A P C writes president Bio

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A P C writes president Bio

The Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress (APC)Osaman Foday Yansaneh has told journalists during a press conference   at  the Party’s head office, Old Railway line, Brookfields,  Freetown that 1000 voters’ registration cards have been intercepted.

According to him, they were concerned over the issue which he said signals to them as a threat for the country; claiming that the ruling SLPP party plans to rig the 2023 National election; he called their supporters to stay vigilant and focused.

Mr Yansaneh continued that the individual who was intercepted with alleged voters’ cards had told the police that he collected the voters’ Cards from the people in Makeni town in the name of giving them Micro Credit.

 The accused, he said, is currently with the police at the Makeni police for further interrogation.

See the letter below

 ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC)

MOTTO: ACTION PROGRESS COMMITMENT

 Headquarters & Western Region: We Yone House

11A Old Railway Line, Freetown.

Tel: 076-611-726

His Excellency, Dr. Julius Maada Bio President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Office of the President – State House Freetown

Your Excellency,

USURPATION OF PRESIDENTIAL MANDATES AND ATTEMPT TO BREACH THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTION BY THE NCRA.

It is an honour for me to present my compliments of high esteem on behalf of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and to express the hope this letter meets you in good health.

Your Excellency, I have been mandated by the APC to bring to your gracious attention, serious usurpation of constitutional and presidential mandates by the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA).

Your Excellency will be familiar with Section 22 of the Public Elections Act (Act No. 4 of 2012 under the rubric “Notice of intention to compile Register of Voters”. For ease of reference, I here produce the full text of that section:

Section 22: Upon notification by the Electoral Commission, the President may, from time to time, by statutory instrument, make orders –

(a) declaring the intention of the Electoral Commission either generally or in such wards as he may specify in the order to have new Registers of Voters prepared; and

(b) Specifying a date for the publication of notices inviting claims from eligible voters under section 23; but any order already in existence, if issued not more than two years earlier, shall be sufficient for the purposes of this section.

Your Excellency will agree with us that as of this moment, you are the ONLY person with the sole mandate to declare for the registration of new Voters or verification of old Voters. Similarly sir, you cannot just make a declaration orally (viva voce) but it has to be done through Statutory Instruments that first need to be laid in Parliament procedurally and with specific legal timeframes within which such declarations can mature and become functional.

However, in a Public Notice dated 20th February 2020, the Director General of the NCRA, Mr. Mohamed M. Massaquoi is purporting to have the powers to make an announcement that only YOU, as the President of Sierra Leone, are empowered to make. Mr. Massaquoi, after purporting to cloak himself with presidential powers to announce a notice of intention to compile Register of Voters for 2022 Elections went further to state that he “wishes to inform the general public that only those whose details are in the Permanent Civil Register will be eligible to obtain Biometric National Identification Cards and to vote in all public elections beginning with the 2022 Local Council Elections”. This was all done under an NCRA press release entitled “Confirmation of Personal Details of Registrants and the Registration of the Unregistered Population (Citizens and Non-Citizens Resident in Sierra Leone)”.

Your Excellency, in addition to cloaking himself with presidential powers which he does not have, the NCRA Director General has also usurped what are the powers of NEC under Section 33 of the Sierra Leone Constitution. By purporting to have such powers under the NCRA Act, his action is in breach of Section 108(7) of the Sierra Leone Constitution which action in accordance with the provisions of Section 108(8) should be considered an act of Treason.

Your Excellency, the APC is bringing these unfortunate developments to your gracious attention in your capacity as Guardian of the Constitution for you to protect the Constitution and also protect our country’s presidential mandate.

You’re Excellency, Sections 33 and 108 of the sacred Constitution are quite clear and I here reference them with emphasis placed where pertinent:

1991 Constitution: Section 33: Functions of the Electoral Commission.

33. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission shall be responsible for the conduct and supervision of the registration of voters for, and of, all public elections and referenda; and for that purpose shall have power to make regulations by statutory instrument for the registration of voters, the conduct of Presidential, Parliamentary or Local Government elections and referenda, and other matters connected therewith, including regulations for voting by proxy.

1991 Constitution: Section 32 (ii) In the exercise of any function vested in it by this Constitution the Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the directive and control of any person or authority.

1991 Constitution: Section 108: Alteration of this Constitution.

108.(7) No Act of Parliament shall be deemed to amend, add to or repeal or in any way alter any of the provisions of this Constitution unless it does so in express terms. 108.(8) Any suspension, alteration, or repeal of this Constitution other than on the authority of Parliament shall be deemed to be an act of Treason.

108(9) In this section a) references to this Constitution include references to any law that amends or replaces any of the provisions of this Constitution; and

b) references to the alteration of this Constitution or of any Chapter or section of this Constitution include references to the amendment, modification or re- enactment, with or without amendment or modification, of any provision for the time being contained in this Constitution or Chapter or section thereof, the suspension or repeal of any such provision, the making of different provision in lieu of such provision and the addition of new provisions to this Constitution or Chapter or section thereof, and references to the alteration of any particular provision of this Constitution shall be construed likewise.

Your Excellency, clearly, from the face of the Press Release of the NCRA, it has not taken into consideration, critical and essential steps involved in the Registration of Voters such as outlined in the Public Elections Act (Act No 4 of 2012) and which are considered as international best practice.

For example under the Public Elections Act 2012, Registration Officers in charge of registering citizens for the creation of the “National Register of Voters” are special positions requiring specialised supervision; in order for them to determine whether a Sierra Leone citizen is qualified or not qualified to be a Voter.

Furthermore, “National Register of Voters” itself is sub-divided into Wards and a Voter is qualified/disqualified based on which Ward he/she is ‘ordinarily resident’ and such determination as well as other determination of who is a legitimate voter, require specialised supervision by professionals of NEC.

Your Excellency, by Sierra Leone Law and International Best Practice, there should also be conducted a period of Exhibition of Voters List by Ward so as to enable bonafide residents of such Wards to be able to make challenges to any such name freshly registered in that Ward.

Whilst we recognise that NEC may choose to work with NCRA in extracting data to assist them to compile a National Register of Voters, we in the APC are very concerned that the NCRA is so boldly usurping powers of not only NEC but even the statutory powers of the President of Sierra Leone.   

Your Excellency, it is now over two years since your predecessor and brother, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma made a declaration, through a Statutory Instrument, for the Registration and Verification of Citizens during the 2017 exercise.

By Law, after two years, such a declaration by your predecessor has lapsed and currently, NOBODY ELSE BUT YOU AS THE SITTING PRESIDENT OF SIERRA LEONE can now make such a fresh declaration to your Citizens calling on them to go and register as Voters.

By Law, under Section 170 (7) of the 1991 Constitution, such a declaration should be sent by you to Parliament for a specified number of days before it can take effect.

Your Excellency, the APC has mandated me to write and bring these serious issues of usurpation of Constitutional Dictates and other Laws to your gracious attention in order to have you take swift executive steps to rectify the ongoing usurpations.

Your Excellency, let me end by extending the kind sentiments of our highest esteem for you and your office.

Yours faithfully,

Amb. Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh

National Secretary General, APC.

CC: Speaker of the House of Parliament

CC: PPRC Chairman

CC: NEC Chairman

CC: Diplomatic Community through the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps CC: Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone

CC: Citizens of Sierra Leone through the Media CC: Chairman & Leader – APC

CC: All Political Parties Association

CC: Leaders of All Registered Political Parties CC: The Director General NCRA

Guma DG Makes Unassailable Achievements

By Mohamed Jalloh

In less than 2 years since his appointment as the Director General of Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), Maada Kpenge has made unprecedented achievement in the often-vilified public utility Company. The institution has been running on a deficit over the years but since his assumption into office, revenue collection has been on an upward spiral. In 2019 revenue increased from Le35.3 Billion to Le37.65Billion and collection of water rates improved from Le35.3Billion to Le37.65Billion.

More over the indefatigable Maada Kpenge ensured collection efficiency as to the ratio of billing improved dramatically from 63% in 2018 to 77 % in 2019.

Realizing the communication gaps between the company and the general public, Mr Kpenge instituted a robust customer communications and customer services by announcing outages for emergencies and other planned shut downs.

Under his watch, service reliability has improved tremendously with an important rationing programmed to ensure general accessibility.

Under Mr Kpenge` leadership there has been improved water quality  within acceptable standards, whiles further maintaining 6 months supply of water treatment chemicals and regularly monitoring water quality in the treatment plants throughout the distribution network.

Due to his foresight leadership style, he has ensured the installation of several kilometers of pipe lines to replace the vulnerable spaghetti pipes that are prone to leakaeges.This is all geared towards reducing water wastages.  Communities that benefitted include Wilberforce, Juba hills, Water Street, Thompson bay, Barbadorie.

Mr kpenge assured of other projects that are under rehabilitation that are soon to be completed which include the Spur road, Smart Farm, Adonkia and Aberdeen communities.

Through the elimination of key risk to water supply, he has been pro active in addressing some key vulnerabilities to the water supply system. This includes undertaken major repairs at the main treatment plants to address leakages and improve plant uptime.

The Professional engineer and dedicated team has under significant repairs to the perennial leaking pipeline on the old Juba bridge, installing new high lift water pups at Spur Road.

The manager has always complained of the ever present threat to deforestation, as human activities has destroyed the forest that preserve the water.

He has warned that the water level normally decreases in all the water sources during the dry season as a result of human encroachment in water catchment areas.

Because of the looming threats, the water facilities Mr Kpenge has vowed to evict squatters in a bid to reclaim its facilities and water resources.

The Manager of the company has also secured funding for the rehabilitation of Freetown water Supply infrastructure which is on course and all necessary design work has been completed and construction will begin in earnest in March 2020.

The launch of the Freetown Water Supply and sanitation master plan studies has help to develop bankable water supply projects that would eventually take the city to 100% access to safe clean drinking water for the people of Freetown. “The total loans and grants secured for the improvement of water supply to various communities amount to $50 million and we are still working very hard to secure more funding” Mr. Kpenge revealed.

He further disclosed that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with a Chinese company China Gerzhouba Group Company to develop the Orugu Dam project that would deliver 1000 cubic meters of water supply to communities in the East end of the Freetown city.

Every preconditionality has been met and the project would commence very soon. Mr Maada Kpenge is indeed an unassailable achiever.      

President Museveni Receives   S/Leone High Commissioner  

President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Thursday 27th February 2020, received a letter of credence from the newly accredited Non-Resident High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Uganda His Excellency Peter Joseph Francis.

Whilst presenting his letter of credence to President Museveni at State House in Entebbe, Uganda, the High Commissioner accredited, H.E. Peter Joseph Francis noted with honor and privileged that Uganda and Sierra Leone share common values and aspirations and collaborate on multifaceted global issues. He also acknowledged the importance of Sierra Leone and Uganda sharing membership of the Africa Union, Commonwealth and the United Nations.

 He also spoke about President Bio’s commitment in working closely with President Museveni in advocating the African common position on the reform of the UN Security Council as contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.

In addition, H.E. Peter Joseph Francis noted the recent signing of draft of Agreements upon the state visit on 1st-3rd July 2019 by H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Republic of Sierra Leone to the Republic of Uganda.

 He noted that  President Bios  was a sign in the right direction to cement the already cordial and bilateral relationships of the two countries and opened up for more cooperation of the two sister countries in various sectors of the economies.

President Museveni, on his part acknowledged the role Sierra Leone is playing in world peace and security especially for its leadership role in the reform of the UN Security Council. Hence, he informed that his country, Uganda, is ready to host the next Ministerial meeting of the Committee of 10 (C10) of the UN Reforms later this year after a successful meeting in Dakarr, Senegal in January.

President Museveni further touched on the several

Consequently, H.E. Peter Joseph Francis confirmed that Sierra Leone has put all legislative and legal measures in place to actualize the implementation of the said MOUs, Agreements and for the establishment of a Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC).

H.E. Peter Joseph Francis was accompanied to Uganda  by the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Sierra Leone High Commission in Nairobi, Abdul Karim Kargbo.

Meanwhile, H.E. Peter Joseph Francis, who is the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya, is also accredited to UNON, UNEP and UN-Habitat. The High Commissioner to Kenya is also accredited to overseeing other countries like: Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, Angola and Malawi.

 Hon Sidi Tunis Takes  ECOWAS Appointment

Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis, the Leader of Government Business representing the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament is going to be elected and would be sworn in as Speaker of the regional Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament on Monday 9th March 2020, at the Republic of Niger capital, Niamey.

A confirmed report from the Sierra Leone House of Parliament says that a high-powered delegation from the house is due to leave on Saturday 7 March 2020 for the Sahel state of Republic of Niger and is to be led by the Honourable Speaker of the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu.

The fifteen (15) man delegation from the Sierra Leone House of Parliament will comprises twelve (12) Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as three (3) supporting staff who are all due to go in full support and solidarity for the candidacy of Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that last year, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio had in a televised video message to Members of the ECOWAS Parliament which was played at the Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia endorsed and weigh in absolute support for the Leader of Government Business of Sierra Leone House of Parliament to serve as Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis, a native from the provinces also doubles as SLPP MP for Constituency 101 in the Southern Provincial district of Pujehun.

Whilst endorsing Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis, President Bio said “I have known him for several years and he served in several leadership positions in this country,” adding that “I know his wealth of knowledge he will bring to the table to make ECOWAS Parliament a better institution than it is currently.”

President Bio  added, “I endorse him as my candidate and I am appealing to all of us to support him and you will not regret it.”

Meanwhile, in a similar development, the candidature of Honourable Sidi Mohamed Tunis as Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament has also received complete approval and endorsements from several major ECOWAS countries including Nigeria, Senegal , Ghana, Liberia, Còte d’ivoire, Gambia, Cape Verde and others.

Sierra Leone has never occupied the position of ECOWAS Parliament Speaker, since its establishment in 1975.

Hon. Tunis is expected to take the mantle of leadership and he will serve until 2024, when Togo will be in line to succeed Sierra Leone. The position is rotational in alphabetical manner. The current holder is from Senegal, this means that Sierra Leone is next in line to take up the position.

Meanwhile, as part of his functions as Speaker, Hon Tunis will direct the business of the Parliament and its organs. He will also preside over meetings and conduct debates in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Procedure.

The delegation that is set to leave Sierra Leone on March 7th 2020 will comprises Members of Parliament and staff of the House.

SLCB Launches Visa Debit Card

At a ceremony on Saturday Feb. 22nd 2020 at the Freetown Golf Club to climax the celebrations of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank’s week long activities  of its 47th anniversary, management of the bank launched the Visa Debit cards.

Managing Director, Fidelis Turay said the card can be used on POS devices and more than 20 million ATMs worldwide and also online to buy products and services.

Visa Debit cards work like cash, only better. They use funds directly from your bank account and are accepted worldwide.

They offer quick, secure and convenient access to your money in person, online, overseas and over the phone.

In his speech before the launching of the Visa Debit Card, MD Fidelis Turay thanked the Freetown Golf Club for collaborating with SLCB to deliver a successful combined golf and tennis tournaments  and extended  hearty congratulations to all tournament participants.

He stated that thrills and spills, fierce competition and humorous banter filled both competitions, noting that, “No doubt, some of you will have bragging rights but I consider you all to be champions even if you haven’t won a prizes.”

MD Fidelis Turay reported proudly that “The Bank continues to grow from strength to strength, boosted by its digital transformation

Drive.” He added: “We have launched innovative products and services which have been well received by our valuable customers.”

He maintained that the bank has no intention of resting on their laurels as the most profitable bank with the largest customer base. “We will continue to delight you, our customers with products and services befitting the immense loyalty and support you continue to show us,” he said.

The Visa Debit cards which can be used anywhere in the world to buy goods and services, he said is another step in that direction.

For those that are tarrying to get onboard the SLCB train, he invited them to come and join SLCB in its exciting journey enhancing their banking experience.

3 Teachers in ACC Net

The Anti-Corruption Commission, on 24th February, 2020, filed an indictment against HENRY KAMARA, MARION FOLLAH MUSU KAMARA, of the Holy Family School Quarters, Deep Eye Water, Wellington, Freetown, and EMMANUEL KOBBY of  No. 355 Bai Bureh Road, Freetown, on a combined total of FIVE  (5) counts of Soliciting an Advantage, contrary to Section 39(1)(b), Accepting an Advantage, contrary to Section 39(1)(b),  and Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 respectively.

Between January and September of 2019, HENRY KAMARA, in his capacity as agent of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), without lawful authority solicited the sum of TWO MILLION LEONES (Le. 2,000,000/00) from one OLU WILLIAMS, as an inducement to show favor to one SIMON WILLIAMS, a cousin of OLU WILLIAMS, by allowing SIMON WILLIAMS to take the West Africa Senior School Certificate Private Examination (WASSCE) 2019 at a dwelling house, rather than the designated center set up at the Holy Family Secondary School for that purpose.

 HENRY KAMARA faces one (1) count of soliciting an Advantage, two (2) counts of accepting an Advantage, both contrary to Section 39(1); and one (1) count of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 respectively.

MARION FOLLAH MUSU KAMARA, in her capacity as an agent of WAEC, without lawful authority, solicited the sum of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND LEONES (Le. 1,500,000/00), from one OLU WILLIAMS, as an inducement to show favor to one SIMON WILLIAMS, a cousin of OLU WILLIAMS, by allowing SIMON WILLIAMS to take the 2019 Private WASSCE, at a dwelling house, rather than the designated center set up at the Holy Family Secondary School for that purpose. MARION FOLLAH MUSU KAMARA faces one (1) count of Soliciting an Advantage, contrary to Section 39(1), of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.

EMMANUEL KOBBY, being the I. T. Engineer at the Holy Family Secondary School, Deep Eye Water, Wellington, between January and September 2019, conspired with other persons unknown, to commit a corruption offence. EMMANUEL KOBBY accepted the sum of ONE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND LEONES (Le. 1, 700, 000/00) from one ELIZABETH KAMARA for the purpose of allowing her to take the 2019 Private WASSCE Examination, at a dwelling house, rather than the designated center set up at the Holy Family Secondary School for that purpose. EMMANUEL KOBBY faces one (1) count of Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.

Meanwhile, the indicted persons are expected to appear in the High Court Holden at Freetown on 2nd March, 2020.

 In this light, the Commission wishes to reassure the general public of its undeterred resolve to fighting acts of corruption at all levels in Sierra Leone, especially in the Education Sector.

A release from the ACC.

APC FBC Students Union Gets New Executive

In the struggles of APC there is victory for us. This is how I bring to the shores of Fourah Bay a congratulatory message to the President elect, Mohamed Lamin-Deen Kamara.

Mohamed Lamin-Deen Kamara has been one of the active members of NUAS FBC since he joins the chapter coming to read law at Fourah Bay. He is a very gentle soul to which many feel attached being with him. Mr. Kamara has been serving in different capacity as member of the Union since 2017. He has worked diligently to promote the ideals of the Union and have also conscripted many souls to join the Union through his hard work to ensure swelling up the rank and file of the Union.

 As the Secretary General, Mr. Kamara was able to transform the work of the Union to not only mean the business of sons and daughters of the APC, but even opposition supporters to be convinced to be part of the process. Mr. Kamara’s success cannot be overemphasized as he has showcased his strides to changing the narrative of the Union even at a time when we are in opposition.

It is in that backdrop I want to indulge all sons and daughters of the Almighty APC to give their unflinching support and the best of their cooperation to work with the President elect for a brighter 2023. Without much adieu, ladies and gentlemen I bring you the President elect, Comrade Mohamed Lamin-Deen Kamara.

BAFS Boosts MAF, Njala on Soil Survey

By: Amara Kargbo

Boosting Agricultural Food Security (BAFS) Project has supported the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in partnership with Njala University and Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) to conduct a comprehensive National Soils and Vegetable Surveys country-wide that will commence early March this year

Prof. Edward R. Rhades, Team Leader of the National Comprehensive Soil Survey, explained that the soils need to be examined, as currently the soils in the country he noted seems  to be shrinking  The survey tends to incorporate with community stakeholders since they will be burrowing holes and taking samples of soil to the laboratory for its to be analyzed.

Prof. Rhades continued that personnel will not be exploitingany other, neither mineral expect soils and if communities repel not to cooperate with surveyors, the exercise will not be completed.

The benefits of the survey is to enable government to give applicable suggestions  not only on fertilizer, but also advise farmers on the different types of crops they should plant at their working sites by utilizing both indigenous and scientific knowledge.

Amaud Havet, Agronomist Expert and technical adviser of (BAFS) project, affirmed that the project emanated two years ago when Njala University made contact with BAFS to discuss about soil survey.

BAFS embraced the initiative because the last survey of soils and vegetable was conducted in 1979 and for now there is no simplified data about soils, in many ways, the soils are unified with climate change which is liable for the good and bad yields in Sierra Leone

There is the tendency to have a lot of acidic soil which create difficulties to absorb nutrient which causes low agricultural productivity.

A funded programme from European Union (EU) through BAFS thought it necessary to undertake such exercise in examining the soil in-terms of PH, Macronutrient (NPK), Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.Besides, it is crucial to know what is in the soils to better adjust the fertilizer issue for farmers.

The survey will help the entire country to address the problems of soil facility and soil acidity in a much better way with a fresh data, previously, the country only relying on old data and the deforestation impacted negatively on the soil condition

He noted that since 40 years, the soil was already classified as an acidic which means today is even in a worst situation than 40 years ago that he added could explain why farmers are struggling to address food security in agriculture

The District Agricultural Officer, Western Rural and Urban Districts, Madam Jane Fea Kabba SeiSillah commended the initiatives which could elevate their farmers in both crops and vegetable production across the working sights in the districts.

Importers Association Denies responsibility for the high cost of commodities

SLIA Secretary General, Rashid A. Conteh

By Musa Kamara

The Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Importers’ Association (SLIA), Rashid Abraham Conteh has denied allegations that his members are responsible for the increase in the prices of essential commodities, insisting “we have no hidden agenda.”

This comes as the price of cement rose from Le75, 000 to Le80, 000.

Conteh said the National Revenue Authority (NRA) has imposed a 5% excise tax on cement and the clearing of other commodities at the port through Bollore and the Ports Authority amongst others, adding: “this comes at a huge cost and is a contributing factor to the hike in prices of essential commodities.”

He said the instability of exchange rate over the years is another vital reason for the hike in prices of essential products, taking into consideration that the United State Dollar (USD) is now Le10, 000 up from Le7, 000, some 3 years back.

The SLIA Secretary General called on government to reduce the 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all essential commodities to 7%, which he said would help stabilize prices.

He additionally stated the depreciation of the Leone and the “high” GST meant automatic price increase, but that if the USD was up and GST down, commodity prices would stabilize.

Conteh said that SLIA wanted to put up a mechanism which “will interject earlier, rather than wait for damage control.” By this, he explained, before the reading of the National Budget in Parliament, the private sector should have been engaged by the government through the Ministry of Finance in “certain tax education areas” that would at the end of the day keep the private sector at a safer side.

He said that such an education was needed so as to have a full understanding on NRA tax regulations and not just play the usual, “blame game.”

He reiterated that SLIA was there for the public and has no hidden agenda associated with the price increase of essential commodities.

 He however emphasized the adverse effect of foreign exchange and GST which he said needed to be addressed to ensure a win-win situation.

 Jalloh Terrace WINS AWARD

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The Freetown   City Council has awarded Le100 million Leones to Main Jalloh Terrace community for winning the second edition of the Cleanest Zone Competition Organized by FCC.

The community gets Le 100 million towards a development project of their choice, 10 solar street lights, 10 scholarships and 1 water tank, which will make difference, compares to others zones. 

All zones in the top 5 get consolation prizes; including Le10 million for a community development project for each zone. The other zones that made top 5 were;

2nd Place: Pillar Street (Councilor Luckyn M Mansaray – Ward 406)

3rd Place: Murray Town Road (Councilor Salome Kamara – Ward 440)

4th Place: Morie Ojuku (Councilor Fatmata Kamara – Ward 400)

5th Place: Kiosk 2 (Councilor Alhassan Bangura- Ward 399)

Special prizes of Le 10 million for community development were awarded to;

1. for beautification – Congo Water Davies (Councilor Agnes Marah, Ward 407)

2. for innovation – Kissy Mental community (Councilor Sheku N’bompa Turay)

3. For sustainability – Kiosk 2 (Councilor Alhassan Bangura, Ward 399)

Winners were identified after team of independent judges from other institutions assessed and graded all zones in the top ten.

Dr Samura Kamara ON tour

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The 2018 APC presidential candidate, Dr Samura Kamara has completed a two-day tour of Koinadugu district. ‘The meet and greet the people tour took the charismatic and accomplished diplomat and economist to several strategic towns and villages in the district.

Dr Kamara was received by crowds of APC party enthusiasts and other citizens naturally attracted to him. People thronged at squares and community centers to have a glimpse of this wonderful man and to hear the message he had for them. From Bafodia, Liroh,Samia Bendugu,kumala,Alikalia, Yiffin Tilikoro,komotambaya, Soya, Fankoya to Dinkeriya, Bokariya, Safinya and from Sumbaria,Sawuria, Gbenikoroi to Mangi, Dr Kamara inspired hope and courage in citizens through his well-delivered impassioned messages.

The former APC presidential aspirant acknowledged the economic difficulties that Sierra Leone has been plunged into and the far-reaching and biting hardship such a state of the economy occasioned on the ordinary citizens.

He called on them to be steadfast and patient and to be hopeful for a change in 2023. He noted that the APC was always committed to serving this country diligently and conscientiously and pointed out the vacuum which the absence of the party from governance has created in development.

Dr Kamara averred that he was in the area to deliver a message of appreciation on behalf the Chairman and Leader, former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma and the party for their steadfastness, resilience, support and courage they have demonstrated over the years and to re-connect with the people after some time, to check on their welfare and to renew their bond of friendship. He promised that he would be visiting the district as and when he has the time and the opportunity.

Dr Kamara returned to Freetown with mixed feelings – a heavy heart on account of his first-hand experience of the suffering that the people are going through and hopes of a massive turn around in their situation in 2023 when change will be the only option on the table.

Dr Samura Kamara was accompanied by Party stakeholders in the district.

ACC,   Human rights Commission Strengthens ties

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 The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening partnership and collaboration between the two institutions.

The historic event took place at the Conference Room of the ACC Head Office in Freetown.

The Deputy Commissioner of the ACC, Augustine Foday-Ngobie, expressed delight at the signing of the MoU, which he described as a major step forward for the fight against corruption and the promotion of the dignity of every Sierra Leonean.

 He said the MoU will enhance smooth partnership between the two institutions to do the work they are mandated to do. He assured that, the ACC will do its best to execute its duties in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone.

The Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Patricia N. Ndanema, while making a brief statement, said the MoU is a commitment made by HRC-SL to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and therefore expressed gratitude to the ACC for agreeing to the partnership.

Mrs. Nandema said her Commission can play a major role in helping the ACC in the fight against corruption, a fight, she said, the ACC cannot do alone.

 She commended the ACC for the good work they are doing to ensure that corruption is eradicated in Sierra Leone. Mrs. Ndanema added that she is optimistic that the partnership will help the two institutions produce more fruitful results for the people of Sierra Leone.

Earlier, the Director of Public Education and Outreach Department at ACC Patrick Sandi  said the event,  could not have happened at a better time adding  that the MoU will serve as a guide for areas of engagement, partnership and collaboration between the two institutions.

Stats SL , NaCSA  team up

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Stats SL which is the implementing partner and  the National Commission for Social Action(NaCSA)   on Tuesday 25th February 2020, at the NaCSA headquarters  at Charlotte street in Freetown, signed  a partnership Memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Social Protection Registry for Integrated National Targeting, Associated Access and Impact Evaluation of the Social Safety Net ( SPRINT), which serves to identify, prioritize and select households living in poverty and vulnerable conditions so as to help Government to take effective actions that will reduce the structural factors affecting poverty and social exclusion in those communities.

In his statement at signing ,The commissioner  of NaCSA, Abu Bockarie Kokofele said  the day  was historical as lots of hard work has gone into putting together the MOU that establishes what Stats SL’s role as implementing partner will be and that of NaCSA as contracting agency. He said that Stats SL will specifically implement the Social Protection Registry for Integrated National Targeting (SPRINT) which has 3 stages. Stage 1, he says, will be geographical targeting which will be transparent  criteria for the selection of regions, districts, chiefdoms, wards, localities, or other relevant geographical units and corresponding resource allocation mechanism. Stage 2 will be community identification of potentially eligible beneficiaries and the final stage will be verification by Proxy Means Testing (PMT) or a variation thereof.

The Statistician General and CEO of Stats SL,Prof Osman Sankoh(Mallam O), said that they at Stats SL feel privileged to be implementing partners for the  establishment of the Social Protection Register.

 He intimated  that Stats SL certainly has the requisite expertise to do the job.

 He explained that Stage 1 and 2 of the targeting process require existing statistical data to produce poverty maps of the country via the recent Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey data at the lowest geographical level available i.e. locality or enumeration area, including geographical data to locate potential beneficiary communities via locality names, GPS coordinates and shape files*, whiles Stage 3 of the targeting process involves *use of a pre-defined questionnaire to collect data from the potential beneficiary households*.

The questionnaire collects information that is statistically highly correlated with poverty i.e. household demographics, housing conditions, and assets, and other identifying information like a unique identifier.

He revealed that Stats SL will be responsible for collecting and processing Proxy Means Testing data from all potential beneficiary households using computer assisted personal interview which is data collection via the use of tablets

The signing of the bilateral MOU by the Commissioner of NaCSA, Abu Bockarie Kokofele and the Statistician General Of Stats SL,Prof Osman Sankoh climaxed the meeting

President Bio Opens Presidential Seminar

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  President Dr Julius Maada Bio has opened the first-ever Presidential Seminar for all 83 heads of commissions, parastatals, agencies and state-owned enterprises at the Bintumani Conference Centre, Aberdeen in Freetown.

With the theme: “Consolidating the Foundation for Service Delivery” the Seminar, among other objectives, seeks to provide the officials with political orientation and to help them accelerate effective service delivery to the last mile from 2020 and beyond, deepen the understanding of a performance management system that enhances organizational output.

Delivering his welcome address, Chief Minister, Professor David John Francis, said the event was a historic one because it was the first time in modern Sierra Leone that a sitting President would meet with all heads of institutions at one go. He said that the seminar was important because it recognized that commissions, parastatals, agencies and state-owned enterprises were an important component of state governance.

He also mentioned that all  agencies must clearly understand, remain committed and be inspired by the President’s New Direction Agenda to change and transform Sierra Leone, and more importantly, to accelerate effective service delivery.

 He noted that since his election, President Bio had made consistent efforts to engage relevant stakeholders as a way of moving the country forward.

In his keynote address, President Bio said his presence and the seminar itself was a clear manifestation of his recognition of the important role and contribution of commissions, parastatals, agencies and state-owned enterprises to the achievements of his New Direction Agenda to change and transform the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans.

He revealed  that he  directed the Chief Minister to convene the Seminar because he wanted to clearly state and outline his political and governance expectations in the New Year in terms of concrete service delivery to the people, and more importantly, to focus on strategic planning and prioritization with clear and realistic targets to achieve results.

“I have declared 2020 as the Year of Accelerated Service Delivery: I want and I expect Delivery of Results and Outcomes from you this Year and I expect to see tangible results by the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of this Year. Simply, no more excuses. We are here to get a clear understanding of my political message to motivate and inspire you to focus on getting tangible results and outcomes that will impact on the lives of the people of Sierra Leone.

“Let me commend you all for all the successes and achievements you have made in the past 22 months in Governance. But this is a New Year and this is not the time to become complacent with our achievements. The people are impatient for results to impact on their daily lives. So as a Government, we must improve on the way we run our institutions,” he said.

President Bio also challenged the various institutional heads to be bold and innovative, adding that he wanted to motivate them to be inspired and to leave a legacy in their institutions which was what the New Direction was all about. He encouraged the various institutional heads to develop the professional habit and culture of efficient political and economic management of the state. 

Sierra Leone’s English Problem

For decades Sierra Leone’s educational system was bereft of learning. English, the nation’s official language, is a burden on a majority of citizens aged 18-40 (children of the war) who struggle to speak it fluently.

During our parents’ generation, others from the Commonwealth came to Sierra Leone to learn in English but today educated Sierra Leoneans of a certain age consider the English language to be a foreign inconvenience.

To understand why our generation struggles with English we must state the facts; the Momoh Regime destroyed the educational system. Then the 11-year Civil War with it’s on and off schooling, insecurity, and migration of people made it impossible for the majority of citizens who didn’t leave home to get the education they needed. The only gains that the $40 million donor-funded SABABU Project that came after the war achieved were in the bank accounts of the government officials who gave themselves and their crony’s contracts to build ghost schools, make toy desks and chairs, and pay ghost teachers to teach with ghost learning materials.

And that is how we got to where we are now. A country where speaking English in a place of business or a government office earns you both ire and envy. Speaking in English is now perceived as an intentional effort to show off one’s elite status. And if you dare to speak English with an accent different from what people believe is local the insolence!

English is the language of instruction in our schools. In Sierra Leone, 97% of children in Grade 1 fail the two basic reading assessment exams and by class 4, three years later only 40% are reading at their grade level. Only a third of all students pass the national school-leaving exam. In as many as six districts less than 5% of those who take the WASSCE pass English. The level of failure in the educational system is so widespread that paying for marks is the norm. 

And how do Sierra Leoneans react to the fact that children and educated adults can’t speak English? They decide that it would be better than no one speaks English at all and that the primary mode of communication should be Krio. A decision that not only erodes opportunities for learning English language skills but also gives a blow to indigenous languages.

Last week I was in a corporate meeting with an international brand. In the meeting, executives were watching clips of my TV Show. Imagine my shock when two executives, both Sierra Leonean, challenged the shows local content value because as they put it “English is not a local language”. They said the show must therefore not be for a Sierra Leonean audience.

I lowered my voice and claimed my ancestry with pride.

“I am a Krio woman and English is my local language”.

If you just cringed at that statement I would too ordinarily if the context were different. However, in this instance, it was a suitable and honest response. I was raised in a household of mixed cultural heritage. My father is a Krio man of Yoruba ancestry and my mother a Temne woman who spent her most formative years in Yonkers, New York.

The language of communication in our home was as much Krio as it was English. My parents both stopped communicating with me in Krio by the time I turned 10. It is not that they were being elitist rather they both understood that the only way I was going to learn English was if I was opportune to speak it.

My family emigrated to Ethiopia in 1994 and later to the United States and for my most formative years, I lived abroad. When I open my mouth the default setting for language is Prince George’s County East Coast accented American English.

At first listen, many Sierra Leoneans assume that because of how I sound when I speak English that I do not know how to speak Krio and for that, I am judged as ”false” a person pretending to be something they are not because of a lack of pride or love for home. Even friends who are not of Krio ancestry have the same problem and are judged the same way.

But how do you judge a Mende man for not speaking Krio when he speaks his own language perfectly?

The fact is that Sierra Leoneans who share my background (child refugees who grew up in foreign lands away from our home) code switch when we need to speak to our people. In my case, I also have a Nigerian and a Ghanaian accented English for when I’m with my Naija and GH family. En plus Je parles le Français avec des Africains de pays Francophone.

If 233 years after the establishment of Granville Town in the Colony of Freedom and 56 years of Independence with English as the official language, Sierra Leoneans still consider English to be foreign then we have a problem. Our ancestors did not die for this. I’m not talking about glorifying the language of our colonizers or attempting to seek power by English proximity.

What I am saying is that anyone who doesn’t see this newly found English language insecurity as a cause for concern and an indicator of our failed educational system is delusional. *Kriotisation* will not save what is broken, it only makes it worse.

The people who want to enforce a Krio over English regime are the same ones causing a premium to be placed on speaking English. The fewer citizens who can effectively communicate in the language, the more people like me will continue to have doors and jobs open for them. I interact with people in government jobs who lack the skills to perform their roles but get to be in the room because they speak English well. Put them to the test to actually work and deliver…Alexa play ”Causing Confusion”.

The only way to take power away from these “people whose only skill is English” (a descriptor used for me regularly) is to level the playing field by learning the English language.

Unlike many people who place a premium on speaking English, and mistake English language knowledge for intelligence or capability I am not one. However, given the fact that ours is an economy and society dependent on imports, foreign aid, and must participate in the global economy placing a premium on speaking Krio is immature.

Every indigenous language spoken in Sierra Leone deserves reverence. From Kuranko to Gola (now almost extinct) our languages preserve the civilizations created by our ancestors. Local language schools should exist across the country to allow citizens to learn but we can’t hide or run from English (at least not until the legislature replaces it as the official language).

So those who find themselves uncomfortable with speaking English should know that yes they are products of their environment- a failed educational system, but once in adulthood, the responsibility for learning English is on them.

The problem with the English language in Sierra Leone is not that people can’t speak it, the problem is that those who ought to be encouraging English language proficiency are afraid because as products of a broken educational system they are insecure and keenly aware of their English language inadequacy.

The world will not readjust itself for Sierra Leoneans, even Sierra Leone isn’t adjusting to accommodate the English language deficiency. The President makes his speeches in English and this will not change.

Instead of trying to promote the false narrative that English is not a local language we should instead ensure we are making our children globally competitive by giving them the English as a tool to communicate.

Where we ought to start is for adults who have come out of the broken education system to accept that they need to learn English and then get on with it.

FINIC products on Display

As one of the 15 Grantees of funds released by the European Union for the Boosting of Agriculture and Food Security in Sierra Leone through the private sector, FINIC showcased some of its technological innovations at the launching ceremony of the fund which event took place on the 20th of February 2020 at the Fore cut Miata Conference Hall in Freetown.

Being a successful lead applicant in a consortium with 2 None Governmental Organizations, Jersey Africa Support Service JASS and CFADA

 FINIC  has signed  an agreement with the European Union for the implementation of a project  titled “Contributing to Food Security and Poverty Alleviation Through the Improvement of Palm Oil Processing” to be implemented in the Districts of Bonthe, Moyamba and Tonkolili.

FINIC was an invitee among the 15 grantees to a ceremony for the launching of the fund and showcasing of project activities by grantee members.

FINIC had on display  various technologies for palm oil processing, transformation of palm kernel shells into charcoal and small irrigation systems.

In touring to discover what grantees had to show in the launching ceremony of the fund, the Vice president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh, and a host of other dignitaries, visited the FINIC Booth and witnessed live demonstration of some of its latest technologies in the processing link of the value chain of palm oil. In the entourage were the European Union Ambassador Mr. Tom Vens, the Minister of Agriculture, and his Deputy, Mr. Sam King Braima who led the conducted tour, the Minister of Development and  Economic Planning ~ Mr Francis Kaikai.

Among those on display were irrigation pumps and 2 Manually operated machines ~ the palm fruits Digester and the palm nut cracker ~ branded as “Moneh Don”, a Creole phrase meaning “Poverty is Over”.

The entourage was happy and took pride in seeing, for the first time, a manually operated palm nut cracker that is 20 times faster than the centuries old traditional method of what could be referred to as “Stone in the Hand” method  pervasive in rural Africa.

One could sense how visibly  happy they were in witnessing for the first time, a manually operated palm nut cracker poised to bring billions of dollars in the Agricultural economies of oil palm prevalent countries in Africa. Without doubt, their happiness was pivoted on notion that the equipment were designed and constructed by Sierra Leoneans. 

The small irrigation hand operated pump also coached the attention of the Vice President as he was amazed seeing water oozing out at a distance of hundred feet after pressing down a lever. The FINIC team was convinced that the Vice President was not only admiring the gadget for its simplicity and for irrigation purposes alone but also as a simple system that will reduce the spread of diseases in rural areas as it will lift water from appreciable depths and thus prevent scooping of water from open sources heavily contaminated with pathogens gathered by running rain water.

The FINIC team would like to use this medium to register profound thanks and appreciation to all at the Ministry of Agriculture, and Food Security, who meritoriously assessed and evaluated FINIC to be part of the 15 grantees out of 50 applicants. Our thanks and appreciation goes to the European Union for the support to the Government through the private sector, in Boosting Agriculture and Food Security in the country. The National Authorizing Office (NAO) team indeed deserves our commendation and thanks for the hard work in putting on the lens to see performers.

We would like to assure that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring an effective project implementation to achieve the expected outcome.

Twenty two years straight running of the business of practical technology generation and development, coupled with the experiences of the consortium team in implementing projects of similar nature, will serve as a beacon that will illuminate the path through which a successful outcome is assured.

 Drug Enforcement Agency targets schools

A cross-section of pupils at the Government Model Secondary School (GMSS)

By Musa Kamara

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with funds from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has recently carried out a week-long sensitization on drugs with the theme: “Don’t Trade Your Future for Drugs.”

 At the Government Model Secondary School (GMSS) in central Freetown, the Executive Director of NDLEA- Abdul Sheku Kargbo explained that drug use has been widespread amongst youth and it is high time to reached the schools and raise the awareness so as to capture the health and physical growth of the very best of society thereby, having very positive youthful population in which society stands to reap a great benefit.

Kargbo hierarchically outlined that the sensitization process started at the eastern part of Freetown with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School playing the host to other 10 schools with over 400 pupils. He added that the same trend is for schools in the central and western parts of Freetown and in extension to schools in Bo and Makeni.

He disclosed that such schools sensitization happened to be the major one NDLEA has undertaken with funds from ECOWAS, targeting 52 schools in total and clearly stating: “It is part of the ECOWAS Drug Action Plan for 2016-2020.”

He described the theme as very meaningful particularly at this point in time; emphasizing that fighting drug in society is a collective effort which should be inclusive of teachers, parents, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth groups, etc.

Based on evidence, Kargbo said that Cannabis Sativa known commonly as Marijuana is still the leading drug consumed by mostly youth and such drug is having adverse effect on mental health.

In his contributions, Daniel Amankwaah who is the Principal Program Officer-Drug Prevention and Control for the ECOWAS Commission said that 30 Drug Educators were trained by ECOWAS to thoroughly spread the word on the dangers of drugs.

He also acknowledged that Marijuana as per ECOWAS data on drug is still the most abused and therefore, it is of necessity to raise the awareness targeting pupils to stay off such drug and other drugs that causes acute mental health.

Dr. Jusu Mattia who is a medical doctor from the Psychiatry Teaching Hospital also advised in the same direction admonishing pupils to stay off drugs, citing: marijuana, tramadol, Kush, pampers tea, and many more.

In his words, Sahid Bangura who is the Executive Director for Creating Opportunities for Disadvantaged Persons (CODaP) said that drugs kill dreams and therefore, it falls on society at large to help preserve the dreams of the youthful population.

Ibrahim Salieu Kamara, a pupil of the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood Secondary School admitted that at the look of things, the future is becoming darker and therefore, he commended NDLEA and ECOWAS for the timely intervention in giving them (pupils) a clear interpretation of the dangers of drugs and he promised that he would take the message to his friends, family and neighbors.

However, he called on all to join hands together in dealing with such a growing menace.

At the end of the week-long session, NDLEA and ECOWAS are expected to form school clubs to help spread the word on the harmful effect of drug use.

 HON. MANSO DUMBUYA ASSISTS DESCENDANTS UNION

 The  Kamabala descendants union has made a  call on various sons of the soil, business people, politicians and philanthropists  to come to their aid as regards  their long term plan  more than three decades when they started this project through their old parents and some late ones to have a health centre.

Kamabala is between Kamasasa and Kamawala in terms of access to a health centre and each distance between them is five Miles

.This  according to residents of the village have recorded more than 8 deaths within the  village and most deaths were attributed to lack of health centre and distance covered. Pregnant women and lactating mothers with their babies under fives die as a result of no health centre. Majority of the women gave birth to their children at home and in the hands of traditional birth attendants who are not trained and qualified and their risks associated with those practices.

According to Mr. Gibrilla Kahota Turay, he explained exactly how he was informed by the descendants of Kamabala about the request  for assistance and Pa Banku Turay introduced him to the family and he was given letters to look for additional  philanthropists. There then he met Hon. Manso Dumbuya with the letter for coming to their aid in order help them, from that point Hon. Manso engaged the family on a more serious note to see how they are prepared for the construction. The chairman of the Union, Mr. Issa Dumbuya organized a date and met Hon. Manso where he promised to come on the ground to see for himself and to know what he can do.

On this date today he observed that the health centre project is decade long project which need to be continued. In that plight, he assessed that the old people of Kamabala indeed made an historical layout which is structured like a real health centre with quarters for nurses. He finally tell me that he is convinced that this hospital project is real and wholeheartedly donated the sum of Seven million five hundred thousand Leones (Le 7,500,000) which was handed over to the Regent chief, Pa Adikalie sesay, Section chief, Pa Alimamy Bola, Councilor Desmond Kamara and the town chief of Kamabala, Pa Adikalie Kargbo for onward delivery to the chairman of the descedants and the entire membership.

The Regent Chief, Pa Adikalie sesay applauded Pa Manso Dumbuya for laudable venture to accept the call and to finally make a move to see for himself. He appealed for him to use his good office to Chanel the issues to the District health management team for their intervention to approve the health centre and bring nurses in the near future when the building should have completed.

The chairman and cross section of the Kamabala descendants union promised to use the money for the intended project and ask for any other philanthropist to join them in helping in kind or in cash.

Women, who were going to be the direct beneficiaries, danced with Hon. Manso Dumbuya and said they will always give their support to him as a father who they rely on now.

Hon. Manso Dumbuya finally admonished people to be peaceful and law abiding and also allow the government to work as they are in governance and they are running an inclusive government. He finally promised to work with the people of Tonko and the Limba people in general.

Forces Engaged CSOs

Our gratitude as people to the Office of National Security Kambia District and the Commanding Officer National Fire Force Kambia for opening their doors to the  Movement of the People of Kambia, Civil Society Movement (CSM) to dialogue in other to put an end to the unwarranted fire incidences in the District.

As he put it, ” Mr. Mustapha Bonnie head of Security and Mr. Bangura, head of Fire Force in Kambia District, we are concerned as people and we are here today to learn what these State institutions you are heading have been doing to prevent the rampant fire incidences in the district that have led to several loss of property worth millions of Leones owned by our deprive communities.

Sir, we want to express huge disappointment over the absence of Fire Force during and after the burning down of three out of four houses in Kambia Township to at least provide psychosocial support for the victims. At the same time, we are worried about the low awareness of our people when it comes to fire prevention in the district. Our district is known to be deprived at all levels including education and for that reason, our communities demands the civil education in the language they can best understand on issues that have to do with basic social protection which we believe your offices can provide.

Let me take this opportunity to ask the following questions on behalf of the people of Kambia so that we can benefit from your wisdom: what are we all to do to stop fire today and tomorrow and permanently in Kambia district? What are the challenges of the National Fire Force to stop fire from ravaging our communities? What role can CSM play to put an end to what many describes as menace that has inflicted so much pains on our people?”.

Furthermore, as a Movement of the people, Kambia District is fire prone and there have been promises by past Governments to provide Kambia with a fire engine but to no avail. There have been several fire incidences and there has not been much from Government entities concerned if not for any material aid but to provide at least psychosocial counseling for the victims.

As people, Mr. Gottor went on, it is his expectation that the National Fire Force, the Sierra Leone Police and the Disaster Management Committee in the district will up there game taking into consideration the recent past ugly incidences of fire in the District that have left a whole community and several other houses in the central town burnt down to harsh. “Our people are ill incapacitated when it comes to fire prevention and management, it is for that reason we are calling on government intervention to further protect the lives and property of the people of Our great Kambia”, Mr. Gottor ended.

In his take, the District Security Coordinator very Frank he was, pointed out issues affecting the performance of the National Fire Force in Kambia District  and requested the three personnel representing the National Fire Force in Kambia to improve on their performance by doing what is expected of them by the masses. Mustapha Bonnie, District Security Coordinator promised to make available the necessary support to Fire Force in the area of mobility and radio airtime so that they can have access to communities in  case of fire out break especially in this period of the dry season to raise awareness on fire prevention and management.

The head of the National Fire Force in Kambia District, Mr. Bangura requested the leadership of the Civil Society Movement to stage some advocacy on their behalf to their authorities in Freetown so that the many challenges they are grappling with that have already become a burden on the ordinary man could be address since according to him, he has enormous trust over the Civil Society when it comes to community representation.

The following are some of the challenges pictured out by the fire Force.

A. Lack of fire engine in the district.

B.Low staff strength as the can only boost of three fire officer to a district with a population of over 300,000. 

After several deliberations, the Chairman Civil Society Movement in Kambia promised on behalf of his team members to make a trip to the National Fire Force Headquarters and other Government Ministries to lobby for various help for the vulnerable in Kambia District.

ACC Commissioner Lectures at Law School

This is not your everyday lecture on the law as I want to take this opportunity, at the beginning of the academic year of the Law School, to open your minds to “think the law” not just be taught what it is. I want you all to ponder on this parable . . . which is captured in this 7-minute video I now play for you. Watch, think,  again:

“Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the Country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” The gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try going inside in spite of my prohibition. But take note. I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I cannot endure even one glimpse of the third.” The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.” During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this first one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud; later, as he grows old, he only mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has also come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things considerably to the disadvantage of the man. “What do you still want to know now?” asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is it that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.”

This parable by Franz Kafka, known as ‘Before the Law’, is geared to get us all too think about the law. Our academic syllabus and training in Universities and the Law School teach us “what to think”, not “how to think”. It teaches us the components of the law and not “the thinking” behind it. So we are producing lawyers that are no different from robots, with fixed understanding and programming. This lecture and this parable challenge you all to think.

I will, for the purposes of this lecture, use the Common Sierra Leonean name, Kpana, to depict “the common man” who seeks the law. Seeking the law has many meanings. It could be seeking justice. It could be seeking to know what the law really is. It could mean wanting to be a lawyer. It could mean understanding the law. It could mean life. Either way, do we really understand what the law is; and can the ordinary man at any time access the law which we fondly call “a biscuit”? Why should a law which has as one of its key features as “predictability” be a biscuit at all? Why for the 2000 plus years of human existence the law has similarly been with us, yet we seek it every day and never know what the outcome of any case would be until a judge pronounces it to be so? What is the use of the normative aspects of the law if we cannot say what it is unless judicial pronouncement confirms it to be so? Why is that which is supposed to bring about social order and human happiness be so convoluted and mostly deliberately shrouded in mystery? Why do we need judges to tell us what the law is if we have to study it for years first? What really is even the law? Is it what is in the books or what judges say they are?

Have you ever started playing a game and realized that you do not know all the rules; and no one seems willing or able to explain them? Or, have you ever dreamed of being stuck in a maze, unsure where to turn or of what even awaits you if you make it out? If you are then you are firstly a lawyer; but secondly and most importantly, you no different from the ordinary man – Kpana.

‘Before the Law’ is a parable, first published in 1915. It was later featured in one of Kafka’s most famous works, The Trial. Both the parable and the novel pose questions about the nature of the law and the confusion caused by the law’s mysterious set of rules and processes. The Trial’’s main character is suddenly arrested for an unspecified crime and spends the rest of the story trying to find out what his crime was and how to defend himself. At one point, the character hears a parable and wonders over its meaning. That parable is ‘Before the Law.’

In the segment entitled Before the Law, Kafka’s recurrent protagonist is talking with a priest. He relates a story about a man that comes to a great door seeking the Law. Before it is a gatekeeper that tells him he can’t be allowed to enter at that moment. The man seeking the Law is perplexed, but intentional, so he waits, and waits and waits for the entirety of his life to be permitted to access the Law. The gatekeeper also waits and allows the man to continue waiting, but not letting him pass through the gate. As the man is dying, he wonders why he was the only person seeking the Law. The gatekeeper tells him, that the gate he guards was only meant for him and since he is dying, he, the gatekeeper is going to close it. 

There is no way we cannot apply the experiences of Kpana, the ordinary man before the gatekeeper, in our ordinary lives. Don’t we all seek some Law, or some way try to understand its existence? Are we not barred in this struggle to understand the law by one gatekeeper or the other? The gatekeepers put in the ordinary man fear, doubt and confusion about that which he seeks? Picture this. . .the gatekeeper in the parable goes even further. He explains that there are deeper realms, that even he (meaning the gatekeeper himself) cannot know, and the man will not be permitted to reach them. Let us reflect on this for a second. . .what if the gatekeeper was deceiving Kpana? How would he have known since he was never allowed through the gates of the law? How would we know that we are not deceived by the law’s meaning and substance? Who gate keeps the gatekeepers?

We come to a point in our lives at which we seek purpose and order, yet we are obstructed from this by gatekeepers. We want health, while declining in well-being, we want youth, while growing ever aged, we need love, yet never finding it. If we do, it’s ephemeral and mostly soon to be lost. There is no constant or permanent principle to guide us in life. We seek a reason, a Law if you will, that will help us, and thus we seek it, but discover our path is obscured somehow! 

Kafka creates an allegorical tale, in which we see the senselessness of being in the human condition perpetually seeking the law and not be able to find it. We all are Kpana, and anyone who tries to teach you the law is your alter ego. Teachers try to teach you what to think and not how to think. Our syllabuses are replete with what to think – some propounded over 200 years ago by, probably, some drunk English judge in a tailor’s wig (which attire we sadly admire and mimic to date to show our importance). So we seek the law but cannot find it because we are not thinking what it is first, before knowing it. Therefore, none of the explanations we receive will suffice; for you must understand yourself why you seek the Law before you can understand the law. What if I tell you the Law is not real, it is a lie. Would you abandon this course and leave? No you will not. However, if you are told you failed, you will drop out or be thrown out. A gatekeeper determines your fate then. What if the gatekeeper himself does not really know the law and was deceived in the first place about what he/she knows? 

The law has many gatekeepers. Their purpose is to stand in the way of ordinary men and women like Kpana selectively inhibiting them from fully accessing the law. They create mystery by the language used or the way they are dressed. As in most situations the Common man finds himself, Kpana wants to know if he will be allowed in later; the gatekeeper says “possibly” – because keeping the situation vague will keep Kpana wanting, longing and hoping.  The gatekeeper describes the other more terrible gatekeepers that he would have to go through in order to achieve his goal (Does our appeal systems from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Courts with fearfully dressed judicial staff picture in your mind what Kpana faces when he is before the law? Is the High Court judge in a red robe and horse-haired wig with books all around in a tense and solemn environment, not already fearful enough? Well, there are five in the Court of Appeals and Nine in the Supreme Court waiting for Kpana).

Kpana sits there for years and never gets in.  He is often indifferently asked questions by the gatekeeper. Just to desperately find means to gain access, he has to bribe the gatekeeper and sacrifices everything he had just to access the law. The gatekeeper accepts everything, but always with the remark: ‘I am only taking it to keep you from thinking you have omitted anything”. A sad Kpana, after losing his precious possessions to access the law, “curses his bad luck, in his early years boldly and loudly”. But what the gatekeepers really do is to extort the ordinary man while making him feel great about his experience.

When Kpana, now frail, is dying, the gatekeeper tells him that no one else could go through this particular door because it was made for him. That which was supposed to be open, was a façade. The ordinary man sacrificed everything but could not gain access.

To Kpana,  what does the law represent? What is the law if access to it by the common man remains Kpanaesque? In many countries, governments do not allow the common man to access the law; which in desperation pushes him to break the law by taking it into his own hands. What end does the law serve if the gatekeepers have separate doors and gates for every person? Does that not worry you about the law? Is it not worrying that the lawyer does not see black or white; but only sees grey – mostly filtered through prism of money? And the grey is ticker to either white or black depending on what side his client is after paying him? 

What is the purpose of reading the law to become lawyers and judges if the legal system is not available to the normal citizen and there are gatekeepers to ensure it at various levels. What can we do about this since we are trained to do justice – because it is said, the law is the means; justice is the end! Why is the means not even easily accessible before we can talk about getting to the end.

The truth is, the gatekeepers represent the various levels of authority.  From the local authority to the highest level, the gatekeepers become less personal and more rigid in observation of the rules or laws established by authorities to patronize the ordinary man though they are paid to keep it open to them. Their purpose is to keep social order and help the authorities (outside the courts) know the issues between citizens or against the authorities and determine which deserves their attention – and justice. 

When a case reads The State v. Kpana, and Kpana has to appear before a judge appointed by the state, paid by the state, and sits under the seal of the state; is Kpana really before an impartial decision maker?

As lawyers, our understanding of how the law works is that a dispute arises before two parties (which can include the state) who appear before an impartial tribunal (a judge) who determines the law as between them. So when Kpana commits treason – which is a crime against the state, and the case reads The _State V. Kpana_, is there really a triad (three sides – the state, an impartial decision-maker, and Kpana)? Or it is a diad (two sides -The state representing itself by a prosecutor and the judge (on the one hand) against Kpana (on the other))? In any case, what are Kpana’s chances with the law?

The concept of independence as we know it is questionable. However, students of the law are generally introduced to the ideal type, or really a prototype, of courts involving 1. An independent judge applying 2. Pre-existing legal norms after 3. Adversary proceedings in order to achieve 4. a dichotomous decision in which one of the parties was assigned the legal right and the other found wrong. However, in real life, there are deviations in practice which make this ideal court (law) adjudicatory structure meaningless to the ordinary man (Kpana) – the only acceptable meaning of independence in this sense would mean the judge has not been bribed or was not in some other way dependent of one of the parties. But when we ensure this kind of independence by creating the office of the judge within some governmental structure, he is surely not independent for he is a dependent for whom he holds office.

To Kpana, attempting to differentiate the law from other authorities is a facade. Judging and administering are two sides of the same coin. Both the judge and the administrator apply general rules to particular situations on a case-by-case basis. Both tend to rely heavily on precedent, fixed decisional procedures, written records, and legalized defense of their decisions. Both are supplementary law-makers engaged in filling in the details of more general rules – if you have read Donoghue v. Stevenson or Rylands v. Fletcher, and many other cases (particularly where vague and manipulative expressions like public policy are used),  you will understand this better – that contrary to conventional English law teaching, judges are in fact the greatest law makers. This is why, historically, conquerors used courts as one of their many instruments of controlling conquered societies. As it was then and as is now, governing authorities seek to maintain or increase their legitimacy through the courts. Courts have always been, and remain instruments of social control on behalf of the state.

Kpana has always been at the mercy of the gatekeepers – he gets justice where the state has no interest, or the adjudicator has no interest (the interest of any other thing, person (including the adversary), or any consideration whatsoever beyond the law, is the same as his interest) – and it is this last narrow sphere that is left after those two are eliminated that will create any possibility of fairness in earnest.

There are times when even the state’s interest will be subsumed in the interest of the judge – including when he has been bribed, or has a higher interest like politics, tribal consideration, kinship, his ego, or just does not like Kpana at all. In that case, even the state itself will find itself at the mercy of the gatekeeper particularly when that gatekeeper has no fear of retaliation from the state. What Kpana or his lawyers can pray for is to find themselves in that third and narrow sphere whenever they present a case before a gatekeeper; because there is where justice, fairness, the law is guaranteed. That is where the gate can be opened in the narrow sense and Kpana goes through the first gate. But remember there are other gates, and each one more fearful than the others – and the spheres of interest have to be repeated before each one.

Kpana is allowed to pass through sometimes; other times he is not. To ensure the legitimacy of the process is maintained, Kpana is told he has a “right of appeal” before the other “fearful gatekeepers”; before a higher tribunal. Trial provides termination to conflict. But abrupt finality can result to revolt and loss of legitimacy. One of the functions of the “right to appeal” to a confused Kpana is to provide a psychological outlet or social cover – appeal allows the loser to continue to assert his rightness in the abstract without attacking the legitimacy of the system or refusing to obey the trial courts; thereby further compounding the assertion of the legitimacy of the system that tries him. Also, it creates the mirage of not perceiving the trial as a “two against one” situation. The availability of the appeal system allows the loser to accept his loss without having to accept it publicly. By failing to take his chance with appeal (another gate), he accepts his loss, with the system that tried him remaining legitimate, for he did not take advantage of the appeal process. 

Kpana, therefore, faced with all these layers of confusion is left with three options – obey and die sheepishly like the man from the country, or change the law or the rules, or rebel and topple the gatekeepers (for other gatekeepers and pray his interest aligns with theirs). Why should Kpana patronize or bribe to access the law when the law is professed to be for him? Kpana could take his chances with any of the three options and succeed. For obeying only satisfies the social control mandate of the gatekeeper and he could let through; bribing the gatekeeper merely patronizes him and he may either fail Kpana or simply pass him to the other more fearful gatekeepers. The last option has led to war in many parts of the World throughout history – including Sierra Leone, as the TRC Report confirms (Foday Sankoh was a Kpana on trial in our court system shortly before he fled to Liberia and started the War in 1991).

As you all go through the Law School, think about the law and its gatekeepers (which may include yourselves). Reflect on the purpose of the law, and then, when you successfully go through, come let us work to open the gates for the “Kpanas” of our country. I do not wish to throw a wet blanket on the law; but to open your minds. It makes no sense that Kpana dies not accessing the law –  and the open gates be really closed after he dies because they were specifically made for him. You should strive to be gatekeepers more in the 3rd sphere – not allowing other interests (which includes yours)  be used to keep the gates of the law kpanaesque and inaccessible. Let us work to restore the prototype independence that we all yearn for – Kpana before an impartial tribunal, administering justice between two adversaries with fair outcomes between them. All this said, the law, as imperfect as it is, remains the most useful tool for social order and the next best thing – and we all have a duty to protect it while making access fairer and just.

MYSTERY: Congratulations Peter & Hannah

Once upon a time in the village that never existed (Mystery Village), there lived a President and First Lady known as Peter and Hannah.

Their love story was the most popular tale in the mystery village some five hundred years ago.

They were even crowned love celebrities because the nonexistent mystery citizens were never used to seeing presidential couples celebrating themselves so much in love in public and private.

In fact, the predecessors of Peter and Hannah never even smiled or looked at each other in public. I won’t tell you if they even shared the same bedroom because it is none of my business. I can only tell you how ‘unromantic’ they were in public. In summary, the mystery citizens were only familiar with a type of love dubbed ‘munku love’.

So when the new presidential couples proved inseparable in private and public, there was a whole debate in the village as to whether or not it was okay for such display of unconditional ’21st Century Love’ as the mystery village was existing behind time.

But Peter and Hannah could best be described as the unstoppable presidential couple.

They always shoot for the moon as far as love was concerned.

On a fateful Ladies Night evening, First Lady Hannah confidently  announced that her husband had proposed to remarry her, but this time round in a religious fashion.

The drama that followed that announcement secured a special place in the history of the mystery village.

Most mystery citizens thought it was an empty bluff because the concept of presidential wedding was new to them. In actual fact, the closest the mystery citizens have been to a ‘presidential wedding’ was when the son of a past president got married. That marriage however ended up in a presidential scandal as ministers of government where forced to sit on the bare floor as part of the cultic tradition of the then government. Oh yes! Sitting on the floor was compulsory during that regime as was also evident when Muslims were invited to the White House after they had been mistreated on the Hajj scandal. The aggrieved Muslims who were to be given VIP treatment while the former president apologises to them over the Hajj mistreatment in the White House were rather subjected to further degrading treatment by making them sit on the bare floor after their Hajj slots were sold to cult members.

But that is not what I want to talk about today. I only mentioned that as an example to anger the undemocratic opposition children in the mystery village.

Back to the story of presidential love.

So, in summary, the concept of presidential wedding was completely new to them, even though it had happened countlessly in other parts of the world.

The negative reaction that followed the wedding announcement did not come as a surprise to many as a good number of mystery citizens are only aware of things that happened in their nonexistent mystery village.

Most of them were not even able to separate the president’s private life from his public life with some even arguing passionately that the mystery president was not entitled to a private life. Despite the fact that the mystery president is a citizen of the village and entitled to all the rights to privacy enshrined in the village constitution, plus the reality that no other citizen has access to the president’s bedroom, phones and other private facilities and engagements, opposition citizens still insisted that Peter’s private life is their public business.

They even accused the mystery president of attempting to commit bigamy as they tried to convince fellow citizens that Peter was still married to Coco (Peter N Coco), his former wife.

Even when the church cleared Peter on that, they still insisted that they prefer for him not to marry his lovely wife, Hannah in Church as that will hurt them so much.

They even strenuously argued that village funds would be used to organize the wedding as if Peter was even a poor man before he became President.

But who will blame the citizens for thinking that way when the immediate past president of that time was using state resources for personal use. So you see…they had legitimate concerns after all. It was the duty of President Peter’s team to assure the citizens that Peter was different from his predecessor, President Ebola.

However, the mystery citizens were proved wrong as Peter and Hannah continued to  construct warehouses to  store their wedding gifts for the rest of their lives.

At the end of the wedding, the citizens did not only agree that the wedding did not cost the village a dime, but they even wondered if the president and first lady even spent a cent of their personal resources in the wedding that was massively supported by friends, family and loved ones.

Come the D-Day, President Peter, who was never seen smiling, could not resist the urge to beam happily throughout the event as his pretty wife glowed like an Angel from the Heavens.

In fact, President Peter had to wear very dark glasses to prevent him from seeing haters. His glasses were customized only mostly to see his wife, the men of God and those in favor of his marriage. He was the man of the Day.

He matched majestically to the altar, while firmly holding the hand of Hannah to be joined together in holy matrimony.

They were pronounced husband and wife with no objection.

From the church, they went straight home and whatever happened there was none of my business.

Peter and Hannah then lived happily ever after.

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