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Archive for June, 2013

President Ernest Koroma strategically positioning Sierra Leone globally for sustainable socio-economic and political renaissance

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

By LEEROY WILFRED KABS KANU : Minister Plenipotentiary- Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN :

One thing that makes President Ernest Bai Koroma uniquely different from most of the past leaders of the nation is that he does not stop at anything to position Sierra Leone for sustainable socio-economic and political renaissance. Not the complacent leader who would rest on his oars, President Koroma continues to traverse the globe to continue to rebrand the country at home and abroad to create the stimulus and impetus for continued national development.

President Koroma’s two-prong global approach is not only to strengthen the relations between Sierra Leone and her traditional partners-in -progress and stakeholders but to plough new furrows in the international arena to open Sierra Leone up to more international exposure, trade, commerce and investment. A confident leader who knows the immense potentials his country possesses , President Koroma has always aimed for the best for Sierra Leone, despite the constraints provided by the global economic downturn. He has taken the nation’s interest to the highest levels of international cooperation and partnership.

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PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA MEETS THE CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING 

Yesterday, President Koroma was hosted by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of The People in Beijing, China. Though the meeting was held behind closed doors, there is no doubt that it will not only boost the bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and China but will strengthen already existing areas of cooperation between the two countries while opening new opportunities for the achievement of better socio-economic and political  synergies between  the two countries .

Under President Koroma, Sierra Leone is no longer the unknown country that burst into prominence only for the wrong reasons–The devastating and very bloody civil war that tore the nation apart for 11 years.

Sierra Leone is now reckoned as a promising nation with abundant natural and human resources that qualify her as a useful development partner of other nations. Under President Koroma, Sierra Leone is not a pariah state or a failed nation but a country heading for the right direction and a useful participant in the international drive for socio-economic and political renaissance. All over the world and at the United Nations , Sierra Leone is now playing a visible and poignant role in the search for answers to global problems, whether it is climate change, sustainable global economic development, promoting human rights, strengthening the rule of law , finding a cure for AIDS, women’s and children’s issues or negotiations for reform of the organs of the United Nations, including the Security Council and the Economic and Social Commission ( ECOSOC ). When Sierra Leone speaks, other nations listen.

As the President and his party continue to brave the hazards of international travel to showcase Sierra Leone , the benefits will keep coming. Already, there are visible signs that Sierra Leone is on the ascendant in the the development sphere. That was why the Leader of Free World, President Barak OBama recently hosted President Koroma at the White House in Washington DC.

It must be recalled that after that meeting, President Obama made this statement in a press release : “Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome four leaders from Africa, all of whom are doing extraordinary work — President Sall from Senegal, President Banda from Malawi, President Koroma from Sierra Leone, and Prime Minister Neves from Cape Verde. ” There is no true and patriotic citizen of Sierra Leone who was not excited and thrilled when President Obama said : “The reason that I’m meeting with these four is they exemplify the progress that we’re seeing in Africa. All of them have had to deal with some extraordinary challenges. Sierra Leone just 10 years ago was in the midst of as brutal a civil war as we’ve ever seen. And yet, now we’ve seen consecutive fair and free elections. And under President Koroma’s leadership, we’ve seen not only good governance, but also significant economic growth. ”  There cannot be any better source for such a grand recognition and acknowledgement of President Koroma’s great performance than the mouth of the Leader of the only superpower of the world, who has an unbending  policy not to do business with any president or head of state who is not performing well to improve the welfare of his/ her people. This and all other  international recognition of the President’s commitment to good governance and development will bode well for the nation.

Sierra Leone will surely benefit from President Koroma’s gallant efforts to position the country globally for sustainable socio-economic and political transformation. We are creating global partnerships and cooperation that will help to stabilize and improve our economy further; bring more infrastructural developments , help us acquire maximum benefits from our abundant natural resources ; build industries; stimulate tourism, commerce and investment and provide jobs for our people, especially the youth >

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Covenant Child World Ministry lands first mission team in Haiti

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The Covenant Child World Evangelistic Ministry , pastored  by the husband and wife team of the Rev. W.L. Kabs-Kanu  and Rev. Tigidankay Kabs-Kanu, has  landed its first mission team abroad–In Haiti. A four-man team, led by Sister Tigi , has arrived safely in Port Au-Prince , capital of Haiti. I was not able to make the trip, though I have been longing to visit Haiti, after all I have read about the country . Next time, by the grace of God.

The church was invited to Haiti to explore the possibility of building an orphanage and a mission there. A Government official in Haiti, whose relatives attend the church in New Jersey and impressed by the church’s performance after only one year in existence, invited the church and piloted the trip. We crave your prayers as we fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to take the Gospel to many parts of the world.

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Two other people– Sierra Leonean and Liberian officials who read our first report online –contacted me to express interest in the orphanage project in the two countries, though we ourselves had Sierra Leone and Liberia very much in mind, before these government officials contacted us. .

Please pray for the team in Haiti that they will continue to obtain the favour of God in all the negotiations and for his continued leading and guidance.

When I was in Liberia , I had a prisons ministry .That was in the mid- 1980s to early 90s. Through the instrumentality of the church I served then, called LIFE CHURCH, I had a team with whom we used to go to the Carter High Prisons in Kakata every Saturday to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the prisoners and to carry food for them. Because of this ministry, many prisoners , correction officers and jailers got saved and confessed Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour . Some prisoners who stole and raped before did it no more. So the work of God is not done only inside the church. You can reach multitudes when you share the love of God with others. In fact, 90 % of the work of Jesus Christ was outside the church. Christianity is not a religion. It is JESUS CHRIST . Therefore you cannot be a christian if you do not share Christ’s goodness with others.

We have a burden for kids without parents or guardians and we think that through the love of God in Christ Jesus, we can do our own part in making their burdens light and helping to turn them into useful citizens .

REV. KABS-KANU

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Fourah Bay College : How much lower ?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

By Sydney Pratt -Publisher of THE TRUMPET Newspaper of Freetown :

We are saddened over the fact that the first institution of higher learning in sub-Saharan Africa, established in 18th February, 1827, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is fast reducing itself to obscurity after being responsible for giving the honorable title: ‘Athens of West Africa’ to the country then, by virtue of its enviable academic prowess and significance among its neighbors as the place to go in search of higher education.

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SYDNEY PRATT

In those formative years and for decades to follow, people came from as far as Britain, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and Ghana to name a few countries to enroll at the FBC as students. The college has and still continues to benefit from the experiences and knowledge of foreign lecturers as well.

Despite these fine overtures, Fourah Bay College (FBC), we dare say, has had its toll of violent activities, riots, protests and what-have-you in the years under review. However, instead of things getting better, they seem to be getting worse. Things are indeed getting worse in all aspects of the FBC University of Sierra Leone.

Apart from the meteoritic rise in University fees which affected almost all the students negatively, there is also the issue of declining standards in both academic performance and college infrastructure namely students’ hostels which have reportedly been neglected and in dire need of repairs if they are to be habitable in the near future.
It is said and verily believed by many people and governments, that universities the world over are supposed to be the beacon and/or soul of a country, because it is the university which should set the pace for a nation’s greatness in the area of academia and research.

However, it is like the FBC University of Sierra Leone, instead of learning from its mistakes and using these mistakes to plan ahead for its development and that of the country, the college administration and the students do not seem to know where they are heading, or what they want!

It has become normal for college elections to be disrupted and marred by violence for reasons which can be avoided; if only the students stick to running their own affairs and frown on any party or individual that attempts to influence the conduct of student elections in any way.

It is no longer a secret that student elections in this country are no longer purely a matter for students alone. Politicians have been known to influence student elections for their own personal gain or whim. Prominent politicians are known to have influenced student elections in the past, in ways that can only be described as creating confusion, division and animosity between and among students over student politics, which would forever remain in the colleges, whilst the students move out to face real world politics.
The students on the other hand, are allowing themselves to be used by politicians, forgetting the salient fact that they are in college to be themselves academically, physically and in other ways and not to be spoon-fed by failed adult politicians. Failed because it is only a failure that is afraid of his shadow and wants to keep that shadow in sight by inciting people whose mental capabilities can be swayed in any direction as long as the motive or inducement is right!

The latest incident of interference in student politics by people who otherwise should have no business in student politics resulted in the postponement of the elections which was supposed to have been conducted on Friday 14th June, 2013.

For ease of reference, we reproduce sections of the press release that was issued on 12th June, 2013, by the management of the university:
“The management of the University of Sierra Leone, which is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that a conducive environment is maintained for the operations of the University, whose core functions are teaching and research, would like to inform its students in particular, and the wider community in general, that the elections for various students’ union positions, including that of president of the students’ union of each of the three constituent campuses, scheduled for Friday 14th June, 2013, have been postponed indefinitely.”

The release goes on to remind all concerned that past years students politics, especially the electioneering process, had been marred by violence whi
ch led not only to the disruption of the operations of the University but also to the damage of both college and individual properties.
It was because this situation continued unabated that the University Court of Sierra Leone, following a report from the administration, intervened, and after careful deliberation, decided to ban the students’ union of each campus and at its meeting of September 15th 2011, set up a 5-person committee, chaired by the University Registrar, to serve as a liaison between the campus administration and students with a view to addressing students’ welfare and related concerns.
The release further states that in the meantime, the college administration including principal and other senior authorities plan on meeting with representatives and the aspirants on diverse dates to settle the impasse.

It is lamentable that students in a university still cannot settle their own problems, without interference from the college administration, which actually has no business in ‘helping’ students, make up their minds on political issues affecting them.

It is also lamentable that student politics in Sierra Leone is taking the ugly trend of national party politics. This is a pointer to the fact that the students are no different from their political godfathers, gurus or benefactors. In other words, those outsiders influencing students on what to think, who to vote and other matters regarding students’ elections are what could be described as surrogate political godfathers.

We wish to state here that it is high time students in our various colleges begin to assume their independence in the way they think, act and take decisions affecting their lives as students. We expect our students to be leaders; not followers. We expect our students to be initiators; not imitators.

Therefore, to end this piece, we call on all students in tertiary institutions across Sierra Leone to retrace their steps, think long and hard about whether they want the political future of this country to remain where failed politicians have left it; or whether they hope to reform political thinking in the country so as to raise our status once more to the Athens of West Africa. Students, be wise and act wise; do not allow old politicians imbibe old tricks in you. Always seek newer, and better ways of doing things and then perhaps, we would no longer see college strikes over salary, elections and what-have-you!

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Presidents Ernest Koroma And Xi Jinping’s Constructive Engagement Will Yield Dividends For Sierra Leone And China

Friday, June 14th, 2013

 


By KABS KANU :

Since 2007 , one of the most internationally respected heads of state has been President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone . As soon as he came to power via democratic elections , President Koroma set the machinery in motion to pursue Sierra Leone’s revival and socio-economic and political development from both the home and international front. While fighting to restore and rebuild all social, economic and political institutions and structures  at home that had collapsed during previous regimes , President Koroma also opened his hands to constructive international diplomacy and engagement with Sierra Leone’s stakeholders and development partners.

PRESIDENTKOROMAJUBILANT

PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA

It became all too obvious that the man who had assumed the mantle of leadership in Sierra Leone was not going to be a reclusionist leader, i.e. a president or head of state who operates in isolation. President Koroma spread his nets wide ashore even as other nations and international institutions, seeing his serious-mindedness and determination to develop Sierra Leone , extended hands of friendship and goodwill to the young and dynamic leader. The result is that Sierra Leone, for the past five years , has been blessed with a President who is the toast of an international community that has  sought his wisdom and engagement not only  in global peacemaking and leadership, but international partnership in development. This could be seen  not only in the fact that President Koroma is the leader of Africa’s drive to gain permanent seats and access to the use of the Veto ( among other rights and prerogatives of permanent membership ) in the UN Security Council Reform process but in the number of countries and international companies and investors  who want to AND are  doing  business in Sierra Leone.

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PRESIDENT XI JINPING OF CHINA

One of the global powers that has demonstrated tremendous  interest in dealing with President Koroma is  the People’s Republic of China. And as President Koroma visits Beijing to address the International Peace Forum and also meet with the Chinese leader, there is much at stake with respect to the dividends that such a constructive engagement will yield within the vortex of the bilateral relations between the two nations. Press Attache John Baimba Sesay writes : ” ..His Excellency President Koroma will be meeting with Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of power of the People’s Republic of China. This will be the first meeting between these two leaders, following the reelection of President Koroma for another term in office and that of President Xi Jinping who came to power few months ago.”

The benefits  of our bilateral relations with China could be mutual. China will have the opportunity to help Sierra Leone mine her abundant  natural resources and in return the new, emergent world economic power could help Sierra Leone rebuild her economy by providing valuable financial assistance .In addition, China could help build  roads, railways, ports, airports, and other development-oriented structures and edifice  in Sierra Leone.  One of the flagship projects of President Ernest Koroma, since he came to power, is massive infrastructural development , with good reason. There can be no durable socio-economic and political developments  in any country without good infrastructure . China has the potential to help Sierra Leone resuscitate her passenger rail service –another engine for socio-economic development and free movement of goods and services. She could also give our health care initiatives a big boost by helping to train our doctors, nurses and medical personnel. Another area  that China could be useful to Sierra Leone too is in  helping her achieve food security.

China can  see that Sierra Leone is a very friendly , hospitable and progressive nation , indicated  by the large number of their citizens that have now made Sierra Leone their home and in the establishment of Chinese fast food restaurants and businesses  all over the capital of Freetown and the country. It is a bilateral relationship that will definitely yield good fruits for both nations.

There is much room for optimism in China’s engagement with Africa.  The YUN SUN MAGAZINE of  APRIL 5, 2013 spelt that message out clearly when it said :  ”Beijing has no intention to colonize the continent, dictate the politics or economy of the local countries or deprive them of development opportunities. On the contrary, China truly sees itself as Africa’s “brother” and hopes to help African countries develop through infrastructure projects. …In the last several years, China has contributed significantly to the economic growth of some of Africa’s poorest nations. China wants to see a prosperous Africa, which is beneficial to China’s interests as well.”

We on COCORIOKO  have no doubt about this.

We  therefore defer our growing bilateral relations to the wisdom of our two great leaders.

President Koroma Has The Uncanny Ability To Keep The APC United

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

President Koroma Has The Uncanny Ability To Keep The APC United

 

By KABS KANU :

Whatever your orientation, one of the facts of life you will not dispute is that politics is a bitter and contentious preoccupation. In politics , even in the advanced democracies like Britain and the U.S, the going  does get ugly . Watch the deadly manner the Labour party, the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats in the UK and the  Republicans and Democrats in the U.S.  tear each other apart  publicly and in newspapers and tabloids like hungry hounds ; In the  only super power of the world , see  how the Republicans have led America into sequestration,  all in the name of incurable partisan politics.

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PRESIDENT KOROMA AND APC SUPPORTERS CELEBRATE THE PEACE HE HAS JUST MADE AT MILE 91

That is why the veterans always say that if you cannot stand the heat , do not get into the kitchen ( Politics ) because you will definitely find yourself in the crucible , one way or the other. As Sheku Sheriff of the Segbwema Blog would like to say, the mad battle for government appointments  does get sublime  ! ! !

And the dirty game of mudslinging and morbid hatred is not being played out only by  the tribe of citizens we have come to label ‘politicians’ , i.e. those holding power and decision -making positions in government and those seeking them . In fact, life itself is politics . As Craig Crawford postulates in his book , THE POLITICS OF LIFE : 25 RULES  FOR SURVIVAL IN A BRUTAL AND MANIPULATIVE WORLD, “Wherever humans are found, there is politics”. He goes to say that “The human being is nature’s top predator. As such, we prey for control. Whether inventing umbrellas to control the effects of nature or bombing nations to subdue them, we never stop seeking control. Even driving our car presents a series of roving battles and negotiations to control and defend our space, the essence of politics “.

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THE TWO FEUDING PARTIES IN MILE 91 REJOICE AT BEING RECONCILED BY PRESIDENT KOROMA

There is politics among journalists as those who are perceptive can readily see. There is politics among government appointees  and those seeking to take their positions from them  . There is politics in the school , the church, the newspaper office, the mosque,  the bank, the political party, government, the home , everywhere. Even kids are prone to be politicians once in a while ,  if only to play on the minds of their parents to tease one or either of them to seize the reins and provide what they want. That is why people should stop talking as if something strange is happening when politicians, journalists or church or family members begin fighting each other. There will always be in-fighting  wherever human beings congregate  or where  their interests converge , especially in the political arena  .

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HONS. ALPHA KANU AND KEMOH SESAY AFTER THE PEACE IN PORT LOKO

What makes the world of difference, however, is STRONG LEADERSHIP THAT BINDS PEOPLE OF COMPETING INTERESTS TOGETHER . There must be  leaders in society who have the unshakable ability to keep their organizations or parties together, amidst the storm . Leadership is the common denominator and pivot on whose axis rotate the peace or chaos of an organization or party. While the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) is virtually dying on its feet because of the dearth of inspiring leadership that keeps feuding and competing party supporters and officials together, the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) is blessed to have a leader who is a master of diplomatic and peace-making politics in the person of the Leader of the party and President of the nation, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

Twice within a fortnight, President Koroma has left his very busy schedule at State House and driven deep into the interior  to  help to bring peace in two key strongholds of the party –Port Loko and Tonkolili (Mile 91).In both scenerios, President Koroma used his masterful skills of a diplomat and negotiator to get feuding parties to drop their contention in the interest of the partyand smoke the peace pipe. And this is not the first time. President Koroma took over the APC at a time when the party had not only become moribund as a result of the destructive effects of the 1992 military coup against it and the tribulation suffered by members but the APC was a colossus of chaos and the most self-destructive infighting .However, the master tactician, peace-maker and consensus -builder he is, President Koroma successfully united the APC  and gloriously led it to two consecutive victories in landmark elections in Sierra Leone in 2007 and 2012.

Once President Koroma is at the helm, there is no way the APC  will flounder at the rocks of bitter rivalries, feuds and divisiveness .He is a blessed peacemaker and will continue to unite the party.

Summarily, what should concern the APC  now is not whether there will be infighting when Koroma  steps down in 2017.There will be. Politics will always be politics. The concern should be whether his successor will have the same abilities and skills to continue to bring feuding parties together, reconcile them and make them sing and dance to the same song . However, the APC  has the ability to always overcome its problems and bubble to the top like cream. In the struggle of the APC,  there is always victory . The party will successfully cross the bridge of a suitable and competent replacement for President Koroma when it gets there.

For now, we thank President Koroma for once again demonstrating his outstanding leadership skills , abilities and charisma to keep the party united. We hope the flames of reconciliation and peace will continue to burn in Port Loko and Tonkolili .

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

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All Sierra Leone ever needed was a productive and results-oriented leader like President Ernest Koroma

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

By KABS KANU :

The good news from China that President Ernest Koroma delivered to the nation in that major press conference at State House  last week  clearly  showed that good things indeed can come to Sierra Leone . The good news showed  what our nation had been missing all along – A productive and RESULT-ORIENTED LEADER  ready to traverse the length and breadth of this world to bring socio-economic and political development to Sierra Leone.

Once again, President Koroma  braved the hazards of long international travels and went to China where he put his diplomatic , economic and political acumen into action and the result is staggering news that should get all Sierra Leoneans dancing.

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Given the chance, President Koroma is able to make Sierra Leone the envy of African nations. The package the President brought  from China is  so supergenic that it is the handiwork of a leader who knows what his nation needs and and it once again demonstrated a President who has the panache, capacity, moral and political will  and the  diplomatic spunk to  bring  top-of-the-art national development  to Sierra Leone.

According to AFP , President Koroma and China signed an U.S.$8 Billion package and that  ”the business included a $1.7 billion deal with the Kingho Energy Group to build a port, mine, power plant and 250-kilometre (155-mile) railway. He said he had also finalised a $300 million deal with the Chinese Railway International Company to build a new international airport 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the capital Freetown.” You have   to hate Sierra Leone to your guts  for you not to jubilate at such wonderful news .

Those who thought that our’s was a cursed nation will now begin to re-examine their beliefs. Those who always thought that only bad things come to Sierra Leone can now see that on the contrary Sierra Leone is capable of receiving and rejoicing over good news everyday.  There was a time when all that Sierra Leoneans ever heard or expected to hear about their country was depressing, distressing and disappointing news. But since President Koroma came to power in 2007, this has changed and Sierra Leoneans have been choking on good news every now and again to the extent even that some die-hard opposition supporters have conceded that indeed President Koroma is a God-sent leader .No condition is perfect. Sierra Leone still has enormous challenges, but within the 5 years he has been in power, President Koroma has proved that he is able to solve many of the country’s problems. His grandiose

All we ever needed in our country was a leader like President Koroma who , firstly, loves his country and secondly has the moral and political will to transform the country for the betterment of this generation and future generation. While the late President Siaka Stevens, despite all his faults, also helped to bring socio-economic developments to the country, no post-Independence leader has matched what President Koroma has done in 5 years.

Imagine What Sierra Leone would be like when the Chinese would have delivered on the package in full ( And China has a brilliant record of delivery in Sierra Leone ). The new international airport will make Sierra Leone the centre of tourism in West Africa and there will be a tremendous expansion of investment opportunities, international trade and commerce while the 155-mile railway will once more ensure free movement of people and goods and services, especially foodstuffs. There will also be massive infrastructural development , especially road construction.

Under President Koroma, Sierra Leoneans have become proud of their nation once again. We hope they will throw their weight behind President Koroma at this crucial period in the country’s history when the President’s brain is working like a clock to  mobilize support and resources for the nation in promotion of his Agenda For Prosperity. Sierra Leone now has the leader she had always prayed for and we beseech God’s continued hand on him as he travels round the globe in the national interest to bring complete transformation to our once-ailing country.

 

 

Sierra Leone’s Health Ministry exonerates Zainab Bangura

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Ministers of the government anxiously waiting for announcement of the new cabinet were not the only ones who became victims of the  dangerously malicious and envious press  media attacks that were aimed at influencing President Ernest Bai Koroma from re-appointing them. Another Sierra Leonean victimized by the destructive journalism of Sierra Leonean media practitioners was the newly-appointed United Nations Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on sexual violence in conflict, Mrs . Zainab Bangura.

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MRS. ZAINAB BANGURA

When news broke out that millions of dollars  allocated by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) programme that has been supporting Sierra Leone for immunization services (ISS) and Health System Strengthening   (HSS) since 2001 has been misappropriated, Sierra Leonean newspaper writers  and internet media commentators began defaming the former Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Zainab Bangura, without first trying to find out whether the story was true and if true, whether  the alleged misappropriation happened  during her incumbency. All kinds of nasty stories were written against her , many of them targeting her new high-profile job at the UN.  A Sierra Leonean even had the gumption to write a letter to the UN Secretary General accusing Mrs. Bangura  of being corrupt and asking that she be fired from her job. Why Sierra Leoneans like to target the dream jobs of their fellow countrymen and women  is puzzling but it is a known fact that some of our journalists are susceptible to expatiating the worst kinds of envy and malice for their more successful compatriots.

The writer of the e-mail to the UN Secretary General fails to realize that Mrs.Zainab Bangura is not only representing herself but the nation at the UN and that whatever smear campaign that Sierra Leoneans engage in against her will only harm the reputation of Mama Sierra Leone.

Now, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has exonerated Mrs. Zainab Bangura. We bring you the press statement released by the Ministry today :

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE

MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND SANITATION

PRESS RELEASE

REACTION TO NEGATIVE PRESS REPORT ON GAVI

AUDIT CASH SUPPORT TO SIERRA LEONE

 

Freetown, January 2013

 

The attention of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has been drawn to allegations being peddled on the internet and tabloids by some anonymous writers that the erstwhile Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura had presided over alleged misappropriation of funds allocated by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) programme that has been supporting Sierra Leone for immunization services (ISS) and Health System Strengthening   (HSS) since 2001.

 

Whilst the GAVI team is expected to visit Sierra Leone in January 2013 to discuss the draft  findings in order to finalize the audit report and discuss the way forward that would address any indication of misuse of funds, the Ministry would like to state the following;

 

  1. That the Ministry of Health and Sanitation would like the public to know that whilst the present GAVI support for Sierra Leone covers the period from 2008 to 2011, the released Audit Review Report covers the period from 2008 to 2010;

 

  1. That allegation of Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura to have presided over alleged misappropriation of GAVI funds was false since she effectively took up office  as Minister of Health and Sanitation in January 2011;

 

 

  1. That  the letter written to Mrs. Bangura  notifying her about the audit mission was dated 12thNovember , 2012, two months after she had left to take up her assignment in New York;

 

  1. That the Ministry of Health and Sanitation deliberately did not contact nor inform Mrs. Zainab Bangura of the draft audit report because it covers a period prior to her assumption of office as the Honourable Minister of Health and Sanitation;

 

 

  1. That the Ministry of Health and Sanitation views  the anonymity and the circulation of internet messages with request of informing the Secretary General of the United Nations and associating the name  of Mrs. Zainab Bangura with financial impropriety as a calculated attempt by few who want to tarnish her hard-won credibility both locally and internationally;

 

  1. That the Ministry of Health and Sanitation continues to be grateful to erstwhile Minister Zainab Bangura for the commitment , probity and accountability she brought to the Ministry to the pleasure and admiration of staff and international health development partners;

 

 

  1. That the Ministry appeals to internet peddlers and members of the Fourth Estate to always cross-check with the Public Relations Unit in the Ministry before going to press.

THE PRESS RELEASE BELOW FROM GAVI CLEARLY SHOWS THE PERIOD UNDER REVIEW AND IT DOES NOT FALL WITHIN THE TIME OF INCUMBENCY OF MADAM ZAINAB BANGURA :

GAVI reviews health system support to Sierra Leone

In-depth review of health system strengthening support launched.

The GAVI Alliance has recently discovered indications of misuse in its health system strengthening (HSS) cash support to Sierra Leone, following a Financial Management Assessment conducted by the GAVI Secretariat’s Transparency and Accountability team.

Given these concerns, GAVI subsequently launched an in-depth review of HSS support to the country for the period 2008-2009 and is discussing preliminary findings with the Government of Sierra Leone. Further information on any misused amounts will be published once the review is completed.

The Alliance takes all suspected and confirmed cases of misuse of funds very seriously. When GAVI suspects misuse of a grant, all cash disbursements to the relevant programme are halted.

As a result of this discovery, GAVI is holding back payment of the last undisbursed tranche of HSS support to Sierra Leone – totalling approximately US$ 530,000 – and no new HSS funding will be disbursed to the country until the matter is resolved. GAVI support for vaccines, however, remains uninterrupted to ensure that Sierra Leonean children continue to benefit from life-saving immunisation.

GAVI’s HSS support contributes to resolving major constraints to immunisation delivery; increases equity in access to services and strengthens civil society engagement in the health sector.

HERE IS ANOTHER DOCUMENT THAT EXONERATES MRS. ZAINAB BANGURA

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Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Koroma Takes Centre Stage At Japan’s TICAD-V As He Chairs UN Security Council Reform Meeting

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By KABS KANU :

Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma today took centre stage at the  Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)-5 as he chaired a crucial meeting during which he continued his advocacy for permanent seats  and other rights and prerogatives  for Africa in the United Nations Security Council . President Koroma is the Chairman of the African Union Committee of 10 ( C-10 ) , which is advocating and promoting the African Common Position in the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations for UN Security Council reform.

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Honored guests: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe escorts Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma (front row, right), African Union leader Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma (front row, left) and other representatives from African countries prior to the Japan-Africa summit Monday on United Nations Security Council reform at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama. PHOTO CREDIT : THE JAPANESE TIMES

In the  first meeting between leaders of Japan and African nations on U.N. Security Council reform, President Koroma was once again certain  to have promoted the African Common Position in consonance with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. Africa is advocating  for no less than  2 permanent seats in the Permanent Category with all the rights and privileges of permanent membership, including right to the Veto, if it continues to exist; Secondly, Africa is advocating for five non-permanent seats , with the AU being responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives .

President Koroma’s position has always been that “There is an increasing need for the Security Council to be more representative, inclusive, and democratic as well as the need for an improvement in its working methods and its relations with the General Assembly.” The President also believes that “The present status quo is increasingly unacceptable and has the potential of undermining the legitimacy, effectiveness and efficiency of the Council’s work in maintaining international peace and security “. It is also President Koroma’s belief that “A reformed Security Council …would pave the way to correct the historical injustice to Africa through the allocation of two Permanent  seats and five non-Permanent seats to Africa …” ( Statement during the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2011).

The JAPANESE TIMES newspaper said that : “While details of the meeting were not disclosed to the media, a Foreign Ministry official said both sides agreed to intensify efforts and work closely to attain their goals.”  Though the media was not told exactly what the leaders discussed , the Yokohama Declaration 2013,  which world leaders at TICAD-5 adopted today stated : “We reaffirm our determination to urgently reform U.N. bodies, including the Security Council, and will maintain political momentum through enhanced dialogue to find the best approach. ”

The Special Executive Assistant to the President , Dr.Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, in a remark in the social media told Sierra Leoneans : “You all should have seen your President, the great Ernest Bai Koroma, making us proud as he spectacularly chaired the Summit of Heads of States to discuss UN reform. ”

 

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with leaders of 10 African nations on June 3 to discuss reform of the U.N. Security Council. (Pool)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with leaders of 10 African nations on June 3 to discuss reform of the U.N. Security Council.

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