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Sierra Leone commended as a “storehouse of lessons” in peace consolidation and national development

Thursday, March 27th, 2014


It was yet another day of pride for Sierra Leone at the United Nations yesterday as country after country in the UN Peacebuilding Commission commended the remarkable achievements that the West African nation has made from a fragile nation to a model of postwar peace building and consolidation and national reconstruction.At the United Nations Security Council meeting on the completion of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) mandate in Sierra Leone, PBC members highly commended Sierra Leone again for her tremendous achievements, though the  Security Council also underscored the importance of continued support as the country embarked on the next stage of its development.



Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara, who arrived in New York on Tuesday  for the meeting , headed the country’s delegation , which included the Permanent Representative, H.E Mr. Vandi C. Minah; the Deputy Permanent Representative ( Legal), Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara; the Deputy Permanent Representative ( Political ), Ambassador Amadu Koroma ,  the Head of Chancery and Minister-Counselor Mr. Alhusine Sesay and the expert of the PBC at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, Counselor Saidu Nallo.

In what one observer described as a graduation ceremony for Sierra Leone from the UN Peacebuilding system, Sierra Leone received high marks in post-conflict recovery, democratic transition ,  peace consolidation, security sector reform, launching of the Agenda For Prosperity, anti-corruption efforts and creating conditions suitable for business, among others.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Executive Representative, Mr. Jens Anders Toyeberg-Frandzen, commended President Ernest Bai Koroma for his “zero tolerance” approach to corruption as “an important step” towards improving the business climate and attracting responsible investors.


The Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration, H.E. Guillermo Rishchynski  ( Canada),  said the country was transitioning from the special attention due post-conflict countries to a more traditional development footing.  It had established political stability, restored basic security, reinvigorated democratic processes, built important national institutions and generated economic growth.  “These are tremendous achievements,” he said ( UN Department of Public Information ) .


The UN Dept. of Public Information, noting the contribution by the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, H.E. Mark Lyall Grant , wrote that Optimistic that Sierra Leone would continue to make progress in the face of its challenges, he said the work of the Mission should be documented so lessons learned could be shared with other countries.


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7148th Meeting (AM)

Presidential Statement Issued as Foreign Minister Delivers President’s Message

As the 15-year-long United Nations presence in Sierra Leone readied for its final drawdown next week, top officials hailed the country as a “storehouse of lessons” on how to transform war into durable peace, as the Security Council issued a presidential statement on the peacebuilding initiative.


According to the text of presidential statement S/2014/6, the Council recognized the pending completion of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) mandate on 31 March, and commended the country’s “remarkable achievements”.


Welcoming in particular the considerable progress in strengthening the security, justice and governance sectors, the Council stressed that important work remained to further embed peace and to secure equitable prosperity for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.  It also underscored the importance of continued support as the country embarked on the next stage of its development.


Delivering a statement on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Samura Kamara, Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that his country was grateful for the help it had received from the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other States.  “Today, Sierra Leone is addressing this august United Nations body for the last time as an object for consideration,” he said, noting that his country had  moved from an agenda item to a “storehouse of lessons on how to successfully move away from war to peace and development”.


Briefing Council members on the milestones reached along the path towards UNIPSIL’s drawdown, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, said the country had made great strides in post-conflict recovery, democratic transition and peace consolidation.  Still, remaining challenges linked to the war’s root causes required sustained attention and support, he said.  Among issues of concern were pervasive poverty and unemployment, especially among youth; endemic corruption; upholding the rule of law; and the need for the authorities to widen the political space.

Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Sierra Leone, highlighted the country’s “tremendous achievements”, including the fact that the Special Court for Sierra Leone was the first global tribunal to have successfully concluded its mandate, setting precedents relating to attacks against United Nations peacekeepers, recruitment of child soldiers and forced marriage.  It was the first court since Nuremburg to have convicted a former Head of State.  “At a time when much policy attention is focused on managing periods of transition,” he said, “ Sierra Leone stands as an example of what is possible, with successively smaller peace operations successfully giving way to an integrated peacebuilding office and now a Resident Coordinator-led United Nations country team.”


He recalled that during his visit to Freetown in February, the Government, national stakeholders, diplomatic partners and the United Nations country team had stated the Commission’s usefulness.  He said that as Chair, he would maintain close communications with those actors and, in approximately one year, conduct a “light stock-taking exercise”, with the aim of removing Sierra Leone from the Commission’s agenda, if appropriate.
Also delivering statements today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Jordan, Australia, United States, China, Nigeria, Chile, France, Argentina, Chad, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Lithuania and Luxembourg.


The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 12:08 p.m.

As the Security Council met today to consider the situation in Sierra Leone, it had before it the final report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) (document S/2014/192).


JENS ANDERS TOYBERG-FRANDZEN, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, introduced the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2014/192), which took stock of the overall implementation of the UNIPSIL mandate since its creation in 2008, as well as remaining challenges in Sierra Leone after UNIPSIL’s drawdown by 31 March.


The Secretary-General marked the Mission’s formal closure on 5 March, during visit to Sierra Leone.  “The country has made remarkable strides in post-conflict recovery, democratic transition and peace consolidation, he said, noting that the general atmosphere of peace was the culmination of more than 15 years of successive Council-mandated peace operations in the country.  Still, challenges remained linked to the war’s root causes, and those required sustained attention and support.  They included pervasive poverty and unemployment, especially for youth; endemic corruption; upholding the rule of law; and the need for the authorities to widen the political space.
He said that the ongoing constitutional review process and implementation of the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity were important to tackling the challenges, as were the joint efforts of all Sierra Leoneans to work together and to place the national interest above all others.  As UNIPSIL’s residual tasks were transferred to the United Nations country team, the Organization would continue to provide support, through the Peacebuilding Fund, for constitutional review, security sector reform, human rights and conflict prevention.  Mr. Anders said that, last week, he and Sierra Leone’s Minister for Finance signed the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for 2015-2018 to serve as the Organization’s strategy in Sierra Leone in support of the Agenda for Prosperity.
“I believe national authorities and institutions are ready and willing to assume responsibility for their country’s peacebuilding and development agenda.  Nevertheless, the continued assistance of Sierra Leone’s international partners will remain critical,” he said, urging the country’s development partners to remain engaged and consolidate the many investments made over the years, including through support for the Agenda for Prosperity and the United Nations Development Framework.  Increasing State revenue would be crucial.


He commended President Ernest Bai Koroma for his “zero tolerance” approach to corruption as “an important step” towards improving the business climate and attracting responsible investors.  The Peacebuilding Commission would continue to monitor Sierra Leone and engage as needed.  He underscored the importance of Council support for regional peace and security efforts in the context of the African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Mano River Union.  Its support for implementing the Strategy for Cross-border Security in the Mano River Union was one such opportunity.


GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada), Chair of the Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, said the country was transitioning from the special attention due post-conflict countries to a more traditional development footing.  It had established political stability, restored basic security, reinvigorated democratic processes, built important national institutions and generated economic growth.  “These are tremendous achievements,” he said.  The Special Court for Sierra Leone had brought to justice the perpetrators of horrific crimes and was the first court to have convicted a former Head of State since Nuremburg, Charles Taylor.  It set precedents concerning attacks on United Nations peacekeepers, as well as on recruitment of child soldiers and forced marriage, and was the first global tribunal to have successfully concluded its mandate.


Noting Sierra Leone had hosted the world’s largest peacekeeping mission 14 years ago, he said “at a time when much policy attention is focused on managing periods of transition, Sierra Leone stands as an example of what is possible, with successively smaller peace operations successfully giving way to an integrated peacebuilding office and now a Resident Coordinator-led UN country team”.

Despite such significant progress, Sierra Leone would continue to face several challenges, he said, adding that “the root causes of the original conflict cannot be fully addressed in little more than a decade”.  Corruption required continued attention and youth unemployment remained high.  Security and justice sector institutions would require sustained capacity-building, especially if they were to retain the public trust.  Surging investment in natural resources and associated challenges in managing land tenure could cause conflict at the communal level.  As time passed, Sierra Leoneans would increasingly expect concrete improvements in health, education, employment and infrastructure.  He hailed the Sierra Leonean Government for identifying those various challenges in its Agenda for Prosperity and taking steps to address them.  Such realities underscored the need for sustained support.  Too often the international community failed to stay the course for the full duration of peace consolidation efforts.

But, initial indications were positive, he said.  Bilateral donors were still steadfast in their commitments and some were increasing their funding.  The United Nations country team was poised to absorb key residual responsibilities from UNIPSIL, particularly in conflict prevention and security sector reform.  United Nations technical aid for the constitutional review process could help strengthen democracy, enshrine human rights, reform land tenure and better manage natural resources.  That review must be managed carefully, lest political tensions could arise.  The Commission’s engagement would continue, albeit scaled down, in the coming year, as it acted as an international advocate and responded to needs as they arose.  During his late February visit to Freetown, the Government, national stakeholders, diplomatic partners and the country team had stated the Commission’s usefulness.  As Chair, he would maintain close communication with those actors.  Coordination among a smaller Steering Group of particularly interested Member States would enable a more adaptive approach and less formal configuration meetings.  In approximately one year, he would conduct a light stocktaking exercise, with the aim of removing Sierra Leone from the Commission’s agenda, if appropriate.


MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said today marked a watershed and a moment of celebration for the people of Sierra Leone and the Security Council.  A remarkable transformation in Sierra Leone, from civil war to elections, had led to its success as an example to other countries.  “Peacebuilding interventions can improve people’s lives,” he said.  However, the long road ahead towards becoming a middle-income country was fraught with challenges.  Tackling corruption was essential to attract investment and the United Nations and other partners would continue to work with the Government in those and other areas.  Among key lessons learned was the notion that it was indeed possible to build peace.  Political will was required at the national and international levels.  Replicating the success of Sierra Leone required examining those and other lessons learned.


PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) said today’s milestone had been marked by a number of successes, including post-conflict stabilization.  Experience gained in Sierra Leone would be useful to resolve other similar situations, for which national ownership was key.  A multifaceted political process was under way in the country, including in the Government, media and civil society.  Those positive strides should be scaled up, and while noting that challenges remained, he voiced support for the Government in its efforts to address them.


MAHMOUD HMOUD ( Jordan) said that, as UNIPSIL drew to a close, Sierra Leone’s efforts had successfully aimed at overcoming the obstacles of war leading towards a more positive future.  United Nations assistance was helpful, he said, also paying tribute to the Special Tribunal for its establishment of criminal justice.  Dialogue was the way to solve conflicts, he said, highlighting that elections, security sector reform and anti-corruption efforts were among effective steps.  Good governance and justice would also bolster success and stability.  He encouraged the Government to progress along the economic track, with assistance from the United Nations by, among other things, improving public asset management systems.  Optimistic that Sierra Leone would continue to make progress in the face of its challenges, he said the work of the Mission should be documented so lessons learned could be shared with other countries.


PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said UNIPSIL’s closing would mark an important transition for Sierra Leone and the United Nations.  It was a successful model of how post-conflict countries could address transitional justice in a way that held perpetrators of past crimes to account, while promoting national reconciliation.  The Secretariat should draw on lessons and apply them elsewhere.  Strengthening Sierra Leone’s institutions, particularly in the areas of security sector reform and the judiciary, was vital to tackling current challenges, such as youth unemployment, corruption, drug trafficking and maritime piracy.  The recent launch of a security sector reform programme to strengthen the police and other institutions was encouraging.  With the increase in investment in extractive industries, it was vital to strengthen transparency and accountability in the natural resources sector and to create robust dispute-resolution mechanisms.  He supported the Sierra Leone country configuration’s modalities for a lighter, more responsive approach and encouraged the international community to remain engaged.  There was great potential for reinvigorating the Mano River Union, which was strengthening subregional stability, by creating cross-border security units along shared borders.  The efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to combat piracy were vital.  The United Nations Office in West Africa should continue to provide good offices and preventive diplomacy after UNIPSIL’s closing.


JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) said that, while the grizzly images of war that had ravaged Sierra Leone still echoed today, the strength of the people in working towards peace was a stellar example of how a country could successfully work through a crisis and conflict.  Seeing Sierra Leone as a troop-contributing country was evidence of that turnaround, he said, underlining several efforts by the Government to rebuild the country.  Encouraging its implementation of necessary reform, he said job creation was key to keeping hope alive for future generations, and dialogue should be used to resolve conflict.  Corruption must also be stamped out and reforms implemented in the judicial sector.  In closing, he stressed that the international community would continue to lend its support.


LIU JIEYI ( China) hailed the overall stable security situation in Sierra Leone and the Government’s positive steps to consolidate peace, promote development and ensure human rights.  He expressed hope that Sierra Leone would continue to steadily implement steps to increase prosperity, address the roots causes of conflict and consolidate peacebuilding achievements.  He appreciated the outstanding work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  The UNIPSIL mandate would come to a close at month’s end, marking the transition from conflict to peace, which was a model for other countries in conflict.  Sierra Leone’s success and lessons learned should be applied to similar situations in order to promote development, address conflict’s root causes and build capacity.  The country still faced challenges, such as youth employment and poverty, and would need the international community’s support to address them.


U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) noted the progress towards peace, stability and long-term development in Sierra Leone.  It was a success story in post-conflict recovery, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  She stressed the need for political dialogue and national inclusiveness, security sector support and strengthening of human rights institutions.  Efforts towards that end promoted political understanding and set the foundation for peaceful elections.  The transitional organized crime unit and other bodies set up to combat transnational crimes should be strengthened.  Human rights mechanisms had helped to create a protective environment.   She noted the efforts of the truth and reconciliation commission to fight impunity, stressing that reconciliation was possible after a protracted conflict.  She acknowledged the steadfastness of donors and international partners and said that the onus was now on the Government to consolidate gains and encourage further investment.


OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) said Sierra Leone had become a successful pioneer in multilateralism.  A common strategic vision identified the areas in need of cooperation and enabled the country to achieve peace.  A crucial stage had been concluded, but challenges remained.  The Peacebuilding Commission’s country configuration team would continue to support Sierra Leone.  The timetable for the constitutional reform process, security sector reform, formation of the rule of law, poverty reduction and combating corruption must continue, in order to ensure that the gains achieved thus far were irreversible.  He hailed the Government and people of Sierra Leone for their willingness to achieve peace and development.  He would support the draft presidential statement to be issued today by the Council.


PHILIPPE BERTOUX ( France) similarly hailed the milestone for Sierra Leone.  The closing of UNIPSIL was the happy conclusion of the country’s crisis.  It also was an example of the Organization’s success in stabilization.  Sierra Leone had been successful in creating a climate conducive to business, and lessons should be drawn from that and other achievements.  The constitutional reform under way was a historic step and could help tackle the root causes of the conflict.  All sectors of society should speak and work together.  Poor management of natural resources could lead to conflict, and in that connection, corruption must end.  He welcomed the presidential statement to be adopted shortly.  As the Mission drew down its role, it could still support the country’s agenda by helping to bolster prosperity.


MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) said Sierra Leone was a clear example of that it was always possible to overcome the tragedies of war and human rights violations.  But, what had happened was not “pure magic”, she said, emphasizing that successful results had been due to cooperation among the country, region and international community.  Closing the door on pain and suffering had revealed a “promising horizon”; the Government had rebuilt the law, and undertaken reforms and other inroads leading to a 14 per cent growth rate.  But, economic growth alone was not enough to ensure a free and egalitarian society, and President Ernest Bai Koroma’s efforts should continue to address outstanding challenges and ensure accountability in order to build public trust.  The people and Government must continue to fight the causes of the conflict, with strong support from international partners.  Combating poverty, eradicating corruption and supporting the Peacebuilding Commission were key to cementing future success, she said, commending UNIPSIL’s approach to employment for local staff and echoing the Secretary-General’s call to shore up international support for the country.


MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF ( Chad) said the Security Council had extended UNIPSIL’s mandate until 31 March and the results had been overwhelmingly positive.  During its mandate, the Mission had worked towards reconciliation in order to ensure peace and dialogue.  Ending the peacebuilding mandate had been the result of great efforts made by Sierra Leoneans, she said, commending a number of initiatives in that regard.  He hailed the country’s overall success and said that the experience of the 15-year mission there was an excellent example of a successful partnership that had worked towards common goals.


EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) said the United Nations peacebuilding mission had achieved its goal.  Despite the scars of war, great strides had been made.  Sustainable security, democratic governance, respect for human rights and regional cooperation were among some of the most significant gains, he said, also commending President Koroma’s work.  While “political space” was increasingly allotted to women and youth, the Secretary-General’s report recognized that more efforts were needed in the area of governance in order to build on the current positive trend and to resolve any tensions through dialogue.  He hoped a national infrastructure for peace would be established soon, and he encouraged ongoing anti-corruption initiatives.  Experience-sharing among African countries was essential to ensuring peace on the continent, he concluded.


JA SONG NAM (Republic of Korea) said UNIPSIL was an “exemplary case” of the United Nations’ effective use of cooperation.  The 2012 elections had marked a watershed in Sierra Leone’s history and had moved the country forward.  He hoped political inclusiveness and cohesion would be furthered strengthened and that the authorities would continue to broaden engagement across the entire social spectrum, including women and youth.  Goals should translate into sustainable development and prosperity, he said, expressing full support for the consolidation of peace and democratic governance in Sierra Leone.


RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ ( Lithuania) hailed the Government’s remarkable progress achieved through post-conflict recovery, peace consolidation, democratic transition, rule of law, human rights, accountability and political tolerance.  But, to secure the country’s prosperity and economic growth, efforts were needed in the context of peacebuilding, security sector reform and further robust development.  She welcomed Sierra Leone’s constitutional review process, noting that the European Union had been engaged in that process, with a particular focus on capacity-building and technical aid to the Constitutional Review Committee and other key stakeholders, civic education, communication and consensus-building.  He welcomed the recent adoption of the 2013-2017 Agenda for Prosperity, and encouraged the Government and United Nations’ entities to continue supporting women’s full participation in the political, economic and social spheres.   All political parties should empower more women to participate in politics and give them more opportunities to seek parliamentary seats and key parliamentary posts.  Currently, they held less than 30 per cent of the 124 parliamentary seats.  She noted a proposal to pass the Gender Empowerment Bill in the House to set a 30 per cent quota for women.


SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) noted the country’s remarkable progress and called for efforts to consolidate it.  She trusted that elected representatives were ready to prioritize national interests, and said implementation of the prosperity agenda was vital for achieving Sierra Leone’s goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2035.  To assist that process, the European Union had earmarked €372 million , or more than $500 million, over the next seven years to bolster civil society, education, agriculture and food security.  It would also back the country in its constitutional review and capacity building.  Responsible foreign direct investment was needed, and it must be ensured that extraction of natural resources was transparent, in order to ensure that revenue from that sector benefited the people.  Mutually beneficial arrangements for the local community and the private sector were needed.  She hailed the 4 February signing of a new accountability framework, which was a guarantee of confidence and the cooperation between Sierra Leone and its neighbours in the Mano River Union, as well as their October 2013 security strategy to strengthen the fight against transnational organized crime.  She counted on the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa to work with the country team to support Sierra Leone in a regional context.


SAMURA KAMARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, delivering a statement on behalf of President Koroma, said he was heartened by inspiring words on Sierra Leone’s progress in areas including conflict resolution, human rights and building peace and security, which had helped to heal the devastation inflicted upon its people since an 11-year-long civil war broke out in 1991.  His country was grateful for the help of ECOWAS, the United Nations and other States that had helped to stop the carnage and to build a path to peace.


He said UNIPSIL had been pivotal in many processes, including furthering the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court, building civil society capacity and promoting political dialogue.  The Mission’s final transition next week would crown the successes of all previous ones by United Nations efforts in Sierra Leone.  As a result of collaborative efforts, Sierra Leone had transformed itself from a “blood diamond nation” to one that harnessed its natural resources to ensure sustainable development and national prosperity.
“Today, Sierra Leone is addressing this august United Nations body for the last time as an object for consideration,” he said.  “We have now moved from a country on the agenda of the Security Council to a nation that is a storehouse of lessons on how to successfully move away from war to peace and development.”
Resuming her role as Council President, Ms. LUCAS read the presidential statement, which underscores the importance of continued support to Sierra Leone as the country embarked on the next stage of its development.  While commending Sierra Leone’s “remarkable achievements” and welcoming the considerable progress in strengthening security, justice and governance sectors, the Council, in the text, also stresses that important work ahead to embed peace and secure equitable prosperity for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2014/6 reads as follows:


“As the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) completes its mandate on 31 March 2014, the Security Council commends the remarkable achievements made by Sierra Leone over the past decade, as well as its contribution to important regional and global initiatives.  The Security Council further commends the effectiveness of the approach of the United Nations, international financial institutions, regional and subregional bodies, and the broader international community to peacebuilding in Sierra Leone.


“The Security Council welcomes the considerable progress that has been made by Sierra Leone in strengthening institutional and human resources capacities of State institutions, including in the security, justice and governance sectors which play crucial roles in safeguarding stability and promoting democracy.


“The Security Council also welcomes the successful presidential and parliamentary elections conducted in 2012 which have helped to consolidate Sierra Leone’s democratic institutions.
“The Security Council recognizes the important contribution of UNIPSIL in promoting peace, stability and development in Sierra Leone, particularly during the 2012 electoral process.  The Security Council expresses its appreciation for the efforts of the Mission and the United Nations country team, under the leadership of the Executive Representatives of the Secretary-General.


“The Security Council underscores the importance of continued support to Sierra Leone as it embarks on the next stage of its development, beyond UNIPSIL, including the constitutional review process, and notes the willingness of the United Nations and bilateral and multilateral partners to continue, as requested by the Sierra Leonean authorities, to play a significant role in this regard.  In addition, the Security Council urges the international community and development partners to continue to provide coordinated and coherent support to Sierra Leone to meet its peacebuilding and development priorities.


“The Security Council stresses that there is important work ahead to further embed peace and secure equitable prosperity for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.  The Security Council welcomes the adoption by the Government of Sierra Leone of the Agenda for Prosperity covering the period from 2013 to 2018 and notes the importance of the implementation of this programme in accordance with the Mutual Accountability Framework agreed between the Government of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leone’s Development Partners’ Committee in March 2013.


“The Security Council reaffirms the important potential role of extractive industries in Sierra  Leone’s economic development, and encourages the Government of Sierra Leone and  international partners to strengthen protection of workers’ rights and national capacities for transparent regulation, oversight and revenue collection from such industries, as well as to address issues of land ownership with a view to establishing mutually beneficial arrangements for local communities and the private sector, and calls upon the government to tackle corruption.
“The Security Council stresses the importance for Sierra Leone’s long-term stability of ensuring a peaceful, credible and transparent electoral process in 2017.


“The Security Council reiterates its request in resolution 2097 that the United Nations Office for West Africa make available its good offices to support the Government of Sierra Leone and the new United Nations Resident Coordinator as necessary.


“The Security Council welcomes the work of the Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.  The Security Council recalls its request in resolution 2097 (2013) for the Peacebuilding Commission to review its engagement with a view to scaling down its role and welcomes the Commission’s shift to a lighter form of engagement for a transitional period over next 12 months, as outlined in its report to the Council (S/2014/211).  The Security Council requests that Sierra Leone contributes to the work of the Peacebuilding Commission to gather lessons learnt and best practices.


“The Security Council congratulates the Special Court for Sierra Leone on the completion of its mandate, recalls the strong support it expressed for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone as it commences its functioning, and reiterates its call in resolution 2097 (2013) for Member States to contribute generously.”


Foreign Minister Samura Kamara answers questions from the international media after UN Security Council Meeting on UNIPSIL

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara today Wednesday March 26, 2014, answered questions from the international media at the United Nations , after the UN Security Council Meeting on the completion of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) mandate in Sierra Leone.

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Standing at the podium with the Minister from left  are the Deputy Permanent Representative ( Legal ), Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara ; the Permanent Representative, Ambassador Vandi Minah; and the Deputy Permanent Representative ( Political ) , Ambassador Amadu Koroma.

The event is brought to you courtesy of the UN webtv.


Foreign Minister in New York to attend Security Council meeting on the completion of the UNIPSIL Mission in Sierra Leone

Thursday, March 27th, 2014


Sierra Leone’s  Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura Kamara, is in New York to attend the United Nations Security Council meeting on the pending completion of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) mandate on March 31, 2014.

The Minister will make a statement while the  the Security Council will also be  briefed  on the UNIPSIL’s drawdown by H.E. Mr. Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the outgoing Executive Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone.

There will also be comments from  H.E. Mr Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), the Chair of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Commission and members of the PBC.

We will bring you a full coverage of the meeting.






Deputy Chief of Mission signs former Spanish President’s Condolence Book

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


Mr. Ismael Koroma, the Deputy Chief of Mission to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on Thursday 27th March 2014 signed the Condolence Register of Mr. Adolfo Suarez, former President of Spain on behalf of His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at the Spanish Embassy here in Addis Ababa.

The death of Mr. Suarez was made public on March 23rd 2014 after which a Book of Condolence was opened at the Chancery on Wednesday March 26.

He ruled Spain from 1976 to 1981 and was one of the main architects of that country’s transition to democratic governance.

The Deputy Head of Mission’s message of condolence which he autographed on the Condolence Register reads in part: “On behalf of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and People of the Republic of Sierra Leone, I hereby convey our sincere deep condolences to the bereaved family, the Government and people of Spain on the passing away of the former Spanish President, Mr. Adolfo Suarez which sad event took place on Sunday March 23rd, 2014.”

The message continued: “Mr. Suarez was a renowned world leader and an international icon of democracy. May the Good Lord grant his soul eternal and blissful rest.”


Abdul Karim Koroma

Information Attaché

Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Addis Ababa


Late President Tejan Kabbah – condolence message from former US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Joe Melrose

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The article below was sent to Cocorioko as a tribute to the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Though titled, ” Late President Tejan Kabbah – condolence message from former US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Joe Melrose”, it is a citation on the late President at the time he was still in power on International Women’s Day in 2007



Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Your Excellency the Vice President

Cabinet Ministers

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Your Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps

My dynamic sisters in the search for equality

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen


It is with deep pride and a sense of great privilege that I stand here to make this Citation to our much-loved President and Defender of the Rights of the Sierra Leonean woman.


Our distinguished President was born on February 16, 1932 at Pendembu in Kailahun District. The family relocated to Freetown not too long after he was born and settled at the East end of the capital. He received his early education at the Foulah Town Amaria and Islamia Schools and later, the Saint Edwards Secondary School at King Tom. Coming from a devout Muslim background, one can safely say that it was here that the seeds of religious tolerance and understanding that are so much a part of this great man’s make-up began to take root. Little wonder then that when he eventually decided to get married he had no hesitation in choosing a woman of the Catholic faith.


After secondary school he continued his studies at the University College of Wales, in Aberyswyth, from where, in 1958, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He returned home a year later and became one of the first indigenous African District Commissioners to be posted to what was then known as the Protectorate. His characteristic penchant for hard work and dedication to duty soon paid dividends because within five years he had risen to the enviable position of Permanent Secretary.


Not content with resting on his laurels, in 1969, he left the Civil Service after ten years, in hot pursuit of the proverbial golden-fleece in the form of a stint at Gray’s Inn where he read law. On completion, he practised for just one year before he was drawn into the United Nations system where he was to spend the next twenty-one years of his life. By the time he retired from this renowned organization in 1992, as Director for Administrative and Management Services, he had gained a formidable wealth of experience as a result of the various positions he had held during his tenure there.


It is, however, not enough to talk about President Kabbah’s scholastic, professional and career achievements. These have a great part to play in the reason why we are here. But, more importantly, (and may I say this is why we are honoring him today), we need to know the kind of person he is when he is not being, and I quote, “one of the best civil servants around” or “an international civil servant of high repute” or an astute and renowned lawyer or, indeed, even the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone.  In order to do justice to the character of this great man, I crave your indulgence as I quote from the Citation that was made about him in 1996 when he was honoured by the University of Sierra Leone with the award of the degree of Doctor of Civil Law (Honoris Causa).


Among other things, he was described as “an articulate gentleman, elegant in speech and habit, always exquisitely turned out…an action-oriented perfectionist, a dedicated, even compulsive worker, with a high sense of professionalism. Some say he is a believer in people and in the inherent goodness of man, but that he often betrays some degree of naivety because he likes to see things in neat patterns and precise cubicles, and when people disappoint him and prove unworthy of expectations, he is shocked out of his humanism. On the other hand, he is possessed of an intuitive self determination and strong will, even stubbornness; but he is also a good listener and an objective judge of character who is not above admitting his own fault and asking for forgiveness if he believes that he has erred. Though he has been known to lose his temper, he is essentially a man of peace and will go to great lengths to have peace and stability prevail in his environment.”


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is for these qualities, among many others, that we the women of Sierra Leone are honouring our dear Pa Kabbah, as he is fondly known by all and sundry, today. Mr. President, Sir, we, the women of this country, salute you with the utmost fervour and the highest regard!! We consider you to be the greatest champion of the cause of women that Sierra Leone has ever known!! Your compassion and understanding of the needs of women, not only in Sierra Leone, but in other places, such as Lesotho and Tanzania, where you worked as a UN official are legendary. You gave us your fullest support in 2001 when you personally launched the 50/50 Group at the State Hall of Parliament.  While others were not even bothering to find out exactly what we were trying to do and instead derided us and dismissed our vision as unworkable, you referred to us as, and I quote: “The most courageous women in the world.” You showed your appreciation by saying, again I quote from your speech at the Launching: “That Sierra Leone is a budding democracy today is due largely to the drive, determination, resourcefulness and creative qualities of the women of this nation.” And, indeed, you did not renege on your resolve to “conduct our national affairs in such a way as to put a high premium on recognising individuals with quality, particularly women”. This is made evident by the fact that since you took up the mantle as leader of this country in 1996 you have worked steadfastly to increase the number of women in political and leadership positions. For instance, your Government of 1996 to 2002 included 9 women: 2 Cabinet Ministers, 2 Deputy Ministers and 5 Members of Parliament. Not content with that, in the five years spanning 2002 to 2007 you increased the numbers to: 3 Cabinet Ministers, 3 Deputy Ministers and 18 Members of Parliament.


Your Excellency, Sir, I make so bold as to say that in terms of according Sierra Leonean women the recognition, equality and inclusion they rightfully deserve, your government is like no other government before it. Not only are there more women MPs and Cabinet Ministers than this country has ever known but you have also appointed or made it possible for women to hold such high level positions as Head of the National Electoral Commission, Head of Immigration and Head of the Independent Media Commission, all of which were previously male preserves.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot but duff our hats to His Excellency the President, Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba for putting on his gender lenses and, by example, encouraging others to do so. Mr. President, thank you for acknowledging, by your actions, that the peace achieved through the blood, sweat, tears and humiliation of our women should not just be left to the men to manage. Inasmuch as we women made such sacrifices for peace, we must walk and work side by side with our men to manage that peace in our beloved country! That is what the 50/50 Group is all about and that is what we all are asking for.


Sir, you once recalled that your late wife, who worked assiduously towards the empowerment of women, used to say: “A man of quality must not be afraid of a woman in quest of equality.” In the ten years since you have held the reigns of leadership in this country, you have proved beyond every reasonable doubt that you are a man of quality. You did so by joining forces with the women of Sierra Leone in their quest for equality – and it is for this reason that we are honouring you today with this plaque. This is just a token of our esteem and appreciation for all you have done for us.


Sierra Leone Parliamentary Leader addresses European Parliament

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Leader of the Sierra Leone Parliament has said his country has made significant progress towards universal access to HIV/AIDS as well as meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Hon. Ibrahim Rashin Bundu was addressing the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Strasbourg, France on the topic, “The Fight Against AIDS”.
He said treatment of adults and children infected with HIV rose from 33% in 2010 to 52% in 2012, adding that the treatment among pregnant HIV positive women increased from 47% in 2011 to 96% in 2012. The survival rate, according to Hon. Bundu has increased among people infected with the disease from 83% in 2010 to 90.6% in 2012.
On the challenges facing the government in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Bundu disclosed that there is a funding gap of over USD150m to implement the National Strategic Plan 2011-2015, adding that about 90% of the total financing of the National Response comes from external sources.
Contributing on the topic “Mining on the seabed”, Hon. Bundu said Sierra Leone recently commenced the process of frontier exploration for oil and gas offshore, insisting that the country is still at the frontier exploration stages and although some discoveries have been made on the basin, they are not in commercial quantities to warrant development and subsequent production of oil and gas.
“Government has therefore been putting the Building Blocks together and seeking the right partners to attain the maximum benefit for Sierra Leoneans and escape the resource course”, Bundu stated.
Representatives from the Sierra Leone Parlizment at the JPA also include Hon. Alpha Babatunde Lewally (APC) and Hon. Helen Kuyembeh (SLPP). Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Communities, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie, himself a longstanding Member of Parliament spanning for a period of 30 years also attended the JPA summit.
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay,
Information Attachè
Sierra Leone Embassy,

President Koroma Assures Balanta Academy

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014


By State House Communications Unit

President Ernest Bai Koroma has on Tuesday 25 March 2014 assured the Balanta Academy of Music that he shares their concerns over the diminishing attention to the development of Sierra Leone’s culture through the development of its national musical heritage. The President was speaking during a courtesy call paid on him by the Board of Directors of the Academy.


Leading the delegation was the chair of the board, Engineer Tani Pratt who first warmly thanked the Head of State, on behalf of the Sierra Leone arts and music community at large, for the recent personal intervention of President Koroma in ensuring the late Professor Yulisa Amadu Maddy was provided adequate medical care when the professor fell gravely ill.

Engineer Pratt said even though the late man succumbed to his illness, the fact that the President was out of the country when the late man fell ill but still the Head of State went on to give urgent instructions from overseas for the late man to be speedily treated at Choithram’s Hospital, was evidence of the President’s respect for those who serve the Nation in the field of arts and music.

Mr. Tani Pratt said the Academy was at State House to update the President on their activities and to invite the President and First Lady to their upcoming musical event entitled JEGEJEKSKAYAMA which is the last known work of the late Prof. Yulisa Amadu Maddy and which is slated to hold on April 2nd 2014.

Mr Pratt informed President Koroma that Balanta is the only music academy in Sierra Leone. It was established in 1995, by a small group of famous Sierra Leoneans musicians and named after Nicolas George Julius Balanta, a famous Sierra Leonean composer. The dream of the board is to upgrade the academy to the highest peak to march world class standards. He extensively highlighted their constraints which included lack of a National Theatre for the Arts and non-provision of a Government subvention in a very timely manner.

Responding, President Koroma warmly welcomed the delegation to State House and expressed delight for strides taken so far by the Academy.

President Koroma expressed belief that every country has its own music and culture which makes it unique and which serves as basis for national pride and good history for future generations to look back on. He shared the sentiments earlier expressed by Engineer Tani Pratt that it is very rare these days for people to pay much attention to the arts and to development of music as there are now other forms of entertainments.

In this light, he expressed his personal admiration for the staff and management of the Academy for what he said was a national sacrifice by professionals who were undertaking a heroic work to sustain culture and music in the country. He said the late Prof. Yulisa Amadu Maddy was one such hero who served faithfully and prayed for his soul to rest in peace.

President Koroma lamented that he will be unable to attend the JEGEJEKSKAYAMA musical as he would be out of the country but he promised to discuss with the First Lady about their family’s personal contribution to the Academy as sponsors of the musical event for which he said his family will get back to the Academy “in the shortest possible time”.

President Koroma agreed with the Academy on the need for a formal cultural policy to be formulated. He further agreed that having a national cultural theatre is something that will add value to the culture of Sierra Leone but reminded that resources are limited and the country has other priorities especially in terms of safeguarding the lives and well being of the citizens. He however said his government will continue to source funds so that “maybe before the end of my second term, the country build such a magnificent theatre for the arts”.

He said concerning the request for land for the construction project of office space for the Academy, he will instruct the Ministry of Lands Country Planning and the Environment to locate suitable State land to be granted the Academy. He further promised to discuss the matter of subvention for the Academy with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

In conclusion, President Koroma urged the delegation to continue to work in close collaboration with government so as to work together and formulate a formidable culture policy, in which the Ministry of Culture will take the lead but the Academy will be also fully involved. He directed for his Special Executive Assistant, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, to be the liaison between State House, the relevant Ministries and the Balanta Academy.

Amongst the visiting delegation were Directors, Ibi May-Parker, Dr. Kitty Fadlu Deen, Mrs Luba Wiltshire-Johnson, Mr. Gwyn Allen and the Academy’s Principal Mrs Maggie Fyle.


Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
By KABS KANU :This is to officially inform the Sierra Leonean people that death has claimed one of our best soccer legends , Mr. Edward Keister , who passed away in Freetown yesterday.Mr. Keister played for Sierra Leone and East End Lions. He was a great player in the shape and character of David Beckham—An immaculate free kick and corner expert , who used to score directly from these kicks, without the ball being touched by anyone else. He was so good at taking corners that his inswingers will curve into the net beating the defence and the goalkeeper. As for his free kicks around the 18 yards box, it was rare for him to miss. Whereas today, even players being paid millions a year miss penalty kicks, Kiester would take a long distance free kick and still score.

Kiester was also a brilliant dribbler and schemer and used to play well in defence as well. The only reason that Sierra Leone did not win laurels in those days was that soccer was not financed or supported and we did not have world-class coaches to train these stars to give their maximum input. If Kiester had been playing in today’s soccer landscape, he would have ended up playing for either Arsenal, Manchester City or Real Madrid.Keister was one of the stars of the famed East End Lions squad of the 1960s that monopolized the championship along with Mighty Blackpool.I learnt that he will be buried on Sunday in Makeni.

He is survived by his elder brother , John Keister , who was also a penalty, free kick and corner expert with Regents Olympic and two sisters.

May his soul rest in peace.

 — with Ellen Keister.

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia takes leave of President Koroma

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

By Joseph Kamanda :

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador designate to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other accredited Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo has taken leave of President Ernest Bai Koroma.
The ceremony at State House in Freetown brought together supporters, well wishers and stalwarts of the ruling All People’s Congress party.
saudi ambassador bids farewell1 (600 x 448)


President Ernest Bai Koroma described the departure of Ambassador Kargbo to his new mission, as a great moment for every Sierra Leonean.

He said Ambassador Kargbo is a very committed and loyal party member who has been very active for a very long adding that Saudi Arabia can be called home in Islam having involved in organizing successful Muslim pilgrimage pogrammes.

saudiambassador bids farewell2 (600 x 448)

President Koroma noted that with the appropriate representation out there, Saudi Arabia will continue to support Sierra Leone, adding that Ambassador Kargbo will further consolidate relations between the two countries.

President Koroma encouraged Ambassador Kargbo to market the Agenda for Prosperity to all corners of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and devote his time to strengthening economic and trade ties between both countries with the involvement of a viable private sector in the rapid development in the country.

Earlier, Defence Minister retired Major Parlo Conteh, who is also Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, commended the appointment of Ambassador designate, describing it as a wise and appropriate decision made by President Koroma.

Ambassador Kargbo in response expressed delight and gratitude to President Koroma, his government and the party for appointing him to represent the country, recalling that he worked with the Head of State both at governance and party levels reaffirmed his loyalty and support to the party, President, and the government.

Ambassador Kargbo said his accreditation will be focused on his areas of responsibilities to further consolidating bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other accredited countries.

Sierra Leone’s Consul General in Dubai on the Spotlight

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014


By Ibrahim Y. Sillah, Saudi Arabia

Under the progressive and result-oriented leadership of His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, I believe it should be part of the concerns of every bona fide citizen of Sierra Leone, especially those living in the diaspora, to have an idea about who is representing our country in the various Sierra Leone missions around the world. As a citizen who has dwelt in the Middle East, particularly in the Arab Gulf Region, over three decades, I think I ought to have a general idea about those diplomats assigned to work in our missions in the region.



Before going any further, I should first of all like to thank President Ernest Koroma for his initiative to have in place a Sierra Leone mission in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). His Excellency’s initiative, according to newspaper reports, is a response to a fervent request directed to him by the Sierra Leone nationals’ resident in the UAE. This positive response from the part of His Excellency once again buttresses how genuinely concerned he is about the general welfare of his nationals wherever they might be.

Nevertheless, after reading two articles written by two Sierra Leone nationals, Mr. Abdallah Sesay and Mr. S. Kamara, apparently living in the UAE, I came to learn that a certain Mr. Bahige Annan, a Syrian origin, is the man who has been appointed by home Government as the first Consul General in Dubai. Of course, I have no right to question Government’s decrees, for I trust their judgment and wisdom. Thus, I have no objection against Mr. Bahige Annan’s appointment; but as a concerned citizen I am suggesting home Government to thoroughly investigate and scrutinize the suitability of Mr. Annan for such an important post representing Sierra Leone in such a vital region. In all honesty and as concerned citizen, I do not think, with my due respect to Government, that Mr. Bahige Annan is the right person to represent our beloved country in the Gulf region for the following reasons:

  1. A Sierra Leonean reportedly approached Mr. Bahige Annan a couple of weeks ago requesting his good office to help him obtain a marriage certificate. With all the consular power invested in Mr. Annan, he could not be of any help, and was very condescending in his behavior. The attitude of Mr. Annan buttresses what was reported in Mr. S. Kamara’s article late last year where he says: “On many interactions with Mr. Bahige Annan, Sierra Leoneans complain that he is rude and pompous and doesn’t even want to know the people whom he is supposed to serve. He is just using our diplomatic passport and facilities to’pass-pass’ and do his dubious deals and feels that since he has connections with government people, he can treat Sierra leoneans like trash“. This was what Mr. Kamara; a Sierra Leonean resident in the UAE had to say about Mr. Annan’s attitude towards Sierra Leoneans.
  2. From those two authors and from the latest development where Mr. Bahige Annan grossly failed or rather rebuffed to help a citizen to obtain a marriage certificate, I have come to firmly believe that if Mr. Annan cannot render a single consular service to anyone, what is the purpose behind his appointment then?
  3. 3.      Since Mr. Annan’s appointment as Consular General all he is seen to be doing is holding a briefcase entering offices dubiously putting up an air of arrogance and pomposity around him. As regards his feigned functions, this is what Mr. Kamara had to say about him: ” What extremely disappointed and confused our brothers and sisters in the UAE is when they finally met the President (President Koroma) and asked the President who is their representative in the UAE, the President informed them that they should just continue dealing with the Saudi Embassy and made no mention of this Bahige they appointed as Consul. If this is so our leaders are behaving, you cannot blame this Bahige for feeling that we are a cheap people that can be bought”.
  4. In the same vein, after reading a piece on a solar park deal purportedly negotiated with the UAE authorities, Mr. Siray Timbo and Mr. Bahige Annan in his (the latter) capacity as Consul General of Sierra Leone in Dubai, following are questions posed to the authorities of the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Mr. Abdallah Sesay in his article early this year: ” I would appreciate if you could respond to the following questions: ” Is the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh accredited to the UAE? Does (Is) the above press release issued with the consent and approval of our government? Who is Bahige Annan? Is he our Consul General in Dubai? If yes, when was his appointment announced? Is he a Sierra Leonean or an Emirate national“? Out of a national concern, the above were questions raised by Mr. Abdallah Sesay. Every Sierra Leonean in the gulf is wondering as to why it is a Syrian that should be appointed as our representative in an Arab territory.
  5. In a press release issued by the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Association in the Emirates on the 26th January, 2014, the Executive, perhaps for not wanting to be seen behind the aforementioned two articles, dissociated themselves from the contents of the said write-ups that depicted Mr. Bahige Annan as he truly is. On this note, I wonder as to why our Saudi Press Attaché, Alhaji Jalloh, in his capacity as the accredited Journalist to  Government did not endeavor to make any investigations with respect to the complaints and concerns raised by our compatriots in the UAE vis-à-vis the malfunctions, unsuitability and undiplomatic performance of Mr. Annan. I hereby request our able Media Attaché to investigate Mr. Annan’s alleged comportment in his new post and report his findings to home government who may not be aware of the true colours of their appointed Consul General. Mr. Jalloh should carry out in-depth investigations into these allegations and send a comprehensive report to Government and the media forthwith. I think that is part of his functions here, and I strongly believe in his professionalism.
  6. Having said all the above, I would like Mr. Bahige Annan and his supporters to know that I am not by any means eying or running behind his job simply because, thank God, I am gainfully employed. I am a lecturer at a most prestigious university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Hence, Mr. Annan should not go with the faintest notion that I am eying his post. Rather, it is out of true national concern and love for my country that I am raising this report to His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and His Honourable Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation for them to review the appointment of Mr. Bahige Annan in the position of Consul General representing our country in an Arab region.
  7. Away from racism, for those of us who have long lived in the Arab World and have interacted with various Arab nationalities, we have come to know how dubious, manipulative and exploitative Lebanese and Syrians are. Their general views about Africans are full of negativity, whereby Africans are seen as fools and gullible. I once met with a female cardiologist at the prestigious King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre in Riyadh. Knowing that I am a Sierra Leonean, she hastened to ask if I had been to Beirut, but my answer was in the negative. She then told me that the Southern Beirut, a most beautiful area in Beirut, was all built out of moneys earned from Sierra Leone. I said to her that there was nothing wrong with that. But the most shocking thing was when she made me realize that Lebanese take us for “unpatriotic fools”.  I know Lebanese and Syrians have been a fundamental part of the Sierra Leone business circle for ages, but Government must be cognizant of the fact these aliens would never have positive views about us and that their sole aim behind living in Africa is to extort our riches for their self-gains and that is all there is to it, as far as these so-called Lebanese and Syrians are concerned. But unfortunately they are let loose rampaging our economy and resources as they so wish. However, I think appointing them in the diplomatic circle should be a no-go zone, for it would be not only ironic but also hilarious for other nations, especially Arabs, to see us diplomatically represented by Arabs, as if there are no Sierra Leoneans capable of doing the job.

On the other hand, I am aware that it has pleased His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to appoint Mr. Siray Alpha Timbo as first envoy to the UAE. I trust His Excellency’s judgment and believe that he has made the right choice. Having a man of high caliber and a business guru like Siray Timbo in the Gulf Region is indeed pleasant and promising.

However, I have come to know from some circles that Ambassador designate Timbo is a close friend of our UAE Consul General, Mr. Bahige Annan, something that has been enough cause for eye brows to raise. Hence, I would like Mr. Timbo to realize that his appointment stems from a national interest and the trust that His Excellency has in his credentials. Thus, Ambassador Timbo should beware of getting involved in any dubious dealings or malpractices with Mr. Bahige Annan.

As a first envoy to that vitally important country, Mr. Timbo must realize that, upon assuming his ambassadorial functions, he will be monitored and watched by Sierra Leoneans the world over and Sierra Leoneans resident in the Gulf in particular.

But I think a man of personal integrity and excellent credentials like Siray Timbo would make the consolidation of the bilateral, diplomatic and economic ties between Sierra Leone and the UAE his priority. Failure to do so, I’m afraid, would land him into an unthinkable abyss.

I wish Mr. Siray Timbo would secure parliament approval so that he would assume his pioneer role as President Koroma’s first envoy to the UAE soon. Good luck and thank you!!  To be continued…