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Archive for January, 2013

President Koroma leads Sierra Leone’s delegation to African Union Summit

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

westafricanleadersmali2 (600 x 450)His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone led the country’s delegation to the Twentieth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Summit which commenced today (27thJanuary 2013) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

President Koroma is leading a 16 man delegation to this all important Summit in Africa.

In the next two days, President Koroma and other Heads of States in the Continent will be discussing very pertinent issues about Africa and how to resolve the challenges that are facing the Continent; they will also discuss the Report of the Executive Council.

The Summit was officially declared opened by the out-gone Chairman of the African Union and President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni.

Other speakers at the meeting were: His Excellency Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Ghana’s newly elected President; His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations; Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairman of the African Union Commission and His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine National Authority and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation organization Executive Committee among others.

Meanwhile, on 26th January, President Koroma took time off his busy schedule to address the Sierra Leonean Community resident in Ethiopia at the residence of Ambassador Andrew Bangali, Sierra Leone’s multi accredited Envoy to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The President said that he was very pleased that the people of Sierra Leone had given him a renewed mandate to govern them for a second term.

He said all the Sierra Leoneans in Ethiopia participated either directly or indirectly in the elections which was described as unprecedented in the country’s political history.

“Because I won the elections in the first ballot shows that I made tremendous success in the Agenda for Change,” he said, adding that the Agenda for Prosperity will be a great moment for all Sierra Leoneans.

The Head of State disclosed that 10 years is not enough to transform Sierra Leone, citing big nations like China, India and Brazil among other countries which took over 25 years to come out of the woods.

He stated that he has put in place some mechanisms to combat lawlessness and indiscipline in the country. He further stated that lawlessness should not only be limited to the Okada riders and the business people, adding that, “civil and public servants must also be disciplined and law abiding”.

“We have started noticing some successes not only in Freetown but also in the provinces. We must work within the framework of the law. Everybody must obey the law,” he stressed

President Koroma ended his address to the Sierra Leonean Community by saying: “As you have given me another mandate, I will not let you down”.

Mrs. Florie Cole, one of the oldest members of the Community and a Librarian at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa congratulated the President for emerging victorious in the past Presidential elections.

She lauded President Koroma for combating lawlessness and the disruptive behavior in the country.

The President was formally introduced by Ambassador Bangali whilst Mr. Amadu Koroma; Sierra Leone’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Ethiopia gave the vote of thanks.

The ceremony was climaxed by the introduction of the President’s delegation and that of the Sierra Leonean Community in Ethiopia by Ambassador Bangali.


Abdul Karim Koroma

Information Attaché

Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Addis Ababa



UN Special Representative Zainab Bangura Addresses Permanent Representatives Committee Of The African Union

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

JANUARY 24, 2013
I consider the engagement with African countries, as well as Africa’s regional and sub-regional organizations, as a critical priority for this mandate. I believe that African countries must play a central role in shaping the policies and direction of the conflict-related sexual violence mandate in the Security Council into the future. To this end, I hope that you will view my Office as one of your main resources — for information, for advocacy and for technical expertise in support of your national efforts and initiatives. I wish to take this opportunity to introduce my Chief of Staff, Nancee Oku Bright from Liberia, a post-conflict country that has itself been challenged by this issue.  She will also be at your disposal.
Statement to the
Permanent Representatives’ Committee of the
African Union
by Zainab Hawa Bangura
United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General
on Sexual Violence in Conflict
23 January 2013
I wish to thank you for the opportunity to address you today.  My first meeting in my capacity as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict was with the United Nations Africa Group because I felt it necessary to begin my tenure as Special Representative, ‘at home’.  I am very pleased to be home now and speaking with you about an issue that touches all of us.
The issue of conflict-related sexual violence is one that I know from my personal experience during the war in Sierra Leone. It is my hope to bring this perspective to bear in advancing the mandate that has now been entrusted to me.
At the same time, having served as both a Minister for Foreign Affairs and a Minister for Health, I have an insight into the complexities of Government, and I understand and appreciate the challenges and sensitivities that Member States face in addressing sexual violence. I believe, therefore, that this issue is not only a UN issue. It is an issue that belongs to Member States, who ultimately bear the primary legal, and indeed moral responsibility, to ensure the protection and wellbeing of their citizens.  In this regard, the emphasis on national ownership, leadership and responsibility in addressing sexual violence will be among my central priorities in taking forward this mandate.
I consider the engagement with African countries, as well as Africa’s regional and sub-regional organizations, as a critical priority for this mandate. I believe that African countries must play a central role in shaping the policies and direction of the conflict-related sexual violence mandate in the Security Council into the future. To this end, I hope that you will view my Office as one of your main resources — for information, for advocacy and for technical expertise in support of your national efforts and initiatives. I wish to take this opportunity to introduce my Chief of Staff, Nancee Oku Bright from Liberia, a post-conflict country that has itself been challenged by this issue.  She will also be at your disposal.
As you are already aware, the UN also established a Team of Experts on Rule of Law/ Sexual Violence following the adoption of Security Council resolution 1888 in 2009. The purpose of this Team is to serve as a resource at the disposal of Member States, to support national institutions to strengthen their response in addressing sexual violence. To date, the Team of Experts is supporting national institutions in Liberia, the DRC, Guinea, South Sudan, Colombia and the Central African Republic. This collaboration spans a number of different technical areas such as support for legislative reform, training and deployment of magistrates to enhance prosecution of sexual violence crimes, capacity strengthening investigation, protection of victims and witnesses, to name a few. I wish to take this opportunity also to introduce Mr. Innocent Zahinda from the DRC, who is the Team Leader of the Team of Experts reporting directly to me. Innocent and his Team are at your disposal.
In my capacity as Special Representative I chair the UN Action Network composed of 13 UN entities working together to address all aspects of conflict-related sexual violence. In this capacity I hope to bring to bear the collective energy of the UN system in support of national stakeholders, as we work on countries as diverse as Libya, the DRC, Colombia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
In March 2011 my predecessor, Margot Wallstrom, had the honour to address the African Union Peace and Security Council on the occasion of its 269th Meeting, devoted to an open session on ‘Women and children in armed conflicts’. I believe that the Communiqué issued by the Peace and Security Council following this meeting provides us with a guideline and mandate to further strengthen Africa’s engagement to address conflict-related sexual violence. Among the priorities explicitly expressed in the Communiqué are:
  • The development of a joint AU-UN response to eradicate conflict-related sexual violence;
  • The need to fully investigate cases of crimes committed against women and children, launch preventive campaigns specifically aimed at the armed forces and the police, and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice;
  • The development of strategies at the continental and regional levels to enable monitoring of the situation of women and children in conflict;
  • The provision of support for the psychological rehabilitation of the survivors of sexual violence;
  • The Peace and Security Council also expressed support for the decision of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to appoint a Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security.
It is my intention to engage directly with the African Union and to pick this issue up with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her Commissioners. I am proud and delighted that our sister from South Africa has been elected as the first female head of the African Union Commission and I hope that together we will be able to make further headway.
Similarly, I will pursue direct engagement at sub-regional and national levels to deepen dialogue with African Governments and to discuss areas for strengthened collaboration on this issue.  It is not credible, or even possible, to advance the “development agenda” without providing safety and security for the most vulnerable among us.
My engagement will include country visits, such as the one I made to the Central African Republic recently.  I spent two weeks there meeting with a wide range of stakeholders, because I wanted to learn first hand the challenges the government faces and to engage directly with leaders in all sectors of society, including religious leaders and members of civil society.  My trip resulted in the signing of two joint communiqués, which provide the basis for the development and implementation of action plans to address impunity, ensure the protection of civilians from sexual violence, provide greater support for survivors, and secure the release of vulnerable individuals, including women and children, held by political-military groups.
We have to work together also to address some fundamental misconceptions about this issue.  One of these is that this is an African problem.  On the contrary, it is a global phenomenon.  My Office is engaged on this issue in Latin America – in Colombia, in Europe – in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Asia in Cambodia dealing with residual cases from the Khmer Rouge period.  Sadly, history has shown us that no part of the world is immune from this scourge and as such, this mandate will continue to focus on conflict-related sexual violence wherever it may occur.
The other misconception is that it is cultural.  It is not.  There is no culture in the world that encourages and allows its women to be humiliated and degraded. To say that this crime is cultural, is to say that there are cultures based on a disdain for our mothers and sisters and daughters, a disregard for rule of law, a disrespect for international human rights norms, indifference to the pain and suffering of others and contempt for peace.  We must dispel the myth that there is such a thing as a ‘rape culture’. Sexual violence is a crime of international concern, and we must address it as such.
In spite of some notable progress on this agenda in the past few years, much more needs to be done. Conflict-related sexual violence is a phenomenon that we can eradicate. But, political leadership and political courage will be absolutely crucial. I believe that African leaders must show the way, and ‘lead from the front’.  National ownership is essential.  I look forward to working closely with you and will continue to seek your perspectives and advice along the way. I strongly believe that our joint efforts can yield tangible results, and create a changed environment on the ground for those affected by this terrible scourge.
Thank  YOU.

President Koroma and Agriculture for prosperity in Sierra Leone

Thursday, January 24th, 2013


 By John Pa Baimba Sesay:

By 2010, during his first term in office as President of Sierra Leone, Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma encouraged the nation, during the Business Bomba Competition Final to” raise production, productivity, and competitiveness in agriculture because it touches the lives of so many Sierra Leoneans.” It was an ambitious dream. So, what the government

did in pursuant of this objective was to, among other measures put up key poverty reducing strategies and one was pursuing the Smallholder Commercialization Scheme within the framework of the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme. 


IMF commendation:


By July of 2011, the International Monetary Fund Country Report No. 11/95 on Sierra Leone highlighted the achievements and progress made in agriculture, thus opining, that “Cocoa exports continued to grow strongly, as they have done for a number of years, reaching US$ 37.1 million in 2010. This likely reflects a combination of growth in production capacity as well as an increase in prices on international markets. A range of other exports that are not recorded separately also increased sharply in 2010 from a total of US$ 20.0 million in 2009 to US$ 78.2 million in 2010. The achievements of a success five years Koroma governance are still being presented to Sierra Leoneans, with strong efforts put together by some of us to avoid what some would refer as false propaganda. What we write and speak presents the realities, as they happen in the country.

Factually, agriculture contributes over 45% of our Gross Domestic Product, employing over two-thirds of the population and generating about a quarter of the export income. Factually, also budgetary allocation to the sector at the time was at a paltry 1.6%; agricultural productivity was very low and farming was basically for subsistence. It is but of great need to disclose the contradictory aspect in this, more so when then President Kabba(h) pinpointed food security as a major force of his government, when on 19th May, 2002 he pledged “…to work even harder to ensure that by 2007 no Sierra Leonean goes to bed hungry.” The Kabba (h) era’s attention to agriculture could best be described as dismal and poor, notwithstanding the false impression given then, that the sector was core in his development agenda as a government.

Koroma’s astuteness:
The Ernest Koroma regime was a different one, in not just agriculture, but as was seen in what was achieved in the other sectoral components of our development agenda, like infrastructure, health, youth employment, amongst others. Agriculture was identified as the ‘engine’ for socio-economic growth and development through commercial agriculture and the promotion of the private sector. There were telling effects to this vision; a Presidential Task Force on Agriculture was formulated, under the chairmanship of the President himself. Since then to date, we have continued seeing series of progress and achievements in the sector. This is especially so in line with the desire and strong political commitment on the part of the Minister in charge of agriculture Joseph Sam Sesay (Dr.), a good, hardworking but interestingly, very unassuming gentleman. By 2010; there was an increase in the budgetary allocation to the sector from a paltry 1.6% in 2007 to close to 10% in 2010.

We also witness the Prioritization of the Smallholder Commercialization Programme (SCP).This was the investment plan to kick-start the National Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme (NSADP) between 2010 and 2014.Within this period, we also saw achievements like an improved planting materials, secured machinery, equipment and required agricultural enhancing peripherals, including ; a) 210 power tillers; b) 201 rice threshers; c) 266 rice cutters; d) 200 rice mills; e) 161 cassava-grating machines; and f) agro-chemicals including over 30,700 bags of fertilizers and over 4,000 litres of weed killers on a cost-recovery basis. There was also the construction of about 150 Agricultural Business Centres (ABCs) to house the agro-processing facilities referred to above.

In fact by June, 2009 the Global Agriculture and Food Security Fund approved our government’s request for US$50m in support of the Smallholder Commercialization Programme. With a realistic desire on the part of government, through the Ministry of Agriculture to improve farmers’ access to financial services, there has been the erection of additional Financial Services Associations (Village Banks) across the country. We have, as a country often spoke of the accomplishments in our country’s infrastructure, especially the road network. One should underscore the point, that the ministry of agriculture has also been playing an integral road in linking farmers to the markets, by supporting the rehabilitation of over 1,000 Km of feeder roads country-wide.

Agriculture for Prosperity:
Chapter three of President Ernest Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity deals with the need to bolster the country’s economy. Knowing the importance of agriculture in this Agenda, 3.5 of the of the President’s development blueprint attaches much significance on scaling up agricultural productivity. It highlighted a number of core challenges facing the sectors and the strategies to be utilized in overcoming these challenges. It talks about the need to continue to provide investment incentives to the sector’s private sector. Achieving such a great plan demands the right leadership. This type of leadership, we have seen in five years in the ministry and we look forward to another outstanding political leadership to be provided by Dr Joseph Sam Sesay and his team of experts in the ministry.

President Koroma, in five years got the right set of people to work with. The general national leadership that was provided by the President should also be commended and this, be spoken on mountain and roof tops that Koroma actually worked and his win, was something he deserved. It is with this right leadership, provided with the development plans, as contained in the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, coupled with the supporting hands that government Ministers have been providing that we will continue to see agriculture as being very crucial to the prosperity agenda. We can use agriculture for our national prosperity.

Julius Maada Bio: His Suitability?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By Amadu Manjamadu Bah : 

In spite of all what has been written, said, and done about Julius Maada Bio’s suitability, some individuals still have the illusion that this man is fit to be president. I wonder what/who such individuals love most: Sierra Leone or Maada Bio? If they love Sierra Leone, they must set the bar high for the highest office in the land. But if it is Bio, then I don’t know what yardstick they are using.




This man has been accused of stealing, murdering, lying, violating human rights, and so many unpatriotic acts plus being denied entry into the most powerful country in the world, and up to now he has not publicly defended any of these allegations. The comparison between Bio and President Koroma is untenable. You cannot compare what obtained in Ghana to our own situation. This is blind loyalty: Maada Bio presidency is unthinkable, unimaginable, to say the least illusionary.

The SLPP I know is no more: the SLPP of Sir Milton Margai, Karefa Smart, and all those illustrious sons and daughters of our beloved Sierra Leone. I can imagine the anger felt by all of them in their graves against these individuals who have mortgaged their party to one man, Maada Bio, who wants to be leader at all costs. Why must it be Maada Bio or no one else? Are you saying Bio is the best candidate SLPP can offer. This an insult to the dignity of all SLPP supporters.

Bio has no record to run on. His bloody past is a shame to the image of the party. His votes is not a reflection of his popularity but blind loyalty to the party from the south and southeast. SLPP needs to reform, restructure, overhaul itself from top to bottom if it should be a formidable party for 2017. 2012 elections are over. SLPP is wasting valuable time over someone who can never be laundered. SLPP was defeated the very day Maada Bio became its flag-bearer. He is a criminal, evading prosecution by hiding behind the SLPP party. Blind loyalists are aiding and abetting him to achieve his goal. At the end of the day, there will be no hiding place. He will go down with all his henchmen. The law respects no one.

Mr. Keketorma, are you one of them?

“Government is determined to move on with the Agenda for Prosperity”…President Koroma tells UN

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013


 By State House Communications Unit :

Freetown: President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has on 15th January 2013 informed the United Nations Country Assessment Team from New York that government is well determined to move on with the “Agenda for Prosperity”, which is a successor programme to the “Agenda for Change”, and will further consolidate strong partnership with the UN.

“As a government, we are now moving on with the “Agenda for Prosperity” as a successor programme to the “Agenda for Change”, he said, adding that state governance was the responsibility of government.




Speaking during a meeting held with the UN team at State House, President Koroma heartily welcomed the delegation and acknowledged the mission’s purpose of visit to the country, which is to assess strides that have been made by the UN in Sierra Leone.

Reflecting further on the progress that had been made by the UN in Sierra Leone since the war period to date, President Koroma said that the UN was in the country to ensure that peace and stability reign, saying, the government and people of Sierra Leone have received lots of support from the UN up to the just concluded multi-tier elections.

He informed the mission that the elections went on peacefully and that there was no incident of electoral fraud that could have possibly undermine the credibility of the entire process.

President Koroma also noted that government will continue to improve on the security situation through the maintenance of law and order in the country.

“It is important for us to ensure that there is no gap in the process, for we have a mandate to move on with the issues of state governance, emphasizing on the enforcement of law and order, addressing youth unemployment, which will not happen overnight,” he maintained.

The chief executive said youth empowerment has to go along with the establishment of capacity building institutions for skills training; an area government will continue to engage development partners for support.

Executive Representative of the UN Secretary General in Sierra Leone and head of the delegation Jens Toyberg-Frandzen said that the mission brought representatives from the UNDP, UNHRC, UN peacekeeping mission, UNIDO amongst other key UN partner organizations.

Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen also told President Koroma that the mission was recommended by the Security Council and that they were in the country to hear from national stakeholders in the governance process.

© 2013, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

Ambassador Shekou Touray Officially Introduces New HOC Mr. Alhusine Sesay To Staff Of Sierra Leone Mission In New York

Monday, January 14th, 2013

JANUARY 14, 2013
By kabbs kanu
The new Head of Chancery at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, Mr. Alhusine Sesay, was last Friday January 11, 2012   formally introduced to the staff of the Mission by the Permanent Representative and Head of Mission, Ambassador Shekou M. Touray.
At a  General Staff meeting attended by both the diplomatic and local staff of the Mission,   Mr.Sesay,  who  arrived early in December to take up his new assignment , had the opportunity to officially meet with  the staff he will be working with  . He replaces the former HOC, Mrs. Margaret Jah-Matturi, who was recalled last year and has been re-assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation .
mission1 (600 x 448)
In introducing Mr.Sesay to the staff , Ambassador Tourayhighly  praised the new HOC  , describing him as an experienced  civil servant and a seasoned diplomat,  who,  apart from serving in Saudi Arabia as Head of Chancery, was also at one time the State Chief of Protocol to President Ernest Koroma at State House and the Head of the International Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Touray told the staff that given his vast experience in administration and his impressive work ethic, Mr.Sesay  plans to introduce reforms that will boost the output of the staff.  The ambassador called on the staff to cooperate with Mr. Sesay to help create an amicable and productive work atmosphere.
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Ambassador Touray  then took his time to introduce to Mr.Sesay the members of staff of the Mission , carefully stating  their job assignments in the Mission and the UN.
At the end of the introduction of staff  by Ambassador Touray, Mr.Sesay  took the floor. He  first thanked Ambassador Touray for his kind remarks about him and his capabilities  and  he promised to work hand-in-hand with staff members during his term of duty in New York  . The Mission, he went on, was not strange to him because he had been coming there  and interacting with staff during the UN General Assembly when he served as Chief of Protocol at State House.
Mr. Sesay  then disclosed  the  modus operandi he intends to adopt in dealing with the staff to ensure a peaceful , but  progressive work place atmosphere. He told the staff that he believes  in  the principles of transparency and  team work and,  as the staff has observed already, he makes sure that  he  seeks the input of other members of staff in the decision-making process of the Mission. He wants  every staff to be part of the decision-making process  in the Mission  because the work  should be a collective responsibility.   He also believes that this will enhance the working relations between him and members of the staff.
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Mr. Sesay  assured the staff that he will make sure that he gives a listening ear to the problems of every staff member and where possible he will ensure that he renders the necessary help but,  being a very frank man, he will also  be honest to indicate to staff where help was not possible. He called on staff to be  open-minded and frank with him in return, not hesitating to politely  bring to his notice  areas that need to be addressed.
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In what turned out to be an interactive session , every member of staff took the floor to welcome Mr.Sesay personally and to assure him of their full cooperation and support. Some of the career diplomats said  that they had worked with Mr.Sesay at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before they were assigned to New York .They described him as an efficient and hard-working man with whom they also had excellent working relations. They expressed confidence that Mr. Sesay will acquit himself of his responsibilities at the Mission.
Apart from the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Shekou Touray, other members of the diplomatic staff present were the Minister Plenipotentary, Mr. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, the Financial Attache ,  Mr. Varfomba Barwoh, the Military Adviser, Col. Ronnie Harlston, Counselor Saidu Nallo , Mr. Franklyn Fawundu, Mr.Lamin Khan and Mr. Saifu George  . Local staff who attended the meeting included the Office Manager , Mr.Ahmed Smart, the Special Assistant to the Permanent Representative , Mrs. Iris Max-Macarthy , the receptionist Mrs. Fatmata Jalloh and the drivers.
Before the meeting, muslim prayers were  rendered by Mr. Varfomba Barwoh while Mrs. Sherene Ranasinghe offered the Christian prayers.
Mr.Sesay is the fourth new  Foreign Service official who  arrived in New York at the tail end of last year to take up assignments in the Mission . Other diplomats   posted to New York  last year  were Messrs Franklin Fawundu, Lamin Kahn and Saifu George.
The meeting ended with staff expressing optimism that  a healthy and progressive working relationship was hopefully imminent  between the new HOC and members of staff.


Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Just as COCORIOKO announced yesterday, President Ernest Bai Koroma today  released names of ministers in  his new cabinet. Here is the list so far :




ENERGY= Dr. Olunyi Robin Coker

Deputy : Mr. Bash Kamara

WORKS=Alimamy Petito Koroma

Deputy : Mr. Bagalleh Jalloh

EDUCATION=Dr. Minkialu Bah

Deputy : Osmond Hanciles

Mahmoud Tarawallie


Deputy : Mrs.Marie Jalloh

Mr. Lovell Thomas

LOCAL GOVT. =Diana Konomani

Deputy : Ibrahim Hadiru Kalokoh

INTERNAL Affairs =JB Dauda

Deputy : Sheka Tarawallie

HEALTH= Miata Kargbo

Deputy : Dr. A.B. Fofana

Mr. Foday Sawi

DEFENCE=A Palor  Conteh

LANDS=Musa Tarawally

Deputy : Ahmed Saybome Kanu


Deputy : Ibrahim Mansaray

TRADE = Usu Boye Kamara

Deputy : Allie B. Mansaray

MARINE Resource =Pat Sowe

Deputy : Charles Rogers

MINES=Minkialu Mansaray

Deputy : Mr. Ignosis Koroma


Deputy : M.B. Atilla


Deputy : Mr. Theo Nicol

RESIDENT: North=Alie D. Kamara
RESIDENT: East= William Smith

RESIDENT : South : Muctarr Conteh

CHIEF OF STAFF : Dr. Richard Konte





Finance – DR. Kaifala  Marah
Finance Ministers of State (2)
Momodu Kargbo
Alhaji F.B.L . Mansaray
Deputy Finance – Mabinty Daramy

Foreign Affairs – Dr.Samura Kamara
Deputy – Mrs. Ebun Jusu

Attorney General & Justice – Frank Kargbo
deputy Justice – Mr.Arrow Bockarie



The  names of people for the following ministries are yet to be announced:

*Youth Employment & Sports
*Labour/Social Security
* Tourism
*Political & Public Affairs
* Minister of State in VP’s Office

EXCLUSIVE : Ministers Celebrate After Being Re-Appointed By President Ernest Koroma

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

This is the kind of quick-fire information you will get only in your popular COCORIOKO.  Shortly after the new cabinet list was announced to an anxious nation and diaspora this afternoon , many of the ministers re-appointed by President Ernest Bai Koroma drove first to State House where this newspaper interviewed some of them, and after that they went out to celebrate.

We bring you pictures of the ministers celebrating at Hill Station Club . Some of them had been targets of bitter  attacks by P.H.D ( Pull-Him -Down  ) journalists who had been writing malicious articles against them during the tense wait for the formation of the new cabinet . The so-called journalists thought that by writing defamatory stories against these ministers, they will influence President Ernest Koroma from re-appointing them. But we did say yesterday that these pressmen were wasting their time because President Koroma does not pander to gossip and foolish articles in newspapers. He knows members of his team who are doing a magnificent job and thus many of his ministers will retain their jobs. How true our declaration ! ! ! Many of the ministers returned to their posts. Some who were removed from their previous positions were re-assigned to other ministries.







Development News : Ambassador Bockarie Stevens propounds on what Sierra Leone stands to benefit from winning the MCC Compact Award

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Just before Christmas, as  Sierra Leoneans celebrated the successful staging of the landmark Presidential, Legislative and Local Council Elections, good news came that Sierra Leone  has won the United States Gvernment’s  Millennium Challenge Corporation ( MCC ) Compact Award  by dint of the splendid achievements of the Government led by President Ernest Bai Koroma during the past years. 

The  “THIS IS SIERRA LEONE”  Website put in very clear perspective how this award is won by countries.  : “In March 2002, in the fight to reduce global poverty, President Bush announced an increase of five billion dollars per year over current bilateral assistance levels to be vouchsafed to poor countries. In a fastidious mood, the president enunciated clearly that this assistance will be channeled through the creation of an independent agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Based on set criteria, the MCC is empowered to give money only to honest governments pursuing sound economic policies that influence it with a proposal of their own choice: governing justly, promote basic education and reduce corruption.

This week, COCOORIOKO  decided to conduct an exclusive interview with Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States , H.E. Mr. Bockarie Kortu Stevens , on  the implications of the award and what Sierra Leone stands to benefit from it.



COCORIOKO : Good morning, Mr. Ambassador , Cocorioko  has  just learnt that the Millennium Challenge Corporation   has selected Sierra Leone as one of the countries to benefit from the Millennium Challenge funding .What is the implication of this ? What do we hope to benefit from this achievement?


AMBASSADOR STEVENS : This is a momentous day for Sierra Leone. For more than five years Sierra Leone has been competing in this programme. In 2010 our score card rating was five out of twenty. This was not because we were failing or not doing the right thing but mainly because the statistics required to generate pass marks were not forthcoming from the various government departments. Therefore in 2011 the president set up a special unit at State House to collate the required statistics. This has paid off. In 2012 we scored more than enough to qualify for the compact. Let me explain further that there are two tiers of entry into the MCC i.e. Threshold and Compact. For some countries they had to qualify for the Threshold and then the Compact. Sierra Leone had double promotion to be selected straight into the compact; a testament to the good work done.

The implication of been selected to the compact is that we are now eligible to receive grants for approved projects. Grants under this scheme can range from anything between 300 to 700 million dollars depending on the in-country programme or projects developed by Sierra Leone. Let me further add that this programme as it is called Millennium Challenge is a competitive programme with very robust means testing. Going through it straight to the compact stage assigns you as a credible country and as a result a lot of doors will now be open to Sierra Leone. The beauty of this programme is that the projects to be chosen for implementation are not dictated by the donor i.e. USA. The projects are conceived and directed by Sierra Leone; all that is needed is that it must be poverty alleviation driven. By any standards this is a huge amount of money which will excite the budgetary commitments of the President’s Agenda for prosperity. Also you are aware that in the last couple of years we as an embassy have been engaged in the rebranding process of our country. Many Americans link Sierra Leone with Blood diamonds, and a barbaric civil war. A program like this fits into our re-branding efforts. At the announcements press conference we felt very proud. For Sierra Leone this was a fitting moment to sell our country to the entire United States. It is indeed a very proud moment. Every patriotic Sierra Leonean must be proud of this achievement. These positive signals and vibes are good for investment and development.


COCORIOKO : What is the implication of this achievement in terms of the performance of the reigning All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government , headed by President Ernest Koroma ?


AMBASSADOR STEVENS : Beneficiary countries need to work hard and really hard to meet the robust criteria set by the MCC. Selectivity deals with core fundamentals that demonstrate commitment to a development agenda, creation of policies through reforms, good governance and anti corruption are key. Sierra Leone was selected for the gigantic strides made in areas like access to maternal and child health care, educating girl child,  anti corruption, freedom of information and human rights amongst other indicators. The government will now need to put in place a team of experts to design the projects aimed at poverty alleviation and minimizing the constraints to economic growth. The Good thing about the MCC is that the countries design their own projects for which the funding is to be used.  We have to satisfy the MCC how coherent the projects are and once decided upon by both parties the amount is allocated. It is a very busy process and already the president says he will personally supervise the implementation and planning of this MCC project. This programme has very rigid performance criteria to justify the use of America’s tax payers money. In fact some candidate countries contracted lobbying groups in the USA to assist. We never did that we relied on the performance of the government which has yielded this huge dividend.
Love or hate the APC government this is no mean an achievement. The government sailed through with the agenda for change and now with the agenda for prosperity there could be no better a New Year’s present for the leader of the APC party, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

Apart from the monetary value there are other accolades ranging from boosting the Image of Sierra Leone in the corridors of power in the USA. Been accepted into the MCC recognizes that the country is doing the right thing. The funding arising thereof will to a large extend support the programme especially those associated with addressing  the problems of Youth employment in Sierra Leone. This is a blessing that recognizes the achievements of  the APC government especially with regards to the Agenda for prosperity. By all imaginable standards these are the programmes that President Koroma and the populist APC party had evolved over the years for the people of Sierra Leone. The MCC award is the dividend paid for these development strides .


COCORIOKO : That is indeed very good news for our nation. Ambassador, in the interest of our wider readership, can you tell us the efforts that went into this?


AMBASSADOR STEVENS : Lots of hard work on both sides of the Atlantic. Staff at the embassy, State House, strategic government departments, individual Sierra Leoneans both in Sierra Leone and the USA, U.S legislators and other functionaries and many more

Most important were those responsible for collecting the relevant statistics on which the score cards are based. It was a multi faceted task.
As an embassy we got engaged in this process almost five years ago. No stone was left unturned as it was done without a lobbying organization. Some successful countries took on lobbying organizations in Washington but we lacked that luxury and money to do it. We went out alone and succeeded mainly relying on our record of achievement.  


COCORIOKO : With such an achievement, what is the way forward for Sierra Leone?


The good thing about the MCC award is that it is not a loan. It is an outright grant. Early in the new year the MCC will be sending a technical team to start working on the processes and project development immediately. The President has identified the corner stone of his Agenda for Prosperity on youth. This a wonderful opportunity to fund this initiative and get it off the ground. Sierra Leone will now need to design its project for poverty alleviation, good policy performance and human development to promote economic development and prosperity. This will be done  in tandem with the MCC technical committee. The President has indicated to me that he will take personal charge of this implementation stage of the MCC account. Sierra Leoneans should now put politicking aside and support a development oriented President to attain prosperity for our people. Sierra Leoneans need to give their full support to the programme as we must keep up with improving on the criteria to move ahead. Having passed at this stage is not the end. We need to maintain the momentum to enhance guaranteed funding.       

COCORIOKO : What have you got to tell our Sierra Leonean people who will be really excited to hear this news?

Sierra Leoneans must celebrate this epoch making event. This was no guess game the results achieved were as a result of the well-crafted and successful programmes undertaken by the government of President Koroma. If we continue on the right track  the sky is the limit for Sierra Leone. The massive mandate given to the President will catapult this country to even higher heights and achieve salvation for our young people under the guide of the Agenda for prosperity.

Perhaps I should take this opportunity to advice our Sierra Leonean compatriots in the Diaspora who sometimes for political aggrandizement will use every opportunity to besmear their motherland. Some of them using the social media have incessantly agitated for mayhem and chaos just because the party of their choice lost the just concluded elections. Some even go to the extent of inciting violence in Sierra Leone from the comfort of their luxurious surroundings in the USA and elsewhere. Let us respect the mandate of the people and support the government to deliver on its agenda. We are earning respectability from the international community; let us play our part. If we have not learnt anything from the western world the least to comprehend and absorb is political tolerance and country first.

This is a poignant warning by President John F Kennedy. “Those who want to gain power by riding on the back of a tiger will eventually end up inside”.

COCORIOKO : Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador for granting us this interview . We are sure it will leave Sierra Leoneans rejoicing. 

AMBASSADOR STEVENS : Thank you too for the great work your paper is doing in the rebranding of Sierra Leone. Keep it up.

COCORIOKO : Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. 



Fullah Progressive Union Ushered the New Year in a Spectacular Fundraiser

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

By Jacob Sax Conteh, Cocorioko Editor-in-Chief :


On New Year’s Eve, as hundreds of Sierra Leoneans in the Washington, DC metropolitan area clogged area churches, executives of the Fullah Progressive Union (FPU) converged at the Days Inn on New York Avenue in Washington, DC to set up for their annual fundraiser.  After the New Year was ushered in with special Sierra Leonean music, the huge hall punctuated with neon lights, immaculate evening dresses, miniskirts and suits pulsated with life as more people arrived.  Imam Cole opened the ceremony with prayer after Dr. Fuambai Sia Ahmadu, a medical and symbolic anthropologist and Executive Director, of MSLDC Inc. and her co-MC made brief remarks.  Following prayers, Mr. Mohamed Bah, President of FPU took the mike.  He called all his members to the podium, and thanked them for a superb job.  He later presented awards to various people who have helped the organization over the years.

fula dance1 (600 x 448)


One of the highlights of the evening was a speech by Mr. Ben Jalloh, a veteran Fullah leader from New Jersey.  In his speech, he reiterated that after a recent trip to Nigeria where he attended a meeting with Fullahs from around the world, he has come to find out that there are over 70 million Fullahs around the world, living in different countries.  He explained that the Fullah organization started way back in Sierra Leone during the dark days when they used to round up Fullahs (many of them Sierra Leoneans) and lock them up.  Mr. Jalloh and others organized the Fullah Union to help free up Fullahs.  Today, the organization has grown exponentially both in the US and around the world.

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In his speech, FPU President Mr. Mohamed Bah explained the main goal of the fundraiser this year.  Unlike most Sierra Leonean organizations in the United States that send all their funds to Sierra Leone, FPU believes in the development of Sierra Leonean children born here in the United States.  A few years ago, they launched a program to teach their children the Fullah culture and religion.  Recently, they bought a building in Maryland and they need the funds to refurbish and equip the building for the school.

fula dance3 (600 x 448)


Following the speeches, veteran DJ, Songo Train, took over, playing successive songs for minutes as men and women took to the floor.  The atmosphere was festive.  After taking several pictures on both my iPad and iPhone, and as the lights were dimed for the dancers, I left for my drive home to Virginia, knowing full well that Sierra Leoneans will continue to be tolerant of each other. As for the Fullah Progressive Union, one of the oldest Sierra Leonean organizations in the Washington, DC metropolis, their superb organization, dynamic leadership, and ability to organize will keep them intact for many more years to come.