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Archive for August, 2010

APC New Jersey Secretary General and 9 others seriously injured in road accident

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Published on August 30, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   4 Comments

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By Kabs Kanu :

The Secretary General of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) New Jersey Branch, Mr. Alimamy Turay and  nine other people , including four other Sierra Leoneans resident in New Jersey, escaped death yesterday in a ghastly motor accident at Franklin Township , Somerset .

The accident occured yesterday afternoon at Route 27 near the WAWA Supermarket  with  a chain reaction of  crashes involving vehicles travelling from the opposite direction , one of which was an SUV driven by Mr. Turay  ( See photo ). Franklin Township Police do not know  how the accident happened and what caused it , and are still investigating.

Sierra Leoneans admitted at the Robertwood Johnson University with serious injures are Mr. Turay , and Madams Memuna Sheriff (Who is still in intensive care ) and Binta Turay. The other passengers  Haja  Fanta Sheriff  and Pa. Issa were  treated and discharged. All the admitted victims had to undergo surgery.

Investigators from the Police Department’s Traffic Safety Bureau and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office’s Crash Analysis and Reconstruction Team and Rescue Squad units responded to the accident  scene and took the victims to the RobertWood Johnson University Hospital for treatment.

When the news broke out, dozens of Sierra Leoneans stormed the hospital’s Emergency Room to sympathize with the victims but they were not able to see them as they had been busy undergoing emergency surgery.

Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations,  Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu , visited the victims at the hospital today. He sympathized with the victims and consoled family members and party stalwarts.  He also called and briefed the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the U.S, Mr. Bockarie Stevens and the Charge D’Affairs and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Sierra Leone UN Mission , Mr. Rupert Davies, who were hearing about the accident for the first time from him.

Karefa-Smart’s Death Is A Big Loss To The Nation

Friday, August 27th, 2010

By Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu :

By the death yesterday of veteran politician, Dr. John Karefa-Smart,  Sierra Leone has lost not only a distinguished son of the soil but  a captivating, colorful , influential, historic ,enticing , enigmatic , brilliant , outstanding and legendary politician and public servant who has definitely left indelible footprints on the political  landscape of the country and the academic bastions of the world.Some men are  born great while others achieve greatness. In Karefa’s case, it was both. Dr. Karefa -Smart snatched  the limelight even before he entered politics  in 1957 ( when he was elected to Parliament) . He was one of the most highly and best educated Sierra Leoneans  and Africans of all times . He earned a B.A degree at Fourah Bay College in 1936 ; a  B.S. from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, United States in 1940. From Otterbein, he got  his Medical degree  and C.M. in 1944 and  from McGill University in Montreal, a  Diploma in Tropical Medicine in 1945 , followed by a  Masters degree in Public Health from Harvard University in Boston in 1948 .He was a man of impressive letters yet remained the most humble person imaginable.

With his fascinating education, Dr. Karefa-Smart passed on his rich learning to students in many universities all over the world, including Ivy League U.S. institutions of higher learning like  Columbia University and  Harvard , in various positions as a  Fellow or Professor.

As a high-flying politician, he served as Minister of Lands, Mines and Labour , Minister of  Defence and Foreign Minister , while also acting as Prime Minister on many occasions.

He was tailor-made to be President of Sierra Leone but was cheated off his biggest prize by the gestapo politics of yester years in Sierra Leone. After the death of the first Prime Minister ,Sir Milton Margai in 1964 , he was constitutionally next in the line of succession but the then ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Government manipulated the constitution and had the PM  replaced instead by his younger brother, Sir Albert Margai. Karefa remained undaunted .

Dr. Karefa-Smart’s problems with gutter politics in Sierra Leone continued in 1970 when with the solid backing of other political icons like Dr. Mohamed Sorie Forna and Ibrahim Bash-Taqi who had resigned from the All People’s Congress (APC) Government headed by Dr.Siaka Stevens , he formed a strongly-supported grassroots party, the United Democratic  Party ( UDP) , which was on the verge of eclipsing Siaka Stevens from the political stage.  The UDP was the fastest growing new political party ever founded in Sierra Leone after people became disenchanted with Shaki. Realising the waves of support the UDP and Karefa-Smart had stirred up in the nation in so short a time , Dr.Stevens banned the UDP , accusing it of spreading chaos in the country , arrested its leaders and forced Karefa to flee abroad into exile.

Though he remained in exile for long, Dr. Karefa-Smart did not give up. He resurfaced in Sierra Leone to contest the war-time 1996 Presidential Elections when he  defeated the eventual winner , the SLPP’s Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah , in the first round of the polls but could not win clearly enough to avoid a runoff. He was a victim of  undisputed cheating and dirty political wrangling and subterfuge with the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP SORBEH ) forming a coalition with the SLPP to add to the problems that thwarted Dr. Karefa’s United National People’s Party (UNPP) from clinching the Presidency , which had come ever so close yet so far. Though born great and though  he achieved greatness, yet greatness could not be thrust  on him by the rascals that passed for politicians. Unbelievably, he was the first man the SLPP  had tapped to be their presidential candidate but as if he had a jinx for the presidency , he refused the offer  , which was then made to the outsider, Pa Tejan Kabbah, who ended up winning and becoming President . If Karefa had accepted the SLPP offer, he would have become our next President after Maada Bio. But for the sake of his moral principles , Karefa-Smart refused to accept an offer from a party that had manipulated the constitution in 1964 to deny him the Premiership. He also contested and lost the 2002 Presidential Elections to President Kabbah.

Dr. Karefa-Smart will be remembered for his fiery contributions in parliament and his tough , principled stand on matters of national interest.  He was noted for being unwavering and unbending when it came to issues  he considered matters of principle. He was not afraid of pursuing any battle which, by his thinking,  hinged on principles.

He was the last surviving member of the  breed of  political warhorses of  the old order who once dominated Sierra Leone politics, including some others like  the late H.C. Bankole-Bright, I.T.A .Wallace-Johnson, Ibrahim Taqi, Mohamed Sorie Forna,  L.A. M .Brewah,  Salia Jusu- Sheriff, Siaka Stevens,  S.I. Koroma , Teacher R.E.S. Lagawo , Mannah Kpaka etc.

Dr. Karefa-Smart will also be remembered for his biting  wit , humour and words of wisdom . He was an engaging speaker and debater and not even  his advanced age made him  lose his sound thinking and sharp observation. I remember when I interviewed him for his 90th birthday six years ago. He was so meticulous over even petty details he stopped me many times in the middle of questions to put things in their right perspectives .

The diamond of Sierra Leone politics did lose its lustre yesterday when Dr. John Karefa-Smart died. Dr.Karefa-Smart has left a vacuum that will never be filled. The irreplacable politician will forever remain in the minds of those he has left behind.

May his soul rest in peace.

WATCH KAREFA-SMART SPEAK : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCIjZxIkgtQ

Dr. John Karefa-Smart has passed away

Friday, August 27th, 2010

August 27, 2010 | Filed under: Breaking News,National News | Posted by: Cocorioko Newspaper
Sierra Leone’s octogenarian political icon, Dr. John Karefa-Smart , died this evening at 8: 25 pm in Freetown . The Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN was immediately informed after one of the greatest sons of the land breathed his last .
Dr. Karefa-Smart was living in the U.S .until a few weeks ago when after previously becoming  gravely ill , he  was admitted at a hospice in Connecticut, from where he was taken to Freetown . He  was diagnosed with a medical condition that gave him only a single month to live and family members and President Ernest Bai Koroma honoured the late man’s wishes to enter his twilight hours in his motherland.
SIERRA LEONE UN MISSION DELEGATION WITH DR.KAREFA-SMART AND HIS WIFE AT THE HOSPICE IN CONNECTICUT BEFORE HE WAS FLOWN TO SIERRA LEONE
The Permanent Representative to the United Nations , Mr. Shekou Toure,   went to Connecticut with a delegation from the  Sierra Leone Mission to visit the the veteran politician at his sick bed at which time he was said to have become so rejuvenated by the visit that , though he had been very weak and silent, he developed some amazing strength and gave what the delegation described as a very enlightening and educative political discourse during which the old political warhorse narrated his long , colorful and often controversial political history. He became his old confident self and even joked that he and his wife will be attending Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations in Freetown next April.
 John Karefa-Smart (center-left in photo) sat with his wife Rena Karefa-Smart (center-right) and two friends, Arthur Pulley (left) and Bernice Cosey Pulley (right).
Dr. Karefa-Smart was flown to Sierra Leone at the tail end of July , with President Koroma ensuring that he was given a special residential quarters and a  VIP treatment . He remained his optimistic self until he went to be with his ancestors this evening.
We will bring you full details of  funeral arrangements soon.
PHOTO :   Dr. Karefa-Smart
© 2010, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

Dr. John Karefa-Smart has passed away

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Published on August 27, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   8 Comments

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Sierra Leone’s octogenarian political icon, Dr. John Karefa-Smart , died this evening at 8: 25 pm in Freetown . The Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN was immediately informed after one of the greatest sons of the land breathed his last .

Dr. Karefa-Smart was living in the U.S .until a few weeks ago when after previously becoming  gravely ill , he  was admitted at a hospice in Connecticut, from where he was taken to Freetown . He  was diagnosed with a medical condition that gave him only a single month to live and family members and President Ernest Bai Koroma honoured the late man’s wishes to enter his twilight hours in his motherland.

SIERRA LEONE UN MISSION DELEGATION WITH DR.KAREFA-SMART AND HIS WIFE AT THE HOSPICE IN CONNECTICUT BEFORE HE WAS FLOWN TO SIERRA LEONE

The Permanent Representative to the United Nations , Mr. Shekou Toure,   went to Connecticut with a delegation from the  Sierra Leone Mission to visit the the veteran politician at his sick bed at which time he was said to have become so rejuvenated by the visit that , though he had been very weak and silent, he developed some amazing strength and gave what the delegation described as a very enlightening and educative political discourse during which the old political warhorse narrated his long , colorful and often controversial political history. He became his old confident self and even joked that he and his wife will be attending Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations in Freetown next April.

 John Karefa-Smart (center-left in photo) sat with his wife Rena Karefa-Smart (center-right) and two friends, Arthur Pulley (left) and Bernice Cosey Pulley (right).

Dr. Karefa-Smart was flown to Sierra Leone at the tail end of July , with President Koroma ensuring that he was given a special residential quarters and a  VIP treatment . He remained his optimistic self until he went to be with his ancestors this evening.

We will bring you full details of  funeral arrangements soon.

PHOTO :   Dr. Karefa-Smart

APC Philadelphia Chapter stages thrilling Fundraising Dinner

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The All People’s Congress ( APC ) Philadelphia Chapter staged a thrilling  Fundraiser Dinner and Dance at the Inez Hall, 624 South 62nd Street, Philadelphia on Friday  night.

The occasion was attended by a galaxy of distinguished personalities who included the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Richard Konteh, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States , Mr. Bockarie Kortu Stevens , Sierra Leone’s Consul-General in Philadelphia , Mr. Methuselah Z.O. Bradley IV, the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations, Mr. Leeroy Wilfred  Kabs-Kanu and the Chairman of the APC North America Branch, Mr. Aziz Turay.

 

APC FUND-RAISING COORDINATOR MOHAMED LAMIN FOFANAH  DANCING WITH MADAM YABOM KOROMA THE PRESIDENT OF THE APC WASHINGTON CHAPTER

Also present at the occasion were the President of the Washington DC Chapter Mrs. Yabom Thaslim Koroma ; the Fundraising Coordinator  of the APC-NA, Mr. Mohamed Lamin Fofana and  Fundraising Director Victor Simbo , the President of the New Jersey Chapter , Mr. Allie Badara Kamara, the Regional Director (East Coast ) of the APC -NA, Mr. Foday Mansaray, APC-NA Women’s Leader, Mrs. Mary Jay Bangura, the President of the APC Philadelphia/Delaware Chapter, Mr. Kebbie Turay, the Secretary General , Mr. Sam Dilito Turay,  and other top party officials Ms. Abie Bangalie-Mansaray (Queen Abie ) ,  Dr. John Samba and Santigi Koroma ( New Jersey), Madam Mamusu Conteh-Luke , Rev. Alusine Lovell Koroma , Professor Michael Dillo Sesay, Rev. Joseph Mojoko Koroma of Faith Weslyan Church , Darby, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Maimunatou Conteh , the VP of the APC Philadelphia/ Delaware/South NJ Mr. Sheka Kamara , Mr. Kabba Kamara etc.etc.

FROM LEFT : AMBASSADOR STEVENS, MINISTER KONTEH AND APC-NA LEADER AZIZ TURAY

There were exciting performances by gospel-singing star,  Vicky Fornah who sang her new release ” Put your country first ” and the Rapture Kids who thrilled the audience with two of their releases , the second one an instructive song on  behavioral and attitudinal change , which got the crowd on its feet .There was also an entertaining act -cum Special fund raising activity by Bangura Zozo of the famous Professional Drama Group. Dressed like the Late Lord Bongo, he cracked jokes about Sierra Leoneans and comically mimicked the intonation of some of Sierra Leone’s leading tribes including the Mende, Temne, Krio , Limba and Fula. The hall rocked with laughter as it did also when APC official, Mr. Victor Simbo, told a joke on the SLPP Presidential candidate , Maada Bio, who challenged God . Another person who won applause was Miss Yabu Sesay, the daughter of Professor Dillo Sesay who thrilled everybody with her rich, melodious voice singing the American National Anthem.

The floor was also given to government and party officials  to discuss  various topics.

Mr. Kebbie Turay welcomed the guests on behalf of the Chapter and gave a brief statement on the activities and goals of the the Philadelphia Chapter. Also making remarks was the APC -NA Women’s Leader, Mrs. Mary Jay Bangura. Opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Philadelphia/Delaware Chapter President Sam Saidu was  also slated to talk but he did not attend the occasion.

Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, who was also one of the grand chief patrons of the occasion , was called upon to brief the occasion about the Media and the Elections. In his presentation, Hon. Kabs-Kanu said that one of the biggest achievements of President Ernest Koroma in Sierra Leone is in the area of press freedom, which is one of the best in the world. He stated that there are over 50 newspapers in the country and most of them are opposition papers which are uncensored and are free to write whatever they want against the government . Since President Koroma came to power, he went on, no journalist has been arrested or his newspaper offices raided as it happened in the past.

 CONSUL -GENERAL BRADLEY AND HIS DAUGHTER AT THE HIGH TABLE

He however noted that many Sierra Leoneans were misguided about what press freedom entailed. He said that some people think that press freedom means only the freedom to attack, criticize, stigmatize and defame the government .They do not believe that the government too has a right to defend itself and set right the concoctions and lies of the opposition press. For press freedom to be complete , he said, the people must be provided the opportunity to hear all sides of the spectrum , including the government’s version of events . This is what democracy is about. He emphasized that citizens  have a right to to know as much as possible  about the government’s plans, activities and achievements in order to be effective members of the society.Secondly, if citizens are not well informed about what the government is doing and how their taxes are being used , they will not be encouraged to perform their civic duties,  like paying taxes or helping in development projects  .

 FROM RIGHT : MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE, KABS-KANU, YABOM KOROMA, AZIZ TURAY AND MARY J. BANGURA

The Minister warned that if the pro-government media are not heard and they fail to highlight the government’s commitment to its campaign promises and the development of the country while the opposition media is engaged in its intense campaign of lies and misinformation , eventually all the negativity and lies will poison  the minds of the people and create anarchy and chaos in the country, which nobody wants, because Sierra Leoneans are tired of conflicts.  He disclosed that the pro-government media is being effectively positioned for the forthcoming electioneering campaign and right now, the readership of the government media is increasing by leaps and bounds . Everybody wants to know what the government is doing  because it makes them happy when they learn that things are improving in their country . This also helps them to decide   whether to go back and help rebuild the country.  The Minister also said that those who have studied Journalism also know that good news sells more than bad and negative news. People are more inclined to listen to positive and encouraging news about their country, which is why newspapers like COCORIOKO  have very wide readerships. He however advised government and  partisans to help the media do its job more effectively by continuing to support it morally and otherwise and he challenged partisans to  write  articles to help propagate the activities and achievements of the government. “Don’t leave the work in our hands alone “, he appealed .

MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY KABS KANU AND THE QUEEN OF THE APC-NA ABI BANGALIE-MANSARAY

Ambassador Bockarie Stevens , in his remarks, enjoined partisans not to just   be going around saying  that the APC  will win the forthcoming elections but to work very hard to bring the victory to pass. He said that there was still a lot of work to be done at grassroots level because this 2012 polls  will be a very difficult election . He stated that if the issue will hinge only on achievements , President Koroma will win by a landslide. He however advised  partisans that not everybody votes based on the achievements of the candidates. Many people, he said, vote  on tribal, regional and other considerations. It was therefore the duty of partisans to work very hard to convince people to vote for President Koroma because of all his socio-economic and political developments . He called on everybody to get busy with whatever tool they have to campaign to their relatives in Sierra Leone.

The Ambassador dwelt on a matter of grave concern– the vicious propaganda that was being  waged against the country by some opposition members in the diaspora. Ambassador Stevens complained that these citizens are busy calling prospective investors and businesses to tell them  not to go to Sierra Leone to invest because there is going to be chaos in the country during the elections.He said many people who could have gone to the country to invest have been made to change their minds. Some called the Sierra Leone Embassy to express fears about what they are being told that there would be chaos during the elections. The Ambassador charged partisans to help  refute this unpatriotic propaganda . He said that the elections will be credible, free and fair and the government had created the enabling environment for this by putting in place structures that will make the elections free , fair and peaceful.

 FROM RIGHT MADAM YABOM KOROMA , THE APC WASHINGTON CHAPTER PRESIDENT AND MARY J. BANGURA, THE WOMEN’S LEADER

Ambassador Stevens praised the media for its good work and also asked for support for the institution. He also  lauded the Consul General Mr. Methuselah Z.O. Bradley IV for his efforts to showcase Sierra Leone and motivate investors to go to Sierra Leone. He announced that he would soon appoint consul generals in  Canada, California and Minnesota.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Richard Konteh, outlined all the achievements of President Ernest Koroma while  stating why there should be no runoffs in November. He said that President Koroma’s peers in Africa respect him very highly which was why they elected him Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States responsible for UN Security Council Reform. Even his collegues know that to succeed in their quest for Africa  to have seats in the UN Security Council , they needed a man of integrity and character to head such the C-10.  He also said that President Koroma was ranked the 9th best President in Africa. The Minister also told his audience that the International Finance Corporation ( IFC ) , a member of the World Bank Group which  finances and provides advice for private sector ventures and projects in developing countries,  ranked Sierra Leone 6th among the 10 leading reformers of the world.

 

 

HIGH TABLE : SECOND FROM RIGHT -APC-NA REGIONAL DIRECTOR FODAY MANSARAY

Minister Konteh said that “Since President Koroma came to power , even the gods have been happy with Sierra Leone as minerals that had been hidden for long were now being discovered and in five years, Sierra Leone will be an oil producing country”.  He also stated that the World Bank described the Sierra Leone economy as the second fastest growing economy in the world. The minister also said before President Koroma came to power in 2007, Sierra Leone held a permanent position-The last place -in the UN Human Development Index. “Throughout the 11 years of SLPP  rule, Sierra Leone came last” , he stressed , but he said that since President Koroma assumed control in Sierra Leone, the country had gone up the table.

Minister Konteh also highlighted the APC Government’s achievement in the area of the provision of electricity after meeting a nation that was the darkest country in the world. The APC Government increased electricity supply from nearly 10 megawatts to nearly 80 megawatts and with Bumbuna Phase 2 ahead of schedule, another 100 megawatts will be added  and in five years the hydoelectricity dam will be able to provide 350 megawatts.

 

  APC-NA CHIEF AZIZ TURAY DANCING WITH MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE

Minister Konteh joked that even the blind people in Sierra Leone know the difference between the SLPP and the APC, because during the SLPP era, all the roads were full of potholes and were difficult to walk on but today, during the reign of President Koroma , modern and first-class roads have been constructed making life comfortable for drivers and pedestrians.  The minister further joked that during the rule of the SLPP,  it would be the greatest folly to wear a white dress. People preferred brown because the roads were very dusty , but today, they are willing to wear white dresses  because the roads are now very good. “If you ask the SLPP, they will tell you that everything was in the pipeline ; Well, we in the APC  do not just plan, we implement “, he mocked the opposition.

FROM RIGHT : APC NEW JERSEY PRESIDENT ALLIE BADARA KAMARA, DR. JOHN SAMBA AND SANTIGIE KOROMA

The Minister said that under the SLPP, Sierra Leone had the worst maternal and infant mortality rate but in two years since President Koroma introduced free health care for under-5 children and pregnant and lactating women, the APC Government has successfully cut  the rate down by 50%.

The Trade Minister also briefed the guests about the movement from the Agenda For Change to Agenda for Posterity, which he joked that Political Affairs Minister Alpha Kanu has already dubbed” The Agenda For Munafah ” and the “Agenda For Money Nar De Pockit. ” This Agenda For Prosperity is designed  to make Sierra Leone competitive internationally.The minister announced that today in Boston he will be signing a $180 million contract to give Sierra Leone the largest stell industry in Africa,  using our local iron ore. He disclosed also that an Economic Zone is about to be established in Port Loko with the steel industry being one of the industries in the Zone.

The MC, Professor Michael Dillo Sesaysaid that he felt  very proud to be a Sierra Leonean after listening to the Minister. He remonstrated  that there was a lot of good news from Sierra Leone and he thanked President Koroma and government for their outstanding work.

  IN THIS PHOTO , NEW YORK APC MEMBER POSSEH KANU AND HUSBAND AND COUSIN

BELOW- PASTOR LOVELL KOROMA (IN RED) ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS 

GROUP PHOTO : FROM RIGHT : SAM DILITO TURAY , MR. BANGURA, MINISTER KONTEH , KEBBIE TURAY AND FODAY MANSARAY

 

PHOTO : PROFESSOR SESAY AND MEMBERS CHEERING A LITTLE GIRL DANCING

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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President Ernest Koroma believes in one country , one people

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Published on August 26, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

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Written by Sheik Sesay ,  Publisher of the EXCLUSIVE Newspaper   :

Those who have been accusing President Ernest Bai Koroma of regionalism are failing to look at the wider picture of his Presidency, actions, and commitment towards opening up the entire country irrespective of those regions that did not vote for him during the 2007 Presidential elections.

President Ernest Bai Koroma through his actions has proved to be a true believer in the phrase: One People, One Country. Despite what his critic might be tagging him as running “Wusum Stars” as a government, the President has been taking development projects everywhere, even to the strongholds of the opposition parties. Recently, the Head of State was in the eastern city of Kenema where he launched the Smallholders Commercial Programme (SCP), which is a nationwide initiative aimed at increasing the productivity of the agricultural sector in the entire country. The significance of launching this programme in the opposition stronghold is that if the President does not believe that Sierra Leone is one country with one people, he would have launched it in one of the strongholds of his own party.
Contrary to what some of his bitterest critics are accusing him of regionalism, President Ernest Bai Koroma is a man who strongly believes in unity. That is more the reason why he has been engaging in road constructions to link every part of the country so that Sierra Leoneans from every region will be linked and get the feeling that they are living in one country and that they are one people.
The President does not believe in divisive politics that is why even when, during the 2007 campaign, he was ambushed by the people of Segbwema he never bear any grudge against them. When he took over power from those who those at Segbwema were supporting, he did not only go there and visit them but used the opportunity to announce that his government is very much committed to reconstruct the Kailahun-Kenema road, which has been left in a very bad shape by the President’s predecessors. This just shows that the President is a forgiving man and believes in letting bygones be bygones. Had he been very malicious, he would have nursed grudges for the people of Segbwema and Kailahun and leave them to rot.
Also some of the President’s policies and personal interactions with members of the opposition show that he believes in the policy of one country, one people. When the leader of the Minority Party in parliament fell sick, despite he is from the main opposition party, President Ernest Bai Koroma did not say he would not give him helping hand because the man does not belong to his party or the region where he comes from. He tried all he can to make the Honourable Momoh Pujeh regain his health, which the Honourable was so grateful for that he damned some of his party members and showered praises on the Head of State for coming to his rescue at a time when he was at the point of death. When former Vice President Solomon Berewa fell seriously ill and needed to be flown overseas for prompt medical attention, it was the personal intervention of President Koroma that saved the situation and very soon the ex-VP will be home hale and healthy. Despite some people are now arguing that Solomon Berewa is entitled to some benefits because he was a former Vice President. My point is that even if he is entitled to those benefits, if the President had wanted to block them he would have done so by putting a lot of bottlenecks on the way and waited until the former VP had died before the funds are released. The President’s help to both the Minority Leader and former SLPP presidential candidate shows that he strongly believes that he is the father of the nation who should render help to all his children irrespective of political party affiliation.

When the issue of appointing members to the committee that will be responsible for organising the country’s 50th year anniversary, the President did not fill the committee with only members from his party, he appointed people from diverse political backgrounds. That is why in this committee, there are strong SLPP people like the former High Commissioner to Ghana , His Excellency Alie Bangura, and former Information Minister in the past SLPP government in the person of Dr Julius Spencer. What this tells you is that the President believes that Sierra Leone is one country with one people and that anything concerning the country should involve everyone.

True to his belief in the oneness of Sierra Leone , President Ernest Bai Koroma does not discriminate. He has good rapport with some of the ardent critics from the SLPP. Before now, some of his friends were people like the current SLPP chairman John Oponjo Benjamin, and the current  SLPP National Secretary General, Jacob Jusu Saffa aka JJ Blood. Even the chairman of the Kailahun District Council, Tom Nyuma, has personal rapport with the President.  What this tells you? It tells you that the President has friends within the SLPP. So if the President has friends in the main opposition, does that not mean he believes that Sierra Leone is one country with one people?
As I have been writing in support of the President’s Agenda for Change, I am now asking Sierra Leoneans to give Ernest Bai Koroma a chance for a second term for him to complete the things he has started which will be of benefit to all Sierra Leoneans because we are one country, and one people. From what I have stated above, President Ernest Bai Koroma believes in the philosophy of one country, one people so much so that he is reconstructing the roads, improving on the Bumbuna hydro project; improving on his Tractorization policy so that agriculture will improve in the entire country; improving on his free health care service delivery for pregnant women, lactating mothers and Under Five children, and other items on his Agenda for Change.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 August 2010 )

Sierra Leone-London flight catches fire at mid -air but lands safely in Mauritania

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Published on August 26, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   2 Comments

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A airliner that left  Sierra Leone’s Lungi International Airport with 110 passengers onboard bound  for London caught fire at midair yesterday but disaster was averted when the plane made an emergency landing at the Nouachott International Airport in Mauritania. The Boeing 757 ,operated by a subsidiary of BMI , was thousands of feet up in the sky when fire broke out in one of its engines. The pilot immediately sent out a distress call , seeking permission to land at Nouachott.

The plane made a safe landing and passengers were evacuated to the airport terminal while firefighters fought to put out the flame.

All the passengers disembarked without injuries.

It was not immediately known how many Sierra Leoneans were onboard but flights to London often have a good number of Sierra Leoneans heading out for their Summer vacation.

BMI  has already despatched a replacement Airbus A 321 to complete the flight for the passengers.

News Flash : Mrs. Timbo’s husband dies suddenly

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Published on August 26, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   4 Comments

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This shocking news just came in : Dr. Sylvester  Nwokedi, husband of Sierra Leone ‘s Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Isha Timbo-Nwokedi , died last night after suffering a massive heart attack. According to information received, Mr.Nwokedi was hale and hearty yesterday and in bouyant mood but suffered the heart attack during the night at home. Paramedics were summoned and he was rushed to the hospital where he passed away. Those wishing to sympathize now can call  Mrs. Timbo’s mother, Madam Marie Salim at 703-731-5118 ,  her Personal Assistant at  909 658-9050 ,  Gibril Timbo 909-225-0277 and Mamud Timbo at 818-693-4189  . Our heartfelt sympathy to the Goodwill Ambassador and the entire Timbo and Nwokedi families.

Brima Acha Kamara : Once a hero , now a villain

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Published on August 25, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   7 Comments

IGBrimaAchaKamara

Chernor Ojuku Sesay :

Former Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police Force, Brima Acha Kamara is on his way out of the police headquarters at George street after heading that force for seven (7) unbreakable years, the second longest serving IG after the late James Bambay Kamara.

Ever since the Press Release from the Office of the President was released last Friday relieving Brima Acha Kamara as Inspector General, operatives of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) had a field day in lampooning and vilifying Brima Acha. One of the major crimes Acha committed against the SLPP that provokes his vilification by these operatives was the interview he granted to the BBC Focus on Africa programme on September 17th 2007, the day Dr. Christiana Thorpe pronounced Ernest Bai Koroma as the duly elected President of Sierra Leone.

In that interview, Acha narrated the true version that led to the looting of the SLPP office which he attributed to the supporters of the party itself. This angered the SLPP. To them, since it was the SLPP that catapulted him to become IG, sidelining other senior officers like Kandeh Bangura etc. and damning the constitution (Dr. Sama Banya must note this), Acha must always support and defend the SLPP until the Palm Tree is buried, never to rise again. Anything less than that is unacceptable and described as another Judas who can betray his own Lord.

But one may be tempted to ask the question, who is more ungrateful, the SLPP or Brima Acha Kamara? Let’s check our memory bank and see the role Acha played for the SLPP before Monday, September 17, 2007.

In 2005 after the election or selection of Solomon Berewa as the SLPP flag bearer, there was a fracas in Kamakwie between APC supporters and SLPP, provoked by the SLPP big guns at the time including former Prisons Director, Foday Soko Conteh. The APC supporters were thoroughly beaten, rounded and locked up in cells in Makeni and Kamakwie by the police. The APC party executive made representation to Acha complaining the biasness of the police in effecting their arrests as only APC supporters were locked up. Nothing came out of it. To the SLPP, Acha was a hero at that time.

Similar incidents occurred in 2006 in Kambia town and Mambolo in the Kambia district. Again, only the APC supporters bore the brunt. The APC leader, now President Ernest Bai Koroma became so much disgusted with the behaviour of Acha and the police that, he urged the APC supporters to stop complaining to the police but defend themselves when attacked. To the SLPP, Acha was a professional police officer at that time.

Again in 2006, the police arrested and beat up Ernest Koroma’s Personal Assistant, Ibrahim Sesay now the President’s Personal Security and Vallet. They accused him of attempting to kill Solomon Berewa. Ibrahim Sesay’s only crime was to escort his boss (Ernest) to a funeral in Bombali and Berewa coincidentally attended the funeral. Ibrahim was mercilessly beaten, tortured and locked up at the Pademba Road prisons for months, charged with treason. He was bribed Ten million Leones and promised freedom just for him to confess that he was sent by Ernest Koroma to kill Solomon Berewa. Ibrahim refused the offer and was continuously locked up at the Pademba Road prisons. Solomon Berewa was so desperate to become President of Sierra Leone that he was bent on doing everything to achieve that dream. The only saving grace for Sierra Leone was because he, Berewa was still answerable to President Ahmed Tejan Kabba at the time. The police carried out that barbaric act. No qualms. To the SLPP, the police was a Force for Good at that time.

In September 2007, Ernest Koroma and Charles Margai came under very serious attack from SLPP supporters in Segbwema town, the birth place of the current SLPP Chairman, John Benjamin. The stoning was so rapid that it took our supporters over two hours to repel them. Ernest Koroma was injured in the process and his vehicle damaged. The police in Segbwema did nothing and no SLPP supporter was arrested. To the SLPP, the Sierra Leone Police is a shinning example for others in the sub-region to follow.

In Bo, Ernest Koroma was nearly assassinated by Tom Nyuma and his thugs in a hotel. Had it not been for the vigilance of our men under the command of the no-nonsense Idrissa Leather-boot Kamara, it would have been a different story altogether. Yet, it was Leather-boot who was incarcerated with trump-up charges. To the SLPP, the police Inspector General, Brima Acha Kamara has no rival when it comes to competence.

These are just few examples of how Brima Acha Kamara loyally served the SLPP when they were in power. This was how the APC supporters suffered in the hands of the police under Acha’s reign when the SLPP was in power. For these same SLPP supporters to now vilify Acha by calling him all sorts of name smells mischievous and ungratefulness.

Now that the tide has turned, the SLPP was still expecting Acha to dance to their tune, forgetting the fact that the police force is there to serve the government of the day and not the opposition party of the day.

Francis Munu has again started appearing under the scrutiny of the SLPP with false allegations to suit their comfort. For the records, Francis Munu, the new Inspector General of Police is not from Bombali district but from Kambia district and the first to hold that post from the Temne tribe. Past IGs have only been Creoles, Mendes and Limbas.

Let Acha take his rest and have a clear conscience that he has served both governments and the people of Sierra Leone to the best of his abilities. Adieu Acha and welcome Munu.

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay

Brussels

As a sovereign nation, Sierra Leone cherishes her good name

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Published on August 25, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

Sierra-Leone

Sierra Leone may be an underdeveloped country like most of the nations of the world , but whatever our straits , we , as a sovereign nation , still cherish our good name. In  one of William Shakespeare’s  classics , Romeo and Juliet, Juliet soliloquizes  and says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (Act 2, scene 2, lines 43–44).

A  name is a word by which a man is  known.  A man’s character is very important to him. His reputation is what others think of him but his character is who he really is. Shakespeare , in  another of his greatest plays Othello , says  “Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;  ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.”  (Othello”, Act 3 scene 3 ) .

Given the value people and nations  place on their good name, we are sure that our international partners -in-progress can understand where this newspaper is coming from when we say that as a sovereign nation, Sierra Leone  cherishes her good name very much. We are sure that all patriotic Sierra Leoneans will agree with this newspaper that whenever our country is stigmatized unjustly , that is , without concrete proof, we are made even poorer .

Secondly, in  today’s international geopolitical climate , a good name is  everything for a struggling nation beset by economic problems and a fragile political atmosphere. In this scenerio ,  it is not far-fetched to say that a good or bad name is a national security issue  for a struggling country like Sierra Leone where the agents of chaos, anarchy and destabilization are still active.

When officials of countries from whom we expect more evaluate the progress of our national reconstruction and socio-economic and political recovery efforts, we expect them to first try and get tangible proofs of our shortcomings before coming out with  spurrious allegations against our country that destabilizing forces within our borders can misconstrue as tacit endorsement of their vicious propaganda against the government  .In seeking to create a very bad impression about a country without first getting proof, a country’s foreign friend and development partner  could be inadvertently playing our national security  into the hands of forces of destabilization who still desire to provoke chaos in the  country. Malicious propaganda being the first weapon of choice  of  anarchists in a fragile state like Sierra Leone, there is nothing these agents of bedlam and national destabilization cherish more than a donor partner or country making outlandish allegations that undermine the integrity of government.

There is no doubt that Sierra Leoneans of all shades and colour appreciate the indelible efforts of our country’s foreign backers and development partners in not only helping restore peace in the country but working diligently to assist us in achieving sustainable socio-economic and political stability and development. Sierra Leoneans yet unborn will certainly join the present generation in heaping praises and appreciation on  countries and international organizations that have helped to bring us this far.

However,  we as a newspaper , wish to appeal to our partners-in-progress not to be taken in by the diabolical propaganda being orchestrated against the President Ernest Koroma Government by the nebulous detractors trying to smear the image of the country internationally. They must not be too quick to embrace and promote  stereotypical beliefs about us that undermine our character. We want them to judge our nation based on the facts on the ground , not on suspicions or yet unproven facts. If they believe that there is corruption in any sector of government, they must get all their facts in order before making public pronouncements based on mere suspicion or speculation that undermine our self-respect and credibility. Our foreign partners must realize that Sierra Leone, as a  sovereign nation, is entitled to her good name.

Since the Ernest Koroma government came to power, it has been fighting diligently to combat corruption. In recognition of the task it set for itself to end corruption in Sierra Leone ,the government immediately gave the Anti-Corruption Commission full powers and teeth to prosecute those engaged  in corruption. Top officials of government have been indicted for corruption and in cases where they were found guilty were fired from their jobs and forced to pay hefty fines.

The government is not treating corruption with kid gloves.It is just that, as some of these developed nations themselves can confess , based on their own experiences of rampant corruption, the evil seeds of corruption cannot be uprooted from any country easily. It takes diligent time spent prosecuting offenders and re-educating citizens and others living within our borders in the virtues of probity. With the efforts being made by the President to end corruption in Sierra Leone, we will get there. However, it is not an easy job . It will take time.

We enjoin nations who want to see us prosper to help us fight corruption instead of threatening to cut aid to us. This is the essential ingredient of development partnership. Our ears are not closed to suggestions and assistance in formulating the best possible strategies to combat corruprion in Sierra Leone. We still need logistical and technical support in our fight against corruption.

We want donor partners to help us  fight corruption instead of trying to tarnish our  good name , based on mere speculation and suspicion. We  , as a nation, are certainly quite willing to work hand-in-hand with our development partners . We need them as much as they need us. But our good name is equally important to us.