Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar 1" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/cocorioko/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4041
COCORIOKO » 2013 » July

Archive for July, 2013

President Ernest Koroma Launches Constitutional Review Committee

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Constitutional Review Committee LaunchedBy State House Communications UnitHis Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has officially launched the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) at the Miatta Conference Centre, Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown on 30th July, 2013.CONCONCONCON (450 x 250)CONCONCONCON (600 x 447)Delivering his keynote address, President Koroma called on all compatriots irrespective of region, district, ethnic, political or religious affiliation to support, fully participate and take ownership of the entire review process. “This is the best way to make the resulting document a true covenant amongst all of us to honour our common aspirations.” “Good constitutions”, he said, “are not imposed.” “Democratic constitutions are covenantal, they are genuine pacts amongst citizens to constitute themselves into a polity that they would love and honour and whose interests they would put above all else”, the president admonished.

Giving a brief background to the constitutional development of Sierra Leone, President Koroma noted that the country has the deepest tradition of written constitutionalism in West Africa, dating as far back as the constitution fashioned by Granville Sharpe for the freed men and women of the Province of Freedom, to the Blackhall Constitution of 1863, the Slater Constitution of 1924 and the Stevenson Constitution of the 1950s. “We gained independence with a constitution modeled along a monarchist Westminster model; we established a republican presidential system in 1971, a one party constitution in 1978 and reverted to a multi-party system in 1991”, the Chief Executive said.

The President also pointed out that the review process was borne not just out of the fact that the 1991 Constitution provided for its own renewal as stipulated in Section 108, but also as recommended by the Lome Peace Accord, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation as well as the enduring calls from the women, youth and the physically challenged demanding greater inclusion within governance.

“I took an oath, on becoming President, to uphold the constitution”, he recalled, adding that, “Today, I once again recommit my government to honour, respect, and uphold the letter and spirit of the Constitution in Section 108 that provides for the alteration of this constitution. This review shall be true to the processes prescribed in the constitution for its alteration. The committee will submit its recommendations to my government. Government will in turn look into the report, and submit it to parliament. If parliament approves, it will then be put into a referendum for the people to decide the fate of the proposed covenant.”

He urged all to ensure the review process meets international best practice of modern constitutionalism. This, he maintained, was the best way Sierra Leone can become a truly modern nation, “a nation at peace with itself and the global community, and a nation that can be counted amongst the best-governed societies in the world.” President Koroma further mentioned the fundamental elements of modern constitutionalism that should guide the review process: supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law, respect for human rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, independence of the judiciary, judicial review, equality before the law, civilian oversight/subordination of the military to civilian authority, and free and fair elections.
Moreover, President Koroma admonished the committee to pay close attention to those sections and provisions of the 1991 Constitution that appear to be constitutional ambiguities, ensure greater clarity of “our statutes; and rationalize our governance processes.”

According to Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Sierra Leone, the review of the constitution, though long awaited, is an important provision of the Lome Peace Agreement of 7th July 1991, and also a key recommendation of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He noted that the review process comes at an opportune time in the country’s transformation from a post-conflict to a development phase, with remarkable achievements to build on and important new challenges to tackle.

“The United Nations welcomes the political commitment and leadership demonstrated by the Government of Sierra Leone, in particular His Excellency the President, to an inclusive and transparent constitutional review process”, said the ERSG, Toyberg-Frandzen, adding that, “We are pleased that the review process, from its very start, is led and owned by the Government and people and national institutions of Sierra Leone. “This”, he went on, “is amply demonstrated in the composition of the Constitutional Review Committee.” He pledged the UN’s unwavering financial support as well as that of other development partners, including the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union.

In his statement on the road traveled so far in constituting the Committee, Franklyn Bai Kargbo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice noted that a broad-based Constitutional Review Process with some eighty members drawn from all facets of society was constituted in conformity with the principles of good governance and inclusiveness as well as encourage the full participation of the people of Sierra Leone in the building block of the democratic process. He also disclosed that the Chairman of the Committee is the eminently qualified Hon. Justice Edmond Cowan, a retired judge of the Superior Courts of Judicature and former Speaker of Parliament.

According to the venerable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the projected operational budget to cover the whole process amounts to approximately, $4,600,000 Million US Dollars. He also revealed that a basket fund has already been established in partnership with the UN to ensure the process is a success. “In this connection, the government itself has shown its commitment by completely funding the launching ceremony this morning and has pledged to provide further fiscal support with a resource envelope in the region of $1,100,000 Million US dollars”, said Mr. Franklyn Bai Kargbo.

The Minority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Bernadette Lahai called for an all inclusive process reflecting the real aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone.

The well-attended ceremony was ably chaired by the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Alpha Kanu. Also in attendance was the Vice President, Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana, Cabinet Ministers and their deputies, Paramount Chiefs, senior government officials and members of civil society, youth and women’s groups all across the country.

Another very sad day in New Jersey Today as Junior Wisman buried

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

Today, Saturday July 27, 2013  was another very sad day in New Jersey . We buried yet another Sierra Leonean, Mr. Joesph Wisman jnr of Bo, who was shot dead in Philadelphia three weeks ago. It was a most tearful funeral and I was one of the officiating clergy , with Rev. Tigidankay Kanu ( Both of us of the Covenant Child World Ministries ) and Bishop Sam Boyabi of the Champion International Temple.

JUNIOR WISMAN FUNERAL 059 (600 x 450)

 

The Wismans and my family were one family in Bo in the 1960s to the 1990s . Junior’s father worked for the Post and Telecommunications and lived at No. 13 Reservation , while my family lived at The Presidential Lodge, where my father worked. While The Lodge in those days was noted for a multiplicity of fruits ranging from oranges, lemons, guavas, plums, grape fruits , black-tombla , etc.etc in the special picturesque paradise-like fenced compound , with well-trimmed green lawns and dense forest created by the colonial governors (and a place Lady Dorman, wife of Governor Sir Maurice Dorman spent her weekends ), the Wisman compound was famous for red, fat berries —As kids, we were connected not only by other ties but our desire to feast on these fruits –That was with the older Wismans Francis, Juxon , Janet and Mabinti who were very friendly with me and my brother , Max.

Junior Wisman was born later just as I prepared to leave home for college. He and my younger siblings, Joe Cool and Joskyn grew up together and were great friends. Pa Wisman and my father were friends too and as an engineer at the Telecommunications, he helped repair my father’s radio whenever it malfunctioned. The mothers were also great friends and exchanged visits . THUS it was a family bereavement, especially as Junior’s wife, Fasia , is a devoted member of our church, and somebody very precious to my family here.

I am writing all these facts so that the other Wismans who were not able to travel to New Jersey for the funeral will know about family bonds that prevailed during the funeral and that the family was well represented  by the Ngobehs and Moribas and  people with close ties to the family in Bo . Many other families that were associated with the Wismans in Bo were represented at the funeral . I met Peter Bundu, Daniel Brewah,Mohamed Ngayenga and  many other individuals whose names i recorded on the hymn sheet but left it in my car outside . All of these people had ties to the Wisman family too and there was a also visible participation by the CKC Old Boys Association ( COBA ). The community in New Jersey in general also came out in full to be with the sorrowing family here.

It was one of the most tearful funerals I have ever attended. During the viewing ceremony at the Anderson Funeral Home, grief-stricken mourners cried around the open coffin and some had to be restrained as they wanted to hug the corpse in the coffin and cry on it. Everybody was crying : “Ay, Junior. Why did you leave us so early ? ” and “Oh, God, why did he have to die ? “. There was so much grieving and lamentation that continued during the funeral service conducted by Covenant Child and Champions Temple , with Bishop Boyabi’s sermon and Sister Tigi’s closing prayers touching the congregation and drawing more tears. Even after the service, crying around the coffin by family and friends delayed the recession. Wails of agony rent the church as the lid of the coffin was being hoisted down for the final closing of the coffin signifying that Junior Wisman will be seen no more. Some mourners collapsed and had to be given attention. That was how mournful the funeral.

We then left the service in a long convoy of vehicles with lights flashing for the short drive to the St. Peter’s Cemetery on Somerset Street . The committal ceremony was performed by the officiating clergy Bishop Boyabi , Pastor Tigi and myself as tears also rent the hot afternoon air. When the committal was done, some time was given to family and friends to say their final goodbye to the man that many people had eulogized as a great friend and brother and a man so humble that he jokingly called everybpdy “MASTER” to the extent that it became his nickname. Again, there was a lot of wailing and his wife pressed herself to the coffin , crying and still wondering why this had to happen. The weeping and wailing grew even louder especially after the farewells when the coffin was being lowered into the grave.

At one point , the ropes easing the coffin down the grave began to malfunction and the undertakers could not have the coffin continue its downward move. One weeping mourner said it was a sign that even Junior did not want to go, signifying the untimely manner that he was snatched from us by that wicked murderer in Philadelphia. It was not his time to die and God will punish the person who killed him, she went on. That made it more sorrowful . Eventually, the ropes started working well again and the coffin slowly continued going down until it reached its final resting place. Junior Wisman was gone forever .

The Repass followed at the Portuguese Hall at South River. Like the church, the hall was jammed to capacity and tributes were read to the memory of the late young man, who was just about to start his PH.D when he was cruelly murdered . There were lots of foods and refreshments . The ceremony ended as the day had started : Tears and lamentation.

But again, as I said yesterday at the Wake (which I officiated) , and as Bishop Boyabi and Pastor Tigi too preached today, though sad the death of such a young and promising man , the family should take courage from the fact that Jesus Christ has conquered death by dying on the Cross for us and has prepared a place in eternity for everyone who believes in him and makes him his Lord and Saviour. Because of Jesus Christ, death has no sting or victory any more and those who die in Christ will be reunited with their loved ones at the Resurrection.
1 tHESASSALONIANS 4 : 14-18; JOHN 6 : 40; JOHN 11: 25; JOHN 14 : 1-7 ; LUKE 12 : 4-5; JOHN 10 : 27-29; JOHN 6 : 37-40.

Another funeral in New Jersey , another wake-up call that life is not permanent and whatever we do on this earth is useless if we do not have Jesus Christ in our lives.

Since I was officiating , I did not take photos when the ceremonies were on. I took a photo of Junior Wisman lying in his coffin but due to family sensitivities will not publish it until I obtain the permission of the family. Junior however looked good and majestic in his coffin and his face was not changed by death. He was the same handsome and lovable Junior Wisman even in death.

May his soul rest in peace.

Goodwill Ambassador Isatu Timbo-Nwokedi And Isaiah Washington To Work Together To Help Sierra Leone

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

SHARE THIS

By KABS KANU :

Two of Sierra Leone’s most noted philanthropists  –Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Isatu Timbo-Nwokedi and famous Actor Isaiah Washington –have paired up to do voluntary humanitarian work together to  help Sierra Leone. Both personalities last week announced  to COCORIOKO  their plans to work together as a team .

Mrs. Timbo-Nwokedi and Mr. Washington have an impressive record of humanitarian work in Sierra Leone.

Since she started her philanthropic enterprise in Sierra Leone, Mrs. Timbo-Nwokedi has on many occasions sent containers of medical equipment and supplies to the country to equip various hospitals and clinics. She has also donated books to colleges and sponsored mulims to Mecca to attend the annual Hajj.

MRSTIMBOANDISAIAHWASHINGTON (448 x 600)

MRS. TIMBO-NWOKEDI AND MR. ISAIAH WASHINGTON POSE FOR A PHOTO AFTER THEIR FIRST MEETING

Mr. Washington, originally an African-American, through  DNA  traced his maternal ancestry to Sierra Leone. He fell in love with the country and has donated medical supplies to a hospital .   Through his  Gondobay Manga Foundation , Washington opened his  first school,  known as Chief Foday Golia Memorial School, in the Njala Kendema village for 150 students in grades K-5 . He was granted Sierra Leonean citizenship by President Ernest Bai Koroma , the first ever African-America to receive such an honor based on DNA.

Both personalities have not disclosed yet the areas in which they plan to collaborate but given their past impressive records of humanitarian work, it is a partnership that will bless Sierra Leone abundantly.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS.

 

 

Agenda For Prosperity Must Succeed!

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

By Sydney Pratt of Freetown :

 

“For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years. This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

sydney pratt (540 x 720)

We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education. We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.”
These were the words of President Ernest Bai Koroma before launching his Agenda for Prosperity at Miatta Conference hall, Brookfields in Freetown.

 

Like his Agenda for Change which dealt primarily with change of attitude beginning with oneself, workplaces, homes and virtually everywhere segment of our society, it became evidently clear that a lot was achieved in the manner in which people changed their attitude with regard respect for time, the law, for each other and for government property among other achievements which would have not come readily without the Agenda for Change.

 

Now with the Agenda for Prosperity, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with time, efforts and the right approach, much can be achieved in bringing prosperity to our doorsteps, schools, homes and the country as a whole. It should therefore be the ambition of each and every Sierra Leonean to ensure that the Agenda for Prosperity succeed at all cost.

 

Though some quarters believe that the President’s Agenda for Change was not successful, all we can say is that humans are very difficult to satisfy. It is however our belief that when we put our shoulders to the wheel and work conscientiously and collaboratively for the good of the country, we all shall reap the benefits afterwards.
But sitting down in a small corner and doing nothing but cry foul at everything and at every opportunity would get us nowhere.

 

Therefore, as President Koroma himself succinctly put it: “We need to do more, such as to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We need to better manage our natural resources for the good for all Sierra Leoneans, we need to add value to our primary products, we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives; reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market; we need to finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply. We need to build the much-needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver, empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we need to maintain our zero-tolerance to corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”
It is a fact that many people would describe the Agenda for Prosperity as ambitious and perhaps even unrealistic, taking into account the state of our economy, human resource capability and lack of technology to implement the sophisticated and elaborate plans and programmes.
However, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with loyalty, honesty and, dedication and a determination to do well for ourselves, we are bound to become the Singapore of West Africa pretty soon!
The 179 pages document is built on 8 thematic pillars namely Diversified Economic Growth, Managing Natural Resources, Accelerating Human Development, International Competitiveness, Labour and Employment, Social Protection, Governance and Public Sector Reform and Gender and Women’s Empowerment. With diligence and hard work, all of these thematic areas could be addressed for the welfare of all citizens. Yes, we must put our shoulder to the wheel for the Agenda for Prosperity to succeed.

 

READ FULL TEXT OF THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE INSIDEKEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY IN FREETOWN

It is with great expectations that I today launch our Agenda for Prosperity. For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years.

This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education.

We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.

We still face challenges, but we are a government dedicated to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. That was why when Sierra Leone turned 50 in 2011, I constituted a Committee on Development and Transformation, charged with the responsibility to take stock of the progress we have made as an independent nation over the last 50 years and to chart the way forward for the next 50 years. The Committee organised the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation, which came up with a number of outcomes. I took these recommendations on board when I asked for re-election; my party, the All Peoples Congress endorsed these aspirations when we asked for the peoples mandate for the next five years.

This Agenda for Prosperity is therefore the outcome of the pact between the people of this country, my party, my government and myself to do more. We will do more to complete residual projects in the Agenda for Change and to address recurring and emerging challenges. We will do more to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We all need to do more to better manage our natural resources for the good of all Sierra Leoneans, we need to do more to add value to our primary products, and we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives. We will reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market, we will finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply, and we will build much needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver; empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we will sustain our fight against corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

We prepared this Agenda for Prosperity to guide our collective aspirations to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. We hope to draw on lessons learnt and to merge innovations with the strong economic growth we have recorded in the last five years. This new imperative calls for smart work, resilience, and discipline. It calls for the assertion of our best in our relations with each other, with work, with government resources and with our collective inheritance. We are the best nation in religious tolerance, and the friendliness of our people to strangers is second to none in the world. We must carry these attributes of being best to the productive sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, business partnerships, financial services, education, and healthcare.

We must ensure that our economy is diversified to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. We must anchor our Agenda on efforts at being globally credible and internationally competitive. This may require partnerships with internationals in building up capacities in our judiciary, our foreign ministry and other key state institutions. To be successful in the global environment we need to draw upon the best and committed within the country, the best and committed within the Diaspora and the best and committed at the global level. Implementing the Agenda for Prosperity will require concerted efforts, collaboration and coordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Emphasis will be placed on monitoring of projects to ensure that results are achieved on timely manner. We will continue to attract foreign direct investment by forging strong partnerships with the private sector, especially on large-scale projects.

The Agenda for Prosperity is the country’s one vision and one plan. Its implementation will be guided by strong commitments by Development Partners as well as the Government. In this regard, Government is developing a mutual accountability framework that will be jointly monitored and reported on. Our goal is to strengthen the partnership between Government and Development Partners as well as ensuring that the voice and opinion of each and every Sierra Leonean is heard in the implementation as was done through wider consultation in developing this national plan.

As we embark on this epic journey to become a middle income country, let me remind fellow Sierra Leoneans that we are today re-committing ourselves to asserting our best. Prosperity is not a gift on a silver platter. Abundance of natural resources is only half the story; the reality of prosperity only comes to a people that go for it. We must go for it with determination. We must sweat it out with our hands, with our brains and with our minds. We must set out to embrace the values of innovation, of cultural renewal in the workplace and respect for public goods.

Most importantly, all Sierra Leoneans, at home and in the Diaspora, must realise that success primarily depends on what we as a people do for ourselves and not on what others do for us. Ask not what others have done for you, but what you have done for yourself, your community and your nation. The possibilities of growth, renewal and transformation reside in every Sierra Leonean. We must assert these possibilities to seize the destiny of prosperity. I am very optimistic that we will be successful; I believe that we will all do more; and that together we will achieve the goals that we have set out for ourselves in our Agenda for Prosperity.

 

“For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years. This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

 

 

We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education. We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.”
These were the words of President Ernest Bai Koroma before launching his Agenda for Prosperity at Miatta Conference hall, Brookfields in Freetown.

 

Like his Agenda for Change which dealt primarily with change of attitude beginning with oneself, workplaces, homes and virtually everywhere segment of our society, it became evidently clear that a lot was achieved in the manner in which people changed their attitude with regard respect for time, the law, for each other and for government property among other achievements which would have not come readily without the Agenda for Change.

 

Now with the Agenda for Prosperity, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with time, efforts and the right approach, much can be achieved in bringing prosperity to our doorsteps, schools, homes and the country as a whole. It should therefore be the ambition of each and every Sierra Leonean to ensure that the Agenda for Prosperity succeed at all cost.

 

Though some quarters believe that the President’s Agenda for Change was not successful, all we can say is that humans are very difficult to satisfy. It is however our belief that when we put our shoulders to the wheel and work conscientiously and collaboratively for the good of the country, we all shall reap the benefits afterwards.
But sitting down in a small corner and doing nothing but cry foul at everything and at every opportunity would get us nowhere.

 

Therefore, as President Koroma himself succinctly put it: “We need to do more, such as to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We need to better manage our natural resources for the good for all Sierra Leoneans, we need to add value to our primary products, we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives; reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market; we need to finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply. We need to build the much-needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver, empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we need to maintain our zero-tolerance to corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”
It is a fact that many people would describe the Agenda for Prosperity as ambitious and perhaps even unrealistic, taking into account the state of our economy, human resource capability and lack of technology to implement the sophisticated and elaborate plans and programmes.
However, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with loyalty, honesty and, dedication and a determination to do well for ourselves, we are bound to become the Singapore of West Africa pretty soon!
The 179 pages document is built on 8 thematic pillars namely Diversified Economic Growth, Managing Natural Resources, Accelerating Human Development, International Competitiveness, Labour and Employment, Social Protection, Governance and Public Sector Reform and Gender and Women’s Empowerment. With diligence and hard work, all of these thematic areas could be addressed for the welfare of all citizens. Yes, we must put our shoulder to the wheel for the Agenda for Prosperity to succeed.
READ FULL TEXT OF THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE INSIDEKEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY IN FREETOWN

It is with great expectations that I today launch our Agenda for Prosperity. For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years.

This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education.

We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.

We still face challenges, but we are a government dedicated to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. That was why when Sierra Leone turned 50 in 2011, I constituted a Committee on Development and Transformation, charged with the responsibility to take stock of the progress we have made as an independent nation over the last 50 years and to chart the way forward for the next 50 years. The Committee organised the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation, which came up with a number of outcomes. I took these recommendations on board when I asked for re-election; my party, the All Peoples Congress endorsed these aspirations when we asked for the peoples mandate for the next five years.

This Agenda for Prosperity is therefore the outcome of the pact between the people of this country, my party, my government and myself to do more. We will do more to complete residual projects in the Agenda for Change and to address recurring and emerging challenges. We will do more to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We all need to do more to better manage our natural resources for the good of all Sierra Leoneans, we need to do more to add value to our primary products, and we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives. We will reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market, we will finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply, and we will build much needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver; empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we will sustain our fight against corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

We prepared this Agenda for Prosperity to guide our collective aspirations to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. We hope to draw on lessons learnt and to merge innovations with the strong economic growth we have recorded in the last five years. This new imperative calls for smart work, resilience, and discipline. It calls for the assertion of our best in our relations with each other, with work, with government resources and with our collective inheritance. We are the best nation in religious tolerance, and the friendliness of our people to strangers is second to none in the world. We must carry these attributes of being best to the productive sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, business partnerships, financial services, education, and healthcare.

We must ensure that our economy is diversified to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. We must anchor our Agenda on efforts at being globally credible and internationally competitive. This may require partnerships with internationals in building up capacities in our judiciary, our foreign ministry and other key state institutions. To be successful in the global environment we need to draw upon the best and committed within the country, the best and committed within the Diaspora and the best and committed at the global level. Implementing the Agenda for Prosperity will require concerted efforts, collaboration and coordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Emphasis will be placed on monitoring of projects to ensure that results are achieved on timely manner. We will continue to attract foreign direct investment by forging strong partnerships with the private sector, especially on large-scale projects.

The Agenda for Prosperity is the country’s one vision and one plan. Its implementation will be guided by strong commitments by Development Partners as well as the Government. In this regard, Government is developing a mutual accountability framework that will be jointly monitored and reported on. Our goal is to strengthen the partnership between Government and Development Partners as well as ensuring that the voice and opinion of each and every Sierra Leonean is heard in the implementation as was done through wider consultation in developing this national plan.

As we embark on this epic journey to become a middle income country, let me remind fellow Sierra Leoneans that we are today re-committing ourselves to asserting our best. Prosperity is not a gift on a silver platter. Abundance of natural resources is only half the story; the reality of prosperity only comes to a people that go for it. We must go for it with determination. We must sweat it out with our hands, with our brains and with our minds. We must set out to embrace the values of innovation, of cultural renewal in the workplace and respect for public goods.

Most importantly, all Sierra Leoneans, at home and in the Diaspora, must realise that success primarily depends on what we as a people do for ourselves and not on what others do for us. Ask not what others have done for you, but what you have done for yourself, your community and your nation. The possibilities of growth, renewal and transformation reside in every Sierra Leonean. We must assert these possibilities to seize the destiny of prosperity. I am very optimistic that we will be successful; I believe that we will all do more; and that together we will achieve the goals that we have set out for ourselves in our Agenda for Prosperity.

 

Photo: Agenda For Prosperity Must Succeed!</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>“For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years. This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education. We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.”<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
These were the words of President Ernest Bai Koroma before launching his Agenda for Prosperity at Miatta Conference hall, Brookfields in Freetown.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Like his Agenda for Change which dealt primarily with change of attitude beginning with oneself, workplaces, homes and virtually everywhere segment of our society, it became evidently clear that a lot was achieved in the manner in which people changed their attitude with regard respect for time, the law, for each other and for government property among other achievements which would have not come readily without the Agenda for Change.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Now with the Agenda for Prosperity, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with time, efforts and the right approach, much can be achieved in bringing prosperity to our doorsteps, schools, homes and the country as a whole. It should therefore be the ambition of each and every Sierra Leonean to ensure that the Agenda for Prosperity succeed at all cost.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Though some quarters believe that the President’s Agenda for Change was not successful, all we can say is that humans are very difficult to satisfy. It is however our belief that when we put our shoulders to the wheel and work conscientiously and collaboratively for the good of the country, we all shall reap the benefits afterwards.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
But sitting down in a small corner and doing nothing but cry foul at everything and at every opportunity would get us nowhere.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Therefore, as President Koroma himself succinctly put it: “We need to do more, such as to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We need to better manage our natural resources for the good for all Sierra Leoneans, we need to add value to our primary products, we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives; reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market; we need to finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply. We need to build the much-needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver, empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we need to maintain our zero-tolerance to corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
It is a fact that many people would describe the Agenda for Prosperity as ambitious and perhaps even unrealistic, taking into account the state of our economy, human resource capability and lack of technology to implement the sophisticated and elaborate plans and programmes.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
However, we at THE TRUMPET believe that with loyalty, honesty and, dedication and a determination to do well for ourselves, we are bound to become the Singapore of West Africa pretty soon!<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
The 179 pages document is built on 8 thematic pillars namely Diversified Economic Growth, Managing Natural Resources, Accelerating Human Development, International Competitiveness, Labour and Employment, Social Protection, Governance and Public Sector Reform and Gender and Women’s Empowerment. With diligence and hard work, all of these thematic areas could be addressed for the welfare of all citizens. Yes, we must put our shoulder to the wheel for the Agenda for Prosperity to succeed.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
READ FULL TEXT OF THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE INSIDE</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY  PRESIDENT DR ERNEST BAI KOROMA AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY IN FREETOWN</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It is with great expectations that I today launch our Agenda for Prosperity. For the next five years, this Agenda will be our road map towards meeting our goal of becoming a middle income country and donor nation within the next 25 to 50 years. This Agenda is the firming up of the aspirations of our people. We made tremendous progress during our implementation of the Agenda for Change. We built roads everywhere, attracted billions of dollars of investment in agriculture, mining and other sectors and ensured one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We commenced the creation of a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive, established a free healthcare program for pregnant women, mothers and children under five, and more than doubled resources allocated to education. We improved electricity supply, provided funds for local government more than any other government before, ensured the reduction of poverty, and continued the consolidation of our democracy through greater respect for human rights, gender equity, and a freer press.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
We still face challenges, but we are a government dedicated to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. That was why when Sierra Leone turned 50 in 2011, I constituted a Committee on Development and Transformation, charged with the responsibility to take stock of the progress we have made as an independent nation over the last 50 years and to chart the way forward for the next 50 years. The Committee organised the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation, which came up with a number of outcomes. I took these recommendations on board when I asked for re-election; my party, the All Peoples Congress endorsed these aspirations when we asked for the peoples mandate for the next five years. This Agenda for Prosperity is therefore the outcome of the pact between the people of this country, my party, my government and myself to do more. We will do more to complete residual projects in the Agenda for Change and to address recurring and emerging challenges. We will do more to address unemployment, particularly among the youth. We all need to do more to better manage our natural resources for the good of all Sierra Leoneans, we need to do more to add value to our primary products, and we need to extend, expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives. We will reform the education system to meet the emerging needs in the job market, we will finish on-going projects in roads, energy and water supply, and we will build much needed infrastructure, including the new mainland airport, railway, roads and ICT capabilities; provide a social safety net for the vulnerable population; promote good governance; ensure that the public sector is capacitated to deliver; empower our women and ensure equal opportunities for both men and women; and above all, we will sustain our fight against corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. We prepared this Agenda for Prosperity to guide our collective aspirations to doing more to sustain the transformation of our country. We hope to draw on lessons learnt and to merge innovations with the strong economic growth we have recorded in the last five years. This new imperative calls for smart work, resilience, and discipline. It calls for the assertion of our best in our relations with each other, with work, with government resources and with our collective inheritance. We are the best nation in religious tolerance, and the friendliness of our people to strangers is second to none in the world. We must carry these attributes of being best to the productive sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, business partnerships, financial services, education, and healthcare. We must ensure that our economy is diversified to promote inclusive and sustainable growth. We must anchor our Agenda on efforts at being globally credible and internationally competitive. This may require partnerships with internationals in building up capacities in our judiciary, our foreign ministry and other key state institutions. To be successful in the global environment we need to draw upon the best and committed within the country, the best and committed within the Diaspora and the best and committed at the global level. Implementing the Agenda for Prosperity will require concerted efforts, collaboration and coordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Emphasis will be placed on monitoring of projects to ensure that results are achieved on timely manner. We will continue to attract foreign direct investment by forging strong partnerships with the private sector, especially on large-scale projects. The Agenda for Prosperity is the country’s one vision and one plan. Its implementation will be guided by strong commitments by Development Partners as well as the Government. In this regard, Government is developing a mutual accountability framework that will be jointly monitored and reported on. Our goal is to strengthen the partnership between Government and Development Partners as well as ensuring that the voice and opinion of each and every Sierra Leonean is heard in the implementation as was done through wider consultation in developing this national plan. As we embark on this epic journey to become a middle income country, let me remind fellow Sierra Leoneans that we are today re-committing ourselves to asserting our best. Prosperity is not a gift on a silver platter. Abundance of natural resources is only half the story; the reality of prosperity only comes to a people that go for it. We must go for it with determination. We must sweat it out with our hands, with our brains and with our minds. We must set out to embrace the values of innovation, of cultural renewal in the workplace and respect for public goods. Most importantly, all Sierra Leoneans, at home and in the Diaspora, must realise that success primarily depends on what we as a people do for ourselves and not on what others do for us. Ask not what others have done for you, but what you have done for yourself, your community and your nation. The possibilities of growth, renewal and transformation reside in every Sierra Leonean. We must assert these possibilities to seize the destiny of prosperity. I am very optimistic that we will be successful; I believe that we will all do more; and that together we will achieve the goals that we have set out for ourselves in our Agenda for Prosperity.

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

Transparency International Denies Ranking Sierra Leone As The Most Corrupt Country

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

By Umaru Jah :

As the government of Sierra Leone expressed strong concern over the recently published Transparency International report on global corruption barometer, H.E Jongopie S. Stevens and his staff has paid a visit to Transparency International Headquarters in Berlin, to seek clarifications on the methodology of the survey, sampling techniques and interpretations of results.
While acknowledging the work of Transparency International, Ambassador Stevens expressed concern over the outcome of the report especially at a time when Sierra Leone is on the verge of leading Africa’s economic growth.

JONGOPIETI  1 (600 x 337)

He made mention of the fact that Sierra Leone has received international recognition in its drive to improve several sectors in governance and further questioned the credibility of the research group. Credibility has an extreme significance, as negative results have an impact on investments in the country. Therefore, a study of such nature should be undertaken by a credible and independent organisation to avoid scanty analysis and virtually meaningless data.

The Ambassador reiterated government’s commitment in tackling corruption and informed Transparency International about the tireless efforts made by the Anti-Corruption to pursue matters relating to corruption in the country.

JONGOPIETI 2 (600 x 337)

He said “Sierra Leone has one of the toughest Anti-Corruption laws within the sub-region and effort to minimise corruption has been relentless.” He made emphasis on the failure of Transparency International to acknowledge the positive strides made by government in several sectors in the recent past.
Responding, the Deputy Managing Director of Transparency International, Dr. Miklos Marschall, expressed appreciation to Ambassador Stevens for his visit as it provides the forum for dialogue.

He said it is important for them to realise that the report did not give prominence to government’s efforts in other sectors and assured the Ambassador that the concerns raised will be taken into consideration.

Dr. Marschall noted that his organisation’s aim is not to blame government institution but helping them to identify key areas and do necessary reforms to effect changes
The Deputy Director said a critical assessment of the report revealed that among the 107 countries surveyed, the government of Sierra Leone received more accolades and good scores with regards to efforts made in the fight against corruption. In that regard, he called on government to properly digest the report as it was not all that gloomy for the country. Feedback from respondents he went on indicates their willingness to help minimise corruption in the country.

The Director of Research, Dr. Finn Heinrich dismissed media claims that Sierra Leone is ranked as the highest in terms of bribery or corruption, “We did not say that Sierra Leone has the highest level of corruption or ranked as the highest in terms of bribery. We did not give ranks to countries because the survey was conducted only in 107 countries,” he stated
On the conduct of the research he disclosed that a Russian based institution TNS RMS was awarded the contract to do the survey. As an Independent Institution, Transparency International did not conduct the survey itself but awarded the contract to TNS RMS, who worked with their regional partners in Senegal conducted the survey in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Heinrich said the coverage regions represent about 80 percent of the total population. He believed that the interviews were conducted on a random basis and their researchers covered most of the regions across the country.
He acknowledged progress made in the judicial sector in this yea’s report unlike the 2012 survey.

In conclusion Ambassador Stevens and his team called on Transparency International to empower its local chapters in Sierra Leone so that they can help government in sensitising people on their right and responsibilities vis-à-vis corruption and other related matters.

Yes indeed, APC Government is the best deal for our country, as solar lights project illuminates Sierra Leone

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Since President Ernest Bai Koroma ascended  to power in 2007, there have been some dramatic  socio-economic and political developments in the country. Yesterday, we looked at the good news announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security that food production has increased in the country since the President ascended to the throne by democratic elections .

 

Today, we look at the urban and rural electrification project of the Ernest Koroma Government which has illuminated the country. Before the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government came to power , Sierra Leone was considered the darkest country in the world. That soon changed as President Koroma launched the thermal electricity project which restored light to the capital for the first time in decades. The Government did not stop there .It ensured that the abandoned Bumbuna Hydroelectricity Dam was completed , which brought joy to the whole nation with light provided to provincial towns. Now, the APC Government has launched the solar electricity project through which every corner and crevice of Sierra Leone is being illuminated.

This solar project , the first ever undertaken in the country, confirms the fact that the APC Government is the best deal for Sierra Leone.

We bring you a report on the progress of the solar project by the Ministry of Energy and Power of Sierra Leone :

The Government of Sierra Leone.
Ministry of Energy.
PRESS RELEASE.

PROGRESS IN THE INSTALLATION OF SOLAR STREET LIGHTS IS IMPACTING LIVES OF CITIZENS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Energy (MoE) is pleased to inform the general public that the 8,880 solar street lights pilot project is being implemented nationwide in all the four regions of Sierra Leone. This means, the North, South, East and Western Region in all the 14 Districts in Sierra Leone. Added to the 14 District Headquarter Towns, the facility is currently extended to other urban towns like Lungi, Lunsar, Koindu etc. which are also benefiting from the solar street lights.

It could be recalled that President Koroma has been telling the nation that by the end of 2017, all District Headquarter Towns plus other Urban towns will benefit from solar street lights to improve safety and security. After the current 8,880 pilot project, government intends to roll out more lights to other major towns and eventually Chiefdom Headquarters. The project which is funded with support by the Indian Government and supervised by the Government of Sierra Leone could be termed as one of the country’s most important development initiatives – Already the project has provided,the cities and big towns with solar lights in big towns as well as places like the Hospitals, Police Stations, Schools, Barracks, Mosques and Churches and even Entertainment Centres all over Sierra Leone.

Presently, many District Headquarter Towns have experienced the positive impact of the solar street lights project across the country. Western Area including Freetown strategy is being revisited in view of learnings from the pilot. The President and his government pioneered by the Ministry of Energy have been given a rousing welcome in formally launching the solar street lights in various regions and people are calling the Ministry on daily basis to express their appreciation for the solar lights across the country.

The contractors for the project are the Angelique International Limited and consulting Engineers in Sierra Leone have been the WAPCOS Limited.

For more information on the project, please contact the Ministry of Energy, 4th Floor, Electricity House – Freetown.

Signed:

Mr. Oluniyi Robbin-Coker
Minister of Energy.

better life–were made priorities by the government.

STREET LIGHTS 2

 

LIGHT ILLUMINATES BO TOWN AT NIGHT

KAILAHUNSOLARLIGHTS1

KAILAHUN STREET LIGHTS

STREET LIGHTS 2 (450 x 250)

BO STREET LIGHTS

President Koroma ensured that he restored electricity supply in Sierra Leone through the employment of thermal plants and the completion of the Bumbuna Hydroelectricity dam. The government has not stopped at that . Cities and towns in Sierra Leone have been illuminated through street lights powered by solar energy. This is the first time in the history of Sierra Leone that every city and town in the country is enjoying not only  electricity and water supply, but bright lights all over their streets and alleys. President Koroma’s people-oriented development has made  a dramatic difference in the lives of  Sierra Leoneans and foreign residents. This  urban and rural electrification program comes at the same time as the government is transforming the movement of people, goods and services through the construction of modern highways throughout the length and breadth of the country. Now, even Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora who visit the country, return to sing praises about the excellent developments taking place back home.

BOJONSTREET (600 x 450)

BOJON STREET IN BO IS NOW A TWO-LANE ROAD WITH STREET LIGHTS

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

No comments yet… Be the first to leave a reply!

A Faulty Assessment Of Sierra Leone’s War On Corruption

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

 By John Baimba Sesay-China

Corruption is an obstacle to good governance. It undermines development and is generally an outcome and a symptom of poor governance…where corruption is ingrained and pervasive, especially at the highest political levels, its eradication may require a sustained effort over a protracted period of time. However, the policy of “zero tolerance” should be adopted from the outset, demonstrating a serious commitment to pursue the fight against corruption. (http://www.thecommonwealth.org)

pa-baimba2

Sierra Leone’s efforts in tackling corruption took a different but positive direction in 2007. Prior to this period, there was the creation of a body to fight this societal and governance peril. But it appeared, there was little or no political will, since the commission had no prosecutorial powers.  As such,   the effect was continuous thievery of state funds. A Minister of Marine Resource by 2000 was accused of embezzling state funds. He was asked to resign his job with no charges proffered against him. In 2001, a Minister of Agriculture Minister was convicted of embezzling funds from World Bank development funds. He was fined pittance.  But there was an interesting development in the case; the judge in charge of the matter and who only fined the convict Le 500,000 (US$250), was in turn convicted of having accepted bribes in trade for the light sentence.

A permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education, a former Transport Minister had a taste of corruption related issues but less or no actions were taken since the ACC was made more to shout and howl than to bite.  As a matter of fact, by 2001, independent Freetown based tabloids Democrat and For di People, accused then Justice Minister of accepting bribes in exchange for arranging the release of an Israeli and a Russian held in Sierra Leone, pending extradition to Colombia on drug charges. With no action taken against the Minister at the time, what we witnessed was an act of vengeance since on Nov. 2, 2001, the ACC commenced an investigation on one of the aforementioned newspapers for tax evasion.

 

Little could be said of the Tejan Kabba (h) regime when it comes to sincerity of purpose as per the creation of the Anti Corruption Act and the provisions therein. Journalist  David Tam Baryoh wrote, that “…though President Tejan Kabbah has not yet been directly accused of corruption, he has been slow to order investigations of his political protégés, as in the case of Education Minister Alpha Wurie and Justice Minister Solomon Berewa. Moreover, there are indications that the ACC may be deteriorating into a political tool to track down the president’s detractors…” (http://www.worldpress.org/Africa/352.)  Fact remains it was at the peak of corruption during the Kabbah regime, that we saw the British the largest single contributor of aid in Sierra Leone stopped all aid coming to Sierra Leone in 2007.

 

The Ernest Koroma administration came with the 20008 Anti-Corruption Act which established the ACC as an independent commission to investigate corruption and with prosecutorial powers granted by the 2008 Anti Corruption Act to the commission. Only under the Koroma administration that the ACC ensured the highest rate of prosecution and conviction for corruption related offences in the country’s history, with billions of Leones recovered from persons convicted or investigated for corrupt practices.   In just 2010, a total of 199 cases were lodged with the ACC- up from 33 in 2007, when President Koroma was elected. By the same period, a total of $ 2440, 000 worth of stolen funds was recovered.

 

With efforts to step up prevention, an Anti- corruption System and Process Reviews of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the purpose of improving their systems and processes was initiated. Measures to strengthen public financial management in both Central Government and Local Councils have been in place in the last half a decade or so. There has been a comprehensive review of the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act (2005), financial Management Regulations (2007), Public Procurement Act (2004) and Procurement Regulations (2006) to strengthen the legal framework for budgeting, accounting, recording and procurement. There also was the establishment of a Performance Audit Unit in the Office of the Auditor General to go beyond traditional financial audit and appraise and measure the impact of public service delivery on citizens.

 

All of the above are a clear manifestation of government’s commitment to transparency. The institutional framework has been established and corrupt officials are now chased, devoid of party affiliation, tribe or region one comes from.

In fact by 2010, the Global Corruption Barometer conducted by the Transparency International found that 73% Sierra Leoneans – up from 64% in 2009 believed the country’s effort to fight corruption was effective. The country even moved from 1.9 in 2009 to 2.4 in 2010 in the very Transparency International Index. By 2010, the Global Integrity Scorecard published that among the lower and middle income countries in the world, Sierra Leone achieved important anti-corruption improvements.

 

It therefore becomes apparently ironical for Transparency International to present Sierra Leone as a nation woefully failing its citizens, when it comes to fighting corruption.  It gives one the impression that the study was not only faulty but one that aims at undermining the smooth progress we have been making. Using less than 1,200 respondents as sample for a country with over 5.8 million people brings suspicion in the whole study. Weak sample! And it thus brings into disrupt any conclusion thereafter.

 

I am not in any way suggesting, the country has achieved her desired goals in tackling corruption. I am aware of the challenges we still have. But there have been sustained efforts and the policy of “zero tolerance” has been adopted from the outset, demonstrating a serious commitment to pursue the fight against corruption.

 

If not for the purpose of just scooping donor funds, international groups like TI should have been courageous and bold to state t the progress we have made in the last six years of governance. But alas! Not just will I therefore say the outcome of the TI survey is faulty, but one that should beg for more efforts to rethink and reposition their research if they should be trusted in the future.

Why the APC Government is the best deal for Sierra Leone.

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

apclogoresizedBy KABS KANU

By being able to reduce poverty in Sierra Leone by 10% and dramatically and significantly increasing food production in Sierra Leone, in addition to all the government’s other achievements in providing electricity, state-of-the-art infrastructural developments , free health care for children, lactating mothers and senior citizens  and promoting peace, human rights and the rule of law etc, the All People’s Congress (APC ) Government has proved that it is the best deal for Sierra Leone. Never before has any government in post-Independence Sierra Leone accomplished what the APC has achieved since it came to power in 2007.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

COCORIOKO : Read by over 100, 000 Sierra Leoneans ,  West Africans and other nationals in the social media and online all over the world.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

No doubt, the millions of Sierra Leone who voted the government overwhelmingly to power in 2007 and 2012  made no mistake . The achievements  of this government have justified the fact that it deserved the confidence reposed on it by the people on November 17, 2012 when they gave the APC  a landslide victory over the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ).

The SLPP  resorted to every imaginable subterfuge to brainwash the people of Sierra Leone to stop them from voting  the APC  back to power. Concocting lies after lies after lies after lies  about President Ernest Bai Koroma , ministers of the government, diplomats, the presidential and government media personnel,  and other government officials had always been the staple of  some deranged SLPP  supporters online .  If lies and concoction of stories could win elections, the SLPP,   with their evil and depraved online forum supporters with their  hundreds of monikers to create the false impression that they are many , could have been riding the crest of victory in Sierra Leone. They would have won the elections hands-down, but it is the truth that lasts, though online forum supporters will never accept this, to their doom. The people of Sierra Leone saw through their lies upon lies , upon lies and rejected them at the polls with the result that President Koroma returned to power by a landslide . Their lies could not stop the APC  from being voted back to cover and their cauldron of lies will not stop this government from achieving the goals it has set for itself for the Sierra Leonean people.

The APC  will continue riding high in Sierra Leone now, in 2017 and beyond 2017 . The ministers will continue riding high. The diplomats appointed by this government, whether at the Sierra Leone Mission in New York or the Embassy in Washington DC  will continue riding high, whatever lies are concocted about them , because they are progressive and  because victory is always their’s  and they serve a victorious and winning government. As one official said, ” We go continue for kirk we feather ( we will continue to ride high ) because it is us that the Sierra Leonean people trust with power  because we are the most productive and progressive and they have given power back to us for FIVE SOLID YEARS ! ! ! ! ! Let psychotic and unblessed people online waste their time  writing whatever lies they want to concoct  about us. We will continue to reign over them and flourish , by the grace of God “. By the time they “faint “(discover) that, like okuru dogs,  they have wasted all their time barking at soaring eagles, , it will be late for them  . We would have developed Sierra Leone to the glory of God, the empowerer, while they would have   remained  wallowing in their backwardness and frustration in America . 

Despite all the propaganda against this government, Sierra Leone has undergone so much transformation over the five years that President Koroma has been in power. Electricity and water supply have been restored. The government has embarked on the most massive road and infrastructural development ever undertaken in the country. Mining activities have restarted  ; the economy is expected to boom; Now we have started achieving our targets towards food sufficiency; the investment climate is very encouraging and our relationship with our development partners remains friendly and fruitful and the Agenda For Prosperity, which was unveiled last week, promises to deliver even more for the people of Sierra Leone.

We congratulate Agriculture and Food Security Boss, Dr.Sam Sesay, one of the most productive ministers in the APC Government. The good news that Sierra Leone has increased food production is a testament of Dr.Sesay’s brilliant implementation at his ministry of the programs of President Ernest Koroma.

We are proud to be on the winning side .

We hope the socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone will continue, despite the best efforts of those who do not want to see any progress in the country because their dilapidated and desolate party is not going to be in power in Sierra Leone any time now in the foreseeable future.

 

© 2013, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other relate

Shifting the trajectory from Change to Prosperity

Monday, July 15th, 2013

 

 Pa John Baimba Sesay-China  :

In the coming hours, we are expecting a great shift in our development trajectory as a country; from our initial drive to change through the ‘Agenda for Change’ to a call for a prosperous nation, as contained in the “Agenda for Prosperity’, slated to be launched by President Koroma on Friday, 12th July in Freetown.

In a launch trailer issued by my colleague in the Communications Unit of Government, Jarrah Kawusu-Konte who also happens the Communications Manager, Office of the President “President Koroma is expected to talk on a number of issues bordering on the continued development and transformation of the country during and after his term of office. He will commit himself to accelerating the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, with a strengthened focus on women and children from conception to two years of age, to prevent the irreversible effects of stunting. The president will talk on the establishment of a multi-sectorial nutrition coordination secretariat to address these issues.” This is also expected to take into account issues of youth unemployment, “better management of our natural resources for the good of all citizens of Sierra Leone, and also expand and sustain the Free Health Care and Scaling-Up Nutrition initiatives, reform the educational system to make our graduates more competitive in the job market, as well as concluding all ongoing road, energy and water supply projects all across the country.” These are amongst the core components of the prosperity agenda.

pa-baimba2

Fine and encouraging! But as Jarrah states in his update, the country’s s vision for 2013 to 2035 is to become a middle-income country. “It would be an inclusive, green country, with 80% of the population above the poverty line. It would have gender equality, a well-educated, healthy population, good governance and rule of law, well-developed infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, with private-sector, export-led growth generating wide employment opportunities; there would be good environmental protection, and responsible natural resource exploitation.

The gains we made in the ‘Agenda for Change’ especially in relation to transforming the country in the areas of infrastructure, to ensuring free health for our lactating women and children, to the progress made in rebranding our country’s image at the global arena, all remain just too impressive. Change and development do not come in a day; they are not an event, rather, they are a process that will take time and resources to achieve. But leadership comes into play in achieving thus. With an astute and effective leadership, a country is bound to enjoy international trust, recognition and support. A country that enjoys international recognition, support and trust is bound to go beyond the description of a failed nation. Sierra Leone has got such support and is therefore not a failed nation. And this is because of the leadership that we have got in the last half a decade or so. I mean the Koroma leadership. Simple logic.

I spoke of international recognition. Only few days ago, President Koroma was in China. China and Sierra Leone entered into diplomatic relations in 1971. His visit was not only meant to bring in more laurels into Sierra Leone from the framework of the Chinese government supporting our development programmes, rather, it was also meant to forge and lift the bars of cooperation ties that have been in existence between the two countries. At the end of his visit, I and Jarrah Kawusu-Konte, whilst flying the airspace of China with the President and his Ministers, were able to solicit some information from the President (thanks to his State Chief Of Protocol) in terms of the outcome of his visit. Impressively, he told us of an offer of 250 million RMB, which was given to us as a grant with a commitment of supporting the construction of the Centre of Excellence and other ongoing programmes, by the Chinese government. He also was able to have several meetings with the private sector-companies that are already doing business in Sierra Leone and those with the desire to do business in Sierra Leone .Most importantly the President and his delegation had a meeting with EXIM Bank with a view of preparing a kind of package of support by the bank to programmes in Sierra Leone. Another outcome was his meeting with China Kingho Energy Group, a group that has agreed to replicate the kind of industrial park that they have in Inner Mongolia in Sierra Leone. This should take into account the fact that they have already signed a 6.5 billion dollars agreement with the Sierra Leone government to develop a mine and a Port. Not forgetting also, 1.5 billion dollars that will grow rubber and embark on irrigation of rice which was another success story of the President’s visit to China. All these have to do with the astute leadership of Preside not Koroma.

But all of these, it should be noted are in line with our drive to prosperity from our change agenda. A shift in the nation’s development trajectory is timely given what we got in the first agenda. The change drive, which is about to be put in our history books in few hours from now, scored several goals and as such could be described as successful and commendable. A post President Koroma presidency assessment won’t be complete without referencing his change agenda.

When he assumed office in 2007, President Koroma did promise to effect several changes in the lives of the ordinary Sierra Leonean, with particular reference to the provision of electricity, the fight against corruption, the provision of a politically tolerant environment for the operation of all political parties and many others. Though with challenges, we made great gains therein. Take corruption as a case study. Prior to 2007, though there were efforts to address such governance challenge, the political will was lacking. President Koroma came and enacted the strongest legislation in the sub region that eventually gave prosecutorial powers to the anti corruption commission. Not only that we saw how top government officials were chased with no government interference. This is not to say we have succeeded in that area. But the fact remains; we have made progress which therefore makes complete nonsense for international body to want to make nonsense of our commitment toward tacking corruption. I refer here to Transparency International recent presentation of events in Sierra Leone from the perspective of fighting corruption.

Generating electricity to, firstly, the capital city and later all provincial headquarter towns was another of President Koroma’s priority areas in the change agenda. At least Freetown now enjoys relative supply of electricity, with solar lights in most, if not all the provincial headquarter towns. Governance must go beyond mere political promises; it entails communicating to and with the electorate and it is only when this is done that a government is appreciated. This has not been lacking in the governance style of President Koroma. A practical example is his recent engagement with the media after his China trip and his good and cordial ties with the media generally.
So generally the first five years of the change drive/agenda helped to put the needed structures in place for the smooth implementation of the components of the prosperity agenda to be launched Friday 12th July. The government is committed to meet the basic needs of our people and it is only with support to the country’s leadership that they are bound to succeed. The trajectory shift from the Agenda for Change to the Agenda for Prosperity demands a lot. Support is one of the several requirements for its success. Let us join the drive to a prosperous nation.

Happy weekend and forget not to take your daughter to the beach on Saturday.

Transparency International’s Lavina Banduah destroys her organization’s credibility further

Friday, July 12th, 2013

By KABS KANU :

Transparency International yesterday damaged their credibility further by saying that they did not conduct the polls that led to the organization unilaterally and wrongly declaring Sierra Leone as the most corrupt nation in the world.

According to AWOKO Newspaper : “Questioned as to whether TI-SL was involved in the survey, the Executive Director replied, “We were not directly involved in the exercise, it was conducted by a company called RMS Africa who were contracted by Transparency International to do the surveys for Sierra Leone, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, Senegal and Liberia.”  We are learning from our usually reliable sources that Transparency International are  actually unhappy with the manner the polls were conducted , but they made the mistake of rushing to publish the findings. The question that one would be tempted to ask is : Why did they contract another group and how credible is this group ? Secondly, how can a supposedly reputed and equipped international organization like Transparency International depend on secondary sources for such an important survey that affects the image of a whole sovereign country ?

BOOMExecutives-Director-TI-Labina-Lavina (400 x 277)

 LAVINA BANDUAH : HAD A PRECONCEIVED NOTION ALREADY BEFORE THE POLLS

Also casting doubts on the validity of the survey was the explanation given about how the survey was conducted . Read ( Again from Awoko ) : Apparently responding to the cogent argument by Information Minister , Hon. Alpha Kanu, that the survey was not representative of the totality of the Sierra Leonean people, “ She also explained that most surveys are done through random sampling systems and it is very difficult to get a large number of people involved.” Our question here is , if it is that difficult, should not they have found a more reliable method to do such a survey for such a very important topic on which hinges the future of nations ?  According to AWOKO : “She went on that most African countries included in the survey were surveyed on the sampling figure of 1,000 people and that this included Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa and Sierra Leone. She said a few countries were little bit above the 1, 000 threshold. ”  Again, here is our question : If the same sampling figures were not used for all the countries, does this not cast a doubt on the validity of the polls ? She herself conceded that “The 1, 000 number is what we decided on as the substantial range considering the population of the country. ”  If so, why was not the same method used across the board ?

And if Madam Lavina Banduah had  preconceived notions and conclusions about corruption in Sierra Leone already , before the study , how sure are we that the study was not tailored to cohere with her presumptions ? According to Awoko : “She stated that in the long past, people were moderate in their embezzlement of state funds, but that now, they don’t mind, they take everything away in their quest for quick wealth at the expense of the general populace. ” Who are the they ? Are they representative of the sum total of Sierra Leoneans ? This singular statement by the Executive Director is clear proof that Transparency International had already made up their minds to give Sierra Leone a very bad rap. I thought researchers start their studies from a position of a blank slate ?

Let those who hate their country and want to hear only bad news about Sierra Leone because the SLPP  is not in power continue rejoicing over this study and heaping insults on us and lying woefully about us   in their depleted forums where only 10 or 16 people recycle their views and insults with  MULTITUDES  of monikers . Cowards will forever live in  backwardness . THEIR INSULTS ARE  THE PRICE WE HAVE TO PAY FOR OUR PATRIOTISM. TODAY, GOOD PEOPLE SUFFER INSULTS MORE THAN BAD PEOPLE,AS THE BIBLE TEACHES IN THE BOOK OF SECOND TIMOTHY SO WHAT IS NEW ? We who love our country and want her to prosper will not sit down and allow anybody to tarnish our good name unfairly. We will continue defending the best interests of our nation against the odds. 

The Government of Sierra Leone should take this matter up with the international community. Everything must be done to dispute the conclusions of the polls and to let the world know that the study was seriously flawed and that Sierra Leone was unfairly taken advantage of by being adjudged wrongly as the most corrupt country in the world.

 

HERE BELOW IS ANOTHER EVIDENCE THAT THE CREDIBILTY OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL HAD BEEN UNDER CONSTANT ATTACK BY OTHER COUNTRIES THAT BELIEVE THAT THEIR METHODS OF ARRIVING AT CONCLUSIONS ARE FAULTY AND UNRELIABLE :

 Gov’t dismisses Transparency International corruption report – Teixeira says report not credible, generated from non-empirical survey

Saturday, 08 December 2012 00:23

PRESIDENTIAL Advisor on Governance, Ms Gail Teixeira, has challenged the credibility of Transparency International’s (TI) latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report, which has ranked Guyana at 133 amongst 174 countries.

Acting as Cabinet Secretary in the absence of Dr. Roger Luncheon at this week’s post-Cabinet media briefing, held at the Office of the President on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown, yesterday, Ms Teixeira told reporters that the survey conducted by Transparency International (TI) involved only four persons.
“So four persons…are part of the group that had been asked to give an opinion on Guyana, and they hold in their hands the fate of our country. Four! Four men alone!” she stressed.

In addition, she noted that, in relation to TI, there is currently ongoing a big debate among reputable universities and professors at the international level, particularly examining the consequences subjective, incorrect, or flawed opinions can have on a country.
Teixeira emphasised that the TI report was generated from a non-empirical survey, which is the main issue with those universities and professors.

“People who study these issues do not put much credence on these, except the media. All over the world, (they) make a big thing of it, because it’s the easiest thing to go through and just pull numbers out and throw them into the newspapers,” she asserted.
She also highlighted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article Four’s most recent statement on Guyana, which, again, gave the country a good report.
She added that the IMF goes through extreme and intensive methods before they arrive at conclusions on Guyana; and not only its performance is looked at, but also its prudent fiscal management.
“So if one were to assume that TI is right, then therefore how is it that the IMF, who comes in with their ‘top dogs’ go through every single line and analyses your projections, your revenue, etc. How come they are congratulating Guyana and its commitment to fiscal prudence?” she questioned.
Teixeira further pointed out that, in the World Governance Index on 2011, Guyana’s standing in terms of the rest of the world is at a high level, which is approximately 62 out of 174 countries.

She mentioned that the areas on which they assess Guyana and all the other countries relate to peace and security, rule of law, human rights, sustainable development and human development.
“You can’t have what are high levels of corruption and still come out looking good in human sustainability and economic factors. It’s mathematically, arithmetically impossible,” she remarked.

She noted that Guyana is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and that the country has been reviewed three times. She related that it is up-to-date in its report, and the fourth review of the countries in the Organisation of American States (OAS) has commenced.
She said preparations for the fourth review of Guyana will begin next year, and the review itself will be done in 2014.
Teixeira emphasised that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country are free to be able to comment on Guyana’s performance, but she stressed that it should be a rigid and rigorous methodology presented to the countries, wherein they would have to be the answer on the implementation of the convention against corruption.
She disclosed that Guyana will again have to be reviewed, as the country more recently signed the United Nations (UN) Convention against corruption, which she said has similar but different methodologies from the OAS.
She advised that neither the Inter-American convention’s mechanism nor the UN Convention ranks countries, but rather are more concerned with procedures, systems, governance frameworks, and progress.
She also pointed out that recommendations are made to the countries reviewed to improve the functioning, checks and balances, and oversight that are in place.
Prominent businessman Captain Gerry Gouveia, in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle last Thursday, also lashed out at the findings in the TI Report.
The former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) dismissed the conclusions contained in the TI Report as “nothing but a mere reflection of a negative perception that is being created by some individuals.”
Captain Gouveia was blunt in his assessment, noting that there has been a massive campaign by persons, whom he called “negaholics”, which according to him are people who spread negativity and are “prophets of doom and gloom”, to create the perception of large-scale corruption in Guyana.

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

No comments yet… Be the first to leave a reply!