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.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper


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.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper