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COCORIOKO » 2004 » August

Archive for August, 2004

Hashim Daboh and Muhammed Ahmed gives their views on national matters

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

First_Name:  Hashim
Last_Name:  Daboh
Email_Address:  Gboyama@yahoo.com
Address:  36 Copley Road
City:  Upper Darby
State:  PA
Zip_Code:  19082
Comments:  Kabs, thanks for the effort to print diverse views for the public to digest and draw conclusions. In response to bro. Tucker’s request for “proof” of TJ’s corrupt practices as a leader, I’ll only ask all and sundry to do a minute soul searching and look beyond the horizon to see the opulent life style of our rulers and the masses who suffered most in the rebel rampage coupled with the level and proper use of International assistances we have so far received with reality  on the ground.

I dare not reduce the dicusssion to a pen pushing tug of war,but to ask for proof of bank accounts and others is a bit too elementary of a premise in this wider context. But really that won’t be a problem if TJ would allow an independent body to properly investigat his personal dealings and that of the Ministers he supervises.

But again if Bro. Tucker can tell the masses the simple source of  funding for the private Construction works of Kabbah’s ministers  and other appointees and the source of funding for all their family members  who only settled abroad after  such appointee assumed  the  political office he now /she now enjoys ,then may be, we’ll have a starting line for the race to reality.

But as usual,that is the easiest way  public detractors  think  they can “shut up” others to stop talking ; because the Pa has done so well that he has decided to keep the cities in black out in a frantic effort keep everything “under cover”.
Anyway am glad that state House stringers will soon join the talk here on ‘Rico.
Happy New Year bro. Tucker and please don’t forget to send me copies of real successes of Ngor TJ, and least I forget, is it true that ngor Solo is using the contract contacts to help his elections come when,if nominated.
Ladies and gentle men ,welcome to the race.
Least I forget,is TJ still using his Private Home executive offices and wehat about his emoulments . Has he started taking his pay checque now or still just a volunteer. Bro. Tucker, my New Year resolution is to ensure that corruption in Sierra Leone will be investigated while the appointees are active not when they have left . Sa. Lone nar we  all yone.

 

GIVE NAHIM KHADI A CHANCE

First_Name:  Muhammed
Last_Name:  Ahmed
Email_Address:  leonestars@hotmail.com
Comments:  Mr Kanu, please do not be so quick to condemn Mr Khadi, he has only been apointed for less than 1 year so I think you should not rush to judgement.

Up to this time I have considered you one of the fair guys on the
net. One thing I know for sure is that Mr Khadi has been working hard to  get the ball rolling again and he is getting the provinces involved as he should.

Iraq job seeker’s parents blame Govt.

Saturday, August 21st, 2004

 

Sunday August 21, 2005

 

By Tamba Borbor, COCORIOKO’S City Editor

 

Mr. Alieu Taylor Kamara, the father of repatriated Iraq job seeker, Alusine Taylor Kamara has blamed the Government for the plight of his son.

 

Speaking to Mr. Taylor-Kamara at his home at Masoila Lungi, he disclosed that upon arrival at their residence, his son, Alusine was seen with a bandaged head and complained of body pains. He went on to explain that when he questioned the boy regarding the reason for having a bandage wrapped around his head, the 21-year-old SS3 pupil of the Bullom Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School explained that he sustained serious injuries when a bomb was detonated close to his place of work while in Iraq.

 

“He told me he is feeling pain in the chest after been hit by fragment on the chest and ribs in Baghdad, Iraq,” Mr. Taylor-Kamara went on to say. He added that the boy told him that while he was admitted at a hospital in Baghdad, his employers surprisingly brought his ticket to return back home to Sierra Leone.  Upon arrival at their home at Masoila, Alusine according to the dad was unable to alight from the vehicle that brought him to the house, as he complained of severe pain.

 

Asked what he would like to see done about the present condition of his son, Mr. Taylor-Kamara stated that as his son had signed a year’s contract with the employers, he should be paid in full all what he is due in addition to receiving sober medical treatment. He blamed the Government for negotiating a deal that would endanger the lives of its citizens under the cloak of job creation. “Our children were taken into slavery in Iraq and I blame the President and his Cabinet because they should have been aware of all this,” Mr. Taylor-Kamara said.

 

Meanwhile, during a radio programme- “Night Line” on Radio UNAMSIl last Friday, a Sierra Leonean caller from Iraq- Mr. Smith who said he is the Manager of the Camp where the job seekers from Sierra Leone are being kept, denied the story of Alusine Taylor-Kamara. He disclosed that he (Mr. Smith) escorted ten of his Sierra Leoneans colleagues to the Airport to board a homebound flight after they had failed a medical test conducted in Iraq.

 

Mr. Smith categorically denied that any Sierra Leonean has never being a victim of a bombing in Iraq; adding that the ten who have been sent back home did not successfully go through the medical test. However, an official of Faith Consortium- a Non-Governmental Organization confirmed on the same radio programme on Friday that Alusine was in their care but was not seen again not too long before he (Alusine) was suppose to tell his story during the radio programme.

 

Does the SLPP Government have the people’s interest at heart ?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
How many more such defective planes ply our airport ?

 

DOES THE SLPP GOVT . HAVE THE PEOPLE’S INTERESTS AT HEART ?

By KABS KANU :

It is standard procedure in all countries that whenever there is a human calamity, the government  comments on it  and/or moves speedily to sympathize with the victims. This is especially so when a plane takes off from a country and crashes within that country’s borders.

The government usually sends aviation experts to visit the accident scene and the President or his representatives usually meet with the victims or their families, if there are no survivors. A plane crash is treated more seriously by governments , because by its very nature, there are hardly survivors and there is always the dire need to launch a thorough and meticulous investigation to discover the causes of the crash in an attempt to stave off future occurences.

The government of the other nationals from Guinea and the Gambia whose citizens were among the victims of Wednesday August 11, 2004’s plane crash in Freetown honored the protocol and sent planes to take away their citizens for treatment .

It is a disappointment and a shame to know that since the crash, the Sierra Leone government has neither   made an official comment  on the crash or visited any of the victims presently languishing in various hospitals in the capital. The victims have waited in vain for the government to intercede and at least send representatives to console them and assure them that the cause of the crash will be investigated.

The fact that , unlike most other plane crashes,  the passengers on this aircraft survived with minor injuries is not an excuse for the government to have treated the matter so lackadaisically. From the way Dr. Sylvia Blyden , one of the victims, narrated the accident, it was not a minor incident. But for the grace of God, 126 people, including our own citizens, could have been killed , their mangled and burnt bodies laid out for all to weep over and lament the event for life. Families would have lost their loved ones and nations would have been mourning the deaths of valued citizens.

It could have a typical aviation disaster  with no survivors , but as God would have it, one of the engines  fell off the plane at midair, thus reducing the possibility of  a catastrophic explosion that could have engulfed survivors . Secondly, the plane was cushioned by the forest and swamp into which it crashed. Inspite of that , the passengers suffered excruciating trauma and shock as  it is a crippling experience to be in a plane crash. They should have been consoled for this predicament by their government, at least for them to know there was official concern for their welfare.

Worse still is the fact that by the government’s silence and inaction, there will be no investigation for the official causes of the accident, although it is a known fact that the plane crashed because Air Guinea has no good reputation for maintaining safe aircrafts. Even before the plane  was sold off to a private individual, it did not undergo routine repairs or safety checks, from the information at our disposal. As a matter of fact, it was the second time within a short time that a plane from Guinea had crashed at Lungi.

The government’s silence and lack of concern that a plane mishap occured within her borders, also gives the public the impression that their government does not care for the safety of her citizens. The government, seemingly, is not bothered by the quality of the planes that land and take off from her airport. For all the government  knows ,there might  be many more “lemons” ( Chronically defective planes) flying into and from her airport at incalculable risk to the lives of her citizens and other passengers using her airport.

The SLPP government cannot afford to be so nonchallant with the lives of her people. The administration was voted into power to pursue the interests of the people. If it cannot perform such a simple duty as to comment on a plane crash or officially visit the victims, of what use is this government, really ?

 

 

 

Air crash ; SLPP responds to Sylvia Blyden at last

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE

The Minister of Transport, Dr. Prince Harding has tonight appeared on
National TV to apologise to passengers of the 8-11 crash. He says he
was “misinformed” about the gravity of the situation.

AIRGUINEATHATCRASHED

Looking very contrite, he earlier appeared at the Hospitals with a video team
from the SLBS Television and Radio as well as from Civil Aviation and he
publicly chastised them as having “misled” him. He insisted that he asked
them “over ten times” about the passengers’ welfare when he learnt about the
crash and they told him no one was hurt and he believed them. Later, he took
the team to the airport and the television showed the nation the unbelievable
sight at the airport. Many people called me afterwards weeping tears and
calling us miracle survivors.

And guess what? Prince Harding found out today that one of his very close
cousins from the same chiefdom as him was one of my fellow plane crash
passengers. Additionally, my fellow passenger, Alhaji Muslim Hassan is the
last son of one of the actual Founding Fathers of the SLPP. He was also a
plane crash victim who was admitted and who chastised the lapses today.

When the Minister of Transportation, Prince Harding saw the state of some of
the passengers still admitted in hospital, he almost went on his knees whilst
begging for forgiveness.

Many people here applaud my efforts. Not only did I send out the Open Letter
but I was on the BBC this morning as well as on all the good radio FM local
stations bringing the issue to the fore. Folks have been calling from all
over to say “bravo”. I have also received a few phone calls from irate
callers accusing me of wanting to bring down “their” government. My reply to
them? I love the government and people of Sierra Leone far more than you
sycophants do.

My President is either too upset or too angry with me to respond. But I think
I have made my point. So, on behalf of my fellow passengers, please extend my
thanks to all those who have written to me in sympathy and support. I have
almost 150 emails on the issue and we all deeply appreciate the outpouring. I
will sit down and reply to everyone in the near future.

Thanks again,
Sylvia.

**************************
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
International InfoTech Guru
—————————
Washington DC, London, Sierra Leone,
The Gambia, Cameroon, Nigeria.
USA Tel/Fax: +1-775-368-9919

Nurses to down tools 1stSeptember

Monday, August 16th, 2004

 

Tuesday August 16, 2004

Tamba Borbor reports from Freetown

At around 9:00am on Friday 12th August, Nurses converged at the National School of Nursing in protest over their incorporation into the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS). Defying the heavy downpour of rain, they lined up in front of the Hostel at Wallace Johnson Street displaying banners and placards which had different messages inscribed on them in getting the authorities to take note of their grievances.

Speaking to the President of the Sierra Leone Nurses Association (SLNA), Sister Patricia Abu, about the cause of the peaceful protest, she said that they are totally against the idea of incorporating the School of Nursing into COMAHS; adding that they support being an affiliate of the University. Disclosing that they have already given a 21-day strike notice to the authorities concerned; failing which they would resort to a sit down strike come 1st September.

Sister Abu stressed that there is a marked difference between “incorporation and affiliation.” “When you incorporate something, you are in control of it. the thing would not be autonomous but would be run by somebody above,” she stated; adding that the School of Nursing has been governed by the Nurses and Midwife Board in Sierra Leone which effectively monitors standard and practice of students a well as they the professionals. The Nurses Association President stressed, “incorporating us into COMAHS is like taking away our autonomy as professionals and even taking away our facilities.”

She disclosed that the dropout rate at the COMAHS is 62.3% as compared to theirs, which is 5% for State Registered Nurses (SRN), and 6% for State Enrolled Community Health Nurses (SECHN). These figures Sister Abu said were obtained from a survey done by a Consultant from the European Union. She went on to say that 70% of the lecturers of COMAHS are working part-time and are engaged in private practice; which she maintains does not allow them to teach effectively hence the reason for the high dropout figures. COMAHS the Nurses Association President stated would argue that they want to maintain standards at the Nursing School to justify the incorporation. ” We as professionals started it already and there are standards.

When nurses leave these shores and go abroad, they perform very well. You cannot separate nursing education from nursing practice,” Sister Abu stated; adding that as a way of improving on the present, there is now a whole Department at COMAHS wherein nurses can pursue a BSc programme. She categorically stated that there is nothing to gain from being incorporated but rather COMAHS stands to gain more; stressing: this is infact the reason for the insistence on incorporating us.”

Asked whether they were consulted by the Government before taking the decision to get them incorporated into COMAHS, the President of SLNA said: “we were never consulted and infact we heard they have been working on this thing for over two years now. When we heard about it last year, we wrote to the Director General of Medical Services who then told us it is news to him. The Ministry of Education did not reply to our letter and it is like they think nurses don’t know what they want.” Sister Abu stated that the whole issue seems absurd especially at a time when the country is talking about decentralisation. “How can the Ministry of Education start centralising schools? We really don’t know what the Government is preaching. Is it centralisation or decentralisation,” she queried.

 

 

 

Government’s silence over Air crash : Sylvia Blyden writes President Tejan Kabbah

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

DR. SYLVIA BLYDEN WRITES PRESIDENT AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH ABOUT SLPP GOVERNMENT’S EARDEAFENING SILENCE ON WEDNESDAY’S PLANE CRASH AT THE LUNGI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FREETOWN

SUNDAY AUGUST 15, 2004

AIRGUINEATHATCRASHED

OPEN LETTER TO MY PRESIDENT,

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you on Sunday 15th August 2004. Your Excellency, I am not
sure if you know that on Wednesday 11th August 2004 at around 2:30pm in the
afternoon, over 70 of your Sierra Leonean citizens almost lost their lives in
a terrible plane crash at the Lungi International Airport involving a Boeing
737 Plane operated by Air Guinea Express.

Your Excellency, Air Guinee Express is owned by a Guinean named Mamadou Sylla
who purchased the airline from The Guinean Government last year 2003. Shortly
after Sylla purchased the plane in the name of his International Company
named GROUPE FUTURELEC, the plane suffered a crash in November 2003 right at
the Lungi Airport. But, this crash of Wednesday August 11th (8-11) was far
more serious.

For the sake of posterity, I am putting down on paper the events since that
day. Very early, on Wednesday 11th August (8-11), we all turned up at the
Lungi International Airport to board the Air Guinee Express Flight 110 from
Freetown to The Gambia. At around 8:30am, we were told that the plane came
from Conakry, Guinea but could not land because of “weather visibility
problems” and had therefore headed back to Conkary.

We waited until 1:25pm when an announcement was made that the plane had come
back from Guinea and would be landing finally. The plane landed and we were
placed on board. Almost immediately after the plane took off and was in mid
air, we noticed that the left wing was on fire and the flames were climbing
up towards the back windows. We then heard a big BOOM! sound and the plane
started to twist up and down in the air until it crashed into some green
plantations, continued at full speed before finally landing in a swamp with
the plane still on fire and the now completely darkened passenger cabin
reeking of the smell of kerosene and jet fuel.

Your Excellency, we were later informed that the BOOM sound was the sound
caused by one of the engines falling off in mid-air. I saw the site where the
engine landed. The distance from the point of impact where the engine hit the
earth from the air and the final resting place of the plane was approximately
600 metres!

Your Excellency, to continue my narration, please be informed that it was now
pandemonium inside the plane with all passengers being terrified and shouting
out for Jesus and Almighty Allah whilst struggling to break open windows and
doors to escape from the fuelled plane which was on fire. All the windows
were covered with mud and leaves and trees and we could not see anything
outside until someone managed to break one of the windows of the emergency
doors and we started to escape helter skelter from the plane. Expecting the
plane to burst into flames at any moment, we ran deep into the forest holding
on to each other. To their credit, the Airports Authority and the Police
started to drive towards the scene of the crash within seconds of the plane
finally landing. Considering the distance they had to drive, they took
several minutes to finally arrive at the swamp and found all the passengers
already escaped from the plane but in a complete state of terror, pandemonium
and emotional distress not to talk of bleeding limbs and other injuries.

Your Excellency, I have just been discharged from the hospital after four
days. I left dozens of Sierra Leoneans still admitted in hospital. Many of
them have spinal, skeletal and other such injuries like internal organ
problems. I am fortunate having suffered only a broken tooth and soft tissue
injury. I give thanks to the Almighty that I can once again sit down in front
of a computer doing what I have been blessed to do. Disseminate Information
worldwide through the Internet for the attention of the International World.

Your Excellency, most disappointingly one of the information I am going to
disseminate is that, my government headed by you, is yet to make any official
statement on the plane crash that had over 70 Sierra Leonean citizens on
board. There were a few Gambians on board including a Gambian UNAMSIL Captain
who was heading to The Gambia for a short break from his UNAMSIL duties. The
Gambian Government of President Yahya Jammeh made adequate arrangements for
the Gambians to receive medical treatment before flying them out to Gambia
yesterday. There were 37 Guineans on board. The Guinean President Lansana
Conteh sent two jets with a high powered delegation within 1 hour of the
crash. One of the Presidential jets came with a top team of medical doctors.

But, Your Excellency, you might be surprised to learn that the Presidential
team from President Lansana Conte only treated Guinean Citizens and then
carted them off to
Guinea. The doctors did not even address us Sierra Leoneans or try to console
us. However, with my respect for you as my President, I was busy consoling my
fellow
passengers that they should rest assured that our own President, Alhaji Tejan
Kabbah will soon send emissaries to us. I kept on assuring them all the way
from the airport to Freetown for over three days until I gave up myself when
I realised that I was just embarassing myself to my fellow passengers with my
assurances that my President will soon be making a statement.

So, 5 days since the crash, up till now, Sunday 15th August 2004, neither the
Office of the President nor your Ministry of Transportation nor any
government functionary has extended any condolence to us in any official
capacity neither have you issued any statement. I am so ashamed and so
disappointed in you.

Meanwhile, Hon. Ernest Koroma together with a full contingent of APC
Parliamentarians and APC Stalwarts turned up at the hospitals to sympathise
with us. Prominent citizens have been turning up at our different hospitals
to sympathise with us. Religious Leaders have been pouring into our hospitals
to pray with us and give thanks to the Almighty for the miracle he performed
in saving our lives.

The new Mayor of Freetown, Winstanley Bankole Johnson was there to see that
we were made comfortable and he held discussions with all the different
doctors. Later, the Mayor sent his wife to come and visit us at the different
hospitals where we were admitted. The Bankole Johnson family came laden with
fruits, sanatogen high energy powder, milk, chocolates and flowers and they
went from room to room consoling us and giving us food.

And from the SLPP and from my President? As they say in Krio, “ONE BIG FAT
YAING” is all what we have heard from your government.

Your Excellency, I must here note that I have several friends in your
government who personally called me up to extend their sympathy to me. But
however, they were doing it on a personal basis to a friend of theirs. I am
just one of 126 passengers on board a plane
that crashed at Lungi Airport. What about the other passengers? What about
the government as a whole? Are they not going to say anything as a government
to their citizens? What about Prince Harding, the SLPP Secretary General and
your Minister of Transport? Is he not going to tell the nation that an
enquiry into the activities of the Civil Aviation Authority is underway? I am
informed that he was on the Ghana Airways plane that had landing problems in
the recent past and he immediately recommended to your Cabinet that the plane
be grounded. Prince Harding was personally affected and he implemented
measures based on his experience. However, what assurances do we now have
that the Air Guinee crash which is a worse incident that the Prince Harding-
GhanaAirways one or the one of November 2003 will not repeat itself? What
measures is your government putting in place to ensure that the Civil
Aviation Authority is thoroughly investigated?

Your Excellency, how can you stay silent at a time like this? I am totally
disappointed in your government. You have let me down. You have let my fellow
passengers down and this is an indication that those who say that your
government is neither in touch with its’ citizenry nor does your government
know what its’ duties are towards your citizens, might be quite right after
all.

Your Excellency, whilst awaiting a reaction from your government, I end this
letter by leaving you in the hands of the Almighty. May God Almighty continue
to guide you to do the right thing for your citizens.

May God Almighty protect us all.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden

 

Shirley Gbujama addresses addresses effects of postwar trauma

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

 

SHIRLEY GBUJAMA ADDRESSES EFFECTS OF POSTWAR TRAUMASaturday August 7, 2004

Sampson Cole reports from Freetown

Trauma survivors and war-affected communities are to
benefit from an integrated psychosocial
community-counselling programme after the training
programme for Sierra Leonean NGOs and Community Based
Organisations.

The training, which is organised, by Medico International in collaboration with Grace Land
Counselling Services and the Truth and Reconciliation
Working Group (TRWG) yesterday had its opening
ceremony at the National Stadium Hostel.

Speaking at the ceremony, Usche Merk of Medico International based
in Germany said that her organisation was founded in
1968 in the context of the Biafra and Vietnam War and
is presently supporting around 60 projects in 16
different countries. She said that Medico which a
human right organisation is independent of political
or religious affiliations, adding, “but the spirit
which has been guiding us is longing for a world where
everybody has a chance to live in dignity and in
decent conditions- without fear of violence and war.”

She went on “and the strategy which we dream of is to
encourage and work within networks of solidarity with
fellow visionaries.” Usche said that she came in
contact with the TRWG in 2002 through the Chairman-
John Caulker who convinced them to come to Sierra
Leone. She went on that it was SINANI a Kwazulu Natal
programme for survivors of violence in South Africa
who have worked in violent and devastated communities
that break the ice “and enabled me to meet incredible
people like you who survived the most brutal war.”

She went on “I felt very humbled when I see the amount
of energy, creativity, humanness, the care and concern
for others the people of Sierra Leone have.” She went
on further hoping “the training will help to further
develop the Sierra Leonean concepts without having to
go through mistakes others have already made.” In his
remarks the Chairman of TRWG- John Caulker said that
he is relieved that they would be going into the
communities to do psychosocial delivery care services:
adding that they would be working with the communities
and not for the communities.

Giving her statement the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s
Affairs, Mrs. Shirley Gbujama said that the training
programme is not a waste of time and resources because
the effects of trauma are like a big load on a head
that cannot let it go. “It requires somebody from
without to help put away that load and that is the
more reason that the communities need such services to
help them put away the multiple stresses that the war
has occasioned,” she said.

The Minister went on to say that taking off this load means rehabilitation of the
self-esteem of the individual. Statements were also
given by a representative from National Forum for
Human Rights, the Deputy Director of British Counsel-
Honor Flanagan, Zandile of SINANI and Bondu Manyeh
National Programme Coordinator Grace Land Counselling
Services chaired the programme.

Journalist’s life in danger : Family complains

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

SHEKATRAWALLIE32

Members of the family of controversial journalist,
Sheka Tarawalie, currently in London after attending
a seminar of editors from post-war countries, are
complaining that there have been recent threats to
his life. Tarawalie’s younger brother, Hudson, has
shown series of anonymous letters of threat to this
press indicating that the journalist has again hit a
raw nerve that calls for revenge. “This time we will
not miss you,” read one of the anonymous notes.
Hudson said the threats have forced him to move from
his elder brother’s residence of 54 Campbell Street,
where he was living until his departure. “One night
I heard conversations in low voices in our compound,
and when I looked through the window I saw people
holding machetes. In the morning, I found a warning
note stating that if my brother did not stop
writing, then he would be stopped. That day I
decided to leave the place,” he narrated.

Similarly, Tarawalie’s parents in Makeni have
revealed that strange people have been visiting them
asking for the whereabouts of their son. “These were
the same men that were looking for him in 1998. What
has my son done again?” Mrs. Marie Tarawalie, in
tears, asked. She recalled how their home was looted
and the whole family subjected to harassment by
gunmen and machete-wielding militia any time they
came looking for him during that time. Even though
this time around they were not carrying weapons,
Mrs. Tarawalie feared it foreboded danger. “Why do
they come knocking in the middle of the night,
asking for him? We have told them he is not here,
but they do not seem to believe,” she explained. Rev
John Tarawalie, the journalist’s father, confirmed
the story, and added that they were tired of the
frequent threats to his son’s safety ever since he
started running a newspaper in the country.

What this press has gathered is that many people do
not believe that the recent articles being written
and published on the internet are being sent from
London.

What is at stake however is the principle of freedom
of expression. Tarawalie was the first journalist to
be jailed by the SLPP government through parliament in
1996. Before then, on the first day of his newspaper
The Torchlight’s appearance on the newsstands, the
Ministry of Information banned it, only to un-ban it
on the same day after Tarawalie challenged the
government to justify their action. In 1998,
Tarawalie’s office and home in Freetown were
vandalised by pro-SLPP supporters baying for his blood
after the Nigerian-led intervention, following his
paper’s condemnation of the use of force as against
adherence to the Conakry Peace Plan of 1997.
Tarawalie went into hiding for over a year. In 2003
(after reports of a coup plot which former
British-born Inspector General of Police Keith
Biddle had seriously doubted and merely spoke of
thieves in an ammunition depot), Tarawalie was also
critical in an article describing the so-called coup
as “a hoax” to apprehend government’s perceived
enemies. This prompted a group of plain-clothes
officers to go looking for Tarawalie, and he again had
to go into hiding. He was in that hide-and -seek
situation until he left for the UK.

Following the latest developments, this press has
tried to contact Tarawalie in London; but as we went
to press, he could not be reached. It is clear that
his latest article, “The International community,
war, and peace in Sierra Leone,” (published in a
London-based website, www.africanreviewofbooks.com)
which was very critical of the role of international
players and condemnatory of President Kabbah’s
attitude towards the peace process, coupled
with previous ones narrating the atrocious role of
the pro-government militia the kamajors’ and their
Special Court-indicted leader Chief Sam Hinga
Norman, must have sparked the current wave of
threats to the former editor’s safety.

Prison and police sources are stating that Tarawalie
is suspected to have links and could be charged with
treason in the current alleged Johnny Paul-led coup
trial going on in the High Court. And some members of
the Sierra Leone Police could just be overzealous in
implementing this as they are still reeling from
Tarawalie’s exposure of their involvement in a
diamond-turned-stone scandallast year.

In 1998, while Tarawalie was being sought after,and
at one point presumed killed, many
journalists, including former BBC Network Africa
Presenter Hilton Fyle, were arrested by the
government, charged with treason and sentenced to
death. Journalist Conrad Roy of Expo Times died in
prison before the completion of the trial, while
Marouf Sesay of The New Storm was executed along with
23 military officers by a firing squad.

PRESIDENT KABBAH TO RESHUFFLE HIS CABINET TODAY ?

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

TEJANKABBAH6

 

Monday August 2, 2004

A usually reliable source in  Freetown has informed COCORIOKO  that President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah will do that  national brinksmanship  which the nation has been calling for from time immemorial. He will reshuffle his cabinet today.

This is welcome news for all Sierra Leoneans who have been calling on President Kabbah to give his government a much-needed kickstart by removing from  the Sierra Leone leadership landscape some of his redundant and worthless ministers whose incompetence, lack of dedication to their jobs and unpatriotism had left the SLPP government looking like an accident going somewhere to happen.

Some press houses in Freetown, who have also received wind of today’s proposed cabinet reshuffle have started marshalling reporters to bring the big story to their readers.But few people in New Jersey, whose opinions COCORIOKO  sought , said they await to be surprised , but they are not expectant of the spectacular. Joseph Moriba of Somerville opined : “This President likes to talk about sacred cows, but nobody has sacred cows like him. There are people in his government who are completely useless, but they are untouchable.”

Cyrus Macarthy of the Princeton Apartment complex said that” If the story of the  cabinet reshuffle is  true , Sierra Leoneans will know today whether the President has the country’s interest at heart. If he  comes up with the same old, recycled politicians and  cronies, it will just confirm the fears of our people that President Kabbah is only concerned about his own interests.  But let’s wait and see . He might yet spring a big surprise. “

Because of the lacklustre performance of Kabbah’s  ministers, many of whom ,  reports say , yawn or sleep their way through cabinet meetings, Sierra Leoneans look forward to a fresh  and completely new infusion of more patriotic, committed and result-oriented brains in the government.

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NEWS FLASH : President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah reshuffles his cabinet

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

Monday August 2, 2004 12:20 PM(EST)

President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah has reshuffled his cabinet , as exclusively reported to COCORIOKO this morning by reliable sources from Freetown . But from reports so far received, the reshuffle falls drastically short of what the nation would expect.

TEJANKABBAH2

KABBAH : SACRED COWS IN HIS GOVERNMENT

Two new senior Ministers were appointed. The new Minister of Health and Sanitation is Mrs. Abbator Thomas , while Mr. F.M.Carew becomes the new Attorney General and Minister of Justice . A new post , Deputy Minister of Agriculture has been created and the man who fills that position is J.A.Karim Sesay. As the information stands at this time, only two minister faced the shake-up—-Agnes Taylor-Lewis of the Health Ministry and former Justice Minister Eke Halloway.

This token reshuffle will only add vim to the national disenchantment with President Kabbah over the quality of some of the people he has in the cabinet. Unless the President moves on to make many more desirable changes, today’s reshuffle will be looked at as just another mere window-dressing by a President who holds certain inferior-quality ministers in esteem because of cronyism while there is an outcry in the nation for them to be removed..

One of the Ministries that Sierra Leoneans are complaining about is FINANCE. Many people think little about the capabilities of the incumbent, Mr. J.B.Dauda . Freetown newspapers and members of the public have been calling for Dauda’s removal for years , because they feel that  he does not have the training and orientation for such a delicate job. One -third of Kabbah’s ministers, apart from Dauda, also need to be changed and people have not been hiding their frustration with these officials.

As it has now turned out, it is President Kabbah who has sacred cows after all.