Massaquoi Arrested

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Massaquoi Arrested

A former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) war lord of Sierra Leone, Gibril Massaquoi, has been arrested by the authorities in Tampere, Finland on Tuesday 11th March, 2020 on  allegations that he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia between 1999 and 2003.

Justice and Rights groups such; Civitas Maxima, and Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) said Mr Massaquoi specifically commited crimes such as; homicide, sexual violence, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the West African state of Liberia for a long time.

According to reports, the former Sierra Leonean warlord who during the civil war in Sierra Leone was a Lieutenant-Colonel and spokesman of the RUF rebel group was arrested by Finnish police after Civitas Maxima ; and the GJRP informed them about the warlord’s alleged involvement in mass atrocities in Liberia.

It could be recalled that in 2005, Massaquoi testified in open in the trials of his colleagues before the UN Backed  Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

His colleagues who were before the court at the time, were; former rebel war lords; Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon , and Augustine Gbao.  All three had been found guilty by the court on various charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.  

They are presently serving their jail term in Rawanda . Their Leader, Foday Sankoh , died in the custody of the court.

They were tried on what was described by the court as ‘’Joint criminal enterprise, and those who bear the greatest responsibility, ‘’

Mr Massaquoi also testified in the case against members of Sierra Leone’s former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC)– a rebel group that allied itself with the RUF rebels in the late 1990s.

In a press statement, the group said “As part of their regular investigation and documentation efforts, Civitas Maxima and its Liberian sister organization—GJRP found evidence that Massaquoi had allegedly committed, overseen, and ordered international crimes in Liberia during the Second Civil War.  Thereafter, Civitas Maxima and the GJRP submitted information regarding his alleged involvement in mass atrocities in Liberia to the authorities in Finland, where he resides,”

 Civitas Maxima has applauded the Liberian government for its support towards the process “as they collaborated with the Finnish authorities during the investigation and the Finnish authorities on their diligence and commitment to this investigation.”

In brief remarks, Fayah Williams, Deputy Director of the GJRP said: “The latest news regarding the arrest of Gibril Massaquoi in Finland is a huge step towards addressing the issue of accountability for past crimes committed during the two bloody civil wars in Liberia. It brings hope to all those who were victimized as a result of the civil wars. This arrest also indicates that justice does not discriminate based on nationality.”

The arrest of Massaquoi comes at a time when several Liberians both at home and abroad have been pushing for the establishing of war crimes court in Liberia.

Reports say  it is the 7th arrest of an alleged war criminal by authorities in 6 different countries on two continents that was prompted by information collected by Civitas Maxima and the GJRP – whose work has also contributed to two convictions of Liberian war criminals in the U.S.  Nobody however been tried for war-related crimes on Liberian soil.

The historic trial of Alieu Kosiah, a former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) rebel group, is scheduled to commence on April 14 and conclude on April 30 2020 in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

According to Civitas Maxima, two of their lawyers will directly represent 4 plaintiffs in the case, which will be the first trial for war crimes in front of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court.

Liberia saw two consecutive civil wars (1989-1996 and 1999-2003), the first of which was initiated when Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) invaded the country in December 1989.

In March 1991, the fighting spilled over into neighboring Sierra Leone when the RUF, with support from the NPFL, invaded Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the government. The civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002.

During the Liberian and Sierra Leonean civil wars, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. These conflicts were characterized by mass atrocities against the civilian population, including rampant sexual violence, mass killings, amputations and mutilations, slavery, torture, cannibalism, and the widespread use of child soldiers.

Despite some fallout between the two groups, the NPFL and RUF stayed closely connected throughout the Sierra Leonean Civil War

Mercury International kick starts ‘’Stay In Control Responsible Gaming’’

 By Mustapha Dumbuya

Mercury International Sierra Leone has on 11th  March,  2020 launched   what it called the ‘’Stay in Control Responsible Gaming’’ at its  Bathurst street office in Freetown.

 The managing Director of Mercury International, Martin Michael said his company is a well establish brand in Sierra Leone that is very proud of the work they do in different communities; citing specifically their corporate social responsibility  which they are known for and  makes them as a good example in the country.

He noted that his company will do all it takes to embrace ‘’responsible gaming’’ very seriously.

Mr. Martin also said it was only mercury international that has numerous online betting tools to help you stay in control, which include loss, bet, time, and deposit limits, as well as self-exclusion options.

He continued that others online firms require you to contact them before having a time out, www.mercurybet.com allows an individual to do it immediately and manually.

He noted that the Staying control campaign has clearly sent message that it is designed for persons over 18 years old and that should be used socially by adults.

He encourages every individual to use their designated tools to keep track of your gaming.

The Director disclosed that responsible gaming is extremely important to the people with the fact of leading the industry with positive limits and tools on their website and that there is more  that needs to done .

“Gambling should be a social experience and one to enjoy and should never be considered as a sources of income, as part of the campaign the company will retrain staff and retailers to help them sport signs of problem gambling with a responsible manner for anyone below 18 years of age”. He said.

He said their staff and retailers will be vigilant to identify any person under the age of 21 years.

Police Arrest 8 Armed Robbers

The Sierra Leone police has on Thursday 12th March 2020, arrested  a group of armed robbers who  they claimed attacked the residence of one Mr. Amara of Lebanon Community,in  Kono District.

According to the police, the arrest came about after they had got intelligence about armed robbers in Kono who had been causing havoc in that part of the country , and they are believed to have come from various parts of the country.

‘’To counter their intended plans to disrupt and terrorise the people of Kono, both police divisions (Tankoro and Motema Police Divisions) developed an operational order which sought to imbibe regular day and night patrols and engagement in targeted raids within the two police jurisdictions.

These operations are what had accounted for the successful thwarting of the armed robbers’ intended disruptive plans in Kono, ‘’ the statement said.

The police said that a ‘’patrol team headed by ASP M.T Samadia chased the robbers and successfully arrested the following; ’’

1.Sulaiman Bah

2.Mustapha Koroma

3. Ibrahim Rogers

4. Issa Bangura

5. Alfred Nabieu

6. Aruna Williams

7. Mohammed Bangura

8. Rebecca Allieu

The suspects are presently in custody helping the Police with the Investigation.

Chief Minister Donates   To Mosque  

In 2019, C.M visited the Resident Minister in Port Loko on a Friday to sympathise for the death of her son, whose last breath drowned in a river  (Bankasoka river) in Port Loko. After Juma prayers, the Hon. R.M, highlighted some constrains face with the present old structure to C.M; there is a project for extension. She added.

He then realised the need to extend the Al-Agsa Mosque  and also make it safe for congregational prayers, he then  promised to give 500 bags of cement to the project. In fulfillment of that promise, the Chief Minister has now donated the said number of cements to help in the construction of the mosque.

Doing the presentation, the Resident Minister, Madam Haja Isata Abdulai-Kamara, thank the C.M for a great “tok n do” job well done, she also called on the Muslim community in the Region and the entire country to continue praying for sustainability in every part of Sierra Leone, and also for the government so that it can make life better for all Sierra Leoneans.

She acknowledged that times are hard but was hopeful that the government’s relentless efforts at improving Sierra Leone’s economy would soon yield good results for the betterment of Sierra Leoneans. President Bio’s Government needs your prayers to be able to overcome all physical and spiritual obstacles that lie ahead. We all need to get behind the government and support it to develop the country. At this point, we all have to be interested in the country’s development rather than individual or partisan interests. It is my prayer that by the time the C.M visits this Mosque again, there will be improvement as promised,” she pointed out.*

“Imams of Al-Agsa mosque expressed their profound gratitude to the Chief Minister, adding that the support will significantly help in the expansion and rehabilitation of the mosque. Also we will continue to pray for peace, development and wisdom to CM, and President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction government for more success and directions in governance.

In addendum, the Regional Secretary for  the SLPP aka Mr. What-4-U,  commended Prof. Francis for fulfilling his promise to the Muslim community in Part Loko, the 500 bags marks the beginning of a massive construction work for the face-lift of this mosque, adding that this work would soon accomplish….*

SLPP Port Loko  district Chairman, Mr. Edwards L. Williams lauded the support by the Chief Minister, saying, the Muslim community will forever be grateful for his unflinching support to the Muslims. He also urged all Muslims especially those who are well to do, to emulate prof. Francis gesture by supporting to the construction of the Al-Agsa mosque in Port Loko.

Hundreds of locals mingled with members who fellowship at the Al-Agsa Mosque told this medium that, Prof. Francis’s gesture has brought relief to them because some persons know to be their members took to social media to ridicule the C.M for not fulfilling his promise which is bad. Thankfully with this they pray God Almighty showers him more wisdom. They comments.

 Mayor Celebrates at Climate Summit  

On March 10, 2020, Water Aid UK held its first Water and Climate Summit, which brought together the public, private and philanthropic sectors for discussions around the impact of climate change on water accessibility in developing nations.

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was invited to attend as a Water Hero, who are the people on the frontline of climate action in the developing world from various walks of life. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was given the opportunity to share how the effects of climate change are unfolding in Freetown and how she as a city leader  is taking action through Transform Freetown. She did this through an opening speech with three other Water Heroes and through a panel discussion with Prince Albert II of Monaco, Lord Nicholas Stern (Grantham Research Institute), Bernie Mensah (Bank of America) and Cecelia Martinsen (WaterAid Sweden).

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion on mobilizing the finance for climate resilient water and sanitation services in developing nations. She shared a table with government ministers and city leaders, international financial institutions like the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, DFID and climate finance organizations like the Green Climate Fund. Together they identified the challenges with accessing financing and possible strategies for overcoming the challenges.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also had the opportunity to meet with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who was the keynote speaker at the Summit.

   APC MPs FOR ECOWAS PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES

By Abdul Malik Bangura

 Honourable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah (Hon Chericoco) and Honourable Ajibola Emmanuel Manly-Spain of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) Party in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament have been appointed by the Sierra Leone delegation to the regional Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament as its representatives in the two (2) committees setup so far.

Honourable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah, an outstanding lawyer from Sierra Leone and who is leader of Opposition in the Sierra Leone Parliament and also leader of the Sierra Leone parliamentary delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament was appointed as member of the ECOWAS Parliament Committee on Selection, whilst another renown lawyer Honourable Ajibola Emmanuel Manly-Spain was appointed as member of the ECOWAS Parliament ad hoc Committee responsible for the consideration of the draft Rules of Procedure of the Fifth Legislature of the Parliament.

As member of the ECOWAS Parliamentary Committee on Selection, Honorable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah the leader of Sierra Leone delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, together with 14 other leaders of delegations or senior country MPs of each of the ECOWAS member countries, will work towards setting up committees responsible for the smooth running of the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament for the coming next four (4) years.

The Committee on Selection which Honorable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah is a member of will stand dissolved immediately the standing committees are put in place.

On the other hand, Honorable Ajibola Emmanuel Manly-Spain was appointed as member of the ECOWAS Parliament ad hoc Committee responsible for the consideration of the draft Rules of Procedure of the Fifth Legislature of the Parliament. These rules of procedures include: draft rules on sessions of parliament, decision making bodies of ECOWAS Parliament, committees of ECOWAS Parliament, responsibilities of the standing committees, parliamentary groups, order of business of ECOWAS parliament, general rules for the conduct of sittings, disciplinary actions, quorum and voting, interruptive and procedural motion, public record of proceedings, openness and transparency, petitions, relations with the institutions of the community, relationship with national parliaments and inter-parliamentary institutions and international organizations, address by special guests and eminent persons to the parliament, questions, budgets of the ECOWAS Parliament, application of rules of procedures, suspension of rules and miscellaneous.

Furthermore, the appointment of Honorable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah and Honorable Ajibola Emmanuel Manly-Spain as members of the ECOWAS committees so far follow the election and sworn in of Honorable Sidie Mohamed Tunis, the Leader of Government Business representing the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament on Monday 9th March 2020 as Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament. 

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

It is also worthy to note that the five newly installed Sierra Leone representative MPs at the ECOWAS Parliament are Honorable Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah (Leader of Delegation), Honourable Sidie Mohamed Tunis (Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament), Honourable Ajibola Manly-Spain, Honorable Veronica Kabie Sesay of SLPP and an Independent MP Honorable Shiaka Sama.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS Parliament, also known as the Community Parliament, is a forum for dialogue, consultation and consensus for representatives of the people of West Africa with the aim of promoting integration. It was established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993. The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on 6th August, 1994 and entered into force in 14th March, 2002. It provides for the structure, composition, competence and other matters relating to the Parliament.

$40.0 million for road project

ADB President assures Pres. Bio

 ADB President, Dr Adesina has assured President Julius Bio that he has endorsed his request to provide $40.0 million for road projects in Sierra Leone.

He  committed to finance the Yenga Bridge linking Sierra Leone, 3 miles from Koindu to Guinea border. That the Bank Trade sector will facilitate the Koindu Market so that the citizens of Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone can have a convergence point for cross border trades. Indeed, under the President Bio’s Kailahun have reasons to smile. Why?

Because President Bio has secured for Kailahun under two years funding for the reconstruction of the Bunumbu teachers college including furniture and equipment, the bidding for consultants and contractors are already ongoing. President Bio has also launched advertisement for electrification of Kailahun town, launched procurement to build youth enterprise schemes and car wash that will bring money into the pocket of youths, have installed solar powered boreholes now serving over 30,000 people in several communities in Kailahun and will soon embark on the rehabilitation and extension of water supply facility.

 Kailahun is also a major beneficiary of the President Flagship manifesto promise, the Free quality education programme; which in two years have increased the school enrollment from 1.9 million to 2.6 million pupils; an increase of 700,000 people having access to school under two years. PaOPa Salone for better.

Finance Minister presents Gift to ADB President

The Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa  on Thursday 12th March, 2020 presented a gift to the ADB President, Dr Adesina.

 In presenting the gift ,the Minister informed the Bank’s President that programs of the Government as articulated in the National Development Plan perfectly resonates with the High 5s.

The wall plagues 5 colors depicting the Bank’s High 5 priorities, which are called the “High 5s”:

1) Light up and Power Africa

2) Feed Africa

3) Industrialize Africa

4) Integrate Africa, and

5) Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

ACC Bags Award.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Wednesday 11th March, 2020 bagged the Commonwealth Africa Summit 2020 Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Anti Corruption campaign in Commonwealth Africa”. The award, which was presented to the ACC at the Commonwealth Africa Summit Gala Dinner, held at the Holiday Inn, Regent Park – London in the United Kingdom, further shines light on the Commission’s “exemplary efforts in tackling corruption, blocking leakages and promoting good governance”.

The Commonwealth Africa Summit is an assemblage of government and business leaders from the Commonwealth and allies, constituting a yearly high level, multi-stakeholder event with the aim of facilitating dialogue and action on key and relevant issues ranging from trade and investment, entrepreneurship and job creation, economic development, Security and counter terrorism, Energy and Power amongst other relevant issues in Africa.

The 2020 Summit was held under the theme – “Moving Forward: Stronger. Valuable.”

Receiving news of the award, Commissioner of the Anti-corruption Commission, Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. expressed  gratitude for such an honor, adding that, it is all thanks to God Almighty and the President,  Dr. Julius Maada Bio, who reposed great confidence in his leadership and appointed him to a position that has made Africa and the entire globe to follow the work of the ACC and recognized its continued success.

This recent recognition of the Anti-Corruption Commission by the Commonwealth is a further testament to Sierra Leone’s highest ever ranking in the recent Transparency International’s Global Corruption Ranking, which  saw the country move from 129 in 2018, to 119 out of 180 countries surveyed in 2019– moving ten (10) places upwards. The event was attended by the *Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Commission, Miss Margaret Murray, who received the prestigious recognition on behalf of the Commission.

A D B President Visits Sierra Leone

The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina will be in Sierra Leone from the 11th to 13th March, 2020 on a three day official visit.

This is the first time Dr. Adesina is visiting Sierra Leone in his capacity as president of the continent’s development Bank.

During his visit, he will be meeting with President, Dr. RTD. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa and other Ministers of Government, heads of Government agency and other development partners.

“Dr. Adesina will have the opportunity to get firsthand information from critical stakeholders of the state on the development priorities, progress and challenges that will allow him to support the financing of projects and programmes that will resonate with the aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone,” Sahr L. Jusu, Financial Secretary said.

Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. He was elected on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Dr. Adesina, 58, is a distinguished development economist and agricultural development expert with 25 years of international experience. He is the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.

He served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector.

He will be coming along with the Director General Marie-Laure Akin-Ologbade, Executive Director Kenyah Barley, AfDB Country Manager for Ethopia, Abdul Kmara and other staff of the Bank.

 Security Testifies In Husband’s Murder

BY FEIMA SESAY

 A security personnel of Group 4 Security Mariama Jones   on Thursday 12th March 2020 testifies in the ongoing murder of her late husband Emmanuel Prince Samuel Jones involving her step brother Fadiru John Moiwo.

 The accused Fadiru John Moiwo made his first appearance  before magistrate Mark Ngegba of court No2 and was arraign on one count charge of Murder contrary to law.

According to the indictment, the prosecution alleged that, the accused on Monday 3rd February 2020, at Off Becham School Hill Top, Hill Station Freetown murder Emmanuel Prince Samuel Jones.

The witness in her testimony in court recognized the accused as her step brother and recalled Monday 3rd February 2020,  the day of the alleged incident, when she came home from work and wanted to use the toilet.  She said she met the door lock and when she enquired as to who lock the door she was told that it was her step mother.

Madam Jones continues that, she then decided to remove the lock in order for her to use the toilet. She added that after using the toilet, one Amie went and informed the elder brother of the accused Mohamed Lamin Moiwo that she has removed the lock.

Mohamed she added then came to lock the toilet again and they started arguing; she when deceased came outside to enquire as to what had happen.

“when my husband now deceased  came to the scene the accused and his elder brother then started using abusive languages on him then an argument ensued between them , the accused Fadiru John Moiwo and Mohamed Lamin Moiwo went inside the house and came out with weapons, the accused was holding a knife whiles his brother was holding a stick”,

She said when she notice that the argument has become serious, she took  the deceased to the other compound about 10 feet away from their compound where the accused went and stab the deceased with a knife on his back  and whiles he was lying on the ground Mohamed then hit him  with a stick on his neck.

Madam Jones said whiles she was trying to take the deceased to the hospital with the help of one Mr. Williams the,the deceased died on the way noting that, she immediately went to the nearby police where she made the report and was given an Ambulance  to convey the remains of the deceased to the Connaught hospital.

 Deputy Minister   Launches   2020 Plan & Budget

The Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Robert Chakanda has launched the Action-Aid Sierra Leone Affiliate Programme (AASL-AP) 2020 Plan and Budget at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.

The annual public launch of the AASL-AP Plan and Budget is a tradition of Action-Aid SL that clearly manifests   accountability, transparency, and financial prudence, and thus boosting the fight against corruption and promoting increase public confidence in the operations of Action -Aid SL. 

This year’s budget is total Eleven billion, seven hundred and thirty five million, three hundred and seventy four thousand and ninety eight Leones and seventy cents (Le 11,735,374,098.70) planned to cover four strategic activity areas of : Programmes, Governance, Support and Fundraising.

In his address, the Executive Director of Action-Aid SL, Foday Bassie Swaray admitted that the sharing of the country plans and budget

is consistent with their core value to be more accountable and transparent to their right holders, donors, government,  and other stakeholders.

He added that, the 2020 plan & budget would continue to  support decentralization programs of  local councils strategic  development programs and as well  strengthen the fight against poverty and inequality; support the Free Quality Education(FQE), health and sanitation, gender inequality, access to safe drinking water and provide decent livelihood for the beneficiaries.

In her statement, Sarah Samura of Upton Bar community at Allen Town and a representative of the community leaders, on behalf of the beneficiary communities registered her profound thanks and appreciation to Action-Aid SL for the tremendous help it has provided them in addressing their felt needs. She disclosed that AASL has constructed a number of WASH facilities and boreholes in their communities to help address the alarming problems of sanitation and actuate water shortage. She appeals to AASL to redouble their efforts in reaching out to more deprived, vulnerable and far to reach communities in their 2020 programmes.

In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Robert Chakanda also noted that AASL’s approach to open information in their plans and budget is not a new phenomenon , but one that has being in practice since the inception of their programmes in the country.  This year’s budget and plans he said, resonates well with His Excellency Brigadier Rtd. Julius Maada Bio’s flagship program of Human Capital Development, as bulk of it is directed towards addressing “Girl Child Education” and it is also well aligned to the Medium Term National Development Plan (2019-2023)

He continued to say that , as a Ministry, they applaud AASL for the effort in aligning  its programmes with the MTNDP (2019-2023) and for the show of credibility and accountability which has been a fundamental prerequisite of government for NGOs to operate in Sierra Leone. The Hon deputy Minister emphasized that the government of H.E Bio is committed to working with NGOs to concertedly coordinate meaningful development interventions in the country.

In Launching the AASL 2020 Plan & Budget on behalf of the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, the Hon deputy Minister  assured AASL of government’s continued and unflinching support to its programmes , especially in this year ‘ declared by HE as the “Year of Delivery”.

Several speakers from the Civil Society, other NGOs and MDAs made contributions before the epoch making launch of the plan.

NDLEA ON Robust Drug Sensitization   

By Musa Kamara

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which is established by an Act of Parliament and charged with the mandate to prevent the use and trafficking of narcotic drugs, has recently in extension of their tour of schools, carried out in the Lungi Community, Kaffu-Bullom Chiefdom, the prevention/sensitization on drugs with the theme, “Don’t Trade Your Future for Drugs.”

Addressing the gathering of pupils and teachers at the Ansarul Islamic Secondary School, Ibrahim Kargbo who is the Acting Public Relations Officer for NDLEA, advised that illicit drugs such as marijuana, kush, kumbayjara, amongst others, are having adverse effect on youth across the country and he also enlightened that even essential drugs such as tramadol prescribed by medical practitioners is being abused by youth.

Kargbo described the abuse of drugs, citing, intake of such drugs affect the physical body and mental reasoning and by such, youth behave absurdly, get into argument and fight for little or no reason, and  actions of such nature do have spillover effect on communities and the country as a whole.

Kawusara Jalloh who is the focal person for NDLEA in the Lungi Community acknowledged that NDLEA’s intervention in Lungi schools is welcoming and she also emphasized on the violence activities perpetrated by pupils nowadays which she said is a “cause to alarm,” and whereby, some of the schools in Lungi played an integral role to some of the violence activities made possible by the harmful drugs consumed.

She went on to say that at the end of the school sensitization, NDLEA would form school clubs with volunteer drug educators to continue to raise the awareness on the dangers of drugs.

Inspector James Diawo who is a police officer attached at the Lungi Division in the Community Relations Department said that the abuse of substance by youth is a very serious challenge in the Lungi, Kaffu-Bullom Chiefdom and therefore, he commended NDLEA for being very proactive in reaching schools and ensure that pupils are discouraged from drug consumption.

He described NDLEA as an integral institution for nation building and therefore, he assured that the police are always ready to work with NDLEA especially in the aspect of reaching schools and communities on robust drug sensitization.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the proactive engagement done by NDLEA is a very fundamental strategy of the police, but however, the actions of certain individuals do prompt the police to engage reactive method which he said is very expensive to execute.

“Substance abuse is one factor that sparked violence in communities and NDLEA initiative of engaging schools is very essential,” he underscored.

Vivian R. Renner who is the Acting Deputy PRO for NDLEA informed that drugs such as marijuana, Kush, alcohol, tramadol, etc are actively eating into the fabrics of the nation and therefore, it is incumbent on all to join hands with NDLEA and raise the awareness on the adverse effect of substance abuse.

He cited for instance, data have proven that marijuana is the leading drug abused in the country and as an institution; they would continue to reach out to schools and save future leaders.

Sallaymatu S. Kamara, a senior school pupil of the Munmakarr International Islamic Secondary School applauded NDLEA for what she described as “timely intervention” on raising the awareness on the adverse effect of drugs and also disclosing that the most common drug abused even amongst pupils in the Lungi Community is marijuana.

“Now I have learnt that harmful drugs lead to madness and early death,” she said.

The sensitization undertaken by NDLEA with the theme, “Don’t Trade Your Future for Drugs” was done in schools such as the Ansarul Islamic Secondary School, Munmakarr International Islamic Secondary School, Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Saint James Secondary School and Saint Augustine Secondary School, all in the Lungi, Kaffu-Bullom Chiefdom, Port Loko District, North of Sierra Leone.

,EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR IN COURT

BY FEIMA SESAY

The ongoing alleged Conspiracy and Inciting case against the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy Network Thomas Moore Conteh was yesterday adjourned for further hearing due to the failure of the prosecution to proceed with the matter.

Before the adjournment, the police prosecutor ASP Hawa Williams informed the court, that her witness is present but could not proceed with the case on the grounds that, she has received instructions from  the state counsel to applied for an adjournment.

Lead Defense counsel lawyer Rashid Dumbuya Esq. in reply said they are ready and willing to proceed with the matter, but also asked for  long adjournment due to the nature of his clients job.

Magistrate Ngegba however granted their applications and adjourned the matter to the 27th March 2020 for further hearing whiles the accused bail continues.

It could be recalled that the accused Thomas Moore Conteh was arraigned in court on three counts charges ranging from Conspiracy contrary to law, Incitement and Failing to Notify the IG of an intention to take part in organizing a procession contrary to section 17(1) of the Public Order Act No46 of 1965.

According to the charge sheet, the police alleged that, the accused on Thursday 5th March 2020 in Freetown conspired together with other person unknown to commit a crime.

Count two stated further that the accused on the same date and place did incites students of Limkokwoing University Freetown to breach the public peace.

Whiles counts three alleged that the accused on that same day, failed to notify the Inspector General of Police of an intention to take part in organizing a procession on Thursday 5 March 2020.

STOP PRESS

  Theft case at Foreign Affairs

  2 civilians, one police man, now in police custody, see more on our subsequent edition 

 Women in the Media host Symposium

Women in the media Sierra Leone have ended a day Symposium in Bo with the Theme: The Role of the Media in Realizing Women’s Rrights and Equality.

Speaking during the ceremony the president of WIMSAL Madam Femi Jarrett coker said women in Sierra Leone are faced with inequality in workplace, household, community and governance system but in spite of all this, women  still form the greater percentage as breadwinners in poor homes.

Femi noted that WIMSAL did not only celebrate the occasion  in Bo but in other places, including Freetown, Kenema and Makeni. WIMSAL decided to use this theme not just for window dressing but to highlight the needs for Journalists to act and act now, to improve on our level of coverage on the challenges of gender issues and even go beyond reporting, by taking up advocacy assignments as well.

The picture of the Sierra Leonean woman is not a happy one and Journalists have a crucial role to play in changing the narrative.” she ended.

Giving her keynote address, The acting chief Administrator of the Bo District council Julia T Amara said the international women’s day is a day women’s achievement should be celebrated to know and understand how far women have come. Adding that women don’t want to take the men’s opportunities but want equal opportunities like them.” No matter how developed a country is, if women are not part of it, that development will not be sustainable ” she emphasized.

Madam Amara concluded by advising women to be supportive to each other and those women should start celebrating and appreciating themselves more often. “Let’s  be a good example to the younger generation”.

Speaking on behalf of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ Southern Region Philip George Jabawai pledge their support in writing more stories about women and girls issues. He stated that women are not responsible for their biological gender so they should not suffer for it. He advised journalists not to focus on monetary issues when dealing stories of importance, especially investigating issues on gender base violence, sexual violence and more. He ended up by pledging the support of Male journalists towards women’s issues.

In attendance, were representatives from SALWACO, Traders union, youth groups, police and more

The celebration started with a procession to market places and displaying of plak cards with messages on women’s rights.

President Weah Congratulates ECOWAS Parliament’s Newly Inducted Speaker

Pres. Weah: “Please be assured of my unwavering support at any and all times and I avail myself as your Ambassador at the Authority of Heads of State and Government.”

Monrovia– President George Weah has pledged his unwavering support to the new Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidi Mohammed Tunis following his election and installation ceremony held on Monday, March 9 2020.

Tunis is the Leader of Government Business representing the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament.

In his congratulatory message, President Weah pointed out that Hon. Tunis’ ascendancy comes at a time when the West African region is grappling with “scores of different issues ranging from political, economic and threat from the coronavirus disease,” which has been reported in two member states – Nigeria and Senegal.

President Weah, who once served as head of the Liberian delegation to the regional parliamentary bloc when he was as a Senator, expressed hope that the new Speaker will rise up to the occasion and availed himself as his (Tunis) Ambassador at the Authority of heads of State and Government.

“Notwithstanding the challenges, I am confident that with your credential and a hopefully proactive 5th Legislature over which you now preside, much energy will be exerted at addressing the problems that characterize our states and transformative vision will be delivered for our sub-region,” President Weah said in his congratulatory message to Speaker Tunis.

“Please be assured of my unwavering support at any and all times and I avail myself as your Ambassador at the Authority of Heads of State and Government.”

President Weah, in his communication, also lauded Speaker Tunis’ predecessors including Mustapha Cisse Lo, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Mahamane Ousmane and Professor Ali Nouhoum Diallo for their “great work” in giving the Parliament the much-needed visibility and enhanced power.

Hon. Tunis replaced Mustapha Cisse Lo of Senegal and effectively confirmed that Sierra Leone has succeeded Senegal for the position which is rotational and based on alphabetical order.

Pledge to Promote Peace

Meanwhile, in his inaugural address at an elaborate ceremony in the Niamey, the Capital of Niger, Speaker Tunis pledged to work diligently with the Authority of Heads of State to promote peace in the sub-region.

“Mindful of Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Mmanagement, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security adopted in Lomé on 10th December 1999, we shall diligently work with the Authority of Heads of State and Government and Council of Ministers to ensure that our sub-region is safe, secure and prosperous,” he said.

He recounted that over the past two decades, ECOWAS, working with other global institutions, have done a lot to keep the peace of the region.

“Peacekeepers from our nations left their families, served, and in several instances, fought and died to protect vulnerable populations of our community. We have spent a lot of resources on peacekeeping operations and the trend continues today in certain parts of our Community. The responsibility is ours to jealously protect the peace we enjoy today and work tirelessly to bring to end instabilities in our region,” he said.

Speaking further, he promised to assist the ECOWAS Commission in its integrated economic activities by providing the much-needed oversight in the areas of industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, youth empowerment and monetary and financial issues.

Hon Tunis’ ascendancy marks the first time that Sierra Leone is occupying the position of Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament since its establishment in 2002.

He is expected to serve until 2024, when Togo will be next in line to succeed Sierra Leone.

It can be recalled that President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leonean Parliamentary delegation endorsed Speaker Tunis at the Extra-Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia in September 2019.

President Bio, in a televised message to Members of the ECOWAS Parliament which was played at the Extra-Ordinary Session, said, “I have known him for several years and he served in several leadership positions in this country,” adding that “I know his wealth of knowledge he will bring to the table to make ECOWAS Parliament a better institution than it is currently.”

 ACC Visit Sierra Leone Correctional Service

Two representatives from the Anti Corruption Commission came to look at what the SLCS has done in terms of implementing the Commission’s recommendations, detailed in its 2010 report, of the SLCS.

Their areas of focus are:

▪️Finance unit

▪️Review of the Prisons Rules

▪️Human Resources Office

▪️Procurement

▪️Fleet

▪️Stores

The ACC said it will be awarding grades to best performing MDAs at the end of their evaluation.

One of the representatives from the ACC informed that _the ACC’s approach is a corruption- prevention one.

Mr. Dennis Harman, who is the Deputy Director General of the SLCS, assured the ACC of the Department’s full support in aiding them with needed information or documents.

The DDG added that the SLCS had nothing to hide in its cupboard, emphasizing that “the ACC is always welcome to do its work with us”

Free Pediatric Treatment Offers

The ultra-modern Choithram Memorial Hospital which is situated at Hill Station in the West End of Freetown has been given free treatment to Sierra Leoneans that could not able to pay for medical treatment.

Harish Agnani, Head of the ultra-modern Choithram Memorial Hospital informed newsmen that a team of medical personnel from Germany were currently offering two weeks pediatric treatment for children within the ages of 5 to 16 years old at the hospital started on the 28th February to the 12th March 2020.

Mr.Harish, said within the past two months the hospital has made progress citing the expansion of the reception area adding that it was small to accommodate the growing number of people who come to the hospital and assured that work will be completed in few months’ time.

He also mentioned how they have shipped equipment worth Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000) some which are on the high seas and others will be shipped soon further revealing that they decided to construct a reservoir where water could be stored especially during the rainy season to be used for cleaning purposes, that they have secured additional beds and installed some new equipment.

Harish also said that the team performs 10 surgical operations in a day and starts work from 7:30 am and ends at 6:30pm. He mentioned how they intend to target more than 100 patients but deal with the amount they are able to do based on the severity of the cases.

“Bintumani DSL in Germany and Choithram Memorial Hospital have been collaborating over the years to roll out the Free Paediatric Camps which are funded through donations solicited in Germany and out of what is raised is what we use to fund the organization of these camps and procure equipment that we do utilize in addition to what Choithrams has.”Dr Wrigh.

He adding that they have been able to treat over 43 cases so far and do follow-up treatments but after they return to Germany Choithrams continue to deal with the follow-up cases.

He continue that prior to the surgical treatment of patients during the medical camps notices are put out to members of the public through the social media and other outlets informing interested persons of the upcoming Free Medical Paediatric Camps.

Those who are the successful applicants are first screened before the arrival of the team adding that the free medical camps are held once in a year but highlighted that if the resources are available and there is the need it could be done twice in a year.

“We do select cases which we are aware we can treat meaning that we do not treat all types of complication,” he said.

It was intimated that the Free Pediatric Camp started since 2014 and the beneficiaries do not pay a single cent, are fed and even given free medicines until completion of their treatment.

Dr. Wright, said since the commencement of the free medical camp more than 500 cases have been dealt with in this country and most have been successful.

The engagement was climaxed with a media tour of the wards where the patients are undergoing treatment.

“BEN KEFELA ON  FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION I”

SALUTATIONS

Mr. Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Faculty and staff of the University, President and Ministers of the Student Union Government, Students, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. I bring you greetings from the Anti-Corruption Commission.

I thank the organizers of this Lecture, the Radio Njala University, particularly Jonathan Kurabu who went all out to ensure that I am here today to deliver this lecture at Njala Campus on the topic “Results Amidst Doubts: Unchaining The Mindset Of Chronic Societal Cynicism To Win The Fight Against Corruption In Sierra Leone”. The topic and this lecture is timely as we continue to battle for the soul of the country to restore it firmly on the path of transparency and accountability in the New Direction under the leadership of his Excellency, Brig. Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio.

INTRODUCTION

In this battle, I must begin by pointing out to you that the challenge is enormous. This is not because of the usual problems that fighting corruption can be confronted with, like the lack of political will and resources, but more difficult one: Our society is acutely afflicted, by a behavioral problem known as “Chronic Societal cynicism” arising from a prolonged breach of social contract and the lack of good models; which has chained the minds of our people for generations.  The evidence abounds that there is a mass acute affliction known as Leung’s Social & Societal Cynicism – a cultural syndrome associated with a general mistrust of social systems and other people.

If the country is to become the next Rwanda, Singapore, or Malaysia, our strategic objective has to be focused on how to break societal cynicism. In the 21st century, the statistics of our progress is damning. We live in what we call a fiction state due to decades of misrule and breach of social contract due to abuse of power, corruption, ignorance and lack of ambition.

THE EVIDENCE

Our history is replete of facts and evidence that support the claim that we are at the point when no one believes in the social contract and citizens behave as though nothing good can come out of others, including themselves, even with the best efforts of others. Our social and historical reality is that we have had societal fragmentation, polarization and alienation starting from pre-colonial era to date, that has cauterized cynicism and lack of trust.

_Social cynicism_ is “…a negative assessment of human nature, a biased view against some groups of people, a mistrust of social institutions, and a belief that people disregard ethical means in achieving their ends.” Underlying such belief systems are claims that “Powerful people tend to exploit others; “Kind-hearted people usually suffer losses;” “It is rare to see a happy ending in real life”. So people focus more on the pleasures of the present than sacrifice for the future. The citizenry also believes that the “world produces malignant outcomes” and is, “on average, distrustful, unhappy, and dissatisfied with life”. It is the belief that they are surrounded by a “nature red in tooth and claw, suppressed by the powerful and others and subjected to depredation of willful and selfish individuals, groups and institutions.”  

SIERRA LEONE’S STATISTICAL REALITY

This phenomenon is cultural and very difficult to deal with. The result of this has led to an abysmal failure of social contract between the citizens and the governments over the years. We have therefore remained in fragility even with the best efforts of various governments and sometimes, individuals –particularly. Below is the up-to-date statistical representation of the reality of our existence collected from indexes across the World: 

With an area of 71,740 km2 and 402 kilometers of coastline, Sierra Leone’s population is expected to increase from 8 million in 2020 to 16 million in 2100. Sierra Leone’s capital’s population will increase from 1 million in 2020 to 5 million in 2100 according to OntarioTech.

According to Global Hunger Index 2019, Sierra Leone ranks 107 out of 117 qualifying countries, with the level of hunger considered “serious”. Sierra Leone is ranked 106 among 113 nations in the Food Security Index 2019. Stunting has improved in the world but remains high in Sierra Leone at 38 percent in 2013 according to World Bank data.

Hospital beds per 1,000 were 0.4 in Sierra Leone in 2006. Physicians per 1,000 were 0.025 in Sierra Leone in 2015. Life expectancy is 54 years – the World’s fourth lowest in 2017, only ahead of Central African Republic (52 years), Lesotho (53) and Tchad (54); all of which have dramatic physician’s shortages. Malaria remains the number 1 cause of death in 2017, followed by lower respiratory infection, neonatal disorders, and diarrheal diseases. Only 13 percent of Sierra Leonans were using safely managed sanitation services in 2017. Only 23 percent of Sierra Leonans had access to electricity in 2017, the World’s 8th lowest percentage.

Sierra Leone has been in severe stagnation between 2014-2020. Its GDP dropped 22 percent in 2015 because of the Ebola crisis. The country ranks 167 with economic growth said to be undermined by “restrictive regulatory environment, inadequate infrastructure, and weak enforcement of contracts” and a financial system lacking capacity.

According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Index for African Governance 2018, Sierra Leone is 26 out of 54 in Africa. When looking more closely at Sierra Leone’s performance, weakness is observed in the following indicators: absence of corruption in government branches #39, absence of government involvement in armed conflict #40, women’s political representation #42, sustainable economic opportunity #39, budget balance #49, tax & revenue mobilization #39, infrastructure #50, transport infrastructure #38, reliability of electricity supply #35, human development #44, health #49, absence of child mortality #51, absence of maternal mortality #53, absence of communicable diseases #44.

In Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2019, 180 of nations and Sierra Leone ranked #119. In this index, Sierra Leone has improved significantly in the last two years; but there remains a lot more to be done if we are to proudly claim victory in the fight against corruption.

In the World Bank cost of doing business ranking 2019, Sierra Leone’s performance is particularly weak in dealing with construction permits #182, getting electricity #178, registering property #167, getting credit #161, trading across borders #166 and resolving insolvency #161.

In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Sierra Leone’s performance is particularly weak in the following indicators: infrastructure #120, macroeconomic environment #128, health and primary education #124, higher education and training #132, market size #129, innovation #125.

In the World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019, Sierra Leone’s performance is particularly poor in travel and tourism policy #127, health and hygiene #139 (only ahead of Mozambique), prioritization of travel and tourism #125, price competitiveness #132, air transport infrastructure #129, tourist service infrastructure #134.

In Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index 2018, Sierra Leone’s standings are particularly poor in household solid fuels #175, water and sanitation #175, water resources #143.

In Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index 2020, Sierra Leone ranks #102 tied with Bosnia Herzegovina, up two notches and are also considered a hybrid regime. In the Global Peace Index 2019 Sierra Leone ranks #52. For Freedom, Sierra Leone in 2018 is only partly free.

Sierra Leone ran a fiscal deficit of 8 percent in 2017 and its public debt rose from 55 percent in 2016 to 64 percent in 2017 according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Sierra Leone’s fiscal deficit has been negative between 2010-2018; the public debt has increased accordingly. Inflation in Sierra Leone has been consistently high between 2002-2018, and acquired dramatic proportions in Sierra Leone in 2017 reaching 18 percent and in 2018 at 16 percent. In 2018 Sierra Leone had the World’s 9th largest inflation rate.

Remittances have stagnated for Sierra Leone at around $50 million between 2011-2018. Between 2012-2017, net migration was negative in Sierra Leone. Net trade in goods and services has been systematically negative since 2004. A mere 57,000 international visitors entered Sierra Leone in 2018!

In Insead’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2019, Unemployment in is 4 percent; youth unemployment is at 9 percent. Sierra Leone’s currency, the Leone is floating and is challenged with low level of per capita income, market size, and long history of depreciation, inflation and fiscal deficits. As a result, the Leone has significantly depreciated against the dollar and euro since 2009.

Sadly, as a culmination and crippling effect of all of the above, Sierra Leone ranks #129 among 156 nations in the World Happiness Report 2019.

THE DIAGNOSIS

What then is responsible for such abysmal failures to make our own lives better almost 60 years after independence? It certainly is not that good efforts are not being applied. While corruption has certainly played a major role, we continue to exhibit Bounded Rationality & Williamson’s Contracting Man in our social contract structure. Bounded rationality (the basis or transactional theory) assumes that most transactions occur with limited information (though actors try to be rational). In this situation people try to use problem solving and decision-making processes to negotiate transactions while monitoring and adapting the transaction over time. Our situation is worse because we have high levels of Opportunism an assumption that people will do whatever it takes to maximize their interests –  lie, cheat, steal, etc. Deception and misinformation are common tactics within our structure. For example, we have been seriously doubting the 2017 census figures because it is believed the figures were inflated in certain regions for political gain.  This is a troublesome source of behavioural uncertainty in economic transactions.

We exhibit George Akerlof’s Lemons and the Economics of Dishonesty at almost all levels. Nothing is what it seems. We want “oranges” but we get “lemons”. Deception and dishonesty underlie our actions, and that includes the teaching quality in our universities and the degrees and titles we carry. We prefer to stay at the bottom because we think at all given times, yesterday is better than today. Trust is lacking and the centre is not holding. We are in Dixit’s Multi-Person Prisoners’ Dilemmas where knowledge sharing is governed by the perceived payoff we hope to benefit.

We are exhibiting, constantly Hardin’s tragedy of the Commons – not mine not yours mentality. The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their individual or collective action. Therefore, for example, the Anti-corruption Commission relies on the Judiciary to make corruption a “high risk and low return venture”. Backed by prevention systems, it is the formula under the new direction to defeat corruption. However, while there are some very good judges who are doing their best to ensure this by holding the right posture and application of the law, some prefer to put their interest above the collective interest. So, for various reasons – not excluding bribery and kinship, they continue to treat corruption as a commonplace and impose punishments that defeat the essence of the fight against corruption. In other words, they deliberately or inadvertently undermine the fight against corruption by their inexplicable unwillingness to impose a high cost (like custodial sentence with no option of a fine) and blame it on everyone and everything else but themselves or their selfish tendencies or inadequacies. As a result, Sierra Leone continues to lose. 

The result of all this is that, if they, as important actors in this equation, do not recalibrate and be willing to do the needful, we will continue to fail as a nation because we are dangerously trapped in a Nash equilibrium – which, in economics and game theory, is a stable state of a system involving the interaction of different participants, in which no participant can gain by a unilateral change of strategy if the strategies of the others remain unchanged. To put things into perspective, even with all its good intentions, the great plans and aspirations of the current President, His Excellency, Brig. Rtd. Dr. Julius Maada Bio and the New Direction will fail to yield the desired result if the opposition and/or the people do not adjust accordingly but instead systematically undermine the strategies and policies aimed at realizing them. 

For example, the Anti-Corruption Commission recently launched the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019 to 2023 with enforcement of the law at its heart. That strategy will only succeed if other actors in the fight against corruption like the government, the police, civil society, the justice sector, the journalists and above all, the people, also break away from the past and change strategy and mindset for the better. More importantly, since, at the heart of that strategy, is the need for the judiciary to be willing to impose custodial sentences and hefty fines (and not make them unnecessarily cumulative so as to defeat the end of multiple conviction on counts), the judiciary has to align its decision-making approach and judicial education with respect to dealing with corruption cases and the punishment regime applicable thereto with the collective interest and greater good. However, if, with all due respect, the Learned Honorable Justices continue to apply archaic Woolmington v. DPP test to corruption cases – even with the glaring support and evidence that the Progressive World has moved beyond those general guiding tests on policy grounds in countries like South Africa, when dealing with corruption cases, and they remain stoically prone to finding in favor of accused persons whenever there is the existence of even a scintilla of doubt (including those that  they and the ingenuity of defense counsel can create), and then proudly proclaim and justify same in their judgements to acquit, then the collective interest with regard succeeding in the fight against corruption is going to remain in jeopardy and at their mercy.

If this perpetuates, and we do not as a country, decide for ourselves to move away from some of these socio-economic, political and behavioral anomalies that have held us to ransom, the effect is a social reproduction premised on: “Bad drives out good”. We are creating a society where the “good” in us will be forced out by the “bad”. A culture of social and societal cynicism makes society to applaud when change makers and people with good intentions and vision are attacked. They then, over time, loose the steam and zest to bring about social good and substitute it with lackluster plans, actions and policies to please everyone. Those who cannot do so, will eventually give up or be forced out so as to give way to others who will do what the cynical social system appreciates. When this happens, the country becomes locked in a behavioural prison where we think “less is more”. In that case, only a revolution will reignite the ferment of change as happened between 1991 and 2002. Like Ziggy Marley said in his music “Diamond City” with reference to Sierra Leone, every day there will be a need for a revolution – a danger for all; because that is what gave rise to Foday Sankoh and his deadly RUF.

This is even more dangerous to the collective goal, when our socio-political fragmentation has made all else to be a minority with only two political parties providing a realistic route to power. This has created a dangerous desperation for access to power and control of the wealth of the country. As a result of the winner-takes-all mentality, the production of pure public goods i.e. basic health, social, political and physical infrastructure have over the years been lower. Simultaneously, the public provision of private goods – targeted to benefit specific individuals and groups through corruption and nepotism has been, and remains, higher.

Polarization is getting higher. Historically (pre-independence) it was Western Area vs Protectorate. Now (post-independence), it is the South East vs North-West. Also very evident is alienation. Perennial polarisation of politics may have led to a de-emphasis of the national interest, thereby nurturing a contemporary habit of unbridled opportunism that –even in war-time – crossed ethnic lines. The prevalence of information failures due to the high illiteracy rates makes us prone to moral hazard. With Leaders like Siaka Stevens as examples, our society has been built on a pre-meditated effort to “mislead, disguise, obfuscate and confuse”. This has created a predatory nation with everything not working.

Where the institutions and agents of a government are predatory, investors and traders have to cope with this. Failure to manage this, increases transaction costs and reduces economic activity and all are worse off than under better governance mechanisms.  We have to understand that morality is “system-sensitive”. A system with poverty-producing values may sustain itself, as bad consciences tend to drive out good consciences. Collective ruin comes from the unregulated freedom of individuals to rationally satisfy their “ego-serving decisions” in relation to resources of collective interest. That is the foundation of corruption.

Understanding these difficulties and societal ramifications, that is why I have worked with the team at the ACC to focus on results while trying to address the behavioural problems of the country. In a country that has this mass social affliction as the evidence suggests, opposition to policies will always be massive because of what is known in Political Science as “Machiavelli’s Problem” – 

“all those who profit from the old order will be opposed to the innovator, whereas all those who might benefit are at best tepid supporters of him. This lukewarmness arises partly for fear of their adversaries who have the laws on their side, or partly from the skeptical temper of men who do not really believe in new things unless they have been seen to work well”

FEHR & TYRAN’S STRATEGIC SUBSTITUTABILITY

To succeed, the country does not need every one to shed their cynicism. Our best hope lies in the last sentence of Machiavelli’s Problem – “unless they have been seen to work well”. To produce that result, a  small share of rational individuals may generate an aggregate positive outcome in a manner disproportionate to their individual contribution. That is how Kagame is changing Rwanda. That is how Liu Kwan Yiu changed Singapore. That is how Jerry Rawlings Changed Ghana. That is how Donald Trump is changing the US. strategic substitutability, a minority of rational agents may suffice to generate aggregate outcomes consistent with the predictions of rational models.

These mass of individuals, by their actions and results, wield and disproportionately influence access to social, cultural, symbolic and economic capital. Symbols matter. To succeed, we need to set standards and police ourselves well. We should “Trust, but Verify. Sanction or Reward”. We should give a positive outlook to things. For example, we should stop being “Anti” something and be “Pro” something. Instead of Anti-corruption Commission, Let’s have Integrity and Accountability Commission. When we are against something, it breeds resistance. When we are for something positive it signals surrender.

It is this belief system, the belief that results are what will cure our cynicism that underlies the revolution that is happening in the fight against corruption. We can build our own Rwanda here. We can transform the lives of the people, we can control corruption and subdue that monster. We can change our story. We only need to confront our cynicism and overcome it with results produced by the will of those who believe and pursue. 

Despite the potentials in our human and natural resources, the poverty rate in Sierra Leone is alarming. The irony of Sierra Leone is best illustrated by the axion “poverty amongst the plenty”.  Various studies have supported the position that if we seriously maximize our revenue mobilization; utilize our resources judiciously by negating corruption and corrupt practices of all kinds; it would be extreme for Sierra Leone to need foreign loans and donations.

We can build our own schools; equip our own hospitals, with the best brains, best equipment, and medicines available without waiting for China or begging the West. We can transform Sierra into the paradise it truly was meant to be. Now is the time to make that positive difference. I call on all of us to push for that difference. Let us make it happen. Where else can victory be harvested; if not from us? We have to make it happen. The positive difference Sierra Leone has been yearning for can be realized through us. 

ACC   AWAITS COMMISSON REPORT

By Foday Jalloh
The Anti Corruption Commission ACC has called on the government and donor partners for financial assistance to the tune of five billion Leones to boost it   capacity and expansion.

The pronouncement was made by the ACC Commissioner Ben Kaifala while addressing journalists, and representatives of civil society organizations at the ACC head office in Freetown.

He said if the money is available; the commission will    acquire   materials and even get more staff to leave no stone on touch in discharging their duties.

 Mr. Ben Kaifala also disclosed plans for the construction of additional offices at the ACC Head office    that will cost a huge amount as the building they currently occupy belongs to a Church

 The commissioner reiterated that as an institution, the AAC is there to fight corruption at all levels so they needed both local and international supports, so that they will be free to do their work according to the rules and regulations.

  He added that as they now have the political will from the President, they at the ACC are highly determined to fight corruption as one of the Presidential focus.

The commissioner however noted that with the Auditor General’s report now out, under his own administration, the ACC will never again look at it as a mere report but will   thoroughly look in to it and anyone found wanting will face the law.

Mr. Ben Kaifala said that    the Auditor General report is a source of information for ACC and that they have been,   quite on certain issues the commission has investigated and some charged to court while others are still pending.

The Commissioner revealed that they are waiting for the commissions of enquiry report and when out, they will also act on it   and work in line with the parliamentary oversight committee also responsible to fight corruption,    

 JUDICIARY BUDGET FOR JUROS.

By Foday Jalloh

There is a big saga currently ongoing in the Sierra Leone Judiciary which is the third arm of government. If this is not solving immediately the effort of the president in rebranding Sierra Leone for national investment will go in vain.

Currently the jurors are not happy with the current judicial administration, because they think they have been left out and their role in the justice is not important.

Highlighting their ordeals’ they said the ministry of justice and the judiciary administration should be blame for in proper justice.

The role of jurors in high court trial matters, they make decision alongside with judges, cases in the high court, are re tried by jurors and judges.  every day we come from different places around the municipality just to see that trial cases that has jurors  goes well  on but at the end of the months we are not paid, most of us has family coming from a distance to spend the rest of the day in court.

This jurors also maintain that if judges are blaming us that why they are adjourning matters, as jurors if they do not constitute the panel they have no option but to adjourn, we are calling upon them the ministry and the court administration to budget for us they try to give us stripes monthly or weekly we can appreciate and always, present to time in court for speedy trial.

When the acting chief justice was contracted for reaction over, he told this medium during a snap interview at his chamber, Justice Brown mark, accepted the fact about the constrains of jurors which judges are complain for absent always, he said that this time they are budgeted for so they are waiting for the ministry concern to send in the money, by march ending justice Browne said they will start giving stripes to jurors.

The judiciary are getting a lot of bad names adjournment of matters is too much but we think if this part is settle jurors now receive something to take home we believe the justice system will get speedy trial as just within the western area there is ten high courts.

A lot of cases are currently pending in court which need to be address immediately, or else this will bring a loss to sierra Leone, because if

Measured are not taken like   the case of Sajama pharmacy who is a potential medical investor in Sierra Leone now crying for justice for over seven years, now, as an investor if not given justice what about the others who want to come in with large investment will not have courage to coming to do more investment, then this will destroy the economy especially the area employment, government alone will not able to give employment to all of their citizens.

Now if they are not secured when they are advantage the placed that are expected to do justice are bias in their delivery, then Sierra is going down the drain.  

 OVER INVESTOR APPEAL…..

JUDICIARY DRAG FOOT

By Foday Jalloh

The sierra leone ignores investor appeal, case.

Judiciary of Sierra Leone is currently upholding the appeal case filed by a Sierra Leonean investor, Danny saad the owner of the Samjana Pharmacy.

According to him, he is appealing against the ruling made against him by justice brown mark, since 12th January 2014, stating that the judgment was against the weight of the evidence.

Samjana pharmacy, Danny Saad been the proprietor takes the Sierra Leone Ritcorp Company has to pay him a total of thirty thousand dollars.

He was supply the company drugs RITCROP they fail to pay him, after several diplomatic negotiations they fail to comply, I have no option to seek redress from the court which I was expecting a proper redress, but to no avail, Danny Saad said.

With the judgment from the high court I have now move to the appeal court for over five years now the appeal court is still upholding to my appeal case, I am calling on for government intervention so that I will gain justice and move on with my business, over thirty two years now I have been in medical business bring medicine in this country both on retail and whole sales.           

PRES. BIO’S AGENDA FOR NEW DIRECTION & “ENEMIES OF PROGRESS”

 By Dr. Saio S. Marrah

Former Director General – Central Intelligence and Security Unit

Former Intelligence and Security Adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma and President Julius Maada Bio

”Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something” (Plato).

In the dusk of the Agenda for Change, when preparations were underway to unveil the Agenda for Prosperity, I did an ex-post facto analysis of the former agenda which albeit depicted with the best of intentions by the former President (Ernest Bai Koroma); was however punctuated if not utterly perforated with challenges.

The aim of the analysis was to identify the challenges and problems of the Agenda for Change and effectively use them as warning signals for the soon to be hatched Agenda for Prosperity so that the latter will not suffer similar faith as its sister agenda – the Agenda for Change. After that retrospective analysis and in the dawn of the Agenda for Prosperity, I summarized my scientific findings of the research in a piece titled, “President Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity and Enemies of Progress”. In that piece published in 2013, I argued if not advised amongst other issues the following fundamental points for the consideration of the then President and indeed the consumption of the general public.

I started by pointing out that, “Prosperity for the people of Sierra Leone is President Koroma’s ultimate aim……. but it’s an open secret that President Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity is highly infested with grave problems emanating from some of his ministers and top civil servants. Whereas President Koroma is talking the talk and working the work of prosperity; very few if any of his Ministers, Directors, Managers and the like are in parallel pace with the President  hence most of the Ministers and key policy implementers are only talking the talk but not working the work of prosperity. Such behavioral pattern by highly placed individuals is not only hypocritical, duplicitous and treacherous to nation building but exceedingly perfidious to the confidence reposed on them by President Koroma”. 

I further dilated that, “President Koroma’s remaining years at the helm of power has questionably appeared to some voracious and rapacious government officials – if not all of  them as if the world is coming to an end. There is blatant and naked self interest as opposed to national interest; underscoring the cynical but rational assessment of critics that such retrogressive and backward-looking state officials are real enemies of state. Such egoistic, penchant and avaricious attitude of these enemies of state has the proclivity and inclination of tarnishing the unblemished character of the new APC and essentially soiling the legacy of President Koroma.

There isn’t any collegiality between and amongst ministers and other top civil servants. Ministers are fighting Deputy Ministers, Managers are against their Deputies, and Permanent Secretaries against God knows who. The only reason I can adduce for such anti-prosperous attitude is my coined phraseology “Corruption Race against time”. Why all this mess? Remember all is vanity, so work hard and leave a legacy”.

As if that was not enough, I further highlighted that, “as the general public (in Sierra Leone) and the International Community are positive and forward-looking towards achieving President Koroma’s prosperity package for the people of Sierra Leone, certain Ministers, Directors, Managers, Permanent Secretaries and others in very important positions are derailing or stalling projects on a daily basis.

These groups of trusted individuals have outwitted their usefulness and have virtually become untrustworthy if not entirely futile to the state. President Koroma’s determination and the peoples’ expectations are insidiously sabotaged by these people I will encourage everyone to call “Enemies of Progress”.

In a rather startling and astounding mood, I posited thus; “I am marveled by the grave insatiability, self-indulgence, impiety and absolute lack of patriotism of these enemies of states who are always asking for reward or bribe before they can lift their pen and scribble their unreadable signatures on policies that will bring prosperity to the people of Sierra Leone.

These enemies of states are so callous, inconsiderate and thoughtless such that, if their requests are not met, they can stall or rather freeze significant developmental project proposals and eventually discourage investors from doing any further business in the country”.

I concluded the piece by maintaining that “it’s morally and ethically flawed, politically incorrect, economically disastrous and socially untenable if not religiously transgressive and sinful to be a saboteur against prosperity. What an awful, appalling and horrendous way of thinking and doing politics; derailing development in a country that has ravaged and riddled itself in a ten year civil conflict”.

In a relapse of misfortune, it’s saddening and sickening to see the same heinous administrative inaptitude which greatly affected former President Ernest Bai Koroma persist to voraciously eat into the flesh of President Julius Maada Bio’s administration with irreverence and disdain. As the economic situation under President Julius Maada Bio is not only deplorable and terrible but totally despairing, it is but apt to bring to his notice such advice so that he can take prompt actions to ameliorate the situation in the country as the suffering on the people of Sierra Leone is agonisingly unbearable and intolerable.

Since 2018, whenever and wherever we see President Bio delivering a speech either to his people or the international community, he is always gyrating around his Agenda for New Direction. After almost two years of President Bio at the helm of affairs, it appears that his Agenda for New Direction is suffering from “enemies from within” [his SLPP].

The enemies of progress against the Agenda for New Direction are people whom the President have elevated to positions of trust (though myriad of them lack the alacrity and experience) – nevertheless, instead of helping the President to achieve his goals, they are busy pulling him down in the name of fighting against the APC – and the APC aren’t your enemies.

In demonstrating their hate and anger against the APC, top Government officials of the Bio administration are adamantly refusing and or rather stampeding potential investments in Sierra Leone simply because such investments or investors are being brought in country by APC supporters or sympathizers. 

By this way such retrogressive and debased SLPP top Government officials think they are fighting against the APC, failing to realize that they are derailing development and by extension frustrating President Bio’s effort in achieving his Agenda for New Direction.

Ironically therefore, these back-peddling Government officials who are impairing development do not have an iota of idea or credibility to bring any serious investor to Sierra Leone hence the prime factor why the retired Infantry General (President Bio) has been transformed into an Air Borne President.

Having said that, the profound question is, is it really necessary to drop names of enemies of the Agenda for New Direction for the attention of President Bio and the general public? I don’t think so. Why do I negate?  I say so because, by now President Bio should have known his “enemies from within” his SLPP who are by extension “enemies of progress” against his Agenda for New Direction.

I hold that, those educated fools that are preaching tribalism and sectionalism with the aim of ostracizing other Sierra Leoneans who are not SLPP supporters are merely being hedonistic, epicurean, self-indulgent and disingenuous. The current economic adversity in Sierra Leone is been exacerbated by such cronies of President Bio who are actually “enemies from within” and essentially “enemies of progress”.

Mr. President, the APC is a matured political party enthralled and engrossed with patriotism and nationalism. The APC is a socialist nurtured and driven political party whose main objective is the development of the people and the country as a whole. Had you embraced and worked with the APC, the country’s economy would’t have been in such a cluttered and messy situation. It is not the wish of the APC to see President Bio fail. Why do I say this? It is logically clear that if the President fails it’s the people of Sierra Leone that will suffer and perish and not the President.

In light of this therefore, as development is an ongoing process, it was and persists to be our wish for President Bio to succeed in achieving all his goals hence taking Sierra Leone a step further in our developmental gait. But this will never be possible without bringing the APC onboard in Parliament, local government, the private sector and the like. Mr. President, beware of blind and parochially minded cronies because as Les Brown cautions, “people who can’t see for themselves can’t see for you”. Let me conclude with Machiavelli’s insightful but brute reality that, “when you betray the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence and both of these opinions generate hatred”.

Mr. President, if you do not change the direction of your new direction, you may end up where you are heading.

We Can’t Trust the SLPP’s ‘Process’ Anymore

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

There are several facts about life which are actually facts in themselves. But there are several lies and propagandistic half-truths that can never be whitewashed as facts—no matter from which source, or sources, it comes, or they come, from. For example, it is a fact that “it is impossible to lick your elbow”. And it is also a fact that, “you can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.”

But the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) appears to be telling Sierra Leoneans that it is possible for them to lick their elbows, and also that if they want to commit suicide because of the current chronic economic hardship in the country they can hold their breaths. After having made the “we inherited a broken economy” a clichéé; propagandists and “drunkardnomists” of the SLPP came up with another jargon which has now become another hackneyed phraseology: “Trust the process.” They asked us to trust a process that seems to be promoting tribalism, nepotism, and regionalism. They asked us to trust a process that appears to be hyper-heartless than benevolent in its modus operandi. And they asked us to trust a process which was initiated and implemented by clueless administrators with warped village mentality despite having been abroad for donkey’s years (or “ears” for the sake of punning)!

Yet like cattle being led to the abattoir or a lamb that is silent before her shearers, hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans did not open their mouths (to paraphrase Isaiah 53:7) when the SLPP came with their directionless “New Direction”. But majority of Sierra Leoneans employed the wait-and-see attitude; hoping against hopes that theirs might be much better than those they inherited “the broken economy” from.

Since then, Sierra Leoneans have been “trusting the process” which the SLPP say will solve the “bread and butter issues”. They have been “trusting the process” that the ruling elite say will obliterate all the negative “isms” which have now permeated the entire country. They have trusted a process which is unable to pay workers’ salaries on time but able to provide per diems for the President and his large entourages each and every time they want to go and look for investors abroad. And Sierra Leoneans have trusted a process which has now pauperized majority of them thrice as they were twelve years ago. 

Close to two years now, President Julius Maada Bio and his team appear to be still groping in the dark, trying to look for the magic wand to solve “the bread and butter issues” for ordinary Sierra Leoneans. And each time they asked us to “trust the process”, that phrase becomes insultingly insulting to our ears. It is insulting because we, majority of Sierra Leoneans, now know that the only thing that is trustworthy about the SLPP is its untrustworthiness!     

Recently, the Public Financial Management (PFM) consortium launched the “Tax Perception Survey Report” in Freetown. It is reported that, “almost all tax payers targeted in the survey said the… authorities in charge of state resources are mismanaging the country’s revenue”. Such a concern is not lost on Sahr L. Jusu, the Financial Secretary of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who in his response on behalf of the Ministry of Finance to the 2018 Auditor General’s Report states that, “the Auditor General, like in many other institutional audits—particularly audit of public accounts across the world, has raised serious concerns of loss of revenue of Le140.9 billion (about $14.0 million)…”

Indeed, tax payers have all the reasons to be troubled about how their taxes are being spent, considering the meteoric rags-to-riches stories of most if not all of those in the Bio administration. Tax payers may be right to allege that the country’s revenues are being mismanaged when they take into consideration the video on social media in which the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa aka JJ Blood, is seen gleefully splashing newly printed banknotes on a local female musician as if to provoke Sierra Leoneans to anger!

And that Jacob Jusu Saffa’s reckless spraying of newly printed banknotes, on that local female musician, comes in the wake of rumors circulating on social media that, “cheques for February salaries for Civil Servants and Public Sector workers were returned to the Finance Ministry by the Bank of Sierra Leone”. This just shows the state of the country’s economy and what lies ahead of Sierra Leone with the current captains steering the ship of state.

And as if to pour sand on poor people’s “dry gari”, on Sunday social media was again bespattered with an investigative story by the online “www.africanistpress.com” in which it is being alleged that, “the existing disparities in the national salary structure and the payroll have widened since [President Julius] Maada Bio assumed power two years ago….Quite shockingly, most political appointees in these new categories are placed in positions where they earn monthly salaries that are, in most cases, between a 50–100% the total combined annual salaries of ten or twenty of the subordinate and ancillary staff in their respective departments. In the Office of the Financial Secretary, for example, we discovered that of the seven listed staff, the Financial Secretary and Senior Financial Secretary both earn monthly wages, the combined total of which is five times more than the aggregate annual gross pay of all five-ancillary staff in their department for a ten year pay period…”

If such an allegation is true, then Sierra Leoneans do not need Albert Einstein to tell them why things are, generally, the way they are in the country. If you add the salaries of all political appointees, coupled with the per diems for the President and his large entourages, and do a little arithmetic of the monies spent on the Nollywood-like projects of the First Lady; then even if Angel Gabriel comes down from Heaven and tells us that things are the way they are in Sierra Leone because the SLPP “inherited a broken economy”, we will categorically tell Angel Gabriel to tell that to Lucifer!

Sierra Leone has reached that stage in her history in which even if the propagandists and “drunkardnomists” of the SLPP say that the SLPP National Headquarters are situated at Wallace-Johnson Street in Freetown; many Sierra Leoneans would still be skeptical about whether that is true or not. For many of my compatriots; the current SLPP government seems to be a personification of a fraud wrapped in deceit and delivered on a platter of propagandistic half-truths!

The Wuhan Coronavirus and the Bible’s Prophesied Disease Pandemics

BY JEREMIAH JACQUES

“If things go on like this, we will all be doomed,” said a woman identifying herself as Xiaoxi, in an interview over the weekend with the South China Morning Post. “People just keep dying; no one is taking care of the bodies.”

Xiaoxi’s husband is among the 7,600 people across China who are confirmed to be infected by a new pneumonia-like illness called the 2019-nCoV, or Wuhan Coronavirus.

 The illness is named after the central Chinese city of Wuhan where it originated and after the halo- or corona-like shape of the microorganism.

Experts say Wuhan is milder than other illnesses in the coronavirus family, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (mers). But it is still deadly dangerous: As of Thursday morning, the official number of dead as a result of the virus stood at 170. And authorities expect the numbers of infected and dead to continue to mushroom.

Fear that the rates will rise is largely because before Wuhan and its suburbs were placed on lockdown, some 5 million people are believed to have left Wuhan for other parts of China and the world. These individuals are potentially carrying the deadly virus to all corners of the world. And cases have already been confirmed in recent days in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In the United States, the fifth case was confirmed on January 26, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an additional 50 people in 22 states are under observation.

The Wuhan Coronavirus is spreading, and the Chinese National Health Commission has said its ability to do so grows stronger with time.

The official story from the Chinese government is that the virus originated from a Wuhan wet market where animals that ordinarily wouldn’t interact with each other—koalas, wolf puppies, snakes, rats, peacocks, foxes, salamanders and dozens more—live in terribly cramped and unhygienic quarters as they wait to be slaughtered and sold as food for people. The authorities say circumstances at this market gave rise to trans-species mutations of pathogens that were eventually able to leap from animals to humans.

But a study released on January 24 shows that the first three infections, documented in early December, were not connected to the Wuhan wet market. Nor were 11 others of the 41 cases analyzed. This indicates that the true cause of the virus may still be unknown, that the strain that infects humans emerged earlier than official reports say, and that it then remained undetected for an unknown duration.

One factor complicating efforts to contain the spread is that the virus has shown itself to be transmissible before any symptoms appear. This means carriers often do not realize they are infected until after they have transmitted it to others. Scientists at Imperial College London calculate that each individual infected by Wuhan has gone on to spread it to two or three other people. And they calculate the death rate around 1 in 50, which is comparable to the rate of the Spanish Flu in the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the Spanish Flu killed as much as 5 percent of Earth’s total population—a higher percentage than died in World War ii.

So it is easy to see why much of China has gone into emergency mode, with 15 cities—a combined population of 57 million people—having been placed under lockdown. Even as far away as Shanghai, hundreds of miles from Wuhan, businesses are shut down and schools are closed until the illness can be contained.

In the U.S., the government is advising its citizens to “reconsider travel” to China. Several other countries have suspended tourism from China altogether, and others are evacuating their citizens from infected areas. Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan have closed their borders with China. The World Health Organization said the worldwide risk from Wuhan is high, and global markets are beginning to falter over fears of a possible pandemic.

Much remains unknown, and it is possible that the efforts to contain the Wuhan Coronavirus will keep it from snowballing into a worldwide catastrophe. But Bible prophecy says devastating disease pandemics are on the horizon.

The biblical book of Revelation is about “things which shall be hereafter,” or occurrences that would happen after the era of the Apostle John (Revelation 1:19). In Revelation 6, John was inspired to write about the “seven seals” that lead up to the return of Jesus Christ. The first four are often called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.” They represent religious deception, war, famine and disease (verses 1-8).

Regarding the fourth horse and its rider, John writes: “I looked, and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him …” (verse 8; International Standard Version).

This is a personification of disease epidemics—sickly, haunting and unyielding. The passage says that along with the other three riders, the anemic-looking horseman that represents disease will slay “the fourth part of the earth.” With today’s population of 7.7 billion, that figure would come to almost 2 billion.

Revelation 6:8 also connects the pale green horse to “the beasts of the earth.” Trumpet contributor Fred Dattolo addressed this connection in 2005, writing that in addition to instances of starving animals attacking people, this passage “can also refer to animal-borne disease that passes on to humans,” as may have played a role in the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Revelation is not the only biblical book to mention an end-time return of disease epidemics. Jesus Christ Himself said outbreaks of pestilence would occur prior to His return: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be … pestilences … in divers places” (Matthew 24:7; see also Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:11).

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and Wayne Turgeon cowrote about the impending return of disease pandemics in their booklet The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, stressing that these prophecies are for the present age. “We are not discussing some dusty old prophecies,” they write. “These are dramatic, dire prophecies that lie directly in front of us! … Multiple millions of people will perish from sickness and disease ….”

They continue: “[E]ven in the 21st century, despite better medicine and technology, the threat to all societies looms large on the horizon. Even old diseases from world wars fought over 75 years ago are making a silent but deadly return.”

Mr. Flurry and Mr. Turgeon explain that although these points to a dark and devastating future, the Bible makes plain that God will provide a route of escape for those who will turn to and rely on Him. “The future appears very bleak,” they write. “But there is a way of escape (Revelation 12:13-17). God will hear and forgive anyone who will repent. The only ones promised divine protection are those few who have yielded to God and His way of life.”

The Scriptures reveal that, whether the Wuhan Coronavirus fizzles out or not, the gains against disease that mankind has made in recent generations will soon be lost. The pale horseman is not finished riding. But each person could have some say as to whether he or she will be in his path or not.

Does the corona virus spread person-to-person?

Yes, the virus can spread from one person to another, most likely through droplets of saliva or mucus carried in the air for up to six feet or so when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Viral particles may be breathed in, land on surfaces that people touch, or be transferred when shaking hands or sharing a drink with someone who has the virus.

Often it’s obvious if a person is ill, but there are cases where people who do not feel sick have the virus and can spread it.

Basic steps for avoiding flu and other infections — including steps for hand washing shown in this video and avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes — are likely to help stop the spread of this virus. The CDC has a helpful list of preventive steps.

Quarantines and travel restrictions now in place in many counties, including the US, are also intended to help break the chain of transmission. Public health authorities like the CDC may recommend other approaches for people who may have been exposed to the virus, including isolation at home and symptom monitoring for a period of time (usually 14 days), depending on level of risk for exposure. The CDC has guidelines for people who have the virus to help with recovery and prevent others from getting sick.

What is the incubation period for the coronavirus?

An incubation period is the time between being exposed to a germ and having symptoms of the illness. Current estimates suggest that symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear around five days on average, but the incubation period may be as short as two days to as long as 14 days.

What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

Fever, dry cough, and trouble breathing are the common symptoms of COVID-19. There have been some reports of gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) before respiratory symptoms occur, but this is largely a respiratory virus.

Those who have the virus may have no obvious symptoms (be asymptomatic) or symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In some cases, the virus can cause pneumonia and potentially be life-threatening.

Most people who get sick will recover from COVID-19. Recovery time varies and, for people who are not severely ill, may be similar to the aftermath of a flulike illness. People with mild symptoms may recover within a few days. People who have pneumonia may take longer to recover (days to weeks). In cases of severe, life-threatening illness, it may take months for a person to recover, or the person may die.

Can people who are asymptomatic spread coronavirus?

A person who is asymptomatic may be shedding the virus and could make others ill. How often asymptomatic transmission is occurring is unclear.

Can the coronavirus live on soft surfaces like fabric or carpet? What about hard surfaces?

How long the new coronavirus can live on a soft surface and more importantly, how easy or hard it is to spread this way isn’t clear yet. So far, available evidence suggests it can be transmitted less easily from soft surfaces than frequently-touched hard surfaces, such as a doorknob or elevator button.

According to the WHO, coronaviruses may survive on surfaces for just a few hours or several days, although many factors will influence this, including surface material and weather.

That’s why personal preventive steps like frequently washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and wiping down often-touched surfaces with disinfectants or a household cleaning spray, are a good idea.

Should I wear a face mask to protect against coronavirus? Should my children?

Follow public health recommendations where you live. Currently, face masks are not recommended for the general public in the US. The risk of catching the virus in the US is low overall, but will depend on community transmission, which is higher in some regions than in others. Even though there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, most people are more likely to catch and spread influenza (the flu). (So far this season, there have been nearly 30 million cases of flu and 17,000 deaths.)

Some health facilities require people to wear a mask under certain circumstances, such as if they have traveled from areas where coronavirus is spreading, or have been in contact with people who did or with people who have confirmed coronavirus.

If you have respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing, experts recommend wearing a mask to protect others. This may help contain droplets containing any type of virus, including the flu, and protect close contacts (anyone within three to six feet of the infected person).

The CDC offers more information about masks. The WHO offers videos and illustrations on when and how to use a mask.

Should someone who is immunocompromised wear a mask?

If you are immunocompromised because of an illness or treatment, talk to your doctor about whether wearing a mask is helpful for you in some situations. Advice could vary depending on your medical history and where you live. Many people will not need to wear a mask, but if your healthcare provider recommends wearing one in public areas because you have a particularly vulnerable immune system or for other reasons, follow that advice.

Should I accept packages from China?

There is no reason to suspect that packages from China harbor COVID-19. Remember, this is a respiratory virus similar to the flu. We don’t stop receiving packages from China during their flu season. We should follow that same logic for this novel pathogen.

Can I catch the coronavirus by eating food prepared by others?

We are still learning about transmission of COVID-19. It’s not clear if this is possible, but if so it would be more likely to be the exception than the rule. That said, COVID-19 and other coronaviruses have been detected in the stool of certain patients, so we currently cannot rule out the possibility of occasional transmission from infected food handlers. The virus would likely be killed by cooking the food.

Should I travel on a plane with my children?

Keep abreast of travel advisories from regulatory agencies and understand that this is a rapidly changing situation. The CDC has several levels of travel restrictions depending on risk in various countries and communities.

Of course, if anyone has a fever and respiratory symptoms, that person should not fly if at all possible. Anyone who has a fever and respiratory symptoms and flies anyway should wear a mask on an airplane.

Is there a vaccine available for coronavirus?

No vaccine is available, although scientists are working on vaccines. In 2003, scientists tried to develop a vaccine to prevent SARS but the epidemic ended before the vaccine could enter clinical trials.

Is there a treatment available for coronavirus?

Currently there is no specific antiviral treatment for this new coronavirus. Treatment is therefore supportive, which means giving fluids, medicine to reduce fever, and, in severe cases, supplemental oxygen. People who become critically ill from COVID-19 may need a respirator to help them breathe. Bacterial infection can complicate this viral infection. Patients may require antibiotics in cases of bacterial pneumonia as well as COVID-19.

Antiviral treatments used for HIV and other compounds are being investigated.

There’s no evidence that supplements, such as vitamin C, or probiotics will help speed recovery.

How is this new coronavirus confirmed?

A specialized test must be done to confirm that a person has COVID-19. Most testing in the United States has been performed at the CDC. However, testing will become more available throughout the country in the coming weeks.

How deadly is this coronavirus?

We don’t yet know. However, signs suggest that many people may have had mild cases of the virus and recovered without special treatment.

The original information from China likely overestimated the risk of death from the virus. Right now it appears that the risk of very serious illness and death is less than it was for SARS and MERS. In terms of total deaths in the United States, influenza overwhelmingly causes more deaths today than COVID-19.

What should people do if they think they have coronavirus or their child does? Go to an urgent care clinic? Go to the ER?

If you have a health care provider or pediatrician, call them first for advice. In most parts of the US, it’s far more likely to be the flu or another viral illness.

If you do not have a doctor and you are concerned that you or your child may have coronavirus, contact your local board of health. They can direct you to the best place for evaluation and treatment in your area.

Only people with symptoms of severe respiratory illness should seek medical care in the ER. Severe symptoms are rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, high or very low temperatures, confusion, trouble breathing, severe dehydration. Call ahead to tell the ER that you are coming so they can be prepared for your arrival.

Can people who recover from the coronavirus still be carriers and therefore spread it?

People who get COVID-19 need to work with providers and public health authorities to determine when they are no longer contagious.

 IS THE CHIEF MINISTER A GREEN BIGOT?

CHIEF THONKLA BANGURA!

The health of a genuine democracy is better tested by scaling the level of civil liberties and tolerance in accommodating the views of everyone in that society regardless of their opinions and political affiliation in a democratic dispensation underscore’s by Sections:15,25,26,27 & 28 of Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution!

But the level of tribalism embedded deep in the mindset of the self-styled Professor  Chief Minister who is Mr. evil, the architect of political confrontation, the politics of envy and divisive policies that are badly diving our country and forcing her to the cliff edge.

A country that is dusting itself from terrible upheaval or challenges that had caused serious setbacks damaging public confidence.

The essence of education is for the beneficiary to apply the capacity of his/her academic skills to influence society by positively transferring their knowledge to make a better world.

First Lady was bang right to describe the Chief Minister as,” A PHD fool who shitted himself “.Oppss

Chief Minister could be, by all indications behind the hostilities feeding the political tensions across our political aisles.

The decades efforts in building upon the peace attained in Lomé after the civil war, the birth of democratic freedoms and the developmental strides made by previous governments have been willfully and consistently reversed by insidious policies and divisive approach masterminded by the Chief Minister.

As an overrated Professor for peace building and security contrary to his narratives, his vile grudges held against an industrious political party (APC) made him the architect of instability in Sierra Leone.

He’s a travesty of his bloated and overrated academic record and his poor accreditation is best chuck in the shredder.

He is not fit for purpose and the Office he is occupying is an utter waste of space and taxpayers money that can be better spent on students holding demonstrations for payments of their tuition fees!

The New odd Direction policies are not only discombobulated, disconnected from the real world, but peculiar and implausible to fit the test of times.

Especially so, when they have just criminalized the dollar black market without creating jobs for those hard working self-employed Sierra Leoneans struggling to put food on dinner tables!

WIMSAL Rolls Out fellowship Programme for Female Journalists

Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL) with support from the British High Commission, has rolled out training and mentorship fellowship programme for fifteen female journalists that are new in the media. 

Speaking during the training opening session which took place on Thursday 5th March at the British Council Auditorium, the President of WIMSAL Madam Femi Juliet Coker said the fifteen female journalists are drawn from across the country via application and they will be undergoing a day comprehensive training on gender and media freedom, noting that after the training they will be assigned to mentors that will help them to work on gender based stories in next couple of weeks.

She said the training is about willingness to learn and to be full of zest to overcome obstacles and prove their worth as a journalist of integrity and professionalism.

She said the session will give the trainees the opportunity to meet with a number of experienced journalists who will serve as their mentors that will help them to build on their career, adding that mentorship is integral to their training today and she trust those who will be mentoring the female journalists.

“To you the trainees, I would like to encourage you to take full advantage of this great opportunity because  this will give you a broader picture of what you must do and what you are to face as you begin what is relatively a young journey in your journalism career,” she said.

She commends the British High Commission for providing all the support towards the training.

The Country Representative for Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Mr. Alusine Diamond Suma reiterated that the media is a powerful tool to build and a very powerful tool to destroy.

“The story about women’s inclusion is beginning to change lately. Before now, everyone made the world think that my mother, my sister and female friends are only fit to be cooking and staying in marital homes. We can change that by what we share to the public,” he said.

He said Sierra Leone needs a new narrative and as female journalists they can do that with their pen and passion.

The Chairman of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) Mr George S. Khoryama said continuous training and retraining of this kind is crucial to a sustained and ethical discharged of their responsible to the public.

He said this training is in line with the mandate of the IMC that is to ensure that the media in Sierra Leone achieves the highest level of efficiency in the provision of their media services; to promote free and pluralistic media throughout the country.

Representing the Secretary to the President, Madam Hawa Morseray reiterated government commitment to women’s empowerment, particularly women in the media.

Senegal Crowned Champions of the 2020 WAFU   Female Tournament  

The Senegal female team has won the 2020 West Africa Football Union female tournament in Sierra Leone. The Group A leaders (Senegal) defeated the Group B leaders (Mali) 3 – 0 in the grand final at the Wusum Mini Stadium in Makeni City, Northern Sierra Leone. Goals by Ndeye Diakhate in the 27th minute, Mbayang Sow in the 56th minute and Haby Balde in the 69th minute were enough for Senegal to take home the most coveted trophy of the maiden WAFU Female championship hosted in Sierra Leone.

Senegal matched to the finals unbeaten after winning 2 of their 3 group stage fixtures with a draw against Sierra Leone in their final group match. They also defeated Liberia 2-1 in the Semifinals before progressing to the grand finals.

Mali were also unbeaten in the tournament till a horrible defeat to Senegal in the final, where they conceded for their first goals in the tournament. Mali had scored most goals (11), more than any other team and conceded none before the finals, while Senegal had scored 6 goals and conceded 2 before the finals.

The ceremony was colourful at the Wusum Mini Stadium in Makeni, and it was graced by prominent stakeholders from WAFU and Sierra Leone. Notably, the President of SLFA Madam Isha Johansen, the Minister of Sports in Sierra Leone Ibrahim Nyelenkeh, Librarian   FA President and Vice President  of WAFU  Mustapha I. Rajii, Mali FA Vice President Kassoum Coulibaly, WAFU Secretary General Jammeh Bojan, Sierra Leone FA Vice President Brima Manzola Kamara, Northern Region FA Chairman Brima Jalloh and many others.

Individual awards were given to the following: Malian Striker Agueissa  Diarra won the Golden Boot after scoring 7 goals, Senegalese Winger Mama Diop won Best Player of the tournament, Senegalese goalkeeper Tenning Sene won the Golden Glove, while Guinea National Team won WAFU Fair Play.

The tournament has been entertaining and fascinating with viewers spellbound at the Bo Mini Stadium in Bo City and the Wusum Mini Stadium in Makeni City. In the finals, over 20,000 football fans stormed the Wusum Stadium in Makeni. The matches were broadcast by CIS TV, AYV TV and SLBC TV. This is the best tournament ever hosted in Sierra Leone courtesy of the leadership of the current FA.

WAFU Zone A 2020 Championship is remarkable, a brighter future for female football in West Africa has been created in this maiden edition. The host nation, Sierra Leone has got the exposure and experience despite being eliminated in the group stages of the tournament.

Eight nations competed, 2 cities provided the venues, 2 teams went to the finals and one champion was crowned. It ended, Liberia as 2nd Runner-up, Mali as 1st Runner-up and Senegal as Winners of the 2020 WAFU Zone A Female Football Championship in Sierra Leone.

NATCOM has not come up with new regulations rather is only implementing the finance act, 2020…. All of this started way back in December 2019 when engagements started with THE MNOs on following the rules on the CAP AND THE FLOOR…

These meetings started since….

In the recent past, NRA realized that there was a very, very significant drop in GST returns from MNOs from several, several billions of Leones a month to paltry figures…

As a competent regulator this was brought to our notice… You should be aware that NATCOM has an NRA officer in their premises who issues receipts of payments… We engaged the MNOs on this together with NRA on several occasions…..The responses we got in our opinion did not cut ice….

After all of these engagements, we all agreed that it was incumbent upon us to follow the FINANCE ACT, 2020… For which the press release was issued together with NRA..

AFRICANIST PRESS

EDITORIAL NOTICE

March 6, 2020

              The Heart of the matter!

Sahr Jusu, for example, admitted that his salary, the exact amount of over Le86 million reported by the Africanist Press against his name, was inherited from his predecessor in the previous administration.

This admission alone illustrates the precise nature of our investigation.

The most important questions are these: if the current administration is serious about addressing the structural imbalances in the wage bill, why have senior officials become comfortable with the outrageous salary arrangements and wages they inherited from the Koroma regime even as they regularly blame the current crisis state of the economy on the previous regime? Why has Sahr Jusu and his colleagues in the Finance Ministry refused to implement reasonable cuts to senior civil servants’ salaries in this period of contracting economic challenges? Most importantly, why have they been unable to address wage disparities among civil and public service workers for the almost two years now that they have been in power? Instead of cutting down the wage bill, the current administration has enlarged public expenditure by inundating the public and civil service with new political appointees…….”Exposing Payroll Corruption”, Africanist Press, March 5, 2020. (Illinois, USA).

In our forthcoming article, we will illustrate how this increased partisan pool of political appointments into the national workforce contributed to the 45% astronomical increases in Sierra Leone’s national wage bill.

Stay tuned!!

The Editorial Department

Africanist Press

Illinois, USA

PONDER MY THOUGHTS

By Andrew Keili

NCRA SAGA: WHY CAN’T SIERRA LEONEANS COUNT CORRECTLY?

By all accounts, the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) seems to have been doing a good job. NCRA has responsibility for the continuous, permanent and compulsory recording of occurrences and characteristics of vital events including births, deaths, marriages, divorces, nullities, adoptions etc. Anyone who has been to some agencies to collect vital statistics would regret bringing frustration on oneself-an Institution like “Births and Deaths” had long ago forgotten when it was born and is now truly dead. NCRA had also embarked upon producing securitized and serially numbered Births and Deaths certificates. The Authority under the leadership of its Director, Mohamed Massaquoi has received accolades from several UN agencies for its development of holistic and sustainable civil registration, vital statistics and identity management systems. NCRA also seemed to have the cooperation of the various political parties until recently when the Authority was accused by them of overreaching its mandate. NCRA’s crime?-the use of a 9-letter-word-“elections” in a statement from the DG!

There have been press conferences accompanied by press releases from the APC and NGC, stating that NCRA has no business with voter registration and that NEC would utilize the information provided as one of the useful tools in its arsenal to facilitate election registration. Opposition parties seemed to insinuate the possibility existed for NCRA to ultimately manipulate the data provided NEC for extraction of voter register information. The Acting NEC Chairman, Edmund Alpha categorically denied this, confirming that the usual checks and balances would be in place for voter registration and verification of information.

This seems to have blown over a bit but is hardly surprising, given the hostile political atmosphere that currently exists between the political parties. There is always suspicion however when counting people in Sierra Leone-whether it is in a formal national census or any other census like that carried out by NCRA. Several accusations were levied against Statistics Sierra Leone after the 2015 census bordering on concerns about “the cartographic mapping and the non transparent and skewed recruitment process for additional staff which is based on political loyalties”. The fact that data from such a census would later guide policy formulation, planning, resource allocation and boundary delimitation for both Parliamentary and Local Council elections made this into another war.

In this particular NCRA registration process, the main concern seems to be about elections. In general censuses play many roles such as gathering social and economic data; informing planning policies such as on affirmative action for marginalized communities. They also support research on social phenomena. It is therefore not surprising for people to get suspicious in a charged atmosphere. In both Kenya and Ethiopia, ethnicity and politics are closely linked. Perspectives on ethnic inclusion or exclusion through the census lens are therefore important. The Nigerian story is however classic. An article on Nigeria’s 1962 census reported thus:

“Southern politicians seeking to end the north’s dominance of Nigerian politics decided that the only way to do it was through the census. Population figures at the time determined not only parliamentary representation but also revenue allocation and employee distribution in the civil service. Although the final results of this census were not made public, the preliminary results were quite clear as to what had happened: the north’s population had gone up from 16.5 million in the last census in 1952 to 22.5 million, an increase of 30%. But in some parts of the east, the population had increased by up to 200% and more than 70% in general. The west also reported an increase of 70%. What the preliminary results showed was that the north had lost its majority share of the country’s population. The northern leaders were not about to take that lying down. A new census was held in 1963 and this time, an additional 8.5 million people were discovered in the north, bringing the total to 31 million for the north. Another census was conducted a decade later in 1973 but was so hotly disputed and produced incredible figures that the government simply nullified the result.”

The Nigerians now seem to have solved their census problem.

Coming back to Sierra Leone, let us put politics aside and consider other aspects of our day to day life. It may actually be true that politicians and politically motivated people are not the only ones who can’t count correctly.

Is it not true that before the recent implementation of the biometric registration system, we have not been able to count teachers correctly over the past two decades? And, lest I forget, does this not also extend to civil servants? And guess what?-the ghosts that were counted still received salaries!

Those who have been on political campaigns including yours truly will tell you that when it gets to distributing food or any financial largesse, the number proffered by the organizers is always considerably more than the actual number. The benefactors?-the organizers! People even claim positions falsely-as the higher you, are the more you get-“Na me day near the chairlady na dis consequency”.

My experience with kids in my neighborhood tells me the problem may extend to the next generation. I have the habit of giving out treats to kids on my street when driving home over weekends. The numbers used to be manageable but success breeds more success and I have noticed the actual numbers have doubled- no doubt word gets around. Notwithstanding this, I still note some cheating as I could sometimes recognize the same kid who appears at my left window reappear at the right one. And so I have taken two on for a fee (with double portions for a fee) as “security guards” to identify doublers (potential Bo school students) and the cheating has minimized. Before this I would call an adult to do the distribution-yes, you guessed it- they kept a percentage for themselves!

Malaysian workers at Rutile had a new method of counting the bottles of beer they drank as unscrupulous barmen were fleecing them left, right and center. No barman was allowed to clear the bottles. One of their lot- a teetotaler would count all the bottles at the end of the binge and pay the bill.

But my best story is the cow with three legs. This story is as reported by one of my Bo school friends. A very senior member of OBBA was asked to buy and butcher a cow for an Association event. After butchering, some mathematically mined guy decides to count the legs- only there were found. The explanation of the buyer was simple-It was an amputee cow!

This counting business-No wonder a famed the famed village Head Teacher would characteristically shout at his students-“One, two, three, four-both of you come here!

But back to the issue of political advantages in numbers. I have even had arguments about which is the largest tribe- Mende or Temne-and have seen conflicting statistics, sometimes depending on the government in power. Thank God the endangered Krios know they cannot join this competition-they just lurk in the corner and chuckle.

When we get to anything to do with elections, we must be doubly careful, as miscounting or suspicions of it could spark unrest, especially as politics now tends to pose an existential threat to some players.

The NCRA was actually formed during the tenure of the previous government and both NCRA and NEC had made some mistakes in the registration process which were later rectified before the presentation of the final voters register. NEC, as mandated by the Constitution, organized all past voter registration processes. Before the last election the state purchased, on behalf of the newly created NCRA, 3,800 (+266 spare ones) registration kits to launch the general civil registration. Nevertheless, due to a lack of time, resources and capacity on the part of the NCRA, this ambitious project was not completed. Given the time pressure, the NEC, possessing the necessary expertise, had to conduct a brand new registration of persons older than 17 years between 20 March and 30 April 2017. At the same time, however, the NEC admitted that the data of 39,276 persons included in the final figure, were missing in the electronic database (especially due to broken-down biometric registration machines). In the course of September the NEC reconstructed the missing data from manual registration forms and journals. Nevertheless, photos of 23,520 persons were still missing, but for a considerable part of the affected voters they were recaptured during the voter ID process.

The NEC managed to reprint and redistributes most of these cards three weeks before the election day in the seven affected districts. Stakeholders, including civil society organisations who observed the registration exercise, considered the voter register to be inclusive and credible.

NCRA should definitely continue with its registration process, which will have immense benefits to this country and provide cost savings in many areas. It certainly behooves the parties to support the process and make it as credible as possible for extraction of data by NEC. As was seen before the last election and as has been assured by the NEC Chairman, the accuracy of the voter registration rests with NEC who even with slippages can rectify the situation.

Quite rightly the NCRA and NEC have been coming up with responses to these allegations to assuage the fears of the opposition political parties. The last thing we want is to have another cause for one party to feel it is being treated unfairly, with the concomitant insecurity it could create. Surely, we can do the decent thing to count and register correctly.

The issue for now is greater than counting. It is a matter of TRUST when that 9-letter word-election is used. Come on NCRA and NEC-just do what is right for Sierra Leone-even if you have to hire abacuses as in days of yore. And as for the parties, adopt the Reagan theory-“Trust but verify”. And whilst we are at it- Can we Sierra Leoneans in various spheres of life also learn to count correctly?

Mufti Menk Commends Religious Tolerance

Popular Zimbabwean Islamic Scholar, Mufti Menk, in his message on “Building Bridges”, has commended Sierra Leoneans for maintaining religious tolerance in the small West African nation.

In his opening address, President Dr Julius Maada Bio, told thousands of people who converged on the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown that the huge turnout at the event was a signal of how religiously tolerant Sierra Leoneans were. He said that the topic “Building Bridges” was in line with his vision to build a peaceful and united nation, adding that his presence was a manifestation of the importance of peace in nation building.

Delivering his sermon, Mufti Menk said that he was thankful to the Government and people of Sierra Leone for the welcome and courtesies since his arrival, adding that that was a manifestation of the love of Sierra Leoneans. He said since his arrival he had seen love, peaceful coexistence and respect for other peoples’ faith.

He also used the occasion to commend the government for the introduction of the monthly cleaning exercise, which was responsible for the clean state of the country, adding that with the level of cleanliness Sierra Leone could be a shining example around the world.

He commended the First Lady, Fatima Maada Bio, for her efforts in bringing him into the country and for the introduction of the Free Sanitary Pads that would cater for girls and assured that he would use his voice around the world to support the initiative.  He also frowned at the misuse of social media and encouraged Sierra Leoneans to use it as a tool to promote peace and development.

 Mufti Menk’s Presentation at National Stadium

If u want Jannah u have to do two things;

Establish a very good relationship with your Maker (Allah) Fulfil each other’s right.

 If u fails to make your country a better place, do not expect another person to make it for u. All u have to do is to love each other and be tolerant with the understanding that we all have individual differences

 Wives should love, care and respect their husbands and husbands must do likewise or even more.

 Let’s all pray to Allah (God) to protect us against all forms of diseases and all forms of satanic influences.

 The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) says “If you are a believer do not hurt anyone, do not use any form of abusive language against people.

 Parents should let their daughters to be married but not to keep them home or sending them to street.

 The use of Social media should be respective but not to be misused. Marriage couples should encourage their spouse with lovely and romantic words on social media, but to avoid sending them to the wrong people (boyfriends/girlfriends).

 Love your relatives and neighbors as they are also created by Allah. Do not disrespect them.

 Words such as calling someone ” a Dog or to use words like Cause” against people is prohibited in the Islamic religion and to Allah.

 You don’t need billions to live a happy life. All u need is to content what Allah as blessed u with.

He recommended Sierra Leone as one of the most peaceful and clean country in the world.

May Allah blessed us and protect us from all vicious act.

Civil Rights Activist Releases on Bail

We give God all the glory for showing us His favor yesterday in court. It was a miracle indeed that Thomas Moore Conteh was finally granted bail amidst the hullabaloo.

In my almost 10 years of practice as a human rights lawyer defending accused persons in court, I have never felt so timid but for this case. The passion and emotions that was bubbling from within was just uncontrollable. But thank God for divine wisdom and for showing Himself strong on our behalf.

The unity of the legal team and the support from civil society organizations and Linkokwing University students was exemplary indeed. May God richly bless you all?

As for Bastia Michael’s and Movich, u guys were just superb. Special thanks also go to Hon Gevao and Commissioner Sannoh for their kind intervention. Thank you both for showing up, reaching out and doing the right thing for the good of our beloved nation.

But while we keep celebrating the release of Thomas Moore Conteh, let us also remember that the issue of Linkokwing University has still not been resolved.

We must therefore continue with our constructive engagements with the state so that the Linkokwing University saga will be resolved amicably and in a way that will ultimately guarantee the right to Education of the affected students who have been out of classes for about six months now.

We must never allow His Excellency’s free quality education programme which is a priority under his new Direction manifesto to be undermined in this way.

Ours is a democracy and not an autocratic system of government. Hence, the need for absolute respect for fundamental human rights as enshrined in national and international law.

Let me conclude by emphasising that “Education is an empowerment right and any attempt by the state to deprive an individual of that right is an attempt to render that individual as menace to the soci

Thank you all once again and i strongly admonish us all to desist from commenting on the case before the court since the matter is now sub- juice. See you all in court on the 12th.

Fiber Technology Should be Part of The University Curriculum

-SALCAB MD   

The Managing Director of Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) Mr Ishmael M. Kebbay has stated that he will be engaging the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education in a bid to including fiber technology into certain disciplines in the University curriculum.

He made this statement on Thursday in Freetown whiles delivering public lecture during the 1st Human Resource Management Seminar organized by the Institute of Public Administration and Management University of Sierra Leone (IPAM-USL).

“This year, SALCAB will be going to the different campuses to talk about fiber. In Sierra Leone presently, we have these mobile companies using fiber technology and we have to always bring in expert from Ghana, India and other countries to work on our fiber. Hopefully, we will engage the Ministry of Higher Education to see if we can incorporate Fiber Technology in the curriculum in years to come,” he said.

He said SALCAB is taking the lead in achieving that, noting that they have cancelled contract worth thousands of United Stated Dollars that use to go to foreign company, adding that that particular contract is being implemented by two Sierra Leoneans that are graduate from Fourah Bay College.

During the seminar, Mr Kebbay spoke on ‘Digitalizing Human Resource Management’, according to him, all functions of Human Resource, like payroll processing, maintenance of attendance records, compensation, performance management, etc are supported by and changed by digitalization.

He said the intensive introduction of digital technologies involves three main areas that is one way or the other affects the staff: transforming of customers service quality; transforming of operational processes; and transforming of business models.

“Transformation is underpinned by a digital mindset that is a unique interplay of technology, people, and process, and technology can also be used to vastly improve HR processes for employees and Managers, resulting in a snowball effect of positively and paving the way for even greater digital transformation within a business,” he said.

Mr Kebbay said by promoting the transformation and digitalization of HR services, it is possible to understand how much technology can improve the workflow of the people within the sector and free up time that can be dedicated to core activities.

He said digital transformation aims to create an agile organization that is ready to change as technology keeps advancing, adding that technology will always be ahead of the curve as organizations try to catch up.

PRESS RELEASE

SALCAB BOARD CHAIRMAN ISSUES PRESS STATEMENT ON THE ONE ACCESS PROJECT

On behalf of the board of SALCAB , we felt it was of utmost importance to issue an official statement regarding the One Access Project which is currently rolling out school connectivity across the country.

Before the current administration came into office, many of the Internet Service Providers (ISP) had a lot of historical/old debt owed to SALCAB. In order to recover the debt owed, the MD, backed and fully supported by the board, held a meeting where all the ISPs were invited to find workable solutions to settling this debt. The solutions provided were those that would work for each individual ISP towards settling their debt. Some ISPs preferred a payment plan while others chose to uptake SALCAB projects and roll them out in lieu of their debt.

Afom, who is one of the leading ISPs in the country, agreed to undertake the implementation and roll out of the One Access school connectivity project. The agreement states that they will supply the project with the installation of internet systems to provide free internet connectivity to 500 schools and universities nationwide in cities and towns and activation of six sites that were not functional. As part of the project they also agreed to replace the 34km of damaged fibre optic cable between Masingbi to Koidu.

This proposal by Afcom was put to the board and was unanimously approved. Given that all of this work is being done in lieu of debt, all costs are being met by the Service Provider and *SALCAB has not spent a single cent from any of its budgets to fund this project*.

Arrangements of this nature are done every day in business and I would like to urge our media to kindly fact check and enquire on all sides of any story before publishing hearsay. I as the Board Chairman of SALCAB, I have always maintained an open door policy and I am always available for a comment or clarification on anything SALCAB. I would like to also state that I am a firm believer in integrity and I would not preside as Board Chairman for any institution that is corrupt as I would not stand for it.

That being said, the board and myself, as the Chairman of SALCAB, are in full support of the MD and his team. This One Access project will revolutionize this country, we have currently connected 100 schools and we are forging ahead to connect the other 400 nationwide. This will empower the young minds in this country by providing connectivity to them, to be able to innovate and learn and open up communities to endless possibilities.

I am confident the MD and his team are up to the task.

Regards

,

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