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Archive for September, 2010

President Koroma’s strongest warning yet to APC NA

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

PRESS RELEASE

THE WASHINGTON D.C. APC CHAPTER ELECTIONS DEBACLE HEARING SESSION AND PRESIDENT ERNEST B. KOROMA’S STRONGEST WARNING YET TO NORTH AMERICA A.P.C. BRANCH.

BY AROLYN I. KOROMA, WASHINGTON DC-USA

September 29, 2010

THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN CHAPTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS OF SEPTEMBER 12, 2010, QUAGMIRE REVERBERATED AROUND THE WORLD. ON THE PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO THE U.S. TO ATTEND THE 65TH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION HE TOOK TIME OUT OF HIS BUSY SCHEDULE TO UNDERSTAND OR LISTEN TO BOTH SIDES. (PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS).

THE TWO PRESIDENTS ELECT MRS. YABOM THESLIM SESAY-KOROMA WAS WITH NORTH AMERICA EXECUTIVES WHO WERE COMING TO INTRODUCE HER AS THE WINNER, BUT ALREADY WITH THE PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST KOROMA AT THE MILLENNIUM HOTEL IN NEW YORK, WERE MR. ABDUL BERO KAMARA’S TEAM WHO CAME TO INTRODUCE THEIR PRESIDENT ELECT AS WELL, AND TO REGISTER THEIR CONCERNS REGARDING THE ELECTIONS IRREGULARITIES.

PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST B. KOROMA WAS INTERESTED TO HEAR FROM BOTH SIDES AND ASKED FOR MRS. YABOM THESLIM SESAY-KOROMA’S TEAM.  AT THAT TIME PRESIDENT ELECT MRS.YABOM T. SESAY-KOROMA WAS WITH THE N/A NATIONAL AND NOT WITH HER EXECUTIVES. SHE WAS AT THIS TIME ASKED TO COME IN ROOM 3738 AND JOIN THE ELECTION HEARING SESSION.

PRESIDENT ERNEST B. KOROMA ACTED AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HEARING SESSION. HE STARTED HIS OPENING REMARKS BY RECOGNIZING THE FACT THAT MRS. YABOM THESLIM SESAY-KOROMA WAS ALONE. AS A RESULT THE SPEAKERS MUST BE LIMITED TO ONLY THOSE PRESENTING THE ELECTION CASE, HE CANNOT COMPROMISE THAT, THE PRESIDENT SAID.

THE ISSUE OF THE ELECTION MUST BE FOCUS ON THE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS, BECAUSE THAT WAS ONE AREA BOTH PRESIDENTS ELECT AGREED, SAID PRESIDENT KOROMA (CHAIRMAN).

MRS. YABOM SESAY-KOROMA WAS ACCOMPANIED BY CHAIRMAN ALHASSAN AZIZ TURAY, WHO’S PRESENCE WAS VITAL.

BOTH PRESIDENTS ELECT ADDRESS ISSUES:

BOTH PRESIDENT ELECT WERE GIVEN TIME TO PRESENT THEIR CASE TO PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA.

MADAM YABOM THESLIM SESAY-KOROMA AND MR. ABDUL BERO KAMARA AGREED ON THE NAMES, FUNCTIONS AND THE CONDUCT OF THE ELECTIONS.

PRESIDENT E.B. KOROMA WOULD LIKE TO BE PROVIDED WITH THE ELECTION OUTCOME AS SUBMITTED BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS. AT THE END OF THE DAY IN ANY ELECTIONS IT IS THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE RETURNING OFFICER (RO) OF THAT ELECTION THAT GAVE THE LEGITIMACY OF THE RESULT OF THAT ELECTION. PRESIDENT KOROMA EMPHASIZED THAT, ALL THE RESULT HAS TO BE SIGNED BY THE THREE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS OF THOSE ELECTIONS.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS.

THE TOPICS BELOW WERE DISCUSSED IN DETAIL WITH THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST B. KOROMA IN THE PRESENCE OF THE NORTH AMERICA CHAIRMAN MR. ALHASSAN AZIZ TURAY, PRESIDENT ELECT MRS. YABOM THESLIM SESAY-KOROMA, AND PREDIDENT ELECT MR. ABDUL BERO KAMARA, AND SOME OF HIS EXECUTIVES.

THE FINANCIAL HANDING OVER CEREMONY:

DR. JAFFARA TURAY HANDING OVER CEREMONY OF THE SUM OF TEN THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS (US$10,275.00) THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT COLONEL IDRISSA KAMARA AND RECEIPTED BY PRESIDENT ELECT YABOM SESAY WAS QUESTIONED.  DR. TURAY’S JOB WAS TO CONDUCT THE ELECTIONS ONLY, AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RESULTS MUST BE DONE BY THE RETURNING OFFICER.

HE IS NOT PART OF AN INTERIM OR TRANSITION COMMITTEE. IT IS THE JOB OF THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT AND HIS TEAM OF EXECUTIVES TO CONDUCT THE HANDING-OVER TO THE INCOMING ADMINISTRATION SINCE THERE WAS NO ELECTED INTERIM COMMITTEE OR TRANSITION COMMITTEE.

TIME:

THE DURATION OF THE ELECTION WAS COMPROMISED DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND CHAPTER MEMBERS CONTROL. THE ELECTIONS WERE SCHEDULED TO START AT 1PM THRU-6PM, BUT VOTING STARTED AT 5PM.

GRIVIANCES/PETITIION:

THE GRIVIANCES/PETITIION FILED BY CONTENDING CANDIDATE PRESIDENT ELECT MR. ABDUL BERO KAMARA WAS IGNORED BY NORTH AMERICAN CHAIRMAN MR. ALHASSAN AZIZ TURAY’S ADMINISTRATION.

CHAIRMAN MR. ALHASSAN AZIZ TURAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION WINNER WAS PREMATURE DUE TO PROTEST/PETITION THAT WAS FILED BY THE OPPONENT MR. ABDUL B. KAMARA AND WAS IGNORED BY HIS ADMINISTATION.

1. THE DOCUMENTS OF DECLARATION OF THE WINNER MUST CONTAIN THE SIGNATURES OF THE THREE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS: DR. JAFFARA TURAY,

REV. SAMMY CONTEH AND MRS. FATAMATA

PETIQUOI. IN THIS CASE THE DOCUMENT LACKS THAT CONCENSCIOUS AND MERIT. ANYTHING SHORT OF THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE AS AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT.

EMAIL DOCUMENT SENT BY DR. JAFFARA TURAY WITHOUT THE UNANIMOUS CONSENT AND SIGNATURES OF THE THREE COMMISSIONERS DOES NOT PASS THE TEST OF A FAIR ELECTION AND HIS REPORT ALONE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED.

2. NORTH AMERICA ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER, MRS. MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE WAS STRICTLY TO HAVE BEEN ON AN OBSERVER STATUS. HER ROLE WAS NOT TO SUPERSEDE THE CHAPTER ELECTED ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS.

3.  MRS MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE’S TAKING AWAY BALLOTS THAT WERE SUPOSE TO BE IN THE ARCHIVES OF THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN CHAPTER WAS DECLARED WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE.

4. MRS. MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE (ELECTORIAL COMMISSIONER), AND MR. VICTOR SIMBO’S (N/A FUND RAISING DIRECTOR) JOBS DURING THE ELECTIONS WERE LIMITED TO OBSERVERS STATUS ONLY. THEIR JOB WAS TO OBSERVE IRREGULARITIES, NOTE OR WRITE AND SUBMIT THEIR OBSERVATIONS TO THE COMMISSIONERS AND TO THE CHAIRMAN MR. ALHASSAN AZIZ TURAY BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A WINNER. MR. VICTOR SIMBO WAS NOT A RETURNING OFFICER (RO) TO ANNOUNCE ELECTION RESULTS.

5.  THE BLOCK VOTE CAN ONLY BE ACCEPTED IF THE TWO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ACCEPTED IT BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE ELECTIONS.

6.  THE MANY PICTURES AND HAND-SHAKE TAKEN BY MRS. YABOM SESAY-KOROMA AND MR. ABDUL B. KAMARA WAS ALSO DISCUSSED, BUT NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE AS TO ITS MERIT AS A SUBMISSION OR CONCESSION.

JOB ASSIGNED TO THE AMBASSADOR:

PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST B. KOROMA ASSIGNED THE JOB OF HELPING TO CORRECT AN ELECTION WERE EVERYTHING WENT WRONG TO THE SIERRA LEONE-UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR H. E. BOCKARIE K. STEVENS TO SUMMON THE THREE ELECTORIAL COMMISSIONERS: DR. JAFFARA TURAY, REV. SAMMY CONTEH AND MRS. FATMATA PEITQUOI TO HIS OFFICE EITHER INDIVIDUALLY OR COLLECTIVELY IN OTHER TO DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION RESULT, BECAUSE THEIR FUNCTIONS WERE ACCEPTED BY THE ELECTORATE AND PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS BEFORE GOING TO THE POLLS.

THEY MUST AT THE END OF THE ELECTIONS SUBMIT THEIR REPORT WHICH MUST CONTAIN THE SIGNED DOCUMENT CONTAINING THE RESULT OF THE DECLARED WINNER.

WARNING TO APC NORTH AMERICA:

IN CLOSING PRESIDENT DR ERNEST B. KOROMA SAID, IN THE APC, WE ARE A FAMILY AND NOT ENEMIES. ISSUES SHOULD BE SETTLED WITHIN AS A FAMILY. I HAVE A PILE OF EMAILS WITH UNACCEPTABLE LANGUAGE BEING USED. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

 I GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT YOURSELVES.  THE AMBASSDOR H.E. BOCKARIE K. STEVENS WILL DO EVERYTHING TO SUBMIT THE RESULT TO RESOLVE THE MATTER. OTHERWISE, AS A LEADER I WILL NOT ADD A MEMBERSHIP THAT IS NOT ADDING VALUE TO THE A.P.C. PARTY. WE CAN EITHER ASK ALL OF YOU OUT AS A GROUP OR AS AN INDIVIDUAL SINGLED OUT AND EXPEL YOU FROM THE APC PARTY. I HOPE YOU WILL NOT CAUSE THAT ACTION TO BE TAKEN.

… IN THE END IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PARTY, IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. IT IS ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF SIERRA LEONE, HE CONCLUDED.



— 

Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura addresses the UN Security Council on situation in Sierra Leone

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Published on September 28, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

zainabbangura
The United Nations Security Council is today having a PeaceBuilding Commission ( PBC )  Open Debate on “The Situation in Sierra Leone” . At the debate, the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Zainab Bangura addressed the Council . UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon,  gave his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. We present the Foreign Minister’s statement below :
STATEMENT by H.E. MRS ZAINAB H. BANGURA ,  MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE  at  The Open Debate of the Security Council on  “The Situation in Sierra Leone”  on  Tuesday September 28, 2010
Mr. President,My delegation congratulates you in assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of September and would like to thank you for convening this meeting on the Situation in Sierra Leone and for giving us the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
We also express our sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General for his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. The recent visit of the Secretary General to the country was particularly productive and still remains fresh in the minds of all Sierra Leoneans as it coincided with the inauguration of the second ever independent public broadcaster in Africa – the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
We would also like to pay particular tribute to the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) for his Statement this morning and also to the Chair of the Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration, Ambassador John McNee for his usual meaningful and instructive contribution to this debate.Mr. President,For due economy of time, I would resist the temptation of recounting in detail all the important developments that have taken place in the country during the period under review, as His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in addressing the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly has already done so five days ago by outlining some of the visible progress his government has made during this time, in partnership with the international community, in the process of consolidating peace and security to promote economic growth and development.

Many of these efforts and successes, which are also reflected in the report before us today, have equally been acclaimed in indicators such as those of the Global Peace Index that ranks Sierra Leone as the 53rd most peaceful country in the world; the Mo Ibrahim Index on our significantly improved ranking in democratic governance among crisis affected countries; World Bank rankings on Doing Business; the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, among others.  However, the President was very forthright in cautioning against complacency by our achievement so far, but that these accolades should serve as catalyst for the Government to intensify its efforts in improving the quality of life of its people.

Mr. President,

The Government is fully cognizant of the importance of some of the issues the Secretary-General raised in the report regarding the implementation of the Joint Communiqué of April 2 2009, particularly with respect to such matters as the dialogue among political parties, the report of the Independent Review Panel, the proposed inquest into the executions on 29 December 1992, of a former Inspector-General of police and 27 others, and the enhancement of the political participation of women in Sierra Leone.

With respect to the furtherance of the culture of political tolerance, President Koroma has consistently emphasized that irrespective of political affiliation or religious denomination, the bonds of unity that bind us together as a nation are stronger than the issues that have a tendency to divide us.  In one such instance he reassured the country by asserting as follows:

“… I am president of the country and I have a responsibility to unify the country. I have a responsibility to let everybody develop a new concept of democracy, a new culture of democracy, and that is, you are not enemy with anybody. You are just maybe opponents on political issues, but at the end of the day, we must present ourselves as Sierra Leoneans, united in the development of our country,”

He has on various occasions extended the olive branch and quick to point out that tolerance is a two-way street and that all Sierra Leoneans should strive for a unified nation. He has demonstrated his commitment to deepening the democratic process and unifying the country not only by his regular visits around the country, but by also ensuring that development programmes initiated by the Government are implemented throughout the country fairly, irrespective of political leanings or ethnicity of any particular region or locale.

Mr. President,
The government is fully committed to strengthening governance and private sector development. The fight against corruption is unrelenting; a new Anti-Corruption Commissioner has been appointed and government continues to provide financial support for the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy (NACS). The commitment to fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime is equally vigorous, as we have transformed the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force into a Transnational Crime Unit with a much greater leverage to eradicate this pernicious menace – but is very much in need of sustained technical assistance and support.
On another major front of the ongoing peacebuilding initiative, we have been able to take further steps to address the concerns of youth in the country.  A Youth Commissioner was recently appointed to lead the Youth Commission established to formulate strategy and policy related to the empowerment and involvement of the youth population in nation-building and national development. This clearly signals the Commission’s readiness to undertake its responsibilities and to start work on implementing its strategies.  We would therefore appreciate more concrete support of all our partners, including those who have been actively involved in addressing this challenge.
Mr. President, with respect to the forthcoming 2012 elections, the Government is committed to ensuring that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) deliver effectively on their constitutional mandate independently, free of interference. In this regard, my colleague, the Finance and Economic Development Minister has already started mobilizing support and the necessary resources to set the stage for a credible, free, fair and fully participatory process and we count on the United Nations and international community to respond promptly and favourably to his call to action.
Mr. President,
Achieving openness and transparency in the exploitation of our mineral resources is one of the most fundamental aspects of government’s development policy, with the political will to ensure that the country’s vast mineral wealth is exploited for the benefit of the people.  To that end, government is very much receptive to concerns that have been raised over mining agreements entered into recently and is very much disposed to put in place modalities to address these concerns with the view to bringing about full compliance with the mineral laws of the country.
Mr. President,
Despite efforts of the government and the progress that has been made to date in addressing many of the problems that led to the civil war, challenges still abound. Some of the aspects of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission still require support for full implementation. Most notably, the reparation process remains largely under-funded, some six years after the recommendations were issued. On the socio-economic front, the prevailing global economic and financial uncertainties are seriously undermining our efforts to turn around the economy as quickly as desired. In view of the severe impact of these uncertainties on our efforts, we appeal that urgent and appropriate attention be given to the delivery of pledges made at the last Consultative Group meeting on Sierra Leone held in London.
I would like to reiterate my Government’s commitment to taking a constructive role in addressing the unfolding events and the democratization process in the sister Republic of Guinea.
We are satisfied that our National Electoral Commission was able to facilitate and ensure enfranchisement of Guinean citizens in Sierra Leone, particularly within the context of the Mano River Union. We will, in this regard, continue to monitor events with intense interest.
Government is actively considering the report of the Independent Review Panel, as well as the proposed inquest into the December 29 extra-judicial executions of 1992 involving a former Inspector–General and 27 other private citizens with due regard to resolving these matters in the best interest of the nation.
In conclusion, I would like to register our gratitude to members of Council for their sustained interest in and engagement with Sierra Leone. We look forward to your steadfast support of our continuing efforts to ensure sustainable peace and long-term prosperity in Sierra Leone and to maintain this so far potentially success story on course.  We share the concerns raised by the ERSG on the steady decline in funding of UN operations, UNIPSIL in particular and the adverse effect it will have on UN’s work and credibility. We hope this decline will be effectively addressed by Council.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Minister Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN
245 E 49th Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212 ) 688 – 1656 Ext. 18

New York honours President Ernest Koroma with Proclamations from Congressman and New York City Council

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Published on September 28, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

IMG_0941 (600 x 400)
By Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu :
Sierra Leone’s President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma ended his New York trip in grand style when he was honored with two Proclamations given by Congressman Charles  B. Rangle and the New York City Council through Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie during the Open Government Initiative (OGI ) Banquet at the  Riverside Church Convention Centre in Harlem last Saturday.
President Koroma was in New York to attend the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly but his outstanding leadership in Sierra Leone and the many achievements his government has scored in just three years of governance  have attracted the attention of the International Community and this led to the honours granted him by New York last Saturday.
The Proclamation from Congressman Charles Rangle was presented to President Koroma  on his behalf by Senator Bill Perkins in appreciation of the President’s promotion of multi-party democracy and open government in Sierra Leone and for his contribution to the world of modern leadership.
Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie gave President Koroma a Proclamation on behalf of the New York City Council in appreciation of  the President’s promotion of open government in Sierra Leone. According to the NYCC, “Deputy Majority Leader Comrie knows government must be responsive and provide opportunities for positive interaction with citizens. Therefore, he is focused everyday on providing quality education, guidance and support for youth; ensuring quality healthcare and services for seniors; and, creating economic development projects to create employment opportunities and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.”
President Koroma , receiving the Proclamations, thanked Congressman Charlie Rangle and the NYCC through Deputy Majority Leader Comrie and assured them that he will continue to work in the interest of the Sierra Leonean people . He spoke about the turnaround that his government has brought about in Sierra Leone in just three years of governance and he hoped the proclamations will pave the way for mutual relationships  between Sierra Leone and  New York .
President Koroma also commended the OGI Team composed of OGI Director Khadija Sesay; Minister Plenipotentiary Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu ; Fatu Fofana , Madina Rahman, Foday Mansaray and Leslie Allen for their sound planning and organization of the OGI Program in New York.
The President and party left New York for Sierra Leone late Saturday night . They have since arrived in Freetown.
PHOTO : PRESIDENT KOROMA GIVING THANKS  DURING THE SIDE EVENT AT THE BANQUET . STANDING BY HIM IS FIRST LADY SIA NYAMA KOROMA . RIGHT IS DEPUTY MAJORITY LEADER LEROY COMRIE.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Minister Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN
245 E 49th Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212 ) 688 – 1656 Ext. 18

Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura addresses the UN Security Council on situation in Sierra Leone September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

September 28, 2010

The United Nations Security Council is today having a PeaceBuilding Commission ( PBC ) Open Debate on “The Situation in Sierra Leone” . At the debate, the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Zainab Bangura addressed the Council . UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, gave his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. We present the Foreign Minister’s statement below :

STATEMENT by H.E. MRS ZAINAB H. BANGURA , MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE at The Open Debate of the Security Council on “The Situation in Sierra Leone” on Tuesday September 28, 2010
Mr. President,

My delegation congratulates you in assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of September and would like to thank you for convening this meeting on the Situation in Sierra Leone and for giving us the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
We also express our sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General for his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. The recent visit of the Secretary General to the country was particularly productive and still remains fresh in the minds of all Sierra Leoneans as it coincided with the inauguration of the second ever independent public broadcaster in Africa – the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
We would also like to pay particular tribute to the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) for his Statement this morning and also to the Chair of the Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration, Ambassador John McNee for his usual meaningful and instructive contribution to this debate.

Mr. President,

For due economy of time, I would resist the temptation of recounting in detail all the important developments that have taken place in the country during the period under review, as His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in addressing the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly has already done so five days ago by outlining some of the visible progress his government has made during this time, in partnership with the international community, in the process of consolidating peace and security to promote economic growth and development.

Many of these efforts and successes, which are also reflected in the report before us today, have equally been acclaimed in indicators such as those of the Global Peace Index that ranks Sierra Leone as the 53rd most peaceful country in the world; the Mo Ibrahim Index on our significantly improved ranking in democratic governance among crisis affected countries; World Bank rankings on Doing Business; the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, among others. However, the President was very forthright in cautioning against complacency by our achievement so far, but that these accolades should serve as catalyst for the Government to intensify its efforts in improving the quality of life of its people.


Mr. President,

The Government is fully cognizant of the importance of some of the issues the Secretary-General raised in the report regarding the implementation of the Joint Communiqué of April 2 2009, particularly with respect to such matters as the dialogue among political parties, the report of the Independent Review Panel, the proposed inquest into the executions on 29 December 1992, of a former Inspector-General of police and 27 others, and the enhancement of the political participation of women in Sierra Leone.

With respect to the furtherance of the culture of political tolerance, President Koroma has consistently emphasized that irrespective of political affiliation or religious denomination, the bonds of unity that bind us together as a nation are stronger than the issues that have a tendency to divide us. In one such instance he reassured the country by asserting as follows:

“… I am president of the country and I have a responsibility to unify the country. I have a responsibility to let everybody develop a new concept of democracy, a new culture of democracy, and that is, you are not enemy with anybody. You are just maybe opponents on political issues, but at the end of the day, we must present ourselves as Sierra Leoneans, united in the development of our country,”

He has on various occasions extended the olive branch and quick to point out that tolerance is a two-way street and that all Sierra Leoneans should strive for a unified nation. He has demonstrated his commitment to deepening the democratic process and unifying the country not only by his regular visits around the country, but by also ensuring that development programmes initiated by the Government are implemented throughout the country fairly, irrespective of political leanings or ethnicity of any particular region or locale.
Mr. President,
The government is fully committed to strengthening governance and private sector development. The fight against corruption is unrelenting; a new Anti-Corruption Commissioner has been appointed and government continues to provide financial support for the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy (NACS). The commitment to fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime is equally vigorous, as we have transformed the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force into a Transnational Crime Unit with a much greater leverage to eradicate this pernicious menace – but is very much in need of sustained technical assistance and support.
On another major front of the ongoing peacebuilding initiative, we have been able to take further steps to address the concerns of youth in the country. A Youth Commissioner was recently appointed to lead the Youth Commission established to formulate strategy and policy related to the empowerment and involvement of the youth population in nation-building and national development. This clearly signals the Commission’s readiness to undertake its responsibilities and to start work on implementing its strategies. We would therefore appreciate more concrete support of all our partners, including those who have been actively involved in addressing this challenge.
Mr. President, with respect to the forthcoming 2012 elections, the Government is committed to ensuring that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) deliver effectively on their constitutional mandate independently, free of interference. In this regard, my colleague, the Finance and Economic Development Minister has already started mobilizing support and the necessary resources to set the stage for a credible, free, fair and fully participatory process and we count on the United Nations and international community to respond promptly and favourably to his call to action.
Mr. President,
Achieving openness and transparency in the exploitation of our mineral resources is one of the most fundamental aspects of government’s development policy, with the political will to ensure that the country’s vast mineral wealth is exploited for the benefit of the people. To that end, government is very much receptive to concerns that have been raised over mining agreements entered into recently and is very much disposed to put in place modalities to address these concerns with the view to bringing about full compliance with the mineral laws of the country.

Mr. President,

Despite efforts of the government and the progress that has been made to date in addressing many of the problems that led to the civil war, challenges still abound. Some of the aspects of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission still require support for full implementation. Most notably, the reparation process remains largely under-funded, some six years after the recommendations were issued. On the socio-economic front, the prevailing global economic and financial uncertainties are seriously undermining our efforts to turn around the economy as quickly as desired. In view of the severe impact of these uncertainties on our efforts, we appeal that urgent and appropriate attention be given to the delivery of pledges made at the last Consultative Group meeting on Sierra Leone held in London.

I would like to reiterate my Government’s commitment to taking a constructive role in addressing the unfolding events and the democratization process in the sister Republic of Guinea. We are satisfied that our National Electoral Commission was able to facilitate and ensure enfranchisement of Guinean citizens in Sierra Leone, particularly within the context of the Mano River Union. We will, in this regard, continue to monitor events with intense interest.

Government is actively considering the report of the Independent Review Panel, as well as the proposed inquest into the December 29 extra-judicial executions of 1992 involving a former Inspector–General and 27 other private citizens with due regard to resolving these matters in the best interest of the nation.
In conclusion, I would like to register our gratitude to members of Council for their sustained interest in and engagement with Sierra Leone. We look forward to your steadfast support of our continuing efforts to ensure sustainable peace and long-term prosperity in Sierra Leone and to maintain this so far potentially success story on course. We share the concerns raised by the ERSG on the steady decline in funding of UN operations, UNIPSIL in particular and the adverse effect it will have on UN’s work and credibility. We hope this decline will be effectively addressed by Council.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Editorial : President Koroma unmasks SLPP : “How can you call something you had abandoned an inherited project ?”

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Published on September 27, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   1 Comment

The ever-eloquent and politically-savvy President Ernest Bai Koroma had a very strong and pertinent question for the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) during Saturday’s jampacked Open Government Initiative ( OGI ) Town Meeting held at the Riverside Church Conference Centre in Harlem, New York. Telling the capacity crowd how much the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government had to do in terms of  commitment, planning and provision of resources to be able  to revive and complete  the projects that the SLPP  had abandoned during their 11 year rule in Sierra Leone, the President posed this question that will reverberate beyond the walls of the ancient and historic church : “How do you call something you had abandoned an inherited project ? “.

The whole hall shook with laughter as the President seemed to ridicule the SLPP for what  seems to every reasonable and right-thinking Sierra Leone an asanine and ridiculous excuse by the SLPP  for failing the Sierra Leonean people during their 11 years in power. The President , who appeared to be au fait with every relevant statistics and facst about the projects his government has launched or completed,  wasted no time last Saturday to let the world know that when the APC Government took over power from the SLPP in 2007, there were in fact no projects in the pipeline. Every conceivable project the Government had completed were either initiated by the President Koroma administration or they were projects that the SLPP  had abandoned and were lying dormant without any hope whatsoever of being completed. According to President Koroma, donors had even cut funding to some of the projects because of lack of commitment or accountability from the SLPP. President Koroma, his rapt audience laughing its sides off , explained the lengths his government had to go to have the projects revived, before you even talk about completing them.

It is now obvious to every Sierra Leonean that the SLPP had  all the time been rationalizing its failure to deliver the goods  , using a worn-out propaganda strategy to repeat an untruth until it begins to look like the truth to unsuspecting or gullible people.

There is also no doubt at this time that in only three years of being in power, the Ernest Koroma Government has proved itself far more committed, far more competent and far more progressive than the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah SLPP Government. In so short a time, the APC Government has brought back electricity, completed the Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Project , provided first -class highways , set modalities in place to make Sierra Leone self-sufficient in food production in the nearest future, revolutionized the educational system, revived mining activities and  created an enabling climate for the return of business, investments and tourism to Sierra Leone.

The lesson the SLPP  should learn from the way the APC had outdone and outshone them is that in politics there is no such thing as “Could-have-been”  or”  Could-have-done ” .When you are in power and you have the opportunity, you have to deliver the goods . There is no excuse for failure of the magnitude the SLPP  floundered in Sierra Leone. No footballer worth his salt will argue that his opponents completed the finishing touches to goals his team could have scored. The question that would obviously arise is : “Why didn’t you score when you had these opportunities ? ” .

If these were indeed  inherited projects as the SLPP is claiming , it even does not give any good picture about the former government’s ability to deliver. The SLPP had 11 good years to perform what the APC  had accomplished in only 3 years .That was time enough for them to have completed all the projects they are now claiming were started by them. If the APC  can finish them in 3 years, assuming that the opposition  assertion has merit, what possible  credible excuse can the SLPP ever give  ,apart from the lame one about inherited projects ?

What Sierra Leoneans  now see  as the obvious fact is the dichotomy between a government that lacked the vision,  capacity, ability and commitment to deliver  ( SLPP ) and one that is up to it  and capable of delivering ( APC ).  The SLPP  has to accept the truth. It is a very bitter one, but in the interest of honesty and credibility , the SLPP has to concede and accept that the APC has won the contest. That is, the contest about who really delivered.

We hope the SLPP  will learn that the next time they find themselves in power , they  try to deliver ,  instead of depending on excuses that their opponents completed their projects.

President Ernest Koroma tells UN General Assembly about Sierra Leone’s achievements and challenges

Friday, September 24th, 2010

President Ernest Koroma tells UN General Assembly about Sierra Leone’s achievements and challenges

Published on September 24, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

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Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday addressed the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly .
 Here is the speech below :
Mr. President, I would also like to convey my since re appreciation to your predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Ali Abdulssalam Treki, for the efficient and effe ctive manner in which he conducted the pre ious session. My gratitude also goes to the Secretary-General for his
comprehensive account of the United Nation’s work and his analysis of the challenges facing our global community.
In my statement to you I would like to talk about both the successes that my country has achieved with the help of the international community, and the reforms that are now
needed to the way in which we interact and govern ourselves globally.
Mr.
SIERRA LEONE’S DELEGATION AT THE 65TH SUMMIT OF THE UN : FROM LEFT : PRESIDENT KOROMA, WITH MILITARY ADVISER RON HARLESTON SITTING BEHIND HIM : FOREIGN MINISTER ZAINAB BANGURA WITH CHIEF OF PROTOCOL ALUSINE SEASY BEHIND HER; AMBASSADOR ANDREW BANGALI; INFORMATION MINISTER I.B . KARGBO , AMBASSADOR RUPERT DAVIES AND UN MINISTER  PLENIPOTENTIARY , LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU
Mr. President,
My Government is incerely grateful for the international community’ s engagement with
Sierra Leone’ s efforts to put the country on a path to sustained economic growth and
development. Building on this engagement, our country has significantly improved our
international standing in many areas:
SOME OF THE MANY SIERRA LEONEANS WHO WENT TO HEAR THEIR PRESIDENT SPEAK. MORE PHOTOS TOMORROW.
The Global Peace Index now ranks Sierra Leone as the 53rd most peaceful country
in the world;
• The Mo Ibrahim Index records that we are one of th five crisis affected countries
that have made a significant leap forward in democratic governance;
• A recent IMF  review shows improvement in public finances, with our 4% annual
economic growth rate higher than the average 2% growth rate of Sub Sahara
Africa;
• And we ha e also made steady progress in our rankings on Doing Business,
Corruption Perception and Democracy.
In addition:
• Earlier this year I was a proud recipient of the peace prize awarded by ACCORD
on behalf of the people of Si rra Leone:
PRESIDENT KOROMA WARMLY GREETS SIERRA LEONEANS AND FRIENDS OF SIERRA LEONE WHO CONGRATULATED HIM FOR HIS BRILLIANT SPEECH
Only last week my country received the Millennium development Goal award for
showing outstanding  Ieade rship in the figh t against HIV/AIDs, malaria and other
diseases – MDG 6;
Mr. President,
My Government has also continued to emphasize the protection of the basic rights of the
peopl of Sierra Leone:
• We have put in place comprehensive justice sector reforms in response to both
national and global demands – to ensure both that the rights of citizens are
preserv ed, and that we ach ieve access to justice for all.
• And the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone has assumed a lead ro le in
advising my Government on building a cult ure of human rights. It ensures that my
Government ratifi es internat ional treaties and protocol s and fulfills its reporting
obligations. A case in point is our recent validation of the Common Core
Document that forms the basis for all reporting on international treati es.
Sierra Leone is among the few countries emerging from co nt1ict that have formulated a
comprehensive ac tion plan for Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820. My
government is determined to ensure its effec tive implementat ion, part icularly in
address ing gender-based violence as well as the enhancement of women ‘ s participation in
politics and the public sector.
PRESIDENT KOROMA IS CONGRATULATED BY ATTORNEY EBUN AFORO OF GEORGIA
Mr. President,
My Government’ s commitment to free media is equally strong:
• No journalist has been imprisoned in my co untry since my assumption of office .
• We have transformed the Government owned Broadcasting Services into what is
only the second independent public service broadcaster in Africa, the Sierra
Leone Bro adcast ing Corporation (SLBC). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
witnessed the launch of this historic and groundbreaking initiative in June this
year. It is the beginning of a new era of access to independent, unbiased, and
impartial information in our country.
FRIENDS OF SIERRA LEONE CONGRATULATE PRESIDENT KOROMA
Mr. President,
My Government is als o delivering resu lts on the key prior ities in my Agendafor Change
to improve the lives of all Siena Leoneans :
• We have launched free healthcare for preg nant and lactating women and children
und er 5 for the first time in our history, imp roving access to around 300 ,000
women and over a mi llion children .
• We have also begun to seriously commercialize agriculture, the mainstay of our
economy, through commercializ ing particularly smallho lder farmers, where we
are facilitating improved mechanization, irrigation and the stablishment of
fann ing cooperatives.
• We have successfully made significant progress on road construction and the
rehabilitation of electricity supply in key provincial cities and towns, to generate
economic activity across the country .
• We have made large strides in attracting large-scale private sector investors from
intern ational companies, following the Sierra Leone Trade and Investment Forum
in London last year.
 Further,  to maintain macroe economic stability and make these achievements sustainable, my Government also remains firmly committed to the fight against corruption,
Despite this progress , many challenges remain. I am proud of what Sierra Leone has
achieved so far – but we still need to further enhance our capacity to promote and protect
human rights, establish goo d governance and managerial capacity across the whole public
sector, and fight corruption and narcotic drug trafficking. For this our country will need
further technical assistance and cooperation, private capital investments and transfers of
technology.
Most importantly we are also not oblivious of the imperative of consolidating peace
through enhanced political dialogue, tolerance and ensuring fair electoral process.
With this and our political resolve, we will make further progress towards peace , security
and a stable, open democracy.
Mr. President,
Let me now turn to the theme of this session: “re-affirming the central role of the
United Nations in global governance.” It could not have been better timed than at a moment when the global community is grappling with myriad challenges within the international system. The end of the ‘cold war’ , together ith an explosion in information and communication technologies gave rise to a new paradigm of ‘ fl exible or lose’, functional coalitions involving state and nonstate actors.
 A new configuration of interdependent relationships of economic, social, political and ethical nature has emerged from these historical circumstances. nThere are fears that ‘ globalization’ nurtures dominance of power politics, a growing disparity  between the North and the South, intolerance of different values, a tendency to resort to force to solve international conflicts, and a neglect of the environment; at the same time, it has Ied to a multi-leve l governance s stem that is beginning to address global issues ranging from economic interdependence, mi gration, financial crises, drug trafficking to pandemics such as tuberculosis, Avian flu , HIV/AIDS and malaria.
It is in recognition  of this imperative of promoting multilateralism and of building
syne rgies with both state and non-state actors, that I commend your choice of theme.
More than any other organization, we support the United Nations as a centre of global
governance . It has a unique characteristics of global mandate and universal membership.
This makes it an indispensable and neutral catalyst for the achievement of ” international
cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social , cultural, or
humanitarian character”. This centrality of the ro le of the United Nations in global
governance cannot be over-emphasized.
The recently concluded High-L evel Stakeholder Meeting on the Millennium
Development Goals revealed that progress has been uneven and developing countries,
particularly those in Africa, continue to be most vulnerable to the effects of globa lization.
The prevailing global recession resulting from the economic and financial crisis that
struck developed economies has further compounded this challenge . In this context, my
Government believes that the UN remains the crucial hub for norm setting and
harmonizing the actions of nations for the maintenance of int rn tional peace and
security as well as the attainment of our development goa ls.
Mr. President,
This Assembly, meeting at the turn of the millennium, decided that reforming and making the Security Council more accessible, transparent equitably represent ative and accountable was lon g overdue. This brings me to the crucial issue that has led us in Africa to consisten tly reiterate that there can be no meaningful reform of the Council without allocating permanent seats to the continent.
No one continent should have an exclusive monopoly over membership of the Security
Council. There is no justification for a discriminatory allocation of seats, nor can we
debate endlessly and ignore the realities of our rapiclly changing global circumstances.
While the 5th round has not genuinely led to compromise-oriented solution, to distill  all
positions into a single negotiating document has been a significant step in the right
direction. We in Africa look forward to and support a process that will allow the text to
evolve during the next ses sion of the GA in an open , inclusive ancl balanced manner,
towards a solution that can garn er the widest possible politi cal acceptance by Member
states . We urge all delegations to muster the political will required for progress.
I would like to conclud my statement by saying that the mom nt is here to address the historica l  injustice inflicted on Africa by allocating no less than two seats with a ll its attributes and
privileges , and two additional sca ts in both the non-perm anent and permanent categories of the Council. I do not need to emphasize that at the inception  of  the United Nations most of Africa was not represented and that, as a result, Africa to this day remains the only continent without a permanent seat in the Counc il. To ensure greater relevance of the Security Council within a revamped United Nations sys tem Africa demands permanent representat ions in the Security Council with a ll the requisite attributes.
I thank you for your kind attention.
MORE PHOTOS TOMORROW
Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Minister Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN
245 E 49th Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212 ) 688 – 1656 Ext. 18

Day 4 in New York : President Koroma holds bilaterals , attends MDG events and meets with the press, DFID Minister and Tony Blair

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Posted by  on September 23, 20100 Comment

By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu :

On the fourth day of his stay in New York, where he is attending the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Ernest Koroma today had another busy day as he had bilateral meetings , attended the Millennium Development Goals ( MDG ) events and was interviewed by the Associated Press before a CNN Media event with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

President Koroma was invited join UN Secretary General,  Ban Ki-moon,  and a group of 300 Heads of State and Government, to participate in this years  UN Private Sector Forum on the MDGs  to discuss how the private sector, Government and the UN can work together to advance progress towards the achievement of the MDG by 2015   –(round table discussions). This event was held over lunch.

President Koroma was also invited  to a  UNDP side event on the theme “Turning evidence into practice: Learning from what works to accelerate MDG progress” , with guest speakers including  UN Secretary General  Ban Ki Moon, and the Presidents of Colombia, Liberia and  Laos .

The President also attended a High Level Plenary Meeting of the MDG  where he participated at Roundtable Nr. 6 :o n topic the topic :  ”Widening and Strengthening Partnerships UNGA MDG” .

At his hotel, the President had a Bilateral meeting with Dr. Ngozi  Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of  World Bank after being interviewed by the Associated Press. The President then  had another Bilateral  with the UK Minister for Development Aid ( DFID )  , Mr.  Andrew Mitchell, who was  accompanied by the Director for Development Aid , Nick Dyer.

The President rounded up the day’s events by meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a CNN Media event that saw the ex-British Premier being interviewed about his interest in Sierra Leone, President Koroma’s leadership and the prospects for socio-economic and political development in Sierra Leone.

Also today, Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations with Uruguay who are interested in strenthening Security reforms and promoting investments and tourism in Sierra Leone.

HERE ARE PHOTOS OF THE DAY’S EVENTS

President Koroma being interviewed by the Associated Press

The interview : Seated far left  is Minister Plenipotentiary, Leeroy Kabs-Kanu

President Koroma holds bilateral talks with British DFID Minister Anthony Mitchell and other officials

From left :   Ambassador Rupert Davies d and Finance Minister Dr.Samura Kamara during DFID Meeting

President Koroma and DFID Minister Mitchell share a joke after the meeting

President Koroma making a point to Ex-Premier Tony Blair

Tony Blair makes a point to President Koroma

© 2010, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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In New York, President Ernest Koroma interviewed by CNN; Addresses UN General Assembly Summit on MDGs

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Published on September 22, 2010 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

300px-Ernest_Bai_Koromajubilant
By Leeroy Wilfred Kabs -Kanu:
On the third day of his stay in New York, where he arrived on Sunday to attend the ongoing 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Ernest Bai Koroma was today interviewed by the Cable News Network (CNN)  before he addressed the United Nations General Assembly High -Level Plenary on the Millenium Development Goals ( MDGs) .
The CNN Interview was set up by FIRST STEP , an organization that has set the stage to build a canned fruits factory in Sierra Leone, in partnership with WORLD HOPE, who would be training employees for the factory,which will need 900 farmers just to process mangoes  (We will bring more details on these organizations ). Readers must stay tuned for announcement of the day the interview will be aired by CNN.
PRESIDENT KOROMA BEING INTERVIEWED BY CNN YESTERDAY
PRESIDENT KOROMA POSES WITH TWO EXECUTIVES OF FIRST STEP
THE CNN REPORTER WHO INTERVIEWED PRESIDENT KOROMA ACCOMPANYING THE HEAD Of STATE TO THE ELEVATORS
From the First Stop Headquarters, President Koroma and party went to the UN General Assembly where he addressed the High-Level Summit on the MDGs.
 
PRESIDENT KOROMA LEAVING THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY AFTER HIS ADDRESS
Below is the statement delivered today at the Summit by President Koroma :
PRESIDENT KOROMA POSES WITH AMBASSADOR SHEKOU TOURE AFTER HIS ADDRESS
Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies, Heads of State and Governments,
Colleague Ministers,
Ambassador Francis Lorenzo, Honorary Chairman of the MDG Awards Committee,
Distinguished Recipients of the 2010 MDG Awards,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
PRESIDENT KOROMA POSES WITH SOME MEMBERS OF HIS DELEGATION AFTER THE SUMMIT
It is indeed a pleasure and singular honour for me, in my capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to represent my President, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who, but for other pressing State matters of equally counterveiling expediency, would have been here this evening receiving this noble award on behalf of the Government and People of Sierra Leone.
PRESIDENT KOROMA ( RIGHT ) HAS A CHANCE MEETING WITH RWANDAN PRESIDENT KAGAME AFTER HIS ADDRESS
I wish to thank the MDG Awards Committee for organizing this historic event. We are elated by this distinct honour and recognition and wish to assure this august gathering of our continued commitment to the goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

Mr. Chairman,

To many, when the Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000, attaining such a remarkable progress on Goal 6, which has earned us the accolade we are all celebrating this evening would have appeared too ambitious, particularly when our continent has borne and still continues to bear the heaviest burden of this monstrous disease. However, Sierra Leone has been able to achieve this milestone because of the different approaches we adopted and the support we received from our development partners. For want of time, I will just summarize some of the measures we took for the benefit of listeners and our friends the world over.
First and foremost, we were quick to come to the realization that the pandemic was without doubt a major obstacle to the socio-economic development of a nation and that to effectively combat it requires political involvement at the highest level. The role of H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as Chairman of the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) was therefore a move in the right direction.
Secondly, we recognized the fact that the disease is a cross-sectoral development challenge and that to combat it effectively warrants a comprehensive, coordinated, integrated and sustained action by all stakeholders including People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and civil society organizations. In that respect, we took measures to ensure that the right atmosphere was provided for them to engage constructively at both national and regional levels. Moreover, this partnership was bolstered by the inspiring guidance of H.E. President Koroma as Chairman of the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) and a dedicated Director in the person of Dr. Brima Kargbo. Key achievements made as a result of this partnership are:
1. Stabilization of the national prevalence, which also led to a decline in the prevalence among pregnant women;
2. Increase in the uptake of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission;
3. Increase in Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Testing sites;
4. A 100 % increase in blood  screening for HIV;
5. Considerable increase in access and distribution of condoms;
6. Increase in the dissemination of HIV/AIDS behavior change messages;
7. Increased in the number of people treated for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs);
8. Increase in nutritional support for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC);
9. Increase in Anti-Retroviral Therapies (ARTs) and  the number of treatment Centers;
10.  Mobilization of support from the Global Fund to strengthen our HIV/AIDS Health System.
In addition to partnership with stakeholders, we remained committed to increasing the involvement and representation of People Living with HIV. In that respect, an organization known as Network of HIV Positive People in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS) was established and its Secretariat launched in 2008 by the First Lady of Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. Mrs. Sia Koroma. Her continued support and commitment, particularly as member of the Organization of African First Ladies Against AIDS (OAFLA) and the Steering Committee for West and Central Africa also added a lot of value to our national response to combating the disease.
Mr. Chairman,
The relevance of strategic planning in combating such an epidemic cannot be overemphasized. We made sure that all our HIV programmes were properly coordinated, planned, monitored and evaluated on a regularly basis. In order to strengthen our HIV response and its systems, we allowed for an independent institutional review of our entire working mechanisms and systems, the recommendations of which guided us in the scaling up of our response towards attaining both national and global targets. Additionally, the NAS was mandated to sign a performance contract with H.E. Excellency the President to ensure yearly targets were being met.
Shortly put, Mr. Chairman, we owe this great achievement to the high political commitment demonstrated by the government and to resource mobilization through partnership with all stakeholders including PLHIV and the civil society.
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies Heads of State and Government, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
For most, if not all of our countries in Africa,  and indeed for a post-conflict country like Sierra Leone, continued progress in the fight against the HIV epidemic is crucial for the attainment of the other inextricably interrelated MDGs including, poverty eradication, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, reducing child mortality as well as developing global partnership for development; particularly when H.E. President Koroma’s administration had made poverty alleviation and the improvement of the health and welfare of  the people of Sierra Leone the flagship of its  national development agenda.

To all of us recipients of various Awards this evening, I say bravo for a job well done and to conclude on this note of caution that there is now need, more than ever before, for us all to build on the rapid gains we have achieved thus far. We cannot afford to be complacent as it will reverse all the gains we have tirelessly worked for all these years. For us in Sierra Leone, we will continue to advance and scale up our national efforts towards achieving the MDG goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV by 2015.

I thank you for your attention.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Minister Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN
245 E 49th Street, New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212 ) 688 – 1656 Ext. 18

President Koroma addresses UN General Assembly on MDGs

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

September 22, 2010

By Razia Bash-Kamara , Presidential Staff Reporter :
The President Ernest Bai Koroma has arrived in New York to attend the Sixty Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly and has addressed the Assembly on the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs).

 

Sharing the progress Sierra Leone has made towards the achievement of the MDGs and on the second outlook of the challenges faced going forward; President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that when the MDGs Agenda was launched, Sierra Leone was engulfed in a decade long civil conflict. This he said created an immense setback to human development and virtually crippled the economy adding that the end the civil war in 2002, left the State very weak and absent in many parts of the Country. The President maintained that the economy and financial management was left to focus largely on emerging and humanitarian activities.

 

During the time, the President said, human and economic development programmes were given relatively limited attention as social indicators were worse than pre-war levels. President Koroma reiterated that also at the time for the first decade of the MDG Agenda, Sierra Leone was going in the wrong direction. However, he stated on assumption of office in 2007, they have made considerable progress in consolidating peace and security focusing on consolidating democracy through the electoral process and by increasing transparency and accountability.
He noted that their sustained commitments and actions to rid the society of corrupt practices are yielding positive results as service de4livery has significantly improved by bringing the Country’s rankings on the Corruption Perceptive Index by twelve places. President Koroma affirmed his belief that achieving the MDGs will be made much easier if the economy is on right track and people feel that their lives are getting better. He added that the recent global crisis presented enormous challenges for the robust growth of the country’s economy but nonetheless, they weathered the storm achieving a growth rate of five point five percent in 2008 and a four percent in 2009.

 

President Koroma admonished the Assembly that Government has demonstrated its commitments to stay the course of sustained macroeconomic stability and enhanced growth with prudent economic policies and wide ranging structural reforms through its Agenda for Change. He pointed out that the Agenda for Change articulates Government’s plans for the country’s development and prioritizes four strategic areas. On the area of doing business, the President intimated that it has significantly improved owing to an increased effort by government to address issues surrounding business environment and business climate reforms. He registered dismay over the poor status of the country’s infrastructure which is a major obstacle to private sector driven growth in Sierra Leone

 

Dilating on the free health initiative, the President said since its launch in April 2010, there has been an increase of over seventy percent in the institutional delivery and massive demand for health services by the targeted group. He noted that it is his fervent belief it will significantly improve the country’s maternal and child health indicators although illiteracy and poverty remain the two main factors negatively influencing achievement of other MDGs.

 

The President made it clear that if the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only should the level of the investment be scaled up, innovative programmes and policies for enhanced economic and social transformation must be further developed and rapidly implemented. In that respect he maintained, they must continue to build strong collaborative partnerships between government agencies and development partners in development and implementation of programmes that significantly impact on human development.

 

President Koroma reiterated that the challenges to their achievement of the MDGs are immense, but building synergies represent the best hope for overcoming those challenges and meeting the aspirations for a better life that are embedded in the MDGs saying his country has received the MDG Award for showing leadership in combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. This he emphasised shows that with sustained partnership, the leadership of Sierra Lerone could ensure the overcoming of many of many of MDG challenges the nation now faces.

 

APC/ New York Chapter unequivocally welcome and support the Open Government Initiative ( OGI )

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

THE APC/NEW YORK CHAPTER UNEQUIVOCALLY WELCOME AND SUPPORT THE OPEN GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE (OGI) OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

 

NEW YORK – Sept. 21, 2010 – APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive Committee welcome H.E. President Dr. Ernest B. Koroma – President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and his delegation to the 65th. Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive and its entire membership proudly embrace the Sierra Leone Government’s initiative to “implement accountability, transparency and higher performance standards in public services.”

 

The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive and its entire membership are in full support of the Sierra Leone’s Government progressive developments and actions to “lay the foundation for a productive and mutually beneficial partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Diaspora”.

 

The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive Committe and the entire membership urge all Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and Friends of Sierra Leone worldwide to render their unconditional support to make the OGI an utter success.

 

 

Contact:

Mr. Samuel Koroma

APC/New York Chapter

917-217-8570

samgbalo@optonline.net

 

 

 

THE APC/NEW YORK CHAPTER UNEQUIVOCALLY WELCOME AND SUPPORT THE OPEN GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE (OGI) OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

 

NEW YORK – Sept. 21, 2010 – APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive Committee welcome H.E. President Dr. Ernest B. Koroma – President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and his delegation to the 65th. Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive and its entire membership proudly embrace the Sierra Leone Government’s initiative to “implement accountability, transparency and higher performance standards in public services.”

 

The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive and its entire membership are in full support of the Sierra Leone’s Government progressive developments and actions to “lay the foundation for a productive and mutually beneficial partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Diaspora”.

 

The APC/NEW YORK Chapter Executive Committe and the entire membership urge all Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and Friends of Sierra Leone worldwide to render their unconditional support to make the OGI an utter success.

 

 

 

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