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Archive for July, 2015

Sierra Leone to improve quality of public finance management

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
28 Jul 15

Sierra Leone is developing plans, backed by international donors, to improve the quality of it public financial management as part of efforts to strengthen local governance and enhance budget planning.

Sierra Leone’s government has received a grant worth $28.5m from the World Bank, the European Union, the UK Department for International Development and the African Development Bank towards the costs of a new Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project (PFMICP).



But in order to access the funds the country needs to submit an application in the form of a Concept Note to the Economic Forum (TEF), an independent agent charged with overseeing the application.

The Concept Note will put forward ideas on how to improve PFM and will be reviewed by the TEF, which will provide recommendations for subsequent disbursements.

The Non-State Actor (NSA) secretariat in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) has been overseeing the Concept Note’s development and is appealing for ideas for inclusion.

George Lamin Vandi, who is managing the PFM project, said: “The project development objective is to improve budget planning and credibility, financial control, accountability and oversight in public finances in Sierra Leone.”

The deadline for submission of ideas for inclusion in the Concept Note is July 29.

What about SLAJ?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

What about SLAJ?


The Anti-Corruption Commission in Sierra Leone has been doing a very good job over the years although questions are being asked in some quarters as to how some people and institutions were not probed while others get the big stick.

I will not go into details about the numerous individuals and organizations that were not probed or charged to court in Sierra Leone probably due to lack of sufficient evidence. I m not referring here to government officials alone but also private individuals and organizations (in fact most of the corruption cases in the country involve private individuals as the recent Auditor-General report and Parliamentary report on Ebola funds indicates).

gibril-gbanabome-koroma (1)


ACC Commissioner Joseph Kamara is a man of integrity I have known for almost 20 years since he was working at the Law Officers Department in Freetown. I want to believe his carefully selected team are also men and women of integrity. So I have no doubts as to how they carry on their tasks but would appreciate it if they could tell the public both at home and abroad why certain cases are not pursued and why certain individuals and organizations are not investigated, because the public has a right to know these things since the ACC was created by an Act of Parliament, by the people’s representatives.

Many people are particularly interested in recent allegations in the Sierra Leone media that the executives of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) have questions to answer as to how funds meant to sensitize the public on the dreadful Ebola disease were managed and disbursed. I am talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars here, not peanuts.

This is a very serious life and death allegation that the ACC should investigate and report to the public. If the matter does not merit investigation, the ACC should say so and explain why. I understand the ACC works closely with journalists, not just SLAJ executive members some of whom own newspapers like the President Kelvin Lewis, and work at radio stations but this is beyond that kind of relationship and the ACC should rise above that and show strict impartiality in the way it does its work.

Parliament too should look into this matter and call up SLAJ to Parliament to answer some questions as it has been doing with many institutions and individuals lately. I know some politicians are terrified of journalists especially some local journalists who tend to shoot first and ask questions later, but this is a risk they have to take in the interest of impartiality and probity, two essential elements for good governance.

We will continue to monitor this issue until we get answers. What is good for the monkey should be good for the baboon as well.

‘Enemies of State’ Vandalize SLRTC Bus in Bo

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015


By Musa Kimbo
Reliable information reaching We Yone suggests some ill-will people have vandalized a Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation bus with registration number AKU 015 on the 27th July in Bo.
According to We Yone sources in Bo, the bus was parked at the Madam Toma Elias Park at about 8:00pm when a sudden smash was heard.
“On arrival at the park, we realized the back glass of the bus was smashed,’’ eye witnesses say.
The incident, many have speculated, came in the wake of the debacle over the procurement of the buses.
“Call it whatever the bottom line here is the buses have considerably relieved the transportation tension in this part of the country,’’ a commuter in Bo said.

vandalized bus

“It is my strongest conviction that it is only Sierra Leoneans who have the responsibility to make a change, we have to face our destiny and work towards it irrespective of party, ethic or tribal affiliations,’’ he admonished.
The habit of attacking state property is not only unpatriotic, but completely un-civilized and retrogressive, he added.
He continued to say, Sierra Leoneans should learn from the past that “brutality and vandalism will not do us any good’’.
“Let us face the future with open hearts and minds for the development and prosperity of this our beloved nation,’’ he concluded.
Other residents have called for a thorough investigation into the matter and that anybody found wanting should be jailed unconditionally.

More feathers to EBK’s cap: Obama commendation a massive victory for trailblazer

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Feathers will be in short supply at State House today as President Ernest Bai Koroma and the seat of power in Sierra Leone celebrate the massive victory the President won  in international politics and diplomacy  –The accolade coming once again from the Leader of the Free World, U.S. President Barack Obama, who yesterday named Sierra Leone as one of the short-list of countries in Africa where democracy has taken roots.



The cynics would be quick to point out that Sierra Leone is a sovereign nation and supporters of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) need not celebrate  every word that pours forth from the mouths of world leaders and international organizations as if we need authentication from them to make ourselves feel good that we are doing a marvelous job in governance.

They may be right. We do not need any affirmation from any world leader for us to feel good about ourselves  but the fact , dear cynic, is not that Obama  authenticated EBK. The fact indeed  is  that President Obama’s commendation, which reflects honorably on President Koroma , will not come as a surprise to any right-thinking Sierra Leonean  because the evidence has always been there to show that President Koroma is one of the most democratic leaders not only of Africa but the world. It is not  surprising news. But when you have a country where there there are hard-hearted opposition politicians and supporters , as well as unpatriotic elements and perpetual complainers and grumblers , who , despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary  , want to project a different national and international image of their President , Government and country, patriotic Sierra Leoneans cannot help but amplify these accolades whenever we receive them from world leaders and international monitoring institutions . That is the crux of the matter.President Obama”s statement overthrew all those who have been lying about President Koroma not being a democratic leader and how he violated the constitution when the Vice-President lost his job.

And again, let the point not be missed . It would not entirely be correct to say we do not need such affirmation of our democratic credentials by no less a man than the Leader of the Free world  because, come to think of it, we live in a globalized world where governance has been globalized with the world becoming one common global village and what happens anywhere is very central to the peace, well-being and prosperity of other nations in general. In this globalized governance architecture where what happens in Sierra Leone affects other countries , what Americans and international organizations feel about Sierra Leone is very important . Vise versa. Therefore, if we get commended for being democratic, it is a massive victory because it shows that we are contributing our quota well to make the world a better governed and peaceful place.

President Obama is the Leader of the Free World and the U.S. sets the pace and standard for the advancement of world governance and the principles, structures and actions that underpin lofty ideals like good governance, respect for democratic principles , the rule of law and human rights. Let us not be hypocritical and unreal. What the Leader of the Free World and America says about any country is very important and significant.

The commendation of Sierra Leone as one of the countries where democracy is gaining roots is a big boost for President Koroma .It is another victory for the President as it authenticates what the President himself, the pro-government media and reasonable Sierra Leoneans have been articulating that President Koroma is a model of democracy in Sierra Leone, Africa and the world. It is also a big victory because it lands a crushing blow on the phony group, the so-called Concerned Sierra Leoneans, who have been demonstrating and trying to lobby international opinion and goodwill against President Koroma.

What is most impressive is that in the same speech in which he praised Sierra Leone President Obama delivered some devastating attacks on African leaders for their tendencies to overstay their welcome, corruption and undemocratic governance. To then go ahead and single out Sierra Leone as one of the few countries where democracy is holding roots is a momentous victory for our Presidet and our nation.

The question that Sierra Leoneans would love to ask is,  ‘What happened to the rude demonstrations the self-styled Concerned Sierra Leoneans  staged at the White House, the World Bank and the UN to make the world feel that our President is not democratic and is a dictator  ?’  Did these unruly demonstrators achieve  their objectives against President Koroma  ? Did they  strike any chord with the international community and world leaders as was intended ? Were they believed ? The answers are a big NO ! ! ! Nobody apparently heard their message and nobody took them seriously. The evidence is compelling.

The British Government has been reiterating its commitment to continue working with President Koroma and the APC Government. The U.S. Government and other nations constituting the international community , our traditional development partners and stakeholders last month pledged MILLIONS OF DOLLARS  FOR SIERRA LEONE and renewed their commitment to the country at the International Post-Ebola Conference at the UN .  And to crown it all, U.S. President Obama has publicly commended Sierra Leone as one of the nations where democracy is taking roots. The world rather believed that President Koroma is democratic and in addition he is a transparent and accountable leader as many speakers said during last month’s UN Conference.

If you do not see anything worth celebrating here, with the kind of destructive elements we have calling themselves Sierra Leoneans , you need to see a shrink.

Hats off to President Koroma for another great victory over your detractors .

Hats off to Sierra Leone. We are getting there.

U.S. President Barack Obama names Sierra Leone as one of African countries where democracy has taken roots

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

    • Obama in Ethiopia
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the African Union in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, July 28, 2015. Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a keynote speech Tuesday at African Union headquarters in Mandela Hall in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. It was the first time a sitting American president addressed the 54-member continental bloc, and the historic speech marked the end of Obama’s five-day, two-nation tour of East Africa.

The full text of Tuesday’s remarks, provided by the U.S. Embassy, follows below:

 Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Madam Chairwoman, thank you so much for your kind words and your leadership. To Prime Minister Hailemariam, and the people of Ethiopia — once again, thank you for your wonderful hospitality and for hosting this pan-African institution. (Applause.) To members of the African Union, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen — thank you for welcoming me here today. It is a great honor to be the first President of the United States to address the African Union. (Applause.)

I’m grateful for this opportunity to speak to the representatives of more than one billion people of the great African continent. (Applause.) We’re joined today by citizens, by leaders of civil society, by faith communities, and I’m especially pleased to see so many young people who embody the energy and optimism of today’s Africa. Hello! Thank you for being here. (Applause.)

I stand before you as a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of an African. (Applause.) Africa and its people helped to shape America and allowed it to become the great nation that it is. And Africa and its people have helped shape who I am and how I see the world. In the villages in Kenya where my father was born, I learned of my ancestors, and the life of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, the bonds of family that connect us all as Africans and Americans.

As parents, Michelle and I want to make sure that our two daughters know their heritage — European and African, in all of its strengths and all of its struggle. So we’ve taken our daughters and stood with them on the shores of West Africa, in those doors of no return, mindful that their ancestors were both slaves and slave owners. We’ve stood with them in that small cell on Robben Island where Madiba showed the world that, no matter the nature of his physical confinement, he alone was the master of his fate. (Applause.) For us, for our children, Africa and its people teach us a powerful lesson — that we must uphold the inherent dignity of every human being.

Dignity — that basic idea that by virtue of our common humanity, no matter where we come from, or what we look like, we are all born equal, touched by the grace of God. (Applause.) Every person has worth. Every person matters. Every person deserves to be treated with decency and respect. Throughout much of history, mankind did not see this. Dignity was seen as a virtue reserved to those of rank and privilege, kings and elders. It took a revolution of the spirit, over many centuries, to open our eyes to the dignity of every person. And around the world, generations have struggled to put this idea into practice in laws and in institutions.

So, too, here in Africa. This is the cradle of humanity, and ancient African kingdoms were home to great libraries and universities. But the evil of slavery took root not only abroad, but here on the continent. Colonialism skewed Africa’s economy and robbed people of their capacity to shape their own destiny. Eventually, liberation movements grew. And 50 years ago, in a great burst of self-determination, Africans rejoiced as foreign flags came down and your national flags went up. (Applause.) As South Africa’s Albert Luthuli said at the time, “the basis for peace and brotherhood in Africa is being restored by the resurrection of national sovereignty and independence, of equality and the dignity of man.

Africa2U.S. President Barack Obama greets African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the end of his remarks at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 28, 2015.  Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

A half-century into this independence era, it is long past time to put aside old stereotypes of an Africa forever mired in poverty and conflict. The world must recognize Africa’s extraordinary progress. Today, Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Africa’s middle class is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers. (Applause.) With hundreds of millions of mobile phones, surging access to the Internet, Africans are beginning to leapfrog old technologies into new prosperity. Africa is on the move, a new Africa is emerging.

Propelled by this progress, and in partnership with the world, Africa has achieved historic gains in health. The rate of new HIV/AIDS infections has plummeted. African mothers are more likely to survive childbirth and have healthy babies. Deaths from malaria have been slashed, saving the lives of millions of African children. Millions have been lifted from extreme poverty. Africa has led the world in sending more children to school. In other words, more and more African men, women and children are living with dignity and with hope. (Applause.)

And Africa’s progress can also be seen in the institutions that bring us together today. When I first came to Sub-Saharan Africa as a President, I said that Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions. (Applause.) And one of those institutions can be the African Union. Here, you can come together, with a shared commitment to human dignity and development. Here, your 54 nations pursue a common vision of an ‘integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.’

As Africa changes, I’ve called on the world to change its approach to Africa. (Applause.) So many Africans have told me, we don’t want just aid, we want trade that fuels progress. We don’t want patrons, we want partners who help us build our own capacity to grow. (Applause.) We don’t want the indignity of dependence, we want to make our own choices and determine our own future.

As President, I’ve worked to transform America’s relationship with Africa — so that we’re truly listening to our African friends and working together, as equal partners. And I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made. We’ve boosted American exports to this region, part of trade that supports jobs for Africans and Americans. To sustain our momentum — and with the bipartisan support of some of the outstanding members of Congress who are here today — 20 of them who are here today — I recently signed the 10-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. (Applause.) And I want to thank them all. Why don’t they stand very briefly so you can see them, because they’ve done outstanding work. (Applause.)

We’ve launched major initiatives to promote food security, and public health and access to electricity, and to prepare the next generation of African leaders and entrepreneurs — investments that will help fuel Africa’s rise for decades to come. Last year, as the Chairwoman noted, I welcomed nearly 50 African presidents and prime ministers to Washington so we could begin a new chapter of cooperation. And by coming to the African Union today, I’m looking to build on that commitment.

I believe Africa’s rise is not just important for Africa, it’s important to the entire world. We will not be able to meet the challenges of our time — from ensuring a strong global economy to facing down violent extremism, to combating climate change, to ending hunger and extreme poverty — without the voices and contributions of one billion Africans. (Applause.)

Now, even with Africa’s impressive progress, we must acknowledge that many of these gains rest on a fragile foundation. Alongside new wealth, hundreds of millions of Africans still endure extreme poverty. Alongside high-tech hubs of innovation, many Africans are crowded into shantytowns without power or running water — a level of poverty that’s an assault on human dignity.

Moreover, as the youngest and fastest-growing continent, Africa’s population in the coming decades will double to some two billion people, and many of them will be young, under 18. Now, on the one hand, this could bring tremendous opportunities as these young Africans harness new technologies and ignite new growth and reforms. Economists will tell you that countries, regions, continents grow faster with younger populations. It’s a demographic edge and advantage — but only if those young people are being trained. We need only to look at the Middle East and North Africa to see that large numbers of young people with no jobs and stifled voices can fuel instability and disorder.

Africa3Delegates react to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 28, 2015. Obama became the first U.S. president to address the 54-nation body.   Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

I suggest to you that the most urgent task facing Africa today and for decades ahead is to create opportunity for this next generation. (Applause.) And this will be an enormous undertaking. Africa will need to generate millions more jobs than it’s doing right now. And time is of the essence. The choices made today will shape the trajectory of Africa, and therefore, the world for decades to come. And as your partner and your friend, allow me to suggest several ways that we can meet this challenge together.

Africa’s progress will depend on unleashing economic growth — not just for the few at the top, but for the many, because an essential element of dignity is being able to live a decent life. (Applause.) That begins with a job. And that requires trade and investment.

Many of your nations have made important reforms to attract investment — it’s been a spark for growth. But in many places across Africa, it’s still too hard to start a venture, still too hard to build a business. Governments that take additional reforms to make doing business easier will have an eager partner in the United States. (Applause.)

And that includes reforms to help Africa trade more with itself — as the Chairwoman and I discussed before we came out here today — because the biggest markets for your goods are often right next door. You don’t have to just look overseas for growth, you can look internally. And our work to help Africa modernize customs and border crossings started with the East African Community — now we’re expanding our efforts across the continent, because it shouldn’t be harder for African countries to trade with each other than it is for you to trade with Europe and America. (Applause.)

Now, most U.S. trade with the region is with just three countries — South Africa, Nigeria and Angola — and much of that is in the form of energy. I want Africans and Americans doing more business together in more sectors, in more countries. So we’re increasing trade missions to places like Tanzania, Ethiopia Mozambique. We’re working to help more Africans get their goods to market. Next year, we’ll host another U.S.-Africa Business Forum to mobilize billions of dollars in new trade and investment — so we’re buying more of each other’s products and all growing together.

Now, the United States isn’t the only country that sees your growth as an opportunity. And that is a good thing. When more countries invest responsibly in Africa, it creates more jobs and prosperity for us all. So I want to encourage everybody to do business with Africa, and African countries should want to do business with every country. But economic relationships can’t simply be about building countries’ infrastructure with foreign labor or extracting Africa’s natural resources. Real economic partnerships have to be a good deal for Africa — they have to create jobs and capacity for Africans. (Applause.)

And that includes the point that Chairwoman Zuma made about illicit flows with multinationals — which is one of the reasons that we’ve been a leading advocate, working with the G7, to assist in making sure that there’s honest accounting when businesses are investing here in Africa, and making sure that capital flows are properly accounted for. That’s the kind of partnership America offers.

Nothing will unlock Africa’s economic potential more than ending the cancer of corruption. (Applause.) And you are right that it is not just a problem of Africa, it is a problem of those who do business with Africa. It is not unique to Africa — corruption exists all over the world, including in the United States. But here in Africa, corruption drains billions of dollars from economies that can’t afford to lose billions of dollars — that’s money that could be used to create jobs and build hospitals and schools. And when someone has to pay a bribe just to start a business or go to school, or get an official to do the job they’re supposed to be doing anyway — that’s not ‘the African way.’ (Applause.) It undermines the dignity of the people you represent.

Only Africans can end corruption in their countries. As African governments commit to taking action, the United States will work with you to combat illicit financing, and promote good governance and transparency and rule of law. And we already have strong laws in place that say to U.S. companies, you can’t engage in bribery to try to get business — which not all countries have. And we actually enforce it and police it.

And let me add that criminal networks are both fueling corruption and threatening Africa’s precious wildlife — and with it, the tourism that many African economies count on. So America also stands with you in the fight against wildlife trafficking. That’s something that has to be addressed. (Applause.)

But, ultimately, the most powerful antidote to the old ways of doing things is this new generation of African youth. History shows that the nations that do best are the ones that invest in the education of their people. (Applause.) You see, in this information age, jobs can flow anywhere, and they typically will flow to where workers are literate and highly skilled and online. And Africa’s young people are ready to compete. I’ve met them — they are hungry, they are eager. They’re willing to work hard. So we’ve got to invest in them. As Africa invests in education, our entrepreneurship programs are helping innovators start new businesses and create jobs right here in Africa. And the men and women in our Young African Leaders Initiative today will be the leaders who can transform business and civil society and governments tomorrow.

Africa’s progress will depend on development that truly lifts countries from poverty to prosperity — because people everywhere deserve the dignity of a life free from want. A child born in Africa today is just as equal and just as worthy as a child born in Asia or Europe or America. At the recent development conference here in Addis, African leadership helped forge a new global compact for financing that fuels development. And under the AU’s leadership, the voice of a united Africa will help shape the world’s next set of development goals, and you’re pursuing a vision of the future that you want for Africa.

And America’s approach to development — the central focus of our engagement with Africa — is focused on helping you build your own capacity to realize that vision. Instead of just shipping food aid to Africa, we’ve helped more than two million farmers use new techniques to boost their yields, feed more people, reduce hunger. With our new alliance of government and the private sector investing billions of dollars in African agriculture, I believe we can achieve our goal and lift 50 million Africans from poverty.

Instead of just sending aid to build power plants, our Power Africa initiative is mobilizing billions of dollars in investments from governments and businesses to reduce the number of Africans living without electricity. Now, an undertaking of this magnitude will not be quick. It will take many years. But working together, I believe we can bring electricity to more than 60 million African homes and businesses and connect more Africans to the global economy. (Applause.)

Instead of just telling Africa, you’re on your own, in dealing with climate change, we’re delivering new tools and financing to more than 40 African nations to help them prepare and adapt. By harnessing the wind and sun, your vast geothermal energy and rivers for hydropower, you can turn this climate threat into an economic opportunity. And I urge Africa to join us in rejecting old divides between North and South so we can forge a strong global climate agreement this year in Paris. Because sparing some of the world’s poorest people from rising seas, more intense droughts, shortages of water and food is a matter of survival and a matter of human dignity.

Instead of just sending medicine, we’re investing in better treatments and helping Africa prevent and treat diseases. As the United States continues to provide billions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and as your countries take greater ownership of health programs, we’re moving toward a historic accomplishment — the first AIDS-free generation. (Applause.) And if the world learned anything from Ebola, it’s that the best way to prevent epidemics is to build strong public health systems that stop diseases from spreading in the first place. So America is proud to partner with the AU and African countries in this mission. Today, I can announce that of the $1 billion that the United States is devoting to this work globally, half will support efforts here in Africa. (Applause.)

I believe Africa’s progress will also depend on democracy, because Africans, like people everywhere, deserve the dignity of being in control of their own lives. (Applause.) We all know what the ingredients of real democracy are. They include free and fair elections, but also freedom of speech and the press, freedom of assembly. These rights are universal. They’re written into African constitutions. (Applause.) The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights declares that “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being.” From Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, to Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, democracy has taken root. In Nigeria, more than 28 million voters bravely cast their ballots and power transferred as it should — peacefully. (Applause.)

Yet at this very moment, these same freedoms are denied to many Africans. And I have to proclaim, democracy is not just formal elections. (Applause.) When journalists are put behind bars for doing their jobs, or activists are threatened as governments crack down on civil society — (applause) — then you may have democracy in name, but not in substance. (Applause.) And I’m convinced that nations cannot realize the full promise of independence until they fully protect the rights of their people.

And this is true even for countries that have made important democratic progress. As I indicated during my visit to Kenya, the remarkable gains that country has made with a new constitution, with its election, cannot be jeopardized by restrictions on civil society. Likewise, our host, Ethiopians have much to be proud of — I’ve been amazed at all the wonderful work that’s being done here — and it’s true that the elections that took place here occurred without violence. But as I discussed with Prime Minister Hailemariam, that’s just the start of democracy. I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can’t participate in the campaign process. And, to his credit, the Prime Minister acknowledged that more work will need to be done for Ethiopia to be a full-fledged, sustainable democracy. (Applause.)

So these are conversations we have to have as friends. Our American democracy is not perfect. We’ve worked for many years — (applause) — but one thing we do is we continually reexamine to figure out how can we make our democracy better. And that’s a force of strength for us, being willing to look and see honestly what we need to be doing to fulfill the promise of our founding documents.

And every country has to go through that process. No country is perfect, but we have to be honest, and strive to expand freedoms, to broaden democracy. The bottom line is that when citizens cannot exercise their rights, the world has a responsibility to speak out. And America will, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable — (applause) — even when it’s sometimes directed toward our friends.

And I know that there’s some countries that don’t say anything — (laughter) — and maybe that’s easier for leaders to deal with. (Laughter.) But you’re kind of stuck with us — this is how we are. (Applause.) We believe in these things and we’re going to keep on talking about them.

And I want to repeat, we do this not because we think our democracy is perfect, or we think that every country has to follow precisely our path. For more than two centuries since our independence, we’re still working on perfecting our union. We’re not immune from criticism. When we fall short of our ideals, we strive to do better. (Applause.) But when we speak out for our principles, at home and abroad, we stay true to our values and we help lift up the lives of people beyond our borders. And we think that’s important. And it’s especially important, I believe, for those of us of African descent, because we’ve known what it feels like to be on the receiving end of injustice. We know what it means to be discriminated against. (Applause.) We know what it means to be jailed. So how can we stand by when it’s happening to somebody else?

I’ll be frank with you, it can’t just be America that’s talking about these things. Fellow African countries have to talk about these things. (Applause.) Just as other countries championed your break from colonialism, our nations must all raise our voices when universal rights are being denied. For if we truly believe that Africans are equal in dignity, then Africans have an equal right to freedoms that are universal — that’s a principle we all have to defend. (Applause.) And it’s not just a Western idea; it’s a human idea.

I have to also say that Africa’s democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end. (Applause.) Now, let me be honest with you — I do not understand this. (Laughter.) I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again. (Laughter and applause.) I can’t run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good President — I think if I ran I could win. (Laughter and applause.) But I can’t.

So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law. (Applause.) And no one person is above the law. Not even the President. (Applause.) And I’ll be honest with you — I’m looking forward to life after being President. (Laughter.) I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. (Laughter.) It means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often. (Applause.) The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. (Laughter.) Especially when they’ve got a lot of money. (Laughter and applause.)

When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi. (Applause.) And this is often just a first step down a perilous path. And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. (Laughter.) If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation. (Applause.)

You look at Nelson Mandela — Madiba, like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully. (Applause.) And just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions. (Applause.) Nobody should be president for life.

And your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. (Applause.) I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. (Applause.) It will be good for yours, too, in some cases.

Africa’s progress will also depend on security and peace — because an essential part of human dignity is being safe and free from fear. In Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, we’ve seen conflicts end and countries work to rebuild. But from Somalia and Nigeria to Mali and Tunisia, terrorists continue to target innocent civilians. Many of these groups claim the banner of religion, but hundreds of millions of African Muslims know that Islam means peace. (Applause.) And we must call groups like al Qaeda, ISIL, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram — we must call them what they are — murderers. (Applause.)

In the face of threats, Africa — and the African Union –has shown leadership. Because of the AU force in Somalia, al-Shabaab controls less territory and the Somali government is growing stronger. In central Africa, the AU-led mission continues to degrade the Lord’s Resistance Army. In the Lake Chad Basin, forces from several nations — with the backing of the AU — are fighting to end Boko Haram’s senseless brutality. And today, we salute all those who serve to protect the innocent, including so many brave African peacekeepers.

Now, as Africa stands against terror and conflict, I want you to know that the United States stands with you. With training and support, we’re helping African forces grow stronger. The United States is supporting the AU’s efforts to strengthen peacekeeping, and we’re working with countries in the region to deal with emerging crises with the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership.

The world must do more to help as well. This fall at the United Nations, I will host a summit to secure new commitments to strengthen international support for peacekeeping, including here in Africa. And building on commitments that originated here in the AU, we’ll work to develop a new partnership between the U.N. and the AU that can provide reliable support for AU peace operations. If African governments and international partners step up with strong support, we can transform how we work together to promote security and peace in Africa.

Our efforts to ensure our shared security must be matched by a commitment to improve governance. Those things are connected. Good governance is one of the best weapons against terrorism and instability. Our fight against terrorist groups, for example, will never be won if we fail to address legitimate grievances that terrorists may try to exploit, if we don’t build trust with all communities, if we don’t uphold the rule of law. There’s a saying, and I believe it is true — if we sacrifice liberty in the name of security, we risk losing both. (Applause.)

This same seriousness of purpose is needed to end conflicts. In the Central African Republic, the spirit of dialogue recently shown by ordinary citizens must be matched by leaders committed to inclusive elections and a peaceful transition. In Mali, the comprehensive peace agreement must be fulfilled. And leaders in Sudan must know their nation will never truly thrive so long as they wage war against their own people — the world will not forget about Darfur.

In South Sudan, the joy of independence has descended into the despair of violence. I was there at the United Nations when we held up South Sudan as the promise of a new beginning. And neither Mr. Kiir, nor Mr. Machar have shown, so far, any interest in sparing their people from this suffering, or reaching a political solution.

Yesterday, I met with leaders from this region. We agree that, given the current situation, Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar must reach an agreement by August 17th — because if they do not, I believe the international community must raise the costs of intransigence. And the world awaits the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry, because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace in Africa’s youngest nation. (Applause.)

Africa1Delegates depart after remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 28, 2015.  Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

And finally, Africa’s progress will depend on upholding the human rights of all people — for if each of us is to be treated with dignity, each of us must be sure to also extend that same dignity to others. As President, I make it a point to meet with many of our Young African Leaders. And one was a young man from Senegal. He said something wonderful about being together with so many of his African brothers and sisters. He said, ‘Here, I have met Africa, the [Africa] I’ve always believed in. She’s beautiful. She’s young. She’s full of talent and motivation and ambition.’ I agree.

Africa is the beautiful, talented daughters who are just as capable as Africa’s sons. (Applause.) And as a father, I believe that my two daughters have to have the same chance to pursue their dreams as anybody’s son — and that same thing holds true for girls here in Africa. (Applause.) Our girls have to be treated the same.

We can’t let old traditions stand in the way. The march of history shows that we have the capacity to broaden our moral imaginations. We come to see that some traditions are good for us, they keep us grounded, but that, in our modern world, other traditions set us back. When African girls are subjected to the mutilation of their bodies, or forced into marriage at the ages of 9 or 10 or 11 — that sets us back. That’s not a good tradition. It needs to end. (Applause.)

When more than 80 percent of new HIV cases in the hardest-hit countries are teenage girls, that’s a tragedy; that sets us back. So America is beginning a partnership with 10 African countries — Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe — to keep teenage girls safe and AIDS-free. (Applause.) And when girls cannot go to school and grow up not knowing how to read or write — that denies the world future women engineers, future women doctors, future women business owners, future women presidents — that sets us all back. (Applause.) That’s a bad tradition — not providing our girls the same education as our sons.

I was saying in Kenya, nobody would put out a football team and then just play half the team. You’d lose. (Applause.) The same is true when it comes to getting everybody and education. You can’t leave half the team off — our young women. So as part of America’s support for the education and the health of our daughters, my wife, Michelle, is helping to lead a global campaign, including a new effort in Tanzania and Malawi, with a simple message — Let Girls Learn — let girls learn so they grow up healthy and they grow up strong. (Applause.) And that will be good for families. And they will raise smart, healthy children, and that will be good for every one of your nations.

Africa is the beautiful, strong women that these girls grow up to become. The single best indicator of whether a nation will succeed is how it treats its women. (Applause.) When women have health care and women have education, families are stronger, communities are more prosperous, children do better in school, nations are more prosperous. Look at the amazing African women here in this hall. (Applause.) If you want your country to grow and succeed, you have to empower your women. And if you want to empower more women, America will be your partner. (Applause.)

Let’s work together to stop sexual assault and domestic violence. Let’s make clear that we will not tolerate rape as a weapon of war — it’s a crime. (Applause.) And those who commit it must be punished. Let’s lift up the next generation of women leaders who can help fight injustice and forge peace and start new businesses and create jobs — and some might hire some men, too. (Laughter.) We’ll all be better off when women have equal futures.

And Africa is the beautiful tapestry of your cultures and ethnicities and races and religions. Last night, we saw this amazing dance troupe made up of street children who had formed a dance troupe and they performed for the Prime Minister and myself. And there were 80 different languages and I don’t know how many ethnic groups. And there were like 30 different dances that were being done. And the Prime Minister was trying to keep up with — okay, I think that one is — (laughter) — and they were moving fast. And that diversity here in Ethiopia is representative of diversity all throughout Africa. (Applause.) And that’s a strength.

Now, yesterday, I had the privilege to view Lucy — you may know Lucy — she’s our ancestor, more than 3 million years old. (Applause.) In this tree of humanity, with all of our branches and diversity, we all go back to the same root. We’re all one family — we’re all one tribe. And yet so much of the suffering in our world stems from our failure to remember that — to not recognize ourselves in each other. (Applause.)

We think because somebody’s skin is slightly different, or their hair is slightly different, or their religious faith is differently expressed, or they speak a different language that it justifies somehow us treating them with less dignity. And that becomes the source of so many of our problems. And we think somehow that we make ourselves better by putting other people down. And that becomes the source of so many of our problems. When we begin to see other as somehow less than ourselves — when we succumb to these artificial divisions of faith or sect or tribe or ethnicity — then even the most awful abuses are justified in the minds of those who are thinking in those ways. And in the end, abusers lose their own humanity, as well. (Applause.)

Nelson Mandela taught us, ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.’

Every one of us is equal. Every one of us has worth. Every one of us matters. And when we respect the freedom of others — no matter the color of their skin, or how they pray or who they are or who they love — we are all more free. (Applause.) Your dignity depends on my dignity, and my dignity depends on yours. Imagine if everyone had that spirit in their hearts. Imagine if governments operated that way. (Applause.) Just imagine what the world could look like — the future that we could bequeath these young people.

Yes, in our world, old thinking can be a stubborn thing. That’s one of the reasons why we need term limits — old people think old ways. And you can see my grey hair, I’m getting old. (Laughter.) The old ways can be stubborn. But I believe the human heart is stronger. I believe hearts can change. I believe minds can open. That’s how change happens. That’s how societies move forward. It’s not always a straight line — step by halting step — sometimes you go forward, you move back a little bit. But I believe we are marching, we are pointing towards ideals of justice and equality.

That’s how your nations won independence — not just with rifles, but with principles and ideals. (Applause.) That’s how African Americans won our civil rights. That’s how South Africans — black and white — tore down apartheid. That’s why I can stand before you today as the first African American President of the United States. (Applause.)

New thinking. Unleashing growth that creates opportunity. Promoting development that lifts all people out of poverty. Supporting democracy that gives citizens their say. Advancing the security and justice that delivers peace. Respecting the human rights of all people. These are the keys to progress — not just in Africa, but around the world. And this is the work that we can do together.

And I am hopeful. As I prepare to return home, my thoughts are with that same young man from Senegal, who said: Here, I have met Africa, the [Africa] I’ve always believed in. She’s beautiful and young, full of talent and motivation and ambition. To which I would simply add, as you build the Africa you believe in, you will have no better partner, no better friend than the United States of America. (Applause.)

God bless Africa. God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)


EXCLUSIVE : Embattled Kandeh Yumkella may be forced by SLPP to form a new political party to contest 2018 Presidential Elections

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

A Dr. Kandeh Yumkella insider, speaking to COCORIOKO on strict anonymity , has told this newspaper that the former UN diplomat may have to quit the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party to form his own political party ahead of the forthcoming 2018 elections in Sierra Leone. The man , who strongly advised that his real name be not used,  ruled out any possibility of Dr.Yumkella playing second fiddle to the SLPP “Pa-O-Pa”  2012 Presidential candidate, former dictator, Brig. Julius Maada Bio “or any of the jokers aspiring to lead the party “.



The informant stated that Dr. Yumkella is goaded by no other ambition beyond serving his motherland, but he confessed that his man was very disappointed with the shennenigans within the opposition SLPP, bordering on tribalism, hero worship and the politics of exclusion. The insider predicted a political cataclysm within the SLPP over the issue of a flagbearer for 2018 and warned that the opposition outfit was just about to hand victory on a silver platter  to the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) in 2018, because, according to him, neither Mr. Bio nor Mr. John Benjamin or other contestants  are capable of winning enough votes to unseat the APC.

The anonymous insider told Cocorioko that Dr. Yumkella was seriously displeased with the efforts by the SLPP  to cast him as an interloper when , according to him, the prospective presidential candidate was born and bred in the SLPP, his father, the late Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Yumkella II of Samu Chiefdom , Kambia District, was one of the founding fathers of the SLPP. Seeming very agitated, the man asked : “What is this big deal about Dr. Yumkella having to show a genuine registration card ?  What is so important about the registration card ? A card is just an ordinary paper. It shows nothing ! ! ! Dr. Yumkella is SLPP by birth .It is like asking a child of the late President Siaka Stevens to produce a card to show that he is APC. Total nonsense.  ”



The angry insider also disclosed that some arch-tribalists within the SLPP  are kicking against Dr. Yumkella’s candidacy because they are arguing that no ethnic Mende citizen had ever been President of Sierra Leone and therefore they will not allow another Northerner to be an SLPP President.

He believes that the registration is being used as an alibi by pro-Maada Bio partisans and those wielding the tribal card to disqualify Yumkella from being the SLPP  flagbearer in 2018. If what this man told Cocorioko is true, the SLPP  are about to commit a serious violation of the tenets of democracy. According to him, Yumkella will be told that he is a newly registered member and thus unqualified to be a flagbearer . The informant asked rhetorically where that condition is enshrined in the SLPP  constitution.

But hardliners within the SLPP  differ from this position held by supporters of Kandeh Yumkella. One Mohamed Bangura, writing in the social media, made the position of the party clear :  “To join the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, (SLPP) all one must do is to register at the constituency level, the district level, the provincial level, or the national level. Nothing is said about  heritage or inheritance of positions in the constitution, because everyone must work within the party to earn his or her record. While a family name will earn one the recognitom in a party, it takes your own personal hard work in a party to achieve a leadership position. The exception is sometimes relevant only in communist political perties. The (SLPP) is not a comunist party, therefore cannot meet your ( Kandeh Yumkella’s ) requirement”.

Dr. John Karimu, a leading member of the SLPP , also disagrees with the Yumkella stance and has in fact injected his own condition—Past sacrifice and contribution to the party. “My view on Dr Yumkella’s tribute to our late President Kabbah: While there is some merit in paying tribute to past heroes, I am more interested in Dr Yumkella and outlining in detail his own personal contributions and work for the party which his late dad contributed to establishing and building up. Making SLPP members aware of what he personally has contributed to the party may go a long way to helping him realize his ambition to be the fb of the party we are so proud of. It is bcos some of us so strongly believe in the SLPP that is why we have in the past and even NOW contributed so much of our hard earned money and valuable time to its survival. Anybody who requires an independent proof of my resource and other contributions to the SLPP can cross check with our former National Secretary General, J J Saffa…… Let our aspirants now focus on educating us about what they have done to demonstrate loyalty and commitment to the good old SLPP.” 

The conflict between Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and the SLPP  was exacerbated during a sensitization rally he organized in the United Kingdom last weekend .The rally has further divided cadres of the party and created more intra-party schisms with social media commentators claiming that SLPP UK /Ireland supporters shunned Dr. Yumkella, while others disputed the story. In fact, according to reports from independent witnesses, the rally was jampacked by SLPP faithfuls .

During that rally, Dr. Yumkella made the following cryptic statement :

“SLPP is not a party of exclusion. It is a party of inclusion. It gave you your national motto and it gave you independence. They built the unity house. They gave you the slogan ‘One country, one people’. So as I enter the political arena now, I say: Country first. But we live in an era where each party is becoming a party of exclusion. People like to exclude others. People are determined to intimidate others. People are determined to humiliate and abuse others. But we must say NO. And we must say …..HELL NO. We will resist – we will go back to the core values of inclusion, unity and justice. And that is what you – the SLPP Manchester Chapter have demonstrated today. ”

If Dr. Kandeh Yumkella leaves the SLPP , some supporters fear a repeat of the 2007 scenerio when Lawyer Charles Margai resigned to form the People’s Movement For Democratic Change ( PMDC ) ,which split the votes in the traditional SLPP  strongholds and was one of the reasons for the defeat of the SLPP  at the polls.


A group, which styles itself as Kandeh Yumkela Core Supporters has condemned “the systematic marginalisation” of their”aresto”, candidate Kandeh Yumkela, in the affairs of the Sierra Leone’s Peoples party(SLPP).

In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Mr Gabrila Sesay, the group warned that any further ill-treatment of its leader, (Yumkela), might force its members to reconsider their place in the SLPP party.

The statement reads: “We, the entire membership and supporters of the KKY Movement have watched with great interest and disappointment, the unfolding events in our great party, the Sierra Leone’s Peoples party(SLPP), in recent times, and wish to condemn the systematic marginalisation of our Leader, Dr.Kandeh Yumkela, in the affairs of SLPP.
“The most recent in the long list of injustice and humiliation meted out to Dr Yumkela, a man who has given everything, be it funding, courage and visibility to our party, SLPP, even at the risk of making himself unpopular amongst his own kith and kin.
“It is quite obvious that Dr. Yumkela would be a better choice with promises of bringing in votes from the North plus other logistics support ever so needed in executing what promises to be a very herculean campaign to unseat the APC in 2018.
“But those intent on destroying our party and all the hard work already put in by selling out as usual to the APC, have closed their eyes to the reality on the ground and the huge advantages that Dr. Yumkela brings to the table.

“We are therefore calling on Madda Bio and the leadership of SLPP to stop this serial attack and insults on our Leader, Dr. Yumkela. We warn that those seeing SLPP as their personal property are gradually pushing us to the wall and we hope they understand the implications of the continuous shabby treatment of Dr. Yumkela and his numerous supporters.
“Let it be known that any further ill-treatment of our Leader, Dr. Yumkela, may force us to reconsider our place in the SLPP. We know where we came from to join SLPP and those who think we do not matter may just be in for a surprise. Enough is enough!”

President Koroma Launches Battle against Ebola

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Freetown, Jul. 24, 015 (MOHS) – President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has said that the resilient strides of the health workers contributed immensely in getting the country into zero Ebola cases.



President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma making his launching address

Speaking at the launching ceremony of his six to nine months Post Ebola Recovery Priorities at the Miatta Conference

Speaking at the launching ceremony of his six to nine months Post Ebola Recovery Priorities at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown, President Koroma lauded the health workers for being resilient and for ensuring the Ebola virus disease stays defeated and encouraged them to continue to be more vigilant, making Sierra Leone a total Ebola free country.

Cross section of the audience

He reminded his audience about the Ebola tragedy during the outbreak in 2014, which he said brought about the death of over 3,000 compatriots, leaving the country’s economy in a shamble.

President Koroma applauded the progress made at the Hastings Police Training School Ebola Treatment Centre for registering the highest survivors and restore hope.

His priorities he said focuses on the health sector, social protection, education and the private sector with a view to restoring Sierra Leone to the path leading to the Agenda for Prosperity. Water and Energy, Economic diversification and job creation, President Koroma said are also key priorities within the mandate of his programme for economic growth, transparency and accountability.

Commenting on the pledges made for Sierra Leone, the President said $804.2 million was slated for the country, $1.7 billion for the Mano River Union (MRU) and a total of $3.4 billion for the region. He called on government functionaries and donor partners to give the recovery plan his desired support for its successful implementation.

The Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Saidu Conton Sesay in his presentation said a strong delivery approach is required if

Centre in Freetown, President Koroma lauded the health workers for being resilient and for ensuring the Ebola virus disease stays defeated and encouraged them to continue to be more vigilant, making Sierra Leone a total Ebola free country.

Cross section of the audience

He reminded his audience about the Ebola tragedy during the outbreak in 2014, which he said brought about the death of over 3,000 compatriots, leaving the country’s economy in a shamble.

President Koroma applauded the progress made at the Hastings Police Training School Ebola Treatment Centre for registering the highest survivors and restore hope.

His priorities he said focuses on the health sector, social protection, education and the private sector with a view to restoring Sierra Leone to the path leading to the Agenda for Prosperity. Water and Energy, Economic diversification and job creation, President Koroma said are also key priorities within the mandate of his programme for economic growth, transparency and accountability.

Commenting on the pledges made for Sierra Leone, the President said $804.2 million was slated for the country, $1.7 billion for the Mano River Union (MRU) and a total of $3.4 billion for the region. He called on government functionaries and donor partners to give the recovery plan his desired support for its successful implementation.

The Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Saidu Conton Sesay in his presentation said a strong delivery approach is required if we are to achieve our goal as a nation.

Chief of Staff Saidu Conton Sesay making his presentation

He said after the nine months, lessons learnt would be articulated into positive action for the sustainability of the recovery plan, adding that coordinators would have to track progress with a view to solving problems encountered.

Mr. Conton Sesay told his audience that there would be smooth flow of information, coordination of resources and decentralization at district level, targeting the 14 districts.

He disclosed that plans are underway for a district tour to improve delivery in every part of the country and to dedicate the Recovery priorities for commitment and total support.


The World Bank Representative, Mr. Atto Brown described the launching of the President’s priorities as that which needs celebration noting that the Ebola outbreak was a threat to human lives and the development of the country.

World Bank Representative Atto Brown

The fight, he told his audience, is not yet over and that the path to recovery is yet a marathon race, and not going to be easy. The initiative he said needs vigorous start with strategy to restore water supply in Freetown, access to finance and giving the private sector a better footing. Mr. Brown reiterated that he is optimistic that by putting the private sector at the centre stage, making a positive change in the perception of corruption, bringing on board partnership with the government, civil society groups and health development partners the country would defeat Ebola.

Sierra Leone Army Joint Forces Commander conducts nationwide visit to troops

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Freetown, July 27, 2015 – The newly appointed Commander Joint Force (CJF) of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has commenced his maiden nationwide operational tour to troops.

Major General Mohamed Mamadi Keita last week conducted the first leg of the visit to the troops in Gondama, Pujehun, Daru, Bomaru, Kenema and Joru, all in the south-east, in order to acquaint himself with the soldiers and to identify the operational successes and challenges.



Addressing the troops in all the locations, the Commander Joint Force commended the RSLAF personnel for the professional manner in which they contained the Ebola epidemic in the south-east.

Major General Keita said the Ebola outbreak caused the unexpected halt of the peacekeeping mission in Somalia. He assured that the international operation would be revived soon after the eradication of the Ebola scourge.

Major General Keita also said the committee set up to review the Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS) would soon complete its work.

He assured the troops of the government’s commitment to construct new barracks and rehabilitate the old ones.

The Commander Joint Force said the military leadership has decided to evict all illegal dependents and occupants in all military barracks.

Major General Keita warned the troops against the use of unlicensed and uninsured vehicles.

In Gondama barracks, the Commander Joint Force inspected the new medical laboratory, the newly constructed accommodation facilities and the ongoing construction work of a church. Also in Daru Barracks, he conducted a check on the rehabilitation work of the Military Field hospital and the dilapidated housing facilities.

For more information about the Ministry of Defence and RSLAF, you can visit our website at And for any media queries, please contact the Director of Defence Public Relations and Information, Colonel Usman Turay on 076 607 421 or the undersigned:

Captain Yayah Brima
Phone/WhatsApp: 078 452 876
Facebook: Yayah Sidi Brima

Diaspora Office Director : We are capacitating the Public Sector

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

By ODA Communications Unit

The Director, Office of Diaspora Affairs (ODA), Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh on Thursday 23rd July 2015 during the past weekly Government press Conference at the Ministry of Information and Communication disclosed to Journalists that the office has done a lot in its drive towards building the capacity of the public sector.



According to Kallay Musa Conteh, ODA has done immensely in the process of harnessing the skills of Sierra Leoneans Diaspora towards the development of the Country, adding that as an institution they have established mechanisms and processes for strengthening linkages between Sierra Leoneans abroad and their home country. ‘’ The office has also strived very hard towards the process of filling critical gaps in the public sector ; to this end , we brought twenty-five(25) experts who are currently attached to various government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) ’’ said Mr Conteh.

He further mentioned some of the Sierra Leoneans they brought home to fill those critical gaps. According to him, among those they brought include: Hon. Karamoh Kabbah, Hadijatu Jallow of EPA, Dr. Kolleh Bangura, Sidi Yaya Tunis and many others who he said have contributed greatly to the growth of the country. He pointed out that some of these sierra Leonean experts who they have brought back home are doing well in their various areas in government.

To continue their capacity building programme, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh said they have recruited a project officer in charge of assignment and volunteering who has been assigned to go to various government MDAs to identify areas where there are critical gaps in government MDAs .’’ When those areas are identified, we will check into our talent database to see whether there are Sierra Leonean Diasporas who we can further contact to fill those gaps ‘’ he explained.

Director Kallay Musa Conteh also told journalists that the Diaspora has a center of intellectuals who are willing to come home to join government provide basic services for the people of Sierra Leone. He further that the Office of Diaspora Affairs has expanded its services by establishing desk offices with staff at the border areas and Lungi International Airport who are stationed there to track relevant information from returnees or those Diasporas who are in country to visit . ‘’ The information we get from them will be added to our talent data base to identify critical gaps ‘’ the ODA director maintained.

In a related development, the Director of Office of Diaspora Affairs said that, the office has been working on ways in formalizing and securitizing remittances, adding that the office is currently strengthening collaboration with the Bank of Sierra Leone to track remittances. According to the director of Diaspora Affairs the current update for the formal remittances recorded significant amount of money which is a huge contribution to the GDP of the country.

As the Director of ODA highlighted their activities and some of the significant gains they have made so far, the Deputy Government spokesman, Mr. Ajibu Jalloh who chaired the press conference commended Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh for what he described as a good move in updating the press.

PDP Sorbeh Leader calls bus complainers detractors and saboteurs

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
By Ragan M. Conteh

The 2012 flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Sorbeh, Gibril Kamara on 23rd July 2015 warned detractors and saboteurs to desist from making unnecessary claims that would undermine the development of the country.
Gibril Kamara was reacting to the heated debate relating to the 100 buses procured by Government to ease the acute transportation problem in the country.


He described the arrival of the 100 buses from China as a great relief to the public nationwide affirming that people who want to make a case out of the whole issue should do so within the ambit of the law rather than going to the media to peddle false information that has the tendency to cause chaos and anarchy in the country.
He said Sierra Leoneans need comfort and development warning that unsubstantiated information portraying the country as corrupt internationally would undermine Government’s development efforts and appealed to all to join Government move the country forward.

According to Gibril Kamara, “most of those criticizing the Minister of Transport in the media of violating procurement rules to purchase the 100 buses have fleet of cars and jeeps that are not at the disposal of the public.”
Mr. Kamara said his party is very much concerned about the Ebola outbreak asserting that people, especially leaders of political parties, who want to divert the attention of Government from eradicating the virus, to help contain the disease.
“Sierra Leone has lagged behind in development due to the outbreak. Now, we need all hands on deck to advance rapidly,” the former flag bearer asserted.
Concluding, he appealed to the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) and the public to use the buses judiciously for their intended purpose to address the acute transportation problem in the country.

Culled from the NEW CITIZEN