Negligence in Big Offices

By Arthur Caulker

When His Excellency Julius Maada Bio took over governancein April 2018, he told Sierra Leoneans to go to work at 8 o’clock am and leave office at 5pm every weekday. That did not come by word of mouth but he followed it with action. It brought back discipline to government offices; lackadaisical and lacklustre attitude vanished.  

But we have returned to factory setting. Now incomplete works are left for other days or you pay in the form of Bible to get your work done on time. If the president would have continued with that same unannounced visits to government offices, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Directors, etc.,would be vigilant and work would go on smoothly. 

However, responsible Ministries like Energy, Internal Affairs and few others are punctual whilst others like the Sierra Leone Road Authority, the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation, senior management of Lungi International Airport, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry ofFisheries and Marine Resources are adhering

The Ministry of Finance and many others allow pressure to mount on jobs that should be done; they become incomplete and pressure shifts on the junior staff.

Some do not even go to work especially on Fridays becausethey know that Friday is half working day, so they make it a holiday. Step up Mr. President!

The time for election is getting closer and professionalism and punctuality must start now! Even junior staff will abide because their superiors are law abiding and have the willingness to work for the good of this country. Our people are almost getting tired and some are even thinking of how to get out of this.

Imagine you write certain ministries for documents, they will put you on hold and you will have to wait until you get fed up. 

No respect for clients and the public. We want ministries, departments and agencies to ease the burden on you as the Grand Commander and Fountain of Honour of this country. 

Notwithstanding, Ministries like Energy, Internal Affairs, Basic and Senior School Education among others need to do more for effective service delivery.

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Ambassador Gberie Engages Sierra Leone Community in Zurich

By Mohamed Sheriff, Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland, Sunday 31 July 2022 – The Ambassdorand Permanent Representaive of Sierra Leone in Switzerland, His Excellency Dr Lansana Gberie, and his proactive team have engaged the Sierra Leone community through anoutreach meeting organized by the mission as a means to bring Sierra Leoneans together in Zurich, Switzerland.

Explaining the rationale behind the outreach meeting, Ambassador Gberie informed Sierra Leoneans about the essence of coming together, pointing out the strides the Government has made so far in the past four years. 

He went further to say that the Diaspora engagement would give insight to the Sierra Leone Community to know about the Government achievement and challenges, and also to have first-hand information on the current situation and needs of Sierra Leoneans in Zurich.

Ambassador Gberie said when he assumed office in 2018, he first engaged Sierra Leoneans in Zurich but stalled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. “That is the reason why I want to commend Mohamed Sheriff, the Information Attaché’ for the Outreach initiative to foster enhance engagement and communication between the Mission and the Sierra Leonean Community”, he said.

He called on Sierra Leoneans to make collective effort to make the country attractive to potential investors in the world. Also, he engaged them to participate in registration process between September 3 and October 4 2022 as part of their democratic rights.

“We have had a very difficult period over the years but thanked God for the proactive intervention of the Government to reduce such suffering on the people. it is our collective effort to make the country more impressive to the world,” He explains. 

He told Sierra Leoneans that the Mission stands ready to address their challenges at all times.

Giving an overview about the gains made so far, under leadership of President Bio, the death penalty abolished, 1965 Libel Law that criminalizes free speech repeal, Women empowerment, the free quality education, Sustainable infrastructural development, Improved health care service delivery, fighting against corruption, the Hands off our Girls’ campaign among others.

He encouraged Sierra Leoneans to continue to comport themselves, he warned them against acts that will divide them and the country as a whole.

Ambassador Gberie urged them to live as a family in unity and to capacitate themselves as well.

Speaking earlier, the Head of Chancery and Minister Counsellor, Edward Kawa, presented the Embassy staff to the Sierra Leonean Community and explained some of the activities undertaken since the Ambassador assumed duty four years ago. Worth mentioning was the issue of the Sierra Leone’s Presidency of the Arms Trade Treaty, the Vice Chairperson of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Chairman of the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council among other things. 

Mr Alhaji Hamidu Mansaray, who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Leoneans, thanked Ambassador Gberie for projecting the government’s  strides to ensure that  the country become more attractive and for citizens to bring potential investors from Zurich to the country.

Mr Mansaray noted that there was a cordial working relationship between the Sierra Leonean Community and the Embassy on several other matters but called for more community engagement with the people in Switzerland. 

He praised the President for his numerous promises fulfilled and impact of the Free Quality School Education. He promised the Ambassador of tranquillity among Sierra Leoneans living in Zurich and its immediate environs. 

The Mission will continue with the Diaspora engagement drive in the coming months in different cantons in Switzerland.

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Government, UN Launch Partnership to Advance Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone

On Tuesday, 2 August, UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Babatunde Ahonsi emphasized that disability rights and inclusion are a critical element of the United Nations Country Team’s (UNCT) multi-year Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) with the Government of Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the launch of the “Advancing Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone” programme, done in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare at the New Brookfields Hotel earlier in the day, the RC said the programme was made possible by the UNCT’s earnest pursuit of a funding opportunity provided through the global UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD).

Mr. Ahonsi emphasised that partnerships will continue to be critical throughout the programme and, therefore, called for continued support in the areas of technical inputs to the design of new systems, compiling and sharing good practices, tracking progress on identified objectives, and raising awareness of disability rights.

He commended the Ministry of Social Welfare, Organisations of and for Persons with Disabilities, the NGOs, and UN colleagues, who contributed to the initial Expression of Interest and other elements of the inspection phase in 2021, which included Research and Report and development of the full proposal. Also, the RC stressed that the UN is committed to the success of the programme, especially the three implementing agencies – UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF. The Country Representatives of UNFPA and UNICEF joined the RC with other UN personnel at the event.

In his statement, Mr. Vandy Konneh, Executive Director of Disability Rights Movement, commended the increased efforts from all stakeholders towards addressing disability-related issues. “Today, we can talk about cash transfer, the review of policies and most importantly, the implementation of the livelihood project”, Konneh said whilst referring to the UNPRPD as the “leading edge of the removal of barriers to people with disabilities.”

Officially launching the UNPRPD Programme, Minister of Social Welfare, Madam Baindu Dassama-Kamara, said the event was an outcome of the first ever expression of interest jointly developed by her ministry, the UN and other stakeholders. “This is an initiative to shift from reactive to more proactive, result-oriented programming to drive implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and disability-inclusive SDGs with meaningful participation of persons with disabilities themselves”, she informed her audience.

The Minister also expressed the government’s appreciation to development partners, including the UN, for their remarkable contribution to processes that would advance disability inclusion across all levels of national development. “The launch of this partnership is a significant event as we gradually realise the prominence of disability in the UN agenda for sustainable development,” she stressed. 

Sierra Leone was among the 26 countries in 2021 to receive funding from the UNPRPD on its fourth call to advance the Convention on the Rights of People with Disability and increase the implementation of disability-inclusive SDGs.  In 2021, the UN worked closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) to implement an inception phase of the programme, constituting an induction workshop on CRPD and SDGs, a country situation analysis, and the development of a full proposal for additional funding. 

The Advancing Disability Inclusion in Sierra Leone Programme is a partnership of stakeholders, including the UN, Government, civil society and organisations for persons with disabilities, seeking to actualize provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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Energy Minister Signs MOU with British National

By Austin Luseni

On Tuesday the 2 August 2022 Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay,has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom based company-Delagua Sierra Leone Implementation Ltd, for the provision of some huge quantity of cook stoves to rural communities in the country in line with his Ministry’s quest to enhance female access to modern energy by investing in clean cooking fuel and household energy needs.

Regional Director of Delagua Group, Euan McDougall said his company was set up in the 1980s to provide water testing kits to be sold around the world, adding that after a pilot project in Rwanda in 2010, the company went into the business of distributing cook stoves. 

He said over seven hundred thousand stoves had been provided for people in rural communities in Rwanda since 2014,noting that his company had identified Sierra Leone as a country with a government that had demonstrated the genuine commitment to improving access to clean energy for citizens in rural communities.

Mr McDougall went on to say that a huge quantity of  stoves would be provided to people in rural communities on a free-of-charge basis, stressing further that his company was envisaging the possibility of employing over one thousand Sierra Leoneans to help with the distribution of the stoves and in educating the beneficiaries on how to use the facility.

He said once the stoves, which had a ten-year lifespan were distributed, follow-up visits to the over one million beneficiary households would be made to help the end users understand how to use the products.

He said the stoves had innumerable benefits with specific reference to improving access to energy, gender empowerment and a plethora of health-related positives. 

He thanked the Minister for the warm reception accorded his team and assured that his company would collaborate with the Ministry of Energy in achieving government’s overall policy objective in the renewable energy space.

The energy sector reforms continue.

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