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Archive for December, 2004

SIERRA LEONEANS PERISH IN TSUNAMI DISASTER ? Anxious citizens await news

Friday, December 31st, 2004

 

Thursday December 31, 2004

Anxiety is slowly sweeping through some Sierra Leonean circles as some of the nation’s citizens may have been caught up in the colossal tidal wave disaster in Asia that has now claimed 135, 000 lives.

According to our reporter, Olu Faulkner, there are strong rumours in the capital, Freetown, that Sierra Leone had  students and citizens in  affected countries like Thailand , Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka and they were unaccounted for as anxious families have not been contacted by them since the disaster struck last week.

The government has not made any announcement to the effect that there were Sierra Leonean students or citizens in the countries devastated by the Tsunami , but since the Civil war broke out in 1990, Sierra Leoneans are dispersed all over the world and in a massive disaster of this nature it cannot be ruled out that our country was affected. It is certain that Sierra Leoneans live in these countries.What is still unconfirmed , though, is whether some of them perished in the disaster.

Sierra Leoneans who worked as security guards and office workers were killed in New York during the attacks on the World Trade Centre . According to the then Minister of Information, Dr. Cecil Blake, some of the victims of the terrorist attacks were also traders selling goods under the foyer of the Twin Towers that collapsed that fateful day, killing 3, 000 people.

COCORIOKO  is calling on readers who know about the fate of any Sierra Leonean to contact this newspaper so that families could be informed . The SLPP government is also urged to make a public announcement about the rumours spreading in the capital to still the minds of the people.

CATASTROPHIC TSUNAMI DISASTER : WHERE WAS GOD ?

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004
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By Rev.Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu, CPE Chaplain
 
 
The question I have been bombarded with all week by congregants , workmates and the like is : “If God is real and He is a good God, where was he when the Tsunami disaster hit  East Asia last Sunday, levelling communities in 14 countries and killing over 150, 000 people including innocent  children , women and old people ? ”
 
 
The disaster  was so colossal and the pains it has caused so far-reaching  that it will affect the world for years to come.It was so frightening that it has put fear in millions of people all over the world, with many fearing where next such a pitiful calamity will strike.
First of all, let me waste no time  to drum home  reality that God is really good. His nature, his manifestations, his doings, his dealings with man , everything about Him is good. God is so good that he can only be good. There is never any evil in his nature.His goodness reflects through everything he has created in his unimaginable grace and goodness. God is so good he desires only to do good. All the acts of God are nothing but the effulgence of His goodness ( Exodus 33:19). Psalms 104: 3, 107: 1 , 31 :19 and Nahum 1:7  are only few of the multitudes of Biblical passages attesting to the goodness of God.
 
 
God has yearning compassion for us all. If all of these truths are so, why does God not intervene in deadly plane crashes, shipwrecks, terrorist attacks, tornadoes ? Why did he allow 9/11 and most recently the tidal waves that have devastated  Asia and will end up causing half-a million deaths , according to grim predictions already being made ?
 
 
God does intervene to avoid natural and other disasters. Every day, every moment, the goodness and mercy  of God are demonstrated as he saves us from terrible car accidents , carbon monoxide poisoning, deadly diseases like AIDS, cardiac arrests , shootings and other perils. If we are honest, every one of us has at least one or two testimonies about how God intervened to save us from a perilious situation. But for the goodness and mercy of God, people would have been dying all day from human errors, carelessness, recklessness, evil and natural phenomena. God is everyday intervening to save his creation from dangers , sufferings and deaths. Even the Bible is replete with God’s intervention in the lives of his people.
 
 
But God does not always intervene to stop human suffering. God did not intervene when Jesus Christ was dying that most painful and horrenduous death on the Cross. And God perfected Jesus Christ through what he suffered ( Hebrews 2 : 10-18). The Bible says that it became Him to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. And Hebrews 5: 8 tells us that Christ learned obedience through sufferings. Through his sufferings, Jesus overcame the power of sin in human nature and made possible our resurrection from death to eternal life.
 
 
Suffering is part of human life. 1 Peter 2: 21-24 teaches us that Jesus Christ left us an example  through what he suffered. We are told in that passage that , “For hereunto were ye called : because Christ also suffered  for us, leaving us an example ; That ye should follow his steps “.
At times we do not understand why we are suffering, or why bad things happen to good people or why massive disasters occur, killing thousands and causing great suffering .  It is often very difficult to reconcile God’s goodness with some happenings like 9/11 and the Tsunami catastrophy in Asia. Only our all-knowing God understands why they happened but , as the Word of God instructs us,  the secret things belong to God ( Deutoronomy 29 : 29).We shall never know certain things until we die and unite with God.
 
 
Some people have said that for a country like Thailand, it was divine judgement, and they attribute the disaster to divine anger at the sexual boom in the country that fuels Thailand’s tourist industry. But though in the Old Testament, God judged wicked nations with calamities, we are today living in the Dispensation of Grace. Where sin abounds, the Grace of God abounds more. Besides Jesus Christ gave a powerful teaching on Divine Judgement. The Lord said of a man who was born blind that it did not happen because of sin on the part of anyone, but “That the works of God could be revealed in him ” (John 9:3). And the Lord gave them his own example : “Or those eighteen , upon whom the tower of Siloam fell , and slew them ;Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem ? I tell ye, nay; but, except ye repent , ye shall all likewise perish ” ( Luke 13 :2-5).Every man is under sin and God cannot punish one country more than the others because of their sin.
What is more, God does not preclude anybody from being a victim of time or chance. Disasters can affect us, if unfortunately we are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ecclesiastes 9:11 clearly teaches that message that time and chance befall us all.
 
 
However, the  Bible also teaches that the poor  spiritual state of a nation can lead to blight, plagues and calamities , but these things are self-inflicted by the nations themselves when they  shut God’s face and grace against themselves. God wants to bless them, but since they chose spiritual darkness, they laid themselves bare to  the consequences which could be these blight and calamities.
But one fact that must never be compromised is that whatever happens on this earth must be permitted by God before they happen. God’s will permeates  this earth , so much so that a sparrow does not fall to the ground without his will ( Matthew 10 : 29 ).
 
 
And these catastrophies should not be all too surprising to the man who is much attuned to God and awaiting the Promise. These disasters  have been predicted by Christ thousands of years ago as fulfilling a divine purpose–They will graphically indicate that the End of the world is near.That we have these massive calamities  is undeniable  proof  that the Bible is really the Word of God.The accurate fulfillment of Christ’s prophesies should endear  us more to the Bible as the unerring word of God as our road map  to Heaven. Christ said thousands of years ago that some of the signs of the end of this age would be  nations coming against nations; kingdoms fighting kingdoms and there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes ( Matthew 24: 3-8). That Tsunami is fulfilling the prophesy of Christ that the coming of Jesus is near. It is a warning to those who have not put their lives together yet to do so now by committing their lives to Jesus Christ before it is too late. The disaster is indicating that God is real;The Bible is real;Jesus Christ is real and the promise of the second coming of Christ is real.  But should divine purpose be accomplished on the back of such humonguous human suffering and catastrophy ?
 
 
Again,  we must not forget three things. Firstly, we live in a physical world controlled by physical laws . There are physical results from  physical abberations. Some things happen not because God did them but because they are the results of physical or natural abberations . If the crust of the eaerth underwater shifts, or to put it more bluntly , if there is a powerful earthquake underwater,  naturally the physical consequence is a Tsunami. The magnitude of the earthquake, its depth amount of vertical motion of the sea floor and the velocity of such a motion determine the efficiency with which enery is transferred  from the earth’s crust  to the ocean water , leading to deadly tsumanis. Insurance companies err when they describe  as “Acts of God ” such natural phenomena that were not  caused by human error or recklessness . God made the earth but he did not  go under water to pull the earth’s crust to cause the earthquake. The accident happened due to natural causes. One preacher once said of God that “His actions are often so interwoven with earthly and human factors that we do not know exactly what we can attribute directly to him ”
 
 
Secondly, we must understand the difference between God’s permissive will and causation. The fact that God has the power to stop a calamity from happening yet permitted it to happen does not mean that he caused it.
But most importantly, even though the Bible depicts God as sovereign , it is also important to note that that the same Bible portrays him as being involved in a conflict with a hostile power. God’s enemy is powerful too and he was once the chief of his angels and when sin was found in him and he was kicked out of Heaven, he did not lose his powers but came down to earth with them. Satan is described in the Bible as “The ruler of this world ” ( John 12:31, 14:30 , 16:11) . The Bible also calls him “The god of this age ” ( 2 Corinthians 4:4) and we learn from 1 John 5:19 that  “The whole world lieth under the sway of the wicked one “. The devil does not only has authority over a vast realm , but he heads a kingdom of evil that battles the Kingdom of God.
 
 
We Christians know from Ephesians 6:12 that  “We wrestle not against flesh and blood , but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world and againt spiritual wickedness in high places “. The kingdom of Evil is so pervasive and powerful that Satan and his agents are undoubtedly responsible for much of the evil and sufferings of this world. They are behind wars, injustices, persecutions, plagues , earthquakes and other forms of evil.
 
 
But why doesn’t God stop the Devil from committing all these calamities in this world ? God is sovereign but he does not bend anybody’s will .Satan will face his final judgement in the Lake of Fire .For now, he is “The god of this earth ” and God will not bend his will .God has a divine purpose for Satan and this will be fulfilled at the end of time. God has a divine will for everything. A  thousand years is like one day to him. Satan will reap the whirlwind at the appropriate time. For now, our duty is to believe in the gospel and place our faith in the sacrifice that was wrought for us on the Cross of Calvary .There will be sufferings in this world but we must always comfort ourselves with the good news that this world is not our eternal dwelling .Jesus went to prepare a place for us , which will be our eternal home and in that place there will be no more earthquakes, tsunamis, accidents, deaths, weeping and sorrow.
 

 

We’ll appeal to President Kabbah”

Friday, December 24th, 2004
 
Saturday December 24, 2005
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay
Relatives, including wives of some of the soldiers that were served letters of termination from the army this week have indicated that they will have to mobilise and register a strong appeal to the president to exercise some restraints in the current retirement excerise.
 
“He is the Commander -in-Chief. We will ask for his intervention. Where else can our husbands get jobs? Where will they go from here? What will happen to the future of our children if the breadwinner is jobless?”, asked Mabinty Kamara, wife of one of the retired officers.
 
Meanwhile, Defence sources have confirmed that the affected officers include two Brigadiers, namely M.K. Dumbuya (Asst. Chief of Defence Staff responsible for Personnel and Training) and K.E.S. Boyah (Asst. Chief of Defence staff, Support and Logistics). Colonel Komba Mondeh takes over as the new head of Personnel and Training while Colonel Kassim Kamara becomes the new head of Support and Logistics.
 
The Six Colonels that have been retired are Memuna Koroma, J.S.T Mani, A.C. Kenny, Kamara-Will, A.G.Y. Manasary and A.C.R. Benjamin.
 
Also retired are nine Lieutenant Colonels; M.S Bangura, A.B Koroma, B.K Marah, A.L. Sesay, J.A.N
 Abu, Alfanday Marah, F.S Gottor, Commandant Y.E. Sesay and Commandant M.P.F Martin.
 
The nine retired Majors include Lt. Commandant M.A Turay, Lt. Commandant A.M Jalloh, D.U.E Sesay, A.O Kamara, A.F Thoronka, S.S. Kengenyeh and P.K Koroma.
The retires also include 30 Captains, seven Lieutenants and four 2nd Lieutenants
 
Obasanjo donates vehicles to Sierra Leone Judiciary
The government of President Obasango of Nigeria through the Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Adamu Abass

Crack down on corrupt elements the only solution

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Monday December 20, 2004

President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s appeal  for a change of attitudes towards the use of public funds and property, given at Saturday’s  University of Sierra Leone convocation at Mount Olympus , will no doubt be welcomed by all Sierra Leoneans. It will be welcomed because it is the right statement that would lead our nation to a new direction, if heeded.

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KABBAH MUST CRACK DOWN ON CORRUPTION 

As a matter of fact, the President is quite right about attitudes. Attitudes  determine our altitude. Sierra Leone would swiftly recapture her old glory  enjoyed  at the time of Independence in 1961 as one of the most economically flourishing African nations if we all changed our attitudes  towards public service .

 

However, a change of attitudes by corrupt Sierra Leoneans busy feasting unmercifully on public funds and the nation’s resources , is just not possible . It is the only reason that many Sierra Leoneans aspire for public office–To sponge on public funds and our resources. The shameless and conscienceless ones do not bat an eyelid to brag about this. Readers can remember a story related by our reporter, Olu Faulkner , last year during his sting operation on “Yuki-Yuki  ” government officials   at the Youyi Building–one of the hotbeds of corruption in Sierra Leone–at which time a prominent lady -politician and public servant opened her drawer and shamelessly showed him loot she had received already before it was even midday, from bribes and rip-offs. The woman told Faulkner words to this effect : “See what I have got just this morning ? It is not even midday yet and I have made thousands of dollars. So I do not see what your brother is doing in America  ! ! ! He is just wasting his time in that  God damned country ” .

The woman, not knowing  that Olu was on a sting operation, poured out her corrupt heart to the astonished reporter, saying that by the time she left office at 5 Pm, she had made thrice that amount. She then took her time to boast to Olu that she had two children attending prestigious Universities in the U.S.  and she paid their fees and other costs cash down every semester. Does President Kabbah expect this woman and others engaged in such criminal enterprise with public funds and our natural resources  sit down and  change their attitudes  just like that, because the President has appealed for that ? It is absolutely impossible  ! ! !

Corruption is so ingrained in our public officials that nothing will force a change of attitudes . Our public servants have plunged too deep in the abyss  of “mokofey “,  “yuki-yuki” , “kalabuley” and “kukujumuku” way of life  to change their attitudes. They are too  far gone into the fun and enjoyment involved in living opulently and ostentatiously on ill-gotten gains to want to  quit on their own volition.

The only remedy for corrupt officials in Sierra Leone is a crack down ; a crack down that will see them carted off to jail to await trial and when found guilty, be sentenced to long-term imprisonments that will keep them behind bars  for so long that they will not have the opportunity anymore to enjoy all the loot they have siphoned to foreign banks.  The government, if it is serious, can trace these loot as Nigeria did to Gen.Sanni Obacha’ s stolen billions in foreign banks. Corrupt officials must face such brutal punishment for their misdeeds that others will see and fear.

But Kabbah can only talk. Neither he nor his government has the moral zeal to crack down on corruption in Sierra Leone.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

LET US BE VERY CAREFUL IN THE NEXT ELECTIONS.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004
BY ALPHA SAIDU BANGURA
SIERRA LEONE HAS ONLY ONE PROBLEM, THAT IS HAVING THE WRONG PEOPLE IN SENSITIVE POSITIONS.WE AS A NATION WILL NEVER MOVE FORWARD ,IF WE DO NOT PUT OUR HANDS TOGETHER TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.IN 2007 WE WILL CONDUCT ELECTIONS, I AM MOST RESPECTFULLY APPEALING TO MY FELLOW SIERRA LEONEANS TO ENSURE THAT WE PROPERLY EXAMINE ALL THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFICES.LET US CHECK THEIR REPORT CARDS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE GOOD SCORES THAT  ENABLES THEM TO PUT SIERRA LEONE ON ITS RIGHT FOOTING.WE ALSO NEED TO EXAMINE THEIR BACK GROUNDS OJECTIVELY TO ASCERTAIN THEIR SUITABILITY TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFICES.
IN ORDER FOR US TO DO THIS BIG AND IMPORTANT SERVICE TO OUR NATION, WE MUST PUT ASIDE OUR POLITICAL ,REGIONAL,TRIBAL AND RELIGIOUS  AFFILIATIONS.
AT LEAST FOR ONCE LET US PUT THE INTEREST OF SIERRA LEONE ABOVE ALL OTHER INTERESTS.
A HUGE NUMBER OF SIERRA LEONEANS BELIEVE THAT THE TWO MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES ARE DIVIDED ALONG TRIBAL AND REGIONAL LINES.WE NEED TO TAKE THAT ERRONEOUS BELIEF OFF OUR MINDS. NO ONE TRIBE OR REGION CAN RULE SIERRA LEONE WELL. EACH POLITICAL PARTY MOST HAVE A NATIONAL  CHARACTER.
I ALSO WANT TO ADVICE ALL THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY SELECT THE MOST SUITABLE SIERRA LEONEAN [IN THE PARTY] AS THEIR RUNNING MATES.IT MAKES ON SENSE TO BELIEVE THAT IF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IS FROM THE SOUTH, HIS OR HER RUNNING MATE MUST COME FROM THE NORTH.IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE THE RUNNING MATE COMES FROM, IF HE OR SHE DOES NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE , THE COUNTRY WILL NOT MOVE FORWARD. I WILL  POINT OUT TWO EXAMPLES TO JUSTIFY  WHAT I AM SAYING.
FIRSTLY, PRESIDENT AHMED TEJAN KABBA, IS A DEVOUT MUSLIM FROM THE NORTH , HE LIVED AND WORKED OVERSEAS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. BOTH OF HIS RUNNING MATES[ JOE DEMBY AND SOLOMON BEREWA] ARE FROM THE SOUTH. BUT THEY WOEFULLY FAILED TO PUT SIERRA LEONE BACK ON ITS CORRECT FOOTING.
SECONDLY, IN THE U .S. A. WHERE I LIVE THE BEST ADMINISTRATION IN MODERN TIMES IS THE CLINTON AND GORE ADMINISTRATION.BILL CLINTON IS FROM ARKANSAS [THE SOUTH] AND AL GORE COMES FROM TENNESSEE[ALSO SOUTH].THEY DISCHAGED THEIR DUTIES WITH DISTINCTION.
IN THE NEXT ELECTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE , I PRAY THAT OUR PEOPLE WILL NOT  ALLOW THEIR SENTIMENTS TO SURPASS THEIR REASONING ABILITIES. LET US VOTE  FOR PEOPLE WHO SHOW IN BUILT MORAL VAULES THAT WILL PUSH THE NATION FORWARD.LET US KEEP IN MIND THAT WHEN WE ELECT THE WRONG PEOPLE IN PUBLIC OFFICES, WE THE WELL MEANING SIERRA LEONEANS WILL SUFFER.
I WISH ALL TRUE LOVING SIERRA LEONEANS A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHT AND PROSPEROUS 2006.

Protect the people

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

SIERRALEONEARMY1 (600 x 295)

One of the duties of the government is to protect the lives and properties of the people it governs. No government is worth its salt if it cannot effectively and adequately defend and protect its people. The SLPP government finds itself in a big predicament because the Sierra Leonean people are still living in fear four years after the end of the civil war.

Though the war has ended, the potential for violence still remains embedded within the fabric of society and the schoolchildren demonstrated this two weeks ago when they went on the rampage in the capital after the Western Area Secondary School Soccer Cup Final between the St.Edwards Secondary School and the Methodist Boys High School. Suddenly, Sierra Leoneans consider violence as the only means of self-expression, self-perpetuation and addressing their grievances. The behavior of kids reflect the ethos of society.

And we do not need to delve into the Psychology books to demonstrate this point.Even four years after the end of the war, some aggrieved adults are still talking about a second round of the war. And COCORIOKO is being fed credible stories that some ill-disposed persons are trying to create more chaos in the country. They plan to use some political developments of the past to wreak havoc in the society.

The government must not allow itself to be lulled into a false sense of security.All our security antennae in Sierra Leone must be up and security forces must fire on all cylinders to  ensure that all our towns and districts and all  our borders are protected.

The gradual trimming down  of UNAMSIL, the UN Peace-Keeping mission in Sierra Leone, is premature. There had always been fears that troublemakers will try to capitalize on the security vaccuum being created by the downsizing of  the UN Forces. The typical Sierra Leonean is an opportunist  and it should not be surprising if he takes  advantage  of the situation to plunge the nation back to chaos.

Complete normalcy has not been restored yet in Sierra Leone. The guns have been taken away from combatants but the old passions and grudges that caused the war have not been curbed. Deep animosity still exists between rival political contenders , their supporters and their tribesmen. Also social and economic deprivation still exists in the country, creating an alibi that potential troublemakers  could exploit for their devillish ends.

Recent assurances given by government that the security of the nation is watertight are not enough. Sierra Leoneans have heard it before. They heard it before the Johhny Paul Koroma coup in 1997. They heard it before the AFRC/RUF  rebels entered the capital and briefly displaced the government in February 1999. They do not want to go through the same dilemma again.

The government must beef up security  everywhere, especially as we enter the yuletide season when the festivities could cause a dropping of guard. Regular patrols of our borders, and the streets and corners of our towns and cities must be conducted with scrupulous regularity . And any security threat suspected  must be dealt with speedily .Sierra Leoneans want to go to bed now and enjoy a sound sleep , not keep one eye open in fear and anticipation of a resumption of hostilities.