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Archive for July, 2015

New Ebola Vaccine Has ‘100 Percent’ Effectiveness In Early Results

Friday, July 31st, 2015
The Ebola vaccine from a trial in Guinea needs to be kept at a temperature of minus 60 degrees Celsius, the World Health Organization says. Storage devices use jet fuel to keep the right temperature for up to five days in the field.

The Ebola vaccine from a trial in Guinea needs to be kept at a temperature of minus 60 degrees Celsius, the World Health Organization says. Storage devices use jet fuel to keep the right temperature for up to five days in the field.

Sean Hawkey/Sean Hawkey

In a development that could change the way the deadly Ebola disease is fought, researchers have announced promising results of a new vaccine’s trial in Guinea, one of several countries affected by a historic outbreak in West Africa.

“The estimated vaccine efficacy was 100 percent,” a team of researchers say.

The trial was called Ebola ça Suffit — French for “Ebola that’s enough.” Funded by the World Health Organization and other groups, it started in April and ended on July 20, relying on participants who consented to be part of the trial. The more than 20 researchers who took part published their findings in The Lancet medical journal on Friday.

“The current data basically tells us that the vaccine works to protect people against Ebola,” says Dr. Bertrand Draguez, medical director of Médecins Sans Frontières,which took part in the research along with WHO and authorities in Guinea.

Draguez and other experts are heartened by the new results — but they also warn that as testing expands, the effectiveness rate of the vaccine will likely fall below 100 percent. The trial used the “ring vaccination” method, in which all suspected contacts receive treatment. No placebos were administered.

“Even if the sample size is quite small and more research and analysis is needed,” Draguez says, “the enormity of the public health emergency should lead us to continue using this vaccine right now to protect those who might get exposed to the disease: contacts of infected patients and front-line workers.”

The trial vaccine, formally called rVSV-ZEBOV but more commonly known as VSV-EBOV, was supplied by the pharmaceutical firm Merck Sharp & Dohme. The drug was initially developed by Canada’s Public Health Agency and was tested as early as 2011.

To conduct the Guinea trial, researchers used newly confirmed Ebola cases to identify clusters of people with whom the patients had contact. On a random basis, those clusters then received the vaccine either immediately or after a 21-day delay.

“In the immediate vaccination group, there were no cases of Ebola virus disease with symptom onset at least 10 days after randomization,” the researchers say, “whereas in the delayed vaccination group there were 16 cases of Ebola virus disease from seven clusters, showing a vaccine efficacy of 100 percent.”

Researchers say that for both groups — those who got the vaccine immediately and those who received it after a delay — no new Ebola cases were diagnosed starting at six days after vaccination.

The randomization phase of the trial was stopped this week, WHO says, “to allow for all people at risk to receive the vaccine immediately.” It will also now include younger people than the adults involved in the trial.

Mohamed Soumah, 27, was the first person to be vaccinated in the Ebola vaccine trial. "I was afraid," he says. "People in the village were saying that the injection was to kill me."

Mohamed Soumah, 27, was the first person to be vaccinated in the Ebola vaccine trial. “I was afraid,” he says. “People in the village were saying that the injection was to kill me.”

Sean Hawkey/Sean Hawkey

The first person to receive the trial vaccine in Guinea was Mohamed Soumah, 27. He tells WHO:

“It wasn’t easy. People in the village said that the injection was to kill me. I was afraid. I was the first one to be injected, the very first, here in my village on 23 March 2015. I’ve been monitored for 3 months and I’ve had no problems. The last follow-up, 84 days after the vaccination, was all clear.”

The vaccine is administered via a shot to the upper arm. The researchers who ran the trial say their results suggest a single injection is highly effective, and that protection against Ebola can be established quickly. They’re also still analyzing possible adverse reactions to the drug.

The interim findings on the Guinea trial are the latest to bolster the belief that VSV-EBOV could be the drug Ebola-fighters have been waiting for. Earlier this year, it showed positive results in clinical trials at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A Walter Reed release about that study explained how the drug is derived:

“VSV-EBOV is based in part on a genetically engineered version of vesicular stomatitis virus, which primarily affects rodents, cattle, swine and horses. Human VSV infections are rare and mild. In the VSV-EBOV investigational vaccine, the gene for the outer protein of VSV replaces the same gene segment of the Zaire Ebola virus species.”

Researchers in the Guinea trial say the number of new clusters of potential patients is falling, because the rate of new diagnoses in the country has dropped. The next immediate step, they say, is to continue the trial and vaccinate more people. Last Friday, Guinea’s government and medical ethics groups approved that plan.

We still have to maintain the laws to stop Ebola – President Koroma

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Representatives of the All Political Parties Association (APPA) have paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House to discuss the possibility of removing the Public State of Emergency which was imposed last year to curb and control the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.

PRESSO EBOLA MEETING 3

 

Outgoing chairman of APPA Mohamed Bangura recalled that when they called on the president a couple of months back to review the restrictions, President Koroma listened and indeed after a week, a good number of the restrictions were relaxed to promote and facilitate socio-economic activities in the country. He said that the political parties were anxious about the fact that the Public State of Emergency was impeding their activities. This, he said was the concern of some of the parties, especially the SLPP.

PRESSO EBOLA MEETING 4

 

Chairman and leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Parties Chief Sumano Kapen stated that their position was very clear on the issue referencing their press release of July 28th on the matter. He commended President Koroma for his relentless efforts in stemming the Ebola scourge. Chief Kapen therefore called on the president to consider their concerns.

Responding to the concerns of APPA, President Koroma noted that he was happy that inclusive participation in national issues has been the bedrock of his administration. “The fight against Ebola has been very difficult but with the support of everyone, including political parties we have been able to stem the tide,” he said.

PRESSO ENOLAMEETING 1

 

The president went on to state that although the concerns of APPA are justifiable they should note that Sierra Leone has been commended for its handling of the Ebola fight, saying “we are on track”. He said that the pledges made by the international community to help the country back on its feet shows that the national response against the disease has been working. “I don’t need a State of Emergency to do anything, the people don’t need it…and our people have endured a lot as we know it and feel it. But we have an elephant in the room which is Ebola.”

According to President Koroma, there are only 2 patients at treatment centers in the entire country and only 15 people in holding centers. He however said that because of what happened a few days back, Tonkolili which has gone over 100 days without a case has now recorded one.

We want to continuously remind people that Ebola is there and mind you the epidemic started with only one case, the president reminded APPA, adding that there’s need to enforce the laws to stop the transmission of the disease.

SHCU©2015

THE POLITICS OF SIERRA LEONE – “A Quagmire For Proclaimed Academics and “Concerned Sierra Leoneans”

Friday, July 31st, 2015

By Dr. Yahya Kalokoh :

The history of humanity within the framework of political discourse and economic development, and with specific reference to Sierra Leone has often proved that societal advancement does not rest solely with academia or the “educated elites”.  This statement is not meant to demean the efforts and knowledge of the “educated”.  However, it is purposeful to reflect that a society’s development depends on a multitude of efforts and mainly from well meaning “educated” as well as the “uneducated” patriots or citizens.

yayakalokoh2

 

It depends on the amount of love, commitment, and communicative processes the leaders and the led have for their communities or country.  It also depends on the priority given to the country’s interests trumping all other interests, and the self-devotion one has to his or her fellow citizens.  This I believe is pivotal in advancing the self-determination of communities and nation states.  However, as history has often shown, man’s priority for self-preservation has often times trumped all communal and the national interests, notwithstanding the level of education and enlightenment constituents may have.

It is worth noting that notwithstanding the positives, one of the main challenges posed by the “educated” to society is intellectualism and elitism. They are often times perceived as engaging in socio-economic and political pursuits that are disconnected from everyday practical concerns of society.  As highlighted by Tapscott and Williams (2010), in “Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World” intellectualism connotes “a willful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, overspecialized… and academic elitism ….  .”  Such analysis buttress the realistic approach of people in leadership, making decisions not so much from the perspective of theory, but from common sense approaches to problem solving based on limited available options.  On the flip side, many intellectuals and political opportunists, use the cloak of academia and experiences especially from renowned international institutions to feast on unsuccessful leadership outcomes, with no consideration for the daunting challenges and limited choices faced by sincere and hardworking decision-makers.  They behave like the American “Monday Morning Quarter-Back” analysis.  Such behavior is untenable in dictatorship regimes, and often leads to human rights abuses.

An example of the “willful disconnect from the everyday world” in Sierra Leone society, espoused by elitist behavior is reflected in the controversy surrounding one of the top aspiring candidates for leadership in the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party.  It is difficult to understand how a proclaimed intellectual with renowned international credentials fail to understand that to do a simple and basic homework before declaring his candidacy.  To claim leadership in any organization requires a basic requirement, i.e. one must first be a registered member.  For decades, this individual has claimed to be a passionate member of that party, a legacy from his late father.  Notwithstanding this “larger than life” personality as reported, never had a verifiable registered membership.  One thing is clear in this saga, i.e. elitisms, arrogance, misconception, and a disconnected view of how the world operates in real life leads to disaster, one that Sierra Leone cannot afford.  An important question to ask in this regard is whether person is ready for “prime time”.  The algorithmic approach applied by this “great mind” does not have a place in the leadership of Sierra Leone.

One other group requiring a response is the self-proclaimed champions of the so-called “Concerned Sierra Leoneans” purposefully using academic titles and/or international experiences as pedigrees to “fix” what they claim to be broken.  They claim to hold the current regime accountable for misrule in Sierra Leone.  From my perspective, the group exuberate clownish behavior, and it bothers me when they clownishly pretend to be “know-alls”, some with PHD titles, parading in social media with insults against the current administration in Sierra Leone.  Is this how to hold an administration accountable?  These people feel they can make themselves relevant with their acclaimed PHDs or other titles by distorting the actions of others.  For them, there is nothing positive happening in Sierra Leone.  They harbor self-conceived notions of being experts in running national affairs from remote distances, and diluting social media.

But these clowns need to be reminded that one of the sad chapters in the history of Sierra Leone politics relates to the role played by intellectuals.  Part of that history taught us that the beginning of the demise of Sierra Leone politically and economically, and even its cultural heritage was in many ways attributable to the behavior of the “educated” elite Siaka Stevens (May his soul rest in peace) incorporated in his government starting from the 1970s.  We may agree or disagree on this issue, which should be healthy.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that blatant corruption was more pronounced when “Western educated elites” were recruited into his government.  This does not mean there was no corruption before then.  However, the inherent hypocrisy was that some of the so-called “educated” who stood on the pulpit of academia and criticized Siaka Stevens became more corrupt than some of their predecessors, many of whom were regarded then as “half baked”.

In reminiscence of my young adult experiences in Sierra Leone, one of the wise sayings that still resonate with me today regarding political discourse, academic knowledge, and leadership, was that of late Siaka Stevens.  Notwithstanding the controversies people may have about his tenure, his statement  “NAR SENSE MAKE BOOK, NOTO BOOK MAKE SENSE”  make sense”, meaning it is wisdom that is translated in books, and not necessarily the other way round makes a lot of sense to me, and I believe to most people.  People can agree or disagree with his legacy, but I believe there was a lot we learned from his leadership either for good or for bad, depending on the view of the beholder.  However, that statement reflects great wisdom.  For some he was not considered to be an “educated” man depending on how they define the “educated”.  However, without doubt he used his wits to turn the tables on the so-called “educated elite”.   Whether he applied that wisdom in leadership to benefit his country is still an open debate for historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and posterity.

Another important issue I would like to point out in challenging the acclaimed experiences in international institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations is that global solutions to socio-economic and political problems have generally not proven effective in stabilizing societies and alleviating poverty at the local levels.  International recipes for solving socio-economic problems in third world countries have in many cases proved to be futile.  It is more about austerity than cleaning up the mess created by inept politicians, theorist experts and “know alls”.  To be effective, one has to have an affinity with the communities he or she is working with, be able and willing to explain and listen, and have buy-ins.  It is important for the leader to effectively blend local values and other suitable external values to motivate communities and constituents.  “Big English” and “Coat and Tie” appearances do not necessarily help in motivating people into effective action.

It is also important to note that one of the main purposes of leadership is to help individuals determine ways to direct pre-existing motivations to more profound efforts and meaning for shared values.  Such a process contributes to the greater good of both the individual and society.  I believe the

constituents of Sierra Leone are more capable in developing metrics that can help them determine the kind of leadership they can believe in, than what some of the “blind philosopher kings” think.  They no longer rely on disconnected algorithms to come to terms with their daily realities on how they are governed.  They are as much “concerned Sierra Leoneans” as anybody else in determining the heart and soul of their beloved country.  While it is healthy to debate positively and constructively on how to develop Sierra Leone, the onus is on both the “educated” and the “uneducated” to determine workable solutions.  Let us all be mindful of what we say to each other.  Most people are no longer interested in receiving lectures from people who do not have anything positive to provide, but looking for opportunities for things to go wrong, and jump in to criticize.

Lastly, some of these opportunists are inauthentic rogues that are not as sincere “Concerned Sierra Leoneans” as they claim to be.  Using PHD titles, experience in Academia, or United Nations and the World Bank experiences to capture attention is cheap talk.  The prescriptions some of these misguided intellectuals have are based on plagiarism, i.e. they piggy bag on the honest and genuine mistakes of others who are practically trying to solve problems to score points and make themselves relevant.   Some of the prescriptions they provide may only work in theory with no practical applications in fluid economic and social environments.  The sad thing for these people is that they are very disconnected and disoriented from every day realities of leadership challenges.  I admonish the real concerned Sierra Leone to watch out for these opportunists,   confront them intellectually, and call them out.  Please do not allow them to steal the moral high ground by piggy bagging on the relentless efforts of hardworking people.  Some of them sit over here drinking milk and honey every day and night and feasting on social media to claim relevancy.  Our beloved country does not need their lectures.

 

 

 

Kaleidoscope of the International Conference on Africa’s Fight Against Ebola at Malabo

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

 

By Jonathan Abass Kamara

The recently concluded International Conference on Africa’s fight against Ebola held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea focuses on Africa helping Africans in the Ebola Recovery and Reconstruction and attracted AU Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ministers of Health, Heads of States.

The conference attracted AU Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ministers of Health, Health professionals, and representatives from ADB, World Bank, UNOCHA, WHO, UNECA and other development partners and NGOs. The high profiled team from Sierra Leone led by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma includes the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarian Kamara, cabinet Ministers and other personalities.

 

PRESIDENT KOROMA SPEAKING

His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

In the conference room at Sipopo, Equatorial Guinea, statements were made by the Heads of State of the three Ebola affected countries Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Alpha Konde, President of the Republic of Guinea, and His Excellency Joseph Nyumah Bollan, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia. After the presentation of the outcomes

 

Sierra Leone Diplomat in Saudi Bids Farewell

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

 

M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia

In a very brief, but colourful farewell ceremony hosted by the Sierra Leone Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of His Excellency Ambassador Alhaji M.S Kargbo, a good number of Embassy Staff, the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union, Thursday, 30th July, 2015 converged at the Chancery to bid farewell to the Head of Chancery, Umaru S. Dura, whose tour of duty has ended.

diplomatic tour 1

 

In his opening remarks, the Ambassador welcomed all the attendees and said the outgoing Head of Chancery deserved to be honoured for his outstanding and invaluable services to not only the Embassy but also to members of the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“That is why”, the Head of Mission added, “the Embassy in collaboration with the entire Sierra Leone Community thought it wise to organize this occasion to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to a man who for the past years served the Embassy and the community diligently.”

DIPLOMATIC TOUR 2

 

The Ambassador commended the Head of Chancery of being very resourceful at the Embassy during his tenure and his invaluable services will always be remembered. The envoy thanked the outgoing Head of Chancery and his wife, Marian Dura and encouraged the couple to continue to be of true service to their nation wherever they may be.

The Chairman of the ceremony, Salamu Koroma, First Secretary of the Embassy also praised the outstanding efforts made by the outgoing diplomat during his tenure of office at the embassy, expressing his appreciation for his (the outgoing diplomat) work and wished him continued success in all his future undertakings.

 

Various speakers also paid tributes to the outgoing Head of Chancery and among them were, M.B. Jalloh, the Information Attaché, the President of the Sierra Leone Nationals Union, Uthman Kargbo who spoke on behalf of the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom. Speaker after speaker, paid tribute to the Head of Chancery and wished him a very safe journey to Sierra Leone.

In his farewell speech, the outgoing Head of Chancery (HOC) said he was overwhelmed by the huge turnout and the various tributes which he said are all indicative of his service to his nation and people. He thanked the various speakers whom he said had already delivered his report card at the end of his tour of duty on his behalf and therefore, there was nothing left to be said.

In a voice laced with mixed emotions of euphoria and sadness, the outgoing diplomat said, parting with people you have spent a long time with is a very difficult situation. But he also hastened to point out that: “It’s a sad moment, but I have to quit and give chance to others to serve the country.”

 

He thanked the Ambassador for recognizing his invaluable services to the Embassy and the Sierra Leone community, adding that, words cannot express the enthusiasm he and his wife have. He said he was very grateful and pleased with words of appreciation they have received both from the embassy and the Sierra Leone Community.

 

The outgoing HOC thanked the Sierra Leone Embassy Staff and the entire Community in the Kingdom for the support and cooperation he received from them during his tenure. He said their services will always be remembered, adding that he is confident that his successor will enjoy similar cooperation and support.

 

‘I am not a perfect being’, he said. ‘In the conduct of my duties, I might have knowingly or unknowingly offended some people. To such people, I humbly ask for your forgiveness.’

He promised to continue to work harder in his service to his nation and thanked his wife for being by his side and with whom he shares the praises. He concluded by thanking all Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom for their support and for attending the occasion.

In his vote of thanks, Unisa Kanu, a former President of the Union thanked the Ambassador, his staff and the entire community for honouring the outgoing diplomat. He also commended the open door policy of Mr. Dura.

The programme was climaxed by presentation of parting gifts from both the Embassy and the Sierra Leone Nationals Union and serving of delicacies.

Mr. Dura joined the Sierra Leone Civil Service in February 1986, a few months after graduating from Fourah Bay College. He started as Admin Officer Cadet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and rose through the ranks from Assistant Secretary to Permanent Secretary.

He has also worked in the following Ministries: Education, Mines and Mineral Resources, Local Government, Youth and Sports, Information and Communications. He also served as District Officer (DO) Kambia, Assistant District Officer (ADO), Bonthe, ADO one Bo, Senior District Officer (SDO) and later Chief Administrator Port Loko and Bombali in the same capacity.

He was posted to Saudi Arabia as Minister Councellor and Head of Chancery in January, 2013 – a position he held until his recent retirement from the service a few months ago.

 

 

Ambassador Omrie Golley receives more partners in development

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

 

By- Abdul Malik Bangura

The Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Rep. Of Korea has today reassured delegation from the Hansol Group of Korea that Sierra Leone is a potential destination for their investments.

This he said in a meeting today, Thursday 30th July, 2015, with delegates from Hansol EME Company, headed by their Vice President, Mr Koo- Hyung Shim, who had come to the embassy to ascertain investment opportunities in the country at the aftermath of the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak. These investment opportunities, he said, would be mainly focused on improving the country’s infrastructures and construction industry.

 

GOLLEY PARTNERS 1

 

His Excellency Omrie Golley further delved into the Sierra Leone Government’s plans to mushroom growth in the national economy, health, educational and private sectors. He further highlighted the investment potentials of Sierra Leone in the areas of agriculture, tourism and marine resources.

Vice president Koo-Hyung Shim also disclosed that the group was looking at a number of proposals for possible investment particularly in the construction industry and further added that he was thinking of leading a delegation to Sierra Leone in August 2015 to explore avenues for collaboration and investment; seeking local partners in the country.

GOLLEY PARTNERS 2

 

Hansol EME Limited is a subsidiary of the Hansol Group of companies, a large conglomerate of South Korea founded in 1965 and formerly part of the Samsung Group of Companies. Hansol Groups main operators cover construction, electronics, chemicals, tourism and household interiors.

GOLLEY PARTNERS 3

 

‘President Ernest Koroma has the constitutional right to remove former V-P Sam Sumana’ : Lawyer Berthan Macauley

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

 

By Adikali Bai Daramy

As the case of sacked Vice President Alhaji Sam-Sumana (ASS) awaits final ruling in the Supreme Court, Lawyer Berthan Macaulay Jr. has on Monday 27th July 2015 in direct response to submission made last week by lawyers representing the former Vice President, submitted before the five Supreme Court Judges, “there is no specific definition for Supreme Executive Authority vested in the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.’’

He said President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has the constitutional rights to remove his then Vice President, Alhaji Sam-Sumana.
He pointed out that section 41(b) of the constitution imposes constitutional obligation of the holder of the Office of Vice President and that obligation, he said, is not met in section 55 of the constitution.

 

SAM SUMANA LATEST

 ALHAJI SAM SUMANA

Lawyer Macaulay asserted section 40(1) is the Supreme Executive Authority that the President used to dismiss Alhaji Sam Sumana.
He said the President is the Head of State and that he is regarded as the Chief Executive, which he noted, goes with the power of that office.
He said having regard for section 40, 50 and 55 of the 1991 constitution, the President can relieve the Vice President from his office if he has not met the constitutional obligations under sections 41, 50, 51 of the 1991 constitution.

He took objection to the plaintiff counsel’s submission that membership to a political party stops immediately after election.
He said if such interpretation by the plaintiff is correct then Sierra Leone would have a non-citizen as President.
He said the qualification set out in section 41 is a continuous requirement in order to be a candidate.
“The candidate should have been nominated and put on a ballot box, and if there is more than one candidate the person with the highest vote is duly elected.”

On this backdrop, he stressed that the Plaintiff was not a candidate. He cited sections 44 and 45 of the Public Election Act of 2012.
He said Parliament would not have intended that the obligation and qualification set out in section 41 would only apply to election and not thereafter.
He based his argument on section 171 of the 1991 Constitution. He cited a number of case laws to support his assertion.
With regards to the issue of vacancies, he said, the section does not contained an expressed language that the Office of the Vice President will only become vacant in the instance set out in section 55 nor can such limitation be necessarily applied.
He submitted that for the court to arrive at the legal meaning of the interpretation of section 55, the court should apply the principles and processes outlined in the case of the 1st defendant, adding that the court should adopt it as a whole principle. He said the vacancy is not defined as stated in section 55.

He said counsel on the other side submitted that seizing to be a member of a political party by way of expulsion is not a violation of the constitution.
He said if someone disassociates himself from a political party and happens to be the President or Vice President or was kidnapped for instance for a period of six months or one year and it is reported that he or she is alive would it not be seen that vacancy has been created.
He said the press release which the Plaintiff relied on does not contain references made to section 50 and 51 of the constitution.
He urged the judges to provide meaning to the generic terms given in sections 41(b) and 55 of the constitution. He called on them to look into section 54(5) and 41.

He said the case of Abu Bakarr Atiku cited by the counsel was outdated and ought not to be regarded by the court.
He said the appointment of Vice President is subject to the approval of the President and not Parliament.
He said it is only the President of Sierra Leone that has the vested power to remove the Vice President from office and not certainly parliament and submitted that section 50 and 51 do not apply to the circumstance set out in section 51 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
He said lawyers representing the plaintiff submitted that the Vice President can only be removed in accordance with section 50 and 51 of the constitution but told the judges that the said sections cited by them relates to mental and physical incapacity and misconduct.
Lawyer Macaulay said one of the underpinning points in the Constitution of Sierra Leone is the separation of powers, the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.

He said the office of the Vice President is part of the Executive arms of government and not the legislative arm.

Agenda for Prosperity continues : Funding secured for Bandajuma-Liberian border highway

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Government of Sierra Leone
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Secretariat Building, George Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone

PRESS RELEASE

EUROPEAN UNION HANDS OVER RIDER FOR THE FULL FUNDING OF THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BANDAJUMA-LIBERIA ROAD AND THREE BRIDGES

Freetown, Sierra Leone, July 28, 2015-The Head of the European Union Delegation in Sierra Leone, Peter Versteeg, has today handed over to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah the original Rider of the Financing Agreement for the full funding of the reconstruction of the Bandajuma-Liberia Border Road and three bridges across the Sewa, Moa and Waanje rivers along the road corridor of the Liberia Border Road.

LIBERIAN HIGHWAY

 

In June 2014, a financing agreement to the tune of 62.2M Euros from the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) and Sierra Leone’s 10th EDF National Indicative Programme (NIP) to partly finance the works was approved and signed. The estimated cost for the Bandajuma-Liberia Border Road and three bridges project is approximately, 105m Euros. The signing this afternoon is for the allocated balance funding of 43M Euros allocated from Sierra Leone’s 11th EDF NIP to complete the works.

The Bandajuma-Liberia Border Road is located in the south-east of Sierra Leone and forms part of the Trans-West African Coastal Highway; the main highway connecting the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. This Trans- West African Highway passes through Bo, crosses the Sewa River approximately 8.8km south of Bo and continues south to Bandajuma located along the banks of the Waanje River, about 46km south of Bo. The project is part of an international highway of 103 km long including three bridges of which two are existing bridges and one is an entirely new bridge replacing a hand-pulled ferry. The project completes a missing link in the Trans-West African Coastal Highway.
The overall objective of the project is to reduce poverty through enhancement of the road and bridges network in Sierra Leone and in the West African region. The project enhances the social and economic development of the population by eliminating constraints to road transport and transportation costs.

Dr. Kaifala Marah, Minister of Finance and Economic Development thanked the European Union, adding: “This project is a continued demonstration of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s commitment to infrastructure development as well as the EU’s sustained support to our aspirations as a people.”
The project activities will include the construction of new paved road between Bandajuma to the Liberia Border, the construction of three (3) two-lane bridges over the Sewa, Moa and Waanje Rivers.

For further enquiries please contact: Sayoh Kamara, Head of Media and Public Relations, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Disunity has hindered growth of the Creoles in Sierra Leone

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

 

The Creoles of Sierra Leone are an interesting people. Their way of life seems to be the only context which accords identity to the people but in everything else they tend to exhibit bitter lines of discord and disunity.

For some, the blame rests with a colonial administration that gave false assurances of their supremacy when all power was being passed over to the political classes. For others, the blame sits with the avowed aversion to politics that the Creoles took, before and after independence because of its fluid nature, its transient authority and the propensity to wreck havoc on the lives of others, not forgetting the opportunity for violence and sudden death. It is no wonder that time passed them by and the present realities are of a people with a discordant voice, a disparate existence and a disengaged political reality.

titus boye thompson

 

Interestingly, the British had such lofty assessment of their future in this country that they made discriminatory laws that sought to withhold their rise to national dominance in the politics and governance of this nation. In that, is found the dichotomy of ridicule – the principle that even though they had the chance to dominate the landscape, the Creoles engaged in self harm and internecine struggles that left them cowered and encumbered by hatred and envy of each other. The popular adage that Creoles don’t like each other is given credence and to a point has been responsible for the demise of this once powerful group of people to have co-existed in the same place.

Against this background comes a country that developed its principal territory around the space occupied by these self destructing compatriots. That they failed to engage in the political realities around them was driven by a false hope on their part that those who so engage would wallow in self pity, not realizing that the encroachment into their way of life would have such telling consequences. In the event, even management of their very affairs is now subject to challenge from those who have come to join them in their space. One thing that some people fail to understand is the fact that the Creoles are the only peoples for whom the land they lay claim to was bought for that purpose. Freetown was paid for, more than twice in fact, by barter and then several times over by blood. The Creoles have had to fight battles of several variations to retain this place called the Western Area. They inhabited the most obscure of occasions just so that they self preserve but in the end are now being overrun by those land grabbing and searching for a stake-hold in the city. The squeeze has also come from the economical front as families are bought out by finance as an alternative to self destruction and the upsurge of avarice. Creoles would rather sell off land and property to rank outsiders than to a family member or even to another Creole. That being the least of their lows, better to sell to who you don’t know than to someone who will be wont to remind you of your loss at every opportunity.

It is no doubt that the future of this disparate yet powerful clan needs tangible assurances of security and a determination to allow for their full integration into the political landscape. One thing that is certain is that even though they have yielded to pressures of culture and economics, they remain the most powerful force in the economics of Freetown. They hold sway to some of the most valuable real estate in the city and are a better educated and skilled workforce as a group. Their voices are beginning to regain their tincture and a collective realization of their heritage is the basis for the emergence of “Krio Descendants Unions” (KDUs) of every hue across the World.
Krio being the language of the Creoles, it is significant that the KDUs have hinged their identity in terms of communication rather than by lineage. This opens the door for an amalgamation of the various types of peoples who see themselves as part and parcel of the Creole inheritance.

In the advancement of the Creole agenda, several issues come swiftly to mind. The first one for the Creoles is the process of contemplating the reality of their current aspirations in the definition of self. The second being how to restate their commitment to the political advancement of this space that they occupy and of this nation that we all hold so dear. A Creole Mayor of Freetown should be a matter of constancy and of legitimacy. To argue otherwise leaves the corollary argument of necessity that the Creoles should be made eligible to stand for and hold office without preconditions in any part of the country. The context of the management of Freetown as a local authority should be made a constitutional issue, just the same way as it is clear that a Temne cannot be made Chief over Mendes in Mende Land and even as was so forcefully determined that a Mende Bishop cannot hold church in Makeni, a Temne enclave. Some of these events threaten claims to legitimacy and hold back the advancement of modernity by promoting territory grabbing, disenfranchisement and exclusion.

Also of immediate concern should be the restrictions on land acquisition against the Creoles that exist in our law books. Such discriminatory laws are illogical and in effect unlawful and contradictory to a modern political and social dispensation and to the attributes and enjoyment of citizenship. In the event, the Creoles should be allowed to buy or secure land from anywhere in the country by a simple application to the Chief as custodians of traditional land.

Significantly, the representation of the people in this country calls for two sets of people at Parliament. One set are those voted for by the electorate and the other set are those selected by a cohort of their peers as traditional leaders. For all this while, no such representation from the second set have been allowed from the Creoles. Notwithstanding the fact that the Creoles are to be found in significant numbers in the Western Area’s two Districts of the country. This anomaly must be corrected by a constitutional amendment to allow for two representatives from the Creoles in these two districts to match the other twelve Districts and that these representatives be drawn from equivalent Creole cohorts. That the Creoles do not have Chiefs was always a lame argument because the Creoles have equivalent leaders in their communities. The Creole Agbas, Headmen, Master Masons etc are sufficient to serve in any capacity ascribed to securing their interests and for that matter, these people have done admirably well in keeping and maintaining Creole traditions and have shown a desire to evolve and survive by extending such traditions to other parts of the country through infusions.

The proposition therefore that the Creoles have to fight for space that is already bought is unacceptable. The adoption and propagation of discriminatory laws and edicts should be a matter of concern for all because any disparity in privileges can be inimical to a fair and equitable citizenship. One citizen must not be better off than another under our laws, For now, regrettably, that is the case.

‘Ebola must be stopped, and now ! !’–NATCOM Commissioner says in the Gambia

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

 

In a bid to contribute their own national quota to eradicate the deadly Ebola virus not only from Sierra Leone but the West African region as a whole, the National Telecommunications Company (NATCOM) in collaboration with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have organized a two day Regional Ministerial Consultative meeting in Freetown scheduled for August 26th and 27th 2015.

As a result of the above, NATCOM’s Commissioner Dr. George John Komba’Kono and Cooperate Secretary Salamatu Fonti’ Kanu are in The Gambia and Senegal to officially invite Health and Communications Ministers of both countries to attend this all important meeting in Sierra Leone.

AMBASSADOR-SOULAY-DARAMY-526-x-394

 

 

Speaking to Dr. Komba’Kono and Madam Fonti’Kanu in my office in Banjul, they explained that the regional meeting is on how to finally eradicate the Ebola virus. They added that the meeting will also include Health and Communications Ministers and Telecommunications Regulators in the African Region (Guinea, Liberia, Cote d’ Ivory, Ghana and beyond).

According to Dr. Kombo’Kono the meeting among others will discuss countries experiences in the management, prevention and control of the Ebola virus and further discuss the use of information and communications technologies in its prevention, management and control of the virus.

He further explained that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in collaboration with WHO will introduce experiences in the use of telecommunications technologies in the prevention and management of the Ebola virus and other epidemics in future. “The ITU and other Member countries and partners will also introduce the use of big DATA in detecting and controlling epidemics such as Ebola and other virus outbreak of public health importance” he informed.

The Commissioner and the Cooperate Secretary took the opportunity to register their gratitude to Ambassador Soulayman Daramy and Embassy Staff for hosting them and getting their contacts with the Gambian government. They also extended their best wishes to President Yayah Jammeh and his government.

BY:- Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr,

Information Attaché,

Embassy of Sierra Leone,