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Archive for August, 2015

President Koroma turns sod for construction of billets for RSLAF

Monday, August 31st, 2015

 

By State House Communications Unit

Commander-In-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) President Ernest Bai Koroma Friday 28th August turned the sod for the construction of billets for RSLAF personnel at the Peace Mission Training Centre at Hastings, Freetown.

Speaking before performing the symbolic ceremony, President Koroma said the construction of facilities is a demonstration of government’s firm commitment to improve the standards of RSLAF personnel as great ambassadors of the nation.

PRESIDENT KOROMA SOD-TURNING 1

 

The president commended RSLAF personnel for their relentless efforts in the fight against the Ebola virus disease, which he said, makes them critical and relevant players in the development and governance of the country. He assured the officers, men and women of RSLAF that immediately after Ebola would have been finally defeated, RSLAF will not only resume the normal peace mission operations, but government will also continue to enhance their capacity to sustain their exemplary performance in and out of Sierra Leone.

PRESIDENT KOROMA SOS TURNING 2

 

He stated that government will continue to improve on the welfare of the army, provide better accommodation and offices, and provide better salaries to continue to motivate them. The president pointed out that the sod turning ceremony signifies government’s commitment to create the enabling environment that will enhance the performance of RSLAF, adding that government will continue to perform these ceremonies across the country.

Chief of Defense Staff Lieutenant General Samuel Omar Williams said the project comprises accommodation blocks for officers and men who will be training to serve in peace missions. He called on officers and men of RSLAF to take good care of the facilities when they are completed.

MOHS Ends District Level Operational Post Ebola Recovery Plan Workshop

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Makeni, Aug. 31, 015 (MOHS) – The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has concluded its 3 days District Workshop to develop operational plans for the implementation of the Health Sector Recovery Plan.

workshop participants

Cross section of participants

Addressing participants at the closing ceremony at the Wusum Hotel conference hall in Makeni, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Mr. Foday Sawi described the Ministry’s Post Ebola Recovery Plan as comprehensive but requires critical steps to get it translated into positive actions that would make the necessary impact.

FODAY SAWI 2

 

Deputy Health and Sanitation Minister 1, Mr. Foday Sawi making the closing remarks

He noted that all the districts at the end of the workshop had plans that are aligned with the National Recovery Plan, adding that with the available information of data collecting tools in the districts, he is optimistic of meeting the challenges to sustain the plan for posterity.

Mr. Sawi encouraged participants to sensitize their colleagues as they go back to their various districts, describing the current status of the Ebola outbreak as “a battle in continuation” that needed community engagement, monitoring and supervision and other key interventions.

The Deputy Minister paid tribute and condolences to the lost doctors, nurses and other health workers whose contributions would have also been vital for the development and implementation of the Recovery Plan describing them as fallen heroes in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Chairman Operational Team for the Early Recovery Plan, Dr. Sarian Kamara while giving an overview on the workshop and the achievements, underscored the importance of the inclusion of all checklists into the National Plan, financial management and disbursement and Key Performance Indicators.

SARIAN KAMARA

 

Dr. Sarian Kamara Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Chairman Operational Team for the Early Recovery Plan

She said participants were able to develop their operational plans per district and that each district was able to apply key performance indicators on the available tools, and agreed on the timelines.

The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Anders Nordstrom expressed satisfaction over the category of participants noting that District Medical Officers, Medical Superintendents in hospitals, Monitoring and Evaluation Officers and District-Based Recovery Team Data Analysts all have key roles to play if the implementation of the plan is to achieve its desired objective.

DR.ANDER NORDSTROM

WHO Country Representative, Dr. Anders Nordstrom

The early 6-9 months Recovery Plan he said would help participants improve services and expand on health systems in the areas of reporting, operation, community engagement and other key challenges.

He reiterated WHO’s continued support and commitment in collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to bring the Ebola fight to an end.

The State House District Liaison Presidential Team Representative, David Sam Suale’ reiterated their commitment to provide coordination at a satisfactory level and encouraged the Health Ministry to ensure they take the lead in the implementation of the plan.

DAVID SAM SUALE

 

State House District Liaison Presidential Team Representative David Sam Suale’

He expressed gratitude to donor partners who have been providing support and appealed for continued cooperation in building a resilient health system.

The Director, Health Systems, Strengthening, Policy, Planning and Information, Dr. Samuel Kargbo recalled that 13 years ago when the civil war ended in the country with devastation on the health facilities across the country, the Ministry used the required strategy with the help of government and partners to recover and bring back normalcy in the health care delivery system, similarly he said the Ebola outbreak in May 2014 had a grip on the weak health system and inspired them with a learning lesson to do more.

DR. SAMUEL KARGBO

 

Director, Health Systems Strengthening, Policy, Planning and Information Dr. Samuel Kargbo

He described the Recovery Plan as unique, pointing out that using the five pillars: Patient and health workers safety, Essential health care delivery services, Health workforce, Community ownership, Health information management system and surveillance would be a winning tool for the recovery programme.

Other speakers include representatives from UNICEF, UNFPA and presentations on the MOHS Early Recovery Plan by Regina Bash Taqi, Status of the plan by Audric Mitraros, Planning and monitoring tools by Wogba Kamara and the next steps by Planning Specialist, Mr. Philip Amara.

JAK/KK/MOHS

SLPP crisis deepens as opposition’s opinion-makers take sides

Monday, August 31st, 2015

The COCORIOKO Facebook forum , with 29, 000 participants and the forum belonging to the  newspaper’s sister media the SIERRA LEONE DAILY NATION , with 35, 243 participants , are boiling as the 2018 Presidential elections begin to draw near. One of the hottest topics in this and the APC LIVE FOREVER Forum, also controlled by Cocorioko ( 15, 508 participants ) , is the present broil tearing the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) apart, with supporters of aspirants Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and former Brig. Maada Bio gunning for each other.

It is an enormous problem, which, if not handled carefully, will destabilize the country during the elections. Opinion-makers within the party have taken sides and having a go at each other in our forums.

We bring you some of the contentious articles that appeared in the three forums  last weekend . We want our readers to see the kind of politics being played.

 

Government Must Not Kowtow to Domestic Terrorism

Rev. Alfred Munda SamForay

Sierra Leone is a fairly small country, both geographically and demographically.  As such, what affects one part of the country or any segment of the population ultimately affects all Sierra Leoneans. We all learned this a very hard way during the country’s eleven-year civil (or un-civil) war.  What started as a “Mende war” in Kailahun District in the Eastern Region of the country in March 1992 slowly spread across the rest of the country like slow burning fire leaving behind mayhem and unfathomable destruction of property and human life. On January 6, 1999, the South-Eastern Mende war arrived with full force on the streets of the nation’s capital, Freetown, with an estimated six thousand lives lost.

 

samforayfull

ALFRED SAMFORAY

Then about a year and half ago just about the time I left the country for the United States, came the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, once again starting in the boarder District of Kailahun. And like the war, it marched slowly towards Freetown like a band of mindless barbarians from the middle ages leaving behind heaps of bodies and a host of traumatized citizens, who unlike during the war had nowhere to flee because no country wanted them within their borders.

Fresh out of these two extraordinary traumas in less than twenty-five years of the nation’s fifty-four year history Sierra Leoneans are once again edging towards another potential threat to our nascent and fragile democracy.  This time it is threat of domestic terrorism in the form of  intimation and threats from the ranks of some of those who aspire to govern the country after the 2017 – 2018 General and Presidential elections. It goes without saying that throughout his nearly eight years in office and unlike any of his predecessors going all the way back to Sir Albert Margai in the ill-fated 1967 elections, President Ernest Bai Koroma has enjoyed an enviable period of calm and stability aside from the Ebola disaster.  I may stand to be corrected, but I believe partly as a result of his personal opposition to the death penalty, no person has been executed in Sierra Leone for treason or other offenses against the State during the president’s tenure in office.  I also don’t believe that any soldier has died in combat under President Koroma’s tenure as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.  But there has to be a limit to everyone’s endurance.

Last week, Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad were highly displeased to learn that government was forced to send police to the party headquarters of the Opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party to quell disturbances over there.  It was not the first time police have been forced to enforce order at the home of the oldest continuously running political party in all of West Africa.  Last week’s disturbance came about when former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under the NPRC, former Director General of UNIDO and recently Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, went to party headquarters reportedly to officially register as an aspirant for Flagbearer in the 2017-2018 elections.  Notwithstanding, Yumkella was able to enter the Green House, as the opposition party headquarters is commonly referred to.

It happened again two days ago when Yumkella attempted to travel the Southern Regional Headquarter town of Bo, where he attended the Christ the King College Secondary School as a youth and where his wife, Mrs. Philomena (Nicholas) Yumkella, is a native born graduate of the Queen of the Rosary Secondary School.  Dr. Yumkella was reportedly embarking on a familiarization tour of the country after recently retiring from his prestigious job at the UN to return to Sierra Leone for public office. Just before Yumkella and his entourage were to leave Freetown for Bo, came word from Sierra Leone government quarters that government was unable to secure his safety and ultimately dissuaded him travelling to Bo Town – more or less his second home away from his native Kambia District.

We have reason to believe that Yumkella’s recent entry into the presidential race and his extraordinary appeal to millions of his countrymen and women at home and abroad, places a serious challenge to others already contending for the office.  As such, some of his rivals are making every effort legal or otherwise to intimidate him and perhaps force him to withdraw from the race.  If the Yumkella in Sierra Leone is the same Yumkella I went to college with and whom I have known for over thirty years, retreat is not an option. Least amused and most infuriated by all this is the global network of supporters from Australia to Wisconsin who call themselves the KKY (Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella) Movement – now a fully endowed political action committee with chapters all across the world.  Sierra Leoneans may note with extreme caution some of the contestants for flagbearership of the SLPP are legally barred from entering the United States or its territories. Among the reasons are criminal charges involving domestic violence – in particular, violence against women.

There are approximately twenty candidates contending for office of President of the United States in next year’s presidential elections.  Although they differ in values and personalities from Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont to the cantankerous billionaire, Donald Trump, and the ultra-conservative former neuro-surgeon, Benjamin Carson, no stones will fly over anyone’s head as the November 2016 elections approach. And precisely at Noon, January 20, 2017 when his two terms in office come to an end, President Barrack Obama will simply board the presidential helicopter called Marine One and fly into history as Barack Housein Obama, private citizen.  There are over 300 million people in the United States from virtually every nation and every culture in the world, and the country is 3,000 miles across from New York to California.

In comparison, Sierra Leone is at best 250 miles coast to coast and 6 million citizens of relatively the same race, color and culture.  So why is the government of Sierra Leone unable (or unwilling) to secure the safety of one of its notable citizens vying for the office of president?  Why should anyone or any group of individuals hold the country for ransom for their own political ambitions?  Why is a country that survived one of the most brutal wars in human history and survived the worst outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, be intimidated by a handful of hooligans who threaten our hard-won democracy?

I have well stated that President Koroma is a peaceful man and a man of few words – very few words for a politician of his stature.  But it would be a very costly mistake for the hired hooligans of any politician in the country to take Koroma’s quietness or peaceful nature for weakness.  After all, Jesus is known in the Old Testament as the Prince of Peace, but that did not stop him from overturning the tables of the money changers who had turned King Solomon’s sacred House of Worship into what Jesus called a den of thieves. In any case, government should never kowtow to threats of hooliganism and allow any form of domestic terrorism to prevent any citizen from participating in our democratic system.  Six thousand people died in Freetown and thousands more around the country at the hands of what former ambassador, John Ernest Leigh, called “coupligans” – coup makers and hooligans – who tried and succeeded in usurping our electoral process at least for a season.  Let every Sierra Leonean at home and abroad, of any ethnic, regional, religious or political affiliation say: Never Again!

Addendum

And for those of you who are into American politics, it may be of interest to note that for all intent and purposes, President Barack Obama has now dumped his former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for his incumbent Vice President, Ngor Joe Biden – or is it Uncle Joe.  With that in mind, I will repeat myself once more again for the second time, like my uncle used to say, the United States presidential election in 2016 will be a contest between the two coolest guys in the race – Uncle Joe Biden and Uncle Ben Carson.  Carson will prevail!

 

THE CRYING BABIES ARE AT IT AGAIN – “TRIBAL BIGOTRY”

By: Yusuf Keketoma Sandi

You have to be as powerful as Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio to always make the news headline or that anything you say is scrutinised word after word and sentence after sentence. We accept that with his huge popularity and being a politician vying for the highest office there will always be public scrutiny.

However, public scrutiny is different from smear campaign, raining insults and spreading lies and senseless imaginative stories about a young man. The latest interview by Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio on Kiss 104 FM has been one of his most powerful. He was passionate, confident, reassuring, composed, witty, methodological, factual and showed why he is an excellent political communicator.

But as always our friends in the APC just could not accept Rtd. Brig. Maada Bio is a political class act. And funnily, the crying babies have added another crying contingent; few notorious supporters of the opposition. Desperately for these few notorious supporters of the opposition, they seem to be hotly contesting with our APC friends to be spreading scare stories, cheap propaganda, lies, defamatory stories and cooked-up events on social media about Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio. But like APC, despite their desperation, they are really bad at the job.

YUSUF KEKEHTORMA

YUSUF KEKETOMA

So the latest “tribal bigotry” charge is as nonsensical as it is a cheap shot to seek attention by few desperate people. But of all charges to attack Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio as a “tribalist” is as dishonest as is laughable.
Here is a young man whom all of his private security men are northerners and non-mendes. Of the most important thing in life he entrusted his life, wellbeing and protection in the hands of dedicated men who they do not belong to the same tribe nor come from the same region. The most senior advisers of Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio many are non mende people. In the last SLPP convention in Bo, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio went on-air to endorse the candidacy of a northerner and a temne, Chief Sumano Kapen, as Chairman of the SLPP. In the last elections in 2012 Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio appointed a northerner, a woman and a temne, Dr Kadie Sesay as his running mate.

Therefore to accuse him of being a “tribalist” is just a sign of political desperation to smear a man who has won the hearts and minds of people across the country. But let us put the charge into context. Here is a politician who was speaking to a specific audience in Bo district. Majority of the people living in some villages in Bo do not speak or understand krio.

And look at the shocking facts of the interview. The interview lasted for 24 minutes and 45 seconds (24:45). During the interview he started speaking mende at 4 minutes 51 seconds (4:51) and finished at 5 minutes 28 seconds (5:28). For an interview which lasted for 24 minutes 45 seconds (24:45) Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio only spoke mende for 37 seconds and the rest of the interview 24 minutes 8 seconds was in krio.

There would have been many people in villages who do not speak or understand krio who would have to rely on others to explain the majority of the interview for them, if that has been raised as an issue they would have called those people “tribalists”. Ironically this was an interview which even Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio had to insist to be done in krio for the benefit of a wider audience even at the disadvantage of some of the targeted listeners who do not speak or understand krio. And that shows why he will always be a national leader putting country above other interests.

At age 22 in 1987 as a second lieutenant, his first military posting was at Lungi Garrison, Lungi, Port Loko District. He was later posted to Kambia District as part of the Economic Emergency Unit. In 1988 Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio was re-posted to Lungi. Even at his tender age he spent a fair share serving and protecting the lives of northerners and non-mende speaking people.

Like many Sierra Leoneans I detest the politics of tribe and region. It is crude and outdated politics. To use it as smear campaign tool is low minded. We must all be proud of being Sierra Leoneans but also recognise that we belong to tribes to share specific features with sections of society. We must celebrate our diverse cultures, languages and traditions but we live in a society where a temne man can marry to a mende woman and a mende man can marry a krio woman. Therefore it is distasteful to smear any politician whether APC, SLPP or PMDC on tribal lines. Let us discuss about the policies and initiatives to improve the lives of ordinary people who have been betrayed by a ”Prosperity” only for the few.

It is also worthy to note that very recently madingo singers have released a madingo song for Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio showering praises on him. As we get closer to the elections, there may also be other songs in different languages extolling his virtues as a great politician and a statesman. I guess that does not make him a “tribalist” but it shows a politician who commands huge respect and popularity amongst all the tribes and regions because what every Sierra Leonean has in common is the genuine belief that through the leadership of Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio “Salone for beteh…Paopa”.

______________________________

MAADA BIO’S TRIBAL POLITICS

By Yankuba Kai-Samba

Bio’s tribal politics is not new. He used this same strategy in the last flagbearer election. Basically,the South east were disgruntled and accused President Kabba, who was a mende -Susu of doing nothing for them but focused more on the north.

YANKUBA KAI-SAMBA

YANKUBA KAI-SAMBA

Even the educated Mendes believe in this and the south become very resentful. I had the privilege to have met the former head of the Roman catholic church in Sierra Leone in London. He made similar observation that although the war started in the south,it was the north that Kabba directed his projects. Bio tapped in on this southern resentment and positioned himself as the man who would look after the interest of the South. In addition,his campaign reminded the people that he was the one that freed them from the APC when the NPRC overthrew the Momoh ‘s administration.

There is deep seated anger and frustration within the mende community spanning from APC’s historical violence against SLPP. There is significant constituents in the south east who are not interested in any issue other than someone who is brave and fearless to stand up to APC. Those who are gearing for a fight and street battle with the APC believe Bio being a former soldier is the one that would lead them. During the 2010 flagbearer campaign,this was one issue that was in the minds of most delegates I met,including my own brother who was the MP but was deselected in the 2012 election.

It is clear to me as it was then,that Bio is playing a very divisive tribal politics,exploiting the fears of the Mendes through deception and misinformation. My mende people must reject his politics and falsehood. Bio cannot fight the APC,he cannot fight the police forces, he cannot fight the military,he cannot become president even if all south east delegates vote for him. The best way to win a national election is not threatening to fight a government that is in power with fire for fire. It is irresponsible. The party must elect a credible presidential material who can be trusted and compete with the APC in where elections are won Freetown.

Bio is not a warrior,he is lying and fooling you. SLPP don’t need a warrior, the party needs a leader with national character who can win elections.

By: Yankuba Kai-Samba

___________________________

MAABA BIO IN A BIG TRIBAL FIGHT WITH SALONEANS????????????????????????

A REBUTTAL – THE CRYING BABIES ARE AT IT AGAIN-“TRIBAL BIGOTRY”

By Lamin Opie Tarawalli.

Listening to a recent interview by Rtd Julius Maada over KISS 104 FM in Bo in which the Paopa flagbearer made sentimental appeal to the mendes, leaves one wondering about the type of leader JMB can make if made head of state of Sierra Leone. It could be recalled that on Thursday this week, Rtd Julius Maada Bio was interviewed in Krio. At the height of his interview, JMB is said to have changed his medium of communication from Krio to Mende in which he has made a passionate appeal to the Mendes, leaving other members of the audience in doubt & total disappointment. Reaction to this interview has been met with total condemnation from not only other political camps, but his Paopa camp as well. Unfortunately, some of his supporters have accused the Ex soldier of being a celebrated triballists.

Responding to the public reaction, Yusif Keketoma Sandi, a member of the JMB Communication unit,  has dismissed the public’s reaction as “nonsensical”. Keketoma claims that majority of the audience especially those in the villages in the Southern province do not speak or understand krio. This he claims justifies why JMB changed his medium of communication into mende in which he made a passionate appeal.

LAMIN OPIE TARAWALLI

 

LAMIN TARAWALLI

Regrettably, this clearly exposes the level of political ignorance of the small boy Keke in terms of the demographic nature of the Southern region. It is important to note that Bo is a cosmopolitan city. As a second city, Bo district and the entire Southern region has attracted a lot of other tribes who are residents engaged in economic activities. Notwithstanding, it is important for Keke to note that there’s no village in the entire Southern region where majority of residents do not understand krio. You’ll recall that during the war, the rural population in the South-East migrated to urban cities. This had great impact on the lives of the rural population. For JMB to assert that his struggle for the political leadership of SLPP is to protect the interest of the mende people by implication has some discriminatory undertone. This is no surprise why most political pundits have viewed this as a political gaffe.- A political blunder which has embarrassed some of his supporters who are non Mende speakers.

 

In Keketoma’s ramblings, he further claimed that JMB is “powerful” & has ” huge popularity” & has asserted that his Political God father’s recent interview has been one of his most powerful. This to me is one of the most ridiculous statements i’ve heard in recent times. Unfortunately, Keketoma has failed to note that popularity is a relative term. What can be hugely popular and powerful by his own yardstick might be sub standard by others perspectives.

 

If indeed JMB is popular and powerful as claimed by Keketoma, then SLPP would have created more impact in the North- Western provinces of Sierra Leone during the last general elections. For SLPP to have lost all Parliamentary seats in the entire Western rural, Western urban, the entire northern province, coupled with six constituencies in Kono including constituency 3 in Koindu in the Kailahun district tells one about the irony of JMB’s so-called huge popularity, which his disciples regrettably want Mende people to believe. It is on record that Under the flag bearership of JMB, SLPP has recorded its worst defeat in the history of the party. Simple logic suggests that if JMB was as powerful as claimed by his disciples, then they shouldn’t be demonstrating politics of intolerance. The attempt to intimidate other players which they sense as a big threat to their political interest is a justification that disclaims their claims. The futile attempts to impose the leadership of JMB on the party through the abortive & infamous “RESOLUTION 3, THE ABORTIVE COUPS ON HON BERNADETTE LAHAI, THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL & CHAIRMAN of SLPP, The SACKING OF ALIE BANGURA, THE FRUITLESS ATTEMPTS TO CONDUCT LOWER LEVEL ELECTIONS & the BASELESS CLAIM to QUESTION THE LEGAL STATUS OF KKY are all evidences of desperate attempts made by the Paopas to impose Bio on the party.

Its high time Bio and his disciples realised that all their political manipulations will no longer work. The best option for the party is to create a levelled plain field for party stalwarts to contribute to the development of the party. So Keketoma MUST SHUT UP !! “Leh we dae go normor” © Lamin Opie Tarawalli-Philli, USA.

 

The role of chiefs is very important in governance – President Koroma

Monday, August 31st, 2015

 

President Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 28th August said the role of chiefs in the overall governance of the state is very important. He made this statement on the occasion of the official crowning ceremony of four paramount chiefs in northern Sierra Leone held at the Makeni City Council Hall, Bombali District.

 

EBK CHIEFS 1

The president stated that traditional leaders are expected to play a pivotal role in the ongoing implementation of post Ebola recovery programmes. “The programmes we are rolling out are significant because if they succeed in chiefdoms, they will succeed in towns, districts and the entire country,” he said.

EBK CHIEFS 2

 

President Koroma used the occasion to urge paramount chiefs to utilize the Constitutional Review Process (CRC) as an opportunity to enhance and further consolidate the role of chiefs in the governance of the country. He lamented the fact that the customs and traditions of respective communities have come under heavy attack over the years, but however admonished that core values must be maintained.

 

 

EBK CHIEFS 3

The head of state assured of government’s commitment to continue to strengthen the capacity of paramount chiefs to transform their communities and the lives of their people. He boasted that the country will see great development and transformation immediately after the Ebola virus disease (EVD) would have been completely defeated.

President Koroma went on to note that because of tangible development and the transformative leadership of his government, the ruling All People’s Congress Party will continue to stay in governance adding that government is keen and focused on the development of the nation. Amid thunderous applause, the president said the quantum of tangible and ongoing development that his administration has brought is unmatched since independence.

Presenting the four paramount chiefs to President Koroma for recognition and presentation of their staff, Local Government Minister Diana Konomani said government attaches great importance to paramount chieftaincy as this is the first time in the history of Sierra Leone for paramount chiefs to receive salaries.

The four installed paramount chiefs are PC Kandeh Sorie Kakandeh the 3rd of Tambaka chiefdom in Bombali district, PC Alikali Mellah the 2rd of Maforki chiefdom in Port Loko district, PC Fullahmansa Magbereh the 2nd of Yoni chiefdom in Tonkolili district, and PC Baibaro Maboleh Hashini of Malal Mara chiefdom in Tonkolili district.

Sierra Leone Government buys new property in Brussels

Monday, August 31st, 2015

 

Unlike the previous ruling SLPP government which earned the notoriety of selling diplomatic edifices belonging to the people of Sierra Leone ( like the former Sierra Leone High Commission building in London and the Ambassador’s residence in New York), the APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma is busy acquiring landed properties in strategic countries to rebrand the image of Sierra Leone in the eyes of the International Community.

 

BELGIUM PROPERTY 1

On Wednesday, 25th August, 2015, another historic moment was recorded in the diplomatic arena (especially in the city considered as Europe’s diplomatic capital-Brussels), when the pro-active and go-get-it Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, His Excellency, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie put pen-to-paper on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone to acquire the next door neighbouring building, adjacent to the present Sierra Leone Embassy in Brussels, after the government has successfully fulfilled the financial obligation.

BELGIUM PROPERTY 2

 

During the historic signing ceremony at the office of the legendary Belgian Lawyer, Liliane Panneels and witnessed by the diplomatic staff at the Embassy, Ambassador Sorie expressed thanks and appreciation to the property owners for accepting to sell their building to the government of Sierra Leone, describing them (couple) as ‘very good and friendly neighbours’.

He said he was extremely delighted that the process of purchasing the adjacent building has finally come to fruition and thanked all the key players for their valuable contributions.

BELGUIM PROPERTY 3

 

 

Ambassador Sorie furthered that the acquisition of the new building will create enough office spaces for diplomatic staff to give their maximum output in the execution of their duties.

The present Sierra Leone Chancery in Brussels was acquired in 1978 by former President, Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens when the Embassy was established with Dr. Sheka Kanu as the first Sierra Leone Ambassador to Brussels. Others who have served as Sierra Leone’s Ambassadors to Brussels include; Mr. Sahr Matturi, Justice Abdul Gadri Koroma, Mrs Marian J. T. Kamara, Mr. Sulaiman Timbo, Mr. Peter J. Kuyembeh, Mr. Fode Dabor and Dr. Christian Sheka Kargbo.

Since that time, the Embassy has remained the same with no expansion. Diplomatic staff continue to squeeze in office spaces, thereby hampering their effectiveness.

This uncomfortable situation was explained to President Ernest Bai Koroma during his visits to Brussels, a situation he once described as ‘appalling and unacceptable’. But with the acquisition of the new property, which will be made available to the Sierra Leone government on 21st February, 2016, the issue of office constraint would have been laid to rest.

In his tireless efforts to rebrand the once battered image of Sierra Leone since his assumption of office in 2007, President Ernest Bai Koroma’s APC government has successfully opened new Embassies in Senegal, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

Added to that, for the first time in the political history of Sierra Leone, a total of 13 (Thirteen) practising journalists were given diplomatic appointments, attached to different Sierra Leone Embassies world over to help tell the correct story of Sierra Leone to their countries of accreditation.

END.

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay,
Information Attaché,
Sierra Leone Embassy,
Brussels

Embrace Ebola Survivors – President Koroma

Monday, August 31st, 2015

 

By State House Communications Unit

As Sierra Leone moves towards a resilient zero for the next 42 days, President Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 28th August called on the public to support and embrace Ebola survivors as they strive to return to normal life. He made this call during the unveiling ceremony of the anti-stigma campaign billboard (located at Pademba Road-Dwarzack junction in Freetown) to ensure Ebola survivors return and live in their communities without being discriminated against.

EBK SURVIVORS 1

 

The president emphasized that the anti-stigma campaign focuses on survivors believing they have given hope in the fight against the virus, and noted that the survival rate gave hope not only to the infected but also to the entire country.

President Koroma also said there are over 4,000 Ebola survivors across the country which represents the country’s strength and resilience against the virus. He urged the general public to embrace, support and welcome survivors to their various communities, and also explained that government will ensure capacity building and support for all survivors in the implementation of post Ebola recovery programmes. “Government will continue to train you and provide you with free health care,” he assured.

EBK SURVIVORS 2

 

The president reiterated his call to communities and the general public to embrace survivors and integrate them to continue their normal lives, saying that they are the winners of the fight. “When you embrace and support them, you will not be infected,” he said. He cautioned all that Ebola is still with us and the fight against the disease has not ended.

He also urged all Sierra Leoneans to remain focused and strictly adhere to burial protocols and continue to call 117 when someone falls sick or dies. The Chief Social mobilizer encouraged survivors to abstain from sexual activities for 90 days and not be a conduit for another infection, citing the Liberian situation where the virus erupted again after the country had been declared Ebola free.

President Koroma stated that government was anxious to restart and re-engage its development programmes across the country and that nobody should rest until after the virus would have been fully defeated. He thanked the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and development partners for their support in the fight to eradicate Ebola from Sierra Leone.

Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Alhaji Moijueh Kaikai said survivors are heroes and heroines who should not be stigmatized. The campaign is aimed at ensuring Ebola survivors are not in any way perceived as dangerous but as part of their respective communities.

“Stigma and discrimination against EVD survivors has no place in our communities,” Tina Davies, Pillar Lead – Child Protection, Gender and Psychosocial, Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs representing the ministry at NERC said.

Brigadier Herbert of DFID called for empathy for Ebola survivors as they return to their different communities. He described the unveiling ceremony with the president’s presence as very reassuring.

Representative of Sierra Rutile Ltd Kholifa Taylor-Kamara urged the public to avoid complacency and continue to be vigilant in the final push to end Ebola.

President of Ebola Survivors Union Yusuf Kabba thanked President Koroma for gracing the occasion and for his personal leadership of the fight against Ebola

Congratulations to our government and people of Sierra Leone

Monday, August 31st, 2015

By Thorlu Bangura :

CULLED FROM THE COCORIOKO FACEBOOK FORUM (With 28, 769 participants ) 

It has been a long time since we have received very good news from Sierra Leone.

The Ebola crises that ravaged our sub-region caught our government, of Sierra Leone, by surprise. The Ebola disease was not known in our sub-region, panic and confusion ensude. It is within this atmosphia of chaos that our government went through a very steep learning curve. There was no patience, which is very understandable,. A government and people ill prepared tried to use their baby legs that are not yet strong enough to carry their weights. We all made assumptions some right and some wrong. The results so far are proving positive.

EBOLA 101

I want to offer my condolences to our first responders who perished, as they rallied to protect the general population. The medical doctors, the nurses, the sanitation workers and other anciliary workers whom we lost to this very deadly diesease called Ebola. They made the ultimate so others can live. Talk of the unsung heros I hope our nation remember them by establishing a special holiday, NATIONAL THANKS GIVING DAY. We will use this holiday to pray for all those who died, and to thank god for those that are spared. This holiday will also give use the opportinuty to tell children yet unborn about those we lost against Ebola.

Let me now take this opportunity to thank President E. B. Koroma, for ending this deadly Ebola. I know that it has not been easy on you and your family, but all is well that ends well. Once again I congratulate you as you bring the Ebola epidemic to an end.

The paramount chiefs were under a tremendous pressure to contain this silent death, and they rose to the challenge. The paramount chiefs did examplary jobs both in containing their chiefdoms’ populations and deseminating crucial information that saved a lot of lives. Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude. The police, army, various citizen groups and political parties, made great contributions to help educate the general population. Special thanks to the chairman of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP0, for his selfless scrifice to help mobilize the public. A special thanks to the British government. They have yet to fail us; they came to help during the war, and came again in the Ebola crises Thanks to the World Health Organization, the French, with medicine without boarders, the Chinese, Cuban teams, the African Unity teams and all the other nations that came to help.

The responses from Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora was relentless. You rose up to help in all types of ways. I can seat here and write till the cows come home to sing your praises. Pleases, the respect and love that I have for you cannot be explained in words.”There is  not art to read the mind’s construction on the face,” so thank you,  noble citizens,  for all you have done and continue to do for our realm of the free, Sierra Leone.

Is Hinga Norman Junior revenging ?

Monday, August 31st, 2015

By Fatmata Musa

CULLED FROM THE COCORIOKO FACEBOOK FORUM (With 28, 769 participants )

Hinga Norman Junior, son of the late former Defence Minister and strongman of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Sam Hinga Norman has declared to join the ruling All People’s Congress (APC).

Norman Junior made his declaration on Tuesday this week to Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh at the residence of the Sierra Leone High Commission in London Edward Mohamed Turay.

HINGA NORMAN JR

 

 

The Vice President himself had already departed London today after a week-long official visit on the invitation of Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission where he served as a Special Guest.
“I am convinced that the APC holds the future for Sierra Leone because they are the only party that will ensure peace and prosperity in our country,” Norman said during a courtesy call on the Vice President.

Norman Junior has already presented passport size pictures of himself to the Vice President for a party membership card to be made on his behalf.
He said it took him seven years after the controversial death of his father at a military hospital in Dakar, Senegal, to come up with such a decision because he wanted to be sure that he was doing the right thing.
On behalf of his family, Norman thanked the Vice President and the ruling party in general for the role they played during the incarceration of their father at the Special Court of Sierra Leone.
Vice President described the former Defence boss and leader of the pro government Civil Defence Force as a hero who made huge sacrifice for Sierra Leone.
“As a political party, we believe Chief Sam Hinga Norman was a hero who served his people very well and deserve not to have gone the way he did,” the Vice President said.

He described the coming of Norman Junior as ‘a big catch’ that will go a long way to send a signal to Sierra Leoneans what the APC stands for.
“We are a party of the people and for the people,” the Vice President said.
The Late Hinga Norman requested to meet with President Koroma – then opposition leader – while in jail and according to Foh, the APC visited him four times in jail before he fell sick and eventually died in February 2007.
The Vice President did not discuss details of the party’s meeting with the Late Norman, but certainly not unconnected with matters of national interest including of course politics.
Late Sam Hinga Norman’s death sparked wild controversy and confusion within the SLPP and many are still of the view that it was politically motivated taking into consideration the fact that there were huge indifferences between him and some top guns within the SLPP who saw him as a threat to their Presidential ambition.
Many also believe that the then ruling party did very little to protect him.
The late Norman commands great deal of respect and support particularly in the southern and eastern province of Sierra Leone.
He was regarded as a national hero for standing up to the rebels who were trying to oust the elected government of President Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

God be with you , Ibrahim, till we meet again

Monday, August 31st, 2015

IBRAHIM KARGBO

Death, that relentless and cruel robber, who sneaks on us like the thief in the night, has struck again. He has stolen one of our best warriors and impoverished us. IBRAHIM KARGBO , aka ONLINE SALONE, one of the APC’s online and Facebook warriors , is dead .

When the battle would rage and become tough and the slings and arrows of dissident outrage and depravity would rent the sky and the invectives and mammy cuss would be striking our armor like desperate salvos from a maddened enemy, his voice would rise above the din, and say : “Rev, do not mind them. They are losers … You are too good for them and they have no answers for the good points you have put through. Let them cuss. That is all they know to do . Just continue your good work ” (Words to this effect ).

I have lost a fighting pardner, a co-warrior, a relentless defender and battle mate. When I woke up this morning from my cagey slumber, and saw Baimba’s post, my mind kept rejecting it as untrue. I was still dreaming. It cannot be. It must be a dream.

But my mother used to say in Temne when death news struck the family and grief AND tears were everywhere : “DUNIA FUU.” Oh, Dunia. Dunia fuu.

As Jaques, in his melancholy in Act II Scene VII in Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT would like to remind us :

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances….”

Ibrahim , a born warrior, a Co- fierce defender of President Ernest Koroma and the APC , has come gloriously on the stage, played his part gallantly and made his exit. He was a gem.

We shall miss you, Ibrahim, but we will always love and remember you. May God give you bliss in the land where we will all ultimately go. Dunia fuu. As we mourn you, we will not forget to remember our own mortality. Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live and is full of sorrows. We have already started missing you.

GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN.

New Ebola death in Sierra Leone 6 days after last known patient discharged

Monday, August 31st, 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Health officials in Sierra Leone on Sunday confirmed an Ebola death less than a week after the country’s last known patient was discharged from a hospital.

Samples from the body of a 67-year-old woman who died recently in Kambia district in the country’s north came back positive for the deadly disease, said chief medical officer Dr. Brima Kargbo.

Last Monday, the last known Ebola patient was released from a hospital in Sierra Leone, a milestone that allowed the West African nation to begin a 42-day countdown toward being declared free of Ebola transmission.

 ebola+outbreak

Authorities were still trying to determine whether the woman in Kambia died before or after that countdown began, Kargbo said.

The National Ebola Response Center had deployed teams to conduct surveillance and trace people who were in contact with the woman, said OB Sisay, the centre’s director.

“We should not despair as we have been expecting this,” Sisay said. “We need to stay focused and maintain our discipline.”

The worst Ebola outbreak in history has killed nearly 4,000 people in Sierra Leone out of more than 13,500 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, according to the World Health Organization. More than 11,300 people have died in the outbreak, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

A country must go 42 days — equal to two incubation periods of 21 days — without an Ebola case in order for WHO to declare it free of Ebola transmission. It’s a benchmark that neighbouring Liberia reached in May only to then experience a brief reappearance of cases.