

Mr. Kamarimba who was recently elected to lead the Alliance Democratic Party ahead of the 2018 elections, is wading into ongoing discourse on the purchase of the 100 Chinese buses noted in the Auditor General’s Report. 

The tabled audited report on the 100 buses secured on loans by the government of Sierra Leone to the House of Parliament revealed a shocking news that as at 30 September 2015 there was no agreement on who would pay for the buses. 

At a loan cost of US$ 12,291,920 (Le 61, 459, 600,00) secured from the Chinese and payable over a period of 4/5 years,  the buses commenced services in Sierra Leone in July 2015. The dodgy transaction was revealed by the Auditor General’s Report. 

Mr. Kamarimba, as a result, has called for parliamentary enquiry into the scandal and has asked the Transport Minister to resign.

Politician Kamarimba recently took to social media platform, Face book to lambast President Ernest Koroma's led APC government for mismanaging the economy and bringing economic hardship to Sierra Leoneans.

 

SLPP in Big Power Struggle as Rivalry over Chairmanship Intensifies

By Press Release (06/12/16)

There is power struggle within the Sierra Leone Peoples Party as they currently embark on choosing the coveted SLPP Chairman.

More evidence of divisions within the main opposition SLPP has surfaced as Dr Manyeh from Eastern Province and Dr Prince Harding from the Southern Province battle to become the party’s next Chairman and Leader. (Pictured: Some SLPP politicians).

As the contest for the party’s most senior position continues, supporters of both candidates have been viciously throwing nasty words and Mammy Cuss 'unprintable insults' at each other at the party’s headquarters in Freetown. 

One disgusted party supporter who deplores the ugly confrontations between supporters of the two candidates observed that the party is behaving very contrary to its avowed motto: One Country, One People. “We are only giving the people, though disenchanted, reason to vote for the devil they know,” another party supporter said contemptuously.  

Beside the division caused by the fight over who should become the party’s next Chairman and Leader, the SLPP is also deeply divided over the choice of a flag-bearer for the 2018 national elections. 

Many SLPP diehard lament that for many years now since their highly divisive national delegates conference in Makeni in 2005, the party has emaciated itself as a potent national political force by concentrating more on regional and personality conflicts than on the values and political ideals that should bind and hold them together. 

Many people following political developments in the country comment that disunity does not build a house. By continuing to squabble, quarrel and fight over leadership of the party, the opposition SLPP they say is throwing away the golden opportunity to form the next government. 

The wishful thinking of the SLPP is that because the people are disgruntled, that will spur them to vote for the SLPP. But how can the people trust the SLPP when the party has no resources and unity to engage the people in their constituencies? 

"How can the people vote for the SLPP when it does not present them with what their type of rule would be and credible people who they will present as their candidate that will convince the people to vote for the party," asked one undecided youth who said he would rather vote APC than SLPP. 

To the relief of the embattled ruling APC, at a time when majority of the population is disenchanted with the rule of their government and longing for change through the ballot box, they and their supporters are glad that the SLPP does not present itself as any serious and responsible government in waiting. 

Courtesy: Satellite Newspaper

 

3 Defence Ministry Officials Accused of Embezzlement in Sierra Leone

By the Ranger (04/12/16)

Confirmed that a Ministry of Defence official and two Commissioners have been accused of embezzling Remembrance Day Funds.

A civil worker at the Ministry of Defence, Headquarters in Freetown, James Harris, together with two Commissioners, namely, Rashid Thomas and Georgiana Barnett, are reported to have embezzled the sum of Le50 million given to them by the Ministry for this year’s Remembrance Day celebration. (Commander-in-Chief President Ernest Koroma with senior military officers).

According to report, amid the austerity that is currently plaguing the country, the Director General of the Ministry of Defence, gave them the sum of Le50M to organise a two day celebration slated for the 11th and 13th November, 2016 respectively, to mark the Poppy  and Remembrance Day usually observed by the Military and Ex-Servicemen. 

These personnel were also alleged to have solicited a substantial amount of money from President Ernest Koroma for the same celebration which they cannot now accounted for. 

According to reports, James Harris, when advised by senior military officials on how the Le50M would be utilised to organise the said celebration, lambasted the military officials and further boasted that, he will chop the money and nothing will come out of it. 

According to reports, the Commissioners also boasted that they were appointed by State House, and that, they will chop the money because it is given to them once a year. True to their words, the money was not utilised for the intended purposes. 

Because of the failure of the officials in charge of the double celebrations to spend the money allocated to them for the said purpose, both programmes at the Taylor Cummings Garden and the Remembrance Day at George Street in Freetown, were poorly attended by members of the public. 

According to reports, even when officials from the Ministry of Finance tried to advise the two Commissioners and James Harris, on how they should go about planning the celebration their advice were ignored. 

“Instead, they tended to misbehave at anyone challenging them and also lambasted whosoever attempted to ask them to give an account for the monies they received for the celebration,” one top MoD official told this reporter. 

Meanwhile, there are calls for the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate this report; as such an act constitutes a very serious offense. “Why I did not take the complain to the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Defence is because, they always pretend as if everything is well in the Ministry,” a senior official affirmed.

 

Energy Minister & PEC Smoke Peace Pipe as Media Retracts False News

By Ahmed Fonike (04/12/16)

PEC Sierra Leone has apologised to the Minister of Energy after a misleading media news reports on the EDSA and PEC contracts.

The Minister of Energy Henry Macauley (pictured) has recently given audience to the head of PEC Sierra Leone, Mr. Malador Sowe, his executive and Media friends who streamed into the office of the Minister to tender their apology for the current misinformation being published by certain media houses regarding the six months pilot contract between EDSA and PEC Sierra Leone. 

The Minister, who was very calm but curious to hear from the guests, quickly invited his Deputy Minister Alhaji Hassan Barrie, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Zainab Buya-Kamara and the Counterpart Director General of EDSA, Alhaji Timbo to be part of the gathering. 

The CEO of PEC, Mr. Malador Sowe in a state of remorse said: "Mr. Minister we are very sorry for the misleading information and allegations levied against you on the issue." 

He went on to expose the unprofessionalism of some media houses when he said: "I did not grant interview that they could not have investigated. They just grasped the opportunity to write things based on what they heard," he stated. 

The journalists who were also part of Mr. Malador’s delegation, also tendered their apologies to the Minister for the bad press that he received over the said pilot contract. 

Commenting on the issue, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Buya-Kamara stated that the Ministry of Energy is for everybody and that young Sierra Leoneans like Mr. Malador Sowe and colleagues are highly encouraged under the local content policy but must not misuse the opportunity. 

In an angry mood, the PS continued that the unguided publications and misinformation from various media houses were just used to smear the Minister’s good image. That kind of practice, she said, is unprofessional. She reminded the PEC CEO that it was this same Minister who took PEC’s proposal to the Board of Directors of EDSA and made a recommendation for them to help young Sierra Leoneans to invest in the energy sector. 

Deputy Minister, Hassan Barrie stated that he was shocked by the behaviour of PEC and their media friends who could not even ask for the Ministry’s side of the story. He lamented that young investors must have respect for others especially senior public officials in the country. 

In his reaction, the humble Minister said he started building his reputation as far back as the 80s and some people are trying to damage it now. He stated in no uncertain terms that the misinformation given to the media must be corrected by the PEC CEO. 

Minister Macauley said: “The repairs should be done by the same media houses.” He added that the extent to which the misinformation is corrected, will determine whether the apology was genuine or not. 

PEC CEO, Mr. Malador Sowe gave assurance that his media friends will try as hard as possible to clean the image of the Minister. He said: “Mr. Minister, for the fact that you felt disrespected, I will do all I can alongside my media friends who published allegations against you during the past three weeks, to clean up your image. It is a promise that we are going to do retractions by whatever means Mr. Minister," he promised.

 

IMF Supports Government’s Decision to Get Rid of Fuel Subsidies

By Press Release (04/12/16)

The International Monetary Fund has strongly endorsed the decision by the government to eliminate fuel subsidies in the country.

A press release from the IMF confirms the reports. Below is the IMF press release from the Resident Representative in Freetown: (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma).

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

Resident Mission in Sierra Leone

Sam Bangura Building 3, Gloucester Street Freetown

Tel: +232-76-479-418

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

November 26, 2016

Following press inquiries about a recent interview, IMF Resident Representative Ms. Iyabo Masha has issued the following statement:

The IMF strongly supports the government’s decision, announced by the Minister of Finance in the recent budget statement, to eliminate fuel subsidies.

In the context of the IMF Executive Board’s forthcoming consideration of the final review under Sierra Leone’s IMF-supported program, fiscal sustainability is an essential condition, which could not have been assured without a decisive action such as the elimination of fuel subsidies. 

While noting that fuel subsidies disproportionately benefit the wealthiest in society, the IMF strongly supports the steps that the government has announced to mitigate the adverse impact of their removal on low income households by expanding social safety nets, with increased expenditure on the pro-poor programs, as detailed in Budget 2017.

Signed

Dr. Iyabo Masha

Resident Representative

Freetown, Sierra Leone

 

FIFA Blocks Sierra Leone FA Funding Until Corruption Investigations End

By Press Release (02/12/16)

World football body FIFA has suspended $1.2m grant to the Sierra Leone Football Association until after a corruption investigation.

Reports say an alleged corruption investigation is underway and when completed by the government, FIFA will step in to release or not to release the much needed financial grant to the Sierra Leone FA. (Pictured: SLFA President Isha Johansen and Paul Kamara former Sports Minister).

Football Sierra Leone understands that following the visit by the FIFA Secretary General to Sierra Leone recently, the world body agrees with the Ministry of Sports and the SLFA to allow the Anti-Corruption Commission to come out with its findings before the grant is released. FIFA will also wait for the SLFA to publish its audited reports before the grant is deposited in their account. 

Samoura, who met with government officials in Freetown including the SLFA boss Isha Johansen - Africa’s only female football association president - has called for transparency in the game and added that as the country gets $1.2 million annually from FIFA for developing football, it should be used accordingly. 

In a visit that started Saturday, Samoura also talked about FIFA’s new anti-corruption drive, urging the nation’s governing football body to be transparent and settle their differences with rival members as one family. 

In September, it would be recalled that SLFA president Isha Johansen was detained and questioned for alleged mismanagement of funds received by the SLFA since February, by Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). She was later released without charge. 

FIFA recognises the role of the government to facilitate the dialogue and support the SLFA in resolving the on-going impasse. The match-fixing issue of 15 suspended national players and officials to be dealt with in accordance with the SLFA and FIFA status, as FIFA hold zero tolerance policy to match-fixing. 

At a meeting which was aimed at restoring peace, it was also agreed that Congress be conducted in a free and fair manner in accordance with the SLFA statute and integrity checks for potential SLFA delegates were decided.

Courtesy: FSL NEWS 21 NOV 2016 AFRICAN NEWS, SPORT NEWS

 

Why SLPP Thug Attacks APC Presidential Spokesman❗

By Septimus Kanu (02/12/16)

Sierra Leone’s highly respected ruling APC Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay was recently attacked by an opposition political thug.

It happened on November 20 when a notorious political thug commonly called Foday Jangray of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) unleashed the unprovoked attack. (Pictured: Abdulai Bayraytay).

According to eyewitnesses, Mr. Bayraytay was at the famous Cheznous Restaurant along Lumley Beach in the West End of Freetown one Sunday night to socialise with old friends visiting from Canada and was trying to extend a courtesy greeting to his college mate at Fourah Bay College, Foday “Rado” Yokie who is also a sitting Member of Parliament for the SLPP when Foday Jangray emerged from nowhere and started raining unprintable insults at Bayraytay and his mother. 

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 “na inh 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'). 

Thug Jangray screamed at the top of his voice thereby attracting on-lookers and disclosed that he had called Bayraytay few days earlier to his birthday celebration but he, Bayraytay refused to pick his calls. 

Demonstrating his usual calmness he is known for, Bayraytay said the attack and attempts to publicly humiliate him was nothing new to him, citing his trials as a journalist, a student leader and a civil society activist. 

Mr. Bayraytay said he particularly restrained himself from responding to the public insults because Jangray was old enough to be his dad. The Presidential Spokesman however used the encounter to call on by-standers to continue to espouse the virtues of especially political tolerance. 

“We can disagree on our opinions when it comes to politics but to bandy invectives was not only uncouth, but would send the wrong signals that we are unable to resolve our inevitable differences through civilized means”, the eloquent but modest Bayraytay said, adding that “his government and party would not be removed from office through political intimidation and violence, and that the will of the people that voted the government into office should remain supreme and therefore be respected. 

The situation was however brought under control with the intervention of MP Rado Yokie and other bystanders who literally lynched Foday Jangray but for the timely intervention of secret service security personnel. 

Sources close to this reporter however indicate that Foday Jangray was under the influence of alcohol, and had since apologised to Mr. Bayraytay through a third party.

 

Inter-Religious Council of SL Under Fire for Silence on Austerity!!

By Mohamed KE Kanneh (02/12/16)

Questions arise why the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone failed to air their views on the recent austerity measures in Sierra Leone.

Youths, Human Rights Activists and Debate Coach Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone are a coalition of all major faith communities in Sierra Leone that works together to deepen interfaith dialogue and collaboration among members for a common endeavour to mobilise the unique moral and social resources of religious people and address shared concerns. (Pictured: Social Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden flanked by Muslim and Christian religious leaders).

Retrospection in January 2016 with regards the Safe Abortion Bill, one will be thinking about the whereabouts of the Inter-Religious Council especially with their frontline role as “Moral Guarantor” against the aforementioned Bill. Were some people stepping on coins and at the same time telling us to find the very coins? Or, was someone using our moral guarantor as shield? 

Morality I was told is a principle concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. True Christianity teaches that every person is in desperate need of rescue from God’s wrath. Every person is a wretched sinner, whose heart beats for the gratification of self, and there is no amount of “willing” or “running” a person could do in trying to obey the law that would change the fact that we are all law-breakers without exception (Romans 9:16). 

The Quran on the other hand states: "...Those who truly fear God, among his Servants, are those who have knowledge..." (Qur'an, Fatir 35:28) In Islam therefore, both men and women are credited with the capacity for learning and understanding and teaching, and one of the aims of acquiring knowledge is that of becoming more conscious of God. 

We are living in a country where we see wrongs on a daily basis while our moral guarantors exist in hibernation; but I’m reminded that “The relation between religion and politics continues to be an important theme in political philosophy, despite the emergent consensus (both among political theorists and in practical political contexts, such as the United Nations) on the right to freedom of conscience and on the need for some sort of separation between church and state. 

One reason for the importance of this topic is that religions often make strong claims on people’s allegiance, and universal religions make these claims on all people, rather than just a particular community. For example, Islam has traditionally held that all people owe obedience to Allah’s will. 

Thus, it is probably inevitable that religious commitments will sometimes come into conflict with the demands of politics. But religious beliefs and practices also potentially support politics in many ways. The extent and form of this support is as important to political philosophers as is the possibility for conflict. 

Moreover, there has been a growing interest in minority groups and the political rights and entitlements they are due. One result of this interest is substantial attention given to the particular concerns and needs of minority groups who are distinguished by their religion, as opposed to ethnicity, gender, or wealth”. 

Whatever the case, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone should act proactively for them to be seen as moral guarantors in the midst of austerities, hype in fuel pump prize, protests and clamping of citizens for their expressions as mentioned by the Minister of Information and Communication in one of his interviews. 

But from all indications, the Inter-Religious members did not make their views public during the much debated austerity measures recently in the country. Observers believe this is not good enough. By the way, where is the Safe Abortion Bill? I hibernate.

Courtesy: By Mohamed Kwak-English Kanneh

 

Over 460 SLPP Members Declare for the Ruling APC in Kailahun District

By Director Moisa (30/11/16)

The assertion that the oldest political party, main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples' Party is falling apart, is becoming a reality day after day. 

A total of four hundred and sixty individuals who are disgusted over the ways they are being unfairly treated by the SLPP have declared their membership and loyalty to the All People’s Congress (APC) party in Nyama Chiefdom, Daru in Kailahun District. (Pictured: Maada Bio, left, sleeping on SLPP duty).

Reports say APC heavyweights Alieu Bah, Robin Faley and Lansana Nyallay were responsible for facilitating this mass exodus. All the deserters blamed the SLPP flag-bearers Julius Maada Bio and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella whose styles of running their beloved SLPP do not convinced them to stay as members.

Speaking from Daru, Mr. Akido Kanneh, the Chairman and Coordinator of Jawei Chiefdom Constituency 006, explained that the massive declaration for the APC came as a result of SLPP maltreatment and disregard for the views and choices of candidates for the recent lower level elections in which the SLPP marginalised their supporters in that part of the country.

Reports say the Bio and KKY camps went ahead to secretly hold the lower level elections without informing them. Mr. Kanneh added that the way and manner in which the SLPP treated its members in this part of the country was reported to the SLPP Chairman Foday Musa. 

And a meeting was later organised when even Foday Musa failed to listen to the voices of the disgruntled SLPP members and this total disregard further emboldened them to leave the SLPP and opted for the APC. 

Mr. Kanneh maintained however that before the 460 people from the SLPP declared for the APC, word had been going round that many of them had already got fed up with the bad treatment and lack of respect they get from their beloved SLPP party in Kailahun District. 

According to Akido Konneh, there were three distinct groups that were formed. One group which consisted of 175 people were convinced that the APC Minister of State, Vice President’s Office, Mr. Alieu Bah, was the correct person they could put their trust if they are to leave the SLPP for the APC and they made this abundantly clear. 

The other group which consisted of 140 individuals that were fed up with bad treatment from the SLPP laid their trust on Hon. Robin Faley, saying that they have no doubt that as long as he is the one they would be following into the APC, then they were ready to lay their necks and loyalty to the APC. 

The third group of 145 former SLPP members openly associated and pledged their allegiance to the APC because they believed in Dr. Lansana Nyallay whom they described as an icon in whom they have explicit trust. 

Additionally, several other SLPP members close to 1,000 (one thousand) were also reported to have declared their intention to join the APC because they are fed up with what they described as “the hypocritical stance and pa-o-pa attitude of a candidate and a party doing everything to repel its supporters instead of attracting” them.   

It was gathered that the bulk of the converts were mainly from 24 towns within the district. Other people who played various roles either way which led to the conversion of the above-mentioned number of people from the SLPP to the APC are former Trade Minister Usman Boie Kamara, Section Chief John Vandy and others. 

It is understood that this massive exodus of SLPP members to the APC has impacted negatively on the Maada Bio support base in Kailahun, although the SLPP is denying that the exodus affected the party in any way. 

However, a date later this month has been set aside for the 460 new APC converts to be officially recognised, handed over and issued membership cards at an auspicious ceremony that would be attended by prominent APC figures.

 

Dr. Sarah Bendu and How She Reforms the Sierra Leone Road Safety!!

By SLRSA Press Release (30/11/16)

Like a very few high profile women in Sierra Leone, the name Dr. Sarah Bendu is now a household name to the people of this country.

Being the first ever female to hold the most senior position as the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), formerly Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA), one of the government's most important paratatals, Dr. Bendu (pictured) has transformed the authority from underdogs to one of the most performing entities in the country.

One might be pondering what is really so extraordinary about this unique woman that has resulted to the many successes she has made as CEO of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority and how can it be emulated by others. Well, Dr. Bendu being a firm believer of the President's Agenda for Prosperity and also wanting it to succeed, she has done a lot in her little corner.

One unique spirit of Dr. Bendu is evident in the love and passion she has for young people and how she has empowered them at the authority. Before she became the Executive Director, majority of the authority's staff were old people who were even above retirement age and were still working as full time staff. 

Being an educationist, Dr. Bendu replaced the old folks with competent young people who are University graduates and can be able to perform better. She also saw the need for young people to be fully involved in the issues of road safety like other countries.

She reportedly decided to form the Road Safety Club which is a platform for young people to discuss the issues of road safety and also trained to advocate to others. This Road Safety Club has become an important arm of the authority as it has grown to all schools and Universities across the country. There is now a secretariat for it under the Public Relations Unit of the Authority.

Dr. Bendu also introduced the banking system at the authority. It was one that most insiders who use to manipulate the system frowned against, because the new system adopted closed many doors of corruption. 

This system has proved to be a vital and important strive, as it has helped to mitigate the relationship between the customers and staff of SLRSA. Now all payments are done directly to the bank and the bank will provide a receipt that the customer will show to the staff and then proceeds with his/her job. This has helped to speed up the process of getting a Driving License, Vehicle License and many other products that the authority is offering.

The rebranding process is one that has been welcomed by many Sierra Leoneans. There has been several successes in the rebranding process, though like any other government agency, there are some challenges.

SLRSA now has an ultra modern vehicle repairing garage, one that can match with international standards. The renovation of the license hall is another major boast to the development of the authority. There is a total change in the pictorial view of the authority as staff can now be identified with the authority's uniforms and this move has curbed the menace of 'ghost workers' which has longed being a major problem for the authority. The service charter is all over the compound displaying the cost per service and the duration.

Decentralisation is another strive the result oriented Director has made that has given a more brighter face to the authority. Dr. Bendu has opened many other offices under her tenure to make the services that are offered by the authority more accessible to the general public. 

Today, the people of Kailahun, Waterloo and many other Districts can boast of having a branch of the SLRSA to help them with their licensing processes and also get more knowledge on the issues of Road Safety.

Love and humility above many other things is key to the successes of SLRSA. I can vividly remember somebody telling me the other day after an interview on Radio that "Dr. Bendu is running SLRSA like a family" and I smiled and gave the young journalist a thumbs up because I know he was saying the truth.

Courtesy: SLRSA Public Relations Department

 

The Relevance of the Social Media for our Sierra Leone Politicians

By Ahmed Kanu (30/11/16)

Social media must be taken seriously by Sierra Leone politicians to stop missing the vital benefits of their socio-political well being.

My opinion is very straightforward in the context that some may like or dislike. In Sierra Leone, most of our politicians are still repulsive and biased over the fact that social media is one of the most significant global developments forward in contemporary history. The magnitude of technological transformation over the past decade has been quite thrilling. (Pictured: Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohamed Bangura, who is concern about Social Media).

Apparently, the next decade will be more astonishing in terms of communication and dissemination of information. In consequence, the rapid development of information dissemination of social media with the use of Smartphone can allow us to see what our compatriots and others think immediately about an issue or a personality, an incident, and as things continue to happen, people make commentaries about them on the Internet and go viral. 

Can our politicians stop that technology including the subscribers on social media? It’s almost an impossible task to accomplish. Therefore, if something derogatory or complementary is posted out there, we have to live with it. Supposedly, social media has become a sensor to political etiquette in especially countries where politicians and high officials are loose.

Today, the media is more chaotic than one can imagine. Why? Social media is a mechanism of liberalisation and empowerment as it is. Of course, such a perspective may seem fairly presumptuous when a considerable number of Sierra Leoneans abroad and in the country are using Twitter and Face book to post episodes, photos and whatever at anytime, and at any location. 

Certainly, the freedom to communicate openly, whether honestly or dishonestly is not something to be taken for granted. Indeed, some of our politicians perceive social media as a communication venue not to be given attention. Do they care about what’s out there on “WHATSUP – TPN RADIO forum; Diaspora Initiative Project forum; THE THREAT OF EBOLA forum; APC forum” etc. 

Indeed, some attention should be given to social media based on the reality that it has the power to radically alter or project our country, people, prominent individuals, politicians, news and any kind of activity across political, socio-economic and cultural difference. It is advisable for politicians to pay some attention to social media, and try to understand its impact.

Social media has become the top source of discussion about politicians, politico and socio-economic, and cultural concerns for development in Sierra Leone. As well, it connects people, their ideas and values, satisfaction and dissatisfaction for politicians and governance. Also, social media is now a platform for discussion among members of political parties about government officials and politicians like never in the past.  

Whoever tries to doom social media at this stage is doomed in history.  It provides for self-expression and promotes mutual understanding except for those people that are disrespectful and close-minded that misuse social media. However, once we fully  realise this great leap in technology, and truly learn how to harness its importance toward improvement in modern ways of communicating, we will surely benefit and experience the full impacts of social media.  

Public opinion is posted all over in social media especially on political and socio-economic issues. For some politicians, social media has been helpful, whereas hurtful to others. In that regard, our politicians should be conscious of etiquette, and expectations of standards based on public opinions expressed in social media that may reflect on the character of a personality or style in governance. 

On the contrary, some politicians and their sycophant supporters awfully condemn social media even when some attention is required to counter detrimental allegations or bias criticisms.

Courtesy: By Ahmed Kanu, Staff Writer, The Salone Monitor, Ohio, USA

 

APC Government’s Re-branding of Sierra Leone Pains the SLPP Party!!!

By Wotay Brima (28/11/16)

Sierra Leone’s re-branding efforts continue to yield dividends, despite the SLPP detractors' moves to sabotage the APC govt. 

In the past weeks, the country has received eight Ambassadors and High Commissioners with the aim of establishing and consolidating bilateral relationships with Sierra Leone which to a significant extent is demonstrative of confidence by the international community in the country’s progress, especially the resilient and strong leadership exhibited by President Ernest Bai Koroma. (Pictured: Dr Samura Kamara, Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister).

The main opposition, SLPP party, instead of focusing on providing a formidable opposition in the country, has resorted to fermenting panic among the public through the reckless use of social media with a game plan of undermining and disrupting the peace and stability of the state. It is no secret that the SLPP has failed the nation in providing the role of an opposition on a wide array of issues and happenings in the country.

Amidst the current challenges facing the country, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone are paying attention to the ongoing development strides in rebuilding the economy, wooing foreign direct investments and ensuring mutual socio-economic development. 

The recent inflow of ambassadors from The Peoples Republic of China, Pakistan, Australia, Netherlands, Colombia, Czech Republic, France and Canada who have all presented their letters of credence to the President is a clear manifestation that Sierra Leone is making progress. 

During these bilateral engagements, the foreign envoys pledged their commitment to strengthen the economy, supporting government’s projects and efforts in energy, trade and investment, water and sanitation, agro business, private sector development, mining and infrastructural developments across the country. 

The strong pledges made in supporting these sectors speak volumes on the confidence in the government and the leadership of President Koroma. It’s however disheartening that when significant progress of this sort is taking place the defunct SLPP is busy parading itself as an inciter of civil unrest and disobedience. This is all a ploy to score cheap political capital; a capital they will not utilize in the near future. 

It could be recalled that earlier this month, the president commissioned three ultra-modern hospitals in Lumley, Macauley Street and Waterloo that will significantly help in rebuilding the country’s healthcare delivery system. Despite the economic challenges which are not unique to us, the country is making progress. YES! We are making progress. 

This progress was recently lauded by the United Kingdom DFID International Development Secretary Priti Sushil Patel said she was impressed with the state of progress made on the ground and the amazing developments taking place in the country under the President’s Recovery Priorities.

The drumming of support from the international community and development partners is hurting the SLPP. This is completely the opposite of what took place in 2006 when the international Community and institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed out as a result of lack of confidence in the then SLPP government. 

The SLPP in their wildest dreams will be having an all night of prayers to see similar occurrences at the moment but to no avail.  

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by John Wakeman-Linn visited Freetown between September 14/27, 2016, to conduct the sixth and final review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).  

He stated that: “Sierra Leone’s economic reforms over the last three years have been largely successful. The economy proved resilient in the face of two major exogenous shocks: the Ebola epidemic and collapse of iron ore prices and associated loss of production in 2014/2015."

The IMF envoy noted: "Sound macroeconomic policies, together with generous support from development partners helped ensure fiscal and external sustainability, while providing sufficient resources."

 

Korean Government to Support the Fisheries Sector in Sierra Leone

By Press Release (28/11/16)

Boost for the fisheries industry in Sierra Leone following the determination of South Korea to give its full technical backing.

Sierra Leone's envoy to the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Omrie Michael Golley (pictured) has recently received the Director-General of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea Mrs. Shinhee Cho and her Delegation at the Sierra Leone Mission in Seoul, Korea's capital. 

Also attending this meeting on Friday November 4, were the Minister Plenipotentiary and Head of Chancery Mr. JTA Sawi and Administrative Assistant Ms. Olamide Kargbo. 

At this Meeting which followed earlier visits to the Korean Ministry by Ambassador Golley soliciting support for Sierra Leone's fisheries sector, Director General Cho assured the Ambassador that the Korean Government was ready to support Sierra Leone's request for assistance for assessing its fisheries stocks to ensure prudent and effective management, thereby achieving sustainable development of her fisheries, and giving much needed added value to this important earning resource. 

Director-General Cho indicated that the Korean Government was currently finalising the channels through which this support would be implemented, and was looking forward to working closely with the Government of Sierra Leone on this venture. 

Director-General Cho also informed Ambassador Golley at this meeting of a new Korean initiated capacity building venture for fisheries officers, through the setting up of a World Fisheries University, in conjunction with the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. 

She stated that a pilot programme for this new University would commence in 2017 and expressed the hope that students from Sierra Leone would participate in this programme. 

Courtesy: Embassy of Sierra Leone, Seoul.

 

Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board Evaluates Accredited Legal Aid Providers

By Ranger (28/11/16)

The Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board has evaluated accredited legal aid providers to ensure the provision of minimum legal standards.

Reports say SLLAB, partners and stakeholders on Tuesday November 22nd, 2016 discussed the accreditation of legal aid providers at the British Council hall in Freetown. The programme was hosted by the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara, the brainchild behind Legal Aid).

Accreditation is a core function of the SLLAB which is responsible for monitoring and evaluating accredited legal aid providers to ensure that the quality of legal services provided by them meet minimum standards set by the board.

SLLAB is also empowered to enter into legal aid cooperation agreement to ensure efficient and effective implementation of the Act. It can impose penalties for non-compliance with the terms of the agreement.

The board derives this authority from the Legal Aid Act 2012 which provides as follows: Accreditation of legal aid providers which include legal practitioners, civil society organizations, university law clinics, paralegals and Non-Governmental Organizations.

Under the Act, penalties can be imposed by SLLAB for providing legal aid without being accredited or whose cooperation with the board has elapsed and continue to provide legal aid.

This constitutes an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty million Leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

Legal aid providers are mandated to keep proper records of their activities on behalf of their clients and must submit quarterly reports to the board. Failure to do so, the Board may terminate a cooperation agreement.

The Board shall monitor and evaluate the quality of legal representation in legal aid cases with the prescribed procedures. 

Where a provider is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, the board shall refer the information to the General Legal Council for action.

The Board also reserves the right after giving three months’ notice to terminate a cooperation agreement with a service provider who fails to meet its obligations and does not rectify the anomaly.

On the termination of an agreement, the service provider ceases to offer legal aid under the Act.

 

Alie Kabba Bigamy/Perjury Case as Drama Unfolds at Freetown Court 

By Tony Konomanyi (26/11/16)

There was sensational drama at Court No.1 in Freetown in continuation of the Alie Kabba bigamy/perjury case filed by his former wife.

To all, but the most sycophantic, it was a no-brainer. A few weeks ago, many legal minds and observers were left speechless and shocked when Lawyer Francis Ben-Keifala hinged his client's entire defence on a no-case submission. (Pictured: Alie Kabba, the fake revolutionary in the dock in Freetown).

In layman terms, Alie Kabba's Lawyer was saying that the prosecution in his trial for bigamy and perjury hadn't submitted evidence of his client's alleged wrongdoing.

As The High Court Judge, Justice Samba, gave her ruling yesterday, nerves rattled as one by one she took apart Ben-Keifala's no-case submission. In the case of bigamy, Ben-Keifala had maintained that his client's marriage to Edith Cline-Kabba need not have been ended before his subsequent marriage to Madam Diana Konomanyi, the main prosecution witness. 

And I was as amazed as readers would now be to know that Ben-Keifala's basis for this submission was: 'Because Sierra Leone inherited some of our laws from our British colonisers.'

Yes, I know this is vague, but that really was the extent of the argument. (Dressed up in fine legal mumbo-jumbo by Ben-Keifala, naturally! - Those Alie Kabba diaspora sponsors need to see their monies account for something after all).

With the clear, steady and precise language of the consummate professional, and of someone who knew what they were talking about, Justice Samba left the courtroom in no doubt of whom the authoritative figure in court number one yesterday afternoon was, as she continued to dismantle Alie Kabba's juvenile defence.

I plead for my readers' indulgence as I must digress:  As Alie Kabba and his attorney, Francis Ben-Keifala, jested in mocked camaraderie and put on an air of false confidence before the judge gave her ruling. 

I overheard Alie Kabba ask Francis Ben-Keifala, "Are you sure it will be ok?" and Ben-Keifala's response was, "Absolutely, just wait and see". (Translated)

But their hubris was left bare as Justice Samba ruled that the prosecution had also made a case for perjury; as an affidavit had been signed by Alie Kabba at the Marriage Registrar, affirming that he was divorced at the time of his now annulled marriage to Madam Diana Konomanyi. 

Lying on his signed affidavit was perjury, according to the Laws of Sierra Leone. So there is a case to answer, maintained the Judge.

In her response to an unusual and surreal implication by Alie Kabba in his no-case submission- That he may not have been the Alie Kabba that was wedded to Edith Cline-Kabba- Justice Samba pointed out that upon his arrest and questioning by the police, in the witness box at the Magistrate and high courts, and on countless other occasions, Alie Kabba had referred to Edith Cline-Kabba as his ex-wife.

That unless he was now claiming that he has a doppelgänger out there who was also married to Edith Cline-Kabba, and is now in Sierra Leone pretending to be the Alie Kabba now in court, then that submission was another juvenile attempt at delaying the process and wasting the courts' time.

The judge ended by urging the defence to now prepare for the 'trial proper' , and advised Attorney Francis Ben-Keifala to keep focused on the matters before the court, instead of delaying with unnecessary arguments.

A subdued Alie Kabba and his team of hangers-on, bloodsuckers, and lawyers left the courtroom dejected. This is their hand played out. I can't imagine that they have any defence left.

De lawyer dem de fool de man en eat hin diaspora sponsors dem money for natin. E sorry.

 

Guinea Teenager: Legal Aid Secures the Discharge of Boy in Freetown

By Ranger (26/11/16)

The Legal Aid Board has secured the discharge of a 15 year old Guinean boy who was standing trial for conspiracy and shop breaking.

Joseph Turay of Defence for Children International (DCI) said his organization has been involved with the case right from the outset in September 2016 when they started monitoring it at the Eastern Police Station in Freetown. (Pictured: Guinea President Alpha Conde).

He added that the organization also did family tracing for the accused but could not track any family member. According to Joseph, the only family member people knew about was said to have returned to Guinea a long time ago.

Mr. Turay said they brought the matter to the attention of the Legal Aid Board and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affair for assistance with legal representation and psycho-social support. 

Lawyer for the Legal Aid Board, Joel Deen Tarawally started representing the boy on 31 October 2016.  Even though an application for bail was granted by Magistrate Atto During, they could not secure a surety. This means the boy had to remain on remand at the Dems Remand Home.

The matter was discharged on the 10 November 2016 for want of prosecution as a result of doubts in the records. This follows an adjournment for clarification because the records from the Magistrate Court were unclear and raise serious doubts in the Juvenile Court which is due in part to the fact that the boy was jointly charged with an adult who had already been discharged.

Following his release, the boy said thieves broke into the shop he was sleeping in when he went to the toilet. He reported the matter immediately to the owner of the shop who told him the matter will be examined in the morning. At dawn, the owner of the shop reported the matter to the Eastern Police Station. 

He was consequently invited to the station and detained as part of the investigations. He spent five days in police cell before the matter was charged to court.

During pre-discharge counselling at the head office of the Legal Aid Board, the boy expressed a desire to return to Guinea. The Board will facilitate his return through the support of the Sierra Motor Drivers Association.  

 

National Social Insurance Trust Debunks Standard Times Newspaper

By Ranger (26/11/16)

The Director General of the National Social Insurance Trust (NASSIT) has come out fighting a fake report in the Standard Times newspaper.

Mr. Joseph Sedu Mans told the press at the institution’s headquarters on Walpole Street, Freetown, on Tuesday 8th November 2016 that the wild claims made by the Standard Times newspaper that the institution had defrauded huge amounts of contributors’ money by one of its cashiers are all false and misleading. (Pictured: Information Minister Mohamed Bangura, needs to buckle up to bring sanity in the Sierra Leone media).

Standard Times reports alleged that working in connivance with some senior NASSIT employees the cashier, one Gibrilla Kamara, had over a period of time stolen the beyond belief amount of Le42 billion from NASSIT. 

Giving the correct version of the event, the NASSIT Director General explained that management on 19th September 2016 launched an investigation into the suspicious activities of Gibrilla Kamara who was a cashier at the NASSIT West Region office in Freetown. 

Gibrilla Kamara was suspected of fraud in the collection of social security contributions from small employers through compromising the institution’s rigorous quality control system. As the investigation was launched, Gibrilla Kamara who has since abandoned his post and fled his residence was suspended and replaced with another cashier. 

The NASSIT DG furthered that preliminary investigation discovered that the actual amount stolen by Gibrilla Kamara was Le18 million. A second more broad based investigation committee was set up to find out the extent of the plot. 

However, before it could deliver its finding to management, Standard Times came out with damning, malicious front page banner headline stories on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th November 2016 with grossly misleading information to the public about what actually happened. 

The NASSIT DG categorically stated that the Standard Times stories were untrue, baseless and without any merit. He allayed public fear about any mismanagement of contributions made to NASSIT by its clients and gave a run-down of how much contributions have been received by the institution since 2010. 

In 2010, it was Le100 billion; 2011 Le135 billion; 2012 Le196 billion; 2013 Le225.5 billion; 2014 Le272 billion; 2015 Le323.5 billion with the contribution for 2016 to be published at the end of the year.

 

Minister of Finance Delivers a Hopeful 2017 Budget for Sierra Leone

By Press Release (24/11/16)

The government budget has promised the opening of new and existing Sierra Leonean owned businesses and boost locally made goods.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu Lamin Kargbo (pictured) has on Friday 11th November 2016 delivered “The Appropriation Act, 2017” in the Chamber of Parliament. 

It is an Act that provides for the authorisation of expenditure from the Consolidated Fund for the services of Sierra Leone and other related matters, aired on SLBC TV/Radio.

Therefore, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has granted the sum of Le 4.7 Trillion to President Ernest Bai Koroma to be applied and expended for the services of Sierra Leone, including its schedule and is deemed to come into operation on the 01st of January 2017.

In delivering the 2017 Budget to the Representatives of the people, the Minister of Finance said among other things that the economy contracted by 21% due to the twin-shocks of Ebola and the drastic reduction in the prices of ore, that Government would support the opening of new and existing Sierra Leonean owned businesses, and boost production of locally made goods which he referred to as “made in Sierra Leone”.

He also said that the social net scheme would be expanded by reducing the burden on the vulnerable population by supporting the school feeding programme and the procurement of additional buses. 

He also said that as part of the measures to promote the Local Content Policy, all the MDAs would now procure new furniture that were made in Sierra Leone, citing locally fabricated furniture in Parliament that had stood the test of time. 

Finance Minister Kargbo said that Government would promote the purchase of locally produced water, including ginger beer and local beverages at social functions.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Russian Government Admits it Used WikiLeaks to Help Trump Win

By Bill Palmer (24/11/16)

The Organiser is reproducing a startling reports alleging the involvement of the Russians to aid Donald Trump win the US elections.

Even as Americans wake up today wondering if it was all a bad dream, and asking themselves whether foreign bad actors such as WikiLeaks and the Russian government really were working in concert to try to get Donald Trump elected, you no longer need to worry that you’re sounding like a conspiracy theorist. (Pictured: President Elect Donald Trump and the defeated Hillary Clinton).

Because as it turns out, a prominent figure in the Russian government just bragged today that that’s precisely what was going on the whole time. It shouldn’t be a surprise that such a plot had been blabbed about by one of its own participants; that typically happens in the end. 

But it may be surprising that the Russians are bragging already. But Sergei Markov, a Russian political analyst who is a puppet of Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin in much the same manner that someone like Rudy Giuliani and Corey Lewandowski are puppets of the Trump regime, was too giddy today to keep his mouth shut. “Maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks,” Markov bragged today, as reported by The Guardian. 

Yes, he’s denying that Putin and Russia directly rigged the election. But because he couldn’t help bragging just a little bit, he ended up confirming that WikiLeaks is in fact an outfit under the thumb of the Russian government. So what now? It’s unclear. Even with this admission, which Vladimir Putin will walk back anyway, it doesn’t give us any evidence that the Russian government and WikiLeaks were responsible for hacking in any actually changing people’s votes. 

So even as we continue to stare at the incredibly suspect and nearly gibberish voting totals which don’t correlate with anything that should be possible under any electoral circumstances, we’re still left to wonder if foreign enemies were responsible for jiggering the numbers. 

But the Kremlin itself just basically told us to keep digging for answers. If you enjoy Daily News Bin, consider making a contribution.

Courtesy: November 9, 2016 | 10 donald-trump-vladimir-putin FacebookTwitterGoogle

 

Why Trade Ministry Must Investigate Importers of Alcohol Beverages!!

By Ranger (24/11/16)

Sierra Leoneans are calling on the Minister of Trade and Industry Allieu Pat-Sowe to probe businesses dodging the government excise duty.

Sierra Leoneans are calling on the Minister of Trade and Industry Allieu Pat-Sowe to probe businesses dodging the new government excise duty. (Pictured: Trade Minister Pat-Sowe, sitting calmly).

In-depth investigation carried out by this reporter reveals that importers of alcoholic beverages in order to cleverly beat the system had imported ahead of the implementation of the new Finance Act huge quantities of alcoholic beverages.

Investigation further reveals that these importers have taken advantage of the time difference in implementing the revised Excise Tax on imported alcoholic beverages whose lifespan they have extended from one year to one year six months to sell their huge stockpile of old stocks which will last for two years at the new wholesale and retail prices.

Sources inside the National Revenue Authority who begged for anonymity told this reporter that the Trade Ministry at a time when the government needs all the revenue it can raise to manage the county’s affairs must vigorously investigate this unfair trade practice or else the NRA will lose billions of Leones it is supposed to collect in excise tax on imported alcoholic beverages.

According to the investigation, an alcoholic beverage importer (name withheld) unable to get port officials and National Revenue Authority NRA officials to connive with him on 7th November 2016 had to return to the overseas supplier 29 containers of imported beverages.

On the other hand, this investigation proved that the Sierra Leone Brewery as a responsible corporate institution has after the implementation paid over Le500 million for containers to the NRA as excise tax on imported Heineken, Cider (Strong Bow), etc.

After the implementation, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited SLBL has offloaded eight containers. Presently, SLBL has twenty four containers at the Water Quay and four will be offloaded by the end of this week.

SLBL is disgruntled that if other importers do not pay the new excise duty and sell at the new prices, SLBL will be greatly disadvantaged.

Such a practice if not stopped will also impact negatively on government revenue collections through NRA.

 

Sierra Leone Brewery: Shares Offer Open 19th Nov to 16th Dec 2016

By Ranger (22/11/16)

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited has disclosed plans to help further the process of increasing the company’s share capital in Sierra Leone.

The general meeting of its stakeholders was convened on Thursday November 10, 2016. It was a follow up from the Annual General Meeting held on 20th November, 2016 that approved the motion to increase the company’s share capital. (Pictured: Finance Minister Momodu L. Kargbo).

However, the process was stalled due to provisions in the Companies Act 2009; Article 88 of which stipulates that if a company increases its share capital and not less than 25% is issued within six months of giving notice to the Corporate Affairs Commission, the resolution lapses.

This necessitated SLBL to call a shareholders’ meeting to update the process and to give the Board of Directors the power to progress with a rights issue of shares.

According to the management, SLBL intends to use the proceeds of the new shares offer to turn around its fortunes, refinance its operations, pay back a good proportion of its debts, embark on massive investments and modernization and ensure a solid return to profitability.

In the notice to its shareholders calling the extraordinary meeting, SLBL informed them of its plan to issue 2, 986, 891, 360 ordinary shares of One Hundred Leones (LE100) each at par value.   

The offer is intended to raise Le299 Billion in a right share issue with current shareholders reserving the right to buy 8 new shares for every 1 share currently owned.

The share offer opens on 19th November, 2016 and closes on 16th December, 2016 by which time funds should have been cleared and recorded in the share offer account.

 

NCD Provides Education Materials for 17 Schools in Sierra Leone

By Press Release (22/11/16)

The National Commission for Democracy has put smiles on the faces of seventeen schools for the provision of school materials.

The NCD has successfully completed a pilot project on the creation and distribution of assembly platform constructed with a flagpole, roll-up of canvass with the National Anthem and National Pledge printed on it and civic education materials containing the national symbols to seventeen schools across the country. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah).

The project,  which is geared towards instilling awareness on national values and creating aspirations in the national symbols with a focus on bringing Civic Education back into the school curriculum, is fulfilling the Commission’s mandate in Pillar Seven on the Agenda for Prosperity (A4P) to reintroduce Civic Education to school. 

In his handing over statement, the Commissioner for the Northern Region, Bai John Conteh, underscored the need for the reintroduction of civic education into the school curriculum as he described the way in which the young are prepared for citizenship and how they learn to take part in civic life, particularly in a democratic society, as a growing concern. 

Bai John Conteh noted that civic education was removed from the school curriculum since the late 1970s which has resulted in the low level of understanding and acceptance of the rights and responsibilities among citizens that is required for the maintenance and improvement of a constitutional democracy. 

Elaborating on the concept and rationale behind Civic Education, Commissioner Conteh alluded to the lines of the National Pledge which reads: “I vow to serve her faithfully at all times, I promise to defend her honour and good name, Always work for her Unity, Peace, Freedom and Prosperity, And put her interest above all else”, as the spirit of Nationalism and Patriotism, noting that “this is what civic education is all about.”

In a bid to fulfil the Commission’s mandate on Civic Education, Mr. Conteh said the Commission has set itself a two prong approach, the top-bottom and bottom-top approach, in the case of the latter, the Commission is devising a strategy to enter the schools to begin the discussion around Nationalism and Patriotism with the young through the use of the national symbols. 

He encouraged the authorities in the schools to form a civic education club that should consist of interested pupils, representatives of the community and senior teachers as focal persons to make conscious effort to preserve the materials. The Eastern Region Commissioner, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, also reiterated the importance of educating the young about their civic rights and responsibilities and the need to instil in them the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. 

He noted that schools have a crucial role to play in ensuring that pupils receive the requisite knowledge to understand and appreciate their national values through the national symbols.  He assured authorities in the schools that the Commission will be sending its Public Education Officers to be teaching pupils to understand the materials the Commission provided. 

Representing the Ministry of Education Science and Technology at the commissioning of the flagpole gallery at the Ansarul Islamic Secondary School in Kenema, Madam Lucy R. Ngauja applauded the Commission for undertaking the project of reintroducing civic education into the school curriculum. She assured her audience that the Ministry of Education is working in collaboration with the National Commission for Democracy to facilitate the process of reintroducing the subject into the school curriculum. 

She noted that the Ministry considers the initiative of reintroducing Civic Education into the school system as incredibly necessary. She encouraged school authorities to do justice to the materials provided them by the Commission and ensure that they teach and inculcate the values of nationalism through the national symbols in their pupils so that they will grow up to be patriots. 

The Principal, Birch Memorial Secondary School, Makeni, James S. Jalloh said that he is gratified for the donations which are very essential for his school.

 

APC MP Loyalist Dr. Sho Sawyer Calls for Youth Non Violence Campaign

By Saidu G.B. Kamara (22/11/16)

It is very visible that the most performing member of parliament in Sierra Leone is Dr. Sho Sawyer who has called for Non-Violence campaign.

Ever since he was elected member of parliament he has gone beyond the normal parliamentary functions to help in addressing the most felt needs of his constituents in Constituency 108. (Pictured: Resident Minister East, Karamoko Kabba endorses MP Sho Sawyer).

We have witnessed series of development in constituency 108 ranging from building bridges, connecting and building taps and water wells and giving of different types of scholarships and grants etc.

Going by all of his activities in constituency 108, it left no option but to have many APC party loyalists who showed up to support during the recent Gala at Congo Town.

Those who attended include Minister East Karamoh Kabba; the Youngest Commissioner known as Galaxy; the Famous Artist Nasser AYOUB; the Astute Lawyer Mr. Abubakarr Turay known as Kabaka; Hon. Theo Nicol, APC Sheriff, Mr. Dainkeh and many more.

Minister Karamoh Kabba went further to reaffirmed his endorsement for second term at the Gala for Dr Sho Sawyer at Congo town school playing field.

"Going by the great work you have done in your constituency, am left with no option but to endorse you for another term in office," he concluded.

It is clear that Dr. Sho Sawyer campaigned on the platform of bringing development to his people, with the slogan "NO TO TOKS, NA WOKS" has been successful.

Today, the people of Constituency 108 have themselves declared their parliamentary seat as one with no vacancy as they've endorse their MP to continue his work.

Courtesy: Saidu Gibrill Buzzom Kamara

 

SLPP's Infighting Escalates at New Low Between 2 Other Aspirants

By Press Release (20/11/16)

It is really troubling when the main opposition party in Sierra Leone finds itself from one chaos to another. Real opposition gone to the gutters!!

The infighting (kuss kass) between supporters of two aspirants for the National Chairman and Leader position in the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Dr. Prince Alex Harding and Dr. Morie Manyeh has escalated with supporters trading invective insults. (Pictured: SLPP heavyweights struggling to unite the party).

Many concerned members and supporters of SLPP have observed that if serious action is not taken by the National Executive Council (NEC) to bring the infighting between supporters of the two aspirants, the infighting will have the propensity to deepen the intra-party squabbles.

A staunch supporter of Paopa group (Maada Bio's SLPP) who pleaded anonymity described the incident as a disgrace to the party, adding that both aspirants should talk to their supporters to abhor any form of abusive language or violence in the spirit of democracy and oneness.

Though many supporters that spoke to this medium declared their unflinching support for Dr. Prince A. Harding, others criticized him for openly supporting one of the SLPP flag-bearer aspirants, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio.

Admirers of Dr. Morie Manyeh described him as someone very determined to become the National Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, noting that his love and loyalty to the party surpasses any group interest.

Pundits have opined that the trading of invectiveness among and between SLPP members and stalwarts is now commonplace. "The SLPP is now a pale shadow of its former self," a supporter of KKY said.

Courtesy:  The Exclusive Newspaper

 

National Union of Sierra Leone Students Oppose Student Protest

By NUSS Press Release (20/11/16)

Misguided members of the National Union of Sierra Leone Students NUSS have been denounced for the purported student protests.

The attention of NUSS has been drawn to a press release making the rounds in social media - purporting to have come from the students of this country - making a reckless call for a student protest that makes the burning down of public and private vehicles its primary concern. This is clearly at odds with the values that define this union. (Pictured: Osman Bilal Kamara, NUSS President).

WE THE NATIONAL UNION OF SIERRA LEONE STUDENTS WISH TO STATE IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH A PRESS RELEASE AND ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY PROPOSED STRIKE ACTION WHATSOEVER.

As if to show, without knowing it, the shamelessness of the falsehood, the language that litters the fake press release is so uncouth that it has no trace of the cultured language of student unionism. We also view the threat to set ablaze vehicles plying the streets on a certain day as the most uncivil way to express one's thoughts and feelings - a set of attitudes unreflective of our membership, the students in the length and breadth of this country. 

As a union, we are calling on our membership to distance themselves from that shameless and blatant falsehood designed to manipulate students to advance the political interests of cowards disguising as students.  We are very mindful of the fact that this country is governed by laws, and as students we have a responsibility to conduct ourselves within the remit of the laws of the land.

NUSS fully understands the current economic challenges and acknowledges the impact of the increase in the price of fuel has on its members and the general public.  But we believe that the solution to address these challenges lies in constructive engagement with all stakeholders, not by inciting public anger and violence against the government and innocent transporters.

Once again, we are calling on all our membership and the general public to remain calm and to go about their peaceful and normal business.

LONG LIVE STUDENT UNIONINSM!!

LONG LIVE NUSS!!

SIGNED:

Abu Bakarr Bangura,  Secretary General, NUSS.

+23344802368.

15th November, 2016

 

NCDS Calls for Constructive Dialogue About the Austerity Measures

By Press Release (20/11/16)

The National Commission for Democracy has urged stakeholders to have constructive dialogue to uphold the tenets of good governance.

Pursuant to its mandate of “disseminating messages of peace and national unity and the cultivation of a sense of nationalism, patriotism and loyalty to the state in every citizen” and on the back drop of the “austerity” measures put in place by the government and the concomitant effects on the general citizenry, the Management of NCD is calling on all stakeholders to make room for constructive dialogue being cognizant of the principles and tenets of democratic good governance as we foster a climate of openness and responsiveness for the progressive realization of meaningful development on the platform of multi-party democracy. (Pictured: Minister of Political and Public Affairs Nanette Thomas).

With all that is happening around the country, the Management of NCD is stating emphatically that both governors and the governed should be prepared with an open mind to face up with the reality of cause, effect and reactions and being cognizant of the fact that Sierra Leone as a nation-state should emerge from this sad phase of its history as a unified and strong entity with readiness for a future that is prosperous. 

This cannot be realized in a situation of mistrust and passivity, but rather with increased openness and positive participation resulting in constant and frank engagements as the governors and the governed own up to the terms of the social contract binding them on the political platform of the body-politic in Sierra Leone. 

With the present “austerity” measures in place from the Government occasioned by several factors, the Management of NCD is of the view that there are lessons to be learned and all and sundry must be honest enough to learn the hard realities of this phase of the nation’s history with implications for service delivery, election promises, the perception of the people, the rule of law, positive participation, the political economy and a lot more. 

It should be observed here that refusal to learn from what is happening might land us as a nation into a situation with disastrous consequences, but with the willingness to learn and dialogue on the critical issues, we might come out of this situation stronger and better for the lessons of the past and the present are meant to create a future that stands on very solid foundations.

Additionally, there must be room for the nation’s democracy to be tested through its institutions, processes and culture, thus the need for constructive dialogue in an atmosphere of openness and responsiveness. 

In a democracy like ours, effort should be made to ensure that the governors and the governed do not operate in a climate of rancour, but with the interest of the nation as a paramount concern, they should be seen to be having a common agenda with the governors pursuing the interests of the governed and the latter working to ensure that the genuine efforts of the governors are duly reciprocated for a Sierra Leone that responds to the common good in the true spirit of utilitarianism.

Constructive dialogue for a better Sierra Leone through the period of “AUSTERITY” and beyond!

Long live the spirit of genuine nationalism and patriotism! Long live our democracy!

SIGNED:

THE MANAGEMENT OF NCD 

DATE: TUEDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2016

COPY:

All Press Houses

All Consular and Diplomatic Mission

The Office of the President

The House of Parliament

The Judiciary of Sierra Leone

All Political Parties

All Ministries, Departments and Agencies

All Civic Society Organizations 

All Government Commissions

All Government Parastatals

All Tertiary Learning Institutions

SLP

RSLAF

 

Former Welfare Minister Bravely Arrests Rape Suspect in Freetown

By Editayo G. Temple (18/11/16)

The former Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila has bravely arrested alleged rapist. 

Reports say Attila recently apprehended one Abdul Aziz Koroma of 26 Lumley Road (9 Community @ Blue Bell) and handed him over to Police Constable, P.C. 9733 Mahawa Kamara attached to the Lumley Police Station in Freetown. (Pictured: Attila flanked by Minister of Social Welfare Dr. Sylvia Blyden). 

It is alleged that suspect Abdul Aziz Koroma is reported to have raped a 9 year old girl somewhere near the United Nations Drive, off Wilkinson Road in Freetown.

According to police sources, this alleged incident was a gang-rape that also involved one Patrick, a resident of the same UN Drive, who is presently on the run. The rape incident took place on Tuesday 15th November, 2016. 

Meanwhile, a Social Worker from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Alusine Sesay has recorded the matter to compliment the efforts of the Police with their investigations.

As investigations continue, the main suspect Abdul Aziz Koroma is in custody, while his other accomplice Patrick is still at large.  

Courtesy: Editayo G. Temple The Investigative Journalist +23279316750

 

KLM Royal Dutch Airline Resumes Flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay (18/11/16)

Sierra Leone and Liberia smile as Holland confirms the resumption of flights by Dutch Airlines, KLM, to Freetown and Monrovia.

The Management of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines based in Holland, on Tuesday 15th November announced the resumption of flight services to Sierra Leone and Liberia beginning 26th March, 2017. (Pictured: Lungi International Airport in Freetown ready to welcome KLM).

The news on the resumption of the airline’s service to both countries after nearly two decades was heartily welcomed by citizens of both countries as it demonstrates the peace and stability now prevailing as well as the friendly business opportunities open to potential investors. 

Subject to the approval of the governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Sky team member will operate Amsterdam-Freetown-Monrovia-Amsterdam route 3 times a week on board Airbus A330-200 aircraft. 

First flight is scheduled on 26 MAR17 KL511 AMS1435 – 1930FNA2040 – 2155ROB2320 – 0810+1AMS 332 357. KLM last served Freetown in December 1996 and Monrovia in September 1990.

Courtesy: from Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Information Attaché, Brussels

 

USA: Sierra Leone Attends the African Growth and Opportunity Act

By Press Release (18/11/16)

The Sierra Leone delegation was led by the Minister of Trade and Industry Captain Momodu Alieu Pat-Sowe to attend the AGOA conference.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law by former United States President Bill Clinton in May 2000. (Pictured: Agile Trade Minister Pat-Sowe).

In his delegation to the US was Sierra Leone's Washington DC based Ambassador to United States Bockarie Stevens, SLIEPA CEO, Managing Director of SLPMC, MD of SLSB, DG of SLBF and Director of Foreign Trade attached to Ministry of Trade and Industry. 

Minister Captain Pat-Sowe made great contributions to the meeting, chaired and moderated some events and also made a very strong case for Sierra Leone's AGOA utilisation strategy. From observations it was noted that this was one of the best AGOA Meetings held. 

The objectives of the AGOA legislation include the expansion and deepening of the trade and investment relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa, to encourage economic growth and development as well as regional integration, and to help facilitate the integration of Sub-Saharan Africa into the global economy. 

The AGOA legislation (Public Law 106-200) makes provision for the establishment of a United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (“AGOA Forum”). Sec. 105 deals with the AGOA Forum in particular, and instructs the President of the United States to convene “annual high-level meetings between appropriate officials of the United States Government and officials of the governments of sub- Saharan African countries in order to foster close economic ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. 

This year's AGOA Forum focused on  discussing issues that include expanding trade and investment relations between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa and encouraging joint ventures between small and large businesses in addition to encourage representatives of the private sector to host similar forums in conjunction with the AGOA Forum. 

Lots of recommendations from the Ministerial and expert round tables were highlighted and adopted. There is now great need for Sierra Leone to embrace this window of opportunity that will last less than 9 years now to grow our export market, increase forex earnings, create employment and increase household incomes. AGOA© 2016.

 

Gambia’s Female Goal Keeper & Star Wrestler Drown at Mediterranean Sea

By Sekou Bagoko (16/11/16)

Gambians are currently mourning the drowning of two of the nation's rising sports stars at the Mediterranean sea while en route to Italy.

Fatim Jawara, 19, drowned while trying to reach Lampedusa in Italy on one of two ships hit by a sudden storm. The Gambian female national goal keeper had wanted to play in Europe. (Pictured: Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh).

Popular Gambian wrestler, Ali Mbengu, widely known as “Mille Franc” (Thousand Franc) died recently when his boat capsized in the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Italy.

His death which was confirmed to AFP by his coach Pateh Nying follows that of the popular goalkeeper of Gambia’s national women’s football team who drowned in the same circumstances in October.

“His plan was to cross to Italy by boat,” Nying said while recounting how the wrestler had left for Libya in 2014 to prepare for the journey.

One of the survivors called his brother and informed him about the incident. The caller told the brother that only 10 people survived when the boat capsized on the high seas.

“One of the survivors called his brother and informed him about the incident. The caller told the brother that only 10 people survived when the boat capsized on the high seas,” he added.

Mille Franc is said to have made his debut in early 2012, working under Coach Nying of Club Serrekunda Gome Saboppa, in the outskirts of the Gambia’s capital, Banjul.

A spokesman for the Gambia Wrestling Federation, Matarr Saine, spoke of the grief of the whole wrestling community.

“He was one of the most disciplined wrestlers in the country and he was really committed to the sport,” Saine told AFP on Wednesday night.

Some of the country’s finest wrestlers have resettled in Europe after boarding makeshift boats from Libya to Italy.

“We are discouraging young people, especially wrestlers, from embarking on this risky journey. It is claiming the lives of our sportsmen and women who can contribute positively to national development,” Matarr Saine advised.

Wrestling is hugely popular in the Gambia and in neighbouring Senegal, where bouts steeped in traditional rituals are watched by hundreds of spectators.

Courtesy: Sekou Bagoko, Global Africa News, November 14, 2016

 

 

Consequences for Fuel Price Hikes Sensitisation is Really Needed!

By N'Bompa (16/11/16)

Most Sierra Leoneans are confused and alarmed at the rise of fuel pump prices as this has resulted in the increase of the cost of...

Most Sierra Leoneans are confused and alarmed at the rise of fuel pump prices as this has resulted in the increase of the cost of living everywhere. (Pictured: Energy Minister Henry Macaulay has an herculean fuel task to contend with).

President Ernest Bai Koroma is trying hard  to achieve his goals in making his vision a reality through the Agenda for Prosperity slogan. He managed the affairs of our nation but we must remind ourselves that he does not work along. 

As a good listener, he tries to respond to advice and suggestions that could yield success. He empowered certain institutions to make sure we rebrand our nation. He has been shuffling and adjusting those he found to be counterproductive. At a time, he adjusted the expenditure level to cut down wastage in some institutions.                                                       

Today we could hear during the First Reading of the 2017 budget by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Momodu Kargbo in Parliament. He is expected to touch on the tariffs from the oil importers, a lot could be achieved in developing this country. 

The situation was scaled between a continuation to subsidies for the oil products and the decision to withdraw the tariff waiver oil groups or importers use to enjoy. The catch here is the government concluded to withdraw the waivers for the tariffs after a detailed consideration.

This simply means that the government at this time strongly believes that despite the consequential rise in the pump prices due to the withdrawal of the tariff waiver, they could be in a better position to do more for our nation.

We have the burden of the Free Health Care System, School Feeding Programmes, more buses and ferries, electricity, added efforts to complete roads under construction etc.

I think that our major problem is promulgation, poor negotiating power and corruption. To face reality, the pump prices just next door in Guinea and Liberia are higher than in Sierra Leone. Do not ask why the intense smuggling of our fuel to Guinea through the porous borders and most of our neighbours cross over to our country to access the Free Health Care system.

We all know the usual practices that no sooner word gets out that there is a pending increase in the pump price of fuel, the retailers shut down the services to create an artificial scarcity to sell what we locally term as "Jebu" (underground sale with highly inflated prices).

This vicious circle is passing over to the purchasers who in turn sky rocket their prices. Then all who spend on fuel increase their prices for goods and services also. In  negotiation, we expect a lot from the Ministry of  Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. 

To disseminate the information to the public, much is expected from the Ministry of Information and Communications in collaboration with the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs. 

This must include the media, both print and electronics to properly sensitise the public on the consequences of fuel violators.

 

Time to Help Welfare Ministry for our Girls to be Heard in Sierra Leone

By Mohamed Kabs Kabba (16/11/16)

The Girl Declaration is a clarion call to action to put our girls at the heart of the post-2015 Development Agenda in Sierra Leone.

Let's make this the moment Sierra Leone listens to girls and help the Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Gender Affairs. The following are some of the goals our prudent Social Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden (pictured with girls) has continue to champion: 

1. EDUCATION: Girls reach adulthood with relevant skills and knowledge to participate in economic, social and cultural life. 

2.   HEALTH:  Girls have access to appropriate health services and possess the confidence to make healthy transitions to adulthood.               

3.   SAFETY:  Girls are free from violence and exploitation and are supported by enforced laws, child protection systems and their communities. 

4.   ECONOMIC SECURITY: Girls can build and protect their economic assets and earn a safe income. Governments, communities and the private sector uphold girls' economic rights. 

5.    CITIZENSHIP: Girls have equal access to services, opportunities, legal rights and personal freedom, and are able to fully participate as citizens of their communities. 

We need them to make a better world, we must teach, mentor and support them. Together we make a better world. A world we all want... #istandforgirl.

 

I’m a Muslim, a Woman and an Immigrant. I Voted for Donald Trump!!!

By Asra Q. Nomani (13/11/16)

Asra Q. Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. Twitter at @AsraNomani.

A lot is being said now about the “silent secret Trump supporters.” This is my confession — and explanation: I — a 51-year-old, a Muslim, an immigrant woman “of color” — am one of those silent voters for Donald Trump. And I’m not a “bigot,” “racist,” “chauvinist” or “white supremacist,” as Trump voters are being called, nor part of some “whitelash.” (Pictured: Defeated Hillary Clinton couldnot even lure this female voter).

In the winter of 2008, as a lifelong liberal and proud daughter of West Virginia, a state born on the correct side of history on slavery, I moved to historically conservative Virginia only because the state had helped elect Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States.

But, then, for much of this past year, I have kept my electoral preference secret: I was leaning toward Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Tuesday evening, just minutes before the polls closed at Forestville Elementary School in mostly Democratic Fairfax County, I slipped between the cardboard partitions in the polling booth, a pen balanced carefully between my fingers, to mark my ballot for president, coloring in the circle beside the names of Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence.

After Hillary Clinton called Trump to concede, making him America’s president-elect, a friend on Twitter wrote a message of apology to the world, saying there are millions of Americans who don’t share Trump’s “hatred/division/ignorance.” She ended: “Ashamed of millions that do.”

That would presumably include me — but it doesn’t, and that is where the dismissal of voter concerns about Clinton led to her defeat. I most certainly reject the trifecta of “hatred/division/ignorance.” I support the Democratic Party’s position on abortion, same-sex marriage and climate change.

But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration.

Finally, as a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, I have been opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the “Islam” in Islamic State. Of course, Trump’s rhetoric has been far more than indelicate and folks can have policy differences with his recommendations, but, to me, it has been exaggerated and demonized by the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, their media channels, such as Al Jazeera, and their proxies in the West, in a convenient distraction from the issue that most worries me as a human being on this earth: extremist Islam of the kind that has spilled blood from the hallways of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to the dance floor of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. 

In mid-June, after the tragic shooting at Pulse, Trump tweeted out a message, delivered in his typical subtle style: “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

Around then, on CNN’s “New Day,” Democratic candidate Clinton seemed to do the Obama dance, saying, “From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. And it mattered we got bin Laden, not what name we called him. I have clearly said we — whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”

By mid-October, it was one Aug. 17, 2014, email from the WikiLeaks treasure trove of Clinton emails that poisoned the well for me. In it, Clinton told aide John Podesta: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL,” the politically correct name for the Islamic State, “and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

The revelations of multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation from Qatar and Saudi Arabia killed my support for Clinton. Yes, I want equal pay. No, I reject Trump’s “locker room” banter, the idea of a “wall” between the United States and Mexico and a plan to “ban” Muslims. But I trust the United States and don’t buy the political hyperbole — agenda-driven identity politics of its own — that demonized Trump and his supporters.

I gently tried to express my thoughts on Twitter but the “Pantsuit revolution” was like a steamroller to any nuanced discourse. If you supported Trump, you had to be a redneck. Days before the election, a journalist from India emailed me, asking: What are your thoughts being a Muslim in “Trump’s America”?

I wrote that as a child of India, arriving in the United States at the age of 4 in the summer of 1969, I have absolutely no fears about being a Muslim in a “Trump America.” The checks and balances in America and our rich history of social justice and civil rights will never allow the fear-mongering that has been attached to candidate Trump’s rhetoric to come to fruition.

What worried me the most were my concerns about the influence of theocratic Muslim dictatorships, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in a Hillary Clinton America. These dictatorships are no shining examples of progressive society with their failure to offer fundamental human rights and pathways to citizenship to immigrants from India, refugees from Syria and the entire class of de facto slaves that live in those dictatorships.

We have to stand up with moral courage against not just hate against Muslims, but hate by Muslims, so that everyone can live with sukhun, or peace of mind, I finished in my reflections to the journalist in India. He didn’t get the email. I didn’t resend it, afraid of the wrath I’d receive. But, then, I voted.

Courtesy: Washington Post

 

"I Spent my Anniversary Jailed-day in the African Sky," Tam-Baryoh

By a Press Release (13/11/16)

Sierra Leonean journalist Dr. David Tam-Baryoh reminisces his ordeal about his arrest and detention in Sierra Leone's notorious prison.

My fans across the world,  especially those who often listen to my radio show: the Good Governance program, the Monologue,  have been inuandating me with text/sapp messages as to my whereabouts and whether I have stopped the program without notifying them. (Pictured: Ex-VP Sam Sumana).

Actually, on the 2nd anniversary of my incarceration (3rd November,  2014), at the Freetown maximum security prison by government authorities in Sierra Leone...on grounds that I warned them against the undisturbed misuse of the Ebola funds, and d dangerous negative effects of the inimical activities of a panel of political kindergartens around the president, I left the Freetown Lungi International airport on that fine Sierra Leonean sunny day; 3rd Nov. 2016, for Abuja,  Nigeria. 

At least I spent my anniversary jailed-day in the African sky, en route first to Abuja, and then to Benin, Accra, Rabat and now in Dakar-going around with the sacked, but legitimately elected vice president of Sierra Leone; VP, Alhaji, Abubakarr Sidikie Sahr Samsumana, aka, 'the last hope' for Sierra Leone. It's unfortunate,  I cannot join VP Samsumana in the rest of his official visits to other countries,  such as South Africa,  Liberia,  Burkina Faso and Mali. 

In my two weeks stay away from Freetown, I have been able to meet with officials at the Ecowas secretariat and peeped into the Ecowas court to know how exactly it functions as an international court of jurisdiction. Meeting and talking with Samsumana's Two lawyers is an excellent experience I can recommend to any journalist of substance in the world. 

All being equal,  and despite what some small minds are saying in Freetown,  example,  "that the Ecowas court does not have jurisdiction in/ over Sierra Leone' and that 'its verdict cannot be obeyed in Sierra Leone",  I honestly and personally think that that disgrace,  embarrassment and a Hussein Harbre (Chad) situation can be avoided if only president Ernest Bai Koroma decides to move away from the myopic and underdeveloped ideas being forced on him by some of his people around him. 

Nevertheless,  here I come to Freetown;  to do my radio show, the Good governance program,  called MONOLOGUE. If you know what I know...! You would say, "HMMMM, THERE IS A SIERRA LEONEAN CALLED S-A-M-S-U-M-A-N-A! 

On issues of Sierra Leone,  we have to be truthful, but we cannot be neutral,  much so,  when the country is at a crossroad!

 

China Wanted President Trump. It Should be Careful What it Wished For

By John Pomfret (13/11/16)

John Pomfret, a former China correspondent for The Post, is author of a forthcoming book on U.S.-China relations, “The Beautiful...

John Pomfret, a former China correspondent for The Post, is author of a forthcoming book on U.S.-China relations, “The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present.” (Pictured: President -Elect Donald Trump and defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton).

I participated on Wednesday in a Chinese talk show on Chinese-owned Phoenix TV on the election of Donald Trump. There the glee was palpable about the victory of a man that Chinese state-run media has dubbed a “clown” and held up as an example of why the Chinese are better off living in a one-party state.

Underlying the glee was a belief of the guests, most of them leading Chinese analysts or former diplomats, that a Trump administration would cede the Western Pacific to China, downgrade its alliances with Japan and South Korea and not carry through on the candidate’s threats to slap tariffs on Chinese goods. Perhaps, I thought, my fellow panelists should be careful what they wished for.

To be sure, many in the Chinese government did not like Hillary Clinton. She made headlines in 1995 at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, criticizing China’s family-planning policies. As secretary of state, she, more than President Obama, was the originator of “the pivot,” the United States’ move to refocus its power on Asia.

On the campaign trail, Trump criticized Clinton’s Asia policy and mused about pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea and Japan if they didn’t pay more for American defense. He floated the idea that perhaps the two longtime U.S. allies could even become nuclear powers. Chinese analysts were giddy at the prospect of a U.S. retreat from Asia.

But, increasingly, Trump’s musings on Asia appear to be more of a ploy to wrest more dollars from U.S. allies than a genuine threat to exit the region. On Wednesday, Trump assured South Korean President Park Geun-hye that the United States would defend South Korea from any North Korean aggression. Trump also agreed to meet with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in New York next week.

Trump has also vowed to add more than 70 ships to the U.S. naval fleet, turning it into a force of 350 surface ships and submarines. To ride herd over this massive buildup, Trump has reportedly tapped Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) to be the next secretary of the Navy. Forbes has long supported a bigger Navy and stronger pushback against China in the South China Sea.

Other signs point to a more assertive U.S. policy in Asia. This week, two of Trump’s campaign advisers — an economics professor named Peter Navarro, known for his strong criticism of China, and Alexander Gray, who served as an adviser to Forbes — published an essay in Foreign Policy magazine arguing that the Obama administration had not been tough enough on China and that a Trump presidency would pursue a policy of “peace through strength” in Asia. Navarro and Gray described the Obama administration’s “pivot” as “talking loudly but carrying a small stick” and vowed a more forceful response to China’s maneuvers in the East and South China seas. Another Trump adviser is Michael Pillsbury, a former Defense Department official, who recently authored a book, “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” in which he accuses generations of U.S. leaders of being bamboozled by Beijing and outlines what he claims to be a Chinese plot to dominate the world.

On trade, while the guests on the show Wednesday night seemed blithe to Trump’s scheme to hit Chinese exports to the United States with tariffs or label China a currency manipulator, there is nothing to suggest that Trump won’t make good on these promises to pursue a far more protectionist path. Already, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal in the Asia Pacific, is dead.

Again this is bad news for Beijing. China’s exports to the United States have bankrolled the modernization of China’s military, science, technology and infrastructure and helped to improve the lives of countless millions. While exports to the United States are no longer as central as they once were to China’s prosperity, with a shaky economy, Beijing needs all the business it can get.

Near the end of the show, a young man from the audience asked whether the prospect of better relations between the United States and Russia would end up hurting China. None of the assembled seemed concerned. But it very well could. China shares a long border with Russia and a long, difficult history with the empire to its north. Despite a common interest in opposing U.S. power, tensions exist under the surface between Moscow and Beijing.

Listening to the talk from the panelists about Russia, I remembered reading the transcript of a conversation between President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger just a week before Nixon made his historic trip to China in February 1972. “I think in 20 years your successor, if he’s as wise as you,” Kissinger said, “will wind up leaning towards the Russians against the Chinese.” The president agreed.

Courtesy: John Pomfret, a former China correspondent for The Washington Post

 

 

Parliament Approves $100 Million to Improve Electricity & Health Service

By Press Release (11/11/16)

Parliamentarians have approved a massive development plan for Electricity and Health service delivery to the tune of over $100 million.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone recently ratified four agreements related to improving electricity and effective health service delivery in the country. This will be achieved through integrated and coordinated systems and processes in the West African sub-region. (Pictured: Energy Minister Henry Macaulay). The agreements include the following loans and grants to the Government and People of Sierra Leone:

         I.  Financing agreement (regional disease surveillance systems enhancement project in West Africa-REDISSE)-Sierra Leone project, under the first phase of the REDISSE between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association, dated 4th August 2016

        II. Financing agreement (health service delivery and system support project) between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association, dated 4th August 2016

      III. Ebola recovery and reconstruction trust fund grant (health service delivery and system support project) between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association (acting as administrator of the ebola recovery and reconstruction trust fund, dated 4th August 2016 and

      IV. Dollar credit line agreement between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Export-Import Bank of India, dated 11th August 2016.

Presenting the loans prior to ratification, the Minister of State, Ministry of Finance, Momoh Vandi said among other things that the first agreement, amounting to $30 Million  (inclusive of $10 Million grant) was aimed at putting in place an effective regional disease control and surveillance mechanism for  humans and animals to tackle any form of epidemics. 

He said the second and third agreements aggregate to $15 Million, including a grant of $5 Million, purposefully to improve and increase coverage on child related service delivery, noting emergencies and effective community engagements. 

He furthered that the fourth agreement amounts to $78 Million and hinges on improving the electricity transmission lines from Bumbuna to Waterloo, cognizant of the regional transmission project with the view of generating and distributing effective and reliable power supply to the consumers.

Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle, who spoke to the motion, described these loans and grants as timely and non-controversial. They also called on the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, through the Ministry of Finance to urgently consider and treat the issue of the recruitment of trained and qualified Nurses as an emergency. 

They furthered that as a nation we should utilize our trained Nurses to support and improve service delivery in our various medical facilities in the country, whilst noting the need for health incentives.

They however decried the absence of the Minister and officials of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and encouraged the Ministry of Finance to negotiate loans by harmonizing the interest rates, and avoiding excessive tax exemptions.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone 

 

APC's Vision on Health Care, Natural Resources, Girls Education etc. 

By Acting PRO N'Bompa (11/11/16)

During the recent Sierra Leone International Benchmarks (SLIBS) meet, APC's thematic issues on social development became clearer.

On Thursday, 13th, October,  2016 at 11am at State House, dining room, the second thematic meeting of SLIBS on social development was held. (Pictured: Dr. Sam Sesay).                          

The coordinator of the SLIBS Sierra Leone Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, who doubles as adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma, gave an oversight about the SLIBS in his opening address. He said that we must operate under the guidelines of the monthly things we do and added the dire need to establish the secretariat. 

Dr. Sam Sesay expressed his enthusiasm because of the President's commitment to the SLIBS programme. He also suggested that they think critically over resource mobilisation for the programme and asked that the MDA's be monitored from outside. 

In conclusion, he talked about Health Expenditure, Natural Resources Protection, Girls Primary Education completion rate and Child Health Care.                            

The Special Adviser to President Koroma and Ambassador at Large, Hon. Dr. Alhaji Alpha Abu Bakarr Sidique Khan, talked about the failures in the Fiscal Policy Regulation and recommended the teaching of health and sanitation, building up of more secondary and primary schools and the need for volunteer nurses and teachers. 

"E-connectivity, the creation of a database system, having persons in all ministries to handle the database and M&E, the creation of systems analysis by the government," Alpha Khan noted.

Also, Alpha Khan questioned the NACSA focal person why should we have hospitals without nurses and schools without teachers?                                            

For his part, Special Adviser to President Koroma, Alhaji Dauda S. Kamara stressed the need for an intensive sensitisation of the programme to all concerned. He also suggested that the issues of the district councils must be looked into. The meet ended successfully.                                           

 

Minister Rahman Adds Value to the Health & Sanitation Ministry Plans

By N'Bompa (11/11/16)

Sierra Leone Deputy Health Minister has geared up to re-branding the Health and Sanitation Ministry for the benefit of everyone in the country.

President Ernest Bai Koroma was highly applauded by Sierra Leoneans and the world for appointing several of our female technocrats into very sensitive positions in the government. 

His drive to support women development climaxed the expectations of many as we see most of our sisters in high positions. One example is the appointment of the Deputy Minister 1, of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Hon. Madina S. Rahman (pictured) to partake in the re-branding of the ministry.

Community members of Fourah Bay commuinty, where she hails from and going all the way to the Garden State of New Jersey in the USA regard her as a warm selfless and committed member of her community who has helped many over the years irrespective of political, religious and regional affiliation.                                                                         

Now as a Deputy Hon Minister 1 of Health and Sanitation, many more continue to appreciate her for being development orientated, transparent, accountable, hardworking and focused with her vision to see the health sector grow. 

This is way many of us applauded the step taken by the President. There is no question at all that the foundations of our beloved Sierra Leone are fractured and that is why we welcome this initiative. Madam Rahman represents a new approach to the issues of governance and nation politics in Sierra Leone.

Some workers in her ministry claimed that she really believes in development bringing people together, interacts well with staff and all irrespective of status, promotes medical and respects human rights. 

Her leadership style and character shall bring great success and prosperity in her undertaking. Keep it up Hon. Madina!

 

Markets Staggered by Trump’s Shock Victory but Stage Partial Recovery

By Simon and Miu (09/11/16)

A television screen displays a news channel showing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump making his victory speech, as a trader...

A television screen displays a news channel showing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump making his victory speech, as a trader monitors financial data on computer screens on the trading floor. (Pictured: Defeated Hillary Clinton and her Democrats).

BEIJING — Global stocks and the dollar plunged on Wednesday as Donald Trump surprised investors by winning the race for the White House, but markets recovered some of their initial losses as a degree of calm returned ahead of the U.S. market’s opening.

On Wall Street, the three major stock indexes initially fell by as much as 5 percent in overnight trading, while futures trading in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was at one point temporarily suspended.

But the panic began to subside as investors factored in the effect of a weaker dollar and lower probability of a U.S. interest rate hike this year. 

A conciliatory acceptance speech by Trump also appeared to help calm nerves, with the Republican president-elect saying it was “time to bind the wounds of division.” A promise to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure was also seen as positive for stock markets.

The Mexican peso — which had fallen as the Republican nominee rose in the polls during his campaign — nosedived to an eight-year low, before recovering some of its losses to stand around 8.5 percent lower.

The panic had stretched all the way to Asia, where Japan’s Nikkei index plunged more than 900 points, or 5.4 percent, Wednesday. In a flight to safety, gold charged higher, and the yen also surged.

The assumption that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would notch a comfortable victory had boosted markets earlier in the week. But on Tuesday night, investors began to grapple with the possibility that Trump's controversial proposals to rip up long-standing trade agreements, deport millions of immigrants and radically re-engineer the tax code could become reality.

“Pollsters need to go away and have a holiday — every single one of them should be fired,” said Chris Weston, chief markets strategist at IG Markets in Melbourne. “Markets weren’t prepared for this.”

The sell-off recalled the volatility following Britain's decision this summer to leave the European Union. Investors had largely dismissed the possibility of a so-called “Brexit” but then quickly reversed course as the votes were counted. That dynamic appeared to be playing out again; Craig Erlam, senior market analyst for foreign exchange firm Oanda, called Tuesday's rout simply “a bloodbath.”

Among Trump's chief campaign promises has been to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and slap double-digit tariffs on goods from Mexico and China, moves that experts fear could spark a trade war. He also has proposed massive tax cuts for both individuals and corporations that could cost as much as $6 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Though Trump’s message of isolationism has resonated with voters who feel left behind by globalization, many experts have warned that his proposals could wreck havoc on the U.S. recovery.

Moody’s Analytics forecast that Trump’s policies could lower employment by 3.5 million jobs and raise the unemployment rate to 7 percent by the end of his term. The firm also predicted that the nation would enter a recession in 2018. 

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 index was down around 2 percent in early trading but recovered to stand 0.8 percent lower by midmorning. Germany’s main DAX index fell by around 1 percent, and London’s FTSE-100 was 0.2 percent lower.

“Trump has not held any public office before and lacks experience of making currency and fiscal policies. He also has extreme views,” said Yang Delong, chief economist at First Seafront Fund in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “All these will be viewed by the investors as huge uncertainty. That’s why the markets are down and the gold price is going up.”

But markets recovered some stability as investors dialed back their expectations that the Federal Reserve would hike its benchmark interest rate in December. The central bank had hinted it was ready to move following signs of economic resilience, but that could be threatened amid the turbulence in financial markets.

“We now expect the Fed is not going to raise rates in December,” said Marcel Thieliant at Capital Economics in Singapore. That, and the weaker dollar, had helped U.S. stock index futures recover, he said.

“Foreign earnings account for about half of the sales of S&P 500 companies,” he said. “Generally we take the view that markets should recover fairly quickly.”

At Lombard Street Research in London, head of strategy Andrea Cicione said the likelihood of modestly expansionary fiscal policy under Trump, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending, would help sentiment toward U.S. equities.

Trump’s fiscal plans would also probably be diluted by his own party, with Republicans likely to oppose dramatically expansionary fiscal policy, Cicione said.

“An initial bit of volatility was to be expected,” he said. “But a weaker dollar and some fiscal expansion — that’s a good thing for stocks. You should expect a rebound fairly soon.”

U.S. Treasurys initially surged on a flight to safety as results came in but soon reversed direction, and prices were slightly lower — and yields slightly higher — in later trading as investors began to price in slightly more inflationary and fiscally expansionist policies under Trump.

One of Trump’s most prominent supporters, billionaire Carl Icahn, also predicted that the sell-off would be short-lived. Many of Trump's proposals have been lacking in detail, but his campaign has broadly argued that his aggressive stance would help lift the economy out of the doldrums and unleash unprecedented growth that would allow his programs to pay for themselves.

“It's going to cost the rich guys in New York money, and that's too damn bad,” Icahn said on CNBC on Tuesday night. “But you have to think about where this country is going to be in the next five, 10 years, and you can't have it going the way it's going.”

However, the prospect of a Trump presidency was enough to persuade Mexican leaders to meet last week to craft a “contingency plan” in the event of an “adverse” election result. The head of Mexico’s central bank has compared a President Trump to a “hurricane” that could damage the country’s economy. In addition to hiking tariffs on its exports to the United States, Trump has made building a wall along the Mexican border a hallmark of his campaign. Already, the declining value of the peso has factored into the central bank’s decision to boost interest rates.

“It’s the Pavlovian response: The bell rings, Trump does better, the Mexican [peso] sells off,” said Ed Shill, chief investment officer at QCI Asset Management.

Meanwhile, Japan’s financial authorities and the board of South Korea’s stock exchange called separate emergency meetings in their countries Wednesday morning to discuss the sharp fall in the financial markets.

“We haven’t taken any measures regarding the stock market reaction to the U.S. election yet, but we are constantly monitoring the markets and the U.S. elections,” said Kang Byung-mo, head of financial market analysis at Korea Exchange.

Mui reported from Washington. Luna Lin in Beijing and Yoonjung Seo in Seoul contributed to this report.

Courtesy: By Simon Denyer and Ylan Q. Miu  and Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

Traumatic Campaign Produces a Shocking Ending & Trump Victorious

By Dan Balz (09/11/16)

Early on the morning of Nov. 9, Republican President-elect Donald Trump addressed supporters in New York, declaring victory over...

Early on the morning of Nov. 9, Republican President-elect Donald Trump addressed supporters in New York, declaring victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Here are key moments from that speech.  

Donald Trump’s campaign for president was rarely pretty and always implausible — at least that’s what the experts said. Trump always believed otherwise and in stunning fashion proved all the experts wrong. But his victory over Hillary Clinton left open the biggest question of all: What kind of president will he be and what kind of country will he lead?

It’s impossible to overstate how uncertain the road ahead is at this point. But how will Trump govern, and how effective will he be? His core issues — trade, immigration, and law and order — offer clues but no clear road map for the future. Even in pursuit of the goals he outlined in those three areas, his proposals lack real specificity. But then, his campaign was not about policy white papers. It was instead a thumb in the eye of the establishment, an American version of the populist uprisings against open borders and globalization that have been seen in other Western societies.

Trump always said he smelled an American Brexit in the making — a reference to the unexpected victory in Britain in June by those who wanted to take the country out of the European Union. That vote caught the elites and the establishment totally by surprise. It was an uprising that went unseen until it struck. Trump’s victory was by far even more shocking. It was the kind of “can’t happen here” event that will go down as one of the great upsets in political history.

What happened Tuesday was a victory powered by an outpouring of voters, overwhelmingly white and many without college degrees, who felt left behind by the economic recovery, ignored by Washington and disdained by the political, cultural and economic elites. In the end, that was enough to topple Clinton and her dream of becoming the first female president in the nation’s history. The shock waves will be felt for months and maybe years.

Trump insulted Hispanics, women, a prominent senator who was a former POW, and a disabled reporter. He called for a ban on Muslims entering the country, later modified and softened. Can he make room in the America he now leads for all those who loudly and vigorously opposed his candidacy? Trump suggested he might not accept the outcome of the election if he lost. How will those who oppose him now respond to his victory? Those are far from incidental questions.

 Americans anxiously await the results of the 2016 election. At one point in the campaign, Clinton called part of Trump’s army “a basket of deplorables.” Yet even she acknowledged that what fueled his candidacy, at least in part, was the feeling of alienation and economic anxiety on the part of a wide swath of the population. One Clinton adviser described it as “a quiet rage” that existed in the privacy of living rooms and around kitchen tables, frustration with the political system and the lack of tangible results from government’s actions for many hard-working Americans.

Clinton’s “deplorables” comment became a rallying cry in the final months of the campaign. Trump attracted an army of loyal followers who saw in him the mechanism to break the hold of those in power and to shake Washington to its core. They also loathed Clinton, no small part of the reason she lost. It was that combination and that power, seen but underestimated during the campaign that produced an election night shocker that sent world markets plunging and left the country on edge.

Trump succeeded for many reasons, easier to describe in retrospect than many who view politics through traditional lenses saw throughout the campaign. His mistakes always seemed to overwhelm his attributes. What the experts overlooked was how many people were willing to forgive or discount the most controversial aspects of his candidacy — and what no one can measure is just how many agreed with what he said.

This was an uprising by Americans who had lost faith in institutions. Trump gave them a voice they felt they haven’t had in a changing America. Clinton tried to make the campaign all about temperament. As a political strategy, it failed. But that doesn’t negate the questions about whether Trump can successfully translate the style of his campaign to the demands of the Oval Office.

So many questions now rise up for answers. How will he govern? Can he forge a true working relationship with Republican congressional leaders whom he belittled as they equivocated about his candidacy?

His foreign policy pronouncements lacked both consistency and coherence. He had no fixed ideology. He leaned right on tax cuts and left on trade. He has operated on instinct and impulse. He said whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. What he showed is that huge numbers of Americans cared little about ideological consistency or political correctness. What they wanted was a send-a-message candidate.

His most important relationship will be with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). At one point Ryan described Trump’s insults about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel as the definition of racism, yet he still voted for him. As Trump offered his agenda, Ryan countered with one of his own. Whose will take precedence?

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Trump went to Gettysburg, Pa., where he laid out an agenda that provides some indication of what he might do. It was a speech akin to the 1994 House Republicans’ Contract with America, a series of pledges designed, as Trump put it, “to drain the swamp” of privilege and special interests in Washington. Others have promised as much in the past.

This was an election about fundamentals and first principles, bringing to the surface an acrimonious argument about the values and beliefs that provide the underpinnings of any society. It was an election that involved big questions about race, gender, religion and economic inequality, as well as the relationship between the central government and an increasingly distrustful people. It highlighted the gulf between society’s elites — political, economic and cultural — and the rest of the population.

Above all it was a campaign about the identity of a nation. The campaign brought to the fore the tensions of a nation in transition and the pull and tug felt on each side of dividing lines that define far more than just our politics. At its best, this can produce a conversation in which different sides bring heartfelt attitudes about what makes America the great nation it was, is and will be. At its worst, it can give voice to racism and misogyny, anti-Semitism and religious bigotry.

The election exposed the rawest edges of a diverse and changing America. The campaign pitted group against group, injected tension into everyday interactions even among friends and neighbors. Social media stoked those tensions and widened the divisions.

Clinton ran a campaign she could never have anticipated. She was thrust into the maelstrom of a Trump-generated cyclone, and she and her campaign tried to adapt on the fly. She represented history in the making, but through much of the campaign the possibility of breaking the gender barrier provided a far more modest lift than Obama received on his way to becoming the nation’s first African American president.

Trump did what Clinton could not do, delivering margins in predominantly white areas of battleground states that far eclipsed those of Mitt Romney in 2012. Clinton failed to do what she needed, which was to combine elements of the Obama coalition — Hispanics, African Americans and young voters — and add to them college-educated white voters turned off by Trump’s rhetoric. His rallies were always bigger and more passionate than hers, and on Election Day, that energy helped deliver the victory.

Big elections are supposed to help settle some of these disputes, or at least point a direction for the new leader. Yet, as the campaign ended Tuesday, the question remained as to what had been resolved, if anything. No one was prepared to predict what kind of presidency Trump would fashion, only that if it followed the patterns of his campaign, it would continue to divide the country and, at its start, certainly, alarm allies around the world. And yet Trump vowed he could find a way to make it work.

Michael Leavitt, the Republican former governor of Utah, said as the polls were closing: “I think the country is desperate for a jolt of optimism. In their own way, what most people have wanted to find is functionality [in Washington]. Those who support Trump believe the only way you can find functionality is to ‘drain the swamp.’ ”

For months, Americans have been apprehensive as they neared Election Day, never able to turn away from the spectacle that was on their television screens and smartphones. Record numbers watched the debates during the primaries, and the biggest audience ever tuned in for the first of three Clinton-Trump faceoffs this fall.

Everyone knew the campaign was unlike anything they had seen in the past. Everyone wanted it to end. Now it falls to Trump, the unlikely winner of the most traumatic election in memory, to chart the course ahead and try, if he can, to prove that he can lift the whole country out of its morass and make Washington work.

Courtesy: By Dan Balz, Washington Post  

 

Sierra Leone and Belarus Place Agriculture at the Top of the Agenda

By Abubakarr Daramy (07/11/16)

The development of trade, economic and technological corporations in Agriculture is what the Sierra Leone government is craving for.

The delegation from Sierra Leone, headed by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Professor Monty Jones (pictured) recently arrived in the Republic of Belarus, their second stop in their travels to the Balkan on 10th October, 2016.

The trip is in honour of the invitation extended to the Honourable Minister and delegation of MAFFS by the government of the Republic of Belarus to promote corporations, rural development and further create favourable platforms for the development of trade, economic,  technological corporations in the field of Agriculture.

Throughout his stay, he has been engaged in a number of meetings and discussions together with the Sierra Leone ambassador to Belarus Ambassador John Yambasu in areas of enhancing trade and economic relationship between the two countries, and to name a few:

1. Visiting a machinery and equipment plants to assess the needs of MAFFS in other to meet the demand of food security in Sierra Leone.

2. Meeting with the Minsk City Council's Chairman of Economic Committees.

3. Meeting with the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food.

4. Visited the largest Agro Processing Farm own and managed by the government of Belarus.

5. Met with the largest agrochemicals company in Belarus.

6. Finally meetings with other private sector investors in Agriculture.

The Honourable Minister next and final stop is Republic of Ukraine, where he will continue to promote trade and economic relationship between the two countries.  

Courtesy: PRO Ministry of Agriculture Abubakarr Daramy

 

Fact-Checking the ‘Final Arguments’ of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

By US Reporters (07/11/16) 

With the 2016 presidential election race coming to a close tomorrow, here’s a roundup of 29 claims being made by Donald Trump and ...

Hillary Clinton in their “final argument” speeches. Trump repeated many of his greatest hits of debunked claims, and Clinton mainly attacked Trump.

And, remember, no matter what your politics, please don’t take your right to vote for granted. (Pictured: Trump and Clinton).

Donald Trump

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of 200 — more than that now, much more than that — top admirals and generals.”

Trump has been making this claim for weeks. But the last news release from his campaign on flag officer endorsements, issued Sept. 16, only listed 164. The list currently stands at 165.

“Eight years ago when he [Barack Obama] was running for the first time, he essentially was talking about how corrupt the election system is in Chicago. I saw it. I said wait a minute, he’s telling us how Trump shouldn’t be saying these things. And this guy, eight years ago, is on television last night, talking about how corrupt it is and saying, ‘I’m lucky I’m from Chicago.’”

This appears to be a reference to a video of Barack Obama at a 2008 campaign event at Kent State University in New Philadelphia, Ohio. But Trump takes Obama’s answer out of context — and Obama does not say he’s lucky he’s from Chicago.

A voter asked, “I would just like to know what you can say to reassure us that this election will not be rigged or stolen.” Here’s Obama’s answer:

“Well, I tell you what, it helps in Ohio that we’ve got Democrats in charge of the machines. But look, I come from Chicago. So I want to be honest, it’s not as if it’s just Republicans who have monkeyed around with elections in the past. Sometimes Democrats have, too. Whenever people are in power, they have this tendency to try to, you know, tilt things in their direction. That’s why we’ve got to have, I believe, a voting rights division in the Justice Department that is not partisan, and that is serious about investigating cases of vote fraud, serious about making sure people aren’t being discouraged to vote. That’s why the voting rights legislation that was passed a couple of years ago to help county clerks make sure the machines were in place that were needed. That’s why we need paper trails on these new election machines, so that you actually have something that you can hang on to after you punch that letter, to make sure it hasn’t been hacked into. Those are all part of the process of making sure our democracy works for everybody.”

“Our trade deal with Mexico, NAFTA, is a defective deal. It was defective almost from the beginning because we have different tax systems. They’re on a VAT system. We’re on our system. Well, there’s almost a 17 percent difference. So every deal that we make, we are behind 17 percent before we even start. People have known that for years and years and years, and it’s a defective agreement. Nobody’s ever changed it. Believe me, it’s going to get changed very quickly, okay?”

Trump is misleading by characterizing Mexico’s 16 percent value added tax, or VAT, as a trade barrier. The VAT is a consumption tax levied on goods and services that are produced and sold in Mexico. These taxes do not apply to products exported from Mexico.

The GOP presidential nominee is pressing his case ahead of Election Day.

This tax works the same way as U.S. federal excise tax on certain imported (but not exported) goods and state retail sales taxes on domestic consumption of products (and not exports), according to Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center. Toder wrote on the Tax Policy Center’s TaxVox Blog that the VAT does not favor one country’s producers over another’s.

“The World Trade Organization rightly does not view these rules as trade barriers,” Toder wrote. “They are simply ways for a country to tax its own residents, without discriminating based on where goods are produced. In contrast, the WTO would appropriately view a tariff that is imposed only on imported goods and services but exempts domestically produced products as a trade barrier.”

At a campaign rally in Golden, Colo., on Oct. 29, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the U.S. Justice Department is "trying so hard" to "protect" Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in reference to new developments in the FBI investigation of Clinton's use of emails at the State Department. (The Washington Post)

“It was reported last night that the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s pay-for-play corruption during her tenure as secretary of state. In other words, the FBI is investigating how Hillary Clinton put the office of secretary of state up for sale in violation of federal law.”

This is false. There were FBI agents who argued for the bureau to pursue an investigation into the Clinton Foundation and allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest. But senior law enforcement officials believed there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward, according to the Wall Street Journal‘s detailed account of the infighting over whether to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

“It isn’t unusual for field agents to favor a more aggressive approach than supervisors and prosecutors think is merited. But the internal debates about the Clinton Foundation show the high stakes when such disagreements occur surrounding someone who is running for president,” the Journal reported.

“Nationwide, murders have experienced the largest single year increase in 45 years. … A Trump administration will work with local and fed law enforcement to end this growing crime wave. It’s very substantial.” 

Trump is citing FBI data showing homicides were up 10.8 percent nationwide in 2015. That was the biggest percentage jump in a single year since 1971. Sometimes, he incorrectly cites this figure to say that “we have the highest murder rate in this country in 45 years.” We have awarded that incorrect version Four Pinocchios.

We frequently warn against comparing crime trends from short periods of time, such as year over year. An annual trend can show a trajectory of where the trend might be headed but still does not give a full picture. Crime trends are determined over at least five years, preferably 10 or 20 years, of data. The sharp increase in violent crime rate and homicide rates in 2015 do not necessarily indicate a “crime wave.” Overall, violent crimes and murders have been declining nationwide since their peak in 1991.

“General [David] Petraeus’s life and reputation have been destroyed, for doing nothing, by comparison, to what Hillary Clinton did.” 

Trump repeats a Three Pinocchio comparison of how Petraeus and Clinton handled classified information. FBI Director James B. Comey has rejected the claim that Petraeus “got in trouble for far less” than Clinton. “It’s the reverse,” Comey has said, as the Petraeus “illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute.” Mainly, the Petraeus case involved a combination of obstruction of justice, intentional misconduct and a vast quantity of classified information that did not exist in the Clinton case, and Petraeus admitted that he knew that was the wrong thing to do, Comey has said.

“They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine, that’s an old submarine, they’ve got plenty of pictures, if the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them. He wanted to take a couple of pictures, they put him in jail for a year.”

Trump compared the case of Kristian Saucier to the Clinton email case, to illustrate that others have been punished for doing “nothing by comparison to what she’s done.” But Saucier’s case is not exactly comparable, either. The Navy sailor was sentenced to prison after taking photos in classified areas of a nuclear submarine. He then destroyed the evidence after learning that he was under investigation. In fact, Saucier’s lawyers even acknowledged that the two cases were different: Saucier admitted knowing that what he was doing was illegal, unlike Clinton.

“As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton allowed thousands of the most dangerous and violent criminal aliens to go free because their home countries were intelligent, they wouldn’t take them back.”

We have awarded Three Pinocchios to this claim. Under section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the secretary of state does have power to discontinue the granting of certain types of visas to countries that refuse to accept undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes. Such action is taken rarely, and is used against relatively small countries with little economic power.

Trump goes too far suggesting that Clinton decided to allow these illegal immigrants to stay here. Under Clinton, the State Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2011 signed a memorandum of understanding to increase pressure on recalcitrant countries. This formalized a series of increasingly tougher steps that could be taken when dealing with countries that refuse to accept the return of their nationals. At the end of that process, the secretary’s authority under section 243(d) could be invoked.

While railing against voter fraud during a rally in Cleveland, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that maybe people registered in more than one state will vote for him and he's "okay" with that. (The Washington Post)

“Let’s do this, let’s not worry about it, get out and vote by the millions and we won’t have to worry about what’s taking place behind the scenes. Remember this, 1.8 million people that are dead are registered to vote. You know, they talk about oh, that’s a threat to democracy what I’m saying, 1.8 million people, 2.75 million people are registered to vote in two states.”

This is a reference to findings of a 2012 Pew Center on the States study of ways to make the election system more accurate, cost-effective and efficient. There were more than 1.8 million records for people who are deceased, but whose registrations were still on voter rolls. About 2.75 million people were registered to vote in more than one state, which could happen if voters move to a new state and register to vote without notifying their former state. As we have noted, the study does not say that these problems indicated signs of isolated or widespread voter fraud, as Trump suggests.

At a rally in Tampa, Oct. 24, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged to provide Americans with “great health care at a fraction” of what they pay now. (The Washington Post)

“It’s just been announced that Michigan residents are going to experience crushing double-digit premium hikes, congratulations — congratulations. In fact a number is so high, I don’t want to give it to you ’cause I want you to have a good time today, okay?”

Trump repeatedly points out premium hikes in 2017 under the Affordable Care Act, and has been using a version of this claim tailored to the state in which he is speaking. As we’ve explained, most Americans get their health insurance through their employer and thus are not impacted — and a majority of people who purchase health care on the state exchange will not be affected by the increases.

For example, individual health plans sold the state exchange in Michigan will increase 16.7 percent next year. But most people in Michigan who purchase health care on the state exchange qualify for tax credit subsidies and won’t be affected, according to the Detroit Free Press. If a person makes too much income to qualify for a subsidy, then they would face a premium increase.

At a rally in Lakeland, Fla., Oct. 12, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton must go to jail for the way she handled her emails. (The Washington Post)

“Hillary is the one who destroyed 33,000 emails after she got the subpoena, after. Before it’s no good, but after, no; that’s why something should’ve happened then, but that’s okay.”

Trump is technically correct on the timeline, but Clinton’s staff had requested the emails to be deleted months before the subpoena, according to the FBI’s August 2016 report. An employee of the company that managed her server told the FBI he had an “oh s — ” moment and realized he did not delete the emails until after the subpoena.

Moreover, there’s no evidence Clinton deleted the emails in anticipation of the subpoena, and FBI director James B. Comey has said his agency’s investigation found no evidence that any work-related emails were “intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.” Here’s PolitiFact’s helpful timeline of events relating to Clinton’s release of her emails.

“Your car production facilities, like the Ford facility, will continue to leave Michigan, nothing’s gonna get done.”

Ford is moving its small car production to Mexico, but the company has said the expansion will not affect U.S. workers. Production of Ford Focus models will shift to Mexico, but the plant in Michigan will build other, larger vehicles, Ford said.

Mexico is increasingly attractive for automakers because of the low cost of labor, which makes it cheaper to make labor-intensive small cars in Mexico. But it tends to be cheaper to build larger and more expensive cars in the United States, where electricity is cheaper and there is more access to equipment and skilled technicians.

“I don’t know if you know, Hillary wanted a wall. Did you know that?”

Not exactly. Clinton supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence is mostly vehicle barriers and single-layer pedestrian fence. Trump has called for a border wall of precast concrete, as tall as 30 to 60 feet.

In a January 2016 interview with Jorge Ramos, Clinton said the fence is different from Trump’s wall. “So we do need to have secure borders and what that will take is a combination of technology and physical barrier. … I voted for border security and some of it was a fence.” Trump himself has called the fencing under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 “such a little wall, it was such a nothing wall.”

“And they don’t take care of monetary manipulation, which is the single biggest weapon that foreign countries use to kill us, especially China. They’re grand masters.”

As we have pointed out repeatedly, Trump’s complaints about currency manipulation by China are out of date. China has not manipulated its currency for at least two years, and the yuan has appreciated over the past decade. Recently, China has been selling dollars and running down its reserves in an effort to strengthen the currency.

“Twenty-two veterans a day commits suicide. Can you believe that number? Twenty-two veterans a day are committing suicide.”

Once upon a time, not too long ago, we awarded Trump the rare Geppetto Checkmark for using the most up-to-date figure of 20 veteran suicides a day. Alas, he has reverted since then to using the 22 figure — a rough and outdated estimate based on partial data.

In 2014, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide a day. This is based on the findings of the most comprehensive, data-driven study of veteran suicides to date, published August 2016. For the first time, federal agencies pieced together 55 million veteran records over 35 years using military, health and mortality data. The study confirmed that veterans generally have higher suicides rates than civilian populations, though the degree of difference varies for specific populations.

“We’re the highest taxed nation in the world.”

Trump revived an oldie but goodie that he repeated throughout the primaries, but it’s still inaccurate.

Pew Research Center, using 2014 data, found that the tax bill for Americans, under various scenarios, is below average for developed countries. In 2014, according to comparative tables of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), revenue as a percentage of the gross domestic product — the broadest measure of the economy — was 26 percent for the United States. Out of 34 countries, that put the United States in the bottom third — and well below the OECD average of 34.4 percent.

During a speech in Charlotte, Oct. 26, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that “illegal immigration violates the civil rights of African Americans.” (The Washington Post)

“You look at unemployment rate of African American youth, you look at it, it’s 58 percent.”

Trump repeats a Four Pinocchio claim. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate for black youth as of July 2016 is 20.6 percent — about one-third of the rate Trump uses.

The BLS unemployment rate refers to people who are actively looking for jobs, but can’t find one. Trump’s rate includes anyone who doesn’t have a job, whether they are looking for one or not. That’s particularly problematic with this age range of 16 to 24 years old because Trump is counting students as “unemployed,” even though they are in school full-time.

“Now ISIS is in 32 countries all around the world, and what a shame it is.”

Trump’s statement lacks context, and has earned Two Pinocchios. He could point to 32 countries — and probably more — where the Islamic State has conducted attacks, occupies territory or has terrorist cells that have pledged some sort of allegiance. But that is half the size of a comparable list for al-Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Moreover, Trump implies that Islamic State has operational control in 32 countries. The Congressional Research Service, in a June 2016 report, listed only six affiliates beyond Iraq and Syria — in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Yemen.

“We have illegal immigrants coming into the country that are taken better care of than our vets.”

We have awarded Four Pinocchios to this absurd comparison. Broadly speaking, people who are in the United States illegally aren’t granted the same rights as people here legally — both civilians and veterans. Unauthorized people, who are not granted any deferred-action status that deems them lawfully present in the country, are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits or any other federal means-tested benefits, even though many of them pay into Social Security. 

Hillary Clinton

“I am running against a man who says he doesn’t understand why we can’t use nuclear weapons. He actually said, then why are we making them? And he wants more countries to have nuclear weapons, Japan, South Korea, even Saudi Arabia. … When he was asked who he consults on foreign policy, Donald Trump said he didn’t need to consult because, and I quote, ‘I have a very good brain.’ … He says he knows more about ISIS than our generals do.”

These lines are all derived from actual statements by Trump, though in many cases he may have said it only once.

• In a March 30 interview, after Chris Mathews told Trump nobody wants to hear an American president about possibly using nuclear weapons, Trump responded: “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”

• In a March 29 interview on CNN, Anderson Cooper asked Trump: “So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?” Trump responded: “Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. … Wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”

• Asked on March 16 by MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski about his foreign policy consultants, Trump replied: “I am speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain.” He then went onto cite a previously debunked claim that he had predicted Osama bin Laden would attack the United States.

• Trump, at a Nov. 12, 2015 rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa, said: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”

“After the world watched with horror as the twin towers fell, he called in to a New York TV station, and even on that horrible day when thousands of people lost their lives he couldn’t stop himself from pointing out that now, because the towers had fallen, a building he owned was the tallest in Lower Manhattan.”

This is correct. On Sept. 11, 2001, Trump called WWOR-TV in New York and made this observation during the 10-minute interview: “Forty Wall St. actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was, actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest. And then when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest.”

“He is praising tyrants and dictators, like Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Un in North Korea and Bashar al-Assad for their supposed strong leadership. He even praised the Chinese government for massacring protesters in Tiananmen Square.”

There are strong elements of truth in this line, but some of it is exaggerated.

• We’ve previously given Clinton Two Pinocchios for claiming that Trump had praised Kim Jong-Un. The use of the word “praise” certainly reflects some news headlines, but Trump’s actual remarks were a bit more nuanced (though confusing). Trump made it clear he thought Kim was a threat, in part because of how he ruthlessly seized power.

• As for Hussein, Trump at a July 5 campaign rally called him a “bad guy”but added: “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. It was over.” This statement was actually wrong — Hussein supported terrorists — and earned Trump Four Pinocchios.

• In the third presidential debate, Trump asserted that Syrian President Assad is “just much tougher and much smarter than her [Clinton] and Obama. And everyone thought he was gone two years ago, three years ago. He aligned with Russia, he now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful.”

• The comment regarding Tiananmen Square is more than a quarter-century old. Trump made these observations in a 1990 interview with Playboy: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world.”

“It’s no surprise that not a single former president, secretary of state or national security adviser from either party has endorsed him.”

This is true. Most former Republican presidents, secretaries of state and national security advisers have remained silent, in stark contrast to the strong endorsements of Mitt Romney in 2012. Clinton has been endorsed by Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under George H.W. Bush, and Colin Powell, Secretary of State under George W. Bush (who also endorsed Obama). Condoleezza Rice, who was national security adviser and then secretary of State for George W. Bush, called on Trump to drop out of race.

“We’re going to finally guarantee equal pay for women’s work.”

There is no way to guarantee this. Clinton is referring to a proposed law called the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier to sue an employer. As we have often noted, the pay gap shrinks when factors within a women’s control, such as choice of occupation and work hours, are taken into consideration. But there remains a smaller, unexplained gap that may be the result of discrimination.

“He doesn’t think we should raise the national minimum wage.”

Trump has said this, but he’s also said the opposite. We counted at least five flip-flops by Trump on this issue. More recently, he has been open to raising the federal minimum wage.

At a rally in Pittsburgh, Nov. 4, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton portrayed Republican rival Donald Trump as someone who would hurt low-income and middle class Americans economically. (The Washington Post)

“He’s hired hundreds of small business and contractors to do work for him and his hotels and his casinos, cabinet-makers, piano-sellers, drapery-printers, so many more. They did the work and then Donald refused to pay what he owed.”

Trump’s practice of not paying bills to contractors has been well documented. See, for instance, this investigation by USA Today.

“He told the students at Trump University that they would get an Ivy League education. They paid $10,000, $20,000, even $70,000 for courses that turned out to be worthless. Now they’re suing him for fraud, but he — he walked away with $5 million.”

The Clinton campaign can document all of these assertions.

• The reference to “Ivy League quality curriculums” appeared in Trump University press materials and on its website.

• Court documents in one of the lawsuits against Trump over the university identify at least eight students who paid at least $70,000.

• New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who described Trump University as a fraud, has said “initial estimates are that [Trump] personally pocketed 5 million” from the university. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

“When I was in the Senate, I was there mostly when the Republicans were in charge. There are 400 pieces of legislation with my name on it, as a sponsor or a co-sponsor.”

Clinton appears to have modified this claim after our colleagues at PolitiFact found her use of the term “bills” was half true. That’s because the list includes nonbinding resolutions and amendments. Of bills that Clinton sponsored, only three (all noncontroversial) became law. Clinton is listed as a co-sponsor on 74 bills that became law. Of those, 27 bills were sponsored by a Republican.

“Just last year he said again it wouldn’t have mattered if we’d rescued the auto industry or let it go bankrupt. What is he talking about? I’m proud that President Obama saved the auto industry.”

Clinton has recast a talking point that previously earned her Four Pinocchios. She used to say Trump opposed the government-led rescue of the auto industry in 2008-2009, but that was false. Now she has focused on a meandering comment about the auto bailout on Aug. 11, 2015, in which he tried to have it all ways.

“You could have let it go, and rebuild itself, through the free enterprise system,” Trump said. “You could have let it go bankrupt, frankly, and rebuild itself, and a lot of people think that’s the way it should have happened. Or you could have done it the way it went. I could have done it either way. Either way would have been acceptable. I think you would have wound up in the same place.”

As can be seen from the full statement, Trump said the outcome would have been the same no matter what path was chosen. (Experts would disagree.) He did not say, as Clinton suggested, that it would not have mattered if the auto industry disappeared.

Courtesy: By Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Glenn Kessler Washington Post; (Reuters/Carlo Allegri) and (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

 

The President Slams Detractors & Promises Speedy Economic Recovery

By State House (07/11/16)

President Ernest Koroma slams detractors who slyly attacked his government in the wake of the country’s economic challenges.

The Sierra Leone Commander-in-Chief did not mince words on October 14, 2016 calling attacks against his government “incoherent newspaper articles and radio talk-shops.” He said unequivocally that “development is a tough process and prosperity does not come on a silver platter.” These two things, he pointed out require effective collaboration and perseverance, not “layback theoretical prescriptions” and “half-hearted political grandstanding”.

President Koroma (pictured) spoke at the official launching of the Freetown Containers Terminal Extension Project at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, Cline Town in Freetown. He also stated that, “some of our detractors might want to say my Government is too ambitious in some of our projects. We have to be; because we have always believed in actions than intentions.  Dubai started as a Port; today they are a leading global commercial hub. We have the potential to become a transhipment hub and the Freetown Containers Terminal Extension Project is an indication that Sierra Leone is ready for business.”

The president reiterated his commitment to remain focused in transforming the country. The modernization and expansion of the Port, which is Sierra Leone’s main trading gateway, he said, “is part of my ongoing transformation projects and we will carry on with this agenda unabated,” adding that it reflects his government’s emphasis on own revenue generation that would improve on especially the container terminal and to better tap on the potential in terms of its contribution to the country’s economic growth. 

Despite the economic challenges, President Koroma defended his government’s approach to addressing the economy, and maintained that efforts to modernize the Port are paying off and have gained recognition in the sub-region. “Our Port has been ranked among the top two in West Africa since 2014, and has also recently being ranked first in the first quarter of 2016.”

According to the president, the extension will have a new berth of up to 270 meters; “two new ship terminal shore cranes will be installed and the Port capacity will be increased by nearly three times to accommodate ships with up to 6000 containers as against the current 2000 to 2500; and we will be able to move between 40 to 45 containers per hour from the current 20 to 25. The expansion will also reclaim up to 237 hectres of land which will become part of a state-of-the-art harbor that will accommodate deep sea vessels and increase the performance of our Port.”

He however noted that the project is just part of the process of developing the Port to a hub not just for landlocked countries but also for the entire African continent. “With today’s event, we are setting off towards this aspiration,” he emphasized. 

President Koroma further reminded the gathering that before the partnership with Bollore, the Port had no crane and was only able to move eight containers per hour; “now there are three cranes and container movement has increased to between 25 to 30.” 

He also highlighted developments that had taken place prior to the partnership with Bollore, saying that the general yard was dilapidated and unattractive in contrast to the new pavement, expansion has also made room for up to 250,000 containers with a fully operational tracking system.

 

Yumkella Pips Maada in a Recent SLPP Popularity Poll in Sierra Leone

By SLPP Press Release (05/11/16)

A popularity insight between Maada Bio and Kandeh Yumkella October 10, 2016 conducted by the SLPP party makes a very interesting poll.

The electronic poll that started recently to run for a week attempts to gauge public opinion of Sierra Leoneans who are tending to support or are staunch supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party but who are divided between the two leaders of the SLPP. (Pictured: L-R, Maada, Kandeh and Alie Kabba who is at the bottom of the SLPP ladder).

There has never been clarity between Maada Bio and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella's policies. The latter is the best bet to defeat whoever is the APC presidential flag-bearer come the 2018 presidential elections. 

And this cloudy environment is acutely apparent even within the ranks of the SLPP family. Well, it does seem we are beginning to see a big swing in people’s opinion in favour of one of the two gentlemen. 

The simple question people are answering is: Who do you think is the best bet to defeat the APC in 2018 for president of Sierra Leone. Of the 275 votes cast so far, Mr Kandeh Yumkella, a former UN diplomat for renewable energy, is taking a commanding lead over Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, a former military junta leader during the turbulent 1990s. 

Yumkella has gotten so far a sweeping 86% of the votes and Maada is trailing at 14%. While this is not enough to draw a conclusion, it does give an indication that many consider Dr. Yumkella a better choice for the Sierra Leone People’s Party if it is to win the presidency from the All People’s Congress party in 2 years time. 

The argument in favour of Yumkella so far is that he is better placed to attract votes beyond the traditional SLPP strongholds of the South and East. Since he is a northerner and an acclaimed international diplomat, he is considered well-placed to dent APC dominance in the north while he is assured of the votes from the south and to some extent the east. 

Practically, the Western Area which is much more cosmopolitan and elitist, is outside of Maada Bio’s grip. The recent in-house SLPP delegates election seems to support this as Yumkella’s people are claiming over 80% of the delegates from this region. 

Popular polls are giving the Maada Bio camp a snippet indication about how their candidate relates to the wider constituency if he is to stand any chance winning hearts and minds outside of the party. 

What is without doubt is that Maada is solidly popular in the SLPP strongholds of the south and this should be the envy of Yumkella. But overall, Yumkella is proving to be nationally popular. 

 

Disgraced Former Vice President Sam-Sumana Seeks ECOWAS Justice!!

By Press Release (05/11/16)

The former disgraced Vice President of Sierra Leone Sam-Sumana has gone ballistic again by seeking justice from the ECOWAS Court.

It could be recalled that Sam-Sumana was dismissed from his VP post by President Ernest Koroma nearly one year ago for gross misconduct among other constitutional reasons. (Pictured: Sam Sumana, a desperate power hungry politician).

Below is the verbatim report pieced together by Umaru Fofana of Politico newspaper: The case of Sierra Leone’s sacked Vice President at the ECOWAS Court suffered a setback on Tuesday, according a source at the court’s registry in Abuja.

“The team of lawyers for Mr Samuel Sam-Sumana got turned away to perfect the process of filing at the court”, the source who cannot be named told Politico via Whatsapp. 

“The will be back after perfecting the documents based on the rules of the court”, the source adds. 

They would not say when the team would return or how long it would take for the process to be completed. 

But the lead attorney for Mr Sam-Sumana, Dr Raymond Atuguba, told Politico that “the filing took longer than expected” assuring it would be completed on Wednesday morning. 

The lawyers had gone to the court on Tuesday to challenge ”violations of the human rights of His Excellency Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana on account of his unlawful removal from the office of Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone,” according to a statement.

They want the ECOWAS Court to declare his removal from office as illegal and to “order Sierra Leone to take the necessary steps in remediation of the several rights violations”. 

See related story: http://www.politicosl.com/articles/sacked-sierra-leone-vp-takes-case-ecowas-court

Courtesy: Copyright (c) Politico 2016

 

US Government Praises Sierra Leone for Restoring Growth After Ebola

By US Press Release (05/11/16)

The US attests that Sierra Leoneans have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to overcome challenges and lift themselves up.

According to the press release, since the end of the civil war in 2002, the country set a strong democratic precedent and launched on a path of rapid economic growth. But the tragic Ebola epidemic suddenly interrupted the nation’s positive trajectory. (Pictured: Barack Obama and Ernest Koroma).

The United States is proud of its partnership with the government and people of Sierra Leone to tackle Ebola, and the U.S. will continue to support the nation’s recovery and the restoration of long-term economic growth to advance the fight against poverty.  

As head of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, I am delighted to visit Sierra Leone to meet with public and private sector partners who are advancing MCC’s $44 million threshold program. 

MCC is a unique US Government agency committed to reducing poverty through economic growth, and its partnership with Sierra Leone aims to strengthen public sector institutions in the water and power sectors and build a foundation for sustainable development at a critical time in the nation’s history.   

The program, launched last year and aligned with Sierra Leone’s own recovery priorities, aims to improve the delivery of electricity and water to businesses and homes, especially in Freetown.  

It will strengthen public regulation and accountability, and it will create a framework for sustainable public and private investment in both of these sectors - building on the progress that the Government of Sierra Leone has already made. To build accountability mechanisms specifically within the water and electric utility companies, the threshold program, for example, leverages Sierra Leone’s “Pay No Bribe” program. 

By focusing on the power and water sectors, MCC is investing in areas critical to unlocking economic growth in Sierra Leone. Improvements to the power sector mean more students can study at night, hospitals can treat patients with better equipment, and businesses can grow and thrive. 

Recognizing the fundamental need for reliable electricity, the U.S. Government’s Power Africa program aims to increase access to electricity across the continent, and MCC is making the largest investment in the goals of Power Africa in Sierra Leone to date.  In the water sector, MCC is supporting key reforms at the water utility that aim to improve access to clean water. 

I look forward to visiting with leadership and staff from the Ministry of Water Resources and Guma Valley Water Company during my visit, as well as community operators of water kiosks and standpipes in Freetown, to learn more about how MCC’s programs are supporting families and businesses.   

Thanks to the strong partnership between the United States and the Government of Sierra Leone, MCC’s investments are on schedule and moving forward. I am confident in what we can achieve together to bring a more prosperous future to the people of Sierra Leone.   

The author is Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Chief Executive Officer, Dana J. Hyde.

 Courtesy: United States Mission Sierra Leone Public Affairs Office

 

Information Minister Blasts Media Outlets that Paints the APC Government Bad

By Press Release (03/11/16) 

Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Bangura has blasted media houses that continuous to distort accurate news.

He said some media outlets published misleading news reports on government move to clamp down on traders and noted that these media houses falsely insinuated that the APC action is a calculated policy to punish traders. (Pictured: Minister Mohamed Bangura).

"They have resolved to paint the APC government bad,'' said Bangura, but added that the government is focused to get the economy back on track.

Minister Bangura reassured the traders and all that the government is there to protect their interests. He passionately appealed to traders, including all in the society, to support Government's Expenditure Rationalisation.

Mr. Bangura said it is a sad reality that certain people love to take advantage of situations. He recalled the country is on record to have survived challenges when we all come together. The economic measures, he noted, are not a green card for people to cause artificial scarcity.

He concluded that the country belongs to all Sierra Leoneans. It is a common practice in Sierra Leone for crooked traders to put exorbitant prices on locally produced commodities. It is a sad reality but we should all try to correct this problem.

 

Minister Pat Sowe Helps APC Wins Ward 112 and 337 Bye Elections

By Editayo G. Temple (03/11/16)

Kudos to Comrade/Captain, Alieu M. Pat Sowe, the Western Area Regional Chairman plays major role for this massive APC bye elections win.

Following the provisional results for the Bye Elections conducted by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Saturday 15th October 2016, it was evident that the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) has won both elections thanks largely to the ingenuity of the Minister of Trade and Industry Allieu Pat Sowe (pictured).

Reports say this victory proved to the international community and its detractors that the APC is a reputable and result-oriented political institution to be reckoned with. 

The results are as follows: Constituency 036, Ward 112, Kamakwie, Bombali District, APC 1434, SLPP 394, Void Votes 87. Constituency 94, Ward 337, Waterloo Village, Western Rural District, APC 1540, SLPP 338, ADP 85. 

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple The Investigative Journalist +23279316750

 

Why Ngugi wa Thiong'o Should have Won the Nobel Prize for Literature

By Zoe Norridge (03/11/16)

On top of his achievement as an imaginative artist, the Kenyan writer's decision to write in Gikuyu is a truly brave move deserving high reward.

Recently, Ngugi wa Thiong'o didn't win the Nobel prize. A few days earlier he'd become the bookies' favourite when the odds on his being awarded literature's highest accolade fell from 75-1 to 3-1. But at midday on 7 October, Mario Vargas Llosa was announced as this year's laureate for "his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt and defeat". (Pictured: Nigerian playwright, Wole Soyinka, only African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature).

It's easy to see how the confusion might have arisen. Ngugi has dedicated his life to describing, satirising and destabilising the corridors of power. As I sat mentally congratulating the Peruvian novelist I began to wonder what it would have meant for those of us working in the field of African literature if yesterday's announcement had taken a different turn ...

In 1962 a group of writers who were to shape the future of African literature gathered at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Those present included Wole Soyinka, Lewis Nkosi, Kofi Awoonor, and from across the Atlantic, Langston Hughes. One evening, an undergraduate approached a conference participant with drafts of his writing. The student was a young Ngugi, the participant Chinua Achebe, and the manuscript, Weep Not Child, was published two years later as the first new novel in the paperback African Writers Series.

Soyinka was the first black writer to win the Nobel prize for literature in 1986. Achebe has notoriously never been granted the Nobel – and Ngugi may join him on the list of those that got away. But 50 years after that momentous conference, the reasons for inviting the Kenyan author to accompany at least one of his Nigerian colleagues into the Nobel hall of fame are compelling.

Soyinka and Ngugi both lived through colonialism as children, were shaped by the promise of decolonisation, protested their subsequent political disillusionment and paid dearly for their writing in prison. Both were deeply committed to public engagement through performances of their plays; both have written movingly about the consequences of their beliefs. But what separates Ngugi from his Nobel predecessor is his brave and polemical decision to write in his first language, Gikuyu.

Ngugi renounced writing in English in July 1977 at the Nairobi launch of Petals of Blood, saying that he wished to express himself in a language that his mother and ordinary people could understand. The announcement didn't come out of the blue. He had previously campaigned to change the name of his academic home at the University of Nairobi from the "department of English" to the "department of literature" – a deeply political move still relevant, inspiring and indeed uncomfortable for literature scholars around the world today.

But the decision to write primarily in Gikuyu was both groundbreaking and ridiculously brave. As James Currey points out in his memoir, Africa Writes Back, Ngugi was one of the first African writers to attempt to make a living from his words. To limit your immediate audience to Gikuyu speakers must have looked like commercial suicide. Contemporary writers such as Helon Habila, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Binyavanga Wainaina and Brian Chikwava, often cite the desire to reach wider audiences as the reason for writing their (albeit linguistically innovative) texts in English. This veteran, 30-odd years ago, flying in the face of political and financial reason, proved an alternative might be possible.

Ngugi dedicated his 1987 novel Matigari to "all those who love a good story". It was the infectiousness of his stories, their accessibility in Gikuyu and swift absorption into popular culture that frightened the authorities. When then-president Daniel Arap Moi heard that a man called Matigari was wondering around Kenya asking difficult questions, he gave orders for his arrest. On the realisation the man was in fact one of Ngugi's fictional characters, copies of the book were seized and destroyed. As Ngugi explains in Moving the Centre this formed "the first case in our history of a fictional character being forced into exile to join its creator".

Still living in exile and writing primarily in Gikuyu, Ngugi continues to spin captivating tales. Anyone unfamiliar with his work might do well to start by dipping into his long-awaited and much-acclaimed 2006 novel Wizard of the Crow. Don't be intimidated by its 700-odd pages. It's opening – an exploration of the five possible reasons for the illness of the second Ruler of the Free Republic of Aburria (a fictional country) – is hilarious and utterly absorbing. At the launch reading in London the (largely student) audience cried with laughter.

And yet behind this all is a serious point. Ngugi begins his most recent publication Dreams in a Time of War with a childhood memory. Dawdling along the six-mile walk home from school one day, the narrator comes across a crowd of people near the Bata Shoe factory, animatedly discussing the daring escape of a young man from a police truck on the road. Fascinated by the story and excited by events so close by, Ngugi returns home for dinner, eager to pass on the news. The family are strangely quiet. His mother explains that afternoon that their elder brother had "narrowly escaped death" and joined the anti-colonial struggle in the mountains. The story moves from being entertaining to deeply, horrifyingly personal.

In a 1963 edition of Transition, the Nigerian scholar Obiajunwa Wali remarked that the key realisation of the Makerere conference was that "African literature as now defined and understood, leads nowhere". Claiming it was overly dependent on European models, he asserted that it lacked "any blood and stamina" and had "no means of self-enrichment". Fifty years on, Ngugi has shown just how enriching the turn away from Eurocentrism could be. Ironically, of course, I'm lamenting the lack of recognition by a Swedish prize.

At a recent African Studies Association conference in Oxford (yes: Europe again) a panel of publishers gathered to discuss the (in)visibility of African cultures. Walter Bgoya from Mkuki na Nyota Publishers in Tanzania and Solani Ngobeni from the Africa Institute in Pretoria both expressed their concern that African-language publishing is facing difficult times. Its market share remains in the educational sector, where there is extreme competition from multinationals publishing discounted texts in English. There appears to be limited space for the publication of innovative fiction in African languages, but pioneering firms do persist: Ngugi published Murogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow) with Henry Chakava's East African Educational Publishers.

Of course there is only one Ngugi, and other African writers with such political and commercial traction are few and far between. But if the Nobel committee had chosen to honour him this year it would have renewed the African literary community's belief in the possibility, and indeed necessity, of change. Naguib Mafouz won the Nobel for his work in Arabic in 1988. If Ngugi had won he would have been the first author writing primarily in an indigenous sub-Saharan African language to win the prize. It would have been a reminder to us all of his resistance to the hegemony of European languages. "English" departments across the world might have sat up to take note.

 

Ghost Teachers Again as School Heads Caught in Web of Lies!!

By Philip Koroma (01/11/16)

The ghost teachers phenomenon has reared its ugly head again in Sierra Leone as head teachers are caught in web of lies in Kenema.

Reports say the National Executive of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union SLTU are so infuriated that they have mandated all corrupt head teachers to cough up millions of Leones paid to ghost teachers. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah).

In a recent fact finding mission in Kenema, the SLTU National Executive disclosed to stakeholders about the scandal that was propped up by corrupt head teachers for selfish financial gains.

All came about when the Ministry of Education instructed all school heads to use bank accounts to pay approved teachers in Sierra Leone.

SLTU confirmed that instead of opening bank accounts, some heads of schools did nothing to that effect but instead embarked on siphoning millions of Leones in Kenema for teachers alleged to be 'ghost teachers' or others who have left the schools for greener pastures abroad. 

The SLTU National Executive has encouraged all heads of schools to clean up the voucher in order to avoid embarrassment.  

As investigation continues, the names of heads of schools and the ghost teachers will be disclosed soon, SLTU sources say.

 

Ernest Koroma Commissions $100M Queen Elizabeth II Quay Project

By Ranger (01/11/16)

The recent commissioning of the 100 million US dollars Queen Elizabeth II quay extension project in Freetown is a giant step for the country.

Opening this significant project, President Ernest Koroma said it will make Sierra Leone a major transhipment hub for not only the country but the whole of West Africa. (Pictured: President Koroma flanked by Minister Joseph Kamara).

President Koroma is also reported to have taken time off to lambast armchair critics of his government. The President rebuked armchair critics who have no inkling of the complexities involved in running the government.

All came about in the aftermath of unwarranted attacks on the country’s hardworking Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara JFK by one Sulaiman Forna on social media and Facebook. 

It is unfortunate that being far away from the action, Sulaiman Forna for whatever reason, can fictitiously accuse Minister Joseph F. Kamara of using state resources to campaign. In the first place, Sulaiman Forna must know that the National Advisory Council of the ruling All Peoples Congress has declared all campaign activities illegal as the party focuses on helping the President achieve his post-Ebola economic recovery plan. 

Sulaiman Forna may be unaware that JFK in whom the President reposes lots of confidence as a confidante and helper has been very central to the recovery plan with the President at his appointment having told him that he wants to see poor Sierra Leoneans get access to justice. 

Accordingly, to ensure that he reforms the justice system vigorously, Sulaiman Forna must know that JFK is not the kind of minister who is desk-bound but goes out to identify firsthand the challenges facing his sector and from his findings formulate solutions. That is why in promoting the Access to Justice For All Project administered by the Legal Aid Board, JFK in his official capacity has been visiting jurisdictions across the country inspecting the justice system as well as broadcasting the Legal Aid Board’s work to traditional leaders and rural stakeholders. 

Is that a misuse of state resources to campaign? In the process of reforming the justice sector, Sulaiman Forna must know that JFK in the short period that he has been the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice has succeeded in allocating magistrates and judges to districts where they were not before. He has also made the Judiciary attractive by getting the government to increase the salaries of magistrates and judges by way of motivating them to dispense swift, impartial justice. 

What is unfortunate is that detractors such as Sulaiman Forna do not understand that the government itself understands the enormity of the work it has to do to address the existential development issues that he highlights that include rightly enough substandard living conditions, poverty, illiteracy and corruption. 

These are not issues that are unique to Sierra Leone but we must give the government thumbs up for recognizing them and working to put in place modalities and mechanisms for addressing them. The results will not show overnight as development is not a smooth road. 

The President and the people appreciate that there are hiccups on the road to development; such as the unforeseen Ebola outbreak and the collapse in the price of iron ore in 2014 and 2015. These two halted and reversed the tremendous gains that the government had made in addressing the problem of poverty. 

However this government does not shy away from the problems. That is why JFK and other top technocrats were deployed by the President to form a committee to come up with measures to address the economic downturn the country faces. They came up with the austerity measures which the President and Cabinet approved for immediate implementation. 

Take heart Sulaiman Forna. Hold your peace and understand that Rome was not built in a day but that in the rebuilding of Mama Salone for the benefit of us all, JFK plays a pivotal role now and into the future for as long as this country needs change and development. 

So please leave JFK alone and allow him to continue to play his own part in national transformation and development which he is doing effectively and admirably as witnessed to by his compatriots.

 

"Stop Posting Fake Mutilated Bodies to Damage Sierra Leone," Police Warn

By Press Release (01/11/16)

The Sierra Leone police have come out strongly to warn the public to stop posting fake pictures of mutilated human bodies on social media.

In a strong worded press release, signed by Sierra Leone Inspector of Police Francis Munu (pictured), it was made clear that most of the social media postings of mutilated bodies associated with killings in Sierra Leone are fake. Below is the police press release in verbatim:

PRESS RELEASE 

It has come to the attention of Police Headquarters that certain unscrupulous persons are in the habit of posting photos of Mutilated Human Bodies on social media purporting that they relate to incidents occurring in Sierra Leone. 

The public is hereby informed that the only recorded incident of Mutilation was the body of a ten (10) year old girl found in a bag at the Kaningo environs which is actively under investigation and for which three persons are helping Police investigations. 

There is no other incident of Mutilation or suspected Ritual Murder as reported by social media. Such reports are calculated to mount a smear campaign through rumour mongering to cause fear in the minds of the public. 

The Sierra Leone Police wishes to assure members of the public that there is no reason for any alarm as shown by those photos and comments in circulation on social media. 

On the other hand, those perpetrators of the smear campaign against the Government and the Security of the State should desist forthwith from such practice or face the full penalty of the Law. 

You have been warned! 

Signed by: 

Francis A. Munu

Inspector General of Police

 

Its Scandalous as Police Intercept Free Care Drugs in Kenema & Kailahun

By Philip Koroma (29/10/16)

The interception of vital medical facilities for poor Sierra Leoneans in Kenema and Kailahun districts have left many tongues wagging.

Reports say a Ministry of Health vehicle carrying free health care drugs has been intercepted by police at the Benduma Checkpoint along the Kenema/Pendembu Highway following a tip off. (Pictured: Health Minister Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, needs to nip this scandal in the bud).

The vehicle with registration  Number AGM 958 was coming from the Kailahun Government Hospital where government has some time ago supplied quantities of drugs to support the Free Health Care Initiative of President Ernest Koroma.

According to the Eastern Regional Police boss AIG Karrow Kamara, the vehicle was impounded after police realised serious inconsistencies with the driver's statement and details of the consignment. 

The claim by Abu Dumbuya that the said drugs were expired and were packed to be destroyed in Freetown proved erroneous when the expiry date found on the cartoons is  2018. More alarming was the fact that the delivery invoices did not match the contents in the truck. There were virtually no expired drugs as claimed by the driver.

Investigations by this newspaper have revealed that the drugs were released by the Store Keeper at the Kailahun Government Hospital and were headed for Kenema where they would possibly be sold off. 

Senior health officials including the District Medical Officer, Dr Square denied having any knowledge of the action by the Store Keeper. 

According the Deputy Minister of Health 2 Zulai Cooper, the Ministry has not ordered any transportation of drugs from Kailahun and that the said vehicle was deployed only for the delivery of anaesthetic equipment to hospitals across the country.

The incident has also attracted the interest of the Resident Minister East, Karamoh Kabba who has vowed to leave no stone unturned in apprehending those he described as "shameless saboteurs".

The driver is currently in police custody as investigations continue. 

Courtesy: Platinum Media, the Authentic Voice.

 

APC Midlands Regional Executive in the UK Making Super Progress

By Press Release (29/10/16)

Despite being one year old, the APC Midlands Regional Executives are making tremendous progress in the membership in the United Kingdom. 

The APC Midlands, UK was launched on October 24, 2015. "Within our first anniversary, we have achieved so much and been able to grow in numbers and have launched a full Regional Executive that is operating within the National Executive Body," a press release noted. (Pictured: APC London executives with Minister Logus).

Reports say the APC Midlands have already set dates for its first General Meeting since the official launching and inauguration in July 2016.

The General Meeting will reportedly be on 26 November 2016 and its Fund Raising Dance on 18 February 2017. Both will be treated as grand occasions as usual.

"We are continuing with our membership drive within the Midlands and working with both the APC UK/I Branch and APC Sierra Leone to move our beloved Party forward to VICTORY always.

"We will also continue to support the President's Agenda for Prosperity and remain number one promoters and defenders of APC in the Diaspora.

"Long Live APC, Long Live EBK, Long Live Midlands.

"Above all, we thank God for these achievements in just one year. We also thank God for what we are about to achieve.

"We appreciate the efforts of all those who supported us to make the Regional Branch established and launched for the first time in the history of our party in the United Kingdom. 

"Imagine what more we can achieve in the next  coming years if we all fully dedicate our time and effort in moving this Party and Branch forward.

"Let's make sure APC remains a household name in the Midlands and beyond. Together we can achieve more. Long Live APC, Long Live EBK, Long Live Midlands. Owaiiii Osaiiii." 

The press release was signed by Paul R Ngobeh Secretary General and Founding Member APC Midlands, UK.

 

Sierra Leoneans Wonder if the APC Party is getting its Priorities Rights!!!

By Press Release (27/10/16)

The APC party has cleverly spent billions of Leones on constructing roads - but not a cent on the welfare of vulnerable citizens! Why?

Surprising that the ruling party leadership shreds legacy on care for Human Resource. A special feature by an APC stalwart His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma as Father of the Nation and Chairman/Leader of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), is expected to leave office with enviable legacies but going by current developments, the President is consciously or unconsciously overseeing the total shredding of his legacy in area of protecting vulnerable human resource of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma and Minister Sylvia Blyden). 

As the President spends hundreds of billions on constructing roads, the Social Welfare of vulnerable and needy citizens is not financed neither countenanced by the Accountant General for reasons best known to them. This leads to questions being asked as to why build roads when the basic welfare of the humans who should enjoy the roads, is ignored? 

The media has uncovered that developments unfolding in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs (MSWGCA), are disgraceful and an indictment on the legacy of Ernest Bai Koroma. If the President does not pay attention to that Ministry and continues to encourage corruption and sabotage of such a key ministry, the public will blame nobody but him as the buck stops at his desk. 

Now, contrary to reports in the last edition of Global Times that 700 million leones was unaccounted for ('missing') at the MSWGCA, this newspaper can confirm that the exact amount currently unaccounted for, is not 700 million but to the tune of over 1,600 million leones (i.e: over 1.6 BILLION). The sums unaccounted for, includes over 90 million leones cash for a wall construction in Bombali; over 100 million cash for a religious workshop to fight Bondo in Tonkolili; over a billion leones for as-yet-unexplained activities. 

This newspaper can also confirm that as vulnerable children suffer all over the country, PET FORMS with amounts as little as Le3million monthly imprests for Children's Directorate, have been lying unhonoured by certain unpatriotic officials at Accountant General's Office. Every day, a new excuse is given as to why the ministry cannot be given the funds due it. 

Furthermore, not a drop of fuel has been sent to the ministry this year by the APC-led government of President Koroma thus effectively hampering critical operations for Sierra Leone women, children, disables and other vulnerable in Sierra Leone. This newspaper can confirm that after several months of a series of strange delays alleging silly excuses like "technical problems with IFMIS systems", the direct intervention of the Accountant General Mr. Kebe Korouma himself on 17th August 2016, eventually saw signed and counter-signed PET FORMS sent from MSWGCA to Office of Accountant General. 

Here now is the most sorry part. Even more disgraceful is that apart from the ones ordered by Cabinet, not a single one of the PETS FORMS have been honoured. Many of them for very minor amounts. "It is just wickedness! The Honourable Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden is refusing to be corrupt so they are punishing her for not being corrupt!" a key source at State House told this newspaper, adding that "President Koroma needs to watch out. Maybe he is not being told the truth or maybe he himself is the very one at fault as he might not be giving ears to his appointed Minister. Whatever the case, President Koroma might be unwittingly playing with his legacy". 

This newspaper can further confirm that even highly rationalized PETS FORMS requests from Social Welfare ministry are totally unhonoured at the Accountant General's office. It is now two months since the minister signed the PETS FORMS for a mere 75 million leones for NP Fuel station to start supplying fuel but as of the morning of Monday October 17th 2016, not a drop of fuel has been approved by the APC-led government to run operations of a critical institution like the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs. 

The minister and the staff now buy fuel from their own pockets. "A little baby girl was abandoned last weekend and there was no fuel for junior ministry staff to go to the scene to pick her up." This is the uncomfortable scenario presently unfolding between the Welfare Ministry and the Accountant General's office.

 

"The Political Class in Port Loko is Playing with Fire," a Citizen Warns

By Citizen of Port Loko (27/10/16)

And some of us are blowing the alarm whistle now, because we will resist wrong decisions for our sweet Port Loko. STOP AND RETHINK NOW!

The history of  Maforki chiefdom is a simple and straight forward one. The chiefdom was never an amalgamated one  like TMS or BKM. I heard a decision has been taken to divide the chiefdom into two: Maforki and Bakeloko respectively. (Pictured: SI Koroma, a son of Port Loko, was VP under the APC Siaka Stevens reign).

I have also been told that the political class intends to  make Old Port Loko and its surrounding sections and villages, part of the newly created chiefdom of Maforki. Such  decisions are not only dangerous and counter-productive, they lack logic and common sense. 

Old Port Loko is the home of most of the Maforki ruling families.....how will you take the ruling families of Maforki and transfer them to the new Bakelokoh chiefdom. I have also heard that the proposed new HQ of Maforki will be Gbere Junction.....

I hope this is not true, because I've not heard of any meaningful local level consultations that formed the basis of such decisions. I am compelled to do a thorough article on the evolution, structure and trajectory of  the  Maforki chiefdom at a later date. 

But let me warn my Korthors,  Uncles and Aunties within the APC, Maforki has always been a single chiefdom. And that's what we want it to remain.

But if you choose to divide it to create a new chiefdom, do so with the sections after Bankasoka bridge and leave the 24 or so  sections of Old Port Loko and its environs intact.  We've always been a unified group of people under one chiefdom - Maforki. Do not divide us for political expedience.  A word for the wise!

 

Youth Affairs Minister Kick-Start Village Project in Koinadugu District 

By Editayo Temple (27/10/16)

The popularity of the APC political institution continues every day as the energetic Youth Affairs Minister embarks on encouraging youngsters.

The recent successes at the bye elections on Saturday 15th October 2016 in Ward 337, Constituency 94 and Ward 112 in Constituency 036 are evidently attributed to the result oriented and erudite Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura. (Pictured: Sports Minister).

Minister Bangura recently visited Kabala in the Koinadugu District on Friday 21st October 2016 in a bid to kick-start and reaffirm President Ernest Bai Koroma's commitment to establish and construct the Youth Village in that part of the Country.    

"Action pass intention and we are focus on providing for our people and accomplish President, Ernest Bai Koroma's, Agenda for Prosperity and as a matter of fact we would not be distracted by our detractors sweeping statements on our economy owing to the fact that we are on top of situation and the people of Sierra Leone appreciate the good work of our Government and result oriented President. We will win the fight against austerity measures, just as we won the Ebola war, as a responsible Government," Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura maintained.  

Minister Bai Mamoud was in the company of the Inspector General of Police, I.G Francis Alieu Munu, the Paramount Chief of Sengbeh Chiefdom, Alie Marrah, alongside officials of the Ministry of Youth Affairs when they visited Kabala to make promises and to also kick-start the actualisation of the much talked about Youth Village Project through the payment of compensations to land owners where the project is expected to be situated. 

"This is a step in the right direction and we also wish to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and President, Koroma for a job well done, thus apologise for the unfortunate incident that occurred sometime back, prior to the fulfilment of this dream," says P.C Alie Marrah of Sengbeh Chiefdom, Koinadugu District.      

"We deeply regret what happened, leading to the loss of life and property. We promise that such would not repeat itself and we will serve as watchdogs of this laudable initiative and ensure that it succeed," says Chairman of the Koinadugu, Youth Council. 

In his submission, I.G Munu commended the Youths and residents of Kabala for keeping the peace and obeying state regulations. He admonished them to remain law abiding and said: "I decided to travel with the Minister, Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura, in a bid to identify myself and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) with Youth related developments in the Country." 

In response, Hon. Bangura, hailed the maturity and understanding exhibited by the Youths of Kabala and accepted their sincere apology, noting that President Koroma is a kind-hearted leader who always accepts genuine apologies. He intimated his audience that his purpose of visit is to pay financial compensations to affected land owners, through Chiefdom authorities in relation to the commencement of work on the long awaited Youth Village Project.

He requested that parties related to the project sign the conveyance in a bid to practicalise the initiative. He ended his statement by stating that "the Koinadugu component of the Ministry's Youth Village Project is larger than the one identified for Tonkolili (Mile 91) in terms of acreage and is therefore more expensive."  

Courtesy: Editayo. G. Temple The Investigative Journalist +23279316750

 

APC is More Than Roads; APC Says Sorry Where SLPP Says Nothing!!

By Press Release (25/10/16)

"Despite all of our achievements, one has to remember that politics is not saintly and it becomes dirty with greed," President Koroma said.

The Video was done 13 years ago in August 2003 and is part of when the current President of Sierra Leone and ruling APC Leader Ernest Bai Koroma spoke the following on 5th August 2003 to Sierra Leoneans at the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which was set up after 11 years of brutal war. (Pictured: The young President Ernest Koroma).

The gentleman was then in opposition cajoling citizens to believe in the APC again. "The strength of the APC lies in the many infrastructural developments the party undertook all over the country... My party is proud of her record in office and these records are visible all over Sierra Leone. But despite all of our achievements, one has to remember that politics is not saintly and it becomes dirty with greed, impropriety... We have of course made mistakes over the years and to all those who we may have hurt in any way, we say - SORRY. The APC asks for your forgiveness."

13 years ago in August 2003 saw the above words spoken by the then-Opposition Leader Hon. Ernest Koroma. In order to avert a future APC in Opposition, begging for forgiveness over a seemingly callous leadership that greedily neglected citizens as it showcases roads infrastructure, join us to drum true and proper good governance message into the ears of all concerned. 

Many of the old APC papas and mamas have nothing to lose. In next 10 to 15 years, many of them will be dead and buried but you and I, the younger ones, will still be around. Do you want to be begging for forgiveness as Opposition APC? If not, this is the time to help His Excellency the President by frowning on too much of the greed, tiffy-tiffy and corruption rubbish going on inside his APC-led Government. 

The sabotage, heartlessness and evil WICKEDNESS is just too much and many within the system undertaking the misdeeds are not even genuine supporters of the APC neither do they believe in the President. 

If you are a true blooded APC, then help the President by saying NO! Say the NO! right now before it is too late to say it in 2018. The APC is the only ruling party that says SORRY to Sierra Leoneans for mistakes they made over the years. A far cry from the stance taken by the opposition SLPP party who failed to say SORRY for their misrule over the years.

 

Youth Activist Highlights Delayed Juvenile Justice in Sierra Leone!!

By Press Release (25/10/16)

The delayed sustainability of juvenile justice by both government and its development partners is a serious indictment by the youth leader.

According to the Child and Youth Activist Mr. Ibrahim Kallon, delayed juvenile justice is particularly negative for all stakeholders especially those who work for the wellbeing of the children. (Pictured: Justice Minister Joseph Kamara). Below is the letter written to the Social Welfare Minister and copied other government officials:

 

Dr. Sylvia O Blyden

Hon. Minister

Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. 

Government of Sierra Leone. 

Letter of Attention

Madam Minister, I bring greetings from the advocacy world. I congratulate you on your leadership since appointed by the head of state and of government. 

To start with, I may kindly bring to your notice some of the depressing issues faced by the juveniles which to my best of knowledge, have delayed the sustainability of juvenile justice by both government and its development partners especially those who work for the wellbeing of the children.

Firstly, transportation is the first problem I would like to digest on because it stop the juveniles not to go on time or not to even attend their court sittings whenever their cases are being called upon at the court of law.

In addition, maintenance again for that or those bus or buses being given by your ministry to transport the juveniles is also a sub issue under transportation problem faced by the juveniles. I was informed that at one point in time, one of these buses breakdown at the heart of the city on it way to court which to my greatest surprise, the authorities on board were left with no other option but to work right through the streets of Freetown and bring the juveniles to court.

By law, to protect their rights and avoid discrimination, their identities should always be protected but in situations like this, it has been violated because the public domain will identify them.

Secondly, In adequate facilities for the juveniles is also a call for concern. The remand home for children should also be used as a learning environment for them in other for them not to left behind in education when they're freed and ask to join the society again. But as the situation stands, there's no adequate educational facility for children behind bars weather in remand home or being convicted. And this makes them to lost focus and hope to contribute meaningfully to the society again in the future. 

Furthermore, Lack of legal representation is also a significant problem faced by the juveniles on remand. Over the years, AdvocAid has been of help in providing lawyers to represent the juveniles at the court of law and the Legal Aid Board since establishment, has also done extremely well in providing legal luminaries for the juveniles but a lot more needs to be done to make justice accessible for them. Your respective ministry needs to work with the legal aid board as they're the legal institution created by the government to by law do free legal advice, education and representation for the people of Sierra Leone. 

Notwithstanding, lack of sufficient juvenile homes across the nation is again an issue that's affecting juvenile justice. In the provinces, children are being detained together with the adults in police stations, remand homes and sometimes prisons as well or when they have committed a crime, they will be brought to Freetown for trials without the notice of their parents or guidance.

Non availability of sureties is also another problem faced by the juvenile lawyers whenever they filed bail applications for their clients (the juveniles). The children lack trusted people to stand on their behalf before the law when the court need a guarantor to release them hoping that they will be brought back to the court by the sureties. 

These are the major problems faced by the juveniles. As you been their highest representative in government, I want you to use your veto powers to work with interested partners or institutions to address some of these issues in other to make justice accessible for the juveniles. 

I count on you as before now, you've been working to make Sierra Leone a better place for children. Thanks for receiving my letter in good faith and sincerely hope you will take it into consideration realising the fact that the children are the leaders of tomorrow. 

Remain Committed

Ibrahim Kallon

Child and Youth activist.

 

Cc. Hon. Joseph F Kamara 

       Attorney General and Minister of Justice. 

 

      Hon. Justice Abdulai Charm 

      Chief Justice

 

EU Funds National Elections Watch for Electoral Processes in Kenema

By Philip Koroma (25/10/16)

The National Elections Watch two-day training workshop on boundary delimitation at the youths sport club has ended nicely in Kenema. 

The National Elections Watch (NEW)'s main focus was to observe all public electoral processes in Sierra Leone and to also observe several electoral processes including local council election and general elections. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma knows the importance of free and fair elections).

NEW, a national non-governmental organisation, has also observed election in other countries like Liberia, Guinea and Ghana in West Africa with executive members in the entire 14 districts in Sierra Leone. 

NEW is therefore working on the sensitisation of boundary de-limitation in sample districts namely Moyamba, Western rural, Kenema and Kambia districts.

 

"Enhanced Sierra Leone & China Cooperation Needed," Envoys

By John Baimba Sesay (23/10/16)

The call for tighter cooperation between Sierra Leone and the Republic of China is a step in the right direction for the two nations.

Sierra Leone’s envoy to China on Monday, 17th October, 2016, met with and had fruitful discussions with his Chinese counterpart to Sierra Leone, (ambassador designate) Mr. Wu Peng. (Pictured: Sierra Leone top cabinet, (L-R) Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara, VP Victor Foh, APC National Secretary Yansaneh etc). 

During their meeting at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, both top diplomats called for enhanced cooperation so as to further lift the bars of development and bilateral cooperation.

On his part, Mr. Wu Peng said he was honoured, going to  serve as his country’s ambassador in Sierra Leone as he looks forward to working with the government in  enhancing the bilateral relationship between the two republics.

Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his appointment, stressing that both countries have enjoyed great cordiality, with decades of bilateral ties not only at the ambassadorial and government-to-government levels, but at the level of people-to-people.

Sierra Leone, he said, fully appreciates her relationship with China and remains grateful to China for always standing by her during moments of great needs, with particular reference to their intervention in battling Ebola.

Discussions were also focused on the final arrangements regarding the Mamamah Airport Project which is expected to commence before the end of the year.

Like Ambassador Koroma, this is the first ambassadorial appointment for Mr Peng. 

Courtesy: John Baimba Sesay, Information/Press Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, People’s Republic of China 

 

Deputy Welfare Minister Soils Self with the Le107M Bondo Scam!

By Abdul Malik Bangura (23/10/16)

Neneh Rugiatu Turay has identified herself as the one mentioned in the le107million unauthorised anti-bondo religious workshop scam.

Whilst speaking to journalists on Friday 14th October 2016, Neneh Rugiatu Turay, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs in Sierra Leone has spontaneously confessed to journalists that she considers herself to be the un-named woman in exclusive report by Awareness Times Newspaper about a massive corruption scandal to tune of over 107 million leones supposedly spent to finance an unauthorized two days workshop to teach Sierra Leone religious leaders on how to fight Bondo Women activities. (Pictured: Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden).

The unauthorised workshop costing a whopping Le107,556,000.00 was supposedly plotted and held during the heavily-financed Lunsar Constituency 50 parliamentary elections campaigns this year. This has led observers to draw conclusions they have been expressing to this newspaper. 

It is a fact that a certain donor agency was hoodwinked into giving as-yet-unidentified persons at the ministry, a huge sum of cash to sensitize religious leaders on how to fight against Bondo women activities. The huge sum of money was collected secretly without the knowledge of the sitting Cabinet Minister. 

The Deputy Minister is now confessing that she is involved in the financial deal but on the recording of her confession now in possession of this newspaper, she is heard incoherently calling herself as being too "illiterate" (her exact words!). 

She does not explain more about the unauthorised and stolen cash but instead repeatedly says she is an illiterate woman as if that was enough to explain why an unauthorised so-called workshop was held. 

This newspaper is carefully continuing our investigations into that matter. So far, we have been told 110 people supposedly attended the workshop to fight Bondo Women activities. That these 110 people, got refreshed with food and drinks over a period of two days and participants signed to collect cash over a two days period. 

The budget that we have seen that was submitted to the Donor agency, has the Deputy Minister and her driver collecting over two million leones but intriguing part of the theft is that the Budget actually includes the name of the Cabinet Minister who was listed down to be a recipient of Le400,000 and her driver to get Le300,000. 

However, most laughably for the shamelessness of the raw thieves at the Ministry, sources say the very first time the Cabinet Minister Hon. Dr. Blyden even learnt of such a huge sum of money given back in June to her ministry so as to fight Bondo Women was in this month of October; just last week to be precise. 

Although the deputy minister has now identified herself as being involved in the Le107million scam to fight Bondo against the knowledge of her boss, there are more corrupt players in this unauthorized scam who will be named and shamed shortly when we confirm. We are investigating.

Meanwhile, a cooked up Report has been rejected by the Donors who sent the forged report back to the Honourable Minister Dr. Blyden on Friday October 14th 2016. According to credible sources, the so-called "Report on Religious Leaders Workshop against FGM" was never shown to the Minister. 

She first set eyes on it on Friday October 14th when the Donor agency in apparent total disgust, contacted her that they wanted to know if she was aware of a suspicious report about a Workshop where her deputy minister supposedly gave the keynote address to 110 participants? 

The Donor Partner, we are credibly informed, told the Honourable Minister that they received the shady report only last week and that despite the report had the name of the Deputy Minister of government Neneh Rugiatu Turay on it, they found the Report to be suspicious and dubious in how it was written so they had rejected the report and were sending it back to the Cabinet Minister.

 

MP Kombor Kamara Provides Transport Facilities for Lokomasama

By Medish (23/10/16)

The provision of transportation for Lokomasama by their hard working parliamentarian Honourable Kombor Kamara is welcome news.

Honourable Kombor Kamara is dubbed POWERFUL meaning - Positive, Outstanding, Wonderful, Exciting, Radiant, Fantastic, Unique, Legit. His people at Constituency 56 feel he is the real deal. (Pictured: Should these government buses be available for the people of Lokomasama?).

Parliamentarian for Constituency 56 Honourable Kombor Kamara has finally laid to rest the acute transportation problems (wahala) in his constituency when he recently provided two new four-seater-buses and a brand new Mitsubishi Calter Truck for his people in Lokomasama.

MP Kamara also provided for his chiefdom three out-board machines (pan pan) to ease sea travels for his people in all four corners of Lokomasama which is expected to be less expensive and safe transportation in line with the agenda for prosperity.

 

Notorious Teenage Thief Dies at the Government Hospital in Kenema

By Philip Koroma (21/10/16)

Startling reports have confirmed the death of a notorious teenager noted for his dubious nocturnal activities in Kenema District.

A boy in his youthful age who on Tuesday 18th October 2016 reportedly stabbed and robbed a woman of her purse around 9pm in the Simbeck area in Kenema town has passed away at the Kenema Government Hospital. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Police Boss Francis Munu, security for all is his top priority).

According to eyewitness accounts, the teenage thief passed away after sustaining merciless beatings from angry youths who rushed at the scene to rescue the victimised lady. 

Police upon receiving the information, rushed to the scene and whisked the thief to the government hospital for immediate medical attention but the injuries he sustained were too much to bear thus losing his life in hospital despite all efforts by the doctors to revive him. 

Residents within the Simbeck Community have so far identified the deceased as a notorious thief and a gambler noted for harassing and carting away properties belonging to passers-by. 

His death occurred days after police confirmed the harassment of innocent citizens within the city by armed robbers. The cause of his death is at the moment unknown until an autopsy us conducted. 

 

Sierra Leonean to Boss UN Economic Commission for Africa

By Press Release (21/10/16)

Lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala has been recruited by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to represent the African Continent.

In order to enhance the capacity of Africa's Negotiations on achieving better Climate Change deal in the global negotiations, the UNECA has recruited bright young lawyers from across Africa to backstop the African countries and team of negotiators by providing expert advice and opinions prior to, during and after regional or global climate change meetings and negotiations and to review and draft clauses and legal instruments in that regard. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara addressing the United Nations).

To that end, one lawyer each was recruited from various African countries including Sierra Leone and one of Sierra Leone's finest lawyers, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. has been recruited and approved by UNECA.

The Young African Lawyers (YAL) programme is aimed at developing the Capacity of Young African Lawyers to support Africa's negotiations so that Africa can get the best possible deal out of the negotiations on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which has resulted in the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. 

In order to prepare him for this task, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. is currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a Workshop and Training on Climate Change Negotiations and will also attend the 16th African Conference on Climate Change and the implementation of the Paris Agreement as a Guest and delegate of UNECA. 

On completion on the 20th October 2016, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. will return to Sierra Leone where he has been mandated to work with the national Focal Person on Climate Change and other stakeholders to prepare Sierra Leone's position and plans for the global negotiations to come. 

He will later join the rest of the recruited African lawyers to provide support to the African delegates at the Global Climate Change Conference scheduled for Marakesh, Morocco on the 7th  November 2016.

 

Christmas Come Early for Amputee Boy Following Sylvia Blyden's Visit

By Ibrahim Jalloh (21/10/16)

Christmas actually came early for an amputated teenager in Freetown when he recently received an unexpected high profile visitor.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Blyden, together with senior staffs at the Ministry, paid a courtesy visit to Emmanuel Kamanda age 15 on Monday October 17th 2016. Reports say the Municipal Secondary School pupil had a gruesome accident at Ferry Junction in Freetown on 19th September 2016 that led to the amputation of his leg. (Pictured: Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden pays a surprise visit to the teenager).

The high powered government delegation who visited the House at 9 Cardew Street off Patton Street include Minister Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden; Permanent Secretary Mr. Osman Kanu; Director of Social Welfare Mr Francis Kabia; the Ag. Director of Children's Directorate Mrs Joyce Kamara; Ag Deputy Director of the Children's Directorate Mr Daniel Albert Gbao; the Professional Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Bamie Joseph Sesay and Ibrahim Sorie Jalloh the Children's Forum Network National Facilitator. 

At the family house, Minister Blyden gave an inspiring statement to Emmanuel in order to motivate him. She posed series of questions to the care giver Obed Sheriff who happens to be the grandfather. All this was done to note down the protection concerns for Emmanuel. 

She promised the family as well as the young boy that under her directives the Ministry will put up its best to meet his needs. The Minister urged the family to play their own part to rehabilitate and reintegrate Emmanuel back into society. "Care and concern is primarily what he needs" she assured as she posed questions about how much psychotherapy and physiotherapy that he was receiving. 

Considering the stress that follows this painful incident, Dr Blyden assigned Mr. Jalloh, CFN Facilitator who is patient in interacting with children and also good in handling such issues to do a follow up on his recovery. 

Mr Francis Kabia whose Directorate is responsible to deal with issues pertaining disability also promised the minister that he will work closely with the Commission for Disability to cater for Emmanuel Kamanda. The motherly minister offered to send transport to pick the young boy to school and back home every day to avoid missing his classes whilst his wounds were healing but he explained that he was in too much pain right now to go to school. 

In spite of the Austerity Measures, the Minister out of love, empathy and the passion she has for the children of this nation, personally donated a token in an envelope (sum withheld) to the teenage boy and told him it was for him to be purchasing chocolates and soft drinks as he recuperated. 

This act was followed by the Acting Permanent Secretary to support the boy. Coincidentally to the Ministry's visit at the family house of Emmanuel Kamanda was present a humanitarian named Baimba Osman Sheriff who is a final year student in the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Fourah Bay College. 

He has worked collaboratively with colleagues in the Department to raise funds to support Emmanuel which was done last week. Conclusively, Dr Blyden in her oral interaction with the little boy, spurred him up with mind-inspirational statements to stimulate him to have a positive behaviour and reaction to his unfortunate circumstance.

 

Girl ,7, Butchered in Freetown: Is Cannibalism Re-Surfacing?

By a Press Release (19/10/16)

Freetown woke up last week to find the remains of butchered 7-year-old girl littered in the Lumley area to the horror of eyewitnesses present.

The situation in the Lumley Community area where the mutilated girl, whose name was not released because of legal reasons, were shocked to discover such a murderous scene. (Pictured: Inspector General of Police Francis Munu).

Eyewitnesses accounted that they saw the decapitated body of the poor girl abandoned with no feet, hands, breasts and private parts all chopped off. 

As horrified people gathered at the Lumley Police Station to digest what has happened, reports confirmed that a young man who they suspected of killing the poor girl was arrested and detained.

Police sources say the man was captured live after he was trying to murder another young child (girl) the same day he was arrested. He and some others arrested are presently at the Lumley Police Station pending further investigations. 

Sierra Leonean parents have been warned to take every measure to protect their children as there are miscreant gangs who are going all out to cannibalise girls for medicinal purposes.

The horrible pictures of the mutilated girl and those arrested went viral on Facebook and other social media outlets.

 

Businesses Want Government to Lift the "No Trading Ban" on Sunday

By Press Release (19/10/16)

"We are no longer in a health emergency. The 'No Trading Ban' on Sundays must be lifted," businesses urge the government.

In the aftermath of the dreadful Ebola virus that devastated Sierra Leone two years ago, the government imposed a ban on Sunday trading in order to minimise the spread and contain the virus. This action had a negative impact on the economic recovery in Sierra Leone. It is no surprise that businesses are now calling on the government to lift the ban to improve the economic predicaments facing the country. (Pictured: Minister Pat-Sowe, seat).

A 1960 Ordinance had prohibited Sunday trading within the Freetown Municipality. Though valid, the law was hardly implemented in post independent Sierra Leone. The advent of multi party democracy and the rapid urbanization of Freetown meant that citizens would require certain liberties and freedoms that would enhance their economic status in a competitive environment. The Freetown City Council also needed to collect taxes and the bulk of these came from the business community. 

The Sunday Observance Ordinance was also probably based on the fact that the state was founded  and governed by Christian principles.  This however could not hold ground because Freetown which had now been dominated by rural folks (who are mostly Muslims) could not be seen to be implementing a law that only caters for a section of its population. There was also a fairly large Muslim Krio community settled at Fourah Bay. The dynamics definitely had to change for Freetown to become e a true cosmopolitan city.

Fast  forward to 2014 when this time, Sunday trading was prohibited not because of any social convenience but to help stem the rapid spread of Ebola at the time. The Sunday ban brought much discomfort especially to petty traders because most of them earn  their living on a daily basis from the sale of consumables purchased from the shops of wealthy merchants. Places like Sani Abacha Street, Malama Thomas Street,  Dove Cut, Hagan Street etc have remained popular with petty trading.

We certainly cannot underestimate the huge contributions petty traders are making to the national economy. This writer believes a huge chunk of domestic revenue is generated from  small scale businesses. If this is the case, then it is only possible that the current Sunday trading ban is causing us to lose a significant proportion of our domestic revenue.

In the face of an economic meltdown, it makes very little sense to prevent our business folks from fully utilizing the days of the week to help fill the gaps apparently created by the austerity measures.  The Sunday ban is obviously no longer tenable and it's a complete mockery of our drive to resuscitate our ailing economy.  

In a broader,  sense it represents a clear violation of the rights of citizens to engage in meaningful economic activities for their livelihoods. 

 

Magistrate Nullifies SLPP Lawyer's Case Against Awareness Times 

By Emmanuel Kamara (19/10/16)

A serious blow to SLPP lawyer Yasmin Jusu Sheriff after the Magistrate Court in Freetown nullified her case against Awareness Times.

Reports say Freetown Principal Magistrate Court Number one, Presided over by Magistrate Dr. Abou Bakarr Binneh Kamara has nullified the case filed by SLPP Lawyer Madam Yasmin Jusu Sheriff against Sierra Leone Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (pictured) and the editor of Awareness Times Newspaper, Mr. Abdul Malik Bangura. 

Whilst presenting the nullification letter to complaint lawyer, Francis Ben Kefala on Friday 7th October, 2016, Magistrate Kamara said the Office of Attorney General had filed an application for the case to be nullified. Therefore, the case should not proceed in court.

It could be recalled that Lawyer Yasmin Jusu Sheriff filed a case of defamation against  Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and Mr. Abdul Malik Bangura for a publication on the Awareness Times Newspaper. 

Meanwhile, Miss  Yasmin Jusu Sheriff has honoured the decision of the Magistrate in Freetown. 

Courtesy: Emmanuel Kamara, (Production Manager, Tumac Radio 89.3FM )

 

Foreign Minister's Case for Sierra Leonean Women and Youth at the UN

By Press Release (17/10/16)

Sierra Leone's Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has thrilled the UN with women power.

Minister of State Dr Mohamed Gibril Sesay recently made the case for Sierra Leonean and African Women and Youth at the United Nations High Level Event on 'Strengthening Partnerships for Peace, Security and Stability in Africa'. (Pictured: Minister Gibril Sesay). Below is the full speech delivered on Tuesday, 11th October, 2016:

"Mr. Chairman,

"Let me express profound gratitude to the organizers of this event and to also convey thanks to the moderators. Sierra Leone joins other delegations in proposing the following for strengthening partnerships for peace, security and stability in Africa. 

"We must build on partnerships for promoting religious tolerance and co-existence. We have all seen that conflicts now appropriate the substance and symbolisms of religion. We must engage religious leaders and adherents, we must build on resources for tolerance and peace that exist within religious traditions to promote stability, peace and security in Africa. Sierra Leone stands ready to contribute its insights and other resources as one of the most religiously tolerant nations towards this partnership.

"We must strengthen Partnerships for recognizing and promoting the contribution of women to peace, stability and growth. Africa is a continent where for too long women's contribution to peace, democracy and development have been under emphasized in our discussions. This must change. 

"We must acknowledge that women hold up more than half the sky in Africa. We believe this acknowledgement will build better partnerships to support women hold the skies with  less fatigue and less pain, and with greater smiles and skills. If we do this, the skies of Africa will be brighter for all of us - women, men and children.

"We must also act to foster Partnerships for Private Sector involvement in promoting peace, growth, employment and stability. Governments cannot do all, the private sector -formal and informal - must be engaged as partners for peace and stability.

"We must also support regional diplomacy for peace and stability in Africa. In the last few months ECOWAS has been building sub-regional and national partnerships for peace and stability in Guinea Bissau. We are also seeing these efforts in other African regions. These partnerships must be supported.

"We must also promote partnerships for transitioning from a paradigm that sees youths as threats to one that acknowledges and promotes youths as dignified, humane and productive forces for Africa's current and future development. Africa has more youths as a percentage of its population than any other continent. Acknowledging and promoting youths as Africa's best chance for overcoming our stability, peace and development challenges must be integral to our efforts.

"We must also acknowledge the threat of diseases and environmental degradation to peace and stability. Sierra Leone and its neighbours teetered on the brink when Ebola struck; we defeated Ebola and we are now implementing a Post Ebola Recovery Programme. Success with this programme is as important as the peacekeeping that sustained our peace after civil war in the 1990s. Africa must forge partnerships for resilient health systems to ensure stability, peace and security. 

"Sierra Leone's transition from civil war in the 1990s to peace, and democracy in the 2000s owes a lot to peacekeeping. And we are ready to give back, contributing peacekeepers to Sudan and Somalia and other lands. We desire to continue along this path of giving back. 

"I thank you for your attention."

 

UN Endorses President Koroma's Strategy on Soweis to Protect Our Girls!

By Abdul Malik Bangura (17/10/16)

A great surge forward for the Sierra Leone government in the aftermath of the United Nations' giving the green light on the Soweis.

The decision by the APC-led Sierra Leone Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma to include leaders of the female Bondo society in protecting Sierra Leone girls from undergoing female circumcision (FGM), has on October 7th 2016, received endorsement from the United Nations which has acknowledged the success of the government's continuous use of female FGM practitioners like Madam Kharday Zorokong in strong efforts to protect Sierra Leone girls.

The Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child three weeks ago in September, had Sierra Leone Gender & Children's Minister Hon. Dr. Sylvia Blyden (pictured) face them in Geneva. 

Part of Blyden's six hours presentation to the UN Panel on the state of Sierra Leone children, was to highlight, with evidence of its efficacy, the position of the Koroma-led government in using actual leaders of the Bondo society who practise female circumcision to be the ones right at the forefront of the fight to protect the girls of Sierra Leone from FGM.

The UN Panel of Experts after deliberating extensively on the submissions of Hon. Dr. Blyden, have recently, given their final observations on the Sierra Leone minister's presentation to them. The expert observations spanned many areas but in terms of harmful practices, it clearly appreciated the decision to include Sowei FGM practitioners like Madam Kharday Zorokong in the government's efforts to protect girls. 

It can be recalled that Blyden had travelled with Sowei Zorokong to Geneva where she had presented Zorokong to the United Nations as a key partner in the government's efforts to end FGM amongst under-aged girls below the 18 years age of consent. 

The decision to take Zorokong to Geneva is now clearly seen as a very wise decision from one of the country’s most intelligent women. Indeed, whilst the UN panel restated the position of the United Nations that it was concerned over the practise of Sierra Leone women being subjected to FGM, it however acknowledged what it termed as, and we quote: "the huge success of Sierra Leone Government's efforts to include FGM practitioners in the fight against submitting children to FGM."

The acknowledgment of the 'huge success' of the President's decision to include Soweis like Zorokong in the fight against 'Pikin Bondo' (Child FGM), has been a blow to the likes of opposition SLPP's Madam Yasmin Jusu-sheriff who had attacked the APC-led government in interviews to London newspapers that it was 'inappropriate' to take a female leader of the Bondo society to a United Nations meeting on children despite the fact that the said female leader, Madam Kharday Zorokong, is one of the most vocal voices in fighting to protect Sierra Leone girl children from FGM.

The acknowledgment from Geneva of the APC-led government's 'huge success' is also a psychological blow to the sitting deputy minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Rugiatu Neneh Turay who had viciously attacked her immediate boss Hon. Dr. Sylvia Blyden as being "a disgrace to Sierra Leone as a country" for taking a Sowei to Geneva. 

Rugiatu Neneh Turay's insulting conduct had been ignored by her boss who is far more intelligent and far more matured than both Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff and Neneh Rugiatu Turay.

Speaking to this newspaper from America over the weekend, the highly intelligent female Cabinet Minister responsible for women and children, Hon. Dr. Blyden acknowledged the United Nation's commendation of the government's efforts as being "inspiring and gratifying of my efforts to implement a protection of all girls under the age of 18 years. I am inspired to now do even more. We must, I repeat, we must continue to push to protect our girls".

"This is a message to all concerned that protection of our girls should be priority, priority, priority in every African country," Hon. Blyden said.

 

Komende and Teklema Villages Smoke Peace Pipe in Kenema

By Philip Koroma (14/10/16)

Good news as stakeholders pay visit to Komende and Teklema villages to resolve their recent bloody land impasse in Kenema District.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police East Alfred Karrow Kamara has led a team of stakeholders to Teklema and Komende villages to restore calm after the two villages clashed claiming ownership over a land. (Pictured: Maya Kaikai, Local Government Minister).

There was sigh of relief by residents of the two villages, a stark contrast to the bloody incident that led to the burning of huts and discharge of shotguns resulting to serious injuries. 

It could be recalled that the Magistrate Court had passed judgement in favour of the Teklema village but was petitioned by the people of Komende village at the high Court. 

Reports say Justice Halloway on Friday 23rd September 2016 ordered that the verdict at the Magistrate Court be reversed until full hearing on the matter. The High Court verdict warranted the people of Komende village to forcefully repossess the said land and destroyed all crops owned by the people of Teklema. 

Their action made the people of Teklema village to revenge for the damage done to their crops. The two communities have so far assured the stakeholders of maintaining the peace whilst the court look into the matter.

 

SL Brewery Dismisses Reports of Cockroach in Guinness Bottle!!

By Press Release (14/10/16)

The startling cockroach-in-the-Guinness-bottle story has been flatly denied by the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited in the press release below:

FREETOWN, SL -- The attention of the Management of Sierra Leone Brewery Limited has been drawn to a video making rounds on social media alleging to have found cockroach in Guinness Stout. (Pictured: Trade and Industry Minister Pat-Sowe).

As a responsible brewer of over 53 years’ experience in brewing brands of highest quality and as part of HEINEKEN International, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited wishes to inform its consumers that the video is a malicious attempt of saboteurs to discredit the Guinness Stout brand image and its corporate reputation. 

In view of this, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, wishes to make the following clarifications;

1. Sierra Leone Brewery takes pride in its rigid production process geared towards brewing products of highest quality in the most hygienic conditions hence it is highly unlikely for a particle or insect to survive our vigorous state-of-the-art processes and inspection systems. 

2. Our bottle washing and filling process guarantees the sterility and integrity of our products. Our bottles are washed with 2.5% caustic soda at temperatures of >80° C, and a soak and rinse cycle time of more than 30 minutes at the same temperature. In addition to this intensive cleaning process, all bottles are passed through the latest technology inspection equipment prior to filling. This ensures that we can only fill clean bottles. The bottle filler is a high technology machine that undergoes a full hygiene and sanitation programme before each bottling run. 

3. We have a Food Safety HACCP system in accordance with ISO 22000 requirements and a quality management system running in accordance with ISO 9001 requirements and are committed to the production and marketing of safe and high quality beverages.

4. The Brewery has invested billions of Leones in the installation of state-of the-art equipment to ensure its processes are always safe as a food production company.

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited assures its consumers that this misdirected efforts of saboteurs will not derail its focus in delivering quality and satisfaction. We are fully confident that there is no way an object as recently shown in social media could have come from our process. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is an international brand, locally brewed in Sierra Leone with top quality and freshness under the supervision of our international partners.

The Management of Sierra Leone Brewery Limited wishes it to be known that legal action will be taken against any ill-minded person or group of people found culpable of tampering with their brands/ products with aim of bringing them into disrepute.

Courtesy: Signed Management, 28th September, 2016  PRESS RELEASE

 

Information Minister Warns Fuel Smugglers - "The Honeymoon is Over"

By Press Release (12/10/16)

Latest reports say Sierra Leone Information and Communications Ministry has opened a dialogue to removing fuel subsidies. 

On October 10, the Ministry of Information and Communications engaged with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Trade Union groups and other none state actors in the country to dialogue on the way forward regarding recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to remove fuel subsidies. (Pictured: Information Minister Mohamed Bangura, right and Government Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay, centre).

IMF recently gave a clean bill of health to the fiscal arrangement of the Government, describing the country's economy as resilient. In the same vein, they encouraged the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to remove subsidies on fuel.

It says the subsidy put in by government on fuel  is not financially prudent, in that, these monies could be used in providing other basic amenities like: energy, safe and pure drinking water, education among others.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux, while chairing a meeting with representatives of CSOs, Labour Congress, Drivers Union including other none state actors said the Ministry is implementing government's participatory governance system.

He said inclusive governance is the hallmark of President Ernest Koroma's leadership drive, as the country braces up to stabilise the economy.

In related development, Minister of Information and Communications, Honourable Mohamed Bangura, in tandem with team from the Ministry has discovered a Tanker loaded with fuel, reportedly intended to be smuggled out of the country.

Statistics shows that in 2014, GoSL spent 150.8 Billion Leones; 2015,133.4 Billion Leones and 89 Billion Leones, first half of  2016.

Government is paying 25.3 Leones at every  litre of fuel pump at a petrol station, the statistics added.

Courtesy: Office of Government Spokesman

 

Vice President, Other APC Gurus, Pay Homage to Late PPRC Boss Tolla

By Press Release (12/10/16)

A high power APC delegation led by the Vice President Victor B. Foh has visited the home of late PPRC boss Justice M.E. Tolla Thompson.

Reports say the other visitors on Tuesday October 11, include the APC Deputy National Chairman and Leader Honourable Minkailu Mansaray and senior executive officials of the All Peoples Congress APC. They went to sympathised with the family of the late Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) Hon Justice Tolla Thompson (pictured). 

At a short ceremony held at the Tolla Thompson family residence at Juba Hill, in Freetown Hon Minkailu Mansaray said the death of Justice Tolla Thompson is a big loss not only to his family and the APC party and other political parties but a great loss to Sierra Leone in general. 

He informed family members about the uprightness of Justice Thompson. "Justice Thompson will look you in the face and tell you the truth," Hon Minkailu Mansaray noted. Speaker after speaker from the different regions praised the life of Justice Thompson saying the APC and other political parties will miss him. They admonished the family to mourn with faith and celebrate the life of the late man. 

Thanking the APC on behalf of the family Glenna Thompson Esq. said her father was a unifier and that as a family they will miss him. She assured the APC membership that the family will mourn the Late Justice Thompson with faith and continue to celebrate his good works. 

 

FGM Activist on the Run After Youths Destroy Society Shrines in Makeni

By Abdul Rahman Conteh (12/10/16)

Bloody clashes between the police and youths in Makeni on the Female Genital Mutilation issue have left many sores in families in Sierra Leone. 

According to the Senator newspaper in Freetown, the Female Genital Mutilation activist, Mohamed Lama Shaw is wanted by local authorities following the accusation that he was the ringleader who led angry youths to destroy four FGM society shrines in the interior of Makeni in northern Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Sierra Leone police chief Francis Munu).

This is because of the critical stance Mohamed holds against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). He had been sensitising youths about the health risk of this practice for a long time now. 

This allegation came as a result of the incident that took place recently in Makeni in which an underage girl lost her life after undergoing the FGM practice. This led to violent raid in which four Bondo society bushes were burnt down by angry youths who thronged them in search of the alleged perpetrators. 

Consequently, people accused Mohamed for orchestrating the attack because of his stance against the practice. Thus, he is now declared wanted by local authorities. Residents believe that Mr Shaw's life may be in danger because supporters of the FGM practice have reportedly vandalised his house. 

Meanwhile, Mohamed's location is unknown and family sources have revealed that the activist is at large and that the police has promised compensation for anyone who briefs them about his whereabouts.

 

Port Loko Youths Blame President Koroma for the Hydro Electric Delay

By the N'Bompa (09/10/16)

On Saturday, 1st October, 2016 at about 2:39 pm, the Maforki Youth Promoter Organization held a mass meeting at the Port Loko Town Hall. 

The meeting was attended by major stakeholders of the area such as the Adviser to the President and Ambassador at Large,  Hon. Dr. Alhaji Alpha Abu Bakarr Sidique Khan and the Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Hon. Kemoh Sesay; (Pictured: President Koroma, third left).

Others include Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Hon Rugiatu Nenneh Turay; Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning and the Environment, Hon. Momoud Tarawally; Hon. Pateh Bah (MP); AIG F.U.K Daboh, Chiefdom Speakers, Elders, Religious Leaders, Traditional Heads, Headmen, Chiefs, Women, Youths, the Paramount Chiefs etc.

One of the Youths in his statement highlighted the lack of development in the district and the Port Loko Town in particular which is of great concern. He declared that the youths are unhappy because the deadline for the completion of the Bangasoka Hydro Electric Project has passed and they blame President Ernest Bai Koroma for failing to do something about it.

Hon. Dr. Alhaji Alpha Abu Bakarr Sidique Khan reminded the audience about the commitment and concern of H.E, over the district. He said the youth within our democratic platform was right to express himself in anger. He was thankful for the presence of the district Head of Security describing AIG, F.U.K Daboh as one who is always active, articulate, dynamic, energetic and purposeful.

On answering the question on "why the light don delay"? Alpha Khan reflected on the answer given by the Minister of Energy, over the targeted date for the generation of the light he suggested to explain things using engineering points of view.

"Also, President Koroma advised that it is too early to be crying over the deadline. You must at least consider giving the project some tolerance as in the engineering practice. President Koroma paid an inspection visit on the project and the Chinese worker at that time and the Minister of Energy suggested that the end of the project shall be by the end of September," Alpha Khan noted.

Adviser Khan said: "Today is the 1st October, 2016. Wuna Hurry Pass Make Haste. In fact, you must apologise to the President who has planned to fulfil his promise so thereby set up the Agenda For Change."

Alpha Khan said President Koroma's priorities are on Energy, Agriculture, Health, Infrastructure and Education although plenty other things need to be done. He illustrated the developments that have taken place from East to West, from North to South of the country. He told them that Port Loko is in the main development paradise, he talked of the plans for road infrastructural developments in the district.

"The light will come soon and all must Tell God Tenki and Pray. That no one can divert his attention from his course. President Koroma's time still dae on," Alpha Khan who plans to run for the APC flag-bearer position stressed as the conference listened attentively.

 

Sierra Leone and Belgium Airlines Find Solution for Flights to Freetown

By Press Release (09/10/16)

There was great relief for travellers when the Sierra Leone government amicably resolved the ongoing problem with Brussels Airlines.

Sierra Leone's Minister of Transport and Aviation Leonard Balogun Koroma recently meet with Nathalie Dejace, Belgian Director General of Civil Aviation In Montreal, Canada and amicably resolve concerns/issues raised by the Management of Brussels Airlines regarding flights to Sierra Leone. (Pictured: the ferry in Freetown is a real cause for concern).

Sierra Leone's Minister Leonard Koroma and members of his delegation to the ongoing 39th Triennial International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) General Assembly meeting in Montreal, Canada also met at ICAO headquarters in Montreal. 

Also attending the meeting were Mr. Abubakaar Kamara, Director General of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation and Mr. Morgan Hansenne, Expert at the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority responsible for Environmental Issues and Noise Policy. 

The issues discussed related to the lack of efficient and reliable ferry services between Lungi and Freetown which is critical to the airlines operations and a letter from the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) signed by the Head of Flight Safety Standards relating to inspection of Brussels Airlines aircrafts. 

On the first issue of ferries, Minister Koroma assured the Belgian Director General of Civil Aviation and Brussels Airlines that the matter is being handled at the highest level of government and will be addressed by end of November, 2016 in time for the busy Christmas holiday season. 

He thanked the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority and Brussels Airlines for consistently standing by Sierra Leone during periods of crisis including the last Ebola crisis when other foreign carriers unceremoniously pulled out. 

He described Brussels Airlines as a reliable partner in promoting our developmental aspirations through reliable air transport services. 

On the issue of flight safety inspections Sierra Leone's Civil Aviation Director General, Mr. Abubakaar Kamara stated that it was a simple misunderstanding between a certification audit and a continuing surveillance program of the States. 

According to Mr. Kamara, this misunderstanding has now been clarified and the Belgian CAA will advise when Brussels will be available for the surveillance as distinct from inspection which have been met in accordance with ICAO DOC 8355 and SLCAA Part 10 and the State National Surveillance Programme. 

Following the successful and fruitful deliberations convened by the Minister of Transport and Aviation,  the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority has agreed to approve Brussels' Airlines winter schedule while governments addresses the issue of ferries.

 

Sierra Leone Minister of Justice Gives Excellent Speech in Germany

By the Ranger (09/10/16)

Sierra Leone Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara has continued to improve his profile after his recent impressive keynote speech in Germany.

The internationally respected Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (pictured) was honoured to deliver the keynote speech in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the closing of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany that tried Nazi officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Present at the commemoration were Serge Brammertz, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; David Crane, Special Court Prosecutor, Sierra Leone; Hassan Jallow, International Tribunal, Rwanda; Nicholas koumjian, Extraordinary Chamber for the Courts of Cambodia, Ambassador J. Stevens Rapp, Special Court, Sierra Leone; James Stewart, ICC and other distinguished international speakers and panellists.

Joseph Kamara spoke together with Fatou Bensuda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Both African jurists have excelled in the field of International Criminal Law. 

Minister Joseph Kamara worked as the Deputy Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He was part of the United Nation’s backed court’s successful prosecution of Revolutionary United Front and ‘Kamajor’ warlords accused of war crimes and gross human rights violations committed during Sierra Leones eleven years civil war.

As Deputy Special Court for Sierra Leone Prosecutor, Joseph Kamara advocated for the inclusion of forced marriage and enlistment of child soldiers in international criminal law. Today, based on their advocacy, the jurisprudence of other international criminal tribunals recognize and apply principles of law advocated by Joseph Kamara and team. He also lectured Criminal Law at the Sierra Leone Law School until 2015.

Joseph Kamara is the recipient of many international accolades in the field of Law and Leadership. The most recent and most prestigious being the African Achievers Award for Excellence in Leadership and the World Bank Integrity Award. He is so far the only Sierra Leonean to win both awards.

Sierra Leoneans should be proud for the good works and deserved international public profile that Joseph Kamara has attracted to our country and should be a role model worth emulating.

 

Non Violence Inter Area Football Gala Hails Minister Alieu Pat Sowe

By Andrew M Kamara (07/10/16)

Sierra Leone Trade Minister Alieu Pat Sowe is becoming a 'man of the people' as exemplified by his recent exploits in non violence football. 

Today 1st October 2016, saw a wave of jubilation at the ACCON Playing Field, near the USA Embassy, IMATT, Freetown as hundreds of youths from various communities across Freetown thronged the field to witness the official launch of the football gala by Sierra Leone's Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Captain Alieu Pat-Sowe. (Pictured: Trade Minister Pat Sowe, seated, is a very popular government minister in Sierra Leone).

Accompanied by his family and friends, who turned up to show their support to the local competition, Minister Pat Sowe expressed his delight to the organisers of the competition for coming up with an initiative which will further cut down on the spate of youths violence across Freetown. 

Hon. Pat Sowe is the Western Area Chairman for the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), and he is seen as one of the most popular individuals in the West End Area, who could use his grass root initiatives to play a significant role in further complement President Ernest Koroma’s government strive in expunging gangs violence across the city. 

Against this backdrop, the 4 Wise Men is organizing the gala with the aim at targeting local area youths and in ensuring that they don't promote violence, cliques, gangs and or aims to bring communities together using football. 

What turned to be more pleasant for the youths is also the surprise presence of Mr John Bonoh Seisay who also appeared to meet Hon Pat-Sowe and show the community that they are always supportive of such ideas.

4 Wise Men preaches peace, no fighting, no cliques; no gangs and non violence amongst youths in their locality. 

Madam Bernadette Sam-King who is also a local resident in the community who also works for Sierra Leone Brewery Limited made it a point of duty to attend and even so provided her own share of drinks all local products to the Youths. 

We aim to support the Government of Sierra Leone preach same message against violence amongst youths by using football and bringing local communities together. Bridge good relationships also between the police and the community. 

Courtesy: For further information, Andrew M Kamara / Mohamed Bailor  Contact: +23277707614 / +23299120194

 

Parliament Urged to Disclose How Members' Disburse Govt. Funds!!

By State House PR (07/10/16)

Sierra Leone Parliament has been requested to detail how members of parliament and officials spend the CDC Facilitation Funds and so on.

A letter written to the Speaker of Parliament of Sierra Leone Hon. Sheku Badara Bashiru Dumbuya (pictured) House of Parliament Tower Hill, Freetown Sierra Leone on 3rd October 2016 reads thus:

Dear Sir, 

RE: CONCERN OVER FAILURE TO ACCOUNT FOR FUNDS FROM TAXPAYERS AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS TO THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT IN SIERRA LEONE 

We want to first of all express our appreciation for the amount of attention you and your Honourable Members of Parliament gave to our call for the House to be accountable to the people of Sierra Leone. 

We thank you very much for helping us raise the awareness.  Since that happened, we have seen a marked change in the attitude of constituents towards their Members of Parliament, in terms of asking them to give account of their custodianship of funds meant for the development of their constituencies.  

At the national level, we believe that our Accountability Campaign has also given a deeper meaning to fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Sierra Leone, legislated obligations on the Sierra Leone government and specifically the people’s representatives in Parliament. 

We hope we shall continue to work together towards changing the narrative of our national development, in which you have a very key role to play. Mr Speaker we are raising these issues again because the House of Parliament has failed to provide the information we asked for in our last press release. 

As a Human Rights and development organisation, we are very eager to know sir and we are sure the majority of Sierra Leoneans are also eager to know. Therefore, we are kindly requesting that you do not deny us and the people of Sierra Leone that God-given opportunity to experience the culture of strong regulation of and oversight over both public and private funds, an opportunity that is crucial for democracy, the public interest and development. 

Sir, we wish to reiterate our demand for you to encourage the Honourable Members of Parliament and the Administration of Parliament to endeavour to disclose all documents detailing how members of the Sierra Leone parliament and officials of parliament spend the Community Development and Constituency Facilitation funds, expense allowances and capacity building training funds provided by international development partners and Sierra Leonean taxpayers. 

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned that for all these funds received, we are yet to see the amount of impact they have had on changing the mind-set of Members of Parliament and the development of their constituencies. 

Furthermore, we wish to draw your attention to a number of issues that we believe implicates your mandate as a Speaker: 1. The Anti-Corruption Act, 2008, PART IV, 36 (1) and (2) and 37 (1), which talks about misappropriation of donor and public funds or property. 36 (1) states that a person who misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property commits an offence and 36 (2) states that a person misappropriates public revenue, public funds or property if he wilfully commits an act, whether by himself, with or through another person, by which a public body is deprived of any revenue, funds or other financial interest or property belonging or due to that public body. 

37 (1) states that any person who, being a member or an officer or otherwise in the management of any organization
whether a public body or otherwise, dishonestly appropriates
anything whether property or otherwise, which has been donated to
such body in the name, or for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone or a section thereof, commits an offence. 2.  

The United Nations Convention against Corruption, which the government of Sierra Leone signed up to on the 9th Dec 2003, ratified on 30th Sep 2004, and put it into force on 14th December 2005. Article 10-(C) of United Nations General Assembly resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003 in the Convention against Corruption, requires you to publish information, which may include periodic reports on the risks of corruption in its public administration. 

 

Sierra Leone Ebola Envoys Meet the World Bank President in the USA

By Press Release (07/10/16)

Under the Post-Ebola priorities of President Ernest Koroma, the Sierra Leone Ebola emissaries are making waves outside the country.

The delegation led by Hon. Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden including the leadership of Sierra Leone Ebola survivors, president Yusuf Kabba and Spokesman Daddy Hassan Kamara, recently meet the most powerful man in the World's banking community. (Pictured: Ebola envoys excel well in branding Sierra Leone overseas).

President of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim hosts the special Sierra Leone delegation at his World Bank offices in the US. 

Additionally, although it was not planned in original schedule, the members of the top-notch special Social Welfare ministry delegation, are so impressive that Dr. Blyden and team have been invited back to the World Bank  for a breakfast meeting and also another special event. 

Stay tuned again for that special update tomorrow. Ebola Don Go! Leh we make Salone grow!!!!!!! 

Courtesy: Social Welfare Ministry  

 

APC Govt.  Reveals Austerity Measures to Tackle Economic Slowdown

By State House PR (05/10/16)

The economic slowdown has hits low income Sierra Leoneans the hardest and now the government is ready to reverse the economic woes. 

The government today agreed to implement a wide range of policy measures to address the current economic challenges facing the country following an emergency Cabinet meeting this morning at State House. (Pictured: President Koroma is ready to reverse the economic woes in Sierra Leone).

It would be recalled that on March 9, 2016, President Ernest Bai Koroma established a Cabinet Subcommittee to proffer short to medium term measures on expenditure rationalization and domestic revenue mobilization. 

The subcommittee comprised the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), Minister of State 1, MoFED, Secretary to the President, and Governor and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank. 

The subcommittee was charged with the specific responsibility to address challenges facing the economy ranging from impact of low commodity prices on minerals, overall low compliance rate among individual taxpaying public and business entities, the effect of the Ebola epidemic, depreciation of the Leone against major foreign currencies, high interest rates and domestic borrowing, increasing trend of extra-budgetary expenditures as well as off budget revenues held by sub-vented agencies. 

President Koroma told his Cabinet recently: “These measures will be implemented up to the first half of 2017 in order to stabilize the current situation.” He urged the Ministry of Information and Communications to sensitize the public of these measures or any actions thereof and to fully engage Civil Society Organizations to be part of the process. “If we are able to fight Ebola, we should be able to put up a fight that would turn around the economic fortunes of the country,” he said. 

The president expressed the need to take an inward look under the current circumstances on domestic revenue mobilization, and urged MDAs to cut down on expenditure and focus on measures that would be fully implemented in stabilizing the economy. 

“While considering the recommendations put forward by the International Monetary Fund, we must look at practical ways to minimize the challenges facing the country,” President Koroma emphasized. 

According to the Accountant General, Kebbay Koroma, petroleum retail prices in Sierra Leone are substantially lower compared to neighbouring countries and in effect government is subsidizing the consumption of petroleum products not only in Sierra Leone but in neighbouring countries. 

Below are some of the measures proposed by the Cabinet Subcommittee and subsequently approved by Cabinet: 30% cut in recurrent expenditure across the board (estimated cost savings Le309 billion from March to September 2016; Suspend all domestic finance capital projects and suppliers’ contracts until further notice; No new procurement of Government vehicles until further notice.

No purchase of new office furniture and fittings; 50% cut in fuel allocations to all MDAs; 50% cut in monthly office imprests; 70% of all payments to suppliers/contractors that have foreign components to be effected in Leones; 50% cut in DSA for local travels; Elimination of overtime payments.

No purchase of office equipment (computers, printers and photocopiers); Restrict all overseas travels and rationalize delegation sizes; No top-up allowance for sponsored international travels; 50% cut across the board in vehicle maintenance.  

 

Students Union Doffs Their Hat to the University of Sierra Leone FBC

By a Press Release (05/10/16)

The National Union of Sierra Leone Students (NUSS) has applauded the University of Sierra Leone for the reinstatement of student governance.

The Union is pleased to report that after its involvement in long deliberations, countless meetings filled with compromise and heated intellectual debates, the University of Sierra Leone has decided to reinstate Student Union governance on all its campuses. (Pictured: NUSS President, left, Osman Bikal Kamara).

Years ago, a ban on all student governance was implemented due to the decision of a certain sect of students to warp the democratic process with violence and behaviour unworthy of university students.

It left a communication vacuum between the administration, who serves the students and therefore in need of their input to cater for them in an effective way, and the students, who need the administration to listen to their pleas and pressing issues to make their educational mission as smooth and productive as possible. 

This vacuum was effectively filled, due to the wise and listening leadership of the USL administration, by the leadership of NUSS and a cross section of student leaders on three constituent campuses. 

Now a resolution has been reached between the USL administration, the leadership of NUSS and student leaders on the three campuses on the re-introduction of a student governance structure that is reflective of the wishes of students of USL, thanks to willingness of the USL administration to make compromises and the capacity of the NUSS leadership to give students top-quality representation. 

Now student union elections are nigh, but let us all remember that we have a duty to mount up the best of conduct in the course of the electioneering process. This is an admonition to those students who know the importance of student governance structures on their campuses to continue to keep up the good work, maintaining  peace and tranquility on the ground; and a warning to those rabble-rousers who would attempt to foment chaos before, during or after the elections in an attempt to destroy the hard work of those that care about student welfare. 

NUSS admonishes all students to study hard, maintain the peace and most importantly, complete your registration processes and ensure that you are a fully registered student of the University to be  part of the Student Governance system, date soon to be announced. 

NUSS will always be around to ensure that students are represented, spoken for and satisfied to the best of our ability.

Long Live Students' Unionism!! Long Live NUSS!!

Signed:

Abu Bakarr Bangura,  Secretary General, NUSS, +232 44 802368‬, 24th September, 2016

 

Alpha Khan Fan Challenges Purported APC Party Contenders!!

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo (05/10/16)

APC flag-bearer post is not yet vacant, but many APC hopefuls have beaten the gun to declare their intentions to run for the coveted seat.

As this Alpha Khan's writer clearly shows, many of these politicians eyeing the APC post have set up their own media and public relations people who have already started propagating their messages to the APC membership. (Pictured: Alpha Kanu, popularly known as Alpha Khan). Below is Alpha Khan's own supporter:

I honestly don't believe most of the politicians currently eyeing the highest seat of power to succeed President Ernest Koroma are better than Alpha Khan in any sense. They're equally deceitful and have amassed wealth illegally at the expense of the country just like Alpha Khan. 

After all, can any politician in Sierra Leone come up and say to the nation the flamboyant life style he/she is living is commensurate to his legal earning power? Very few will do. If the disgraced Maada Bio of the SLPP party who is battling for the seat of Presidency in Sierra Leone has faithful followers, why not Alpha Khan? 

The truth is in Sierra Leone, the majority of our people in social positions of trust are dishonest and have no moral justification to occupy such positions. Hence the reason for the current backward state of Sierra Leone irrespective of the huge mineral deposit we possess as a country. 

Until and unless we think properly like people that want to forge ahead tangibly in a number of positive ways, Sierra Leone will continue to be in its current deplorable state. So they must leave Alpha Khan alone and concentrate in their own activities. We all know when a specific system of governance make their own sacred cows the nation become corrupt in all fronts at the disadvantage of the majority. 

That's why it's always imperative for any system of governance to use it laws wisely with fear or favour as the law is a very important instrument to ensure perfect distribution of national wealth and provision of basic amenities of life to the majority in any society. 

May be they're afraid of Alpha Khan's political apprenticeship tactics. We know for sure that most of our people in social positions of trust from independence till date, keep on clouding our country with the dilemma of voluntary poverty. Either to compromise the integrity of the country or remain silent or to be abused and made fools by irresponsible heads in social positions of trust lacking total patriotic sense of purpose in various social positions of trust. 

We also know for sure the personal honour most of our people in social positions of trust protect doesn't include truthfulness, honesty, public usefulness, integrity, and genuine national development. So picking on Alpha Khan alone and leaving the rest to get away with their unpatriotic habits against the State or the grater majority of Sierra Leoneans is not only unfair but is also a way of aiding and abetting other wrong doers against the state. 

The call or condemnation for justice to be effected mustn't be selective if we want to make Sierra Leone a wonderful place for the good of all nationals. We must understand that Sierra Leoneans  can no longer be define as to what suit the dominant system, when the dominant system apparently doesn't suit them.  

And young people in Sierra Leone who conform to the dominant of society become for the most part of their lives apathetic, disappointed, cynical and wasted. The facts is, in our society, bright lovely young people with potentiality for positive change, noble ideals, honest effort and some kind of worthwhile achievements are transformed in to useless and cynical bipeds, or decent young men trapped orchestrated and effected by the few powerful but highly connected and corrupt in society, or forced to early resigned whether in or out of the so called organised system. 

My purpose is a simple but straight forward one: to show how it is desperately hard for a honest person in Sierra Leone to grow up to be a man, for our past and current organised systems doesn't want men. They're not safe. They do not suit. 

But the hard but uncomfortable truth is as long as the wealth of the resources of Sierra Leone is in the hands of the selected few the country is volatile. That's why it's imperative for good leaders to constantly devise new ways to bring about a challenge to the young  folks and to provide an outlet for their energies and give them a sense of belonging. Our present leaders must advance their present understand on these facts.

 

"Maada Receives Ebola Money from Ernest Koroma," Africa Confidential

By Harold Saffa (03/10/16)

Ardent SLPP supporter has denied Africa Confidential reports that Maada Bio received Ebola money from President Ernest Koroma in 2015.

Koroma provided financial support for Bio to carry out an Ebola 'sensitisation' programme in October 2015, even though by then the outbreak had been contained, according to political sources in Freetown..." AFRICA CONFIDENTIAL. (Pictured: President Koroma addressing Bio,centre, and delegation at State House).

I have been reading AFRICA CONFIDENTIAL for a very long time, and know its Editor Patrick Smith well. I never knew that standards have fallen so low. For the information of the Journalist who wrote this story, Koroma did not fund Bio's Ebola sensitisation tour. 

That tour was funded by supporters of Bio and Bio himself. There were discussions as to whether it was prudent to embark on the sensitisation tour without seeking government permission. After much deliberation, a decision was reached that since the country was still under a so called Public State of Emergency; the best way was to seek clearance from the government. 

Now, what I will not deny the APC and President Koroma in particular is to seize any political opportunity to divert the attention of the country away from his failed national record. He therefore seized with both hands Bio's request for a clearance to tour the country. 

Bio was not unaware of the political risks in undertaking that tour. He knew that the APC and his internal (SLPP) enemies would go all out to misrepresent the tour, but his reservations were outweighed by the consideration that he needed to meet the people to underscore the continuing need for vigilance against the Ebola scourge. 

His concerns for the need to tackle the Ebola was not accidental, it was not borne out of a short term political calculation; it was a display of his deep patriotism and love of his country. Let us remember, it was Bio who first called on the nation to put politics aside in the fight against the Ebola. He put himself at the disposal of the government in order to play any role that will bring the Ebola to an end. 

Like many people, Bio gave not just warning note of caution against the Ebola; he contributed resources to alleviate the desperate condition of our compatriots in the form of food and other material needs. Reading through this piece one begins to quickly get the impression that the piece is less about the succession intrigues within the APC, but more about a campaign of vilification against Bio with outrageous and unproven allegations. Now I know the author of this article and I have every respect for his intellect - especially for his role in the campaign against the RUF war. 

However, his increasing opposition against Julius Maada Bio is increasingly leading him to assume positions that will be described as nothing if not downright dishonest. How else can anyone claim that the last election of the national officers (the convention that brought Chief Kapen to National Chairman and Leader) as a "coup", when in fact this matter has been disposed of by the Supreme Court and accepted that the elections were properly conducted? 

Even damning is the insinuation that somehow or the other Bio had a hand in the Daddy George alleged murder! The writer of this piece appears determined to throw caution to the wind to link Bio with such a violent incident. 

But perhaps one can understand why, this is part of the continuous narrative to paint Bio as violent. The sad thing however is that people now know better. This was a strategy that worked in 2012 for the APC, it has singularly failed to bring the much needed political advantage to Bio's SLPP political enemies. 

But even laughable is the attempt to continuously try to lay the inability of the SLPP to rise to its role as the main Opposition party on Bio's door step. How could anyone in their right mind think like this? 

Bio doesn't hold any role within the National Executive Committee (NEC) - or better known as national Officers of the party. That role falls to Chief Somano Kapen and his colleagues. Why have they not held the APC to account for the maladministration of the country? Even more directly, within the wells of Parliament, is there not supposed to be an SLPP Parliamentary leader?

 

MPs Pledge to Implement Measures to Avert Dangers of Climate Change

By a Press Release (03/10/16)

Sierra Leone Parliament is setting the pace to mitigate measures to combat climate change, one of the most difficult global problems today.

In his opening remarks recently, Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Aviation, Hon. Alpha Babatunde Lewally has pledged to support budgetary and legislative measures to the Meteorological Department with the view of combating emerging climate change issues in the country. (Pictured: Deputy Speaker Chernor Bah).

He also encouraged Sierra Leoneans to adopt adapted and mitigated measures including tree planting, proper waste management, avoid deforestation for charcoal burning, and the provision of alternative livelihoods with the aim of reducing the impacts of disasters like flooding. 

"These measures, if adopted would avoid the avoidable, and manage the unavoidable through timely dissemination of information and early warning signs," the MP noted. 

He further called on the project to capacitate MPs to sensitize their constituents on issues related to reducing the impacts of climate change in the country.

He made these statements during the course of a two days workshop (22-23 September, 2016) in Makeni for policymakers which was sponsored by UNDP, and facilitated by EPA and the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.

UNDP’s Mariatu Swarray, whilst making a brief statement on behalf of the Country Director said that the presence of MPs has demonstrated a collective obligation to combat climate change by stimulating such determination at constituency, national, regional, and global levels. 

She also called on MPs to increase budgetary allocation to the Meteorological Department and pass, ratify, and domesticate the necessary legislations aiming at a climate resilience country. Whilst speaking to MPs on the project, she emphasized an integrated approach involving all sectors to combat climate change, noting their engagement with EPA, ONS, and the Ministries of Water Resources and Transport and Aviation. She later described climate change as a “national security threat” with a huge tendency of derailing our development.

Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Ambrose Massaquoi described the workshop as an opportunity to learn about emerging issues relating to climate change, whilst noting the institution of an early warning and information systems aimed at building the capacity of the Meteorological Department. 

Some of the topics include an overview of climate change issues, managing climate risks, presentation on forecasting and early warning systems in Sierra Leone, mainstreaming climate change and development, and the roadmap for the implementation of the Paris Agreement amongst others.

The facilitators were Abdul Salim of EPA and Alpha Bockarie of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation. Others present were ONS, CSOs, and the University of Makeni.

The workshop also resolved for the creation of a parliamentary action group on climate change.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone

 

Information Minister Receives Standing Ovation from Sierra Leoneans

By Editayo G. Temple (03/10/16)

Rarely does a Sierra Leone minister receive applause by compatriots home and abroad but the Information Minister has been an exception.

Following the way and manner in which he has managed the affairs of the media in Sierra Leone, the Ministry and his recent interview with the BBC when he projected the image of this blessed land, the Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Bangura has received praises from Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora. (Pictured: Minister Bangura, right, with writer Editayo Temple).

"Since he took up office as Minister of Information and Communications, a lot has been achieved apart from his astute, erudite and result oriented leadership traits. The continuation of the Ministry's weekly press briefings, his recent interview with the BBC on the government's strides, Agenda for Prosperity and post Ebola priorities, was a step in the right direction, thus wish to congratulate him for a job well done," says Mabinty Kamara, a Sierra Leonean currently residing in the USA, where the Minister attended the '71' UN General Assembly. 

A premise upheld by Mohamed Turay a Sierra Leonean residing in Virginia, USA: "I am of the opinion that Hon. Mohamed Bangura, has proved his critics and detractors wrong, because since he took over from his predecessor, the media landscape has improved tremendously and sanity has been restored, because of his approach on issues and mutual coexistence with media practitioners" citing the recent way forward meeting held with a cross section of radio, newspaper and television editors at the Ministry's conference hall at 8 Floor, Youyi Building, Brookfield's in Freetown, with the Minister of Information and Communications alongside his Deputy, Hon. Connelius Deveaux. 

"Hon. Bangura, is a nice man to work with and our relationship with him at the office is cordial. He has transformed the Ministry in the areas of professionalism, punctuality, decorum, service delivery and maintenance," said Momoh Sesay a cleaner at the Ministry of Information and Communications."

A Security Guard at Youyi Building Kadiatu Sesay said in his opinion his presence is a blessing in disguise to this Ministry and the Government led by President Ernest Bai Koroma and hoped the Minister would continue in light of the aforementioned.   

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple The Investigative Journalist & True Comrade

 

Welt Hunger Hilfe 3-Day Cocoa/Coffee Summit Ends in Kenema

By Philip Koroma (01/10/16)

The three days Cocoa and Coffee summit in Kenema, the headquarter of the eastern province of Sierra Leone, has ended successfully.

Welt Hunger Hilfe has recently started a three days cocoa and coffee summit for stakeholders in the cocoa sector at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall school in Kenema. 

Delivering his statement at the summit, the General Manager of Kahingorma Company Mr. Yusuf Rahman Sesay said his company has been exporting grade 1 cocoa to the international market for some time now. (Pictured: Kenema controversial Mayor Kelfalah).

Mr. Sesay whose company also exports cocoa on behalf of six cooperatives in Sierra Leone Yusuf appealed for assistance to the farmers especially after the rural and private sector development project has elapsed.

He assured the audience that his company on behalf of the cooperatives will continue adherence to fair trade in the interest of the cocoa farmers in Kenema district. 

He catalogued several challenges cocoa farmers face in the production and exportation of their cocoa ranging from poor road networks to the infiltration of private business individuals into the cocoa sector.

 

PPRC Mourns the Death of their Chairman Justice Tolla Thompson

By a Press Release (01/10/16)

Sierra Leone and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) are mourning the sudden death of Hon. Justice M.E. Tolla Thompson.

In the press release, the Commissioners and Staff of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) informed the eleven Registered Political Parties and the public of the death of the PPRC Chairman, Honourable Justice Tolla Thompson (pictured).

The Commission expresses our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family and the people of Sierra Leone. Hon Justice Tolla Thompson passed away on Monday 26th September, 2016.

Justice Tolla Thompson before his death served the Judiciary for over forty years before he was appointed by President Ernest Bai Koroma as Chairman of the PPRC in 2012.

Funeral Service arrangement will be announced later. A book of condolence will be opened at the Commissions headquarters OAU Drive Tower Hill, Freetown on Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 1pm.

May his soul rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.

 

Sierra Leonean's Impression of Freetown After a Long Time Abroad!!!

By a SL Citizen (01/10/16)

The first impression of this Sierra Leonean who claimed to have been in the Diaspora for so long is debatably a piece worth reading by all.

Freetown is a money pit. The constant begging and requesting money for EVERYTHING is very disturbing and troubling. I don't know how people survive with an average salary of Le 600,000. Knowing that I am visiting I feel so sorry for people and compelled to give out of the goodness of my heart. (Pictured: Central Freetown with the famous Cotton Tree).

The traffic and congestion is just out of control. Okadas continue to be nuisance. Just try to go through Kingharman Road. It is bustling with unruly Okadas. Going to town from Tengbeh Town use to be 10 minutes. Now, if you are lucky it is about one hour to get to town. 

Drivers are just crazy. Traffic patterns at best are unruly and erratic. No respect for traffic signs. The traffic police are more a hindrance than help. The street youths and gangs are true products of Sodom and Gomorrah. Plain lawless! Stabbing has replaced street fights. Life has no meaning for street youths. Regent Street is the new Killing Fields.  

Economy is tanking. The US $ is now Le7,250 in plain sight of the law. Black market currency trading is now the Central Bank for foreign exchange. The street changers are the new economists as they are allowed In broad daylight to make economic decisions affect both local and international currencies in Sierra Leone. 

The mushrooms of unregulated international elementary and secondary schools is detrimental to the quality of education in Sierra Leone and the quality of our labour force in the next 20 years. It is scary that anyone and everyone could set up a school. 

Tengbeh Town has over 10 private schools. Why?  Who regulates these schools. Wow!  As an educator, I know Sierra Leone is finally doomed because of this unregulated educational system. Unqualified so-call teachers teaching the Future. Wow! 

THE GOOD

However, the bulk of Sierra Leoneans are God fearing and loving people, the true nature of the Sierra Leone I know. "God dae and nar for bear" is the motto of the struggling Sierra Leoneans. This is why they are treated so badly by those who should care for them. 

CONCLUSION 

The rich is getting richer and the poor can't get any poorer so they just die vCard in the process.

Most profitable business is a funeral home because people just die trying. This is my impression of 15 days in Sierra Leone.

 

SLPP's Old Tricks as Unity Now newspaper Publishes Rubbish!!

By SEA Press Release (29/09/16)

The opposition SLPP party's newspaper Unity Now is using every trick under the sun to continue its false publications in Sierra Leone.  

Torkpoi, as the SLPP party is commonly known, will never change their dirty ways of politics. This time they are inciting our women that the ruling APC is planning to Ban Bondo in return for $12million dollars reward from Western Agents. (Pictured: APC hierarchy is very determined to respect the traditions of the Sierra Leone people).

The intent is to provoke rural women into resentment against genuine governance programmes. The truth is that as Hon. Dr. Sylvia Blyden has been saying even in a recent edition of Awareness Times newspaper, and as President Ernest Bai Koroma himself confirmed in New York recently to the BBC in a live broadcast viewed around the world, the current APC led government places huge respect in direction of traditions and cultures of our people including our sacred & highly cherished Bondo society.

Please read the Sept 27th 2016 report in Awareness Times newspaper as published below headlined: APC COMMENDS KENEMA'S FEMALE PARAMOUNT CHIEFS AND ASSURES BONDO WOMEN 

The ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) led government has highly commended female Paramount Chiefs of Kenema district for their laudable role in stemming what had been turning out to be an unstoppable uprising of Bondo Women from across the eastern region who had thronged to protest in Kenema city last week. 

The commendation for the female PCs was delivered by a very high-powered delegation from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs over the weekend of September 24th to 25th 2016. 

Led by the Honourable Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden and including the Gender Director Mary Rogers, Policy Analyst Fatmata Ansumana and the ministry's focal person for FGM, Madam Fatmata Kargbo, the government delegation also used the chance to assure all Bondo Women of Sierra Leone that their all-female African secret society was not under threat from the government. 

Responding to charges that certain other government officials were always quick to condemn unproven allegations levied against Bondo activities, the Honourable Minister assured all concerned that it was not the position of government to condemn based on unproven allegations. 

"As a responsible government, when two groups of citizens make allegations against one another, we do not rush to condemn one side over the other. We wait for all the facts to come out whilst we provide fullest possible protection and psychosocial support for alleged victims and calm down irate protagonists. That is what I as a Cabinet Minister, have been doing and that is what you should focus upon. Please do not be distracted by irrelevant attention seekers," Hon. Blyden assured. Blyden was speaking during an event hosted by a consortium of civil society activists trying to combat the menace of child marriage in the country. 

As keynote speaker at the event billed as 'HER CHOICE' campaign with theme: "Empowering Teenagers & Community Leaders to End Child Marriage", the Minister listed vices of child marriage then went on to speak against initiating girls into Bondo. 

"Although we are here to raise awareness against child marriage and not for Bondo discussions but let me use this chance to continue my strong campaign against initiating and circumcision of our girls. If we want to end child marriage, we must also want to end child circumcision because when you circumcise a female, it means you are saying that she is ready for marriage. No child under age of 18 is ready for marriage so no child under age of 18 should be circumcised," Hon. Blyden urged the gathering of traditional rulers from across the eastern region. 

Speaking specifically on the issue that sparked the uprising of Bondo Women, Hon. Blyden appealed to the Sierra Leone Police to speed up the investigations. "My ministry officials have concluded our own findings within our mandate and we now await the outcome of the Criminal Investigation by the Police. I have personally been urging the Police to ensure they unearth the truth between the two versions of reports."

Courtesy: SEA MEDIA PROMOTIONS

 

Eddie Turay Wants Ministers to Choose Between Jobs & APC Party Posts

By Press Release (29/09/16)

Sierra Leone's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom has said that ministers should choose between their jobs and party executive posts. 

Envoy Edward Mohamed Turay said holding both positions at the same time is a conflict of interest that has the tendency of undermining the President's flagship programme the Agenda for Prosperity. (Pictured: Envoy Eddie Turay, the very outspoken APC heavyweight).

In a press statement released recently, the High Commissioner said: "I hereby want to call on the President and the general membership of the ruling All People's Congress (APC) to urge all ministers holding political party executive positions to choose between their ministerial jobs and that of the party executive positions." 

He said it is his humble and sincere beliefs that holding a ministerial job and that of a party executive will not only be a conflict of interest but will also undermine the effectiveness of President Ernest Koroma's flagship programme Agenda for Prosperity. 

He believes Sierra Leone is currently going through a very challenging situation which requires the collective effort of all government functionaries to support the President achieve his legacy before he leaves office. 

"I therefore frankly believe that this cannot be achieved with ministers holding party jobs especially when we have other competent people without jobs who can equally fill in those positions. If you want to serve as a minister you must give up your position as an executive member of the APC. Period," said Turay. 

He commended the current Secretary General Osman Yansaneh of the ruling party who decided to relinquish his job as High Commissioner to Ghana to take up his current position at the party. 

He said with his experience during the course of his political navigation, it is his sincere and honest belief to highlight these issues for a review by the leadership of the Party.  "Let Cabinet Ministers remain Ministers and NOT to occupy executive positions in the party, except the leader of the Party – who, incidentally becomes the President," Turay said. 

According to him, there must be a separation of powers between the Party and the Government which, he believes is a view that resonates not only in Europe but also in the U.S., Canada, and Africa. 

Ambassador Turay has been in the spotlight in recent weeks - and just two weeks ago, he called on the President to sack all those cabinet ministers who have declared their intention to succeed the President after his term of office would have ended. 

"As a veteran politician of the APC, I believe such a move would have negative implications on the President's Legacy," Envoy Turay asserted.

Courtesy: Public Information Unit Sierra Leone High Commission, London

 

Stern Message for Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah, Action Now Sir!!

By Bockarie K. Musa (29/09/16)

Why is our educational system not producing the required results in Sierra Leone? This writer is calling on the attention of Minister Bah.

Colleagues, as technology is changing the educational landscape throughout the world which Sierra Leone has become a party to that is also evolving rapidly.

Due to the transformation in the educational system in Sierra Leone, it is observed that there will be an increase in the output by 15% but a lot needs to be done to achieve this set goals. (Pictured: Minister Bah).

SOME OF THE CONSTRAINTS FACED BY THE SCHOOL AUTHORITIES AND THE GOVERNMENT IN CASE YOU ARE NOT AWARE: 

UU Teachers (Un-trained and Un-qualified Teachers). Poor Laboratory Equipment for the science students. Insufficient text books in the schools. Poor library facilities. Poor Standards of school (insufficient desks, chairs, chalks, and blackboards).

SOLUTIONS MR MINISTER:

Providing better learning materials to students and teachers as well. Providing students with the syllabus. Providing the teachers with the appropriate materials as and when needed. Building of classrooms and digitalise libraries.

Coordinating exchange programmes for the students as well as the teachers. Preparing students to meet the GAS (Global Academic Standard).

Renovating (which include painting) the universities (FBC and COMAHS to be specific). Supplying the universities with furniture and computers to aid research. Providing FBC, COMAHS, NJALA students with transportation and housing facilities.

Sir, we are all crying for the increase in foreign currencies but what are we doing to solve this issue, the education ministry do have an important role to play.

Let's take education as an example. We have chemistry graduates that can't make simple laundry or bath soaps, ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts), IVSs drips, toothpastes, hand sanitizers, etc. 

Engineering graduates that can't manufacture toothpicks, paper clips, solar dryers for rural agriculture, etc. We keep importing these simple but life saving technologies, mostly from China but sometimes from as near as Nigeria, Ghana or Guinea ... and then complain about foreign currency scarcity!

Finally Sir, I will appreciate if you could get a Biometric software to help complement your eight years as Education Minister. Also efforts must be made to analyse the issues of ghost teachers and this Automated Biometrics is cost effective and will solve your 8 years drive just within a week.

'We don taya for yeri but this ghost teacher bizness,' the writer concludes in the Krio parlance translated as: 'We are tired of hearing about the ghost teacher issues.'

Courtesy: By Bockarie Kukuku Musa

 

"Sylvia Blyden is Mother of Sierra Leone Children," CFN Boss Attests

By Gunther AB Daramy (26/09/16)

The President of the Children Forum Network says child involvement in the Collective Development Agenda has increased in Sierra Leone.

The CFN boss Paulina Bangura attributed this commendation to Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, for being a national mother. (Pictured: Sylvia Blyden, centre, is making incredible impact in the welfare of children in Sierra Leone).

President Paulina Bangura made this commendation on Sunday 17th September 2016 when she noted that under the APC led government through the Ministry of Social Welfare, children involvement in the collective development agenda has improved greatly.

Miss Bangura was full of praise as he noted Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is indeed the mother of Sierra Leone children and she described the minister as vibrant, honest and very transparent and that she is getting them involved in every affairs of the children.

The young lady was speaking at an event that marked the welcoming of the National Secretary General of the Children's Forum Network, Hussane Muckon Sesay, who has just returned from Geneva, where he represented young people of the country.

Miss Bangura in a high spirit, said Dr. Blyden has inspired young girls to buckle up and be successful in life.

She was pleased that this is the first time a child has represented children in a government delegation in the person of Master Sesay.

 

APC Scribe Arrives in China for the Communist Party of China Invitation

By John Baimba Sesay (26/09/16)

The relationship between Sierra Leone and China has become stronger and the recent high level meet in China says it all.

The National Secretary General for Sierra Leone’s All Peoples Congress Ambassador Osman Yansaneh on Sunday, 18th September, 2016, arrived in Beijing with a five man delegation, on the invitation of the Communist Party of China. (Pictured: APC Scribe Yansaneh).

Other members of the delegation include Dr. Minkailu Bah, Chairman for Tonkolili District, Emmanuel Harding, Western Area Deputy Chairman, Francess Anthony, Deputy Chairlady, South and Kumba Keillie, District Chairlady, Kono.

Receiving the delegation on behalf of the CPC was Wang Heming, Director of Bureau of African Affairs, International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Wang Heming said he felt honoured being part of the high level exchange visits between the two political parties, referencing how in 2013, he received a high level delegation from APC and later joined a CPC delegation to Sierra Leone.

He was convinced, through such high level exchanges, both parties would be able to “deepen mutual understanding, friendship and mutual trust between the two parties which is crucial to our state-to-state relations.”

Responding, Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh presented felicitation from the leadership of the governing All People’s Congress, and especially from His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma who is Chairman and Leader of the APC.

Comrade Ambassador Yansaneh noted with appreciation, the warm reception accorded the delegation upon their arrival.

The cordial relationships between the two countries and particularly the parties, HE said, have moved on for over forty years.

“During the period, Sierra Leone and China worked at the international level in promoting and deepening the fraternal ties to the extent that Sierra Leone stood firmly in support of the One China Policy.”

The relation, the APC scribe said, has been manifested at various levels, paying tribute to the outstanding role that the late Siaka Stevens and Mao Zedong of Sierra Leone and China respectively, played in fostering the ties and friendship especially at the political level.

At the international level, Sierra Leone, he said has stood firmly behind China as seen in the country’s recent support to China on the South China Sea issue.

Ambassador Yansaneh thanked the Chinese Government for the continued support to Sierra Leone in all sectors, specifically referring the support in building her human resource through the award of scholarships.

The delegation is slated to meet with high level officials of the CPC and with the leadership of the China-Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund) amongst others. It also shall be meeting with the APC Asia Branch for consultations. 

Courtesy: John Baimba Sesay Information Attaché Sierra Leone Embassy People’s Republic of China

 

Sierra Leonean Academic Chairs 25th Session of African Union/F.A.O

By N'Bompa (26/09/16)

Sierra Leone's former Agriculture Minister Dr. Joseph Sesay is expected to promote the ideals of the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

The Doctor of Philosophy graduate in Agricultural Economics and Soil from Moscow State University in the former Soviet Union, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay (pictured) keeps producing brighter colours since his return to Sierra Leone.

This think-tank specialist could never be separated from his profession. Nations as far as Belitz in the Carribean South America and the West African state of Cote D' Ivoire have been showing appreciation for this Sierra Leonean who is not only the Special  Adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma, but is also the Champion Minister of the African Union (GAADP).

He was elected with the approval  of the Head of State President Koroma to the position of chairperson of the COAG, Food Agriculture Organisation's main governing body on Agriculture for over forty years. COAG has contributed to the priority setting and the formulation of Agriculture Development Strategies of the FAO.

It has also provided technical advice on issues ranging from sustainable crops and livestock production intensification to how to manage land and water resource in a changing climate. The body reviews major agriculture and nutrition problems and reports to the FAO conference on policy matters and to the FAO council on programmes.

The 25th session will be chaired by the Special Adviser to President, the Coordinator of Sierra Leone Benchmarks ( SLIBs) Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, the chairperson of COAG, FAO.

He is prepared to discuss issues related to the major global trends critical to the present and future agriculture transformation agenda, particularly in developing countries.

Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay is expected to return home with good results in his new endeavour.

 

Citizen of Port Loko Calls for Calm for the Benefit of Port Loko District

By Port Loko Citizen (24/09/16)

Joseph Kamara joined APC a few years ago (less than 10 years ago) but today he plans to contest for the APC flag-bearer post.

Honourable Kemoh Sesay was born APC and  grew up APC as we all glamour around the S.I. Koroma Self Help Project as young school kids. He came in contact with late Thaimu  Bangura during his hustling days in the USA and joined the Peoples Democratic Party PDP as a matter of expediency for him to enter into politics. (Pictured: S.I. Koroma, Port Loko's most famous vice president under the APC government. It remains to be seen if the politicians in Port Loko would unite).

By then APC was completely decimated by the civil war combatants and the Khaki boys known as NPRC. When conditions became exponentially safe again for his true born party, APC, Hon Kemoh Sesay made the right call of his political career again to come home to the party he knew in his life. 

So did H.E. President Ernest Koroma. I don't think that tactical move by a young and dynamic political icons like Hon Kemoh Sesay should be used as a yardstick to measure his party loyalty. The current stalemate between him and his brother in leadership,  Alpha Khan must not be fanned with the flames of party loyalty. 

Both gentlemen are playmakers in the success of the current APC regime, and both deserve mutual respect of and from each other. We need to stop making the situation worse by employing character assassination techniques in this family feud. 

I personally have absolute respect and admiration for both gentlemen, I grew up with the younger man and I owe a lot of gratitude to the older man by extension of his brother late Dr. S H Kanu paying my college tuition and helping me obtain a college degree. Why can't we try to solve this stalemate between two brothers amicably as a functional family does? 

Maybe Hon. Kemoh Sesay himself has the intention to declare for the flag-bearer post. He naturally has the right to do so himself. Even in our traditional chieftaincy competitions, 2 or 3 members of the same household do compete for the initial selection process. In the western world like the USA Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders just ended a brutal battle for the nominee of the DNC.

Today Hillary has emerged as the nominee while Bernie Sanders is now a supporter of Hillary. Why can't we just look at things from a progressive point of view rather than an all-out war against one another. Our objective is to have a viable candidate from Port Loko to compete in the forthcoming national elections against an SLPP candidate. 

Let us remember that fact. We can have as many as 3 or even 4 contenders from Port Loko. That is acceptable from a democratic point of view. Just focusing on one candidate is like insinuating to ourselves that there is no other person qualified to be a viable candidate to compete against an SLPP flag-bearer. 

That assumption is very dangerous. What if the APC caucus in the final convention have a different choice in mind, are we not setting up ourselves for a lifelong enmity in the district? By respecting the opinions of everyone and allowing the process of choosing  a viable candidate from Port Loko through negotiations, consultations and mutual understanding, will naturally have a very nice and soothing closure for the losers and an open room of inclusiveness and support for the candidate that emerges as the chosen one from Port Loko. 

My brothers and sisters we are living in the 21st century, and we must learn to accommodate, tolerate and accept our differences in opinion in a gentle and civil manner. Even God Almighty our creator encouraged and accepted differences in opinion, otherwise He would have totally vanquished Satan. 

But in His infinite and  supreme powers, He allowed Satan to exist in opposition, and He gave us humans the gift of freewill to choose between right and wrong, and he empowers prophets and disciples of prophets to enlighten us to make informed  choices in our lives. 

Why do we have to be so intolerant of one another in our God-given rights to make and proclaim our differences in opinions? Why do we have to declare war on people that do not see eye-to-eye with us? Why can't we sit down and unite for the benefit of Port Loko?

 

Vital Thoughts of 18-year-old Pupil at Annie Walsh Secondary School

By Eunice N. Mustapha (24/09/16)

Most women have the motivation to take active part in governance and in the socio-economic advancement of the country. 

However, it is easily discernible that the amount of female participation in the job market needed to stimulate economic growth in the country is pretty minimal. The male/female labour force is grossly skewed and imbalance. (Pictured: Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Social Welfare Minister being decorated by President Tejan Kabbah, is one of the former students of Annie Walsh School who have broken the male dominated professions).

The key factor militating against the chances of women in this regard is illiteracy. Most women of Sierra Leone lack a formal education and skills to be able to fully compete in the country’s job market. I believe that if they are provided with the requisite skills there will be marked improvement in their employability.

I am pleading to the Government of Sierra Leone to invest more in the provision of formal education for females in Sierra Leone, especially the vulnerable ones - those from poverty-stricken homes, the disabled, etc. 

To my mind, the best place to start investing in is in the education of girls, as they are the future leaders of the society. They must not only help in ensuring a free education for them, but should also ensure these girls are provided with the necessary educational materials that will help widen their horizons such as books, access to laboratories and technology, etc. 

With a free education up to university level, the rate of literate women in the country will increase, tremendously. 

Furthermore, there should be investment in adult education for women. Most females did not have the opportunity to attend school early in life and some of them will work very hard to get access to a formal education irrespective of their age. With an investment in adult education, such women will be enlightened and they will have the necessary instrument to participate in the labour force of the country.

Moreover, some females are talented in skills connected to informal education such as catering, hairdressing, tailoring etc. If existing vocational institutes are well funded and if more vocational institutes are established in the country, it will be beneficial to most women. Most women will be made self-reliant. With skills acquired from vocational institutes, they will be able to establish mini-factories of their own, which will be a major step in the true development process of Sierra Leone. 

I believe educating women and girls in Sierra Leone will not only lead to empowerment of females which will motivate them to participate fully in the country’s affairs, but will also lead to true growth in the country.

If you develop the self esteem of women - as most of us in Sierra Leone lack that - true growth will be engendered. The lack of that self belief has made them prefer being in the background, leaving the affairs of the country almost entirely to the men. 

Another important thing to ensure the development of women is through the empowerment of women’s rights organisations such as Girl Child Network, Fifty-Fifty etc. Naturally because the heads of these organisations are females, and their goals are to empower girls and women, they will be an impetus and a motivation for women folks. Because of their existence they will serve as a bulwark against such backward things like rape, early marriage, teenage pregnancy etc. And nothing better tackles vulnerability of women and girls as such.

In a nutshell, we should invest in women and girls as that is the only way they can get job and become self reliant. Once that happens they are empowered and the beauty inside them will come to the fore. Consequently society will benefit. 

The author is an 18-year-old SSS pupil at the Annie Walsh Secondary School. 

Courtesy: By Eunice Naffie Mustapha, Future Newspaper 2016

 

Muslim Scholars Offer Prayers for Late Ambassador Moseray Fadika

By Editayo G. Temple (24/09/16)

Prayers have continued day in day out in Freetown for the late APC humanitarian heavyweight Gibril Moseray Santigie Fadika (SUPER).

On Friday 16th September 2016, marks the 40th day ceremony of our Hero, Business Tycoon, Philanthropist and Politician, the late Ambassador, Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, a cross section of religious scholars gathered at the Moseray Fadika Trust, situated at 17 Muctarr Drive, off Regent Road, Lumley in a bid to offer prayers and ask Allah to grant him peaceful rest in (Aljanna) Heaven. (Pictured: Late Fadika being lifted from his chair during his Meet and Greet Dinner in London before being admitted to Hospital where he passed away 24 hours later).

According to the Head of Religious Programmes at the Moseray Fadika Trust, Sheikh Sahid Gassama Kallokoh: "The reading of the Holy Quran today, is just a significant event to observe the 40th day ceremony." 

Sheikh Kallokoh added that Sunday 18th September 2016, will be the day of charity, where some people would converge at different locations, such as the Bintumani Hotel for dignitaries, Moseray Fadika Trust Secretariat, the Fadika Family house at IMATT and Magazine Cut respectively to refresh themselves, as tradition and custom demands.   

Courtesy:  Editayo George Temple  The Investigative Journalist & True Comrade +23279316

 

Heavy Down Pour Leaves 4 Deaths and Devastation in Freetown

By Press Release (22/09/16)

Four people have died and many injured as well as the destruction of properties following the recent heavy down pour in Freetown.

In possession of the Organiser newspaper is a press release from the Sierra Leone government highlighting the deaths and destruction of properties in the aftermath of the heavy rain (pictured):

 

Government of Sierra Leone 

PRESS RELEASE

Monday 19th September 2016

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) wishes to bring to the attention of the general public that Government’s assessment of the outcome of a torrential downpour of rain in early morning hours of Monday 19th September 2016, is that severe flooding in significant parts of the Western Area has devastated settlements, caused four (4) confirmed deaths, left some people severely injured and destroyed properties including homes, vehicles and roads.

Government wishes it to be known that natural disasters such as floods can be very sudden and with destructive force. This, therefore, suggests re-doubling of our commitment to scale up on our collective efforts as a Nation to address the plight of vulnerable citizens affected by floods.

Today, the Office of National Security immediately undertook its mandate as lead institution for management of such floods and disasters whilst various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are providing services under assigned pillars. The MSWGCA is mandated to lead Pillar 1 which provides Psycho-Social Support (PSS) for affected citizens especially women and children.

At an Emergency meeting of the Senior Management Team of MSWGCA this afternoon chaired by Hon. Minister Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the following measures were approved:

-          The Hon. Deputy Minister of MSWGCA, Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay will continue to provide leadership of the MSWGCA’s role in all disasters nationwide; to be done in consonance with Director of Social Welfare Mr. Francis Kabia.

-          Immediate setting up of a 24 hour rotational Standby PSS Unit stationed at MSWGCA  New Englandville offices to monitor current and subsequent situations in respective disaster prone settlements with a 24 Hour Contact Phoneline of: +232-44-812345.

-          Formation of Volunteer Corps in afore-same and other settlements to effect efficient flow of information for the prompt intervention of the Ministry.

-          Liaise with partner organizations that are members of Pillar 1 for an enhancement of the MSWGCA’s provision of Psychological First Aid (PFA) support.

-          Collaborate with relevant MDAs to enhance comprehensive service delivery.

MSWGCA assures of the Ministry and by extension, Government’s support in this moment of difficulty for some compatriots. 

Meanwhile, as Government continues to sympathize with those affected and actively collaborates to assist them, it is hereby strongly reiterated for citizens to avoid their continued residence in areas that have been cited as flood and disaster prone areas.

 

Signed……………………………………..

Francis Mohamed Kabia

Director of Social Welfare – MSWGCA

New Englandville, Freetown.

September 19th, 2016.

 

Speaker of Parliament Sworn in as Acting President of Sierra Leone

By State House (22/09/16)

The Sierra Leone Constitution has mandated the Speaker of Parliament to be sworn in as Acting President as the President travels overseas.

As President Ernest Bai Koroma leaves for the 71st secession of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament Honourable Sheku Badara Bashiru Dumbuya (pictured) was Monday 19 September sworn in as Acting President by Chief Justice Abdulai Charm at State House, Freetown.  

The law prescribes that in the absence of the President and the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Parliament should be sworn in as Acting President. Taking the oath of office, the Acting President said in the discharge of his duties, he will preserve, support, maintain, and uphold the constitution as by law established. 

The short ceremony was attended by the Secretary to the President Mr. E. B. Osho Coker, the Chief Justice, Justice Abdulai Charm, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah, the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay among others.

 

Sierra Leone Maritime Puts Safety Valves to Curb Boats Accidents

By The Ranger (22/09/16)

Mechanisms have been put in place by the Sierra Leone Maritime Admin to make sure boats accidents are greatly minimised henceforth.

In the wake of the recent speedboat accident along the Lungi to Kissy sea crossing, in which two people died, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration headed by Alhaji Wurroh Jalloh has been praised for its foresight in putting in place mechanisms for preventing boat accidents. (Pictured: Ferry in Freetown is far more safer than boats).

The recent speedboat accident had nothing to do with the failure of passengers to use lifebelts which the SLMA had instructed all passenger boat owners to provide for their passengers. Reports say the accident rather was due to a passenger who panicked after the speedboat’s engine failed. 

Reportedly jittery, he rocked the boat and it eventually capsized. When the captain sent the SOS message the SLMA officers at Kissy wasted no time to send out rescue crafts. This led to bringing to safety eight passengers but two unfortunately lost their lives.

After series of boat accidents in previous years, due to poor servicing of outboard engines, overloading and non-availability of lifebelts, SLMA has organised series of life saving workshops with the Boat Owners Association in recent times. 

It also mandated the use of lifebelts. This proactive move by SLMA has greatly helped to drastically reduce boat accidents and the avoidable deaths of passengers.

 

Legal Aid Board Ushers Justice to Downtrodden Sierra Leoneans!!

By Sarkodi (19/09/16)

The campaign to give legal financial access to all Sierra Leoneans through the Legal Aid Board is a significant judicial development.

In a bid to provide justice for all and injustice for none, the Executive Director for Legal Aid Board Mrs. Claire F. Carlton-Hanciles and the Attorney General & Minister of Justice Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara (pictured) recently launched the "SCALING UP ACCESS TO JUSTICE LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND.

Open Society Initiatives for West Africa (OSIWA) Open Society Foundation (OSF) country Director commended the Legal Aid Board for their modest achievement in providing justice for the poor ( POO-MAN GET LAWYER)..

The World Bank representative commended the Attorney General for the increase number of Magistrates in the country, because without Justice, there is no peace, progress, security and equality.

The British High Commissioner Representative and the United Nations Residents Coordinator also commended President Ernest Bai Koroma for his tremendous efforts in providing good leadership in the justice sector.

The appointment of the Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Justice Charm, Mrs Claire Hanciles, the increase number of Magistrates and Judges and the active outreach and sensitization of the Legal Aid Board all over the country as defiantly changed the face of the justice sector with a positive looks.

According to the Inspector General of Police Mr. Francis Munu, the police and Legal Aid Board are partners in development, especially in improving access to justice.

Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara thanked President Koroma for his political wing in the Legal Aid Board, as an independent body that provides excellent result.

Courtesy: By Sarkodi (100% JFK) JFK Foundation

 

Health Minister Madina Rahman Woos Chinese Billionaire to Invest 

By a Press Release (19/09/16)

Deputy Health Minister has shown her patriotism by luring a Chinese billionaire to invest in the health sector in Sierra Leone. 

Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Madam Madina Rahman (pictured) has recently brought in a Chinese billionaire investor to help augment our dilapidating and poorly funded Connaught Hospital in Freetown.

Reports confirm that the Chinese Billionaire Niu Gensheng also discussed ways of boosting the entire Health Care Delivery System in Sierra Leone. 

Mr. Niu Gensheng is the Vice President of the Chinese Charity Alliance and owns a conglomeration of investments in China, the world's second largest economy after the USA. 

He is in Sierra Leone to explore possible avenues of investments as well as humanitarian assistance. 

Courtesy: Platinum Media (The Authentic Voice)

 

Journalist Wants Fighting Corruption to be a Bottom-Top-Approach

By  Anthony M. Bangura (19/09/16)

Corruption is an endemic that needs to be wiped out from every sector of society in Sierra Leone by the Anti-Corruption Commission ACC.

It was three years after independence in 1964, during the SLPP regime of Sir Albert Margai, when corruption reared its ugly face in some areas in the public and private sectors of the country's economy. (Pictured L-R: Albert Margai, Milton Margai and Siaka Stevens).

I see corruption as the number one enemy of Sierra Leone. It is like cancer that spreads like a wildfire in the dry season. It is time that all patriotic citizens declare war against this enemy which continues to eat deep into the fabric of the nation. 

This enemy has to be destroyed. If we fail to do that, then it will continue to destroy our society. To be able to destroy the enemy we have to be able to fight this particular war collectively. 

Individually, we can be helpful, but collectively, our actions would be more effective, and it would be easier to destroy the enemy. The war has to be fought on all levels such as the presidential level, the senior ministerial level, the junior ministerial level, senior official level, and the subordinates. 

It is a war that has to be fought with zest and all should cooperate and be ready to disclose whatever information we have to the designated authorities. It is a war in which the churches, the mosques, the schools, and the local organizations should get involved. If the war is fought as outlined, the enemy is sure to be destroyed, which will make all Sierra Leoneans live decent lives as is the case in the rest of the civilized world. 

Even in the civilised and developed nations in the world, corruption, though minimal, is a disease that continues to occupy top government policies which every stakeholder is determined to eradicate from their societies.

We all have seen how the enemy has influenced the minds of politicians, military and rebel leaders who ruled Sierra Leone. Their minds were completely taken over by the enemy that they became monsters and treated their fellow Sierra Leoneans like substandard human beings.

To be exact, Albert Margai was the Prime Minister when the economy started going from bad to worse because of corruption. People were dissatisfied with his leadership; they did not like where the country was heading. 

But now if we as Sierra Leoneans work together we can fight corruption and win the battle. First of all, Sierra Leone has a very bright future as long as we keep doing the right thing. President Koroma is doing a marvellous job. The problem is that people want all the changes to take place over night, and it does not work that way. 

There is no magic wand when it comes to government bureaucracy. To get things done takes a while. One positive way to stop corruption in this country is to give the people reasonable wages. The salary scale is terrible compared to the cost of living in Sierra Leone. 

Agreeably this government has made laudable efforts to increase minimum wages in both the public and private sectors but much still needs to be done to raise the people above poverty and corruption which many say are inseparable bedfellows. 

The health sector is also a corrupt place to look at. As we commence post Ebola recovery, the government should take an introspective look at the health sector to stamp out graft as it has over the years led to lose of lives. 

Some patients die because they do not have money to pay hospital bills, some doctors have private clinics and they mandate the patients to go to their clinics and they charged them huge amounts of money. Some doctors do their operations on patients at night in their private clinics.  

President Ernest Koroma and his APC government are in a tight fight against corruption and we as Sierra Leoneans should also help in the fight to eradicate corruption as we have done to fight against Ebola. 

President Koroma cannot fight corruption alone. As the government is a government of the people, for the people and by the people, we should all join hands to fight corruption and win the fight against this war which started in the sixties under the leadership of the SLPP's Albert Margai.

That is why it is incumbent on us all in the country, from top to bottom, to assist in every little way we can the work of the Anti Corruption Commission ACC as mandated by government legislation to curb corrupt practices in Sierra Leone once and for all.

 

800,000 Unemployed Youths is a Cause for Concern for the APC Govt.

By Emmanuel Kamara (17/09/16)

There is no doubt that the ruling APC government should nip the youths unemployment problem in the bud as soon as it possibly can.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) research findings, an estimated number of eight hundred thousand (800,000) more than seventy percent (70%) of young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed. This huge unemployed youths, some are university graduates, skilled while others are high school leavers. 

This issue is a major crisis now in the country and it is left with the government to strategize measures to address this menace. The causes of this massive youth unemployment has lead to the increased on youth violence and the formation of cliques across the country. 

It is stated in the Bible that: "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." Upon this backdrop, President Ernest Bai Koroma decided to separate the Ministry of Youths and Sports and create a Ministry of Youth Affairs. Hon. Alimamy Amara Kamara (pictured) and Feremusu Conteh were appointed to serve as Minister and Deputy in that Ministry by President Koroma. 

Recent cabinet reshuffled ushered in Bai Mahmud Bangura as the new man in charge of the Sports Ministry without a Deputy, what a huge task for the young resourceful Bai Mahmud Bangura. 

It is expected of the afore-stated Ministry to salvage this crisis to which others believed has not performed as expected. Interestingly, the new Minister is also the President of the Youth Wing of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and has been recently elected as Chairman of All Political Parties Youth Association (APPYA). 

Many asked this question: "Can Hon. Bai Mahmud Bangura effectively serve as Minister of Youth Affairs without a Deputy, Chairman of APPYA and Youth League President of APC"? A question that this writer find interesting and difficult to answer. 

Or could it be that the APC Youth League has short with competent people that only Minister Mahmud Bangura that is fit to handle such position even with his huge task in the Youth Ministry? 

The writer believed there are more competent young people in the APC Youth League that can handle that position diligently than Minister Bangura. 

Many believed that the Youth Minister should concentrate in mapping out strategies on how to address the youth crisis in the country rather than fighting for more positions than performance. 

Courtesy: Emmanuel Kamara (Production Manager Tumac Radio 89.3

 

"Editors Should Ensure Journalistic Ethics 24/7," Says Deputy Minister

By Gunther AB Daramy (17/09/16)

Editors in Sierra Leone have been cautioned to ensure journalistic ethics are respected 24/7 in the execution of their profession. 

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, while formally declaring the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guild of Newspapers Editors, on Friday 9th September 2016 at Tokeh, said editors as sole gatekeepers of credible information, should ensure journalistic ethics are adhered to at all times.

Mr. Cornelius Deveaux (pictured) said journalism is a noble profession and that it should be guarded religiously.

He said efforts are being put in motion by the Government and other media stakeholders to ensuring the obnoxious criminal libel laws is repealed from the country's law books.

This, he maintained, is to ensure media people practice their profession without fear of being persecuted. Cornelius Deveaux reassured government's continued commitment in ensuring there is free press in the country.

The media, he added, has a major role to play in promoting democratic good governance, saying, inasmuch as the government will not stifle free speech, but that the Government is very serious to prevent media practitioners, whom, he fumed, find pleasure in destroying the image of reputable people in the society because of the power of the pen for their selfish reasons.

He dilated on the theme of the AGM, saying the ruling All Peoples Congress - led government is dedicated to conduct a free and fair and credible elections in 2018, as it happened in 2012 (an election given a clean bill of health by international and local observers).

The AGM of the Guild of Newspapers Editors was themed: Elections and the Print Media Focus in 2018 Elections.

 

Special Advisers Step in to Save Tonko Limba Chiefdom in Kambia

By N'Bompa (17/09/16)

Tonko Limba citizens are bracing themselves to put mechanisms in place to propel the development of their chiefdom to success.

The Tonko Limba Chiefdom in the Kambia district of the Northern province of Sierra Leone has been experiencing sad situations that led to chaotic co-existence, backwardness in development maladministration, etc. (Pictured: Dr. Sam Sesay, one of President Ernest Koroma's main advisers).                                            

The humble and noble members of this chiefdom have ever since been peaceful and loving each other. Today as the world changes Tonko Limba changes as well but changes are expected to be positive and development focused. The mechanism of the chiefdom shows participants some of who either don't know or care less about their daily objectives.

Why must an elected government official Hon. Patrick P. L Kargbo of Constituency  39, Kambia District, neglect procedures or challenges those higher in authority just to save his own personal interest or belief? Good management and coordination are the dire need for these people. Through the strategist that sensed, checked and analyzed the situation, Special  Adviser to His Excellency. Dr Joseph Sam Sesay introduced the idea of engaging the situation now.

On 4th September 2016, a meeting was held in the township of Madina in Tonko Limba engaging the Special  Adviser to H.E, Hon Dauda Sulaiman Kamara and  Dr. Joseph S. Sesay with the chiefdom stakeholder, administrator, women wings, youth and the public.

The issues were well addressed as they saw disunity, accountability became the captioned headlights and the land disputes among Malfafia, Malkiya, Kamabala, Kamawaca, Kalaia and Yibaya.

Hon. Amb Dauda S. Kamara appealed to all that they must get some harmony, meet, including the court chairmen who represent the law in our court when some cases go to them instead of the police. He asked the chairmen to be amidst administrative leaders in planning and analyzing issues in the chiefdom. 

He said that they must coordinate their issues with parliament that endorses budgets for the nation through the council. In fact, the council is there but it is not operational, the MP don't work with the paramount chief, the chief don't work with the council etc.

The meeting called by the Special Advisers to President Ernest Koroma was held on the right time. An agenda has been drawn up to settle and correct the situation. The advisers pleaded for all to join hands to take this step to maintain the old good name and glory of Tonko Limba.

 

Are Top SLPP Party Leaders and Rebel Army Linked to the Murderous RUF?

Asks Karamoh Kabba (15/09/16)

The most widely accepted postulate among scholars on the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone is its lumpen revolutionary disposition.

At least, that has been the explanation by researchers for the infamous "limb-hacking" of war victims, recruiting of child soldiers and the indiscriminate killing of over 50,000 civilians by rebels since Foday Sankoh launched the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) on March 23, 1991 in the Kailahun district village of Bomaru. Pictured: President Siaka Stevens, second right, and his Vice Sorie Ibrahim Koroma during the APC government years).

But recent research, examining the Alie Kabba-led student union uprising in the mid-80's and the Revolutionary United Front rebel formation, however, pose compelling and disturbing links between current President Tejan Kabbah and Vice President Solomon Berewa, among other high-powered intellectuals.

Describing events related to the civil war in Sierra Leone, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report (Volume 3b: Chapter 5) said of Kabba: "Then, in 1985, Alie Kabba, a keen member of several radical clubs, was returned unopposed as president of FBC student union on a platform of collective self-advancement that he referred to as 'we-ism.' "

We-ism, according to the same report, is a leftist ideology that Kabba touted for his student union government. The linguistic connotation of the ideology to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' proletariat political theory seems to agree with the TRC definition.

The TRC and many other works have linked Kabba's student union government activities with the RUF. The fervent determination to instill revolutionary activities in Africa drew authorities from Libya to figures like Kabba. He was already a firebrand among student leaders in Sierra Leone; an individual whose mercurial oratory and revolutionary political dispensations had led to a student demonstration in 1985 that saw the expulsion of many participants from Fourah Bay College (FBC), including Kabba himself.

Like Ibrahim Abdallah and other top scholars on Sierra Leone's civil war who doubt Kabba's true revolutionary commitment to the RUF, owing to the All People's Congress (APC)'s affinity for one-party system government, I found it hard to believe that he would become such an honest force against the APC. The facts seem to indicate that Kabba, unlike earlier faithful student movements against APC leader Siaka Stevens (former president of Sierra Leone) such as Hindolo Trye and others, was more of an opportunist than a true nationalist seeking to bring about political change. Evidently, he is nowhere to be found of in the present multi-party political mosaic in Sierra Leone

Nonetheless, by virtue of his position, Kabba was deeply involved in a students' uprising against a heavy-handed government that led to his arrest, along with five other students, and a two-month incarceration at the notorious Pademba Road prison. Among those arrested at that time were three lecturers, also accused by the APC of spurring the students' discontent and subsequent demonstration — Cleo Hancilles, Olu Gordon and Jimmy Kandeh. They were all kicked out of the university.

Dr. Kandeh is currently a United States-based, tenured associate professor of political science who has become a strong political activist for democratic change in Sierra Leone. He has recently engaged other scholars who support the present Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)-led government in fierce debates. Some have alleged that he was refused a job that he wooed SLPP's Kabbah for.

But I called the unassuming and soft-spoken professor on the matter, and he simply stated, "My detractors have not experienced the torment I have endured under APC's one-party system. No right-thinking person will encourage the seemingly single party trend buildup in Sierra Leone by the SLPP if it wins for the third time. Simply, whether written or not, three unbroken five-year terms in a fledgling democracy as in Sierra Leone is unacceptable, especially when the SLPP failed to deliver on the youth problem that fueled the ten years of civil war in the first place."

The TRC Final Report said of Kabba, the main actor in the events that led to the torment of which Dr. Kandeh spoke: "When the college reopened for the third semester in April 1985, forty-one students were declared ineligible to register, among them was Alie Kabba. The student union protested against this decision. The campus demonstration spread to the city center, where shops were looted and vehicles burnt down, apparently by unemployed youths who used the political demonstration of the students as a chance to wreak havoc and enrich themselves. Such opportunism, to many differing degrees, would become a constant feature of the conflict in the 1990's."

This is what sent Kabba, the young unwilling revolutionary and make-believe nationalist, on the road to Tripoli, where the Libyans became very fond of him. He made several visits there, became the self-appointed coordinator of the Libyan "connection," and ultimately served as the recruiter for revolutionary-minded Sierra Leoneans, including Foday Sankoh.

It was also apparent that Kabba had much to do with the Pan-African Union (PANAFU) organization in Sierra Leone. This seems to be by the avenue by which many high-powered revolutionary intellectuals built the SLPP and other parties after being buried by the APC's one-party rigged referendum.

Kabba, it seemed, had a marginal influence among PANAFU intellectual heavyweights. A more intriguing development concerns the financial support he and the students initially involved in the Libyan connection enjoyed from both the United Nations and Libya at a convergence in Ghana under another high-profile revolutionary, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings

Ibrahim Abdallah wrote in his work, "Ghana and Libya: The External Connection": "But why did the expelled students, who were allegedly provided with a generous grant ($6,000) by the U.N. to pursue their studies choose Ghana, not Nigeria or Liberia, the two other English-speaking countries in the region? The choice of Ghana may not be unconnected with the strong Libyan presence which allowed for less policing of their 'revolutionary' activities and therefore an ideal place."

What commonality did the United Nations and Libya have that involved students-turned revolutionaries? One thing that was clear though, is that one of the most senior Sierra Leonean officials in the United Nation then, Tejan Kabbah, by his profile, had worked with many movements around Africa for the organization. Many believe that Kabbah was privy to talks between the students bound for Libya and PANAFU. One account indicated that PANAFU fell out with Kabba because he was unable to pull off a deal for Libya on United State targets in Sierra Leone that he wanted to subcontract with PANAFU, who according to Dr. Abdallah, distanced itself from Kabba.

The TRC Final Report states: "The exiled students raised the idea with PANAFU in Freetown of sending members of their revolutionary 'cells' in the city to undertake training programs in Libya. Four trainees nominated by PANAFU left for Libya during the rainy season of 1987. By the time they returned in 1988, leading members of PANAFU were no longer committed to the revolutionary project, which led to a split in the movement. One group went underground and carried on planning for new batches of trainees, recruiting mainly marginalized youths from the city."

There is a dearth of reliable information on those who went underground, but we know a lot about those who were busy with the resurrection of the SLPP by any means necessary.

A briefing published by research group African Analysis International, written by Ibrahim Bangoura And Nhinson Williams titled, "Sierra Leone: The Pre And Post War Overview; A Combination Of Tragedy, Threat And Insecurity," sheds some light in the subject:

Outstanding opposition figures both in and outside of Sierra Leone then were in for a change of regime in the country at all cost so that they too could participate in the dividend of the aftermath political equation. Obviously, that became real after the NPRC's rule. Current president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, Lawyer Solomon Berewa, Dr. Joe Demby, Dr. Abass Bundu, Hon. John Kerefa Smart and Chief Hinga Norman were all amongst a long list of those who had this impulse and wished the change so dearly.

The usual predicament was the question of the most appropriate and effective medium to use in obtaining this change. This became an eventually unanswered dilemma for most of them, especially those of them who had links to the international community, current president Kabbah inclusive.

What has really confounded many Sierra Leoneans in the last ten years is the close relationship between Libya's Colonel Ghadaffi and President Kabbah, notwithstanding the fact that it was Libyan influence that made possible such actions as the hacking off of limbs, the creation of child soldiers and the killing of over 50,000 citizens.

Are President Kabbah and Vice President Berewa that forgiving, or do they know more than we do about the Libyan connection and the civil war?

Courtesy: View the Worldpress Desk’s profile by Karamoh Kabba June 8, 2007

 

Sierra Leone High Court Sentences Two Persons to Death by Hanging

By Emmanuel Kamara (15/09/16)

After a legal tussle, the High Court in Freetown has handed down the ultimate death sentence on 2 Sierra Leoneans convicted of murder.

The High Court of Sierra Leone Presided by High Court Judge, Justice Alusine Sesay and twelve (12) Panel of Jurors has on Thursday September 8, 2016 sentenced Baimba Moiforay aka L.A Chocolate and Foday Amara Kamara aka G Fag to death by hanging. (Pictured: Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara).

The third accused  Orehdola Renner was acquitted and discharged. The three (3) accused persons had been in remand while attending trial since their arrest in May 2015. 

According to the particulars of offense, the then accused persons in May 2015 conspired to murder one David Sydney Henry Buckle aka DJ Clef (deceased) at a birthday party.

Reports say the birthday party was organised by the third accused (Orehdola Renner) in the house of the first accused (LA Chocolate) in Aberdeen, West part of Freetown. 

The two convicted persons, Messrs Baimba Moiforay and Foday Amara Kamara, have twenty one (21) days to appeal to the death sentence by hanging. 

Courtesy: By Emmanuel Kamara (Production Manager Tumac Radio 89.3 FM)

 

Sylvia's Speech on the Rights of the Child in the Geneva Session

By Press Release (15/09/16)

Sierra Leone has taken the rights of all children very seriously and that is the message Minister Sylvia Blyden took to Geneva.

Statement By Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Minister Of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs as she flies out of Sierra Leone as leader of the Government's Delegation to the 73rd Session of United Nations Committee on The Rights Of The Child In Geneva, Switzerland Sunday 11th September 2016: 

"The past three years since we submitted our Combined 3rd, 4th and 5th Periodic Reports on welfare and state of our children, have been a very tough time for Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Dr. Sylvia Blyden waves with her boss President Ernest Koroma).

"Everything we knew and held dear got practically broken or brought to a standstill as we combated an enemy worse than the 11 years old war. Fortunately, under the great leadership of His Excellency President Koroma, we have put the war against Ebola behind us. 

"However, the devastation Ebola left behind has continued to affect our people including our children. For example, we now have a huge number of Ebola Orphans and Child Ebola Survivors which remain to be a very significant challenge of our vision to protect all our children. 

"Indeed, given what we promised in our Combined Report that Ebola could not allow us to implement, Sierra Leone would have preferred to defer appearing at this session until the country finished the ongoing post Ebola recovery priorities of the President. 

"However, on the other hand, we do see this global scrutiny appearance as a further chance to showcase our other successes despite the huge challenges. It is also a chance to publicly acknowledge where we need help from the World. 

"President Koroma is passionate about the rights of children and actions of his government reflect that in so many ways. I am hopeful that the delegation I am going with today into Geneva, backed up by the Team on the ground, can effectively make our case to the United Nations and the wider international community that Child Rights remains a priority in Sierra Leone.

"And that we need the continued assistance of the International Community to help us achieve our programmes to protect our children. Children matter in Sierra Leone. That is why a child is included as a part of my delegation."

Courtesy: Hon. Dr. Sylvia Blyden. 

 

Sylvia Blyden in Geneva to Address the UN on the Rights of the Child

By Benjamin Davies (13/09/16)

The Sierra Leone Welfare and Social Affairs Minister is in Geneva with a 15 year old child and anti-child FGM Sowei activist.

Honourable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, flew out of Sierra Leone on Sunday September 11th 2016, as leader of Sierra Leone Government's 9-man delegation to the 73rd Session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. (Pictured: Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden).

The Cabinet Minister who has remained very focused and unruffled by detractors as she carries out her duties, continues to win hearts and minds over her unique style of leading her ministry.

The latest to bring her applause has been her decision to source for funding so as to include a child on her official ministerial delegation alongside other strategic persons of huge value. 

It was confirmed that Dr. Blyden has included in the official government delegation, a 15 years old child Hussein Muckson Sesay who is currently the Secretary General of the Children's Forum Network. It is expected that the eloquent Hussein will get a chance to showcase his talents as an upcoming Sierra Leone gentleman. 

The Editor of the Awareness Times newspaper, Mr. Abdul Malik Bangura, has kindly consented to act as the chaperone for the teenager out there in Geneva and so Editor Bangura will also be on the delegation. The attendance of both Sesay and Bangura are going to be fully funded by the United Nations which without any hesitation, swiftly approved the request of the very transparent and progressive female minister. 

Also flying out with Hon. Dr. Blyden is the famous female activist against Girl Child initiations, Madam Kharday Zorokong, the Secretary General of the National Sowei Council (NSC). 

The eloquence of Madam Zorokong over the radio airwaves, recently thrilled the Nation when, even though she is herself a practitioner of female genital cutting, she made it clear that for herself and members of their NSC, they were totally against the initiation of anyone below the age of 18 years. 

Under the pioneering leadership of women like Yaa Koloneh, Elsie Kongolomoh and Kharday Zorokong, it is a fact that Soweis are being mobilized to be at the forefront of the government's push to reduce and eliminate initiation of young girls. 

Given that FGM is so topical, it is most welcomed that someone who is passionate about protecting children from being initiated, is on the government's delegation to the UN in Geneva. Another international partner has also indicated willingness to fully fund the participation of Madam Zorokong in Geneva. 

Daddy Hassan Kamara, the National Coordinator of the Ebola Orphans programme of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors, will also be attending under the sponsorship of UNICEF. 

As leader of the government delegation, Hon. Dr. Blyden is going to be broadcast live across the world by the United Nations TV Webcast during the two days she will be defending the strides of Sierra Leone insofar as the rights of children were concerned. 

Other members of the Honourable Minister's delegation include technocrats from Justice Ministry, Health Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Social Welfare, Gender, & Children's Affairs. 

Hon. Dr. Blyden and her delegation are expected back in Sierra Leone by next weekend.

Courtesy: Awareness Times Newspaper.

 

President Koroma Buys Hajj Kits for Sierra Leone Pilgrims in Mecca

By M.B. Jalloh (13/09/16)

Sierra Leone’s President has bought Hajj Kits worth thousands of Saudi Riyals for the 800 pilgrims for this year’s Muslim pilgrimage, (Hajj).

The packages, containing Water Spray Fans, Power Banks, Flash Lights, Prayer Mats, Umbrellas, Shaving Machines, among other useful items during the Hajj rituals in the Holy Sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah were delivered on Friday, 9th September, 2016 by Alhaji Sheka Kamara, Special Assistant to the President on Social Affairs who also doubles as the 2016 Hajj Chairman to Saudi Arabia. (Pictured: President Koroma).

Delivering the items on behalf of the National Hajj Cordinating Committe, Shekito as he is commonly called, says President Koroma had always appreciated Islam and has always been able to cut across religious and tribal barriers in the country since his assumption of office in 2007.

He said President Koroma is a benevolent leader and praised him for the financial assistance he has been given to the pilgrims since Government took over the organization of Hajj in 2010, without discrimination.

President Koroma, the Presidential Aide said, came from a dedicated Christian family, but his interest in the Muslim Community is second to no leader since Post- Independence Sierra Leone.

President Koroma, he furthered, is a leader with distinguished and positive qualities who has also helped to promote religious tolerance in Sierra Leone.

Shekito also hailed the President’s Envoy in Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Alhaji M.S. Kargbo for coming up with the idea of getting the Hajj Kits for the pilgrims – an idea, he said, was welcomed by the President and the entire National Hajj Coordinating Committee.

Receiving the gesture with joy, speaker after speaker prayed for the President’s continued good health, God’s guidance and sustainable strength to enable him achieve his set goals. They also prayed for sustainable peace and prosperity in Sierra Leone.

Alhaji M.B. Jalloh Information Attaché/ Public Affairs Unit  Sierra Leone Embassy, Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 

Sierra Leone Media Updated with the 2015 Population & Housing Census

By The Ranger (13/09/16)

The print and electronic media have been updated by Statistics Sierra Leone on the December 2015 Housing and Population Census.

Explaining the purpose, the SSL Communications Officer, Samuel Serry, recently highlighted that the institution’s role is not only to compile and analyze national statistics but also to inform the public about their duties. (Pictured: Development and Housing Minister Diana Konomanyi).

Chairman of the conference, Mr. Peter Bangura who is also head of the SSL Demographic and Social Statistical Division welcomed journalists to the conference. He stated that it had been a while since SSL has held such a press conference. He added that this one was to inform the public.

He said SSL is an important arm of the government as it helps to collect data that relate to planning, policy making and allocation of resources. He furthered that SSL holds series of activities and that if the population is not updated about them, there is the tendency for some people to misunderstand its duties.

For example, he referred to the controversy that attended the release of the Provisional PHC Report. Some Civil Society Organizations and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party alleged that the process was flawed.

SSL’s critics further tries to cast suspicion on the accuracy of the data collected by SSL; declaring that they were doubtful about the population dynamics in the North and the Western Area which gives those regions more population growth than the South and the East.

In his presentation during the updates on progress from the SSL divisions directly involved in the December 2015 PHC, Peter Bangura debunked the CSOs and the SLPP’s suppositions by stating that the census gives a history of population dynamics in the country from 1963.

Calling the 2015 Census the best ever conducted, he clarified that the census, starting with the cartographic mapping, was better conducted than the last one in 2004. This, he said, was because SSL had put in place professional strategies to ensure that the process was transparent and accurate.

To ensure that the process was not wholly owned and managed by SSL, he explained that Paramount Chiefs including town criers, CSOs, the Press and foreign observers from East and West Africa were part of the process.

That is why, he furthered, when doubts were cast about the process, the international community rushed to SSL’s aid to declare that they monitored the entire process and that it was transparent and professionally done.

Different SSL divisional management staff reported on the performance of their aspects of the 2015 PHC. They were head of the Demographic and Social Statistics Division, Peter Bangura; Andre Bob Johnny, Geographic and Information Systems; I. G. Kargbo, Data Processing and Lansana Kanneh, Administration.

The first step which is very critical to the success of the Census exercise is the Cartographic Mapping stage. This involves dividing the entire population into catchment blocks. Its essence is that it helped to give SSL right from the start a fair idea of the scope of the census countrywide. 

The next stage was enumeration and collecting of the statistical data by a field staff of about 17, 000 workers who had been trained by SSL to ensure that they did their work well. These included district census officers, supervisors and enumerators whose duties were to ensure accuracy in the collection of the data. 

These were employed within their localities through a process of applications and interviews. They were trained by SSL and told about the importance of them doing their work properly. So the process of collecting the data was locally owned. 

The next important stage was the inspection of the data collected and tabulating it through a process called coding to make its analysis very accurate. To ensure that the census processes were not manipulated, SSL brought in foreign experts to supervise the various stages.

 

SLPP Party Urged to Ban Alie Kabba for Aiding RUF Atrocities & Terror

By a Special Report (10/09/16)

Supporters of the SLPP party are calling on their hierarchy to ban Alie Kabba for his dubious role in the bloody RUF rebel atrocities.

This clarion call has intensified in recent times after it became clear that Mr. Alie Kabba, who is vying for the SLPP flag-bearer post, was very instrumental in pioneering the formation of the Revolutionary United Front RUF that brought untold sufferings on the people of Sierra Leone for 11 years (1991 - 2002). (Pictured: Young smiling Alie Kabba in his school days).

Former Liberian President Charles Ghangay Taylor, now serving a 50 year jail term after been convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has blown the cover of aspiring flag-bearer candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP) - Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba for being one of those responsible for the brutal war in Sierra Leone. 

The massive disclosure came about while the former warlord was been cross-examined by Prosecution Counsel of the ICC on his involvement with the former rebel movement the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which was always believed by many Sierra Leoneans to be headed and founded by the late Foday Saybana Sankoh. 

Speaking during his cross-examination at the ICC, Charles Taylor informed that Alie Kabba told him he was a student activist at Fourah Bay College during which time he has several problems with the college authorities. “Most times Dr. Manny, Alie Kabba and myself would be together conversing all the time,” Mr. Charles Taylor, who formed the National Patriotic Front of Liberia NPFL rebels recalled. 

Asked whether he knew Foday Sankoh, the warlord said he only heard about Foday Sankoh on the BBC. “Foday Sankoh was nothing. He was not at the Mathaba. Foday Sankoh was one of Alie Kabba’s men that were in the camp. Foday Sankoh knew my men; I did not know Foday Sankoh just as Alie Kabba did not know my men. 

"Foday Sankoh was no way the type of credentials to be a member of the Mathaba because if he has to be a member of the Mathaba, then it meant that Alie Kabba would not be there. It was Alie Kabba who was there,” the former Liberian president explained. 

This shocking revelation by the Liberian warlord has got many Sierra Leoneans, especially SLPP supporters, very upset that Alie Kabba would have the effrontery to put himself up for the highest national position under the umbrella of one of Sierra Leone’s opposition parties - the SLPP. 

One political analyst has stated that if the SLPP is worth its salt and wants to be taken seriously by Sierra Leoneans, the party should immediately disown Alie Kabba because of the unpleasant baggage that he carries. 

“This revelation by the former president and war criminal Charles Taylor in this Special Court video is a telling pointer that Alie Kabba was most responsible for the 11-year carnage that the people of Sierra Leone went through in the hands of the Revolutionary United Front RUF bloodthirsty rebels. 

Alie Kabba being the boss of Foday Sankoh means that he is completely responsible for the amputations, killings and maiming of thousands of Sierra Leoneans during the war which started on the 23rd of March 1991 in Kailahun. It is no coincidence that Alie Kabba also hails from Daru which is also in Kailahun district,” the analyst affirmed. 

What has annoyed many SLPP supporters and ordinary Sierra Leoneans is the fact that the main opposition party SLPP has allowed its image to be considerably soiled by openly tolerating and supporting Alie Kabba and his political engagements without having done the decent thing to screen Alie Kabba (Foday Sankoh’s boss) thoroughly before allowing him to enter the SLPP flag-bearer race. 

“Does the SLPP mean business and serious about coming to power when it cannot properly vet the credentials of those aspiring to lead it,” SLPP diehard Andrew Rogers fumed. Sierra Leoneans are waiting to see the steps the opposition SLPP would take in response to this gut-trenching revelation by the convicted warlord Charles Taylor. 

Meanwhile, the first groups of Liberian and Sierra Leone fighters were trained in Libya, at the Mathaba military base. In his dream to wage wars on some African nations “black” Africa, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi turned Mathaba into a training camp for so-called African Revolutionaries like Alie Kabba. 

Graduates from the camps fought in every war in Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Angola, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Cassamance, Liberia, Congo and the list goes on. 

The late Jonas Savimbi, the late Foday Sankoh the late Joseph Kabila and the still alive Charles Taylor all went through Libya. 

Courtesy: By The Times Newspaper - Sierra Leone

 

800 Sierra Leone Pilgrims Start their Hajj Today in the Holy City of Mecca

By M.B. Jalloh (10/09/16)

Eight hundred Sierra Leonean pilgrims, who landed safely in Mecca, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will commence their pilgrimage today.

Led by Special Assistant to His Excellency, the President on Social Affairs, Alhaji Sheka Kamara, they arrived onboard Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first and only budget airline, at the Hajj Terminal of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Tuesday, September 06, 2016.

They were warmly received by the diplomatic and locally recruited staff of the Sierra Leone Embassy headed by Ambassador Alhaji M.S. Kargbo (pictured) and other Sierra Leonean nationals resident in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Unlike previous years, this year, the pilgrims successfully went through immigration and security checks without any hitch.

Speaking in a brief interview in Mecca in the early hours of Wednesday, September 07, 2016, Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President who is also a senior member of the Sierra Leone National Hajj Coordinating Committee, Mohamed Alie Bah said that the pilgrims “are now happily housed” at hotels not too far from “Masjid al-Ḥarām” also called the Sacred Mosque and the Grand Mosque of Mecca - the largest mosque in the world.

This is the first Hajj being attended by Sierra Leone since 2013 after the deadly Ebola outbreak which killed a good number of Sierra Leoneans across the country.

The Muslim pilgrimage is the largest gathering of religious people in the world. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah says about two million people are expected in Mecca to observe the fifth pillar of Islam which is a mandatory religious duty for an adult Muslim who can afford it. 

Already, Saudi authorities estimate that over one million people are in the country getting ready to embark on the ritual.

This year’s Hajj is expected to begin on Saturday, September 10, 2016 and ends on Thursday, September, 15.

Courtesy: By M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia

 

Speaker of Parliament Debunks Two Newspapers' CDF False Reports

By Sheku Lamin Turay (10/09/16)

Contrary to reports in the Trumpet and Independent Observer newspapers, the Speaker of Parliament has set the records straight.

Contrary to publications in the Trumpet and the Independent Observer newspapers, former Speaker of Parliament has set the records straight.

The Retired Hon. Speaker of Sierra Leone Parliament, SBB Dumbuya (pictured) is absolutely right that HE DID NOT BENEFIT FROM THE CDF (Constituency Development Fund) prior to his ascendancy to the Speakership of Parliament on the 21st January 2014 through an election process which he won by 100 votes as against his challenger, Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi who polled 15 votes. 

This is as a result of the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2013 with the aim of having an MP to preside over the affairs of Parliament, thus the end of the judicio-speakers in the House. 

He was representing C-100 in W/A and when he was elected as the Hon. Speaker in Jan. 2014, he then vacated his seat immediately pursuant to Section 77 (b) of Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. 

The Hon. Speaker in a bye-election was replaced by Hon. Mohamed Jawara Kamara, who now represents C-100. 

MPs actually started receiving CDF in August 2014, but was initially used to sensitize constituents about the dangers of the EVD and measures to take to curb the phenomenal virus that had been contained since 2015. 

Therefore, contrary to unsubstantiated claims, MPs had received CDF for 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively to undertake development in their respective constituencies. 

Also, note that section 20 of the LGA, 2004 provides that Local Councils are the highest political entities in their localities responsible for coordinating and championing development in their communities. 

As editors, you are responsible to verify the authenticity of your piece in a thorough, investigative, and balanced manner before going to press. 

Courtesy: By Sheku Lamin Turay, Senior PRO of the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

 

Sierra Leone's Foremost Football Official Arrested for $50,000 US Scam!!

By Abu Shaw (08/09/16)

Sierra Leone Football Association President Isha Johansen has been arrested by the Anti Corruption Commission in Freetown today.

Competent sources in Freetown say the surprised arrest of Mrs Isha Johansen was centred around the missing in to thin air a whopping $50,000 United States dollars that was recently unaccounted for within the football association. (Pictured: SLFA boss Isha Johansen addressing a corrupt-ridden FIFA conference).

Reports intimate that Anti Graft Officials of the Anti Corruption Commission, headed by Mr. Ady Macauley, arrested the FA boss at 7pm yesterday at her SLFA Office Kingtom in Freetown.

Also apprehended was the FA's Secretary General Mr. Chris Kamara who was also whisked to the ACC's head office on Gloucester Street in Freetown pending investigation.

Mrs Johansen has been the Iron Lady of football in Sierra Leone for a couple of years now. She owns the famous Johansen Football Club, an elite football team in the country.

Nevertheless, controversy has smeared the good name of sports in Sierra Leone for some time now, especially in the football discipline and the hot blooded enmity between the FA and the Sports Ministry. 

Former Sports Minister Paul Kamara, who lost his job in the last government reshuffle, has always highlighted a systematic corruption in sports but the authorities did not take his warnings seriously.

Now the Anti Corruption Commission has changed gear in recent times to stamp their authority on this endemic menace affecting almost every facet of society in the country.  

Reports have also confirmed that Mrs Isha Johansen collapsed and fainted after the arrest and medics where called in to resuscitate her. Mrs. Johansen's financial scam allegations are similar to the chronic financial malpractices that torpedoed FIFA in recent times. 

As we go to press, the FA officials are still detained at ACC where they are facing serious grilling to authenticate the corruption allegations.  

The Head of State and President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma has personally intervened innumerable times to bring sanity in sports for the good of the country.

 

SLPP Journalist Calls for Code of Conduct for Cabinet Ministers

By Sorie Fofana (08/09/16)

Opposition SLPP journalist Sorie Fofana has called on the APC government to introduce a Code of Conduct for Cabinet Ministers.

For the past three years, we have been ceaselessly calling on the President Ernest Bai Koroma to introduce and later popularize a Code of Conduct for Cabinet Ministers. Unfortunately, our calls have fallen on deaf ears at State House. (Pictured: President Koroma and First Lady Sia Nyama).

Today, we renew that call, following the recent inexcusable behavior of certain Ministers of Government. 

Why is it that, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs conducts her Ministry’s affairs on social media? Why is it that Sylvia Blyden chooses to run her Ministry on social media? That is totally unacceptable!

Some Ministers are in the habit of misusing official vehicles assigned to them to facilitate their work as Ministers of Government. Some Ministers allow their consorts to use their official vehicles, during unofficial hours, especially at night.

It cannot be morally right for a Cabinet Minister to continue to have their private registered companies doing business with their Ministry. That is clearly a conflict of interest. Plain and simple!

How can the government succeed in banning the use of social media, when some Ministers rely on the same social media to conduct the affairs of their Ministries?

President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma should order the Secretary to the Cabinet who doubles as Head of the Civil Service to draw up a Code of Conduct for Ministers. That will serve as a guide to Ministers that, they cannot afford to cross the red line and still continue to serve in the government. 

Once the Ministerial Code of Conduct is developed, all Ministers are expected to sign up to it when they take up office.

It is no longer acceptable for Ministers to continue to misbehave in public office and get away with it. Ministers will no longer openly insult their staff when they sign up to the Ministerial Code of Conduct. 

We call on President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to ensure that, the Ministerial Code of Conduct comes into force before he leaves office in 2018. That will be one of his greatest legacies as President of Sierra Leone. 

We return to the issue: Please, Mr. President, give us a Ministerial Code of Conduct. We are sick and tired of some of these errant Ministers. 

Thank you!

 

Beowulf Worldwide to Recruit 250 Sierra Leoneans to Work Overseas

By The Ranger (08/09/16)

Employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans are underway following the recent report that Beowulf Worldwide will be the employer.

Orthaim Bangura is the Overseas Employment Representative of Beowulf Worldwide Sierra Leone branch. Speaking to this reporter, he revealed that the company is in the process of recruiting 250 Sierra Leonean Ex-Servicemen who have worked in Iraq. (Sierra Leone's Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara, left).

The employees he said will be sent to five countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea, Dubai and Qatar. Mr. Bangura said the salary and conditions of service which include free return tickets, medical and thirty days annual leave are better than those for previous such employments. 

Beowulf Worldwide is a responsible, professional, reliable and trustworthy security services provider that operates in many countries. In terms of its employer/employee relationship, it seeks to be fair and transparent in the management and treatment of staff matters. 

Orthaim Bangura said that the company which is fully registered under Sierra Leone Laws has got the required overseas Labour employment permit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. He stated that the only permission they are waiting for is from TOCU, a department of the Sierra Leone Police at Murray Town. 

Sometime back, about five hundred youths in the scheme halted President Ernest Koroma to narrate to him their jobless plight and pleading with him and the government to permit the overseas employment scheme to continue. 

It had been suspended by the government because of various labour irregularities and complaints from employees about salary and conditions of service. 

President Koroma in sympathy with the youths told them recently that now that the international travel ban which was imposed on the country due to the Ebola outbreak has been lifted, his government will see what they can do to revive the scheme.

 

The APC National Secretary General Hints the Types to Lead the APC!!

By Gunther AB Daramy (05/09/16)

The National Secretary General of the ruling APC has hinted that not all types of politicians can lead the APC party come 2018 elections.

National Scribe Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh says the ruling All Peoples Congress party is electing trusted persons that can stand behind it in all weathers. Mr. Yansaneh made this statement on Saturday 27th August 2016, at the official transition of the party's student organ, National Union of APC Student (NUAS) at the APC headquarters in Freetown. (Pictured: Mr. Yansaneh).

Chief Dr. Komba Kaimondo Sonsiama, the out-gone president (a graduate from College of Medicine and Allied Sciences) passed on the mantle of leadership of NUAS to Ibrahim Thorley, a student of Njala University. This all happened  very peacefully in a grand APC fashion. 

Ambassador Yansaneh, who is just from the party's transition overseas, underscored the importance for party Comrades to uphold and protect the core values of the party, adding, the APC respects the rights of people whom want to lead the party, but rather also emphatically made it clear that the party's right of absolute Comradeship with keen emphasis to discipline and serenity must be protected. 

He made it abundantly clear that the current leader of the party is President Ernest Bai Koroma, who is also the President of Sierra Leone has expressed stern warnings that there is no vacancy for this coveted position at the moment until the party reaches this bridge. 

Ambassador Yansaneh said when the party reaches this junction, it will cross it inclusively without any sweat. For this reason, he encouraged NUAS to stand behind the leadership of the  party, recalling NUAS had always been playing a pivotal role in the development of the party. 

He also recalled the role students played in the restoration of multi–party democracy; the restoration of political stability and most recently, the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, which besieged the country for over a year. While giving a background for the formation of the Union, Ambassador Yansaneh said the leadership displayed by the current NUAS has vindicated some of them that stood firm to conceive the idea that led to the birth of what he described as  a continuous success story for the party. 

NUAS, he described, as a 100% enlightened organ of the party and that the party secured intellectual penetration through NUAS. Their role to the development of the party, he noted, cannot be overstated. 

National Scribe in some sense of fulfilment says he was impressed with the level of maturity displayed by NUAS at the transition, saying, elderly folks of the party are now relived to go to sleep, knowing they have competent people who can take from them. He dilated on the recently conducted conventions of the party overseas. 

"When we were about to travel. Doubting Thomases were thinking our conventions will be erupted. The APC has done it again to elect trusted people in England, Germany, Canada, America and the like in a very peaceful manner without any qualm," said National Scribe with some sense of fulfilment.

He added that the party will continue this journey in Asia and other parts of overseas. He confirmed the APC National Youth League Convention will take place in Port Loko few weeks from now. This, he added, is the starting point for the installation of blue blooded and trusted APC persons that can stand behind the party come rain or shine. 

Ambassador Yansaneh acknowledged the difficulties involved in a transition more so at a time when the party will decide on whom will steer the ship of the party in the next general elections. 

He urged all to put the interest of the party above individual consideration, adding the APC thrives well as a one united family. Therefore, he concluded, the party's leadership is very much alert to discourage any person or persons that may want to fragment the party.

 

China & Agriculture Ministry Aid Farmers in Bo District, Sierra Leone

By Joseph Milton Lebbie (05/09/16)

A big face lift for the agricultural sector as farmers in Bo City in southern Sierra Leone gets support from the government and China.

The Republic of China, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) has supported 375 Farmer Based Organizations in Bo District by distributing 2, 788 Kilograms of hybrid rice seed and 1,399 Kilograms of hybrid maize seed to 3,500 farmers in the district. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara).

China and MAFFS also disbursed 22,203 Kilograms of NPK fertilizer and 11.919 Kilograms of Urea fertilizer to the farmers during an impressive ceremony at the Bo District Agricultural Office along the Bo-Kenema Highway.

While delivering his keynote address during the pre-distribution technical training meeting at the office, the Bo District Agriculture Officer, Haroun Rashid Kamara, described the occasion as landmark in the development of agriculture in the district, noting that the distribution of the rice, maize and fertilizer is part of the longstanding friendship between Sierra Leone and the Peoples Republic of China.

He pointed out that MAFFS, through the continued help of the Chinese, is poised to help reduce hunger in not only the district, but the country in general, adding that the ministry and its partners are hard at work to do President Koroma’s assignment of providing ten thousand jobs for youths in the agricultural sector through the food value chain.

In his opening remarks while chairing the occasion, the Crops Officer, Emmanuel Marah said the Chinese donation is aimed at food availability, accessibility and affordability with the purpose of reducing hunger. 

He told the farmers that a bushel of the hybrid rice can yield 40 bushels in three months and that the Chinese deliberately decided to introduce the new variety of rice to increase yield and reduce hunger.

 

Sylvia Needs a Thumbs Up and Praise, Not Tongue Bashing or Lashing

By M.S Kabba (05/09/16)

Minister Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden's efforts to cleanse the Social Welfare Ministry of corruption continues to get a fitting standing ovation.

In my little understanding of a document being termed as a classified information is one with the potential to undermine state security. This comes about following the release of a recorded conversation on social media of a civil servant who was clearly machinating a financial malpractices in Freetown. (Pictured: Sylvia Blyden during her Oath taking which she continues to uphold firmly). 

I don't see any connection of leaking or releasing corrupt practices to the public domain got to do with classified document. For God sake, are we genuinely committed or serious to fight corruption when we are ostracising those who have the guts to face such an evil monster that has stagnated our development for more than half a century?

I mean irrespective of class, connection or position, we are bind by rules, I even feel ashamed to learn that the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs Momo Bockarie Foh locked his office and went about his personal affairs, is a clear sign of sabotage.

Undermining his boss Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden and holding a whole ministry to ransom for a month, only to come back at his own disposal and sit with relative ease in his office,  as if he is the ministry's god father, is incredible!!

Did he not have the slightest feeling that he is wounding and bleeding the state to collapse and deliberately depriving people whose lives depend on the services, he had planned to bring to a standstill? 

Do such people deserve diplomacy or unwarranted privileges from us? Hell no. Some Sierra Leoneans really lack the decency when it comes to our national duties as citizens.

"NOR TO YOU BISNESS NA GOVERNMENT BISNESS"

This deep-rooted culture of leaving everything to our Head of State to act as a superman to monitor everyone in position of responsibilities, is not practicable. No leader can baby-sit all of his citizens or civil servants to do their work. 

We only need people with a patriotic heart to do what Dr. Sylvia Blyden has done, even men that have the balls can't afford to do. (excuse my french). She needs a thumbs up and tongue's praises. Not tongue bashing or lashing. 

Dr. Blyden's example is a milestone to be emulated by all ministries if we are serious enough to fight corruption. My felicitation to Dr. Blyden for standing for what you believe is right. God bless you.

 

President Koroma Wants Stakeholders to Engage with the People 

By State House Release (03/09/16)

The Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has urged all internal and external stakeholders to continuously engage with the people.

As a way of enhancing participatory governance and citizen engagement, President  Koroma (pictured) has told participants attending a two-day National Conference on Community Engagement and Convergence at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown that government and its development partners must stay engaged with the people in implementing development projects as well as enhancing service delivery across Sierra Leone. 

Jointly organized by the Office of the Chief of Staff and UNICEF, the conference is aimed at building on experiences of community engagement and ownership in the fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic and develops a nationwide strategy for community engagement to support the success and sustainability of the country’s recovery process as well as future health and development initiatives. 

Delivering the keynote address, President Koroma urged the conference to serve as a platform in bringing together the diverse views of stakeholders, come out with a structure and strategy which will not only be used in the ongoing implementation of the 10 - 24 months recovery programme, but also as a new governance approach in the development and transformation of the country. 

The president said the fight against Ebola was successful due to effective community engagement and ownership which saw traditional, cultural and religious leaders fully involved in the fight to end the epidemic. 

He pointed out that disconnect and disparity in needs, aspirations and cultural practices of communities led to failure of some development projects implemented in various communities across the country, and therefore, emphasized the significance of listening, engaging and sharing experiences with the people in rolling out development projects, adding that every Sierra Leonean has a role to play in the development of his/her community. 

President Koroma also expressed satisfaction that such engagement will be cascaded to regional and district levels to enhance national embrace of the new governance approach. 

According to the Chief of Staff (COS) in the Office of the President, Saidu Conton Sesay, democratic governance is enhanced by positively engaging communities in processes that bring change in their lives. He stressed that the conference will enhance governance, stronger mutual trust between and among citizens, improves transparency and accountability, better results in service delivery, more meaningful community empowerment, and stronger national cohesion. 

The COS further stated that this framework should accommodate adaptation to changing circumstances and encouraged participants to focus on how community engagement can be mainstreamed among government institutions, the development community and civil society organizations (CSOs). 

The Director of Performance Management and Service Delivery (PMSD) in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Abdul Rahman Sowa, said the background of the conference was predicated on the decisive role played by communities and traditional leadership during the fight to defeat the Ebola virus. 

He described community engagement as an essential component of multi-sectoral response and social mobilization. Mr Sowa went on to state that the confab will help to explore diversified approaches in identifying successes and challenges, establish a common understanding of activities and interventions, agree on strategies to ensure service delivery, good governance and accountability. 

The UNICEF Country Representative, Geoff Wiffin, who spoke on behalf of the United Nations Country Team, underscored the impact of community engagement in rolling out development programmes across the country. 

He added that this trajectory significantly helped in catapulting the country out of the Ebola epidemic, and expressed optimism that the confab will help to develop a common understanding to upholding community engagement structures as well as enhancing ownership on issues affecting communities.

Courtesy: State House Communication Unit, Freetown Sierra Leone, August 31, 2016

 

Female Ace Lawyer Mariama Commended by Minister Blyden

By Abdul Malik Bangura (03/09/16)

Rarely do you see a government minister levying praise where it is due. This taboo was broken by the Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

Honourable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, has on Monday August 29th 2016, highly commended a famous female lawyer Mariama Dumbuya Esq. for what Blyden describes as "a well written piece on female circumcision by a highly educated Sierra Leonean female lawyer". (Pictured: Minister Sylvia Blyden sandwiched by Muslim girls in Freetown).

According to Hon. Blyden who was speaking in an exclusive chat with this writer, the Op-Ed which was shared on social media by the female lawyer last weekend and also appeared in several local printed media, was "respectful yet insightful, sensitive yet objective and in fact, let me just summarise, it was superb!" 

Hon. Dr. Blyden said Lawyer Mariama's advise for the government in terms of legislating specific laws against under-aged circumcision was taken in good faith. The minister however cautioned that given that up to 80% of the society were practising it, in order to prevent a backlash of resentment similar to what happened in a nearby country, "it is imperative for a lot of respectful sensitization to be undertaken around the country in order to protect our girls." 

Continuing to place emphasis on respectful dialogue, Hon. Blyden used the chance of her interview with Awareness Times, to condemn recent media radio and TV programs which had publicly aired derogatory comments about the sexuality of certain classes of women in the country. 

"Insulting women because they are Bondo initiates is something this government will never tolerate," Blyden assures adding that in fact her ministry will soon take steps to engage the Independent Media Commission to request a sanction of those media houses that were making it a habit to be airing insults of women who had been initiated into Bondo. "We will soon put a stop to such rudeness," the no-nonsense minister asserted. 

In sharp contrast to the ongoing strong push by Minister Blyden for Bondo women to be respected, the deputy minister at her ministry, Hon. Neneh Rugiatu Turay, who has made it a habit to be publicly challenging her boss, has in published media interviews, described all those who believe in female circumcision (FGM) to be nothing other than uneducated illiterates. 

Please see inside Awareness newpspaper edition for the Opinion piece by the well learned female lawyer Mariama Dumbuya. © Awareness Times Co. Ltd. The case of FGM in Sierra Leone: to ban or not to ban Mariama Dumbuya's thoughts: I have been off social media for the past few weeks and perusing through various fora/social media I note the hot debate regarding the banning of FGM in Sierra Leone. 

The unending "put under the carpet" issue of FGM reared its ugly head to gain the lime light once more because of the death of a 19 year-old lady who allegedly was initiated prior to her demise or died in the hands of the Soweis. Upon careful reflection, I support the call for our Legislature to speedily enact a law that will clearly ban FGM for under 18s. However, in the case of above 18 years let the individual choice prevail. 

I do not mean to offend, but please note that I’ll try to explain clearly the reasons for my stance. FGM BELOW 18 YEARS Factually, majority of initiates of FGM are mostly under 18s so banning FGM will reduce the practice of FGM to minimal level or almost nonexistent level. 

It will be difficult and rare for someone above 18 to willingly subject herself to FGM. In effect, the number of initiates will be drastically reduced. I read somewhere that Islam supports FGM in order to reduce the desires of women. I wonder why anyone will like to reduce the desire of another by cutting off what God in His wisdom created. 

There is no reference to FGM in the Qur'an (see  Denny Federick Mathewson (2001) in McAuliffe, Jane Dammen, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, 1 AD, pg 366-367), There is however reference to the practice in other Islamic texts. ( I intend to get clarification of such references from Islamic scholars). Every person is born different. To be Contd.

 

Okada Rider, Facing Murder Charge, Committed to Freetown High Court

By Fatmata Gbla (03/09/16)

An Okada biker, facing a serious charge of murder at the Magistrate Court, is now expected to face justice at the High Court in Freetown. 

Magistrate Dr. Abou Bakarr Binneh Kamara of the Freetown Magistrate Court No.1 recently committed one Abubakarr Goma for trial at the High Court of Sierra Leone for the offence of murder. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's Attorney General and Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara).

The accused, an Okada rider was arraigned at the Magistrate Court in Freetown on a preliminary investigation of one count indictment contrary to law. 

According to the particulars of offence, the accused on the 19th March 2016 at the Congo Cross main Motor Road Bridge in Freetown allegedly murdered one Paul Ambrose Short. 

In his committal statement, Magistrate Binneh Kamara said that having gone through the evidence adduced in court, he was satisfied that the accused person had a case to answer pursuant to the offence he is charged with. 

Magistrate Dr. Binneh Kamara therefore committed the accused to the High Court for trial at a later date. 

The accused is committed without bail and has been remanded at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Centre awaiting trial.

 

KKY Demands SLPP to Release the Audit Report Now to Prevent PPRC Ban!!

By a Press Release (01/09//16)

The SLPP flag-bearer Dr. Kandeh Yumkella has warned the SLPP that he would not tolerate any corruption and mismanagement in the party.

This stark warning came about following reports that there is every likelihood that the Sierra Leone Peoples Party will be banned in the next general elections if a clear and accurate audit report is not released to the Political Parties Registration Commission PPRC on time. (Pictured: PPRC Chairman Justice Tolla Thompson).

Reports say that was the final straw that precipitated the recent warning from the Kandeh Yumkella Movement KKYM who demands immediate release of the audit reports of the SLPP for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The PPRC Act of 2002 states: "The accounts of every political party shall be audited following standard audit procedure not later than three months after the end of each year by an auditor referred to in subsection (3) of section 20 and a copy of the audited accounts shall be filed by the political party with the Commission within the period of three months referred to in this subsection."

The act goes on to say that: "Every member of a political party and also every member of the public, shall be entitled, upon payment of a fee prescribed by the Commission, to inspect at the offices of the Commission or to be given copies of the audited accounts of a political party filed with the Commission under this section."

The penalty for failure to comply is very grave and will lead to the demise and permanent destruction of beloved party. 

Lastly, the PPRC act further states that: "Without prejudice to any other penalty prescribed by this act or any other enactment, the Commission may apply to the Supreme Court for an order to cancel the registration of any political party where that party submits any statement to the Commission including any declaration made under section 20 or 21 which is false in any material particular."

Let us save our party from destruction. Say NO to corruption and Mismanagement. We demand the audit NOW!!!

Courtesy: KKYM Media Team

 

September 1st Declared Day of Prayer & Fasting for a Fallen Hero Fadika

By a Press Release (01/09//16)

Thursday September 1, 2016 has been declared a day of prayer and fasting for the APC heavyweight late Gibril Moseray Santigie Fadika.

Mr. Fadika, Sierra Leone's foremost philanthropist, died suddenly on Sunday August 7 in a London hospital, 48 hours after attending his own Meet and Greet APC political flag-bearer campaign in London. Reports say there were visible signs of sickness showing on the late man, widely known as SUPER, during the Meet & Greet. And even his short speech was conspicuously inaudible that night. (Pictured: Late Fadika's last picture taken during the Meet and Greet campaign in London).

In a bid to continue remembering and celebrating his life well spent, the Management of the Moseray Fadika Trust, in collaboration with the Fadika family and other relevant stakeholders, have decided to observe Thursday September 1st, 2016 as a day of prayer and fasting, in remembrance of the late Philanthropist, Business Tycoon and Politician, Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika, alias "SUPER".

It is in light of the aforementioned, that the organisers of this solemn event are kindly requesting people in Sierra Leone and in the Diaspora to join them in reminiscing the life well spent and humanitarian gestures of the late Ambassador Fadika, thus pray and fast on Thursday, the 1st of September, 2016. 

''No words can adequately express our sadness at Ambassador Fadika's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honour his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much, thus helping poor people and serving Sierra Leone through the Moseray Fadika Trust'', says the Trust.

Adding that this is planned to be a global historic event, hoping that all will come on board, including the Friends of Super at home and abroad, F.F.F Sierra Leone, Holland and Germany, Employees of the late Man, Youths, the Disabled and Women's groups such as Super Marampa, alongside sympathisers, business associates and family friends of the late hero - father, friend and brother, Ambassador Fadika to observe the proposed day in grand style.

Finally, the book of condolence is still open at the Moseray Fadika Trust headquarter,  situated at 17 Muctarr Drive, off Regent Road, Lumley, for all to sign as we continue to mourn and celebrate the demise of our fallen Hero.

Enquiries:

Communications and Policy Department

Moseray Fadika Trust 

 

Headquarters (Address):

17 Muctarr Drive, 

Off Regent Road, Lumley,

Freetown, Sierra Leone

 

Phone (direct): 

+232 78845765

+23276500576

+232 99368740

‪+232 76 727572‬

‪+44 7711 403610‬ (UK) 

‪+1 (916) 289 4386‬ (USA) 

 

Mobile for (WhatsApp only):+23288096487

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Eight Senior Officers of the Sierra Leone Army Promoted to Brigadier

By a Press Release (01/09//16)

The spirit of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces has been uplifted thanks to the recent promotion of eight senior officers.

Reports from Freetown say eight senior officers including the RSLAF Medical Chief, Colonel (Prof) Foday Sahr, who is regarded as one of the frontline commanders in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, have been promoted to the rank of Brigadier. It happened on August 27, 2016. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma, the Commander-in-Chief).

The other promoted senior officers include Colonel Albert Kargbo, Colonel Daniel Yanka, Colonel Alhassan Bangura, Colonel Usman Turay, Colonel Sullay Sesay, Colonel Ronnie Harleston and Captain (Navy) Sallieu Kanu.

The Directorate of Defence Personnel announced the promotion of a total of thirty-four (34) officers to various ranks as follows: eight (8) Colonels promoted to the rank of Brigadier, Seven (7) Lieutenant Colonels to the rank of Colonel, three (3) Majors to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and sixteen (16) Captains to the rank of Majors.

Included in the promotion category to the rank of Colonel is the RSLAF Engineer Regiment Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Abu Bakarr Bah, whose untiring efforts in the construction of Ebola treatment centres led to the containment of the disease. 

The other officers in this category include Lieutenant Colonel Paul Koroma, Lieutenant Colonel Amara Idara Bangura, Lieutenant Colonel George Bangura, Lieutenant Colonel Sajoh Daramy, Wing Commander John Gbondo and Wing Commander Michael Kamara.

Among the Captains included in the promotion to the rank of Major is Captain (Dr) Komba Songu-M’Briwa, the only Sierra Leone’s medical doctor that survived the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD).

For more information about the Ministry of Defence and RSLAF, you can visit our website at

www.mod.gov.sl. And for any media queries, please contact the Director of Defence Public Relations and Information, Colonel Usman Turay on 076 607 421 or the undersigned:

Captain Yayah Brima Phone/WhatsApp: 078 452 876 Facebook: Yayah Sidi Brima Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

Read Profile

EDITORIAL

Mabang Ferry Accident Should be an Eye Opener for Health and Safety in Sierra Leone!

By Alpha Ben Mansaray, Guest Editor (14/01/19)

I am still grieving with pain. Tears flooded my eyes when I arrived at 5pm at Mabang where the fatal Ferry accident took place on 14 December 2018.

Read more ...

COMMENTARY

How Paopa Will End! Bio is Likened to Disgraced Albert Margai's SLPP Tribalism in Mid 60s!!

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.

Read more ...

EDDIE K. ENTERPRISES

Designed by (((alphadalpha)))
Hosted by WEBHOST DRAGON
Designed by (((alphadalpha))) / WEBHOST DRAGON
Designed by (((alphadalpha)))