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COCORIOKO » 2005 » April

Archive for April, 2005

Strasser declares his Presidential intentions Saturday

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005


Wednesday April 27, 2005

Former Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council ( NPRC) Valentine Strasser will steal the limelight from the politicians on Saturday when he declares his intentions to contest the 2007 Presidential Elections.  Strasser is holding a big Press conference at the Stop Press Restaurant owned by the publisher ofThe Democrat newspaper, Pios Foray.

Strasser will be the second leader of the discredited NPRC  to throw his hat in the ring. The man who overthrew him, Julius Maada Bio , has already announced his desire to also contest the presidency in 2007. Many journalists from media houses in Freetown have been invited to the ceremony.

Strasser was the most senior officer  of the soldiers who staged the military coup that overthrew the then ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) in 1992.He became the youngest head of state then at 27 .But after ruling for three years, he was overthrown in 1995 by his deputy, Maada Bio , who accused him of planning to transform himself into a civilian President by highjacking the then scheduled 1996 General Elections.

Bio himself stalled and planned to hold on to power indefinitely  , once he entered State House, but stakeholders Britain , the U.S. and many other members of the international community forced him to stage the 1996 Elections and hand over to the present SLPP government who were adjudged winners.

Strasser had his UN scholarship withdrawn  while studying Law at Warwick University in England and the British government deported him because of the human rights abuses committed by the NPRC  during his leadership. Bio, fortunately, got by , staying in the U.S. and studying for his Bachelor’s and Masters degrees. Why both  ex-soldiers think  that they are the answers to the country’s problems at this time remains a mystery.

Generations yet unborn will blame President Kabbah for failing to develop Sierra Leone

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Generations yet unborn will blame President Kabbah for failing to develop Sierra Leone

Just a few years to go to the end of his rule, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah will find his rightful place in the Hall of Infamy  like most of Sierra Leone’s former leaders except he makes a dramatic recovery to show he is a man of business before the curtains go down on his infamous stewardship.

Kabbah has disappointed  Sierra Leoneans beyond the nightmarish dreams of everybody in the hapless country .Never has there been a leader on whom the nation larvished  so much hope like Kabbah. The people of Sierra Leone were even ready to lay down their lives to defy the RUF/AFRC  junta to ensure that an overthrown Kabbah returned to power. Their reward has been a Presidency that has thrown feces in their faces. tThe government has woefully failed to reciprocate the sacrifices of the people .

At a time when Sierra Leoneans should be breathing a sigh of relief that the government they preferred over the junta had lived up to their expectations by alleviating some of the socio-political and economic problems, the people are only full of regrets.

Economic and socio conditions have worsened and they are worsening in Sierra Leone. One has to be an ordinary man in the street to comprehend this. Fleeting vacationers and those receiving reasonable respectable salaries in the country are not the best persons to understand the parlous  and harsh economic realities. The person  who understands it most is the ordinary man in the street  whose income and wherewithal are so meagre that  , in the face of the escalating cost of living, he cannot provide a single meal for his family.

By our tradition, a man’s best endeavor is to provide daily for his family.But when the breadwinner of a family has been rendered completely useless by social and economic condition, family cohesion itself is weakened and social problems and abberations take over. It is no wonder that  there are so much juvenile and adult delinquency, prostitution and other social evils in the country.

While President Kabbah and his ministers do not carry all the blame for the chaotic economic situation in Sierra Leone, at least they should have been seen to be making some honest efforts to alleviate the problems. But this is just what is lacking in this SLPP government—Honest endeavour and enterprise to improve conditions in the country.

The people cannot accept the over-worn excuse that there is no money in the government kitty when different realities greet their eyes eveyday. They cannot accept the government’s lame excuses when everyday they see or hear about Kabbah’s ministers and government officials putting up mansions all over the country and  and buying palaces abroad. While most of the populace can barely stand on their feet because of hunger , poverty and diseases, how can anyone convince them that  that there is no money in the country when they see mansions sprouting all over the country, constructed by ministers or government officials ? There is only one explanation : Money is abundant in the country but it is being monopolized by those in power. And this is grossly callous and wicked.

How can the ordinary man who cannot afford one square meal a day for his family understand the government’s excuses when ministers and government officials cruise around the city in expensive limousines that their salaries obviously did not provide ?

The same “yuki-yuki”( Institutionalized corruption ), wilful misuse and waste of government money and natural resources, insensitivity to the suffering of the masses and flaunting of ill-gotten and vulgar riches that were the order of the day during the 1960s to the 1990s have continued during the SLPP rule.

If President Kabbah feels that when he retires he will enter Sierra Leone’s Gallery Of The Greats, he is mistaken. People will forever cry on his name . Whatever illusions people once had that Kabbah was better than Siaka Stevens have evaporated, especially in the light of the continued harassment of journalists and the imprisonment of Paul Kamara, the use of live bullets to disperse students demonstrations, the storming of the university campus by government security forces and looting of the students’ dorms and the human rights abuses reported in newspapers everyday.

Kabbah still has the opportunity to recover, deliver and preserve his legacy from calumny. He has to , first of all, establish accountability in the handling of the country’s money and end the orgy of economic feasts being presently enjoyed by his ministers and public officials. Secondly, the President must fire those officials who are not delivering anything but only live to filch by day and fish government money and properties by night. Thirdly, the government should try to establish price control and stop the fleecing of the poor people by hawkish business men and traders. Fourthly, it is high time that the government restored the basic amenities of life to the people, like pipe-borne water, electricity , good roads , well-functioning government hospitals and schools and colleges. Sierra Leone is sitting on abundant blessings of natural resources.With diamonds, gold, iron ore, bauxite, and other natural resources in our possession, we are too rich not to be the wealthiest nation in West Africa.

There is no reason for the suffering in Sierra Leone. Absolutely no reason at all.

AFRC indictees boycott trial at Special Court

Friday, April 8th, 2005


Friday April 8, 2005

The three Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) indictees at Special Court have started a boycott of court proceedings.  The three, Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara, Alex Tamba Brima aka Guillit and Santigie Kanu aka 55 were not present in court when the session resumed after the Easter break.

The Defence lawyers representing the indictees told the court, the indictees informed them that they would not be coming to court; adding that they (the defence) had nothing to do with their absence from court. The Defence team explained further that even though they advised the indictees about the importance of their presence in court, they (indictees) still stressed in keeping away from the court.

The three AFRC indictees now join Augustine Gbao of the RUF and Hinga Norman of the CDF to boycott the court sessions. It will be recalled that Augustine Gbao of the RUF was the first indictee to refuse attending the court sessions. He was soon followed by Issa Sesay and Morris Kallon but through the intervention of their lawyers Issa and Kallon later on started attending court. Up to date Augustine Gbao is still adamant about his decision.

Also first accused of the CDF- Sam Hinga Norman followed suit and decided not to corporate with the court anymore and was later joined by Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa. Defence Counsels for Moinina and Kondewa were also later able to convince their clients about the importance of being in court and they too discontinued their action and started attending court sessions. Meanwhile, the RUF trial is scheduled to resume today with a total of 25 witnesses lined up to testify during this session including one that is coming from out of the continent.

Cost of living to soar further, as price of fuel spins out of control

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005


Cost of living to soar further, as price of fuel spins out of control

Sunday April 3, 2005

Petrol filling stations had a break from the long lines of the past weeks as fuel flowed freely once more in Sierra Leone . However, the socio-economic woes of the people may deepen with the wide-ranging increases in the price of fuel announced later by the SLPP government.

Traffic in the capital, Freetown was flowing smoothly once again at the weekend , but the increase in the price of fuel is the talk of the town presently. Petrol was increased from Le. 8, 000 to Le. 9, 500.Deisel went up from Le. 8, 650 to Le, 9, 500 while Kerosine price increased from Le. 7, 200 to Le. 8, 500.And fuel oil was upped from Le.3, 515 to Le. 4, 600.

According to reports, the increases were necessitated by the fact that the oil companies lost Le.6 billion lasy year.

Sierra Leoneans are bracing up for further escalation of the cost of living as the price of Petrol often control the prices of other basic commodities. Soon, poda-podas, taxis and other public transportation will increase their fares , followed by  traders and other business people , who will push the costs of basic commodities further up, with the excuse that the cost of transporting their wares had become prohibitive.

During the petrol crunch, tricksters had a field day as they duped many unsuspecting people who were anxious to refuel their vehicles or lay hands on other fuel products for domestic use.

Many citizens are calling on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to impose price control to stop unscrupulous business people from cashing in on the situation to fleece  and ripoff the hapless public.



PHOTO ; Dr. Kadi Sesay, Minister of Trade and Industry.

Sorie Bangura blasts Sierra Leone press and defends Okere Adams

Friday, April 1st, 2005

Friday April 1, 2005

First_Name:  SORIE
Last_Name:  Bangura
Address:  111venace blvd
City:  LA
State:  CA
Zip_Code:  90043
Comments:  THANKS FOR THE SPACE AND INTERNATIONAL FORUM ALLOWING ORDINARY SL CITIZENS TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS.A few people have however miused this opportunity. Okere adams has not been charged with any crime because no crime was commited. The type of justice is simplistic. some of your readers have succombed to gutter politics and justice.All they look for is sensational headlines in the rags that pass for newspapers in SL.The newspapers can now make accusations against anyone.They write articles that potrays the accused as guilty.

Our tabloids have become  the the police investigators,the jury, and the sentencing judge all  in one in the name of exposing corruption.what a dangerous precedent. Please let your readers know that without due process of the law,we are all dumed.poverty and absence of due process were the backbone of the brutal foday sankoh war. Poverty and the jealousy of the sierra leonean is why our so called news papers like the “independent” use their new found power and freedom under this regime to destroy people.such things never happened under previous regimes.

So, now that it has been revealed that Okere adams did nothing wrong period. where does he go get his good name back ???. Sierra leoneans love success but loath successful people why???? we like to pull successful down  so that we can all be the same poor- no one for pass we.We do not respect ourselves how can we respect anyone else?
What a sad state to be.

Thanks for the space. peace and justice for all and may learn to respect each other.We must change or we will continue to last on the UN LIST OF THE SHABBIEST PLACES ON EARTH TO LIVE.