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Archive for February, 2011

FLASHBACK : Ernest Koroma is far more serious with fight to eradicate corruption than Tejan Kabbah

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

WWWWWWWWAVINGEBK

 PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA

We publish yet  another old article from the Cocorioko archives  to press home our point that SLPP journalists should stop trying to capitalize on the disgusting and disappointing behaviour  of corrupt Sierra Leoneans who have disappointed President Ernest Bai Koroma with their irredeemable corruption .

 

They should stop writing as if President Koroma endorses the corruption. President Koroma’s government  has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ towards corruption and  will definitely penalize the culprits (Whoever they are ) as soon as the investigations are concluded. No corrupt  public official found culpable by credible investigations has gone unpunished during this Ernest Koroma era of ” No Sacred Cows”.  We expect SLPP Journalists to acknowledge this fact and give President Koroma credit for that when cases of corruption are unearthed. They should at least be fair to President Koroma by acknowledging that this government is doing a marvellous job to ameliorate the corruption plague which affects governments all over the world, even the advanced democracies like the U.S.and Britain.

The reasons that there seems to be many reports about corruption today is that due to the government’s zero tolerance policy, nothing remains hidden as it used to be in the past. The President has empowered the Anti-Corruption Commission and the press not to treat corruption with kid gloves .Because of this, everything shady is being exposed the moment it happens, unlike the past. Secondly, Sierra Leoneans in general have now become so conscious and aware of wrongdoing by public officials that they do not flinch to blow the whistle the moment they smell a rat. All these factors have given rise to the situation where corruption is now being exposed on a daily basis by the press, public or the ACC. It does not mean that there is more corruption now than in the past.It means that corruption is being exposed more today than in the past when nothing was done about it.

The fact remains that there was far more corruption during the SLPP era than today and we post another old article to prove this point. The Director  for the Department For International Development , Mr.  Hogg , on a visit to Sierra Leone, described corruption during the Kabbah era as the country’s worst enemy. Read the story below to see how corruption was free-for-all and the complaint by the DFID Director and notice too that unlike today, the article says that little was being done by the Kabbah Government to launch probes into the charges of corruption involving public officers .

 SIERRA LEONE’S MAIN PROBLEM IS CORRUPTION —DFID Director states

Cocorioko Newspaper Report

Friday October 7, 2005

Sierra Leone  needs to do more in terms of generating its own domestic revenues so that dependency on foreign aid could end. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone could manage her natural resources well for economy prosperity but corruption is the country’s worst enemy . This diagnosis of the Sierra Leonean dilemma was made by the Director of British Department For International Development ( DFID ), Mr.  Hogg, at the opening ceremony of  of a strategic planning meeting of Orphans And Vulnerable Children  In Africa ( OVC )

The DFID Director said further that graft has continued to undermine the proper management of the Sierra Leone , AFP  reported yesterday. Mr. Hogg stated that Sierra Leone was not under-aided  but he emphasized that apart from war, corruption  has caused poor management of the economy.

The remarks of the DFID Director struck a familiar chord in the minds of many Sierra Leoneans. It is no secret to citizens of the impoverished nation that corruption by her public officials and leaders had been the prime cause of the economic collapse in the country that was making life intolerable for her people.

As President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah approaches the end of the final term of his rule, Sierra Leoneans have continued to blame him for what some of them regard as his lukewarm attitude to the fight to end corruption in the country.Sierra Leoneans complain frequently that the ministers of Kabbah’s government were living flamboyant lives that were inconsistent with their salaries  and that many of them have built mansions at home and abroad  but so far, little has been done by government to launch probes into the charges of corruption by government functionaries.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Two years after this , in another separate row between the SLPP and the DFID,  An AWARENESS TIMES report of April 19, 2007   said that the DFID Director was “given marching orders out of the country”  after  accusing the SLPP Government of corruption. READ THE REPORT :

 

Government under fire

Awareness Times Report

It is alleged that the Department for International Development has accused the SLPP government with corruption. The report stated that the Anti- Corruption Commission is ineffectual in fighting corruption. The international community regards the war against corruption as a litmus test as regards the government’s desire to tackle poverty and overhaul the country’s infrastructure. Because of this alleged endemic corruption, some consultants have recommended the withdrawal of funds by the British Government. The head of state is said to be displeased with this damning report, and the DFID Director has allegedly been given marching orders out of the country

__________________________________________________________________________

Corruption , whether during the SLPP time or the APC era , is not excusable . Nobody with his right mind will excuse corruption. Corruption is a scourge that every government in the world has to fight to make the lives of the people better  and Sierra Leone is no exception, but if a government is doing a great job to punish the miscreants, it should be acknowledged by the press. Let us stop overly politicizing our social problems or giving them a partisan spin. Even the U.S. with all its advanced detection techniques and  solid legal system, is battling corruption. We have not arrived yet but through punishing public officials for their corrupt acts, we will end up setting a deterrent that if a minister or director or what-have-you steals government money he will pay direly for it , and through this we will be able to minimize or eradicate corruption in our country. The APC Government should be given the credit due to it–It is doing pretty well to stamp out corruption in Sierra Leone.

 

Security threat caused non-participation of ECOWAS delegation in AU Peace trip to Ivory Coast

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

 

 The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) wishes to clarify the non-participation of the West African delegation in the visit of the African Union High-Level Panel for the Resolution of the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire to Abidjan, scheduled for 21st and 22nd February 2011.

The absence of His Excellency Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso and Facilitator of the Direct Inter-Ivorian Dialogue, and His Excellency James Victor Gbeho, President of the ECOWAS Commission, from the Delegation was due mainly to the security threat brought to the attention of the Panel in the evening of Sunday, 20th February 2011, while the latter was in consultation in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The threat was specifically directed at the person of the Facilitator reportedly by members of the “Jeunes Patriots” of Côte d’Ivoire who had commenced demonstrations in the streets.

PHOTO : BLAISE CAMPAORE

The Panel was relying on its ability to persuade one of the contestants in the disputed 28th November 2010 presidential run-off election to contain the mob action that had taken the character of invading the Houphouet Boigny International Airport in Abidjan and vowing not to vacate the installation until the mob was able to prevent the Facilitator from setting foot on Ivorian soil.

Even though the threat was serious enough to compel the Facilitator to cancel his planned participation in the trip to Abidjan, the ECOWAS Commission became concerned that the Panel nevertheless took the decision to go ahead immediately with the visit without the participation of an important member, whose invaluable contribution to the peace process in Côte d’Ivoire deserves better appreciation and respect. In the circumstance, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, also a member of the High-Level Panel, declined the invitation to join the Delegation to Abidjan since the mob action was directed at ECOWAS.

While expressing the determination of the representatives of West Africa on the High-Level Panel to continue to cooperate with that body, the ECOWAS Commission wishes to make it clear that it cannot accept that the situation in Abidjan was conducive for such a critical mission and would, therefore, evaluate the work to be accomplished by the remaining members of the Panel at the appropriate time.

In the meantime, the ECOWAS Commission calls on all parties concerned to respect the integrity of members of the Panel as well as the will of the Ivorian people as expressed in the presidential run-off election and endorsed by ECOWAS and the AU.

The Commission wishes to put all those bent on exacerbating the already precarious situation in Côte d’Ivoire on notice that those responsible for abuses will be held individually and collectively accountable for their actions at the appropriate time.

Pasco Gerald Temple
Information Attache
Sierra Leone High Commission
Plot 308 Mission Road
Central Business District
Federal Capital Territory
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel:+2347062701748
www.slhcnigeria.org

Minister Plenipotentiary tells diplomats and U.S. officials : Sierra Leone doing well in post-war reconstruction

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Published on February 6, 2011 by Cocorioko News   ·   1 Comment
Kabs-Kanu
Sierra Leone’s  Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations  and Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States on United Nations Security Council Reform, Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, yesterday  told diplomats , United States  officials and distinguished personalities in New York that Sierra Leone was  presently doing a  tremendous job  to rebuild the country after the  11-year civil war which ended in 2002.
The Minister said that at one time the international media was abuzz with negative stories about Sierra Leone as a result of  the war which created a humanitarian disaster in the country  . He said that everyday the newspapers , TV and online media outlets had nothing to report on Sierra Leone but the thousands of murders and rapes committed during the war as well as the amputations and massive destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The Minister told his rapt audience that  “now, however, ”  he has good news for them about Sierra Leone. “Through the remarkable resilience of our people and the determination of our government , under the progressive leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone  has embarked on a new path of national reconciliation, national reintegration and national reconstruction  and there is  socio-economic and political  progress in the country, which the International Community has acknowledged  and caused  the international image of Sierra Leone to change  dramatically”, he said.
Minister Kabs-Kanu further told the audience that Sierra Leone is now one of the safest countries in the world, a fact acknowledged even by the UN, and he called on investors to carry trade and commerce to the country.He also said that tourists were invited to go and enjoy the breathcatching beauty of Sierra Leone and the hospitality of the people.
The Minister was speaking during an impressive  Leadership Dialogue staged by three U.S organizations involved in reconstruction and development in underdeveloped countries around the world–The United African Congress , Give Them A Hand and the Earth Rights Institute –at the Manhattan Club , 200 West 56th Street , New York , on Saturday. The occasion was attended by the UN Under-Secretary General, LDC, H.E. Cheikh Sidi Diarra  , many African ambassadors and diplomats assigned to the UN, senators and other U.S. Government officials , heads of humanitarian and charity organizations and distinguished personalities in the Big Apple.
During the program, two important initiatives on the reconstruction and development of Haiti and a trade and cultural event with  Africa were unveiled.
AT THE HIGH TABLE : UN UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL, H.E. DIARRA (RIGHT ) AND SIERRA LEONE’S MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU
Minister Kabs-Kanu told the audience that since President Ernest Koroma came to power in 2007 through one of the best democratic elections ever held in Africa, he and his government have been working tremendously to rebuild the country and reshape the nation’s destiny. He told them about the AGENDA FOR CHANGE launched by President Koroma , which is built around the pillars of Energy, Agriculture , Transportation and Human Development and through  this program, the government has brought electricity to the country (While also completing the long-delayed Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Project ) , engaged in ambitious road and infrastructural development , accelerated farming activities throughout the country in an effort aimed at achieving food security and  it has also instituted  a dramatic change in health care delivery ,with the result that post-natal and child deaths, once an alarming feature of life in Sierra Leone, have been drastically reduced.
MINISTER KABS-KANU AND  MR. GARY SHULZE
The minister said that last year President Koroma introduced free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5 and the government’s efforts at efficient health care delivery was rewarded when the UN gave the country an award during the 65th Session of the General Assembly for efforts being made to fulfill the Millenium Development Goals ( MDGs) in the area of Health. The minister said that the government has many more plans to bring relief to the people and he called on friends of Sierra Leone , development partners , international donor agencies and the International Community to come to the aid of the country as she strives to press home her new image as  a model of post-war national reconstruction in the world . 
MINISTER KANU  ( LEFT ) POSES WITH FAMOUS AUTHOR  AND ANCHOR OF NY 1 TV, MS. CHERYL WILLS; THE PRESIDENT AND NATIONAL SPOKESMAN OF THE UAC  MR. SIDIQUE WAI AND ANOTHER DISTINGUISHED GUEST
Apart from the diplomats and other personalities present, another very  important person at the occasion was  Mr. Gary Shulze, who has been involved in development initiatives in Sierra Leone for long. Also present were the Publisher of CARIBBEAN NEWS, Dr. Karl Rodney; the President and CEO of the newspaper, Mrs. Faye Rodney ; the anchor and author of NY1 Television, Cheryl Wills , the NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Bureau , Chief Philip Banks 111; the Democratic Conference Leader of New York State, Hon. John Sampson; the Vice-President of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Ms. Barne Jones; the retired Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Dr. Edmund Burke; Head of one of the largest cardiology practices in New York, Dr. Oluyemi Badero ; the President/CEO of Global Alliance ,Dr. Dexter Mackenzie ; the Executive Director of the Foundation For the University of The West Indies, Ms. Anne-Marie Grant; Former Mayor of Rahway Mr. James Kennedy and the former Head of the UN Fund for International Partnerships, Mr. Amir Dosal,among others.
Sierra Leonean -born, Mr. Sidique Wai ,  President/National Spokesman  of the United African Congress , who is engaged in many civic and developmental initiatives in the U.S, co-hosted the program , along with the National Chair Dr. Mohamed Nurhussein MD , the Chair of Give Them A Hand Foundation, H.E. Gordon Tapper and Imam Shamshi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.
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

NEWS FLASH : Blow for Palm Tree, as Hon. J.B. Dauda resigns from SLPP

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Published on February 9, 2011 

The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) today suffered another big loss as Hon.  J.B. Dauda announced his resignation from the troubled party. Mr. Dauda was recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by President Ernest Bai Koroma. The minister said today that he accepted the position  because of his desire to serve his country. The minister went on to say that throughout his life, it had been his guiding principle to put the nation above political party and since his suspension from  the SLPP  contradicts his principle, which he wants to continue to uphold, he has decided to reconsider his membership of the party.

Hon .Dauda’s resignation is a big blow to the SLPP because he was no doubt a bulwark of political astuteness and power . A veteran ,  experienced  and respected politician, Hon. Dauda has a significant following and a vital constituency .His resignation will be perceived as a sign that the SLPP ship is becoming marooned in the choppy waters of political naivety , mediocrity and lack of forward direction.

It is another major victory for the ruling APC, attesting  to the fact that the Red Sun has the  capacity to attract , capture  and hold the finest political minds  in the nation , another sign that when it comes to political savvy, the APC is streets ahead of the SLPP. With the SLPP’s March 5, 2011 Delegates’ Convention , where the party’s  presidential candidate for the 2012 elections will be voted in , expected to produce more cracks in the wall and more possible defections, Hon. Dauda’s decision today may be the dress rehearsal for  the greater act of more gloomy news for the SLPP .

READ MINISTER J.B. DAUDA’S RESIGNATION LETTER BELOW :

4 Hill Station

Freetown

Sierra Leone

8th February, 2011

Mr. John O. Benjamin

National Chairman and Leader

Sierra Leone People’s Party

National Headquarters

15 Wallace Johnson Street

Freetown

Dear National Chairman and Leader,

RESIGNATION FROM THE PARTY

I refer to your letter dater 4th December, 2010 addressed to me in which you conveyed to me the decision of the leadership of the SLPP to suspend me from the party for accepting an appointment from His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to serve my country as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

I wish to inform you that my decision to accept the appointment was based purely and wholly on my desire to serve my country. Throughout my long career in politics I have always been guided by the principle that I put my country before party.

As the decision of the leadership of the SLPP clearly contradicts my principle which I intend to continue to uphold and practice I have decided to reconsider my membership of the Sierra Leone People’s Party.

Accordingly I hereby resign from the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with effect from the date hereof.

Yours faithfully

J.B. Dauda

CC: National Secretary General

SLPP

Hinga Norman’s daughter and disaffected SLPP members cross over to the APC

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Published on February 9, 2011 by Cocorioko News   ·   No Comments

APC-logo

The Palm Tree is tottering and it is not even March 5, 2011 yet , when  there is expected to be a deluge of resignations in protest against the John Benjamin-manipulated Delegates Conference. Yesterday , Foreign Minister, Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda ( The kind of experienced and productive  politician any party would love to have ) abandoned the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ). Another distinguished personality who crossed over was Capt. Benjamin Davies , Boss of Sierra Leone’s Ports Authority. But it was not only the two esteemed public officials  who jumped ship. Yesterday was a day of defections as more disaffected SLPP members joined the  ruling All People’s Congress ( APC).

A notable defectee yesterday was the daughter of the late Chief Hinga Norman, the former Coordinator of Sierra Leone’s Civil Defence Force ( CDF ) who  not only helped to defeat the Revolutionary United Front ( RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Forces ( AFRC) rebels during the civil war but contributed in no small way to restore the SLPP  Government in 1998 after it was overthrown by the AFRC in 1997. In a very emotional ceremony at the APC Headquarters in Freetown, Ms. Juliet Norman said she had joined the APC  because the SLPP  failed not only her late father but the whole nation. She was received with open hands by the Secretary General of the APC, Mr. Victor Foh, party stalwarts , ministers of the government and well-wishers of the APC.

Also jumping ship yesterday were  grassroots politicians , Mr. Allieu Badara Mansaray who was former Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, and Mr. Issa Lansana Sannoh, famously Chairman of the Motor Drivers Union. They said they had left the SLPP  because they saw nothing progressive in the party’s plans for Sierra Leone, unlike the APC, which is committed to the socio-economic and political development of the country.

The one-time Headman of the Tombo Fishing Village ,Mr. Foday Kamara,  also quit the SLPP yesterday to join the APC. Others who also joined them were Messrs Milton Ojumari and the powerful President of the Sierra Leone Ports Association, Mr. Abdul Nasiru. A member of the People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC ), Mr. Solomon Kargbo also joined the APC yesterday .

Many SLPP  supporters reached by COCORIOKO last night confessed that they were devastated by the defections from their party, which shows that all is not well in Torkpoiland. They said that the SLPP is facing fundamental problems but because their egoes were bigger than the party’s interest , Chairman John Benjamin, Secretary General Jusu Saffa,  Old Man Sama Banya and other top party officials were refusing to acknowledge the problems and were going around giving false hopes to supporters that all was well and that they will win the 2012 elections. The supporters did not hide the fact from COCORIOKO that the SLPP  was so divided that only God knows what will happen after the March 5 Convention.

Minister Plenipotentiary tells diplomats and U.S. officials : Sierra Leone doing well in post-war reconstruction

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Sierra Leone’s  Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations  and Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States on United Nations Security Council Reform, Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, yesterday  told diplomats , United States  officials and distinguished personalities in New York that Sierra Leone was  presently doing a  tremendous job  to rebuild the country after the  11-year civil war which ended in 2002.

The Minister said that at one time the international media was abuzz with negative stories about Sierra Leone as a result of  the war which created a humanitarian disaster in the country  . He said that everyday the newspapers , TV and online media outlets had nothing to report on Sierra Leone but the thousands of murders and rapes committed during the war as well as the amputations and massive destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The Minister told his rapt audience that  “now, however, ”  he has good news for them about Sierra Leone. “Through the remarkable resilience of our people and the determination of our government , under the progressive leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone  has embarked on a new path of national reconciliation, national reintegration and national reconstruction  and there is  socio-economic and political  progress in the country, which the International Community has acknowledged  and caused  the international image of Sierra Leone to change  dramatically”, he said.

Minister Kabs-Kanu further told the audience that Sierra Leone is now one of the safest countries in the world and he called on investors to carry trade and commerce to the country.He also said that tourists were invited to go and enjoy the breathcatching beauty of Sierra Leone and the hospitality of the people.

The Minister was speaking during an impressive  Leadership Dialogue staged by three U.S organizations involved in reconstruction and development in underdeveloped countries around the world–The United African Congress , Give Them A Hand and the Earth Rights Institute –at the Manhattan Club , 200 West 56th Street , New York , on Saturday.

The occasion was attended by the UN Under-Secretary General, LDC, H.E. Cheikh Sidi Diarra  , many African ambassadors and diplomats assigned to the UN, senators , business leaders and entrepeneurs and other U.S. Government officials , heads of humanitarian and charity organizations and distinguished personalities in the Big Apple.

The Minister represented the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN at the occasion and was requested to make remarks about the latest developments in Sierra Leone. He seized  the opportunity to explain progress  being made so far by the All People’s Congress ( APC) Government to rebuild the country, which was destroyed by the last Civil war that killed over 20, 000 people and left a large number of disabled victims.

During the program, two important initiatives on the reconstruction and development of Haiti and a trade and cultural event with  Africa were unveiled.

AT THE HIGH TABLE : UN UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL, H.E. DIARRA (RIGHT ) AND SIERRA LEONE’S MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU

Minister Kabs-Kanu told the audience that since President Ernest Koroma came to power in 2007 through one of the best democratic elections ever held in Africa, he and his government have been working tremendously to rebuild the country and reshape the nation’s destiny. He told them about the AGENDA FOR CHANGE launched by President Koroma , which is built around the pillars of Energy, Agriculture , Transportation and Human Development and through  this program, the government has brought electricity to the country (While also completing the long-delayed Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Project ) , engaged in ambitious road and infrastructural development , accelerated farming activities throughout the country in an effort aimed at achieving food security and  it has also instituted  a dramatic change in health care delivery ,with the result that post-natal and child deaths, once an alarming feature of life in Sierra Leone, have been drastically reduced.

 

 

The minister said that last year President Koroma introduced free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5 and the government’s efforts at efficient health care delivery was rewarded when the UN gave the country an award during the 65th Session of the General Assembly for efforts being made to fulfill the Millenium Development Goals ( MDGs) in the area of Health. The minister said that the government has many more plans to bring relief to the people and he called on friends of Sierra Leone , development partners , international donor agencies and the International Community to come to the aid of the country as she strives to press home her new image as  a model of post-war national reconstruction in the world . 

MINISTER KANU  ( LEFT ) POSES WITH FAMOUS AUTHOR  AND ANCHOR OF NY 1 TV, MS. CHERYL WILLS; THE PRESIDENT AND NATIONAL SPOKESMAN OF THE UAC  MR. SIDIQUE WAI AND ANOTHER DISTINGUISHED GUEST

Apart from the diplomats and other personalities present, another very  important person at the occasion was  Mr. Gary Shulze, who has been involved in development initiatives in Sierra Leone for long. Also present were the Publisher of CARIBBEAN NEWS, Dr. Karl Rodney; the President and CEO of the newspaper, Mrs. Faye Rodney ; the anchor and author of NY1 Television, Cheryl Wills , the NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Bureau , Chief Philip Banks 111; the Democratic Conference Leader of New York State, Hon. John Sampson; the Vice-President of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Ms. Barne Jones; the retired Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Dr. Edmund Burke; Head of one of the largest cardiology practices in New York, Dr. Oluyemi Badero ; the President/CEO of Global Alliance ,Dr. Dexter Mackenzie ; the Executive Director of the Foundation For the University of The West Indies, Ms. Anne-Marie Grant; Former Mayor of Rahway Mr. James Kennedy and the former Head of the UN Fund for International Partnerships, Mr. Amir Dosal,among others.

Sierra Leonean -born, Mr. Sidique Wai ,  President/National Spokesman  of the United African Congress , who is engaged in many civic and developmental initiatives in the U.S, co-hosted the program , along with the National Chair Dr. Mohamed Nurhussein MD , the Chair of Give Them A Hand Foundation, H.E. Gordon Tapper and Imam Shamshi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.

Mr. Wai thanked the Minister for sharing the refreshing  news about progress being made in Sierra Leone. Other distinguished guests also thanked him for the information and said that they wished Sierra Leone well in her efforts to rebuild after the war.

The Chair of Give Them A Hand Foundation, H.E. Gordon Tapper, did a power-point presentation of the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and unveiled a multi-million dollar project being undertaken by his organization for the reconstruction of Haiti after the disastrous earthquake that hit the country last year.

The UN Under-Secretary General, H.E. Diarra , briefed the gathering about the latest on the crisis in the Ivory Coast and efforts being made by the UN to help solve the stalemate.

Defence Minister Palor Conteh : We remain focussed on our Agenda For Change in Sierra Leone

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Published on February 6, 2011 

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Defence, Hon. Alfred Palor Conteh , told COCORIOKO  this morning that he and the Government remained focussed on President Ernest Bai Koroma ‘s Agenda For Change, which is designed to better the lives of the Sierra Leonean people . The Minister noted that the government was not prepared to engage in any distractions.

The Minister spoke to COCORIOKO  from Nyala , Darfur in the Sudan . “I left Freetown for Sudan on Thursday and I arrived in Nyala, Darfur this morning. I will be back in town on Sun 13 Feb…”, the Minister emphasized.

The minister was so busy with weighty matters of state  and efforts to positively change the lives of the  Sierra Leonean people that he had not even had any time to read the latest nonsense from some errant  and idle U.S. diplomats running their mouths about African matters they knew nothing about in the so-called Wilkileaks revelations.

While President Koroma and government officials were enduring sleepless nights to bring socio-economic and political relief to the prople, some U.S. diplomats were busy communicating lies, misinformation and disinformation to their capital , based on their own biased assessments and unsubstantiated rumours.

Last week, the British newspaper, the DAILY TELEGRAPH , published  another of the lies exposed by Wilkileak . Reported the paper :

In August, 2009, a secret cable from the US embassy in Freetown reported “deep corruption” within Sierra Leone’s defence ministry, “primarily through pocketing of enlisted members’ salaries”.

June Carter Perry, the US ambassador, wrote: “The British envoy revealed that the GoSL (Government of Sierra Leone) demanded a $4 million [£2.46million] contribution from the UK for the Ministry of Defense to support peacekeeping.

“Upon examination, the British discovered that half of the funds were for the personal use of the minister [Palo Conteh] and top brass. Items such as 36 plasma TVs and hunting rifles for the minister’s own use were included.”

The Editor-In-Chief of the Sierra Leone DAILY MAIL, Mr. Foday Morris, commented : “Those cables are rubbish!  They are the one sided opinion of a diplomat.  Let stop treating the words of Western diplomats as gospel.  They are sometimes very vindictive……There is proof that some of he Wikileak documents were fake and and information rendedered in most of them were fabricated lies against governments of the worlds,  This why all governments are angry that such information revealed.   The diplomats rendered opinions they did not substantiate.  In some instances, for example in Sierra Leone they were getting false information from opposition party members as early as 2008. There informants were mostly disgruntled SLPP members of the press and civil society who had lost elections the previous year…..The minister of defence is not a stupid man that would expose himself so foolishly. Under the transformational leadership of President Koroma he would have been relieved of his duties long time ago.  We know why the minister’s  name ended up on theso called Wikeileak documents.  No matter how much is fabricated against the pillars of the current administration, we will not be distracted.”

Minister Palor Conteh will respond appropriately to the lies and wicked distortions in the Wilkileak cables when he returns to Sierra Leone. For now, he is very busy with what the Ernest Koroma Government does best—Promoting the welfare of the Sierra Leonean people .

Minister Plenipotentiary tells diplomats and U.S. officials : Sierra Leone doing well in post-war reconstruction

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Published on February 6, 2011 

Sierra Leone’s  Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations  and Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States on United Nations Security Council Reform, Rev. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, yesterday  told diplomats , United States  officials and distinguished personalities in New York that Sierra Leone was  presently doing a  tremendous job  to rebuild the country after the  11-year civil war which ended in 2002.

The Minister said that at one time the international media was abuzz with negative stories about Sierra Leone as a result of  the war which created a humanitarian disaster in the country  . He said that everyday the newspapers , TV and online media outlets had nothing to report on Sierra Leone but the thousands of murders and rapes committed during the war as well as the amputations and massive destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The Minister told his rapt audience that  “now, however, ”  he has good news for them about Sierra Leone. “Through the remarkable resilience of our people and the determination of our government , under the progressive leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone  has embarked on a new path of national reconciliation, national reintegration and national reconstruction  and there is  socio-economic and political  progress in the country, which the International Community has acknowledged  and caused  the international image of Sierra Leone to change  dramatically”, he said.

Minister Kabs-Kanu further told the audience that Sierra Leone is now one of the safest countries in the world and he called on investors to carry trade and commerce to the country.He also said that tourists were invited to go and enjoy the breathcatching beauty of Sierra Leone and the hospitality of the people.

The Minister was speaking during an impressive  Leadership Dialogue staged by three U.S organizations involved in reconstruction and development in underdeveloped countries around the world–The United African Congress , Give Them A Hand and the Earth Rights Institute –at the Manhattan Club , 200 West 56th Street , New York , on Saturday.

The occasion was attended by the UN Under-Secretary General, LDC, H.E. Cheikh Sidi Diarra  , many African ambassadors and diplomats assigned to the UN, senators , business leaders and entrepeneurs and other U.S. Government officials , heads of humanitarian and charity organizations and distinguished personalities in the Big Apple.

 The Minister represented the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN at the occasion and was requested to make remarks about the latest developments in Sierra Leone. He seized  the opportunity to explain progress  being made so far by the All People’s Congress ( APC) Government to rebuild the country, which was destroyed by the last Civil war that killed over 20, 000 people and left a large number of disabled victims.

During the program, two important initiatives on the reconstruction and development of Haiti and a trade and cultural event with  Africa were unveiled.

AT THE HIGH TABLE : UN UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL, H.E. DIARRA (RIGHT ) AND SIERRA LEONE’S MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY LEEROY WILFRED KABS-KANU

Minister Kabs-Kanu told the audience that since President Ernest Koroma came to power in 2007 through one of the best democratic elections ever held in Africa, he and his government have been working tremendously to rebuild the country and reshape the nation’s destiny. He told them about the AGENDA FOR CHANGE launched by President Koroma , which is built around the pillars of Energy, Agriculture , Transportation and Human Development and through  this program, the government has brought electricity to the country (While also completing the long-delayed Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Project ) , engaged in ambitious road and infrastructural development , accelerated farming activities throughout the country in an effort aimed at achieving food security and  it has also instituted  a dramatic change in health care delivery ,with the result that post-natal and child deaths, once an alarming feature of life in Sierra Leone, have been drastically reduced.

MINISTER KABS-KANU AND  MR. GARY SHULZE

The minister said that last year President Koroma introduced free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5 and the government’s efforts at efficient health care delivery was rewarded when the UN gave the country an award during the 65th Session of the General Assembly for efforts being made to fulfill the Millenium Development Goals ( MDGs) in the area of Health. The minister said that the government has many more plans to bring relief to the people and he called on friends of Sierra Leone , development partners , international donor agencies and the International Community to come to the aid of the country as she strives to press home her new image as  a model of post-war national reconstruction in the world . 

MINISTER KANU  ( LEFT ) POSES WITH FAMOUS AUTHOR  AND ANCHOR OF NY 1 TV, MS. CHERYL WILLS; THE PRESIDENT AND NATIONAL SPOKESMAN OF THE UAC  MR. SIDIQUE WAI AND ANOTHER DISTINGUISHED GUEST

Apart from the diplomats and other personalities present, another very  important person at the occasion was  Mr. Gary Shulze, who has been involved in development initiatives in Sierra Leone for long. Also present were the Publisher of CARIBBEAN NEWS, Dr. Karl Rodney; the President and CEO of the newspaper, Mrs. Faye Rodney ; the anchor and author of NY1 Television, Cheryl Wills , the NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Bureau , Chief Philip Banks 111; the Democratic Conference Leader of New York State, Hon. John Sampson; the Vice-President of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Ms. Barne Jones; the retired Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Medicine, SUNY Downstate Dr. Edmund Burke; Head of one of the largest cardiology practices in New York, Dr. Oluyemi Badero ; the President/CEO of Global Alliance ,Dr. Dexter Mackenzie ; the Executive Director of the Foundation For the University of The West Indies, Ms. Anne-Marie Grant; Former Mayor of Rahway Mr. James Kennedy and the former Head of the UN Fund for International Partnerships, Mr. Amir Dosal,among others.

Sierra Leonean -born, Mr. Sidique Wai ,  President/National Spokesman  of the United African Congress , who is engaged in many civic and developmental initiatives in the U.S, co-hosted the program , along with the National Chair Dr. Mohamed Nurhussein MD , the Chair of Give Them A Hand Foundation, H.E. Gordon Tapper and Imam Shamshi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.

Mr. Wai thanked the Minister for sharing the refreshing  news about progress being made in Sierra Leone. Other distinguished guests also thanked him for the information and said that they wished Sierra Leone well in her efforts to rebuild after the war.

The Chair of Give Them A Hand Foundation, H.E. Gordon Tapper, did a power-point presentation of the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and unveiled a multi-million dollar project being undertaken by his organization for the reconstruction of Haiti after the disastrous earthquake that hit the country last year.

The UN Under-Secretary General, H.E. Diarra , briefed the gathering about the latest on the crisis in the Ivory Coast and efforts being made by the UN to help solve the stalemate.

Opposition stronghold begins to crumble, as ‘Friends of Ernest Koroma’ rock in Kailahun

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Published on February 4, 2011 

All great truths start as blasphemy. The floored opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) scrambled off the canvas to dispute it. The former  ambassador, Patrick Foyah, ranted against the APC and rationalized that the Kissis will not vote for the ruling party. But news coming from Kailahun District should get the opposition worried because the APC seems to have penetrated their stronghold. Political savvy is about to reign supreme over political brawn.

The pro- APC group called THE FRIENDS OF ERNEST KOROMA is rocking in Kailahun and winning converts by droves. The motivating factor for the implausible drama is the new air of optimism President Ernest Koroma has breathed in the backward and once-neglected district that they too could benefit immensely from the socio-economic and political projects the President has launched in the country. According to our roving reporters , SLPP youths disgusted by the lack of progress in their district are crossing over to the APC to become members of FRIENDS OF ERNEST KOROMA. Members of the progressive group are said to have gained significant grounds in their sensitization program designed to awaken youths of the district to the salient message that in today’s political reality  the party that makes the pot boil and also brings much-needed development is the one that should be embraced.

The brain behind FRIENDS OF ERNEST KOROMA is Kailahun youth political activist, Sahr Mokuwa. He told our reporters that he was moved by what President Koroma  has done for the district in the short time that the President has been in power. He and officials of FRIENDS OF ERNEST KOROMA stated that  they have sensitized the youths of the district to eschew old, backward theories of supporting governments or political parties in Sierra Leone  because of tribal, regional and partisan reasons. The youths of the district are being sensitized to drop their unquestioning loyalty for politicians and parties that do nothing for them.

It must be recalled that though Kailahun District is one of the richest in terms of natural resources like cash crops  and human resources ,thanks of the abundant sons and daughters of the district holding top positions in society, the district is the most backward in the country with roads that are not motorable in the rainy season and residents unable to recall when they last set eyes on electricity and pipe-borne water. Kailahun remains this backward, notwithstanding the fact that the former Vice-President and Foreign Minister, Dr. Sama Banya; former Finance Minister John Oponjo Benjamin, one-time Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority ( NRA ) , John Karimu , former Ambassador to Liberia Patrick Foyah and other distinguished personalities all hail from the district. They were in power for 11 years during SLPP rule but did nothing for the district.

The SLPP are in denial but their most staunch stronghold is slowly crumbling to the APC. Tom Nyuma has nothing but respect for President Koroma. Borbor Sawyer, who has a big following, is now on the APC side. THE FRIENDS OF ERNEST KOROMA are winning the youths to their camp. While it is not yet certain that the APC will sweep Kailahun in the forthcoming 2012 elections, the party can inflict fatal blows on the SLPP’s determination to return to power by taking very significant votes from them in their own district. Indeed, the APC  does not need to take the whole district. All they need is just 30% of the Kailahun votes to win the whole elections by a landslide , given projections that the APC will retain the Western Area and the North , take Kono and prise some important votes from  the SLPP  in Pujehun , Moyamba, Bo , Kenema and Moyamba .

The SLPP will start sharpening their knives for us once again as they did in 2007 but we are telling them  the truth once more. We were not wrong in 2007 and will not be wrong in 2012.

Kailahun to get electricity and pipe-borne water by end of this year

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Published on February 1, 2011 by Cocorioko News   ·   1 Comment

The main road into Kailahun. Sierra Leone. Photo taken April 8, 2010.

In continuation of President Ernest Koroma’s Agenda of Change program which is designed to bring socio-economic and political development to Sierra Leone, electricity and pipe-borne water will be restored to Kailahun  this year. One of the dramatic highlights of the year that just ended was the visit of Sierra Leone’s Energy and Power Minister , Professor Ogunlade Davidson to  Kailahun, the stronghold of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) ,where the minister delivered the good news to the people.

Kailahun, an important part of Sierra Leone, is not only noted for producing some of the most educated citizens of the soil, but is also one of the country’s most  agriculturally- productive districts , growing a significant amount of the country’s cash crops and food . Unfortunately, Kailahun has lagged behind most of the districts in the country  with very poor roads, no light or water, dilapedated buildings and backward educational system, due to neglect by previous governments , even though she  also has the distinction of  being home to some of the cream of the nation’s  politicians , including the Chairman of the SLPP, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin ( who was the Finance Minister in the last administration ) , former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Sama Banya , one-time Commissioner -General of the National Revenue Authority ( NRA ) , Dr. John Karimu and former Ambassador to the neighbouring Republic of Liberia, Mr. Patrick Foyah .  The problem of Kailahun’s backwardness , though the district had some of the most senior government officials , had been cause of fervent national debates . However, the situation is about to change , thanks to the coming to power via democratic elections, by President Koroma in 2007.

When President Ernest Koroma visited Kailahun last year , during which massive crowds turned out to welcome him, he did assure the citizens of Kailahun District that his government would extend its socio-economic and political developments to their doorsteps as his goal was to carry development to every district in the country.

The Kailahun Water Project will be undertaken by Angelique International, an Indian Company . It is an approximately U.S. $60 million project to be funded by both the Sierra Leone Government and India. The Government of India will provide half of the amount and the project site, which is at Pandebu in the Luawa Chiefdom, has already been handed over to the Indian contractors by Minister Richardson, during the launching program on November 28. The Minister promised that the electricity and water projects will be completed in nine months.

As for the electrification of Kailahun, it will be done by the National Power Authority ( NPA ) .