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Archive for December, 2012

Sierra Leone 2012 Elections Successful

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Photo: Bio and Koroma. Source: Cocorioko.net

The ongoing drama of the successful elections held in Sierra Leone on 17 November ended with a handshake yesterday when Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) challenger Julius Maada Bio conceded the re-election of All People’s Congress (APC) President Ernest Bai Koroma. Two weeks of SLPP efforts to persuade the international community that the election was fatally flawed came to an end on 30 November when the United Nations Security Council endorsed the formal announcement of the election results.

The elections signal a groundswell of change across the nation. It was the first time that elections at all four levels—presidential, parliamentary, paramount chief MPs, and local council—were held simultaneously. The presidential election marked the first time that a candidate ran successfully on a platform of economic development, something that the previous generations of the APC leadership, Siaka Stevens and Joseph Momoh, never even seriously attempted. The 1,314,881 votes for Koroma, 58.7% of the total, so far exceeded the 837,517 votes for Maada Bio that no runoff election is required, and the pitfalls of a coalition government will be avoided.

This election also built on the APC’s effort in the 2007 election to move beyond the ethnic and regional divisions which have characterized both parties since independence, in which the APC was the party of Temnes and Krios, in the north and west, and the SLPP was the party of the Mendes, in the south and east. In 2012, Ernest Koroma did not just exceed his 2007 polling record in every one of the 14 districts; some of his largest vote increases occurred in the SLPP heartland, the southern districts of Moyamba, Pujehun, Bo, and Bonthe.  Without these votes, he would not have passed the 55% mark, and we would today be facing a second round. The emergence of the APC as a political party with nationwide, multi-ethnic appeal based on development, is a momentous achievement.

Sierra Leone will really need an effective opposition party to keep tabs on the unprecedented levels of foreign investment that are anticipated during the next five years. The voters so resoundingly rejected the SLPP candidate, the general who presided over much of the civil war, that the party must urgently find leadership that looks to the future and is unburdened by the terrible past. Conceding electoral defeat is a crucial first step toward consolidating the SLPP’s role as the leading opposition party.

Last but not least, the successful elections mark a notable success for the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), which provided essential technical support to the National Electoral Commission. The Security Council’s call for an exit strategy for UNIPSIL is the best news of all.

 

President Ernest Bai Koroma : “We Will Do More In Our Agenda For Prosperity” SHARE THIS

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

 
By State House Communications Unit :
Makeni, Northern Province, Sierra Leone, 22nd December, 2012; His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has reiterated his commitment to continue to strengthen local councils all across the nation, irrespective of which political party controls them. He made this statement during his inauguration of the Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors of the 19 local councils nationwide. The ceremony took place first, in Freetown on the 20th, Kenema and Bo on the 21st and Makeni on the 22ndDecember, over a span of three days.
Whilst congratulating the newly elected Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors, President Koroma reminded them of the very high expectations of the people who had elected them to serve and represent them in the various councils to reconcile with the developmental aspirations of their localities. “The people have reposed their trust in you; they want you to work together, they want you to effectively represent them, and they demand that you honour and uphold that confidence throughout your tenure of four years. You have entered into a social contract; you are part of government; and you must be effective and disciplined partners in the transformation of the country”, he urged.
“In the last five years, my government ensured the biggest ever financial transfers to local councils in the history of our nation”, the newly resoundingly re-elected Commander-in-Chief said, and further confidently maintained, “We gave local councils, irrespective of which political party controlled them, billions to implement development programmes in their localities. This has enabled your Councils to scale up the provision of social service including primary and secondary health, primary and junior-secondary, agriculture extension services, rural water supply and solid waste management.”
President Koroma reiterated the same message right across the four regions where he promised to continue to do more for local councils. “We will continue to give billions to local councils; we will continue to build capacities of local councils; we will continue to ensure that local councils are fully functional and effectively delivering services in their localities. My Government will continue to facilitate timely, predictable and increased performance-based transfers to local councils”, he assured amidst rapturous applause everywhere he made those assurances.
It would be recalled that local governance had been identified as a panacea for socio-economic development especially in emerging economies like Sierra Leone. Sound revenue collection being one of the means to achieve sustainable development was not left untouched by the Chief Executive; “We will introduce legislation on local government finance and property taxation that clearly establish procedures for revenue collection and sharing between local and chiefdom councils and the administration of property rates, respectively. Local councils will be empowered through legislation and policy frameworks to create conducive environments to maximize local economic development.”
The President also reaffirmed his commitment to focus on skills training, acquisition and employment of youths as well as the restoration of discipline, law and order in society. “We have vowed to attract more investment, diversify the economy, and continue with the free health care, smallholder commercialization and infrastructural development. You are our partners in ensuring the delivery of those programmes in your localities; you are our partners in monitoring the effective implementation of these programmes; you are our partners in suggesting modifications of these programmes to suit local development needs and aspirations”, President Koroma also pointed out.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Dauda Sulaiman Kamara fondly and popularly known as Ambassador, noted that

President Ernest Bai Koroma : “We Will Do More In Our Agenda For Prosperity”

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

By State House Communications Unit :

Makeni, Northern Province, Sierra Leone, 22nd December, 2012; His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has reiterated his commitment to continue to strengthen local councils all across the nation, irrespective of which political party controls them. He made this statement during his inauguration of the Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors of the 19 local councils nationwide. The ceremony took place first, in Freetown on the 20th, Kenema and Bo on the 21st and Makeni on the 22nd December, over a span of three days.

Whilst congratulating the newly elected Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors, President Koroma reminded them of the very high expectations of the people who had elected them to serve and represent them in the various councils to reconcile with the developmental aspirations of their localities. “The people have reposed their trust in you; they want you to work together, they want you to effectively represent them, and they demand that you honour and uphold that confidence throughout your tenure of four years. You have entered into a social contract; you are part of government; and you must be effective and disciplined partners in the transformation of the country”, he urged.

“In the last five years, my government ensured the biggest ever financial transfers to local councils in the history of our nation”, the newly resoundingly re-elected Commander-in-Chief said, and further confidently maintained, “We gave local councils, irrespective of which political party controlled them, billions to implement development programmes in their localities. This has enabled your Councils to scale up the provision of social service including primary and secondary health, primary and junior-secondary, agriculture extension services, rural water supply and solid waste management.”

President Koroma reiterated the same message right across the four regions where he promised to continue to do more for local councils. “We will continue to give billions to local councils; we will continue to build capacities of local councils; we will continue to ensure that local councils are fully functional and effectively delivering services in their localities. My Government will continue to facilitate timely, predictable and increased performance-based transfers to local councils”, he assured amidst rapturous applause everywhere he made those assurances.

It would be recalled that local governance had been identified as a panacea for socio-economic development especially in emerging economies like Sierra Leone. Sound revenue collection being one of the means to achieve sustainable development was not left untouched by the Chief Executive; “We will introduce legislation on local government finance and property taxation that clearly establish procedures for revenue collection and sharing between local and chiefdom councils and the administration of property rates, respectively. Local councils will be empowered through legislation and policy frameworks to create conducive environments to maximize local economic development.”

The President also reaffirmed his commitment to focus on skills training, acquisition and employment of youths as well as the restoration of discipline, law and order in society. “We have vowed to attract more investment, diversify the economy, and continue with the free health care, smallholder commercialization and infrastructural development. You are our partners in ensuring the delivery of those programmes in your localities; you are our partners in monitoring the effective implementation of these programmes; you are our partners in suggesting modifications of these programmes to suit local development needs and aspirations”, President Koroma also pointed out.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Dauda Sulaiman Kamara fondly and popularly known as Ambassador, noted that

When the righteous is in power, God blesses the nation

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

President Ernest Koroma hails from a devout christian family where the father was a lay preacher and the mother insisted on christian values including saying the grace before family meals. Imbued with these christian values, President Koroma walks in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Jesus is his righteousness and so for once we have a nation where the President is a very God-fearing, humble, harmless ( Though by no means a push-over ) , sincere, devoted and committed man, in love with people-centred socio-economic and political developments.

Because a man walking in the righteousness of Christ is in power, God is blessing Sierra Leone abundantly.

Jeremiah 23:5,6 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper…

PROVERBS 29 : 2 : When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice:

God, in his abundant mercey, has raised a righteous branch in Zion and thus the blessings have started pouring in for the nation.

PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA
PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA

 

1. President Koroma has rebranded the nation magnificently with his development-oriented rule, and we have won the Millennium Corporation award which will see us benefiting from millions of dollars for national development. Merely winning the award and placing 4th, above all our West African neighbours, is something to be very proud of.

2. Sierra Leone is about to benefit from millions of millions of dollars in investment from the international world after recently passing the critical test of staging one of the best elections ever in Africa and proving to the world that we have gone truly democratic and ready to take our worthy place as the beacon of light of Africa . Misconceptions and negativity about our country are going to become significantly subdued, and investors will believe whatever resources they commit in our nation will be safe.

3. Sierra Leone is about to become an oil-producing nation.

What we went through in the 1990s was trial and testings. Before God blesses a nation, either he or the devil bring these trials and testings. It happens even in the lives of mortal men created by God. Before you get your blessings, you may have to undergo trials and testings. However, once you conquer these trials, the windows of Heaven open for you and God pours out a blessing for you.

We have gone through our trials and testings . It is now Blessing Time in Sierra Leone. Therefore let us give President Koroma time to carefully form his cabinet. There is no time to rush. He is a very careful and meticulous man -you could even say he is a perfectionist. He always wants to do the perfect thing. Let us all throw our weight behind him with moral support and prayers.

Sierra Leone is on the road to better times. Thanks be to the Lord.

Nostalgia : Reflections on past Christmas holidays in Sierra Leone and Liberia : Part 1

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

TODAY, we start our promised series on past Christmas holidays in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Let it first be established that Christmas is a celebration of the birthday of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ who came on this earth to save man from sin. Any Christmas without  Jesus Christ is like tea without sugar. Santa Clause is not the cause celebre of Christmas. Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas.  The world should do all in its power to place Jesus Christ back in Christmas. Though as a christian today, this is the belief I hold dearly to my heart, during the formative years of every kid who grew up in Sierra Leone or Liberia, there were memorable days of Christmas where there was a rich interplay of  tradition , culture and national and family  life. It is the amazing euphoria, animation and joy that I seek to recapture in these nostalgic reflections. It is by no means a manifestation of my present beliefs about Christmas and how it should be celebrated. This is only a historical account of past Christmas celebrations. At the end of the series, I will briefly enumerate my beliefs, but right now, let us go sentimental and recall how we and the people around us used to enjoy Christmas in the good, old days in Sierra Leone and Liberia, before one understood the true meaning of the season. Please feel free to join the nostalgia by providing comments under the article.

In order not to glorify Satan, I will use the word DEBUL instead of DEVIL.

Below is an article I wrote many years back on Christmas in Sierra Leone. I have updated and embellished some of the information with more facts and illustrations.

christmasphotoresized

 

Nostalgia : Reflections on past Christmas holidays in Sierra Leone and Liberia : Part 1 

By KABS KANU :

There was a time when  Christmas was so enjoyable in Africa that nobody gave a heck about life abroad. When I woke up today, Christmas Eve, and heavy rains drops petered down my rooftop, I could not avoid feeling out of sync. That was not the kind of weather I grew up to be accustomed to during Christmas in Africa.

In Africa, it seemed the weather (nature)and the Xmas festive atmosphere interplayed with each other  to sustain the perfect state of excitement  that swept in with the Yuletide season. Early in the morning, it is dew , falling at times like snow flurries , especially at the then thickly-wooded Bo Reservation ,  to be quickly replaced at sun-up by beautiful sunshine and at night there was that wonderful moonshine under which those enthralling moonlight picnics were held in Freetown , like the “foufulay”  dances in thatched canopies in Bo . Of course, Americans too would trade anything for that glorious white Xmas, the kind we had before  when snow fell on Christmas day in New Jersey for the first time in many years. Americans enjoyed a fantastic thrill because they had been dreaming of a white Christmas.

For me, though, a typical African boy,  who grew up in communities where people in those days made a religion out of enjoying roaring Xmas sessions , the images of past Xmas holidays  would never dissipate from my memory.

I am a member of the Purple Haze and Super Combo generation —The generation in Sierra Leone that is walking around filled with nostalgia about how life used to be “sweet” in Sierra Leone before the politicians, soldiers and rebels destroyed what was a real Paradise on earth. Our generation believed that it enjoyed the best moments in the history of our nation.  There is no member of this generation who does not have an interesting story to tell about how life used to be “enjoyable” in Sierra Leone. This is the generation that dictated the pace of life in the 1960s and 1970s.

Christmas, for me, always holds wonderful memories of people caught in the throes of joyful celebrations of a season whose religious significance many of them hardly knew. To them, it is just that season called Christmas that was jammed with festivities and mindless enjoyment of life. .That was all. It was the season when everybody was in ecstastic, bouyant and  jubilant mood ; when everybody seemed more pleasant than they normally were ; when , if you lived in Freetown then, it was jampacked Xmas activities ,  with  Christmas window- shopping   trips, moonlight picnics, parties, discos and afternoon  jumps, while  the pubs and clubs balled like they have never done all year. It was also the season of generosity, when people shared gifts  or Christmas cards and other pleasantries. It was a pride to be seen clutching that shopping bag from PZ, Kingsway, Colisee, Petit Paris, A. Genet  etc .

I grew up at Pratt Lane in Freetown in the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s  before my father, who worked at State House,  was later transferred to the Governor’s Lodge at Reservation, Bo,  by the late Governor Sir Maurice Dorman .

Pratt Lane was the very epicentre of Christmas celebrations in those days. The enjoyment started from school , especially during the closing program for Christmas. In those days, schools closed around December 12. I attended Fergusson Street Municipal School then and the closing ceremonies were always memorable–concerts, games in clasrooms, a heavy feast during which the most delicious jollof rice imaginable in those days was served. I am still asking what ingredients they used to have in jollof rice in those days. The hog foot and cow beef tasted better and the jollof rice itself more red than today’s. I remember the euphonious Christmas carols the choral group sang in the assembly hall as we feasted in our classrooms. The colonial government gave schools money to treat their students on the last day of school before the Christmas vacation. . There were  Christmas gifts also that  were distributed. I wonder who used to provide the funds for the toys we used to be given.We used to extol the Head Mistress , Mammy Pratt , for such profound generosity, but later when we grew up,we were told that the government provided the money.

Christmas at Pratt Lane then was centred around the many jollays, ojehs and Hunting Society  groups that existed around the Lane itself, Fergusson Lane, Peter Lane and Portuguese Town ( which we heard pronounced those days “Potoki Togn” ). The bulk of the young men belonged to these  Huntings , Jollays, Ojehs and what- have -you and all you heard in those days was entertaining brags about plans to outdo other groups for Christmas. People did not have the kinds of stress that mark life in Sierra Leone and America  today and it seemed like all they talked about in those days was how to enjoy Xmas “to totality “. In those days, it seemed that nobody died . One hardly heard about deaths and fumerals. All one heard was the din of the festivities .

In fact, in those days, Christmas started early , around mid-November , when the SLBS  started playing Christmas carols ;  store-keepers begun  decorating their shops with twinkling lights , buntings and ornaments and started advertising Christmas bargains. As December sets in, street hawkers will join the fun , ringing bells and trying to pass off good bargains on their wares. The streets would be full with people shopping and downtown will be colorfully choked not only with shoppers but traffic. It was also time to be more  guarded with your wallets , purses or handbags ( In the case of women ) as con men and snatch-and-run gangsters preyed on innocent and unsuspecting people caught in the seething frenzy of Christmas preparation.

Pratt Lane had its own Hunting Group  and Ojeh Society .The Hunting Debul, led by  the famed Johnny, whose mother , Mammy Ningbo , was head of the Pratt Lane Market ,  came out every Christmas day, but there were times when it was a “Fiary” that was brought out. I used to love the fairy procession more than the Hunting because it was more peaceful and orderly. Nothing was more pleasurable to us as kids than “following Debul”( Dancing behind  the debul as the procession, led by the agbas holding horse tails and the “Debuls”, jubiliated through the streets of Freetown . If you did not “fallah Debul” on Christmas day,you were counted nothing and your colleagues teased you. Some bigger ones in fact graduated from following the small street debul to the more grandiose exercise of following the East End Paddle Debul or the West End Bloody Mary. In those days, if you knew nothing of Remie—the head of the West End debul, you were counted as “buff” ( of no consequence).Some parents however used to beat their kids for following the bigger debuls because it was dangerous for kids. Being trampled by the throng was a major fear but I did not know anyone in those days who ever got trampled. But later in the late 50s these debuls started fighting when their paths crossed and in 1976, the government banned processions of  masked devils. There were  often bitter clashes between the Bloody Mary of West End and East End Paddle around Mountain Cut when their processions crossed paths. To forestall this problem, Bloody Mary established a rest stop around Mountain Cut to allow the East End Paddle procession  to pass unimpeded.

The build-up to Christmas was always fascinating and memorable . People would buy clothing materials to be sewn by tailors.  In those days, tailors made fortunes when Christmas approached .  These dresses were what they had to wear on Christmas day, and everybody tried their best to make it groovier than the next person’s.Our parents had tailors prepare family ashoebis ( Holiday dresses that were uniformly worn by other family members  ).  At nights, we the kids enjoyed one of the finest traditions of Christmas — going  out to sing carols. We formed choral groups and went door-to-door singing carols and since it was the season for generosity, we were given money which we shared among ourselves later. Some churches also sent out choral groups with musical instruments to spread the Christmas joy house-to-house or block-to-block. They were more euphonious and melodious and put you in the Christmas spirit.

In the mid-70s, goombay groups called “Gee Body Watta ”  (Replenish the body with water ) played a leading role in sharing festive joy in Freetown. They held street side sessions and women dressed in their  traditional Creole print dresses and kabaslots  competed with one another  over who could gyrate their bodies better to the thumping drums of the Gee Body Watta groups. Their songs were often satiric, ridiculing sugar daddies, unfaithful men and loose women.

On Christmas Eve, we stayed home to help our parents prepare the bounteous food that the families would have to share with each other. We the kids slaughtered the many chickens or ducks.I will never forget the stupendous Christmas day feasts before leaving to “follow Debul”.It was usually the most delicious food of the year. It was usually a feast in the true sense of the word. We did not only have to eat what our parents cooked , but foods sent by goodwill neighbors with whom our parents shared foods.

In those days, family members that one had not seen for long came to visit to help enjoy  the heavy Christmas feasts. While they later sat down with parents to drink and enjoy good company, we the kids are dressed up and made to go visit other family members. That was during pre-teen. With our toy water guns we probably got for Christmas we will have lots of fun with our friends. There were no computer games and IPods in those days but we had sufficient fun playing with our toy guns, firecrackers and “runaway boys” ( a firecracker that made a swishing sound, meandered into the air before exploding ). In the 1970s, President Siaka Stevens’ government banned these Christmas fireworks, especially the very loud one called BANGER  for security reasons.

If we did not go around visiting families, we would follow debuls ( Dance in debul processions ). That was around ages 9 to 10.

In those days, these debuls will be all around on Xmas day. As soon we wake up early in the morning to start helping our parents prepare the Xmas meal, the debuls will start coming to the yard to dance. Some will be fully masked and dressed but with just three or four people behind them  while others will have bigger crowds dancing behind them. In some cases, it will be a lone reveler , or somebody who had tarred his face with charcoal with a rope around his waist, singing : “Ah go fodom” ( I want to fall down ) ,while his mate holding the rope will sing back : “Nor Fordom” ( Do not fall down ). The two will go through the interesting motions of one person attempting to fall and another restraining him , and people will give them money. They will go house-to-house performing. In some other cases, it would be little kids beating bottles with pebbles and singing folk songs. They too will be given money after performing and then they will leave for the next house .

Our neighbor, Pa. Pratt, after whom the street was named, would by then have returned from church with his family, dressed in  long , black Tubman-like tailcoat with a ten-ton hat . His house was fenced with zinc and it had  a gate and the debuls could not go inside to dance . He was a conservative , old creole man that loved his privacy but would hang around the gate for a while to enjoy the fun and even dole out money to the revelers .Then he will retire into his house to enjoy his fufu and bitter leaves soup and he could be heard loudly singing christmas carols being played by his old, battered colonial-styled gramaphone. He will later entertain a families that always came to visit him during holidays. Mammy Pratt would be the busiest woman then, serving ginger beer, cookies and plates of fufu and bitters.

SEE CONTINUATION ON MONDAY

SIERRA LEONE WIN MCC COMPACT AWARD

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

president11Office of the president

state house

freetown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FREETOWN

DECEMBER 20, 2012

 

Sierra Leone Wins US Government’s MCC Compact Award

Sierra Leone has won the coveted Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Award worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Award, announced on December 19, 2012, was given in recognition of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Government’s record of good governance, economic freedom and investments in people. To be eligible for this award a country must pass at least half of the twenty indicators being assessed (Sierra Leone passed twelve), and must also pass the ‘control of corruption’ indicator and either the ‘Civil Liberties’ or ‘Political Rights’ indicators (the country passed all three).

A Compact is a multi-year agreement between the United States Government supported Millennium Challenge Corporation and an eligible country to fund specific programs targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth.

The award commences a multi-year partnership dedicated to pursuing economic growth and poverty reduction through the development and implementation of a Compact. Sierra Leone will develop its MCC proposals in broad consultation with the citizenry and in accordance with priorities stated in the country’s Agenda for Prosperity. A National Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) will be set up as an accountable entity to manage and oversee all aspects of implementation.

END

Fullah Progressive Union Annual Benefit Function

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

 Fullah Progressive Union (F. P. U)

Motto: Fottal-Eh-Pottal

11310 Strawberry Glenn Lane, Glenn Dale Maryland 20769, U. S. A.

ANNUAL BENEFIT FUNCTION

 

It is that time of the year again, when the Sierra Leone Community in the Diaspora and other communities come together to join the Fula Progressive Union ( F.P.U) for it’s annual benefit function ( Fund Raising Dance).

 

bahfpu

 The Publicity Secretary  MR Abu Jalloh (ABJ)

 

The theme of this year’s function is: RENOVATION OF THE FPU CENTER SITUATED AT10305 LANHAM-SERVERN RD. LANHAM, MARYLAND 20706. There is a tremendous need for our children to have a place where they can go on week-ends to learn and relate to our religious and cultural identity. America, is a very complex and sophisticated society; it is incumbent upon us as parents to instill our religious and cultural values into our children to help them cope with the negative influences of the society.   Our children are our future and most important assets.   It takes a community to raise a child that will in return contribute positively to it’s development projects.

 

We ask all of our guests to contribute a donation / pledge of any amount that will benefit the organization’s numerous projects both here in the United States of America and Sierra Leone.  We know you understand the importance of the cause, and we truly hope you will be able to grace us with your presence again this year on, Monday December 31st , 2012, at the Days Inn Hotel, 2700 New York Avenue, NE. Washington DC., 20002. General donation, $35, Patron (single) $70, (couple) $120, Grand Chief Patrons by special donation.

 

There will be numerous side attractions that will prove to be worthy of your time and money. God Bless You All for your patronage over the years..

 

Written By :ABJ.

 

National Pub. Sec.

 

President Ernest Bai Koroma : “We will do more in our Agenda for Prosperity”

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

By State House Communications Unit :

Makeni, Northern Province, Sierra Leone, 22nd December, 2012; His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has reiterated his commitment to continue to strengthen local councils all across the nation, irrespective of which political party controls them. He made this statement during his inauguration of the Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors of the 19 local councils nationwide. The ceremony took place first, in Freetown on the 20th, Kenema and Bo on the 21st and Makeni on the 22nd December, over a span of three days.

Whilst congratulating the newly elected Mayors, Chairpersons and Councilors, President Koroma reminded them of the very high expectations of the people who had elected them to serve and represent them in the various councils to reconcile with the developmental aspirations of their localities. “The people have reposed their trust in you; they want you to work together, they want you to effectively represent them, and they demand that you honour and uphold that confidence throughout your tenure of four years. You have entered into a social contract; you are part of government; and you must be effective and disciplined partners in the transformation of the country”, he urged.

“In the last five years, my government ensured the biggest ever financial transfers to local councils in the history of our nation”, the newly resoundingly re-elected Commander-in-Chief said, and further confidently maintained, “We gave local councils, irrespective of which political party controlled them, billions to implement development programmes in their localities. This has enabled your Councils to scale up the provision of social service including primary and secondary health, primary and junior-secondary, agriculture extension services, rural water supply and solid waste management.”

President Koroma reiterated the same message right across the four regions where he promised to continue to do more for local councils. “We will continue to give billions to local councils; we will continue to build capacities of local councils; we will continue to ensure that local councils are fully functional and effectively delivering services in their localities. My Government will continue to facilitate timely, predictable and increased performance-based transfers to local councils”, he assured amidst rapturous applause everywhere he made those assurances.

It would be recalled that local governance had been identified as a panacea for socio-economic development especially in emerging economies like Sierra Leone. Sound revenue collection being one of the means to achieve sustainable development was not left untouched by the Chief Executive; “We will introduce legislation on local government finance and property taxation that clearly establish procedures for revenue collection and sharing between local and chiefdom councils and the administration of property rates, respectively. Local councils will be empowered through legislation and policy frameworks to create conducive environments to maximize local economic development.”

The President also reaffirmed his commitment to focus on skills training, acquisition and employment of youths as well as the restoration of discipline, law and order in society. “We have vowed to attract more investment, diversify the economy, and continue with the free health care, smallholder commercialization and infrastructural development. You are our partners in ensuring the delivery of those programmes in your localities; you are our partners in monitoring the effective implementation of these programmes; you are our partners in suggesting modifications of these programmes to suit local development needs and aspirations”, President Koroma also pointed out.

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Alhaji Dauda Sulaiman Kamara fondly and popularly known as Ambassador, noted that

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

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3 Responses to “President Ernest Bai Koroma : “We will do more in our Agenda for Prosperity””

  1. The message sound promising, but it must be put to action otherwise it will just be a word on paper. The country has suferred a long reble war. At this time we do not need politice, we need to show love and heal each others wounds. All people should work together regardless of political differences. The must qualifying people should be in charge. We must also learn from other emerging countries such as Ghana and Eritria. From what I am reading and hearing, it seems that the president Koroma is leading the country in the right direction. Let put our political differences behind us and move forward.

    Reply

  2. My own fair is where will Sierra Leoneans get a successor like him, because all Sierra Leoneans that I know are currupt.

    Reply

  3. My saying to all Sierra Leoneans is to practic good governance and watch other countries like the Ghana they are far ahead of us and asked ourself were are we going in which we were ahead of most of these countries. Let us forget about politic and join the force for development so that other people can run to Sierra Leone and not always we are running to other countries we must be ashame by even what we have in our country up to date we are dependent.Also when some steal 100 million they charge him/her small amount that will even increase corruption.

MCC Board Selects Countries Eligible For Compacts And Threshold Programs

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Washington, D.C. —December 19, 2012– At its quarterly meeting today, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors selected Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Tanzania as eligible to develop proposals for new compacts, and Guatemala as eligible for a Threshold Program.

“This year’s selection decisions are a testament to the ‘MCC Effect,’ the ability of MCC to provide incentives for countries to adopt policy reforms and strengthen institutions in order to become eligible for an MCC compact,” said Daniel W. Yohannes, MCC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone have worked hard for several years to meet MCC’s rigorous eligibility standards, and the Board is pleased to recognize these efforts by selecting them as eligible to develop compact proposals.”

sierraleonemap

 

Examples of the types of reforms pursued by these countries range from new asset-disclosure requirements in an effort to combat corruption in Liberia to the introduction of free access to maternal and child health care in Sierra Leone to a dramatic increase in environmental protection in Niger.

Two current MCC compact countries—Morocco and Tanzania—were selected as eligible to develop second compact proposals. Both Morocco and Tanzania have continued to perform well on the MCC scorecard and have been good development partners during first compact implementation. Second compact eligibility is contingent on successful implementation of the first compact, continued good policy performance and development of proposals that have significant potential to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

“MCC is pleased to have five countries selected as compact eligible this year,” Mr. Yohannes stated. “These countries, like others selected as compact eligible, will need to compete for scarce budget resources by maintaining a strong commitment to democratic and economic governance and by developing high-quality, timely compact proposals to promote growth and reduce poverty.”

The Board also chose Guatemala as eligible for a new Threshold Program. Guatemala is extremely close to meeting the MCC scorecard criteria, passing 10 indicators, including the Democratic Rights hurdle, and performing exactly on the median for Control of Corruption.

In addition to the new selections, the Board re-selected Benin, El Salvador, Georgia, and Ghana as eligible to continue developing compact proposals and Honduras and Nepal as eligible to continue developing Threshold Programs in Fiscal Year 2013. No eligibility determinations were made for countries that already have signed compacts since these countries do not require annual re-selection.

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Idriss Sankoh Of Woodbridge, Virginia Has Passed

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

By Jacob Conteh : 

The Sankoh Family of Woodbridge, Virginia and in Sierra Leone sadly announced the passing of their father, brother, uncle, cousin and nephew, Mr. Idriss Kamara on Saturday, December 15 in Woodbridge, Virginia.  He was 52.  It could be  recalled that barely a year ago, Idriss’ wife, Namasa also passed away.  Our deep condolence goes to their children, family members, friends and co-workers.

idrissa

Here are the funeral arrangements:

Funeral and Burial Services will take place on Saturday, December 22, 2012.

12:00 Noon – Prayers at the Dar Alnoor Mosque

5404 Hoadly Rd.Manassas, VA 20112

 

2. 2:00pm: – Burial at the Mount Comfort Cemetary

6600 State Route 633 (Same as South Kings Hwy where Namasa was burried) Alexandria, VA 22306

3. 5:00pm: – Prayers for Idriss Sankoh at 4055 Tarpon Lane,

Woodbridge, VA 22193.

QUESTIONS / CONCERNS: Please call:

Daramy: ………… 571-213-8232

Gibrill Kamara:.. 336-254-8121

Alhaji Bangura: 703-350-0507

          Seray Kabba-Monya: 571-315-0192
Late IDRISS SANKOH (52)
1960 – 2012