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Archive for March, 2006

TAYLOR’S RUN-AWAY SHOW WAS SCUTTLED BY HIS MONEY

Friday, March 31st, 2006

 

Friday March 31 , 2006

Charles Taylor disguised himself so well that he could have shown a clean  pair of heels, probably into Burkina Faso, through impoverished Chad without any hinderance. Nigerian territory could have been his only obstacle . Wearing a long , white gown and disguised as a Hausa Malllam, Taylor successfully went through Immigration without being suspected .But “Ah , money…..”, as the Liberian Comic Drama  OUR PEOPLE, ONE PEOPLE would say : Money dah devil, Oh, my people.Money dah devil “.Taylor’s run-away show was scuttled by his own money.

Throughout his life, nothing mattered to the former Liberian rebel leader and President than money. He escaped from Liberia while he was Dictator Samuel K. Doe’s  Director-General of the General Service Agency ( GSA )  with millions of dollars , meant for purchase of essential government supplies or secret safe-keeping for Doe, according to various sources.  Taylor was so cunning Doe never succeeded in having him extradcted from the U.S.  nor did the dictator get his money back.

As rebel leader , Taylor turned what was originally a worthy venture to displace a dictator into a money-making business, siphoning millions of dollars from foreign companies he made to trade in Liberia’s diamonds, gold and logging enterprises in the teritories he had captured. After that, he cast his eyes on the diamonds of neighbouring Sierra Leone and used Foday Sankoh and his satanic RUF  to rip the country of millions more dollars. Taylor had so many millions that money was his security .Well, not at the Nigeria/ Cameroon border where he was sensationally captured at dawn on Wednesday , after escaping from asylum in Calabar, Nigeria.

Travelling in a brand-new SUV  he had just bought and with diplomatic licence plates, Taylor and his escaping party consisting of his driver and a young lady, described as one of his wives, arrived at the sleepy town of Gamboru-Ngalla in Borno State , which is a border hamlet close to Cameroon. He was so remarkably disguised the Immigration officers did not discover a thing that he was the international rebel chieftain and con man who had escaped from Calabar and plunged their country into a huge diplomatic mess that could have cost Nigeria dear in economic sanctions and other cutbacks from the international community .

Once out of  Nigeria, it would have been difficult to capture Taylor . The other African nations he had to go through to get to his mentor, President Blaise Campaore in Burkina Faso , had nothing to lose and Taylor could have bribed his way through these desperately impoverished countries.  But Taylor did not contend with the advice of the crying  crookish madingo businessman portrayed in the radio drama mentioned above that “MONEY DAH DEVIL. “.

One of the Customs officers suspected that something was not right and decided , against all pleas, for the van to be searched .During the search, millions of dollars were allegedly found in the jeep, in sacks stacked in the boots. The discovery  sparked  serious suspicions and more investigations and  Taylor was called in and grilled during which it was discovered that he was in disguise and was no Hausa Mallam but the escaped war crimes suspect TAYLOR HIMSELF.

What happened to the money has not been disclosed .An earlier report that the driver and the lady pulled off after Talor was taken in for questioning proved false .They were all nabbed . THUS ENDED THE ESCAPE ODYSSEY OF THE MAN WHO THOUGHT MONEY WAS EVERYTHING. HE WAS GULLOTINED BY HIS OWN MONEY.

KABS KANU

Taylor’s trial will open a can of worms ?

Friday, March 31st, 2006
CHARLESTAYLORGUNPOINTING (600 x 916)
Friday March 31 , 2006
Captured Liberian rebel chieftain, Charles Taylor, will definitely open a can of worms in his testimony when his war crimes trials begin in the Hague where he will likely be tried after the request yesterday by the Special Court of Sierra Leone for the trial to be held there. During the rebel wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, it had always been suspected that the successes of both Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia ( NPFL) and Foday Sankoh’s Revolutionary United Front ( RUF )  hinged on a intricate, delicate and well-coordinated web of both local and international conspirators.Both the NPFL  and the RUF  could not have made the astonishing headway the world saw without the help of people in high places. It is suspected that ministers of government, other highly-placed individuals like Paramount Chiefs and foreign business moguls and their agents within helped both rebel organizations conquer their respective countries.Sierra Leone was cheated of what could have been the most sensational trials ever in the country’s history  when her own rebel kingpins Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie ( Mosquito) died suddenly while junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma vanished into thin air. In the case of Liberia, Taylor is still alive and so are his former Chief Lieutenants like Prince Yormie Johnson, who later broke away ,  Tom Woewiyou, Issac Musa, Col. Butt Naked ( who now claims to be a born-again christian ), Edwin Snowe and others. Taylor and these men ( If they too get indicted or called as witnesses ) will definitely deliver bombshells because it is a known fact that Taylor’s  and Sankoh’s millions greased many palms in the most unlikely places.Our reporter in Monrovia , Jlateh Doe, said that news was rife that lots of Taylor’s proteges in Liberia  had not been sleeping well since the capture of their boss. Taylor’s supporters hold key positions in government and the Senate , public corporations and other government agencies.It is not possible for the now disgraced and humbled rebel chieftain to shield any of them who might have played  such a leading role in the invasion of Sierra Leone that they desrve to be indicted too.

Taylor is also expected to implicate foreign countries with or without embassies in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Taylor and Sankoh turned their struggles into fantastic money enterprises and it is suspected that their stunning achievements in gaining access to the rich diamond fields of Liberia and Sierra Leone could not have happened without the collaboration of people in high places.

As some Liberians were joking yesterday, it is hoped that the LIBERIAN PAPAY  does not die unceremoniously like his counterpart in Sierra Leone , because the world needs to know the truth about the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

PHOTO : Taylor , after he was officially arrested in Monrovia on Wednesday for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 Thursday March 30, 2006

Positive reports this morning that Charles Taylor has been captured.  Reuters is reporting that Taylor is being flown to Monrovia, where UN peacekeepers will arrest him and then deliver to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.  See below

Regards,

Edward

IN PICTURES : TODAY’S DRAMATIC EVENTS INVOLVING ARREST AND TRANSFER TO FREETOWN OF LIBERIAN WARLORD CHARLES TAYLOR

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

 

Thursday March 30, 2006

We want to thank our Liberian readers, especially Mr. Rensford Walsh,  for the pictures from Liberia and the Special Court for sending us the Sierra Leone pictures. We appreciate your efforts to make COCORIOKO  second to none. We were able to publish only those pictures that would upload but we appreciate your thoughtfulness and contribution.

In the cause of the people, the struggle continues .

 

CHARLES TAYLOR IN HANDCUFFS AT THE ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN MONROVIA.  THIS PICTURE IS WORTH MORE THAN A BILLION WORDS
THE END OF THE ROAD CAME SO DRAMATICALLY AS TAYLOR STANDS TEARY-EYED IN THE CUSTODY OF UN PEACEKEEPING SOLDIERS WHO HAVE PLACED HIM UNDER ARREST .
THE LONG WAIT FOR TAYLOR’S PLANE TO LAND. BAD WEATHER INITIALLY AFFECTED THE ARRIVAL TIME
UN HELICOPTER  LANDS IN FREETOWN FROM LUNGI AIRPORT , WITH TAYLOR ONBOARD ,  AMIDST HEAVY SECURITY
TAYLOR BEING CONVEYED TO THE SPECIAL COURT PRISON IN FREETOWN

GOD IS A SIERRA LEONEAN

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

MARCH 30, 2006

All over the nation of Sierra Leone yesterday, people breathed a sigh of relief that at last the man who spearheaded their pain and troubles is at last in the hands of international law.

CHARLESTAYLORARRESTED2

The prosecution and eventual life imprisonment of  Charles Taylor , if he is found guilty , will not bring back the nearly one millions souls that perished in the two countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone  It will  NOT bring back the limbs of  innocent children , women and men  chopped off by the wicked rebels who belonged to Taylor’s NPFL and Foday Sankoh’s RUF. It will not bring back the relatively better economic situations that prevailed in both countries before Taylor started the whole tragic drama.

CHARLESTAYORARRESTED1

However, the arrest and transfer to the Special Court  on Wednesday  of Charles Taylor sent out a clear, unadulterated and stern message to those who will hear it. There shall be no more acts of impunity and wickedness to the innocent people of Sierra Leone and Africa  The days when anybody can take up a gun and attain selfish , brutal and megalomanic power through merciless killings of innocent people and destruction of their country’s basic infrastructure on which billions of dollars had been spent will no longer be permitted. And if any countries  needed such a message , it is Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Liberia and Sierra Leone are two countries where impunity reached frightening levels. When you think back about the horrible deeds of Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson and other warlords in Liberia , you cannot but applaud the arrest of Charles Taylor on Wednesday. When you think back about  the satanic and cruel deeds of Foday Sankoh and other warlords in Sierra Leone, you cannot but thank God that Charles Taylor was arrested on Wednesday.

Now, people will think seriously before they seek power at all costs. They will consider that there will be an enormous penalty to pay if they try to seek power through remorseless wickedness, cruelty and criminal acts. They will now realize that the innocent people, whose interests they never, ever pursued and whom they considered worthy only of being cruelly exterminated or used to gain power , now have their interests being looked after by the international community.

Indeed, Wednesday was a watershed and landmark day in Africa.The message is now clear-cut. Respect the human and civil rights of the people. Respect the lives of other human beings. Do not seek power through hellish violence, mayhem and cruelty to the people  If you do, whatever your position or backing, you are a gonner. The cells of International Justice will be your abode for the remainder of your miserable life.

 

President Tejan Kabbah launches Makeni Agricultural Trade Fair

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006
TEJANKABBAH5 
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay
Monday March 29, 2006
President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah over the weekend officially opened the Agricultural Show and Trade Fair held at Wusum Ground, Makeni on March 22 through March 25th this year in the Northern region, Bombali District Sebora Chiefdom. The need for the activities is to promote peace though Food Security and at the same time ensure that the road to food security is achieved.
The programme was conducted by farmers of the Northern province including persons from other business entities under the supervisioon of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security led by Dr. Sama Monde.
The programme attracted ministers including members of the diplomatic corps, international donor agencies like the FAO, UNDP and ADB.  The National Farmers Association including members of the Farmers Business Unit, members of the Private Sector, Paramount Chiefs, District Councilors and a cross-section of the township.
 President  Kabbah thanked noted that the ceremony was centred around agricultural productivity which he said has risen up to 69%.  The tremendous achievement gained, he added is making it possible for his dream to be achieved by next year. At the same time, he called on the people of Sierra Leone including partners in development to put hands- in-glove to work together harder than before  for food surficiency.
In his remarks,  Vice President Soloman Berewa disclosed that his purpose of coming to the Trade Fair, is to explain government’s position with regard the achievements made towards Food Security and not to talk on politics.
Vice President Berewa further noted that Food Security is his government’s primary cornern for now. He told his audience that what the government is undertaking regarding Food Security is spelt-out in the PRSP document. He said that in poverty alleviation, Food Security is one of the fundamental pillars of the eradication of poverty to be successful nationwide. VP Berewa stressed the importance that  Food Security can create job opportunities for both male and female youths.  He therefore encouraged the youths to work relentlessly with the government and donor partners for their personal development and for the betterment of Sierra Leone.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr. Sama Monde disclosed to the audience that as the Food Security programme is  in full swing, the government is making opportunities available to insure Food Security  The availability, accessability and affordability and the right to food, Dr. Monde said,  is a must. He further said that he has just ended distributing 51 tractors in the Northern provinces free of charge to the farmers, in order for them to do more work in cultivating larger areas for more  productivity by the year 2007, which he said, is the vision of President Kabbah.
The representive of the FAO, Mr. Mohamed Fara said that, he is very happy about the achievements made in the promotion of the Food Security drive. He said the FAO’s intervention in the agricultural sector is to ensure that the Food Security drive proceeds and at the same time, the FAO ensures accountability in the micro-finance policy, planning and its implementation, Mr. Fara therefore called on the people of Sierra Leone to work harder  in order to eradicate poverty.
 

 


 

UNCERTAINTY GRIPS LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE AGAIN

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

 

Tuesday March 28 , 2006

The peace and security of Liberia and Sierra Leone plumetted into uncertainty once again yesterday after Liberian warlord Charles Taylor apparently escaped from justice. In Liberia, fear stalks the streets once again as citizens and foreign residents alike were apprehensive about what Taylor would unleash next while at large.

The stunning news that Taylor had escaped from Calabar, Nigeria , where he had been living for the past three years after being granted asylum by Nigeria in a peace deal that  forced him to surrender power in Liberia , has also put Nigeria and the United States and the United Nations , with the U.S.  threatening serious consequences if Taylor was not accounted for by the hosting country.

The U.S  authorities are even planning to cancel a scheduled meeting  between President Obasanjo and U.S.President George W. Bush jr this week .

What most Sierra Leoneans and Liberians now fear is that Taylor might return to the bush and trigger once more deadly insurrections against their governments. They know that Taylor is not a man to be taken for granted and could decide that since he had nothing more to lose but his life he should put up one last ditch stand by restarting the whole rebel war in Liberia. Taylor could also send terror and death squads  to Liberia and Sierra Leone to silence his critics and those advocating that he be punished.

These new state of affairs have plunged both Liberia and Sierra Leone into uncertainty once again, with fears that no investor would like to spend his money in countries where there is no certainty about peace and security. With Taylor’s alleged links to Al-Quida, the situation is even gloomier.

Until Taylor is found and arrrested, not even the newly-elected government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is safe and Liberians understand that fully, going by opinions they have been expressing to newspapermen and radio personnel.

 

Royce Statement on Reports of Charles Taylor Disappearance

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     March 28, 2006 

Royce Statement on Reports of Charles Taylor Disappearance

Africa Subcommittee Vice-Chair calls on President Bush to Cancel Tomorrow’s Meeting with Nigerian President Obasanjo

 

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Ed Royce (CA-40), vice-chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations, issued the following statement in reaction to recent developments surrounding the status of former Liberian President Charles Taylor:

 According to the Associated Press this morning, former Liberian President Charles Taylor has disappeared from his luxury villa in Calabar, Nigeria.  This is the nightmare scenario that many were worried about.

 Yesterday, a State Department spokesman said that the United States told Nigerian President Obasanjo that it was Nigeria’s responsibility to ?see that [Taylor] is able to be conveyed and face justice.’  Obviously, this was not done, and for that, the Nigerians must be held accountable.”

 Nigeria reportedly has let a mass murderer with alleged links to al-Qaeda slip out the back door.  President Bush should cancel tomorrow’s scheduled meeting with President Obasanjo.”

 Royce went on to warn countries who might be considering taking in Charles Taylor that such a move would be unwise.  “Any country that offers Charles Taylor sanctuary should know that such action will be met with stiff opposition in the U.S. Congress – including serious sanctions.

 Royce chaired the House subcommittee on Africa from 1997-2006.  Under his chairmanship, the subcommittee held several Congressional hearings focused on Liberia, Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor and the Special Court forSierra Leone.  In 2005, Royce authored a Congressional resolution that passed the House of Representatives calling on Nigeria to send Taylor to the Special Court. 

 

Corruption and Fraud Threatens Liberia’s Educational System

Monday, March 27th, 2006

 By Joseph S. Sherman, WashingtonDC

Monday March 27, 2006

 Recent incidents surrounding over 1,000 students at the University of Liberia dubiously graduating without fulfilling requirements for graduation in the recent commencement ceremonies, cast a shadow of doubt as to the quality of workforce post-war Liberia is producing at this crucial time.  Dishonesty and fraud in Liberia’s educational system is an impediment to the socio-economic and political development of the country.  Besides this latest incident, it has also become a hard, cold fact that fraudsters in collaboration with unscrupulous Liberians have infiltrated the educational system in order to make money. 

 Short-cuts to achieving education and training without going through the proper channel produces mediocre and an unproductive workforce, which subsequently yields corruption, ignorance and apathy in society.  To saveLiberia from relapsing to these vices, the government of Liberia and the Ministry of Education should set up a commission to investigate this issue thoroughly in order to save the credibility of the country’s educational institutions from international disrepute.

 Education fraud is a serious problem; it creates a lot of harm and damages to the socio-economic development of a country.  Human resources perceived to be the bedrock of a nation’s development will be polluted and disoriented because of the series of misrepresentations designed by dishonest and fraudulent students to deceive employers.           

 Providing quality education to every Liberian is central to strengthening democracy and promoting development in the country.  Therefore, President Sirleaf’s government must do everything possible to protect this social sector because it occupies a central place in Human Rights and is essential and indispensable for the exercise of development.  None of the civil, political, economic and social rights can be exercised by individuals unless they have received quality education.

 How can this be accomplished in Liberia when certain individuals have taken short cuts to acquire and issue bogus credentials to the detriment of the nation and its workforce?   The government of Liberia should initiate a campaign not only to restore Liberia’s international image but also to clean up the country of educational fraudsters.  This could be done by developing an anti-fraud education policy and culture which ensures that educationally prudent measures are taken.  Encourage a whistle-blowing philosophy in all learning institutions in the country, so that all suspicious credentials from so-called foreign Universities or institutions are scrutinized to the fullest, and finally the Ministry of Education should take hard line on culprits, give a clear message that they will be caught or prosecuted in a competent court of law.

 About the author:  Joseph S. Sherman (MIP, MSA) was former broadcaster at the ELCM Community Radio.  He is now Director of a Multi-Cultural Adult Education Center in Washington, DC

 

PMDC CHAIRMAN— USA , DR SORIE I. KAMARA EXPLAINS THE PARTY MANIFESTO TO THE PEOPLE

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

 

Delivered to the general assembly in Maryland on March 26, 2006

 

 

T

he highlight of today’s meeting is to explain the PMDC manifesto to you. Surrogacy is PMDC leadership’s first responsibility to the people of Sierra Leone ; we must ensure that you know the party and understand what it stands for—to ensure you understand fully, our plans to help us serve you properly. In the United States , almost all of us can read and write compared to our people back home. It is an unfortunate situation that a nation that has the earliest higher institution in West Africa also has the highest illiteracy rate. We however have our own problems here in the US —we work so hard, many of us would hardly have the time to read a sixty-page manifesto.

 

We plan to launch a “Meet the People Campaign” back home to explain the PMDC manifesto in the local dialects of our people in the towns and villages. Fairness cannot prevail in the absence of knowledge. Until we place the voters on a level playing ground with the leadership by clearly explaining what the PMDC stands for, we cannot ask for your votes in fairness. It would be quite unfair to you for us to ask for your votes without first providing you the tools to decide. Once you leave here today, with the host of information we would provide you, we expect you in turn, to act as surrogates for those who could not be here—please explain to them what we mean when we speak of the fierce wind of “Positive Change.”

 

 

The Chair Dr. SI Kamara

 

Honorable Dauda Bangura formally introduced to you the PMDC in the last meeting. He told us; “there is a fierce wind of ‘Positive Change’ blowing over the whole nation.” Edmond Burke too once said “people will never look forward to posterity who never looks backwards to their ancestors.” Literally speaking, one cannot go forward without hindsight.

 

 

With this, permit me to highlight in retrospect, the living conditions of our people that have necessitated the change that you the people are demanding today through the PMDC. It is understood that is why you are here. The practices of the previous leaderships have:

 

  • marginalized the people
  • undermined their confidence in themselves and their country
  • brought little or no change to the living standards of the average Sierra Leonean
  • made the people to have no confidence in the justice system in Sierra Leone
  • deprived the people of proper medical care and facilities
  • created a dependency on foreign food under the UN—food security program
  • inadequate and improper housing conditions
  • created a dark country in contravention with God’s command; “Let there be light”, and they answered, unlike many other countries, let there be darkness. Apparently, God said to those who listened to His command; “It was good” and to us He said it was bad, for God loath darkness; darkness is bad in all its forms and shapes including shadiness.

Our leaders have treated and continue to treat Sierra Leone as David Anderson puts it; “A Sunny nation for shady people.” The list is endless if we must duel on it.

 

The avalanche of home grown songs such as Daddy Saj’s ‘Corruption’ Emerson’s ‘Borbor Belleh’ and ‘Swegbeh’ and ‘Big Waite Fol’ all attest to the suffering, neglect, and abuse the people of Sierra Leone have undergone under previous governments.

 

A PMDC government, being a people’s government, will guarantee and foster the basic values of Unity, Freedom, Justice and Equal opportunities and set a clear vision and direction for this country. PMDC stands for freedom as enshrined in the national constitution – i.e. freedom of Speech, Assembly, Association, Worship and Movement.

 

The PMDC thus believes in a government that truly represents the masses with the rights of the people safeguarded.

 

The PMDC’s ideology is:

 

1.      the right to representative government not a government of caucus and secrecy

2.      the right to individual liberties as opposed to the use of the police and judiciary for personal vendetta.

 

Having borne out of the frustration and disappointment of the people because of everything I have highlighted, the PMDC is determined:

 

  • To maintain internal security to protect the people’s lives and their properties and law and order in the streets of our cities without favoritism.
  • To maintain external security by policing our borders to reduce the incidents of smuggling and cross border activities like the ones in Yenga and Kambia.
  • To embark on a comprehensive re-appraisal of the judiciary so that the people will have justice that has always been denied them except they belong to the top echelons of the SLPP. For example, Harry Yansaneh, I am afraid, would have to wait to get justice on the Judgment Day.
  • To devolve authority to local councils to help them mobilize their communities’ resources for their own development.
  • Civil Society Movements will be partners in development.
  • Work with NGOs, both local and international. Their efforts would be better. coordinated to suit the needs of the respective localities in order to avoid. duplication of efforts and waste of funds and resources.

 

FOREIGN POLICY

The practice of Sierra Leone today is non-alignment. None alignment has become obsolete with the death of the Cold War. The question becomes; non-aligned with whom? If a nation’s foreign policy is its activities and relationships to other states, those activities and relationships must be influenced by the nation’s domestic needs and the actions of the other states. For this reason,Lord Palmerton once stated: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies. They have only permanent interests.” Thus, our foreign policy must depend on the benefit of our multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements to our people and the actions of the organizations and other nations. This will ensure foreign nations invest in our country and our dealings with international organizations benefit our people. The PMDC will therefore maintain our agreements with multi and bi-lateral organizations and nations, seeking the interest of our people first and then the actions of the other nations and organizations. A sound foreign policy is the surest means for us to win back the respect and confidence of the International Community.

 

Let me emphasize here that a PMDC government will strictly adhere to, respect and abide by all treaties signed on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone . The PMDC will remain committed to the Geneva and Vienna Conventions, the UN, the African Union, the Commonwealth, the ECOWAS and the Mano River Union and all global alliance, which are committed to the pursuit of liberty and peaceful co-existence. The PMDC understands and disapproves the ill effect terrorism, in its many diverse forms, has on the rest of the world and therefore will commit itself to help fight against global terrorism to achieve a stable and peaceful world. The PMDC will ensure that compatriots in the Diaspora fully participate in national development. Such participation will extend to making them eligible to vote and be voted for at national elections. Reciprocally they will be expected to pay their taxes to meet their civic responsibility.

 

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Our leaders, previous and present, have/spend government money without regards to the Finance Orders. They have been paying lip service to the Finance Order in a way that creates a year in year out deficit spending.

 

PMDC shall guarantee transparency, probity and accountability in the management of the nation’s finances; introduce fiscal policies to achieve maximum benefit to the nation and restore credibility to the National Treasury as well as other state financial institutions. Government money should not be in the pockets of ministers akin to what Howard W. French describes; “A walking bank vault with a leopard-skin cap,” referring to the late Mobutu Sese Seko, longtime dictator of Zaire .

 

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) would be allowed to function to the fullest meaning of its reason or justification for existing. This means that the PMDC will allow the ACC to work without interference from government. The PMDC will not use the ACC as a witch-hunting tool against political opponents.      

 

DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC PLANNING

Paradoxically, Sierra Leone is a resource rich country that is afflicted by pervasive poverty. Vice President Solomon Berewa recently conceded that about 70% of the people of Sierra Leone live in poverty. A reggae songwriter and musical icon, late Robert Nester Marley sings “In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.”

 

Economic growth in Sierra Leone will depend on two factors: the quantities of available inputs, such as capital and labor, and the productivity of those inputs. Economic growth cannot occur unless the quantity of inputs increases, productivity improves, or both.  To achieve a poor people friendly economic growth requires an efficient legal system that will protect property rights and enforces equal opportunity contracts. The PMDC will develop a mechanism that will reduce the cost of transactions and promote institutional and regulatory framework that will encourage healthy competition and create jobs.

 

 ENERGY AND POWER

In Sierra Leone , our children are in constant celebration and gloomy moods over the constant coming and going of power. This abiku [coming and going] power condition is what the PMDC is bent on changing when it comes to power through your hard work and votes. We all know that without electricity there will be no industrialization. Statistics have shown that only 35 – 40% of Sierra Leoneans have access to clean drinking water in the abundance of natural source of water—rivers and heavy rainfalls. There should be no excuse for the sporadic existence of these basic tools of development. Most industries are dependent on electricity and water to function. The mushrooming wireless phone companies you are witnessing today in Sierra Leone are simply because the technology for them to function depends less on electricity and water. It means that we are a friendly people who would easily attract investors if we have the basic tools for them to operate.

 

AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PRODUCTION

The geographical position and historical accounts of Sierra Leone naturally make it an agricultural society. Thus, we were exporters of rice and a host of many other agricultural products. It is a historical fact that we introduced rice farming in the American South.

 

 

The PMDC Wash. Executive

 

The PMDC knows that agriculture should not be limited to only food production for consumption, but also the creation of jobs for farmers and farm workers thereby ensuring sustainable national economic growth. Under a PMDC government, the agricultural sector shall be restructured and adequately equipped to ensure the production of sufficient food to meet the needs of the people and boost foreign exchange reserves through export.

 

 

A PMDC government will radically reorganize the Agricultural Sector in favor of mechanization to move our farmers from the current subsistence farming to self-sufficient mechanized farming. The restructuring will also take onboard large scale live – stock rearing and fish farming as well as revamping agricultural cooperatives and Trade Fairs. This is why the PMDC intents to revisit the land tenure system. Previous governments have used the land tenure as a falsehood to claim an agrarian attribute to themselves, especially in the interest of gaining votes.

 

The Movement shall play a greater role to ensure that our womenfolk in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products get the necessary legal safeguards to achieve gender parity in benefits and foster national growth and prosperity.

 

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Historically, nations have struggled to survive by agricultural economy alone without manufacturing. This condition places us in an apprenticeship position in the global economy—the production of raw material for the industrialized and manufacturing economies of the world. We have to change that by embarking on not just agriculture, but also manufacturing industries. This is the only way we will not ship all of our produce abroad, but produce finish products for export as well. For example, take a small retail bag of coffee and compare it price to a bushel of coffee, only then you will wake up to the realization that we will make more money and create more jobs to strengthen the national economy by investing in manufacturing industries.

 

Small businesses and manpower are the engines of our economy. They create and sustain employment and provide flexibility and innovation for all sectors of the economy. PMDC will create a small business friendly economy. A Small Businesses Commissionwill be set up to examine government interventions, monitor the progress of small businesses and keep their needs on the government’s agenda.

 

Shortages of skilled and trained labor have slowed down the development of firms and small businesses stifling wealth creation. The PMDC therefore will create and sustain employment and provide flexibility and innovation for all sectors of the economy. The PMDC will disposition the country favorably to help reverse brain drain.

 

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION

The lack of proper transportation seriously stifles our economic development and causes a concentration of young able-bodied men and women in the diamond producing areas and the big towns thereby making havens for those the SLPP Secretary General described as raray boys. The PMDC will improve the transport and communications sector in order to boost trade and inspire productivity.

 

PMDC will embark upon an extensive program of road rehabilitation and construction of new roads to bring communities closer to each other and accelerate exchange of goods, services and ideas.

 

The postal service is in shambles; letters, especially from abroad, hardly reach their destination without being pilfered. The PMDC will make sure that the integrity of mails is restored and maintained.

 

In the area of telecommunications, PMDC will pursue policies to ensure advancement in technology and competitiveness in the provision of services for greater customer satisfaction at reasonable tariffs. 

 

MARINE AND FISHERIES RESOURCES

We have a coastline of about 506km and a territorial sea frontier of 200 nautical miles, rich in seafood, yet the people cannot enjoy seafood protein in their diet.

 

The PMDC government will encourage innovative fishing techniques and exploitations of our rich marine resources. The PMDC will also encourage investment in the fishing industry to attract well-meaning investors, ensure/assure quality and allow monitoring and controlling of our aquatic resources.

 

EDUCATION

Sierra Leone has a low literacy rate of about 31 per cent. Our children strive on badly written pamphlets instead of textbooks. Our classrooms facilities are inadequate. Our teachers are not being paid on time. Evening classes for extra money have become the norm in Sierra Leone because of slow payment of and inadequacy of teacher salaries. Basic education in Sierra Leone has become a privilege as opposed to a right. The PMDC will change this state of condition. For there will be no true progress in the absence of proper education of the population at large. Once the PMDC fully addresses the inadequacies and updates the school system, it will make it a civil or a felony infraction of the law through a parliamentary legislation on those who will not send there children to school.

 

 

A cross section of PMDC supporters

 

“Education should be constructed on two bases: morality and prudence. Morality in order to assist virtue, and prudence in order to defend you against the vices of others. In tipping the scales toward morality, merely produce dupes and martyrs. In tipping it the other way, you produce egotistical schemers.” If the education we acquired were guided by such preceding dictum of W. S. Mervin, we would not have had Roberto da Matta’s on corruption in Sierra Leone : “Corruption is never an individual act. It always involves groups of people bound by one fundamental rule of association: an exchange of favors. This collective corruption is founded on traditional morality, well-established friendships and the opportunity at hand. It allows crimes to be practiced with impunity and is characterized by an intolerable arrogance.” Take the “ghost teacher” scandals as an example.

 

Inasmuch as education is very important, improper education can be dangerous to society as well, and what we have in Sierra Leone is the dangerous type of education or none at all. The few government institutions produce egotistical citizens on the other hand. Thus, we have the two extremes that produce the perfect recipe for Da Matta’s description of corruption.

 

The PMDC would embark on the business of breeding a new generation of educated citizens, and an aggressive adult education in civics studies. Very few Sierra Leoneans can read the entire national anthem or recite the pledges of allegiance. But majority of  Sierra Leoneans can recite the entire Koran and Bible verses. Imagine if we have a balanced high morality education and proper civic education? That is exactly what the PMDC will do; to appoint people to ministerial positions who would combine the fear of God with good work ethics. Mission schools have trained, over time, many Sierra Leoneans, and we all know how well mission schools were run. The PMDC will therefore continue to encourage them to continue their good work but also encourage them to meet us half way with the bills of running their schools to allow government to focus on civic education. Government will build more government schools and will take over those mission schools who cannot meet their financial obligations.

 

In many other countries, parents pay dearly to send their children to mission schools, which are often called private schools because government only subsidize them. The missionaries run the schools like business. The PMDC will ensure that there are enough and well-operated free basic education institutions that would focus their attention on the agenda of training virtues leaders, and provide optional religious studies. PMDC is bent on taking grassroots approach in solving the problems that have diminished our allegiance for our country.

 

HEALTH

Good health system is virtual non-existence. As a medical doctor and having worked in the medical service in Sierra Leone , my observation is that massive efforts are expended on the public aspect of health than on the hospitals. And they are mostly World Bank projects; the polio campaign, maternal and child health etc. Though these are very necessary, they allow our health planners to concentrate more on public health at the expense of hospital health care. This causes the hospitals to deteriorate and become more like hospices than health care facilities. They are like roach motels where patients can only check in, but cannot check out. The neglect of hospital health care causes Sierra Leoneans to seek specialized medical attention in foreign countries, nonetheless that we have well-trained specialists. Most of the doctors we train in Sierra Leone leave the country upon completion because we cannot afford them.

 

I crave your indulgence to listen to Mrs. Theresa Ofong’s anecdote of her recent experience—she sponsored a sister here in the US from Sierra Leone for medical emergency; let her tell us how and why. You will see why hospital health is of extreme importance. Hers is better evidence, but whatever she says, PMDC will include in its “Positive Change” agenda.

 

Because of bad governance in Sierra Leone and continues hopeless condition for the youth population, it was sad news that our womenfolk went up to the finals in 4×400 Meters relay in the Commonwealth Games, in Australia, only to abandon the games and blend in the host society that cares for its youth at the last minute. On the other hand, they chose to do so over winning a possible gold medal because of no confidence in Sierra Leone and no allegiance to its flag. That is because of the dangerous type of education we discuss earlier that our leaders provide for our youths. The most oppressed people in the world in Cuba demonstrate more allegiance for their nation. Even those in the Diaspora are steadfast, constantly fighting, in pursuit of democracy for Cuba . What we will witness when Cuba achieves democracy is an exodus of Cubans across the Florida Keys akin to Moses’ “Let My People Go” across the Red Sea when democracy returns to Cuba .

Before I end my presentation, permit me to ask just few questions that require simple answers:

 

Do you want change?

Can we get change?

Do you want change through the PMDC?

Now I am confident enough to ask you for a favor:

 

VOTE PMDC COME 2007!

 

Thank you all for coming out today.

THE NORTH TURNS OUT ORANGE FOR PMDC

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

 

Friday March 25, 2006

First_Name:  J. Alusine
Last_Name:  Kamara
Email_Address:  jalusinekamara@yahoo.com
Address:  Kingtom
City:  Freetown
State:  Sierra Leone
Zip_Code:  23222
Comments:  THE NORTH TURNS OUT ?ORANGE’ FOR THE PMDC

BY J. ALUSINE KAMARA
E-MAIL: jalusinekamara@yahoo.com

When the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) sensitization team spearheaded by Engineer Abubakarr Kamara and erstwhile SLPP Member of Parliament, Mrs. Rebecca Mballu Conteh, now Interim National Women’s Leader of the PMDC left Freetown for the Northern Province on Wednesday, 8th March, 2006, they were unprepared for the effusive welcome that greeted them on every stop on the way.

Travelling to Bombali, Tonkolili, Kambia and Port-Loko Districts, they were warmly received by well-organized and targeted groups of opinion makers who lost no time in expressing their gratitude to God for the divine intervention the PMDC had come to represent. For to long, they said, they had been bandied about by the two political Parties presently enjoying center-stage. Corruption and bad governance had, yo-yo like, swung from one discredited party to the other as rogue politicians played ?musical chairs’ with the destin of the country. Recycling of political garbage which had continued unabated was destined to end with the Movement’s promotion of moral tenets of governance.

Pa. Alimamy Koroma observed in Binkolo that the change he believes the PMDC promises will be positive and meaningful, with an improved standard of living, equal justice, probity and accountability ending the era of impunity. He had no doubt the Movement was on course to end the suffering of the marginalized people.

Engineer Abubakarr Kamara was introduced at every stop of the tour as a progressive and patriotic Sierra Leonean, who is of the belief that Sierra Leone should always come first. Although resident in the United States of America (USA) for over thirty (30) years, Engineer Abubakarr makes a trip home at least twice a year to visit his people, listen to their problems and sometimes solve them as best he could. He was not a ?Johnny-Come Lately’ (JCL) who would, butterfly-like fly in seeking ?political nectar’, and then return when his appetite is not satisfied.

As a matter of fact, it was stated that Engineer Abubakarr had at the urging of his mother, constructed two (2) Mosques, one at Back Street, Cassava Farm, Kissy and another at Grassfield, Kissy. This besides being an active participant in the Sierra Leone Relief Agency of California USA, which has an on going development relationship with the Scarcies Secondary School, in Kambia District.

After he had sought and lost the leadership for the SLPP together with Charles Margai, Abubakarr had teamed up with him to go on a ?thank you’ tour across the country. This unprecedented move was highly appreciated by the electorate as a singular demonstration of gratitude which was responded to by the masses who then mandated them to form their own party.

People were impressed with the PMDC’s sensitization team everywhere they stopped. Significant of note also was the presence of Mrs. Rebecca Conteh in the team. That she had sacrificed the ?sweets of office’ guaranteed political opportunists for a new party was in itself commendable.

Speaking in Makeni, the former SLPP M.P. reminded those who knew her well of the fact she would present a party for acceptance by the people only if she believed it offered the best solution to their problems. There were other political Parties one of which she had belonged to but since that same Party had woefully failed the nation, she saw no need to be a part of it. Only fools, she said would fail to change when it is obvious failure stares in the face.

While speaking in Magburaka, Alhaji Issa Munu, once a towering figure in the SLPP’s Northern axis said the PMDC portends setting aside the regional divisions that rogue politicians had used to exploit the people. The PMDC, he stressed, would be like a ?combra’ to all as it lives its promise to be always equitable and fair. This sensitization exercise was therefore intended to enlighten the people as well as give them hope. A speaker, who is commonly known as Ta-Taikeh – meaning ?Una lef’, in the Temne language, also told the Magburaka gathering about a proverb which literally translated means,  “If a child knows how clean to wash his hands, he will be able to eat with grown-ups.” The PMDC should therefore be groomed in a way that would make it a Party of choice.

Mr. Karimu Turay said he had always been allergic to politics until he heard of the PMDC. Politics in Sierra Leone had been a game of round-robin with non-starters. He was thus happy to be at the gathering and would go out and evangelize with the people to tell them a new dawn is born. He had not gotten involved in politicking before due to lack of trust, because as he succinctly put it in a parable, “you don’t hold a stick in your hand and then beckon a dog to come and eat”

When the people in Matotoka complained to the entourage that they had seen the water which flows by them directed to Makeni without considering their needs, Engineer Abubakarr told them that the complaint was noted, and would be addressed when campaigning starts. Another complaint from Matotoka was that there was an uncoordinated influx of miners in the area who were without proper documentation.

The turn-out in Binkolo was very heartening as it comprised enthusiastic leaders of thought in the community. They wished the entourage to know that the days of, ?Mi papa im party’, tribalism and other societal ills were over and that what they wanted was the refreshing beginning the PMDC epitomized. As a cross-section of elders, youths and women listening with rapt attention, the ideology and conception of the PMDC was lucidly explained as being borne of a desire to meet the crying need for positive change.

Even though the team had not scheduled a stop at Mafaray – a town some 5 miles away from Binkolo, it was prevailed upon to make the trip, where a very pleasant surprise awaited it. As the crowd rushed to greet, the team was presented with a freshly cut palm kernel bunch, and two brooms – which are representative of the Party’s symbol. This act said it all even without singing and rejoicing with a song, which translated from the Limba dialect meant, “what God has destined, no man can ever change”

Speaker after speaker in Mafaray went out of the way to emphasize that as a people, the Limbas were very hard to make up their minds but, that once they do so, they keep to their vows. They were confident, according to one Mr. Abdul Bangura, that the negativism that once plagued the body-politic in present day Sierra Leone would be no more.

Although the task force arrived in Kamakiwe in the evening a sizeable crow of opinion leaders quickly assembled to hear Engineer Abubakarr admonish them to have faith as they await a new beginning. Hon Rebecca Conteh recounted that her decision to be a part of the Movement was based on convictions about its orientation. With an ideological bent focused on patriotic honesty of purpose, she said, what the PMDC stood for was what factored her decision.

J. Alusine Kamara, also a member of the task force then went on to dramatically explain the distinguishing difference separating the PMDC from malfunctioning political entities prevailing in the country.

Spreading out the two(2) brooms and the bunch of Palm Fruits thoughtfully provided by the people of Mafaray to outline the Movement’s symbol, Kamara observed that unlike other Parties’ symbols such as the APC’s red sun, the SLPP’s palm tree, PDP’s stars etc, the PMDC’s symbol features what can be physically carried around and handed over to supporters to touch and partake of its fruit. All were then invited to ?experience the difference’ by coming forward to touch and feel an integral part of it. This was done with relish.

N’Daimoh Turay prayed for God’s guidance as the Movement and its leadership promote the good governance Sierra Leoneans yearn for. She was optimistic that the PMDC will not prove ungrateful and uncaring as some other party she would rather not mention had been. Kabala people, she promised, were waiting for final registration of the Movement for them to show the world what they could do.

Moseray Sawanneh, alias ?JP’ a former strong man of the SLPP in the District, and who while shifting his allegiance to the PMDC had dramatically pronounced, “As of midnight last night, I was an SLPP member, .. As of 8:00am to-day, I still was,.. But, as of now,… I AM PMDC”, was again at his eloquent best.

He had been under undue and unrelenting pressure to rescind his decision with threats about relieving him of his Justice of the Peace (JP) status. Although being a JP accorded him the right to adjudicate over his people’s litigation he was willing to sacrifice all as it would in the long run turn out to be worth the sacrifice.

On the way to Kabala from Makeni the team had a vehicular breakdown at a town called Gbomsamba. A Young Generation activist in the entourage, Tommy Kargbo, approached a lady in the town with a view to sensitizing her about the Movement. The lady drew a blank stare until she was informed it was the Charles Margai-led Movement. The reaction was immediate and electrifying. She started jumping up and down, screaming for others to join her by saying “Dem don cam! Dem don cam!”

In no time at all a small crowd had converged, wanting to be fed the good news. As in all gathering however, there was one dissenter who claimed he would remain an APC diehard till death. Others in the crowd assured the team he would be converted in due course.