Amb. Felix A. Korama Calls for Frogiveness & Reconciliation

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By Mohamed Jalloh

Speaking to this medium, Ambassador Koroma called for the watering down of tension between the two giant political parties in the country –the APC and SLPP.

He expressed concern over the politicization of the anti-corruption fight, which according to him could be seen as targeting citizens that hail from a particular region of the country.

The Ambassador said the approach of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) doesn`t bode well for the unity and tranquility of Sierra Leone.

He underscored the importance of maintaining peace in the nation which was hardly won due to the sacrifice of Sierra Leoneans and the international community.

The Ambassador emphasized on the need for the sanitization of politics and urged politicians to practice decent politics that the younger generation could emulate.

He said no political party is bigger than Sierra Leone, and encouraged politicians to align their actions in a way that could foster national cohesion and respect for the rule of Law.

AmbassadorKoroma admonishes the APC and the SLPP, the two parties that has a reputation for violence to conduct their lower level, constituency and national executive elections in a violence free atmosphere. The ambassador is using his experience as a peace envoy and his diplomatic acumen gained at the United Nations (UN) to spread the message of peace to his fellow citizens.

As a member of the main Opposition APC, he emphasized on the democratic and constitutional rights of members, but went further to remind comrades of their sacred duty of respecting and upholding the values of the party.

He advised that the APC must see herself as a one big family that is united to contest in the 2023 elections, as a man with deep political insight, the Ambassador warned that any division in the party would jeopardize the party`s chances of reclaiming state house.

Ambassador Koroma said any delegate in the APC party has the freedom to supporting any potential flag bearer but the support must be conducted in a manner that doesn`t jeopardize the chances of the APC of winning the 2023 elections.

“Above all, political activities and maneuvering must be conducted in a violence free atmosphere and citizens must strictly abide to Covid-19 regulations” Ambassador Koroma advised.

In conclusion, Ambassador Felix Koroma expressed determination that the world would defeat the Corona pandemic so as to restore a sense of normalcy in the daily affairs of people by way of conducting political activities that are COVID-19 risk free.

S/Leone & Guinea to Undertake Mutual Cooperation

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has concluded his 2-day working visit to Conakry where the two countries commit to reopening on Thursday 18th Feb the land border that was closed since early last year due to COVID-19. 

The communique states that: “Based on mutual reassurances and enhanced mutual confidence…the President of the Republic of Guinea Professor Alpha Conde has reviewed the security situation in his country and has agreed to reopen its borders with the Republic of Sierra Leone effective from Thursday 18 February 2021 at 8:00 hours GMT”.

“The two leaders also agreed to reactivate the Joint Technical Committee on Yenga, which shall commence sittings in Nongowa, on 3 March 2021. They also agreed to implement the agreement to Joint Border Patrols along the common border areas from 5 March 2021,” the document reads, adding that the two foreign ministers would immediately restart the holding of the Joint Commission of Cooperation meetings between the two countries. 

The communique also contains a raft of bilateral agreements to cooperate with each other on security, defence, public health, ICT, mining, justice, transport, private investments, and cultural exchanges. The Heads of State further pledged to use their good offices to provide the necessary capacity to address the current and emerging public health emergency such as COVID-19 and EBOLA in the two countries.   

“The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the strategies by the two countries in the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmed their determination to coordinate their efforts in obtaining vaccines for their respective populations,” the document reads.

At the subregional level, President Bio and President Conde welcomed the latest decisions for the return of Mali to constitutional order, in accordance with the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and reiterated their continental commitment to always defend the African interest. 

“They also welcomed the decision of the African Union Heads of State and Government for launching the first operational stage of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement…and commended the implementation of the 2063 agenda and other reforms initiated at the African Union,” the communiqué adds. 

President Bio, whose government delegation also included deputy leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress in Parliament, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo and former APC Minister of Public Affairs, Information and later Mines, Alhaji Alpha SahidBakarKanu, will return today Tuesday 16 February 2021.

Stat SL Addresses MPs On Mid Term Census

By FeimaSesay

Statistic Sierra Leone(SL) has on Wednesday 17 February 2021 in committee room 1 parliament building briefs the parliamentary oversight committee on Planing and Development on the April 19 2021 midterm population census.

The Deputy Statistician General(DSG), Mr Andrew Bob Journey informed MPs that the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census (2021 MTPHC) will be a total count of the population in-between two primary censuses; taking into consideration that a national census was conducted in 2015 and the next primary census is due in 2025.

He said that apart from counting people, the institution will also recruit a total of 17,000 Sierra Leoneans to serve as enumerators and other supporting staff.

He pointed out that, the statistical indicators derived from the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census are expected to show progress made, and challenges to be addressed in the overall development of the country since the last census in 2015.

DSG noted that, the 2021 mid-term census will generate credible population and housing data midway between the primary census of 2015 and the primary census of 2025, to address any identified challenges of the census in 2015 and rehearse for the census in 2025.

According to him the exercise will also help the country to update base maps and delineate enumeration areas.

The advantages he said will include provision of credible population and housing data for Sierra Leone covering all Enumeration areas and locality types; It will also help to update base maps of Sierra

Leone providing a credible sampling frames for intra-censual activities.

Speaking of the overall objectives, DSG said that is to orientate the committee on the 2021 Mid-Term Population & Housing Census

is a means to reach all Sierra Leoneans within their constituencies and administrative communities with correct information on the census and soliciting  their cooperation, to involve parliamentarians in the distribution of 2021 MTPHC materials including lEC

Materials within their constituencies, to secure the willingness of all parliamentarians to participate in 2021 MTPHC activities at

all time activities,

Conduct one day orientation for parliamentarians and

Ensure parliamentarians participate in monitoring both the cartographic mapping exercise and the main census enumeration.

Agree on oversight roles to be performed by the various parliamentarians and councilors during the 2021 MTPHC period.

On his part, the Statistician General, Prof Osman Sankoh said that the World Bank is willing to support the mid-term census and that their Kenya counterpart is willing to send a huge quantity of tablets for the conduct of the census.

Activities with regard the sensitization of citizens across the country, the Director of Communications MrAnsumana said all the districts they went to, expressed their willingness to making sure that, their people are registered come 19 April 2021.

The chairman of the committee on Planning and Development Hon. Musa Fofanah express satisfaction over the presentation of Start SL and encourage them to do for the development of the country.

MBSSE Increases GPE Program Utilization Rate From 10% to 36%

Description: Image result for president bio appoint new minster of basic and senior secondary school

The Chief of Education at UNICEF Sierra Leone, Celeste Staley has commended the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) for effectively implementing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) program in Sierra Leone. She said the utilization rate of the GPE program in Sierra Leone has increased from 10% in February 2020 to 36% in January 2021. She described the utilization increase as a great achievement.

GPE provides technical assistance and funding to lower-income country governments, for every girl and boy to have hope and opportunity. In Sierra Leone, UNICEF-SL serves as the GPE Grant Agent.

The UNICEF Chief of Education was speaking at MBSSE’s validation retreat of the GPE Program in Sierra Leone.   The retreat created a platform for government and partners to review and accelerate completion of the GPE Program in the country.

Speaking further, the UNICEF Chief of Education announced to the validation meeting that the GPE is happy with the accomplishment. She added that two years ago GPE was unhappy that only 10% utilization rate was realized, but she said, the current increase achieved in less than a year is a great relief to UNICEF and GPE.

At the end of the validation workshop, Celeste said the exercise was productive. She said key decisions were made as the way forward to accelerate the continued implementation of the GPE Program.

Accounting for the 36% utilization rate, GPE Program Officer at MBSSE Jonathan Kpakiwa said key outputs realized from the utilization rate among several others, are the establishment of 30 Early Childhood Development Centres, in Kambia, PortLoko and Bombali districts (these ECD centres will be ready for commissioning by the end of April 2021), capacity building exercise for 5000 teachers of primary 1 to 3 classes, support to the development of education policies, MBSSE’s system strengthening and the Ministry’s response to COVID 19 through distance learning ( Radio Teaching Program) and a number of nationwide comprehensive safety campaigns, one of which is the Zero schoolgirls pregnancy campaign.

Commenting on the 36% utilization rate of the GPE Program, the GPE Coordinator at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Mr. Amara Sowa said, the Ministry strongly desires to fully implement the GPE Program, and as a result, the leadership of the Ministry invited all the parties and stakeholders involved in the GPE Program to look at the Ministry’s collaboration with UNICEF. Mr. Sowa said that the aim of the validation exercise was to address the challenges faced in the implementation of projects and programs connected with UNICEF and GPE. He said, during the workshop, the Ministry and Partners discussed the factors that have been slowing down the implementation of the program, and further decided on mechanisms and approaches that could make the implementation of the program smooth, fast and efficient.

In his address at the workshop, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David MoininaSengeh noted that, what should be more important to everyone present at the meeting was what would happen after the workshop, which he called “problem solving”. He urged officials of his ministry and partners to be mindful of the quality of results achieved when carrying out field operations to scale-up learning outcomes in schools, and ensure equitable and quality access to education. He encouraged his team to put in the required efforts in order to prevent the challenges highlighted in the validation workshop from showing-up in the next validation exercise

Bible Society Prays For Chief Justice

Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications Unit, CJ Chambers, Main Law Courts Building in Freetown: The Bible Society in Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 16th February, 2021 donated two cartoons of King James James Version Bibles to the Judiciary of Sierra Leone.

The team comprising the Board Chairman, Ransford Wright; Board member-Rev. Dr. Olivia Wesley; Board member-Prince Morgan William; Board member-Precious Fewry; Raymond Jarrett-Media Director; Samuel Dumbuya-Operations Manager and Margaret Bernard-Jones Human Resource Consultant.

Presenting the team, the Human Resource Consultant, Margaret Bernard-Jones said they were at the Chief Justice’s chambers because their duty is to preach and spread the gospel of Christ to humanity.

She reiterated that the mission of the Bible Society is to share the word of God to transform lives. She said they have been able to translate the Holy Bible in various local languages in the country.

“We are here to make our worthy contribution to the Judiciary,” she said, adding that their move will be part of the giant development undertaken to make the Judiciary among the greatest institutions in Africa.     

In her prayer for protection and God’s guidance for rapid development at the Judiciary, Rev. Dr. Olivia Wesley prayed for divine wisdom and a dedicated team work among the entire staff. She said if this is achieved, the nation will celebrate not only the Chief Justice but the entire Judiciary under his leadership.

“If the Justice system fails the whole country will fail,” said Ransford Wright, the Board Chairman of the Bible Society, stressing that there is no justice without truth and therefore the Bible has always been used to take oath in Court.

According to him, because the Bible will minister the word of God, the truth shall always prevail. He used the occasion to commend the Chief Justice and said because the Bible will be used in all the Courts, truth shall always triumph.

Receiving the 32 pieces of Holy Bible, the Hon. Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards said he was grateful for the show of gratitude to donate such quality and standard Bibles to the Judiciary.

He thanked her Sunday school teacher, Rev. Dr. Olivia Wesley for her prayers, stating that, “that little Sunday school boy is now the Chief Justice of this great nation.”

He said when he was appointed by the President, His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio, the Muslim Jaamat paid him visit and made similar donation of the holy Quran to the Judiciary.

He thanked and appreciated the donation and said it was timely.

Chinese Embassy Donates 200 Desks and Chairs to Njala University

The Chinese Embassy in Freetown has over the weekend donated two hundred (200) Desks and Chairs to the Administration of Njala University to help cushion the sitting accommodation in the University

It will be recalled that the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Osman Sankoh (Mallam O.) has in the past few months approached the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Hu Zhangliang to support Njala University and he provided the sum of Le 200 Million Leones towards supporting the students of Njala University with desk and Chairs.

The process was subjected to procurement and over the weekend the responsive bidder has successfully supplied the consignment for use by the students of the University for the 2020/2021

 UNDP pays courtesy call on MoPED

 The new Resident Representative (RR) for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Sierra Leone, Mr. Pa LaminBeyai, paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, at the Minister’s Office in Freetown.

The Minister expressed his pleasure in welcoming the new RR, reaffirming government’s commitment to work together with the UNDP Country Office. He further thanked the UNDP for their support to the development and roll-out of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023 and for their support to Sierra Leone’s work in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

Dr. Kai-Kai urged the UNDP to continue to support the President Bio-led government’s priority areas as enshrined in the MTNDP (2019-2023). The Minister said that he was looking forward to working with the RR and Team, discussing various areas of mutual interest aimed at strengthening and improving cooperation between UNDP and the Ministry, in order to deliver on their shared objectives.

In his response, Mr. Beyai stated his delight to be welcomed at the Ministry, where he referred to as the “home of the UNDP”, noting that during his time he would further reinforce the relation with the Ministry, since the Ministry has been at the centre of the UNDP’s work.

Mr. Beyai pledged the UNDP’s continued support to government in implementing the MTNDP (2019-2023). He also promised to work towards hoping that they can make the desired difference in the development of the country.

Before his appointment to Sierra Leone in November last year, Mr. Beyei, a Gambia National, served as Resident Representative, UNDP Liberia. He was also UNDP Country Director in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He has more than 27 years of technical experience in development management and leadership and holds a Ph.D in Economics with a focus on Health Economics, including a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Economics from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.

NaCSA Starts Another Round Of Direct Cash Transfers

By Bampia James Bundu

The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has on Wednesday, 17th February 2021, commenced direct cash transfers to enrolled beneficiaries of the Government of Sierra Leone COVID-19 Social Safety Net (SSN) in Kono, Kailahun, Kenema and the Western Area (Urban and Rural). Payments in the other districts will be announced in due course.

The move is part of the Government of Sierra Leone’s Quick Action Economic Response Program aimed at addressing the effects of COVID-19 on citizens.

According to the Commission, each beneficiary will receive a first tranche payment of Le 1,309,000 (One Million, Three Hundred and Nine Thousand Leones), comprising three quarterly benefit payments.

Subsequently, beneficiaries will receive three tranche payments of Le 436,000 per tranche. Households with Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) will receive an additional one-off transfer of Le 436,000 during the second round of payments.

All the beneficiaries will be paid in cash’ by the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) with oversight by Community Monitors of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

These payments have the potential to support beneficiaries’ investments in health, education and productive business.

TVET: The Right Direction to Grow Sierra Leone’s Economy

By Joseph S. Margai

Over and again, I have heard arguments from economic and social advocates that Sierra Leone had long got it wrong when she neglected the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which would have subsequently contributed immensely to the development the country’s economy.

In my days as a pupil of the St. Theresa Primary School in Mano, Dasse Chiefdom, Moyamba District, Southern Sierra Leone, we used to manufacture locally-made baskets using bamboo canes, and present them as “Arts and Crafts” to our Creative Practical Arts (CPA) teacher, who would in turn grade us according to our craftsmanship.

We could also use metals, tins and cans, wires, among other items, to manufacture locally-made toy vehicles, bicycles, among other automobiles.

Pupils could also use clay to mold traditional containers to store water for drinking purposes.

These were some of the ways that CPA teachers in the early 1990s would identify talented pupils and mentor them to be innovative and creative in the future.

But coming to the mid-2000s, things were no longer the same as they were in the 1990s for the innovative and creative industry.

CPA teachers in the 1990s would always want to ‘catch them young’, thereby heralding a sense of creative and innovative abilities in the minds of the then young Sierra Leonean pupils.

Few years ago, I heard from some parents that their children were being asked by their CPA teachers to take along monies, bars of laundry and bathing soap, or onions, canned tomato, etc., as “Arts and Crafts”.

Such request undermines the development of the creative industry in Sierra Leone.

The bars of laundry and bathing soap were manufactured and imported into Sierra Leone-albeit some of them are manufactured locally-they were not being made by the pupils hence their creative and innovative skills were not tested in any way.

This is one of the reasons that we are still grappling with the influx of idle and jobless youth in our society.

Also, most employers have never been asking for creative employees (those with special skills in carpentry, masonry, etc.) but rather those who have acquired or attained degrees from recognized tertiary institutions.

As a result, most young people have laid emphasis on pursuing degree courses in the university, thereby neglecting the TVET and forgetting that it is a sure way to contribute to the country’s economic growth.

I am not against formal educational system because I am a Fourah Bay College (FBC) graduate but we should not also neglect the TVET system. 

Carpentry, masonry, plumbing, tailoring, mechanical engineering for those in the maintenance garages, gara tie-dyeing, among other creative jobs, must be turned to for job creation. 

But under the ‘New Direction’ administration, things have significantly changed positively for TVET.

President Julius Maada Bio has placed premium on the development of TVET in Sierra Leone.

During the launch of the Skills Development Fund to build the capacity of Milton Margai College of Education and Technology in December 2020, President Julius Maada Bio said, “a skilled and resourceful labour force can unlock rapid national development through relevant training in science, technology, and innovation.”

President Bio said workforce development through basic training, reskilling, and up skilling is the precursor for innovation, manufacturing, and for economic transformation.

In his speech at the State Opening of Parliament in 2019, President Julius Maada Bio noted that his government was increasing access to demand-led skills training and builds the foundations for a demand-led skills development system in Sierra Leone.

“We want to increase access to quality skills provisions that will contribute to improving Sierra Leone’s economic competitiveness and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive development,” he said during the State Opening of Parliament in 2019.

President Bio said in the coming years, his government would vigorously pursue the development of a national apprenticeship scheme which can provide internship for trainees of TVET institutes and at the same time provide direct training for youth.

He continued by saying that, “my government is committed to establishing in every district capital one institution that will be fully equipped with modern tools and equipment for technical vocational education and training in areas with high potential for job creation.”

President Bio’s noted, “My government will introduce new short courses for out-of-school unemployed and underemployed youth,” thereby boosting TVET for the realization of job creation in the country.

Having seen the ‘political will’ in addressing the previously existing challenges in the TVET sector, I would encourage CPA teachers to reintroduce   ‘catch them young’ system again in our primary schools.

Pupils must be encouraged to be creative and innovative and they should be graded according to their ability to manufacture anything that will boost the creative industry.

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF MINISTER

The attention of the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) has been drawn to the baseless allegation by Chernoh Bah and his so-called Africanist Press alleging that over Le 34.2 billion (more than US$3.4 million) has been spent on media consultancies and travel per diem in less than three years.

The OCM is an operational oversight/supervisory Ministry responsible for the monitoring and performance management of all Ministries. It also includes the following Directorates: Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), Office of Presidential Infrastructure Initiatives (OPII), Directorate of Performance Management & Service Delivery (DPMSD) and Directorate of Human Capital Development (HCD). In addition, it performance managed all the fifteen Agencies in the Office of the President.

All funds allocated have gone through the Ministry of Finance’s normal budgetary processes, ratified by Parliament and allocated to all the respective Agencies, Commissions and Units within the Office of the Chief Minister which are verifiably and credibly accounted for through the normal internal and external audit processes and mechanisms. It is therefore important to clarify that the OCM is not a single unit as claimed by Chernoh Bah and his ill-informed Africanist Press.   

Additionally, all procurements undertaken by the OCM were done in accordance with the Procurement Act of 2016. This has been confirmed by the NPPA. The claim by Chernoh Bah and his Africanist Press that the OCM breached procurement procedures is false and calculated to tarnish the good image of the New Direction Government.

In the desperate attempt to smear the integrity, credibility and reputation of the Office of the Chief Minister, Minister Dr. Sengeh and Directorate of Science & Technology, the so-called Africanist Press is spewing out outlandish claims that even the uneducated find it hard to believe. This shenanigan culture is disruptive to national development.

Permanent Secretary

Office Of the Chief Minister

Aged Woman Drag To Court For Killing Her Police Lover

By FeimaSesay

SalamatuDeenKargbo an aged business Woman from Kambia Town was on Tuesday 16 February 2021 drag to court before magistrate Mark Ngegba of the Pademba road court No 1 for allegedly killing her lover Sergeant Simeon Alieu.

The prosecution witness No1 Detective Sergeant 6566 Mathew Vagahun attached homicide syndicate CID HQ led in evidence by ASP Ibrahim Mansaray  recognized accused and further recalled Wednesday 23 December 2020.

He said on the said date, he was on duty when he received a case and enquire file from Kambia division for further investigation adding that the endorse file  contains, complainant and that of witnesses statement, voluntary caution statement of the accused, request for postmortem examination on the remains of the deceased, certificate of cause of death together with the accused SalamatuDeenKargbo and her daughter HajaFatmataTuray.

The aforementioned documents were all produce and tender in court to form part of the prosecution case.

Sergeant Vagahun continues that on Monday 11 January 2021, a team of detective together with accused left Freetown to Kambia for further enquire in respect of the case, and that upon their arrival at the Kambia  police station accused identified the alleged scene were she fought with the deceased before his demise.

He conducted a search in the premises of the accused and they found the Iron the accused uses to inflicted injury on the deceased that led to his death.

On their return to Freetown  the said iron  was handed over to the exhibit clerk for safe keeping.

He further that on 18 January 2021, himself and detective SGt 7974 Content K  obtained additional voluntary caution statement from the accused

The witness said on 3 February 2021 himself together with DPC 10993 Bangali J charged the accused with the offence of murder.

Both the charge statement and additional voluntary caution statement of the accused was tender in court.

During Cross Examination by defense Lawyer I  Macfoy revealed that that was an existence of domestic relationship between the accused and deceased.

The witness also stated during Cross Examination that the accused alleged that the deceased fought her on three occasions.

When he was asked whether he was aware that the deceased used to consume alcohol habitually he said not to his knowledge but said he was told so by the accused and did not investigate that bit.

He also agreed that he relied on the medical form when charging the accused to court.

He said his investigation proved that the accused usually visit the police station where the deceased SimeonAlieu work and that there were no blood stains on the iron.

At this juncture, the defense requested for an adjournment for further Cross Examination.

Magistrate Ngegba granted his application and remanded the accused in prison whiles the matter was adjourned to 23rd February 2021 for further hearing.

Press release: People’s Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA)

PRESS RELEASE

Freetown, 15th February 2021

PARHA Welcomes Appointment of new Health and Sanitation Minister, Urges Strong Partnership with Health-based Organisations and Networks

The People’s Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA) today welcomed the appointment of Dr. Austin HingaDemby as Minister of Health and Sanitation, replacing Dr. Alpha T. Wurie who diligently served in that role since 2018.

Dr. Demby comes with vast experience and an impressive track record in managing public health emergencies and health care systems – which are needed in responding to the challenges that confront Sierra Leone’s health care system. An epidemiologist and virologist by training, Dr. Demby is a founding member of the CDC’s Global AIDS Programme and helped to lead efforts to establish HIV offices in five African countries.

From 2011-16, he served as the Director and Deputy Principal for the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), where he managed the Department’s $2 Billion global HIV/AIDS portfolio. In 2014-2015, Dr. Demby also played a key role in the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

PARHA is confident that Dr. Demby will use his experience and knowledge to help respond to the many challenges that confront Sierra Leone’s health system. To do so, however, he would need the required financial and technical support from the Government of Sierra Leone as well as strong partnerships and alliances with both local and international non-governmental organisations and networks.

Accordingly, PARHA urges the new minister to work collaboratively with both local and international organisations and networks by, among other things, establishing or strengthening existing frameworks for data collection and management, resource management, legal and institutional reform, and coordinated interventions.

PARHA is currently working with State and non-state actors to enact a Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health (SMRH) law that seeks to help reform the health sector and also prioritize the reproductive health rights of women and young girls in Sierra Leone. Since its establishment about 4 years ago, the PARHA coalition has worked concertedly with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, local and international non-governmental organizations, as well as influential individuals in the Sierra Leonean society to address the legal and institutional bottlenecks that impede access to sexual reproductive health right services in Sierra Leone.

It is our collective hope that Minister Demby would join us and actively support our law reform agenda by taking forward the existing draft cabinet paper and participating in future consultation in respect of the bill, among others.

Alleviating the problem of student violence in universities

Education is the bedrock of national growth the world over, and accordingly there is much premium attached to it. When a country’s higher learning institutions are engulfed with violence, chances are that the national governing bodies consequently become overwhelmed with violent people. This piece is therefore tailored to alleviate the degrading acts of students in Sierra Leone’s higher academic institutions to enhance an overall pace of stability at national level. It is therefore expected that this idea would grip the strength to instill leadership awareness in students at a stage it is exceptionally needed.

Over the years, student violence has been a major threat to not only the safety of lives and property in tertiary institutions across the country but also to the modes of behavior of our nation’s future leaders, and this goes beyond to impact negatively on the overall wellbeing of the state. In a number of instances college property has been vandalized, people injured and lives lost, especially during students’ union elections and club initiation practices.

Attempts to proffer a durable answer to the problem have all proven futile for years, which might probably be linked to not using a carefully-planned approach. Students’ union elections have been banned on several occasions, students have been arrested, rusticated and expelled in different instances based on their violent acts, but still a lasting remedy is yet to be reached at. And this is exactly where my inspiration is drawn from in piecing these thoughts together.

On the 22nd December 2008,18 year old Mohamed Juana died at the Satellite Clinic at Macaulay Street in Freetown after being severely tortured during a club initiation at Fourah Bay College. And quite as recent as 2019, students of Fourah Bay College were engaged in a serious fight ahead of the students’union elections slated for the 22nd June 2019 where three presidential candidates contested: Mohamed Kabba, Mohamed Wurie Bah, and Eunice Nafi Mustapha. The fight even caused the annulment of the elections, and this scenario is apparent in most (if not all) other higher academic institutions in the country. Rumors have it that national politics has an influence on students’ union politics, but that is yet to be proven. The reality however is that the appropriate academic authorities usually wait for violence to erupt before they could begin to look for ways of modifying the problem rather than proactively establishing mechanisms that would prevent such menace from happening. 

The high rate of violence among students in our tertiary institutions needs a strategic and prudent approach for a lasting solution. Establishing the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and separating it from the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education is a commendable step, but again the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education in collaboration with all university and college authorities needs a considerate approach to deal with the issue of student violence. It is my sincere view that they invite key political camps in these academic institutions to a meeting and entreat them to take the lead in upholding peace in their respective places of learning. I also advise that the appropriate educational authorities regularly and consistently sensitize students of all higher learning institutions across the country to refrain from violence. This can be actualized with both the establishment and empowerment of anti-violence movements in all universities, colleges and polytechnics across the country from among the students themselves. And it would equally be right if these steps are taken when the universities and colleges are in a very peaceful state, not only when there is violence. The government should continue to offer its unwavering support to education by investing more in the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education as well as the country’s tertiary institutions. It is better to prevent the occurrence of violence than to modify it after its prevalence.

New Lands Minister calls for National Reconciliation in the Lands Sector

The newly appointed Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning has called for national reconciliation in the country’s land sector.

Dr. TuradSenesie made this statement on Thursday while addressing senior management staff at a maiden staff meeting in the ministry.

“It is never too late to start healing the wounds and doing the right things in a sector that has been marred with challenges over the past several years,” he stated, while outlining his vision and direction for the sector.

Minister Senesie announced that the new direction in the ministry will prioritise housing and country planning as part of the mission to restore sanity in a controversy infested sector.

According to him, the mad rush for land acquisition, especially in the western area, was primarily due to housing and planning sector neglect over the years.

“Henceforth, affordable housing projects for low and middle income classes and development of a national land bank will take primacy over land allocation and sale,” the minister emphasized.

He urged the staff that the time to restore public trust in land sector administration is now, while emphasising the need for immediate de-escalation of tensions between and among ministry staff and members of the general public.

“There is too much internal and external fights in the lands sector,” he disclosed and stressed the need for everyone to prioritise national interest over selfish aggrandisement.

The minister advised the staff to follow his leadership drive of transparent and accountable leadership, adding that team work is very essential to the success of the President’s vision.

“We must follow processes and procedures at all times,” he emphasised.

He further disclosed that the review and development of policies and digitisation of the sector is at the heart of the new direction’s development agenda and would be implemented to the fullest.

He called for collaboration with various sectors while explaining the battery of partnership meetings he has recorded with ministries, departments and agencies since his appointment.

He urged the staff not to allow internal or external tensions and job insecurities to affect their productivity as he assured them that he has assumed office with an open mind.

The minister assured the staff that he will allow them to do their field and professional work, while he focuses on policy and supervision to ensure compliance with the people’s agenda at all times.

He said the challenges in the sector are enormous but not insurmountable, while challenging the staff to work together to achieve the common good.

The senior ministry staff led by the Permanent Secretary welcomed and briefed the minister on their various activities and assured him of their unflinching support.

Freetown Mayor to Speak at the 45th Anniversary of Monrovia Day

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr arrived in Monrovia, Liberia at the invitation of Mayor Jefferson Koije, Mayor of Monrovia.

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr will spend the next two days in Monrovia for the 45th anniversary celebrations of Monrovia Day which will take place on Tuesday 16th February 2021. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr will serve as keynote speaker at the main celebration event, commemorating the establishment of the Monrovia as a city and she will speak on the theme “Sustainable Smart Action for Smart City”.

The visit reflects the decision by both Mayors to strengthen bilateral ties between Freetown and Monrovia, which will be centered on promoting city to city tourism and climate adaptation.

Upon arrival in Monrovia, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was handed the key to the city by Mayor Koije, following a visit to the scenic and historic Blue Lake in Bomi County.

Newly High Court in Port Loko Starts Proceedings

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Long before this time, Port Loko City was only witnessing High Court proceedings in special criminal sessions that used to come most times twice per year. But with many individuals, community stakeholders holders, public institutions such as the Legal Aid Board advocated persistently for the establishment of a resident high court in the Port Loko City that would see to criminal matters in the northwest region. This made the Judiciary of Sierra Leone through the Chief Justice the Honourable Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards few weeks back established the High Court in the Port Loko City with Justice Abdul Sheriff assigned as the Resident Judge.Justice Sheriff worked as a magistrate in PortLoko from 2013 -2016.

With the establishment of the court, several things need to be put in place for the full establishment of the court such as the court room itself,residence for the judge and most importantly the posting of a state council that will serve as a prosecutor in all state matters. For that, Lawyer Mathew Peter Moses Lappia has been posted as the state council who also doubles as the Customary law officer in the region.

Therefore, Thursday 11 February 2021 will add as a very important date in the history of Port Loko for witnessing the first session of the newly established high court in the Port Loko City.For now the court has it’s sitting at the magistrate court building having it’s sessions on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays.

Three matters were mentioned in the opening on Thursday 11 February. Matters comprising of Sexual penetration, rape and house breaking. All of these matters were adjourned to Friday 19 February.

SLRTC Transformed AsSLPTA

The Minister of Transport and Aviation, KabinehKallon, has officially announced that the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) has transitioned from a public transport operator to a public transport regulatory authority and will henceforth become the Sierra Leone Public Transport Authority (SLPTA).

The disclosure was made during the weekly government press briefing in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications on Thursday, 11th February 2021. 

The minister said that in July 2019 the Government of Sierra Leone and the World Bank through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation inaugurated the Sierra Leone Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project (IRUMP).

The project’s objectives, he furthered, include improving quality public transport systems, addressing climate resilience, enhancing road safety and building the capacity of key stakeholders in the transport sector.

“Our vision is to transform the city from a congested vehicle-oriented city to a resilient people-oriented city,” he said, adding that in order to achieve this goal government has decided to separate the public transport regulatory functions from the operational functions by transforming the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC), currently a public transport operator, to a public transport regulatory authority.

He maintained that the transition will significantly improve transport service delivery by bringing public transport functions into a single, well managed, and focused institutional structure.

He noted that the role of the new Authority will include, among others, developing a public transport policy, conducting regulatory, management and compliance function, developing and managing performance-based service delivery contacts, conducting studies and knowledge management, and monitoring the performance of licensed transport service providers.

Minister Kallon added that the Authority will support the transition of SLRTC from an informal self-regulated system to a transport sector operating with functioning contractual arrangements to deliver services of specified standards.

He said that extensive discussions are ongoing with stakeholders, including national and city agencies, private operators, drivers union, civil society organizations, citizen welfare groups and residents to develop the framework.

The General Manager of the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation, Isaac Ken-Green, said that the immediate tasks of the Authoity will be to support migration from the current informal self regulated public transport activities to functioning in a contractual environment, where the business model will require the operator Associations to enter a contractual agreement with the Authority for the purpose of delivering specified services for a specified period.

The press conference was moderated by the erudite Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Madam MamadiGobeh-Kamara who updated members of the press and the public on government’s activities.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS

Happy birthday to you Ramatu kamara Residing at Moa Wharf Freetown.

As Friday 19th February, 2021 marks your natalday,

Management and Staff of the public Review Newspaper wish you long life with prosperity and good health may God grant you all the things and goodies you wish for yourself .

PUBLIC REVIEW SPORT

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PREMIER LEAGUE BOARD POSTPONES LEAGUE START

By Ibrahim Kanu (Bugalo)

The Sierra Leone Premier League Board has deferred the commencement of the country’s topflight 2020/2021 premier league season indefinitely following a meeting with the National COVID- 19 Emergency Response Center(NaCOVERC) on Monday 15th February 2021instant

Pursuant to a PLB press Release dated 14th January 2021 publicizing the date for the start of the 2020/2021 league season,and also having regard to a NaCOVERC Press Release dated 7th February 2021 directing,inter alia, that sporting activities shall only be conducted at approved venues and behind closed doors,Premier league clubs made a representation to the Board in other to canvass NaCOVERC to allow a limited number of spectators to attend matches,consequently, the Board has however met with NaCOVERC to convey the clubs concerns and to also explore the possibility of limited spectators at match venues.

Following considered discussions at Monday meeting NaCOVERC assured the Board that they will look into the concerns raised and have promised to communicate their decision at the earliest convenience

Therefore, the league start date has been postponed indefinitely pending decision from NaCOVERC

The PLB however said they are sorry for any inconvenience that this postponement may have cause

Meanwhile, clubs are encouraged to continue their training sessions accordingly

Press Release

Sierra Leone Premier League Board Postpones League Start

The SLPLB regrets to inform the public that it has deferred the commencement of the country’s top-flight 2020/2021 league season indefinitely following a meeting with National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center (NaCOVERC) on Monday 15th instant.

Pursuant to a PLB Press Release dated 14th January 2021 publicizing the date for the start of the 2020/2021 league season, and also having regard to a NaCOVERC Press Release dated 7th February 2021 directing, inter alia, that sporting activities shall only be conducted at approved venues and behind closed doors; premier league clubs made a representation to the Board to canvass NaCOVERC to allow a limited number of spectators to attend matches. Consequently, the Board met with NaCOVERC to convey the clubs’ concerns and to explore the possibility of limited spectators at match venues.

Following considered discussions at the Monday meeting, NaCOVERC assured the Board that they will look into the concerns raised and have promised to communicate their decision at the earliest convenience.

Therefore, the league start date has been postponed indefinitely pending decision from NaCOVERC.

We are sorry for any inconvenience that this postponement may cause.

Meanwhile, clubs are encouraged to continue their training sessions accordingly.

AllieuVandiKoroma

Chairman, Sierra Leone Premier League  Board.

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