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21st January 2019

Archive - The Organiser News Stories: February/April 2016

 

Information Minister Meets Guild of Editors and the All Political Parties

By Marcus Al Bangus (28/04/16)

The All Political Parties Association APPA paid a visit to the Minister of Information and Communication Mohamed Bangura in Freetown.

Speaking on behalf of  APPA at the Minister's Youyi Building 8th Floor office,  the Secretary General presented a plaque to the minister in recognition, appreciation and conviviality to his appointment to cabinet in the  enviable Ministry of Information and Communication. (Pictured: Minister Mohamed Bangura).

The APPA Secretary General went further to thank the minister and assured him of their support at all times. Other speakers congratulated him and opined that the minister is a result oriented person, who is always committed to his work to achieve his desired objectives and that they have full confidence that he will deliver the goods.

APPA members expressed their satisfaction over the appointment of the minister and emphasized that the president made no mistake in having him appointed in that ministry. The Interim Chairman and Leader of the United Democratic Movement, Mohamed Sowa Turay,  stressed that they have no doubt that the minister has all that it takes to bolster the ministry.

In response   the minister welcomed APPA members and thanked them for their timely visit and  good gesture exhibited in presenting him with a plaque and that he was moved by the intention and hospitability they have demonstrated. He informed them that his ministry is one of the most important and biggest ministries in government and he needed their support for the success of the ministry.

He described the ministry as one which needs activation and  vibrancy so as to make it more effective and efficient. He asserts that he is working on modalities to make things happen as he has the political will to bolster the ministry. He went further to tell them that he has opened relations with other countries to give a hand in the development of the sector.

In another engagement, the Guild of Editors also visited the Minister of information and Communication. The Guild of Editors is an association of Editors of various news papers in the country. Speaking on behalf of the association, the Chairman of the Association and Editor of SALONE TIMES, Thomas Dixon, welcomed the Minister to the ministry and expressed utmost satisfaction on his appointment. 
He informed the minister that the association cum the press is faced with several challenges, which needs urgent attention and that they believe in the minister as one who is result oriented to intervene and salvage the problem. He called upon the  minister to combat the challenges and effect the desired change necessary to develop journalism in the country.

Among other things, the Guild of Editors highlighted several challenges affecting them, namely the 1965 Public Order Act, mode of appointment of IMC commissioners,  denial of government adverts, lack of training of journalists, loan scheme for journalists,  access to government printing among others. The editors stressed on the repeal of the Public Order Act of 1965, which they described as bad law, especially when it comes to criminality.

They argued that the Act was passed  by the Sir Milton Margai led SLPP government to stifle and liquidate the We Yone APC Newspaper and since then little or nothing was done to repeal it and it has been in existence for over 50 years. They stressed that to date no minister  has contributed to repeal it, irrespective of the enormous promises made over the years and decades.

In response, Minister Bangura and political guru,  Mohamed Bangura  assured journalists of his support and thanked them for their visit. As a political spin doctor, hemmed with political will and intuitiveness to catapult his ministry and make it a magnet of attention, expressed his appreciation to the Guild of Editors for their role over the years.

Courtesy: Marcus Al Bangus, Special/Personal Assistant, Minister of Information  and Communication. 

 

SLPP Fruitlessly Opposes President Koroma's Recent Cabinet Reshuffle!

By Raymond Tornyamui (28/04/16)

We could be looking at a Sylvia Blyden uppercut, if we carry on down this path of hopeless opposition. God save the grand old party SLPP.

Woe is the day on which I decided to enter into opposition politics, it would seem. But the business of politics isn't for the faint-hearted. Nor is it for those who seek only self-promotion. When the SLPP was in government, I chose to be independent, much to the amazement of family and colleagues who felt that I would've been given a juicy appointment in government, had I declared for the SLPP. At the time, I thought it best to remain ostensibly apolitical, and that is a decision I have not once regretted. (Pictured: President Koroma and Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden).

You see, I am a lover of the underdog, the victimised, those who seem to be no-hopers in this dirty game of Salone politics. So, upon the SLPP losing to Ernest Bai Koroma's APC in 2007, I saw it fit to register with the SLPP and enter participatory politics. And that is a decision which I may yet come to rue; woe is the day on which I decided to enter politics.

It is becoming clearer to me, as each day passes, that the SLPP may not be cut out for the business of being in opposition, and history clearly indicates so. When Sir Milton Margai championed our independence from British rule and ushered in our first democratically elected government, he did so from a position of strength. There wasn't an opposition to speak of, at the time.

Fast forward to our first post-war democratic election and you'll see the similarities with Tejan Kabbah's victory with the SLPP. The APC were a non-party, our people were overwhelmingly not in favour of the party that most blamed for mismanaging the war effort, and the APC were like a knocked-down boxer, dazed and confused. Tejan Kabba, like Sir Milton Margai, met with little resistance.

The SLPP had knocked down the APC, but as pugilists would tell you, a knock-out is the surest way of ensuring a win; and The SLPP aren't good at knock-outs at all. In fact, whereas the APC can recover relatively quickly from a knock-down, the SLPP seem to lack the strength to recover from our election knock-downs in 2007 and 2012. And if we are not careful, a third knock-down in 2018 could lead to a technical knock-out, and our demise as the leading opposition in Salone politics.

For the non-boxing fans, I must digress and explain a little about this sport, to aid understanding of my comparison. When a boxer is punched hard enough by his opponent so that he falls down or is forced on his knees, that is a knock down, if the boxer recovers and gets back on his feet before the referee reaches the count of eight or ten in some cases, and the fight continues. Should the boxer fail to get up before the count of eight or ten, then he is knocked OUT, and has lost the fight. Three knock downs in a fight lead to a technical knock-out, and a loss.

So, how are we, The SLPP doing in recovering from the two election losses, knock downs, which we suffered in 2007 and 2012? Are we experienced, committed or united enough to prevent a third election loss, knock down and a possible technical knock-out, leading to a total loss in the future of dominant Salone politics?

To answer that, let me analyse our performance in recent opposition - our recovery plan. How did we respond to President Koroma's most recent cabinet appointments? Woefully, I'm afraid. We have forgotten the business of respectability in government, and we've allowed the rabble rousers and 'mammy cussers' in the SLPP to drown out the voices of decent SLPP'ers.

Not long ago, I cautioned our party stalwarts to strategise against someone I consider to be one of APC's greatest strengths; Madam Finda Diana Konomanyi.  But my caution went unheeded. Now, we are faced with another formidable character in the ranks of government, the newly appointed Minister for Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs, Madam Sylvia O. Blyden.

Madam Blyden's appointment was disastrously mishandled by us, the SLPP. How did we reduce ourselves to challenging her qualifications, when many of us are fully aware of her academic excellence? We only succeeded in exposing our own weaknesses and lack of preparedness, when we allowed the voices of nonchalance and ineptitude to attempt to defame Madam Blyden. Weren't there legitimate concerns or reasons to oppose Madam Blyden's appointment? And even if there weren't, should our party have reduced itself to baseless smears and libelous propaganda? I don't think so.

Madam Blyden is now a great threat to our chances of re-election. Why do I say so? I have for long been observing her movements and dealings in Sierra Leone politics. She's a very  rare Sierra Leonean; a Krio who is popular in the provinces. Generally, those of us who grew up in the provinces view the Krios as an elitist minority whose reach is limited to the capital city. They are mostly viewed as an aloof and conservative people who keep themselves to themselves.

But not Madam Blyden. She has clearly demonstrated her ability to challenge our stereotypes and endeared herself to the tribes. And what is even more worrying for the SLPP is that she appears to be hugely popular in our Southern and Eastern strongholds. So, how did the SLPP choose to fight this most formidable Lady? By smearing her, and sullying her good name!

I am pleased to say that I was never party to such toxic politicking. When will we learn that the most effective tools against APC weapons like Madams Blyden and Konomanyi aren't slander and libel, but the promotion of our own SLPP women? President Koroma has once again outsmarted us by appointing very competent women to his cabinet. He is championing women's causes, while the SLPP as an opposition are insulting and slandering women.

The recent population census, if we analyse it with an expert political eye, shows us that women are the key to our election campaign. Let us not oppose Madam Blyden's appointment by slandering her, let us instead embrace her appointment. For by doing so we are demonstrating that we agree with the President that our women deserve our gratitude and respect; that we embrace equality between the genders.  Where are the SLPP women? Besides The Hon. Bernadette Lahai, and Dr Kadie Sesay, there aren't many examples of The SLPP championing women's issues.

President Koroma has not only showed great leadership by ushering development in traditional SLPP strongholds, he has now appointed a dear 'daughter' of Kailahun, Kenema, Pujehun and Moyamba as a Cabinet Minister. Yes, many in our stronghold regions consider Madam Blyden a daughter of their districts.

The SLPP has been knocked down twice in 2007 and 2012 and now the APC has unleashed a strategy that could result in our third and final knock down. We could be looking at a Sylvia Blyden uppercut, if we carry on down this path of hopeless opposition. God save the grand ol' party.

Courtesy: Raymond Tornyamui, SL Confidential

 

APC Must Stop the Death of Our National Sports in Sierra Leone!

By Concerned Citizen (28/04/16)

Our various national sports have slowly being sent to the gallows over the years simply due to infighting consciously or unconsciously.

The slow extermination of our sports the most popular sports football, athletics, volley ball, basketball in schools etc. have become the most painful episode our governments past and present have brought to our doorsteps. (Pictured: Leone Stars players, the darling of our nation).

All the brilliant soccer victories we enjoyed from the Leone Stars in the late 60s through the 1970s were the result of top-class training of our boys by the then West German Coach Burkhardt Pape.

Coach Pape came and changed our style of play from the archaic, colonial style of just kicking the ball to modern tactics of flowing football, with short, accurate passes, speed and deadly finishing. 

Pape was also able to discover stars like Borbor Mansaray of Bo, Nahim Khadi of Old Edwardians, Umaru Sesay  of Kenema, Martin Bangura of Wusum Stars, Bai Kabia and many others who later bloomed into national stardom.

Working with local coaches Steven Bio, Freddie Pratt, Amadu Okroh Kamara and others, Coach Pape produced the fearsome Leone Stars team that beat Ghana for the first time in 1970, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and the West German Olympic team. Gambia, our conquerors today used to be our punch bag.

We have talented players in Sierra Leone but they need world class coaching. We also need to send our local coaches Christian Cole, Abdulai Garrincha  Sesay, Obi Metzger, Jebor Sherrington etc. abroad for quality training. Sierra Leone is being left behind in sports and there is no reason for that.

We also need to restructure our local soccer programmes and bring back a more serious National Soccer League, while restoring the Association Cup and the National FA Cup. Our once great clubs Mighty Blackpool, East End Lions, Ports Authority, Old Edwardians are dying slowly on their feet. Great sides like Real Republicans, Freetown United, Regents Olympic are no longer in the top tier.

Even athletics is virtually dead in Sierra Leone. We used to have the SLAAA National Athletics Championships, the Secondary School Sports at district and national levels, Inter-House School Competitions etc. 

You want to know why our youths spend all their time in Ataya and Diamba ghettoes?  It is because they are bored and we longer have thrilling sporting activities to absorb their interests. That is also why they are vulnerable to destructive use by political agitators. We need to keep our youths busy.

We can even have an Annual Club International Soccer tournament between the leading clubs in our neighbouring countries. Imagine Liberia's Invincible Eleven, Mighty Barrolle; Hafia FC, Kaloum Stars and Horoya  of Guinea clashing with Mighty Blackpool, East End Lions and Ports in Freetown for the Ernest Koroma Gold Cup? 

I am licking my mouth with excitement already. Do you know how many people will jam the stadium to watch this tournament? Do you know how much revenues could be accrued from this competition? Sports is a self-paying and economically viable exercise. With good management, the programme will pay for itself.

We are enjoying supporting our teams in the English Premier League like Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool etc. but we have to stimulate interest in our own local teams once again. Please let us give sports a big boost in Sierra Leone.

That will keep our youths from political and criminal mischief and even promote peace, stability and sound minds in our society.  

 

AFCOM's $200,000 Internet Service Scam for Cripples & Child Protection!

By PM Release (25/04/16)

The AFCOM financial scandal is the first corruption to be unearthed since the cabinet reshuffle of the government of President Koroma.

A whopping $200,000  United States dollars was paid to AFCOM for the provision of broadband internet services to all Ministry of Social Welfare offices around the country. But the new Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden was astonished to inherit such unexpected scandal. (Pictured: Sylvia taking oath of office).
 
It was shocking to learn that the so called internet infrastructures in most districts is either non-functional or non-existent, raising the suspicion of a deliberate attempt by AFCOM to rip-off the government and people of Sierra Leone.

Lead Social Service Officer Kambia District, Naomi Conteh said the district office has been operating without an internet service, adding that the situation has proved a serious setback in the child protection  activities of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

The story is the same in most districts visited by this newspaper. It is also evident that both the funding agency UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Welfare have failed to provide serious oversight over what now appears as  glaring day light robbery by the Sudanese owned internet provider.

AFCON Field Officer who only introduced himself as Boniface acknowledged his company's failure to provide the internet service, attributing this to the incompetence of their station officers. Boniface however did not explain how his company ended up recruiting individuals with no internet expertise.

Our usually reliable sources have informed us of a deeper conspiracy between AFCOM and some selfish citizens to cover up this shameful act. An observer said: "This is not the first time AFCON has failed to provide reliable internet services to government agencies despite being paid huge sums of money. It appears they are in league with people working in these government offices."

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

 

"Discriminating Women's Clothes is Unfair," Concerned Citizens Warn

By Press Release (25/04/16)

Concerned Citizens have called on authorities to stop discriminating and prohibiting women in Sierra Leone from wearing their clothes they see fit.

Reports say numerous complaints have been lodged by women who claimed that they have faced discrimination for merely putting on certain types of dresses which some quarters think is unacceptably uncivilised. This complaints have reached Concerned Citizens and now they are taking action to fight for the rights of women to wear their attires without prohibition. (Pictured: Chief Immigration Officer Mr. Alpha Kholifa Koroma needs to look in to this issue). Below is the letter:


11thApril 2016

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

FROM: VERY CONCERNED CITIZENS

CALL TO STOP THE DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE OF PROHIBITING WOMEN WEARING SLEEVELESS/SHORT SLEEVES, TROUSERS, AND/OR UNCOVERED HEADS FROM ENTERING CERTAIN PUBLIC BUILDINGS

We, concerned Sierra Leoneans from different backgrounds in Sierra Leone, have come together as a result of the continuous complaints by several women that they have been barred from entering certain public buildings because they were clad in short sleeves, sleeveless tops or dresses, trousers or without head scarves/ head tie as the case may be.

We refer in particular to the notice at the Department of Internal Affairs, a public building maintained by and providing a service to the tax payers of this nation.

While we understand the Ministry’s wishes to project a positive professional image to all service users, staff and the citizenry in general, it would seems the policy was made without an equality impact assessment and that in effect, its consequences are quite disproportionate to its intentions.

Several complaints have been made of degrading treatments meted out to women trying to enter the building aforesaid. They have been subject to harassment at the entrance by officers unskilled in the art of customer service and courtesy.

Our 1991 Constitution guarantees human rights and freedom of all individuals inclusive of protection from inhuman and/or degrading treatment.

While it may seem from the notice at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, that the dress code appears to treat everyone the same, it actually puts women at a disadvantage. It is a fact that ‘sleeveless dresses and blouses’ are the purview of women and girls. Singlet vests are undergarments and whilst there may be a marginal number of men venturing out in public with singlets, the proportion of women disadvantaged by the policy is quite huge.

In context an adult female, one Michala Mackay, who is the CEO and Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission, attempted to enter the Immigration building at about 1pm on the 16th of February 2016. Her reason for the visit was to drop off passport applications for processing. Unfortunately, she was restricted from entering the building because she had on a sleeveless dress. The security guard informed her that it was official policy, but for some reason, could not confirm where the policy originated from.

However, the security guard did confirm that the policy also states that if the woman covers her sleeveless attire, she would be allowed to enter the building. At this point, the helpful security guard produced a rag, in the true sense of the word, and offered it to Ms Mackay. With the mantra of 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' in her mind, Ms Mackay refused the rag and her planned progress for the day was not achieved.

Early indications were that the 'notice' had come from the desk of the Minister of Internal Affairs, which prompted Madam Mackay to write in her official capacity to the Honourable Minister, kindly requesting that the notice be rescinded. The Minister's office has since kindly replied to her letter, to inform Madam Mackay that the matter of sleeveless dress is a routine matter, and the Minister does not deal with routine matters. In this regard, he has directed Madam Mackay to your good Office as Chief Immigration Officer to address the matter.

Such hindrance to daily activities, whilst seeming minimal to the activities of one person is collectively turning out to be quite a huge deterrent to the business, domestic, financial progress of many women turned away from the building daily. The effect of this is also far reaching to revenue collection, labour output of the ministry and indeed the tourism potential of this country on a daily basis.

It is for such reasons we hereby call on the Strategic Policy Unit which is responsible for identifying and analysing barriers to development to look into this policy at the Internal Affairs Ministry and see how best they could amicably resolve this trivial but sensitive issue. 

 

Governor Promises World Class Financial Standard for Sierra Leone

By N'Bompa (25/04/16)

The Bank Governor of Sierra Leone Dr. Kelfalah Marah is determined to ensure the country attains world class financial standard.

Dr. Marah said Sierra Leone will develop a strong financial services sector which managed to weather the global financial crisis that will pave the way to reflecting and  building on the country's stable macroeconomic fundamentals. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma's government is moving in the right direction).

"Sierra Leone's financial sector is dominated by banking, which account for 90%  of the sector's assets. Sierra Leone has 13 commercial banks, of which 10 are foreign: 6 Nigerian banks and banks from the UK, Malaysia and Togo. Additional banks have received licenses and should begin operations soon," the Governor disclosed.

According to the Governor, the continued depreciation of the Leone against major currencies and the government budget deficit were among the major challenges faced by the Government in 2009 during the global crisis. Despite the challenges,  the economy showed remarkable  resilience during the years, with steady progress in maintaining a stable microeconomic environment and positive growth.

"BSL will endures world class standards in financial sector and will rapidly upgrade its own operations and services. The Microeconomic performance from 2008-2012 has recorded strong economic growth over the past five years. Non-iron Ore real GDP growth averaged 5.2% during 2008-12 driven mainly by increased activities in agriculture, mining, commenced in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"It underpinned the significant growth in GDP in 2012, estimated at 15.2%. The worse financial years was 2014-15, this years was a big financial shake up and recess  within the banking sector, we were operating under the Ebola recovery budget. Doesn't that interpret that the GDP growth average encouraging and their stakeholders such as the stewards of our minerals sector must start concentrating on daily objective rather than on personal aspirations by being proactive, supportive on the trends to combat the challenging global economic environment?

"And in order to be classed as a middle-income country within 25 years, considering expected levels of activity in the mining sector, growth ... reach rates that all the country to reach its target. Being a middle income country though requires progress, rapid GDP growth, beyond measures of value and income. We need to make equally significant move in human development, including health, food security and education.

"For medium term, macroeconomic drive the government with assistance from development partners should design appropriate policies to address the changes likely to be posed by the large inflow of mineral resource revenues to achieve a stable macroeconomic environment, the state must enhance the fiscal policy, domestic revenue mobilization, expenditure management, monthly policy, to name but a few. Despite progress made in recent years in establishing the economic environment, significant challenges, remain, which may jeopardize macroeconomic stability in the medium term such ate the relatively undiversified structure of the economy.

"We should diversity into other growth promotion and employment-creating sectors such as fisheries, tourism and manufacturing. Insufficient GDP growth; external shocks, in the form of high international prices of food and fuel and their pass through effort to domestic pieces, have contributed to higher inflationary pressures on fluctuation in commodity prices; Dutch disease; high debt burden both external and domestic; and low domestic revenue mobilization.

"We aim to create a modern, effective and dynamic Central Bank that serves the overall financial growth and development requirements of Sierra Leone, within the framework of a harmonised sub-regional financial system and consistent with the demands of a globalised economic and financial environment. And we await the implementation of various infrastructure and information technology improvement, and human capital development in the Banking Sector through the establishment of a National Banking College," the Governor Kelfalah Marah noted.

 

 

Lebanon Minister Honours Sierra Leone Information Minister in Beirut

By Press Release (22/04/16)

Sierra Leone's new Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohamed Bangura has been honoured by his Lebanese counterpart in Beirut.

Minister Bangura who was on an official visit to Beirut informed his colleague Minister of Information in Lebanon Ramzi Joreige about the media landscape in Sierra Leone, the potentials and challenges. (Pictured: New Information Minister Mohamed Bangura).

He described the media in Sierra Leone as very important instrument in the development of the country through the agenda for prosperity of President Ernest Bai Koroma's government.  Minister Bangura said the country defeated Ebola with great contributions from the media.

In his responds, the Minister of Information in Lebanon Ramzi Joreige congratulated Sierra Leone's Minister of Information and Communications and promised giving support to institutions in Sierra Leone including the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation and the Sierra Leone News Agency - SLENA.

The Lebanese Information Minister then presented an award plaque to Minister Mohamed Bangura. It could be recalled that Lebanon is one of the leading nations in terms of global Information and Communications, hence, Sierra Leone is at pole position vis-à-vis media development.

Courtesy: Strategic Media Team 

 

Minister Maya Kaikai Assures Chiefs of More Government Support

By Press Release (22/04/16)

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Maya Moiwo Kaikai has assured Chiefs of more empowerment.

Minister Kaikai noted that his ministry, the government and President Ernest Bai Koroma will give unflinching support to further capacitate, empower and sanctify the institution of chieftaincy in Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Minister Maya Kaikai and Minister Diana Konomanyi).
 
The minister who was meeting with the paramount chiefs for the first time in the main conference hall of the ministry on Thursday 14th April, 2016, thanked God and President Koroma for giving him the opportunity to serve his nation in his government in various capacities and now as Minister of Local Government. He said it was a great honour for him to sit and dialogue with paramount chiefs whom he has great regard for.

He tabled his apology to any he could have hurt in the fight against Ebola while he was serving as Resident Minister in the Eastern Region. He disclosed to the chiefs that he has very good relationship with his predecessor Madam Diana Konomanyi who he thanked for what she did in the ministry which he promised to build upon.

"My key focus as minister is rural development and this can only be achieved by monitoring programmes implemented by local councils and non-governmental organizations and with your support. You the paramount chiefs have a great role to play in the development of the chiefdoms and the nation. You must be actively and effectively involved in all programmes implemented by local councils and NGOs," Minister Kaikai urged.

He warned the chiefs not to enter into any agreement with any partners, companies etc. without making any reference to his ministry. He admonished them to be holding chiefdom committee meetings as this will help them know the needs of their people and how they can be addressed.  The minutes of those meetings he said should be forwarded to the Senior District Officers.

The role of the PCs the Minister said is to work with the government of the day to achieve its policies and programmes. He informed them that they as ministry intends having a data base of all chiefs with information on dates of elections, background of the ruling house, the population and  potentials of the chiefdom among others, and made available on the web as way of bringing local governance issues closer to the people.

Minister Maya spoke about holding of consultations for the amalgamation of some chiefdoms, noting that amalgamation of some chiefdoms have not worked well. He said there were about 216 chiefdoms in the country but the colonial masters reduced it to 149  for administrative convenience and other reasons but if the arrangements have proved to be sources of conflicts and disunity there is need to have a review.

On the issues of salaries and mobility for paramount chiefs, the minister said there is need for them to be paid monthly instead of quarterly amidst thunderous applauds that president Ernest Bai Koroma has plans to address the issue of mobility for PCs.

The Local government minister called for cordial working relationship between and amongst the Chiefs, Local Councils, Senior District Officers, Provincial Secretaries etc. On the appointment of Regent Chiefs, he said the appointment is done out in a bid to maintain sanity and to provide fair play in the conduct of elections.

The  Deputy Chairman National Council of Paramount Chiefs PC Alhaji Sahr C N Konnoh Bundoh ll  said throughout his 31 years as Chief he has never heard such beautiful statements from any minister except Maya Moiwo Kaikai and however promised their fullest support to the minister to make him succeed in the ministry. 

Chief Konnoh Bundoh said the institution of Chieftaincy has transformed a lot with many professionals and academics as chiefs.  He called on the minister for his intervention in the area of the appointments of Local Court Chairmen, stating that people are now appointed who do not command any respect and lacked the knowledge about the customs and traditions of the people.

 

 

President  Koroma Rages War Against Lawlessness and Indiscipline

By N'Bompa (22/04/16)

President Ernest Koroma knows that lawlessness is a dangerous, cancer that can destroy a nation, cause mayhem and uncontrolled disaster.

It hinder progress, destroy development programmed and usher in unbridled corruption and backwardness in any community, organization or nation. In any country where there is a breakdown of law and order, the result is the destruction of precious lives, properties of innocent people and endless destruction of state properties. (President Koroma and his Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara).

Lawlessness starts from the home where the parents/guardians attitudes and behaviour are derogatory, uncomplimentary to good conduct and discipline, further filter as a menace into our institution. In some homes and institutions, foul language, corruption, theft and drunkenness becomes the yard stick of leadership. Lawlessness is a dangerous disease that must be cured or else the state/society will be heading for total destruction, bloodshed and arson.

Indiscipline is a disastrous contagious disease that can destroy a home, school, university, community, society, a country and nation. Without discipline, avenues from anarchy, dishonesty, bloodshed, war, drug addiction and disgrace exist.

Discipline start at home in the early days of childhood. Many parents, single parents, guardian pamper their children/wards as if they are demigods. Thereby failing to teach their offspring good manners respect for parents teachers, lecturers elders, state officials, society, law enforcement agencies, companions and the nation in general.

In some homes and offices, there are no decorum, no law and order. The children and worker can say foul words, commit disgraceful acts and insult their parents and bosses with impunity without any recourse. Those children and workers are menace to the society/nation. One notable characteristic about them is that the success of another person arouses their uncontrollable wrath that propels them to commit atrocious crimes including wounding, vandalism and also death.

Homes and offices where there are no codes of conduct, lawlessness, brutality, theft, drunkenness, immorality and gross disrespect for authority becomes the yard stick of the family. Invariably, the situation becomes chaotic and their children will constantly try to influence other children in schools, clubs, and universities to become lawless.

Instructions from law enforcement agencies are treated with gross impunity and the renegade children often challenge the authorities in battle. In cases where the recalcitrant ones suffer some wounds, their senseless and unruly parent and vindictive worker would shout that the law enforcement agencies had used excessive force. If only those parents had in the early age of their children instill rudiments of laws and order at home or work, those children would grow up to be responsible, progressive, respectful and law abiding citizens.

Even today in football competitions at the stadiums, usually fighting breaks out disrupting traffic, stoning of vehicles, wounding innocent pedestrians, motorists, and passengers. Poor hawkers, innocent traders selling their wares are attacked and robbed in broad day light.

This matter is very serious and stringent measures should be taken to curb this dangerous cancer in the society. The war on indiscipline should be intensified so that Sierra Leone can be a role model in the sub-region. That is exactly what President Koroma wants to implement for Sierra Leone. 

 

Scribe Reiterates APC's Democratic and Productive Credentials

By N'Bompa (19/04/16)

The ruling All Peoples Congress National scribe has reminded Sierra Leoneans about President Koroma's democratic and productive government.

APC's National Secretary General and political pen pusher Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh (pictured) said the  indomitable APC government, has lived up to expectations since they assumed power through the mandate of the people of Sierra Leone in a free, fair, credible and democratic elections in 2007.

"It is a truism that the philosophy of the indomitable All People's Congress was immediately demonstrated by My President, Your President and Our President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in the practical implementation of the Agenda for Behavioural Change and the Agenda for Change," Mr. Yansaneh noted.

He said Behavioural Change was to implement and incubate the spirit of patriotism, nationalism, zero tolerance to corruption, respect for law and order, burning love for democracy justice and peace and added that the Agenda for change was the strategic implementation of development in key areas-Energy, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Education and Health, throughout the country.

"After winning the 2012 Presidential and General Elections, the indomitable APC inclusive government embarked on the practical implantation of the Agenda For Prosperity that attracted Tourists, investors, mining companies etc etc.

"While the country won distinguished international laurels for democracy, good governance, justice, rapid development and peace, the deadliest terrorist disease Ebola struck the country from neighbouring countries Guinea and Liberia resulting in the untimely deaths of over 4000 doctors, nurses, children and adults.

"The Government institution unfrequented rapid measures to stop kick out the virus and the international community was contributing immensely to the Government, NGO's, Civil Societies and the private agencies. Government Health Ministry throughout the country sensitized the people that Ebola is real and took drastic measures in providing medical care and other facilities.

"Regrettably some people were the mouth piece of the devil sensitizing, poisoning the minds of the people that Ebola does not exist, because of the high percentage of illiteracy the poor people were fooled, duped by few educated rascals that Ebola does not exist.

"Quack power drunk politicians were murmuring, grumbling, injecting hatred, greed and vicious tribalism into the hearts of the gullible and vulnerable people trying to discredit the laudable strategy of the indomitable APC government to kick out Ebola.

"Thanks to God Almighty that Ebola has now been thing of the past and special appreciation to all the countries who one way or the order helped us toward the fight of this deadly virus. The UN, Britain, America, China, Cuba, Russia, Nigeria and other countries and organizations contributed immensely for rid of the disease," the APC scribe highlighted.

 

 

Sierra Leone Newspaper Predicts Possible Candidates to Succeed Koroma!

By Editayo G. Temple (19/04/16)

The suitable successor to President Ernest Koroma is not a foregone conclusion. Yet, the Investigative Journalist has made its own assessment.

Putting into cognisance his achievements and exemplary style of leadership traits, it is evident that only President Ernest Bai Koroma will identify and present his substantive successor amongst the best of those vying for that enviable seat of power. (Pictured: Minister Pat-Sowe tipped as possible candidate).

Furthermore, maybe none amongst the mouthy and inexperienced current contestants would bag the ticket, thus figuring out the best from the corner owing to the fact that the beautiful one's are not yet born and the stone that the builder refused shall be the head corner stone.

It therefore highlights the outstanding leadership traits and qualities demonstrated by the Deputy Leader and Chairman of the indomitable All People's Congress (APC) party Hon. Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray.

Honourable Mansaray's commitment to upholding the party's principles of adherence on the premise of timely declaration of intent in empowering the unemployed members of the party, in a bid to consolidate it gains, is a move that scores high marks to be a possible successor.

Another significant name that comes to mind is Captain Alieu Momodu  Pat-Sowe dubbed "the people's servants". Retired Captain Pat-Sowe is the current Trade and Industry Minister. Whilst others are busy playing the succession cards and building walls, these two party loyalists are busy constructing bridges to unify members of the APC party prior to the forthcoming pools in 2018.

However, the Investigative Journalist newspaper is of the opinion that President Koroma's would-be successor will come from within the ranks, putting into cognisance experience and genuine commitment to the cause of the struggle and APC's eventual victory.

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple Investigative Journalist

 

 

Local Government Minister Addresses Adullam Bible Church in Kailahun

By FAF & VANGAHUN (19/04/16)

Devine Intervention is essential for good governance and that was precisely what the newly appointed Minister Maya Moiwo Kaikai asked for.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Maya Moiwo Kaikai reportedly preached peace and forgiveness on Sunday 10th April, 2016 as the Guest of Honour of the Adullam Bible Church in Kailahun Town. (Pictured: Minister Maya receiving documents from his predecessor Diana Konomanyi, who is now Lands and Housing Minister).

The Minister said the power of God is always at work in Adullam Bible Church with people encountering their glorious destinies and noted: "I am a living testimony to this fact. In less than 24 hours after leaving this Church, I was appointed Local Government Minister. If you believe in God, your destiny will come to you."

He informed the congregation that the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has approved the electrification of Kailahun town, adding that it has also approved the provision of solar lights for all villages and towns in all chiefdoms across the country.

"We must go in for peace and have forgiving hearts. Lets don't be divided by party politics. We have tarred roads today in Kailahun and other places through Ernest Koroma's  government."

He also cautioned men to have love and respect for women. "Women should not be raped, they should be loved and cared for as they have a great role to play in the development of the nation. Anyone who commits crime against a woman in Kailahun will face the full force of the law," Minister Maya warned sternly.

The minister said as government they will soon come out with a policy to cater for woman who reach a specific age.

He promised his continuous support towards the Church and called on all to always come to pay back to the Lord Almighty for His good work in their lives. 

 

Two Fake Sierra Leoneans Hired to Destroy the APC Come 2018 Polls

By I J Media (17/04/16)

A Sierra Leone newspaper has unearthed a chilling plot by 2 discredited Sierra Leoneans to destroy the ruling APC party prior to the 2018 pools.

Reliable intelligence and evidence in the possession of the Investigative Journalist newspaper have indicated that the discredited political youth activists and regime change agents in the persons of Patrick Foyoh and Abubakarr Messeh Kamara alias Pipul Pikin have been recruited by some desperate political mafia's to destroy the indomitable All People's Congress (APC), thus limit it chances of winning the 2018 General Elections. (Pictured: The ever growing APC party members in London).

Amongst the many strategies to be implemented in achieving their dubious goal is to attack, discredit and blackmail credible would-be potential presidential hopefuls.

This is a mission they have already embarked on recently after the presidential blackmailer (Messeh alza\AZias Pipul Pikin) failed in his first mission to blackmail the result oriented President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Reports say Abubakarr Kamara is aggrieved because he was not appointed as the Presidential Youth Aide to the President at State House.

Be it as it may, they are fighting a losing battle and those using them must stop because they (Pipul Pikin & Foyoh) are not credible and are limiting their chances of getting the APC's ticket for the forthcoming Elections.

A word to the wise is quite sufficient as this is a food for thought.

Courtesy: The Investigative Journalist

 

Joseph Kamara's Excellence at ACC Paved the Way to Justice Ministry!

By Abu Shaw (17/04/16)

Pundits believe the excellent exploits of Joseph F. Kamara at the Anti Corruption Commission was his Holy Grail that clinched the Justice Ministry.

No nation can proper significantly if corruption is the norm rather the exception. It was the effectiveness of the Anti Corruption Commission ACC under Joseph F. Kamara, that went a long way to minimise the rampant corruption and financial malpractices that permeated Sierra Leone. (Pictures: JFK waving to admiring supporters).

Joseph F. Kamara can be well remembered for successfully prosecuting corruption cases involving the Ebola funds; the former parliamentarian for Constituency 6 in Tonkolili; the fake Anti Corruption officers in Port Loko; the case of Katta and Others among others. As a result of JFK's management prowess at ACC, government coffers benefitted from a staggering 10 Billion Leones accrued from corrupt officials.

That was clearly in President Ernest Koroma's recent reasoning when H.E. unhesitatingly nominated Mr. Joseph Kamara as Minister of Justice and Attorney General.  JFK, as the Justice Minister is fondly labelled, was determined to fight corruption in totality where previous governments failed woefully to curb the misappropriation of state funds.

Critics often described the ACC as a noisy neighbour without the backbone to hit when it matters most. Corrupt politicians who danced their way in to ill-gotten riches were having a field day year in, year out, to the detriment of national development. The pre-Joseph Kamara's ACC was glaringly incapable and lacks the ability to even investigate let alone prosecute corrupt government officials. But what an enviable turn around by the Joseph Kamara era that ushered in result-oriented investigations and eventual prosecutions of many national thieves and crooks in Sierra Leone.

Even critics of President Koroma applauded the recent appointment of Joseph. F. Kamara as Justice Minister. JFK was instrumentally pivotal for the international recognition that Sierra Leone glows in. The Africa Union even dubbed our country as leaders in the fight against corruption. The United Nations followed suit by recognising Sierra Leone in the drive to stop corruption.

President Koroma's Agenda for Change policy has been a success so far and the ACC under JFK has been the epi-centre of these achievements. National and international donors have trebled their donations as a results, particularly in cognisance of the improvement of transparency and accountability in Sierra Leone.  

 

Sierra Leone Krio Community Held Fruitful Meet with President Koroma

By State House (17/04/16)

The recent historic meet between the Krio Community and the Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma was reportedly fruitful reports say.

Representatives of the Krio Community on Tuesday 22 March paid a courtesy call on President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown. Samuel Valcarcel, the Interim Chairman of the organization, thanked President Koroma for promoting members of the community in the governance of the country. (Pictured: President Koroma flanked by Dr. Sylvia Blyden, 2nd left, her mother, 1st left, with other family members at State House after the recent swearing-in- ceremony. Dr. Sylvia Blyden is one of the prominent Krios in government as Social Welfare Minister).

Addressing the organization, the president recalled that Krios have made remarkable contributions towards national development dating as far back as the 18th century, adding that up to the end of the colonial period, the Krios were very active in all spheres of life.

President Koroma urged the community to promote and preserve their culture and heritage as those are what identify them as Sierra Leoneans. He pointed out that government will address the land issue being raised by the community and directed them to source the right avenue to acquire land in the provinces.

Regarding the request for paramount chieftaincy for Krios, President Koroma encouraged them to exercise patience, saying; “With time, it will be addressed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.” He also urged that tribal groups should not be used to divide the country but to promote national development.

Interim chairman of the Krio Community Samuel Valcarcel said they are a group of Sierra Leoneans who have come together to contribute to national development. He stressed that their goal is to enhance the political, educational, social and economic advancement of all Krio people, devoid of religious, social or political differences as well as promote the culture of Krios and ensure the preservation of their culture and heritage.

According to Mr. Valcarcel, the group was formed as a Whatsapp forum four months ago that has grown in numbers and become a company limited by guarantee. He noted that the Krio culture of Sierra Leone should be celebrated to promote tourism.

Mr. Valcarcel further pleaded with the president to look into the distribution and acquisition of land in the provinces so that they will be able to acquire land in the provinces, as land grabbing and degradation are on the increase in the western Area.

 

Works & Housing Ministry Clamps Down on Stubborn Building Violators

By Press Release (14/04/16)

A public notice from the Works and Housing Ministry has sternly warned those putting up buildings without permits to cease immediately.

The ministry of works, housing and infrastructure wishes to inform the general public that people continue to carry out construction works without valid building permits. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma is Bob the Builder, which other builders in Sierra Leone must emulate legally).

According to the press release, all builders without valid building permits are advised to obtain such within twenty-one (21) days with effect from 1st April 2016.

The public is also informed that construction of structures on the right-of-way, drainages, wetlands etc is illegal and punishable by law including but not limited to demolition. You are therefore warned to desist from all illegal construction practices, the release stressed.

In conclusion, the release noted that the general public is hereby informed that effective 21st April, 2016, building permit application forms will be accessed through the Ministry's website for automated processing at www.mwhi.gov.sl

"Your cooperation is solicited for effective and efficient service delivery to the nation," the Works Ministry press release noted.                                                                                                                                                           

Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay, the new Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure has inherited an herculean task that needs to be curbed without delay. 

 

The Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone Warns Against Fake Tablets Again

By Press Release (14/04/16)

Substandard medical products that are distributed and sold in the country have caught the attention of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone.

In a public notice recently released by the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone as part of its legal mandate, they reiterated that only good quality, safe and efficacious medicines and other regulated products available for use in Sierra Leone are legal. (Pictured: Former Deputy Health Minister Madina Rahman has handed a cancerous problem to her successor).

They informed the general public that the following three batches of McMOL-500 (Paracetamol) Tablet-500mg, being manufactured by McCoy Pharma. Pvt. Ltd. India has been found to be sub-standard.

The Pharmacy regulators therefore advised the general public not to use this product as the safety and quality of this product cannot be assured. Below are the batch numbers of the fake Paracetamol tablets:

Name of product: Mcmol-500 (Paracetamol) 
Strength: 500mg/Tablet 
Batch Numbers: (1) MCM514
                             (2) MCM521 
                             (3) MCM529

Manufacturing Date: 09/15 
Expiry Date: 08/18 
Manufacturer: McCoy Pharma. Pvt. Ltd. India

The Board therefore directs that this product be withdrawn from circulation and forwarded to the Board for further regulatory action. The cooperation of the general public is highly solicited. 

Signed:
Wiltshire C. N. Johnson 
Registrar- PBSL

Sierra Leone's new Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 11, Mrs. Zulainatu Cooper needs to buckle up fast to nip this dangerous problem in the bud. 

 

Minister Sylvia Blyden Visits Mosque & Church for Divine Intervention

By Press Release (14/04/16)

Divine intervention is an essential virtue that every person needs and that is exactly what the new Social Welfare Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden did.

Hear her: "As Cabinet Minister responsible for Religious Affairs in the Republic of Sierra Leone and as a political disciple of President Koroma (the Father of Tolerance in Sierra Leone), I decided to pray with my Muslim brethren at Foulah Tong/Mountain Cut mosque in Central Freetown on Friday April 8.

"Indeed, as the minister in charge of Religious Affairs, it behoves me to follow in the footsteps of my boss His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma," Minister Blyden in Islamic attire noted. (Pictured: Sylvia and President Koroma).

At the Foulah Tong mosque, Minister Blyden, a devout Christian, accepted prayers from the Chief Imam and other Muslim leaders as well as the entire congregation who went for Friday (Jumaat) prayers that historic day.

"It was great to worship alongside many other distinguished Sierra Leone citizens as well as to be showered with open admiration by a huge cross section of the congregation. Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I lead the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs," Minister Blyden pleaded.

The on Sunday April 10, immediately after taking up office, Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden went for another divine intervention following invitations from many Churches but she decided to choose Mamma Dumbuya's JESUS IS LORD church; for many, many reasons including the fact that she is a Woman.

"It was a wonderful service. Full of the power of the Holy Spirit. I was given the microphone to speak and I made a fervent promise before the Almighty that I will put the Almighty first in everything I do as a Cabinet Minister," Dr. Blyden in red attire said.

Reports say later, the whole congregation was asked to put their hands in her direction and offered prayers for her. "It was a moment of blessings. I feel so privileged. Thank you Jesus," Minister Blyden incanted.

 

 

VP Victor Foh Opens Sierra Leone's First Consular Office in Beirut

By State House Press (12/04/16)

Sierra Leone Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh has officially opened the country’s first Permanent Consular Office in Beirut, Lebanon.

Below is the statement made by Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh on 11th April 2016 on behalf of President Ernest Koroma: (Pictured: VP Victor Foh).

Salutations

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, today’s opening of Sierra Leone’s first Permanent Consular Office in our sister Republic of Lebanon marks an important milestone in our bilateral relations.

Our two countries have had a long history and share similar bittersweet experiences in culture, in politics and in human development spanning several decades.

The people of both countries practice Islam and Christianity, both countries have suffered colonialism, both countries have overcome devastating civil wars. In its heyday, because of its financial power and diversity, Lebanon was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" and its capital Beirut attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East".

In our heyday, because of our academic excellence, Sierra Leone was referred to as the Athens of West Africa and a cultural melting point because of our diversity. Today, both Sierra Leone and Lebanon are working hard to sustain peace, to develop our economies and improve our standing in the world.

Clearly, there are many things our two countries share in common, and this is why the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the people of the Republic Lebanon relate well and peacefully co-exist. Every region in Sierra Leone has a pronounced presence of people of Lebanese origin who are involved in commerce, in mining, in sports and now in entertainment.

They speak Sierra Leone’s local languages, some of them intermarry and they participate in national development to the extent that they have become an integral part of Sierra Leone’s socio-economic make-up.

This is also true in here in Beirut and in other parts of Lebanon where there are thousands of Lebanese of Sierra Leonean birth. Like in Sierra Leone, they also make up a powerful constituent here that contributes significantly to the development of Lebanon. These are strong enough reasons why the two countries should work more closely together.

This reality will continue and my Government therefore believes that the establishment of stronger diplomatic relations between our two countries is long overdue. But while we seek to expand and promote our trade and industrial relations, there is also need for a shift to manufacturing through value addition. This will further boost employment, reduce the flight of foreign exchange, minimize inflation and strengthen our economy.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the opening of this Consular Office here in Beirut is part of my Government’s policy to expand Sierra Leone’s diplomatic presence around the world and is only the beginning of stronger ties with Lebanon. We believe that Lebanon should be among the first of our friends to reach out to.

It underpins our determination to further cement the cordial relationship between our two countries. In the near future, my Government seeks to upgrade to a full embassy to further enhance our bilateral relations, cooperation at the multilateral fora and to better promote and protect our common interests.

On behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone, let me applaud the staff and all the actors who have contributed to this historic event. We commend the Government of the Republic of Lebanon for providing us the land and for the support you continue to provide towards this milestone.

I commend the personal interest and effort of Sierra Leone’s first Honorary Consul Mr. Donald Abed in making it possible to establish this Permanent Consular Office.

Distinguished, Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my honour to open Sierra Leone’s first Permanent Consular Office in the Republic of Lebanon.

God bless the Republic of Lebanon and God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.

I thank you all.

 

Minister Pat-Sowe Opens Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair 2016

By N'Bompa (leaf) (12/04/16)

The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture trade fair and exhibition ceremony has been launched by the Trade Minister.

Reports say the Minister of Trade and Industry Honourable Alhaji Allieu Momodu Pat-Sowe and his able Deputy Ibrahim have formally opened the Sierra Leone Chamber of commerce industry geared towards promoting the private sector, in line with the government's agenda for prosperity to promote trade and investment. (Photo: APC Mines Minister Minkailu Mansaray).

This year's trade fair also encourages our local industries, with the cooperation of established corporate houses, to promote their products to a wider audience. It has attracted foreign participants from the sub region, namely Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Togo.

The outgoing chairperson, Madam Glady's Strasser King, thanked all the organisers and participants who are promoting the theme for the 2016 trade fair - i.e. for Small Medium Enterprise (SME).

Various contributions were made from different personalities like the Ambassador of Gambia, Liberia and Ghana.

The proactive Trade and Industry Minister also expressed thanks to the initiators of this important scheme that compliments the Agenda for Prosperity through trade fair exhibition.

Minister Pat-Sowe reiterated the significance of the SME towards national development and further emphasised the bench mark to achieve such goals and to attract more investors.

He promise that as the newly appointed minister, he will try to improve the ECOWAS bilateral  liberal trade to improve the private sector in Sierra Leone because it is the primary focus and concern of President Ernest Koroma.

Amidst the pomp and pageantry that ensued, Minister Pat-Sowe finally declared the 2016 Trade Fair officially opened in Freetown. 

 

MPs Praise Sylvia Blyden During the Approval Ceremony in Freetown

By Emmanuel Kamara (12/04/16)

Praises seem unending for Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the new Social Welfare Minister. This time, the praises came from many parliamentarians.

Honourable Kelfala Sheku Conteh, Member of Parliament representing constituency 98 in the East end of Freetown has described Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, approved Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs as the Hillary Clinton of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Speaker SBB Dumbuya, left).

At the Well of Parliament on Tuesday April 5th 2016, the astute and eloquent MP made this frank disclosure during the approval ceremony of nine presidential appointees to take up public offices.

Hon. Kelo, as he is fondly called, maintained that Dr. Blyden is an international citizen. "She is a fearless fighter and I am fully convinced that she will succeed in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs."

On her statement to the Well of Parliament, Honourable Jariatu Rosaline Smith representing constituency 103 thanked President Koroma for his recent cabinet reshuffle. She described the new cabinet as 'Women Friendly'. She also stated that: "Dr. Blyden is fearless, astute and as well friendly with an enviable character admired by many people."

Parliament has however approved nine presidential appointees including: Hon. Alimamy Petito Koroma, as Ambassador to the People's Republic of China; Hon. Captain (Rtd.) Abdulrahman Kamara Deputy Minister of Defence; Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

Others include Mr. Bai Mahmud Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs; Mr. Monfred Momoh Sesay, Justice of the Appeal Court; Madam Nannette Thomas, Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Mr. Ahmed Khanou, Minister of Sports; Mr. Sidi Yayah Tunis Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Mr. Mahmud Tarawally, Deputy Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment.

However, the Speaker of Parliament Hon. S. B. B Dumbuya informed the House that one of the appointees to be approved as Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology 1, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, took an excuse to inform him that she will not be available as she has travelled to South Africa.

Courtesy: Awareness Times

 

 

Kuwaiti Technical Fund Team and the $37m Peninsular Road Projects

By State House Release (10/04/16)

The Kuwaiti Technical Appraisal Team has paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown.

The team on Wednesday 7th April was led by Ahmad Othman Al-Mujalham, Engineering Advisor of Kuwait Fund. They had a clear purpose of assessing the construction work on the Hill Side Byepass road and the Goderich Tokeh road projects respectively. (President Koroma shovelling concrete in his construction oriented drive for Sierra Leone).

Welcoming the delegation, President Koroma thanked the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for being very supportive to Sierra Leone over the years. He emphasized the importance of the two road projects and said their completion will not only facilitate movement of people, but will also save time.

“Your focus on these two roads is a great thing to us as we have identified them as very important,” President Koroma reaffirmed. 

The president pointed out that the Peninsular Road Project started as far back as the 1980s but with the support now provided by the Kuwait Fund, he expressed hope of bringing closure to it.

He informed the delegation of government’s commitment to infrastructural development because of its multiplier effects on socio-economic growth.

In his response, Ahmad Othman Al-Mujalham stressed the purpose of the visit as an assessment of the two road projects, and also disclosed that the Kuwait Fund has provided the sum of $37 Million United States Dollars for the completion of these projects.

 

Anti-Corruption Admonishes SLFA on how to Stop Corruption!

By SLFA Press Release (10/04/16)

The Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA has taken coaching tips on how to nip football corruption in the bud once and for all in the country.

“Football is a viable vehicle of communication that can be very useful in the fight against corruption,” noted the Deputy Director of Public Education and Outreach at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Patrick Sandi when he commenced his statement in a customised meeting organised by the ACC for staff of the Sierra Leone Football Association at Kingtom in Freetown.

The purpose of the recent meeting was to engage staff of the Football Association on the nature, causes, effects and strategies in preventing corruption in their operations. (Pictured: SLFA boss Isha Johansen is determined to wipe out corruption in Sierra Leone football.)

Mr. Sandi hastened to state that the meeting was by no means a witch hunt, but a deliberate effort designed to strengthen the SLFA in their resolve to thrash corruption in football. The Deputy Director noted that the drive is among many strategies used by the Commission to promote the prevention of corruption and the public will in the fight against graft.

He informed the Association that the Deputy Commissioner appreciates the strides made so far by the SLFA in the fight against corruption, but encourages them to do more as corruption in the football constituency seems to be an emerging issue evident by the recent realities among former FIFA officials.

He also reminded SLFA staff that - by virtue of their institution’s relation to Government - all staff of the Association and even those who occasionally interface with the same, are public officials hence making them culpable to corruption offences. He deliberated on some of the major corruption offences and customized them to incidences occurring in football.

Speaking on behalf of the SLFA, Abdul Rahman Swaray, former SLFA General Secretary and currently CAF Education Secretary commends the ACC for targeting the SLFA in their outreach efforts.

He was however quick to note that the SLFA operates under the FIFA Code of Ethics which frowns at third party interference in football administration. He however explained that the ACC as the agency charged with the mandate to lead the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone has the authority to investigate the Association in terms of misuse of public funds and abuse of office and position as public officers, but should be cautious when it comes to donor funds that include subventions paid by FIFA.

Mr. Swaray also explained that despite structural challenges in the football sector, the public perception about corruption in the SLFA is many times faulty and based on little information about the Association.

He intimated participants that SLFA only receives $250,000 allocation from FIFA per annum, which is in reality a pittance compared to the expenditure of the Association. He noted that monies from Government to the Association were always well utilized in a structure that does not entertain corruption. Nevertheless, the SLFA veteran acknowledged that the Association still needs some training on corruption issues, which the ACC was there to provide.

In his presentation on the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone, Senior Public Education Officer, Mohamed Ali Kamara stated that corruption in Sierra Leone is the common enemy that fathers other anti-developmental vices such as tribalism, favoritism and nepotism.

The Public Education guru recounted on how corruption has historically damaged our socio-economic wellbeing as a nation. He therefore submitted that since corruption is standing on our prosperity like a big tree, all of us should join hands together with axes in our hands to cut that tree.

Admonishing the SLFA on the prevention of corruption, Musa Kanteh, Policy and Ethics Analyst in the Systems and processes Review Department of the ACC, revealed that ambiguous administrative structures and unclear role specifications can create lacunas that breed corruption.

That is why the ACC employs both the proactive and reactive approaches to MDAs when it comes to putting in place an anti-corruption friendly working environment in Government offices, Mr. Kanteh maintained.

 

 

Fadika Hailed by Sierra Leoneans During Global Award Launch in Holland

By Press Release (10/04/16)

Sierra Leoneans have continued to hail envoy Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika as a champion in eradicating poverty in mother Sierra Leone.

Reports say Ambassador Gibril Santigie Moseray Fadika received a tumultuous applause from Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora as he delivered a highly praised speech at the Global Achievement Awards and launch of 'All Works of Life’ (AWOL) Continental Europe, held at the prestigious Pullman Hotel, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, on 2nd April 2016. (Pictured: President Koroma is very proud of the humanitarian work of Mr. Fadika).

Mr. Fadika has reportedly invested lots of his money in businesses which placed a high priority on the welfare of poor people, and despite running large companies across Africa, he has also dedicated a lot of time to helping those less privileged in local communities across Sierra Leone.

In a rousing speech to Sierra Leoneans from across the world, Ambassador Fadika said he is committed to championing the cause of eradicating extreme poverty and creating millions of jobs in Sierra Leone. He highlighted his aim to build a strong economy, support free education from primary to university and provide affordable health care in the country.

Ambassador Fadika called on Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to join President Ernest Bai Koroma and his government in moving the country forward, regardless of their backgrounds and political affiliations. He reaffirmed: "We are born poor, but we must not die poor. Every Sierra Leonean has an important role to play in helping our poor people work their way out of poverty."

He spoke about his humble background: "I was born in poverty and struggled to pay my school fees. Despite these difficulties growing up as a child in Sierra Leone, I never lost hope, but continued in my efforts to seek a better life. I graduated from university and took an interest in business. Today, I am proud of my achievements in the business sector and contributions to nation building."

Ambassador Fadika lashed at his critics who questioned his leadership of African Minerals Ltd (AML) amid the Ebola crisis, as he highlighted the achievements of AML. “As co-founder of AML, I am proud to say that AML contributed greatly in boosting Sierra Leone’s economy. AML helped create employment opportunities for thousands of Sierra Leoneans.

Before the Ebola outbreak, AML was making remarkable progress. Unfortunately, the decline in iron ore price at the same time as the escalation of the Ebola crisis, forcing foreign investors to leave the country, affected the operations of AML. A World Bank study on the economic impact of the Ebola epidemic in 2014 highlighted the devastating effect of the Ebola crisis on the mining sector.

Despite these challenges, I worked very hard to rescue the mining sector and brought in new investments.  The legacy of African Minerals Ltd continues. The jobs created by AML are being protected by Shandong Steel SL Ltd, the company that took over from AML.

As the new Vice Chairman of Shandong Steel SL Ltd, I am confident that Sierra Leone will continue to benefit from the mining sector and Shandong Steel Ltd is here to help us build our economy and create more jobs," he said.

Mr. Fadika is also the new Executive Director of Pan African Minerals Ltd, with a cumulative investment portfolio of over 3.1 billion United States dollars in Africa. With promising investments in iron ore, oil and gas and related resources in nine West African countries including Sierra Leone, Ambassador Fadika is said to have helped create thousands of jobs in the region.

The Ambassador introduced an extemporaneous paragraph into his prepared text. "As I said at the Commonwealth Summit where I was recently appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the Commonwealth Africa Initiative, I am not impressed by the limited jobs available to people in Sierra Leone," he said.

Envoy Fadika noted that we need the positive idealism, energy, passion and skills of everyone to eradicate poverty, create jobs and make Sierra Leone the kind of country we want.

 

MSF Blamed for Death of Bleeding Pregnant Woman in Magburaka!

By PR Media (08/04/16)

Reports say the woman was abandoned and eventually fell off the bed and died, thus implicating the Medecin Sans Frontiere MSF.

A pregnant woman was reported to have fallen off her bed and died at an MSF operated medical facility inside the Magburaka Government Hospital. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Health Minister Dr. Fofanah needs to order an investigation in to this horrible incident).

Our sources in Magburaka say the woman had suffered spontaneous bleeding after she lost her pregnancy. MSF medics later isolated her as a suspected Ebola case.

The poor woman was writhing in pain and had initially asked to be given food to eat. The medics however chose to give her liquid glucose which she refused to drink. Our sources say the woman was apparently abandoned inside the isolation unit until the horrendous pain in her stomach caused her to roll over and drop from her bed and died.

The incident had provoked angry reactions from the Paramount Chief and other district stakeholders who believed the French charity were up to some games. Our sources say the local authorities had warned MSF from "manufacturing" another Ebola case in Tonkolili.

The Paramount Chief of Magburaka was quoted to have told the MSF medics that he will not this time round be able to restrain angry youths of the township who had previously threatened to attack the medical facility over a recent disputed Ebola case.

The Ebola case sparked serious controversy with many stakeholders including the former leader of the United Democratic Party (UDM), Mohamed Bangura who described that case as a conspiracy to promote the investments of multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

Results from the blood samples of the deceased however returned negative within an hour of the said protest by the Magburaka Paramount Chief. This swift response from MSF also increased the level of suspicion on recent Ebola cases in Sierra Leone.

Efforts to reach MSF proved futile.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

 

President Koroma Launches the 2015 Population and Housing Census

By State House Release (08/04/16)

President Ernest Bai Koroma has formally launched the 2015 Population and Housing Census Provisional Results.

Below is the verbatim speech made by His Excellency President Ernest Koroma (pictured) during the formal launch on March 31st 2016:

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

From the 5th – 18th December, 2015, we carried out the official counting of our nation's population and the compilation of economic, social and other data; data that would inform the formulation of development policies and plans; data that would guide the demarcation of constituencies for elections.

Over 16,000 field workers were deployed across the country for this exercise. A huge awareness campaign was embarked upon to engender public participation.

But Census is not just about counting our population or collecting different types of data. It is a process that also involves the analysis and evaluation of the data so collected and, of course, the publication and dissemination of the final figures and facts about the country’s demographic, social and economic realities.

We have come a long way in this journey, in providing the baseline data that will continue to serve as a reference point for our development trajectories. Today’s launch of the provisional result of the December 2015 population and housing census is a continuation of that long journey, it is part of the process of publication and dissemination.

By all indications, the Sierra Leone 2015 Population and Housing Census has been the most comprehensive data collection exercise ever undertaken in our country’s history. When my family and other members of my household were enumerated in December last year, we were subjected to a detailed list of questions soliciting a variety of important information. Apparently, the number of emerging issues has influenced the inclusion of more variables into the census questionnaire.   

This did not come by surprise; the goal of the 2015 Population and Housing Census is to increase the availability and accessibility of accurate, timely and reliable data on our demographic and socio-economic characteristics. It is designed to support evidence based decisions; to guide policy formulation and the monitoring and evaluation of development frameworks at national, sub-national and sectoral levels.

This is why the Census process stands out as a key building block in the development of every country. It is a painstaking process, it is a process that requires resources and could be faced with many other challenges. My government was aware of the challenges faced by Statistics Sierra Leone in this exercise especially during the two weeks of enumeration. But we are satisfied to note that those challenges were addressed with the support of our international partners and line government agencies.

We are satisfied that those challenges did not derail the process and will not affect the credibility of the outcome. This has been made possible by the high level of stakeholder participation in the process with political parties, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, MDAs playing significant roles in ensuring a successful conduct of the whole exercise.

A Tabulated Population Distribution by Districts:

Kailahun - 525, 372 (7.4%)
Kenema - 609, 873 (8.6%)
Kono - 505,767 (7.2%)
Bombali - 606, 183 (8.6)
Kambia - 343, 686 (4.9%)
Koinadugu - 404, 097 (5.8%)
Port Loko - 614, 063 (8.7%)
Tonkolili - 530, 776 (7.5%)
Bo - 574, 201 (8.1)
Bonthe - 200, 730 (2.8%)
Moyamba - 318, 064 (4.5%)
Pujehun - 345, 577 (4.9%)
Western Rural - 452, 951 (6.3%)
Western Urban - 1, 050, 301 (14.8)
Total - 7, 075, 641
Males - 3, 473, 991
Females - 3, 601, 650 

 

Kamarainba Praises the President on Proactive Steps to Prevent Ebola

By Abdul M. Bangura (08/04/16)

Sierra Leone politics involve lots of surprises. Mohamed Kamarainba levying praises on President Koroma is one example.

Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, the Chairman and Leader of Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), one of Sierra Leone's most vociferous and ebullient opposition political parties, has surprisingly issued warm commendation for recent measures implemented by President Koroma to help forestall a re-emergence of Ebola in Sierra Leone from neighbouring Guinea.

Mr. Kamarainba Mansaray (pictured) was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Awareness Times on March 31st 2016 shortly after the Office of the President announced new measures along the country's borders with Guinea; all aimed at preventing a crossover of Ebola from Guinea.

Guinea had been declared Ebola free by the World Health Organisation after it went 42 days without a new Ebola confirmed case. However, few days back, Ebola has resurged from within Guinea's interior and that has alerted the attention of its neighbouring countries.

Office of President Koroma, in a press release dated yesterday 31st March, 2016 highlighted the new Ebola preventive measures. The press release followed a meeting held at State House between the President, relevant sectoral ministers and the National Security Team.

Following the meeting, the release states that the President has resolved into instituting a more robust step in protecting the entire flank of the country's north-eastern geographical borders with Guinea. As a result, he has immediately directed that military aid to the civil police (MAC-P) be invoked in all our border areas with Guinea.

Furthermore, as a way of protecting our country from any such resurgence emanating from Guinea, the President also directed that the Ebola protocols, including screening and surveillance activities been instituted in all border crossing points with Guinea.

In addition, the release states that the National Disaster Management Team should undertake a visit to the border region with Guinea, especially Kailahun axis, with a view of heightening awareness and Ebola prevention control measures among the people in those areas.

Also, the release states the President has directed that the public is also advised to restrict movement to and fro Guinea. It states that sick people and corpses from Guinea for burial in Sierra Leone should not be allowed during this time.

Lastly, the release strengthens the commitment of the Government to continue to monitor the situation in Guinea closely, and encourages the general public to cooperate with the security and health personnel to keep Ebola in check.

It is as a result of the announcement of all the above measures that ADP's Kamarainba Mansaray is praising President Koroma. He said it is "indeed a proactive leadership role taken by the President for which I commend him".

However, the ADP Strongman is suggesting that the President needs to also pay attention to a key aspect that appears to have been overlooked which is in the area of sea transportation. He said a large number of people enter the country from Guinea with boats and other means of sea transportation and so proper surveillance by MAC-P should not be limited to only the land borders. "President Koroma should also have checking of all boats be an immediate policy as well," Kamarainba suggests.

Since its issuing, the release has been welcomed by not only politicians but also by civil society activists who see this as a good measure in protecting our country from any form of Ebola resurgence.

Bernard Conteh, a prominent civil society activist told this press that to stop the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from re-entering Sierra Leone is to undertake these measures. He expressed certainty that the military and the police would be able to protect our territory from resurgence of the EVD. He further warned health and military personnel from complacency. He urged them to be vigilant in protecting the lives of the people of Sierra Leone. These sentiments of appreciation for the proactive measures are re-echoed by many sectors of the society.

Courtesy: By Abdul Malik Bangura, Awareness Times newspaper

 

 

Ministers, Deputies and Ambassadors Take Oaths at State House

By Abu Shaw (06/04/16)

Thursday April 07, 2016 will be another historic day when ministers, deputies and ambassadors are sworn in by President Ernest Koroma.

State House, the seat of power, will be surrounded by hundreds of supporters of the various cabinet ministers many of whom are newly ministerial appointments by the Sierra Leone President few weeks ago. (Pictured: Ms Nanette Thomas, the Public and Political Affairs Minister).

After successfully passing through the screening and vetting by the Sierra Leone Parliament, it's no surprise that the ministers, deputies and ambassadors and their jubilant supporters and families around the world continue to celebrate this historic moment.

All the cabinet ministers pulled crowds yesterday at Parliament but the one minister that pulled the most was Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the new Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

Eyewitnesses say hundreds of supporters from the Garrison Street Market and from other areas were displaying banners and placards and were all dressed in red depicting the ruling APC party's colour. "All for Sylvia Blyden" the crowds chant on the streets of Freetown. Dr. Sylvia Blyden, dressed in white with golden head tie, was there minute by minute among her admirers.

Even parliamentarians were astonished and they confirmed that they have never seen a presidential nominee pulled so much crowd as Dr. Sylvia Blyden. "Her popularity in Sierra Leone is second to none and President Koroma would be proud to have appointed the correct minister in Sylvia," a market business woman told the Organiser newspaper.

Other prominent ministers to be sworn in today include the firebrand politician Mr. Mohamed Bangura, the Information and Broadcasting Minister; Ms Nanette Thomas, the Political and Public Affairs Minister etc.

 

Emulate the Goodies of Konos of Yester Years to Rebuild Broken Kono!

By Kemoh Sidibay USA (06/04/16)

This historic masterpiece is a must read!!! Clearly, the development oriented Konos of yester years had set the pace for Konos of today.

A list of few prominent people I recalled whom I humbly acknowledge for shaping the structural development of our beloved Kono District. In my opinion all these people deserve hospitable tributes like naming streets in their honour etc. Also in my opinion, I believe all the under-mentioned occurrences of development (events) were made possible because the original Kono tribe inhabitants were very hospitable: (Pictured: Sir Milton Margai, Kono was his first destination to practice medicine after becoming the first from the Protectorate to qualify as a medical doctor).

Before the advent (discovery) of diamonds in Kono District, Ngandohu Town was the main commercial hub; center of trade and commerce in Kono District. The late philanthropic (humanitarian) Alhaji Sheku Taylor was living there in the 50s doing tailoring before he subsequently moved to Koidu Town and subsequently built the Central Mosque and Islamic Primary and Secondary School for Boys and Girls.

Of course the architect of the burning train Islamic Secondary School building and the Primary School structures was my late, great father Alhaji Osman Sidibay, who did his training in Kenema in those days. The Late Paramount Chief Kaimachendeh was very instrumental in enabling foreigners (The Strangers) to settle down in Kono District.

The first Prime of Sierra Leone Sir Milton Margai Margai went to medical school in England and in 1926, graduated as a medical doctor from the Durham University College of Medicine (which went on to become Newcastle University Medical School). Margai also attended the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

He was the first Protectorate man to become a medical doctor, after graduating from Medical University, Kayima Sandor Chiefdom in Kono District was the first place he went to serve as a Medical Doctor. During his stay he came to like the climate and the hospitality of the Kono People.

Two prominent people who served in the early 60s in the education department as supervisors/inspectors of schools in Kono district respectively, late Kassigbama and L M Bayoh. The late Dr M K Turay was the first Medical Doctor to build his own private Hospital, followed by the late Dr Sukutamba, and late Dr. Thunder, to serve the people of Kono District.

The late Kai Foday was one of the most adherent politicians and first to open typing school in Kono District. Hon.  Jon Kamanda, a prominent and influential Kono  lawyer who did a lot of  help to the  ordinary Kono citizen during his time as a Lawyer on a pro bono basis. In  the Baboon wire strike he help lots students and teachers on a from incarceration, and he made lots of contributions during his time as member of Parliament, before he later serve as one of Sierra Leone justices and later a judge in the Hague.

The late  Mr. Sahr Andrew Sinah, ( commonly called Pa Sinah ) who was the 1st court President of GBENSE and founder of Sinah town who gave land to KISS, KISS AND ISSK. He made great contributions. Did you mention Pa Dunbar as well? The Late Chief Songo Mbriwa, late former honorable Kabba-sei who was residing at the upper Dabundeh street and others pioneered new political parties, thus influenced the geopolitical landscape of Sierra Leone, by making Kono a swing District, which makes it very important and good for Kono as a battleground district to decide the outcomes of the Sierra Leone general election, it is up to us to used that at our own advantage to bring development home.

The late NBC Foday was an Entrepreneur, proprietor of Koidu Town first Book Stores and Mortar Theater Cinema, a humanitarian and philanthropist, he created lots of employment in Koidu town. The late Honorable Rev. Paul Dumbah, was a clergy man who help built lots of Churches in Kono District, educated many peoples and was very instrumental in trying to bring all Konos as one; even though he always had political differences with the late Songo Mbriwa, he died as Chairman of the S.L.P.P for the entire Sierra leone.

The late S.L. Matturi was the first resident Minister of the Eastern Province, later Managing Director of NDMC, and died as paramount chief of the Nimikoro Chiefdom... Mr. A G Sandi was the first black Principal of JSS (Jaiama Secondary School). He helped shape that school to be a more better one in terms of conduct and performances.

Alhaji Sajalieu Bah, and Alhaji Chewtor Jalloh, two illustrious Fula businessmen who founded Ansarul Islamic Boys and Girls Schools in 1974. The late Alhaji Sulaiman Songowa of Kayema, Sando Chiefdom, was the first Kono man to visit the Holy City of Mecca to perform a pilgrimage, he was residing in Turner Street, Koidu Town, where he built a Mosque and an Islamic Madrassa (School) to educate his own children and other inhabitants children.

The late Honorabe Kassigbama of Sando Chiefdom was the first Konoman to organise major self help program called: THE NATIONAL SELF HELP PROGRAM, and helped to construct bridge over the Baffin Killer River, this facilitated an easy access of people, vehicle, cattle, and ease trade between Kono District and Koinadougou Distrct and beyond; even to Guinea.

Because of the bridge there was frequent influx of cattle and many commodities to Kono and beyond from Koinadugu and Guinea. The late Alhaji Alpha Amadu Nyuma of Kamiyando an ethnic Kisse was the founder and proprietor of the Kono Muslim Brotherhood School and head of the Kono District Brotherhood Mission.

The late Alhaji Sulaiman Jalloh was the founder and proprietor of the Nuriyat Islamic School. The Late Kemoh Mansaray, who was the bro of the late Madingo Tribal Chief in Kono, the late Sanfan Mansaray was the founder and proprietor of the Ahmadiya School in Tombodu and head of the Mission. He also help built the Tombodu Mosque. First Imam to be buried in the vicinity of any Mosque in Kono District was the second Chief Imam, the Late Alhaji Fanta Madi Janneh, he was a great religious scholar and teacher, who impacted lot of Kono inhabitants with his knowledge and wisdom.

He was buried in the yard of the Koidu Central Mosque. Former Islamic Primary Headmaster Pa Hafiz Fye late father was one of the first Islamic scholars to visit Kono District and served as an Islamic (Arabic) teacher and Imam before Pa Hafiz late father subsequently returned back to the Gambia.

First African Trader to open a big shop in Koidu was the late Alhaji Morie Bayoh, he was also a humanitarian. The first person to buy a Mercedes Benz in Kono in those days was the late Maraka Jullahman, Alhaji Makotah, he was also a humanitarian who also helped lots of poor people.

The first Burial ground in KOIDU TOWN was called Kambama and it was located at Council Road, close to the APC office, was subsequently moved to Kamadu and currently in Samandu. Some notable tribal chiefs: The late Alhaji Amadu Kallon (father of Torh Kallon) was the First Madingo Tribal Head for the entire district who died in the early 70s. The late Alhaji Kalilu Kamara was the first Maraka Tribal Head for the entire Kono District, he was residing in Maraka Compound (Behind Chief).

The Second Kono District Madingo Tribal Chief was the late Chief Alhaji Sanfan Mansaray, who was residing in Tombodu. The First Koidu Mandingo Tribal Chief, the late Alhaji Amadu Mansaray was residing at Main Kainkordu Rd opposite Ship Yard going towards hill station. The late Alhaji Momodu Bah, who was residing at Gbongboh Street, was the Fullah Tribal Chief and an Islamic Scholar.

The Kono Mende Tribal Chief was the late Mr. Jamiru, who was residing at Dabundeh street, closed to Pa Hafiz Fye first resident. The Limba Tribal Chief was the late Pa Momoh Gbengeleh, who was residing around Thorley Street. Koranko Chief, etc, add to the list. The first white KSS principal was the late Mr. T C Bartlam, the first non European Principal after the missionaries left was the late Mr. A. B Turay, who was killed in a car accident in 1973.

T D Yamba is the longest serving Kono District Principal ( for over 40yrs). He is the current Principal of K SCHOOL. He took over after the late A B Turay was killed in a road accident in 1973. Another important personality that was instrumental in Kono Educational field was the late NGombu Gbolie, who built Kono Model Academy from grass root.

The late Mr. and Mrs. Tornah (U M C BOYS AND GIRLS) HEADMASTERS, WERE ONE OF THE MOST EARLIEST PIONEERS OF ENGLISH EDUCATION IN KONO and good disciplinarians. The British Mining Company SLST (Sierra Leone Selection Trust) later NDMC (National Diamond Mining Company) also did developments in Kono District.

They built many houses (quarters) in Kono District, roads, and awarded many scholarships and free medical surplies. The Roman Catholic Mission also impacted Kono District greatly, they brought lots of development to Kono Districts, including schools, churches etc, one of them is Koidu Girls Secondary School (KGSS) one of the best girl schools in the Eastern Province. It's very instrumental in helping Kono District young girls education.

Above are names of people I believed deserve worthy praise and recognition.

Courtesy: Kemoh Sidibay Jinamori Kemzomatic Kemzo international

 

Paramount Chief Hails President Koroma’s Move to Empower Women

By Abdul M. Bangura (06/04/16)

Praise continues to be poured in after President Ernest Koroma's new cabinet which saw many women being appointed to very high offices.

Paramount Chief of Gbonkolenken, Alhaji Bai Suntuba Osara III has praised President Koroma’s women empowerment strives. Chief Osara 111 hailed President Koroma on Sunday 27th March, 2016 during the commissioning of a community center in Petifu Mayawa.

The PC said he is thankful for the recent appointments of women into various public positions of trust, citing examples on the appointment of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (Pictured with President Koroma) as Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and Madam Rosalyn Oyah Sankoh as Deputy Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia.

Furthermore, the PC stated that he decided to adopt Dr. Blyden as a daughter of Gbonkolenken because of her good works throughout the country. He pleaded with Dr. Blyden to see the people of Gbonkolenken as her own and also asked her to act in the place of Madam Rosalyn Oyah Sankoh who will soon depart for the Gambia.

Madam Sankoh is an indigene of Gbonkolenken Chiefdom. The Chiefdom decided to adopt Dr. Blyden because of her outstanding contributions to the service of the people of Sierra Leone.

During his statement, the Paramount Chief Member of Parliament of Tonkolili district, P.C. Bai Kurr Kanagbro Sanka III also applauded the President for the bold step of appointing women into various positions of trust. He said the initiative to appoint Dr. Blyden in particular as Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is welcoming towards achieving the targeted educational standards for girls in rural communities. 

P.C. Bai Kurr Kanagbro Sanka III said he is confident that the collaboration of Dr. Blyden and Dr. Minkailu Bah would be productive and that he is keen on working in tandem with them to achieve a successful Agenda for Prosperity.

The Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Minkailu Bah, whilst addressing the villagers acknowledged the vital roles play by women in trying to raise their kids. He said that education in Sierra Leone can only succeed if the women can unite to groom their kids in the right and proper manner.

He pleaded with rural mothers to deviate from sending their girl children into early marriages. He said investment in girl’s education is an essential criterion for the growth and development of the economy of a country.

Madam Rosalyn Oyah Sankoh praised the women for their instrumental roles in sustaining the interest of the All Peoples Congress party amongst natives of rural communities. She urged them to maintain their interest in promoting the ideals of the party even in her absence. She said: “Sylvia will be here with you when I am gone to the Gambia.”

Dr. Sylvia Blyden expressed her thanks and appreciations to the people of Gbonkolenken for their warmly welcome. She promised to behave positively in working for the country. She said it is now the time for women to take the centre stage in advocating for their rights in various communities.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Hon. Dr. Abdulai Sesay of Constituency 063 in Gbonkolenken Chiefdom, various district and constituency party executives, supporters and well wishers of the party.

Courtesy: By Abdul Malik Bangura, Awareness Times Newspaper

 

 

Kailahun Chiefs Welcome their Son Maya Kaikai as New Local Minister

(06/04/16)

President Ernest Koroma has brought smiles to the people of Kailahun district following the nomination of Maya Kaikai as Local Minister.

Reports say the authorities of Kailahun district have described the anointment of Maya Kaikai (pictured) as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development as a welcome news to the traditional rulers in Kailahun district.

One of the chiefs in Lauwa Chiefdom Lamin  Bunumbu  Ngobeh said upon hearing the announcement the whole of the district went in to jubilation.

Chief Ngobeh said the people received the news with great pride and happiness because Honourable Maya Kaikai is the first son of the soil to attain such an enviable position.

"The President has made no mistake in appointing their son in this important government ministry," Chief Ngobeh concluded.

He said there no doubt that the young man will do more than he did when he was Minister of State East and has called on everyone to give him the fullest support in the dispensation of his national duties.

 

 

The Organiser Opposes Ernest Koroma's 'Senior VP' Description!

(04/04/16)

The Organiser newspaper strongly opposes President Ernest Koroma for describing former VP Solomon Berewa as a 'Senior Vice President'.

This newspaper rarely questions President Koroma's proclamations as 100% of them are genuinely good for the country but considering the infamous vice presidency of Solo 'B' in 1998 especially, most Sierra Leoneans secretly believe that Solomon Berewa of the SLPP is the worst VP the country has ever had.

(Pictured: Sierra Leone Vice President Victor Foh and former VP Solomon, right. In 1998 the current VP was on treason trial thanks to the former VP's dubious machinations. Standing shoulder to shoulder today is something no soothsayer would have predicted in the dark months of 1998. No condition is permanent in life. A warning to power hungry politicians!!).  

It was on Thursday 4th February 2016 in Massingbi, Tonkolili district, President Ernest Bai Koroma startling described former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa as the 'Senior Vice President' of Sierra Leone.

This surprising statement by the APC government was made on the occasion of the funeral ceremony of the late Madam Ya Adama, mother of Honourable Paramount Chief Bai Kurr Kanagbaro the 3rd, when the President noted that the statesmanship in Solomon Berewa is  needed for the unification of the nation and noted that power should not be taken as a matter of life and death.

"Mr. Berewa is now the 'Senior Vice President' of the country. We were at the civic laying out ceremony for the late Dr Vincent Kanu, and now at the funeral of the mother of PC Bai Kurr " the president said.

In President Koroma's brief tribute, HE prayed for God’s grace and mercy for Madam Ya Adama and disclosed that he used to receive advice from the late lady during his school days.

He pointed out that the old woman didn't go to school but offered good advice to them. The president also thanked the people for their concerted efforts in the fight against the horrific Ebola disease.

Was it a publicity stunt by the president? It remains to be seen!! But the Organiser newspaper CEO/Publisher/Editor Abu Shaw, like many other innocent Sierra Leoneans, was incarcerated for 10 months at Pademba Road Prisons in 1998, thanks to Solo B's bloody vice presidency.

Solo B saw power as a matter of life and death and that was his nemesis as well as the opposition SLPP party under the presidency of the late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah that resulted to the incarceration of innocent Sierra Leoneans.

Those bloody years of Solo B are vividly remembered today, though secretly, by thousands of aggrieved Sierra Leone families at home and abroad. And incidentally, most of those who suffered under Solo B were APC supporters.

 

Is the Police so Badly Demoralized by a Rabid Opposition Media?

(04/04/16)

The Sierra Leone Police have been castrated by a rabid opposition media to an extent they are now very timid to do their work.

This is the startling question posed by Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden, the current Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. Below is a verbatim report by Sylvia Blyden few weeks ago: (Pictured: Dr. Sylvia Blyden).

Let me cite a personal recent experience. Lawyer Pa Momo Fofanah criminally went with thugs on my mother's ancestral land at Hamilton claiming he had bought it. My police bodyguard coincidentally was with my younger sister in my car when the car went to the scene.

Though he was in his police uniform and armed, my bodyguard was assaulted by one of Pa Momo's thugs and left with a swollen arm for merely speaking out against certain utterances Pa Momo's thugs were making. The police officer has received medical care with Police medical doctor report and all eyewitness statements taken down and compiled.

The Police are now saying to me (though off the record), that because it is Sam Sumana's lawyer and I am publicly pro-EBK and pro-APC, they want me to please forget about pressing for the matter to be charged - so the Police will not been seen as bullying Pa Momo Fofanah for "powers that be".

"Aunty Sylvia, you get all right for complain Pa Momo pan this matter of trespass and assault as he has no correct papers for your mother's land and indeed several witnesses saw his thugs attack the police bodyguard but na for sorry now for this matter because den go just grab back and accuse you pan tap you yone right say you day use the Police for fet Pa Momo!!!" were the words of a VERY VERY VERY SENIOR POLICE OFFICER begging me to ease off the matter.

Which kind trouble this now bah?? You nor for be APC or you nor for be public figure again na this country??? Is the Police so badly demoralized?
Same way so Diana Konomanyi's genuine Bigamy complaint against Alie Kabba, was almost derailed by the former Attorney General Frank Kargbo in name of "public opinion"... This is quite sad.

I don't know the matter between our Mother, Margaret Martin and the complainant who is himself a public figure as a former Police Boss but I just know the Police are having a tough time lately with so called "public opinion" when it comes to handling complaints from public figures.

That is why I like AIG Memuna. She does not allow "public opinion" to affect her execution of her assignment.

 

President Koroma Meets with National Union of Sierra Leone Students

NUSS Press Release (04/04/16)

The recent meeting between President Ernest Bai Koroma and the members of the National Union of Students NUSS has been very fruitful.

According to a press release, the meeting between president Ernest Bai Koroma, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology and representatives from the University of Sierra Leone, the presidents of the various Departmental Societies on campus, the NUSS president went well.

Reports say the NUSS president Mohamed Sheridan Kamara made a good case for the students of Fourah Bay College during his presentation. (Pictured: President Koroma at the helm of things).

Having swallowed up the time quota allotted to the various parties in attendance to present their case, certain  resolutions were made, ranging from the pressing issues to the remote causes that sparked the wave of protests. With remarkable candor, each side presented their own case, making it possible, in some instances, for some parties to admit the weaknesses in their own case. 

Like a real father, who holds the public umbrella over the heads of everyone in need, His Excellency does not only assure us of his continued support to students' causes, but also urged the administrators of the University of Sierra Leone to provide all the needful facilities upon which the smooth running of a present day university is based.

To mitigate the pangs of dissatisfaction plaguing our membership, a week has been added to the registration deadline, stretching it to April 1st. We are able to persuade the administrators and other parties present to allow students - both fresh and continuing - who make fifty percent payment of their fees to go through the registration process. It is highly unlikely, it must be emphasized, that this deadline will be extended after the expiration of the registration time frame.

The long elusive campus-based student government at Fourah Bay College, which is thought to be the holy grail among students, is now in sight. It has been agreed that a student government will be set up in April, this year. This will give students the opportunity to revive the current of student activism on campus and improve every aspect of the college experience.

We also have a piece of good tidings for students who are repeating the academic year for failing two or more modules. A revelation was made by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr. Minkailu Bah that this category of students should pay only for the failed modules, not the composite fees, as has been the case in recent times.

Far from being a win in a walk, these are resolutions we are able to glean by the hard work, constant engagement with authorities and unremitting persistence. This leadership remains focused on advocating for your needs and concerns.

Long Live Students' Unionism! Long Live NUSS!

Signed:
Osman Bikal Kamara, 
Public Relations Officer, NUSS.
+23278712179
16th March, 2016

 

3 Sierra Leoneans Face Bank Fraud, Identity Theft in Maryland, USA

By Salam Kamara (02/04/16)

Three Sierra Leone nationals are facing a serious conviction after they were accused of bank fraud conspiracy in Maryland USA.

A federal jury in Baltimore recently convicted Junaidu Saljan Savage, alias  James Kamara, age 29, of Lanham, Maryland, for conspiring to commit bank fraud and for aggravated identity theft arising from a scheme to defraud a bank by using account holders’ personal information to take over their accounts. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma and President Barack Obama).

The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge James Murray of the United States Secret Service - Washington Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.

According to testimony at his six day trial, from January 1, 2012 through April 2012, Savage conspired with Jayad Zainab Ester Conteh, Paul Anthony Williams and others to defraud a bank. Conteh, a bank teller, looked up bank account holders' information on the computer system without authorization and disclosed the account holders’ personal identifying information to Savage and other co-conspirators. 

Using that information, Savage would call the bank pretending to be the account holder, change certain account information and order cheques on the compromised account to be delivered by overnight mail. Savage and other co-conspirators would obtain those cheques, including by intercepting the cheques upon delivery at the actual account holders’ addresses.  Wilson cashed the cheques at bank branches in Maryland.

Trial evidence showed that as a result of the conspiracy at least seven bank account holders’ accounts were improperly accessed, with intended losses of more than $120,000.

Jayad Zainab Ester Conteh, age 24, of Glenarden, Maryland, was convicted after trial and sentenced to 64 months in prison for conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a computer to obtain banking information. Judge Russell also entered an order that Conteh pay $36,400 in restitution to the victim bank and forfeit $36,400.

According to court documents and trial testimony, in July 2014, after Conteh had reported to prison to begin serving her sentence, Savage went to visit her relatives.  An audio and video recording of the meeting reveal that Savage told Conteh’s relatives that he was involved in her criminal conduct and would pay the restitution ordered by the Court. In late August 2014, Savage’s girlfriend provided $6,000 in cash to a relative of Conteh as partial payment of Conteh’s restitution.

Co-conspirator Paul Anthony Wilson, a/k/a Anthony Johnson, age 53, of Washington, D.C., was arrested while attempting to cash a cheque on the account of one of the victims.  Wilson pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 39 months in prison.

Savage faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for the bank fraud conspiracy, and a mandatory two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. US District Judge George L. Russell III scheduled Savage’s sentencing for June 24, 2016, at 9:30 a.m.

This announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. 

With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. 

Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims and financial institutions etc.

 

 

Bigamy Suspect Alie Kabba to Articulate his Defence at High Court

By Amidu Ayoub Kanu (02/04/16)

It's confirmed that the SLPP bigamy suspect Alie Kabba will be given the opportunity to be cross-examined during his case at High Court.

In the Freetown High Court on March 16, 2016, prosecuting lawyer Ahmed Monday Bockarie insistently pleaded with the court to dismiss the proceedings of the Magistrate Court and allow a re-start of the case. (Pictured: Mr. Alie Kabba in the dock in Freetown).

However, the leading Defence Counsel, Francis Ben Kerfala stood up to stoutly challenge  the plea from the prosecution side. Lawyer Kerfala argued that the plea from the defence was tantamount to an attempt to waste the court's time and unnecessarily delay proceedings! 

The defence lawyer pointed out to the judge that should there be a ruling to re-start the case, it should come in the form of a verdict of dismissal, because the case before the High Court was based on the complaint, and the deliberations, as was presented and formulated in the Magistrate Court, "as a totality"!

The sitting High Court judge, Madam Miata Samba ruled that the case would continue on the merits of what has already been presented and how it has been presented. She promised to execute a "speedy trial" as requested by the defence!

Madam Miata also noted the point firmly raised by Defence Counsel, Ben Kerfala that  the accused person, Alie Kabba, had not been given the opportunity to be cross-examined in the lower court, or be allowed to articulate his defence, while appearing before Magistrate Wurie.

This time, Judge Miata established that Alie would be allowed to talk in his own defence during the course of proceedings. The crowded prosecution bench then put in a quick plea for an adjournment which was granted by the judge.

However, the wish of the defence to have the court reconvened on next week Wednesday, March 23rd, was not allowed because it would have coincided with Ash Wednesday, a revered Christian holiday! The court was instead adjourned to Wednesday, March 30th, 2016.

It could be recalled that Alie Kabba's former wife Finda Diana Knonmanyi, the current Minister of Lands and Housing, brought the bigamy case to court last year.

And Alie Kabba, who is vying for the SLPP flag-bearer post, was arrested in late December 2015 and arraigned before the Magistrate Court to face the bigamy and perjury charges. He denies all the charges. 

 

Caritas' Health Education to 400 Inhabitants of Kroo Bay Community

By Press Release (02/04/16)

Caritas Freetown, a non-governmental organisation, is providing health education to 400 inhabitants at Kroo Bay in Freetown.

"Public health professionals need to be able to identify the appropriate contexts, channels, messages and reasons that will motivate individuals to heed and use health information for better health decision making. Well bodi tok very important," the Key focus of Caritas Freetown noted. (Caritas boss Fr. Peter Konteh with Pope Francis).

Ishmeal Alfred Charles, Programmes Manager of Caritas Freetown said Caritas with unflinching support of it partners will carry out health education in the Kroo Bay community where  the Mobile Health Clinic provided healthcare service for about 400 inhabitants of the Kroo Bay community.

He also explained that Caritas has approximately 1,000 inhabitants who have benefited from the public health communication, drama and psychosocial support.
The conditions of the people are still deplorable and keeps a constant signal on the mind of social workers that there is more to be done in order to change the grim stories at Kroo Bay.

While the clinical activities was ongoing many of the beneficiaries were unable to take the medications given to them because they have not taken their breakfasts after 9am and even up till 5PM, according to Caritas reports.

This signalled the need for livelihood support as an alarming number of the middle and young inhabitants of the slum community are involved into commercial sex works and are extremely vulnerable to uncounted number of challenges ranging from health related challenges to sexual violence and many more.

At the mid hours of the community engagement and provision of the clinical services by the Outreach and Medical team respectively, the Chairlady of Kroo Bay noted: “Caritas Freetown has been the only organization that has been tireless about our welfare, the medical services and health talks are very good."

The Chairlady furthered: "We need more help with food as we are struggling right now to make ends meet, some of us have not cooked for days.”

The Caritas boss Father Peter Konteh responded that the feelings that came about when such messages come through is unbearable. "We do not make promises, we quite understand your situations and Caritas will do everything possible to help," Father Konteh said.

 

 

FBC Versus Professor Abdullah: The War Against Academic Freedom!

By Chernoh A.M. Bah (30/03/16)

The war against academic freedom involving Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone and one Professor Ibrahim Abdullah is on.

Fourah Bay College (FBC), a constituent college of the University of Sierra Leone, has reached breaking point. Yet, the college’s latest predicaments have nothing to do with the usual issues of students’ welfare or unaffordable tuition fees. This time, the stakes are far higher and directly relates to integrity and survival of the University of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah, Sierra Leone's longest serving minister in one ministry).

There is a war against academic excellence and academic freedom going on. A few weeks ago, this matter was brought to the attention of the world when a group of reputable academics from across the world (including from every major university in Europe, America, and Africa) sent a petition to Ernest Bai Koroma, the president of Sierra Leone. 

The president, under the current educational arrangement, serves as the Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone and is responsible for the appointment of senior officials at the university, including the Vice Chancellor. The petition decried an evolving climate of repression against progressive academics throughout the country.

It came at the heels of acts of injustice committed against Professor Ibrahim Abdullah, one of Africa’s foremost contemporary historians, faces the threat of termination by university administrators at Fourah Bay College. Until recently, Professor Abdullah was the only tenured professor with a PhD in history in the Department of History and African Studies at Fourah Bay College. 

In a letter sent to President Koroma, Professor Abdullah’s colleagues protested against an unfair threat of dismissal and insulting treatment against him; calling him “a brilliant and well known historian.” 

They informed President Koroma that Professor Abdullah’s “research and publications have made seminal contributions to the understanding of working class and youth development, culture and politics in West Africa.” 

This group of academics stated they are “deeply shocked that a disagreement over the allocation of courses in his department” was used by the university to unjustifiably change the employment conditions of Professor Abdullah from a tenured and pensionable position to a year’s contract. 

Professor Abdullah challenges the basis for such a repressive treatment and obviously refuses to submit to the unprincipled conduct and coercive attitude of the administration’s officials. 

The college’s officials remain reluctant to address the merit of his protest - the inviolable rights of academics to independently choose and administer their own courses. Instead, they summarily suspended his salary and threatens to dismiss him from the university. Professor Abdullah has sent his complaint to the president’s office, hoping for a redress, but the matter had lingered for months without a resolution. 

In past years, since he assumed power in 2007, President Ernest Koroma had personally intervened in many disputes involving trade unions and other social organizations across the country, including leadership disputes of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA). 

In 2012, a conflict between angry youths and police officers that led to the deaths of two people in the eastern parts of Freetown, for example, was only settled by the arrival of the president at the scene of the riots. Meetings with the president had also settled similar events involving motorcyclists and anti-riot police in Freetown in 2014 (during the Ebola outbreak). 

The case of Professor Abdullah appears to be treated differently, despite his justified protest and the complaints of his international colleagues; the president’s office and the education ministry have all deliberately treated the matter with contempt. 

There seems to be only one option now left open for Professor Abdullah: pursuing a legal matter against administrators of Fourah Bay College and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education. 

But political observers believe going to court against appointed officials of government will definitely be an uphill task for Professor Abdullah if he decide to go the legal way. Investigation continues.

Courtesy: Mr. Chernoh Alpha M. Bah

 

Government Minister Reveals Why the Doomed Fly Salone Failed

By PM Journalists (30/03/16)

The APC government has finally set the records straight by explaining the circumstances that led to the sudden demise of the doomed Fly Salone.

Following an announcement that the highly  publicized passenger plane, Fly Salone has cancelled its  flights to Sierra Leone, Platinum Media immediately mounted an investigation over what now appears as an embarrassment to the government and people of Sierra Leone. 

In the course of our investigation, we have had two accounts as to why the Fly Salone investment went bankrupt and stopped flying the flag of Sierra Leone. (Pictured: Fly Salone with President Koroma during the opening in December 2015).

First, we reproduce verbatim  the response from the Hon Minister of Transport and Aviation, Logus Koroma after we contacted him recently.  The next account will provide details of our own independent investigations.

Minister Logus' account went like this: "Fly Salone was a private investment 100%, given clearance to fly by the British Civil Aviation Authority after due diligence, and then by the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation after Sierra Leoneans called for a direct flight to London from Freetown; like the private sector Virgin Airlines flying the British flag, they as private investors are flying the Sierra Leone flag.

"They simply went bust in a highly competitive and professional industry like a lot of other start up airlines have gone in the UK, the rest of Europe and the USA losing billions of their own money, not government money. 

"It appears that some Sierra Leoneans are hostile to private investments like these; from the beginning a cross section of Sierra Leoneans in the UK gave bad publicity to the venture and said they would not use it and that they preferred Air France,  Brussels Airlines and Royal Air Maroc . 

"At least Fly Salone tried and has now failed due to lack of patronage by Sierra Leoneans.  Due to this negative experience, Sierra Leonean investors will now be afraid to invest; it's sad. 

"On your last question, there are no immediate plans to salvage Fly Salone and the government will not be interested in this kind of specialised business," Minister Logus concluded. 

But Platinum Media found out that Fly Salone was allegedly a one-man venture initiated by one Sam Sabrah, who has long been interested in the aviation business in Sierra Leone. In his proposal to the Ministry of Transport and aviation, he did not include any feasibility study reports or any financial statements.    

It was thus difficult to ascertain his liquidity status. This leads one to wonder what the minister meant by 'after due diligence', if his ministry saw it fit to accept a proposal so scant in details. Sabra approached the Ministry  for a license and since the only way he could get clearance from the UK government to fly from Sierra Leone to London was his aircraft to qualify as a national carrier, there was the deliberate use of the country's name and  flag.

Having secured the license from government of Sierra Leone, Sabrah allegedly scouted for investors to partner with him. They took out an expensive lease on an old aircraft from Icelandair. Sabra and Co allegedly had no proper air transport manager to advise them on their operations. They also only had only one crew, according to allegations. Flights had to be cancelled on numerous occasions because a crew member was ill or unavailable. 

From the above, it was clear that Fly Salone crashed because of bad management. Had the Ministry of Transport and Aviation done their assignment well, it would have realized the whole venture was not viable. We have also learnt that  several organs/agencies of government opposed this deal, but the Minister Logus was adamant to proceed. 

Meanwhile, information available to us revealed that this was also the manner in which the Minister tried to hoodwink the government into signing a terrible deal with Delta Airlines wherein the government was to subsidize Delta Airlines during their operations here in Sierra Leone.

Investigation continues.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Sierra Leone New Cabinet Ministers' Target Breaks the 30% Women Barrier

By Press Release (30/03/16)

President Ernest Koroma has broken new grounds with the 30% women in cabinet. Sierra Leone is paving the way for gender empowerment.

 

The call for gender empowerment and parity has in recent years becomes louder, reverberating all around the world. In Sierra Leone, the 50/50 Group have led this battle. Even though, by their title, the 50/50 Group’s overarching objective is to attain gender parity including in politics, for many years, they have advocated for affirmative action of a 30 percent quota for women as a starting point. 

This covers both elective and appointive positions especially to Parliament and the cabinet. But in spite of their tireless efforts, even the aspiration of 30 percent has largely eluded them. (Pictured: Madam Afsatu Kabba, Sierra Leone's envoy to Nigeria with President Buhari).

On the global stage, the UN Women launched the HeForShe campaign. The goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. 

It is an initiative that is built on the premise that gender equality is an issue that affects all people in all spheres - whether in social, economic or in political environment. Many advocacy groups around the world have joined this call and all along, the campaign has sought “to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”.

Not anymore. Now Members of Parliament and Heads of States all over the world, most of whom are men, have become part of the drive; centers on the empowerment of women in politics. And unlike other countries, in Sierra Leone, this aspiration has become a reality. President Ernest Bai Koroma has broken new ground by bringing to eleven, the number of women in his new cabinet. This follows a commitment he made to his colleague Heads of States regarding women empowerment in politics.

In a solidarity statement, President Koroma makes the following very strong appeal: “We need more women in Parliaments and as political leaders because it is the wise thing to do in order to build a truly just and fair society. We cannot continue to have half of the world underrepresented in the decision making process and we owe it to posterity to address this injustice now. Women’s involvement in governance would strengthen our democracies and enhance our development because we would benefit from their special insights, rich perspectives and more caring nature.”

True to his words, he has taken action to address the injustice of women under representation in governance in what has been dubbed as his most radical cabinet shake up since 2007. The eleven (11) women, if approved by Parliament, would make up 30 percent of Sierra Leone’s new cabinet. Four of the new appointees would be full cabinet ministers; three of them would serve in the key ministries of Lands and the Environment, Fisheries and Marine Resources and in the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs. 

The five deputies would also be serving in ministries that are close to women issues -education, health, infrastructure and Gender and Children Affairs. Another was already serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

In addition to this ground breaking cabinet appointments are two new female ambassadors. These would join others including the High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Ghana, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Senegal and other accredited countries. 

Sierra Leone’s Head of Mission in the People’s Republic of China, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Executive Director, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority, the Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority, The Executive Chairperson of the Environment Protection Agency, the Registrar General, and the Auditor General, the State chief of Protocol among others.

Political observers say that President Koroma’s women empowerment credentials are not limited to Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

 

Njala Police Arrests Suspect for the Murder of Journalist Henry Buckle

By Pastor Mohamed Sesay (27/03/16)

The latest arrest of this suspect who was on the run since the death of the Sierra Leone journalist last year is a twist in the murder trial.

 

A fourth person suspected of taking part in the killing of journalist and disc jockey, Sydney Henry Buckle aka DJ Clef, in May 2015 has been captured by Njala police and is currently helping police at the CID Hq. Pademba Road.

Abu Bakar Jah who had been on the run since that time was captured at Njala a few days ago after he surfaced at a girlfriend s house. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Inspector General of Police Mr. Francis Munu, left, and Justice Minister Joseph F. Kamara, centre).

Police said there was no resistance when he was approached by them. He is the fourth arrested following the earlier arrests of a suspect nicknamed La Chocolate and two others.

Reports say Abu Bakar Jah is said to have been one of the aides of Mbaimba Moiforay aka La Chocolate in whose house the party was been held in celebration of one of the accused persons, a woman called Avril Renner aka Oreh.

Another suspect, Foday Amara Kamara aka G Fak, who was also on the run after the murder of the journalist, reportedly gave himself up to the police in Kono district. He is second accused in the ongoing murder trial.

According to a lawyer I spoke to, there is all probability that if Abu Bakar Jah is charged with the murder he will have to be tried on his own as the current trial is almost at its conclusive stage.

Police have confirmed that Abu Bakar Jah is said to have made a 27 page statement to the police but he still has to go through a contemporaneous interview. 

Courtesy: Pastor Mohamed Sesay editor Comment newspaper.

 

 

Cornelius Deveaux 'Baba Ogun' Cabinet Nomination is the Very Popular

By APC Ose Pikin (27/03/16)

The cabinet appointment of Mr. Cornelius Deveaux aka Baba Ogun is one of the most popular nominations made by President Ernest Koroma.

Ruling All Peoples Congress is a living organism. The APC with its ideology of constructive nationalism seeks the needs and aspirations of the common man and common woman in the street. (Pictured: Mr. Cornelius Deveaux, man of the people).

Ever since President Ernest Bai Koroma became Leader and Chairman of the APC, the party continues to gain laurels. The APC now continues to attract votes from erstwhile opposition bastion - as manifested in recent bye-elections.

The recent cabinet reshuffle came as a stunner to many as people appointed by the president are capable enough to complement the Agenda for Prosperity over night. Appointees, including Cornelius Deveaux are household names in the political dispensation in the country. 

Mr. Deveaux popularly called Baba Ogun is a celebrated ambassador for the downtrodden. As Editor-in-Chief of the party mouthpiece the We Yone Newspaper and Deputy National Publicity  Secretary of the party, his touch with the common man and woman of the party is cordial.

In fact he is considered as a member of the operational wing of the party. Following his appointment as Deputy Minister of Information and Communications by President Koroma, the APC Party Secretariat and other party supporters applaud this nomination.

Mr. Deveaux as Editor-in-Chief of We Yone Newspaper won two successive elections 2007-2012. A good journalist is someone who has the ability to predict trends. 

He was the first person to  refer to the then Honourable Ernest Bai Koroma as His Excellency in a superb piece many won't forget in a hurry. His passion for his work is unquestionable. He is a full time journalist with the aptitude and versatility to overlap in other areas.

Thanking President Koroma for what they described as protection of the traditional values of the APC, scores of party faithful are of the view that the president made no mistake by elevating a man with huge resilience.

A good number of media practitioners in the country hold the same view, echoing their belief in the ability of Mr. Cornelius Deveaux to deliver as Deputy Minister of Information and Communications.

Mr. Deveaux is a member of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist and the Public Relation Officer of Guild of Editors.

 

The Rise and Fall of Fly Salone: The Betrayal of a Nation’s Pride!

By Mustapha Wai (27/03/16)

For an airline that was launched just over three months ago amid the pomp and pageantry that followed, it's sudden fall is a real eyesore.

As reports on the grounding of Fly Salone hit social media a couple of days ago, I visited the company’s website at

www.fly-salone.com to make sure it was not another prank. At the home page, was the following message: "To all the Fly Salone passengers who have flying arrangements. We regret to inform you that Fly Salone has ceased trading. All passengers will therefore be unable to fly with this airline as the Company will shortly be entering into Liquidation."

In just three months, an airline launched amid so much fanfare had gone under. But like the launching of the airline, even its fall did not come without controversy. Since the news about the grounding of the airline hit social media, several versions of the cause of the failure of the Fly Salone have emerged.

The ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party operatives and a number of officials of the Sierra Leone Government have gone into overdrive manufacturing excuses, branding other Sierra Leoneans as unpatriotic, and blaming everyone else but themselves for the demise of the airline.

Logus Koroma, the Minister of Transport and Aviation is quoted by Platinum Media as saying: "It appears that some Sierra Leoneans are hostile to private investments like these; from the beginning a cross section of Sierra Leoneans in the UK gave bad publicity to the venture and said they would not use it and they preferred Air France, Brussels Airlines and Royal Air Moroc. 

While some of these claims appear to carry some degree of truths, they do not tell the whole story. Our account of the real reasons behind the airline’s demise goes beyond the reaction of ordinary Sierra Leoneans and include the following:

•Politicizing of Fly Salone;

•Lack of due diligence on the part of the Sierra Leone Government and the business itself;

•Lack of support from the Government of Sierra Leone;

•Safety concerns overlooked and left to spread; and

•Competition from well-established airlines.

Evidence suggests that Fly Salone was politicized from the onset. On December 12, 2015, the first flight of Fly Salone, an airline reportedly launched by two Sierra Leonean businessmen Sam H. Sabrah and Jihad Saleh landed at Sierra Leone’s Lungi International Airport in Freetown. 

Onboard the first flight to mark the occasion were several government and ruling APC officials, including Mohamed Sesay (aka Sesay 91), a self-styled political pundit and APC mouthpiece who is now on the record blaming other Sierra Leoneans and an alleged clandestine colonial competitive strategy for the demise of the airline. 

In the beginning, many Sierra Leoneans did not know whether Fly Salone was a private or public venture. This was so because ruling party and government officials went to great lengths to become promoters and the defacto media faces of the airline, while taking credit for the launching, with photos of President Ernest Koroma flanked by Logus Koroma and others at Lungi Airport to grace the landing of the first flight going viral.

Cocorioko news outlet which is owned and operated by Wilfred Kabs Kanu, a ruling party member and Minister Plenipotentiary carried a headline article dated December 14, 2015 entitled: "President Koroma Kicks Off Freetown To London Fly Sierra Leone Service", commemorating the launch of Fly Salone.

In the article, the author declared that "Transport Minister Balogun Logus Koroma must be highly commended for his relentless efforts to solve the gap created when both British Airways and Gambia Bird stopped flying direct flights between London and Sierra Leone."

Courtesy: Mustapha Wai Host, MambaTV Focus on Sierra Leone March 20, 2016

 

Njala University Complains of Overcrowding this Academic Year!!!

By PR Office Njala (24/03/16)

University education in Sierra Leone is not rosy today as expected and Njala University College is no exception to this unimpressive rule.

The four walls of the University auditorium in Njala campus and the Great Hall in Bo could hardly contain the over 3,000 new students for this year's matriculation ceremony. The University ceremonies which took place on both Njala and Bo campuses have attracted a huge following from students and their families and staff. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah).

Officially welcoming freshmen and women into the Njala University family was the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Bo Campus Professor Andrew Baimba who on behalf of the University extended warm welcome to the matriculating students and distinguished guests present.

"It is my singular pleasure to welcome the freshmen and women who have been found worthy to be admitted to the various programmes of studies here," Professor Baimba said.

"I wish to congratulate and appreciate you sincerely for choosing Njala University as the institution to pursue your life long careers, and more importantly for selecting programmes based at Bo Campus," the Njala Vice Chancellor remarked.

Professor Baimba noted matriculation ceremonies are solemn occasions during which freshmen and women are formally invited and welcomed into the University. He said the taking of the matriculation oath signifies formal acceptance into the University as junior members but also admonished the new students present to be law abiding.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Bo Campus said the university is poised to providing access to university education to as many students as possible but they are, according to him, constrained due to lack of enough academic and residential accommodation for both staff and students.

He implored the students to make maximum use of the limited facilities at their disposal citing that Bo campus alone has a student population of 5,000 yet the university can only afford to provide accommodation for 500 lucky students.

Professor Baimba slammed a zero tolerance policy on anyone or group of persons leading to the destruction of university property and thereby urged all to protect and safeguard the integrity of their family names and the prospect of a better life after university education.

Similar words of caution were also dished out by Professor Alpha K. Laccoh, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Njala campus  during his address to the new students at the University Auditorium on Njala Campus.

Weighing their excitement on this all auspicious university ceremony, Vice Chancellor and Principal, Njala University, Professor Ernest Ndomahina admonished the students to make judicious use of the limited resources at their disposal.

In what would appear as the shortest speech (less than three minutes) since assuming the leadership of Njala University, Professor Ndomahina said the number of students intake has increased considerably since last year but however admonished them to work hard and to always use legitimate channels to report issues of concern to the administration and their lecturers.

"The success of your stay as student depends on your ethical behaviour, values of brotherly tolerance and respect for the principles of collegiality," Professor Ndomahina opined.

Present at the ceremony were Aly Turay, University Registrar, Director Academic Affairs, Acting Deputy Registrars - Njala and Bo campuses, Erstwhile President ASA Turad Senesie, Deans of the three schools in Bo among others.

Courtesy: OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS NJALA UNIVERSITY

 

Newspaper Demands Probe at the Ministry of Social Welfare & Gender

By Editayo G. Temple (24/03/16)

A Sierra Leone newspaper, Universal Times, has demanded an immediate investigation in to allegations of corruption at the Social Ministry.

The verbatim letter dated March 21, 2016, below has the details of the alleged corruption and mismanagement at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. (Pictured: Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the incoming Social Welfare Ministry).

UNIVERSAL TIMES NEWSPAPER
Motto: Objectivity Fairness and Truth
Address: 1A Lower Easton Street-Freetown
Contacts: 079-316-750/088-123-070

21st March, 2016.


Call to Investigate and Audit all programs and assets of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs…

Following an in-depth investigation conducted by the Universal Times Newspaper that led to an intelligence revelation of an alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children's Affairs, it has pleased us to request a speedy and unbiased investigation and auditing of all programs and assets of the said ministry prior to the arrival of the newly appointed Minister and Deputy in a bid to ascertain the alleged finger pointing making the rounds.

Furthermore, we are also calling on the Government through the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the slot of three (3) Staff of Radio Democracy FM 98.1 in the list of potential Delegates to the ongoing CSW conference in the United States of America, with particular reference to Kadija Bangura’s name in the list as “Press Officer attached to the Deputy Minister of Social welfare” without any official appointment from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

We still further request a thorough investigation into the Ebola Management Funds allocated to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs and the Flood victims' funds and assets respectively, pointing to an alleged embezzlement and corruption by both management and staff of the Ministry.

In another development, the Universal Times Press is reliably informed that some Government vehicles allocated to the Ministry can no longer be properly accounted for with ADS 183 a Toyota Hilux as an alleged case study amongst others, thus calling for proper investigation, auditing and headcount of all vehicles allocated to the Ministry since 2013 to date.

Finally, intelligence gathered by this medium also reveals that the Ministry of Social welfare has embarked on a massive endorsement of projects to be implemented and disbursement of funds after the sacking of the former Minister and his Deputy respectively, prior to the arrival of the newly appointed Minister and her Deputy in a bid to exhaust the remaining cash available in the Ministry’s account ahead of their arrival in office.

Signed:

_____________________ 
Editayo George Temple
        Proprietor
Universal Times Newspaper


Copy: 
 His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
 Anti Corruption Commission 
 Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs 
 Radio Democracy FM 98.1
 Ministry of Information & Communications 
               Diplomatic Communities 
               Bishop of the Anglican Diocese – (Bishop Wilson) 
               The Media

 

 

Africa: Is Changing the Constitution & Staying Longer in Power Patriotic?

By Dr. Sorie Gassama (24/03/16)

0r is it beyond term limits, a show of love for one’s country or just a way of ignoring the voice of the very people that catapulted you to power?

In a speech to the African Union last year in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, US President Barack Hussein Obama had this to say: “I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as president of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work, but under the constitution I cannot run again. I can’t run again. I actually think I am a really good president. I think if I run I will win, but I can’t. There is a lot that I will like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law, and no person is above the law; not even the President. And I will be honest with you, I am looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have all these security details all the time. It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve, I can visit Africa more often. (Pictured: President Obama with President Ernest Koroma).

The fun is I don’t understand why people want to stay in power so long, especially when they’ve got a lot of money. When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of a game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife as we have seen in Burundi. And this is often just the first step down a peerless path. Sometimes you can hear a leader say, ‘I am the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If this is true, that leader has failed to truly build their nation. You look at Nelson Mandela (Madiba), like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not because of what they did in office but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully. And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of powers, the African Union’s authority and voice can also help the people of Africa to ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and constitutions. Nobody should be president for life.”

This speech by a smart young man many years the junior of most if not all African leaders was a wakeup call. The young smart custodian of the White House of African origin was not only simply telling African leaders that it was time for real democracy on the African continent, but that they should stop plundering the economies of the very nations they were voted for to improve. As I write, I am pondering whether the message got through to the very audience it was meant for.

President Obama cited Burundi as an on-going example. As it is at the moment, the streets of Bujumbura are a-washed with anarchy; neighbors who used to be friends are now bitter enemies grappling for each other’s throat; children who used to smile all the way to school now sadly sit at home frightened by the violence around them; non-supporters of Pierre Nkurunziza’s party cannot afford their basic needs; more than a quarter-million citizens, those who can afford to escape, are now living in refugee camps in the Congo and elsewhere. While all this is happening, Pierre is still failing to realize that the lives of his people should be a priority. He has become a complete snob to the welfare of the very citizens who voted him in. It is quite obvious that the recent visit of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has meant little to Nkurunziza. Even though he told the visiting UN chief that he would release 2000 detained people, he had never ruled out his third-term bid.

Across the frontier, Paul Kagame, Nkurunziza’s counterpart and who was his number one critic, has also just concluded a referendum for an unconstitutional third term because it is his belief that there is no one like him to continue leading Rwanda on the path to progress. I am pretty certain that if he survives his third term Rwandans, like Burundians, out of frustration, will one day take to the streets to force him out of power.

Also a neighbor, Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville), who has been in power since 1979, just a few weeks ago, did not stop at using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) against his own people who rose to stop a referendum supporting his third term. While he succeeded in quelling the agitated crowd for the moment, it should not come as a surprise if rebels soon emerge from the jungle in a bid to oust him and send him speeding for his life, leaving behind him the resultant destruction of life and property.

Take yet another African leader who has just won a controversial election for his fifth five-year term as president – Yoweri Museveni. He boldly told a BBC journalist that his party does not accept the logic of term limits. In his bid to clamp down on opposition, his security forces arrested and detained his keenest rival for the presidency, Kizza Besigye, about four times within a week.

Leaders who try to cling to power have just soon forgotten what happened to Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast and Blaise Campaoré of Burkina Faso. At present he (Blaise Campaoré) is being illegally hosted in Ivory Coast waiting for his day in court for the many crimes he committed against his own people. Laurent Gbagbo, a man who once considered himself as nothing more than a demi-god and the only lawful custodian of the Ivory Coast, is now obviously getting accustomed to his new address, a cell room in The Hague no bigger than a European closet.

At this very moment, a man who once thought he was superior to any other person in the Ivory Coast has now found himself dejectedly sitting behind a bare desk in a courthouse in The Hague and answering to accusations of crimes against his own people. I pray and hope that he is kept behind bars for the rest of his life.  In fact I hope he could be handed to the poor Ivorians to be disgraced and lynched as it happened to Samuel K. Doe of Liberia and some other stubborn African leaders.

That is what shameless and self-conceited leaders deserve – those who consider staying in power as a priority against the welfare of the masses. Seated not far from him in the courthouse is Charles Blé Goudé, Gbagbo’s so-called former Youth Minister and his partner-in-crime. Once a loud and potty-mouthed boychick, with lots of money embezzled from state coffers as do most African politicians, he now looks saddened and depressed like a fallen angel in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

He is now doing all he can to detach himself as much as possible from his former boss, like the coward he is. In his own words, “Je ne jamais étais le patron.” I hope he gets the same punishment as his boss. After all, they were cohorts with one giving orders and the other following the orders to the letter. They are both killers and a disgrace to their nation.

While Blaise Campaoré might believe he is out of the woods, it is far from that. He is more or less buying time while he waits for his own day in court. If for nothing else, he will face justice for killing a progressive leader like Thomas Sankara. What he should know is that a coward who fights and runs away will live to fight another day. The only difference is that in his own case, he will not live to fight but live to face justice.

As it is, people who once benefitted from his 27 years in power have long since started to detach themselves from him. Most of his henchmen who occupied higher positions are presently even condemning him. Some even say that they were very much against his policies. Don’t be surprised as this is politics the African way. Be rest-assured, however, that all of those henchmen are just buying time before the law gets them in its noose.

It is worthwhile for all African leaders to realize that the wind of change is blowing through the African continent and whether it is liked or not, this growth of African national consciousness is a political fact now boldly written in indelible ink. This is to say that what African leaders of the past did and went scot-free can no longer be accepted. Africans have woken up from their slumbers and with the vigilance of the mass media as it is today, nothing escapes the curious eyes of Western societies.  
African leaders must know that while a man can build for himself a throne of bayonets, he cannot sit on it, and that, as wise people say, self-aggrandizement in politics at the expense of the masses is seldom the truest wisdom. While times have changed, people have changed with them, not for the worse though. Are African leaders bad people? No. In fact all African leaders get into politics for the right reason, which is to help their people and achieve what past leaders never did achieve.

The fact is that they are corrupted along the way by the very people they trust and bring in to help them achieve their objectives. Most African leaders appoint to higher offices not the capable but those they believe are friends or close associates. Through this, while they make sure that they are protected in the company of families and friends, the work of governance is neglected and left undone. 

The result is that those close associates, believing that they can do anything with impunity, compete with one another to embezzle state funds. Usually, they make the best use of it believing that once their leader-friend leaves power, there is no way they can make money anymore. The logic is that a well-educated individual can make ends meet after politics by doing something academic but the incapable is doomed thereafter and can therefore do anything  to secure the future of uncertainties.

Usually the idea of changing the constitution to allow for a third term is never the idea of the president himself but the people that surround him. They are certain that once the president leaves power, the purse strings are tightened and their power to embezzle is gone. They therefore start looking for excuses and convince their leader that doing the wrong thing by changing the constitution to stay in power is normal and more heroic.

In doing this, they pretend to adore the president while they harbor their own secret goals, which are to stay in power along with the president and continue their acts of avarice. They are always very much aware that this is a gamble that might fail and, indeed, it won’t work in today’s Africa. The fact is that when push comes to shove, as the saying goes, they can always abandon the very leader that they now pretend to cherish. Blé Goudé, President Gbagbo’s close associate, is now denying him in The Hague, while Blaise Campaoré’s cronies of 27 years are now furiously criticizing him on the streets of Burkina.

This is enough for any African leader to think twice, especially those who are being pushed by greedy politicians to change a working document so as to stay in power indefinitely. Our elders always say that people who love you are never tired of advising you not to eat from a narrow bowl with your eyes closed. A constitution is a legally binding document that describes the system of beliefs and laws by which a country or organization is governed. No one has the right to turn it around for their own benefit. Like President Obama said, this can simply lead to civil strife.

Political leaders who have led their countries for a two-term limit must be content and grateful to the voting populace. They must be wise enough to peacefully exit and not over-stay their welcome. Problems can easily flare up if those people who love you today become disgruntled. When this happens, all the henchmen who pretended to be friends will melt away.

Nothing is better than to stay in power for two terms, oversee the conduction of a fair election with the awareness that democracy is not in the voting but in the counting, hand-over power peacefully, and stay in the country you have helped build as a respected and peace-loving citizen. It is wise to leave office smiling with triumph and pride than weeping with regrets and indignity. In Gbagbo’s words, “No man should listen to a greedy wife; I hope I hadn’t listened to mine.” Presently, Gbagbo is in pain and will be for a long time. There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time in the midst of misery.

This article is not meant for all African leaders; it is mainly for those dishonest and rapacious tyrants. I am writing with the hope that all such leaders who are thinking of breaking the rules will wise up and abide by their constitutions. In the words of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, “African leaders should stop looking for technicalities to stay in power.” Using a state of emergency as a reason to stay in power is not good enough, nor is it feasible for a politician to say that he wants more time to be able to achieve what he couldn’t achieve during his two terms. Africa today, with it riches and suffering masses need more peace than ever before.

Africans in power must remember that people crushed by law have no hope and trust in governance. If laws become their enemies, they will become enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous, more or less. People don’t give up their freedom except under delusion.

 

Alie Kabba's Libyan Connection and the Formation of the RUF Rebels!

By Sahr Dagbee (22/03/16)

The Office of National Security in Sierra Leone has been warned to be wary of Alie Kabba's Libya connection in the late 1980's.

Alie Satan Sanjan Kabba is on a diabolic plan in organising ex-combatants in a bid to demonstrate or disrupts in front of the high court room slated for his bigamy case hearing in March. Remember this same guy was one of the foundation members of the dreaded Revolutionary United Front RUF, a group which committed heinous crimes to thousands of poor innocent Sierra Leoneans throughout the length and breathe of Mama Salone. (Pictured: Sympathisers of Alie Kabba, the RUF mastermind).

His commando name was "the LIBYA CONNECTION". He had the responsibility of doing the training and the destructive plans for the APC party and Mama Salone, coupled with many other devilish acts that precipitated the 11-year-old RUF bloody war (1991-2002) that resulted to the burning of houses, looting and maiming, raping, amputations and so on and so forth.

Thank God for ECOWAS and the United Kingdom that eventually led to the UN intervention that flushed out the RUF rebels led by Foday Saybana Sankoh, who replaced Alie Kabba after he fled with the RUF monies.

Alie Kabba fell out with the RUF in Libya because of his rogue infested habits he exhibited to them, when he had to run away with thousands of US dollars that was given to him to purchase arms and ammunition to pursue the war in Sierra Leone.

That was the money he used to seek political asylum in the United States of America where he lived a fruitless life as a beggar turned civil rights activist. Doing fund raising without being accountable to his colleagues.

The questions I am asking now are: What good did his initiated RUF war bring? Is he aware that the actions of the RUF brought untold sufferings to the people of Sierra Leone?

Has he been seeing the countless amputees turned beggars today roaming the streets of Freetown and elsewhere and how does he feel now? Has he ever been remorseful to the people of Sierra Leone or does he have any conscience?

When did he start thinking of becoming president of Sierra Leone? Because even President Ernest Koroma who was also a victim of the RUF has apologized to other victims of the RUF onslaught when he assumed office. A sign of a good person and responsible leadership.

Is Alie Satan Kabba worth a leader when after all the bogus and cosmetics speeches he has made so far, he cannot even foot his own bills yet he wants to lead the SLPP and to become president?

Where is your office in Freetown because we cannot guarantee any portfolio or handbag aspirants? When are you coming upcountry because a lot of your amputated voters are waiting to see the architect of the rebel. 

Has Alie Kabba rebuilt the Kabba family house in Kailahun that his boys burnt down? Is he still using that old broken black-4-runner hoping to change it when he becomes president? ASTAFUULAI, SATAN BIN YOU TO HELL!

I am reliably informed that he is identifying idlers around Wellington, Calaba Town areas etc to be used in his diabolical plans which the Office of National Security and other state security apparatus must watch closely. Alie Satan Sajan Kabba the people of mama Salone have had enough and cannot be lured into your satanic acts any more.

WARNING: The people of Sierra Leone are no fools. They have heard what former Liberian President Charles Taylor has confessed about your absolute involvement in the early years of the RUF!!!

Charles Taylor, who is in detention in the Hague Holland, said he did not know Foday Sankoh. "Foday Sankoh was nothing. Alie Kabba was their leader whom I knew and met several times in Libya," the former National Patriotic Front of Liberia NPFL leader Charles Ghangay Taylor asserted.

So Alie Kabba the people are watching you with eagles' eye and you must know that your actions with the RUF will not go unpunished.

Courtesy: Sahr Dagbee aka dgentlebeast

 

Nominees: Vetting Postponed Again to Wednesday March 30, 2016

By Parliament PR (22/03/16)

The Parliamentary Committee will finally start screening President Ernest Koroma's nominees on Wednesday March 30, 2016.

According to latest reports from Freetown following another postponement, the vetting and approving process will now commence on Wednesday March 30, 2016 to give ample time for MPs to visit their constituencies during the Easter break. The first postponement of the interviews scheduled for last Monday was due to the late arrival of the Majority Leader of Parliament Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, who also chairs the Committee on Appointments.

Hon. Bundu jetted in at Lungi from Belgium on Tuesday and the screening process was immediately rescheduled so as to pay fitting tribute to the sudden death of SLPP MP Hon Patrick Foyah. Below is the press release dated yesterday 21/03/16:

REQUEST FOR PUBLICITY
 
21st March, 2016: I am directed to request publicity of the following announcement starting immediately and frequently repeated until 12:00 Noon on Tuesday 22nd March, 2016.
 
“With apology, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament wishes to inform the general public that the interview of the following Presidential nominees before the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, initially scheduled for Monday 21st March, 2016 at 1:00 p.m, has been postponed to Tuesday 22nd March, 2016 at 1:00 p.m, due to unavoidable circumstances”.
 
Presidential Nominations:
 
Dr. Sylvia Blyden-Proposed Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (Pictured).
Mr. Monfred M. Sesay-Proposed Justice of the Court of Appeal
Mr. Mohamed Bangura-Proposed Minister of Information and Communications
Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura-Proposed Minister of Youth Affairs
Ms. Nanette Thomas-Proposed Minister of Political and Public Affairs
Mr. Ahmed Khanou-Proposed Minister of Sports
 
All other things remain constant.
 
Department of Public Relations
Parliament of Sierra Leone
OAU Drive, Tower Hill
Freetown
Tel: 076840285/077669726 /078426851

 

 

Sierra Leone Urged to Attend the Rio Olympic & Paralympic Games

By State House Release (22/03/16)

Sierra Leone government have been urged to allow their athletes to participate in the 31st Olympic Games 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) led by Dr Patrick Coker recently presented an invite to President Ernest Bai Koroma for Sierra Leone to participate in the 31st Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Pictured: Some of the Leone Stars players may feature for Sierra Leone).

Acknowledging receipt, President Koroma expressed conviction that the invite is for the whole country as that will require the full participation and engagement of the team in their preparations for the games. He urged the NOC to shore up arrangements with the aim of coming back with medals and positioning the country for international recognition.

The president assured of government’s continued support and urged compatriots through the Ministry of Sports to work very hard so the country will come out with flying colours. In another development, President Koroma hosted the Bonthe Family at State House.

The organization was formed in 2009 to bring together descendants of the district and to help enhance issues bordering on the development and progress of Bonthe.

The president and Bonthe family discussed wide ranging issues, including education, road construction, fisheries, job opportunities as well as the overall social service delivery system within the district. He urged the Bonthe family to convene a meeting with relevant ministries to find a way to address their concerns. He also pointed out that the huge potentials particularly in the tourism sector can be used to open opportunities for the country.

The Minister of Water Resources Mr. Momodu Maligie, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology Mr. Osmond Hanciles, Special Assistant to the President on Media Outreach Mr. Oswald Hanciles, Lawyer Floyd Davies, and Mr. Solomon Caulker of ONS, among others, were present at the meeting.

 

Minister Mayah Kai Kai Inherits Acute Problems at Kono City Council

By Kono Citizens (20/03/16)

The problems currently engulfing the Kono City Council will definitely capture the attention of the new Local Government Minister.

The Koidu New Sembehun City Council KNSCC is under a new political administration but reports say the new administrators have not been accorded the deserved administrative support especially in terms of office space. (Pictured: Minister Maya Kaikai needs to nip the Kono problems in the bud).

Concerned Kono citizens in Sierra Leone think it is but fitting that the Acting Mayor be given the opportunity to do his work peacefully in the midst of the former dissident Mayor who continues to fight from afar with support from the Diaspora Kono, a group who has no fixed abode and recognition locally.

The AWOL (Absent Without Leave) thug Councilor Kai Lawrence Mbayo continues to deceive the listening public over the skewed suspended Monologue Programme now called (ONE ON ONE) by saying that there were only five Councilors present in the internal election conducted by the councilors.

This same medium has been conducting persistent sabotage campaigns against the political leaders and local authorities of Kono district without following journalistic ethics of two sides to every story.

"Most important is why up till now the Acting Mayor Aiah Baterlomio Boima Komba has not been allowed to operate from the official Mayor's designated office? Instead he is still operating from either the Chief Administrator's Office or any other available room in the KNSCC building?" the concerned citizens continue to ask.

As they congratulate Minister Kai Kai, who replaced Minister Diana Konomanyi, the concerned citizens await his immediate response to this virus which the new minister is already aware of.

May God richly bless and guide you through this process. 

SIR, OUR EARS ARE ON THE GROUND!!!

Courtesy: dgentlebeast

 

"Like Karefa Smart, President Koroma is Youth Friendly," Says Sylvia

By Desmond Jones (20/03/16)

It is no surprise comparing President Ernest Koroma to Sierra Leone's legendary politician Dr. John Karefa Smart regarding their love for youths.

The Goodwill Ambassador of the Youths of Sierra Leone Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has recently described Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma as a leader who is easily attracted by a youth empowerment policy of any kind. (President Koroma smiling with his new Social Affairs, Gender & Children's Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden).

Dr. Blyden made this statement at the launching ceremony of the National Youth Policy and the Youth in Fishing Project of the Ministry of Youth Affairs, where she was master of ceremony last month.

Speaking further, Dr. Sylvia Blyden likened President Koroma love for youths empowerment to the late Dr. John Karefa Smart who according to her was desirous to empower women as evidenced by the actions Karefa Smart took during his campaigns to become President of Sierra Leone. These, she said included Karefa Smart desirous of empowering women to be his presidential elections running mates.

Relating it to the topic under review, Dr. Sylvia Blyden said both in 2002 and 2007 when President Koroma was in Opposition and contesting for the Presidency of Sierra Leone, he gave more young people his APC symbols to contest for parliamentary seats across the country, including a 20 year-old Musa Kanneh who only turned 21 years barely few days to contesting for Parliament in Constituency 005 in Kailahun District.

She said that was a clear indication that President Koroma is a man who is naturally committed to the advancement of the youths from even before he assumed the Presidency.

This, she said is the reason why today the country has more young ministers, young Judges, young ambassadors and young Parastatal Board members more than any other time in its History. She pointed at how a special ministry of youth affairs and also a national commission for youths have emerged during era of Ernest Bai Koroma as President of Sierra Leone.

She therefore emphasized to the youths that the tenure of President Koroma in office is their opportunity to grow, and must be judiciously utilized. She said whilst working closely with the President at State House for 20 months, one sure way of drawing his support for any project, was to include a component that empowers youths.

Delivering his keynote address, President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that the launch of the youth policy and youth in fishing project is one of the principal milestones of government’s commitment to addressing the challenges the youths of Sierra Leone are faced with.

The President reiterated his pledge to dedicate his second term in office to the youths, and further stressed the need for the implementation of drafted policies. He went on to call on government ministries, departments and agencies and donor partners to mainstream youth policies in every of their daily operations.

He said the youth are of the fantastic potentials required for the sustenance of the country’s development, but he said we can only tap into those potentials as a country, when the people and government ensure effective coordination and collaboration while implementing projects geared towards elevating the status of the youths.

Launching the Revised National Youth Policy, the President called on the youths to take it as their bible which they must always read, in order for them to understand the stated legislations and regulations for them, which will get them in the better position to ask necessary question to government officials.

Courtesy: Desmond Jones (AYV News)

 

The Audit Report Management of the Ebola Funds Tabled in Parliament

By Press Release (20/03/16)

Part Two of the Audited Report of on the management of the Ebola Funds has been brought before parliament for deliberations.

The press release dated 25th February, 2015 noted that the Auditor General of Sierra Leone wishes to inform the general public that part two of the Audited Report on the Management of the Ebola Funds by the National Ebola Response Centre in Sierra Leone from November 2014 to April 2015 has been tabled in parliament.

The audit was undertaken in order to ascertain whether funds received by the Government of Sierra Leone in the fight against the Ebola virus disease were utilised with due regard to economy and efficiency, and that internal controls were observed accordingly.

The audit focused on procurement, disbursement (including cash and bank management) and asset management. (Pictured: House Speaker Hon S.B.B Dumbuya).

The Audit Service Sierra Leone will continue to serve the people of Sierra Leone as “the Guardian of Sierra Leone’s Economic Security”, in a professional manner.

The full report can be found on the Audit Service Sierra Leone website at www.auditservice.gov.sl

Contact: Martin Sandy
Information, Education & Communications Officer
Audit Service Sierra Leone.

 

ADP Urges MPs to Deny Mohamed Bangura the Information Ministry!

By ADP Press Release (18/03/16)

President Ernest Koroma's nominee for the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mohamed Bangura is facing hell from the ADP party.

Latest reports say the Alliance Democratic Party does not want Parliament to approve Mohamed Bangura as Minister of Information and Communications because the Sierra Leone Constitution disqualifies him. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma).

Following below is the press release from the ADP party that requested Parliament not to approve Mr. Mohamed Bangura:

ALLIANCE DEMOCRATIC PARTY (ADP) 
Motto: Opportunity and Responsibility 
Address: 13 Rawdon Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone.      
Contact: 078747042
15th March, 2016
 
Hon. S.B.B Dumbuya
Speaker, Sierra Leone House of Parliament                                                                               
Tower Hill, Freetown, Sierra Leone
 
Dear Hon. Dumbuya,

Re: Requesting the non-approval of Mohamed Bangura
 
The Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) wishes to crave your indulgence and the attention of the House of Parliament to the unconstitutional action of the His Excellency President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, by him daring to appoint as Minister of Information and Communications the Former Leader and Chairman of the United Democratic Party, Mohamed Bangura who contested the 2012 General Presidential Election and lost with 5, 056 votes.
 
We want to draw your attention to the fact that The President breached Section 56(1) (b) of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone which validates our sovereignty as a nation and guarantees the rule of law, separation of powers and the principles of democracy.
 
The noble House of Parliament constitutes representatives of the people of this nation who have entrusted their future into the hands of their elected representatives. Therefore, the people through the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) are demanding that the House of Parliament does not approve Mohamed Bangura as Minister of Information and Communications because the constitution disqualifies him.
 
The ADP stands committed to promoting the ideals of this nation, the Rule of Law and Separation of Powers.

We eagerly look forward to hearing from you.                                                                                                  
 
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray                                                                                             
Chairman and Leader                                                                                                         
Alliance Democratic Party
 
Cc: Diplomatic Corp                                                                                                                  
Members of Parliament Parliament                                                                                                                                      Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Chief Justice                                                                                                                               
PPRC                                                                                                                                      
Political Parties                                                                                                                              
Media

 

Parliament Okays 2 Director-Generals for NASSIT in Sierra Leone

By Press Release (18/03/16)

Two Deputy Director Generals of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust NASSIT have been approved by Parliament in Freetown.

According to the PR Department press release, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Wednesday 16th March, 2016 amended Section 14 of the NASSIT Act, 2001 to provide for the appointment of two Deputy Director-Generals and for other related matters. (NASSIT boss Kalokoh).
 
In presenting the Bill for amendment to the House, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, former Chief Whip of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Matthew Teambo, underscored among other things, the functions and operations of NASSIT, noting expansion; huge volume of work; staff strength; collection; processing and payment of benefits to beneficiaries.

It also includes investment portfolios; monitoring and supervision; thus the need for a second Deputy Director-General to surmount some of the challenges affecting the smooth operations of the Trust. He emphasized that the need for Deputy Director-Generals is recommended by the International Labour Organization as best practice in administering Trusts in Africa.
 
Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle commended the amendment as rational, logical and non-controversial, whilst recalling the establishment of NASSIT.

However, MPs also raised concerns about NASSIT holding contributions in suspense accounts; instead of individual accounts to enhance retirement benefits such as payment of pensions and gratuities; and also advocated for the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to be relocated to a better structure befitting the status of the Ministry.
 
Department of Public Relations
Parliament of Sierra Leone
OAU Drive, Tower Hill
Freetown
Tel: 076840285/077669726 /078426851

 

Sylvia Nomination Highlights Ernest Koroma's Cabinet Reshuffle

By Abu Shaw in London (16/03/16)

President Ernest Koroma's cabinet reshuffle and nominations have brought smiles and sadness to many Sierra Leoneans home and abroad.

The cabinet nomination of Dr. Sylvia Blyden as Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs has been the highlight of President Ernest Bai Koroma's recent cabinet promotions, demotions, sackings and nominations. (Pictured: President Koroma brainstorming with Dr. Sylvia Blyden in 2011).

Astonishingly, Dr. Sylvia Blyden's nomination is the first time the versatile medical doctor has accepted a ministerial position in the government of President Ernest Koroma. She has also served as Special Executive Assistant to the President (equivalent to a cabinet position) but this latest ministerial nomination is conspicuously unique for her and her numerous admirers in Sierra Leone and abroad.

Well wishers of Dr. Sylvia Blyden were delighted to hear the good news even though certain jealous individuals of different political persuasions continue to languish in sadness instead of hailing the deserving achievements of Dr. Sylvia Blyden in many facets of society.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the journalist-cum-politician, has been one of the most significant additions to the APC government of President Ernest Koroma over the years. It just highlights President Koroma's gift in spotting talents.

She is the first Sierra Leone female journalist to break the macho journalism barrier in Sierra Leone and her newspaper, the Awareness Times, continues to be the best selling newspaper in the country.

Also, President Koroma's reshuffling axe fell on many famous ministers like Paul Kamara, the former Sports Minister who was sacked. Some other flamboyant Ministers like Alpha Kanu, the former Information Minster was demoted among others. It is now left with the members of parliament to approve or disapprove President Koroma's nominees. Below is the press release that brought the good and bad news:


PRESS RELEASE


THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS HEREBY INFORMED THAT IN REVIEWING THE OVERALL GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE, IT HAS PLEASED HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA TO ANNOUNCE THE FOLLOWING MINISTERIAL, AMBASSADORIAL, STATUTORY AND OTHER APPOINTMENTS SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF PARLIAMENT WHERE NECESSARY:

                                                          MINISTERS

MR. MOMODU L. KARGBO                         -------------------------------                       MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                                                                                                                                                                        
        
MR. MAYA KAIKAI                                      ----------------------------------                    MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT  AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
                                                                                  

MAJOR (RTD) ALFRED PALO CONTEH                 -------------------------                 MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS                           
                                                             
MR. MOHAMED BANGURA                                          ---------------------                 MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
                                                                                       

CAPT. MOMODU ALLIEU PAT-SOWE          ----------------------------------                  MINISTER OF TRADE AND   INDUSTRY

 

ALHAJI IBRAHIM KEMOH SESAY    ------     MINISTER OF WORKS, HOUSING                                                                                                                                INFRASTRUCTURE
                                                                  
MS. DIANA KONOMANYI                      --------------------                    MINISTER OF LANDS, COUNTRY PLANNING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
                                                                    
                                                               
DR. SYLVIA BLYDEN                                  ----------------                  MINISTER OF SOCIAL WELFARE, GENDER AND CHILDREN’S AFFAIRS
                                                                                      

MS. ELIZABETH MANS               --------------------------------------        MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES

 

MR. BAI MAMOUD BANGURA                  ----------------------             MINISTER OF YOUTH AFFAIRS

 

MR. SIDI YAHYA TUNIS                ------------------------------              MINISTER OF TOURISM

 

MR. AHMED KHANOU                    -------------------------------           MINISTER OF SPORTS

 

MS. NANETTE THOMAS                                   ------------               MINISTER OF POLITICAL AND  PUBLIC AFFAIRS
                        
                                                                                        

 

                    
                                               
                                                      DEPUTY MINISTERS


MR. MOMOH VANDI                               ----------       DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT                                                                                                      
          
MAJOR (RTD) ISHMAEL SENGU KOROMA      -----        DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                         

MR.CORNELIUS DEVEAUX           -----------       DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS                                                                           
       

MR.IBRAHIM MANSARAY                             -       DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND  INDUSTRY                                  

 

MS. CHRISTIANA THORPE                            -       DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION   SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1
             
                                 
MR.JAMES MORLAI KAMARA                         -       DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 11
            

MRS. ZULAINATU COOPER                            -      DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SANITATION 11
                                                                         

CAPT (RTD) ABDUL RAHMAN KAMARA          -----   DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE

 

MR. OSMOND HANCILES ----------------------  DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY 11

 

MR .M.A JALLOH -----------------------------------DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND AVIATION

 

MR .BELLA FORNAH  ---------------------------  DEPUTY MINISTER OF TOURISM

 

SLPP MP Praises Sylvia Blyden as the Football Tourney in Kenema Ends

By Editayo G. Temple (16/03/16)

The historic one week football tournament in Kenema has ended successfully with Gbo-Lambayama winning the Dr. Sylvia Blyden Trophy.

But what crowned the Hangha Football tournament was the conspicuous praises levied on Dr. Sylvia Blyden by the opposition SLPP party Member of Parliament for successful hosting of the football encounter in Kenema District. (Pictured: Sylvia handing over the football trophy to the Kenema Elders).

It is rarely seen in the Sierra Leone political circle today for SLPP members levying praise on a politician from the ruling APC government. Breaking this taboo is good for the country. This is called clean and patriotic politics which all members of the SLPP must emulate.

Honourable Andrew Lungay of Constituency 012 and Honourable Francis Amara Kaisamba of Constituency 010 in Kenema District have commended Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, alias (Salone Hillary Clinton) for her strides in unifying and promoting peace and reconciliation in Kenema, their homeland.

It came about following a successful and non-violent football gala organised by the Nongowa Youths Promoters supported by Dr. Sylvia Blyden - the Proprietor of Awareness  Times newspaper and an astute Human Rights Activist - in a bid to foster peace and unity amongst young people in the District.

The football gala which saw Gbo-Lambayama won the trophy against Dagbana FC, took place at the KBEC Primary School Field in Hanga Town under the distinguish patronage of Kenema District.

Chief Amara Vangahun, Paramount Chief, Nongowa Chiefdom Kenema District, Mr. Abraham Manzola Kamara, Chairman Kenema Kamboi Eagles FC and Mr. James Lansana Sankoh, Personal Assistant to the Acting, National Secretary General of the Opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara, were all present to grace the occasion.

Traditional dance and after gala dance and award ceremony formed part of the colourful event with Dr. Blyden the newly appointed Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs in attendance as the Guest of Honour.

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple, The Investigative Journalist, Universal Times Newspaper

 

AMR Gold's 200 Million Leones Projects for Sella Limba in Bombali

By Press Release (14/03/16)

The 200 million Leones worth of projects for the people of Sella Limba in Bombali District will cover many areas of development projects.

As part of its sustainable community development drive, the Wilkinson Hill Mining Company, a subsidiary of AMR Gold, has allocated over $31,000USD (equivalent to Le 200M) to undertake development programmes for the Sella Limba Chiefdom in Bombali District. (Pictured: L-R Justice Minister Joseph Koroma, Vice President Victor Foh and former Information Minister IB Kargbo praying recently in Bombali).

This disclosure was recently made by the AMR Gold, Community Liaison Coordinator John P. Moriba at the Kamakwie Court Barry. According to Mr. Moriba, the two hundred million Leones worth of development projects for the people of Sella Limba will cover educational empowerment, community development and payment of surface and land rent to landowners.

Mr. Moriba informed community stakeholders that the development projects are part of the Wilkinson Hill Mining Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programmes promised to the entire community. He added that these benefits are among numerous projects expected to be offered by the small scale mining operation.

He said: “Our primary focus as a company is the provision of more jobs for Sierra Leoneans devoid of regional background and social status.” He pointed out that since 2011, AMR Gold has provided employment to over three hundred Sierra Leoneans from senior management to junior staff and unskilled labour.

Among the development projects supported by AMR Gold are the construction of the Kamasorie and Kakuru bridges; provided computer literacy training for thirty youths; rehabilitation of the Kamakwie maternity center; establishment of the fifty acres of oil palm nurseries; supply of agricultural equipment for five villages and sections and the provision of 2.5 KVA generator for the Sierra Leone Police.

It also includes the provision of one hundred desks and chairs to two secondary schools in Kamakwie town; rehabilitated and refurbished the Ministry of Mines office in Kamakwie and will provide financial support to the Kawula women for agricultural purposes.

He noted that because AMR Gold recognises the role played by the media in bringing governance to the people, the company has provided logistical and financial support to the only community radio station-radio Sella Okentu. 

He gave assurances that Wilkinson Hill Mining Company is set to start responsible mining operation in Kathanta village, which will be done within the ambit of the law.

 

Former Scottish Justice Secretary Accused of Insulting Sheku’s Family!!

By Craig Robertson (14/03/16)

A member of parliament in Scotland is accused of insulting the family of 31-year-old Sierra Leonean who died mysteriously in police custody.

Former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has been accused of insulting the family after suggesting the case wouldn’t lead to a criminal prosecution.
Sheku Bayoh’s relatives say they are stunned by his unprecedented intervention into the ongoing probe over the 31-year-old’s death. (Pictured: R-L, Sheku's sister, lawyer Aamer and girl friend during one of the family's interviews).

MacAskill, who is still an MSP, said he believed it would be reveal a “tragic accident and no criminality” and claimed there was a poisonous campaign against Police Scotland – the merged force created during his time as Justice Chief.

And he insisted that comments shouldn’t be made on the case until the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has finished its investigation.
Sheku, a father-of-two, died in May last year after an incident in Kirkcaldy when he was restrained by up to nine police officers who used batons, CS spray, pava spray, leg restraints and handcuffs on him.

In response to MacAskill’s comments, the Bayoh family’s solicitor, Aamer Amwar said: “The Bayoh family are distraught at yet again another attempt to divert attention from why Sheku Bayoh died on May 3.

“Sheku’s family find it upsetting that a former Justice Secretary should insult their family without having a full grasp of the facts, after all it was not them who advised nine police officers not to speak to the PIRC for some 32 days.

MacAskill’s outburst was made in a lengthy article for weekly force magazine Police Professional some time ago. He said: “Sadly, in this instance there has not only been a campaign but significant press comment that is at a best a slur on either individuals or the service and at worst highly prejudicial to any Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) or criminal prosecution that may follow.

“Even if the most serious of those consequences were to arise, which I very much doubt, due process must be followed and the prosecution neither tainted not jeopardised.

“The fact that the Police are involved seems to change the ground rules for many that would apply in another suspicious death or for another organisation. That appears to be happening as the open season of hunting Police Scotland continues and individual officers are targeted.”

Courtesy: Craig Robertson & Callum Moffat of Daily Record

Police Wanted Sheku Bayoh's Body Removed From Scotland Just Two Days After He Died

By Marcello Mega Daily Record

Officers contacted Sierra Leone embassy soon after dad-of-two died in custody to discuss repatriating his body but alarmed staff immediately called the family.

Also, according to one Ash Miller, a friend of Sheku's very kindly raised some money for a headstone for Sheku's grave. After some disagreement from Sheku's family on the colour of the stone, it was eventually ordered, engraved and placed above Sheku's resting place.

The family have now had that stone removed and returned to this very kind man who went out of his way to help the family and his friends! What a slap in the face to all those who kindly donated their money. Sheku's family have also threatened legal action.

"They should be ashamed of themselves," according to those who made the donation. Think they may have been happier to have had the cash handed to them. 
"Disgraceful! Would be nice if this unwanted stone could be used in Sheku's memory in some way so that everyone's hard work does not go to waste...," the aggrieved donors are alleged to have noted.

 

 

Sierra Leone Envoy Kumba Momoh Woos Foreign & Local Investors

By John Baimba Sesay (14/03/16)

Envoy Kumba Alice Momoh has disclosed that the APC Government has in place mechanisms that will protect investors and their investments.

With Sierra Leone frantically working towards meeting her growth pillars as contained in her the Agenda for Prosperity development trajectory, the country’s envoy to China, has said, her Government has in place mechanisms that will protect investors and their investment interests be they local or foreign. (Pictured: Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara, first left, doing well to attract investors).

Madam Kumba Momoh spoke on Wednesday 17th February, during a briefing session, organized by the Embassy’s Trade and Commercial Office, for potential Chinese investors who had sought relevant information on investment opportunities as well as government policies on investments.

The event, spearheaded by the Embassy’s Trade and Cultural Attaché, Lansana Fadika was aimed at presenting Chinese investors with investment opportunities in Sierra Leone in sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure, among others.

Making a presentation on Sierra Leone’s Investments Opportunities, Madam Momoh said the country’s Investment Promotion Act (IPA) 2004, serves as the foundation for private investments regime in Sierra Leone, as it is crucial in the promotion and attraction of private investments, both domestic and foreign for the development of value-adding opportunities, export creation and investment opportunities.

“The IPA offers significant incentives to foreign investors in Sierra Leone, including the ability to repatriate profits and capital without restriction; the ability for companies to carry forward loses indefinitely and customs' exemptions for expatriate workers and their families,” envoy Kumba Momoh said.

She said the government of President Ernest Koroma has always been committed to the country’s development efforts and as such, looking forward to investors to invest in the country’s untapped potentials. 

Madam Kumba Momoh elaborately explained what the country can offer in sectors like agriculture, fisheries and marine resources, energy generation, infrastructure, among a host of others and noted: “As a country, we have huge untapped areas and you can think of exploring those potentials and see how we all get a win-win result.” 

 

Health Ministry Conducts Anti-Malaria Treatment to 4 Sentinel Sites

By Mamadi Khonte (11/03/16)

Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and Sanitation is putting into reality the World Health Organisation's move on anti-malaria treatments.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation National Malaria Control Programme is currently conducting an Anti-Malaria Treatment Efficacy and Safety Study from February to June 2016. (Sierra Leone's Health Minister Dr. Fofanah).

The study which is in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) would target children between the ages 6 months to 59 months especially those affected with fever.

The safety study is designed towards evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of the first line anti-malaria drugs used for treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria, providing the minimum information essential for programmatic decision-making.

The study would be conducted in George Brooke Community Health Centre, Western Area, Bo Government Hospital, Makeni Regional Hospital and Kenema Government Hospital.

MMK/MIC/MOHS Freetown, Feb. 22, 016

Courtesy: Mamadi M. Khonte (Intern)

 

Transport Minister Hails the 'Youth Power Message' in London

By Editayo George Temple (11/03/16)

Reports have reiterated that President Ernest Bai Koroma is ever determined and committed to the promotion of youth ideals.

Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Leonard Balogun Koroma alias "Logus" has recently graced the All People's Congress (APC) UK and Northern Ireland Branch Youth Meeting and Membership Drive, where he intimated his audience that President Koroma is committed to their course. (Pictured: APC London branch members during the meet).

He reminded the huge gathering of Youths in London that when the President won the 2012 Elections, he realised that he was re-elected because of the confidence and trust the youthful populace had in his leadership. As a result of which the Head of State made the public commitment that he was prepared to even "lay his life for the youths".

Minister Logus furthered that the President is so determined to empower youths that he would stop at nothing until his vision for Sierra Leone youths is achieved. 
The result oriented  Minster of Transport and Aviation made this statement whilst addressing members of the APC, UK and Northern Ireland Branch Youths and Elders as Guest Speaker.

Logus who also doubles as APC Diaspora Coordinator, encouraged and admonished his fellow compatriots and comrades to continue the good work for their party and in the interest of the general good.

In conclusion, he promised to convey their respective messages to the President and Party in general for onward address of issues raised.

Finally the gathering also thanked the Minister for his relentless efforts and encouraged him to keep up the work for the party as they foresee victory for the indomitable APC political institution in the forthcoming polls.

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is Poised to Partner with Sierra Leone

By M.B. Jalloh (11/03/16)

The Sierra Leone government and the United Arab Emirates are poised to forge economic and technical cooperation in the years ahead.

Sierra Leone's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was recently warmly received by UAE’s Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) at the Al Dhait Palace. (Pictured: R-L President Koroma Foreign Minister Dr. Samura Kamara who is doing nicely so far to sell the Sierra Leone brand and the smiling Dr. Sylvia Blyden).

In his statement to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ambassador Siray Alpha Timbo expressed his desire as Sierra Leone’s envoy to the UAE to forge economic and technical cooperation with the seven respective regions which constitute the United Arab Emirates, especially with Ras Al Khaimah in the fields of trade and industry.

Ambassador Timbo added that the government of Sierra Leone is also keenly desirous to see how the renowned RAK ceramics, medicines and tourism of Ras Al Khaimah can be marketed in Sierra Leone.

The envoy said: “It is the earnest desire of the government and people of Sierra Leone to ensure how best the government of the United Arab Emirates can mutually tap the resources of gold, diamond, iron ore, coffee, cacao, citrus fruits like cashew nuts etc. for the benefit of the two sister countries.”

Responding, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi reiterated his desire to partner with Sierra Leone in order to attract new investments in Sierra Leone. During the meeting, the Ruler and the Ambassador discussed a number of social, economic and investment issues of mutual interest.

It would be recalled that Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma in January 2014 paid a visit to the RAK Ruler when he visited the UAE at the invitation of the government.

During their meeting, His Highness the Ruler extended another invitation to His Excellency the President to visit Ras Al Khaimah so that they could hold in-depth discussions toward the transformation and development of Sierra Leone.

Ras Al Khaimah is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The emerging emirate has affordable properties, world-class hospitality projects and easy access to other emirates, making it a preferred choice among families, business owners, and foreign investors.

As the UAE's first point of entry in the Arabian Gulf, RAK is well-located and connected to destinations in the Gulf Corporate Council (GCC) countries and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, providing access to emerging and well-established markets in the region. The Emirate today has risen from its humble beginnings to being recognized as one of the most attractive industrial and business destinations in the Middle East.

In another engagement, the Ambassador also met with RAK Investment Authority’s (RAKIA) Chief Executive Officer, Ramy Jallad at the Authority’s headquarters in Ras Al Khaimah to discuss the possibilities of joint cooperation to boost trade relations and business opportunities for investors of both countries.

In their meeting, the Ambassador was given a presentation on RAK investment services, facilities and competitive advantages. The CEO also briefed the envoy on RAKIA’s new developments and proposed different ways of promoting investments to enhance bilateral ties between RAKIA and Sierra Leone.

The Ambassador welcomed the proposals of Mr. Jallad and assured him of his country’s readiness to work with RAKIA and stated that the impressive investment potential is evident within RAKIA’s two Industrial Parks.

The Ambassador commended the RAKIA’s achievements for receiving the awards for ‘Best Free Zone Middle East 2014’ by the London-based Global Banking and Finance Review and ‘Best Free Trade Zone in the GCC 2014’ by the London-based International Finance Magazine.

RAK Investment Authority (RAKIA) is a leading business destination committed to providing a pro-business environment, regulatory stability and robust infrastructure in the emirate of RAK in the UAE. Comprised of two dedicated industrial parks, a combined area of 30-million square metres, RAKIA provides hassle-free business set-up, state-of-the-art facilities and economical solutions to help clients compete regionally and globally.

RAKIA presents a wide range of solutions and services, adhering to constantly meeting the requirements of its clients. Owing to the strategic advantages and investor-oriented policies, RAKIA is home to over 500 manufacturers and thousands of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Courtesy: M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States 

 

Police 'Could Face Prosecution' Over Sheku Bayoh's Death

By Brian Donnelly (09/03/16)

A new investigation into Police Scotland over the death of Sierra Leonean Sheku Bayoh in custody is being considered by prosecutors.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said it has entered talks with the Health and Safety Executive over the case of Sheku Bayoh, 31, who died after being detained by officers called to an incident in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland last year. (Pictured: Sheku with his two young children).

It is the first stage of a potential fresh inquiry into the death of the Sierra Leone national who had set up home in Scotland. The father-of-two's death is already being investigated by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

His family have been calling for answers over police conduct and Mr. Bayoh's cause of death on May 3, 2015, and are understood to have been encouraged by the possible new investigation.

They have previously met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC and former Police Scotland chief constable Sir Stephen House to discuss the case.

Aamer Anwar, the family's lawyer said that he believes "there are grounds and it is a possibility" of a prosecution under health and safety legislation. The fact that the Crown Office and Health and Safety Executive have liaised over the case is seen as a potentially significant step that could lead to the prosecution of Police Scotland if any fault is found.

A Crown Office source confirmed there have been “some preliminary discussions between ourselves and HSE regarding this case.” Police Scotland said officers were unable to comment in detail over the case as it is ongoing.

Kate Thomson, Assistant Chief Constable, said: “Due to the ongoing independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sheku Bayoh's death currently being carried out by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner it remains inappropriate for us to comment at this time. "Whilst we await the conclusion of the investigation I wish to offer our continued condolences to Sheku’s family.”

A spokesman for PIRC said: “The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy on Sunday May 3 is ongoing. “A report will be submitted to the Lord Advocate in due course. “It would be inappropriate to go into further details during a live investigation.”

Mr. Mulholland received an interim report into the circumstances surrounding the death from PIRC in August. A spokesman for HSE said: "We can confirm that there have been early discussions with COPFS." It is not clear at this stage what aspect of health and safety laws would be applied.

The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 section seven states: "It shall be the duty of every employee while at work to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.

"As regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with."

Cases under HSE law south of the Border have been raised when members of the public and police staff have been alleged to have been put at risk. In 2007 the Metropolitan Police force was found guilty of endangering the public over the fatal shooting of a man officers mistook for a suicide bomber.

The force broke health and safety laws when officers pursued to a Tube station and shot him seven times, a jury found. It was fined £175,000 with £385,000 costs over the 2005 shooting.

Courtesy: By Brian Donnelly Senior News Reporter Herald Scotland

 

 

Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority Exposes Alumed's Tax Deception

By Press Release (09/03/16)

Tax evasion in Sierra Leone has re-surfaced and this time round the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority is taking Alumed International to task.

"Alumed International Trading and Construction (AITC) has demonstrated its incompetence to undertake a premier contract, which should have earned the company good recommendation and reputation for further major contracts from government and the private sector," a notification letter to AITC noted. (Pictured: Executive Director of SLRSA Dr. Sarah Bendu).

According to SLRSA press release, it was on 10th June 2015 the notification of award letter issued to ALUMED International by the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) for the construction of an ultra-modern building was terminated and the evaluation report was revisited pursuant to Section 21(5), 35(2a) and 56(4) of the Public Procurement Act 2004.

It can be recalled in August 2014, the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority - SLRSA issued out an advert for construction of an ultra-modern office at Africanus Road Branch in Kissy, Freetown. The Procurement Unit of the Authority is said to have used the International Competitive Bidding Method to select the qualified bidder.

Report states that nine persons/companies submitted bids including Mohamed Conteh trading as ALUMED International Trading and Construction. The Evaluation of bids commenced and the Evaluation Committee recommended AlUMED of Waterloo Street. A letter of notification was sent to ALUMED in which the Authority spelt out clearly six conditions to be fulfilled before contract can be assigned or awarded.

ALUMED, according to report, submitted some of the document requested and asked for additional time to submit the performance and advance payment bonds which are very crucial in the procurement process.

Although the Committee granted the request, the company was however not able to submit the very important documents. The Authority expressed serious concern to ALUMED over its failure to complete the documentations.

Following this delay, the Authority did some investigations and also discovered that there was no assessment and payment of tax by ALUMED since 2014 to date, a key criteria in any procurement process. However, even though National Revenue Authority records indicate that ALUMED has not made any tax payment since 2014, yet produced updated tax clearance, which show an alleged clear indication of forgery.

In view of this, the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) was informed about the alleged fake NRA information submitted by ALUMED and the non-submission of advance payments as requested.

The NPPA reviewed relevant documents and correspondences and gave no objection on the termination of the notification of the award letter. This led to the notification of award letter issued terminated and the evaluation Committee report was revisited.

The Public Relations Officer of the SLRSA, Abdul Karim Dumbuya told journalists that after all these statutory processes, ALUMED commenced a campaign of calumny against the Executive Director of SLRSA Dr. Sarah Bendu using the traditional and social media spreading libellous information against the Executive Director of SLRSA.

“Although Dr. Sarah Bendu has every right to take up legal actions against this campaign of calumny, her busy schedule will not allow her to do so,” he said and added that the alleged unscrupulous activities contributed in delaying a very important project which is part of Government’s Performance Tracking Table (PTT) and His Excellency’s Agenda for Prosperity.

However, on 25th August 2015 Constrata Limited, the second most responsive bidder was notified, and on 21st September 2015 the company submitted all relevant documents including the 30% advance payment guarantee bond and 10% performance bond contract value.

 

Is Maada Bio Becoming More Unstoppable for the SLPP Leadership?

Asks James Kalilu (09/03/16)

Julius Maada Bio's supporters have always been boisterous of their candidate clinching the SLPP flag-bearer position. It remains to be seen!!

Although John Oponjo Benjamin JOB, Alpha Timbo, and several SLPP flag-bearer aspirants are working hard to dent the former NPRC strongman's image as a credible face to lead the main but embattled opposition in 2018 presidential polls, reports filtering in the media landscape appear to suggest that Maada Bio is unstoppable. (Pictured: Maada Bio and his wife Fatima in one of their campaigns in Sierra Leone).

A front page banner headline carried by the Awoko newspaper recently noted: "I am going to win the next convention" attributed to Maada Bio, the former 2012 SLPP flag-bearer, shows the level of confidence exuded by the Pa O Pas.

He boasted that he's going to win the next flag-bearer contest with a big margin. Bio is hoping to make inroads in JOB's stronghold of Kailahun but JOB has been touting a slew of endorsements received in the wake of the recent edict by the National Executive Council of the SLPP that anyone who has not been ordinarily resident for two years in the country is not qualified to run for the flag-bearer position.

That leaves the likes of Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY), bigamy suspect Mr. Alie Kabba etc. practically shut out from the race. What does this mean for the SLPP and the desires and aspirations of many that KKY and the likes in the race?

Now that it's clear KKY may not be contesting for the position after all, will JOB step up his campaign machinery to wrest the front runner position from his former NPRC colleague? What about Andrew Keili, Ernest Ndomainah, Alpha Timbo, Alie Kabba, Jonathan Tengbeh who have all been touting support from some quarters in the SLPP?

But judging from what Maada Bio has said recently: "I have been in the flag-bearer race for the past ten years. I have contested twice and I lost the very first time, and won the second time. I am sure of winning the next election. I know the main players, and I know how to play the game and I am fervently working towards getting a bigger margin this time around."

It's unquestionable that JOB et al have an until task. We now awaits JOB's reaction to this clear manifestation of confidence by Maada Bio that the flag-bearer contest is a foregone conclusion. Does that mean the likes of JOB, Alpha Timbo and Andew Keili etc are wasting their precious time?

However, any overt indication by Pa O Pas against creating a level playing field for all candidates, since it's quite clear that they control the current controversial national executive, will not just inflame supporters of his rivals, but also lead the SLPP (GOP) to the edge of a cliff.

Courtesy: James Kalilu©Political Discuss Forum 2016

 

 

SLPP Chairman Confirms Witnessing Ambush of APC Van in Moyamba!

By Cllr Abu Mansaray (07/03/16)

The rivalry between Sierra Leone's two main political parties has taken a new low following the recent ambushing of an APC's vehicle.

SLPP Southern Regional Chairman Edward Soluku (aka SOLUTIONS) has confessed to Police Investigative team led by AIG of Police for Southern Region, that indeed it was his vehicle in his presence that ambushed the APC vehicle of Honourable Amadu Kanu that fateful night. (Pictured: APC, the ruling party is gaining grounds all over the world).

Edward Soluku has however apologised whilst denying that it was his men who damaged the tyres of Hon. Kanu's vehicle in Ward 303 in Moyamba. Honourable Soluku is claiming that him and his SLPP team got upset to see the APC Van moving from village to village distributing food on that particular day that, according to him, "was our SLPP day allocated to us to campaign and not APC."

He said the APC vehicle apart from distributing bags of rice, was also sharing bags of cement and zinc roofing to villages in the district. Mr. Edward Soluku however denied beating up the driver and apprentice. The driver and apprentice however strongly asserted that they were beaten up, the keys seized and the vehicle itself grounded right in the presence of Edward Soluku that fateful night.

The police has cautioned Edward Soluku that he had no right to stop APC vehicles from moving around the Ward 303 as long as they were not engaged in APC street campaigns to clash with SLPP.

"You say they were distributing food and bags of cement from their van to villages on your campaign day. There is no crime in that. It was wrong for you to stop the poor driver even though you are denying that you never beat him up," said the police investigator.

Hon. Amadu Kanu has angrily requested that the police arrest both Edward Soluku and another SLPP woman nicknamed as "Baby K" who has been identified as the person who forcibly snatched the keys out of the vehicle's engine switch during the ambush of his vehicle.

The police are however seeming to be reluctant to make any arrests of politicians and have instead embarked on "Community Policing" to reconcile people in Ward 303.

The efforts of the police have seemed to yield fruits as Edward Soluku has remorsefully said no such repeat will happen. He even hugged Hon. Amadu Kanu in a brotherly gesture of contrition and regret.

Courtesy: Councillor Abu Mansaray Ward 292 (Rotifunk).

 

President Koroma & First Lady Attend Armed Forces Day in Freetown

By State House Release (07/03/16)

President Ernest Bai Koroma, accompanied by Sierra Leone's First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma, attended the recent Armed Forces Day celebrations.

His Excellency, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and Minister of Defence arrives at Hockey Pitch Wilberforce Barracks to attend this year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in pomp and pageantry.

A citation for the annual Armed Forces Week celebrations states: "As we celebrate this day, we need as citizens all across this country to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of the officers, men and women of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) both home and abroad. Hundreds if not thousands of Sierra Leoneans bravely fought and died overseas over the last century in World War 1 & 2 - in India, Burma and the Cameroons. Our forces also fought gallantly in ECOMOG, Liberia and in DR Congo, Sudan and recently in Somalia. The Armed Forces Week celebrations, therefore, is in recognition of the victories achieved during those operations."

The citation continues: "As we celebrate these victories, we shall never lose sight of our fallen compatriots who sacrificed their lives for our survival. We shall always remember them."

The citation further assures the Government and People of Sierra Leone of RSLAF's preparedness and commitment in sustaining the peace and development of the country.

The Armed Forces Day is commemorated on 18 February because it was on that day in 2002 that former President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah officially declared the 11 years rebel war over in Sierra Leone.

The day is observed in Freetown and the two provincial Brigade Headquarters in Bo and Makeni. Hundreds of Sierra Leoneans attended the ceremony at Hockey Pitch Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown.

 

Kono City Mayor's Venom on Minister Diana & the Paramount Chief!

(07/03/16)

The younger sibling of Diana Finda Konomanyi has defended his elder sister following the recent cruel attacks by the Kono City Mayor.

Mr. Tony Konomanyi, the younger brother of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Diana Konomanyi, has defended his sister of "stupid allegations" posted on social media by agents of City Mayor of Kono township Saa Emerson Lamina.

According to Mr. Tony Konomanyi, the Mayor is pre-empting publicity on an impending criminal investigation into alleged fraud at Kono City Council. (Pictured: Minister Diana known popularly as 'Iron Lady').

Many around the world were astounded when in morning of February 16th 2016, a very close friend of the Mayor who is also an international journalist had flashed an alarming news report on social media that reads: "Mayor of the eastern Sierra Leone city of Koidu, Saa Emerson Lamina has been attacked inside the state-owned SLBC radio in the town, allegedly by three knife-wielding men who he said smashed his car screen. He escaped unscathed. The mayor was reacting on the radio this morning to allegations made against him by Minister of Local Govt Diana Konomanyi referring to him as a thug because he forced open the city football stadium to allow for a controversial football national league fixture to be honoured. It is alleged that both the Minister and Paramount Chief Saquee were behind the attack."The reporter went on to say: "Both Saquee and Konomanyi have denied any knowledge of or links to the attack."

It was in reaction to the above that Mr. Tony Konomanyi contacted this newspaper yesterday afternoon of February 16th 2016 on a phone line from London. A loudly furious Tony Konomanyi spoke of his disgust at how "the Mayor has resorted to lies and false allegations to divert attention from investigations into alleged fraud at city council. These people need to leave my sister alone. The hounding and lies is too much now," he asserted.

Asked why he thought the Mayor would make false allegations against his sister, Mr Tony Konomanyi was quick to add: "I imagine he's telling lies so that when the time comes for him to be publicly held responsible he can mislead the public by lying that he's being persecuted. But like I have always said, the only way for the Mayor to convince us that he's indeed innocent of the allegations is for him to produce documental proofs that the monies from city council vehicles' sales, from rental of city premises to churches, and other public funds were deposited into the city account. So far we've only heard baseless and unrelated allegations from Mayor Lamina."

Mr. Tony Konomanyi who is a retired British Ministry of Justice official challenged the Mayor to identify the 'thugs' he alleges attacked him. "If the Mayor is alleging that two of Kono District's most senior and respected citizens sent thugs to assault him, then he must know the identity of the thugs; how else would he know by whom they were sent? Either the Mayor identifies these alleged thugs, or he now stands guilty of slandering the names of the Honourable Minister, Madam Diana Konomanyi, and Paramount Chief Saquee," he concluded.

When this press contacted Paramount Chief Paul Saquee, he expressed anger and disbelief at the Mayor's claims. "This young man continues to bring into disrepute one of our district's highest public offices. These allegations are false of course and not worthy of any sober-minded person's attention," the Chief concluded.

Honourable Diana Konomanyi also in a brief telephone chat from her office, out rightly dismissed the claims as untrue. "My focus for now as far as Kono is concerned, is as to how I should continue to unite the district and how to take more and more progressive developments in to Kono. Nobody will distract me!" the Cabinet Minister pledged.

Courtesy: Awareness Times Newspaper 

 

Councillors Oppose Mayor's Plan to Attack President's Convoy in Kenema

By Fayia Amara Fayia (04/03/16)

The devious plan to attack the convoy of Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma has been thwarted by the Councillors in Kenema District.

Councillors who attended last week's Council meeting of the Kenema City Council have debunked and distanced themselves from calls made by the Mayor Joseph Samba Kefalah for councillors and people of Kenema to block the convoy of president Ernest Bai Koroma from entering Kenema. (Pictured: Mayor Kefalah, the trouble maker).

The frustrated Mayor in his address at the council meeting called on councillors and the people of Kenema to block the convoy of President Koroma scheduled to visiting Kenema last weekend as a way of showing their dissatisfaction for what he termed: "The bad roads and government neglect of his township."

"If all the councillors and people of Kenema have the heart as I have, let us all lie on the main road and block President Ernest Koroma's convoy. If he kills us or not, we would have shown our dissatisfaction over his government's neglect for Kenema," Mayor Kefalah noted.

All the councillors who have spoken to this reporter described the planned action of their Mayor as pettish, treasonable and unwise and have however distanced themselves from such callous action. It is believed that President Koroma was expected in both Bo and Kenema last weekend for various state functions.

Meanwhile, the issue of over ten million leones theft case at the Kenema City Council, the police say the Mayor has approached them to influence their investigation by asking for internal investigation. The police say they have granted bail to the metro police who were detained while investigation continues. The police also say charges would be brought as soon as they get sufficient evidence.

The question many peace loving Sierra Leoneans are asking is why should arrogant Mayor Joseph Samba Kefalah behave out of control by even providing a safe haven for thieves and criminals at the Kenema City Council?

"The ongoing theft case at the Kenema Council is a criminal matter and should not be compromised by the police just because the crazy Mayor wants to protect his boys he has employed," one angry councillor stressed.

 

 

Floods Relocation Committee Welcomes President Koroma to Mile 6

By Press Release (04/03/16)

The flood victims danced for their President expressing happiness for APC's development stride which gives hope for a brighter future.

The Committee on the Relocation of Flood Affected Victims headed by Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh has recently escorted President Ernest Bai Koroma on an assessment tour of the development site for the relocation of flood victims and those living in disaster prone areas. (Pictured: Freetown was overwhelmed with floods).

On arrival, the President was greeted by a cheerful crowd, as both the young and old danced for their "World Best, the Salone Messiah." Inspecting the "showpiece structures" being built by the Chinese company Guoji & the Sierra Leone Housing Cooperation (SALHOC), the President was visibly impressed with their infrastructural designs, paying particular attention to the social amenities.

Welcoming the President and team to their newly relocated community, the spokesperson for the flood affected victims stated: "The people danced for their President, not because all is well, but because they are happy with the development strides of the government under the Agenda for Prosperity which gives hope for a brighter future."

He further highlighted some of the constraints they are faced with as a community, such as electricity & water supply. He pleaded with the government to help them attract funding from International & Local NGOs, so as to help them develop their community.

In his response, President Ernest Bai Koroma thanked the people for their warm welcome. He expressed delight at seeing the people happy and appreciative of their new community.

He promised that his government is doing everything within its power to improve on their living conditions. He further assured them, that they will be the first recipients of the new homes being built. As their current makeshift homes are government's initial reaction to the flood emergency.

He encouraged the people, to stop their NGO mentality and engage themselves in trade and skills training that will help the community to grow and become independent.

He assured them that their concerns will be looked into and their constraints addressed. He instructed the Chairman of the Committee, who is also the Vice President of Sierra Leone and Principal Assistant to the President, to get the Energy Ministry involved in improving the light facility in the vicinity.

His Excellency also informed the people that his government is putting together an Easter package that will soon be delivered to them by the Relocation Committee. This pronouncement was greeted with a loud cheer.

Courtesy: The Public Relations Unit Office of the Vice President

 

 

John Benjamin Blasts the National Executive Council of the SLPP

By Press Release (04/03/16)

The lawyer representing SLPP heavy weight John Oponjo Benjamin has written to the Political Parties Registration Commission to complain.

Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, known popularly as JOB, has recently joined several other party members to object the rules and regulations adopted by the National Executive Council of the SLPP for the conduct of executive elections to the Political Parties Registration Council Chairman. (Pictured: JOB addressing SLPP conference recently).

Lawyer Abu Sangarie stated: "I am further instructed by my client Mr. Benjamin to state that the national executive council of the SLPP does not have the constitutional mandate to make rules and regulations. They were made in flagrant violation of clause (4) (3) (A) and clause 4 (B) (5) (e) of the SLPP constitution 1995 (as amended) in government notice No. 240 dated Friday 23 July 2010. Any rules and regulations enacted by NEC must first be proposed at the annual party conference."

Mr. Benjamin also accused the national executive council of failing to comply with the recent Supreme Court judgement in the matter between Alie Essay Bangura and others Vs Chief Kapen and others to set up an independent electoral board to prepare the electoral process and conduct elections. Mr. Benjamin is therefore seeking an electoral process that complies with the basic democratic principles of constitutionality and equality of members.

President Ernest Koroma has recently declared that elections will be held in 2018. He made this statement whilst addressing a high powered delegation from the European Union.

This declaration is an embarrassment to proponents of the 'more time' rumour mongers. But the $1million dollar question is: Why did he take donkey years to break silence? Anyway, it is better late than never. So shame on 'more time' campaigners whose livelihood depend on the continuity of the incumbent in power.

 

Communist Party of China to Erect 6 Storey APC Office in Freetown

By APC Press Release (01/03/16)

President Ernest Bai Koroma has confirmed that the Chinese Communist Party has agreed to build a six storey APC office in Freetown.

The Chairman of the All People's Congress APC, President Koroma made this disclosure during a recent visit to the construction site of the APC northern region headquarters in Bombali district. (Pictured: President Koroma inspecting the new APC building under construction).

Currently under construction, the APC party’s northern region headquarters is situated along the Magburaka - Makeni highway where President went to familiarize and update himself with the ongoing civil works.

Speaking to workers, party members and supporters, President Koroma expressed satisfaction with the pace of construction of the facility, and thanked the Head of the Project Committee, Honourable Alimamy Petito Koroma and team for their hard work, which he described as a big sacrifice for the APC.

The APC Chairman and Leader also encouraged every party stalwart to come onboard in the construction of the regional party headquarter by honouring their pledges to the project.

The party, he pointed out, was being supported by grassroots supporters. He also maintained that the headquarters is not for the people of Bombali alone, but for the entire northern region and for national party activities.

President Koroma was delighted to announce that the Communist Party of China has decided to help in erecting a six storey APC office on Pultney Street in Freetown which will generate revenue for the party. No specific date has been made available when the Pultney APC office will commence. The president also added that the projects are meant to decentralise the APC party infrastructures across the country to benefit the coming generation.

Welcoming the Chairman and Leader to the construction site, Project Manager Hon. Alimamy Koroma described the president as the chief contractor, chief engineer and the chief labourer of the project.

Secretary General of the party Alhaji Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh recalled that the sod was turned three months ago and work has commenced with the office block, while the Ernest Koroma Hall which will accommodate over 3000 people is set to start soon.

Ambassador Yansaneh called on senior party stalwarts and supporters who are yet to meet their commitments, to comply with pledges made in support of the project during the laying of the foundation stone.

He added that the project is one of the legacies of the current Chairman and Leader. He expressed gratitude to President Koroma for his inspiration, material and financial support to the project, and informed that the party has launched the rehabilitation of the Bai Bureh Hall in Port Loko.

The Secretary General thanked the Minister of State - North, Mr. Alie Kamara, for his continued support to the project, while commending the project manager Hon. Alimamy P. Koroma for his steadfastness in pushing the project forward.

 

 

Makeni Youngsters Blast & Accuse the ADP Party Leader of Deceitfulness!

By Editayo G. Temple (01/03/16)

Many youngsters in Makeni have expressed disappointment at the Alliance Democratic Party ADP leader for deceiving them.

All came about following some fake and unfulfilled promises made by the leader and chairman of the ADP Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray to a cross section of young people in Makeni City, northern Sierra Leone in a bid to secure votes at the recent bye elections. Many of the dissatisfied youths have expressed disenchantment over the political antics of Kamaraimba, thus accused him of deceitfulness.

(Pictured: Will the Political Parties Registration Commission PPRC Chair Justice Tolla EM Thompson do something about party leaders who continue to deceive the public day in day out?).

"We are tired of fake promises from politicians especially from the leader and chairman of the ADP, Mr. Kamaraimba Mansaray who promised us football gears and balls during his campaign trail in Makeni, only to disappoint us after casting our votes for him. We are waiting for him come 2018," angry Mohamed Kamara maintained.

In another development, some students at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone also accused Kamaraimba of "promise and fail" in relation to a student bus he promised them during his days whilst campaigning for the flag-bearer position of the All People's Congress (APC) party in 2013, prior to his expulsion that led to the formation of his new party, ADP.

As if these accusations are not enough, Kamaraimba has also been accused of "political immaturity" citing his failed attempt to discredit and blackmail the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma in the 100 buses saga, which saw Kamaraimba presents false information to journalists, the Anti Corruption Commission and the International Community designed to gain political fame and public attention.

The youths also accused Kamaraimba of political manipulation and dictatorship citing his unilateral decision to sack his former Secretary General, Mr. David Sesay who kicked against his immature stance on the Sam Sumana matter with the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, an issue that exposed Kamaraimba and his party's recruitment process.

However, if the aforementioned issues are anything to go by, it seems as if Kamaraimba and his ADP conclave have hit the rock, a recipe for the demise of the  ADP just like other small opposition parties in Sierra Leone that emerged as a third force, but scattered because of inexperience, corruption and selfish aggrandisement.

"We are disappointed at Kamaraimba, more so because he has refused to take our calls despite many attempts to get to him. The empty promises he made to us in Makeni prior to the bye elections in Constituency 030 just shows how deceptive the ADP leader is," Mr. Mohamed Kamara paraphrased in dismay.

In conclusion, before going to press, all efforts to reach the ADP leader on his mobile phone to get his own side of the story proved futile.

 

 

Sierra Leoneans Want Traitor IB Kargbo Punished for the Lebanese Waste!

By Sankara Kamara (27/02/16)

On the international stage, as in domestic politics, traitors and racists can perpetrate in several ways with little regard to peoples' welfare.

The latest variant of interstate racism was seen in a sordid scandal between Sierra Leone - a black republic - and Lebanon, an Arab state. (Pictured: The old man IB Kargbo sleeping on national duty).

The scandal began when Lebanon, a state teeming with uncollected trash, used some of its agents to approach Sierra Leone and bribe some corrupt individuals in Sierra Leone so as to  lend itself as a dumping ground for Lebanese sewage.

If you are not familiar with the geography of the Middle East, please be informed that Lebanon is physically close to Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Arab states with sprawling landscapes.

The Lebanese state did NOT choose any of its huge Arab neighbours as recipients of their human excrements and material and dangerous industrial wastes.

The Lebanese knew that asking an Arab country to receive Beirut’s sewage, would have amounted to an intolerable insult and disrespect for their Arab nationals.

Used to treating black people with the rawest contempt, the Lebanese chose Sierra Leone, a country they have always exploited and abused for decades, as a prospective receiver of the sewage in Beirut.

On the Sierra Leonean side of this racist plot, is Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, a former cabinet minister of Information and adviser to the president of that politically unfortunate country.

A traitor against his own motherland, I.B. Kargbo readily agreed to unfortunately and unpatriotically turn Sierra Leone into a Lebanese toilet.

Whereas the Lebanese operatives behind this scandal are racists, Sierra Leone’s I.B. Kargbo is, for his part, a BLACK man with low, self-esteem and all he cares about is to beef up his pockets.

No self-respecting black man will stoop so low as to sell his own country to foreigners who want to literally turn it into a cesspool.

In a country ruled by nationalistic men, IB Kargbo and his accomplices would be arrested, tried, convicted of traitorous activities against the motherland, and sentenced to long, prison terms and the keys thrown in to the Atlantic ocean.

Although the hazardous deal did not congeal into reality, every CONSCIOUS Sierra Leonean knows that I.B. Kargbo is guilty of multiple crimes against the state.

The use of government-issued letterheads to conduct a dangerously illicit transaction in the name of the state, amounted to two felonies: abuse of office and fraudulent conversion.

In this particular case, the unauthorised transaction was designed to contaminate, endanger or sicken the PEOPLE, a felonious crime worthy of an equally harsh punishment.

Had I.B. Kargbo used his office to conspire with armed enemies of the state, the President of Sierra Leone would have sent the modern-day Judas, to the gallows.

Welcome to Sierra Leone, where the president sits atop a criminal enterprise that can endanger the people he swore to SERVE and PROTECT. Time for President Koroma, who abhors all forms of corruption, to wake up and punish anyone found deceptive without fear or favour. Otherwise, these same corrupt minded people like I.B. Kargbo would drown him and the APC party.

The most execrable parts of this scandal, are its racist and traitorous undertones. The racist Lebanese tried to sicken a BLACK republic via sewage-dumping, while a BLACK traitor, IB Kargbo, acted as collaborator against his own PEOPLE.

This, indeed, is not the type of Sierra Leone that President Koroma has dreamed of in his famous 'Agenda for Change' philosophy. That is why anyone found politically molesting this country must be criminalized for betrayal and not glorified.

Many silent Sierra Leoneans in and outside the country are calling on the government to punish IB Kargbo for aiding and abetting the 'dangerous Lebanese waste' that could have been dumped in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, as the Sierra Leone Police are investigating the matter, the people are waiting anxiously to know the outcome of the investigations. 

 

New Citizen Female Journalist Making Waves in Sierra Leone Media!

By Editayo G. Temple (27/02/16)

Journalist Aminaash Natta Brima is gaining grounds on women's empowerment and gender equality in the Sierra Leone media.

She is poised to win the Court Reporters Union Vice Presidency! For those who know her, Aminaash (pictured) is a female journalist, woman of substance and integrity and a graduate in Journalism and Media Studies from the Institute of Business Studies and Administration (IBSA).

Her stance on professional journalism, respect for diversity, leadership traits and communication skills amongst others, are some of the qualities she has learnt from Sierra Leone's most famous female journalist-cum-politician Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, owner of Sierra Leone's best selling newspaper Awareness Times.

According to Miss Isatu Turay a female journalist in Sierra Leone: "Aminaash is committed to her job and have passion for journalism, love and respect for her colleagues as opposed to others and stands against biasness in the field of journalism. These are the reasons why she will vote solidly for Miss Brima in a bid to foster solidarity."

For the records, Aminaash has been a reporter and credible media practitioner for the past seven years and six years as a Court Reporter starting with the African Champion newspaper and furthered with the  African Young Voices (AYV) newspaper as a Court Reporter and now the New Citizen Newspaper where she is doing extremely well.

Furthermore, Miss  Brima started her nursery education at the Merewether Preparatory School, later the John F. Kennedy Primary School and thereafter the Freetown Secondary School For Girls (FSSG) where she acquired her West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), before proceeding to IBSA where she achieved her Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies (2014-2015).

Meanwhile, she is presently on the move to pursue her degree in the same field of studies at the London School of Journalism, online.

Miss Brima said she has the vision and ready to work and put our Court Reporters Union at the peak and if elected as Vice President she would empower both female and male COURT REPORTERS, thus lobby for training for all as part of her commitment to continuous learning.

She paraphrased in conclusion: "If they vote for me, they will never regret they did," the budding female journalist maintained.

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple, Proprietor, Universal Times Newspaper +23279316750

 

 

ZIKA Fever: What it is and What it's Not - Frequently Asked Questions

By Dr Kolapo & Others (27/02/16)

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of AN INFECTED AEDES species in mosquitoes.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. (Pictured: Deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is similar to the Zika virus).

HOW CAN ONE CONTRACT ZIKA DISEASE?

Zika disease can be contracted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, the same mosquito that spreads Chikunguya and dengue fever. . It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. We do not know how often Zika is transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.

Although the knowledge about Zika is still evolving, but report has shown this virus can be transmitted sexually.

I HEARD IT IS TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE BITE OF A MOSQUITO, HOW TRUE IS THAT?

Well, that is very true, zika is mosquito borne. It is transmitted from an infected person to the other via mosquito of the genus Aedes which is found commonly in the tropics and subtropics.( NB: Aedes egypti as well as Aedes albopctus can transmit this virus)

IS IT THE SAME MOSQUITO THAT CARRIES MALARIA THAT CARRIES ZIKA?

NO, Malaria and Zika are carried by different mosquito species. It's important to bear in mind that there are many species of mosquito, to include Anopheles, Culex, Aedes, Culester etc etc. Zika is transsmited by the Aedes mosquito while malaria is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito.

CAN MOSQUITOES IN NIGERIA CARRY ZIKA?

There are Aedes mosquito in Nigeria PLENTY. If an infected person or infected people are in the country, it can easily be transmitted by these mosquitoes. Nigeria is located in the tropics. And has a lot of conditions right for these mosquito species and some others to thrive. (Infact, I was surprised to learn a few days ago Zika was first  isolated in human in Nigeria in the 50s. Though Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in the late 40s in a forest known as Zika ie Zika forest.

IS IT TRUE ZIKA WAS FIRST DETECTED IN PROSTITUTES, IS IT A PUNISHMENT FROM GOD ?

That is not true. Zika disease is neither a disease of the prostitute nor is it a punishment from God. The virus was first isolated in April 1947 from a rhesus macaque monkey that had been placed in a cage in the Zika Forest of Uganda, near Lake Victoria. Since then, it has began to spread across the globe

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I'VE BEEN INFECTED WITH THE ZIKA VIRUS?

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE?

The discomfort caused by the disease through its symptoms, that is, fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis can also be a complication. 
There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.

IS ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE CURABLE?

There is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika virus infections.
Treat the symptoms:
*.Get plenty of rest.
*.Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
*.Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
*.Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
*.If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

Courtesy: Answered by Dr Kolapo A. O, Dr Quadri I. O, Dr Adegboyega R. O, Dr Omakoji S. A

 

EU Sponsors 105M Euros Bo-Bandajuma-MRU Bridge Road Project

Press Release (25/02/16)

The Sierra Leone Government has just signed the largest infrastructural road project ever and it is sponsored by the European Union.

Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, through the Ministry of Finance, hosted the signing ceremony of the largest infrastructural project sponsored by the European Union in Sierra Leone, the Bo - Bandajuma - Mano River Union Bridge (Liberian Border).  The historic meet took place at the conference room of the Office of the Vice President, Tower Hill.

Welcoming dignitaries from the government of Sierra Leone, European Union and the Press, was the Minister of Information & Communication, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Kanu who was Chairman of this epoch making event. (Pictured: Seated centred VP Foh flanked by the EU Ambassador and Information Minister).

In his opening remarks, he stated that: "This part of the road, is the last lap of the Trans - West African road for the Sierra Leone government to complete it obligations."

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads  Authority, Mr. Abdul Aziz Kamara, in his statement reaffirms that: "This is a happy day to the people of Bo and Pujehun Districts."

Mr. Aziz Kamara went further to inform his audience that the project has a component of three (3) major bridges; the Sewa, Wanjay & Bandajuma. "The road component," he stated, "is a 106.3 km, with the CSE serving as the Design & Supervising Consultants." On the quality of standards, SLRA boss, assures that the road will be 7.2 metres wide, with shoulders to accommodate cyclists & motorbikes.

In his short but vital contribution, the Director General of CSE, Mamadou Demba Sow, assures the government & people of Sierra Leone of their commitment to complete the project in record time.

The European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Peter Versteeg, in his statement, thanked all those involved in bringing this project to its implementation stage.

He went further to appeal to the CSE, to create a gender balance by employing women and the youths as a way of empowering the youths.

He further stated that they are counting on the authorities to carry out the necessary relocation of locals that are affected by the road expansion, so as to aid the speedy completion of the project.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Kaifala Marrah, in his contribution, thanked the Vice President for hosting the signing ceremony. He stated that this is a clear sign of the premium government places on this project.

The estimated cost for the Bandajuma - Liberia border road he informed, is approximately 105 million Euros. An Action Fiche for the sum of 62.2 million Euros from the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) and Sierra Leone's 10th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) to partly finance the works has been approved. The balance funding of 43 million Euros has been allocated from Sierra Leone's 11th EDF NIP to complete the works.

Vice President Victor Foh in his remarks stated that he was particularly pleased to be hosting this historic event, informing his audience that he was the Co-chair when the Mano River bridge was opened in 1975. He thanked the chiefs for allowing the works to commence even before compensations are paid.

VP Foh stated that, as a government it is their responsibility to develop the country regardless of who voted for them. He assures that this road will be opening up trade, such as rubber, rice & cocoa plantations.

The Vice President, expresses optimism that there'll come a time when we as a nation will be doing it ourselves. But until such time, we will continue to ask the EU for more grants.

Present to witness this historic event was the host Minister Mohamed Alie Bah, the Majority Leader in Parliament; Hon Bundu, Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament; Hon. Yayah Tunis, other State dignitaries & the Press.

 

Annual Hangha Town Football Champions Tourney Grips Kenema

By Philip Koroma (25/02/16)

All is now set for the 8-day Annual Nongowa Football Gala which kicks off on Saturday February 27th at the Hangha Town Football Field.

Youths of Nongowa Chiefdom are all set for an unprecedented Post-Ebola Football Gala that will see teams from all the eight sections converge to compete for the Golden Hangha Town Champions Cup under the distinguished patronage of the Paramount Chief of Nongowa, Alhaji Amara Bonya Vangahun IV and Promoter Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden, one of the topmost supporters of youths in Sierra Leone today. (Pictured: Sylvia speaking recently at the Kabala Town Field similar to the tournament slated for Kenema).

The first of its kind Nongowa Chiefdom Football Gala will kick off this Saturday and will end with a Grand final on 6th March 2016. Venue for this Gala is Olden Town of Hangha in the Kargbado Kamboima section.

Feb 27th will have Gbo-Kakajama v/s Gbo-Lambayama
Feb 28th will have Kagbado-Kamboima v/s Kargbado-Njaigbla
Feb 29th will have Konia-Fuyai v/s Konia-Kpedibu.
March 1st will have Dakpana v/s Dagbanya
Then on March 3rd, Winner One v/s Winner Two
March 4th, Winner Three v/s Winner Four
March 6th will have the Grand Final

Nongowa is one of the most liberal chiefdoms in Sierra Leone. It encompasses Kenema City and is home to Hangha Town which is the very first Provincial City visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain during her trip to Sierra Leone in 1961. Like many parts of the country, it was devastated during the civil war but it is now striving to regain its past glory.

The league, according to the organisers, is apolitical and aims at bringing together youths of Nongowa chiefdom especially after the Ebola virus disease fight. The organisers say it will serve as means of preaching against violence before, during and after national events in the chiefdom.

Meanwhile, last weekend, the organisers presented to the Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom, sets of colourful jerseys, footballs, T-shirts, gloves and hoses for all eight sections in Nongowa chiefdom.

The organisers then did a complete tour spanning over a 100 miles driving of the entire Nongowa chiefdom, accompanied by football enthusiast from Freetown, Mr. Sirajin Rollings Kamara who spent time giving technical advise to the various football teams and the traditional rulers of all the eight sections.

The general response from all sections included show signs of excitement that is building up amongst the sections with each section determined to win the coveted Golden Hangha Town Champions Cup.

On the radio stations in Kenema, the football league is also being actively discussed and popularised. The fact that a host of the top journalists in Kenema are all taking part is helping to tremendously boost the publicity for the Gala.

The Gala is also enjoying financial support to the tune of millions of leones donated by MERCURY INTERNATIONAL CHARITY under the chairmanship of Mr. Samir Hassaniyeh.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sylvia Blyden is expected to travel to Kenema city from Freetown to do the Kick-Off and grace an event that is being solely organised by only youths.

 

Deputy Energy Minister Steps Up More to Electrify the Entire Nation

By Fayia Amara Fayia (25/02/16)

The electrification of the entire country is long overdue but President Ernest Koroma is determined to turn the tide positively for the best.

Working to actualize the dream of President Koroma of taking the nation to another level, a better place to live in through the Agenda for Prosperity, does not need an armchair minister, it takes hard work, reaching the people, the communities and identifying their problems and finding ways to  solve them.

This is exactly what Deputy Minister of Energy l, Ishmael Sengu Koroma (pictured) is doing. His visit on Friday 5th February, 2016 to provincial towns and villages like Hangha, Mano Junction, Dodo etc. in the Kenema district to connect them with electricity left many locals dumbfounded in admiration for the young man and the ruling APC government.

Some of the local authorities could not suppress their feelings and told the Deputy Minister that he is the first government minister to visit them in a bid to engage them on energy for the communities. One Chief Lansana said no government minister has ever made such a visit to them since the days of late APC President Joseph Saidu Momoh. " We can only see them during campaigns," the local chief said.

The youth in the district described Ishmael S. Koroma and Resident Minister Maya Kaikai as their political godfathers and mentors, who are doing their best to develop the country. They noted the two young ministers are overshadowed by another political heavy weight in the APC - the veteran politician, Minister of Internal Affairs Joseph Bandabla Dauda, who is also said to be pressing the buttons hard.

The Deputy Energy Minister during his visit to the Dodo Hydro Electric plant, expressed satisfaction that some of the machines and other gadgets are intact and safe even though some are in complete debacle as the facility was badly hit during the war.

He disclosed that his visit was part of the plans to provide electricity to Hangha township and possibly place like Mano Junction and other close communities.

He informed the local authorities in the area that soon the project will be launched to be witness by ministers including Logus Koroma of the Transport Ministry, Allieu Pat-Sowe of Fisheries, Resident Minister East Maya Kaikai, the man he described as a brother, among others.

Minister Ishmael Sengu promised to extend invitation to the American Ambassador Hoover to visit them and some other parts in the interior . 

 

Pharmacy Board and Police to Combat Drugs Peddling in Sierra Leone

By Ibrahim Jalloh (22/02/16)

It's likely that the days of drugs peddling in Sierra Leone is coming to an end as the police and pharmacy board are ready to pounce hard.

As the implementation of the post Ebola recovery plan continues, the pharmacy board of Sierra Leone has undertaken a bold step towards eradicating the issue of drug peddling across the country and to promote rational use of medicines amongst the general populace. (Pictured: Sierra Leone Police Chief Francis Munu).

The Pharmacy Board in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police have been conducting peddler raids in order to eradicate drug peddling in the country as this poses a great risk to the general public.

The Board continues to fight drug peddling throughout the country in the interest of public health and safety. In the recent peddler raids conducted on the 28th January, 2016 by the Pharmacy Board across the western urban district of Freetown, a total number of seven suspected peddlers were arrested and handed over to the Sierra Leone Police for further investigation and subsequent prosecution.

The suspected peddlers were in possession of Class A, B and C drugs which only authorized pharmacies and drug stores are allowed to distribute as per the provisions of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act. 

Pharmacist Wiltshire Johnson, Registrar of Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone stated that the Board has employed a two prone approach in the fight against drug peddling which poses a serious health risk to the nation. He noted that the Board has employed the enforcement scheme in which routine raids and arrests activities are conducted in a bid to discourage drug peddling.

He noted that the Board also has plans in place to make registered medicines outlets accessible in every chiefdom across the country as the second scheme to address the menace of drug peddling.

As of January 2016 the Board in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police and the Trans International Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) has arrested seven peddlers.

The Registrar also reiterated that the Board is conducting routine inspection of patent medicines shops (Class C drug outlets) which as per the provisions of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act are not allowed to distribute prescription medicines in Sierra Leone.

He reaffirmed that the Board will continue to raid, arrest and prosecute drug peddlers and anyone found violating the provisions of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act in a bid to promote public health and safety.

Health officials and government authorities have viewed these interventions as extremely vital especially at a time when the looming threat of Ebola poses significant concerns and the illegal treatment of patients by illegal clinics and quack doctors presents the opportunity for diseases such as Ebola to re-emerge unnoticed thereby propagating its spread in the country.    

As a further regulatory measure, the management of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone also met with the executive and members of the Pharmaceutical Business Association and the Pharmaceutical Society of Sierra Leone where pharmacy professional, business houses and wholesalers were admonished to refrain from distributing medicines and other regulated products to illegal and unlicensed persons and premises.

Courtesy: Ibrahim Jalloh Media Officer PBSL

 

Parliament Defers Ratification for the Wellington-Masiaka Highway

Parliament PR (22/02/16)

Parliament has agreed, for the time being, to delay the loan agreement for expanding the Wellington-Masiaka Highway until further notice.

The Speaker of Parliament, Sheku B.B Dumbuya (pictured) has ruled that the ratification of the loan agreement for the expansion of the Wellington-Masiaka Highway will be delayed until further consultations. This ruling in favour of the dissenting voices on both sides of the House followed a protracted debate on the issue.
 
In presenting the loan to the House prior to the deferral, the Deputy Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Babagaleh Barrie said that the concession agreement was about financing, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the Wellington-Masiaka Highway by China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), using the toll system for 25-years.

He also furthered that the rehabilitation and widening of the Wellington-Masiaka Highway into four-lanes has the potential of extending it into six-lanes in future.  He averred also that the loan bears no interest; six years concession period, and four years for the construction of the road, with one year extension in case of defects. He also said that the total cost of the loan was over $150 Million and the GoSL would contribute twenty billion Leones for the relocation of the affected property owners.
 
Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle praised the idea of the toll system, and recalled the unflinching relationship and bi-lateral ties existing between China and Sierra Leone in terms of our infrastructural development. MPs also opined that a toll system had been in existence in the mid 90s until it was disrupted by the war.
 
MPs earlier argued that the ratification of the agreement be deferred because of certain clauses in the agreement. They also called for a reduction in the proposed toll prices to cushion economic and social effects.

They said that vehicle owners, road users, and the general public should be consulted and sensitized about the loan agreement, such as categories of toll, method of payment, etc. to obtain EIA license before the commencement of work, and the relocation of the affected property owners.
 
Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone OAU Drive, Tower Hill Freetown 

 

New Road Projects in Sierra Leone are a Solid Ernest Koroma Legacy

(22/02/16)

"I am born SLPP but what I have seen has made me to reconsider my loyalty for a party that never built a single bridge," SLPP fan.

Platinum Media has visited communities along the new Kenema/Pendembu highway to assess the impact the 85 kilometres road will have on people in that part of the country. Most of the road snaked through Kailahun District. (Pictured: Massive road constructions are snaking throughout the country).

"Everybody knows Kailahun District is the stronghold of the SLPP but we will never forget what this APC government has done for us.... I am born SLPP but what my eyes have seen has given me a chance to reconsider my loyalty for a party that never built a single bridge in my district," said 43 year-old Hindolo Musa, a school teacher at Mano Junction. 

The media team drove past Segbweima and Daru, halting intermittently to inspect the impressive road engineering works on giant bridges and culverts by ISU - a Korean Construction Company.  The contractors were not available for comments but a Sierra Leonean attached to the company, who preferred anonymity, said the project has provided jobs for hundreds of indigenes.

"It has also enhanced the capacity of local construction workers," he stated with an optimistic radiant smile.

"When we were kids, we never imagined we will see anything like this. This new road has drastically eased our transportation problems. We used to spend the whole day on muddy roads to travel to places like Kenema or Tongo," explained 31 year-old Rosaline Sannoh, a  petty trader at the Daru Community Market.

She said she buys perishable goods from distant Pendembu and because of the new road, her transportation costs and chances of her goods perishing have drastically reduced.  She however appealed for better credits and trade facilities for Daru. "We have a community bank established by the Ministry of Agriculture but loan facilities are too rigid," she lamented.

At Pendembu, 65 year-old Maada Kpukumu recounted his experience as a cocoa farmer when his produce were transported to Freetown via train. "Now that the train is no more, this new highway is even a better way for faster transportation. Cocoa farmers are now gearing up to brush their plantations or establish new ones. Our major problem which was the poor road condition is no more. God bless Pa Ernest Koroma."

The elderly farmer however called on government to fast track the reconstruction of the remaining 17 miles stretch from Pendembu to Kailahun Town, the district headquarter where inner city road construction is also taking place. "That 17 mile distance is always in a terrible condition especially during the rainy seasons," he said.

We left Kailahun District fully convinced that the road project is a game changer for the lives of indigenes who have suffered reckless abandon by successive governments.

The Kenema/Pendembu  Road  Project was one hundred percent funded by the government of Sierra Leone as part of President Ernest Bai Koroma's ambitious infrastructural programme.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Diana Konomanyi Slams an Ultimatum on Koidu Limited - OCTEA !!!

(22/02/16)

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has warned a Kono Company to cooperate now or face the consequences.

Minister Finda Diana Konomanyi has on Saturday 13 February told the General Manager, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Security Officer that it is either they pay the laid down workers or they close down now. (Pictured: Minister Diana Konomanyi).

Pc Saquee also condemned the strike action of the workers but that they had reached an agreement last in the presence of Deputy Mines Minister to these monies were to be paid, and that the money should be paid to avoid any strike as it is eminent.

Resident Minister East Maya Moiwo Kaikai was blunt and asked the company to pay now or quit.

Finally, the payment in question was due on Friday 19 February 2016 without fail and this was agreed on in the presence of the lioness Diana and other state functionaries. 

 

Harford School for Girls Wins 'Brain of Moyamba' Quiz Competition

By Brima Musa (20/02/16)

The famous Harford School for Girls is again proving a class act by winning the coveted 'brain quiz competition in Moyamba.

In a bid to continue his contribution to the success of President Ernest Bai Koroma's Agenda for Prosperity, especially in the area of education in the Moyamba district, Sierra Leone's Youngest Commissioner of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Commissioner Alhaji Dauda Musa Bangura, who doubles as an indigene of Moyamba district, has dished out scholarships to pupils drawn from four schools within the district.

The pupils were part of those who actively participated in the 13th February 'Brian of Moyamba' Quiz Competition 2016, organised by Radio MoDCAR as part of events marking the 11 years anniversary of the Radio station. (Pictured: The Harford girls in school uniform during the programme).

Presenting the scholarship and other learning materials to the 'Brain of Moyamba', and other pupils from who participated in the event, Commissioner Bangura expressed thanks and appreciation to the organisers of the competition while further expressing great admiration to all the pupils that competed in the event.

He went on to say he was touched by the outstanding performances he witnessed from all the participants of the competition. He said it is not an easy task to do public speaking but that when pupils at this level start to practice public speaking and debate it will help them develop confidence to speak in public confidently.

The fine young Commissioner congratulated all the competitors while further admonishing them to take their academic work seriously. He told them the district is known for producing good and prospective product that have immensely contributed to the development of Sierra Leone.

He called on them to study well and pass their exams because the district need people that can come in and contribute to its development, adding that much needed to be done in Moyamba district.

The winner of the competition, Monica Williams of SSS 2 at the Great Harford Secondary School for Girls, bagged two (2) years scholarships with other learning materials; second position went to Sahr Combie of Kulafia Rashideen Islamic Secondary School whilst the third position was clinched by Fredika Wray of St. Joseph's Convent Secondary for Girls who joined other winners to bag one year scholarships each.

One of the Judges for the competition, Reverend Rose Freeman expressed thanks to the Commissioner for supporting educational activities in the district which according to her, has inspired more pupils to put more effort in their studies. The Reverend appealed to Commissioner Bangura to continue to support such initiatives.

Mr. Kalil, another Judge from Bo Town urged other Moyamba stakeholders and indigenes to replicate such a programme which he believes will serve as an inspiration tools to pupils.

Station Manager of Radio MoDCAR said with support like this they will continue to organize such a competition to help build pupils' academic skills.

The competition which attracted other stakeholders including teachers, religious leaders from all corners of Moyamba was climaxed by jubilation and numerous presentations of assorted schools learning materials.

Courtesy: Brima Musa in Moyamba

 

Black Street Family Joins Kroo Bay Community Football League!!!

By Editayo G. Temple (20/02/16)

Members of the Black Street Family have called on philanthropists and NGOs and INGOs and government and donors to support them.

In a bid to continue promoting peace,  none violence, love and development after branding members of the BLACK STREET FAMILY at the National Stadium Swimming Pool axis, as thugs, thieves and violence youths, they have registered and now in the group stage at the Kroo Bay Community football league, thus calling for support from philanthropists, NGOs, INGOs, Government and Donors alike owing to the fact that such would help change their lifestyle and community respectively. (Pictured: Sierra Leone's Sports Minister Paul Kamara, a grass root sports man indeed).

Speaking to this writer from the Universal Times Newspaper, Hufa Sessay, Coach, Black Street Family intimated that there are 36 teams from various communities taking part in the competition adding that they have 6 goals and 4 points in their favour, with hope that they win the trophy.

According to Juda Spice, Chief Adviser, Black Street Family their next game is slated for March 4th - 2016, noting that they are calling on well wishers to come to their aid. 

A position upheld by Mr. Alasan Elba, Welfare Officer, Black Street Family who furthered that they are only receiving financial and moral support from fans of the Swimming Pool Car Wash, Philanthropists and Gate Takings respectively. He added that they decided to partake in the competition in a bid to promote community and grassroots talents from the ghetto, which has been reformed. 

Mr. Elba also made a plea for support in the area of website establishment, noting that they have transformed the ghetto to a workshop, car wash and none violence counselling centre.

However, in order to assist members of this transformed  and reformed youth group and community, one could  reach them on +23230086296 or +23299258657 respectively.

Courtesy: Editayo George Temple, The Investigative Journalist, Universal Times Press  

 

Barack Obama Nominates Sierra Leone Native to 11th Circuit Judgeship

By Associated Press (20/02/16)

ATLANTA - President Barack Obama has nominated an Alabama judge to fill a vacancy left in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a news release Thursday, Obama announced the nomination of Judge Abdul K. Kallon (pictured), a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Alabama, serving in Birmingham. Kallon was appointed to his current position by Obama in 2010.

Obama praised Kallon, saying the Sierra Leone native has an extensive record of reaching fair decisions and will make for a strong addition to the appellate court.

Kallon received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Prior to his 2010 appointment, Kallon had a litigation and counseling practice, working on corporate civil defense matters.

 

UN Boss Speaks to African Leaders for the Last Time at the AU Summit

(20/02/16)

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has delivered his emotional final statement to African leaders on January 30, 2016.

He was speaking at the annual African Union (AU) Leaders Summit. By next year's annual AU meeting, the world will have a new person leading the UN since Mr. Ban Ki Moon this year 2016 will end his second and final term as Head of the UN. Ban Ki Moon (pictured) has been the UN Boss for the past 10 years serving two terms of 5 years each since he was first elected on 13th October 2006.

He took office on 1st January 2007 succeeding Ghanaian Kofi Annan. It is expected that the new successor to Ban Ki Moon will himself be elected later this year and, as per tradition since 1972, the new UN boss, will take up office on New Year's Day next year - 1st January 2017.

Today's words are therefore the final speech from the current UN Boss to our African leaders. In the speech, he addressed the issue of respecting constitutional term limits as well as participatory democracy - both of which he said are essential for a stable, peaceful and secure Africa.

Here follows a quote from Ban Ki Moon as delivered recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to a distinguished galaxy of African leaders including our beloved President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma. The quote serves as basis for my personal commentary today.

"My dream is that Africa will provide a shining example to the world of tolerance, understanding, and respect for human rights," Ban Ki Moon noted.

 

 

APC Remembers S.I. Koroma's Bai Bureh Hall Legacy in Port Loko

Press Release (17/02/16)

The former Sierra Leone Vice President and Port Loko political heavy weight Sorie Ibrahim Koroma has been given a fitting remembrance.

The cre'me de la cre'me of the Port Loko district and others converged on Saturday January 30 in Port Loko to launch the refurbishing of the Bai Bureh Hall so as to reactivate their flagship programme, the Self Help Concept, legacy of the late S.I. Koroma. (PicturedThe most famous former Vice President SI Koroma under President Siaka Stevens of the APC).

The programme was chaired by the APC District Chairman who doubles as the leader of Parliament, Hon Ibrahim Rassin Bundu.  Dignitaries in attendance included Hon. Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay, Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Hon Isata Kabia, Minister of State 2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Osman Yansaneh, National Secretary General of the APC; Hon Binneh Bangura, Hon Alhaji Alhaji Dumbuya; Hon Baba, Hon Abu Bakarr S. A. T. Koroma; Chairman Ahmid Munirr Fofanah of the Port Loko District Council and Mr. Anthony Koroma, Commissioner Youth Commission among many others.

Several statements were made on the way forward for the refurbishing of this historic hall. Welcoming the crowd, the host MP Hon Alhaji Alhaji Dumbuya, thanked all for coming and encouraged them to be united as unity is strength. 

Speaking on behalf of the Project Management Team, Secretary of the PMT Sirajin Rollings-Kamara and Engineer Bashiru Kamara gave a synopsis of the work and a projected finishing time of April 27 instant.

On behalf of the Fundraising team, Councillor Rugiatu Neneh Turay, deputizing the Chairman, Hon Dauda Tombo Bangura, informed the mammoth gathering about strides made so far and how the sum of over Le 200m has been realized in pledges and payments already. A member of the fundraising team, Lawyer Koroma intimated the gathering about future fundraising activities including the Great Dinner scheduled for February13 at Hotel Barmoi.

Hon Kemoh Sesay's statement was brief. He thanked President Ernest Koroma for appointing Hon Isata Kabia and as a result, had the latter speak so as to allow the young to grow. Hon Isata Kabia called on all to work assiduously for the completion of the project and appreciate the support given her by senior party comrades.

In rebirthing the Self Help Concept, everyone was challenged to donate whatever little towards the Project. A woman pledged stones and Le50.000.

It was amazing to see ordinary people show their appreciation by pledging their widow's mites. This included several women's groups. Indeed the Self Help Project, legacy of the late S.I. Koroma resurrected again in Port Loko.

Councillor Neneh read a message from the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Alpha Kanu. The message included a pledge of Le50m and an apology for his absence as he travelled with the President to Ethiopia.

Other pledges so far included: Hon Bundu Le10m, MPs (altogether) Le55m, Hon Kemoh Sesay (Le40 - Le20m cash and Le20m in materials (half of these given already). Other members here and in the Diaspora had pledged and made payments prior to the launching.

Prior to the launching of the Project, Paramount Chief and MP Salu Ludgbu gave a brief history of Bai Bureh as a revolutionary fighter and S.I. Koroma whose legacy we are upholding today, a true patriot.

The Secretary General Ambassador Osman Yansaneh officially launched the event declared the project to start. Dismantling the porous roofs and building of bricks formed part of the process.

There was a variety of musical and cultural displays including Millo Jazz, Bubu, Bondo and Ojeh.

 

 

Alie Kabba Fans Unhappy as SLPP Neglects the Bigamy Suspect!

Press Release (17/02/16)

The SLPP hierarchy's conspicuous snubbing of Alie Kabba, who is fighting a bigamy case in Freetown, did not go down well with his fans.

This red line was drawn by the SLPP stalwarts for fear that their continued association with the bigamy suspect will jeopardise their own chances to lead the opposition SLPP party. Reports say this snub did not go down well with the Alie Kabba supporters and that was why a press release was effected. (Pictured: Alie Kabba supporters with placards in London). Below is the poorly written press release which has been edited:

"It has come to the notice of the Alie Kabba team that some folks of SLPP are showing less concern to Alie Kabba alleged case. We want to draw the attention of the entire membership and flag-bearers of the SLPP to the following key points.

Alie Kabba has stood up against APC one party dictatorship for democracy which he suffered at  Pademba Road Prison and expelled from the University of Sierra Leone which he never benefited for what he suffered for.

Alie Kabba's aspiration for SLPP leadership is not for self but for all. Alie Kabba is unifying the party by bringing all the flag-bearers together to help take power from APC.

Alie Kabba in his campaign has never criticized any member of the party including fellow flag-bearer aspirants. Alie Kabba target is the SLPP to get back  to State House by supporting any aspirants that fortunate to win the flag-bearer election.

Since the arrest of Alie Kabba the party has never given out press release or call a press conference on how to help Alie Kabba out. SLPP should realize that Alie Kabba is going through a political fight simply because of his opposition and in the interest of SLPP and the ordinary people.

The SLPP members should realize that if it was any other member involved is such situation he should have stood up and condemn the act by the APC. APC is still using a strategy to test out the strength of unity in SLPP. Members should realize that Alie Kabba invested a lot for development of the SLPP.

The entire membership should realize that Alie Kabba is the oldest party card holder among all flag-bearer aspirants. The entire membership of the SLPP should realize that only unity will help us get back to State House.

The SLPP should act like a family to help solve the problem of each member in the hands of the APC.

ONE COUNTRY, ONE PEOPLE, UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL. JOIN THE ALIE KABBA GLOBAL PROTEST TEAM AND SAY NO TO APC MISRULE OF POWER.

 

Mamamah Airport, a National Priority Project, is a Vital National Asset

By John Baimba Sesay (17/02/16)

Mamamah Airport, when completed, will make President Ernest Koroma go down positively for his exemplary performance in nation building.

With relish, I could actually come to terms with the shining performance of the country in the last eight years of governance under President Koroma. From energy generation and distribution, to infrastructure, promotion of gender based issues, etc. President Koroma will go down positively in the country’s record for his exemplary performance. (Pictured: Mamamah Airport, at its embryonic stage, will be an important addition).

In the area of energy generation and distribution, the country has seen some much progress, not ignoring the challenges. In fact by 2009, the President spoke of how he was convinced “the multiplier effect of adequate and reliable energy will impact on all sectors of the country and revitalize the economy and improve the standard of living of our people.”

What he did then as a government was to “set out to achieve the supply of reliable power to Freetown, the completion of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project, the development of new power sources throughout the country and enhanced transmission and distribution networks.” (President Ernest Bai Koroma, Regent Station Commissioning, 2009).

Infrastructural growth plays a fundamental aspect in a country’s development efforts. The country, since 2007, placed greater prominence on economic growth through the infrastructural expansion as seen in road networks across the country. Today, with good road network, cities, towns and villages are linked across the country. This is same with social infrastructure, thus meeting basic needs of people.

By 2007, Sierra Leone’s air travelling system was not only in a bad shape, the country’s only international Airport at Lungi was in a declining state with sub-standard facilities. And it was in line with Government’s drive for a better facelift of the country that it pursued the rehabilitation of the Airport so as to meet international standards. By 2010, work  commenced, including overlaying of the runway, widening of the taxi way and relocation of ground lighting system.

There came the need for an airport on the mainland that will help address a number of challenges posed to travelling from Lungi to Freetown - this called for the Mamamah Airport on the mainland in the Port Loko District. We cannot over-emphasize the need for a new airport.

Glen Weisburd et el submit, in a work titled - Airport Area Economic Development Model -  noted: “As business markets become national and international in scale, airports are increasingly being viewed as catalysts for local economic development. Their ability to generate jobs and attract new business is being used in many locations as a justification for public investments in new airport construction and expansion.” (Mamamah International Airport will be an economic game-changer in Sierra Leone-http://cocorioko.info).

A new airport on the mainland will help put the country in a valuable position to compete positively in International Trade and Commerce. My view, is relocating the Freetown International Airport from Lungi across the estuary of the Sierra Leone River to Mamamah on the mainland will bring with it benefits to the country in every sector of the economy. It will give us the opportunity to expand our capital city, as well as bringing about needed development as in new “hotel facility, new settlement, new public sector investment and this will improve the economy” (Morlai Buya Kamara-Project Director-Mamamah Airport-Interview with Awoko Newspaper, 4th February 2014.)

Now, ignore the argument based on job creation, investment and infrastructural growth and look at that of geographical proximity. From Lungi to Freetown, one would have to cross via ferry and spend hours and there are times, when the ferries would disappoint would be travellers. The proposed site for the new airport is just few minutes’ drive to the country’s capital, with less hours, given the completion of the Grafton-Regent Road (if you are going west of the capital).

China’s current envoy to Sierra Leone shared same view, when in December 2015, he told newsmen in Freetown, his first arrival in Sierra Leone was, according to Awoko newspaper, “a nightmare for him and his wife as they had to use a yacht to cross into the city. We are, (kindly correct me if am wrong) the ONLY COUNTRY where one would have to cross a river into its capital. No good way of welcoming first time visitors - be they tourists or investors.

The argument has been put forward by some that the funds to be used on the airport could be used to tackle other country - health care needs given as example. Good! But in development and especially for a third world country like ours, we cannot trade one growth indicator at the detriment of another when they all apparently are of immense value to the chances of that country reaching the zenith of socio-economic development.

We could also now work on seeking more resources to fix our health care system but should not, in my view do away with proposed projects with development partners like China having made clear their preparedness to be part of such. This is not about who does what, but about country needs. Needs that will impact us in the long term. This is all about development. It is high time we begin to think big.

We keep talking about time frame - if it is not timely to use such funds now on infrastructure (airport), how timely would it appear using such on other needs? And if we divert the funds to other projects, aren’t we also obliged to meet whatever obligations we should, in years to come? Yes, Sierra Leone is faced with challenges but I am sounding optimistic, and bold to state that we are at a point where bold decisions that will impact us positively in few decades to come, should be taken.

No matter what the challenges we now face, it should be noted, we do stand the chance of reaching a peak not expected in the coming decades, from the framework of economic growth. China should be a better example, we discuss nations that are today world giants but decades ago, were never imagined could be where they are now.

Mamamah Airport is part of the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity that is expected to contribute to national growth. The President’s determination should be supported by all and sundry devoid of political colours. A government/person that prioritizes development would come to accept the fact that the pending Mamamah Airport is indeed a national priority that goes beyond the realm of party politics.

Calling it a non priority project by some so-called politicians especially from the opposition, is wicked!
Courtesy: John Baimba Sesay in China

 

 

President Robert Mugabe Takes a Swipe at United Nations Whites

By Reuters (17/02/16)

President Robert Mugabi of Zimbabwe has blasted the United Nations for limiting the Secretary Council members to only five nations.

ADDIS ABABA – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe received a standing ovation from his peers at the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday January 30 as he handed over the chair of the body with a rousing speech, filled with more than his usual invective against former colonisers, imperialists, westerners, US President Barack Obama, the United Nations and whites. (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma greeting President Mugabi).

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon squirmed in his seat on the podium when the 91-year-old Mugabe - still feisty despite the annual eruption of rumours about his death this month - threatened that Africa would walk out of the UN unless it was given permanent representation on the UN Security Council.

“We have asked and asked and asked for Security Council reform,” he said, adding that Africans were tired of making “hollow speeches” at the UN with no results.

He said Africans were not real members of the UN - only those with white skins were members - and if they decided one day “down with the UN” they would walk out of it.

“If the UN is to survive, we [Africa] must be equal members of it,” he said to loud applause. “You’re a good man, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, but we can’t make you a fighter. That’s not what your mission was. But we shall fight for our own identity and personality as Africans.”

He told Ban to tell the UN that Africans “are also humans, not ghosts. Tell them, that we also belong to the world. "The UN’s headquarters should not be in New York but in a more populous country, such as China or India, or in Africa, Mugabe said.

Yet Africans and others were placed there [New York] with the “white faces and pink noses next to us - yet how many are they compared with us?”

But Mugabe also thanked Ban for working with Africa in fighting Ebola and helping to fight terrorism and in other crises. He suggested Obama was a puppet of whites. After berating whites for “dragging Africans across the ocean” as slaves, he said those blacks might now seem free - particularly Obama.

“But what is he? A voice made to speak their language, to act their act and not our act. They are still superior.”

Mugabe said that in America black people were still inferior, living in places such as Harlem in New York where education and healthcare were inferior.

Black people were shot in the streets “and nobody seems to talk about it, but today instead they still want to talk about us”.

Even after colonialism, the former colonisers were still everywhere in Africa, “if not physically then through NGOs”, a comment that drew much applause.

He said colonisers were also on the continent as “spies, pretenders, some say they are here in Africa to assist us, even in armed groups in our territories” effecting regime change.

At the end of his speech, which was scheduled to last 10 minutes but continued for close to an hour Mugabe handed over the AU chairmanship to Chad’s President Idriss Deby, giving him a mock bang on the head with the chairperson’s gavel as he did so.

He assured Deby that he would still be around if he wanted to call on him. “I will still be there - until God says, ‘Come to join the other angels’,” he said to loud laughter. Mugabe raised his fist twice in a black power salute when he returned to his seat.

South African President Jacob Zuma seemed uneasy about the standing ovation, rising to his feet slowly and only after nearly everyone else had.

 

Water-Genocide: A Living Nightmare Awaits Our Capital Freetown!!

By Oswald Hanciles (17/02/16)

Oh no!!  I am not being outlandish in posing such a question.  Are there similarities between ISIL and the so-called Freetown elites?

Would I be right if I accuse a tiny number of Freetown’s money-elite and power-elite of being like the most notorious and feared terrorist group in today’s world 'ISIL' (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)? (Pictured: President Ernest Koroma has to continue looking in to the safety of our environment).

Too many of the Freetown elites are chopping down centuries old trees, destroying rare plants and animal life, as they frenetically compete with each other in the construction of personal mansions on the mountains of Freetown. Or, they are turning a blind eye as poor citizens eking out a living chop invaluable trees on these Freetown mountains to make ‘diamba’ (marijuana) farms; or, to burn trees for charcoal for cooking for the majority poor in the capital city of Sierra Leone. 

Like 'ISIL’ who destroyed ancient artefacts thousands of years old, so are the trees and biological life being destroyed by the action (or, inaction; or, typically, the SILENCE) of some of the crème de la crème of the Freetown elites - irreversible and irreparable damage is being done. 

When I recently interviewed Maada Kpenge, the Deputy Managing Director of the Guma Valley Water Company (commonly known as “Guma”), at the Guma Building in the heart of Freetown, he said that the destruction of these forests could lead to a “nightmare” for Freetown if not “immediately stopped” (Kpenge even suggested that the military should be brought to check the accelerated destruction of these forests!); for these forests are the water catchment areas that fill the dams, and from the dams come water for Freetown people. 

Imagine a city of over 2million people with inadequate water? It will surely lead to more of water-borne diseases in a city already facing severe infliction from water borne diseases - diarrhea, typhoid, cholera. In a densely populated city like Freetown, if water gets scarcer, people are likely to go into fights to get the precious liquid.  In our still fragile post-war country, no one could predict where such ‘war battles’ could lead.  Not all is bleak though.

Guma: Silent Life Savers

The Guma  deputy MD, Maada Kpenge,  gave me rousing information on the achievements of Guma over the past fifty years, against great odds: Guma steadily provided water for Freetown - even at the height of the ‘rebel war’ between 1991 and 2002, even when the murderous RUF/AFRC rebels took over and sacked Freetown in 1997 and 1999; Guma ensured there was adequate water in all the hospitals and clinics during the ‘Ebola War’ in 2014/2015; and Guma supplies  pipe borne water to about 50% of the about  2,000,000 million people   in Freetown.  More good news!!

About Hundred Million Dollars for Guma

Guma will this year receive significant financing - $16million through the United States’ MCC programme; $70 million through the British DfID as post-Ebola recovery financing - to overhaul its human resources management; put in dramatically more infrastructure and machinery into its operations that will guarantee pipe borne water for the 2million people in Freetown; and the African Development Bank is ready to finance a Study for 30 years water management plan for Freetown. 

The bad news. All of these emerging hope for significant improvement of the water situation in Freetown could come to nothing if the few ISIL-like elites perpetuate and allow the continued rapid destruction of the forests on the mountains of Freetown. The financing of Guma for new waterworks without conservation and preservation of the forests on Freetown’s mountains could be like a husband buying a baby cot, baby nappies, etc. for his pregnant wife - but, not taking great care of the pregnant wife, who ends up dead. No woman. No baby. The forests would not perform their life-saving functions if the ISIL-like Freetown elites continue to be like the real ISIS which has destroyed invaluable historic artefacts, while they are destroying the forests.

Iraq-Based ISIL and ‘Freetown-ISIL’

Since 2004, ISIL has plundered and destroyed at least 28 historical religious buildings in Iraq. ISIL uses a unit called the Kata'ib Taswiyya (settlement battalions); they’re tasked with selecting targets for demolition. UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, has described these  ISIL activities “a form of cultural cleansing” - like the ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Kosovo, and Rwanda, about twenty years ago. ISIL has bombed one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world, the “Nineveh Wall”. 

In the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah, ISIL ordered the bulldozing of the colossal ancient Assyrian gateway lion sculpture - sculptured around the 8th century BC. On 26 February, 2015, ISIL released a video showing the destruction of various ancient artefacts in the Mosul Museum. On 5 March 2015, ISIL reportedly started the demolition of Nimrud, an Assyrian city from the 13th century BC. This supposedly Islamic-inspired destruction has shocked the world.

Our Freetown elites are not destroying the forests of Freetown out of ISIL-like religious fanaticism. ISIL is using hammer and explosives to destroy temples and images that are thousands of years old - irreversible and irreplaceable damage to a heritage of all humanity.  In their destruction of the tropical rainforests in the mountains of Freetown, the ISIL-like elites of Freetown could be said to be replicating ISIL destruction of historic artefacts. Or, even worse….

The Western Area Peninsula Forest Non-Hunting Reserve (known was WAPFoR) has been upgraded to a national park status in June 2013, as the Government of Sierra Leone declared in the Statutory Instrument No. 6 of 2013, Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXLIV, No. 22, dated 16th of May, 2013.

The forests of Freetown have been declared one of the world’s biological hotspots.  G.D. Field, a scientist,  carried out work in the Freetown forests in the 1960s and early 1970s and recorded 316 species of birds. In 1990, two other scientists, Ausden and Wood, recorded 186 species over a period of three months. A total of 374 species, including occasional migrants from as far as Europe, have so far been recorded. Over 50 species of mammals have been recorded in Freetown’s mountain forests - of which seven species are primates: Western chimpanzee (En), Red Colobus monkey (Vu), Black-and-White Colobus Monkey, Sooty Mangabey (NT) and Diana monkey (Vu). 
From tropical rainforests such as are in Freetown are found one out of four ingredients used by modern pharmaceutical companies to manufacture medicines. Import of this: the biological raw material for a medicine that could lead to billions of dollars in the global pharmaceutical industry could be lurking in these forests. The mountainous terrain had protected the destruction of these forests for centuries, while the rest of Sierra Leone has lost over 85% of its virgin tropical rainforests; but, now, with ‘development’ brought in by roads, these forests are threatened.  Severely! Urgently!! This piece is not primarily on the invaluable nature of the tropical rainforests in Freetown, it is about these forests as a source of  drinking water for a city population of mainly youth, who could be politically volatile..

We Need Three Guma Dams for Freetown

Maada Kpenge told me that  Guma dam will not be adequate to supply Freetown with water even in decades ahead. “We need three Guma-type dams to supply Freetown with water sustainably, with exponential growth of the population of Freetown.” The Guma MD got more specific: “Beyond Sussex, there is problem with water… There is not adequate supply of water in the IMMAT area of Regent."  The water catchment area of Freetown which is a Forest Reserve “is seriously under threat…” Forests being chopped down to clear land for construction of houses; forests cleaned for establishing marijuana farms, are the “threats”.

The new road constructed from Hill Station through Regent to Grafton and Jui is splendid to behold, singing triumphantly, “development”.   But, Maada Kpenge told me that “The Orugu Bridge area from Regent to Grafton is a major catchment area - especially to supply water to the East End of Freetown”; the road has opened the area to more construction of houses. Also, as hundreds of vehicles use the road daily, their fumes pollute the air, and the dam.  This could be killing the Orogu Dam which Guma had hoped would be used to provide water for people in the densely populated East End of Freetown.

President Ernest Koroma’s government has reached an understanding with Chinese investors to get water from the Rokel River to the East End of Freetown. This will cost about $300 million. How soon this will be is left to everybody’s guess. It will not mitigate the monumental damage being done to the forests in the mountains of Freetown, however.

Untapped Greater Economic Wealth from Freetown’s Forests

Genetic resource in these forests being lost; water catchment areas being diminished… are just two of their great values being lost: another value is that the areas where these forests are located are the ‘traditional lands’ of the Krios of Freetown. A large number of Africans were captured from the “Grain Coast” area (what is today Liberia and Sierra Leone) and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to be sold as slaves in the Americas over three hundred years ago of the Protracted

Holocaust of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade

At the end of that heinous trade in human beings in the 19th Century, the largest numbers of freed slaves were returned to Africa, to Freetown, and became known as “Krios” (“Creole” in the Carribean) - with land given to them by the British colonialists in these mountain forests now under threat.  Land squatters, and rich people seeking land for their mansions, are bullying these people, Krios, from their ‘traditional lands’. Now, the descendants of those who sold them into slavery are forcefully taking lands from them - land given to them by the British. This can be said to be a perpetuation of the Evil Forces that made possible  the Atlantic Slave Trade.

On the other side of the Atlantic, those freed slaves who remained in the United States yearn to ‘return home’ - psychologically, if not physically. A lot of African-Americans in the US are now doing genetic tests that trace their roots to Africa, to Sierra Leone. This is still virgin touristic potential for Sierra Leone. Hundreds of millions of dollars can be earned by Sierra Leone when what is now known as ‘Root Tourism’ is tapped.

Sierra Leone will certainly lose its sheen as a ‘Land of Freetown’, with the evocative name of its capital city, “Freetown”, if the returned Africans, the former slaves, are wantonly shoved off their traditional lands in the mountains of Freetown, and these lands are ecologically devastated. It is tragic that the ISIL-like Freetown elites are destroying these forests which have such enormously multiple economic potentials. Now, you would agree that   in my labelling the few of these short-sighted and selfish Freetown elites as “ISIL-like” I have not exaggerated.

I am optimistic that the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC majority in Parliament that has made into law the Western Area Peninsula Forest Non-Hunting Reserve (WAPFoR) in 2013 to protect these forests would lead the way for a ‘Grand Coalition’ against those destroying these forests - like the Grand Coalition against ISIL. 

For forests. For water.  For life.  For human dignity.

 

Did SLFA Officials Deny F.C. Kallon's Midfielder of his Swedish Dream?

By Morris Junior (15/02/16)

This is the burning question that the F.C. Kallon football team wants the officials of the Sierra Leone Football Association to answer.

FC Kallon's accusation that the Sierra Leone Football Association SLFA did not facilitate their player's travel to Sweden has been refuted. Reports say the Sierra Leone Football Association has turned down a request to issue reference to FC Kallon midfielder Saidu Fofanah to head for trials in Sweden with Division II side, Motala AIF. (Pictured: Mohamed Kallon, Sierra Leone's most famous football icon donning his AS Monaco jersey. He owns FC Kallon after retiring from professional football).

The 18-year-old youngster was bill to travel to Abuja, Nigeria for an entry visa to Sweden where he is expected to start training sessions and trials with the Swedish outfit on February 15, 2016.

According to FC Kallon Secretary General, Blamoh Robert, he sent a letter dated January 18, 2016, requesting SLFA to write a recommendation letter to the Swedish Embassy Consular Officer to facilitate the player's travel to the Scandinavian country.

Mr. Robert said: “This has always been the case whenever our players are going out for trials. We seek the FA's reference letter with an attached document of the club’s invitation and a copy of the player's passport."

The angry FC Kallon scribe noted: "To our surprise, exactly two weeks after our request for a recommendation, the SLFA Secretary sent the same letter to us with a double red stamp at the top and bottom with the word ‘REJECTED' boldly written on the envelope.

Responding to what will be the club's next move, Mr. Robert said they are going to explore all avenues to ensure that the player's dream move to Sweden becomes a reality.

He added that such negative move by the SLFA headed by Isha Johansen will continue to deepen the ongoing problems within the football family in Sierra Leone.

A senior official from the SLFA Secretariat however refuted the FC Kallon version. The SLFA official said the decision by the FA is connected to the earlier warning that players and officials who are participating in the ongoing football stakeholders National Premier League will face punishment.

Courtesy: Follow the writer@morrisjr88

 

APC Descendants in Port Loko Complain to the APC Scribe in Freetown

(15/02/16)

In an open letter to the APC National Secretary General in Freetown, the Port Loko APC descendants have made a complaint.

Dear Sir,

We are often accused of being disunited. But how can we be united when outsiders continue to prey on us day in day out? Some weeks ago, there was a notice from the APC Port Loko District Chairman calling for expression of interests from persons for the vacant seat of Constituency 50. This is the norm as has been the case for all bye elections held thus far. (Pictured: APC National Secretary General Yansaneh).

It has been CUSTOMARY for district executives to take decisions through their constituency executives. The district executives have always been in charge and FULLY so. This is one major reason they were elected to office. They are district people; they live in the district and know the people. They know than anyone else who is the people's choice for better representation.

But when it comes to Port Loko, the game ball is STRANGELY different. Alongside the notice sent out by Chairman Bundu, another notice has just come from Hon Buya (Regional chairman) contradicting and eventually cancelling Chairman Bundu's, thus changing the rules of the game. This is unfair and unjust for a district that has shown in every respect, a hundred percent fidelity to its party. A district that has the capacity at all times to deliver.

We are repugnant to this state of unhealthy development. This is not good for the constituency and by extension, the district.

We (Port Loko) are often accused of being disunited. But how can we be united (even though this a fiction of people's opinions) when outsiders continue to prey on us? How can we be united when the very leadership we have so faithfully stood in support of continues to sow seeds of discord among us? We are however a united family. And we want to continue to build on this unity as unity is strength. We are united more than ever before.

We have competent comrades who can solve any puzzle. We have a barrage of people with HEADS, HEARTS and HANDS to move our party forward at a geometric progression.

Allow us be. Don't shift the posts when it comes to Port Loko. Let Port Loko decides Port Loko matters. Allow a smooth process to prevail. We are more than responsible to do the right thing and give our party a free flow victory.

REMEMBER, WE ARE TRULY PORT LOKO as the spirits of Bai Bureh, Pitherr and S.I. Koroma vex us all.

We kindly ask that you use your good office to restore things in our district as this is the only way we would be united.

Orwaii!
Orsaii!!
Long live our APC party!!!

Concerned District Members

 

As 10,000 Pre-Paid Meters Destroyed by Fire. Is this a Conspiracy?

Platinum Asks (15/02/16)

The rampant fire outbreaks in the capital Freetown today has made tongues to wag as to whether these fires are the result of sabotage!

Information from our very reliable source has revealed  that 10,000 prepaid meters were destroyed by the latest fire outbreak at the Electricity House on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown. (Pictured: The National Power Authority headquarters in mysterious fires in Freetown).

The element of alleged foul play became apparent when we discovered that the meters, worth over one million United States dollars were destroyed the same day they were to be transferred to the EDSA sub-station at Falcon Bridge. Reports also confirmed that there was a pending audit of the said meters.

It was also revealed that an undisclosed quantity of these meters had earlier disappeared, prompting earlier investigations that suggested the existence of a long thriving criminal syndicate at EDSA.

Seven people earlier arrested by police are reportedly in custody but police sources say there are serious challenges in acquiring strong evidence to charge them to court. This has further exposed the poor capacity of our law enforcement agency to investigate and prosecute such offenses.

There is not yet an official statement from the Ministry but we learnt that the Minister Henry Macauley has been collaborating with police investigators to nab the culprits. He has temporarily relocated to Brook Street as his office at Electricity House was on the floor that was severely affected.

As the energy situation improves across the country, Sierra Leoneans believe government must put in place a mechanism that will sanitize our corrupt energy sector.

Such mechanism must not be devoid of aspects of capacity building and ways of developing an ethical work culture among all categories of staff.

People are convinced the energy sector is plagued by shameless rogues determined to reverse the gains made by government in that very sector.

Minister Macauley who has been praised recently for the improved power supply in Freetown must act decisively on this matter or risk being lambasted by an increasingly angry public.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Sickly Osman Boie and Family Thank President Koroma for the Help

(15/02/16)

"I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the role you played during my illness which went even beyond your duty as president," Usu Boie.

Below is Alhaji Osman Boie Kamara's 'Thank You' transcript during his courtesy call at State House: (Pictured: Unrecognisable Usu Boie, 2nd left, with family listening attentively to President Koroma's response).

"I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the role you played during my illness which went even beyond your duty as president, both personally and officially. It shows the type of president you are because what you have done shows the true nature of your concern for human being. I thank you very much for that. I am here with a cross-section of my family and other stakeholders who have been with me in and out to make the public testimony to the role you played and for them to accompany me to thank you for what you have done.

"I will take this opportunity to introduce them so that they too will know you and you know them. I have my wife here - Mrs Isata Boie Kamara; she has been a source of sustenance and strength throughout my illness. “Pipul dem kin tok say e fine mek u get good uman.” That helps because even that is what the doctor said; that helped in the recovery. That’s my sister Mrs. Daramy. She lives in London, Justice Abdul Koroma, Mrs. Bona is my sister as well; she lives in New Jersey, Mr. Adeyemi, Mr Maddy, Sheikh Street Life Koroma, Mr Kojo Brown, Mr Konike Kamara, and my son Mamoud.

"So we will not keep you long here. The purpose of this visit is to thank you not only for me personally. Thank you for the nation for your herculean effort during this Ebola crisis to make sure we have reached the stage where we are today. I thank you for that. Am sure the people of this country are grateful to have had you as president to steer the ship of state so that the situation which arose in this country.

"So once more we thank you, thank you, thank you," Usu Boie concluded.

Here is President Ernest Koroma's Response

"Let me start by welcoming you and your family to State House and to welcome you again healed and hearty. Personally the government and the nation have gone through very anxious moments owing to your illness and we are happy that today you are back. And I also want to thank the members of the family and the friends who have supported you through this very difficult moment. For us I think your health is most important.

"You cannot price it with money; you cannot price it with my time and efforts. I think what we have succeeded in doing God being the helper is having you back. So once more let me welcome you and to say that we are happy that we are back and I am sure with the continued support of the members of the family and with God’s help you will continue to play the role you’ve been playing in national development.

"The support of the government should not come as a surprise to you. Besides serving in government you have a long standing public figure in this country. You have contributed in your own way towards national development. I think if it’s anything the country has a responsibility to ensure that our citizens are protected and are provided for in whatever circumstances they find themselves. This is just one of such situation.

"Let me again urge madam to continue to provide the support and I think health is most paramount in whatever we can do to continue to enhance your health. You can always count on us as a government and you can come to me personally.

"Once more let me welcome and thank God you are back," President Koroma noted.

 

 

Fisheries  Minister Extols Colleague Ministers for Job Well Done

By Fayia Amara Fayia (15/02/16)

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resource has extolled Deputy Minister of Energy Ishmael Sengu Koroma for his hard work.

This praise was done in what could be described as political thoughts sharing meet in the office of the Minister of Fisheries Marine Resources Allieu Pat-Sowe. He also levied praise on Honourable Nurudeen and the Vice Chairlady of APC Kenema district Baby Jaiah for promoting APC's Agenda for Change policy. (Pictured: Minister Ishmael Sengu).

Minister Allieu Pat-Sowe highlighted the diligent work to promote the ruling All Peoples Congress party and for the actualisation of the Agenda for Prosperity in the country as the main reason for levying the praise and further admonished them to uphold the tenants of the APC party.

The minister said the APC as a grass root party is interested in the welfare and well being of all Sierra Leoneans as manifested by the good leadership of the Chairman and leader President Ernest Bai Koroma.

He encouraged the Deputy Energy Minister to continue the good work which is evidential in the supply of power in the Freetown municipality, the provincial towns and the 60 MW project in Kono. He noted that such ambitious lieutenant of President Koroma needs motivation and elevation.
 
The Deputy Energy Minister-1, Ishmael Sengu Koroma responded by showing his appreciation of Minister Pat-Sowe and also thanked President Koroma for the confidence and opportunity to serve in his government for the nation.

Minister Ishmael Koroma said the immediate project  on his mind is the electrification of Hangha Town some two miles from Kenema, a project which will be launched soon with the blessing of APC comrades like Logus Koroma, Allieu Pat-Sowe, Hon. JB Dauda Minister of Internal Affairs.

Reports say the Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh will also hopefully be in attendance.

 

 

Parliament Passes National Youth Service Act 2016 to Aid Employment

Press Release (15/02/16)

Parliamentarians have welcomed the Bill and also appreciated government’s efforts in seeking solutions to youth unemployment.

Parliament on Tuesday 2nd February 2016 passed the Bill titled the National Youth Service Act 2016, being an act to establish the National Youth Service and to provide for other related matters.
 
Presenting the bill to Parliament, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon. Alimamy Kamara (pictured), said the memorandum of objects and reasons of the bill, is to establish the National Youth Service Scheme to train graduates in order to better serve the nation. He highlighted the importance of the Bill for the development of Sierra Leonean youth.
 
Members of Parliament, from both sides of the House welcomed the Bill and appreciated Government’s efforts in seeking solutions to youth unemployment.
 
Both leaders of the House acknowledged the importance of the scheme for both graduates and non-graduates in the employment sector of the country.

After the Bill was read the first and second times and committed to the Committee of the Whole House, it was passed with some amendments.
 
In another development, Parliament has also approved a government motion tabled by the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma, on the addendum No. 4 to the concession agreement, Container Terminal, at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority by and among Sierra Leone Ports Authority, the government of Sierra Leone, the National Commission for Privatization,  Bollore and the Freetown Terminal Limited.
 
Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone OAU Drive, Tower Hill
Freetown

 

Minister of State East Appeals to Stakeholders to Enforce Ebola Laws

(10/02/16)

The Minister of State East, Maya Moiwo Kaikai has called on Paramount Chiefs and other stakeholders to enforce the Ebola bye-laws.

Honourable Maya Kaikai (pictured) thanking the Paramount Chiefs for their turnout in the meeting in short notice, the Minister also advised them to work with their respective taskforces in this direction.

The Minister explained to the local authorities that during the Ebola crisis, he witnessed  lots  of events ranging from travel ban, deaths as a result of the epidemic and the restriction of movements and other social activities.

He referred to the meeting as a family meeting to reflect what happened during the peak of the Ebola in the region were President Ernest Bai Koroma was having sleepless nights to ensure that Ebola is wiped out in our country.

The Minister called on the Paramount Chiefs to play vital role to ensure that the past odd months when Ebola was killing our people do not return anymore. He said although our District Management Teams in the three districts have assured that they are on top of the situation, we still have to be on the alert by checking people travelling from one place to another.

Hon. Maya Kaikai advised all and sundry not to be complacent as there are too much complacency going on now. He recalled two months ago when President Koroma was on a nationwide tour to roll out the post Ebola plan when the President urged the Paramount Chiefs to be involved in the process.

The Minister also used the opportunity to talk to partners to support the chiefdoms to resuscitate the Ebola Taskforces, noting that the President is very much worried about the unfolding incident that has occurred in Tonkolili district.

 

Best Selling Awareness Times Newspaper Back in Sierra Leone

(10/02/16)

The Awareness Times Newspaper has returned with a bang on the Sierra Leone market since its conspicuous absence late last year.

The best selling newspaper hits the newsstands on Friday morning February 05 after a lull of 5 months absence. (Vendors scrambling for the newspaper).

A short clip of the moment the news vendors in Freetown rushed to ensure they get copies for sale was shown which indicated the massive gap the newspaper's absence has created in the market.

At the time the newspaper stopped publishing in September last year, Awareness Times was indisputably the highest selling, fastest selling, most popular newspaper in entire Sierra Leone.

From the excitement of the news vendors this morning, clearly it is all set to resume its place in the market. Copies are already on the way to the Provinces.

The newspaper is now published by a newly incorporated limited liability company known as AWARENESS TIMES LIMITED.

According to a press release signed by Mr. Benjamin Davies, the newspaper's new General Manager, the Awareness Times is no longer under the sole proprietorship of Dr. Sylvia Blyden but is a distinct and separate legal entity of its own.

 

Former VP Joe Demby Complains SLPP Party to the PPR Commission

(05/02/16)

The SLPP opposition party has been in the spot light again thanks to former Vice President Joe Demby's recent complaint to the PPRC.

Former Vice President, Joe Demby (pictured) has written to the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) raising concerns over the legibility of the SLPP party's national executive to conduct elections or hold party meetings. The said letter was leaked through our network of reporters countrywide.

According to Joe Demby, the term of the National officers has expired and their insistence to continue holding office and conducting party activities like elections also contravene a Supreme Court Order, which according to him, states that elections for national officers should be done by the National Executive Council made up of ex-officio members of the party.

The former VP was angry that he wasn't invited to the NEC meeting on the 8th and 9th January 2016 and according to him, the  national officers have exhibited a blatant show of disrespect for other senior members of the party.

He said the current executive had stage managed the elections of lower level officers for an election slated for the 15th January 2016 to  ensure they are in turn elected by these stooges at the party's national convention.

"My understanding is that the National Officers whose term ended in August 2015 cannot conduct any level of election in a fair and transparent manner, because: it is those lower level officers that will eventually vote for them to retain their present positions or higher. Votes conduct in the meeting were full of irregularities" he wrote.

Joe Demby believed the  recent election of some lower level officers of the party was a sham and called on the PPRC to intervene and restore order in a party that is now synonymous to chaos, 'mammy cuss' and ego-centrism.

It is not clear which warring faction of the SLPP Joe Demby belongs to but his recent reaction further shows the deepening and messy crisis that has engulfed the SLPP.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Plans to Stop Maada Bio Exposed...Is SLPP at War to Sack Maada?

(05/02/16)

It is reliably learnt from competent SLPP sources of a grand plan to prevent Julius Maada Bio from running as flag-bearer come 2018.

A senior SLPP officer (who preferred to speak on the grounds of anonymity) said the SLPP constitution will form the basis of this intra party 'coup' against Maada Bio whom many believe continues to command the largest following in the SLPP. (Pictured: SLPP executives and flag-bearers but Maada was conspicuously absent).

This move, if successful, will necessitate a National Executive Council resolution that will see former UN Energy Chief, Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah emerging flag-bearer. 
Already, there is war of words going on between Maada Bio and another SLPP factions comprising heavy weights like John Benjamin, Andrew Keili, Chief Somano Kapen and Kandeh Yumkellah etc.

This latest development is  lending credence to claims of a grand plan to destroy Maada's stranglehold on the SLPP.

John Benjamin (JOB) was on 98.1 recently accusing Maada of extorting money from supporters to sustain himself in the UK and described the former Brigadier as an "errand boy."

JOB's statement has been seen as a direct response to Mr Bio's scathing attack on members of the Yumkella Coalition.

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Cro Jimmy Hails Illustrious Son Gibril Sesay as Minister of State

(01/02/16)

Cro Jimmy, a small community sandwiched by Fourah Bay in Freetown has celebrated the 'Home Coming' of an illustrious son.

Dr Mohammed Gibril Sesay (pictured) has been identified by President Ernest Bai Koroma to serve as Minister of State 1 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Platinum Media was not part of the Home Coming event at the East End of Freetown but information gathered revealed that the people of Cro Jimmy were in high spirits celebrating another milestone in the political life of man whose intellect has immensely contributed to the development of Sierra Leone.

The unassuming guy but extraordinarily smart academic was prior to his appointment, head of the  Research Unit at State House.

He is undoubtedly one of the finest presidential speech writers of our time. His unquestionable loyalty to President Koroma coupled with his solid belief in the ideologies of the ruling APC has earned him the reputation of a master dribbler who can handle both academic and political careers with unpunctuated ease.

An insatiable appetite to contribute to education has seen him enviously managing his busy schedule for a part-time teaching role at the University of Sierra Leone.

The home coming event at Cro Jimmy was reported to have attracted thousands of residents who marveled at the traditional "bubu" dancing skills of our new Minister of State - a show of cultural attachment to his native Port Loko, the home of Bubu.

According to one observer, Gibril Sesay is another player long needed to take the field to help score those match winning goals in the Prosperity Football League ably captained by President Koroma, the political Messi. 

Courtesy: Platinum Media

 

Public Urged to Always Think Ebola and Must Call 117 Emergency

(05/02/16)

The public must report all suspicious illnesses and deaths and must adhere to safe hand hygiene practices and seek early treatment.

This was the warning as a second case of Ebola was confirmed on Wednesday December 20, 2015 after the blood sample of a high risk contact linked to the index case, tested positive for Ebola Virus Disease. (Sierra Leone Deputy Health Minister Madina Rahman).

The 38 year old aunt to the index case, was an active caregiver to the index case during her illness and also helped prepare the body for burial upon death on 12 January 2016. The swab tests of the index case tested EVD positive on 14 January 2016.

'Aunt M' moved to a Voluntary Quarantine Facility on Monday, 17 January 2016 with four other high risk contacts, after initial monitoring at a quarantined home. 
She developed a fever with Diarrhea early 20 January at the VQF, was transferred from the VQF to the isolation facility, where an initial blood specimen was taken; the specimen tested positive for EVD twice. Subsequent testing took place at another independent laboratory that doubly confirmed the results late on the same day. Aunt M' was then transferred to the Ebola Treatment Unit at Military 34 hospital in Freetown where she was receiving treatment.

While this new case causes understandable anxiety after all known transmission chains were formally halted on 7 November 2015, the government's rapid response to find, identify this high risk contact early, moved her to a VQF, monitored her closely for symptoms and rapidly isolate and provide treatment when she showed symptoms and tested positive, proves that our response systems remain robust. But the risk of further infection remains high for as long as monitoring of located high risk contacts continue and while missing contacts remain un-located.

The general public therefore is urged to continue to think Ebola, to call 117 to report suspicious illnesses and all deaths, not to wash dead bodies and adhere to safe hand hygiene practices and to seek early treatment if you suspect that you may have been in contact with the index case. We have fought Ebola once and won. Together we can do it again.

Courtesy: PHNEOC Communications

 

MP Says Principals Should Run Private Schools Freely in Sierra Leone

By Parliament PR (10/02/16)

A Sierra Leone parliamentarian has advised private school proprietors to allow principals to freely administer the schools in the country.

Honourable Sulaiman Mulku Sisay has reminded school authorities about provisions in the Education Act of 2004 relating to the composition of the Boards and noted that proprietors are not the owners of the private schools. Hon Mulku Sisay also said that the principals should be allowed to run the schools freely as they are the ones accountable to the government. (Pictured: Education Minister Dr. Minkailu Bah).

Representatives of the Auditor General in the three regions told participants that these issues discussed are responsible for the development of the country, and that classes A, B, and C chiefdoms will be audited from time to time to enhance national development.

They also explained about the audit process spanning from the engagement letter, the audit, the management response, the exit conference, quality control and the report writing before tabling in Parliament for the attention and action of the PAC. The Auditors emphasised that Sierra Leone will not develop until the taxes are collected and used prudently to achieve the intended purpose.

The Paramount Chiefs for the three districts acknowledged that they have not been accountable for a long time, and encouraged their staff to build their capacity for the task ahead or risk losing their jobs. They also called on them to implement what they had learnt during the conference, and pass the message to those who were not present.

Some of the questions and answers were hinged on teacher recruitment, retention and conditions of service, arrears, rotational teachers, act/policy which takes precedence over the other, salary for court chairmen and clerks.

Withholding taxes and qualified vendors, capacity building and enabling working environment for chiefdom authorities, illiterate court chairmen and clerks, printing of tax receipts, tax disclosure, rebate and evidence of work with tax funds were some of the things discussed among others.

Courtesy: Department of Public Relations Parliament of Sierra Leone OAU Drive, Freetown

TRIBUTE: Alpha Shaw

Journalist, Student Activist, Leader, 1958-1980

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