CRIMINAL AT KADCO, PEE CEE & SONS ON THE RUN

Mariatu A. Koroma, an alleged criminal has been declared wanted for fraud.Mariatu A. Koroma who was under police investigations for duping Pee Cee and Sons, and KADCO Sierra Leone Limited, escaped from police custody after playing some evil games with the police. A businesswoman that was seen as a trusted business partner had previously enjoyed a very good working relationship with the two companies, little did then know that she had some evil plans ahead.

As she is now seen as one of the top female criminals in Freetown, Koroma succeeded in duping KADCO SL LTD over Five Hundred Million Leones (Le 500M old Leones) and also Pee Cee and Sons and other private business people to the tune of hundreds of millions Leones. She wasted no time in tricking the Police to make her way out of police detention.

Whether the police have been bribed by the suspect or not is something the force would have to investigate. Sources say the wanted thief, Mariatu Koroma, has always been enjoying police protection because she is operating clandestinely with some heartless police authorities and some politicians or public officials to drive away or discourage potential investors from continuing to invest their finances with the objective to provide jobs for unemployed youths and save the dwindling economy.

How Mariatu A. Koroma succeeded to escape from police detention, remains a question the police should respond to. Sources say this is not the first time Mariatu A. Koroma is duping investors and small-scale business people in the country. Most of the cases reported to the police have not been treated with seriousness as she has always saved part of her stolen cash to bribe the police force.

Many frustrated victims of Mariatu A. Koroma, including the management of KADCO and Pee Cee and Sons were not happy with the action of the investigating police officers in the matter for a woman in their custody to successfully escape from detention without their knowledge as policemen on official duty.

Some of her victims are with the conviction that the Sierra Leone Police are hiding the alleged female criminal from facing justice after duping her victims of hundreds of millions of Leone’sworth of items.

A source at KADCO remarked that the police have not acted professionally since the matter was reported and the suspect arrested. The source called on the police hierarchy to intervene immediately for justice to prevail. (Investigations Continue)

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PAN-SL ORGANIZED A PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION FOR YOUNG SCHOOL GIRLS.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

On Saturday 29th October 2022, the Patriotic Advocacy Network Sierra Leone (PAN-SL) organized a meaningful and educative PUBLIC SPEAKING competition among school-going pupils at The Hill Valley Academy, Mambo, in the Western Urban District of Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

According to the organizers of the program, it was apologetically organized for school-going pupils in different schools in Freetown with the desire to be spread shortly to other schools in the provinces. This aim at showcasing the potential talents of young school-going pupils, especially young girls.

The Theme was, “DIGITAL GENERATION, OUR GENERATION”. The event was graced by several dignitaries, including Her Worship Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer, Madam Basita Michael, Madam Naasu Fofana, author of “Tell It To Naasu”, Mrs. Morrison, former Principal of the Annie Wash Memorial School and several people who have been an exemplary to life-changing mission in Sierra Leone and the world at large were in attendance, and parents from different schools were also in attendance to witness this extremely exciting public speaking competition that was done by selected young secondary school girls in Freetown and Waterloo.

The public speaking was called, “BASTA MICHAEL PUBLIC SPEAKING FOR GIRLS”. In addition, several young people attended to witness this historic and educative program.

Ansumana Keita is the Executive Director of Patriotic Advocacy Network Sierra Leone, he and his team did excellent tasking and demanding work for organizing such an educative program which many presents wish will continue.

However, the organizers promised to continue with the good work they have started, and their target is not only young girls but young boys as well, so they can become responsible people in the future. 

Madam Basita Michael was the keynote speaker, during her keynote address, she applauded Keita and the team for their tremendous effort in bringing those potential young people on board to confidently showcase their talents in a free and precise manner. She also encouraged the young people to continue building up themselves as they are promising leaders. 

Furthermore, all the competitors were well-informed and prepared for the various critical topics ranging from Sexual orientation to girls & women empowerment. The event was truly appreciative as the competitors were extremely confident to talk about issues that are affecting our nation today, like disinterest among parents and school authorities for not teaching young girls sex education, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and the odds challenges that are yet to be tackled by the government and a halfway clap for Her Excellency Fatima Bio Hands off Initiative.

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Wanted! Wanted! Wanted!

By BockarieJaward

Sierra Leone is a religiously tolerant country in the Western part of Africa. Many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa sometimes envy the wrap-up of both Muslims and Christians, especially when they visit one another in churches and mosques, and sometimes intermarriage.

Abu Bakarr Kabia and his homosexual Partner George Kamara, are Wanted by the Sierra Leone Police, unfortunately, the latter, George Kamara lost his life at the hands of unknown persons in their former community.

Among other things, homosexuality is prohibited in the country and the two main religions in Sierra Leone see this kind of act as devilish and anyone found wanting of such should be punished or driven out of the country. Abu Bakarr Kabia and his partner George Kamara were both residents of 15 Osman Lane in Calaba town, Eastern part of the country’s capital Freetown. According to information received by this medium, George and Kabia have been childhood friends and they discovered their sexual orientation at the age of 17, since then, they have been actively involved in the lives of each other. 

Amara Turay, not his real name, the chief Imam of the Calaba town Community mosque was a close friend and a teacher of Kabia who usually led him and others in Islamic prayers and counseling, so the latter would change from homosexuality. Imam Turay believes that if Kabia and his partner change from their current sexual orientation, God will have mercy on them and they will be saved from the punishment of hell fire and the wrath of God upon their community will be saved. The old man also affirmed knowing Kabia, and his family for several years. He said that when Kabia was growing up as a boy he was very respectful and hardworking which is why when he later knew of his sexual orientation he never gave up on the young man even when others did. “I believe that it is only by counseling Kabia that will save him from the wrath of God for practicing homosexuality but community punishment or stoning them is not the good way and I felt bad about the death of his partner George. George himself was committed to his five daily prayers, he even fasted during the month of Ramadan. Being killed for what he chose is not to be determined by any human being but the creator Allah,” he said. 

He then intimated to this medium that Mr Kabia called him on phone that he would not be able to come back to the country due to what he has heard about what his community had done to his partner George, so he is afraid to return home. He furthered that he informed the congregation (Jama’at) about Kabia’s predicament and some were sad about the news while some were happy. They said homosexuals should not be entertained in the house of God, and he was told by Kabia that he wanted to move to an unknown location due to the pressure mounted on him, which he could no longer withstand. “After he called me in July this year, I saw their names and pictures on the wanted list on social platforms as members of those who sponsored and participated in the August 10th violent protest that took the lives of 6 Sierra Leonean police officers and 29 civilians but I was surprised because that young man has been hiding long since before the August 10 violent protest for fear of his life,” Imam Amara Turaysaid.

Furthermore, eyewitnesses believed that Kabia was persecuted by his paternal uncle who came to live with them in their house. Accordingly, after the death of his father his uncle wanted to remarry his mother but Kabia was against that belief and tradition and he told his mother not to do it.  His uncle hated him for that and whenever something unfavorable came up, his uncle would be the first to tell the community people about it. 

Eyewitnesses furthermore said that Kabia and his friend were caught by his uncle Sorie Kabia whilst in the act of having sexual intercourse, and the community affirmed that Kabia and his friend were both homos as their actions and lifestyles in the community had already proven them to be homosexuals. 

Homosexuality in the country is a taboo and many young people have been disowned or denounced by their parents, community, and townsmen for practicing it. Some have been secretly beaten to death by community people like in the case of George who was seriously beaten up by unknown persons. They both were attacked on 22 July with sticks and stones, Kabiawas able to escape for his safety, thanks to his lucky star. It was after the August 10 insurrection,  Kabia and dozens of other Sierra Leonean youth were declared wanted by the Sierra Leone police on the 20th of August 2022. 

According to the record of the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police force, chief superintendent Richard Robert said that both people are not in the detainee’s record. He however confirmed that they are indeed among the persons of interest for the allegation of public disorder, perpetration of violence against the state, terrorist act of insurrection, and attempted coup d’état among other criminal offenses.

Kabia’s uncle was glad when he saw his nephew’s name and photos on social media as wanted by the Sierra Leonean Police and according to him, he said, that is the price every wayward son could get, as he deprived him of marrying his mother. 

It could be evidence that the photo of Oladapo OlaitanOlaonipekun alias Dagrin, a Nigerian rapper born in Ogun, Nigeria and died in April 2010, was captured by the Sierra Leone Police as one of the wanted persons for the August 10 “INSURRECTION” as it was termed by the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio in his State Speech to the citizens of Sierra Leone. He said the Insurrectionists wanted to remove him from governance, which is unbelievable because the Soldiers are right at the State House, a civilian with a bare hand cannot remove a democratically elected president without the aid of the military.

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POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ZENITH BANK KEEPS DRIVING AWAY BIG CUSTOMERS

Some big customers of Zenith Bank (SL) Limited have been complaining bitterly about bad customer service at the highest level at the bank. Some of them have even threatened to close down their accounts and leave the bank. Some customers have complained about how the bank is even blackmailing them by stalling their business transactions based on trivialities.

Some big businessmen requesting facilities from the bank are being frustrated by the heartless way in which the bank is treating them. “The bank is undermining the New Direction Government policy of empowering indigenous business people by delaying the implementation of some major government projects through some senseless bureaucratic policies”, one customer said.

The bank’s Managing Director in Sierra Leone is Chijioke Ejilemele. He is described as very arrogant and self-conceited.

This medium tried to get the side of the Head of Marketing, but unfortunately, she abandoned our telephone interview questions.

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SOUTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR PRESENTS MAHESH NANDWANI AS CONSUL TO SIERRA LEONE

The name Mahesh Nandwani has not only become a household name in Sierra Leone but also his companies are also currently serving as some of the breadbaskets to the national economy. His companies’ immense contribution to the national economy must have paved the way for his international recognition, as one of the most trusted investors that can be relied upon to partner with. It was against this backdrop that the South Korean Government has seen him as the fittest person to represent its country in Sierra Leone.

It was during a courtesy visit to the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer on Tuesday 18th October, the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Sierra Leone, HE Kim Young Chae, introduced the Chief Executive Officer of Pee Cee and Sons, His Excellency Mahesh Nandwani, as the new Honorary Consul of the Republic of South Korea to Sierra Leone. 

The introduction took place at the New City Hall building in Freetown, where Ambassador Chae and his delegation were meeting with the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, to discuss some issues which included the New City Hall building, which was funded by the government of the Republic of South Korea, the forthcoming 60th-anniversary celebrations of the diplomatic ties between South Korea and Sierra Leone among other things. 

Ambassador Chae was taken on a conducted tour of the building where the 60th-anniversary celebrations are to take place.

The new Honorary Consul of the Republic of South Korea to Sierra Leone, H.E. Mahesh Nandwani, is a renowned businessman of excellent standing in Sierra Leone and other countries whose innovation has helped many Sierra Leoneans.

H.E. Mahesh Nandwani is the owner and CEO of JOLAKS, Milla Group of Companies, and Pee Cee and Sons. As Honorary Consul, he is expected to deal with all consular services of the Republic of South Korea.

Ambassador Chae heaped praises on the new Honorary Consul, HE Mahesh Nandwani, whom he said will be an excellent representative of the Republic of South Korea in Sierra Leone

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JOSEPH KOROMA BAGS ORANGE SOCIAL VENTURE PRIZE AWARDS

Joseph Koroma, aSierra Leonean innovator has won the 12th edition of the Orange Social Venture Prize Competition held during the first World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Kigali, Rwanda for an innovative project known as Life Blood-Sierra Leone. 

Seventeen (17) countries where Orange Group is operating in both Africa and the Middle East participated in the 2022 edition of OSVP in which Orange (SL) finalists clinched the first international grand prize award.

Life Blood Sierra Leone is a digital health platform designed to address the problem of acute shortage of blood products in the country’s healthcare delivery system. The system is designed to, among other things increase public awareness about safe blood services, and increase the level of voluntary blood donation in the country with an improved facility to administer blood transfusion as well as the National Safe Blood Service.

Joseph Koroma is one of the eight finalists who contested in the National category general prize award of (Old Note) Le100,000, 000.00 in September this year. In an exclusive interview, Joseph said: “In my country, the mortality rate is high and the main factor is the limited availability of blood banks. So I am hoping that this project will address the problem of acute shortage of blood in the country’s health care system.” 

It must be underscored that at the national level, Orange Sierra Leone has been organizing the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) competition. The 4th Edition was held on the 1st of September 2022 in which eight (8) finalists participated for a whooping sum of One Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (Le150M).

According to the Head of Public Relations at Orange SL, Annie Wonnie Katta, Orange is positioned to be the lead digital partner for startups in Africa and the Middle East. This is why Orange Middle East & Africa (OMEA) initiated OSVP some 12 years ago to reward the best technological projects with positive impact and solutions to social challenges mainly in the area of education, health, agriculture, mobile payments, or sustainable development in Africa and the Middle East.

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Orange Sierra Leone

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Orange Sierra Leone is one of the leading telecommunications in the country, but it has been involved in several activities that have negatively impacted the lives of its entrusted customers. It could be recalled that after the August 10 insurrection in the country, the government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Sierra Leone Police commencedan investigation on the top management of Orange Sierra Leone for deliberately obstructing justice by refusing to cooperate with the special investigation committee that was set up by His Excellency Dr Julius Bio. The investigation committee was set up as a result of the August 10 insurrection.

According to the Sierra Leone police, the top management of Orange Sierra Leone is refusing to cooperate with the committee by not handing over the call data of eighty subscribers who are persons of interest to the set-up committee. As one of the leading telecommunications in the country, this could indicate that they have not only destroyed customers’ trust, but they have undermined their trustworthiness, and this act of theirs, has been the apprehension of the work of the investigation committee. 

Many customers have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the way and manner Orange SL has been treating them, especially in the area of data usage or subscription and orange money. 

“If you dial*800#, using orange sim, you will see options like daily, monthly and weekly subscription. For instance, if one buys data under the monthly subscription or any of the three options as the case may be, the data will not last with him/her for even two weeks,” said an angry subscriber. 

A staff of the company who prefer anonymity said, their customers are truly vulnerable and certain people in their company disclosed customers’ contacts, names, and passwords to those fraudulent syndicate boys so that the latter would be able to call the particular customers and inform them that they have won a huge amount of money and sometimes promise offering them jobs which are always not true. Some even claim to be men of God and in the end, ask the customers to pay a certain amount for their prayers to be immediately answered.

Donald Cole, a resident of Eastern Freetown said his orange money was deducted from his Orange money wallet without giving his phone to anyone and without doing any transactions. “To my greatest surprise, I just received a text message on 21st September 2022 stating that I have cashed out five thousand New Leones (5,000NLS), but I did not give my phone to anyone nor do I cash out any money, how? I call Customer care 111 they said to me to wait the following day, and since then no one has gotten back to me,” she remarked. 

The Public Relations Officer said, they, as a mobile company, cannot do such and that their brand is getting bigger every day, and he does not believe what the public says about them, but this is a proven issue.

Orange SL is not protecting its customers from fraudsters who keep on calling people and telling them that they have won a certain amount of money, only for such a person to send money to them. 

Fatmata Kanu an Orange SL user told this medium that she has been receiving messages from Orange SL that she has won three hundred new leones. “At first I was surprised when I received that call because I did not play any lottery or gamble with my orange number, and what got me disappointed is when the caller asked me to send money to him and I just told him to deduct it from the said amount of that he claimed I won. 

Elizabeth Sesay, another Orange SL customer and a businesswoman at Sackville Street, said, she received a call in August 2022, from Orange SL, that she has won twelve million old Leones. At first, she was joyful, but what baffles her was when she was asked to send her account details so that they could send the money to her account which was never true. 

Customers want to know how fraudsters get access to their numbers, names, and addresses. Orange Sierra Leone should continue protecting their customers from fraudsters if only they want to maintain their credibility. 

Radio sensitization is not enough to stop fraudulent practices, the system needs to be protected. Heroes Media has been trying to get information from the Director of Business, Edward Sesay, but this medium has not been able to get in touch with him. However, in a telephone interview with the Public Relations Officer, she told this medium that, she cannot comment on any issues that have to do with Call Data of the August 10 insurrection, as the matter is under police investigation.

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Africel Rehabilitates St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School.

On Tuesday 18 October 2022, Africell Sierra Leone commenced the reopening ceremony for St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School at Wilberforce village in Freetown. The occasion was graced by Her Excellency Dr. Mrs. Fatima Bio, as the keynote speaker. The ceremony started with an opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Col.  Desmond S. Lebbie.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Several representatives from government institutions such as NaCSA, the Ministry of Education, the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC), and private institutions such as Africell Sierra Leone, the Press, Parents, and Well-wishers.

Madam Elizabeth Cole, not her real name, was the chairperson of the occasion; in her opening remarks, she applauded Africell Sierra Leone, First Lady, parents, and parishioners for making it possible to actualise a dream that had passed two decades, and she described the ceremony as historic. She gave a brief background of the name “Saint Luke”. “Today indeed is a historic day for the Catholic Diocese of Freetown, there would have been no perfect day than the reopening of St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School, a school that is named after St. Luke who was an educationist, a writer, one of the writers of the gospel and a doctor,” she said.

She furthermore said, “At Luke, this is the day the Lord has made, that we should be glad indeed. For several years now we had a dream to establish a secondary school, but our founding father, priest Francisco and with the help of all the parishioners helped to build a primary school at the time. After several years of consideration, the council of parishioners had another dream to build a secondary school, and the name suggested was to be named St. Luke’s Model Catholic Secondary School but this dream was not materialized for several reasons, Her Excellency and all present here, God has time for everything, this year 2022 is a remarkable year for St. Luke’s Junior School to be opened today. St Luke is with you, Bishops and all present we want you to take this school as your baby, ” she remarked.

The declaration of the purpose of the gathering was done By Rev. Vincent E. Davies, who first started with opening greetings starting with our First Lady and all that representatives and called a few names of distinguished persons, such as Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles the proprietor of the school, who was not present. Rev. Davies said, the proprietor had an unavoidable engagement to attend and was deputized by Rev. Fr. Dr. David Kamanda, he also recognized Mr. Shadi Gerjawi of Africell Sierra Leone, Mr. Edwin Kamara of NASSIT, Mr. Peter Komeh representing Sierra Leone Road Authority (SLRA) and everyone gathered. “To the education committee, the school reformation has been in operation and line with the free quality education since 2018 under the ticket of his Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio, and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education (MBSSE) has made good progress, but there is more to do as the education has already lost its value to our social life and the pandemic, we believe in the government desires that every child must be educated through the free quality education. We should also ensure that our children are taught in schools by well-trained and qualified teachers, and the school should be a free territory where learners meet to learn positive things about life and community so they, too, can become the true future leaders we crave. We should compass sound knowledge in them. A school that shall create for quality learnings, and the government should add more value to the sciences, Commerce, and humanity,” he said.

Shadi Gerjawi, the Managing Director of Africell Sierra Leone, during his short statement, thanked president Julius Maada Bio and the government for seeing education as a valuable tool for human capital development. He also thanked the St. Luke’s Junior Secondary School administration and the teachers for their profound sacrifices made and continuous support.

Col. Richard Bockarie the Director of Studies at the Armed Forces Technical and Education College (AFTEC) also thanked everyone and encouraged parents to send their kids to both St. Luke’s primary and junior secondary school, and there will be an initiative that will help them to monitor parents that are in the Barracks to encourage their kids to study; she talked about other facilities that will help the kids to learn.

Her Excellency Mrs Fatima Bio gave the keynote address; during her speech, she also stood on the existing protocol by thanking and appreciating everyone for their timely sacrifices. Furthermore, she admonished religious leaders to be careful with the kind of sermons they should preach to people. It could not be a sermon of hate speeches and they have a role to play in their communities and that role is to help minimize rape and early teenage pregnancy. So, the girl child can become educated and responsible, but if her right to education is abused for a petite bride price, she cannot sustain a family of five for a day. She also encouraged parents to send their children to school and make sure that they (girls) are prevented from rape as “It is better to prevent rape before waiting for justice,” she said.

The cutting of tape was done by the First Lady, Mrs Fatima Bio of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and the inspection of the school building was done by her and Dr David Kamanda, followed by the gathering. The vote of thanks was done by a class 5 pupil of the school

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INDIGENES OF SERABU APPLAUD EMMANUEL PIUS RICHARDS FOUNDATION

By Boss Ezekiel 

The people of Serabu, Bumpeh NgaoChiefdom have applauded Emmanuel Pius Richards Foundation (EPRF) for its tremendous effort in supporting the people with health, agriculture, education, and empowering youths with human capital development skills in the Chiefdom.

Over the years the EPRF has been focused on implementing programs to improve agriculture, Technical Vocational training (TVET), infrastructure and health in the chiefdom, as well as complementing the effort of President Julius Maada Bio, especially in education which is the government’s flagship program.

The Emmanuel Pius Richards Foundation had been contributing immensely to improving the lives of the people of Serabu by providing them with skills training as well as boosting them with agricultural equipment and seedlings to farmers across the chiefdom. The foundation exists not only to support the people of Serabu but has shown the responsibility of bringing unity and peace among the people of the Chiefdom.

During the previous holy month of Ramadan, the foundation distributed 80 (eighty) bags of rice to all the Chief Imams in Bumpeh Chiefdom as a gift from the EPRF to support them (the Imams) during the holy month of Ramadan.

The EPRF has also recently constructed a magnificent Multipurpose Hall at the Serabu vocational secondary school which will accommodate over 117 pupils and will be used for external examination purposes and other activities in Serabu town. The Multipurpose Hall comprises offices, a dressing room and a library for the Serabu vocational secondary school. The construction of the Multipurpose Hall has provided relief for hundreds of school children that were always working over 117 miles away from Serabu to Bumpehto take their external exams.

This effort showed how the foundation had put a great effort into improving the livelihood of the people of Serabu through the directives of the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Emmanuel Pius Richards of the Foundation.

The foundation has also donated exercise books, geometry sets, and pencils to the less privileged and remote communities across the Chiefdom. The foundation has immensely contributed to empowering youths in the chiefdom and afforded them agricultural materials such as seedlings and other machinery. The empowering of youth by EPRF has served as a complement to fulfill the efforts of the government of President Julius Maada Bio in providinghuman capital development.

Emmanuel Pius Richards is making life better for his people and also a blessing to the people of Serabu, Bompeh Ngao Chiefdom.

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YELLOW POLITICS MIGHT DESTROY SIERRA LEONE


By Moses Kay Fembeh.

Thomas Paine, An American Revolutionary pamphleteer, expressed in Common Sense (1776) the government is, at best, “a necessary evil.” he furthermore said, “Lawyers, judges, and police are needed to secure the individual’s life and liberty, but their coercive power may also be turned against the people. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives the government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power”.

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation,” said Nelson Mandela. 

Sierra Leone is a post-colonial conflict country and has changed several leaders. The dark cloud of hatred, greed, selfishness, and jealousy among the politicians and the masses in Sierra Leone is alarming. The yellow Politics currently playing in Sierra Leone might kill Sierra Leoneans of today or soon if drastic measures are not taken. The masses and some sincere politicians in the ruling party could attest that things are getting worse, and the issue of unemployment could not be ignored in conversations where the truth needs to be conveyed

Like Nelson Mandela said in his quote, “Violence & great anger can never build a nation.” That is to say, if the ruling party and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party do not see themselves as brothers and sisters to forget about violence and power thirst, Sierra Leone will lick it old vomits which we all pray not to happen now and forever more.

Sierra Leone is a small country with approximately 7.8 million people, according to the December 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census

However, Freetown Major Yvonne Aki Sawyer was invited to the Criminal Investigation Department CID headquarters at Pademba Road on Thursday to answer specific questions about the obstruction of police personnel on duty. The Heroes Media have been trying to reach her Worship Aki Sawyer to get her side of the story but to no avail.

Ady Macauley former Anti-Corruption Commissioner(ACC) during the tenure of his Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, was also arrested and detained a few weeks back by the Sierra Leone Police to answer certain questions that have to do with the August 10 insurrection. The Heroes Media was also unable to reach Ade Macauley to hear his own side of the story. According to the personnel at the CID headquarters, they believe that Macauley incited violence during one of his AVY programs sometime before the 10th of August 2022. From his AVY interview speech, he said “It is clear in the Constitution that nobody does not need to take/have police permission before a such person could demonstrate for his/her right, you do not need the IG permission either.”

Meanwhile, detaining opposition and opposition leaders inciting violence is not the way forward for sustainable development and long-term nation-building. I presume, as peace-loving citizens, we must instil peace and humility in ourselves and those who believe in us as leaders. Sierra Leoneans should not act like the people in the days of Moses; leadership does not come from the East, North, South & West but from the one true God. We should acknowledge the bitter truth and move along with development.

Everybody can give birth to a child, but not everybody can be called a father. A father is not a title given to a man, but it is a privilege and a special grace bestowed upon him. Therefore, a father is mandated to take care of his household, regardless of the wayward sons and daughters under his control. His anger must not allow him to swear to them to perish or to lead underprivileged life while the father has many beautiful and abundant resources and opportunities in store for his children. On the other hand, the children must not make life tougher and more miserable for the father.

On that note, the president of a country is the father and he must preside well over those he rules. H. E Bio’s manifesto talks/campaign in 2017/2018 were motivating and appeasing too many Sierra Leoneans, mainly when he themed it as “New Direction.” But no one can tell why the sudden change and the why inflation continues to take over the country.

The British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) on Wednesday 19 October announced that Ghana is currently going through some National difficulties. So one can say that Sierra Leone is not the only country facing difficulties. Countries like Ghana, Liberia, and others are going through the same.

Salieu Kamara, a businessman at Siaka Steven Street, Freetown, said that President Bio’s government is far better than the past government as the president is working tirelessly to ensure that the lives of its citizens are better, he quoted, “before a nation could be built for the good of everyone, one has to suffer or perish.” He further said that President Bio is a man of vision, and his slow movement toward development will be thanked for after he leaves office.

Susan J. Jawara said, “President Bio does not have a leadership quality and should not even desire to go for the second term, because he will not win that election. He has failed us, we didn’t vote for him for things to be tough for us, and some of us are single parents. We don’t have jobs to sustain us and our dependents.”

The fear of some Sierra Leoneans, especially those in the opposition parties, is that if His Excellency President Bio and his government leave office next year or at any predestined time. What will be his fate? Well as a journalist I cannot comment on that but I have left it in the care of my readers to decide. We have seen rich people become poor overnight, and the poor become rich, like Abraham Lincoln from nothingness to position of influence, power and fame, nobody knows tomorrow.

It is time for yellow Politics to stop, parents must stop injecting bad politics in their children. Heroes Media Newspaper could attest to the ill fact that there are confident kids in the Kissy community whose parents have warned them not to sit in the school buses provided by the government of Sierra Leone through taxpayers’ money to aid pupils in a school in the morning and take them back to various destinations on. If a parent could warn her child not to use a property that belongs to her, then what is the lesson parents are teaching their kids? A lesson of hate, nepotism, jealousy, and conspiracy to destroy their own children’s future? Children should be children, they must be taught about their country’s traditions and cultures not to give bad counseling about any political party. If truth be told, both parties have failed Sierra Leone, so why the indecisiveness from the two parties, nobody is ready to take responsibility for their mistakes.

The two brothers Milton Margai and Albert Margai and others have done their part and gone; the few alive are not in active service today. Dr. Siaka Steven and Joseph Saidu Momoh and cohorts are no longer here with us. Ernest Bai Koroma and cohorts are off from active service.

I believe that two of the good qualities of a leader are that he must be an approachable and kindhearted leader with a forgiving spirit.

Everyone might have made bitter mistakes to themself or others, but should we continue in sin that grace may abound? This was the question Paul asked the people of his day. As a tiny Nation like ourselves should we continue to be bitter against one another that our nation may go backward? I bet, No, because we have children and those unborn babies that shall take over us. If parents and community people do not teach them the things they should do and those they should not do, I am afraid for Sierra Leone not be on the list of myths.

Nigerians and other nationals are not stupid enough to leave their countries to come down to Sierra Leone to invest here. Sierra Leoneans must remove the veils of hatred, greed, envy, tribalism, nepotism, and jealousy so that we will be able to develop one another to climb the ladder of success.

Many people wish for H. E. Bio is to leave power come 2023, whilst others pray for him to stay in control for a lifetime. But the idea of APC or any other political party taking over in June, is it the solution to Sierra Leone’s problems or another predicament? We see the ambition of Alhaji Samuel Samsung, Dr. Mathew Wilson Kamara, and Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkellah they all desire one thing which is power. The masses must not forget that these people are all human beings capable of committing evil and doing good or mistakes. Are their visions understood by the masses, or they represent their political parties?

However, lack of responsibility is a cause of immaturity, poverty, and leadership failure because there will be no clear purpose for national development.

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AFRIMONEY PARTNERS WITH GT BANK

By Moses Kay Fembeh 

On Wednesday 19 October 2022, Afrimoney, and Guaranteed Trust Bank had a business partnership dialogue at the bank conference room at Wilberforce Street, Freetown.

Mr. Arthur Kallon the Corporate Officer at GT Bank, made a brief statement by thanking Afrimoney and the press for making it possible to attend the meeting at the bank. And further said that this is not the first partnership they have got with institutions and Afrimoney is no exception, as they have partnered with several local & international institutions. 

Ade Adebiyi is the Managing Director of GT Bank in Sierra Leone, he said that day is a historic day in financial inclusion strategy of the government and the regulators. He further said that they at GT Bank are happy to associate themselves with such an opportunity. He mentioned a story of one Saidu who lived in Binkoro and worked for a local nongovernmental organization, “Because the nearest bank to Saidu was a hundred kilometers from him, it became difficult for Saidu to Bank his money, but since 2016, Saidu joined Afrimoney and his necessities started going higher and he started thinking of opening an account. So one day he was listening to a Radio when he heard dial *3737# which he used to open his account through his phone with GT Bank and he was happy. But he had another problem, he asked himself,   “How do I put money in my account when banks are far away?” I believe that Saidu’s problem has been solved today because with his Afrimoney he could now deposit money in his account through Afrimoney. Because the GT Bank and Afrimoney launched wallet to wallet 264 000 (Two hundred and sixty-four thousand) customers at GTB will help them to have easy access to financial inclusion and I believe that the wallet-to-wallet will help Saidu and our customers in the 16 sixteen branches in the country to live a stress-free life.” 

Martinson Obeng Agyei the Managing Director of Afrimoney applauded his team, the press, and the management of GT Bank for hosting them and he said they as digital money operators are available to partner with financial institutions in other to ease the burden on customers who may find it difficult to leave their homes to go to the bank. He stated that customers can now access their physical money at the nearest Afrimoney agent’s posts. Agyei said they need more collaborations as they have assigned six thousand agents to serve all GT Bank customers by dialing *161#. He went on to say that collaboration like what they have with GT Bank will help the Bank customers and even those prospective Afrimoney users to establish an account with the bank. He acknowledged the MD’s story about Saidu and he said to avoid embarrassment at the bank you can deposit any amount through Afrimoney with 0.4 or 0. 6 which is not even sum up to the transport fare you will use to come to town to deposit in the hot burning sun. “Imagine you go to the bank, well-dressed up and you see those beautiful ladies behind the Teller or counter and you want to deposit fifty Leones you will feel embarrassed. So to avoid that we are happy for this collaboration and to maintain the symbiotic relationship as this is just the beginning of our partnership, we will try our best with GT Bank to make life easy for your customers and ours,” he said.

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THE CHIEF IMMIGRATION OFFICER CLEARED THE AIR

“Our responsibility is to man the borders of Sierra Leone,” says the Chief Immigration officer Mr Andrew KaiKai at the Immigration Departmentwho informed journalists that it is the responsibility of his institution to man all the crossing borders of Sierra Leone. Mr Kaikai made this statement during the budget hearing exercise at the Ministry of Finance Conference room in Freetown.  He continued that in Sierra Leone some of the main focused crossing points are Gbalamuya in Kambia the crossing border between Sierra Leone and Guinea and Gendem between Sierra Leone to Liberia as well as placement of Immigration officials at those strategic areas has been done.

He explained further that the Immigration Department will continue to do its best and according to him, one of the key functions of the Immigration Department is to monitor the inflow and the outflow of people across the different border lines. “Though we are constraints with funds, my institution has made some significant strides from 2018 to 2022 and we have increased our performance in serving our customers as our priority” he expressed.

Mr KaiKai added that though the country is experiencing inflation of the US dollar exchange rate still, there is yet an increase in sales of passports. He also stressed that his government will fight harder in making sure that they control the inflation of the dollar exchange rate in the country.

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MUSA KAMARA ON A SUICIDE MISSION

The sensational Leone Stars striker, and former Bo Rangers and Sierra Leone Premier League top goal-scorer Musa Noah Kamara, alias Musa Tombo attempted to inflict death himself on Thursday 13 October 2022.

By: Joseph K. B. Morison

(Heroes Media Reporter Bo City)

Kamara was the former Bo Rangers striker, he was recently caught on social media apologizing to the Executive Chairman of Bo Rangers Mr Babadi Kamara after the club terminated his contract for unprofessionalism and misconduct of his attitude towards the club and the several stories surrounding his football career.

It was hoped that Kamara’s contract with the Sierra Leone Premier League  (Bo Rangers), and his newly sign-up Libyans Football Club will be an added advantage. But to everyone’s surprise, eyewitnesses said that Kamara decided to come back home because he had heard too many gunshots in Libya and if they refused to bring him back he would kill himself to avoid the club bringing him back to Sierra Leone. 

The Heroes Media could affirm that since Kamara returned from Libya he has been Bo to sign up another contract with Bo Rangers, but there was no indication that Bo Rangers is ready to accept him back into the league, even though there were pictures of him and his former Boss Mr Babadi Kamara after his apology.

According to eyewitnesses, they said, Musa Noah Kamara was staying with a friend at the back of Southern Model School New Gerihun Road when he allegedly stabbed himself for a reason best known to himself.

However, the Sierra Leone police, the media and police relations officer two ( media 2) of the Sierra Leone police, police constable Alhaji Osman Mansaray said, they received a distressed call from the community people in Bumpewo section where it happened that Musa Noah Kamara had stabbed himself.

He continued that, the police did not waste any time but dispatched police personnel to the scene of the crime, where they met the Leone Stairs’ striker in critical condition. He affirmed that the striker was later rushed to the Bo government hospital for treatment.

Furthermore, he said, there is a law in the Sierra Leone police order act, when you attempt to commit suicide is a crime towards the State. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses believe that Musa was trying to commit suicide, as it was clear that Musa Noah Kamara asked his wife to forgive him for his predicament concerning his football career.

However, after he was taken to the hospital on Thursday he asked the nurses to discharge him and he was discharged at around 9 pm on Thursday as we saw him again on Friday parading on the major streets in Bo such as New Gerihun Road and other key streets. But he was later apprehended by some youths in the city who aided him by carrying him in a vehicle.

According to Statement from Babadi, he said, “You purported that Musa has no contract with Bo Rangers even when I submitted the same to the FA President yet still you brutally destabilized the young man just so that he doesn’t represent Bo Rangers in the Africa Champions League. You have succeeded thus far to destroy an innocent soul. Wait and see what God will do to you. Whatever we can do to help Musa as a club we will do. He remains to be one of the greatest players to ever put on the Bo Rangers Jersey and for that, we are forever grateful. It is going to be well with Musa.  Inshaallah, for the wicked, may Allah judge you according to our deeds”.

Copyright by Heroes Media Newspaper

CSO ACCUSED THE DIRECTOR OF BUDGET OF OVERRULING CONCERNS RAISED

By Boss Ezekiel

The Chief Executive Director for the Citizens Right Network Sierra Leone in a press conference held at his office Naimbana Street in Freetown told journalists that the Director of Budget from the Ministry of Finance overruled 80% of concerns raised by CSOs, NSAs, DBOCs, and PRESS during the budget hearing presentation at the Ministry of Finance headquarters in Freetown. According to him, the CRN-SL, from now on referred to as the CITIZENS RIGHTS NETWORK SIERRA LEONE, on Wednesday, 21 September 2022, embarked on monitoring the Financial Year 2023 budget bilateral discussion held at the Ministry of Finance.

After a 13-day bilateral FY 2023 discussion on the budget, citizen RIGHTS NETWORK SIERRA LEONE has concluded its comprehensive Report to outline best practices. In its detailed report, corrupt practices that negated international best practices were identified as well as gaps during the process were noted, and concerns about the process were observed as well.

The Director continued that CRN-SL commends the Ministry of Finance over its recent activity status updates during the launching of the bilateral budget discussion on 21/09/2022 in the conference hall at the Ministry of Finance. It is important however to emphasize that such updates were needed. “During the opening of the budget hearing, the vice president, Dr Juldeh Jalloh, highlighted the tight fiscal space in the national budget due to outside forces, such as the Russian-Ukraine war. He added that the war has harmful effects on the world’s economy. Against this backdrop, he advised that MDAs pay more attention to service delivery, rather than administrative spending” he explained.

Mr Koroma expressed that CRN-SL observed that 65% of MDAs did not come in time to present their budget, Finance Technical Team eclipses the FY2023 bilateral discussions and frustrated attempts by the CSOs, PRESS, DBOCS and NSAs from raising questions and turning a blind eye to the process of standing down MDAs.

According to the Director, Over 70% failed to submit the required 50 copies of their documents when presenting, and some even could not attend the FY 2023 Bilateral discussions- Such as the Office of the Chief Minister and, crucially, the National Revenue Authority (NRA). The absence of both l &2 groups defeated the process. CRN-SL also observed that the agenda prepared by the Ministry of Finance for FY2023 had loopholes where 80% of MDAs only received their first and second quarters FY2022 budget allocations, but no allocations for the third and some MDAs did not work towards the ceiling given to them by the Ministry of Finance because of their challenges and scope of operations. Amongst the ministries that made their presentation are the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, National Public Procurement Authority, Immigration Department, Human Resource Management Office, National Authorizing Office, Ministry of Defense, Government Printing Sierra Leone police, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service, Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anti-corruption Commission, Ministry of the Western Region, Attorney General and Ministry of Justice.

The CEO expressed that the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institution (SLARI) faced problems with payment. As a result, they lost their scientific researchers to the University of Sierra Leone and Nala University based on their presentation. “My organization also observed that 90% of MDAs failed to follow the Finance Act of 2018 (41) of printing documents to the government printing press and Serra Leone National Shipping Company (SLNSC) Acts section (31) of the Finance Act 2019 and 2012, noted with low turnout compliance by state own institution to do business with SLNSC” he said.

He ended that Both the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) and Rokel Commercial Bank (RCB) denied CSOs, DBOCs, NSAs and the PRESS covering during their presentation, adding that the issue of Auto-spec to upgrading the national motor vehicles’ number plates Keep repeating every year by the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority was laidback and mute about it during their presentation” he explained.

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NACSA BOYCOTT 2023 BUDGET HEARING PRESENTATION

By Boss Ezekiel

The Commissioner of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), Dr Isata Max-Kye and the team have refused to present their budget to the Ministry of Finance for the year 2023. It could be recalled that the budget is the second highest document after the constitution of any country, which has four stages such as budget formulation, budget enactment, budget implementation and budget auditing and monitoring.

The budget presentation shows transparency and accountability to citizens, and participation in the process is a key which usually happens during the formulation stage, wherein the citizens are allowed to scrutinise MDAs’ budgets together with the technical team from the Ministry of Finance, which is a statutory requirement for every MDAs including the State Own Enterprises.

The National Commission for Social Action NaCSArefused to submit their budget for the FY 2023 bilateral budget discussion which is critical to revenue generation, project implementation, accurate statistical data and several other government institutions that are important. The National Commission for Social Action NaCSA is one of the critical state own institutions that has been receiving money from the government and different foreign donors for other activities such as social safety net, agricultural activities and many more.

During COVID-19 the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance gave billions of Leones to NaCSA to implement the Social safety net, cash transfer and social assistance. Over 90 percent of programs that have been implemented by the National Commission for Social Action are been founded by donors and the people of Sierra Leone need to know how these funds are been used by NaCSA. Therefore, therefore, a must that NaCSA should have presented its budget for a proper review, and transparency and accountability as one of the critical principles of the government of President Bio. If they had partaken in the process, Sierra Leoneans would have been allowed to ask critical questions through the civil society, NSA, DBOCs and the media about the challenges and successes of the current strategic plan and revenue forecast for next year but this right was blatantly boycotted by NaCSA.

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Afrimoney Partners With Commercial Mortgage Bank

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Afrimoney Sierra Leone is a local digitalize monetary transactions platform that has been very helpful to individuals, cooperation, and institutions within the country. 

Theresa Jane Wright, the Marketing Supervisor of Afrimoney in her opening remarks told members gathered about the conference and how the two energetic institutions, Afrimoney and CMB could be of great help to the people of Sierra Leone.

Velma Labor is theExecutive Director of Commercial Mortgage Bank (CMB) in the country, during her presentation at the Afrimoney conference room at Wilberforce village, sheexpressed her profound thanks and appreciation to Afrimoney and said the Commerce Montage Bank did not make any mistake in choosing Afrimoney for the easiness and comfortable space that will be created for their customers. She furthered that Afrimoney and the CMB will enjoy an excellent partnership with each other. “We are aware of digital transactions and that is why we have partnered with Afrimoney so that our customers will be very much comfortable when withdrawing and depositing money in their accounts. We care about the welfare of our customers and partners and we will continue to make sure that we render our best services to them through the monetary policy and banking system of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone,” she said. 

According to her, CMB customers will now be able to access their accounts, withdraw and deposit whatever amount they may have in their hands through Afrimoney wallet. And that CMB’s primary goal is to use innovative technology to create a better banking experience, and by the end of the year, CMB will be boasting of being an innovative financial institution that offers customers digital banking solutions that will assess our customers’ current and cooperative needs in the near future for a better finance inclusion and they are encouraging non-governmental organizations and other cooperate institutions to bank and establish a relationship with them. Adding to that, she said Bank is now a bridging moral that presents customers with attractive services and products within the context of their businesses. She ended up by saying that CMB is grateful to the Afrimoney team and their timely response to the partnership and thanked the Afrimoneyteam and the management of CMB for their resilience and technicality during the onset of the program. She was optimistic about their partnership with Afrimoneyand National Social Security Insurance Trust (NASSIT) as their shareholder and for believing in them and the service they render to their customers and others. 

Martinson Obeng Agyei, the director of Afrimoneythanked the Managing Director of CMB and the team for believing in partnership and assured them that Afrimoney is not like any bank and banks must not see the system as a threat to financial coexistence, but as a useful tool that could be used for the benefits of all. 

Going forward, he sighted COVID-19 in 2019 when some businesses and other institutions were closed because of the spread of coronavirus and some people were working in their various homes instead of their workplaces. He believes that in the next few years companies will not survive if they do not embark on a money digitalization policy as money digitalization policy will help people to work in their homes and collect money anywhere they want instead of standing in the queue for a long time to deposit or withdraw. “Don’t forget I’m a bank customer too, why don’t we work together to build this common and affordable goal for our convenience? We should not be competing, instead, we should work hand in hand to satisfy our customers for a better future. Many times, people think that we are in this to compete. Remember, we are a mobile money platform, a non-financial institution, we are not doing what the Bank is doing, we hope to amicably work with banks. As for CMB, we are happy to work with you all and we are not going to stop at anything. We shall work with each other to bring satisfaction to our customers and today we have assigned six thousand agents to you nationwide,” he noted. 

Moreso, he said the essential product for human desire and satisfaction is the use of time. Imagine, some people will not have time to go to the bank to collect money, especially mothers who will have to go to school to pick up their kids and come back home to prepare meal for the family. These are a few of the issues why everyone needs to embark on money digitalization and with Afrimoney one can deposit any amount without going to the bank. “Presume you dressed up well and you go to meet those beautiful ladies at the bank and tell them that you want to deposit ten Leones (Le 10), they will look at you and see the way you dress up, and you will be guilty of not depositing much money and in actual sense the bank wants you to deposit money. With the digital partnership with CMB, customers can withdraw or deposit in their accounts at any time and they will be notified immediately after. Twenty hours, seven days a week and six thousand agents have been given to CMB. We hope that everything will get better if we are ready to work together,” he said

In conclusion, “To our cherish customers, continue to dial *161# and thank you to the CMB team and our fourth estate for being there for us always,” he added.

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De. Gilpin Takes RCB Higher

For any successful business venture, there are alwayssome amount of pretty competitive rivalries, it could be within the business entity or from other competitors outside the business. 

Since Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin took over the RokelCommercial Bank in 2017 as the new Managing Director, he has been tremendously doing well in the Banking industry as the brand gets bigger every day, and it is not only getting bigger by customers keeping their monies at the RC Banks in the country but also ensuring that the livelihoods of small businesses in the country are sustainable.

Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin’s hard work and dedication to the promotion of RCB have made the bank to be listed as one of the 50 Most Reputable Bank CEOs in Africa, by Reputation Poll International in 2021 and this award was not only dedicated to RCB but Sierra Leone, customers and the hardworking staff at the RCB. 

The bank continues to enlarge its marketing strategy for its customers and prospective customers by positioning itself for better service delivery that will attract prospective customers. The functioning accounts at the RC Bank are Kumbra Account, Fixed Account, Kekeh Loans, Corporate Banking and SME loans etc. 

Rugiatu Mansaray a customer of the RokelCommercial Bank in Freetown and a trader at Salaadground said that she is a living testimony of the SME Loans. “I would remember in 2021 when I applied for the SME Loan, after presenting my documents to the loan officer and all that which makes me to be eligible for the loan, the process was done easily and I was granted the loan paid within six months. RCB is truly a bank for us the average people in the country”, she said.

It is also evident that on the 1st August 2022 the Krootown Road Market women were loaned a sum of one hundred and one million old Leones by the RokelCommercial Bank, to empower women who are engaged in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs). 

In his keynote statement during the handing over ceremony of the cheque to the beneficiaries, Dr. Ekundayo Gilpin, Managing Director of the RCB said that they as a bank believe in empowerment and quality service delivery as those are few of their core values. He further said that they want to maintain the symbiotic relationship between RCBank and the market women especially those in the small and medium enterprises. He also mutated that the bankers are not only to sit under their air conditioning offices with coats and ties but to help smaller businesses grow into sustainable economies together. 

Adding to that, the Managing Director of the bank said that they have spread their hands to various market women in the Western Urban to provide loan facilities for MSMEs. This, according to him, is because women are in the majority in that sector. He went further to encourage the women to pay back the loans given to them as he said the money given out to the market women is not money that belongs to RokelCommercial Bank and management that should not be paid for, but the money that belongs to customers. “Since we believe in empowerment that is why we have given out the loan and we strongly believe as market women you will use the money wisely as it will guarantee you financial freedom,” he said.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway. The MD and team have expressed their trust in the market women by loaning them. The MD and team continue to work together to lift the green, white and blue flag, as they have excellent marketing relations officers and staff.

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Sierra Leone Police Media Team

As a means of promoting institutional synergy and collaboration between the two institutions, the Ombudsman of Sierra Leone – Jenkins Johnson Esq. and his team, on Wednesday 28th September 2022, paid a courtesy call on the Inspector General of Police – Mr. William Fayia Sellu, at Police Headquarters, George Street, in Freetown.

The intention of the visit was centered on building a good working relationship between the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman also used the occasion to formally congratulate Mr. William Fayia Sellu on his appointment to the office of Inspector General.

Jenkins Johnson Esq. further used the opportunity to hobnob with the general membership of the Executive Management Board inclusive of Regional Commanders in the Conference Room and via zoom respectively.

Mr. Jenkins Johnson gave a synopsis of the role and responsibility of the Office of the Ombudsman, as enshrined in Section 7 of the Ombudsman Act; noting, that the Ombudsman is the people’s spokesman. He revealed that many Police Officers had appealed through the Ombudsman’s Office on decisions that were taken against them in the SLP; but with the intervention of the Ombudsman, some of those issues were judiciously addressed.

However, the Ombudsman drew the attention of the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Management Board to issues of police bail, detention facilities at police stations and the relationship between the Police and the citizens. He emphasized that the IGP and the Executive Management Board need to smoothen the relationship between the citizens and thePolice. In his words, he said, “I believe in the leadership of IG Sellu and do not doubt that he can change the narrative for the betterment of the institution; as the Ombudsman is a policy assurance for all and sundry”. 

Responding, the Inspector General of Police – Mr. William Fayia Sellu thanked Jenkins Johnson Esq. and the team for such a maiden visit which culminated in a kind of worthwhile lecture delivered to the EMB members. He furthered that most of the issues highlighted were not new, though some, he said, will be used as management information for future planning.

As regards strengthening the relationship between the two institutions, the Director of Professional Standards – AIG K.S Kamara was considered to serve as a liaison for effective administration.

AIG Thomas M. Lahai, AIG Mohamed Braima-Jah, AIG Saidu B Jalloh and AIG Memunatu Konteh-Jallohalso made meaningful contributions to some of the issues expressed by the Ombudsman and team. There is no denying the fact that there are lots of oversight bodies that regulate the Police; but disappointingly, most of these bodies always indict the SLP instead of condemning any wrongdoing meted out against the Police by some members of the public.

Regional Police  Commanders in the provinces also made similar contributions concerning some of the complaints made to the Ombudsman Office, such as unfair treatment based on the fact that the Office does not fully understand some of the constraints the institution faces while executing its duties.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police reassured the Ombudsman and team of his maximum support at all times and expressed the hope that there would be follow-up meetings for better collaboration.

Group photos and other pleasantries climaxed the session.

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CHILDREN OF ON-THE-RUN COUPLE CONTINUE TO LANGUISH

By Ibrahim Sangha

Hajaratu Mansaray
Yemeh Mansaray

Almost seven weeks had passed since the neighborhood of 63 Palmer Street, Wellington, Freetown Sierra Leone noticed that MrYemeh Mansaray and his spouse Hajiratu Mansaray fled out of their home soon as they noticed that their names were mentioned in the list of persons of interest who were declared wanted for allegedly organizing, sponsoring and participating in the August 8th 9th and 10th insurrection this year.

10th August 2022 has forever gone down in the anal history of Sierra Leone as three-days of protest, stagedby some aggrieved members of the public, resulted in the killing of six (6) police personnel, twenty-nine (29) civilians, as well as the burning and destruction of state and private citizen’s properties that worth billions of Leones. According to the President of Sierra Leone, the perpetrators whom he described as Insurrectionists are members of the opposition.

Fatmata Mansaray who is 16 years old is the eldest of the three children, Hassan Mansaray 12 and KadiatuMansaray 10 years old, of Yemen and HajiratuMansaray. According to Fatmata Mansaray, herparents’ plight started two years back when some members of her dad’s tribe men called her dad (Yemen Mansaray) to take over the mantle of leadership of their traditional secret society and to be initiated and ensure to initiate all of his children into the secret society. “Our kinsmen offered my father the leadership position of our traditional secret society but he refused to accept it. They started chasing and urging him to go to the village to take over the society but he always told them that his religion does not permit him to takepart in any secret society, therefore, he was not interested. As a result of the disturbance of overzealous traditionalists, we relocated to Waterloo”, FatmataMansaray explained.

Adding to their pain, she said that members of the secret society started to publicize her father and mother, Mr and Mrs Mansaray as strong sponsors of the main opposition political party – the All People’s Congress (APC). She called off her statement that she was among those who sat the West African Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE) 2021/2022 academic year and she got university requirements but the absence of her parents, who could settle heruniversity bill, has made her stay at home doing nothing.

Abubakarr Sesay, the chief imam of the Wellington community was a close friend of Yemen Mansaray whousually led him and others in Islamic prayers in their community mosque. Imam Sesay affirmed knowing the couple for a while. He then intimated to this medium that Mr Mansaray several times informed the congregation (Jama’at) that he wanted to move to an unknown location due to the traditional initiators’ pressure on him which he could no longer withstand. “After many months of disappearance, I saw their names and pictures on the wanted list on social media as members of those who sponsored and participated in the August 10th violent protest that took the lives of Sierra Leoneans – 6 police officers and 29 civilians,” Imam Abubakar Sesay said,

According to the record of the head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police force, chief superintendent Richard Robert said that both people are not in the detainee’s record. He however confirmed that they are indeed among the persons of interest for the allegation of public disorder, perpetration of violence against the state, terrorist act of insurrection and attempted coup d’etat among other criminal offences.

The couple were surprised to see their names and photos on social media as wanted by the Sierra Leonean Police and according to them they’re peace-loving citizens and that is what they instill in their children and those who come around them. 

It could be evident that the photo of Oladapo OlaitanOlaonipekun alias Dagrin, a Nigerian rapper born in Ogun, Nigeria and died in April 2010 was captured by the Sierra Leone Police as one of the wanted persons for the August 10 “INSURRECTION” as it was termedby President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio in his State Speech to the citizens of Sierra Leone. He said the Insurrectionists wanted to remove him from governance, which is unbelievable because the Soldiers are right at State House, a civilian with a bare hand cannot remove a democratically elected president without the aid of the military.

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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.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

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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African Union Police Chief Appointed

The current serving Chief of the African Union Multinational Police Force in Somalia Commissioner, Augustine Kailie has been endorsed this morning by the Police Council as Deputy Inspector General of Police. He is expected to round up his mission in Somalia and take up his new role in the next coming days. 

Commissioner Kailie oversaw the operational planning and security of the recently concluded parliamentary and presidential elections in Somalia. He held various command and operational positions in Sierra Leone. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from FBC and a master’s degree in Peace Development Studies. 

Given his wealth of experience and professional career including his educational background, his appointment has been widely appreciated by his colleagues in the SLP and the African Union. A few minutes ago, a senior police officer posted in a forum that “The new DIG is a fine and refined police officer.”

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Juliana D. Conteh Wins Housemates Salone Season 3, As She Triumph Over Obstacle

By Moses Kay Fembeh

On Friday 19th August 2022, Afrimoney, Africell Sierra Leone in collaboration with African Young Voices (A.Y.V) media empire had a grand style presentation and signing ceremony for the winner of Housemates Salone, season 3. 

Accordingly, Mr. John Konteh said the Housemates Salone, season 3 planning lasted nearly six months. Furthermore, he said that it was not without its challenges as they received thousands of applications from Sierra Leonean residents and Sierra Leoneans based in the diaspora. “With the help of our credible, trustworthy and hardworking judges we were able to select sixty participants. Since Sierra Leone is a religiously tolerant nation,we were slightly disturbed because of Ramadan but we managed to adjust ourselves and finally twenty-two qualified for the Housemates Salone, season 3. These housemates spent nine weeks in the house and we used to evict 3-4 participants per week and that is due to low votes per person,” he said. 

Juliana D Conteh alias Julie Tombo merged as the winner of this year’s Housemates Salone, season 3. Before its commencement, the organisers promised during the initial journey of the Housemates Salone, season 3 a sum of two hundred and fifty million Leones (Le 250,000 In Old Leones) which is Le 250,000(In New leones) and a one-month vacation to Dubai. Konteh further introduced the winner of Housemates Season 3, Ms. Juliana D. Conteh to members of the fourth estate, and those gathered in the Afrimoney boardroom at Wilberforce village. There was a joyful noise in the Hall from her fans and supporters, one could even figure out the joy that was running through Julie Tombo’s heart. 

 

Samuel Wise Bangura is a staff of Africa Young Voices AYV television, he represented the Chief Executive Officer of AYV,Mr. Junior Navo and explained their experiences and challenges faced during the program but at the end, they celebrated a goodwill success and that is the dream of the CEO of AYV to make sure that young people are giving the platform to showcase their talents. “At first it was not easy for some of us but we have to force the situation so that we can adjust, thank you, sir, you did well for us,” said Almon Sall, one of the housemates to Daniel Moore, a staff of Africa Young Voices (AYV), and the director of logistics and a disciplinary leader. 

Mr. Joe Abass Bangura is the Africell Chief Cooperate Affairs Officer. According to him, he said Juliana D. Conteh alias Julie Tombo’s true life story could be an inspiring story for young people who feel marginalized or cheated on in life due to some obstacles that befall them. “Imagine Julie Tombo a mother of six children with unsuccessful love relationships yet dares to come to the Housemates Salone season 3 which I believe is inspiring. She did not join most of her fellow young people to do things that do not resemble her but kept on fighting and today she has emerged as the winner of Housemates Salone, season 3. Therefore, I plea to all those who have felt that they are behind to take opportunity available to turn their failures or circumstances into a success,” he said. He ended up his speech by thanking the organisers, the former housemates, and the press for their commitment and steadfastness in the promotion of the entertainment industry and for being reliable media in Sierra Leone. 

A check of two hundred and fifty thousand (New leones) was awarded to Juliana D Conteh alias Julie Tombo as a winning prize, she and Almon Sall were made Brand Ambassadors for AFRICELL and MiFi loaded with unlimited data were also given to them including some former housemates who did well during their stay in the house, a month trip to Dubai was granted Julie Tombo. 

Juliana D Conteh, alias Julie Tombo was the winner of the housemates Salone season 3, according to her, she is a mother of six children but that did not stop her from pursuing her dream. “Today I’m proud of my children, family, well-wishers, Africell & AYV media empire especially the Chief Executive Officers of the two different institutions for creating such a beautiful platform for young people like me and others to showcase our talents and on behalf of my former housemates we shall work together to ensure that other young people be given a similar opportunity,” she said.

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ACC Dialogues with Key Education Stakeholders in the Eastern Region

REGIONAL OFFICE KONO

18 SANSSIE STREET, OFF KAINKORDU ROAD

KOIDU CITY

SIERRA LEONE, WEST AFRICA

 

NEWS ITEM

19th August 2022

By: Jeneba Kemoh Mbayo

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Eastern Regional Office, in a bid to integrity and best practices in public sector institutions, on 16th August 2022, engaged key education stakeholders in Kenema, on the topic, “Education Is a Key Tool Which Helps Us Achieve Success as a Nation”. 

This engagement attracted representatives from the Conference of Principals, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and the Directorate of Teaching Service Commission. 

Welcoming stakeholders from the Education Sector, the ACC Regional Manager, East, Keifala Koi thanked them for honouring the invitation. He encouraged his listeners to uphold the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability in ensuring the successful attainment of the Free Quality Education. Manager Koi further registered the Commission’s continued commitment to the success of the Free Quality Education, particularly in the management of the school feeding programme, learning materials and the utilization of school fee subsidies hence the ACC’s partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE).

ACC’s Public Education Officer Kenema, Jeneba Kemoh Mbayo, emphasized the responsibilities of the education stakeholders in employing measures to eradicate corruption within the education sector. She urged them to undertake the admission process of pupils into JSS1 in a corrupt free manner, should the Free Quality Education initiative be successfully attained. 

Senior Investigations Officer ACC, Belinda Hebron, reminded school Principals of their public mandate which includes; but not limited to the prevention of corruption in schools. To this end, she encouraged them to familiarize themselves with the Anti-Corruption Act, 2008 (as amended in 2019), which according to her will help them understand the Dos and Don’ts contained therein, as the Commission is currently paying attention to the issue of the misuse of school fee subsidies. She referenced some offences in the  AC Act 2008 as amended in 2019, such as; soliciting, accepting or obtaining an advantage for public officers, and misappropriation of public funds or property, which she noted carry severe punitive measures upon conviction. 

Responding, the Chairman, Conference of Principals, Mustapha J. Mansaray thanked the Commission for the opportunity and platform provided for a frank and open conversation on the things that matter most towards the sanitization of the education sector. On the utilization of school fees subsidies, he promised to submit to the ACC, the Policy Guide on the same, highlighting also challenges in the teaching field. 

The ACC Team and the Education Stakeholders after the engagement

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Sandor Chiefdom in Kono District Embraces the Fight Against Corruption.

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION

REGIONAL OFFICE KONO

18 SANSSIE STREET, OFF KAINKORDU ROAD

KOIDU CITY

SIERRA LEONE, WEST AFRICA

19th August 2022

NEWS ITEM

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kono has, on the 16th and 17th of August 2022, held a community outreach meeting with stakeholders and residents of Sandor Chiefdom and alongside met with health workers and security personnel. 

Speaking at the meetings held in Baudu and Workor communities, the Regional Manager-ACC Kono, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara, informed the audience that these meetings are part of the Commission’s public education drive in preventing corruption by empowering them with the right knowledge on corruption, including what corruption is, how it can be mitigated and promptly reported. 

She encouraged them to closely monitor community development activities in their various localities in order to ensure value for money and further added that the Commission’s operations are informed by the reports and complaints made by members of the public regarding the occurrence of corruption. Manager Hawantu Kamara read the toll-free lines and explained the other channels of reporting corruption to the Commission. She told them that whistleblowers are key in the fight against corruption and as a result, the Commission provides for the protection of its informants and witnesses, noting also that, whistleblowers are rewarded with 10% of the proceeds recovered by the ACC from an individual or institution reported. 

In a related engagement with health workers and security personnel in the chiefdom, Hawanatu highlighted several provisions in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, which increased the powers of the Commission to better deal with the problem of corruption. Manager Kamara informed the health workers and security personnel of the several complaints made by members of the public in relation to bribery, payment for free healthcare services and facilities and many more. She appealed to them to desist from such activities, which are unacceptable and would amount to corruption. 

Speaking on behalf of the Health Workers at the Kayima Health Center, Saidu Sandwa said, they have been discharging their duties diligently. He, therefore, asked his colleagues to refrain from such practices in the health centre if they are engaged in them. 

Chief Inspector Tamba I. Conteh, Officer in Charge of Yormandu Police Post, noted that his officers and members of the Local Police Partnership Board have been working cordially with the community people under the community policing partnership agreements. He also agreed to strengthen ethical standards in the discharge of their duties in the chiefdom going forward.  

ACC Public Education Officer, Kono, Hawa Deen Conteh who spoke on ethics in the workplace stated that ethics is a key component of integrity that guides the behaviour and conduct of public officers to make sound decisions in the lines of duty. She also did a step-by-step online asset declaration process for the health workers and other public officials in the meeting and encouraged them to maintain high ethical standards in their daily operations.

Chief Jonathan Oliver Sourie, Chiefdom Speaker, Sandor, speaking on behalf of the chiefdom authorities, expressed gratitude to the ACC for sensitizing his people on the ills of corruption. He assured the ACC that, the knowledge gained will be adequately utilized and vowed that henceforth he is an anti-graft crusader and ambassador for the Commission.

Community people listening to the ACC team during the sensitization campaign

 

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EASY SOLAR PARTNERS WITH AFRIMONEY

On the 16th of August 2022, Easy Solar which is one of the fastest growing energy companies in Africa had a partnership dialogue and launch with Afrimoney at the Afrimoney boardroom at Wilberforce village. 

Abdul Aziz Kamara and Theresa J. Bright who are both staff of Afrimoney appreciated members of the fourth estate & the Co-founder & Chief Commercial Officer Mrs Nthabiseng Mosia for her great move on joining her business with Afrimoney. 

Madam Nthabiseng Mosia is an entrepreneur and a business-minded woman in Sierra Leone and the African continent as a whole;talking to this medium during her keynote address, she said that Easy Solar was established in 2016 and since then they have 800,000 users across the country and they are not only targeting cities but even smallest communities in the country could be reached and served with their products at affordable prices; that majority of the Hotels in Freetown and the interiors are using their services. 

Horatio Dave-Pratt who is the head of sales-sty Easy Solar also lamented what his boss Nthabiseng Mosia said earlier whichaccording to him (Pratt), Easy Solar is affordable; has high quality and could be used anywhere in the country without further disturbance. He assured the Afrimoney team of their partnership & agreements which he said they will work hand and gloves with Afrimoney which is their partner and the people of Sierra Leone and their services rendered are assured. He told this medium that the good news is that Easy Solar has been established in all the sixteen districts in the country, ” we also have 32 shops, 400 agents and this is a win-win situation for Afrimoney as our partners and us, we have also introduced paid roll deduction service for civil servants as we loan some of them, they pay during the end of the month”, he said. “We also have a target for establishing 32 shops by the end of this year,” he added. 

Mr.Joe Abass Bangura, the Chief commercial officer at Afrimoney Sierra Leone lamented the importance of partnership and acknowledged the Chief commercial officer of easy solar and the team for their brave move in partnering with them. He also thanked Easy Solar and praised the fourth estate for their resilience to help send the message out to the wider public. Bangura made reference to America on the use of digital money and further said that the world runs on credit and it is only in Africa that we are still carrying cash in our wallets and purse. He went on to assure customers that if they pay their easy solar bill through Afrimoney there will be a 10% given to the payees. He affirmed that Afrimoney has been a trustworthy partner to several institutions and government agencies as they are also trying to work on a good networking system with all banks in the country so that people can make payments and even withdraw from their bank accounts through Afrimoney. “Few colleges, universities and schools have partnered with us for payment of bills and tuition fees for their tertiary students and pupils in schools,” he said. 

However, digital money is safe, easy and fast. Noting that some advanced countries are trying to wipe out cash and live on digital money. He spoke on strengthening their network with institutions and government agencies in Sierra Leone and adding more agents boots in the country for easy accessibility of money (cash in or cash out) by their customers. Meanwhile, both teams of Easy Solar and Afrimoney encouraged the fourth estate to spread the good news to the people of Sierra Leone to use Easy Solar and make their payments through Afrimoney as it’s a trustworthy digital system in the country.

Bangura said they have the biggest number of customers in the country and he ended up thanking Easy Solar and assuring them of a successful partnership.

By Moses Kay Fembeh

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CHINESE SEED EXPERTS ENGAGE SLESCA ON AREAS OF COLLABORATION

On Wednesday 17th August 2022, a team of Chinese seed experts paid a courtesy call tothe Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency, Dr. Robert Chakanda, in a bid to exchange ideas on quality seed production.

The visit of the Chinese team was as a result of the exemplary work of the current Executive Director, Dr. Robert Chakanda, in ensuring that quality seed is produced locally for the increased yield of the country’s staple food. The Chinese have been working with the Ministry of Agriculture in developing the agriculture sector in the country for a while. During the visit, the Executive Director explained the challenges that they are faced with, among which is the poor facility at the laboratory, the need for more training of staff and the exchange of knowledge on attaining quality seed for better yield. 

Dr. Robert Chakanda further updated them on the various developments in the sector, as well as the government’s stance to end the importation of seeds for farmers and the encouragement of farmers to produce more seeds. He furthered that in the current situation, no one will be able to import seed without the expressed permission of SLeSCA. He further explained that this is necessary toenable the agency to test all seeds coming into the country, as well as those produced locally. He disclosed that to ensure that the value chain is maintained, SLeSCA has been able to identify seed dealers, seed growers and farmers. Seed dealers should have seed shops where they store their seeds and sell them to the farmers, the eventual users of the seed. The Seed growers are involved in growing the seed with technical support from SLeSCA, to ensure that quality seeds are produced. 

Dr. Chakanda further briefed them that the government is also supporting the farmers financially with cash they can access through the banks in a sort of loan scheme, which they pay later. 

The Chinese team expressed willingness to collaborate with SLeSCA in developing the seed sector and enhancing seed sufficiency, with the ultimate aim of achieving food security in the country.

Climaxing the visit, the Chinese team was taken on a conducted tour of SLeSCA’sfacility, including the laboratory. 

By SLeSCA Communication Unit. 

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IG SELLU’S FIRST TEST

The Inspector General of Police, Mr William Fayia Sellu was appointed on Wednesday 27th July 2022  by His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio of the Republic of Sierra Leone.The current Inspector General of Police is an industrious man with a high level of integrity and disciplinary leader he is. He demonstrated this quality during his first test on the 10th of August 2022. Before the August 10 incident, the IG assigned commanders with hardworking personnel in different locations within Freetown and some parts in the North and Northwest. 

Mr Bongay, the Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) attached to the Jui police Division was assigned by the Inspector General of Police William Fayia Sellu as a team commandant for the Urban and Rural areas of Freetown, mainly from Free Junction to Jui axis. The CSP did his best during the August 10 deadly protest as he gave up himself for the job with tireless efforts in match field operation with the military in the East of Freetown. 

The Inspector General himself had a sleepless night starting from the 7th to the 10th of August patrolling in different locations to ensure that the deployed security personnel were on their duties as per requirements of the police to protect lives and properties and this shows a clear indication that the current Inspector General of Police is a responsible man with great love and passion for his job and the people of Sierra Leone. The Local Unit Commanders in the Western Urban and Rural Areas of Freetown & Waterloo and the affected places also demonstrated sound leadership qualities as they teamed up with IG Sellu. 

The test came at a time when the country is experiencing several economic hardships. It is however evident that the hardship is not only limited to Sierra Leone but could be best described as “global hardship.” Some folks however keep blaming the current president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr Julius Maada Bio for not providing the necessities such as food, and job opportunities as promised during the 2018 election campaign. It is on this basis that some unknown persons staged a protest to fulfil their enterprises. Civil disobedience in a state is not a moral guarantor of peace and economic stability but a moment of economic paralipsis. 

Nonetheless, since the riot/protest took place on the 10th of August 2022 the city of Freetown is yet to restore its full momentum as some shops and offices are not rendering effective services due to the instability of the State security and national peace. Many people believe that I. G Sellu with his leadership prowess will assuredly deliver his task despite his first test which seems to be alarming as the country’s national elections stand around the corner. One could also conclude that the president in his wisdom did not make any mistake by appointing Williams Fayia Sellu as the Inspector General of Police. 

The Sierra Leone police have truly expressed their dissatisfaction with the ill-treatment by the protesters that resulted in the death of their compatriots. One of the security personnel that was slain was Pastor Desmond. The police believe that they are serving the people of this country, and stopping protesters from entering the Central Business District (CBD) was not reproach as the protesters dim it but a way to stop further destruction which sadly resulted in damages and the loss of lives and properties in some parts of Freetown, Makeni, Waterloo, Kamakwie and Port Loko respectively.

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President Bio Championed Human Capital Development

Prior to his election into the office of presidency by the people of Sierra Leone, during an interview on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Thursday, August 11 2022, President Julius Maada Bio described the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) as a huge, ambitious but necessary project for every child in Sierra Leone. “That is a huge undertaking that is taking a large amount of money every month. We are providing school fees, we are providing core textbooks, we are providing teaching and learning materials, we are providing subsidies to schools, we are providing transportation in most of the cities, we are providing school feeding for most parts of the country,” said President Bio.

After the launch of the Free Quality School Education, according toPresident Bio, the project is a very expensive undertaking at a point when the global economy is facing difficulties, but his government has made a tremendous effort to equip the young people and place them in a position where they will be able to gain employment. “We do agree that most of the youths are unemployed and we do sympathize with their situation and as a government, we have done quite a lot to address that situation among them is the Free Quality School Education and which involves technical education as well. It is all meant for them to be able to empower themselves and make them employable,” he said.

He asserted that his government has made access to quality education free so that every Sierra Leonean could be empowered, noting that the Free Quality School Education also promotes inclusivity. Hence, if a child is born in Sierra Leone today, that child should be able to access quality education free, regardless of the child’s background, gender, region, or status.

“When I promised free and quality education, my opponents said it was a political gimmick. But today, I have proven them wrong. In less than six months, we have shown that free education is possible. I have always prioritized education as a means of development. As President, to demonstrate my commitment to education, my government has increased the budgetary allocation to education to 21 per cent of the national budget. Several other strides have been taken already in this short time to commence the implementation of free quality education programmes across the country,” President Bio said during the launch of the FQSE on August 20th 2018.

Augustine Sankoh

Strategic Communications Analyst MBSSE

asankoh@education.gov.sl

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PERMA BLOCKS ENTERPRISE

The Perma BLOCKS ENTERPRISE, Better Building Blocks for Better Homes is hereby inviting all business loving Sierra Leoneans that are planning to do construction or are on construction to do business with Perma BLOCKS Construction as our blocks are almost natural, accurate and solid, and gives service satisfaction and delivers on time. 

Our services are as follows: 

1. We do block construction;

2. We supply to wherever you want and on time;

3. Rest assured that our blocks are solid and durable;

4. Light in weight with high strength;

5. Heat, water and fire resistant;

6. Available in all sizes (4, 5, 6& 8 inches);

7. Hallow blocks are also available.

Come! Come!! Come!!! To 26 High Broad Street, Murray Town, Freetown. 

For enquiries, call us on +23280777888. Don’t forget to grab your own supply now!

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Kissy Industry Company Imports 5000 Metric Tonnes of Rice

By Kissy Industry PR Department

As a way of complementing the good work of the government, Kissy Industry and Trading Company Ltd, over the past weeks brought into the country well over 5000 Metric Tonnes of rice.

The brand of the rice is Leo Indian parboiled rice 5% Sortexed in 50kg.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company, Jamal Shallop, they are always there to look at the needs of the people in the country, adding that rice is a major staple food in the country. 

“We want to complement the work of the government because they cannot do it alone”, says Mr. Shallop.

He continues: “As a company, we are into the diversification of the country’s economy. Sierra Leoneans should expect more products from the company very soon”. 

He furthered that the Leo Indian Parboiled rice has less or no starch which is good for everyone’s consumption and cannot add to their weights. 

CEO Shallop thanked the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy for his technical support, commending President Bio and his wife for their continued support to the company. 

The Leo Indian parboiled rice is in all the leading stores in the country.

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Bo Residents Appreciate Kissy Industry Products

By Kissy Industry PR Department

Residents of Bo, Southern Sierra Leone, during a random assessment conducted by Kissy Industry Public Relations Department and other media houses, have affirmed that the Kissy Industry Products ‘are the best in the country’. 

The assessment was done along Fenton Road, Bojon Street shops, and the central market. The team engaged more women and few men who appreciated the products more especially when they were told that all the products are produced from the country’s raw materials.

The company is presently producing Leo Oil, Diamond Premium Margarine Butter, Protect + medicated and the Sass Detergent and Bar Soap. 

They are available in all the leading shops in the country.

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What the future holds for Kandeh Yumkella?

By Shaka-Sylla Conteh

As the 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections fastapproaching, there have been several speculations of what will save the political future of Kande Kolleh Yumkella. But the question on everybody’s lip is, will he become president under a National Grand Coalition (NGC) ticket?

However, from my own personal study and observation, I don’t think he will become president under the NGC ticket. He still has chance to become president but not under theticket of his political party, because the two traditional political parties; APC and SLPP are ingrained in the people’s psychics and they are not willing to change their loyalties for a third force. 

This was evident in the first round of the 2018 presidential elections when the All People’s Congress (APC) Party and Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) got over 85% of the first round votes whilst Kandeh finished with distant third of less than 10%. And his representation in parliament has been mixed so far because he has been inconsistent in opposition through the word he coined to cover it constructive criticism making it difficult to pinpoint his position on issues in parliament. And this has cost him a lot of votes to mount any serious challenge for the 2023 presidential elections. 

Meanwhile, the only way if he wants to continue in politics is to join one of the two traditional political parties; the APC or SLPP, and this may resuscitate his chances again to become a President or Vice President which I believe National Grand Coalition will never take him to.

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SLMet and SLMA End Three-Day Marine Training on Strengthening Sierra Leone Coastal Guard Communication Networks for Climate Early Warning Information Dissemination

In what has been described as sustained efforts to safeguard lives, goods,  and services along Sierra Leone’s Ocean, rivers and coastal zones, the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMET) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA), with support from the United Nations’s Development Program (UNDP) has over the weekend ended three days training on “strengthening Sierra Leone’s Coastal Guard Communication for climate  Early Warning Services dissemination through training and distribution of  Very High Frequency (VHF) Marine Radios” by UNDP to both institutions. 

The training which kicks off on Thursday 5th August, 2022 targeted over 50 participants including members of the Media, Maritime Radio Operators, SLMET Forecasters, Observers, etc.

Speaking at the three-day engagement held at the Conference Room of SLMA, Government Wharf in central Freetown, the Deputy Director-General and Head of Operations of SLMET, Gabriel Kpaka said, the training forms part of the UNDP Coastal Risk Management Project with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with key agencies such as SLMET, Tourism, Maritime and EPA being implementing partners. 

Mr. Kpaka further commended the UNDP for helping to rebuild the technical and human capacities of the Agencies within the grip of the coastal risk management project. 

He said with the help of UNDP, SLMET has over the years revamped its Marine and weather infrastructure across the country, but added that more needs to be done.

He rounded up his statement by soliciting and enlisting the support of the UNDP to have more marine stations and refresher training with SLMA, build up community volunteers on marine efforts, and strengthen the dissemination of marine weather information.

On his part, Director of Safety and Security at the SLMA, Ibrahim Wurie who stood in the stead of the Acting Executive Director- Sama Gamanga, expressed his appreciation for the role UNDP has played within the Maritime sector, adding that the training and distribution of the Marine radios is a continuation of the good job the Program has been doing over the years. He cited the rehabilitation of three search and rescue vessels by the United Nations Development Program in February 2021 as part of the UNDP’s collaborative effort with the Government of Sierra Leone through SLMA in strengthening maritime security and governance in the country.

With its vast coastline of about 406 Km, Sierra Leone remains one of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea with the least capacity to address maritime security and governance challenges, hence the UNDP’s intervention in enhancing the core operations of the Administration.

Tanzila Watta Sankoh Team Leader, Sustainable Growth Cluster – UNDP while making her statement on the need for the training and the distribution of the Very High-Frequency Marine Radios, said that the Early Warning component in respect of marine efforts, supported over the last four years by the UNDP, covers Hamilton, Lakka, Conakry Dee, Shenge, Tombo and Turtle Island communities respectively. She furthered that it is no news that coastal communities are challenged with many risks and as such, it is but fitting that efforts are made to help them adapt to the many challenges they continue to face. 

Mrs. Sankoh said that the dissemination of Early Warning information on daily marine Forecasts is key to saving lives.

“Early Warning Services including Marine information can help coastal dwellers to make firm decisions on sea navigation that is, when to stay off the seas when it is high tide and when to use the sea when it’s low, thereby helping them keep safe within the coastal communities”, she emphasized.

The UNDP Rep also informed of the plans to get additional Mobile phones to coastal dwellers which can help them have access to marine information produced by SLMET. She also intimated on the need for fish processing platforms and storage to help in the housing of fish harvest, something she believes is lacking in most fishing communities.

Mrs. Sankoh ended up encouraging the participants within SLMA and SLMET to take advantage of the training and ensure the effective and efficient use of the VHF Marine radios for their intended purpose.

Given the above, it is worthy to note that in line with Policy Cluster 2 of Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023, the UNDP Country Office is supporting activities that try to build the capacity of SLMA for effective monitoring of the Sierra Leone waters; including the development of the country’s maritime legislative framework and invest in collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening Early Warning systems and marine information dissemination that addresses the flow of information geared towards safeguarding lives, goods, and services.

The training was climaxed by distribution of certificates, handing over, demonstration, and application of the VHF Marine Radios to both the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration and Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency.

©️Unit of Public Relations- Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency

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MTCA & MoE Hold Technical Meeting with UNESCO Experts on Nomination Dossier for Gola-Tiwai Complex

The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) have held a two-day technical meeting with UNESCO Experts and other state actors on the process of compiling nomination dossier for the Gola-Tiwai Complex. The meeting was held at the MTCA’s Conference Hall, Kingharman Road, Freetown. 

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre based in Paris, France, supported by the Government of Japan has prioritized Sierra Leone to receive assistance in 2022 to build the technical capacity of Sierra Leone for Tiwai Island and Gola Rainforest National Park to be on the World Heritage list. Sierra Leone should complete and submit the dossier by the end of January, 2023. Prior to the two-day technical meeting, the UNESCO experts toured and held stakeholder engagements at TiwaiIsland and Gola Rain Forest National Park.

Opening the first of the two-day session, the Deputy Director of Culture, Ishmael Kamara noted that the placement of Sierra Leone to the World Heritage List requires process, and that getting thus far, they have enjoyed the political will in the presence of the Tourism Minister, Dr. Memunatu Pratt and Minister of Environment, Professor Foday Jaward. He said the opening session was to highlight the commitment of stakeholders and the subsequent development of the nomination dossier.

The Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Africa Unit Muhammad Muhammad Juma via zoom expressed gratitude to the government of Sierra Leone for organizing the meeting and the government of Japan for the financialsupport. He said nomination is not the end of the process but the beginning of the life-long responsibilities, while hoping that Gola and Tiwai will be sustainably conserved.

Representative of the Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO, Minister Naoka Hirayama in her zoom presentation said 2022 is a special year for them as it marks the 50th anniversary of the adaptation of the World Heritage Convention and also coincides with Tokyo International Conference on African Development. She said Japan has been supporting ten African countries including Sierra Leone to enhance their capacity for the nomination process and appreciated Sierra Leone for starting the preparation of the nomination dossier for Gola-Tiwai Complex.

The Head of Environmental Foundation for Africa, Tommy Gannet said the experience of spending four days in the field with the experts underlines the essence of the whole process, saying that it was critical, timely and very necessary. “I appreciate the support of the Japanese government and also acknowledge the inspirational support of the two Ministers in getting us this far, and I am confident that what we are doing now will yield positive outcomes”, he said.

The UNESCO Wildlife Conservation Consultant, Matthew Hatchwell noted that at this stage of the process they are aware that in six months’ time the dossier would have been submitted to UNESCO. He said they are aiming to have the draft nomination by the end of October and called on state actors to provide answers to questions that came up during their tour.

In his remarks, the Minister of Environment, Professor FodayJaward said his Ministry has been involved in the process and has worked closely with the Tourism Ministry to ensure that this process comes to fruition. He added the his Ministry stands to gain a lot from the exercise considering the protection of climate change crisis, bio-diversity laws and pollution which he said are all geared towards the protection of the ecosystem. “Key among the benefits if the Gola-TiwaiComplex materialises is preserving the endangered species that are in extinction”, he said.

In her statements, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt maintained that the exercise was historic as it has never been done before in Sierra Leone which she said speaks volume of President Bio’s leadership. She continued that UNESCO is a key government partner in promoting Education, Culture and Heritage. She said their journey with UNESCO in the field of tourism and culture started a long time ago but since 2005 government only ratified the 1972 Convention on World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage among the six UNESCO Conventions. “In May 2012, six heritage sites were formally submitted to UNESCO’s tentative list of cultural and natural sites and under my leadership in 2021, the country completed and submitted the periodic reporting and also participated in engagements on UNESCO’s operations, expectations and vision of the African continent and the Japanese funded project came that focuses on capacity building programme for the nomination of world heritage sites on the African continent” she explained.

She furthered that it was due to cabinet approval and the ratification of all six UNESCO conventions by the Sierra Leone parliament that gave the opportunity to benefit from UNESCO activities for which she said they are a proud member of UNESCO Cultural Development.

Presentation on the nomination process and related guidelines was done virtually by the World Heritage Centre Nomination Unit, while Consultant Matthew Hatchwell presented the structure of the nomination dossier and information to be compiled and Kumiko Yoneda explained the nomination experience in other regions and recommendations. XianglingChen gave example of roadmap for the preparation of the nomination dossier followed by discussions on the challenges and gaps to be filled.

Day two of the meeting was centered around discussions on outstanding universal values, criteria, integrity and comparative analysis. Discussion on the roadmap of the preparation of the nomination dossier (roles, responsibilities and timeframe) climaxed the occasion.

© Information Unit, MTCA

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RRVCP Hands over Rehabilitation and Construction Sites in Tormabum

The Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in a meeting with stakeholders in Torma, Bum Chiefdom, Bonthe District, has officially handed over the contractors for the rehabilitation of storage facilities and the construction of market stores to the Paramount chief and other chiefdom authorities.

Speaking at the meeting, the Project Coordinator of Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP), Abdulai Bun Wai, informed the gathering that the significance of the meeting was to formally introduce the contractors who have been hired by his project management unit to deliver key infrastructural facilities as part of the project mandate. 

Mr Wai used the opportunity to update the stakeholders of Tormabum that the Regional Rice Value Chain Project is divided into two broad categories, the farm support infrastructures which constitute the rehabilitation of two storage facilities, construction of one store and rice milling facilities as well as a drying floor. The other component is farm production which deals with cultivation, processing and marketing. Similarly, construction work on a modernized community market at Tormabum is also in progress. 

The Project Coordinator pleaded with the Paramount Chief and the various agribusiness companies occupying the dilapidated storage facilities to relocate to other building temporarily within one-week so that the contractors would commence operations immediately.

On his part the, the Paramount Chief of Bum Chiefdom, Bonthe district, Hon. Alex J.J. Kainpumu II reiterated that his chiefdom’s total support to the project while expressing his profound thanks appreciation to the project management Unit of the Regional Rice Value Chain for their hard work despite the challenges. 

PC Kainpumu called on both the Abhajar Rice Development Company and the West African Rice Company to give-up the storage facilities for rehabilitation as it is for the development of the chiefdom and the entire country. 

Representatives from Abhajar Rice Development Company and the West African Rice Company Yayah A. Kamara and Ibrahim Conteh welcomed the refurbishment initiative of the said facilities by the Government of Sierra Leone through RRVCP. As partners, they would pledge their fullest cooperation with the project team and the Bum Chiefdom Authorities.

Receiving the contractors, the Paramount Chief cautioned that his administration has zero tolerance for theft, especially stealing of construction materials meant for the chiefdom projects, and called on them to purchase local construction materials like sand, stones, boards and sticks from the chiefdom people as well as to employ young people in chiefdom   both skilled and unskilled. 

The Irrigation and Civil Engineer, of the Regional Rice Value Chain Project, Alhaji Mohamed Sesay assured the stakeholders of rigorous monitoring of the work to ensure that the quality of work meets the project expectations.

Construction of the Tormabum periodic market was awarded to the Datum Line International Company Limited, contract was signed in May, 2022. Completion of this project is expected in eight months’ period after signing. Similarly, the Construction of one storage facilities will be done by the Ram Jalloh Constructions and General Services. Official signing of the contract took place in July and is expected to be completed within eight months. Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of two stores will be undertaken by the Aminata Frazer Constructions and Engineering Services, contract signed in July and completion period will be six months after signing.

The meeting was climaxed by site visitation and conducted tour of the facilities was carried out to enable contractors have a fair knowledge of the sites and nature of work in hand.           

The RRVCP project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank, BADEA, and the Government of Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security serving as the implementing agency. 

RRVCP Communications Unit-MAFS

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ACC Engages Staff of Sefadu Correctional Center

As part of its institutional approach to preventing incidences of corruption in public sector institutions, the Kono Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged the management and staff of the Sefadu Correctional Center (SCC) in Kono, on various issues of corruption. 

Speaking at the meeting held at the Office of the Officer in Charge on Tuesday 2nd August 2022, the Regional Manager, ACC Kono Office, Hawanatu Omotayo Kamara said the meeting was intended to inform and engage staff of the SCC on various corruption issues in order for them to inculcate ethical values in the discharge of their duties. 

In her presentation to the SCC staff on key corruption related offences, the ACC Regional Manager made a simplified explanation of offences in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 (as amended in 2019) such as; offering, soliciting and accepting advantage contrary to Section 28, soliciting an advantage for a public officer contrary to Section 35, misappropriation of public funds and property contrary to Section 36, abuse of office contrary to Section 42, abuse of position contrary to Section 43, influencing a public officer contrary to Section 30, protection of public property and revenue contrary to Section 48 and receiving gift for a corrupt purpose contrary to Section 47.

She also pointed out that ACC operations are informed by the type of reports and intelligence received from all walks of life. The ACC Regional boss used the occasion to encourage staff to be mindful of the anti-corruption laws and their interaction with the public when performing their official duties. 

Manager Kamara informed them that the 2019 Amendment Act of the ACC has empowered ACC to cancel all contracts deemed not to be in the interest of the public or a section thereof, strengthened the asset declaration regime, introduced trial in absentia, legalized the out-of-court settlement, criminalized examination malpractices and increased the punishment for offences from Thirty Thousand New Leones (Thirty Million Leones in the old currency) or three years imprisonment to Fifty Thousand New Leones (Fifty Million Leones in the old currency) or five years imprisonment. On this note, she encouraged them to maintain best practices and inculcate ethics and anti-corruption measures in the discharge of their duties. 

She commended the SCC for their continued support in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy adding that SCC is the only Government institution that sent a report of its IMC meeting to the Commission in the region.

In his welcome remarks, the Officer in Charge of the Correctional Centre, Abu Bakarr Kabba thanked the ACC Team for their patience to engage and sensitize staff on various matters of corruption which he said, will guide their operations and enhance collaboration. He expressed commitment to providing an enabling environment and a conducive atmosphere for staff and inmates. 

Public Education Officer, Hawa Deen Conteh who spoke on ethics in the workplace stated that ethics as a key component of integrity controls the conduct, attitude and behavior of public officers to be professional in the line of duty. In terms of internalizing the fight, she said Integrity Management Committees (IMC) provide a road map to the fight against corruption in Government institutions especially service delivery institutions adding that, a functional and operational IMC will ensure strong internal controls to address corruption vulnerabilities in MDAs.

She also highlighted various methods of reporting corruption to ACC and mentioned that whistle blowers are the most important assets in the fight against corruption. She encouraged them to maintain high ethical standards in their daily operations. 

Questions and answers session together with presentation of ACC’s information, education and communication materials climaxed the occasion.

© Public Relations Unit, ACC

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Land Minister Assures John Obey State Land Purchasers

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr. Turad Senesie has assured all fully paid-up buyers for the plots of State Land for Sale at the John Obey Community that the Government of Sierra Leone will ensure their safety and peace of mind.

He made this statement while taking the purchasers and/or their representatives on an official tour of the various plots of land for identification and allocation on Tuesday August 2 2022 at the John Obey Community. 

At the site, the State Land customers were excited over the outlook of the landscape and the smooth acquisition process thus far.

Dr. Turad Senesie defined the scenery as a representation of the National Flag – Green, White and Blue.

“The forested mountains in the community represent the green; the natural waterfall represents the white, while the beaches represent the blue,” he affirmed.       

According to the Minister, the government is creating the enabling environment for its citizens to access land and establish a micro-city in that part of the country.

“Revenue generated from the sale of land would be used to provide social services including the construction of roads, schools and hospitals for its citizens,” Dr. Senesie disclosed.

He used the forum as an opportunity to announce the provision of an additional 150 Plots (One Hundred and Fifty Plots) of State Land in John Obey for Sale again to the general public.

The Cost Price for Two Town Lots of Residential Plots remains Le150, 000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Old Leones), which is the equivalent of Le150, 000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand New Leones). And the Four Town Lots of Commercial Plots is Le 600, 000,000 (Six Hundred Million Old Leones), which is the equivalent of Le600, 000 (Six Hundred Thousand New Leones).

The Application Form Portal has been reopened and can be accessed on the website of the Ministry – http://www.molhcp.gov.sl.

Following the submission of the online application, customers can proceed to make payment at the State Land Sales Treasury Account at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank with the following account details.

ACCOUNT NUMBER:  0110117911

BBAN NUMBER: 003001101179112119

SWIFT CODE: SLCBSLFR

Minister Senesie said the new land sale model is part of the government’s agenda to equitably distribute land to its citizens, while also citing the land raffle model as another.

The Minister announced to the public that the government is engaging the private sector to undertake various development projects in the community including the construction of hospital, ultra-modern shopping mall, school and several other basic amenities.  

Dr. Senesie assured the customers that their documents for the land would be handed over to them within the next two weeks, while authorizing the paid up customers to commence work on their plots within the ambit of the law.

©️ Media and Public Relations Office, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning

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SLAJ Holds 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on Cyber Law

Stakeholders call for public awareness and evidenced based advocacy around the Sierra Leone’s cyber law

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on Thursday 4th August 2022 held a 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2021 to continue the discussion around the law under a project titled ‘Cyber Safe Sierra Leone. The first workshop was held on 8th February 2022.

The essence of the engagements, which brought stakeholders from various sectors, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and MDAs at the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, SLAJ Headquarters, 56 Campbell Street, was to look at the Cyber security law again and identify gaps and sections that could be open to abuse of the right to freedom of expression and to develop strategies for awareness raising targeting constituent members. Thursday’s meeting was to follow up on the recommendations made at the first workshop and develop advocacy strategies around them.

In his opening remarks and update on the project, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla recalled the first stakeholders’ engagement workshop and the training of journalists across the country on cyber law. He read out the many recommendations made at the first workshop and urged stakeholders to come up with ideas and suggestions for implementation.

“There are two aspects to what we trying to do with this project. First, the law is the law and so we want to promote public awareness about the law so that people understand key provisions to help them avoid coming in conflict with the law. The second, is to build advocacy around certain provisions in the law that have the potential to undermine fundamental human rights such as free expression, online freedoms, and data privacy rights,” said Nasralla.

He called on all professionals engaged in the art of expression- from journalists, bloggers, musicians, actors, artists, writers, poets, etc. to be aware of the law and abide by it.

The facilitator of the workshop, Dr. Francis Sowa, gave a brief recap of issues discussed and recommendations made during the first stakeholders consultative meeting and noted that SLAJ was not in any way saying that cyberspace should not be regulated since the same crimes that exist in the physical space also exist in the cyberspace. 

“SLAJ and the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) were actively involved in consultations following the enactment of the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2021. Parliament accepted some of our recommendations and some were not accepted. Now, we want to raise awareness about the law and remind the government about setting up the necessary structures provided for in the Act. And that we should do through advocacy,” said Dr. Sowa, and caution that if you create the law and don’t put the necessary structures in place, it will be left with the police and the judiciary to interpret and implement the law as they see fit.

Dr. Sowa cited the Copyrights Act 2011 as an example of a law that has been passed but has no established body to implement it. 

He went further to draw the attention of all stakeholders present to key areas in the Cyber Security and Crime Act 2018, which include: Part 1 which focuses on structure and infrastructure, Section 44- which is concerned with cyberbullying and stalking, section 33-38 unauthorized use of a device and the Data Protection law and 44(3) which concerns Public Interest, even when no law defines what public interest is, not even the Interpretation Act.

Dr. Sowa mentioned the National Cyber Security Advisory Council which has the Vice President and other government officials on the board noting that SLAJ had recommended for representatives from the media and civil society to be included.

Meanwhile, he cautioned participants to be mindful of the fact that the law still exists, and until it is amended it remains the law. “This is why a forum for educating people about the law is necessary so that they do not fall short,” he said.

Sahr Kendema from Campaign for Good Governance called on stakeholders to ensure the advocacy of the law is evidence-based. He recommended mapping out a clear direction of what the advocacy is calling for and why, whilst ensuring it targets certain groups and has specific messages.

“Our key messages must target specific groups, we must ensure we embark on evidence-based advocacy, whilst targeting specific groups with specific messages. We must also ensure we simplify the law so everyone understands it,” Kendema said.

The representative from the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Lamin Lahai, encouraged SLAJ and its partners to bring all parties together to ensure the advocacy is inclusive. On the part of NATCOM, he revealed that the establishment of structures in line with the Cyberlawis ongoing.

The Deputy Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Alimamy Lahai Kamara, spoke about his institution’s concern about one of the country’s critical national information infrastructures at Leicester Peak. He said that the advocacy must call for that place (Leicester Peak), and other areas where critical information infrastructure, is to be protected.

“It is a security risk allowing people to freely hang out at Leister Peak. It can affect all of us if anything happens to that critical national information infrastructure. We must engage the government, consult with them and urge them to establish the necessary bodies to implement the cyber law,” Kamara said.

The Cyber Safe Sierra Leone Project, which is implemented by SLAJ with support from Internews SL, aims at supporting and defending rights online and free expression in Sierra Leone, while simultaneously bolstering digital literacy and improving the adoption of safe cyber security practices among Internet users in the country.

The next activity under the project, according to the SLAJ President, is engagement with bloggers to help them also understand the law and contribute to advocacy.

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ECSL Engages Stakeholders on Electoral Activities

The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) has commenced a 2-day Regional Stakeholders’ engagement for Political Parties, Religious and Traditional Leaders, CSOs, Human Rights and other Interest groups in Port Loko City.

The Port Loko engagement is chaired by the Electoral Commissioner for the Northern Region, Mr Abubakrr M. Koroma.

The objective of the engagements is to update the abovestakeholders on the following:

1. Update on the ECSL Strategic Plan 2020-2024

2. Elections Observation Mission (EOM) Recommendations and the Electoral Legal Reforms leading to the enactment of the Public Elections Act 2022

3. Electoral Timeline and Preparedness for the conduct of the 2023 presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections 

4. Delimitation of Constituency and Ward Boundaries  

5.  Voters Registration and Education Strategies 

6. Stakeholders Engagement and Accreditation

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Rush Hour- Phase 1

By Moses Kay Fembeh

With technology taking over the world already, most of our young people, if not all, are in haste to make life easier and comfortable at all cost, which in itself not a bad lifestyle. But the manner in which a person fashions him or her life determineswhether such a person is in a rush hour or not. And most of our young people who have this philosophy of the easiness of life are not even aware of the consequences of ‘the rush hour’. Just as the saying goes, “you can’t eat your cake and have it back”.

Our young people of these days are over ambitious; want to finish university before 18, want to have a family together before 25, and want a doctorate degree before 35years, and even want to be the richest man or woman in Africa before 28. All of these desires are not a bad thing. Like I said earlier, the formula used can be destructive and problematic if not handle well. Nobody wants to be a loser not even Satan; he wants to conquer the world at all cost and that is his mission. Just like you and I, our mission is to serve others generously with love and compassion, but the battle between young people and the world which has been controlled by Satan and his agents is the idea of ‘rulership’, not even with the intent of compassion and love. 

Furthermore, majority of our young people these days want fat salaries, if possible to live on Banana Island and drive expensive cars. Unfortunately, the fantasy life has led man to willful thinking of this so called ‘rush hour’ which has led many to their early grave, and some are in prison, whilst others are engaged inarmed robbery and prostitution, some are used as political tools by politicians. 

One thing I want my readers to understand is this: ‘problem is man-made’. Rush hour is with the intention of using the shortcut and this sometimes cause problem for us. We invite problem in two ways; knowingly and unknowingly. The problems we invite knowingly could be an escape route to keep us safer if we are truly pragmatic about our future as we parade it on our faces.

A danger! Imagine a university student planning to write her semester exams decides to engage herself on full time series and other movies as well as TikTok, Facebook and WhatsApp,posting every now and then to attract more likes, instead of studying full time to attract better grades. But do not forget thatthese are the same people whose wishes do not resemble their true self. They slay all day with big phones like iPhone 11 & 13 pro max in their hands to attract more men in the streets and on social media. Social media was originally invented for easy communication amongst families, workers and other diplomatic issues but this New Media has become a dating site for many young people. I don’t want to say this, but I will; the future has been transmitted into a fashionable stock. No vision and no clear goal. 

Most of our parents especially the mothers could be well blamed for the rush hour of their children; as some parents forcibly give their female children to men who have money not even with the intention of marrying their children but the money that comes in on a daily basis. Could this be a course of poverty or lack of contentment? I don’t want to believe either. If some of our African mothers could have a strong faith in God, they would not do such an evil act before God. I’m not judging or attacking anyone but just saying a simple truth of what our Africa continent has turned into. I know that parents want the best for their children, so does God want the best for his creation. But the issue here is, it is in accordance with God’s provisions for healthy up bring or is it in accordance with world standard of living?

In addition, since colonial masters succeeded in dividing our world by class or segregation, the young people in Universities have also affirmed that sad reality by creating class for themselves. Those with iPhone are the valuable ones on campus and those with less valuable phones are the least important ones on campus. But to tell you the truth, from personal studies or research I have done, the latter are the ones who do well in semester exams but they are despised by their own course mates. But funnily enough, these serious students do sometimes assist the iPhone classical students in writing their exams. 

When there are no examinations, they hang out with their fellow iPhone friends and they Snapchat and snap everywhere on campus. Sadly, when grades are out these iPhone family on campus can be easily identified because of their sad faces of failure and by the amount of frustration on their faces.

The story for lecturers sleeping with some of them for grades will be talked about in phase 2, so I am not going to talk about sex for grades right now. I want to remain faithful to my chosensubject which is “rush hour.” 

Another issue for the cause of rush hour is the essence of competition today. Everyone is or wants to compete with someone else, probably a friend, a coworker or a family member. And competing with others breeds jealousy and unfortunately we jealous others because we think we are in competition with them. 

In addition, the class saga will continue here again, I’m sorry for the repetition but allow me to do so; our young people and some parents have created a class already for people they would mingle with in society. This has extended in marriage relationships. Some ladies date men because of money, and what they can give to them. This has been a reason for fornication and “tap to me” which is on the rampage. This too will be discussed in Phase 2. 

Research shows that 75 percent of ladies using iPhone did not buy them with their own money which is fine but most of these ladies have completed university and some are not yet working. So my premise is, of those ladies with iPhones and yet jobless, why can’t they sold those phones to empower themselves. There is nothing wrong with using a smart phone that is not an iPhone. Oh! Because of camera or for its name? Oh okay! Well I’m not rejecting the gift of receiving an iPhone but empowerment counts. 

Heard many people murmuring about our current educational system which is no longer standard. But some of these people crying down education are parents. They are the cause of the declining state of education today.

Imagine a parent has a class one pupil and that child fails to go to class 2. That mother sends 130 Leones for her six year daughter to be promoted to the next class. In that case her daughter will be in a near class but don’t you think she is a murderer of education? Of course she is! My readers will want to know the role played by the media and the teachers. The reality is that the head teacher and the class teacher tried to discourage her but the mother insisted that she would like to see her daughter promoted to the next class, probably competing with her neighbors’ kids not knowing that she has started murdering her daughter’s future. 

Fatmata Sesay, not her real name, had never worked hard to get her grades. She has always been helped by the bribed her mother used to give to teachers of the schools she attended. Sesay has a dream of becoming a medical doctor but because of bribery she was also pushed by her mother who is a housewife. 

Finally, Fatmata sat to her government and private West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) after several examination malpractices. She was successful in her WASSCE and she got admitted to the College of Medicine and AlliedHealth Sciences (COMAHS) in Freetown. 

Fatmata’s mother thought that the method she had been using to promote her daughter will continue in university but this time round, it didn’t work. Fatmata failed at COMAHS and was driven out of the college. She was later admitted at the University of Management and Technology (UNIMTECH) to read Diploma in Procurement and Logistics. Fatmata’s dream of becoming a doctor was murdered by her mother because they both lacked discipline and focus to study harder for better grades. 

Stay blessed we shall continue with Phase 2.

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“Courage is what keeps me going”- Cyclist Mansaray

By Abdul Alex Conteh

Despite the ongoing impasse in the Sierra Leone Cycling Association regarding Elective Congress and other contentious issues, cyclists are going against the odds to keepfit and make themselves focused for any given opportunity. 

Joseph Kalleh Mansaray, a national cyclist tells the writer about the predicament in the sport and the series of attempts to get things on track. 

He explains how frustrated they were over the postponement of the Cycling Elective congress due to verification of delegates. 

Joseph, who was speaking to Heroes Media Sports during one of their training sessions at Aberdeen beach says over the past years and to date cycling is still grappling to reach new heights in terms of development.  

The cyclist adds that he will not relent in his pursuit to fulfilhis dream of becoming a better cyclist, urging his fellow cyclists to train hard and ignore the loggerheads the sport is currently faced with.

Lovers of cycling would subscribe to the notion that sport unifies people in different parts of the world. Sierra Leone is no exception, and the utmost desire is to see a semblance of normalcy in a sporting discipline that is loved by many.

The prevailing situation now requires a lasting solution. According to the cyclists, peace is needed not just to see Sierra Leone in Tour de France but also the deliverables everyone is expecting.

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NDMA Responds to Wellington Fire Victims

With support from the Government of Sierra Leone, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) through its Directorate of Relief and Response together with various Ministries (MDAs), Departments and Agencies and Partners has provided cash transfer, food and non-food items, and medical support assurance to the Wellington Fire Victims.

It could be recalled that on the 5th of November 2021, at Old Wharf Junction – Wellington, East End Freetown, a loaded fuel tanker collided with a truck carrying granite stones. The collision led to fuel spillage which eventually attracted residents to visit the scene to scoop fuel and stored it in nearby makeshift structures. It was during the process of scooping the fuel that a fire broke out killing 154 people, leaving hundreds with serious life threatening injuries.

Since the incident happened, the NDMA provided leadership and coordinated MDAs, NGOs and partners to ensure a swift response, rehabilitation and recovery.

Speaking at the event, the Director General of NDMA, Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay explained about the establishment, mandate of NDMA and the entire response process. 

“The NDMA was established in 2020 as a result of a promise made by His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio to the people of this country during the 2018 campaigns. The mandate of the agency is to manage disasters and similar emergencies throughout Sierra Leone and to also develop the capacity of communities to respond effectively to disastersand emergencies” he explained.

The DG further disclosed that NDMA through it Directorate of Relief and Response has supported of a population of 25,374 nationwide. Out of this number, the NDMA supported 5,174 households with food and non-food items, 1,507 houses and 67 public structures assorted building materials and 226 businesses with direct cash transfers who suffered from various disasters since the agency was established.

He also thanked the Ministry of Social Welfare for providing psychosocial support to the victims and those who lost loved ones. He also appreciated the remarkable role played by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) taking the various degree of burns they were confronted with to treat.

“President Bio had to cancel his overseas working trip short and returned home to sympathize with the victims and assured the affected population of Free Medical treatment. He also promised to institute an investigation into the circumstances leading to the fire incident. The investigation committee laterpresented a comprehensive report to HE Julius Maada Bio within the prescribed timeframe”, the DG added.

Dilating on the contributions of partners and well-wishers, the DG said NDMA has identified, verified and registered 310 affected persons/next of Kin, 2 households, 2 houses, 5 shops (makeshifts and containers), 48 motorbikes and 3 tricycles.  

He said that NDMA was able to receive cash and kind donation for the affected persons from the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA), Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), Partners in Health, Concern Sierra Leone, Handicap International, SLPP North America Region, Caritas Freetown, CRS, Choithram-SL, World Vision, All For One, Kri Progressive Association, Kono District Diaspora, Street Child and others.

He pointed out that donated cash support were made by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Indian Mercantile Association, Nutrifood (S.L) Limited, Staff of NASSIT, NASSIT Trust Fund, Eminent Women of Peace, Summa Airport Sierra Leone, New Apostolic Church, Premium Divine Trading, Thailand Republic, LEONE NET WhatsApp Group, Mandingo Muslim Jamat and a young Sierra Leonean student, Janice William.

“I am convinced that most of you have in one way or the other received donated items (cash & kind). The Government of Sierra Leone is here today to present the affected persons and beneficiaries of those who lost their lives, relief package in addition to the items that were donated by our partners. I am sure there will be peace of mind, restoration of hope and appreciation following the distribution of items that would officially mark the completion of this response today”, he expressed.

Representing the President of Sierra Leone, the Senior Adviser to the President, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin thanked the President for setting up of the NDMA as per his 2018 manifesto. 

“I thank the President for establishing the NDMA. Before NDMA, emergency structures were established when incidents occur. When there is Cholera, Malaria or Ebola Outbreak, there is a temporary arrangement which will always fade away. But the president thought it necessary to establish and equip the NDMA in order to empower communities and effectively manage disasters”.

“We are establishing a Burns Unit at Connaught to train our doctors and that will enable them to help other countries when the need arise. Before anyone could come during the Wellington incident, NDMA, MoHS and the community were the first to intervene and before any other Partner could support our victims, institutions such as NASSIT which was created by SLPP is among the first to support. SLPP has empowered people and created institutions that will provide meaningful support whenever necessary”, he concluded. 

Alhaji Komeh, a victim, and the Country Director of All For One Foundation, Madam Katie Milazzo both expressed their gratitude for government’s timely intervention and conveyed their utmost appreciation. 

“It is God’s plan that we are victims, and we are thankful to God, the Government of Sierra Leone and more especially the NDMA for their relentless support. We are grateful”, saidAlhaji Komeh.

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Parliament Enacts National Land Commission Act 2022

Lands Minister, Dr. Turad Senesie

Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday debated and passed into law with some amendments, the bill entitled, “National Land Commission Act, 2022”, for the development of Sierra Leone. 

The National Land Commission Act 2022, seeks to provide for the establishment of the National Land Commission, and other land administrative bodies to secure effective and holistic land administration and to provide for other related matters.

The Parliament of Sierra Leone also debated and passed into law with some amendments the bill, entitled “The Customary Land Right Act 2022”, for the development of the country. 

The Customary Land Right Act 2022 seeks to provide for the protection of customary land rights, the elimination of discrimination under customary law, and the management and administration of land subject to customary law, and other related matters. 

Earlier, the dual bills were debated by Members of Parliament bringing out their importance towards the development of the lands tenure system and administration for the country. 

The Minister of Land, Housing, and Country Planning, Dr. Turad Senesie piloted the enactment of the dual Bills.

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Negligence in Big Offices

By Arthur Caulker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ambassador Gberie Engages Sierra Leone Community in Zurich

By Mohamed Sheriff, Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Energy Minister Signs MOU with British National

By Austin Luseni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The energy sector reforms continue.

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UBA Group Appoints New Group Managing Director

Oliver Alawuba has over twenty years of work experience in the banking sector and the academia. 

Prior to his current role, he was UBA’s Group Deputy Managing Director and CEO, UBA Africa, managing the country subsidiaries across 20 countries in Africa. 

Alawuba was at various times the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Ghana Ltd, MD/CEO of UBA West Africa, Directorate Head, Public Sector and Personal Banking Regional CEO, UBA Africa Anglophone. 

Alawuba has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (B.Sc & M. Sc) degrees in Food Science and Technology and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance. 

He is an alumnus of the AMP and SEP programmes of the prestigious INSEAD Business School, France, and London Business School respectively. He is also a Fellow of Nigerian Institute of Management and Honorary Senior Member of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

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SLMeT, SLMA Train staff on Coastal Guard Communication

SLMeT’s DDG, Gabriel Kpaka             SLMA’s Director of Marine Safety, Ibrahim Wurie

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMeT) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) on Thursday 4th August, 2022 commenced a three-day training on Strengthening Sierra Leone’s Coastal Guard Communication for Early Warning Services dissemination through VHF Radios.

The training which is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is ongoing at SLMA’sConference Room, Government Wharf in Freetown, and will be completed on Saturday 6th August, 2022, followed by presentation of marine VHF Radios by UNDP to SLMeT and SLMA.

Participants include the media, Maritime and SLMET officials, etc. As part of their core mandate which is to safeguard lives through sea worthiness efforts, the training is expected to help officials of both institutions to build resilience in Early Warning information dissemination especially across the marine sector within Sierra Leone.

SLMET’s Deputy Director-General, Gabriel Kpaka said the training is funded by the UNDP under the Coastal project. “The training which is conducted in various form is conducted by SLMET and SLMA”, he said.

He continued: “Climate change and seas level rise affect the coast. One of the components of the project is to install a marine weather station. The training is to strengthen search and rescue communications.”

“When I joined SLMET some 12 years ago, we only had two weather stations, but with UNDP’s support, we can now boast of over 60 weather stations. I want to thank the UNDP for their support.”

DDG Kpaka described the training as very important. “People are going to get the needed skills and information in search and rescue. I want all the participants to take the exercise seriously”, he ended.

Addressing the gathering, SLMA’s Director of Maritime Safety and Security, Ibrahim Wurie said the core competence of SLMA is to protect life and property as well as the marine environment. 

“SLMA needs the intervention of other partners for effective service delivery. The training is very important and cannot be achieved without the support of SLMET. The search and rescue we are conducting all over the country is part of our humanitarian effort”, he noted. 

He said the training is going to have a positive impact on their work, pointing out that it’s their duty to continue to save life and property. He appreciated SLMET and UNDP. “Our aim is to rescue people within 30 minutes”. 

Day one’s topics include SLMet at a Glance and status with respect to Marine Meteorology, SLMA at a Glance and status with respect to the marine environment, marine meteorology, and search and rescue communication.

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ECSL Conducts Boundary Delimitation Exercise

ECSL Boss Mohamed K. Konneh

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) is conducting Boundary Delimitation exercises for the demarcation of Constituency and Ward Boundaries in Sierra Leone, pursuant to Section 38 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991) and other provisions such as: The Constitutional Instrument (Amendment) No. 2 of 2008; The Wards (Boundary Delimitation) Regulations 2008; The Public Elections Act, 2012; The Local Government Act 2004; The Provinces (Amendment) Act 2017 and The Eight Establishment Orders 2017.

The Commission has set up a Boundary Delimitation Technical Committee with a clearly defined Terms of Reference. The ECSL says it will collaborate with Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) for technical and operational assistance in providing Population Statistics Data and expertise to draw electoral constituencies and ward boundaries using Geographic Information Systems technology.

The Commission further notes that it will conduct series of nationwide consultations and engagements during the Constituency and Ward Boundary delimitation activities and thereafter submit the Constituency and Ward Boundary Delimitation report to Parliament for approval as enshrined in the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991).

“After Parliamentary approval, the Electoral Commission will conduct nationwide awareness raising campaigns on allocation of seats and the Metes and Bounds descriptions of the Constituencies and Wards in the sixteen (16) electoral districts”, a press release from the commission states.

It says timelines on the Boundary Delimitation activities will be communicated to stakeholders in due course.

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Ernest Bai Koroma Leads AU Elections Mission in Kenya

Former President Koroma 

Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 3rd August, 2022 departed Freetown for Nairobi, Kenya, where he will lead the African Union Elections Observation Mission (AUEOM).

This follows an invitation by the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission HE Moussa Faki Mahamat to Sierra Leone’s former President to lead the AUEOM in the East African nation. 

Kenya will be holding its general elections on the 9th August, which are being stiffly by four Presidential Candidates. The aspirants are vying to succeed President Uhuru Kenya whose second term ends in August. 

The AU is therefore keen on ensuring that the polls are peaceful, credible and the outcome widely accepted. As such, the continental body is once again drawing on President Koroma’s vast experience in handling such high contested elections.

“Giving your vast experience and commitment to promoting democracy and peace on the African continent, I wish to invite you to lead the AUEOM to the Republic of Kenya…,”,stated HE Mahamat in his invitation letter. 

It could be noted that this Sierra Leonean statesman has led the AU exemplarily through elections observations missions in Namibia and Zambia. He has also successfully led ECOWAS Elections Observation Missions to Togo, Benin and the Gambia.

“The whole of Africa is wishing Kenya well in its critical democratic journey. I am optimistic that the leaders and all Kenyans, will emerge from this elections stronger, more democratic and more united,”, said former President Koroma. 

In Kenya, former President Koroma and his team will engage various stakeholders in government, the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Political Parties, civil societies, the media, Diplomatic community, and others involve in the electoral process. The AUEOM will include election experts and diplomats drawn from the AU member states.

The former President is expected to return home on August 12th, 2022.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Freedom

Author Rahima

Too many rules for a rebel soul.
A delinquent since conception.
Even abortion cannot faze me.
Erred contraceptions of the heart.
No matter how dark and narrow the path is, nothing will hold in capture my free spirit.
I am not a slave to unforgiveness a burden I laid down forgotten, too absent-minded to carry.

Yes! I shift my consciousness and awaken every web of bondage. For a
kindred spirits not familiar to endure.
Open wings stretched to it limits.
Flapping inside out as I take flight to explore taboos, higher and beyond.
My only hope is to fly like an eagle.
Swimming perfectly in shallow mists
I dare the devil for his truth. Never got it but will keep searching for the holy grail.

My speech can never be bolted nor locked
Neither can my actions in orange overall like a jailbird.
I break prison through tunnels like Pablo, see I break my phobia for clusters.
I keep searching for a beautiful ending to mark a new beginning.
My fears can never hold me hostage.
I cannot be outside my head and rule my mind inwardly.
My thoughts raced as my worries chased. The truth they say will set me free, but they wilfully omit the part that it will crush my spirit.

I won the race, independence is here.
Throwing the keys of these lockdowns and bringing light to the right a power I desire.
I can never be caged again, liberty is emphasized in my psyche.
The openness of my heart for tomorrow brightens my face.
Desired handshakes and hugs, alterations of civilizations.
If feels good to be under the sun again, slowly life is creeping back on me.
Today, I will barely take a gulp from the cup of my forebearers; bloody, bitter, sweet, their fights echoe in victory.

Today, I will just take a sip with no mask on, no need to isolate my impressions.
Cheers🥂 to those before us who were in the frontlines. Selfless in their service, the oath they kept, and for their sacrifice
We are finally free from freedom.

Copyright © by Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as dasalone_titi Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

PSA! Change of Names

THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

IN THE MATTER OF DEED POLL AFFECTING CHANGE OF NAME 

OF JOEL ABDULAI KALLON FORMALLY ABDULAI KALLON

We Kanu & Associates, solicitors representing the above-named person, hereby give notice to the public that:

1. Joel Abdulai Kallon by Deed Poll Affecting Change of Name dated 1st day of August 2022 and registered at the office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, has renounced, relinquished and abandoned the use of his former names Abdulai Kallon .

2. From the  29th day of July 2022 has assumed the names Joel Abdulai Kallon.

3. He authorizes and requests that all persons at all times designate and address him by such assumed names of Joel Abdulai Kallon.

4. Documents bearing his former names are however authentic and correct.

SOLICITORS REPRESENTING JOEL ABDULAI KALLON

​DATED 29TH JULY 2022.

 

THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

IN THE MATTER OF DEED POLL AFFECTING CHANGE OF NAME 

OF JAYNE JANET JOY PATRICIA ABAYOMI FLYNN-SANKOH FORMALLY JAYNE SANKOH

We Kanu & Associates, solicitors representing the above-named person, hereby give notice to the public that:

1. Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh by Deed Poll Affecting Change of Name dated 1st day of August 2022 and registered at the office of the Administrator and Registrar-General, has renounced, relinquished and abandoned the use of her former names Jayne Sankoh. 

2. From the 29th day of July 2022 has assumed the names Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh

3. She authorizes and requests that all persons at all times designate and address her by such assumed names of Jayne Janet Joy Patricia Abayomi Flynn-Sankoh.

4. Documents bearing her former names are however authentic and correct.

SOLICITORS REPRESENTING JAYNE JANET JOY PATRICIA ABAYOMI

FLYNN-SANKOH

DATED 29TH JULY 2022.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Chinese Embassy Donates Office Equipement to ECSL

By Alhaji Musa Barrie (AMB)

The People’s Republic of China through the Chinese Embassy on Thursday donated office equipment to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone.

The Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Li Xiaoyong handed over the equipment to the commission during his handing over ceremony to the Commission at their Tower Hill conference room in Freetown.

The Deputy Ambassador generously handed over five (5) Huawei Pads, one (1) conference table, twelve (12) conference chairs, one (1) office table and chair and two (2) printers (P1106) with the aim of helping the commission carry on with its good work and commitment to free and fair elections in the country.

The donation came as a result of the promised made by the Chinese Ambassador to the Commission on the 14th of June 2022 after the ECSL made a formal request for assistance to the Embassy during a courtesy meeting between the commissioner and the ambassador. “On Tuesday 14th June 2022, we made a request to the Chinese Ambassador to help us with office furniture and other needful materials”, said Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Chinese Ambassador Li Xiaoyong commended the Commissioner and the commission for building and upholding the democratic process in Sierra Leone. The Ambassador also expressed his profound gratitude to the Commission for the excellent job they have been doing over the years, noting the 24th June 2023 general elections.

The Diplomat also assured the Commission of their continuedpartnership and bilateral relations.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner thanked the Chinese Embassy and by extension the people of China, saying this is not the first time the Chinese Embassy has donated materials to the Commission. “This is not the first time we have received support from China. I received some donations on behalf of the commission during my early appointment as commissioner. During that time we received eleven (11) generators in our warehouse which we are going to distribute to our various offices across the country”, he said.

The CEC continued: “The People’s Republic of China has been instrumental; the country has also invested in human capital development which is a growth for any country that wants to develop. A typical example is one of our newly doctoral graduates from China. We remain grateful to China”.

He thanked the Ambassador, adding that the ECSL is looking forward to more support in education and technical training.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Solade Adams Public Lecture Series discusses the District Block Representation/Proportional Representation Systems

The Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) on Tuesday 26th July 2022 continued with its Solade Adams Public Lecture Series on the topic: Understanding the District Block Representation (DBR) System/Proportional Representation (PR) at the Great Hall of the Goderich campus in Freetown.

Dr. Julius Spenser, former Minister of Information, poet and play writer,  revealed that the PR system means changing from the DBR winner takes all system, that the current political system is divisive, that the country is almost in the middle of moving towards ethnicity, that politicians fan the flames of ethnicity, that politics has now become a do or die battle and the surest way to get wealth while the majority of the people are not served and that people think they have no stake in governance lamenting that everything in the country is now politicized.

He continued that the country is not focused on development, that the first past the post political system is not good for the country as worldwide it protects only two parties and that the PR system facilitates the election of legislators, enhances fair representation of all, is the must-widely used system in the world with 94 out of 195 countries in the world practicing it.

According to Dr. Spenser, politicians are selfish and want to monopolize power, that the PR system breeds violence including inter and intra-party violence, that the country used the PR system in the 2007 and 2012 elections, that the threshold to win a seat in the PR is based on the percentage of votes, that the PR system has benefits for the people and mentioned the two different types of PRs- the party list, the close and open party list respectively.

In his presentation, the former Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mr. Mohamed Nfai Alie Contehcommended the government of President Julius Maada Bio for transforming the institution to a Technical University, clarified that he is not a politician, that an electoral system is the arrangement by which votes are cast, that Sierra Leone’s electoral system stems from its colonial past, that politicians choose the electoral system that works for them considering social factors like the civil war.

He went on to reveal that there are inherent advantages of the PR system, recalled that in 2002 the entire country was one constituency, that the District Block System is very unique to the country, that the number of votes are divided by the number of seats in Parliament, that with the PR system people vote for the party list and not individuals and that the District Block system was used in the 2002 elections.

According to Mr. Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh, there are no bye-elections in the PR system that was used in the 1996 and 2002 elections because the entire country was not accessible due to the rebel war as well as access to reliable data.

He further highlighted the merits of the PR system as fair relationship between votes cast and seats in parliament, fair representation of minorities, cost-effective, no bye-elections, improves women’s representation in parliament citing Rwanda with the highest number of women in parliament worldwide, inclusiveness, protects minority interests, secures representation of all parties and groups, less lobbying and other forms of pressure, gives ample choice of candidates to voters, avoids wastage of votes informing that the District Block is a form of PR.

Cataloging the demerits of the PR, Mr. Mohamed N’fa AlieConteh said it encourages splinter parties that leads to coalitions, has technical difficulties, that voters do not have the opportunity to influence their choice of candidates, no link between Members of Parliament and the people concluding that the PR system has more advantages for the country than the District Block. 

The chairman of the Independent Media Commission and chairman of the event, Dr. Victor Massaquoi recalled three years ago when the first  Solade Adams Public Lectures were held during which the family of the honoree was invited, that the two speakers who are heavyweights would discuss the merits and demerits of the PR and District Block systems to increase the knowledge and understanding of both lecturers and students as well as create a communication link to disseminate the outcome.    

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor and principal of MMTU, Dr. Philip John Kanu enlightened that the Solade Adams Public Lectures is in honor of the first African principal of the institution and that it is prudent for the university to discuss critical national issues and proffer solutions to be cascaded to the people.

The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, MMTU, Mr. Ishmael Kebby, introduced the two speakers.

Highlights of the event were the question and answer session and the vote of thanks by a student.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

SLAJ Holds Orientation Ceremony for Incoming Executives

Participants pose for a group photo after the program

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has over the weekend ended its orientation program and inauguration ceremony for incoming executives of the association. 

The event, which took place at J & E Hotel, Koribundu Road, Bo City, Southern Sierra Leone, was for newly-elected and outgoing SLAJ executive members across the regions. Heads of affiliate bodies of SLAJ and Secretariat staff were also invited to be part of the program so they will understand the operations of the parent body and how to relate to and support the Association.

Making a presentation on the association’s Financial Management Policy, Isha Kamara- a representative from Freetown Nominees Limited (the institution that manages SLAJ’s finances)- notes that the draft Finance Manual which the new SLAJ Executive will review and adopt will not only assist the finance team in the day-to-day execution of accounting operating procedures but also help them understand their relationship to audit materials.

She notes that cash management is a key component since cash is the key to every institution’s daily operations. She emphasisesthat all audit trails must be properly filled to ensure transparency and accountability. (Audit trails include documentation, media, and financial transactions).

The financial manual, she continues, will provide management with pathways to attain the goals and objectives of the Association. Its main function is to measure organisationalefficiency through proper allocation, acquisition, and management. It also provides a guide in financial planning and assists in acquiring funds from different sources.

Key components of the manual point out that, in line with best practices the President must be in the know and a key signatory for the release of cash, cheque, or transfer transactions. 

Each document, Isha stresses, must meet certain requirements including the fact that all documents must be financially correct with all supporting documentation attached. Every transaction, it states, must be within the regulations of the donors, SLAJ’s financial procedures, and General Accounting Principles. 

In his presentation on Project Implementation, Dr. Francis Sowa- National Coordinator of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG), guides the SLAJ project team on important components they must take note of in project management. The session is to equip the team to better execute, monitor, and handle the various projects SLAJ is currently implementing. The term Project, he says, refers to any temporary endeavour with a definite beginning and an end. 

“Project implementation or project execution is the phase where visions and plans become reality. That means we are all in this big SLAJ project and we must know about project implementation to succeed,” says Dr. Sowa.

He warns that projects must be taken seriously because all the institution’s hard-earned reputation can be lost if just one project is not properly managed and implemented.

The implementation phase, he says, is the phase where the team carries out activities described in a laid down work plan. He mentions that the two main components that must be accurately done in the implementation of a project are the narrative report and the financial report.

Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa Esq (COOR), Director General of the SLBC, admonishes the new executives on their constitutional roles and responsibilities as enshrined in the SLAJ revised constitution. He maintains that all regional and national executive members must work in line with the vision of the President of the Association to achieve the institution’s aims and objectives. He advises all executive members that even though they are all elected officials they are firstly directly answerable to the President, and secondly to the membership. 

He picks the brain of members on several constitutional provisions which he says will be looked into when the association reviews its constitution, an action which he says is ‘urgently needed’.

Dr. Julius Spencer shares his wealth of experience when he talks about Governance, Management, and Fundraising. He references several sections of the Companies Act of 2009 as amended in 2014, pointing to leadership, delegated responsibilities from the Board of Directors (the National Executives), separation of functions, checks, and balances, and management of essential staff.

He reiterates the points made by lawyer Kapuwa, making special emphasis on the management structure and how SLAJ should be run as a company limited by Guarantee in line with the Companies Act and the institution’s constitution.

In the area of fundraising, Dr. Spencer encourages SLAJ to seek funds from projects using its credibility and track record in managing its existing projects. He says projects can even be sought from non-SLAJ members, and this he says will add up to the membership dues which can be collected using new and improved methods with the aid of technology. He says the national and regional executives must be creative, and innovative and should think outside the box in raising funds to sustain the Association’s operations.

Making his presentation on Vision, Approach, and Visibility, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla informs the membership that his SALT manifesto which stood for Stimulate/Strengthen, Appreciate, Listen/Learn, and Transfer, basically targeted the mindsets of journalists and reinforced their roles and responsibilities with regard to responsible practice and the overall growth of the media in Sierra Leone officially ends on Saturday 23rd July 2022 and a new Manifesto titled MEAL is immediately born. 

The new manifesto MEAL, the acronym for Mobilize, Evaluate, Allocate and Liberate, he says, seeks to consolidate the gains made in the SALT manifesto by continuing with the SLAJ project of defending, promoting, and protecting free speech and free media whilst strengthening professionalism, financial sustainability, and accountability at national and regional levels.

President Nasralla notes that when running for office three years ago he promised to look into the welfare of journalists, address the gender imbalance in SLAJ and the media, provide mentorship and training for members, and advocate for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. He says to a large extent his executive succeeded in achieving the SALT manifesto promises. 

Key among the successes include the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law and the passing of the IMC Act 2020, the annual Government of Sierra Leone subvention to SLAJ (which has been increased by H.E. President Bio), launching of a Journalism Welfare Fund to promote public interest journalism and to support journalists in times of emergencies, establishing a Gender Advisory Panel to help SLAJ address gender imbalance in the media, increasing the membership intake (with the highest number of female members) whilst attracting a lot of qualified people with various academic credentials among several other achievements. 

President Nasralla also mentions the national media viability and investment conference and its prospect of establishing a national basket fund to support public interest journalism in Sierra Leone; the biggest gains ever made in the World Press Freedom rankings since the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, and successful celebration of the Association’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

He uses the opportunity to appreciate the entire membership of SLAJ for the overwhelming confidence reposed in him to continue as President of SLAJ for the second and final term UNOPPOSED.

He recognises the national and regional executives, Affiliate bodies, and partners including MRCG, Guild, IRN, Mass CommUSL, Bournemouth University UK, BBC Media, IMDEV, IMC, RAIC, HRSCL, and NPDC.

He further acknowledges donors and sponsors including Mercury International, Orange, Africell, UBA, RCB, SLCB, GTBank, and the Diplomatic Community for their continued support of media development in Sierra Leone.

President Nasralla also recognises the Government of Sierra Leone for its continued support of media development initiatives and for ensuring Sierra Leone joins the Global Media Coalition.

Conclusively, President Nasralla notes that in implementing the MEAL manifesto he shall use his usual approach of teamwork, inclusivity (leaving no one behind), dialogue, engagement, consultations, and receptive to constructive criticism.

Former SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis shares his experience with the incoming executive and urges them to change the face of SLAJ. He notes that although President Nasralla has made quite a success a lot more needs to be done to improve the association. 

Lewis encourages the regions to work in tandem with the National executive whilst calling for improved transparency and accountability. He encourages Nasralla to continue to improve the structures (including the annual audit report and the new draft finance manual) which he says will make SLAJ an accountable and respectable institution. 

The program ends with an experience-sharing session by the outgoing executive members across the regions, an official handing over to the newly elected executive members, and an inauguration.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

MYSTERIOUS! Contraband Goods Turn Gizzards

By Arthur Caulker 

Intelligence from Europe reached the security sector in Sierra Leone that a certain ship was traveling with contraband goods; cocaine, arms and ammunition and the container was arrested on the 22nd July 2022 after it traveled from different countries which made the then Inspector General of Police, Ambrose M. Sovula together with other police officers had 72 hours of sleepless night. At the end of inspection the press was informed that the container only contained Gizzards.

June 5th 1975 was a historic day diamond turned to stone under President Dr. Siaka Problyn Stevens. 

On the 15th July, 2008 Marine Foreign Nationals and some policemen/civilians working in and around the airport at Lungi were also arrested for the offense of trafficking cocaine. That was certified by the Pharmacy Board. Some people were convicted for the cocaine but when the substance was burnt, it was a white powdery substance.

According to reliable source, the container reached our SierraLeone Ports – the Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay on Friday 22 July, 2022 and went through scanning as a preliminary check out but the police alleged that they were not satisfied. So they asked that the container be taken to Kingtom Police Mess for thoroughly scrutiny instead of taking it to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) at Hastings.

On that same day, almost all the top security officers including the military faded off, leaving the white 40ft container in the hands of the police with the Kingtom police mess gate closed.

The Police said that journalists should have press view of the content in the container on Monday. 

At about 8:45 am on Monday, we went to Kingtom but the door was tight fit; no civilian was given access.

We waited till 10am as proposed by Head of Police Media, Assistant Commissioner, Brima Kamara (Media One) but still nobody could talk to the press until the Minister of Information,Mohamed Rahman Swaray joined the press. He knocked at the door and one of the police officers opened the gate before all of use (press) rushed into the building. 

Within 30 minutes, the former IG Sovula came with a convoy, alighted and walked to the container. He called for the Fire Force, Ambulance and waited for National Revenue Autority(NRA), Office of National Security (ONS), CID officials and other military officers. 

There was just a small silver padlock on the container which was opened. 

Surprisingly, the container was not in fact having any seal for identification nor was the container full with gizzards but rather it was empty at the top. 

Police officers were called to help do the labor work; transfer of gizzards to another frozen container.

The container was offloaded for two days and nothing of police interest was found, so the police Media Director addressed the press and we departed.

I have never seen any half loaded container from other countriesto Africa including Sierra Leone. Why was this container not handed over to TOCU? Why was the then IG so instrumental in this container issue rather than his subordinate?

The I. G threatened us that we should all wait for experts to open the container but till the whole exercise was concluded I did not see any experts. 

To conclude, why until now the importer of the container is not known as the former IG said ‘we should not be interested in the importer as that is not important’.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Njala Rusticates over 50 Students for Exam Malpractice

By Jonathan Hindolo Kurabu, D Catalyst

The Bo Campus administration of Njala University has rusticated over 50 students for engaging in various forms of examination malpractices during the First Semester Examinations.

Those rusticated and who are due to exit the shores of NjalaUniversity for one academic year, were studying different disciplines in the Schools of Education, Community Health Sciences and School of Social Sciences and Law.

Also, two female students formally (FK Kamara-Final Year, B Sc. Nursing and FJ Mallah-Second Year-SRN Upgrading) were expelled from the University for taking part in illegal admission syndicate.

The Campus Administration headed by Professor Mohamed Syed Fofanah has uncompromisingly waged war on all forms of examination malpractices.

The affected students were duly investigated consistent with principles of natural justices.

It could be recalled that in an effort to curb the menace of exam malpractices in both Kowama and Towama locations of Bo Campus, last year, 84 students were rusticated for a period of one year for their involvement in various forms of exam malpractices.

Meanwhile, members of the Public including a retired medical practitioner, John Kortu have lauded the Njala University Administration for this bold move describing it as an effort towards complementing the strides of the President Bio led Government in promoting the ideals of Quality Education.

“Examination malpractices appear to be a celebrated norm in most educational institutions, the Universities need to set firm precedents to jettison these awful celebrated occurrences” heopined.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

56 Children Admitted for Suspected Food Poisoning

Thursday’s situation report from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) states that 56 children are admitted at the Kenema District Hospital for suspected food poisoning.

It was reported on Wednesday that the victims (patients) attended a graduation ceremony party later on Tuesday where it was alleged that some ate cake, others ginger beer, and some just water. They started experiencing weakness few minutes later.

The SITREP from MOHS adds that 25 adults (male 4, female 21) are also admitted.

Most common presentations on admission: generalized weakness, unconsciousness, and convulsion. 

One reported death case from the community – Female, age 1 year 2 months. 22% of the cases are now fully conscious. 80 % of admitted cases have recovered from presenting conditions. 

Action taken and response 

• Activation of the RRT at district level

• Establishment of Treatment centre in the Government Hospital 

• Investigated reported cases and ongoing surveillance system to identify contact, identifying of more cases 

• Food samples collected from the community in party house 

• Blood and urine samples collected from the admitted patients and prepared to be transported to the reference laboratory in Freetown 

• Debriefing of Pillar and Press conference with DCMO Clinical and Hon. Deputy Minister of Health by 5 pm 27/07/2022 

• Further meeting with health partners to galvanize more support at district level 

• Radio program with media at 8 PM(Nyapui Radio with simulcast to Starline Radio Kamboi Radio and Radio Islam) Deputy Minister MOHS, DCMO Clinical, DMO, MS Kenema 

Future plan 

• Continuous investigation

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspapers

President Bio Chairs Special APR Forum

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has presided over a special virtual summit, the second APR Forum of Heads of State and Government, that also discussed peer review efforts and unconstitutional changes in Africa.

“At a time when our continent is being buffeted by new winds of political instability, our commitment to the APRM is more than just a critical affirmation of our own agency and an endorsement of institutional building. It also demonstrates our resolve to address questions of unconstitutional changes of government, peaceful dissent, and free and fair elections.

“We are meeting today, virtually, to peer review the reports of the Republic of Kenya. I commend my brother President UhuruKenyatta for opening up his country to the review team from the APRM Continental Secretariat.

President Bio, who expressed his delight to participate, in his new capacity as Chairperson of the APR Forum of Heads of State and Government, noted that the continent was disproportionately affected by a conflict to which Africa was not a party, adding that the African Union’s position had been clear from the beginning that it would refuse to take sides but would encourage belligerents to negotiate with a view to ending a war that could have devastating ramifications way beyond the theatre of war.

“I am encouraged by the calls for peace made by my peers across the continent. I particularly want to commend the robust diplomatic initiative, spearheaded by the Chairperson of our African Union, His Excellency Macky Sall, to seek an amicable settlement and, therefore, attenuate the severe effects of the conflict on our continent.

“The APRM team analysed progress on the Big Four Agenda and other salient issues in Kenya. Additionally, it is also noteworthy that Kenya has conducted the most targeted reviews at once.

“From the growing number of targeted and country reviews undertaken by the APRM, I am heartened that there is an inflexible focus by African countries on accelerating progress towards the achievement of the goals and priority areas of our AU’s Agenda 2063. Indeed, there is a growing recognition that we can realise our continent’s big dreams and untapped potentials,” he noted.

In his statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM Secretariat, Professor Edy Maloka, said he was happy to address the forum of African leaders and thanked President Bio, as Chairperson of the APR Forum, and the people of Sierra Leone for the warm welcome since they arrived Freetown for the hybrid summit.

He further went on to thank all Heads of State and Government of the Forum for the guidance and support provided to the APRM and for allowing the Special Summit to hold, including the discussions around the peer review of the Targeted Review Report of the Republic of Kenya on the Presidential Big 4 Agenda.

CEO Maloka recalled that the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the AU raised concerns over the upsurge of unconstitutional changes of government on the continent, citing President Bio’s submission to his peers for the AGR-2023 to focus on those challenges.

He concluded by highlighting a few achievements of the APRM since its last summit, which among other things, were the preparation for the second review of Sierra Leone, training and capacity building for stakeholders in Sierra Leone, Namibia, Niger and Nigeria on developing implementable national progress of actions.

© State House Media and Communications Unit

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Afrimoney Partners with PowerGen

By Moses Kay Fembeh

Afrimoney last Friday signed a partnership agreement with PowerGen in relation to customers’ welfare and safety especially those who use Afrimoney to continue sending the digital money to their relatives and loved ones in the provinces and for those using PowerGen solar lights to subscribe for their relatives through payment with Afrimoney. 

Country Manager for PowerGen Sierra Leone, Hassan Suma thanked the Director of Afrimoney & team as well as the media for their continued efforts and for believing in partnership.

“PowerGen is a rural renewable energy. It’s based in the United States of America and also has headquarters in Kenya. We started our operation in Sierra Leone in 2018 and PowerGen has been a service provider to almost 3000 customers whom have benefitted from our services across the country”, he said.

CM Suma added: “Today is a historical day for PowerGenand Afrimoney which I believe would be recorded in history. We have signed twenty years contract agreement with the government of Sierra Leone, that means PowerGen and Afrimoney will enjoy a twenty-year partnership and it will even continue after our contract with the government of Sierra Leone ends. I can assure you that we will renew our partnership”.

He said PowerGen is publicly financed by DIVD. According to Barrie, they started their project under the rural renewable energy in the Southeast of Sierra Leone, adding that they have got 12000 households that are currently enjoying PowerGen. He mentioned towns like Tihun, Bo, Bonthe and other places in the Southeast. Suma promised that they are working to expand their operation to the Northern part of Sierra Leone.

He informed that they have the solar and the hybrid that charge light instantly. He ended by saying ‘wherever you see PowerGen say darkness bye bye’. 

Director of Afrimoney Sierra Leone, Martison Obeng-Agyeiacknowledged members of the fourth estate by saying they are very reliable partners, noting that whenever there is a partnership their desire is to work for the people of Sierra Leone. He said he believes in partnership and therefore, for them to serve the people of Sierra Leone they need willing partners as well so that they can collaborate well. He even quoted the book of Genesis chapter one where God said ‘let there be light and there was light’. “It means God himself hates darkness. So I am pleading to the people of Sierra Leone to help make this partnership a reality”, he said. 

“My brother here said PowerGen can now boast of having 12000 households. On that note, I believe that if six persons are living in a house, 3 to 4 people would use phone in that particular household and  by 2020 there were 3.3 mobile phones in Sierra Leone”, he lamented.

He assured the people of Sierra Leone that the partnership is not only for Afrimoney and PowerGen but for the people of Sierra Leone. 

He concluded by thanking the Country Manager of PowerGenand team and promised that Afrimoney will continue to be with them throughout their partnership.

Some people were curious to know if PowerGen facilities are available in Freetown but Mr Suma said they only operate in the provinces; the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) is in Freetown. He said their tariff system is cheaper for their customers in the interiors.

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Parliament Recorded an Increase in Absenteeism- IGR Report

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

A parliamentary scorecard released by Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) last week indicates that Sierra Leone Parliament recorded an increase in absenteeism of its members. The report reveals that nearly a quarter (24%) of Sierra Leone MPs (35) did not attend half of the 14 sittings between January and March 2022. This represents a 4% drop in attendance when compared to the last quarter of 2021 where 20% of MPs did not half of the sittings, according to the official attendance records published on the parliamentary website.

As stated in its maiden tracker, the purpose of monitoring MP performance is to increase legislators’ commitment to their representative duties and to strengthen the legislative process. According the scorecard, sitting should start at 10 a.m. and is mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, just as in the last quarter, Parliament rarely met on time, and we recorded an average late start of about 30 minutes for the quarter as the leadership waited to meet the 25%-member presence required to form a quorum. 

The report also points out that for January 2022 all the three sittings started on time (10am prompt). For February, all the sittings started at 10.40am on average. Average start time in March was 10.28am. 

THREE SITTINGS WITH THE HIGHEST ABSENTEEISM

• February 17th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7%,

• March 15th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7% 

• March 24th, 2022 – 88 MPs attended (58 MPs were absent) – 39.7%.

MONITORING PERFORMANCE OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES 

IGR also monitors the performance of the Parliamentary Committee and earlier this year, released a report on the enforcement of recommendations of the annual audit report of GoSL. In total, 2,655 audit recommendations were produced by the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local councils for the period covering – 2015-2020. Only 38% of audit recommendations were enforced by MPs in the six years. The Committees on Transport and Aviation (60%); Foreign Affairs (46%); Public Works and Assets (45%); and Sports (45%) were high on enforcement of audit recommendations

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MRCG Welcomes Actions of the Security Sector to Ensure Safety of Journalists

MRCG Boss, Dr. Francis Sowa

By MRCG Secretariat

The Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) welcomes the Ministry of Defence (MOD) investigation into the allegations concerning the attack of journalist Maada Jessie Jengo of the Voice of Peace and Development (VOPAD) radio by soldiers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). 

In a press release issued on 8 July 2022, the Office of the Directorate of Defence, Public Relations and Information states that “the MOD regrets the unfortunate occurrence which does not represent the RSLAF core values of good discipline and selfless service.” The MOD notes that its attention was drawn to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) press release of 4 July 2022 reporting the alleged assault of the journalist.  The MOD release notes that “the soldiers have been identified and an investigation into the allegations is ongoing in accordance with military procedures.” The MOD assured SLAJ of RSLAF’s commitment for mutual cooperation and cordial relationship in the discharge of their duties.

Meanwhile, the MRCG also welcomes the move by the Clerk of Sierra Leone’s Parliament to constitute a committee to investigate an alleged ‘physical assault’ on journalist AbdulaiGbla and make recommendations. The MRCG is also delighted that even before the committee commences investigation, the Clerk of Parliament according to a press release issued by SLAJ had apologized to Mr. Gbla. The MRCG in its monthly Media Freedom Review has been following the matter. Abdulai Gbla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gbla TV Online on 28 June 2022 wrote a letter of complaint to the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) regarding an alleged ‘physical assault’ on him by a Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana of Constituency 121. Hon. Abdul Muniru Lansana in response told the MRCG that he ‘did not assault’ the journalist as he had alleged, but rather ‘hit his phone to stop filming the incident’ after he had previously asked the journalists not to film since the parliamentary sitting had been adjourned. 

The MRCG commends the actions of the MOD and the Sierra Leone Parliament to investigate the matters, and looks forward to speedy investigations. It particularly notes the interventions of SLAJ into the matters and views the steps taken by the institutions as indicative of the fact that the culture of impunity is no longer tolerated in a democratic society like Sierra Leone where the rule of must prevail.

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Press Attachés Donate TV to SLAJ

Members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) currently serving as Press Attachés at the various Sierra Leone diplomatic missions on Wednesday 13th July 2022 donated a 55 inches Smart Plasma Television to the Association.

The TV was handed over to the President of SLAJ and a cross section of the Executive by Festus J. Lahai and Ishmael Bayoh on behalf of the team.

“When we learnt about the burglary at the SLAJ Headquarters in May this year we felt compelled to pool resources to replace some of the items stolen. This 55 inches Plasma TV is the result of our coming together to give back to SLAJ. We hope it would be useful for the smooth running of the Secretariat,” said Ishmael Bayoh on behalf of his colleagues.

Receiving the donation with apparent delight, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, thanked the Press attaches for what he described as a ‘kind and thoughtful gesture’, and said the donation was timely.

“Just moments ago before you came we had summoned our colleague Mohamed Murtala Kamara to discuss how we could upgrade the Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall with appliances that will enhance virtual and conference meetings to ensure increase participation of our membership on the one hand, and to increase the value of the hall on the other hand. We asked Murtala to include a bigger TV as part of the items required, and now we have this. Thank you so much colleagues and may God bless you all for coming together to do this for SLAJ,” said Nasralla.

He continued: “This is exactly the ideology of SALT, every member must contribute to the development of SLAJ. Give back whatever you can afford: your time, your talent, your knowledge, your skills, your resources…and make SLAJ great. When SLAJ is great and powerful, we are all covered in that glory.”

Below are the names of the contributors:

1. Rachael Monjama Horner- USA;

2. Sheku Tanga- Nigeria; 

3. Abu Bakarr Bah- Saudi Arabia;  

4. Ishmael Bayoh- Senegal;

5. Mohamed Sheriff- Switzerland;

6. Princetta Christiana Williams- Ghana;

7. Hawa Tucker- Turkey; 

8. Elizabeth Blango- Iran;

9. Betty Milton- Belgium;

10. Mohamed Massquoi- UAE; and

11. Amb. Festus J Lahai- Russia.

-SLAJ Secretariat

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IGR Launches Quarterly Economic Update

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) last week launched its Quarterly Economic Update Report at its Spur Road office in Freetown.  

The Update highlights quarterly trends of the Sierra Leone economy. It brings out recent financial and economic indicators to inform policymakers and citizens. This current Update focuses on the last quarter of 2021.

Speaking on inflation and monetary policy, IGR’s Senior Economist, Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah said the national year-on-year inflation for October 2021 stood at 14.55 percent, indicating an upward swing compared to 11.63 percent in September. He said by November, inflation jumped to 15.77 percent demonstrating a continued increase in the price of basic goods and services. “The last quarter of 2021 saw inflation continue to surge by an additional 2.15 percent, reaching its highest level across 2021 at 17.94% in December”, he added. 

Money supply 

The report states that the trend in money supply throughout the last quarter was expansive. Broad money (M2) increased through the period expanding by about 9.56% between November and December. This was mainly a result of an increase in the net foreign assets during the period being reviewed. Narrow Money (M1) increased during the same period at an increasing rate. In November, M1 grew by about 7.37% whilst the growth was about 10.32% at the end of the quarter. This expansion was attributed to the rise in demand deposits and currency in circulation. 

According to Mr. Ganawah, they noticed a shortage of Leones in circulation throughout the last quarter which was also confirmed by an announcement made by the Bank Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone. “But in December sufficient supply of currency was circulated after the central bank printed money to mitigate monetary pressures”.

Interest rate 

The Senior Economist said in Sierra Leone, interest rate decisions are taken by the Bank of Sierra Leone’s Monetary Policy Committee, noting that the BSL’s official interest rate is the monetary policy rate. He pointed out that the policy rates for October, November, and December ranged from 14 to 14.25 percent, adding that the interbank rates for October, November, and December were 14.41 percent, 14.77 percent, and 15.01 percent respectively. “The average 1 interest rate on saving deposits dropped from 2.27% recorded at the beginning of the fourth quarter to 2.15% where it remained until the close of the quarter. The prime lending rate of 19.03 percent remained fixed throughout the fourth quarter”, he said. 

Exchange Rates 

On the Exchange Rates, IGR’s Senior Economist, Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah mentioned that the Leone depreciated against the US Dollar (USD) and British Pound (GBP) throughout the period under review. He said at the end of the quarter, the parallel exchange rate of the Leone against the USD showed the highest depreciation (2.72% and 3.54%) for both buying and selling rates. The official exchange rate of the Leone against the USD showed depreciation of the Leone from October through to December in terms of both buying and selling rates

Redenomination 

According to the Central Bank Governor Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, “our current currency is too big to fit into a wallet and we spend too much money printing oversized banknotes.”According to Senior Economist Ganawah: “The implication is that transaction costs are too high, and there is a need to redenominate the Leone. The removal of the three zeros from the currency will not affect its real value. A redenomination is an auxiliary tool for improving the economy, providing the Central Bank with monetary tools to smooth out the effects of the crisis and chronic hyperinflation. Its task is to restore confidence in the national currency, simplify settlements and take control of shadow money. 

Central Bank Governor Kallon stated that the new currency notes will reduce transaction costs as well as provide a “psychological boost to the citizens”. The effect of the currency redenomination will be felt by everyone irrespective of their financial status or earning power.

IGR’s Analysis 

Below, IGR provides brief analyses of various sectors of the economy, vis à vis government policy and programmes that seek to promote economic growth and raise the social standards across the country. 

Road Infrastructure 

Investing in road infrastructure projects is a significant part of the government’s development agenda. The government allocated Le 85 Billion or 4% of non-salary, non-interest expenditure (NSNIE) to the Works and Infrastructure sector of the economy. As one of the primary means of financing these projects, government borrowing has increased and thus continued to put upward pressure on interest rates. The fourth quarter saw a jump in the annual yield of various securities. Financing long-term infrastructure continues to be a challenge for the government. The capital market is gradually developing but yet to reach a stage where it could provide other types of borrowing instruments to facilitate alternative means of project financing. Also, the Ministry of Works and Public Assets has been allocated Le12.3 billion to repair and provide general maintenance of existing government buildings.

Agriculture 

The government continues to promote the agriculture sector and allocated Le103 billion, about 7% of non-salary, non-interest expenditure (NSNIE) was allocated to this sector. 

Sierra Leone’s excessive dependence on imported food items makes it vulnerable to external shocks. The price of the nation’s staple food, rice, continues to increase, a reflection of world market prices. Measures were put in place earlier in the year to increase domestic rice production. Whether this will yield tangible results is not certain. However, to prevent consumers from having to bear the burden of expensive imported goods, the government should encourage citizens to consume what is produced locally. To ensure that this is effective, measures should be taken so that domestically-produced food items are of high quality so that they become substitutes for imported products. 

It was agreed in the Maputo declaration that for African economies to meet the target of halving poverty and food insecurity by 2015, all African countries should ensure that their national fiscal allocation to the agriculture sector is not less than 10%. Sierra Leone is making strides towards this goal. 

With all these allocations over the years Sierra Leone remains far behind in meeting national food self-sufficiency targets. Government is spending over $200 million alone on just rice importation according to the Bank of Sierra Leone. This exerts significant pressure on the US dollar and hence leads to the depreciation of the Leone as against the US dollar as well as rising inflation.

Government 2022 Fiscal Budget 

The government’s allocation for the 2022 financial year was read during the course of the last quarter of 2021. The key highlights of the FY2022 fiscal allocation are focused on human capital development, economic diversification, infrastructure and economic competitiveness, governance, empowering women, children and persons living with disability, youth employment and sports as well as vulnerabilities to climate change and building resilience. We note that for government to meet all or the greater part of its stated priorities in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP), revenue mobilization (improving domestic revenue collection), addressing strategic vulnerabilities and building resilience in concert with stringent public financial management practices will have to become a top priority. Hence, the composition and allocation of government’s expenditure for the 2022 financial year reflects these identified priority areas.

Conclusion 

The report concludes by stating that the overall assessment of the last quarter for 2021 demonstrates incremental improvements, but there are a number of political and social challenges that impede growth. It says financing long-term investments remains a national challenge as spending on infrastructure projects continues to exert pressures on interest rates as government borrowing increases. It further notes that Covid-19 remains a significant threat to the economic growth of the country. Another major threat to economic growth and development, the report highlights, is the incremental increases in the global prices of oil and other basic goods and services. It ends by mentioning that the reduction in the price of key exportable minerals on the international market could also significantly impact revenue mobilization to the point of impeding capital investments.

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Information Minister Hosts Smart Africa Director General

By Zachariah Jalloh – Strat Comm – MIC

Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Smart Africa, Mr. Lacina Kone has paid the Minister of Information and Communications Mr Mohamed Rahman Swaray an official visit, to discuss areas for investment in Sierra Leone’s digitalization drive.

The meeting, which was hosted in the Minister’s Youyibuilding office on Wednesday 13th July 2022, was also witnessed by the Deputy Minister of information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq. and other senior IT staff of the Ministry.

Addressing the Minister, Mr. Lacina Kone thanked the Minister for the warm welcome and discussed the continued partnership between Smart Africa and the Ministry. He spoke about digital identity, digital academy and the interconnectivity between Sierra Leone and Guinea which is coming back through Smart Africa. In addition, he expressed his fears about the phenomenon of individuals with phone numbers but can’t be identified and urged the need for thorough digital identification. 

“Digital skills will reduce unemployment and ICT has the potential to employ a huge amount of unemployed youths if they are trained and capacitated digitally” he said.

Mr. Kone revealed that as the Director General of smart Africa, he oversees the process of defining and advancing Africa’s digital agenda and has overseen the development of continental blueprints for Africa on Digital identity, ICT start- ups and innovation Ecosystems, Smart villages, and the definition of Africa’s Smart Broadband 2025 Strategy.

In response, Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, expressed his delight in having him in the country to discuss how they can create a synergy with Smart Africa to build resilient digital systems that will improve governance and other social service delivery, while emphasizing Government’s profound commitment to making the country part of the digital world.

Mr. Swaray also spoke about the $50million World Bank Project, which will be rolled out in the coming months and noted that there are components in the Project that the Ministry will work with Smart Africa to achieve.

The Minister was happy to hear about the Digital Academy through Smart Africa which empowers youths to learn digital skills and prepare them for the global digital Transformation.

“This is one of the areas I see the marriage with your efforts and that of World Bank because with the digital academy, I don’t see how we can implement the digital skills training in silos” he said.

In wrapping up the engagement, Minister Rahman Swaray assured the Director General of their continued partnership in developing and advancing the digital aspiration of Sierra Leone.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

Day Break Column

Youths as agency in politics: can we blame the youths of Sierra Leone?

Saidu Bangura, PhD.  

A discussion of youths and/in politics is as controversial a topic as the allusion I have made in the title that youths are agency in politics. Agency as used in this context should be understood to mean “instrumental” given the role youths play or the roles they are made to play in politics. However, when we consider the question “can we blame the youths of Sierra Leone?”, two old but pertinent songs come to mind: Peter Tosh’s “Can’t Blame the Youths” and Musical Youth’s “The Youth of Today”. While both songs may not have been writtento have any political undertones as we may want to imagine or interpret them, some aspects of the lyrics can be juxtaposed to give us an interesting reading in this article, especially as they pertain to how we should perceive youths in society or how they should perceive themselves.  

Peter Tosh’s “Can’t Blame the Youths” opens with a strong but contentious caution “you can’t blame the youths; you can’t fool the youths” whereas Musical Youth’s “The Youth of Today” opens with a straightforward and categorical message: “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools”. When we put both choruses into perspective, the songs seem to tell us the prevailing conditions of the youths in society have nothing to do with them, but what their polities want them to be or how their societies condition them to be. While I do not intend to critique both songs, I equally will not make any critical interpretations here. Rather, some aspects of the lyrics of the songs will be used to make my case in this article. To do so, I may have to pick a few things from the songs and see how they rhyme with the political reality of Sierra Leone and how the youths of our country are consequently impacted by the politics of the day. 

For 61 years now, successive political parties and individual politicians in Sierra Leone have used the youths as agency to launch, promote and champion their political careers, and maintain their grip on political power and the consequent assault on our resources given the politicians’ easy access to the youths and the latter’s prompt willingness to propel the former to Parliament and State House. While the youths may not (have) be(en) aware of how politicians have been “robbing”, “raping”, “kidnapping” and “killing” their future (echoing Peter Tosh) even before the politicians assume their respective offices, and considering the continued and constant “brainwashing” of the youths in Sierra Leone by politicians, my goal in this article is to reflect on how the Sierra Leonean youths have been used, abused, misused, refused, un(der)represented, misrepresented and abandoned by the political parties and politicians in Sierra Leone for the latter’s selfish political gains and that of their associates.    

Considering the sociopolitical and economic milieu in which the African youths were (are) born into, and raised, and consequently survive through, the Sierra Leonean youths inclusive, we learn in Jon Abbink’s article “Being Young in Africa: the politics of despair and renewal” that the African young (wo)man faces a lot of odds and challenges and has no control over her/his future. While some African countries may have made progress in areas such as education that leads to a gainful technical career pathway immediately after secondary school, youth entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for university graduates, access to improved health care facilities, access to a sustainable livelihood and housing for young families, and the creation and promotion of an enabling environment for private businesses to thrive, and, hence, the creation of jobs for the youths, can we say the same for Sierra Leone? 

The continued economic challenges faced by the parents and older relatives of these young (wo)men who could have guided them into a profitable professional path, the unavailability of technical training facilities and institutions for these young people to learn trades that will lead them to becoming self-employed and self-sufficient, their permanently being relegated to unemployment and poverty taking into account the lack of production industries except the few extractive ones, their subsequent exclusion and marginalization from mainstream society unless when needed by rogue politicians, has made many youths to see prostitution as a way to survive, drug addiction as an escape route, the 24/7 laid-back spending time attitude mostly at Ataya Bases, and their relentless following of politicians and other “Big Men” for pittances to execute their political and other errands while they continue poor and destitute. Can this be a result of their hopelessness in laying their hands on something tangibly profitable or is it due to bad politics practiced by our politicians and the culture of dependency installed and maintained for decades?    

Do we blame the youths, or do we blame the politicians for the predicament of the youths? 

The answer to the above question takes us back to the words of the choruses of Peter Tosh’s song: “you can’t blame the youths; you can’t fool the youths” and that of Musical Youth’s “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools”. Or can we (not)? The binary opposition in the words of the chorus of Peter Tosh’s song, “you can’t blame the youths” on the one hand, and “you can’t fool the youths” on the other, introduces us to the linguistic and political dialectics of where and on whom to cast the blame for the predicament of the youths: the fault is not theirs and you can’t make it theirs. Musical Youth’s no-nonsense direct message “don’t blame the youth … don’t take us for fools” is as clear as crystal: we are not responsible for our dilemma; we know where our problems emanate, and we know who to blame. Is it their fault or are they victims of the societies and political dispensations they were born, raised, and live in? Is it the politicians’ fault in not implementing programmes or creating opportunities that benefit the youths or are the youths not ambitious enough to task the politicians to deliver services that benefit the people, particularly the youths, the future of the nation, they govern? 

While we may want to say politicians have been arrogating for themselves and their families and immediate allies all the resources of the state at the detriment of the entire nation, especially these vulnerable young (wo)men who are mostly used for electioneering purposes and abandoned immediately after that process, are the youths themselves not responsible for their conditions? The culture of dependency on the affluent cultivated and cared for by the politicians and other prominent citizens has made many people, especially the young (wo)men who are in the majority, not to be too concerned that time wasted is never regained or to aspire for a better future for themselves. 

The instrumentalization of the youths by politicians due to the former’s socioeconomic vulnerability and their lack of a sustainable means of sustenance, livelihood, and economic engagement and independence, makes one wonder: why do people go into politics? Do they go into politics to serve the people and their communities and consequently the country as a whole or do they go into politics to serve themselves? The answer to these questions depends on where you find yourself, and probably how you perceive politics and political participation. 

If the youths constitute agency in politics or are instrumental in the election of who govern them, then those who govern owe the youths a huge responsibility. On this note, Musical Youth’s resounding statement that “The youth of today has got lots to say/It’s our life, it’s our future/Because we’re living today/So don’t blame the youth” becomes so relevant for the youths of Sierra Leone as for the UK youths then that the song may have been made for. 

Inasmuch as we may want to apportion blames on the youths for their plight in Sierra Leone, and much as we must encourage them to own their responsibilities, we must consider the following: (a) what existing national, regional, district, town, and community level programmes are there to remove our young (wo)men from their current socioeconomic predicament? (b) what is the income level of the older family members of these young (wo)men? (c) what is the educational level or what do the parents/guardians of these young (wo)men do? (d) where do these young (wo)men come from, where do they currently live and how do they earn their living? (e) are they in conflict with the law and if so which area(s)? (f) what do they aspire or want to do in life? and (g) how and where do they spend the day? These questions and many more like them should be on the minds of current and aspiring politicians if we are to build a nation that cares for its future. Today’s youths are tomorrow’s politicians, law enforcement officers, teachers, nurses, and other state functionaries. 

As I have written in some other articles, our politicians are selfish. The politics of Sierra Leone is about them and their cronies and immediate family members. Our Parliament is a theatre of dramatic monologues and political party soliloquies. The problems of the country are not part of the order of their discussions. Our MPs are actors whose scripts contain bills that benefit only them and their political parties. There was no controversy over the Welfare Bill for Parliamentarians (Parliamentary Act 2022), which was for the benefit of the entire membership of Parliament, but for others that present political disadvantage or advantage to one side of the aisle or the other, the petulant bickering is unending (the case of the Proposed Public Elections Act 2022). The basic needs of the people are never discussed in parliament because they are very much unconcern about the future of the people they claim to represent, especially these young (wo)men that they instrumentalise before and during political campaigns, and consequently abandon them after elections, and whose aspirations and future are never discussed in parliament. 

Until our politicians understand that one goes into politics to serve the country and its people and not to get rich, and to prepare the present generation to take after them irrespective of their socioeconomic background and political affiliations, the responsibility of our young (wo)men is on them. Until our politicians understand that they need to have tangible programmes that are executable so that today’s youths can be well prepared for tomorrow’s challenges, the future of our country is bleak. Until our politicians understand that siphoning off our resources for their personal benefits and that of their immediate families and cronies is a disservice and a threat to the sustainability and peace of Sierra Leone, these young (wo)men that are neglected today and whose future is not a concern, will be tomorrow’s aching challenges.

For the 2023 municipal and town council, parliamentary and presidential elections, I would love to see a serene but politically challenging and active youth; a youth that will tell the politicians to bring their children and other family members in their campaign trail; a youth that will ask politicians what programmes they have for their communities and the future of the nation, especially the future of their group – the youths; a youth that will refuse to accept drugs and alcoholic drinks, T-shirts and peanuts to campaign for people that will abandon them immediately after the results are announced; a vigilant youth that will discourage politicians from buying their way to political offices; a youth that will ask critical questions about how and why the country has been mis-governed for 61 years by two political parties, and how it will be governed for the next five years; a youth that will be more concerned about the future of the country, and less so about the religion and sex of the candidates, or the ethnolinguistic group and region a candidate hails from; a youth that will put the future of the country first, second, third, fourth and fifth and hence tell the politicians that the future of the country is at stake and it is their biggest concern; a youth that will not fight other youths for politicians or for political parties, but will engage themselves in civility and camaraderie as they challenge politicians for the future of Sierra Leone.

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Citizens Manifesto Report Launched

By Ishmail Saidu Kanu

The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) together with the Review Committee of the Citizens’ Manifesto (CM) Steering Committee on Thursday 7th July, 2022 launched the Assessment Report on the Citizens’ Manifesto in order to develop citizens’ capacities as decision-makers in selecting the type of leader they wish to elect and to make political leadership more responsible through persistent dialogues between citizens and political leaders.

The ceremony which took place at the New Brookfield’s Hotel in Freetown brought together Steering Committee members including Civil Society groups and the media to discuss the report. 

According to the Executive Director of IGR, Andrew Lavali,the idea of a Citizens’ Manifesto (CM) is to place citizens at the forefront of shaping a democratic and accountable political system in Sierra Leone. “The initiative is a collaborative action of several established civil society agencies, media outlets, and formal and informal institutions that are dedicated to improving good governance in Sierra Leone”, he added.

Mr. Lavali continued: “In November 2017 when the country was preparing to hold its presidential and parliamentary elections in March 2018, there was a tense political atmosphere between the two major political parties, the APC and the SLPP, and a vibrant presidential flagbearer from the NGC party. The Citizens’ Manifesto initiative intended to shift the growing tension in politics to policy-driven discussions by helping voters better understand the value of their votes rather than simply relying upon self-serving politicians, hence, the “My Vote, My Life” catchphrase. 

“As the nation is now preparing for its upcoming June 2023 elections, the general political discourse is bordering largely on “ethno-regional politics, hate messages spread via social media, especially from those who reside abroad and send abusive and incendiary messages into the country, and intimidation of dissenting voices by “security personnel”. These unpleasant developments have potentially devastating consequences on the country’s democratic consolidation process.

Making her presentation, IGR’s Governance Expert Emmanuella E. Sandy mentioned that the review process looks at the commitment made by political parties/candidates during the Launch of the CM. “It assesses the extent to which issues raised by citizens were adopted into party manifestos and/or policies leading up to and after the March 2018 general election. It also provides an assessment of the incumbent’s uptake of citizens’ demands in the first year of administration. Seven issues were identified in the 2017 CM; these issues have been reviewed to highlight the progress made, as well as to make recommendations for robust advocacy efforts and monitoring of the indicators”, the Governance Expert noted. 

Emmanuella Sandy

She further outlined the key contents in the report: “The seven issues in the CM are Asset declaration, Women’s political representation, Youth political representation, Representation of persons with disabilities (PWDs), Citizens’ shares in mining and agricultural investments, Transparency in campaign financing, and Commitment to the following targets in the first year of the winning (incumbent) administration. These targets are the right to food, housing, health, education, and a national cohesion policy to unify the nation, 20% of national revenue allocated for education, 20% of domestic revenue allocated for health, repeal of the criminal libel law, and the execution of programs to save the environment.

“The Review process further aims at revisiting the intent of strengthening citizens’ capacities as decision-makers in choosing the type of leader they seek to elect and making political leadership more accountable through sustained dialogues between citizens and political leaders. The objective or goal is that through this process a people-centered political system and leadership that is responsive to citizens’ priorities would emerge”.

Speaking on the methodology, Mrs. Sandy pointed out that the review process is in two parts; the first six issues identified within the CM have to do with the commitments of the 2017 presidential candidates, saying it looks at the uptake of the indicators by the candidates while the second aspect concentrates on the seventh indicator, which has six sub-indicators that comprise the incumbent’s uptake on the commitment to the sub-issues. 

“Generally, uptake of the CM by the presidential candidates was minimal. The commitments from political parties/candidates are gauged by party manifestos as well as policies/laws that have been enacted by the incumbent that speak to the seventh indicator. The latter has achieved some progress, although some of the achievements were not accomplished within the first year of administration as prescribed in the CM. Additionally, some issues were not achieved as citizens requested”, she stated. 

She concluded by saying that there is a need for continuous advocacy campaigns on identified CM indicators after every election, maintaining that asset declaration is an approach that seeks to minimize corruption in a nation that routinely scores high on corruption indices over the years by anchoring the issue of ethics and integrity to the political class. “Hopefully, the next district consultation captures and expounds on this so that CSOs can design a robust campaign on Assert Declaration”.

The report was launched by Josephus Ellie, Governance Advisor of Irish Aid SL.

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Ernest Koroma Attends High Level Meetings in Zambia & Tanzania

Former President of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 13 July 2022, departed Freetown for Lusaka, Zambia. He will be attending the Advisory Board meeting of the Brenthurst Foundation scheduled for 14th to 16th July 2022. 

The Brenthurst Foundation is a think tank with “a focus to attract the investment needed for continental regeneration and prosperity.” Therefore, President Koroma will join other leaders, diplomats, policy experts who make up the Advisory Board from across the continent, to continue deliberations on development and investment in Africa. 

While in Zambia, the Foundation will pay a courtesy call on host President Hakainde Hichilema.

From Zambia, the former Sierra Leonean leader will proceed to Arusha, Tanzania. There, he will deliver the keynote address at the Africa Drive for Democracy Conference slated for the 20th to 22nd July 2022. Under the aegis of the Strategic Litigation, MS Training Center for Development Cooperation and the Institute Security Studies, the conference brings together participants from over thirty countries to renew commitments on the promotion of democracy viz a vizthe guaranteeing of a safe space for democracy activists, as well as to share experiences on the trends on the rapid decline of democracy in Africa. 

President Ernest Bai Koroma will be sharing his rich experience in building peace and democracy in Sierra Leone, as well as the ECOWAS sub region. As the organizers put it: “we would like your Excellency to reflect on your experience in Sierra Leone and what lessons could be replicated in the continent.  Based on these reflections, for your Excellency to discuss the role of civil society on the continent (notwithstanding all its limitations) in the democratization process…”               

The former President will return to Sierra Leone on July 24 2022.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

As Parliament Swears in New MPs

APC Regains Majority with 59 Seats 

Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Paran Tarawallie on Wednesday sworn in Jawah Sesay of the All People’s Congress as Member of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

The ceremony took place during parliamentary sitting where MPs of the main opposition APC celebrated, chanting their party song.

Jawah was elected MP on 25th June during a parliamentary bye-election in Constituency 056, Tonkolili District, NorthernSierra Leone. 

Jawah polled 5,487 votes. Being the highest number of valid votes cast, was duly elected Member of Parliament for Constituency 056 in the Tonkolili District.

According to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, seventy (70) polling station results were entered into the result database, representing 100% of all polling stations in the Constituency.

It says the voter turnout was 10,417 out of a voter register of 20,581; giving a percentage turnout of 50.6%. The total number of valid votes cast was 9,675. There were 742 invalid votes, representing 7.1% of total votes cast.

Welcoming the New MP to the House, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Chernor Bah thanked the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) for conducting a free and fair election. “I call on all citizens to support NEC. We should not put ECSL under any undue pressure. I want to congratulate the new MP”.

Leader of Government Business, Hon Matthew Nyuma:”I call on the new MP to always make use of the Standing Orders. I congratulate you. I am happy the opposition is commending ECSL.

Speaker, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu also commended ECSL. “The ECSL is doing well. You MPs should all thank them. Continue to do what is right and proper in accordance with the laws of our land. Thank you for a job well done”, he said.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

WAEC Witholds 59 NPSE Results

Basic Education Minister, David M. Sengeh

Government of Sierra Leone on Monday released to the public the 2022 National Primary School Examination (NPSE) results. According to the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, this is the earliest release date in the last decade. “This matters because it gives parents and families enough time to help their children and wards prepare for the new school year. When families and children prepare, they perform better”, he noted.

He said hard copies of result packages are being prepared now for distribution to all schools that entered candidates. “Simultaneously, soft copy versions will be soon made available on the Government Service Delivery platform developed by the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation. The free SMS Result Checker mean that in addition to families not paying for school and exams fees; they shouldn’t have to pay to also know the result of their wards, thanks to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s commitment to Free Quality School Education. 

“162,068 candidates entered the exam. That is 79,617 (49.1%) boys and 82,451 (50.9%) girls. 421 of these students are Sierra Leoneans in Guinea. For a third year running, this is the highest number of students ever registered for this exam. Candidates sitting the exam numbered 161,797 – that is 79,477 (49.1%) boys and 82,320 (50.9%) girls.

“We have so far received results for 4,635 primary schools, 23 of which were in Guinea. 59 results are currently being with-held due to some form of irregularity that have been detected and reported by West African Examination Council (WAEC). These irregularities range from impersonation to carrying foreign material into an examination room to collusion to entering the exam under false pretences. WAEC expects that the committee which takes final decision on this matter will meet in September. Our government will continue to crack down heavily on examination malpractice until we can fully sanitize our system.

“I should use this moment to state that it is not right that students from classes 4 and 5 continue to attempt these exams. Quality education is much broader than one’s performance in an examination and that is why we have developed new curriculum to strengthen the foundational skills of our students during pre-school and 6 years of primary education. 

“This year, from the 162,068, 131,433 candidates, comprising 65,152 boys and 66,281 girls, passed the NPSE in 2022. These are candidates whose aggregate scores were on or above the cut-off score of 230 stipulated by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. 

“The total number of passes corresponds to an overall pass rate of 81.2%. This is a 4.2% improvement from the overall pass rate in 2021 which was 77.0%. 

“Regionally, the best performances were North, followed by South and Eastern Region and the top five best performing Districts are Falaba, Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kenema and Bombali respectively. The top 2 districts had over 90% pass rates.

“It is also worth noting that 10 districts, that is: Bonthe, Koinadugu, Kambia, Bo, Kono, Moyamba, Tonkolili, Western Rural, Port Loko and Karene had higher pass rates this year than last year. These districts are moving in the right direction and are worth commending. 

“At the school level, 1,071 out of 4,635 schools (23%) had 100% pass rates; that is, all their candidates who attempted the examinations passed. This is an increase from the 20% of schools that had 100% pass rates in 2021. Apart from the Western Area, all other regions and Guinea had more schools getting pass rates of 100% this year than last year. 

“Disappointingly, 114 schools across the country had zero percent pass rates. The Teaching Service Commission is already working with such under-performing schools and additional support is planned but as it usually happens, heads of schools with zero percent pass rates, accompanied by their proprietors, School Management Committee Chairpersons and District Deputy Directors of Education will be invited to explain the cause of the poor performance and to help map out actions to improve learning and performance in the affected schools. As a government, we have also started the implementation of Performance Based Financing across primary schools and will roll out an USD 18 million Education Outcomes Fund in September to continue improving quality of learning and teaching. 

The top performing schools nationwide based on the average aggregate scores of all their candidates are: 

1. Tutorial Centre for Academic Excellence Primary, Talent Town, Makeni

2. Hillside School of Excellence, Freetown 

3. Edna Primary, Circular Road, Freetown 

4. Mereweather Preparatory School, Freetown, and 

5. Rising Academy Primary. Calaba Town 

Now for the best three individual performances nationwide

Tied for 2nd place with an aggregate T-score of 334 are 

● Nesralla, Tyra, School Leone Preparatory Primary School and 

● Sesay, Angella J. M., from The International School Ltd. 

And with a score of 337, our best candidate from The International School Ltd. is 

● Pabs-Garnon, Lorraine M. 

The Minister continued: “The 2022 NPSE was the first national school examination conducted during the post-CoVID recovery period. Public concern about the integrity of national school examinations meant that the stricter measures adopted since 2020 continued. This initial analysis of performance suggests that the impact of exams irregularity on results was negligible. 

“Performance in the 2022 NPSE suggests that candidates are being better prepared by our schools. I would like to thank the excellent work of our committed teachers. We are grateful that just last month, together with the Sierra Leone Teachers Union, we negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with much improved conditions of service for teachers. 

“As a country, we must continue with our progress. The performances of districts from economically poor and rural regions are encouraging. More girls attempted and passed the exam and the national pass rate of 81.2% is the highest ever. Congratulations to the people of Sierra Leone. 

“The national office of WAEC deserves a big congratulation for getting scripts processed, marked and released to the MBSSE the earliest in over a decade. WAEC continues to be a good partner to us. Thanks also go to the examiners who worked really hard to complete the marking of scripts in a timely manner. 

“I cannot end without congratulating the students and families who worked tremendously hard during the 2021/2022 academic year ignoring all the distraction that were taking place around the world. It is our hope that the improvements that we have noted over the last few years will continue and that performance in 2023 will be even better than this year’s. Let’s keep transforming education”.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

UNSPOKEN

Author Rahima

Alas! This journey we traverse
We meet as saints and sinners in the universe
The hero and the villain, mute they are. Not a word each to other, The silence of a man, is his loudest voice.
Trouble sunk deep into our minds and with our thoughts, we dined.
Yet, our eyes still look for ways to see the unspoken messages of the heart.

Lightening blast through the palm trees. No horse to carry the king of Judah. In Freetown, you give an eye to be free. If he feeds the creatures in the air be assured to leave tomorrow to him. Unhesitant man will climb through thorns but his love is given over adequately. A burden to lay at his feet with a promise that he will never leave nor forsake us. Yet, our nose still find ways to breathe in the unspoken messages of the heart.


The shorter route they say we should avoid.
Who wants to travail this path forever when enemies deploy.
Soon darkness engulfs, owners of the dusk will throw festivity, night watchers, as hill heave their shades not a solitary light to incorporate all in.
Angels and demons keep wake together we believe.
Yet, our ears still listen for ways to hear the unspoken messages of the heart.



In thoughtlessness, we are left.
The dilemma of life, the road not taken
Deep regrets and buried confusion of
Sheer thoughts, no love lust within thy self awakens.
Emphasis on vain things, moonbeam sliced through from enviable dividend.
Yet, our mouths continue to search for ways to speak the unspoken messages of the heart.



Ignoring every commandment in the wise book.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. half a night of golden past. Covered in larvae a feast on the carcass.
Can the sons of men distressed God? waste the longest time in forte with defiance we portray.
Yet! our hands continue to touch for ways to feel the unspoken messages of the heart.

©By Rahima Vandy Kargbo otherwise known as dasalonetiti-Rahima

https://www.dasalone-titi.com

International Community Present Bye-elections Report to ECSL

It’s mandatory for observers to give reports after observing elections. Therefore, representatives of the European Union, Ireland, Britain, and the US Ambassador met with Commissioners of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) to give feedback on their observation of the Parliamentary and Local Council bye-elections held on Saturday 25th June, 2022.

They congratulated the Commission for conducting free, fair and credible elections and that the results were acceptable by the people.

They gave feedback on the following: The high number of invalid votes, high security presence, the professional performance of the ECSL staff, and the integrity of the staff.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed K. Konneh said the Commission has always been and will continue to conductfree, fair and transparent elections.

Other Commissioners expressed their satisfaction at the formal report of the International partners and asked that they do a press release on it including a congratulatory message to the Commission.

In another engagement, Commissioner Edmond Sylvester Alpha of the Southern Region gave updates on the Commission’s Electoral activities such as recruitment of Ward Coordinators which is on the final stage and the ongoing recruitments of voter registration personnel.

Copyright © Heroes Media Newspaper

ACC Boss calls for collective action in the fight against corruption.

ACC Boss, Francis Ben Kaifala

Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Francis Ben Kaifala has called for collective action in the fight against corruption. 

He was speaking during a Public Lecture organised by the Kenema District Youth Council in collaboration with Eastern Technical University Students’ Union Government, at the Kenema City Hall, Kenema, Sierra Leone, on 2nd July, 2022.

The topic was: “YOUTH, THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION AND GOVERNANCE”. Below is the full statement delivered by the ACC Boss:

INTRODUCTION 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, please permit me to stand on existing protocols.​Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, popular American movie actress, Jennifer Lawrence, once remarked that: “We need to tell each other our stories. We need to show that everyone — our neighbors, our families, our community leaders — everyone we know is touched by corruption.” 

Corruption is defined by Transparency International as “the abuse of power for private gain.” The organisation goes on to explain the following ways by which corruption can be committed: “public servants demanding or taking money or favours in exchange for services; politicians [or people in position of trust] misusing [public funds or] money… corporations bribing public officials to get lucrative deals.”

For the World Bank, it is seen as “a form of dishonesty or criminal offence undertaken by a person or organisation entrusted with a position of authority. “ 

As I have often said, Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019 does not provide a definition of the term. But the two pieces of legislation guiding our work, outlines a list of offences and practices which constitute an act of corruption. They include; Bribery, Misappropriation of Public/ Donor Funds/Property, Corrupt Acquisition of Wealth, Unexplained Wealth, Bid Rigging, Impersonation, Failure to Declare Assets, etc. 

Ladies and gentlemen, issues of corruption have been at the fore of governance discourse in the last decades. This is because we cannot maintain democratic good governance in a society where corruption is pervasive. 

What is [Good] Governance?

‘Governance’ itself is defined by the United Nations as “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).”

Governance is now synonymously used with the term ‘Good Governance’ or ‘Democratic Good Governance’, which is “participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law”. 

From the aforementioned definition, we know that some of the key features of good governance include accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency and the rule of law. 

Accountability is derived from the Latin word ‘computare’, which means ‘to count’. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “to be accountable required a person to produce “a count” of either the properties or money that had been left in his care”. 

Transparency is closely related to accountability and it is used to denote openness, responsiveness and honesty. As KristalinaGeorgieva of the World Bank puts it, “a lack of transparency fuels corruption, a corrosive force that hits the poor and the vulnerable the hardest.”

The rule of law, on the other hand, as propounded by English jurist, A.V. Dicey, is administration by the law only, where all men are subjected to the same and equal treatment under the law in a way that is devoid of arbitrariness. 

Effectiveness and efficiency refers to the proper use of public resources to ensure proper public service delivery. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the fight against corruption cannot be won without paying close attention to some of these key features of good governance. It is a must that we constantly pay attention to them. 

THE PROBLEMS OF CORRUPTION

And when it comes to combating corruption, there is no other urgent social menace we must address as a nation. Apart from what we have already read from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report that it was one of the major causes of the decade-long civil war that we experienced in the 1990s, corruption is also responsible for most of the severe social, economic and political challenges we currently face today: lack of proper social amenities, high rate of unemployment among young people, political scuffles and skirmishes, among many others. 

The OECD acknowledges the problems of corruption and sums it up by stating that “corruption threatens good governance, sustainable economic development, democratic processes, and fair business practices.” 

The organisation goes further to say that “corruption’s damaging effects spread far beyond where the corrupt act is committed, throughout the global economy and society.”

That is why the poor and vulnerable of every society have always been adversely affected by acts of corruption. Perhaps that is why Pope Francis once remarked that “Corruption is paid by the poor.”

Former President of the World Bank James D. Wolfensohn, at the annual joint meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the Bank in 1996, described the scourge as a ‘cancer’ as it “diverts resources from the poor to the rich, increases the cost of running businesses, distorts public expenditures and deters foreign investors”.

The current President of the US Joe Biden, once described corruption as “a cancer that eats away a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, President Dr Julius Maada Bio recognised the challenges of corruption since he was elected by the people of this country, which is why he declared this cancer as something that needs serious attention. 

I believe some of you have been following the work and activities of the Commission since the President made those declarations. Our decision since then was to take all the steps necessary to defeat this monster.

THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

The fight against corruption has been hinged on a multi-prong approach of public education, prevention, investigation and prosecution. The first two of this approach is often referred to as the ‘Carrot’ approach in the fight against corruption.

The Commission’s public education mandate is derived from Section 7(2)(o) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, which provides for the Commission to educate the public about the dangers of corruption and the benefits of its eradication. With this, the Commission has been able to wage a massive public education campaign targeting schools, tertiary institutions, public and private institutions, communities and every facet of society, using both traditional and social media. 

The prevention aspect of our work encompasses the conduct of systems and processes reviews in public offices. This is derived from Section 7 (2)(f) of the Act which mandates us “to examine the practices of public bodies in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices or acts of corruption and to secure revision of those practices and procedures which in the opinion of the Commission, may lead to or be conducive to corruption or corrupt practices.”

According to the International Development Association (IDA), “Countries with strong institutions prosper by creating an environment that facilitates private sector growth, reduces poverty, delivers valuable services and earns the confidence of their citizens – a relationship of trust that is created when people can participate in government decision-making and know their voices are heard.”

The Commission has over the years made tremendous efforts to build public institutions to make them resistant to corruption and at the same time effective and efficient in public service delivery. We have also made revenue-generating institutions generate more revenues for Government.

Part of our prevention drive is our work through the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Secretariat, which is responsible for the coordination and rolling out of the country’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The current strategy, which runs from 2019 to 2023, has the establishment of Integrity Management Committees (IMCs) as part of its key component.

The function of these Committees is to identify and address corruption issues within their respective institutions. I often refer to them as mini anti-corruption bodies within these public institutions. 

The other aspect of our approach in the fight against corruption is enforcement, which is also known as the ‘Stick’ approach in the fight against corruption.

This involves investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of committing an act of corruption. 

Nobel Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu once said that “if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain.” So this approach is meant to address impunity by making sure that the corrupt are brought to book for their crimes.

We have employed this approach to bring to book corrupt persons irrespective of their region, religion, or political party affiliation. And the statistics are there to show that I -and my team at the ACC- have been able to make the gains we continue to make because of the non-discriminatory way we conduct our anti-corruption campaign.  We cannot be making all the gains we have made as a nation if we continue to target only one set of people all the time. 

GAINS MADE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

Ladies and gentlemen, when we talk of gains we do not talk of things we arrogate on ourselves. We talk of gains which respected and reputable international and local bodies, often after their scientific studies backed by credible data, would turn around and tell us: “this is how far you have come and how much you have achieved”.   

In the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard, for example, we have massively progressed from 49 percent in 2017 to 71 percent in 2018, 79 percent in 2019, 81 percent in 2020 and the current score of 83 percent.

Studies by Transparency International based in Germany have also shown that the robustness we have put into the fight against corruption has caused the country to move 15 places up in their Corruption Perception Index from 130 in 2017 to 115 in 2021.

A local consortium of civil society organisations led by the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) also undertook a credible survey which shows a massive reduction in corruption prevalence in the public sector from 70 percent in 2017 to 40 percent when the survey was last conducted in 2020.

In the area of recovery, we have been able to recover over Thirty-five Billion Leones of stolen public funds from corrupt individuals through our novel Non-conviction Asset based Recovery system.

We have also been able to recover huge funds for other public and private institutions, and vehicles and a hotel which have been handed over to the State. This is unprecedented. I mean it has never been achieved by any ACC Commissioner before me. 

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO GOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN SIERRA LEONE

The United Nations estimates that the current global population is 7.8 Billion, and this is expected to grow 8.6 Billion by 2030. Africa’s population currently stands at 1.2 Billion, with 75 percent of this composed of young people under the age of 35 years. 

Sierra Leone’s population is estimated at 7.5 million, according to provisional results of the 2021 mid-term population census conducted by Statistics Sierra Leone. It is further estimated that about 80 percent of the country’s population is made up of young people under 35.

One-third of this is between the ages of 15-35, which is defined as Sierra Leone’s youth bracket. 

Ladies and gentlemen, irrespective of the huge number of young population in Africa, the young people of the continent have always been one of the most disadvantaged. This is why I want to encourage you to take advantage of your strength and the available opportunities to contribute to the promotion of democratic good governance and the fight against corruption.

You all should be conscious that you have the means and the power to defeat corruption. You just need to have the consciousness, which the founder of Transparency International, Peter Eigen, spoke of when he said “People should be conscious that they can change a corrupt system”. Get the consciousness that this is a duty! For Kurt Cobain of the rock band, Nirvana, once loudly remarked that “the duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” 

With such consciousness and duty you can:

▪️ Serve as informants and whistleblowers to expose corruption in your communities;

▪️Set up youth groups to serve as anti-corruption ambassadors in your universities, communities, etc;

▪️Champion the cause of the ACC and stand by the institution at all times; and

▪️Raise awareness about the dangers of corruption in your institutions or communities.

However, one of the foremost things you can do for yourself is to empower yourself with education and the skillsets needed to extricate yourself and your family from poverty.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know the great opportunities this Government has provided for young people as part of its Human Capital Development. 

From the education sector, we know of how Government has upgraded certain institutions –including the Eastern Technical University- to university status. This will definitely translate into more support, more facilities and better quality. 

We know of the ‘Youth in Agriculture’, ‘Youth in Fishing’, the Car Wash project, soft loans given to small and medium enterprises which are mainly owned by young people, the students’ loan scheme for university students like you, and a host of other empowerment interventions. Grab these opportunities.

In a country currently confronted with cases of examination malpractices, I encourage you to stay away from such practices. Study hard. Work hard.  Always play by the laid down rules and procedures. 

CONCLUSION

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have endeavored to give you a few ways we can leverage the capacity of young people in the fight against corruption. As it stands, Sierra Leone’s greatest hope lies in you.

On an advantageous note, we have identified corruption as a common enemy; we must now attack head on because our very survival is at stake.

This is a watershed moment in our history.

We should either get it right and prosper as a country or get it wrong and perish as a people.

As a nation, this our generation must take collective action against the cancer called “corruption”.  Together, we can win.  We should forget our differences and build on our uniting factors and commonality in the fight for the soul of our collective destiny. We should draw from the valour and courage of great forbearers like Bai Bureh, Sengbeh Pieh, ITA Wallace Johnson, Kai Londo, Nyangua, Ella Koblo Gulama, Lamina Sankoh, Constance Cummings-John, etc. and join to redirect our country’s destiny in the right direction. 

Now is the time to join the bandwagon of the informed and not the uninformed and reject the chicanery of the uninformed to keep our people in political bondage! 

But as I keep on saying, we will continue to fight corruption as if we are losing. But we cannot always fight all by ourselves. We need the people of this country to fight along with us. Be on the side of the Commission no matter the kind of fraternal relationship existing between you and the person that is in the ACC net. 

You should not even act indifferent. For as Delia Ferrira, Chair of Transparency International, puts it; “People’s indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow.” So, I encourage you to instead act to make a difference. Be that faithful voice even among the cynical voices. 

Like Padme Amidala of Star Wars puts it “there are still those of us who work to overcome corruption and believe it to be possible.” I encourage you to be among those holding that belief.

Every generation has its defining moment; this is ours. Let us wear our girdles, embrace this fight, and together wipe corruption out of Sierra Leone! 

God bless Sierra Leone!

© Public Relations Unit, ACC

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Statistician General & Vice Chair of UN Statistical Commission speaks on Gender Statistics

The Statistician General and Vice Chair of the UN Statistical Commission, Prof Osman Sankoh COR (Mallam O.) has  taken part in a high-level round table discussion with the visiting Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms Asa Regner  who also doubles as the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. 

The panel discussion was held in the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was chaired by the Minister Prof David Francis.

Ms. Regner is on a working visit to Siera Leone alongside Ms.Oulimata Sarr, the Representative and Regional Director of UN Women for West and Central Africa.

The meeting discussed amongst other things the status of Sierra Leonean women in socioeconomic development of the country and the strides towards gender empowerment.

In his contribution, Mallam O. referred to his recent talks at the UN Commission for Population and Development on the digital divide and another at a PARIS21/UN Women conference on financing gender statistics. 

“For Sierra Leone, the time is tight,” he said. “We have political champions and a Ministry specific for gender and children’s affairs. And we have a National Statistics Office which has placed premium on digital data collection, hence it’s possible to disaggregate data by sex and make such data available for policy and planning processes,” concluded Mallam O.

Among the high dignitaries present were: Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Deputy Minister of Finance II, Director of Research at MoF, DG of MoFAIC, Assistant IGP and the UN Resident Representative.

© Stats SL Comms & PR Div.

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Economic Column-Welfare and Inflation: A Case Of Sierra Leone.

By Mohamed Ibrahim Justice Ganawah (Senior Economist/Lecturer-FBC)

It is important to note that most people in Sierra Leone, still do not understand the dynamics of inflation. Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency (say the Leone) over time. A quantitative estimate of the rate at which the decline in purchasing power occurs can be reflected in the increase of an average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy over some period of time. The rise in prices, which is often expressed as a percentage, means that a unit of currency effectively buys less than it did in prior periods. In all of these cases, the money ends up losing its purchasing power. The mechanisms of how this drives inflation can be of three fundamental causes. These are:

➢ Demand-pull inflation refers to situations where there are not enough products or services being produced to keep up with demand, causing their prices to increase.

➢ Cost-push inflation, on the other hand, occurs when the cost of producing products and services rises, forcing businesses to raise their prices.

➢ Built-in inflation (which is sometimes referred to as a wage-price spiral) occurs when workers demand higher wages to keep up with rising living costs. This in turn causes businesses to raise their prices in order to offset their rising wage costs, leading to a self-reinforcing loop of wage and price increases.

Why Is Inflation So High Right Now in Sierra Leone?

The recent inflation rate in Sierra Leone of 24.87 percent andthe continuous increment in the inflation rates around the world rose to their highest level since the early 1980s. While there is no single reason for this rapid rise in global prices, there has instead been a series of events that have worked together. 

The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 led to lockdowns and other restrictive measures that greatly disrupted global supply chains, from factory closures to bottlenecks at maritime ports. At the same time, governments issued stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits to help blunt the financial impact of these measures on individuals and small businesses. 

Also, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022 led to a series of economic sanctions and trade restrictions on Russia, limiting the world’s supply of oil and gas, since Russia is a large producer of fossil fuels. At the same time, food prices rose as Ukraine’s large grain harvests could not be exported. As fuel and food prices rose, it led to similar increases down the value chains.

Sierra Leone is an import-driven economy which means so much dependence on imported goods for local consumption. Sierra Leone has raised fuel prices 120 percent in the last six months (January- June 2022) from Le10 to Le22.  This 120% rise in the fuel price is the highest in the world. Even though the Russia-Ukraine war is a contributor, this stellar rise is also caused by taxation on fuel by the government. The increase in fuel prices has a ripple effect on all essential goods and services. 

Also, it is important for us to know that the depreciation of the Leone is also a major cause of the inflationary pressure we are experiencing in the country. 

The Way Forward

Government should subsidize the fuel so that fuel prices willfall or better still remain in their present state in the country. Similar approaches are being followed by both developing and developed countries around the world. 

The mining companies do enjoy a whole lot of tax waivers and still enjoy the same fuel prices as the common man. The government should ensure that the mining companies buy for themselves or buy in forex from the oil marketing companies. This will reduce the pressure on the small quantity that is been bought for the general population.

Also, the government has done well in increasing the storage facilities for petroleum products. The government should now try to up its game in making sure they fully utilize the storage facilities. According to the Minister of Information and Communication, we are yet to utilize 50 percent of the facility. With this everyday disturbance in the global supply chain, it makes a whole lot of sense to buy in large quantities to reduce the number of times buying on an annual basis. 

Government should reduce the taxes on major economic sectors that support ordinary citizens and businesses. Examples of such sectors are the energy sector (which includes household and institutional electricity consumers and the fuel market) and the marine sector (which includes fishing companies). 

In conclusion, the government should work on all the available avenues to reduce the suffering citizens are going through as a result of this high inflationary trend.

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