President Julius Maada Bio Travelled Again

By: Joseph.K.B.Morison

(Heroes Media Reporter Bo City)

Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday 13 September 2022 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has on Tuesday 13th travelled to attendthe inauguration ceremony of the newly elected president, His Excellency  William Samoei Ruto, the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya. The inauguration ceremony took place at the MoiInternational Sports Centre, Kasarani, Nairobi. 

In his inauguration speech, the newly elected President started by recognizing several Heads of State and Government, including President Dr Julius Maada Bio whom he referred to as his brother. “This is a momentous occasion for Kenya. Our politics and elections have never failed to be emotive, engaging and dramatic. The most recent installment, however, showcased our most exemplary democratic performance ever,” said President Ruto. 

He also commended Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for stewarding transparent and credible elections and praised the Supreme Court for not only giving comfort to the doubtful but also restoring faith in Kenya’s electoral and judicial institutions. He applauded the efforts made by the international communities for upholding the democracy of their country in making sure that the electioneering process were free, Fair and credible. He called the international observers through the Commonwealth to continue providing supports to its member countries in Africa during and after elections. He said that post conflicts or violence can unseat any democratically elected president and it can undermine development of a country.

Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Hon. Anne Amadi, administered the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Due Execution of Office to both President William Samoie Ruto and Deputy President Hon. Rigatoni Gachagua before the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Justice Martha Koome. The outgone President, Uhuru Kenyatta, handed over the Instruments of Power and Authority to the newly sworn-in President William Samoie Ruto. 

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio returned to Sierra Leone on Wednesday 14 September 2022.

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FORTUNE SMILES ON 300 PUPILS’ FACES

By Moses Kay Fembeh

On Saturday 24th September 2022, three hundred pupils of Fountain of Hope Primary School, at Looking Town received unforgettable support from the Missionary Friends Association. The aforementioned association is a Catholic Organisation coordinated by Father Patrick Bukari 

The proprietress of the school, Madam Mary Mangay expressed her profound and sincere appreciation to Father Patrick Bukari and the association for their commitment and dedication to the progress of the school. She told parents of the school to at all costs and by all means, be grateful and see themselves as blessed parents. She went on to say that it is not good for parents to move their children or wards from school to school just because such a child failed to be promoted and the parent does not want her child or ward to repeat. “I am persuaded that the 300 pupils of our school will continue to benefit from the school through the help of God and the association”, she affirmed. 

However, Father Patrick Bukari who is the resident coordinator of the organisation briefly talked about the importance of education to the dozens of parents, well-wishers, the representative of the member of Constituency 117 in the Western Urban Direct, and other distinguished personalities at the handing over ceremony of the uniforms, school bags, dozens of books, pencils,  erasers, geometrical sets and many other useful stationery to the pupils. Noting, that he is happy with President Bio’s implementation of the Free Quality Education and as missionaries, they will continue giving their usually support through which they have helped over 2000 youths and students nationwide. “These kids are ours, this is how most of us started, we passed through other people to reach where we are today. As I speak now, I will be going to Kono next week to offer similar help that we have done here today. We have used 120 million old Leones to support the 300 pupils in purchasing the learning materials provided” he opinionated. Going further, he gave a brief background of the association as a Catholic missionary organisation founded in 1997 by Congregation Sisters of St. Joseph in Freetown with the sole aim of helping the war victims and children who extremely suffered during the eleven-year civil war. Since then, the Missionaries Friends Association has been consistently giving support to underprivileged children and deprived communities across the country. 

 

Madam Naomi W. Jones, the headteacher of Fountain of Hope School said that she felt excited to have received such a huge donation from the Missionary Friends Association on behalf of the school and parents through the all-time committed friend and Coordinator Fr. Patrick Bukari who has always stood by them and she said as a deprived community, she understands the plight of her parents and pupils as some of the pupils goes to school with little or no food to eat in the morning, some are sometimes helped by their fellow pupils. ” I am grateful to the Association and the sister organization, Cooperation International and I am persuaded that our parents of the school will handle the items that will be received on behalf of their kids with care and this will also reduce the burden on them as some of them have been finding it difficult to purchase school bags and learning materials since the reopening of schools on 5th September 2022,” she said. 

Notwithstanding, she pleaded with the Ministry of Lands to grant them the necessary documents which will permit them to fence around the school and called on humanitarian organisations to help them with the fencing of their school to stop the community people from filling the school environment with garbage, harmful dirt and other stuff that makes the school community unsafe and unhygienic for their children and teachers as well. She further attested that on several occasions thieves have been attempting to break the windows to access their offices to steal valuable school materials.

On behalf of the Honourable Member of Parliament, Haja Samura, of Constituency 117 in the sub-community of Looking Town, Alpha U. Kamara said that his Boss the Honourable Member of Parliament has been doing the same for people in her Constituency, which recent one was the distribution of school materials in certain schools within the constituency, on the 27th August this year and however applauded the Association and Fr. Patrick for the selfless sacrifices. 

The Community Chief, Pa. Alimamy Sesay II’s heart was filled with joy,  as he said that he would remember when the school started some twenty years ago as mud blocks and with double shifts for learners. He commended Madam Mary Mangay, the headteacher Madam Naomi W. Jones and their staff for soaring the school to higher heights and thanked the parents for sending their kids to the school. 

Mr. Lansana who is a Lecturer at Freetown Polytechnic, formerly, Freetown Teachers ‘ college did the same by applauding the Association for its resilience in making sure that less privileged kids in communities like Looking Town are considered for such an opportunity. “Parents, to tell you the truth, you are lucky. There are communities in Freetown and other places that want this opportunity which you have at your disposal. Cherish it, value it, respect it,  with all your might and power to maintain this opportunity by being committed to your kids’ affairs and the school authority,” he said. 

Mr. Joseph Polynus Thomas, on behalf of her fellow parents of the school, applauded Father Patrick Bukari and the missionary friends for their selfless sacrifices made in providing such an opportunity for their community and other communities in Freetown and the provinces. “We are grateful sir, we have rich men in this country that are capable of doing the same but they will not because of one reason or the other. It takes a sacrificial heart to do so. With this help, I  together with my fellow parents and our children, say a countless thankful,” he remarked. 

Mr. Abu Bakarr S. Lombie, a teacher who represented his wife on behalf of the Teaching Service Commission said that parents must encourage their kids to be educated and this will help them to become better business people. They will not be on the streets but in bigger shops managing large businesses in the country. “I started my career as a poor teacher at the time when my wife Gloria was selling in the market and she would be tempted to take our daughter to the market and I would say to her that by all means, our daughter should go to school and today she is in the final year of her university course.” he proudly said.

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A TRIBUTE TO PROF. GBANABOM HALLOWELL

By Moses Kay Fembeh, 

Managing Editor Heroes Media Newspaper.

I first met Prof. Elvis Gbanabom Hallowell through his works in 2012, which was after I read his collection, titled: “When Sierra Leone Was A Woman” and the “Dinning Table” which the latter talks about his experiences of the civil war in Sierra Leone. Since then, I became one of his secret admirers because his artistic nature was appealing to me. Prof Gbanabomwas not only a veteran journalist and a literary guru but a mentor and a friend that one can easily confide in. It was difficult for one to meet with Prof. Gbanabomwithout him talking about poetry to him/her. He was very much familiar with poetry to the extent that even in his conversations with people, there were some mixtures of poetry.

I first had the opportunity to meet with him face-to-face in 2014 at his office, when he was the Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC). He has been a few of the nicest men I have ever met in this literary journey. He was very approachable and had a sense of humour and very accommodating. 

He was a member of the Sierra Leonean Writers Forum, a Forum he created with the sole aim of promoting writing and a platform for writers to meet, write and discuss national issues. I had the opportunity again to meet with him in person at his former Congo Water, Wellington residence in 2019, during the fifth memorial service for his late father Rev. Jacob Hallowell. It was there he introduced me to some of his family members like Mr. Prince Hallowell and others whose faces I could not remember and since then our relationship continued till his death on the 20 September 2022 at 7:39 p.m. in the presence of his niece, nephew (Alieu) & I. We started Prof’s health challenge and we sadly ended up in tears. 

Prof. Gbanabom Hallowell was offered a lecturing position at Tubman University in Liberia where the university gave him the title of Associate Professor of Literature and Drama. He got his appointment letter from the University in January 2020 and before his departure to Monrovia in February, of that same year, to take up his new assignment, I was the one he contacted to check for him for a ticket price and I did. I sent him the update, a few days later he messaged the Sierra Leone Writers Forum that he was travelling to Liberia and we joyfully bided him farewell and today we bid him farewell in tears. 

Before his death, He continued to send more poems and updates about his new environment in Liberia. By July 2020 he stopped sending in poems and essays to the Sierra Leone Writers’ forum but most of us thought that he was too busy with academic workloads, little did we know about his health condition at the time. By September of that same year, he was sent back home to seek medical attention.

However, the message of his illness was told by Mrs. Elizabeth Kamara, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff & Mr. OumarFarouk Sesay and a few others. When Prof. arrived in Freetown in September 2020, Mrs. Elizabeth Kamara author of “Stolen Laughter” told me to accompany her to pay a visit to Prof. Hallowell. 

By January 2021 there was a committee was set up to serve as an intermediary between the association (SWF) and the family. The association continued to send their monthly support to Madam Aminata Esther Sesay the mother of the late man’s eldest son. 

Prof. Osman Sankoh directed us to take the late man to Dr. Dan Yokey at Connaught hospital but since Doctor Dan had a stroke project for people suffering fromstrokes, he referred us to Dr. Thompson. Prof started treatment with Dr. Melvina Thompson in January 2021 and she (Dr. Melvina Thompson) referred us to Choithram hospital for X-rays and the results were out but with a little favourable interpretation. 

Later when the writers’ association was planning to take another dimension, a special therapist in Ghana DrPatrick Bankah advised that we do an MRI of the brain test in Freetown. We went to EcoMed where the MRI test was done and Dr. Bankah ordered the MRI test results to be sent to Ghana, which we did as directed. It was truly unbelievable when Alieu and the young woman who happened to be Prof’s., niece called me and said “Moses cam see Doc e done die, Doc done die.”  Since I was a bit skeptical about it, I said to them “NO, he is not dead, let’s give him some time.” Yet, I didn’t believe and I had to tell Alieu to stop calling family members but it was not too long before we hadto call an experienced person from the neighborhood to testify to us about Prof.’s health and the response from the neighbor was “let thy will be done”.

Indeed Prof., let thy will be done, as you joined your ancestors rest assured that your impartation and the great books you left behind, shall live after you.

And to you, our established writers, both home and abroad and young aspiring writers, hold your pen tightly for it shall live after you. 

Our literary guru is gone. Prof. Hallowell, sleep on, sleep on, our dear beloved HERO; take your rest.

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CITIZENS EXPRESSED CONCERNS

By Moses Kay Fembeh & Alice Rugiatu Conteh.

As per the mandate of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone to register eligible citizens for the 2023 general elections, Reporters of Heroes Media Newspaper have been closely monitoring the voter registration exercise in some communities, in the East of Freetown. The first phase of the registration process started on the 3rd of September and ended on the 17th of September, 2022.

Some centres in both the Kissy & Wellington communities were visited during the first phase of the registration process. We would like to bring to the notice of our general readership and members of the general public from what we have collected so far from fields Staff of Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, political parties’ agents & registrants. Amara Lahai a staff of ECSL and a resident of Samuels, Kissy Community said that the registration process at New Apostolic Church Primary School by Kissy Bye Pass Road was peaceful and smooth as they did not face any major obstacles in terms of electoral gadgets given to them and the registrants were peaceful with all the protocols attached to the registration process. Lahaieven sighted a 54-year-old man who has never registered in his life but this time round got registered easily. The 54-year-old man attested to the fact that he has never been registered because he has never felt like registering and voting for any political party but this time round, he felt compelled within himself to register. 

Santigie Kargbo an observer for the All People’s Congress Party (APC) at Bambara town, Gideon Primary School, said that the first time registrants were asked by the ECSL staff to produce their birthday certificates or any relevant documents or to bring their religious leaders or parents to sign up in the witnessed box as per the criteria of ECSL. “For instance, if I am 18 years old but I do not have any ID card, I should come with my relation or a stakeholder in my community for a recommendation,” Kargbo said. He further continued that rejection forms were available for persons whose ascents were not clear and had no identification card. “We the party agents complained to the Ward Coordinator but a little effort was made, and I believe those whose ascents were not clear are those who should be given rejection forms. Besides them nobody should be given that form even when they have issues with pronunciation,” he said. He affirmed that the community people closely worked with them and the people also helped to readily set the centre at 6:30a.m. before the commencement of registration at 7:00 a.m. daily. He further said that they didn’t face any major change and the community people helped to control the queues as they were actively involved in the process. “Two queues were provided for the aged and the young/adults and special chances were given to pregnant women, persons with disability, and lactating mothers to be chosen from the two queues provided,” he added. 

Philip Koroma another party agent at the same centrealso remarked that the first phase of the registration process was peaceful as the registrants devoted themselves to complying with the ECSL mandate and he suggested some minor changes to be done in the 2nd phase of the registration process. “Some people even got angry but in the end they obeyed,” he said. He also expressed the mutual understanding that was among them, parties’ agents and ECSL Staff as they worked amicably to produce efficient results in the end. 

Santigie affirmed that the registration process started at 7:00 a.m. and sometimes ended at 6 p.m. daily. “Although we are to start at 7 am and end at 5 pm, we sometimes extend the time for progressive work to be done. We extend time per day in consultation with the centre manager and fellow party agents so that more people could be registered,” he remarked

Some ECSL Staff in the Wellington community complained about the impatient of some registrants and their mischievous actions like giving false information about themselves, especially first-time registrants who are still 16 years plus but because of their physical body structures which look older than their ages they lied that they were 17 years old and will be 18 years old before 24 June 2022. Unfortunately, when those young registrants were asked about their date of birth, they would say that they were born in July, August,September, and so on, without being specific. 

The voter registration process started with some hiccups in the country, not only in the Kissy and Wellington communities but nationwide. According to our findings, some centres and communities faced huge challenges with equipment provided by ECSL and the registrants had to give a tough time to some Staff due to inadequate knowledge about the registration process. 

This media was also informed by the Commander for Freetown East, Deputy Superintendent of Police,Edward Senesie of Ross Road Police Station that 12 persons were arrested that were not up to the age of 17 or 18, for illegal registration. He added that they will not even be 18 years old before June 24, 2023, and they also arrested an APC chairlady at Lunsar. According to him (the commander), the chair lady was giving wrong messages to the people such as “If you are 16 years and above go out to register,” this message was given to the residents of Lunsar. He further said that the woman will be sent to court for misinforming people about the registration process.

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Africel Sierra Leone

By Moses Kay Fembeh

On Wednesday 21st September 2022, Africell Sierra Leone held a signing-up ceremony for their newest Brand Ambassador Mammy Thomas of Housemates Salone season 3, at their Africellheadquarters in Wilberforce village.

Mr. John KontehAfricell Media Manager gave a background on digital ambassadors. He said digital media is a new initiative and they as a big telecommunication company in the country will help their company and its marketing strategy to be enlarged.  The memorandum of understanding was signed up for a year and according to John Konteh, the MoU will be reviewed yearly on a performance basis. That is to say, if any ambassador meets theirexpectations, he/she will be signed up. He therefore looks forward to a better collaboration with Mammy Thomas. 

Joe Abass Bangura the Africell Chief Cooperate Affairs Officer gave a brief background of Mammy Thomas. “Osman Bendu alias Mammy Thomas is a native of Moyema in the Moyamba district. Born in 1993, Mommy Thomas attended several schools in Freetown such are St. Helena A.M. E Secondary School & Methodist Boys High Secondary School etc, Within 9 months Osman has gotten 82000 followers on TikTok and this is huge. Let me say a bit about myself, I sat to my third O level exam at the IndependentGovernment Secondary School at Shell in 1999. Africell has helped several young people like Kelvin Doe. Doe and I went to the American Embassy for an interview and his ticket fees were paid by Africell. Another Young man, Karim Brima of Kenema won one billion old Leones from Africell. You can never be Kelvin or Brima because we are all different in life. There is hard work and there is luck, so, if we are to spiritualize luck, you can say someone is favoured by God. So, On behalf of the Managing Director and andthe general staff members of Africell, I say congratulations to you Osman and we look forward to teamwork, Africell believes in you”, Joe AbassBangura said

Going further, the Brand Ambassador, Osman Bendualias Mammy Thomas who is a comedian and a student of the University of Management and Technology (UMTEC) Kissy Dockyard, Freetown said,  “I would foremost start by appreciating God for sustaining me to attain this first height in my career. To tell the truth, I have never dreamed of this, I was born in Tombo, my ancestral home is Moyema but my mother used to come to do business in Tombo where I grew up. Since I was a poor boy, from a poor family I started engaging myself in several activities that would keep me and my parents going. I would remember when my father and my elder brother who is in our mist today used to come to Freetown. Our father would say, ‘Hey! You see thatjeep it was bought by pen and you see that house over there it was bought by pen’ so I’m expecting you both to buy me a car and build me a house someday.’ Fortunately, our father could not live to tell the story as we lost him two years ago, but I believe he is a happy man today and it was due to what his used to tell us that made me desire the highest education in the land but financial difficulties have been the major challenge, but I’m grateful today. I have never travelled out of the country nor do I have a passport book, however, Africell in collaboration with African Young Voices (AYV) Housemates Salone season 3 has helped shaped my belief that there are better days ahead. I’m grateful too for travelling to Dubai under the ticket of Africelland I pray to the Almighty God that he continues to strengthen our relationship for the best now and in the future.”

Mommy Thomas continued that he applied three times for the Housemates salone 1, 2 &3 but he was unsuccessful on the first two occasions. He only made it in Housemates salone season 3. He further said that some of his friends and people pessimistically asked him after his first and second failure to quit the idea of housemates. “U nor go tire for apply, u sef” they used to remark.  But he often told them that he would notquit for any reason. He further said that he can’t fully imagine what could have been of him if he had quitted. He concluded by thanking his manager for being there for him; encouraged young people to stay focused and never give up on their dreams, and applauded the management of Africell for their continual support in making sure that dreams and potentials are bred again in young people.

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NRA BOARD CHAIR PARTICIPATES IN THE 3RD BRITACOF IN ALGIERS- MAKES STRONG CASE FOR SUPPORT TOWARDS DATA ANALYTICS AND DATA WAREHOUSING FOR THE NRA

The Board Chairperson of the National Revenue Authority Mrs. Tuma Adama Gento Kamara has made a very strong case to the Belt and Road Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism- BRITACOM towards the support of data analytics and the establishment of a data warehouse for the National Revenue Authority in Sierra Leone. The theme for the 3rd BRITACOF is “Enhancing Tax Administration Capacity Building in the post pandemic era”. In her keynote address, the Vice Chairperson of the institution Tuma Adama Gento Kamara highlighted some of the most important digital reforms made so far by the NRA in the last three years noting the immense changes in the country’s revenue administration. She said that despite these positive steps, a wide range of institutional weaknesses persist, and according to her, that is where the practicality of capacity building comes in. “These weaknesses ultimately have the potential to negatively impact on the revenue mobilization drive of the Government” she said. The NRA Board Chair said that the limited capacity building and inability to catch up with the levels of revenue/GDP performance of many of the performing countries in the African continent are caused by a combination of factors such as the lack of access to reliable data, weak capacity in data analytics, low capacity of ICT staff and the inability to retain them, the lack of skills for revenue intelligence analysis, low taxpayer education, the adoption of reform projects and the absence of an evaluation mechanism to assess their effectiveness, and the lack of exposure to best practices from other countries which have successfully implemented ICT reforms.

She said for Countries like Sierra Leone, one of the main problems causing low institutional capacity is the lack of access to reliable revenue data. Although the NRA has introduced ICT systems, some key business processes are still performed manually, which render access to reliable data impossible especially when the systems are yet to be integrated or linked.

She continued that staff responsible for research and monitoring have to extract data manually from the archives which is not only time consuming, but also impairs the quality of data needed to inform tax audit, risk assessment, forecasting and research. As a first step to addressing the problem of accessing reliable data, Mrs. Gento- Kamara said the institution is planning to set up a Data Analytics unit dedicated to extracting and analysing data regularly to inform risk management, tax audit, forecasting and research. This unit is expected to be trained and provided with advanced data analytics software to ensure it handles all data needs in the Authority. Establishing and capacitating the Data Analytics unit is therefore a key indicator to the success of the project.

Moreover, the NRA Board Chair said that the institution is seeking to Establish a data warehouse which provides a one stop shop for data accessibility. According to her it is a software platform where data from internal ICT revenue systems and from ministries, departments and agencies of government will be stored and retrieved for analysis. According to her, achieving accessibility to data will be dependent on the creation of a data warehouse system.

The data warehouse she said, will partly feed from NRA ICT systems such as ASYCUDA World, ITAS and ECR, as well as operational systems of MDAs with a stake in revenue collection.  Linking all these systems together makes it easier for users of the data.

She concluded by giving four recommendations that she thinks will ensure sustainability and benefit of technological advancement to tax administrations of BRITACOM,

1.   ICT staff and project management teams of the technological systems of tax administrations must be fully capacitated and incentivised to ensure retention of their services.

2.   A central ICT training lab should be established within the continent of Africa to train ICT staff and project management teams in the technologies of the systems rolled out and those that constantly evolve with time. Sierra Leone already has vast acreage of land space for such a training lab that can serve the rest of members of the continent.

3.   Sustainability and continued benefit of revenue systems technologies in member administrations of BRITACOM could also be enhanced by building capacity in data management including setting up of a data warehouse system and data analytics function within revenue administrations.

4. Sustainability and benefit of technological systems for BRITACOM members is to strengthen capacity in digital communication through making use of interactive tools in the ICT systems of revenue administrations to reach out to taxpayers whilst they can also seek clarifications and forward complaints using the same interactive tools. Many of the revenue systems being rolled out today provide for such facility, but not sufficiently utilized to reach the elite taxpayers who contribute the larger portion of revenues raised by tax administrations.

She concluded that if that if the impact of BRITACOM is to be felt within member countries, these areas must be supported or given serious consideration.  

She therefore called on China as leaders of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism to join hands with other member countries to seriously consider the aforementioned areas of support for sustainable technology usage and capacity building in BRITACOM Revenue Administrations.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND TAX EDUCATION UNIT
5 GLOUCESTER STREET FREETOWN.
http://www.nra.gov.sl
CALL CENTER 839- Orange and Africell

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GENTO IS THÉ KINSMAN REDEEMER FOR FCC

By Martha Fembeh

Sierra Leone’s contemporary politics is becoming alarming between the two oldest political parties, the APC & SLPP. Mr. Mohamed Kamara alias Gento is an industrious man and many Freetownians even among some meaningful Creoles will attest to that fact.

The disillusionment of the Freetown City Council Mayoral position is believed by many people that it belongs to the krios, especially those in the All People’s Congress (APC) Party. But I want to assure my readers and the general public that Mr. Mohamed Gento Kamara is the best candidate for the Freetown City Council Mayoral position and I am sure that with him Freetown City Council will have a reformed and the city will be rebranded. Like I said earlier Gento is an industrious man, if voted by the people of Freetown, he shall help in the development of the city. 

Freetown is the location of the Central Government and the country’s major offices. The city has been dirty for decades and that is one of the reasons why the city is vulnerable to pandemics and other harmful diseases. Gento is the kinsmen’s redeemer, Freetownians are tired of crying and they need a positive change. With Gento the drainages and fiddler roads will be made and Freetown city will be like any city of the western world. 

According to some concerned citizens, Gento will be the next Mayor of Freetown under the ticket of the Sierra Leone Leone People’s Party (SLPP). “A visionary leader is all that Freetownians needed,” said a concerned citizen. 

Cecelia Cole a member of the All People’s Congress Party expressed her desire for the political iconic suits for the Freetown Mayoral seat. “I may not vote for the presidential candidate under the SLPP because of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, but for the sake of Mr. Mohamed Gento Kamara I will surely express my civil rights by voting for Gento comes June 24 next year. I believe Gento is the only contemporary aspiring candidate for the Freetown Mayoral seat. I’m a bonafide APC but I am not persuaded that someone’s political affiliation should be a storming block of having his or her way through the ladder of political position. I am not only an APC but a Krio from Regent village but I do not favour the Mayoral seat for only the krios I also believe that if our krios ancestors would have settled in the provinces they would have been entitled to several positions in the provinces,” she remarked. 

A visionary leader is somebody who has the foresight to see directly into the future and would work diligently to obtain that which he/she envisioned with a combination of proficiency and service delivery. Leadership takes vision and vision is the only key that will help any leader and the led to reach the targeted destination. Meanwhile, Gento’s vision of developing the city is quite different from the vision of the former Mayors and the current Mayor, Madam Yvonne Aki Sawyer.

It has been two decades since the Sierra Leonean civil war ended in 2002, since then Freetown is yet to get from its wounds. The Freetown City Council has got several Mayors before and after the war, none, even the current Mayor of Freetown Aki Sawyer has been ableto attain the expectations of Freetownians. As a female Mayor, much has been expected of her. Most of her projects including “Transform Freetown” have been unsuccessful.  

Notwithstanding, Gento would be the most suitablecandidate for the Mayoral seat. And Sierra Leoneans must be wise and reasonable not to focus on political parties but a person’s ability and vision. We should see ourselves as a big family and vote for a better nation so that we all shall become better Freetownians.

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Dr. Gilpin, As Rokel Commercial Bank Records Unimaginable Profits of 88 Billion

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Vision is the key to any successful business and it takes a man or a woman with a vision to take the company or institution to greater heights. Vision is not only to see places and things but the ability to see how best those places and things envisioned could be utilized in thefuture. If you take a vision from a leader he/she will be left with nothing, because vision is the key to success driven.

Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin is a VISIONARY leader, it takes a man with the vision to make 88 billion profits, especially when surrounded by all sorts of mischievous news. Dr. Gilpin has been able to demonstrate his leadership prowess by recording the unimaginable profit of 88 billion and all that has made him a hero and a man with a vision, since he became the Managing Director of the Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB). 

He is a man of few words with great and productive actions. He is truly an asset at the Rokel Commercial Bank, and that is the Spirit, his successes in the banking industry is not without challenges but great people are always fought from within and he could be the Moses for the Banking sector in Sierra Leone though people keep drawing him back. 

There is a popular saying in the Bible, “When God is for you, who can be against you?” The Bible further says, “Let every man be a liar and God be true.” There are certain people in life who are blessed by God no matter what, human hatred cannot bring them down, they will stand the storm and that is exactly the grace God has bestowed upon Dr. Gilpin he is the people’s choice. 

Dr. Gilpin like any human leader might have done mistakes in the past but his past mistakes must not be used to judge him. His mistakes and human weaknesses have not stopped him from making breakthroughs at the RC Bank. He is a man who believes in partnership and collaboration with different development institutions and organizations. He is not only a banker but an inspirational speaker, he is the Moses the bank needs. As an industrious Managing Director, the Rokel Commercial Bank was able to make Eighty-eight billion profits. Despite the secret battle, there are still Joshua and Caleb, that is to say, the Bank still has very positive Staff who are also helping to make sure that the bank retains its legacies and credibility earned over the years. 

There have been various rumors making rounds on social media about his court cases and a committee that was set up to investigate his leadership. It could be sometimes frustrating and stressful when you are doing your best than your better just to ensure that your customers, staff and stakeholders are fully satisfied and you have some people who murmur against your leadership to bring you down. Moses faced this in the Bible with his people, he was a vanguard, a nationalist who loved his people but some of his people constantly pulled him down with ill comments and the worship of idols. Yet, it was that time Joshua learned under Moses to take over him. 

It could be sometimes difficult for Dr. Gilpin because of the few mischievous persons who might base their findings about him on assumptions. For a Bank to make 88 billion profits in a year it takes teamwork, good leadership, and managerial expertise. 

In human eyes as how we define competency, there are competent people within his jurisdiction and the hands of God are upon him and when God’s grace is upon a man, no man born of a woman would be able to put him down. Again in the Bible, some Canal people failed to realize that position does not come from the East, North, South and West, but it comes directly from God who has the power to lifts others and puts others down. 

Every workplace has Sanballat and Tobiah, the two men who tried to end Nehemiah’s dream and goals of building the wall thus every leader should be aware of them and develop a sense of purpose, self-discipline, self-faith and determination. It was self/individual faith that let Moses aware of himself and refused to be called the son of the princess of Pharaoh and it was determination and faith that help Nehemiah to continue his works even though some of his workers were forced to leave as the enemies increased taxes on the labourers and as things got harder, money lenders danced to the tune of Sanballat and Tobiah by increasing interest rate on the people.

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“We Shall Live By The Law,” ECSL Boss Assured The Public.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

On Monday 19 September 2022, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone held a successful engagement with journalists about the just concluded phase one of the registration process which started on 3rd September and ended on 17th September 2022, at the ECSL Headquarters Tower Hill, Freetown.

The ECSL Boss assured members of the fourth estate and the general public that they as an institution responsible for conducting free and fair elections nationwide shall make sure that they live by the dictates of the law and no political party shall dictate to them what they should do or not. Therefore, the general public must not doubt its credibility as an institution.

The ECSL Boss Mr Mohamed Konneh went on to attest to the fact that there were some challenges on the ground but he has been grateful to God for having competent commissioners, staff and stakeholders for their timely intervention and call to duty in the registration process which at the end yielded them an outstanding turn-up of 1, 345, 176 registered citizens across the country. 

“Notwithstanding, we had challenges during our training exercises and the August 10 protests would have been a threshold for the registration process to be postponed but we thank God that we maintained the stipulated startup date which was 3rd September 20222. We have been able to deploy our staff members to their various centres for the commencement of phase two of the registration process, from Tuesday 20th September to Tuesday 4th October 2022. 

However, Commissioner Konneh was very grateful for the presence of the fourth estate as they helped the general public by feeding them information and he hope that the right message will be sent out to the public. The Director of Operations, Mr Mohamed Briama Jah from the Police Headquarters, George Street was in attendance to update ECSL and the general public about their different arrests and cases gathered during the first phase of the voter registration process.  

Commissioner Konneh further updated the fourth estate and told them that the news making rounds on social media that the EU has given 10 million dollars to the commission is not true and it is a mere tale against their institution. He further commented on the provisional data registration that was collected in phase one Starting with Eastern Region 269110; Northern Region 241847; Southern Region 295759; and Western Area 350 452; making a total of 1, 345,176 registered persons.  

He applauded the Government of Sierra Leone as the materials provided were fully funded by the government of Sierra Leone and not foreign aid. 

Furthermore, he promised that 1815 centres will be opened on Tuesday 20th September 2022 for phase two.  

In addition, the Director of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) Mr Massaquoi was also in attendance to offer a general knowledge on the different birth certificates issued to the general public and said that the staff at ECSL should be much focused and not accept any fake birthday certificate as he went on to make some clarification on the differences between a fake and a real birth certificate. 

Assistant Inspector General of Police Mohamed Briama Jah who doubled as the Director of Operations in the Sierra Leone Police updated members present about their different arrests done so far during phase one of the registration process. “We have records of some people that were arrested across the country. We have 9 cases, 16 suspects, 2 have been charged to court and one of the two is Mohamed Massaquoi alias Big Fish who was arrested for disorderly behavior at the St. Paul church on the 5th of September 2022. On the 9th of September, Kadiatu Toronka was arrested and charged for assaulting police officers at Kamayamacommunity Lumley. “In Freetown East, 36 individuals were arrested making voter registration cards for people, 25 were men and 11 were women. They are under our custody helping us with the investigation and 17 cases are under our watch”, A.I. G Mohamed Briama Jah said.

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Consequential Concern For Teachers and Pupils

By: Joseph K.B.Morison, (Heroes Media Reporter Bo City)

As the Government through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) continues to support and supervise the country’s Free and Quality Education, on Monday 5th September 2022, schools were reopened across the country for the 2022/2023 academic year.

Mr Ibrahim Yahayah Fofana, the Bo District Deputy Director of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE), stated that, since schools reopened on September 5th 2022, the attendance of pupils in schools within the district has been very poor.  “Our teachers remain committed to giving their best in making sure that the government’s Free and Quality Education program continues but it’s like the reopening of schools in Sierra Leone is a traditional practice by our school going children together with their parents, that whenever schools reopen, the pupils give themselves additional one week to stay at home,” he said. He continued to say that, every academic year starts the very day schools reopen so he encourages parents to allow their children to be in school on the first day of the reopening of schools.

He said that since schools reopened he has been monitoring schools in and out of the city. “My very self and the free quality schools assurance officers have been monitoring schools within the district but it’s heart-rending to see our pupils being absent from school. The teachers are in the schools ready to teach but who would they teach, when there are no pupils in the classrooms?” he remarked.

In responding to the allegations that teachers with pin codes are involved in the voter registration process, MrIbrahim Yayah Fofana said that his teachers areinvolved in the registration exercise because the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone believes in the credibility of the teachers when it comes to the registration process. On the contrary, he condemned the involvement of teachers in the voter registration process. He said that even though it is a national service, leaving the school and children when the school is in session is a crime.

He reiterated that the ministry and the Anti-corruption Commission would not treat it easy with any teacher, especially those teachers on government pay vouchers who are not in their various schools to continue with their academic work. “Some school leaders had an agreement with their teachers allowing them to involve in the voter registration process, but my ministry will not treat it lightly with any head of school with such a barbaric act on their side” he said. 

The District officer has engaged all heads of school to report any teacher who is on government pay voucher who are supposed to be in school to teach the children but are engaged in the registration process. Going further, he said that 80% of their schools are being used by the electoral commission as registration centres. However, he said, that may not disturb the intensity of the academic sphere. 

He affirmed that the staff of ECSL in the various schools were called to a meeting. In the said meeting, they all agreed on the following resolutions: They should maintain quietness during school hours; no school furniture is to be used or removed from the classrooms by any ECSL staff or the community people and they should not allow any pupil who is in his/her school uniform at the registration centre.

On the part of the school supervisor, now quality assurance officers, he said the education directorate from the headquarters (HQ) called all sixteen (16) districts’ Deputy Director of Education to a seminar in Makeni, the northern part of Sierra Leone. Mr. Fofanaconfirmed that in that seminar they were told and agreed that, the school quality assurance officers will now move from their supervisory role which they have been doing to a new role which is a problem-solving role.

According to him, supervising role is a process wherein a school supervisor will go to a school under his jurisdiction to see that all school documents including schemes of work, lesson plans and notes are prepared by the school teachers, while a problem-solving role is an activity that a school supervisor or a school quality assurance officer will do whenever he or she visits a school. In this case, they will now sit with a teacher to check all his or her school’s document, and if they find out that, the documents are not accordingly prepared, the supervisor will not take the problem to their respective district office but will help solve the problem and teach the defaulted teacher how to do proper documentation of the school records.

Mr. Fofana concluded that this particular academic year, he and his school quality assurance officers are determined to see that Bo District which has been over the years performing poorly in all of the public exams do well this year.

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MURDER CONVICT SENTENCED TO 60 YEARS IN PRISON

Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu of the High Court of Sierra Leone, on Thursday 8th September 2022, sentenced Abu Bakarr Kanu to 50 years in prison after he confessed to having murdered his wife, Umu Kargbo, on the 23rd May 2015, at 67 Upper Philip Street in Wellington, the Western Area of Freetown.

The accused confessed to having stabbed his now deceased wife on the throat with a kitchen knife, which lead to her death from excessive bleeding.

During his confession to the court, he stated that when he came home from work on that day he did not meet his wife at home. He then called out her name and she answered from within an unfinished building close to their home where she was later found. He confronted the deceased and stabbed her on her throat. The convict was arrested by neighbors who heard the commotion.

The convict told the court in an apparent plea of mitigation, “I did not know how it all came about as we (he and the deceased) have been having quarrels that have been settled.” Abubakarr Kanu then asked for mercy before the judge pronounced his sentence of 50 years in prison.

In pronouncing the sentence on the accused, Hon. Justice Simeon Allieu stated that the incidence of violence against both men and women was becoming the order of the day in Sierra Leone, and must be brought under control through precedents that would serve as a deterrent to would-be future perpetrators of violence of that magnitude.

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ASA- NJALA UNIVERSITY INDUCTS NEW EXECUTIVE

By: Joseph K. B. Morison

Heroes Media Reporter, Bo City

The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Njala University on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at the University Auditorium on NjalaCampus inducted its new Executive to serve the Association for three years. This followed after the Association chose a new Executive, with Team Action, led by Dr. Brima Gegbe, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, elected President, and Mr. Aiah James Sandy, Lecturer at the Institute of Languages and Cultural Studies (INSLACS) chosen Vice President. Twelve Senators–six for each Campus– and the two Chairs of the ASA Campuses’ Working Committees were also chosen.

In his vote of thanks, after taking of his vow, President Brima Gegbe promised the University Administration and the Government of Sierra Leone that he would cooperate with them as needed for the development and growth of Njala University and the nation, even as he reiterated that his Executive’s top priority was and would continue to be the improvement of the conditions of services of its members. President Gegbepledged to update his members on the status of vital issues during plenary sessions and through other media. He committed to keeping his membership properly informed about the funds available, when, how, and for what they will be used. He noted that the update on the finances is done specifically to let members realize that their contributions are insufficient to grow the Association. He begged the membership to raise their contributions as a result. He declared that his association is ready to take on projects and provide tangible results, and he urged everyone to join them in developing the association. 

Professor Alieu Mohamed Bah, who was recently named as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of NjalaCampus, called on ASA on behalf of his boss, Professor Bashiru Mohamed Koroma, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, to view the University Administration as partners in development and offer assistance in finding solutions to the University’s numerous problems. He explained to the association the role of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal as the University’s Chief Academic Head.  

Former ASA President, Mr. Claude Dimoh thanked his members for supporting him over his three years of leadership, emphasizing that there is no small ASA leadership. He commended the academics’ youthful exuberance for participating in the ASA leadership. He urged the plenary to direct the Executive because he claimed it is challenging to run ASA, stressing that the support he had from his Executive and the plenary helped him succeed in many operations. He urged the membership to show up to meetings whenever necessary, stressing that they are the foundation of ASA. 

In his concluding statement, he (Mr. Claude Dimon)advised his successor to seek advice and exercise some thought before making decisions.

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Budget Launches Health Accountability Report

By Henry Kargbo

BudgITProgrammed Officer has informed Journalists that survey reports suggest that the health care funding gap remains largely a challenge in the country’s health sector yet to be overcome, even though the central government is committed and has increased budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Daniel Conteh made this statement on Thursday 1st September 2022, during the Launch of Health sector Accountability Reports at the East End Paddies, Kissy Bye Pass Road, Freetown.

According to the reports, the health sector received support from donor partners for other activities that were undertaken during their operations conversely.

He went on to say that support from the central government is required to support the day-to-day administration of the hospital.

Conteh highlighted that the survey reports suggested that access and accountability of health care facilities in the country are frequently visited by females of the 232 respondents under citizen’s voice.

Adding that data randomly shows that 175 are female, which accounted for about 75.4% of the respondents, 24 were males and accounted for about 24.6% of respondents.

He noted that the survey shows that more females visited the hospital than their male counterparts, adding that age between 18 to 30 years account shows that 43.5% of youth visited the hospital, he noted.

 BudgIT Programmed, Officer furthered that out of 214 respondents represented, 92.6% indicated having access to government medical facilities, while 13 representing about 5.6% of the respondents suggested that they visited privately.

He stated that the survey exposed the knowledge gap that principally funds the government facilities in their locality, adding that the survey captured 73% indicated that they did not know who funded their health facility in the country while 63.4% indicated that are not aware of funds provided for their local hospital in their district to fight against COVID19.

He said that 72.4% indicated that they have received the COVID19 vaccine while 27.6% indicated that they have not received it. Going further, recommendations were made by both, civil society and private sectors.

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Largest Education Outcomes Funding Program In The World Launched In Sierra Leone, $18M

LARGEST EDUCATION OUTCOMES FUNDING PROGRAM IN THE WORLD LAUNCHED IN SIERRA LEONE, $18M

Augustine Sankoh

Strategic Communications Analyst, MBSSE

asankoh@education.gov.sl

The Education Outcomes Fund (EOF) has on Thursday 1st September launched the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge (SLEIC) which is the largest ever outcomes fund for education-focused giving, helping 134,000 children in 325 public primary schools in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge (SLEIC) is an $18M program, co-financed by the government of Sierra Leone and international donors that will fund girl child and education-focused organizations to improve children’s literacy and numeracy outcomes in state primary schools, with a particular focus on improving girls’ education outcomes.

Sierra Leonean Education Minister Dr. David MoininaSengeh joined Madam Emma Spicer of the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in launching SLEIC at a ceremony in Freetown announcing the start of the program. “The Government of Sierra Leone is excited about partnering with EOF to launch the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge. The program will directly support children across the country and generate important evidence on which innovative education interventions can help drive foundational learning outcomes for all children. It is a perfect example of how we leverage innovation to transform our education service delivery and financing to deliver on the government’s promise of free quality school education for all,” Dr. Sengeh said.

Using an outcomes-based approach, organizations involved will be paid once their interventions have shown improvements in children’s literacy and numeracy. They are a mix of local and global providers, including the National Youth Awareness Forum, Rising Academies, Street Child, EducAID, and Save the Children. The program will be rigorously evaluated to understand its impact on learning, enabling evaluators to identify the most effective approaches. The approach utilizes social impact bonds whose model has been successfully implemented in other sectors on a smaller scale. EOF has taken steps in its programmatic approach to help scale up the output of impact bonds for its programs.

The program has sustainability at its core. The interventions are designed to be both affordable and scalable so that the government can incorporate them into future education policy and scale up the most impactful approaches to a national level after the program finishes in 2025.  

“We face an unprecedented global learning crisis that requires a different approach to funding education programs and measuring their impact. Access to quality education improves lives and livelihoods. Education equals opportunity. We are working with the Sierra Leonean government to develop evidence-driven programs, enable innovation, and most importantly, measurably improve the quality of education for children and young people in the country,” accordingto Amel Karboul, CEO of EOF.  

In 2018, the Sierra Leonean government made education more accessible through their Free Quality School Education (FQSE) policy that eliminated school fees in public schools which helped improve attendance and increased school access for 700,000 students. They now aim to improve the quality of education through SLEIC and are providing $1.5 million in funding for the program. Though a child in Sierra Leone can expect to complete 8.9 years of school, they only acquire 4.5 years of actual learning given the current education challenges in the country. As recent as 2014, 87% of Primary 2 students (ages 7-8) were considered illiterate.

Governments around the world have shown interest in this approach, with EOF developing a broad pipeline of opportunities beyond Sierra Leone to support learning and employment outcomes for 10 million children and young people around the world.

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Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone

OAU Drive, Tower Hill, Freetown

PRESS STATEMENT COMMENCEMENT OF FIRST PHASE OF NATIONWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE IN SIERRA LEONE

Freetown, Sierra Leone, 3rd September 2022 The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, under Section 33 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, (Act No.6 of 1991) and Section 24 of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No.4 of 2012) has commenced the registration of voters in 1,815 Registration Centers across the Country from 3rd -17th September 2022. There are reported issues with the opening process in some Voter Registration Centers. However, the Commission is working towards addressing the issues. The Commission encourages all to exercise patience and restraint as it strives to make the Voter Registration exercise credible, accurate and transparent. Furthermore, citizens are encouraged to present themselves for registration at Registration Centers where they intend to vote in the 2023 elections. The Commission will continue to update the public as events unfold in the Voter Registration process. The ECSL should be contacted on toll-free line 838 from the following mobile networks Africell and Q-Cell. Registrants are reminded that centers currently closed that are near their places of residence will be opened from 20th September to 4th October 2022. Therefore, registrants should not bother to go to centers that are not close to their places of residence.

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Marginalise and Vulnerable Groups to be Considered

GVWC Communication Unit

he Director of Administration and Finance at the GumaValley Water Company, Lahai Kanu has assured that the concerns of vulnerable groups (persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities, Ebola survivors, the Aged, etc.) will be considered in the 2023 budget estimate that GUMA will be submitting to the Ministry of Finance during this year’s budget hearing.

Mr. Kanu made this disclosure in a meeting with Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) and eight other organizations representing marginalized and vulnerable persons on Thursday 1st September, 2022, at the GumaBuilding. “We have noted your concerns and challenges, and we recognized the need for water supply to be made available. We are always ready to support even though we are currently operating with a limited budget. Nevertheless, we shall ensure that your concerns are factored into our 2023 budget that we shall be presenting to the Ministry of Finance,” he remarked. 

In his statement, the Coordinator of Budget Advocacy Network, Abu Bakarr Kamara said the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 provides for increasing investment and welfare assistance to persons with disabilities and the vulnerable. Mr. Kamara added that the Sustainable Development Goals are about the concept of “leaving no one behind” and that Goal 3 is seeking to ensure healthy life and promote wellbeing for all at all ages; whilst Goal 6 is about achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. 

The BAN Coordinator encouraged the Management of GUMA to include the marginalized and vulnerable groups in their 2023 Budget estimate with a view to providing reliable and sustainable water supply especially for the homes of the aged.

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SIERRA LEONEANS BREAK THE GROUND

A Registration Center @ Thunder Hill Community

“To swim across a river, one must start at the shore,” according to a well-known African adage. On the 3rd of September 2022, a good number of Sierra Leoneans, mainly age 18 and above, went to the different registration centers across the country to participate in the voter registration exercise. 

Before the said date, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) which is the body responsible for the country’s electioneering processes, through its commissioner, announced the official date for the starting of the voter registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections. On the said date, Sierra Leoneans came out in huge numbers to register. This is one of the many national issues where Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated oneness. 

If one must effect change, he must lead as an example. Hence, as witnessed by this media, the first family of the Republic of Sierra Leone, HE Excellency Julius Maada Bio and the First Lady, Fatima Bio were earlier seen at Hockey Pitch, a registration center partaking in the registration process. Going further, among many other stakeholders, the former president, Ernest Bai Koroma was also spotted at a registration centerdemonstrating the same.

As the process continues, it is now clear to everyone that the road to the country’s general elections has been taken and that Sierra Leoneans (eligible voters) are all ready to vote comes 2023. Talking through this medium, many people at different centers expressed their enthusiasm and satisfaction with the registration process so far. 

Isatu Kamara (not her real name), a resident of the Thunder Hill community affirmed that the registration process is a big step in ensuring citizens the democratic right to vote during the general elections. “I am registering today so that I will have the chance to vote during the forthcoming general elections. If one wants to vote for or to change the setting government, he/she must first register and vote. My vote is my right,” she remarked.

However, there have been some challenges at some of the registration centers and the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, who is aware of those challenges, through a press release dated 3rd September 2023, has called on citizens to exercise patience as the commission is working harder to overcome these challenges to ensure credibility in the registration exercise.

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Dr. Chankanda Bags Huge Support For President Bio At A Meeting In The Netherlands

On Sunday 11th September 2022, the Deputy Secretary General of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, with the blessings of the President and Leader of the party and the Secretary General, held a Town Hall meeting with members of the SLPP chapter of Netherlands and Germany, where they discussed ways of developing the party and ensuring that it gets a second term in the coming General Elections scheduled for June 2023. Various members from SLPPP Chapters in Europe were in attendance.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Robert Chakanda expressed warm felicitations from President Bio and the hierarchy of the SLPP, noting that as a party, they have only one goal, which is unity, which will then be cascaded to the entire society in the country. He furthered that after inheriting a divided society with myriad of problems, President Bio has been able to transform society to what everybody was expecting. He furthered that whilst bad news have been shared on social media about events in the country, he is pleased to inform them about what obtains in the country.

Dr. Chakanda maintained that as a talk and do President, His Excellency has ensured that what he promised the nation during his campaign period is being actualized. He stressed that the Free Quality Education is up and running, and many kids are now attending school, with a pilot phase of school feeding taking place in many parts of rural Sierra Leone, contrary to what people will have them believe. He also disclosed to his audience, amidst cheers, that President Bio’s manifesto promise of improving agriculture is making huge progress, as more food stuff is being produced, with many government officials engaged in agriculture, including His Excellency. In the area of energy, Dr. Chakanda disclosed that contrary to news that the country is like a ghost town in the night, there has been significant development in the electricity sector, adding that though there are power cuts, but these do not last, as people will have them believe.
Dr Chakanda maintained that since taking up office in 2018, President Bio has been able to ensure that salaries are paid on a timely basis and regularly. No one has had to go without salary for any month. In the health sector, Dr. Chakanda disclosed that the government has employed more nurses, and more doctors are being trained to run hospitals, and access to hospitals has been enhanced with the establishment of a free ambulance service, where citizens can call through a toll free line for ambulance service to take their loves ones that are sick to the hospitals. This has seen many living in faraway areas being able to get medical attention fast, and has ended the time wasted to carry people in wheel barrows from their villages to the nearest healthy facility, which had been the cause of unnecessary deaths in the past. He furthered that the government is undertaking the construction of a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre at Kerry town to help handle diseases and other illnesses. The lessons learnt from Ebola was used to stem the spread of the Corona Virus that had ravaged many countries globally and killed many citizens, but in Sierra Leone, the numbers were relatively small, due to the robust action taken by the government. For the first time in the history of the country, Sierra Leonean health professionals were able to carry surveillance and treat such disease before other international help came.
Developments have been made in addressing corruption issues, which had led to the country being selected to participate in the US government’s Compact. Dr. Chakanda maintained that all these developments have not been put on social media by people determined to distort the picture, because they do not want to let the world know that a lot of progress has been made by the Bio regime of the SLPP, but would instead paint a bad picture of the situation. He called on all to continue to support the government in its actions to transform the country. He assured his audience that with their support, President Bio is going to get a second term and they will all be proud of his developmental strides in the country. He admonished them to believe in President Bio, as he is a talk and do President.

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Afrimoney Launches Lelemu Song

As part of their move to keep their customers abreast with their services and promotions, Afrimoney has on Thursday 15th September 2022, launched their LELEMU song at Afriradio.
It could be recalled that earlier last month, Afrimoney released an advert informing the public about their various offers with the slogan ‘LELEMU,’ which lure the attention of all and sundry.
Thereafter, the ‘LELEMU’ word is now the new slang that is commonly used by all Sierra Leoneans and even foreigners.
According to the initiator of the ‘LELEMU’ word, Mr. Tamba Bee, the aforementioned slogan can be used in many ways based on the circumstance it is used. Tamba Bee added that the LELEMU chant will soon be followed by another catchphrase just to put a smile on the face of their subscribers.
Speaking during the launching ceremony, the Media Director of Africell, Mr. John Konteh said they decided to launch the LELEMU song due to the various questions members of the public have been asking about the meaning of ‘LELEMU’.
John Konteh furthered that the essence of the song is to see how best people can vibe to the song and be informed about the various Afrimoney offers by dialing *161# on any Africell number.
John Konteh continued to inform members of the public by stating that, after the launching of the LELEMU song which was done by housemates Eddie of 441 fame, Karafilo and M’posh, the public has been ‘vibing’ to the song. He added that, the ‘LELEMU’ song is now making its way in night clubs, pubs, restaurants, radio stations and even on various media platforms.
John Konteh said that on Friday the 16th September 2022, Afrimoney will be having a massive float parade within the Western Urban and Rural Areas with the motive of spreading the love messages and goodies to the people of Sierra Leone.
“We will be spreading the love across the country,” assured John Konteh, adding by craving on the indulgence of all and sundry to be part of the Africell/Afrimoney family. He further added that, with Afrimoney lots of goodies are install for the people of Sierra Leone. He concluded that the satisfaction of their subscribers is their ought most desire.

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Information Minister Engages Journalists In Bo City

By Joseph K. B. Morrison, Heroes Media Reporter for Bo City

Monday the 29th of August, 2022. The minister of information and communication Mohamed Rahman Swaray engaged journalists in Bo about the August 10 insurrections that happened in Freetown during which innocent people lost their lives including Sierra Leone police officers (already buried).

Mr Swaray described the insurrection as undemocratic riots because it was not just a protest against the cost of living but rather it was a well-planned coup organized by hungry politicians to unseat the democratically elected government. “The August 10 riots in Freetown was not a protest against a high cost of living but an organized coup planned by politicians who do not want the peaceful co-existence of this nation,” he said

He furthered that if it was a protest against a high cost of living, there was no reason for people to move from the north to Freetown to protest. Freetown is not the only place that is experiencing a high cost of living but the country as a whole.

He noted that the government of President Dr Julius Maada Bio is a responsible government that cares about the citizens by making sure that the citizens are provided basic necessities and security.

 

Mr Swaray affirmed to newsmen that the bodies of the civilians who were killed during the August 10 insurrections have been conveyed to Connaught mortuary. He continued that the government is calling on all parents and family members to go to the Connaught mortuary to identify their loved ones, after identification of the bodies by family members and the government will call on a qualified pathologist to conduct an autopsy examination before they are buried. “The government has called on the general public to go and identify their relatives at the Connaught hospital mortuary before we can conduct an autopsy examination to assert the cause of their death,” said Mr Swaray.

He also congratulated the people of Bo City and its entirety for maintaining law and order in Sierra Leone. He said that Bo district is always ready to support the development agenda of president Bio’s administration. He said, the government of Sierra Leone have instituted a team of investigators to investigate the August 10 insurrections, and the government will not leave any stone unturned. The government of president Bio will bring to book all those who were organizers of the August 10 insurrections and that the law will take its full force on anyone who will be found guilty.

He used the engagement to call on all citizens who have attained age 18 and above to go out in their Chinese numbers to register. He said registration is the only means a citizen can use to choose a leader of their choice and also to remove any government through the electioneering process. He confirmed to this medium that the August 28 mudslide flooding that occurred in some parts of Freetown left six people dead, including children and properties worth millions of Leone were destroyed.

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MBSSE Trains Stakeholders on Comprehensive Sexuality Education Curriculum Rollout

By Augustine Sankoh

The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) in partnership with the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and IrishAid on Tuesday 30th August at Occasion Resort Lakka held a stakeholder training on community engagement on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). The training targeted key stakeholders like line ministries, civil society groups, Paramount Chiefs, International Non-governmental Organizations, the media, teachers, and Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, among others. The rationale of the training is to ensure that the key stakeholders accept the rolling out of the CSE curriculum in schools and take the message to the public.

Madam Nadia Rasheed, Country Representative, UNFPA Sierra Leone described the stakeholders meeting on community engagement as a key point in the journey to advance CSE under the leadership of MBSSE and in line with the recommendations of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Taskforce. She said UNFPA was proud to co-chair the task force, alongside the Chief Education Officer (CEO), and they were delighted with the progress that has been achieved to date. “We recognized that CSE is critical to empowering young people, enabling them to advocate for their health, well-being and dignity, and protecting them from coercion, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. CSE provides a necessary toolkit for knowledge, attitudes and skills to help young people make choices in a meaningful way, while also advancing gender equality and human rights,” she said. According to her, globally, UNFPA’s three overarching goals are to end the unmet need for family planning; end preventable maternal death; and end gender-based violence and other harmful practices, noting that CSE is a key contributor to all three of these transforming goals.

The Senior Education Advisor, Embassy of Ireland, Sierra Leone Mrs Cecilia Brown said the Embassy’s primary objective is to ensure that women and girls, living in poverty, contribute to and benefit from a more inclusive, resilient and equitable Sierra Leone. She said the occasion is very important for the children of Sierra Leone, especially girls and for them as development partners, adding that the Embassy appreciates the commitments and enthusiasm of partners and they hope that the curriculum will positively impact bridging the existing knowledge and skills gap on comprehensive sexuality.

The Chief Education Officer (CEO) in the MBSSE, Professor Yatta Kanu stated that the MBSSE is not only returning pregnant girls to school but also providing them with the tool to succeed which is Comprehensive Sexuality Education. She said CSE is so important and integral to the ministry’s work in reforming education in Sierra Leone. According to her, the four principles that guide the work of the Ministry are encompassed in the CSE, noting that the four principles are; access, equity, comprehensive safety and quality education.

During the validation exercise of the CSE curriculum in Freetown, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education Dr. David Moinina Sengeh regarded the CSE curriculum as an important milestone in his Ministry’s ambitious agenda to contribute to the Government’s Human Capital Development aspirations as articulated in the Medium-Term National Development Plan. “One of the most effective ways to keep learners in school is to empower them with the knowledge that enables them to make informed decisions about life choices. The role of CSE in this regard enables the protection of learners against unintended pregnancy by providing them with the necessary skills to develop effective decision-making and communication skills, explore values and attitudes and be made aware of risk reduction skills,” he said. He added that the implementation of the CSE involves not only teachers but also parents, schools, communities, service providers, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders. 

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THINGS THAT ARE WORTH NOTING DURING THE CONFIRMATION AND REGISTRATION EXERCISE

1. Centers will be opened for 15 days, categorized into two (2) phases.  

Phase 1, from 3rd – 17th September 2022 and Phase 2, from 20th September – 4th October 2022.

2. Registration centers will be open from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm daily 

3. There will be an NCRA desk in the Voter Registration centers to capture persons who did not register with NCRA during the Civil Registration process.

4. (A) The details of persons whose information is already in the civil register database will be processed through the Voter Verification Kits (VVK).

(B) The details of persons whose information are not in the civil register database (new registrants) will be captured first through the VIU Kits. They will then be identified as voters through the VVK.

5. Register at the nearest registration center where you reside (near your home).  In 2023, you will be allowed to vote where you registered.

6. (A). Documentary proof of Identity: National ID card, passport, birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, Local tax receipt.

(B). If you don’t have any of the above-mentioned documents to show, any of the following personalities can serve as your witness and vouch for you: Paramount Chief, Tribal Head, Town Chief, Section Chief, Village Head, Religious Leader, Head of Educational Institution, Councilor.

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H.E BIO TO SHOOT HARDER

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Since His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio was declared the presidential winner on Wednesday 4th April 2018, with a total of 1,319,406, making it 51.8%  from the total number of votes casted, that led to the defeat of his main opponent Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara of the APC with a total of 1,227,171, making it 48.2% from the total number of votes casted, there have been a huge number of challenges facing his administration and some of these challenges could be misappropriation and reckless spending of public funds by both the past and present governments officials which has led to inflation in commodities, increase in unemployment rate, especially among youths and constant increase in the cost of living. 

In the market environment, importers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers continue to murmur about the accelerated increase in the prices of goods. The consumers lament no the total lack of price control across the country, the wholesalers lament on the goods they do buy from the general merchandisers which are too expensive and find it difficult to sell at cheaper prices to the potential retailers. If you interview the importers they usually complain about the fall of ‘Leones’ to ‘Dollars’ and the taxation levied on them by the custom officers at the Queen Elizabeth Quay. “Imagine you have used five hundred thousand new Leones (500,000) or five hundred million old Leones to purchase goods abroad and you have to pay shipment for any container and the prices are vary depending on the kind of goods that your container contains. So you cannot expect to sell them at a cheaper rate, remember you’re doing it with a desire to maximize and make profits”, said one of the importers in an interview with this media. 

Another concerned person  by the name of Yufufu Sesay also said that the All People’s Congress Party is not serious, to come back to power because His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio has given so many chances to the APC to win the 2023 national elections. “If I’m an Executive member of the All People’s Congress Party, one of the things I will do that Bio and his government have already failed to do is to provide sustainable food that will last for a long time and that is provided if the current government gives me the platform to do so. We appreciate the free education, I cannot call it Free Quality Education because the teachers that are supposed to add the quality or standard to it are not properly paid,” he said. 

Mohamed Kamara, not his real name, also said that the APC party is reckless and not serious to take over governance comes 2023. “Imagine a well-recognized political party that has headed Sierra Leone twice could not account for three thousand new Leones or three million old Leones. I wonder what some of their naive youths and intelligent ones are doing in the party. If I’m a member of the APC, I will definitely tender my resignation of membership letter to them and just quit, he retreated.

Mrs. Mabinty Bendu is a businesswoman at Abacha Street, she expressed her dissatisfaction over the security sector’s decision to demolish their tables. She said that some of them have kids and external families to take care of. She identified herself to be a single parent with four children, her eldest child attends Njala University and the others are in secondary school. She furthered that she as well takes care of two of her relative’s kids. As a supporter of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, according to her, on behalf of other business women, she is appealing the President to pardon them and allow them sell their businesses at the said street, especially at the time they expect high sales as schools are set to reopen on Monday 5th September 2022.”Imagine with the guardrail where my table used to be, opposite Pee Cee and Sons shop at 10 Abacha Street, and the shop owners are not even giving us chances to sell. Please, papa government, help us,” she lamented. 

It could also be recalled that when President Julius Maada Bio took over office he promised to wage war against corruption in both the past and present governments and this bought about the set-up of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the past government but some set of people said that was the wrong decision Bio took, when asked they said that he was not the president during the past government. Therefore, whosoever that will be helped to give witnessed against any minister he/she must be compensated to provide information and that is corruption and because you have already corrupted the mind of that person to tell lies against another person, false documents could be provided. They further said that H. E. Bio’s overseas contracts with investors in the countries he has visited since he came into office as the president had been undermined by the past government officials because he did not succumb to the building or establishment of a second Airport at Mammah this could have made Ernest Bai Koroma and cohorts to become happy and HE Bio would not have faced opposition like what he is facing now. 

Meanwhile, some people are still praising the president for his good work and some even appreciate the closure of Abacha Street by whosoever, the government or the police. 

Heroes Media Newspaper can confirm that Sani Abacha Street was demolished by the Sierra Leone Police. Acting Director of Operations Brima Jah said that they as security personnel did that because anytime they patrol around Abacha Street some disgruntle boys will threaten them or make ill comments. 

A senior staff from the Ministry of Trade and Industry said the ministry is powerless when it comes to regulating price controls in the country. According to the person, he said it is difficult for a ministry to determine how much a private businessman should sell his goods. He further said that the Ministry of Trade and Industry does not produce, export and import goods and services to the nation though they regulate policy for a better livelihood for all Sierra Leoneans residing in the country.

On the other hand, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio visited Looking Town community on the 31st August 2022. During his visit, he said that he is aware of the cry of the people and even cited the Pakistan flooding that claimed the lives of one thousand people (1000) and that their disaster was more terrible that the one at looking Town community. He further said that the people should be courageous enough to accept their fates as a nation and added that the toughness of things is a global concern and Sierra Leoneans should be proactive as his government is steadily making progress. 

More so, it’s clear that after August 10 insurrection, his Excellency has been engaging different stakeholders, including his recent meeting with civil society organizations, the press, inter-religious council and others. During his meeting with them, he mentioned that he met bankrupt Treasury accounts as he said his predecessor didn’t leave enough money to continue running the country. Therefore, he has to travel overseas to his colleagues’ presidents to beg them for help so that his country could be sustainable. “I can understand your pain and discouragement of my leadership but I can assure you of a better tomorrow and that is why I’m investing in human capital so even the uneducated youths and adults can learn skills training that will help them to live a better life with their families,” he said.

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Academic Staff Association (ASA Njala University Elects New Executive

Dr. Brima Gegbe President Elect

By:Joseph K. B. Morison

Njala University Academic Staff Association (ASA) a constituent body and important association of the university,has on Saturday, August 20, 2022, elected its new executives to run the association for three years as mandated by the constitution of the association. 

The only team that ran for the position and won the presidency and other elected positions was ‘Team Action.’ Team Action was led by Dr. Brima Gegbe, a former vice president of the association and the Head of the Mathematics and Statistics Department of Njala university. According to the outcome of the election,165 valid votes were captured during the electioneering process, Dr. Brima Gegbe the former vice president got 160 valid votes cast for president, and Mr. Aiah James Sandy, a lecturer at the Institute of Languages and Cultural Studies (INSLACS), got 158 valid votes which got him elected as vice president. The chairmen of the ASA campuses, and working committees for the Njala campus and the Bo campus, respectively chose Dr. Mohamed Mathew Blango and Dr. Emmanuel Dauda. Twelve others ASA members were elected as members of the campus working committees, six members from each of the two campuses.

Naming ASA Njala University as the most powerful association in the academic sphere of Sierra Leone, upon election as president,Dr. Brima Gegbe has pledged to negotiate the welfare and conditions of service of his association members, engage on matters about their welfare, build an existing strategy for their retired colleagues to access their Ex-gratia, promote the culture of collective organizational practices, moral rectitude and societal upliftment, create the enabling environment for willing colleagues to acquire the required skills to win fundable research and write publishable outcome in a reputable journal for students, and pursue high profile development projects.

“To prove efficient, we must come together and find ways of approaching our challenges, ways that can increase our capacity to address multiple challenges at the same time. Academic Staff Association Njala university is making solid 25 years of uninterrupted existence as a credible Elite Association. As there is so much we can be proud of as bonafide members of this noble Association. If we must be honest with ourselves, it is in fact solving these other issues that we need to add the desired value to our Association,”

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