S/Leone’s Amb. to China Shares Govt. Plans to Boost E-Commerce

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His Excellency Ernest M. Ndomahina, Sierra Leone’s  Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China has participated in an E-Commerce conference in ZHENGZHOU, China were he states the new Direction plan of President Julius Maada Bio to boost E- Commerce in promoting global trade.

 The International cooperation Forum on Global Cross Border E-Commerce is geared towards improving Global cross border e-commerce.

HE Ndomahina expressed his excitement to participate in the Silk Road’s 4th International Cooperation Forum on Global Cross Border E-Commerce as Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Bio is seeking to improve the digital market of the country.

“ The occasion is quite auspicious especially as it offers me an opportunity to share with you my thought on this highly germane topic, which centres around the crucial role of e-commerce in marketing global supply chains within the context of covid-19”. HE Ndomahina stated.

Ambassador Ndomahina went on to applaud the effort of all the frontline workers battling the world common enemy; COVID19, adding that they are true heroes and heroines that have sacrificed to save mankind. He said “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their priceless sacrifices”.

The Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to China pointed out that covid-19 is an unprecedented global crisis. Adding that it is the cataclysmic that is equivalent of neutron bomb since it is only targeting and destroying humans, as over 30 million cases have been confirmed worldwide.

Ambassador Ndomahina furthered that the crisis has led to most countries responding by restricting their International movement of goods and persons, and has inflicted profound damages on the global distribution of vital goods and services.

He therefore raised concern over the threat of a second wave of the outbreak that will further disrupt trade policies, and may even prolong and intensify the current global economic recession.

“within this context of distorted international trade , global e-commerce has become a panacea, foreign trade methods such as “cloud market”, “cloud procurement” and “cloud exhibition” have developed innovatively; the shift of global trade to online has accelerated, and foreign trade companies have accelerated”. He said.

He explained how digital trade has reshaped the global trade supply chain and upgrading the industrial chain, and that cross border e-commerce has brought great development opportunities and has enhanced global foreign trade .

Ambassador Ndomahina commended China for being the pacesetter and role model in this changing context of global trade. He mentioned that the International e-commerce methods have become important trading platforms through which several Chinese companies now trade in vital goods and services worldwide.

“It is obvious that the innovative initiative would certainly broaden the scope of cooperation between China and the rest of the world”. He added.

The Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to China expressed optimism that the cooperation frame work that is held within the Belt and Road’s Initiative and Silk Road e-commerce cooperation mechanism would offer Sierra Leone new opportunities to further strengthen the existing ties with China especially in domain of e-commerce as the New Direction administration led by HE Bio is working to improve on the e-commerce trade through the Directorate of Science Innovation and Technology.

The Ambassador thanked the organisers of the conference and encouraged Chinese companies to continue doing business with Sierra Leone companies that are interested in online trade.

Press Attaché Beijing, China.

US Govt to Deport Over 1000 Sierra Leoneans

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The United States (US) Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria Brewer has confirmed in a local radio interview that the Government of United States of America is on the verge of deporting over 1000 Sierra Leonean citizens to Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) has acknowledged receipt of a correspondence from the United States Embassy in Freetown. The demarche conveys an order from the Secretary of State of the United States Government expanding visa sanctions on Sierra Leone to include immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.

According to the MFAIC, the Government of Sierra Leone has for some years now being collaborating with the United States Government to facilitate the return to Sierra Leone of its nationals in the United States. The group of Sierra Leoneans are been identified for deportation because of various contravention of US laws. A statement from the MFAIC stated that Sierra Leone has collaborated with the United States to the extent that it had even received non-Sierra Leonean citizens in the process of compliance.

The statement furthers that, the Government of Sierra Leone noted with concern that the visa sanction extension has been communicated within two weeks working period.

This was made possible after Sierra Leone had received 8 more deportees in series of deportations by the United States over the years. The correspondence clarifies.

The US Government has stated: “We recognize the Government of Sierra Leone’s recent efforts to issue travel documents and accept some nationals who were subject to a final order of removal; however, the Government of Sierra Leone’s continued lack of a consistent, repeatable removals process has resulted in continued delays in accepting the return of its citizens. 

The US statement further states “We hope Sierra Leone’s cooperation with us on removals will continue and improve, which will allow for the reconsideration of this action at a future date.”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 243(d), the Secretary of Homeland Security may notify the Secretary of State when a country denies or unreasonably delays accepting one or more of its nationals who are subject to a final order of removal. 

The Secretary of State must then order consular officers in that country to discontinue issuance of some or all visas.   

The government has expressed willingness to receive its nationals from the United States where both countries act in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention.

The ministry has assured that its government is in negotiation with the Government of the United States of America for the removal of these sanctions considering the continuing compliance on the part of Sierra Leone in accepting its nationals.

It could be recalled that on September 11, 2020, the United States discontinued issuing almost all immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for Sierra Leone citizens and nationals applying at Embassy Freetown, other than those covered by limited exceptions and those consistent with U.S. obligations or commitments under international agreements, such as the UN Headquarters Agreement.

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Grafton Water is Acidic

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By Mohamed Jalloh

The norm in Sierra Leone today among the general population is the drinking of impure water that has a lot of health impacts. For many people to fall prey to water borne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea establishes the link between drinking impure water and sicknesses. Various brands of sachet and bottled water have inundated the market with enticing names to win the hearts of consumers.

To the surprise of many consumers, a popular brand called Grafton Water is on the spotlight for producing impure water that is unfit for human consumption.

There are two universally standardized measures for the testing of pure water; these are Acidic and Alkaline tests. For any consumable water, it is expected to be of pure taste and odour free.

When the water test is applied, there are certain requirements to be fulfilled. If the water depicts a colour of sky blue, it said to have passed the Alkaline test of pure water and is fit for human consumption.

 On the other hand, if the water colour displays a red depiction, the water is said to be acidic and impure for human consumption.

Over the years, the proliferation of water companies is visible across the capital city Freetown with bogus names creating the impression of producing pure water. In actual fact, most of these companies are producing contaminated water that kills people slowly.

 The production of adulterated water has the unlimited propensity to igniting a water borne pandemic such as Cholera and Diarrhea.

Even though, there is a water regulation commission, the lackluster mode of law implementation has only aided the proliferation of tainted water companies for drinking purposes.

At present, the water producing company that has attracted attention for the wrong reasons is the Grafton Water Company.

The parliamentary oversight committee on water resources has ordered the closure of the company for failing to renew their licenses for the production of water.

According to procedures, the company must obtain the certificate of justness, analysis and the Sierra Leone standards in relation to requirements set by the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau for pure water.

The test conducted shows that the Grafton Company does not meet the specifications and the overwhelming presence of acidity could make the water un-edible for people to drink.

 Honourable Lahai Marah, the chairman on the committee on water resources has stated that the Grafton water Company is producing acidic water, which is not fit for human consumption.

The parliamentarian went further to substantiate his claims

“The company on January 2020 supplied polluted water to parliament, as a result parliament ended up replacing Grafton Water with the product of Luvian water Company”. Hon Marah disclosed.

However, Andrew Senesie, Quality Assurance Manager has confirmed that it is natural phenomenon for water to contain some acidic elements because the human system needs acid for survival.

“We are in the process of using reagents to ensure the minimum availability of acid in the Grafton water. But these substances are not available in the country so we have to outsource them from oversees” Mr. Senesie noted.

Mr Senesie furthered that the company has done the PH test for specification requirement and the samples would be delivered to Standards Bureau for further testing.

“What people should remember is that our products are sometimes pirated so people misconstrue these fake products for Grafton products”. The quality manager stated. Given the fact that the Sierra Leonean market is overwhelmed by Grafton products, people are now caught in a state of dilemma. Many can hardly decipher the difference between pure and impure water, thereby endangering the lives of the members of the public

SALWACO Boss Fired

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A press statement from State House dated on Tuesday 21st September, 2020 stated that the managing Director Mr Joseph Munda Sandi of the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO) contract has been terminated with immediate effect.

The statement said that the Director should hand over all document or properties to the Chairman Board of Director of the Sierra Leone Water Company.

See press release below: 

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Happy New Week!

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Health Minister Opens Baby Care Unit in Kailahun

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 By Mohamed Massaquoi

The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Professor, Alpha Tejan Wurie has commissioned the newly established Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the Kailahun District government Hospital over the weekend.

This state-of-the-art unit, which was set up by the Government of Sierra Leone through the financial contributions of the Government of China with technical support of the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF).

The support is designed to provide expert care for sick new-borns (from birth up to 28 days old babies), most of who require specialised equipment to save their lives.

Established under the program “China-Africa collaboration to accelerate maternal, new-born and child health in Sierra Leone”, the SCBU at Kailahun, together with another SCBU to be established at Sierra Leone Chinese Friendship Hospital in Jui, in the outskirts of Freetown). The move will contribute to improving access to the quality of new-born care services in the country. This will help to reduce neonatal deaths, which are currently at 31 per 1000 live births according Sierra Leone Demographic and Health Survey of 2019. This programme is also set to strengthen the network of four existing regional SCBUs and to improve maternal and new-born health services throughout the country.

While commissioning the facility, the Hon. Minister of Health and Sanitation, Prof. Alpha T. Wiry said, “The Ministry of Health and Sanitation under my leadership has prioritized improving the quality and range of health services for women and children, especially during times of health emergencies like Covid-19. With the establishment of these SCBUs, where we ensure availability of trained and competent staff, state-of-the-art medical equipment and medicines, we hope to bring smiles and joy to families who may otherwise have lost their babies who were born too early (premature) or too small.”

The establishment of the SCBU at Kailahun, which started in April 2020, has included the provision of lifesaving equipment, drugs and commodities such as incubators, oxygen concentrators, radiant warmers, phototherapy machines, monitors, pulse oximeters, bilirubinometer, infusion and syringe pumps, hemoglobinometer, glucometer to name few of them. 

An International paediatrician has been recruited to head the SCBU at Kailahun and to provide continuous on the job training for service providers at the facility. In addition, a Community Health Officer (CHO) and two nurses assigned to work at the SCBU, have received a two-month on the job training at Kenema Hospital and Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown, where the SCBUs are already well functioning. 

“The Special Care Baby Units will go a long way in enhancing the quality of baby care services in this country and help reduce neonatal deaths. Together with the strengthening of the network of four existing regional SCBUs, this intervention will greatly improve the well-being of mothers and newborns throughout the country,”  H.E. Hu Zhangliang, Ambassador of China to Sierra Leone said.  “As a reliable friend, China will continue to provide support within her capacity to Sierra Leone for the empowerment of women and children.”The ambassador noted.

The new SCBU, which has already started admitting patients, has a bed capacity of 10 and is projected to give sick neonates the best chance to receive quality care, attention and the best chance to survive and thrive. Already between April and June 2020, while instalment of equipment was still in progress, survival rates of sick neonates admitted in the hospital have improved significantly thanks to the skilled care and commitment of the newly trained CHO and nurses.

“Especially during times of a health emergencies such as COVID-19, the best chance for a baby’s survival is at a well functional health facility, where the required equipment is in place and where competent service providers are available to attend to all the health needs of babies,” said UNICEF Representative, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh.  “The investments which have been made to Kailahun Hospital at this critical time are commendable strides to closing the current gaps in the provision of better quality of health care for every newborn in the country.”

Since 2017 UNICEF has been supporting the operationalization of SCBUs as a key strategy to improve neonatal mortality rates across this country.  This is in line with the Government’s “Every Newborn Action Plan”, which was launched in 2018.

Special Care Baby Units are today established in nine hospitals including the Kailahun, with one across eight other districts. To date, more than 12 300 sick new-borns have been admitted in these SCBUs and the survival rate is around 80 per cent.

UNICEF has plans to support the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to reach a target of establishing 14 SCBUs in 14 Regional/district hospitals by March 2021” he concluded.

Pendrax Security Guard Jail 6 Months For Theft

BY FeimaSesay

Saffa Musa security guard employed by Pendrax Security Company was brought before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Court No.1 Pademba Road Freetown for lying that he has over one million Leones Africell Money in his phone.

The accused Saffa Musa on Wednesday 23 September 2020, made his last appearance before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of court No 1  on a count of obtaining money by false pretences contrary to Section 32 (1) of the Larceny Act 1916.

According to the charge sheet, the accused Saffa Musa on Saturday 8 August 2020, Kissy Freetown through Africell Money transaction using Africell sim 088-297794 with intent to defraud, obtained one million six hundred thousand Leones from Mohamed Conteh by falsely pretending that he has the said sum in his Africell money account which knowing same to be false.

In her judgment, Magistrate Bonnie said the Prosecution team lead by Sergeant 8998 Kadie Taylor lead sufficient evidence against the convicted accused that has proven his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

She, however, noted that the evidence before her is not only sufficient but overwhelming and therefore sentenced him to six months without any alternative.

The accused has been in prison since the inception of the matter with no legal representation.

Focus on Health Sector

… Five More PHUs for Bo District

By Mohamed Massaquoi

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DR Anthony Sandi 

Deputy Minister (1) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has disclosed that five more Peripheral Health Unis t (PHUs) have been established in the southern region of the country, adding that the facilities will help to promote the free health care services among locals.

The new facilities are located in Senehun Gola, Bargbo Chiefdom, Mendewa, Lewabu and Njabla in the Tikonko and Njagbahun in the Badia chiefdoms respectively.  

Dr. Anthony Sandi was speaking at the Bo District Council Hall during a one day consultative workshop on Decentralizing ownership of Sierra Leone’s Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) for effective implementation, organized by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

He said 31 new refrigerators for vaccine storage have been distributed among the PHUs to ensure that the vaccines are safe. Only recently, the free healthcare drugs were distributed by the ministry in collaboration with the National Medical Supply Agency, (NMSA) and civil society and members of the public were encouraged to monitor the administration of those items.

“All the 138 PHUs in Bo district have received assorted items such as delivery beds and kits, BP machines etc.

We have also provided 43 new motorbikes donated by GAVI and the World Bank   for EPI and surveillance activities,” he said adding that the mortuary in Bo has been fully renovated with six (6) ambulances fully operational.

“We have given pin-codes to 164 health workers in Bo district, we have also given them  uniforms and other facilities.

Additionally, we have given health workers allowances which includes, the on-call, Biohazard and location allowances. These are strategies to make our health workers more efficient and effective in carrying out their responsibilities, we are confident that we will collectively improve our healthcare services,” he concluded.

Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly

2020/09/22

Mr. President,
Colleagues,

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations (UN). Yesterday, the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN was held. The meeting was a significant one, as it reaffirmed our abiding commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter on the basis of reviewing the historical experience and lessons of the World Anti-Fascist War.

Mr. President,

We humans are battling COVID-19, a virus that has ravaged the world and has kept resurging. In this fight, we have witnessed the efforts of governments, dedication of medical workers, exploration of scientists, and perseverance of the public. People of different countries have come together. With courage, resolve and compassion which lit the dark hour, we have confronted the disaster head on. The virus will be defeated. Humanity will win this battle!

– Facing the virus, we should put people and life first. We should mobilize all resources to make a science-based and targeted response. No case should be missed and no patient should be left untreated. The spread of the virus must be contained.

– Facing the virus, we should enhance solidarity and get this through together. We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization, and launch a joint international response to beat this pandemic. Any attempt of politicizing the issue or stigmatization must be rejected.

– Facing the virus, we should adopt comprehensive and long-term control measures. We should reopen businesses and schools in an orderly way, so as to create jobs, boost the economy, and restore economic and social order and vitality. The major economies need to step up macro policy coordination. We should not only restart our own economies, but also contribute to global recovery.

– Facing the virus, we should show concern for and accommodate the need of developing countries, especially African countries. The international community needs to take timely and robust measures in such fields as debt relief and international assistance, ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help these countries overcome their difficulties.

Seventy-five years ago, China made historic contributions to winning the World Anti-Fascist War and supported the founding of the United Nations. Today, with the same sense of responsibility, China is actively involved in the international fight against COVID-19, contributing its share to upholding global public health security. Going forward, we will continue to share our epidemic control practices as well as diagnostics and therapeutics with other countries, provide support and assistance to countries in need, ensure stable global anti-epidemic supply chains, and actively participate in the global research on tracing the source and transmission routes of the virus. At the moment, several COVID-19 vaccines developed by China are in Phase III clinical trials. When their development is completed and they are available for use, these vaccines will be made a global public good, and they will be provided to other developing countries on a priority basis. China will honor its commitment of providing US$2 billion of international assistance over two years, further international cooperation in such fields as agriculture, poverty reduction, education, women and children, and climate change, and support other countries in restoring economic and social development.

Mr. President,

The history of development of human society is a history of our struggles against all challenges and difficulties and our victories over them. At present, the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic as it goes through profound changes never seen in a century. Yet, peace and development remain the underlying trend of the times, and people everywhere crave even more strongly for peace, development and win-win cooperation. COVID-19 will not be the last crisis to confront humanity, so we must join hands and be prepared to meet even more global challenges.

First, COVID-19 reminds us that we are living in an interconnected global village with a common stake. All countries are closely connected and we share a common future. No country can gain from others’ difficulties or maintain stability by taking advantage of others’ troubles. To pursue a beggar-thy-neighbor policy or just watch from a safe distance when others are in danger will eventually land one in the same trouble faced by others. This is why we should embrace the vision of a community with a shared future in which everyone is bound together. We should reject attempts to build blocs to keep others out and oppose a zero-sum approach. We should see each other as members of the same big family, pursue win-win cooperation, and rise above ideological disputes and do not fall into the trap of “clash of civilizations”. More importantly, we should respect a country’s independent choice of development path and model. The world is diverse in nature, and we should turn this diversity into a constant source of inspiration driving human advancement. This will ensure that human civilizations remain colorful and diversified.

Second, COVID-19 reminds us that economic globalization is an indisputable reality and a historical trend. Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: The world will never return to isolation, and no one can sever the ties between countries. We should not dodge the challenges of economic globalization. Instead, we must face up to major issues such as the wealth gap and the development divide. We should strike a proper balance between the government and the market, fairness and efficiency, growth and income distribution, and technology and employment so as to ensure full and balanced development that delivers benefit to people from all countries, sectors and backgrounds in an equitable way. We should pursue open and inclusive development, remain committed to building an open world economy, and uphold the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone. We should say no to unilateralism and protectionism, and work to ensure the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains.

Third, COVID-19 reminds us that humankind should launch a green revolution and move faster to create a green way of development and life, preserve the environment and make Mother Earth a better place for all. Humankind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of Nature and go down the beaten path of extracting resources without investing in conservation, pursuing development at the expense of protection, and exploiting resources without restoration. The Paris Agreement on climate change charts the course for the world to transition to green and low-carbon development. It outlines the minimum steps to be taken to protect the Earth, our shared homeland, and all countries must take decisive steps to honor this Agreement. China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures. We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. We call on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, seize the historic opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, achieve a green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era and thus create a powerful force driving sustainable development.

Fourth, COVID-19 reminds us that the global governance system calls for reform and improvement. COVID-19 is a major test of the governance capacity of countries; it is also a test of the global governance system. We should stay true to multilateralism and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core. Global governance should be based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint cooperation and shared benefits so as to ensure that all countries enjoy equal rights and opportunities and follow the same rules. The global governance system should adapt itself to evolving global political and economic dynamics, meet global challenges and embrace the underlying trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation. It is natural for countries to have differences. What’s important is to address them through dialogue and consultation. Countries may engage in competition, but such competition should be positive and healthy in nature. When in competition, countries should not breach the moral standard and should comply with international norms. In particular, major countries should act like major countries. They should provide more global public goods, take up their due responsibilities and live up to people’s expectations.

Mr. President,

Since the start of this year, we, the 1.4 billion Chinese, undaunted by the strike of COVID-19, and with the government and the people united as one, have made all-out efforts to control the virus and speedily restore life and economy to normalcy. We have every confidence to achieve our goals within the set time frame, that is, to finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, lift out of poverty all rural residents living below the current poverty line, and meet ten years ahead of schedule the poverty eradication target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

China is the largest developing country in the world, a country that is committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development. We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country. We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation. We do not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in a zero-sum game. We will not pursue development behind closed doors. Rather, we aim to foster, over time, a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This will create more space for China’s economic development and add impetus to global economic recovery and growth.

China will continue to work as a builder of global peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. To support the UN in playing its central role in international affairs, I hereby announce the following steps to be taken by China:

– China will provide another US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

– China will provide US$50 million to the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III).

– China will extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025.

– China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr. President,

Colleagues,

The baton of history has been passed to our generation, and we must make the right choice, a choice worthy of the people’s trust and of our times. Let us join hands to uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all of us and build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone.

PATH TO POWER: THE SAM SUMANA CONUNDRUM

                       (Farook Abdul Karim Sesay: writer; politician; legal advisor}

A leader is a dealer in hope. The meteoric rise of Chief Samuel Sam Sumana – the public face and leader of the Coalition For Change (C4C) party, and the reflexive resilience of his (public) Kono support has produced a singularly third force monument. Not surprisingly so, in the emblematic embodiment of chief Samuel Sam Sumana, erstwhile vice president (of Sierra Leone) for almost eight years – who ran on the same ticket with erstwhile President Ernest Bai Koroma, who still astutely and strategically, holds the reins of power as chairman and leader of the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC).  Yet, the C4C leader is now at a crossroad! Chief Samuel Sam Sumana is now the vaunted charismatic leader of the Coalition for Change (C4C) party – the party that seemingly holds the balance of power in parliament and in the nation’s political landscape! However, no one politically pragmatic and savant should or could envy the leader of C4C, MrSumana’s predisposed position. Or predicament! They sagely say:  uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!

The C4C leader will soon be feted – and even lionized. Ironically, the APC party will soon be jockeying for either his blessings – or less presumptively, his head! To tote the (APC) party’s heavy, bejewelled crown (in 2023) – even if the stones on the crown are just jaded. The C4C leader will seriously be the “chief between 2020 -2023. The august APC party National Convention on his turf –  (and political heartland, Kono), will definitely and unwittingly play to his advantage and pander to his political whims and caprices – despite what pundits and (APC) political strategists, who borne this plan have up their “Houdini” sleeves! Taking the fight to the enemy might not be a good idea, after all. Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, will indeed be theemperor during the APC National Convention in Kono – and the subsequent years rolling up to the General elections in 2023. But will he be like the fabled “emperor without his clothes”? 

Let me reiterate, for good measure – the Leader of the third largest party in Parliament is at a crossroad! Probably at the cusp of soaring heights for him or the melting of his politically waxed wings – like the fabled Icarus, who defied his father, and  flew too close to the sun! Pun not intended. Aha! I was once wrote an article on Chief Samuel Sam Sumana: The vice Presidency – Millstoneor Milestone? Lessons Chief Sam Sumana should be au fait with.  You can Google that one. Mr. Sumana is no longer the Vice President. Maybe, that curse has been crushed. Maybe, that dogged shadow is still a blight that cannot be so easily expunged! Maybe, it can!  Or can it? The answer lies with not only the C4C leader’s inner circle – but with the broad swathe of the Kono heartland. A general without his army is vulnerable and not invincible. Conversely, an army without its respected and fearless general, who is inspiring – is grossly susceptible to a thumping defeat. Each complements the other. Napoleon once famously quipped: “give me generals that are brave! But first and foremost, give me generals that are lucky!” The Coalition for Change leader should pray more for luck than brave strategising and staunch political goodwill. The APC party supposedly needs him – politically pines for him even – (if one goes by what the rumour mills are churning out within certain APC voters!) But so do the Kono people/voters! And so does his amazingly catapulted C4C party (as the third dominant stakeholder in Parliament)! 

Kono now has a majestically swaying political power it never had before – or never relished! A swaying power pull that could only be relatively compared to the 1967 narrative, when this ‘Jewel of the East’ – held the political balance in her hands and decided to pitch camp with Prime Minister Siaka Stevens (APC). Not Albert Margai (Sierra Leone People’s Party). Mark Twain, an American author succinctly opined: History does not repeat itself. It only chimes! Kono district would be so predictably, unprecedentedly powerful and strategically placed in the 2023 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Its hegemony and political power base was only scintillatingly appreciated in 2018. Any of the two main political protagonist parties that gainsay this irrefutable fact, is catastrophically romancing a drubbing defeat in 2023.

However, the C4C leader, Mr Sam Sumana, should not feel cockily self-entitled. He is not as brilliantly mesmerising and wily a politician – as people may want (us) to believe! Shifting of the Teutonic plates in his political landscape was due to a litany of reasons. He was only the totem symbolising the collective stance against what the Kono people discerned or perceived as a ‘condescending and disdaining spurning of the cur’ – when the APC party machinery disingenuously, and with defiant disdain, trampled upon the Kono people’s/Voters’ dignity and trust. The Konos’ implacable defiance and sweltering anger, got the accidental hero – Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, the serendipitous accolades and home churned sympathies and empathies, he uncharacteristically – that some will grudgingly admit to –  garnered! And, inevitably, what the APC party, got coming! Even if Emerson Tamba Lamina (leader of C4C in parliament) – had donned the mantle of C4C – he would have still garnered the raging storms and success Chief Sam Sumana had. Just like what Charles Margai’s People’s Democratic Movement For Change (PMDC) did in 2012 in Bonthe. More like a political fluke. That never repeated in 2018 when the Bonthe voters’ anger dissipated – and went back to base! KandehKollehYumkella (Grand Coalition For Change (NGC) could not, unfortunately, replicate that feat on a grand scale because he was a victim of circumstance: his territory was not as constituency decked as Sam Sumana’s! And, like APC’s presidential ticket holder, Samura Kamara, Samuel Sam Sumana, had a colossal, monolithic institution behind him. So winning as best loser (parliamentary wise only – not to scathingly remind him that NGC’s leader was more relevant as a presidential contender and came a resounding third place winner) – among a plethora of other less vibrant political actors, was not due to his prowess, élan and dash, or charisma. The C4C party needed a face; he aptly supplied it. Accompanied by large dollops of sympathy and empathy for him. Any face could have done the trick. Supposedly, more so, by Ex-mayor Emerson T. Lamina, (who is now parliamentary leader for C4C).  Kono had taken umbrage to the then (APC) incumbent party’s abusive trust of power. Kono wanted to demonstrate their relevance and worth. Their collective stoic resolve and pride got them handsomely what they wanted: punishing a bloated, bullish, buccaneering mammoth – that thought it could have its cake and eat it.

  Now the C4C leader, MrSumana, is at a crossroad. He is walking a tight rope. He would need the finest balancing act of his political career to be respected and touted as the political trapeze artist of the century. The word on the street is that the C4C leader wants to be a prodigal son. Will certain circles and cliques within the APC Party appreciate and welcome back Chief Sam Sumana as the vaunted heir apparent in 2023? How many still see him as the Judas who helped pulverized the APC party’s dream to realise a third term tenure? How many are willingly ready to let bygones be bygones; embrace expediency, and pragmatism – and sleep with the enemy – though it is axiomatic that politics make strange bedfellows. However, will hardcore ‘Koromaists’, and other prospective hopefuls, sincerely and readily swallow their bile of antagonism and chicaneering, and realise the only way out to their holy grail in 2023 is Kono district and her now newfound, feted leader, Chief Sam Sumana? Will foolish pride and APC’s legendary ’99 pattern’ safari suit rear their ugly heads and connive with the wobbling, illogical logic that APC does not really need Kono – or its emblematic personification, the C4C leader, Mr. Sumana, to give the incumbent party, a good run for their political money in 2023? 

The SLPP administration might not be faring well now in the bars of public opinion (well pretty much so in the APC strongholds) – but who can conjecture what the governing party has up its own sleeves? A week is a very long time in politics! So are the next three years! A malleable, mercurial, fickle-minded electorate might be very compromising and forgiving in the years to come. And, may give President Maada Bio another shot. Whims and caprices play a crucial part in influencing and shaping electoral outcomes in Sierra Leone’s politics. The ‘One Term President’ (OTP) moniker for the incumbent president might farcically blow up the faces of those who coined the phrase. Who knows? Just like those who ingeniously carved up: “After U Na U” third term presidency for Ernest Bai Koroma did – in the wake of mostly silent, recalcitrant, rebellious plotters, who defied the phrase and its eerie reality. 

Yep, before I stop pontificating, let me say this lest I forgot. Kono district has tasted political power! The district has tasted blood – and is now braying for fresh flesh. Who will boldly dangle that succulent piece of political stake in the district’s face? And ready to let go without the risk of having their fingers snapped at and even crushed? Kono might not be C4C’s turf or play ground for long! Chief Sam Sumana and his party might have leased it – but  it is only a leasehold! Not a freehold title deed. The SLPP, too, seemingly, has a considerable stake there too, remember! And the governing party is surreptitiously bidding its time like what economic giant, dragon China, did in Africa. It pounced when the timing was right! Strategy and luck connived to help China’s aggressive economic push. The same drivers can conspire in Kono to favour the Maada Bio incumbency. The SLPP machinery has the resource; the grim will, and the ability to make the Kono voters an enticing offer it cannot refuse! The SLPP has the leverage to smartly create the enabling environment – to make the C4C house of cards come crumbling down. Then the incumbent administration will eventually hold all the four aces. 

If the C4C leader is utterly serious about being the next (potentially prospective) APC presidential candidate, amid all the open brouhaha and subtly conspiratorial knowing winks and overtures on his part  – now is the time to slap his cards on the table before it is too late. Skirting and circumventing around the strong and bold assertiveness to come forward and be a serious contender for the APC ticket, is like sitting on a powder keg. And letting an infantile mad man playing with a box of matches close by! Any sleigh of hand or limpid procrastinating will not do him any favours. Just being  shilly- shally pally with a party that ousted him ignominiously – and in return, The C4C leader, in serendipity hindsight, being perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having helped destroyed their dream to a third term tenure, will remain just that – a de facto alliance – not a coalition partner! Alliances get crumbs; they do not eat off the pharaoh’s gilded table. African political coalitions/alliances are a misnomer; misguided platitudes that are stitched seamlessly by the whims of the majority party in power. 

A caveat for the C4C leader: he should not think that he virtually holds unbridled political sway in his own backyard. He could be checkmated by the unassuming SLPP party. Because the realistic chance of having a vice presidential candidate stemming from Kono district, offered on a golden platter by President Maada Bio, for the 2023 presidential race – is more enticing to the Kono people than a seemingly romantic notion of wearing the Messi jersey for team APC in 2023. The chances of Maada Bio relinquishing power, just after one term, are a very farfetched stretch of the imagination! Emerson Tamba Lamina is one to watch! He is an unsung hero. For now. But we should all intelligibly be aware that he is leader of the (C4C) herd in parliament.  He is popular; young; experienced as both a mayor and the leader (practically in parliament) of the third largest party. He can revolt. He can unhinge. He can cross sides. He has political ambitions. And, he could be offered the presidential running mate ticket (by the SLPP) – a party that is already ensconced in power for only its first term! And has all the trappings of power; the resources and leverage. Though the two mainstream parties are potentially being roiled by ‘’Sumanaism’’ generally – they are more fretful of ‘’konoism’’ particularly! This Kono mania is much more nuanced than Mr. Sumana’s gung-ho antics. However, reliable statistic and incontrovertible reports on Sam Sumana’s popularity are thin on the (Kono) ground. Kono does not really care much about Sam Sumana!  All Kono really cares about is to be catapulted to the spotlight and be counted. And made existentially, politically relevant. If the APC party thinks it vitally needs Kono to actualize its dream to come back to power in 2023,  It does not need to worry itself sick about the bandied ‘’five year membership ‘’ rule that is fluttering in the air like a broken winged butterfly – that fundamentalist apologists within the APC party are unapologetically clamouring for. If APC wants to pull the rug under Maada Bio’s clubby feet (in 2023), they need to throw, without undue hesitation, the leader of C4C, MrSumana, under the bus. All Kono wants is to be part of the national political conversation and narrative. Kono just wants to be a winner! With or without their controversially, indecisive leader! Kono is way bigger than Mr. Sumana. APC needs to change course and tactics – look for a bankable woman running mate!  It will not only be a positive precedent (for the APC party that has chalked a name for itself as being patriarchal and sexist) that the international community will buy into – but it will be benchmark for future presidential races, too! Do these scenario outcomes ring any bells?

Uneasy lays the head that wears the crown, Chief Samuel Sam Sumana! I do not envy him. I am worried about his predicament. The road to his vaulting ambition is very precarious. If he really wants a fair shot at the presidency (under the auspices and behest of the APC) – he should not wait for the ball be passed on to him effortlessly. He should Grab it from his side of the pitch –and find an aggressive, assertive hand to play. The C4C leader should make a spectacular home run and do slams dunks himself. And, not let the phrase: “Na Sam we want for APC“ – ricocheted off him like the “after U Na U “ third term EBK mantra. A buzz catchphrase that yielded nothing – only sneers and chiding, snide remarks! Power is not easily given – it has to be wrested by force by whatever means necessary! Sometimes, I contemplate the C4C’s leader’s political fate as analogous to that of the male in the preying mantises’ mating game. The female mantis devours her partner after copulation! Will the C4C leader romance the APC – and later be gobbled up after he has performed the (political) mating game?  In politics, like in religion, power lay in certainty – and that one man’s certainty – always threatened another’s! I hope he will not be used as a political cudgel. He should not accept a gifted (Trojan) horse – without first checking it out with the best X-ray equipment that political money can buy! Yet, again, like they say – never look a gifted horse in the mouth. That is why MrSumana’s situation is unenviable. He is blindly walking a tight rope.  The leader of Coalition For Change, may perceive himself the future of hopeful, inspirational politics. He may have a grand ambition to restore hope; his administration to be a model for innovative leadership to improve governance; a passionate leader – yet he is set to face greater odds and setbacks. He may be driven by hope or pragmatism – and eager to defy the odds and fight the chance for political redemption. But his redemption lies not with taking sides – but with staying his course and continuing to hold the forte for democracy and the future and not taking sides to bloat any of the two main stream parties’ tyranny of numbers in parliament or at State House. He has already cut himself a niche. He needs to prove now his mettle; serve Kono – and, invariably, the nation. He should not join ranks with anyone. He arguably entered the fray as a fluke. Now he should see himself as a political nuke! The Leader of C4C should not advertently give his stamp of approval to an elective dictatorship in 2023 by cajoling the Kono voters to jump ship! The Kono people/voters are all on trial here: to salvage The C4C leader’s legacy – or to demonize it. Voters matter. For politicians are far more often mirrors of who the voters/people are – rather than molders! And, a bird in hand – is worth a thousand in the bush! Fawning tans and sycophantic circle of supporters and friends might be cheering him on now – but will they be there for him when the dam busts – and sluices of failure cascade on him?  I wish Mr. Sumana, may not be the fabled Humpty Dumpty that fell – and all the king’s men and horses could not put together again. At best, may the C4C leader, have that tumultuous round of applauds when the curtain comes down after his trapeze act. These sublime, sombre Latin words should always ring shrilly in MrSumana’s political ears: Non utsibiministretursedutministret. Not to be served – but to serve!

            (Farook Abdul k. Sesay: writer; politician; legal advisor)

“TOURISM CANNOT STRIVE WITHOUT RURAL DEVELOPMENT  “

DR. MEMUNATU PRATT

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In celebration of the World Tourism Day in Kenema today Tuesday 22nd September 2020, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. MEMUNATU PRATT has disclosed to the audience that Tourism cannot strive in any country if RURAL DEVELOPMENT is lacking in that country.

Giving her keynote address at a one day symposium in Paloma Guest House hall in Kenema District, the indefatigable Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, DrMemunatu Pratt said poor infrastructure in many West Africa countries is affecting the tourism sectors in Africa.

She heaped praises on His Excellency the President, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio for his tremendous  support towards the tourism sectors.

“As the World is celebrating the World Tourism Day, the theme of this year’s event is Rural Development. I want all the sectors in the Tourism Industry to focus on the theme” she stressed.

She appealed to the government to improve on Rural Development settings so that it would attract tourists in the country.

She noted that ” Today is another history making day because what we are doing in Kenema have never happened  and is a life changing experience in Sierra Leone .The industry is currently on total overhauling of our thinking of what we can do for ourselves that can make us better, more patriotic and more economic viable in Sierra Leone”.

Tourism celebration she said has started well over forty years ago and it only last year Sierra Leone start to celebrate the World event.

She further that last year celebration was unique and every year the United Nations with all touristic sectors celebrate WORLD TOURISM DAY every September 27th in each year.

Earlier,  the Chairman of Board of Directors, National Tourist Board, Mr. AliruKokobe noted that Tourism is not only for the Urban but also the Rural area. He added that Tourism is an industry which can create a lot of job opportunities for young folks.

He appealed to the Rural people to protect the wild animals as they can draw a lot of attraction for tourists.

Also, speaker upon speaker showers praises to the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr MEMUNATU PRATT for raising the bar in the Touristic Industry.

THE celebration will continued tomorrow Wednesday 23rd September,  2020 at the Southern Regional city of Bo.

Perception Surveys May Enhance The Fight Against Corruption

By Peter Beckley

In the past three months, we have witnessed the emergence of public perception surveys on corruption in very high places resulting into a public discourse that has been characterised by the typical rebuttals from public officials.

The hidden and highly collusive nature of corruption in Sierra Leone often prevents an in-depth examination of its scope and nature.

I am of the conviction that to fight corruption more effectively , there is a need to improve comprehension of its different manifestations and to make regular, scientifically-based efforts to measure its occurrence.

The measurement of corruption in Sierra Leone is challenging. Corruption is a crime and collecting accurate data on it is at least as challenging as gathering evidence on any other type of crime. Illicit behaviour is hidden and victims are not always willing or able to report it to the authorities. For reasons such as the fear of retaliation, reluctance to resist an established practice or because they feel to some extent co-responsible, those who experience corruption are even less prone to report the crime to competent authorities than the victims of other crimes.

The difficulty of collecting relevant evidence therefore favours the use of indirect approaches, such as those employed in the CARL and the IGR Afrobarometer, in which the measurement is not based on the occurrence of the phenomenon of interest but on other methods of assessment.

At the international level, several indirect assessments of corruption have been produced over the past two decades (including the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index; Control of Corruption Indicator of the

World Bank Governance Indicators; and the Global Integrity Index by Global Integrity, in which Sierra Leone was mentioned as being a corrupt state, to say the least. Results derived from such assessments have often attracted considerable attention from the media, policymakers and the public at large. They have been useful tools to advocate for the fight against corruption and to give visibility to this topic in the international agenda.

However, while relevant to understanding public sentiment about any given topic, it is important to note that public opinion of corruption should not be used as a proxy for actual levels of corruption. Individual opinions on any given topic are affected by several factors and it cannot be assumed that perceptions of corruption are primarily informed by experience of corruption.

Data based on detected cases of corruption may suffer considerable underreporting and they may show a biased view of actual corruption as they tend to reflect the intensity of activities by criminal justice and anti-corruption bodies more than the actual extent of corruption. For example, detected cases of corruption in the health sector may lead to greater scrutiny by criminal justice institutions and yet

mor corruption cases detected in that sector. By contrast, few or no cases detected in the education sector may lead to fewer activities for investigating corruption cases in that sector.

When data on bribery show that a large portion of bribes are paid to speed up administrative procedures, as was in the case of Parliament, the introduction of transparent systems for tracking the initiation and completion of administrative procedures could reduce opportunities for extracting bribes.

On the other hand, when a large portion of bribes are paid to avoid the payment of a fine, the introduction of monitoring systems on concerned officials and procedures may help reduce bribe-paying.

I believe the ACC has its work cut out for itself now that perception surveys on corruption in Sierra Leone has become the vogue.

In broad terms, the development of reliable metrics on corruption can prove beneficial to the Wellbeing of society and the functioning of the economy. For instance, having a clear and comprehensive picture of the level of corruption entrenched in government procedures helps to improve assessment of its cost to business. Reliable analysis of trends in corruption and of how anti-corruption initiatives tackle this problem can lead to an increase in international investment. Increased levels of transparency and information on the prevalence of corruption may also help promote confidence in institutions and improve targeting of the most problematic agencies and procedures.

Focalized interventions can then be tailored to the specific needs of each sector of the public administration.

TOURISM MINISTRY CELEBRATES WORLD TOURISM DAY

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By Mohamed Jalloh

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board in collaboration with the Monuments and Relics Commission with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Tuesday 21st September, 2020 commences week long public sensitization in celebration of World Tourism Day. The theme of this year`s celebration: TOURISM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT.

In celebration of the event, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs today organized a one day symposium in the Eastern regional headquarter cities of Kenema, at Paloma entertainment complex.

Speaking at the symposium, the Director of Tourism in the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Jalloh informed the audience that in celebration of the event, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs is embarking on a one week sensitization which will climax in Freetown at the prestigious Family Kingdom Resort in Aberdeen in Freetown.

The activities of the ministry and its agencies in the tourism sector are all geared towards rebranding Sierra Leone and making it a destination for tourists coming from every corner of the globe.

NACSA Launches Boreholes and Wells in Moyamba

As part of the official launching of the 53 Boreholes and 49 Hand Dug Wells across the country, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has launched eight (8) Boreholes and ten (10) Hand Dug Wells in Moyamba District, Southern Province.

 According to statement from NACSA, the investment is estimated at a cost of 1.72 billion Leones and it will cover Ribbi and Bagruwa Chiefdoms.

The sub project is part of the Sierra Leone Community Demand Driven (SLCDD II- Gietrenk) project which has constructed 13 modern school structures, 8 modern community health posts, 10 toilet structures with 6 apartments each,  1,000 hectares of Inland Valley Swamp (IVS), supply of 250kg of seed rice, 50 fish ponds, the construction of feeder roads, reticulated water supply and many other infrastructures including building local economy through community empowerment and favorable micro credit facilities and other economic trust.

Today at Moyamba town, representatives from different institutions especially the Paramount chiefs and the Community people have demonstrated support to ensuring the success of the SLCDD-Gietrenk project.

Government to Replace 13 Ferries with Bridges

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The Minister of Finance Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa has assured Sierra Leoneans that the government is going to replace all the thirteen ferry-crossing points in the country with modern bridges.

The Minister made this disclosure recently whiles addressing contractors and other stakeholders in road infrastructure.

The local ferries, which are found at strategic rivers crossing points in the provinces, have been operating without engines for decades now. The ferries are pulled by some ‘strong’ men who are employed by Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA). 

He said there are thirteen ferry crossings in the country and the government has secured funding for seven of them for now, and they are going to ensure that they secure funding for the remaining.

He said these ferry-crossing points include Senehun Ferry in Mattru Jong, Sumbuya Ferry in Bo District, Mano Ferry in Kailahun, Sanda Magbolontor Ferry in Port Loko, Kabba Ferry in kamakwie, and Kambarri Ferry in Yeli among others.

He said work on the seven that they have already been secured fund for will start in March 2021, noting that the consultant that won the contract could not come because of the outbreak of COVID-19 that led to the suspension of flights.

“Now that the airport has opened, we are expecting the consultant in-country,” he said.

“This is to emphasize that this government while we are fighting the Corona Virus, while we are giving safety net to hotel workers, while we are strengthening the health systems, while we are improving spending on electricity by providing electricity at the districts level, we are still allocating huge fund towards road infrastructure”. Mr Saffa noted.

He maintained that this is the year of delivery for the new direction administration.

Cyber Officer Tenders Evidential Materials in Dr.Blyden’s Case

BY FeimaSesay

Detective Police Constable Alpha Sesay with Force number 588, attached to the Cyber Crime Unit, Criminal Investigation Department, has on Monday 21st September 2020, tendered what he described as an evidential exhibit in the on-going Preliminary Investigation of Dr Sylvia Blyden and Hussein Mukson Sesay over the alleged defamation of President Julius Maada Bio.

Police alleged that Dr Blyden on diverse dates between. 2018 and 2020, wrote series of defamatory messages on her social media feed which seemed to have defamed the President, whiles Mukson was accused of perverting the course of justice after he took photos of Blyden while she was at the CID and distributes them on social media.

Dr Blyden faced ten counts of related defamatory charges, whiles Sesay faced a one-count charge of perverting the course of justice.

DPC Alpha Sesay whose function at the Cyber Unit of CID includes analyzing call logs from mobile companies, collect, analyze digital evidence.

He recalled on the 9th May 2020, whiles he was on duty at the aforementioned unit, he received a request from the Operations Officer, CID, Superintendent Mohamed Kugba Alieu, to examine assorted computers and mobile phones on behalf of both accused persons. 

DPC Sesay furthered that he received one camera, one memory card, card readers, Apple iPad, for the first accused, adding that he also received one HP laptop which belongs to the second accused. 

“As per request, we were asked to do a forex investigation into the items and bring out our findings. We were able to retrieve evidential materials form the items which belongs to the first accused. Among these are 18 WhatsApp videos, and audio messages which were stored in a memory stick.

We discovered pictorial evidence on the second accused’s mobile phone which had a WhatsApp group titled “free Dr Blyden”, ”  DPC Sesay said.

He added that all the videos and photos discovered were screenshot and transferred into a memory stick. The said memory stick was tendered as evidence in court. 

“To ensure data integrity, we further ash the videos, adding that each ash value report was printed into hard copies for the second accused person. We also visited her social media platforms and screenshot the messages she sent and printed them into hard copies,” DPC Sesay further explained. 

Prosecuting Counsel, Yusif Isaac Sesay, disclosed that the Cyber Unit was in possession of a 4G memory stick which was not before the Court. He, therefore, requested for an adjournment to enable him to bring the said memory stick to court.

Defence Counsel, lawyer Francis Margai requested that Magistrate Hannah Bonnie orders the prosecution to furnish him with all the documents which they have tendered so that he will have time to go through them. 

Magistrate Hannah Bonnie granted the request and she adjourned the matter to the 12th October 2020.

House of Jesus Organization Supports Disabilities

Pictorial of beneficiaries who received the new Wheel Chairs from Andrew Jaiah Kaikai

The House of Jesus Organization for the Disabled has provided wheel chair to Persons with disabilities which has relieved them from constrains, from their everyday activities.

David Swaray, one of the beneficiaries, last week at Wallace Johnson Street, Freetown expressed his feelings to this medium that they were struggling to acquire wheel chairs as most of them cannot make their headway. He furthered that without them, it would be very difficult for them to engage in certain movements that could enhance survival.

Undoubtedly, he pointed that one of their exceptional altruist who saw their plights by the name of Andrew Kai-Kai Chief Immigration Officer had come to their rescue.

 Andrew Jaiah Kaikai supported them with seven new wheel chairs, who the beneficiaries described as a person who had a sorry-heart for persons with disability.

He urged others that, the donation signified an indication to others to replicate similar, despite wheel chairs but as well other humanitarian supports to persons with disable in Sierra Leone.

He invigorated that, as they were always been considered by people, beneficiaries should equally take care of their wheel chairs given to them.

Though, people always offer them assistance, they kindly requested the efforts of Government and International Organizations to take them out of the street.

Police Inspector Testifies in Kamaraimba`s rape trial

By Feima Sesay

Police Inspector Joseph Saio Kamara attached to  Sexual Assault Syndicate  Family Support Unit CID HQ has on Monday 21 September 2020 Testified before Justice Samuel Taylor of the special sexual offences court against Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray and Marion Arouni in the alleged sexual penetrate of a 15-year-old girl.

The witness led in evidence by state prosecutor Umu Sumaray said he knows the victim in the matter and also the first and second accused. The police inspector added that on 23 July 2020 he was in duty together with his colleagues when an instruction came from the head of FSU Detective Superintendent Fatmata Jebbeh Daboh Kamara through Detective Inspector LansanaTarawally to arrest second accused and her husband Mr Kamal Arouni.  The arrest was for an alleged offence of conspiracy to commit a felony to wit sexual penetration of a child.

He said himself together with some police personnel left the station to arrest them at Wilkinson Road and that has arrested the accused and her husband return back to the station.

He added that on 23 and 31 July 2020 second accused Marion Arouni was contemporaneously interview for the aforementioned offences separately and that at the conclusion of the interview statement it was read over and explain to her in Krio which she admitted it to be true and correct by affixing her right tomb print.

The said statement of second accused Marion Arouni was produce and tender in court mark as exhibits O1 to 42 respectively to form part of the Prosecution case.

At this stage, cross-examination was deferred because the defence counsel for the second accused was on avoidable absent.

The matter was however adjourned to the 28 September 2020 for the witness to cross-examine whiles accused persons were remanded in prison.

It could be recalled that the accused Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray and Marion Arouni are standing trial before Justice Samuel Taylor on  8 counts charges ranging from conspiracy and sexual penetration of a 15-year-old girl.

Robbery…

2 on the run

BY Feima Sesay

Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Court No. 1 on Pademba Road Freetown on Monday 21 September 2020,  made a bench warrant for the arrest of Saio Bangura alias Obama and Tamba Senesie alias Sugar for jumping bail after bail was given to the band thereafter jump bail are on the run.

Both accused Saio Bangura alias Obama and Tamba Senesie are before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Court No.1 on two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to law and robbery with aggravation.

According to the charge sheet on count 1 both accused SaioBangura alias Obama and Tamba Senesie alias Sugar on Sunday 14 June 2020, along Leicester Peak road off American Embassy Freetown conspired together with other person’s unknown to commit a felony to wit robbery with aggravation.

Count 2 state that both accused SaioBangura alias Obama and TambaSenesie alias Sugar on Sunday 14 June 2020, along Leicester Peak road off American Embassy Freetown being armed with a knife, hammer, iron rods and shovel robbed Ishmael Jalloh phones, I.pad, chain, bracelet, ring, crep and other items amounted to three million six hundred and twenty thousand Leones property of Ishmael Jalloh.

Matter adjourned to the 7 October 2020.

Police Inspector Isatu G Fofonah is Prosecuting the matter.

Tractor Operator in jail for Possessing Arms

BY Feima Sesay

Tractor Operator Mohamed Massaquoi was on Saturday 22 August 2020, arrested by the Police for possessing a weapon (Pistol).

He made his first appearance on Monday 21 September 2020 before Magistrate SahrKekura of Court No. 4 Pademba Road Freetown on two counts of unlawful possession of small arms and unlawful possession of ammunition contrary to Section 19 (2) of the Arms and Ammunition Act 1955 Cap 234 of the laws of Sierra Leone.

According to the charge sheet on count 1, the accused Mohamed Massaquoi alias Kukunani on Saturday 22 August 2020, at Moyiba in Freetown was found in possession with a pistol with serial number 20102 without a license.

Whiles Count 2 state that the accused Mohamed Massaquoi on the same date in Freetown was found in possession of 8 rounds of Glock 17 ammunition without a license.

When the charges were read to him no plea was taken.

The accused is not represented and he was remanded in custody without bail until the 28 September 2020.

ASP AminatuDaboh is Prosecuting the matter.

Written by Femi Pedro

…a must read

Buhari and the Curious Case of the Young Generation

Sometime in 1988, I received a call from a good friend, Mr Akin Akintoye, about an interesting investment opportunity with a few colleagues. After a series of meetings, it became very clear to me that we were about to embark on an audacious but incredibly special journey, and I was excited about the prospect of being a part of such a project. For almost 2 years, I worked alongside the likes of Akin Akintoye, FolaAdeola, TayoAderinokun (of blessed memory), GbollyOsibodu, Bode Agusto and a few others on this investment project. As of 1988 when we began the journey, Fola was 34, Tayo was 33, Gbolly was 33, Bode was 33, Akin was 35 and I was 33. The objective: To own a BANK.

It was a bold objective considering our respective ages at the time, but certainly not an impossible task in our eyes. So we began to hold countless meetings at Fola’s residence in 1988, until we eventually shifted base to Tayo’s First Marina Trust office in Victoria Island. By late 1989, we were ready to put in our bank application at CBN, along with the required minimum capital. This effort was spearheaded by Fola and Tayo (the two brains behind the entire operation), and supported by about 40 persons (including myself), most of whom were in their early 30s and working for different organizations at the time.

The end product? We formed arguably one of the finest financial institutions Nigeria has ever seen- Guaranty Trust Bank (known as GT Bank today). The bank was licensed on the 1st of August, 1990 and we commenced banking operations later that year. A group of young boys in their early/mid 30s OWNED a bank! We simply dreamt big, and turned this dream into reality.

I am taking the liberty to reflect on this chapter of my personal history against the backdrop of some of the criticism about the ages of some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees. The argument being brandished about is that by nominating the likes of Chief AuduOgbeh as ministers, our President is somehow blocking the destinies of younger Nigerians by preventing them from occupying such positions. People are quick to reference Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Mohammed as being relatively young when they ascended to power, and they argue that the same opportunities that young people had in the past are no longer available today. They also argue that around the same time we were forming GT Bank in the late eighties, there were also a number successful young entrepreneurs who distinguished themselves as well –  Bola Tinubu (Treasurer at Mobil Oil), GbadeOjora (ED Mobil Oil), Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank), Erastus Akingbola (Intercontinental), Dele Momodu (Publishing), Tony Elumelu (Standard Trust), LiyelImoke (Politics), O’tegaEmerhor (Standard Alliance Insurance), AigImoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe (Access) and AtedoPeterside (IBTC) are some of the noteworthy youngsters who made an impact in various fields in Nigeria at the time. But what some of the proponents of the argument against the older ministerial nominees fail to realize or remember is that even in my early thirties, we also had very established industrialists like MKO Abiola, OtunbaSubomiBalogun, etc, who all operated during our time. We respected them, but neither felt overwhelmed by their success, nor daunted by the prospects of climbing up the ladder. We simply forged ahead with our plans and damned the consequences. The point is nobody cleared the way for us back then, so young Nigerians today should not expect that anyone would clear the way for them either.

Perhaps, at play is the venting of some on-going frustrations by the younger generation today, but it is important to put things into proper perspective. Since pre-independence, the Nigerian youth have played a pivotal role in nation-building and economic development. The vast majority of the founding fathers that led the struggle for our independence were relatively young. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was 37, Akintola was 36, Ahmadu Bello was 36, Balewa was 34 and Enahoro was 27 when they led the struggle for independence after the death of Sir Herbert Macaulay. Only NnamdiAzikiwe was over 40 (he was about 42 at the time). Indeed, even the post-independence military hierarchy was fueled by the active participation of young persons in nation-building at critical periods of our nation’s history. The first coup in 1966 was led by a 29 year-old Nzeogwu and countered by the likes of T.Y. Danjuma, Shehu Musa Yar’adua and a few others, all in their 20s. The subsequent coup brought a 32 year-old Yakubu Gowon into power. Many of the military administrators who governed the states under successive military governments (including our current president, Muhammadu Buhari) were in their 30s. Similarly, the major beneficiaries of Nigerian indigenization policies in the early 70s were young private sector entrepreneurs. The likes of SubomiBalogun, OladeleOlasore, SamAsabia blazed the trails in banking at relatively young ages, while super civil servants such as Allison Ayida, Phillips Asiodu, Ahmed Joda, ImeEbong, Ibrahim Damcidaetc held forth in public administration in their early 30s. This trend of young people playing active roles in nation building and economic activities continued well into my own generation in the 1980s and 90s, so it is not difficult to understand how we were able to muster the courage and determination to forming a bank at the time.

I have spent a lot of time mentoring, observing and interacting with young Nigerians. Today’s youth are no different from those of my generation about 30 years ago. They are faced with the same pressures, frustrations, uncertainties and life vicissitudes that we faced in our late twenties and early thirties. However, the marked difference is how young Nigerians apply themselves today. Most of us who made an impact in our early thirties came from modest means. We were not rich, and we did not have any noteworthy inheritance. Nobody did us any favours, and the older generation did not give us a pass or a nudge in the right direction. In fact, the military administrations at the time made it extremely difficult for us to participate optimally in business, governance and politics. We did not have social media, and there was no technology to aide our goals. We were simply big dreamers determined to make a difference. We were highly enlightened and career-oriented, so we were able to force our way through the door by working extremely hard.

So what exactly needs to change amongst young Nigerians today?

First, young Nigerians have to humble themselves. You have to be willing to learn the ropes and hone your craft. Around the age of 27, I left the relative comfort of a steady career at CBN to learn under the tutelage of OtunbaSubomiBalogun, the visionary and pioneer behind FCMB. Working as OtunbaSubomiBalogun’s executive assistant was an experience of a lifetime. He was (and still is) a well-organized and thorough individual. He strongly promoted excellence and perfection, and did not condone indolence, laziness or poor quality work. He was also an impeccable dresser, always elegantly attired in all-white traditional wear or perfectly tailored suits. I picked up these virtues and adopted his style of leadership and management in my future endeavors. I was opportune to travel with him to attend corporate and other board meetings. I gained valuable and practical experiences in corporate board management and boardroom politics, which became useful tools later in my career.

Secondly, you must know your worth. Do not settle for less, and do not allow yourselves to be used by selfish political interests. Challenge the status-quo. Challenge the establishment. The youth make up a sizeable portion of the Nigerian populace. By extension, they have the loudest voices and the biggest potential. Alan Moore, a prominent British author opined that “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people”. This is especially true with regards to young Nigerians. You are more powerful than you give yourselves credit for. Our current president was victorious in large part due to the votes cast by young Nigerians, and you must continue to remind yourselves of this fact, because (2019 is gone)but 2023 is already fast approaching.

Thirdly, and crucially, young Nigerians have to eliminate distractions. Do not get carried away by the allure of good living, bling, fame and fortune. Stay on the straight-and-narrow path. Distractions are the proverbial pot-holes; they slow you down from reaching your destination and damage your wheels in the process. By all accounts, social media is obviously the biggest distraction. It is a powerful tool, but can also derail you from focusing on the bigger picture. The most discerning amongst you will know how to navigate social media without hindering your ability to make significant inroads in the economic and political fabric of Nigeria. I have been impressed with what the likes of Linda Ikeji, Bellanaija, Don Jazzy, TY Bello, Jimi Mohammed, BankeMeshida-Lawal and other young Nigerians have been able to accomplish at such a young age, and it should serve as an inspiration to other young Nigerians in various fields as well.

Finally, take advantage of opportunities, no matter how small or inconsequential they may be at the time. Expect no helping hands. And when these opportunities present themselves, grab what you can. During our cabinet meetings, my boss and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu always quipped that “Power is never served a-la-carte”. This is indeed true in the context of where young Nigerians currently are, and where they need to be.

Our nation is at a critical crossroads. The age bracket between 18-35 years constitutes the majority of our working population group, and naturally, they should be the most productive and active segment of our country’s economic activity and nation-building efforts. Unfortunately, the youth of today are indolent, unemployed and generally incapacitated. Some are unable to make ends meet, and have not shown any sustained interest in holding leadership position. They abstain from holding governance positions at the local, state and national levels. Ironically and confusingly, they allow themselves to be used as street (and very recently, internet/online) thugs, miscreants and protesters to pursue the selfish agendas of older politicians.

Despite all of this, I have a lot of faith in the youth of today, but young Nigerians need to start having faith in themselves as well. You need to wake up from your slumber, and pilot the much-needed change process urgently. You must be willing to side-step all the pit-fall distractions and refocus your collective mindsets. You have to be guided by a desire to excel, and you must continue to push yourselves to grow in a tough, competitive and cut-throat environment that still exists today. Who knows? With a bit of conviction, commitment and guile, you may be able to produce a young, vibrant and dynamic Nigerian as our President much sooner than you think!

Sierra Leone women’s footballers welcome life-changing equal pay

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie

Sierra Leone women’s international Rashidatu Kamara says she can now achieve her dream of getting a college degree following a pay boost.

Kamara and her international team-mates will now be paid the same as players in the men’s national team.

The commitment to equality has been made by the Sierra Leone government and covers appearance fees and winning bonuses.

The new measures have even been backdated for the women’s team who have been paid $2,000 each for participating in this year’s maiden West African Football union (Wafu) Zone A tournament on home soil.

“I didn’t believe when I received it, It was indeed unbelievable. I have never before received such amount of money in my life,” she enthused to BBC Sport Africa.

Life changing

Sierra Leone women’s international Rashidatu Kamara believes equal pay for the country’s national team will help develop the women’s game

The 21-year-old, considered as one of the star players of Sierra Leone women’s senior national team, already has plans for her first payment.

“I’m delighted that we’re now having equal pay with our male counterparts,” the converted left back who won the 2019 Liberia top flight league and FA Cup with Earth Angels told BBC Sport Africa.

“I have diploma in banking and finance and I’m hopeful that I’ll now earn more money to achieve my dream of having a college degree which will help me to plan my life after football.

“Having equal pay is what we’ve been hoping for, this is welcoming news and I want say thanks to our government and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

“I believe it will motivate all female players in the country to do more. It’ll also encourage parents to allow their girls to play football.

Her sentiments were echoed by Martha Conteh, who captained Sierra Queens at the Wafu Cup

“It was unbelievable (to get the $2,000). I have never before received such amount of money in my life,” she explained.

“This is welcoming news. I’m happy and I want to say thanks to the government and SLFA.”

“It will motivate all female players in the country to do more. It will also encourage parents to allow their girls to play football.”

Government backing

Sierra Leone sports minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh said the move to equal pay has been done in conjunction with the football association

Sports minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh says his government’s decision to harmonise payment for senior national teams is to improve the women’s game, and give equal treatment to all.

“We decided to harmonise match appearance fee so that we can see how best we can motivate the female footballers to develop the women’s game,” he told BBC Sport Africa.

“The female footballers have been left out for far too long.

“The male and female teams are serving the same purpose so I don’t see any reason for us to pay the female team less.

“It’s never too late because we’ve been working on it, the policy doesn’t have to come within twinkle of an eye, and it’s a process, that’s why we’re here today.”

“The SLFA played great role in putting together the policy because they’ve been dealing with these players.

“We as a ministry are responsible to pay the players, but we don’t work in isolation. We sat down with the SLFA and worked out the whole policy.”

The minister also hopes the move to equal pay will serve as an incentive to develop women’s football and see a growth in the number of players.

“This is a huge boost and motivation for female football in Sierra Leone,” he insisted.

“In fact this a challenge we’ve thrown to the female footballers – you must prove yourself before you’re called up to the senior national team.

“I know players will now put more efforts in their game to fight for place in the national team, they’ll have to prove their mettle to be called upon.”

“For now the policy is only meant for the two senior national teams. We’re on it for the other categories of national teams when once we complete we’ll make it known.”

The Sierra Leone Football Association’s head of media and marketing Ibrahim Kamara says the policy is a step in the right direction

“This is a welcoming news and a step in the right direction,” he told BBC African Sport.

“It’ll help a lot to inspire the girls. This is a clear indication that the Sierra Leone government is not only determined to improve sports in country, but also determined to uplift the female category of the game to be at par with men’s football.”

The Sierra Leone women’s team will now be hoping that they can continue to play regular international football.

This year’s Wafu tournament was their first competitive match for ten years and it saw them exit in the group stage on home soil after three draws with Cape Verde, Guinea and Senegal.

First Country Report On UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities Submitted

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By Bampia James Bundu and Finda Judith Ngaujah

The Ministry of Social Welfare has submitted Sierra Leone’s first Country Report on the Status of Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities to the Secretariat of the Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, through the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone in Geneva for necessary actions.

This was made public by the Director of Social Welfare, Francis Kabia, in an exclusive interview with this Medium on Wednesday 16th September 2020.

In his response to questions about what the report entails, MrKabia stated that it highlights both the progress and corresponding challenges in implementing the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities.

He furthered that addressing issues affecting persons with disabilities is at the center of the government’s Mid-Term National Development Plan (2019-2023) and a pivotal activity in the Ministry of Social Welfare’s Strategic Plan.

He added that the decision to submit the first country report speaks volumes of the government’s unwavering commitment to ameliorating the lives of persons with disabilities.

The Director said the report will serve as a major document that explains in detail what the government has done in the area of providing Free Health Care, Free Quality Education, and a host of other facilities that persons with disabilities are enjoying due to the committement by the government to seek their welfare.

He called on the Union of Persons with Disabilities to treat this report as their Bible as it gives the the leverage to ask for more from government and also enable them to speak from a position of strength.

Director Kabia  noted that there is need for the report to be popularised so as to ensure that Sierra Leoneans, especially persons with disabilities, know what their government is doing for them and what the government intends to do as well as the challenges faced by government in addressing some of their demands.

Director Kabiaappealled to the media to speak to the report as it is rich in content and contains detail information on Persons With Disabilities.

He informed that for the past three years there have been calls from the United Nations to set up a special agency for persons with disabilities so as to ensure that their issues are handled exclusively.

One of the challenges facing Persons with Disabilities, he went on, is that there is no comprehensive  data on them.

“Low budgetory allocations is another major problem faced by PWDs,” he said, adding that there is need for government to increase its allocation to Persons with Disabilities.

First Lady Donates 45,000 Sanitary Pads

Two days after returning from a private visit to Lebanon with her husband, the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio has hit the ground running. Addressing her staff on Monday, Madam Fatima Bio called on them to roll up their sleeves and return to work after three weeks of holiday.

Madam Fatima Bio announced a nation-wide distribution of forty-five thousand sanitary pads to school-going girls, forty foot container of medicines (drugs), forty foot container of wheelchairs for disabled and vulnerable people to be undertaken soon.

The First Lady is one of the global champions of girl child education. She has been the champion to protect girls and women against domestic violence and sexual violence including rape and early marriage.

Madam Fatima Bio’s flagship project “Hands Off Our Girls” has gained unstoppable momentum and international recognition.

She is very passionate about girl-child education and she has been at the vanguard of protecting the interest of poor and vulnerable people, especially women in Sierra Leone. She has been described as “a remarkable woman”.

Is The SLPP Planning Final Onslaught On ‘Kriodom’?

By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) appears to have cultivated an obsessive dislike for the Krios. Since the reign of Sir Albert Margai to that of Ahmad TejanKabbah unto the present Julius Maada Bio; all the SLPP governments seem to have made concerted efforts to obliterate Krio spheres of influence in the socio-political landscape of Sierra Leone.

Now the last bastion of ‘Kriodom’ which is the capital, Freetown, will soon become a distant echo of Krio sphere of influence. The SLPP is reported to be planning to appoint a Resident Minister for the capital, which no doubt would be a south-easterner (I’m making this conjecture considering the present make-up of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies!), to lord over a place which has an unwritten rule for being the only Krio domain in Sierra Leone.

This process of demolishing the Krio sphere of influence, or Kriodom if you like, started in 2004 at the pinnacle of the presidency of Ahmad TejanKabbah. During that time, history witnessed how the Mayor, WinstanleyBankole Johnson was treated by the then SLPP government like a leper infected with COVID-19, which rendered the then Freetown City Council (FCC) uselessly dysfunctional.

The same treatment, which the SLPP government of TejanKabbah, meted out to WinstanleyBankole Johnson and his FCC is the same treatment that the current SLPP government of Julius Maada Bio is meting out to Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer and her FCC. The thread of commonality that runs through Johnson and Aki-Sawyer is that they are both Krios and belong to the All People’s Congress (APC)! And the SLPP appears to be both Krio-phobic and APC-phobic!

And it is that Krio-phobicness and APC-phobicness which appear to have made the SLPP to be frustrating every nationalistic effort made, or initiated, by Mayor Aki-Sawyer. When Aki-Sawyer and her team came up with the Property Tax to raise revenue for the Freetown City Council after being repeatedly starved of funds the SLPP government, through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, threw spanners into it. Quite recently, after a three-day Technical Committee retreat at which Property Rate Guidelines were drafted for immediate adoption by the FCC, the SLPP government has now decided to take the guidelines to Parliament.

Taking those guidelines to Parliament is another subtly ploy by the current SLPP government to frustrate Mayor Aki-Sawyer further. Because that process will take months in that House, if not a slice of a year, before anything will come out of them! And as if to twist the dagger in her stabs gleefully, she has been asked by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to submit a budget of FCC’s costs from now till December to the Ministry of Finance. This appears to be part of the SLPP’s hidden plan to mock Mayor Aki-Sawyer and her APC-led Council. I believe so because if the FCC has only received just one quarter budget allocation to date, which is not even enough to pay one month’s salary for its staff, then tell me when the Ministry of Finance will release funds to the FCC? We all know that the Ministry of Finance seems to be more concerned about providing per diems and chartering of flights than anything else; so releasing funds to the FCC for administrative purposes is not even of secondary importance to that Ministry!  

Again, for the sake of “Long Bench” argument, even if the SLPP government pays FCC staff salaries; yet the FCC won’t be able to make any of its planned 2020 projects such as recruitment of more Metropolitan Police and Sanitary Inspectors, cemetery maintenances, Municipal Schools’ renovations, and vehicle purchases for enforcement and sanitation come to fruition because its revenue mobilization methods have been frozen by a hostile Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The SLPP has been stone-walling the FCC since 2018 with the aim of rendering it dysfunctional just as it was done under TejanKabbah. 

Back to the issue of how the SLPP appears to be planning to obliterate Krio spheres of influence in the socio-political landscape of Sierra Leone. We all know that Freetown’s heartbeats have always been oxygen-ed, since Independence in 1961 to date, by Mayors who are all Krios, with the exception of SiakaProbyn Stevens who was Mayor of Freetown from 1964 to 1968.  Even the undemocratic National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) was so tactful in maintaining tradition in 1992 that they appointed Florence Dilsworth, the former Principal of St Joseph’s Convent Secondary School at Brookfields, to head the Freetown City Council. This tradition to have Freetown Mayors of Krio ancestry has always been the unwritten policy of the APC, which always gives its Mayoral symbol to Krios.  

Successive APC governments, or leaderships, have held, and still hold, the standpoint that if the 1960 Provinces Lands Act prevents the Krios from acquiring lands permanently outside Freetown; and if Krios cannot be Chiefs or Paramount Chiefs outside the capital city, then Freetown should always be their domain. And the APC, both as a party and government, has always maintained that unwritten rule of thumb!

But with the SLPP, the story is the opposite. The anti-Krio sentiment was started by Sir Albert Margai in 1964 when he became Prime Minister. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report Volume 3A, “Sir Albert Margai increasingly turned to his own Mende ethnic group to consolidate his power… he doubled the percentage of Mendes in the officer corps of the Sierra Leone Army from 26 percent to 52 percent…After the Army, Sir Albert Margai turned his attention to the Judiciary….which was filled with Creoles [Krios] allied to and increasingly supportive of the APC…(page21)”

That anti-Krio sentiment appears to have also been adopted by the current Bio-led government. For the very first time in Sierra Leone’s history we have witnessed countless attempts by the Ministry of Lands, under Dr Denis Sandy, to commandeer Krio ancestral lands in Freetown. We have even seen deliberate attempts to rename some areas in the Mountain Rural of Freetown to suit the colourations of the SLPP! And quite recently, several WhatsApp fora were bespattered with unconfirmed reports that majority of those sacked at the Marine Administration were Krios! If all of these instances appear not to be anti-Krio sentiments; then tell me what they are.

So it is not surprising that, “there are reports the [SLPP] government is making plans to appoint a Resident Minister for Freetown… which has for several decades been the responsibility of the elected [Krio] Mayor…”, according to the online Sierra Leone Telegraph of 15 September 2020. That newspaper continues that, “unlike other districts or cities across the country, Freetown has got on well without a [Resident] minister in charge of the capital. So why try to fix what is not broken?”

Indeed. But with a government that appears to have all the fingerprints and footprints of Sir Albert Margai; it will be safe to conjecture that the SLPP might be planning the final onslaught on ‘Kriodom’.

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