ACC To investigate 2 Mps

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ACC To investigate 2 Mps

-CHRDI

Following accusations and counter accusations of corruption between Hon Paran Tarawaly the Clerk of parliament who is the administrative head of the house, and Hon Tawa Conteh a member of parliament representing constituency 132 in Lumley in the west end of Freetown. The ACC has invited the two men to open investigations on the issue after allegations were aired over 98.1 good morning show by the two men.

On that note, CHRDI a Civil society Organization has added its voice by calling on the ACC to open investigations on the allegations involving the 2 Honourable Members. Given that president Bio has prioritized combating corruption since his assumption of office, CHRDI is calling on the ACC Commissioner to open investigations on the issue.CHRDI formerly raised awareness around the constituency development fund. Due to its uncompromising stance on transparency and accountability, CHRDI is calling on the Anti graft Czar to probe on corruption allegations that has reached the public domain.         

CHRDI Writes Open letter to the ACC commissioner

The Commissioner

Anti-Corruption Commission ACC

3 Gloucester Street

Freetown Sierra Leone

22nd November 2019

Re: Call for immediate investigation into allegations of Corruption against Member(s) of Parliament.

Dear Commissioner,

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) respectfully requests that you open an investigation INTO possible corruption in the House of Parliament.

We are extremely concerned about allegations presented on national radio (Radio Democracy 98.1) on 22 November 2019 by two Honourable Members of parliament who were engaged in accusations and counter accusations for corrupt activities.

Mr. Commissioner, CHRDI believes that your office has the mandate to address the concerns of corruption in the interest of the public. We therefore urge you to continue to reiterate your mandate and your commitment to the independent and impartial implementation of that mandate as you have continually stressed in all your public statements.

Over the years, CHRDI has focused on public accountability by holding public institutions accountable because we believe that Public Accountability is integral to a comprehensive approach to public management and public services.

We at CHRDI know that accountability and transparency are support systems for success in any society. We are equally aware that in a democratic society like Sierra Leone, accountability to the public by its elected representatives is vital because officials with little or no connection will not make policies to the public.

Our flagship campaign, the Accountability Campaign, successfully raised public awareness around the constituency development fund and the administration and operations of The Parliament of Sierra Leone and implored citizens to ask their Parliamentarians to give account of their stewardship and all monies received for and on their behalf in 2018 to 2019.

We hope you look into our concerns above and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Abdul M Fatoma

Chief Executive

CHRDI

Inter Religious Council Meets President Bio

By State House Media and Communications Unit

Members of the Inter Religious Council Sierra Leone, IRCSL, have paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio at State House.

Its President, Sheik Abu-Bakr Conteh, said that the Council was formed for the purposes of promoting the sharing among religious communities of their respective traditions, principles and values, encouraging and assisting diverse religious communities in Sierra Leone to discern areas of convergence in their respective traditions, moral and planning and implementing collaborative action programme based on the shared moral commitment in Sierra Leone.

“During the war period, we championed the campaign for the restoration of democracy. Our role in the Lome Peace Accord that brought our eleven years of senseless war to end cannot be overemphasized. In the post-war era, we led the sensitization of the entire nation on the Accord, played a very key role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” he said.

He also stated that as part of their activities, they had been busy promoting social and national inclusion nationwide, adding that their leaders were all over the country participating in all issues of national importance. He noted that they were meeting the President to pledge their support and avail themselves for collaboration.

On his part, President Bio said that he was happy to meet with the Council, adding that he was appreciative of the work of the Council knowing its role during and after the violent conflict in the country and in achieving the peace. He said the Council had always been a positive actor in the country.

“Religious tolerance is actually our best export that has been admired and spoken about, so we should cherish it. We have been able to work together and live peacefully because what we have done in religion is quite admirable. We have to make sure the Council continues to exist and has the relevance in today`s world,” he said.

Legal Link Secures Justice For Journalists

Christian Lawyers Centre (hereinafter referred to as LEGAL LINK is pleased to announce that it has successfully secured a discharge verdict for Four leading Journalists in Sierra Leone who were standing trial at the Magistrate Court No 2,  Pademba road Freetown.

The four journalists who had been attending the Court proceedings for over two months now, walked out of the Court on 15th November 2019 as freemen, discharged on all counts by the Magistrate.

LEGAL LINK decided to provide free legal representation for these four journalists in fulfillment of its mandate to defend human rights defenders and to guarantee press freedom in the country.

The four journalists were represented throughout the trial by Rashid  Dumbuya Esq,  Executive  Director of LEGAL LINK.

Apparently, LEGAL LINK is extremely grateful to Pa Momoh Fofanah Esq and his lead counsel for their show of magnanimity.

The joyful radiance in the faces of the journalists in the picture below says it all…

MOS-B GETS A WARM WELCOME IN GUINEA

By Ibrahim Sorious Samura

V E R T E X  M E D I A

The Sierra Leonean international pop star, Moses Amos Bangura popular on stage as Mos-B, has been welcomed into Conakry by hundreds of in vehicular convoy. The France based Sierra Leonean musician is in Conakry City where he will perform at the Open Gate International School Campus on the 23rd November 2019. He was invited by the CELEBRITY RECORD LABEL and his fan club in Guinea.

Mos-B was expected to enter Conakry yesterday (Wednesday 20th Nov. 2019) but missed his flight on a transit in Morocco. Upon his arrival today at the Conakry Airport, tons of music fans received him and rallied him along the streets of Conakry to his hotel. The star will be performing in Guinea for the first time in his career. Members of the Celebrity Record Label are in high gear to ensure a successful show from a superstar they have been yearning for.

His visit to Conakry is part of his scheduled tours across the world. Mos-B has toured many nations across Europe and other parts of the world, making him the most sought-after Sierra Leonean artist in the diaspora. He has recently held shows and performed at bigger arenas in cities in France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and more. His audience are mainly non-Sierra Leoneans (Europeans to be precise). Mos-B’s international breakthrough surrounds around his ability to perform live with his guitar and other musical instruments.

He came to prominence in the early 2000s when he composed ‘Sweet Salone’ just after the brutal 11 years civil war in Sierra Leone. He then left for Europe where he studied pop music at university level and recorded several songs like ‘1000 Miles, ‘My Story’ and more. After his  return to Sierra Leone in September 2019, he has released several songs like ‘Kugbe, ‘Maloholima’ and more.

After his forthcoming performance in Conakry, Mos-B will enter Sierra Leone where he is expected to perform at several events in Freetown, Makeni, Kambia and more, before returning to perform in Caen City, France in February 2020 and Chicago, USA in July 2020. Mos-B has just been nominated as Diaspora Artist of the Year and Best Live Performer in the 2019 National Entertainment Awards (NEA), and as Best Diaspora Artist of the Year in the 2019 Faces of the North Entertainment Awards (FaNEA).

Stats SL To Rehabilitate Headquarter

Report of an environmental and social impact assessment of the proposed rehabilitation and expansion of the head quarter office building

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ ivoire, and Togo is a regional project with country specific interventions. Under country specific interventions in Sierra Leone, there is a proposal to rehabilitate/remodel and expand the existing head office of Statistics Sierra Leone. 

The proposed rehabilitation/remodeling and expansion of the Statistic Sierra Leone Head Office Building triggers the World Bank’s operational policy on environmental assessment (BP/OP 4.01) and Cultural Heritage (BP/OP 4.11) as well as SL Environmental Protection Agency Act, 2008. Upon screening the proposed civil works, the World Bank rated the project as a Category “B” project deserving an Environmental and Social Management Plan to identify and mitigate/manage the anticipated environmental and social impacts/risks associated with the project such as generation of construction, liquid and solid waste as well as the potential for site workers to be involved in Gender Based Violence. 

The prime objective of this Environmental and Social Management Plan is to bring the project into compliance with World Bank BP/OP 4.01 Environmental Assessment,  OP/BP 4.11 Cultural Heritage and applicable in-country environmental, social, building and labour laws, including the Environmental Protection Agency Act,  2008; Local Government Act, 2004;  Freetown Improvement Extension (Amendment) Act, 1964; Factories Act, 1974; Child Rights Act,  2007; Persons With Disability  Act, 2007; Domestic  Violence  Act, 2007; Regulation of Wages and Industrial Relations, 1971 and the Public Health Ordinance, 1960.

Assumptions Underpinning the Preliminary Architectural Drawings and ESMP

As part of the proposed rehabilitation, remodelling and expansion of Statistics Sierra Leone Head Office, additional floors will be put up over the existing single storey U shaped structure. The assumption is that additional columns will be raised to support the additional load from the three additional floors. Nonetheless, the required structural integrity test and geo-technical investigations have not been undertaken to ascertain feasibility of this proposal. These will determine whether the existing building and the ground respectively can carry the additional load. 

The structural integrity test on the existing structure as well as the geo-technical should be carried out to inform the feasibility of the proposed civil works. The results of these tests will also be required to inform the detailed design of the project and update aspects of this ESMP. 

Project Location

The Statistics Sierra Leone Head Office Building, which is to be rehabilitated/remodelled and expanded, is located in Tower Hill, Central Freetown, next to the West African Examination Council premises, along A.J. Mommoh Street. Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone. The Statistic Sierra Leone Head Office compound is 0.8 acres. The Head Office of the National Fire Force is within the project environs.

Project Components

The Statistics Sierra Leone Head Office building is a single storey U-shape sandcrete building with a basement, roofed with asbestos and corrugated metal sheets. The proposed project involves remodelling and rehabilitating of the existing Head Office building and the construction of three (3) additional floors with glazed windows and doors on top of the existing building.

As part of the project, internal water supply and electricity within the existing office block will be provided on the new floors. In addition, two (2) lifts have been provided to aid mobility between floors, especially, for persons with disability (mobility). There will be telephone and internet access within the additional floors, while these services in the existing building will be improved. The rehabilitation works will involve demolishing and strengthen existing walls as well as changing existing windows and doors that are defective.

Project Activities

Specific activities to be undertaken as part of the rehabilitation/remodelling of the Stats-SL are demolishing of walls to make way for extensions and re-enforcements, removal of the existing roof and rotten timber members and subsequently re-roofing the structure.

The expansion work includes the construction of three (3) additional floors on top of the existing single storey structure to make it a four storey building with a basement. There will also be fixing of doors and windows, painting and tiling of the floor as well as fixing of air conditioners. Other project activities include plumbing, replacement of old electricity and electronic cables in the existing office block and providing same in offices within the new floors.

Project Workforce, Equipment and Duration

It is estimated that a maximum of twenty (20) workers. These will include skilled labour e.g. engineers, semi-skilled labour (masons and carpenters) and unskilled labour such as labourers. Workers will commute to work on site daily. Some of the equipment that will be used on site are wheel barrows, concrete mixers, power drills and jack hammers. The project is expected to be fully completed within two (2) years.

Baseline Conditions

The Statistics Head Office Building is located in Freetown but will serve the Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone experiences gender inequality and Gender Based Violence. In 2017, the country was ranked 150 of out of 160 countries on the Gender Equality Index. Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months is estimated at 29%.

The Freetown is hot and humid all year.  The city experiences its hottest month in April, with a mean temperature of 31.2˚ C over the past decade, while the coolest month is in August (23 ˚C over the past decade). The rainy season is from May to November while the dry spell occurs from December to April. The average annual rainfall is 2945.3mm.  Ambient noise levels and air quality were satisfactory on site as the project site is located within a civic zone. No water bodies, natural habitats and cultural heritage sites were observed on site or within the immediate project environs.

In terms of economic activities within the project’s immediate environs, five (5) petty traders were observed. These include two (2) food vendors, one (1) retailer of soft drinks and biscuits, one (1) person selling mobile scratch cards and one (1) fruiterer. These activities were observed in front of Head Office Building, along A.J. Mommoh Street.

Consultations

Senior officers of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, National Fire Force, Guma Valley Water Company Limited, Freetown City Council, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Ministry of Works and Public Affairs and Power and Supply and Distribution Corporation. Other consultees included petty traders in front of the Statistics Sierra Leone Head Office, Deputy Director of Intercontinental Consultancy Services, MAS Company (SL) Limited, Clinical Director of Marina House-Birth Centre and Women Health Services (clinic) and the head teacher of Bernlyn Nursery and Preparatory School. Issues discussed included project components, project impacts/risks such as exposure to asbestos dust, child labour, noise generation and the incidence of Gender Based Violence as well as intermittent noise. Other pertinent project related issues discussed included lack of a Structural Integrity Test and Geo-Technical Study for the proposed project and how these can be prepared within the shortest possible time.

Visits to the premises as well as the proposed site for disposal of the asbestos roofing sheets, face-to-face meetings and formal letters were the main tools used during the consultation process. A representative of Stats SL, the Director of Operators, participated in most of the meetings and the site visit to the proposed disposal site for the asbestos roof. The Statistician General was also debriefed on issues and conclusions arising out of the consultative process.

Conclusions and recommendations from the consultative process were used to enhance mitigation measures outlined in the ESMP

Once the ESMP is approved by the World Bank, Stats SL will place a soft copy of the ESMP on its web site and show evidence of the disclosure to the World Bank. The Bank will then put an electronic version on its website. Other stakeholders such as the SL EPA, Freetown City Council, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Bernlyn Nursery and Preparatory School and Marina House-Birth Centre and Women Health Services (Clinic) will be given hard copies of the plan to facilitate their monitoring roles.

Environmental and Social Impacts/Risks

The adverse environmental and social consequences during the construction phase of the proposed rehabilitation/remodeling and expansion of Statistic Sierra Leone Head Office Building are as follows:

◼ Project impact on material sources;

◼ Intermittent increase in noise pollution;

◼ Accidents involving site workers, employees of Statistics Sierra Leone and others in the project zone;

◼ Workers working without contracts and under poor working conditions;

◼ Disruption in the supply of utilities (water and electricity) in the project zone;

◼ Potential incidence of illicit sexual affairs, rape, defilement, and other forms of GVB by the Contractor’s employees;

◼ Potential sexual harassment and exploitation of female workers and girls seeking employment or procurement opportunities under the project;

◼ Exposure to asbestos dust as a result of the removal, transportation and disposal of the asbestos roof; 

◼ Generation of construction, solid and liquid waste; and

◼ Temporary relocation of the Head Office of Statistics Sierra Leone

Post construction adverse impacts are the generation of liquid and solid waste by visitors and staff of SL-Stats. These impacts/risks will be short-lived and can be minimized or controlled when appropriate mitigation and management measures are undertaken. In terms of beneficial impacts, the implementation of the project will come with short-term employment opportunities for construction workers and retailers during the construction phase of the project. It is anticipated that an additional fifty (50) employees would be recruited by Stats SL during the operational phase of the project. The additional direct employment during the operational phase can also translate to additional customers and patronage for retailers in the immediate project zone. 

Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP)

The ESMP presented in Table 1 below shows the:

◼ Identified impacts/risks;

◼ Stage/Phase of implementation;

◼ Actions for mitigation/management related to each impact/risk;

◼ Responsible agencies for the implementation of the mitigation measures; and

◼ Cost of implementing management/mitigation measures.

A monitoring plan, budget estimate and sources of funding have also been included in this ESMP as indicated in Table 2. 

A grievance redress mechanism, emergency response procedures for potential hazards and a proposal for decommissioning plan for the works have also been prepared as part of the ESMP. Contractual clauses to be inserted into the contract/bid documents, a sample code of conduct for workers and Chance Find Procedure that response to BP/OP 4.11 have also been attached in the appendices (see Appendix F, G and H respectively).

Please share this summary widely and encourage everyone to visit our website to download the full report.

Any questions, concerns should be sent to our Director of Operations, Albert Bangura-Will Albert.bangura-will@statistics.sl

PROCUREMENT IS DIFFERENT FROM POLITICS

by Mahmud Tim Kargbo

In modern days democratic dispensiasion, Procurement issues must be professional not political. Any sole sourcing procurement issue that may be giving to the President as stated in the 2020 Financial Act “Notwithstanding subsection (1) and (2) the President may grant approval for the use of a sole source, in respect of the Procurement of sensitive security-related goods, works and services for use by the President and Vice President, on a case by case basis”)*

means our President may politicse Procurement issues by interfering with them.

 Drafters of the said Act need to understand that Procurement is a separate entity from government which is different from the implementation of activities. Procurement officers are only there to ensure that there’s value for money and quality check control.

 Our President may now be the procurement officer and we expect him to ensure the value for money is well observed in the respective areas he may be charged with the responsibility to approve.

Citizens are interested to know what the drafters of the 2020 Financial Act meant by *”sensitive security materials”

How professional is our President in procurement procedures especially when it comes to the area of value for money, which is the key to procurement?

Will our President ensures that equal opportunities are giving to all bidders irrespective of their tribes, regions or political affiliations.

Government Acts on Fuel Crisis

By Mustapha Dumbuya

Fuel is one of the most essential products that serve humanity at large. A commodity that is used to foster development in any country. In Sierra Leone, the country has suffered from intermittent fuel shortages.

The ugly situation most times relate to the inflation of the US Dollar in the market. One would ask what the government of Sierra Leone should do to solve this ugly situation as most times the masses suffer before the advent of government solution.

Dr. Edward Hinga, Minister of Trade and Industry said that there are enough petroleum products in the country, adding that recently the government had given the fuel importers a 50% reduction of landing price. This statement was revealed to pressmen during the government weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Youyi Building, Freetown. 

The Minister, also said recently they were able to work with LEONCO to order enough fuel that will serve the country throughout the festive season. He added that the Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) is the sole body responsible to regulate the conduct of fuel stations in the in Sierra Leone.

He  said   ‘my apology  to  all the  people of  Sierra Leone  for  such  ugly  situation  that  occurred over  the past few  days’.

Mr. Hinga, continued that because Sierra Leone is not producing Fuel, this has led the government to face such external factors that is beyond their control.

 The Minister assured that the government has a great commitment in finding solutions having gone through the pricing formula and the Dollar exchange rate there is nothing that would prompt them to increase the fuel-pumping price. He stress.

Dr. Hinga, said that the Ministry is also aware of the massive increase of expired products especially basic imported foods stuff that has flooded the market.

We have been working hard with the Standards Bureau to resolve the situation but Standards Bureau does not have the relevant equipments and as a Ministry, they are putting measures to capacitate the institution.  

Comrade Sylvia replies Comrade Sorie Tarawally

My dear well-respected Senior Comrade Sorie Tarawally,

I am making an exception to reply to your recent message. I had taken a decision not to reply to anyone insofar as my ongoing crusade to save APC is concerned. This is because I am so busy doing my legal research for a possible PPRC application that will hopefully be resolved and not lead to a Court Case. However, out of sheer respect for your person and your decades of service to our glorious grassroots APC party, let me pause a while and reply to you.

Firstly sir, I never said we should go back to 1991 Constitution. How could I say so??? I am a progressive and a reformer for the greater good. I have always been a fearless progressive. Please check my records in my over 25 years of political activism. They speak for themselves. The name SYLVIA BLYDEN did not become a household name by magic. I am accepted and well respected in all four corners of this country because people know what I have always courageously stood for – and that includes PROGRESS and saying the TRUTH that will save Society.

What I did by referencing the glorious and epochal circumstances around the APC’s 1991 Constitution being enacted and why, in 1995, we needed a stop-gap INTERIM measure, was subliminal messaging Sir.

What I have succeeded to do, is:-

1) Reiterating that the credit for restoring multi party democracy to Sierra Leone, *belongs to the APC since 1991* and that our former Leader, the late H.E. President J.S. Momoh, should be given credit for being a transformational leader as aided by other worthy, stellar APC men of stature.

2) Removing the vestiges of FATHER OF DEMOCRACY claims from our current Head of State, His Excellency President Bio and showing him up instead as someone who helped to kill a budding democratic culture through a completely unwarranted April 1992 military coup.

3) Reminding of why, in 1995, though we had a legitimate 1991 Constitution for the APC, we needed an INTERIM Constitution that was forced to wholescale have – hitherto un-included in 1991 Constitution – “SELECTION” as an option because of brutal repressiveness of NPRC soldiers government making it impossible for APC to hold the lower levels Conventions and Elections (below the levels of regional & national) in 1995/1996.

My messages have been heard!

Senior Comrade sir, I started discussing politics with my two APC parents and my late APC grandfathers (R.I.P.) when I was barely 10 years old in Primary School Class 7. By age 22 years in June 1994, when I campaigned, contested and cleanly beat male candidates to become the first Sierra Leone Woman elected as President of a University Students Union Government, I was already well versed in Sierra Leone politics. I have never stopped paying very keen attention to Local Politics so I am, with humility, a Walking Encyclopedia on Sierra Leone Politics sir.

However, contemporary Sierra Leone in post-NPRC era, has grievously twisted our national narrative. *Heroes have been demonised and anti-APC folks have taking undue precedence in continuing to demonise many National Heroes simply because they were/are APC members.*

In the process, our young APC folks have fallen victims. Our APC youths tend to forget or never even know much of our party’s colourful History and it is always good to recall to them about the good and bad History of what the APC party went through at any chance we get.

Bottomline Sir, I never said we should go back 3 decades to use our 1991 Constitution. I’m just explaining why my beloved late maternal Grandfather, Pa S.A.J. Pratt and the other Senior APC Comrades, had to craft an INTERIM CONSTITUTION to be a stop-gap in 1995, during a period of extreme repression. I also want that 1991 APC Constitution to be publicly showcased as it is the most recent Constitution enacted by an APC National Delegates Conference. *The contents, as I recall them being enacted under President J.S. Momoh, are veritable evidence of the cleanly democratic credentials of our glorious APC party.

Why am I spending all my time to do what I am currently doing? Well, with my knowledge of local politics and having experienced and noted so much during our Ups and Downs in this country, I am stepping up to the plate and throwing the gauntlet using FACTS to educate and inform especially our young, upcoming generation.

Helping to lead the APC from the ditches on to the straight road leading to a re-birth of what our Founding Fathers first built, is something that I see as a sacred duty from the Almighty at this point in time and no charlatan or planted Trojan Horses can intimidate me away from that duty Sir. I know many of those SELECTED who are undeserving of such selections are gearing up to fight me. If they know they are worthy to hold such National and Regional positions, let them subject themselves to a democratic process. Simple.

Our party is currently damaged and we must fix it NOW or perish forever Sir.

Respectfully Yours,

Comrade Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden

 Human Rights Groups Meets SLP Gender Affairs

A team from the Gender Unit of the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone headed by Madam Gloria E.M Bayoh, Director of Gender Directorate has On Friday 14th November, 2019 paid a familiarization visit to the Director of the Sierra Leone Police Gender Affairs,Mr Mustapha Kamara (AIG)at his Police Headquarters George Street office in Freetown.

 The purpose of the visit according to Madam Bayoh was to foster a good working relationship and collaboration between the directorates of the two national institutions. She expressed satisfaction over the work the SLP Gender Directorate has been doing so far and singled out the Family Support Unit under the leadership of Detective Superintendent Fatmata nee Daboh,whom she commended for being very dutiful and hard-working.

Ann Marie Balboa, Gender and Childrens Officer,told the house that one of the challenges they face with Government Institutions is that on several occasions when they approach those institutions for information, their staff perceived them to be Civil Society activists or members of the fourth estate.

Their directorate she mentioned is also charged with the responsibility to originate their reports on quarterly,half yearly, and yearly basis and appealed to the Director for his moral support in achieving their goal.The Commission she furthered has been empowered in conjunction with the National Committee on Gender based violence (NAC-GBV) of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to produce and present to Parliament an annual report of the status of implementation of the Sexual Offences Act,2012 (as ammended)  Sonnia Goodman, Disability and Non Discriminatory Officer,spoke about the misuse of drugs by youths and children which is hazadous to their health and most times,its misuse leadsp them to commit very serious offences like: criminal and gender related offences.

The children she stated are sometimes exempted from criminal liabilities because of their ages. In his response,AIG Mustapha Kamara on behalf of the Inspector General of Police welcomed the director and team and expressed satisfaction for such a visit. He informed them about the strides made by the Justice Sector Coordination Office (JSCO)in collaboration with the Child Justice Working Group(CJWG) and other actors like the Ministry of Social Welfare, Judiciary, the Police etc.to work earnestly in addressing the issues of children.

 A Diversionary policy is being worked upon to look at various measures to eliminate the rate at which minors commit the aforementioned offences and punishments meted.Ten(10) Police Stations nationwide he remarked have been earmarked to experiment the pilot phase of the policy.He catalogued series of issues having to do with the activities of children who come in contact with the law and fraud their ages only to gain certain immunities,  problem with age assessment, the rate at which minors commit sexual penetration and other gender related offences, lack of forensic experts,etc.Dilating on the statistics collated by the Family Support Unit, AIG Kamara said for this year so far, the highest rape cases reported was in February amounting to three hundred and sixty eight(368)in NorthEast (Portloko) being the highest so far.

 He mentioned the habit of watching pornographic films, which he said are not censored.The age of criminal responsibility in Sierra Leone is fragmented, and needs to be reviewed. He also touched on the prompt and quality pieces of advice given by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) with regards Case and Enquiry Files sent to his office and commended him for his good work.

 The Director also took the opportunity to introduce the newly appointed acting Head of Gender Unit in the SLP,in the person of ASP Michael Kelly Dumbuya,who was the erstwhile Staff Officer in the Gender Directorate. Giving the vote of thanks,ASP Michael Kelly Dumbuya thanked the team from the HRCSL for their visit and assured them of the unflinching support of the Director and team at all times. He told them that there is a need for such collaboration and outlined some of its significant values which amongst them include: the flow of communication among the stakeholders, particularly the Director and Staff, the need to collate accurate statistics,etc.The event was climaxed by photographs taken by the SLP Audiovisual team..

A 5-Month-old Baby Salim Seeks Help

By the Sick Pikin Project

Five months old baby Salim Konteh was born with Acyanotic Congenital Heart disease.  He is currently admitted at the Ola During Children’s Hospital Emergency Unit and  is currently placed on intravenous antibiotics, anti-failure drugs and oxygen support. Dr. Abubakarr B. Bah who is managing Baby Salim’s case, strongly recommends a corrective surgery overseas in order to maximize his (Baby Salim) growth and development.

Unfortunately, for Baby Salim, Sierra Leone has no medical center that can perform heart surgery. Given the urgent need for an oversee medical intervention and the accompanying financial implications that comes with such surgery; Baby Salim’s single parent, Ruth Konteh reached out to the Sick Pikin Project desperately crying for help. Sick Pikin Project is an outstanding local child advocacy, fundraising non -governmental voluntary Organization with a record of accomplishment for mobilizing financial support for children with critical medical conditions that need overseas specialist care.

We are therefore currently accepting financial donation from kind- hearted people home and abroad to help Baby Salim get the appropriate Medicare.

As Sick Pikin Project continues to do their best to save Baby Salim, it is worthy to note that Baby Salim’s mother need all the help she can get to save her son. This is partly due to her financially constrained background and partly due to the lack of specialist in Sierra Leone to successfully manage baby Salim’s congenital heart condition. Imagine being a mother who has to daily confront the possibility that without help your son would end up dying from a treatable condition;

 It very likely that Baby Salim could one day become a medical doctor who find vaccine for malaria, or even become a pediatric heart surgeon to help other children with the same heart condition he now has.  It is possible if we all could come together and supports Sick Pikin Project by donating to help Baby Salim get the specialist medical care he needs oversees.

Fortunately, Sick Pikin Project has successfully contacted a Max Super Speciality Medical Center in India to do the surgery.

The Hospital has estimated Baby Salim’s Surgery to be around $6,500. Since Baby Salim would need to be with his mother Ruth, the accomodation, Visa, feeding and flight for both Salim and his mother will require $13,000 USD.

Again, we are counting on the usual goodwill and generosity of all to enable baby Salim has a second chance in life.

Remember nothing is too small. Donate and let’s safe life.

 4000 Voluntary Health Workers on Government Payroll

-Human Resource Management

By Pastor Sinneh Of Health Newspaper.

The Director of Human Resource of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation MoHS, Mr. Emile Koroma and his Deputy, Mr. Sellu Keifala has confirmed that 4000 voluntary workers who have served the health sector for several years or decades have been enrolled in the Accountant General payroll.

According to Mr. Emile Koroma, this development is in line with His Excellency President Bio’s promise to strengthen the country’s health sector during his policy statement at the official opening of the fifth Parliament of the second Republic of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Koroma said that, last year December, “the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio paid visit to some government hospitals around the country and promised to advocate for voluntary health workers to have pin codes so that, their names would be on the government payroll, who have been serving the health sector without pay or pin codes and she will advocate on their behalf”, and the advocacy of the First Lady with support from our dynamic Hon. Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor Alpha T Wurie has yielded dividend in our country health sector.

Director Koroma also said that, with the President policy statement, several moves have also been made by the Health Minister and the Administrative head in terms of transforming the healthcare sector over the past years.

Mr. Koroma Furthered disclosed to the Health Newspaper that, they have contacted various hospitals in Freetown and District Medical Officer (DMO) to submit names of health workers without pin codes, noting that, the names include, Medical Doctors, Nurses, Technicians, Pharmacists amongst other disciplines.

He said that, Medical Doctors, Nurses and other staff members on payroll have been upgraded.

The Deputy Director of Human Resource, Mr. Sellu Keifala said that, they are working as a team to see the President Policy statement on the improvement to our health sector become reality.

The Director and his Deputy advised all health workers to always thrive to advance themselves, whenever the opportunity avails itself, adding that saving life is a humanitarian work that needs dedication and total commitment.

Finally both Directors appealing to health workers to be punctuality at work noting that, everyone should be at hospitals latest 8:30 a.m daily in compliance with the President’s pronouncement of the time, when all civil and public servants should be in their offices.

MIWGEM Take Tours to Schools

By Mary Sesay

The Media Initiate for Women and Girls Empowerment(MIWGEM) is a  non profitable organization  that  is  working on girls and  women  initiative on empowering  them  through  basic  media  training.

The organization has  been partnering with different  organizations  in  Sierra  Leone by fostering human capital development as  a  way of providing self employment through media  empowerment.

This organization had taken the lead to working with different slums community schools within Freetown such as Kroobay community primary school, Sunsan’s bay Kulafai and Rashideen Islamic primary school to empower them through media by creating a platform that will give them personal empowerment through interactive scheme.

This training has also empowered girls using creative media to foster positive change, that women and girls should have a voice in society and by having a forum that would foster their goals and inspiration through effective participation. 

Media Development is a Most

-Mariama Khai Fornah

My female journalist colleagues, our most treasured profession had been practiced under very difficult circumstances. The issues we face during our line of duty are never a perpetual problem that cannot be solved.

I must say I admire the resilience we have shown throughout these years. I have not come for the WOMEN IN THE MEDIA SIERRA LEONE (WIMSAL) ticket with dreams, but I have come with a clear vision for development of our professional body.

I need not lament on all the issues because we experience them everyday whilst undertaking our duties. However, allow me, to highlight a few:

We are all aware of the appalling conditions of service of our female journalists. Some are not even on salary or given stipends. However, they sweat their way out every day to follow their passion to contribute in their own way to the development of this country.

Our sisters also face sexual harassment, bully and degradation all in the name of being a female journalist. Tell me is it a curse to choose a profession in journalism? The answer is no, and we should be given space to practice within the ambience of our noble profession.

We believe we are the change makers, the icebreakers and an astute force that can set the pace for upcoming female journalists. Therefore, we MUST tidy our environment and reposition ourselves to make that happen.

There is no other way to change this narrative and to change the face of WIMSAL if proactive leadership does not lead it. That is what I have come to provide in WIMSAL.

I do not bank on fake and empty promises and for that reason; I have placed my campaign manifesto on four blocks:

1. Integration & inclusion

2. Transparency

3. Welfare

4. Regulations

Many colleagues have left the organization mainly for issues with other colleagues for which the organization for years has not provided the needed leadership to handle such instances. Many I spoke to before now told me they see WIMSAL having several groupings and people with genuine intention for growth and development who do not want to be part of those groups are easily frustrated hence leading to them laying back. WIMSAL is for every female journalist no matter your status. We must allow the organization to serve its purpose. It is high time we bring all those colleagues back to our organization especially our senior colleagues who can now provide mentorship for our younger folks.

Transparency- this tells on the integrity of our organization. We must be truthful in handling the affairs of WIMSAL and allow members to be part of the decision-making and implementation of programmes. There’s no way we can allow people close to the powers here can be the only beneficiaries of programmes. My executive will be accountable to WIMSAL members as we are aware that we are on service to the members.

Welfare- this is paramount. We cannot make the required impact if our welfare as female journalists is the ugliest. We must seek the interests of our members in truthfulness and honesty. We should not allow our members to be misused and abused. We must move capacity building beyond rhetoric. We must have tangible results of these trainings for the development of our sisters. We will design mentorship programmes for our colleagues. I have no doubt that we have eminent personalities within our organization that can provide that. That is notwithstanding we will still tap into other areas to support our mentorship drive.

We want to see our qualified female colleagues in management positions. The lobby has started and I have no iota of doubt that we are going to achieve that. We will advocate and source scholarships for our sisters to pursue higher learning in journalism or related field. We will engage media institutions across the country and discuss the welfare of our sisters. The top most priority will be to discuss their salaries and other benefits from those institutions. We will work with their institutions to design programmes on case-by-case basis to support specialized reporting. That is, we want to see the best Parliamentary or Financial reporter being a female.

Our welfare is paramount and we will ensure the status of female journalists across the country change for the best.

Regulations- with changing trends and more value adding to journalism we must have a Constitution that is timely and speaks to the many issues around us. A review of our WIMSAL Constitution can never have a better timing than now. A Review Committee will be set up with clear mandate from the membership on the review process.

The WIMSAL Strategic Plan was designed as a working document that guides our programmes direction. Since it was launched, past executives have not been able to implement even half of the plan mainly because of funding. This time around, we want to review the Strategic Plan with clear budget lines that we will use to knock on the doors of donors and partners to provide support.

Our WIMSAL Board has been dysfunctional for some time now. We cannot have a clear path to moving this organization if we do not have a proactive Board. With consultation from members, we will revive our Board and manage a well-coordinated organization.

My dear sisters, these are not empty words trying to canvass your vote. My Strategist and I have held several meetings and discussions with eminent personalities within and outside our profession and we know they are workable.

Let us think about the development of our organization based on issues and make the right choice by voting me MARIAMA KHAI FORNAH for President for WIMSAL.

I am happy and readily available to answer questions or accept your valuable contributions towards the development of WIMSAL.

I call on all my supporters to keep the campaign peaceful and respectful. This is a sisterly contest ‘Sisterhood is Strength.’

I AM KHAI

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