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Archive for October, 2012

Upcoming Sierra Leone Elections: Important Test of Stability

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

 

Photo: Cotton Tree. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Sierra Leone’s national elections, on 17 November, will be an important test of whether the nation will sustain its course away from being among the world’s most traumatized post-conflict countries. The stakes are unusually high; this will be the first time Sierra Leone has held simultaneous elections for president, parliament, local council chairpersons, and council representatives. Recent history is favorable: the national elections in 2007 marked the first time power passed peacefully from the ruling party to the opposition. But occasional electoral violence from the parties’ ethnic alignments and winner-take-all traditions continue, as they have throughout the nearly five decades since I served in the Kambia District as a Peace Corps volunteer.

The incumbent, President Ernest Bai Koroma, leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), is the nation’s first Temne president and the first from a career in business. The son of Wesleyan school teachers in Makeni, Koroma was virtually unknown outside the political elite until he became the APC leader in 2002 and ran for president against incumbent President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who won in a landslide.  But in 2007, when Kabbah reached his term limit, Koroma defeated the incumbent Vice-President in a run-off election.

The international community has generally given President Koroma high marks. The World Bank notes satisfactory progress on the poverty reduction strategy and most of the millennium development goals. Sierra Leone’s “Doing Business” scores have improved significantly, and there have been some improvements in the fight against corruption. But earlier this year, Koroma demanded, and got, the recall of the UN mission chief in order to improve his re-election chances, according to The Economist.

Photo: Julius Maada Bio Source: SLPP

The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate, retired Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio, is a Mende, the son of the paramount chief of Sogbini, in Bonthe District. Maada Bio first came to public notice in April 1992, when he was one of the six young army officers who overthrew the APC government of Joseph Saidu Momoh and established the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta. Four years later, Maada Bio engineered the ouster of the NPRC chairman and became the head of state, for two and a half months, before handing power over to a civilian government led by Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.  Maada Bio then left for the United States, where he attained a BA and MA in international development from American University.

The regional and ethnic bases of the APC and SLPP remain little changed from the years before independence, in 1961: the APC draws support from the northern tribes and Krios, and the SLPP from the southern and eastern tribes. Confrontations are increasing as the election nears. According to an APC press release, on 13 October President Koroma cancelled a scheduled debate on the grounds that “Julius Maada Bio is not qualified to share a political platform on issues because he is lawless, disorderly, and does not respect authority.” He warned that “the future of Sierra Leone should not be entrusted into the hands of jokers.”

With eight minor parties also fielding presidential candidates, it seems likely that neither Koroma nor Maada Bio will gain a majority of the first-round vote, in which case a run-off will be necessary. Stay tuned to see how this election turns o

Transformation for national prosperity

Friday, October 19th, 2012
 By John Baimba Sesay :

We are, as a matter of fact a progress nation, especially so within the last sixty months. We have come a long way, despite where President Koroma took over from, the mantle of state leadership. From an Agenda for Change to an Agenda for Prosperity, we keep moving and doing more and will continue doing more and more.

 

 

On Thursday, October 18th President Ernest Bai Koroma officially presented his party manifesto to the people of Sierra Leone ahead of the November polls. The said manifesto has key areas that should be explained to our people, given that what President Koroma achieved in five years should always be related to the recently launched manifesto, titled, ‘Transformation for National Development’. We have often argued that Sierra Leone is in a transition and this transition is one that is being led by President Ernest Bai Koroma himself.

We all will agree that prior to 2007, Sierra Leone as a post war nation had a lot of challenges that needed, at the time, the type of political will that President Koroma successful provided when he was elected in 2007. As such, we saw what we were able to achieve in roads, in the provision of energy and power, in the fight against corruption in the provision of human right, youth employment, information and communication and even in agriculture. We also saw the tremendous achievements we scored as a country in health care, in the protection of the environment, in education, mineral resources, not to mention the wok that is in progress at the moment even at a time that the President is seeking reelection.

The 2012 party manifesto, presented by President Koroma contained areas dealing with the economy, in terms of efforts to bolster it, it also has in place plans on how to maximize and sustain benefits from Sierra Leone’s natural resources, coupled with plans to improve on the country’s service delivery aspect, and the need to promote and empower the vulnerable in society. It also takes into account the determination of this President and government, when reelected in November, to deepen Sierra Leone’s democracy and new politics, plus the need to promote strategic foreign policy and international cooperation.
In the area of strengthening macroeconomic and financial management, we all will agree that the world still keeps facing financial and banking challenges, plus the challenge of creating more and sustainable jobs to absorb our unemployed youths, among other challenges. It is therefore the determination of President Koroma to put efforts together, aimed at developing a robust and healthy economy, as well as intensifying the fight against corruption, and at the same time, diminishing reliance on food imports. It is also the determination of this government, when reelected to improve on the aspect of procurement and contract managements. Strategies for this include but not limited to pursuing policies that enhance peace and stability as well as those that promote donor confidence. It is also the plan of government to ensure the improvement of the business climate in the country by putting in place and implementing appropriate laws and administrative measures, coupled with plans to ensure, more measures are instituted to control inflation and ensure that public borrowing from the central bank allows money to flow and bolster the private sector.
The need to scale up agricultural productivity is also another major component of the manifesto. We know that by 2007, the government of President Koroma increased investment in this sector from a small and discouraging 1.6% IN 2007 to 10% in 2011. This, in itself is a boast in the sector, given that it is one of the backbones of the country’s economy that contributes about 46% to our Gross Domestic Product. It also supports the livelihood of two thirds of our population. Also of importance to note is that the agriculture sector generates about one fourth of the export earnings of Sierra Leone. So President Koroma’s decision to give more attention to this sector is in line with his desire for a better and improved Sierra Leone.
The objective of President Koroma, as contained in his party manifesto for agriculture, is to sustain the promotion of commercial agriculture, through the smallholder commercialization programme, as well and working towards enhancing support for mechanization, coupled with the need to increase transfer of innovative skills and knowledge to farmers. Strategies have been put in place to actualize this dream by President Ernest Bai Koroma. The aspect of irrigation will be encouraged so as to increase cultivation of inland swamps and create incentives for fish farming. Another strategy is to improve research and extension service deliver, plus the desire to continue promoting efficient and effective resource management bot at the human and material levels in the sector.

Posted by  on October 19, 20120 Comment

By John Baimba Sesay :

We are, as a matter of fact a progress nation, especially so within the last sixty months. We have come a long way, despite where President Koroma took over from, the mantle of state leadership. From an Agenda for Change to an Agenda for Prosperity, we keep moving and doing more and will continue doing more and more.

 

 

On Thursday, October 18th President Ernest Bai Koroma officially presented his party manifesto to the people of Sierra Leone ahead of the November polls. The said manifesto has key areas that should be explained to our people, given that what President Koroma achieved in five years should always be related to the recently launched manifesto, titled, ‘Transformation for National Development’. We have often argued that Sierra Leone is in a transition and this transition is one that is being led by President Ernest Bai Koroma himself.

We all will agree that prior to 2007, Sierra Leone as a post war nation had a lot of challenges that needed, at the time, the type of political will that President Koroma successful provided when he was elected in 2007. As such, we saw what we were able to achieve in roads, in the provision of energy and power, in the fight against corruption in the provision of human right, youth employment, information and communication and even in agriculture. We also saw the tremendous achievements we scored as a country in health care, in the protection of the environment, in education, mineral resources, not to mention the wok that is in progress at the moment even at a time that the President is seeking reelection.

The 2012 party manifesto, presented by President Koroma contained areas dealing with the economy, in terms of efforts to bolster it, it also has in place plans on how to maximize and sustain benefits from Sierra Leone’s natural resources, coupled with plans to improve on the country’s service delivery aspect, and the need to promote and empower the vulnerable in society. It also takes into account the determination of this President and government, when reelected in November, to deepen Sierra Leone’s democracy and new politics, plus the need to promote strategic foreign policy and international cooperation.
In the area of strengthening macroeconomic and financial management, we all will agree that the world still keeps facing financial and banking challenges, plus the challenge of creating more and sustainable jobs to absorb our unemployed youths, among other challenges. It is therefore the determination of President Koroma to put efforts together, aimed at developing a robust and healthy economy, as well as intensifying the fight against corruption, and at the same time, diminishing reliance on food imports. It is also the determination of this government, when reelected to improve on the aspect of procurement and contract managements. Strategies for this include but not limited to pursuing policies that enhance peace and stability as well as those that promote donor confidence. It is also the plan of government to ensure the improvement of the business climate in the country by putting in place and implementing appropriate laws and administrative measures, coupled with plans to ensure, more measures are instituted to control inflation and ensure that public borrowing from the central bank allows money to flow and bolster the private sector.

The need to scale up agricultural productivity is also another major component of the manifesto. We know that by 2007, the government of President Koroma increased investment in this sector from a small and discouraging 1.6% IN 2007 to 10% in 2011. This, in itself is a boast in the sector, given that it is one of the backbones of the country’s economy that contributes about 46% to our Gross Domestic Product. It also supports the livelihood of two thirds of our population. Also of importance to note is that the agriculture sector generates about one fourth of the export earnings of Sierra Leone. So President Koroma’s decision to give more attention to this sector is in line with his desire for a better and improved Sierra Leone.

The objective of President Koroma, as contained in his party manifesto for agriculture, is to sustain the promotion of commercial agriculture, through the smallholder commercialization programme, as well and working towards enhancing support for mechanization, coupled with the need to increase transfer of innovative skills and knowledge to farmers. Strategies have been put in place to actualize this dream by President Ernest Bai Koroma. The aspect of irrigation will be encouraged so as to increase cultivation of inland swamps and create incentives for fish farming. Another strategy is to improve research and extension service deliver, plus the desire to continue promoting efficient and effective resource management bot at the human and material levels in the sector.

Sierra Leone’s Deputy Foreign Minister addresses UN General Assembly debate on NEPAD

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

 

Sierra Leone attaches great importance to NEPAD, as it is a collective vision and strategic socioeconomic development framework aimed at generating broad-based, sustained and equitable economic growth that allows Africa to reduce poverty and better integrate into the global economy. It is in this context that the 14th African Union Assembly integrated NEPAD into the structures and processes of the African Union. This decision added further impetus to the role of NEPAD as the continent’s flagship development programme. READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW :

PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF

SIERRA LEONE TO THE UNITED NATIONS

 245 East 49th Street, New York NY 10017

 

STATEMENT

 

by

 

HON. MRS. EBUN JUSU

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

 

at the

 

67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Joint Debate on

 

New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support [63 (a) and (b)]: reports of the Secretary-General (A/67/204 and A/67/205-S/2012/715); 2001 – 2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa [13]

                

New York, 17th October 2012

 

THE MINISTER AT THE ROSTRUM OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

                                                       Mr. President,

 

At the outset, let me compliment the Secretary-General for his instructive and forward-looking reports on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): progress in implementation and international support, Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, and Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.

 

My delegation also express its appreciation to Mr. Maged Abdelaziz, Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, and his dedicated team for their advisory and advocacy work in promoting Africa’s development agenda.

 

Let me also thank Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency for his leadership drive and innovative approach in ensuring progress in the implementation of the  key priorities of NEPAD.

 

Mr. President,

 

Sierra Leone attaches great importance to NEPAD, as it is a collective vision and strategic socioeconomic development framework aimed at generating broad-based, sustained and equitable economic growth that allows Africa to reduce poverty and better integrate into the global economy. It is in this context that the 14thAfrican Union Assembly integrated NEPAD into the structures and processes of the African Union. This decision added further impetus to the role of NEPAD as the continent’s flagship development programme.

 

To that end, African countries, with the support of the international community, have continued to take policy actions to implement the NEPAD sectoral priorities and enhance their prospects of attaining the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, we take note of the report’s positive indication that, despite the global economic slowdown and the lingering impact of the global financial and economic crisis, progress has been achieved in the implementation of NEPAD. We therefore commend the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency for its continued efforts in generating fresh momentum and new dynamism in the implementation of the NEPAD priority activities.

 

With accelerated growth over the last decade, improvement in governance, the specter of conflict receding and improvement in leadership, it is clear that Africa is at a critical turning point. Steady progress is also recorded in malaria control and prevention mechanisms with many households sleeping under treated mosquito bed nets. As a further commitment, some African Heads of States, including the President of Sierra Leone, committed to reaching the United Nations Secretary-General’s goal of ensuring universal access to malaria control interventions launched the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)  with the goal of ending preventable malaria deaths by 2015.

 

We however note that progress made so far continue to have less impact in the face of the deepening effect of an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, and effects of climate change – a crisis that undoubtedly has a much graver impact on the developing world, in particular, the least developed countries’ most of which are in Africa.

 

 

DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER MRS. EBUN JUSU , MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY KABS KANU AND DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE (LEGAL AFFAIRS ) AMBASSADOR OSMAN KEH KAMARA REPRESENTING SIERRA LEONE AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY

 

Mr. President,

 

The integration of NEPAD into the African Union provides a window for strategic partnership to explore areas of cooperation to address such global challenges as the debt issue, climate change, trade and regional integration and sustainable development.

 

We are heartened by the ongoing implementation of NEPAD projects ranging from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, infrastructure, environment, gender mainstreaming, education, to training in information and communication technologies.

 

At the level of governance, advances in the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) demonstrate the continent’s resolve and commitment in promoting democracy, good governance, peace and stability in the continent. We are also encouraged by the increase in the number of countries that have joined the African Peer Review Mechanism and in that regard, commend the consolidation of this Mechanism as the African Union flagship programme on governance.

 

In order to build on these gains and further enhance our development strides, we should continue to increase domestic savings and lessen dependence on foreign aid. We should further continue to invest in science, technology and innovation to take full advantage of progress, including increasing value addition in natural resources, job creation, increase investment in infrastructure, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, Foreign Direct Investment, aimed at creating public private partnerships and a vibrant private sector remains a viable option in addressing unemployment and under employment as well as promoting socio-economic development.

 

My delegation further calls upon the NEPAD Agency to focus on improving Africa’s global standing and on improving the linkages with the continent’s regional economic communities.

 

Mr. President,

 

There is an increasing awareness that the responsibility for peace and security in Africa, including the capacity to address the root causes of conflict and to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, lies primarily with African countries themselves. The African Union and the sub regional organizations have undertaken to strengthen their capacity in conflict prevention and resolution.

 

While these efforts are on-going, we are also witnessing a new wave of challenges including trans-national organized crime, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, terrorism, piracy, issues of governance, human rights and threat to democracy, drought, famine, and corruption. Furthermore, while the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger remains the main development challenge, most African countries are also grappling with the problem of youth unemployment, climate change, and inadequate productive capacity.  These challenges continue to frustrate efforts by African countries to achieve the MDGs.

 

Thus, the need to forge coordinated partnerships to strengthen capacities to respond to crises and security threats associated with the above challenges, particularly in conflict and post-conflict countries, remain vital in ensuring durable peace. There is a clear need to step up efforts to improve the early warning system of impending threats to peace and stability in Africa.

 

In this context, my delegation commends the 2010 comprehensive review of the implementation of the 1998 Recommendations of the Secretary General on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa, in the light of new and emerging issues affecting human security in Africa. In that regard, my delegation notes the policy proposals and recommendations in the Secretary General’s present report A/67/205 – S/2012/715.

 

Mr. President,

 

Africa’s share of the global agriculture market continues to be extremely low with recorded decrease in recent years. We therefore urge development partners to take bold steps to successfully conclude trade negotiations with development dimensions, which would reduce trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture products, increase access to markets by African farmers and phase out barriers to trade at the national and global levels.

 

In keeping with internationally agreed development outcome documents including the MDGs, the Rio+20 on sustainable development, the Istanbul Programme of Action, we further urge development partners to meet their commitments and to deliver on the pledges made at the Busan Partnership for Aid Effectiveness to achieve the ODA target of 0.7% and 0.15% for the developing and least developing countries respectively.

 

Mr. President,

 

Sierra Leone has, since 2002, emerged from a decade long civil conflict to a country that is being cited as a success story of UN Peacebuilding and peace consolidation efforts. Despite the main challenges that we continue to face, Sierra Leone is cited as a good example of how a country can move from conflict to a stable and peaceful democracy. Today, with support from our development partners, we have introduced policies to accelerate our interventions in the productive sectors and expand on our infrastructure, protect the environment and improve social safety nets.

 

In order to situate our development in a focused, coherent and prioritized framework, we developed the Agenda for Change in 2008; a five year development framework, which is our Second generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper with which the PBC, the UN country team and other development partners have realigned their strategies. This development and peace building framework sets clear priorities targeting drivers of growth and necessary conditions for sustainable development in key areas such as energy, agriculture, transport, health, youth unemployment, gender and education. The strategies for delivering these priorities include among other things, improving the capacity of the public service, enhancing public and private sector partnerships as well as enhance good governance at all levels including our domestic financial system.

 

As a result, we have increased Grid distributed electricity some ten-fold and are on course to develop Hydro and Biomass as the core of our energy mix. Agricultural productivity has increased with improvements in food self-sufficiency, security and nutrition.

 

Indeed, Sierra Leone’s efforts have been recognized with His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma and the Minister of Agriculture being named the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Champions of Africa.

 

Our Free Health Care program for lactating and pregnant mothers and children under five significantly reduced infant and maternal mortality by half in a little over a year after its launching. Commencing with the signing of the Gender Acts into law, we have also just recently enacted the Sexual Offences Act to protect women against the most widespread abuse and violation of rights in our country. We have also commenced free treatment of malaria for all age groups in all public health facilities when confirmed by the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test. Malaria control noted significant progress especially in the areas of prevention using Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets.

 

In education, primary, secondary and tertiary enrollments have risen significantly and the quality of the results of our candidates in external exams is also seriously improving.  We have reduced the barriers to doing business. We launched the largest road construction program in the history of Sierra Leone, privatized our sea port, and substantially upgraded our airport. These and the highly favorable private sector investment incentives have resulted in increased foreign direct investments substantially over the years.

 

 Mr. President,

 

Despite these achievements, Sierra Leone continues to face multiple challenges in building capacities in the public and private sectors, addressing unemployment among the youths, improving healthcare, reducing food insecurity and poverty, increasing investment in education, providing access to safe drinking water to all, meeting the increasing demand for sustained information and communication technologies, and providing sustainable energy to all. With the current global economic climate, Sierra Leone, like many others, continue to be affected in its quest to attract substantial donor support for its development projects.

 

Mr. President,

 

To achieve our common vision, bold actions are required from all of us. In particular, international support from traditional and non-traditional donors as well as promoting south-south and triangular cooperation is critical to achieving sustainable development. To achieve progress and in line with country specific priorities, there is a need for technology transfer and more investment in infrastructure, agriculture and social facilities and services as well as providing further incentives for foreign direct investment.

 

We are inspired by the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, and congratulate the high Level Working Group for work done, and financial commitments secured. Increased private sector participation in the energy delivery is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development and therefore, the public sector needs to develop risk mitigation tools and instruments that will encourage private capital to be allocated without sacrificing the need for efficiency and appropriate returns. The private sector must in turn, look at the long term predictable income streams that the energy sector offers; and not ignore the stability that most developing countries and emerging democracies now enjoy; and therefore price their risks reasonably. Energy remains to be an important engine of growth and development as well as enhancing productive capacity and a catalyst for job creation.

 

In this regard, we are committed to intensify our cooperation within the triangular and south-South Cooperation aimed at building the productive capacity of the vulnerable members of the global community, most of who reside in Africa.

 

In concluding Mr. President, allow me to reiterate Sierra Leone’s commitment to furthering the objectives of NEPAD, the promotion of good governance, durable peace and sustainable development in the continent.

 

I thank you for your kind attention.

In Sierra Leone – President Koroma Positions The Ball To Score The Winning Goal

Friday, October 12th, 2012

In Sierra Leone – President Koroma Positions The Ball To Score The Winning Goal thumbnail

11 October, 2012 – Today, as gigantic throngs of human beings dressed in his party colors (Red ) swamped the city of Freetown  and massed around him in a show of support and solidarity for him and his running mate, Chief Sam Sumana, President Ernest Koroma, riding in an convertible car, lofted a ball high to the delight of the nearly one million fanatics . The symbolism and the metaphor of soccer and the ball were not lost on the people of Sierra Leone. With their popular support, President Koroma will aim his shot well and score the winning goal against Maada Bio on Saturday November 17, 2012. The goal will enable him to claim his second term at governance and lead Sierra Leone to the promised land of the Agenda For Prosperity. The whole nation and the world will applaud the goal because it will be a beauty and also it is the goal that will make our Sierra Leone the strong and prosperous nation we all pray for in the coming years.

The kind of crowd that President Koroma and Chief Sam Sumana drew in Sierra Leone today is a statement of intent that THE WHOLE NATION WILL BE THERE TO SEE THIS BEAUTIFUL GOAL that will ensure that  the All People’s Congress ( APC )  win the November Elections.

The massive crowd was also a demonstration of the fact that President Koroma, who will score that magical goal ,  is blessed—Blessed because he is genuine and sincere; blessed because he is devoted and committed. He may not be perfect –And there is no perfect human being– but he loves his people enough , has good intentions for them enough and has performed enough in five years to show that he means to transform Sierra Leone from a poor to a rich and advanced nation. The people are cognizant of this and that was why they came out in full colours today to show the President how they love him and appreciate him.

With the facts now laid bare before one and all that President Koroma is the choice of the people and he is heading for a possible landslide , our only prayer as Sierra Leoneans is that the whole elections process ends peacefully on November 17. We pray that the elections are free, fair and credible and that has been the desire of President Koroma who has invited elections-monitoring organizations all over the world and stakeholders, including the United Nations ( UN) , European Union ( EU ) and the African Union ( AU )  to come to Sierra Leone and monitor the elections on November 17.

Even ardent opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP )  fanatics have started conceding that their flagbearer Maada Bio will not be a match for President Koroma at the polls .Our prayer is that their supporters accept defeat and move on when the final results are announced. The voice of the people is the voice of God. What the people decide on November 17 should be respected by one and all as we are now living in the golden era of multi-party and constitutional democracy.

Let the people’s will prevail because they know best what they want for their nation.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, NY, USA

 

Sierra Leone’s Day at the UN General Assembly

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

It was one Sierra Leone’s most memorable and landmark moments at the United Nations yesterday as the country’s Foreign Minister , Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda , delivered the address for Sierra Leone  at the 67th Session of the General Assembly while the session itself  was being chaired by Sierra Leone—The Permanent Representative  H.E. Ambassador Shekou Touray, who is  Vice-President of  this  Session.  (Photo: Foreign Minister JB Dauda addressing the General Assembly.  Seated behind him is Ambassador Touray who chaired the Assembly)

As we have been reporting, Sierra Leone , along with 20 other  countries  (Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, China, Congo, France, Ghana, Honduras, Israel, Lebanon, Nepal, Netherlands, Palau, Peru, Russian Federation,  Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, the United States ) is Vice-President of the 67th Session ,  elected by acclamation and will serve for one year.In the absence of the President of the General Assembly, one of the VPs is called upon to serve as Acting President with the same mandate and responsibility of the President. Yesterday , for the third time so far during this General Assembly, Ambassador Touray was the Chairman and he announced and welcomed Foreign Minister Dauda to the rostrum when the minister’s turn came to speak.

Minister Dauda went on to deliver a very vibrant and revealing statement that touched on all aspects of Sierra Leone’s brilliant efforts to consolidate peace , pursue dialogue and peaceful relations with her neighbours as well as address the dreams and aspirations of citizens in addition to putting structures in place to ensure free, fair and credible elections in November.

BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT DELIVERED BY FOREIGN MINISTER JOSEPH BANDABLA DAUDA  :

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Distinguished delegates,

It is a distinct honour for me to convey the sincere regrets of my President, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who, for unavoidable circumstances, was unable to address the 67th Session of this august Assembly.

I wish to join the previous distinguished speakers in congratulating you,  Mr. President,  on your election to direct the affairs of this Session and to assure you of my delegation’s fullest support and cooperation throughout your tenure. To your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, let me commend and thank him for the skilful manner in which he efficiently conducted the affairs of the last Session.

My profound appreciation also goes to the Secretary-General, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, for his tireless efforts in advancing the United Nations’ agenda to make the world a peaceful and safer place for mankind.

Mr. President,

Your choice of the theme “adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situation by peaceful means’ is a timely wake-up call for the United Nations to fully embrace the fundamental principle upon which our organization was established. Indeed, it is only with these ‘adjustments’ and the practical manifestation of our collective commitment to peaceful co-existence that we can, as a global family, successfully tackle the myriad of prevailing global challenges of poverty, hunger, gross and systematic violation of human rights, extremist fundamentalism, terrorism, transnational organized crime as well as the reconstruction and strengthening of fragile states and economies emerging from conflict.  It is in this context that we should remind ourselves that just a little over a year ago, this Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on mediation that recognized its growing usefulness as a means of preventing disputes from escalating into conflicts and as a cost-effective tool in the peaceful settlement of disputes and prevention of conflicts.

Amidst these security challenges and global economic uncertainties, the African continent continues to strive hard to contain and address the resurgence of conflicts in the region by peaceful means. At the regional and sub-regional levels, the year under review has been marred by sporadic terrorist strikes by extremists, leading to extensive loss of lives and massive destruction of property, including coveted world heritage sites and the recent killing of the American Ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. Sierra Leone strongly condemns such brutal and cowardly acts and will continue to work closely with all partners, particularly within the framework of the Mano River Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the United Nations in seeking a lasting solution to this scourge.

Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates,

The use of Preventive Diplomacy in the maintenance of international peace and security was, until recently, not used to its fullest potential by the UN system; rather, it was used more as a tool in crisis management. I am however heartened by the present impetus and would like to avail ourselves of this opportunity to commend the role of the Secretary-General, those of his Special Representatives, crisis management operations and missions around the world, as well as the increasing role of the AU, sub-regional organizations and that of the International Contact Groups (ICGs) in tackling crisis situations that have emerged globally in recent times.

Sierra Leone will continue to wholeheartedly embrace mediation and other conflict prevention initiatives as a key and indispensable tool in settling disputes, preventing and resolving conflicts. The lessons we learnt from our experience have enhanced our conviction in the core principles of democracy, human rights and good governance as a prerequisite for political stability, sustainable peace, security and development. We therefore remain strongly committed to the rule of law, respect for and protection of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of our women, equal access to justice, fighting corruption with zero tolerance, the pursuit of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, ensuring participatory governance, conducting free, fair, transparent and credible elections, as well as combating transnational organized crime in all its forms.

Sierra Leone thus views with disappointment, the conclusion of the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) without a negotiated consensus for its adoption. The Sierra Leone delegation believes that we must all earnestly endeavour to adopt a well considered and balanced treaty with adequate provisions to effectively regulate the transfer of conventional weapons. If we continue to delay in this respect, we face the risk of their continuous use in committing grave violations of national and international law, which has the potential to destabilize peace and security. We therefore urge member states to consider our moral obligation to humanity as our key guiding principle, and sincerely commit ourselves to, contributing to the establishment of mechanisms to prevent the diversion of such weapons into the illicit market.

Mr. President,

Three years down the line, we will reach the 2015 target date for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). For many member states, particularly those of the global south, the voyage has been bumpy and sometimes turbulent. Worse still, the effects of the food, fuel and financial crises that struck the global community in 2008, including those of climate change, conflicts and deadly pandemics, further exacerbated the situation and compromised the determination and efforts of the developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries, to attain internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. We commend Brazil for successfully hosting the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, and equally applaud our solidarity and flexibility during the negotiation process to incorporate the LDCs and conflict affected countries in the Rio+20 outcome document. We look forward to a similar spirit of solidarity in coming up with sustainable development goals that take on board concerns of the most vulnerable members of the community of nations.

Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,

Despite the onerous challenges facing the global community, Sierra Leone has recorded significant progress in strengthening its political and economic governance, including improvement in social indicators. We have made substantial progress in the implementation of the President’s “Agenda for Change (2008-2012)”, which covers the priorities of our national development aspirations as well as the key peacebuilding priorities aligned with the United Nations Joint Vision for Sierra Leone. The on-going foreign direct investment in various sectors of the economy, notably the mining sector, is brightening the prospect of the economy and hopefully placing Sierra Leone among the fastest growing economies in the world in the next few years.

The “Agenda for Change” continues to provide a strong partnership link between Sierra Leone and the UN, including other international development partners. Its implementation has so far had a great impact on peacebuilding and laying the foundation of opening the path to sustainable development and peace consolidation. Sierra Leone today is considered a showpiece of best practice in donor coordination as well as a success story in peacebuilding. In that regard, we reiterate our call on the international community to continue to invest in success in the spirit of the “New Deal” done in Busan on engagement with fragile states and the need for special attention to be paid to countries emerging from conflict. The successor development framework to our Agenda for Change which is anchored on the “New Deal” entitled: “Agenda for Prosperity” is well underway.

In its short existence to date, the peacebuilding architecture has proven its worth as envisaged by the leaders at the 2005 World Summit whose goal was to help countries emerging from conflict make an irreversible transition from war to sustainable peace. As one of the first countries on the PBC’s agenda, Sierra Leone has charted a path for others to learn from. In that regard, we strongly believe that strengthening peacebuilding will better safeguard countries from relapsing into conflict, and sustain peace beyond the life of peacekeeping missions. It will also help ensure that the enormous investments that member states make in peacekeeping operations will achieve their intended result.

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone continues to uphold the principles of inter-religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence as well as the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  At the national level, we have enhanced political stability by strengthening good governance institutions, giving them sufficient leverage and latitude to deliver on their respective statutory mandates. This arrangement has earned the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) an ‘A status’ accreditation by the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions. In this regard, we remain focused on our reporting obligations to international treaty bodies and we have thus submitted our initial report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), while work is well underway on our reports in compliance with the Convention Against Torture and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

In the same direction, we have recently established a National Commission for Disabled Persons, in line with the relevant provision of the Disability Act 2011, enacted the Sexual Offences Act 2012 to address the specific issue of sexual violence against our women and girls and passed into law the Arms and Ammunition Bill 2012 to regulate gun ownership that ensures compliance with the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. A Gender Equality Bill is also undergoing due process for enactment.

I commend the support of the United Nations and international partners to the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone through which it has made a number of critical contributions to the advancement of the rule of law at both the national and international levels.   In particular, we hail the Special Court for bringing perpetrators of crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone during the course of our eleven year conflict. Sierra Leone, the United Nations and the international community can be proud of the Special Court’s immense achievements. With our continued support, the Special Court can complete its remaining work.

Mr. President,

In his address to this august body during the 66th session, H. E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma underscored the imperative of peaceful settlement of disputes in Africa and the world at large by emphasizing that ‘the world is so interconnected in trade, politics and social spheres that a single nation’s upheaval could affect many other countries’. It is against this background that we, as a country, have continued to nurture closer ties with sister states within the Mano River Basin to deepen cooperation and collaboration in order to address issues of common concern ranging from transnational organised crime to border disputes. The recent decision by the Presidents of Sierra Leone and the Sister Republic of Guinea to demilitarize the Yenga border area and to establish a Joint Committee of the two countries to ensure a final peaceful resolution of the problem of Yenga is consistent with our commitment to a peaceful resolution of international disputes. Indeed, our steadfast commitment to global peace and security is evident in our participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Lebanon, Somalia, The Sudan, South Sudan and Timor-Leste.

Mr. President,

The 2012 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections scheduled to take place on 17 November, 2012 are barely forty-six (46) days away. With the support of our bilateral and multilateral partners, preparations are in full gear for the conduct of the third of such elections within a decade, following the end of our civil conflict. Government is fully aware that the conduct and outcome of these elections will be a critical benchmark for assessing the level of our gains in the area of peace consolidation and democracy. The Government, relevant stakeholders and our development partners are therefore expressly determined to exert collective effort and use every available opportunity to ensure that we put solid mechanisms in place for the peaceful conduct and achievement of transparent and credible democratic elections.

It is in this regard that in May this year, all key stakeholders in the country committed themselves to a credible and violence free process by signing the ‘Declaration on the 2012 elections’. We have thus consolidated the electoral laws and established electoral offence courts to ensure the legitimacy and credibility of the electoral process.

Mr. President,

As Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten on the United Nations Reforms, I am pleased to report to this Assembly that at the last AU Summit held in Addis Ababa, African Heads of State reaffirmed their strong commitment to the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration containing the African common position on the reform of the United Nations Security Council. To that end, we are committed to building alliances in support of the African common position with diverse interest groups and member states engaged in the Intergovernmental Negotiations with the view of achieving an early reform of the Security Council. In that pursuit, member states of the African Union were called upon to include the issue of the Reform of the Security Council among the priorities of their foreign policies.

In that respect, Africa continues to engage in the Intergovernmental Negotiations with an open door policy aimed at correcting the historical injustice suffered by the continent in being the only continent not represented in the Permanent category of the Council and at the same time under-represented in the Non-permanent category. Since the Security Council remains to be at the centre of global governance in maintaining international peace and security, and in cognizance of the World Summit’s Outcome on the need to enhance Council’s representative, accountability, effectiveness and legitimacy of its decisions, as well as the democratization of its decision-making process, correcting the lingering historical injustice done to the continent becomes imperative and compelling.

In that regard, we urge the wider United Nations membership to work with Africa to urgently address this injustice. Africa is not asking for too much, and we all know that procrastinating in this matter is a travesty of justice and fair play which undermines the dignity of our people.

Mr. President,

We are determined, at the national level, to surmount all impediments on our way to development and to fully deliver on all the projects in our “Agenda for Change”. We are confident that with sustained support from our bilateral and multilateral partners, we shall promote socio-economic progress and provide better standard of living for our people in an atmosphere of peace and security. What we cannot afford at this time in our history is to fail in our duty and obligation to provide peace, security and sustainable development for our people.

At the global level, Distinguished Delegates, as we look at the work that lies ahead of the 67th session, let us not lose sight of our shared obligation in ensuring a peaceful and secure world by resolving our differences through constructive dialogue and, thus strengthen the existing mediation mechanisms provided in the Charter and institutionalized within the United Nations system.

I thank you all for your attention.

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

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Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Timbo-Nwokedi to help bring happiness from Hollywood to Sierra Leone

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Timbo-Nwokedi to help bring happiness from Hollywood to Sierra Leone thumbnail

By:  on October 2, 2012.

 

Sierra Leone Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Isatu Timbo-Nwokedi (in photo) recently attended The Way to Happiness Foundation International Convention in Glendale, California where she met with program administrators, government officials and Hollywood Celebrities such as Nancy Cartwright (Emmy Award winning film, television and voice over actress) who are successfully using The Way to Happiness program in their respective countries and communities.

Since the original publication of The Way to Happiness in 1981 by Author and Humanitarian Mr. L. Ron Hubbard as a non-religious common sense guide to better living, response has been immediate and remarkable. Now an international movement with more than 350 Chapters across the world, there have been more than 100 million copies of The Way to Happiness distributed in all 195 nations across the planet thus bringing positive, common sense values to the world.

Since its release, The Way to Happiness program has been used with great success by governments, administrators and communities across the world from the US and South America to areas of the Middle East and Africa to instill values and a positive approach to both youth and adults alike—resolving conflicts, reducing overall crime and conflict and thus paving the way for a bright future.

Ms. Timbo has been working with The Way to Happiness Foundation International in Los Angeles to establish the first Way to Happiness Chapter in Sierra Leone and bring this program to her native country and its educational system. She has been commended and praised by the First Lady of Sierra Leone for her continuous and dedicated efforts to bring assistance to Sierra Leone in the form of workable programs and aide.

Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Timbo has expressed her deep appreciation for The Way to Happiness program and is extremely excited to see the positive change and impact it will bring to Sierra Leone in the near future.

Please contact www.thewaytohappiness.org for further information.

MEANWHILE, in a letter sent to  Evan Perkins,  of the Program Development  Association for Better Living and Education International, Los Angeles, California, USA, in response to a letter introducing the program to Sierra Leone, an official of Government, Mrs. Mary Nyelenkeh said that ” Education is definitely one of our priority sector that we would wish you introduce the program.”  She promised to grant the team “access to the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation  which is the national television and radio service.” She went on :  ”As we stated in our initial letter, we will also like for the program to be introduced to the wider public through the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat which His Excellency the President established upon his assumption to office in 2007. We are in the process of scheduling the consultative meetings and will confirm with you our final preference.” She also gave the assurance that  ”We are collaborating with key institutions including the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and the Attitudinal Change Secretariat to identify preferences for the implementation of your program”.

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