Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar 1" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/cocorioko/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4041
COCORIOKO » 2005 » October

Archive for October, 2005

SOLOMON BEREWA IS INDEED A HURRICANE

Monday, October 31st, 2005

 

 

Monday October 31, 2005

 

First Name:       Binta Bah

Second Name:   Pokawa

Address:            Milton Keynes

United Kingdom

 

 

Reply to Alie Formeh.Berewa No Hurricane.

 

Was it not for the fact that this was a matter of national importance; one would have been tempted to dismiss Alie Formeh as a joke and wonder if he was for real.

His comment on Berewa has no merit of fact, evidence and indeed commonsense.

 

This seems to be the Sierra Leone thing, open ones mouth and talk rubbish. Was it Mark Twain who once said.’better to keep your mouth shut to appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubts?

 

At the reception in London, the great man himself said, most people who make comments about him have never actually met him. Alie Formeh who purports to live somewhere in the United States of America was not at the reception we had for Mr Berewa in London. That been a matter of fact, how on earth could he be a proper person to comment on Solo B’s performance on the night and his health in particular. I sat on the same table as Mr Berewa, and my experience was that of a hurricane nothing whimp about him and his performance. The great man has courage. Courage does not mean bravado, but simply the ability to hold on to a faith of belief. That is what this man has.

 

What I have noticed is that the opponent of Mr Berewa after failing to beat him at the convention, and without any prospect of been able to put forward coherent arguments on Policy matters have resulted in the Juvenile and school boy/girl tactic of distraction, by making his age and health an issue.

 

Mr Berewa is as fit as a fiddle well enough to lead SLPP to a historic third term come 2007, and my research shows that a third of current World leaders are older than Solo B. So why are Sierra Leoneans making age an issue.are you thinking what I am thinking? Ronald Regan was one of America’s most effective President, how old was he when he came to power.do you know Mr Formeh?

 

Mr Berewa reinterated his policy statement in London been those of alleviating poverty, justice for all and stamping out corruption.However Mr Formeh    went on to state that the VP did not. ?Make clear his policy’. Did he expect the VP to spell out in details his election manifesto at a Public reception in a London Hotel nearly two years before the elections? When the time comes Berewa’s policies will be fully, stated, costed, and explained. Berewa’s policies will be substantially determined by his love for Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone People, and not by reckless manifestation of unfufilable promises.

 

Mr Formeh says that the SLPP government has.’failed miserably’. He must have been living in cloud cocoon land if even with his devious mind he cannot see substantial changes in Sierra Leone now and before 1996. Just think, before 1996, half the Country was in Rebel hands, people were been massacred children were been amputated, properties burnt down, women and children raped and so on and so forth. SLPP government under pa Kabbah and his able assistance- Solo B made peace a priority, they pursued peace and stability for Sierra Leone. Today things may still be difficult but even you and your cohorts most remember the civil war. We are just coming out of 11 years of civil war. Does peace and stability mean anything to you? It should do. People like you keep flouting words like, Democracy, Human Rights, Anti Corruption, Development, End poverty, fine words indeed, but if there is no peace and stability all those wonderful dreams will remain just that dreams.

 

President Kabbah will retire knowing that he has a glowing reputation   for the fact that he and his able VP were the ones that brought peace to Sierra Leoneans after a very savage Civil war.

 

When the history of Sierra Leone is finally written, the two most important underlining factors will be (1) Independence and (2) the end of the civil war. And who brought the two to Sierra Leone?  SLPP governments.

 

Lets talk about corruption, this is the by word of people like Formeh who cannot find anything else to pin on our leaders. No one in his or her right mind will condone corruption and corrupt practices.  But this is not something unique to Sierra Leone. If you have any admissible evidence that our leaders have acted corruptly while in Government offices please submit this evidence for public observation, as they say inAmerica, show us the beef.  Finger pointing alone, because you don’t like somebody or you can use the keyboard is not good enough if we aspire to be treated as mature and civilised political operators. To say that that any government can eradicate corruption effectively is a fairy tale.  It is the abstract theoretical world of western academics, which has been seized upon by reactionary politicians in donor countries wishing to lend imitation respectability to their indifferences to our economic misery. Sierra Leoneshould be careful not to fall in this trap.

 

After all, did the SLPP government not appoint the ACC? May be they would have been more effective if they had kept to their remit rather than go on like loose cannon, acting ultra vires, ignoring the fact that they were subject to the Law of the land and forgetting their responsibilities.

 

When we write or talk from abroad, it is as if we are living in utopia. The west is no better; they are just better at doing corruption. . In these days of electronic communications, it is easy to see. For your information Mr Formeh, as I am writing this I have just heard breaking news that Lewis Libby has been indicted by the Grand Jury in America.this is the closet man to the vice president of the United States of America. By the way did you see Fahrenheit 9/11.You should watch it?

Then think about Halliburton, the Enron affaires; before I forget, do you know what is happening to Tom Delay, house Majority leader in the US Congress?

 

The time has come to stop knocking our country. We have come a long way, and has a long way to go. We now need to promote new impetus which will be required if we are to uproot the complacency and narrow-minded convention that all politicians are the same. Kabbah has been a great Leader for both SLPP and the country; we in the SLPP, with Berewa as leader are on a journey. I am optimistic about the future and I am sure majority of Sierra leoneans are.

 

 

When political failures and military tyrants conspire in Liberia’s run-off elections

Monday, October 31st, 2005

By Joseph S. Sherman, WashingtonDC

 

Monday October 31, 2005

 

Surprises are always being strewn around along the way to the end.  You never know who is good and who is bad until near the end.  Once more we are witnessing a strange political phenomenon in Liberia’s presidential elections where political stooges and failures are conniving with former military tyrants to usher in a puppet government come the run-off elections in November 8. 2005.

 

 We are also witnessing hypocrites and political opportunists who practice the very things that destroyed Liberia teaming up to make mockery of a country that needs a pragmatic and visionary leader who will restore the country’s credibility in the international arena.

 

Liberians may think that these conspirators are opting for a lasting solution to the more than century old debilitating and pandemic problems of the country.  This is quite an intelligent plot by the conspirators to manipulate an incoming government, thus making another mockery of good governance, accountability and prevalence of the rule of law. Since these political failures and military tyrants can not have their way in the first elections they will rather throw their heavy weight in support of a candidate whose presidency will resort to the much failed state Liberia find itself today.

 

But the fact is, these conspiratorial schemers ways of trying to explain events are beginning to drastically influence the electorates come November 8, 2005.  Even some sectors of the electorates have become so hungry for quick-fix conspiracy explanations and they are beginning to gravitate toward any quasi plans no matter how ridiculous.

 

One way to start thinking about reform in Liberia is to distinguish between political failures and opportunists.  Those that depend on puppet presidents for their survival, an believing that the  rank -and file are replaceable commodities, and that social priorities-education, health, justice, and relief-are unimportant so long as the public produces enough bodies to use as soldiers and workers.  If Liberians keep deluding themselves this way, they will continue to respond with slack-jawed bewilderment and senile indignation to violence, self destruction, and lack of good education and general erosion of their human dignity.

 

This utopian thinking that educated people have failed Liberia has engendered some of the worst abuses of power in history, as evidence in the 14-year civil war.  Most erstwhile creators of puppet governments and state utopia behave like dangerously immature parents.  They expect their charges to accept all their ideas.  They see their charges as embodiments of noble innocence, only to turn violent against opponents who fail to conform to their whims and caprices.

 

How will Liberia measure up when it comes to producing a thriving citizenry?  Reform will start when the electorates put the raw sewage of political opportunists and failures through an adequate treatment facility, and elect a visionary and pragmatic leader who will not be pulled by nose and dictated to by political stooges and sycophants.

COMPASSION AND JUSTICE FOR JOURNALISTS PAUL KAMARA AND HARRY YANSANEH

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Monday October 31, 2005

By Emmanuel Abalo

The local and international community, media and human rights groups continue their dismal and concurrent view of the continuous imprisonment of the Acting Editor and death of the Editor respectively of For Di Peoplenewspaper, Paul Kamara and the late Harry Yansaneh.

For the record, journalist Paul Kamara who remains in prison today was found guilty on October 5, 2004 of seditious libel against Sierra Leonen President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. In October 2003 the paper had claimed that a commission of inquiry in 1967 had “convicted” President Kabbah, then a ministerial official, of fraud.

Mr. Kamara’s conviction carried a penalty of two concurrent 2-year sentences and his newspaper was banned for publishing for 8 months.

The international community and human rights group have made strong diplomatic representation to President Kabbah’s administration and highlighted the disproportionate sentence meted out to Mr. Kamara in this instance.

While we do not wish to visit the merits and demerits of the case against Mr. Kamara, or whether the paper was given the opportunity to retract the story and apologize, as is traditional in such situations, it is quite evident that there is the perception of a governmental clampdown on the media, muzzling of the press and a threat to freedom of _expression. Perception is everything.

And so for whatever it may be worth, we offer our deepest apologies to President Kabbah for whatever injury the paper may have caused him.

In addition to the woes of For Di People newspaper, several individuals including a member of the ruling Sierra Loen’s People’s Party (SLPP) and member of Parliament Honorable Fatmata Hassan have been convicted of the crime of involuntary manslaughter of the editor Harry Yasaneh.

The late Mr. Yansaneh died on July 28, 2005 from complications to injuries he sustained on May 20, 2005 after being savagely attacked by individuals alleged to have acted on behalf of SLPP Parliamentarian, Dr. FFatmata Hassan. His attackers are reported to have wanted to evict For Di People from its rented premises and to have been opposed to the newspaper because of its editorial line. The late editor filed a complaint with the police after he was beaten up.

On August 27, 2005 the presiding Magistrate ruled that ” pursuant to Section 27, arrest warrants be issued for the following individuals- Mr. Ahmed Komeh, Mr. Bai Bureh Komeh, Ms. Aminata Komeh, the Hon. Dr. Fatmata Hassan, Reginald Bull and Olu Campbell.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) later confirmed the arrest of Honorable Hassan and two others, Reginald Bull and Olu Campbell while stating that they are presently working with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to ensure a speedy extradition of the SLPP MP’s children who presently reside in the United Kingdom (UK).

Ms. Hassan subsequently made bail a few days later and was released.

In a strongly worded condemnation of the fatal attack on the Sierra Leonen journalist, the Director General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura in August declared, “.For Di People has been subject to repeated attacks, the latest of which cost Mr. Yansaneh his life. I trust that the authorities in Sierra Leone will spare no effort in bringing to trial those responsible for the editor’s death, for the sake of justice, freedom of _expression and freedom of the press. These values, cornerstones of democracy and rule of law, are essential to the reconstruction and development of Sierra Leone, which has suffered from so much violence during the years of civil war…”

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of _expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.”

International human rights organizations such as Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, World Organization Against Torture and the International Federation for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, including the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) have been urging and pressuring the government of President Kabbah to expedite the trial of the accused.

In the same vein, we welcome the assurances issued lately by the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone Dr. Ade Renner-Thomas, that the accused in this matter will face justice.

The events visited in this article are quite troubling and embarrassing and deserve the outmost attention and leadership of President Kabbah for the sake of accountability, justice, compassion and goodwill.

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and Sierra Leone now have an opportunity to reciprocate the goodwill capital lavished in abundance by the international community on that country during the difficult years of the war by addressing two pressing issues: compassion and the immediate release of journalist Paul Kamara and justice in the death of the late Harry Yansaneh.

“Governments will come and go but the Press will remain”

 

Emmanuel Abalo is an exiled Liberian journalist , media and human rights activist. He is the former Acting President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). Mr. Abalo presently resides in Pennsylvania, USA and works as an analyst with CITIGROUP, North America.

 

Berewa is not a hurricane but a whimp bent on destroying Sierra Leone

Friday, October 28th, 2005

 

Friday October 28, 2005

First_Name:  Alie Formeh
Last_Name:  Kamara
Address:  471 Central Avenue
City:  Albany
State:  New York
Zip_Code:  12206
Comments:  BEREWA IS NO HURRICANE BUT A WHIMP BENT ON DESTROYING SIERRA LEONE

No amount of cosmetics on his appearance or verbiage would make a naturally dull Solomon Ekuma Berewa into a lightening rod or a hurricane that stormed London, as the SLPP puts it in their recent article on Cocorioko. When Solomon Berewa was chosen to head the party, party officials knew that they would have to contend with the fact that their man is frail and on his way to a Nursing Home. To counter criticism on this attribute of Solomon Berewa, the SLPP have now resorted to making false claims about his fitness and to embellish reports about his performance on the campaign trail. Solomon Ekuma Berewa is no hurricane and can produce no storm.

Solomon Ekuma Berewa, the Vice President of Sierra Leone would want you to believe that being Vice President is a passport to the Presidency. But his political camp now knows that being the Vice President can be a liability rather than an asset because Solomon Berewa would be judged by the record of the current administration.

In his recent speech to his SLPP supporters in London, it is reported in Cocorioko that Solomon Berewa alleges that, if elected, he would make as a priority poverty alleviation, Justice for all, and the stamping out of corruption. What he failed to state was that these were the same platform that his boss ran under and in which they failed miserably. Sierra Leoneans would rather prefer a clear explanation from the Vice President on what he plans to do differently from his boss and why should any body believe in him this time around instead of his frequent hyperboles.

All vice Presidents like Solomon Berewa make the claim that they have more experience and are better placed to be Presidents. But history is beset with many examples that negate this self serving theoretical claim. President Clinton came from nowhere to beat a sitting President, George Bush Senior, and later became one of Americas most successful President in the history of the United States. President George Bush’s claim to having experience being the sitting President was not a factor and the argument that he would make a better President cannot be validated as President Clinton turned out to be one of the greatest Presidents that ever lived.

Given his publicly pronounced priorities for his administration, one would like to ask him why it is that relations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Anti-Corruption Commission is more like a rivalry rather than cooperation. In contrast to the appalling record of non-cooperation shown by the Government towards the ACC and the menacing attitude of the SLPP government towards the ACC, Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress promises to give full support to the activities of the ACC and to complement the ACC’s effort by initiating development programs to raise the standard of living of citizens of Sierra Leone, something he argues is a factor in fighting corruption.

Ernest Bai Koroma, the young and vibrant leader of the APC also promises to concentrate on Agriculture in order to raise the standard of living of Farmers and to reduce dependence on imports of staple foods. How Solomon Ekuma Berewa hopes to alleviate poverty is not clear given the irresistible urge by members of his party to bankrupt Sierra Leone through corrupt practices like the recent allegation that moneys for tractors were missing.

Paul Kamara’s Release : Victory for Democracy, Victory for Sierra Leone, Vindication for Kabbah.

Friday, October 28th, 2005

 

 

By Kaikura  B  Musa  Pokawa                                

 Croydon   United Kingdom

 

 I would like to join issue and share in the relief with all those well-wishers who have expressed the joy at the release of Mr Paul Kamara from prison.

 

Mr Kamara was a very good and independent minded journalist before his incarceration. I hope that he will maintain that independence of mind so that we will all continue to respect his journalistic skills from which ever political divide we may belong.

 

There are those conspiracy theorists that have forever tried to associate Mr Kamara’s plight with some wrong doing by the SLPP, and indeed the President. These are people with supercilious mindsets. It is their stock in trade. These are people I can only describe as perpetual mischief-makers and political child frighteners. In my view they portray attitudes, which reflect narrowness of perception, and exposes their shallowness. Most of their attitude is a denial of common sense, which to me is an alibi for progress. I really cannot understand their Raison Deter, if any.

 

We know that Paul Kamara was release from prison because he won his appeals at the Court of Appeal.  We must also remember that Paul Kamara was sent to prison in the first place by a properly constituted court of law sitting in Freetown. 

 

To continue to argue otherwise would be disingenuous to our whole judicial system.  I believe that the learned Lawyers at the Bar in Sierra Leone have continued to serve us well. I further believe that the integrity of our Judges is beyond reproach and their SINCERERITY, HONESTY, and DEDICATION should never be question. 

 

I share in the belief with the many who has questioned the Seditious Liable laws in

Sierra Leone.  This is not only an old and archaic law but it is a very bad Law.  There are many arguments in favour of its long overdue repeal.  I cannot think of any against.  However, until the act is repeal it remains on the Statute books of Sierra Leone and most be consider as such by all who have any thing to do with the Judiciary, be they lawyers, Judges and journalist.  A law of the land cannot simply be ignored because it is bad- until it is amended

 

In Mr Kamara’s, case a lower court convicted him.  The Appeal court thought the conviction was unsafe, quashed it and released Mr Kamara.  When all the sentimentality has died down and the dust has settled, we will realise that this is a triumph for Democracy.  Because of the democratic nature of Sierra Leone, there is a truly enhance separation of powers and the confirmation of the independent of the judiciary and therefore the Rule of Law.  The Rule of Law is there to protect the democracy in our country.  It follows therefore that the rule of law must be the fundamental basis of our human rights and this should never be compromised for any political gain or purpose. I can say that the SLPP government has so far maintained this respect for Human Rights and should be congratulated and encouraged to continue thereto. 

 

Sierra Leone has come a long way.  I cannot think of many developing countries that can boast such advance principle of individual liberty and transparent justice under the law. Even Mr Kamara said so in his praise for the Appeal Court. This must be part of the progress that has encouraged the international communities to such an extent that they have confirmed their confidence in our country and will continue to do so.

 

Seditious Libel law is a bad law, as we all seem to agree. That being the case, why then has it remained on the Statute books for so long? I believe it is about that Parliament took the lead.

 

There however must be balances and checks. Those who have responsibilities like Journalists must bear that in mind. They cannot be let loose to go around defaming people wily nilly. Rights and responsibility goes together. Freedom of speech which is part of   the Human rights of all Sierra Leoneans   must be balance with the freedom that innocent people   will not to be gratuitously Defamed.

 

One cannot help but feel sorry for President Kabbah over this matter. It was a case of act, you are dammed and don’t act you are dammed. The poor guy was been accused of been a convicted thief when as a matter of fact he has never been convicted of theft in any court of Law anywhere.  The so-called   commissions of Inquiries that were set up were quasi-Judicial bodies. They are not courts of Law. They cannot convict anyone. They can make a pronouncement as to their finding and declarations as to what should happen, that is all.  We all know they mostly made pronouncements that suited the bodies that set them up (who are usually illegal military regimes) Unlike the Courts of Law which reaches a verdict after a thorough examination of relevant evidence independently, that is why only properly constituted Courts of law can convict a person in Sierra Leone.

 

President Kabbah exercised his Human Rights when he brought the actions in the courts of law. He must have had confidence in the judicial system for him to want to do so in the first place.  It was left to the courts to interpret the Law as they saw fit. President Kabbah had no control over what the Judges did at the Lower Courts, and did not have any control over what the Judges did in the Higher Courts. The Higher Courts have a duty to supervise and correct their brethrens in the lower courts.  That is exactly what has happened in this case. There is nothing to blame the President for in this matter; to the contrary, he is vindicated. You cannot blame Kabbah for a bad Law that was on the Statute books long before he became President.

Can you imagine if Kabbah had authorised the arrest of Paul Kamara, and got him locked up without the due process of the law, what would have happened. The international community (that matters) would have known about it and would have been up in arms.  I for one would not be writing this type of letter. So why attack Kabbah for acting according to the laws of the land?

 

President Kabbah has had successful terms in office. He has ended the war, and he will be living a country, which is hitherto, on the right road, full of confidence and highly respected within the international communities.

 

Like him or not, Kabbah has cemented his good place in the history of Sierra Leone along sides such greats like Sir Milton Margai, and Sir Albert Margai. He will retire holding his head high knowing he has served his people well. Come on at least we can all recognise that, irrespective of political affiliation.

 

 

 

 

United Nations turns 60

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

 

Thursday October 27, 2005

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay

 

Cocorioko Correspondent in Freetown

The United Nations family in Sierra Leone observed their 60 years anniversary with the theme ?Child Health and Survival’ on the 24th October, this year, at United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) Headquarters, Mammy Yoko Hotel, west of Freetown.

 

Delivering the Secretary General’s message, the Special Representative of the Secretary General Ambassador Daudi N. Mwakawago said the morning gathering was a fine illustration to the fact that the United Nations is an organization for all people, governments, civil societies and the private sectors.

“Although the UN is an association of states, the rights and freedoms it exists to uphold and advance belong to everyone.  To carry out its mission to the best of its ability, it needs the support of people every where” Ambassador Mwakawago said.

 

He also said that, whether the UN is fighting disease and hunger, or working to strengthen democracy; advancing human rights and the rule of law, or combating terrorism; building peace, or making the UN more effective and more accountable to the people it exists to serve, the UN always respects the rights of people everywhere.  “That is why celebrating UN Day is so important.  It energizes us.  It strengthens the bonds between us.  It makes us stop for a moment and realize how thrilling it is to work alongside people from every corner of the earth who share the goals of the UN Charter”, he said

 

The programme was witnessed by heads of UN Agencies, government officials and civil society. The medal presentation ceremony was done by the SRSG. Other activities included a Medal Parade, UN Agencies and UNAMSIL sporting activities at Lumley Beach.

It could be recalled that the United Nations officially came into existence on 24th October 1945, when the charter had been ratified by China, France, the then Soviet Union, the United Kingdom the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24th October each year.

 

SANDI’S THEORY ON MARGAI DUMB, DUMB, DUMB

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

 

Thursday October 26, 2005

First_Name:  Sidie Yahya
Last_Name:  Tunis
Email_Address:  yahya2nis@yahoo.com
Address:  6457 Fenestra CT.
City:  Burke
State:  Virginia
Zip_Code:  22015
Comments:

I first would like to extend my appreciation to your staff for establishing a democratic forum like this for people to express themselves. I just hope that our politicians in power right now will express themselves. I am actually writing to respond to Mr. Lawrence Sandi’s article about why Charles formed a party after loosing the bid for leadership of the SLPP. I actually did not expect a question like, but I think it is that for us as Sierra Leoneans to deviate from ignorance and face real issues. Just to answer your question Mr. Sandi, if Charles had wanted to be the hier of SLPP because of his father, he  would not have left and form another party. He would wait until when ever the time comes for him to lead that party. Remember, if you actually know anything at all about politics in general or SLPP in particular, in 1992, before the NPRC took over, the SLPP was formed and Charles never pushed for leadership. Instead, he passed on the leadership to then, Salia Jusu Sheriff, Maigor Kallon and others and that was because he knew that those people were the pioneers of the party, but how can you actually consider people like Berewa or even Kabba strong SLPP members when infact these two actually advocated to ban both the SLPP and APC from ever taking part into politics in Sierra Leone.

Your idea that Charles wants to head SLPP because his father was involved in forming it is the dumbest thing I have heard in a long time. I believe that you live in the United States and if so, what can you say about George Bush being in power now and his dad was before. Can you Mr. Sandy actually say within yourself that things are fine in Sierra Leone and that Berewa will develop our country more than anyone else? When was that last time you went to Sierra Leone? I am asking you these questions because the majority of the people in that country do not share your view of Mr. Margai and I really believe that you just said what you said, but really don’t know anything at all about SLPP or good governance. If you are young, you need to really think deep because this upcoming election will impact the lives of many young men and women in that country because if our country stay the way it right now, I bet you would not even want to go down or people like you will deny ever knowing a place called Sierra Leone. I once again thank you cocorioko and I hope you will publish this.

Berewa set out his stall in London

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

BEREWA1

 

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 26, 2005

His Excellency the Vice- President and Leader of the ruling SLPP, Solomon Ekuma Berewa has reiterated that he is the only one with the necessary experience to consolidate the gains which will take Sierra Leone to its pristine position. Speaking to a cross-section of the Sierra Leonean community in the UK at the prestigious Royal National Hotel, the Vice President stated that Sierra Leone is at a cross road and the decision which Sierra Leoneans will  make come 2007 will have a very reaching consequences for generation yet unborn.  The Vice President emphasised that as someone who is tried and tested, he is fully aware of the complex set of problems that is why he has identified poverty alleviation, justice for all and stamping out corruption among his leading priorities.

He thanked the organisers most immensely for the wonderful reception and assured that in him they had a friend and a brother.

Amidst thunderous applause “One Solo B one State House” from the jam packed hall, the Vice- President disclosed that by the end of December 2005, residents in the Western Area will enjoy continuous electricity supply.  Emphasising on familiar themes, the Vice-President made a clarion call   by appealing to all Sierra Leoneans to return home and contribute meaningfully to nation building.

Earlier on, in his welcome address, Mr Samuel B Jonjo recalled that the “Friends of Berewa UK & Ireland” was formed after a prescriptive analysis and a rational decision that at this crucial time, Sierra Leone deserves nothing less than responsible leadership underpinned by democratic values as the only way forward to sustainable development and better opportunity for all Sierra Leoneans. Mr Jonjo reiterated that “Friends of Berewa UK” is only committed to one agenda and that is to ensure that Vice President Berewa becomes the next president of Sierra Leone.

In his contributions, Mr Eric Lansana observed that the elections for the leadership of the party were hotly contested but the delegates decided to democratically elect Hon. Solomon Berewa as the new leader. He therefore called on all members of the party to close ranks, now that the delegates’ conference has ended, and solidly support the new leader and presidential candidate. Mr. Lansana stated that it was the noble desire of the Vice President to create hope and minimise the social tensions which will lead to sustainable development and better opportunity for all.

Mr Lansana maintained that this occasion has been graced by every nook and cranny to reflect Vice-Presidents’ vision of an inclusive participatory approach where all stakeholders can participate in the decision making process.

Mr Abdul B Kargbo noted in his contributing remarks that Vice President Berewa has acquired an enviable recognition both at home and abroad as an architect of peace which signifies unity, cohesion and peaceful co-existence among all Sierra Leoneans. He therefore stressed that it is for this very qualities that Sierra Leoneans should support the Vice- President in his noble aspiration to become President of Sierra Leone come 2007.

 

The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of a plaque of art (symbolising good leadership and harmony, and engraved on it the words ?Our Leader, Solo B) on behalf of the “Friends of Solo B UK & Ireland” by Mr Mohamed Alie Bah to Vice President Berewa in recognition of his landslide victory and significant contributions towards peace, democracy and development in Sierra Leone. The ceremony was introduced by Mr Ansu Bapoto Momoh, the Master of Ceremony was Mr Michael Wundah. Vote of thanks was delivered by Miss Pauline Panda.

The occasion was climaxed by the Vice President’s walk-around engulfed by warm embrace, handshakes and smiles punctuated by the Berewa vision Music.

The occasion was witnessed by the Sierra Leonean High Commissioner, Alhaji Sulaiman Tejan-Jalloh, Minister of Finance; John O Benjamin, and Honourable Members of Parliament Augustine B Torto, and Mrs Janet Sam King. Also in attendance were some foreign dignitaries and friends of Sierra Leone. Also leading media outlets were represented including OBE, Africa Week Magazine, Mano-Vision and Palm Tree Magazine.

 

 

 

Friends of Solo B UK & Ireland

London.

 

 

Dirty, smelly capital sign of general nonchalance in today’s Sierra Leone

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005
This is Signal Hill, a once upscale neighbourhood in the outskirts of Freetown. This street is lined by garbage on both sides. If Signal Hill is full of garbage , what about the slums  ? We will bring you more photos of the filth in Freetown from different parts of the capital in our campaign to get the government to sit up and do something about the problem.
 EDITORIAL
DIRTY , SMELLY CAPITAL SIGN OF GENERAL NONCHALLANCE IN TODAY’S SIERRA LEONE
Tuesday October 25, 2005

When a nation cannot take good care of her capital city, it speaks a lot about the government in power and all those thrust with the responsibility to govern the nation. That Freetown, a once beautiful city that radiated not only natural beauty but cleanliness , is now being overrun by piles of garbage  blocking some streets clearly shows that the government in power is not doing its job.The sanitary situation  of Freetown , as seen in the picture above , is very distasteful. Because there is no serious attempt at garbage collection and disposal, the whole city is being overtaken by  garbage-strewn streets with their attendant hazards of rats, roaches and the dangerous outbreak of diseases.

The danger that garbage  poses to human beings is clearly illustrated in the picture above. Children, for some reasons, delight in playing on garbage heaps or rummaging through them searching for God-knows-what. Their unhealthy preoccupation brings them in contact with dangerous germs that they take home to their families and others with whom they associate. This is one of the easiest ways of provoking deadly epidemic outbreaks.It is hard to understand why this government in power has sat down and allowed our capital to be one of the dirtiest in West Africa.

Granted. Filthy capitals , with garbage heaps all over, is now a common feature of many African countries. The same problem exists in other capitals  like Conakry , Monrovia, Banjul, Lagos , Kampala and the like.  However, this is not a good excuse for our authorities in Freetown. There is nothing that precludes us from setting better examples. After all, Sierra Leone was once the Beacon of Light of West Africa.We think that the reason our capital is so dirty is that the government and the relevant authorities do not care for the welfare of the people. We know that tensions exist within the government over this matter of garbage collection. COCORIOKO  learnt that the job  had  been taken  from Health and Sanitation and given it to Youth and Sport,  with the idea  that it would help address youth unemployment . There is also the friction existing between the government and the Freetown City Council .But again, no serious government can use this as an excuse for having a dirty capital.

We think that a good government will always try to put its house in order in the interest of the nation, since they must know that any house divided among itself cannot stand . We therefore stand by our belief that the government should take the blame for the dirty capital that Freetown has become.

President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah must personally take this problem of city filth and danger to public health seriously. With the time ticking on his retirement, we are sure he does not want to leave such an inglorious legacy . The NPRC  may have their faults, like any other institution, but the capital they handed to the SLPP government was relatively cleaner and healthier. The junta organized regular cleaning exercises and garbage collection was executed with despatch. Freetown reached its present disgraceful state during SLPP  rule.

The people of Freetown do not care a rat’s tail  about who is not doing the job. They are paying their taxes and  deserve a better deal. They do not want to hear excuses. What  they want to see is action — patriotic action to clear all the mounds of filth in the capital and restore Freetown to her former glory.

There is  nonchallance in today’s Sierra Leone and this is hurting the people. We call on the government to get out of its nonchallance and lethargy immediately.

We hope that the government will get to work immediately and rid  Freetown of all the filth and health hazards. Cleanliness is next to godliness and any godly  government will ensure that its capital and towns are kept in a perfectly clean condition.

 

 

 

Tribute To Chief Hinga Norman-The Peoples’ Liberator Part III

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

 

By Martin Kijangbe

 Dear Friends,

 

 Thank you for reading my second article. I am sure it has started opening your eyes on why the charge against Chief Hinga Norman and his hunters may disturb any patriotic Sierra Leonean. For long our country lost the luster of peace that has been fundamental to our national social milieu and cultural heritage. We had witnessed false testimonies been given against innocent people.  We have seen how those that designed false testimonies against political opponents met the requirement for benefits from political patrons. We have seen how people sacrificed even their academic reputations, moral beliefs and basic human values as long as the political system is serving their own purposes.  Many of us thought that the end of anti-democratic rule in Sierra Leone and the specter of the war would foster a new conscientiousness that will be centered on national unity, hard work, truth, creativity and self-development. But what we have today as demonstrated in the silence of the educated elite on issue of Chief Hinga Norman patently shows complacency on a very important national issue-because they do want to risk chances. This is understandable but mind you history watches us as these moments of truth pass by.

In this article you will learn about the layers of complex and mean relationships that RUF conjured and the disloyalties in the Army and the patent betrayal of our people, at the time the country needed patriots must. I will conclude on asking salient questions about postwar justice. Once more thanks for your interest in this matter.

 

Why Are Sierra Leoneans Silent About Chief Hinga Norman & His Hunters’ Fate?

 

Dear friends, there is a popular saying that when the cream of society rests on mediocrity that society is doomed. Why has this issue not come into our national political discourse? Here are some reasons why?

v     The issue has been dressed in political emblem, thus it has become partisan. Chief Hinga Norman was serving the SLPP interest therefore our support of his course will validate the SLPP and we do not want to give support to our enemy.

v     The issue has been smeared into nauseating tribal fragrance, so people from other tribes cannot touch or smell the issue. The common saying among their tribal caucuses is: ” Let us leave that Mende Chief to perish and let his brothers and sisters fight his case.”

v     The issue has been dressed in volatile hay of cannibalism. Therefore who will march for people who hide under the cloak of cannibalism, to seemingly fight for our liberation? “Although they liberated us but we cannot justify their cannibal act.”

v     The issue has been labeled as an international issue, so it is above local approach. Any one that is considered a reprobate must be left alone to suffer. Right now our national survival depends on international support. So we should not say anything regarding this matter because it is seen as a genuine concern to the international community.

v     It has been cloth into an untouchable robe of the UN therefore anyone who it accuses must be left alone to perish, because that is the world’s organization that has been instrumental in our peace process. Casting any aspersions on the court by nationals of Sierra Leone would undermine its credibility.

But if some or all of these views are the resisting forces from talking about a good course that liberated the country from the hands of those evils men or political dissidents that reverted the civilization we had struggled for over 197 years (153 years before Independence and 44 years after independence), then we need a reconstruction of the mind to think as new Sierra Leoneans in this 4th Republic. The basic lesson from the war that we may only whisper today is that when the rebels were ravaging the East and Southern Provinces, there was no national sympathy or readiness or strategy to even condemn the rebels. It was believed to be the Mendes fighting the Mendes. With time, the war spread sequentially to almost every area in the country. Then Sierra Leoneans started to label the war in collective terms. The rebels became bad people to everyone. That was the time that many knew that the rebels did not mistake but they were following plan aimed at destabilizing every part of the country. Here we are today, through our own silence and lack of support in measured terms we are taking human value and dignity away from the heroes who put together a robust force to dismantle the fury of the rebels and forced them to the negotiating table.

 

Complexity of the War The Kamjors Fought

Friends in Part II of this series, I shared with you the evolution of the Sobels as a betrayal force and the Kamajors as a resisting force.  There were more layers of complexities that many people did not know about.  I wish to humbly share these layers with you and then leave you with your conscience to judge for yourself as to who Chief Hinga Norman and his men should be in our national discourse?

The Colombia Factor

If you ask any of the RUF ex-combatants, you would discover how young boys were drugged and the kind of drugs the rebel High Command was giving out to them. The rebels did not have time to grow the local Marijuana; they relied on the drugs fromColombia. RUF used the drugs from their fellow rebels in Colombia to drug our brothers and sisters-the child soldiers. It damaged their thought processes and influenced their actions, thus the barbaric brutality that characterized the Sierra Leonewar. The indoctrination that followed drugging of the child soldiers set the tone for the kind of atrocities that became the order of the RUF insurgency. Colombia became a very crucial support base of the RUF; our diamonds went for drugs in un-numbered quantities. Only the RUF high command knows how often and how much of our country’s diamond went into the drug for war deal. The drug deal was so entangled that in order for RUF to say “Yes to Peace” it must settle the entire circumbendibus drug deals it ventured in with the Colombia rebels.

The Burkina Faso Factor

Anyone whose village was attack knew that mercenaries from Burkina Faso were fighting along the RUF rebels. The salaries of these mercenaries were the diamonds peaked from alluvial mining. Because these people held lucrative diamondiferous areas for over nine years no one actual could tell how much was extracted from our soil to swell the pockets of Burkina Faso mercenaries and their president. The end of the war would mean no job for the mercenaries.  Therefore the war was a lucrative venture commandeered by President Blaze Campori of Burkina Faso that kept fueling his groundnut economy. This enticed the mercenaries to fight so fiercely that our soldiers could not measure up to the RUF for most part of the war before the Kamajors emerged.

The Ukraine Factor

Ukraine is a dismantled communist country, whose dictator had more weapon and army than the civilian population. It was very easy for RUF to network with the un-engaged Ukrainians who easily sold their military hardware and services. It can be recalled how the Ukrainians perished on sea enroute to Freetown to consolidate the rebel grip onFreetown.  British intelligence helped in buffering their pre-eminent attack on Freetown. For more than six years Ukrainians were selling weapons to the RUF. The extent of the involvement of the Ukrainians cannot be estimated today but it was deep because our diamonds were good international bargaining tools for the RUF and they were effectively used to destabilize our homeland.

South African-The Executive Outcome

We may recall those bloody years of Apartheid rule in South Africa. It generated a color war. This tug of war on a one-foot rope between color-tension poles polarized South Africa.  The white dominated rule designed ways of running through black resistance. This struggle induced progressive growth in weaponry industry. African National Congress also acquired huge cash of weapons. At Independence South Africa had huge piles of arsenals which it had no immediate use for.  Also there emerged a white dominated mercenary group called Executive Outcome that made use of the left over of weapons from the Apartheid regime.

 

The NPRC failed to recognize and dismantle the double loyalties in the Army and the ordinary people had discovered it and were getting fed up. So for the NPRC to appear effective it had to sign a contract with the Executive Outcome mercenary company. The basic element of the contract was that if the Executive Outcome clears the diamond areas and the Mokanjie and Sierra Rutile mines respectively, it would import its own mining machines and mine the diamonds uninhibited. This was a blank check given to the mercenary group for using post-Apartheid weapons in Sierra Leone and rewarding them with our diamonds. Note that the NPRC included the Sierra Rutile in the contract because the World Bank had just allocated $18M for the rehabilitation of the Rutile mines. Also note that Sierra Rutile is an American owned company (the largest in the world). 

 

This deal was too good to believe. In this regard, even before the Executive Outcome debut the warfront, their high technology mining machines were imported to Sierra Leone and ready to operate. In less than three months the Executive Outcome had cleared Kono Districts and Mokanji and Sierra Rutile Mines. This speed unfolded a lot of intriguing maneuvers. Some of us believed that there was hidden arrangement between the Executive Outcome and RUF. This arrangement was to allow the Executive Outcome mercenaries to take control of the areas they needed to fulfill the terms of the contract given to them by the NPRC and leave  RUF alone in other areas of the country to do their limb cutting, arson, rape, and abduction and any heinous crimes that suited them.

 

When President Kabbah took over, he withdrew the Executive Outcome’s contract. They became disgruntled and clandestinely lent their support to the RUF after they left the country. It was traumatic for the Executive Outcome to leave the country after exploring unusual diamond locations and seeing the prospects therein. Their support for the RUF increased the scope of REUF.

The Overthrow of Valentine Strasser

The sacrifice of our nation’s diamonds to the Executive Outcomes did not settle well with the top military bras like Maada Bio, Mondeh, Tom Nyuma and Samuel Yajah to name a few.  The Executive Outcome issue and the sneaky ways Valentine Strasser, who had promised the world that he was not interested in transforming his government into a civilian government, started having mad cravings and sinister inklings towards running for the political leadership in the pending General Elections. These two factors led to the overthrow of Valentine Strasser by his lieutenant, Maada Bio.

 

This overthrow further divided the country’s army into to factions because it gave way to an undisturbed electioneering process, channeled by James Jonah. About six weeks to the elections the division I referred to above came to light when the military dissidents, bombed the reputable James Jonah’s compound. A national conference was reconvened as a sort of referendum for the election or extension of the NPRC rule. The peoples’ representatives took the former.  Therefore the way was clear for free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections by proportional representation.  But the disgruntled soldiers kept disturbing up to the elections day. They started firing around the reservation area in Bo by 6 AM, but the local people and the Kamajors held them abase until the elections went without any debilitating incidence.

Military Junta

Before 1994 towns like Korribondo, Mile Siaka, Mile 91, Bo, Matotoka, Kenema, Daru, Pujehun all had well-established and equipped military arsenals. After the elections of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, there were no political old hands from the APC regime around the political rostrum. You can recall that NPRC had imprisoned some of those patrons (when the NPRC took Momoh out of power) on whose tickets some of the APC boys entered the army rank and files. During the NPRC and the emergence of democratic government, there were none of those patrons with whom those APC boys had hidden alliance or allegiance. But president Kabbah was to be protected by the same APC boys in the army; a clear misjudgment of security.  Therefore, they were only waiting for an opportunity to show who they were really loyal to.

In 1997 that opportunity presented itself and Johnny Paul Koroma declared himself as president. As soon as this happened, immediately all those APC loyalists who were manning the arsenals listed above immediately pledge support for the Junta. All the ammunitions deposited at those military bases were commandeered and the rebels were called to join the Junta. As a result of this partnership, the rebels’ weaponry capacity increased to very high level-about 500%. The Junta now commanded the rebels and majority of the Sierra Leone army- the old APC boys and those who thought they would better make it in the chaos created by the war and the Junta takeover.

The Kamajors As Liberators

Dear friends, as I attempt to point out some of the entrenched linkages of the rebel support and the betrayals that were apparently exhibited, we can begin to appreciate the rock against which the Kamajors were going to fight.  The SOBEL constituency gradually increased and when the Junta took over, they were no longer in the hiding.

How for humanity sake were these Kamajors going to take the country from the octopus-limbed gorilla fighters that had paralyzed our country for more than 8years? How were the Kamajors going to use local weapons to dismantle the military potency of the rebel cohorts in terms of numbers of fighters and power of the weapons? But bit-by-bit they started chopping away the chips and through providential powers they dismantled the rebel fire fury and deflagrated the course of the war.

 

Who would say that the local hunters did not kill?  To clear the Kamajors of any crime, I will not do right to my conscience and to my people. They are not stones and sticks but human beings. So, they were ambushed. They were bulleted. They were betrayed and felt angry with those they suspected. They even interrogated suspected rebels and people testified against them. Some civilians set the Kamajors up so that the rebels would slaughter them? In many instances there were exchanges of fire between the rebels and Kamajors that led to many deaths. Do we call these deaths crime against humanity, when they were fighting to secure humanity? 

 

Let me make a point here. The Kamajors were mostly from the localities. If say a Kamajor from my village Foya Mamangewor committed a blatant violation of a civilian that Kamajor would have to return to Foya Mamangewor after the war. His act would not go well with the local people who know his immediate and extended family members. His act would bring shame to his family members. Therefore there was always restraint on the side of the Kamajors.  Beside that, Chief Hinga Norman being a British trained military officer introduced discipline and though military codes of conduct. The ultimate goal of the Kamajors was to free the people from the rebel insurgency and not to brutalize them.  If the Kamajors were cannibals could the local people have returned to those areas the Kamajors cleared and made safe for the return of the ordinary villagers?

Postwar Justice

The desire for post war justice brought our country to where we are today; that is the sitting of the International Court to investigate war crimes.  What is the legal apparatus or framework set to investigate all the rebels, their associates and their leaders with certainty? How much do these foreigners in charge of the International Court understand the socio-cultural and political dynamics of our people and which doses were injected into the war? How is the Court going to investigate these rebels when 80 % of the fighting forces on the rebel side were children?  So, if we take the child soldiers out of the jurisdiction of the International Court because of the 1989 Convention of the Rights of Children (The Right of Children for Special Protection in Times of War: Children who are refugees or seek refugee status are entitled to special protection (Article 22).  Children under the ages of 15 shall not be allowed to take part in arm conflict. Those that are affected are entitled to special care and protection (Article 38). Children who by any means experienced arm conflict, torture, neglect or exploitation shall receive special treatment for their recovery (Article 39) has been ratified Sierra Leone.  Not only withstanding this, if the official soldiers that were legally headed by President Kabbah as Minister of Defense could receive protection what of Chief Hinga Norman?  When it was war time these men were sacrificing their lives for the sake of restoring peace and democratically elected government. Tthey were called pro-government militiamen and now that the war is over and the booties of the war is long awaited peace and democratic elections, their nomenclatures have changed from pro-government militiamen to war criminals, cannibals and eventually prisoners. Who then are the actual war criminals?  A relevant question to reflect on.

There is no postwar justice for properties of our labor that were stolen in daylight? The desire for postwar justice brought Rwanda to similar place and it has taken the Rwanda Court more than 8 years and still there is no clear conclusion or outcome? The International War Crime Tribunal is sitting at the Hague in Netherlands, with all the arrests it has made and the global support, there are no clear and justified conclusions that are devoid of politics, human factors and mistakes?

Indeed we are all yearning for justice. But as the fundamental instrument of reintegration is social justice, there should be clear understanding of the economic, political, cultural and social matrixes that constitute the reality of the people.  We are yearning for justice to be done to Chief Hinga Norman and his men who stood for the country against falsehood and betrayal. We are yearning for justice when the rule of “cause and effect” would be an essential consideration within which to look for the truth.  We are yearning for justice when the true testimonies against the Kamajors would come from those who were brutalized, dramatized, traumatized and made vulnerable and not from political weaverbirds that only want to destroy the beautiful foliage of the palm tree to make their own nests. We are yearning for justice when political undercurrents aimed at reducing some perceived opponents do not drive it? We are looking for justice from a sighted Court that would resist being imbibed into political pettiness and hidden vendetta. A Court that comes to the investigative table without any preconceived list of suspects given to them by political operatives in their own parties and highly placed opponents.

 

Yes my friends, the holy men are resting and the criminals are languishing in prison. The honest men and true liberators are sitting in air-conditioned offices,  giving directives while the enemies of humanity are treated as prison gabs. The actual liberators are taking salutes and walking on red carpets, while the saboteurs are denied some basic human facilities, facilities such taking bath, change of clothes, brushing one’s teeth and lack freedom of visitation. The actual patriots have decided the fate of the seeming cannibals who fought to liberate this country when all military tornadoes were used by a divided and failed army and rebel cohorts; when every negotiations had failed; when the loyalty of the army had been sacrificed; when the president lost his authority to a mediocre; when the common people were starving to death and murdered in cold blood; when the public and private institutions were not functioning even to 10 % capacity because of the war; when our country was isolated and left alone to the grips of the rebels for 8 years (only after Kofi Anna  learned the bitter lessons from Rwanda where he was special envoy before he became the UN Secretary General) and before the British came to our side.  Whatever description people might give to Chief Hinga Norman and his men, to majority of Sierra Leoneans, they are heroes who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the peace and stability of their motherland.  Whatever happens to them we are not going to take arms to free them but we believe in retributive justice. With the omniscience of our God  who knows every secret, we submit the course of these heroes into His majestic hands. Lord, let the truth prevail.