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Archive for April, 2011

Sierra Leone’s impressive Civil Society rocks the UN : Pictorial Display

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Sierra Leone’s impressive Civil Society rocks the UN : Pictorial Display thumbnail

During the recent United Nations Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration review meetings at the UN, Sierra Leone’s Civil Society participated and made a deep and stirring impression. As we said in our previous reports, each and every member of the Civil Society fascinated stakeholders, development partners and other members of the international community with their analyses of socio-political and economic issues in post-conflict Sierra Leone, as well as the peacebuilding initiatives of the government and the country’s gallant strive to create a democratic society where women and vulnerable members of society were empowered. The eloquent women and man demonstrated how much voice Civil Society now enjoys in the new Sierra Leone. We bring you snippets of their statements during the open debate at the UN and a pictorial display.

She called for multi-stakeholder approach in peacebuilding. She said women constitute 51% of the population and played a great part in bringing peace to the country and are also contributing to economic development but lamented that their visibility and participation are low th0ugh the government is doing a good job in promoting gender participation. She lauded government’s efforts in providing access for women to free health care and justice and for the laws adopted against sexual violence.  She condemned “female genital cutting ” and called for more efforts to end the practice. She called for increased participation of women in governance. She said out of 124 parliamentarians, only 16 were women; only 2 women held full cabinet positions while only 4 were deputy ministers. She stressed that women were demanding 30% representation in parliament and governance after the 2012 elections.

She said that the emergence of the All Political Parties Women’s Organization has helped to change the dynamics in Sierra Leone .She went on: “We fought for peace and democracy in Sierra Leone .We have a lot to do and the international community is helping a lot.” Lauding the APPWO , she noted that there were still a lot of issues to be confronted, “but we are doing our best through gender and civil society participation. ”

She said that there is solidarity among women in Sierra Leone and she spoke against what she described as the feminization of poverty, which , along with illiteracy, were a menace. She called for literacy programs for women and said she wanted to see women having economic capacity, and able to purchase and own their own properties. Present new laws in Sierra Leone now make this possible. She called for the setting up of an entrepreneur base for women. She also spoke against ‘female genital cutting ‘ and said that violence limits women’s political participation. She said no one has questioned why female genital cutting has persisted. She called for capacity and confidence building programs for women.

She spoke about the evil effects of early marriage and female circumcision and how they were retarding women’s progress in Sierra Leone. She also condemned the act of women working in quarries, breaking stones to gain a living. She called for  accessible safe drinking water because men rape women who go searching for water. She called for tough laws to punish those whose engaged in violence against women.

He praised the government for efforts being made towards gender empowerment. He also called for more support to empower women in Sierra Leone and said his organization was committed to support of the 30% quota in participation being demanded by women.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, New York, USA

The world at their feet : New Jerseyans stage what is being described as best jubilee celebrations so far

Sunday, April 24th, 2011




Whenever Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey  get together to stage a function, it often turns out to be the best. When President Ernest Koroma, who was then opposition leader , brought his electioneering sensitization and campaign programs to the United States between 2004 and 2006, it was New Jerseyans that  provided the best rallies and dinners where the then aspiring President’s blueprint for the present transformation of Sierra Leone was showcased to the whole world. It was in New Jersey that the erstwhile opposition leader conducted his first newspaper interview about his plans and dreams for Sierra Leone. It was New Jersey that staged the first town meeting where President Koroma stirred hundreds of Sierra Leoneans about the marvellous changes taking place in the country under his leadership.





It was in New Jersey that political experts saw the tremendous and magnificent outpouring of  passion and enthusiasm for the future leader of Sierra Leone that they predicted that “This man is headed for glory :The next time he talks to Sierra Leoneans , he might do so from the throne at State House ! !” . Even outside the political sphere, New Jerseyans have staged the best Sierra Leonean weddings and birthday sessions in the United States.





Yesterday, living up to their billing as perhaps the best organizers of social functions, Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey had the world at their feet as they staged what is being described as perhaps the best 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations so far in Continental USA. As people who were absent from yesteday’s celebrations in New Jersey are being told, they missed the treat of a lifetime. They missed seeing history being made right under their noses .





The Sierra Leone Community has established an amazing and fascinating foothold in New Jersey, which admittedly in the past was the land of their afflictions ,  a strange country where they arrived to pursue ambitions of self-advancement and had to work  the soles of their feet off to establish themselves.  Today, many of them are contributing brilliantly to the socio-economic and political development of New Jersey. Today, they have moved a significant step up by having  the national flag of Sierra Leone  flying high in the state and there is a proclamation that has made every April 27 Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey. Things cannot get any better  than this for Sierra Leone in New Jersey and anybody who loves his/her country and is proud of her nation should have been there.



The Independence Anniversary Parade and Picnic overcame earlier threats  of disruption by pouring rain ( It ceased later ) to become a celebration of epic proportions with Sierra Leonean organizers  making their fellow citizens proud of their nation once more .We have our differences in New Jersey but  such differences must never stop us from giving credit where credit is due. Tears of pride and joy came to my eyes yesterday morning when I drove through Franklin and saw the green-white-and-blue national flag of Sierra Leone proudly flying aloft in the cool, crisp wind  on many poles of the business street of Central New Jersey–Hamilton Street. One of the organizers, Mr. Foday Mansaray, told COCORIOKO : “I mobilized some young boys to work with me and hang all those flags on the streets last night . We wanted today to be truly Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey and we succeeded ”





A  fresher at Fourah Bay College in 1972  emotionally lost it all while describing the enjoyment on Mount Aureol in the FBC of old glory when asked to describe life on the campus . He told the AUREOL TIMES : “It is a kaleidoscope of endless varieties  ! ! ” So was it in New Jersey yesterday. It was a kaleidoscope of endless varieties. From the parade to the Picnic and cultural show to the big dance in the night, New Jerseyans delivered a 50th Independence Anniversary classic that will not be easily surpassed by other states.





No wonder organizers , the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr. Lamin Alharazim; his deputy , my former classmate  at CKC, Bo from Forms 1-5 , Mr. Joe N’gaojia ; Madam Madina Rahman , Susan Bona, Khadi Sillah, Messrs Abdul Hardy Gabisi, Mohamed Aziz Nabe,  Busairi Savage, Jerry George,  Sanusi Kamara, Suliman Kargbo , Dr. Abdul Rahman  Kamara, Foday Mansaray, Dauda Shekou Bangura, Alhaji  Allie Badara Kamara   were on top of the world during yesterday’s memorable programs. They deserved to be , because they successfully organized an occasion which has put Sierra Leone on the map in America.





Thankfully, COCORIOKO  is producing a  video documentary of yesterday’s events which will help to keep these functions fresh in the minds of Sierra Leone and for children yet unborn to see how their predecessors created whatever benefits will emerge from the establishment of a Sierra Leonean constituency through these jubilee celebrations in New Jersey.





As for the dance, it was one of the most jampacked occasions ever in New Jersey. The hall was so crowded that there was hardly elbow room. Young girls had to sit on each others’ laps or on the base of the stage. The patron tables on the big stage were all filled up and you had to time your steps to avoid treading on the feet of other people. The last time I saw such a jam session was during those frenetic and memorable nights at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre during freshers’ dances at FBC. The music was exhiliarating and kept the holiday crowd on its feet constantly. Everybody was in jubilant mood and it was one celebration they will never forget.


Yesterday’s events cannot  be effectively described in a single article and so COCORIOKO will produce its reports in series, covering the Flag-raising ceremonies in Franklin Township and Newark , the Parade and Picnic and the big dance. Keep a date with Sierra Leone’s biggest and most widely read newspapers. Also watch our pictorial display in series too.








* If you helped to organize these programs and your name is not mentioned ,please do not despair. All of you will be featured.






APC New York Chapter Celebrate Sierra Leone 50th Independence Anniversary

Monday, April 11th, 2011

APC New York Chapter Celebrate Sierra Leone 50th Independence Anniversary thumbnail


Members of the APC New York Chapter held their fund raising dance in honor of Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary at the Bronxville Boys Scout Cabin, 1820 Midland Avenue, Bronxville, New York on Saturday April 9th, 2011. This Spectacular event was graced by supporters and members of the All People’s Congress across the United States. Members of the opposition parties, Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), were also in attendance.  (Photo: New York Executive)

Speaking on behalf of the APC New York Chapter, Mr. Samuel Koroma, President of the Chapter, expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to everyone who graced the occasion. “Your tremendous outpouring of support to this fund raising event is a clear indication of your patriotism and love for our beloved country, Sierra Leone,” Mr. Koroma pointed out to the Grand Chief Patron, H. E. Shekou Toure, Sierra Leone Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the Chief Patrons, Patrons and all those who turned out for the event.

The program proper started with both Christian and Muslim prayers, Mr. C. B. Amara, Vice President of the APC New York Chapter and Mr. KDK respectively. The wife of the APC New York Chapter Vice President, Mrs. Amara who has made a very outstanding contribution to the success of the New York Chapter, was Master of Ceremonies. She was introduced by Mr. Bami Parkes, one of New York’s leading voices of the APC. After the recognition of all the Executive and members of the New York Chapter and other Sierra Leoneans who graced the event, Mr. Samuel S. Turay, Secretary General of the Chapter gave a very inspiring welcome address. He urged all Sierra Leoneans to make a meaningful contribution toward Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration.


New York Hunting


The North American Branch “movers and shakers” were on hand to grace this spectacular event. The Chairman of the APCNA, Mr. Al-Aziz Turay and the Vice Chairman, Mr. Sallieu H. Conteh were also present. Chairman Aziz Turay introduced members of the North American Branch. The APCNA Director of Regional Affairs, Mr. Foday Mansaray from New Jersey and the Sierra Leone Herald Tribune Cameraman who is known for his “on the spot live reporting,” Mr. Hamjat Jallomy Bah was also there with his camera.

Other “movers and shakers” that attended the New York Chapter fund raising were Mr. and Mrs. Essa Thaim Kurugba, Mr. and Mrs. Abdul Bero Kamara, the wife of honorable Alimamy Kargbo, Mrs. Kadie Kargbo and Madam Marie Salim from Washington DC and the Sierra Leone Super Stars and Chairman of the Sierra Leoneans Soccer Tournament Federation, Mr. Sentu Johnson were on hand for this memorable event.

The Minister Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone, Rev. Leroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, was accorded the honor of introducing the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H. E. Shekou Toure. Answering to the call for National Duty, Mr. Shekou Toure served as the event Keynote Speaker who was also accompanied the deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs H. E. Mr. Osman Keh Kamara.


Vicky Fornah


Among highlight of the night were special performances by Sierra Leone’s ‘Gospel Trail Blazer,” Vicky Fornah and the New York Hunting. The crowd exploded with euphoria when Mr. Victor Simbo, the APCNA Fund Raising Director and a member of the New York APC Chapter led the Hunting performance.

Sallieu H. Conteh



50th Anniversary will be a massive celebration in New Jersey, brains behind show say

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The brains behind the planning of the 50th Independence Aniversary celebrations in New Jersey have told COCORIOKO that it hopes to be a massive celebration, one that will leave an indelible impression about Sierra Leone and which will not be forgotten for long.  COCORIOKO had an exclusive interview with the Chairman of the New Jersey 50th Anniversary Committee, Mr. Lamin Alharazim, the Chair of the Parade Committee, Madam Madina Rahman , the chair of the Dance Committee , Mr. Sanusi Mustapha Kamara and the Secretary of the Anniversary Committee, Mr. Suliman Kargbo today.( COCORIOKO Man, Dennis Kabato will also conduct a live radio and video interview with them next week, which hopes to be classic ).

Crusading COCORIOKO reporters who will bring you an authoritative media coverage of the events, met with the officials today and the first question they asked was : “How far have you gone with the preparations ?”   Chairman Alharazim and all the officials enthusiastically replied that massive preparations have been going on to make the jubilee celebrations a massive success . They said that they had been meeting regulary at the Somerset Fire House in Franklin Township. They decided not to hold their meetings in any private home because they wanted the celebrations to be completely all-Sierra Leonean, involving people of all the various political parties , clubs, organizations, churches and other interest groups in the community. “This is not an APC or SLPP or PMDC or NDA celebration; this is an all-Sierra Leonean celebration”  ,  Chairman Alharazim asserted. “This has been  an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to prove that they can unite for a national purpose and work together “.

Messrs Sanusi Mustapha Kamara and Suliman Kargbo said that they had successfully got the hall for the big anniversary dance and it is the Chinese Community Hall on Elizabeth Lane in Franklin Township , Somerset. Music will be supplied by three notable people–DJs Gule, Baryoh and Donald Cline-Thomas.Invitation and  Patron tickets have been printed and are already being distributed. There will be patrons and Grand Chief Patrons.

Both men praised the level of participation of New Jerseyans in the planning of this gigantic show. They said that the cooperation from Sierra Leoneans of all persuasion and walks of life was fantastic .

The dance hopes to draw one of the biggest crowds ever to attend an occasion in New Jersey with celebrants expected from all the states in the continental U.S.





An excited Madam Madina Rahman, who is also President and founder of the New Jersey Nurses Association , briefed COCORIOKO about the huge preparations for the parade and cultural show to be held on Saturday April 23 , followed by the dance. “ We have made plans for floats, fire trucks and flatbed trucks to be used during the parade. The Union of Sierra Leonean Organizations in New York ( USLO ) will be coming to join us ”

Madam  Rahman stated that the Committee was very strict about making the celebrations non-political  and non-partisan,  and to ensure this,  every Sierra Leonean, regardless of their political , religious or regional affiliations will be allowed to participate and no group or party will be allowed to dominate the events. Party colours will not be allowed to adorn any of the floats or flatbed trucks, though organizations and parties can hold banners , if they wish.  “We are celebrating a national event and we will make sure that the event does not lose its national character . ”

Madina Rahman further disclosed that she had got the youths of New Jersey involved in the parade. “We have told them that they will have their own block of time , especially at the park where the parade will end . We will be having a cultural show there and the youths have been asked to come up with their own program and inform us. “  Though an army of Franklin Township Police will be on hand, the youths will also play a part in providing security.

Saturday April 23 will really be a  remarkable day in New Jersey as various organizations have planned to come out with masked Sierra Leonean devils in the parade and cultural show. There will be a fairie , hunting society devil, and Wunde and Poro devils as well as the Gelegele devil . A Sierra Leone Dance Troupe from Philadelphia is also expected to perform.

The brains behind the New Jersey celebrations also announced to COCORIOKO the active involvement of religious organizations in the arrangements. Muslims and christians will help to make the occasion grand .On Friday April 22, muslims plan to rent a place and hold a big congregrational prayer Service , and a menange of christian churches and organizations will hold their own congregational service on Sunday April 24.

COCORIOKO will as usual provide a thrilling and comprehensive coverage of the New Jersey celebrations.

© 2011, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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