Archive for April, 2016
The Sierra Leone Embassy in collaboration with its Diaspora affiliates have openly recognized the exemplary services of two Sierra Leoneans and a Non Profit, and awarded them with a “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award”, Sierra Leone Diaspora Entrepreneur Leadership Award and Sierra Leone Diaspora NGO (Non Profit) Leadership Award during the fifty fifth (55th) year independence anniversary celebration held on April 27th 2016 in Maryland USA.
Dr. Diallo receiving the prestigious award
At a solemn ceremony blended with culture, emotional state, and was also characterized by weeping, observances and reflections, MS. Suna Nallo, an executive Director of the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America (NOSLINA), who is also a commissioner for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission on Africa and a liaison between African residents in the State of Maryland and the Governor’s office received the prestigious “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award”: Dr. Brima Diallo Chairman of the Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force USA received the respected “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award” while Mr. Steven Smith Executive Director “Airlink” an International Non Profit and a rapid response humanitarian relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified nonprofits received the High-status “Sierra Leone Diaspora NGO (Non Profit) Leadership Award”.
Mr. Steve Smith receiving his award for hard work
According to an Awards Committee chaired by Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens, Ms. Nallo was a member of the Ebola Task force USA and served as the liaison between Air Links and other philanthropists who made donation to the country and also over saw the shipment of nearly all Health kits and equipment from the United States to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Ms. Suna Nallo Receiving her Awards.JPG
Dr. Brima Diallo Chairman Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force USA led a group of Sierra Leoneans organized as a lean horizontal model structure essentially to effectively harmonize its elements productively and efficiently.
According to Ambassador Stevens, It was meant to link the task force with EOC and MOHS and IDP’S as an interlocutor of the diaspora and its constituent groups to effectively manage and coordinate diaspora resources to support the fight to contain the Ebola crisis.
A composite view of some of the attendees
Ambassador Stevens said the Embassy and the task force worked diligently to identify and secure the interest of the Country.
According to him, Airlink.INC is a rapid response humanitarian relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified non profits.
At Present, Airlink’s network consists of more than thirty five Commercial and charter airlines and sixty international non-profits.
Early view of the Arts Center 1.jpg
Presenting the Awards, “We decided to appreciate you because of your efforts, energy, time, resources and most importantly the passion and commitment you attached to your response to Sierra Leone at a time the Country needed you most”.
Responding, Ms. Nallo appreciated God and said her service was for her Country. Visibly weeping, she recalled seeing a Sierra Leonean Ebola infected lady on the television not only explaining her ordeal relating to the way she contacted it, but also appealing for help, while at the same time expressing hope for recovery: and that period coincided with a meeting organized by the Embassy for the formation of a Task force.
She appreciated Ambassador Bockari Stevens and staff of the Embassy for working as a collective to achieve what they could.
According to Dr. Brima Diallo, the Embassy and the task force worked diligently to identify and secure the interest of two champions: the spine and face needed to attract the funding needed for immediate containment of the Ebola crisis in the Country and sub region in partnership with IDP’S
Responding on behalf of Airlink, Mr. Steven Smith Executive Director described the effort as challenging that warranted tremendous efforts coupled with dedication, hard work and collectivism.
He paid tribute to the Paul Allen Foundation which contributed Three Million Dollars ($3 million) grant to Airlink as part of its anti – Ebola campaign which saw more than One hundred (100 detached shipments).
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion Mr. Daniel Koroma of the Sierra Leone Independence Anniversary Committee welcomed Sierra Leoneans and distinguished guests and said “this year’s anniversary celebration will replicate that of Freetown in a “Low key.” He praised President Ernest Bai Koroma for his exemplary leadership in combatting Ebola and congratulated all Sierra Leoneans for the day.
According to the Master of Ceremony Mr. David Buakei Vandy, Sierra Leone is fifty five years old and should be celebrated. He admonished compatriots to detached politics from commemorating the independence anniversary of Sierra Leone and said every Sierra Leonean indigene must be proud to celebrate his/her Country.
At the start of the event, a traditional and cultural performance by “Goboi” a traditional mask devil pioneered by Mr. Victor Tarmoh and Mr. Brima Moi-Foray of TEGLOMA danced to the pleasure and admiration of guests who had never seen it in action.
A symposium on Health, Education and Investment formed the highlight of the day.
Other distinguished personalities include officials of the embassy including Ambassador Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs. Isatu Sillah Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery ably assisted by Mr. Edward Kawa 1st secretary and Mr. Pasco Temple Information Attache.
All roads lead tomorrow to New Jersey , where the much-expected inauguration of officials of the All People’s Congress ( APC) New Jersey Branch and the party’s massive fund-raising dance, which coincides with the 55th Independence Anniversary celebrations, will be held.
Hundreds of of people expecting to patronize the inauguration and dance are expected to travel from different states in the Continental USA and Sierra Leone to attend the occasion.
Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, Mr. Bockarie Stevens, is expected to represent President Ernest Bai Koroma at the ceremony. Also expected at the program will be the interim Chairman of APC-USA , Mr. Ibrahim Sanpha Kamara and his executive, some government officials and diplomats and members of the APC in the U.S.
The Mayor of the Township of Franklin , Dr. Phil Kramer, community leaders and township officials are expected to attend.
THE PRESIDENT OF APC NJ, MR. ALIMAMY TURAY
To make the program as grand as it would be and to accentuate and symbolize the importance of the ruling APC , all members of the party will be attired in kind – the men in black suits, white shirts and specially-prepared red ties while the women will wear white dresses and red headties. “We want to create a unique identity of the APC tomorrow” , the President of the Chapter, Mr. Alimamy Turay told COCORIOKO today.
APC NEW JERSEY MEMBERS
ANOTHER VIEW OF APC NEW JERSEY MEMBERS
APC NEW JERSEY MEMBERS
What will make tomorrow’s program extra grand will be the fact that it is the only festive occasion in New Jersey during the week of Sierra Leone’s 55th Independence Anniversary. It is the only opportunity provided Sierra Leoneans to enjoy the Independence Anniversary because no organization in the State could organize a function.
THE NEW EXECUTIVE
APC officials have assured the public that the occasion will be open for enjoyment to every Sierra Leonean because the APC is a grassroots, broad-based national party . Its doors are open to all Sierra Leoneans. It will not be an exclusive APC function. In fact, invitation has been extended to all opposition party members .
It is expected that some of the officials coming from Freetown to attend the program will include the Deputy Minister of Health, Madam Madina Rahman and the Member of Parliament for Constituency 34, Bombali District, Hon. Albert Deen -Kamara.
Officials to be inducted into office tomorrow will include :
- PRESIDENT : Alimamy Turay
- VICE-PRESIDENT : Ibrahim Coulson Mansaray
- SECRETARY GENERAL : Muctarr Bah
- ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL : David Bomboli Mansaray
- FINANCIAL SECRETARY : Sulaiman Kargbo
- TREASURER : Francis Sieh Kanu
- ORGANIZING /SOCIAL SECRETARY : Donald Cline-Thomas
- WOMEN’S LEADER : Namina Kossay
- YOUTH LEADER : Mamadu Jalloh
|By State House Communication UnitPresident Dr Ernest Bai Koroma Thursday 28 April 2016 paid a visit to the construction sites of both the Bankasoka dam as well as the Port Loko community mini-stadium.The hydro, according to the Chinese translator at the site Mr. Zhang, will be providing 2.2 megawatts which is equivalent to 2,200 kilowatts.
Mr. Zhang reported that physical construction work on the Bankasoka dam started in November 2013 but came to a halt in 2014 as a result of the Ebola outbreak. He said work recommenced in September 2015, with 70% completion, assuring that the dam will be fully completed in September this year.
President Koroma also made a similar inspection stopover at the construction site of the unfinished Port Loko community mini-stadium on Songo Road in Old Port Loko Town. The project is a government funded programme that was halted by the Ebola outbreak.
He directed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, through the Minister of State, Mr Patrick Saidu Conteh and the development team to draw a budget plan for the completion of the project.
By Marcus A. Bangura, Special/ Personal Assistant, Minister of Information & Communication
The Minister of Information and Communication in collaboration with Sierra Leone Cable Network Limited met with ECOWAN Investors in a conference organized to mark a historic transformation of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.
The conference was attended by representative s of telecom companies and internet service providers (ICPs) In delivering his statement, the minister recalled the landing of the submarine fiber optic cable at the Lumley beach on 18th February , 2013 and explained that before the country exclusively relied on satellite for international connectivity, which was both costly and provides broad band access and distribution. He continued to say that with the launching of the submarine cable, the government requested for funds from the Islamic Development Bank(IDB) and the China Exim Bank to deploy a terrestrial fiber optic backbone as a means to improve the limited broadband access and reduce the concomitant costs.
The minister informed members that in pursuant to financing the agreement between the GOSL and the IDB for ECOWAS Regional Backbone Infrastructure and e-Governance Program- ECOWAN Sierra Leone Project, which became effective on 6th September 2011, the ECOWAN Team recruited a Consultant to carry out a financial and legal advisory for the establishment of a Public Private Partnership(PPP) for a national fiber optic backbone and and access network.
The Hon. Minister in his determination to develop ICT in the country has the unfettered conviction that as part of the implementation process it is the desire of government to develop a sustainable Open Access Regime for the ECOWAN and the National Backbone project, divorce of discrimination and significant Market Power.
The Minister admonished members that it is expected that the study will bring to the forefront a strategy to manage the process, as well as develop the ownership and operational structures of PPP between government and the private sector so as to develop the capacity on the terrestrial fiber optic infrastructure for adequate utilization.
The Minister informed the audience that government is mindful of the fact that fibre backbone networks are expected to serve as carrier’s of carrier, where lit fiber services and dark fire capacity will be available on whole sale. He called on telecom operators ISPs and other interested private sector players to invest in the last mile infrastructure. He challenged the private sector to harness the opportunity as there are various socioeconomic and commercial benefits of the fibre optic backbone.
He called on the consultant to carefully analyze and propose different options regarding the viability and sustainability of the networks using different assumptions , models and scenarios in view of resource mobilization and market conditions. As minister of the people, the minister explained that he government is commented to promoting the local content policy that will benefit small, medium and large players who are the primary sources of the telecom market.
The Minister advised the consultant to develop a legal and regulatory framework that will guide the regulator in achieving the desired objective. The minister believed that it will support entrepreneurial skills of local investors as well as youthful investors. He told members that the backbone infrastructure is an essential facility, designed to reach customers and empower competitors to run their business with limited chanced of replication The minister concluded that with the principle of open access. He went further to say that interconnection offer of the company should be subject to the approval of the Regulatory body.
In summary, it should be understood that the impeccable Minister of Information is poised to see ICT develop in the country. One of his main objective is to enable Sierra Leoneans have open access to ICT where everybody is equal , bring national infrastructure together, widening the access scope, infrastructure development, effective financial and legal regulations, ensure lots of development, work with partners, especially Telecom operators and internet service providers among others, develop the local content policy, setting up of a general regulatory framework, transparency and accountability and to eliminate Telecom infrastructure gap in Sierra Leone.
By Osman Osby Bangura –
By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States
The West African State of Sierra Leone with a population of over 7.1
million people, according to the recent provisional result of the December 2015 Population and Housing Census (PHC) conducted by Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL), will be celebrating her 55th Independence Anniversary on Wednesday, 27th April, 1961.
A former British colonized territory, Sierra Leone was declared an independent country by the British on 27th April, 1961 after 153 years of colonial rule. The celebration of Sierra Leone’s 55th Independence Anniversary on Wednesday will be a reflective moment for Sierra Leoneans given the tumultuous outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country between May 2014 and November 2015, when Sierra Leone was first declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). A recurrence of the virus was announced early this year by WHO and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation when a patient with suspected Ebola case died in the Northern district of Tonkolili. But the situation has since been put under control and Sierra Leone is now Ebola-free.
Sierra Leone – a Democratic State
Since Post-Independence, Sierra Leone like other African countries; has undergone many political and economic transformations. Democratic dispensation was ushered in 1996, when the first democratic election was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) set up by the then national Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military regime. The late former President, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who won the Presidential run-off in the 1996 election ruled for two consecutive terms; though his first term was interjected by a military junta that was toppled in a military intervention after nine months in power. The current Sierra Leone’s President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma succeed the late former President Kabbah in September, 2007 when he won the then ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate in the Presidential run-off as an opposition leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), the party which is now in governance. A great deal of progress has been made in Sierra Leone in terms of good governance, democracy and human rights since the ushering in of the new political dispensation in 1996. For example, the late President Kabbah established many democratic institutions that had never existed in the country before, such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA), National Revenue Authority (NRA), among others. The late President also transformed several public institutions like the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Civil Service and the Judiciary.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who took off from where his predecessor stopped, has accelerated the process of development at an unprecedented level as evidenced by what his administration has done from 2007 to 2014 when the Ebola outbreak reversed all the gains that had been made in the aforesaid period. President Koroma fulfilled some of his electoral promises to the electorate through his vision for socio-economic development as contained in his Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) II which was articulated in the “Agenda for Change”. It was against the backdrop of the massive achievements in infrastructural development, health service delivery with particularly women, lactating mothers and children under-five years, education and in other sectors that Sierra Leoneans soundly endorsed President Koroma in the November 2012 Presidential election, when he polled 58% to avoid a run-off.
Agenda for Prosperity
Since 2012, Sierra Leone proactively tailored development framework to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Country’s vision for socio-economic development as contained in President Koroma’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) II, and articulated in the “Agenda for Prosperity”, was launched in July 2013 as Sierra Leone’s roadmap to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Agenda for Prosperity aims to build a sustainable future for all Sierra Leoneans. It demonstrates the Government’s firm commitment towards putting Sierra Leone on the path to resilience and sustainability. The Government has, to that end, recorded significant progress in strengthening political and economic governance, including improvement in social indicators. The Government has further placed emphasis on the protection of the basic rights of the people of Sierra Leone for example; the Government has put in place comprehensive reforms in the Justice Sector in response to both national and global demands to ensure that the rights of citizens are preserved and that access to justice is accorded to all. The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone closely collaborates with the Government in building an entrenched culture of human rights and in ensuring that the Government ratifies several outstanding international treaties and protocols as well as fulfilling its varied reporting obligations.
Under the leadership of President Koroma, Sierra Leone has undertaken specific reform measures to improve the national investment climate. His Government is keen on delivering results on several priority areas including infrastructural development, commercialized agriculture, improved access to education and healthcare services, youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, effective and efficient public service delivery and the social as well as political integration of persons with disabilities.
At the time when Sierra Leone was being commended by the international community for its remarkable progress in peace, stability and steady growth as a post conflict country, Sierra Leoneans were hit by the unprecedented Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, which took a heavy toll on the entire socio-economic fabric of Sierra Leone. But the country fought back with support from development partners and international friends, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to defeat the deadly scourge.
Sierra Leone is Ebola –Free
While Ebola has ended and Sierra Leone is making progress in the implementation of the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan, the United Nations Agencies are playing a tremendous role in supporting the plan. President Koroma particularly commended the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, for mobilizing, for the very first time, a coordinated and integrated UN System intervention to support countries affected by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African sub-region. “In addition to the containment of the epidemic, the intervention by the UN and our partners has resulted in enhancing our preparedness to respond to similar outbreaks in the future. Indeed this is a useful model that can be applied to contain and tackle pandemic whenever they may surface,” said the President.
Post –Ebola Recovery Plan
In order to guarantee a lasting recovery, the Government of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the Sister republics of Liberia and Guinea, has also formulated a sub-regional Post-Ebola Socio-Economic Recovery Plan to ensure that the three most Ebola affected countries return to the path of stability and prosperity. The Sierra Leone national recovery plan is based on two main pillars. The first pillar addresses immediate recovery activities that would help in getting to end maintaining zero infections. The second pillar focuses on building national systems of resilience and sustainability that include a viable health system and the establishment of integrated national security and disaster risk management system(s). The commitment demonstrated by the International Community in supporting the Post-Ebola Recovery Plans has been very encouraging with a considerable measure of satisfaction.
International Community Applauded
On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, President Koroma once again applauds development partners for their unflinching commitment to supporting Sierra Leone’s development aspirations. “Sierra Leone is poised and ready to continue working with the International Community to regain its pre-Ebola development programme”, President Koroma assured. “We look forward to strengthening partnerships for effective implementation of our Post-Ebola Recovery Plans, both national and Sub-regional”.
Sierra Leone’s Contribution to World Peace
In spite of the devastating effects of the Ebola outbreak on the economy, Sierra Leone continues to be very committed to promoting inclusion in governance, inclusion in development, and supporting peace around the world as a post-conflict country. The President believes that the country shall continue to support initiatives for the sustenance and expansion of democracy, peace and security in Africa in particular, and in the world at large. The contribution of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Peacekeeping efforts demonstrates the country’s strong commitment to global peace and stability. That is why the country acknowledges the Report of the High-Level Independent Review Panel on Peacekeeping Operations in all its aspects, and stands ready to explore further means to increase its contribution to global peacekeeping to enhance the success of UN peacekeeping operations.
Significant progress has been made in Sierra Leone over the eight years under the leadership of President Koroma; though his Government is faced with many other challenges including the successful implementation of the national Ebola recovery plans. As Sierra Leone celebrates its 55th Independence Anniversary this week, it is important to reflect on its economic, political, social and cultural transformations as well as the recent unprecedented outbreak of the wicked endemic that took its toll on the lives of over 3,500 Sierra Leoneans, including a good number of healthcare workers in the country. Over ten renowned medical Specialists and hundred nurses perished during the Ebola outbreak, including the only virologist in the country, the late Dr. Umar Khan.
Investment Climate in Sierra Leone
Since the Sierra Leone Government undertook specific measures to improve the national investment climate, direct foreign investment has been on the rise with the establishment of multinational companies in the mining industry, in the agricultural sector, forestry and many other sectors in the country. But the two multinational companies that were the economic drivers in the rapid economic growth of the country – London Mining Company and African Minerals Limited – went into administration during the Ebola outbreak and dealt with a severe blow to the economy. The fall in the price of iron ore in the international market, which the two companies were mining in Sierra Leone, was perhaps the major factor that sent them into administration. The African Minerals Limited has however been taken over by a Chinese company – Shandong Steel and Iron Company, whilst the Romanian billionaire Frank Tunis, who initially had 70% shares in African Minerals Limited, used his subsidiary company to take over London Mining Company. Sierra Leone is being described by many visitors from abroad as a virgin land for investment given that the country is naturally endowed with abundant resources many of which are yet to be explored. The country is abundantly rich in the deposits of diamonds notably gem stones, iron ore, bauxite, rutile, zircon, cotton, gold and many other minerals that are yet to be tapped. Though the exploration and mining of those large deposits of minerals is highly capital intensive, they are gradually attracting foreign investments with the end of the Ebola virus. With the improved national investment climate in the country, Sierra Leone is attracting more investors in the mining sector.
There are many other sectors that would bring economic boom if they attract direct foreign investments, such as the tourism industry and the agricultural sector. The tourism industry used to contribute greatly to the economy until the civil conflict in Sierra Leone broke out in March 1991, when most of the investors in the industry fled the country for their safety. With the end of the 11 years civil conflict in April 2002, the tourism industry is gradually recuperating with bright future as evidenced by the recent visit of 105 tourists to the capital of Freetown. In the agricultural sector, the viable lands in Sierra Leone remain under-utilized. In a recent news conference at the World Bank Country Office in Freetown on Monday 14th March, 2016, where a new World Bank project was launched to support smallholders commercialization in Sierra Lone, the Country Manager disclosed that out of the 4.5 million hectares of arable land the country has, only 12% has been cultivated. About 60% – 70% of Sierra Leoneans are engaged in agriculture but most of them practice subsistence farming because they are poor to embark on commercialized farming which is capital intensive.
Big agricultural projects are sponsored by development partners while only a few Sierra Leoneans have the capital and willingness to invest in agricultural at commercial level. If well invested in by foreign investors, the Sierra Leone arable land would produce enough food for Sierra Leoneans and for exportation as well. This could also be an area of attraction for direct foreign investments and recent reports are that a foreign company will start operating in Torma Bum in the Southern District of Bonthe. Torma Bum has hundreds of thousands of hectares of arable land that used to produce the staple food, rice, for both internal and external use from Post-Independent era to the late 1980s. Torma Bum will definitely rise again when the foreign company invests in the vast land.
The relaxation of the bureaucratic bottlenecks for the registration of business has also attracted more investors in the country as it takes less than 72 hours to register a new business with the Office of the Registrar General. Above all, Government has implemented measures to protect investors and their investments.
Sierra Leone- a Blessed Nation
Sierra Leone is one of the finest countries in Africa. She is blessed with the second largest natural harbour on earth after Australia. The country is remarkably beautiful, with pristine beaches, green mountains, and jungles that remain largely untouched. It has friendly people with political and religious tolerance. Our flora and fauna, and our beautiful monuments like the famous Bounce Island where slaves were shipped to America during the Atlantic slave trade, the Tambakha Kilimi Reserve in the Tambakha Chiefdom, Bombali District and other areas in Kabala, Shenge, Sulima, Pepel and Bonthe are beautiful and still remain as major tourist attraction areas in the country.
The issues I have highlighted in this article and others I did not mention which Sierra Leoneans will be reflecting upon on Independence Day are very crucial to putting Sierra Leone on the path to resilience and sustainable development. And as the people of Sierra Leone celebrate their country’s 55th birthday, they should have all reasons to be optimistic rather than being pessimistic because our future as a nation is very bright. They should hope that more investors will storm the country to enhance economic growth and create more job opportunities.
Happy Independence to all Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad!!
ACROSTIC on Independence Anniversary by Major General (Rtd) Alfred Claude Nelson-Williams , Deputy High Commissioner , NigeriaFriday, April 29th, 2016
SIERRA LEONE’S 55 th. INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN ABUJA, NIGERIA ON WEDNESDAY 27 th. APRIL 2016.
By: Alusine Mohamed Fofanah
Sierra Leone High Commission
Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
S….Sierra Leone the Land of our Birth and Infant Nurture
I……Independence gained on 27 th. April 1961.The Union Jack Was Lowered and proudly Hoisted the Sierra Leone National Flag:. Green, White and Blue.. Signifying Agriculture, Peace and the Deep Blue Sea.
E…… Expectations were high after it was given on a Platter of Gold to embrace Unity, Freedom and Justice.
R…… Respected Sir Milton Margai became the First Prime Minister
R…….. Revered Dr. Siaka Probyn Stevens also became Prime Minister and First Executive President.
A……… Athens of Africa was then set to be the Beacon of Hope, participatory Democracy, Sense of belongings, good Governance, Rule of Law, development and prosperity for the African Continent.
L…….. Love and Loyalty to our Country Sierra Leone we Pledge, to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution.
E……… Everyone of us gathered here in HighCommission Abuja, Nigeria on this our 55 th. Independence Anniversary, to Pray for God’s guidance, peace, Security and protection of our beloved Country, Sierra Leone.
O……….. Over the Hills and Valleys, we Echo our cries that inspite of the Rebel War, Ebola and the Floods, we are blessed and highly favored and Sierra Leone will Rise again to take her rightful place in the Progressive Community of Nations.
N…………… No matter where you come from, we are One, there is so much in us that Unites us as Sierra Leoneans than divides us, we must recognize this fact and learn to live with one another.
E…………. Ernest Bai KOROMA (Dr.), our revered, resilient and indomitable President and leader, expect from every man and woman to do his or her own duty for Mama Salone, to make her the Proverbial Land of Milk and Honey.
By: Major General (Rtd) Alfred Claude Nelson-Williams
Deputy High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria
SEE PHOTOS BELOW HOW THE DAY WAS CELEBRATED BY HIGH COMMISSIONER HAJA AFSATU BAYOH AND THE HIGH COMMISSION IN NIGERIA
Sierra Leone Police stormed the headquarters of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) yesterday to stop them from staging a masquerade parade in the city in observation of Sierra Leone’s 55th Independence Anniversary because they did not have permission from the Police to make the parade .
In response, SLPP supporters went on the rampage and stoned and destroyed many buildings and parked vehicles. There was a tense moment in the city yesterday and Police were said to have made many arrests.
We bring you the many versions that emerged from yesterday’s ugly events and a report that the Chairman of the SLPP, Chief Somana Kapen, blamed his own party for the chaos and lashed diasporans for fermenting trouble in Sierra Leone.
ATTEMPT TO SUBVERT THE QUIET AND PEACEFUL NATURE OF THE INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY
On the 23rd of April 2016, the leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) notified the Inspector General of Police about commemoration of their 65th Aniversary to be observed with “Thanksgiving Prayer/Service at the Party National Headquarters 15 Walpole Street on Sunday 24th April 2016 at 12:30 pm” and on Wednesday 27th April, 2016, to continue with: 1. Inter-Faith Service, followed by 2. Luncheon Sale and climaxed with 3. Reunion Night.
The SLP was not averse to the request and the IGP’s approval was conveyed to the Director of Administration of the Party but were ‘cautioned to adhere to the provisions of the Public Order Act No. 46 of 1965 ‘which must charactise the conduct of the entire activities/anniversary celebrations.’
POLICE AT THE SLPP HEADQUARTERS
On 26th April 2016, the Inspector General of Police received copy of a letter the SLPP sent to the Ordehlay Union touching on their renewed membership with the Union and their intention to celebrate their 65th anniversary in grand style with Arie Wuteteh coming out on the 27th of April, 2016. In effect, they were requesting the Ordehlay Union to apply to the SLP on their behalf so that they could come out with their mask devil “Arie Wuteteh” as part of their 65th anniversary celebrations.
THE CHAOS AT THE SLPP HEADQUARTERS
Since it was just a copy sent to the Inspector General, we therefore could not have actioned it. Whilst waiting to hear from the Ordehlay Union in respect of the issue, we received from them (Ordehley Union) copies of letters (Inspector General, Director of Operations, Director of Community Relations, Media One) sent to the Director of Administration of the SLPP indicating that, I quote: “our Union is not in position to apply for your Party/Arie Wuteteh as requested due to late arrival of your letter.”
POLICE TEARGAS SLPP HEADQUARTERS TO DISPERSE ROWDY SUPPORTERS
In view of the above, the SLP’s Director of Operations despatched message to the SLPP Director of Administration requesting him to see him at Police Headquarters which he consented to and promised to make it to Police Headquarters by 5 pm. The Director of Operations intended to discuss the issue with him; moreso when the SLP learnt that they were insisting on coming out whether given permit or not.Unfortunately, he did not turn up, as promised, up to 5 pm.
ONE OF THE VEHICLES DAMAGED BY SLPP MOBS
The Director of Ops. did not relent. He called him up almost 2 hours 30 minutes later and lengthily discussed with him on the phone in respect of intelligence received that they were still going to come out despite the fact that Arie Wuteteh had no permit to come out. The SLPP Director of Administration assured the SLP’s Director of Operations that he was going to talk to the membership to abandon the ideas of coming out with Arie Wuteteh after it was made clear to him that if they attempt coming out with their mask devil, the police would stop them. The final promise from the SLPP end was that they were going to do their dancing and singing within their headquarters at 15 Walpole Street.
SLPP SUPPORTERS DESTROYED THIS VEHICLE
Further intelligence received was that when the Chairman and Secretary General of the Ordehlay Union went to despatch the letter of refusal to the SLPP Director of Administration in their office, they were scolded and the Secretary General was seriously roughed-up. That matter is now the subject of police investigation.
ANOTHER VEHICLE DESTROYED BY THE SLPP SUPPORTERS
True to their word, Arie Wuteteh defied the police and came out this morning 27/04/2016 despite repeated warnings. It would interest you to know that they even went straigth to the Central Police Station with the mask devil as a show of defiance and provoking the police to act. The police ordered them to return to base but they were defiant and put up a challenge. Because the police insisted, they went loose and started pelting stones here and there.
Go to the offices of Anti Corruption Commission and see for yourself the destruction caused by these marauding boys/girls. They smashed windscreens and signpost, damaged window panes and even attempted to burn the Freetown City Council but the petrol bomp was quickly put out. There was vigorous and unrelenting attempt to disarm an Operational Support Department (OSD) personnel but he stood his ground and repelled his attackers.
In a nutshell, the SLP had running battles with those insisting on coming out with Arie Wuteteh but the SLP quickly put the situation under control within 45 minutes. There were no reported cases of injuries. So far 28 arrests were made and investigation continues.
Meanwhile, all celebrations in the SLPP Party office are put on hold as police are busy restoring calm in the area.
For your information, the SLP before the Easter celebrations, adopted a policy of working with unions when it comes to issuance of police permits especially for mask devils wanting to process the streets of Freetown; given that their activities were most times associated with violence and other anti social behaviours. As a responsible organisation desirous of maintaining law and order at all times, we thought that we could directly work with recognisable groups of people (unions) whom we could easily fall back on when their are breaches of the Public Order Act and any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) jointly developed and signed. We have therefore been working with the Ordehlay Union based at Firestone Mountain Cut, Conference of Hunters based at Congo Town and Almalgamated Hunters Society based at Ingham Street, Fourah Bay.
Our working with these Unions especially the Ordehlay Union, largely contributed to the peaceful nature Easter was celebrated despite having more than 25 mask devils processing the streets of Freetown on that day. The policy of coordinating, collaborating and cooperating with Unions is making it possible for them to be part of their own security and the security of the State; thereby making them more accountable to the law for their actions. And in the event they fall short of complying with the MoU jointly developed and signed and non compliance of the Public Order Act. No 46 of 1965, they could be easily reached for questioning.
It is to be further noted that policing in the 21st century has metamorphosed from the traditional police-centered to people- centered; hence the reason behind the adoption of “Local Needs Policing” which is a form of Community Policing that makes it possible for our people to be players in identifying community crimes/problems and then help the police to solve them.
ASP Brima Kamara (Head of SLP Media, Public Relations and Website)
SIERRA LEONE POLICE DISTORT SLPP’s 65th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
By: Lt (Rtd.) Lahai Lawrence Leema
The Sierra Leone Police has started their intimidating tactics again. The SLPP celebrates its 65th anniversary today 27th April 2016. In light of that, the party had written to the SLP informing the Police about its program of activities. Part of the program schedule is celebrating with the SLPP mask called Arie Wutehteh. This has been the customary practice of the SLPP.
It will however interest you to know that the Director of Administration of the SLPP was constantly ennundated with calls from the police hierarchy yesterday 26th April 2016, in order for him to stop the SLPP from celebrating with the Arie Wutehteh mask.
The information about the mask celebrating today 27th April 2016, was first misconstrued by the Police. They thought that it was ‘Abravo’ who has single handedly facilitated the celebration with the mask. In a bid to stop him from celebrating with the mask, a police officer by the name of ASP Musa invited Abravo to the police station, but Abravo did not go there because issues around the mask was the party’s business for which the director of admin had written to inform the police. After a very short while, the director of administration got a call from the Freetown east district chairman of SLPP instructing the director not to move with the mask devil outside the perimeters of the SLPP premises, which is contrary to s.25 of the 1991 Constitution (limiting freedom of movement). The east district chairman Mr. Med K. told the director of admin on a phone conversation that the Odele Union has rejected the Arie Wutehteh from celebrating because they did not meet their traditional rite on time. The traditional rite here is supposed to mean the payment of Le 300,000 and a bottle of wine. The said traditional rite had been fulfilled before many masks which have been given the go ahead by the police.
In reply to Med K, the director of administration told him that was not the right procedure. Once the party had informed the SLP through a formal letter, if there is any discrepancy along the line which requires clarification by the SLP, this should have been in writing for the records, but to talk to Med K. who in turn had to talk to the national party head quarters through cell phone was not administratively correct. As such, he was ignored.
After they learnt that all the traditional ceremonies have been met by the party, they sent the Odele Secretary general who went with a letter to the director of admin. The content of the letter I did not read but according to the director of admin, the letter informed him that the Odele union did not send the name to the SLP for approval because they didn’t meet their obligations.
Meanwhile, the director of admin Alhaji Brima Koroma, told him that as a party, we pass through such ceremonies because we want to show respect to the tradition because we are traditional people as well. But if it is at this nick of time that you are here to tell us that we the ‘Arie Wutehteh’ cannot be granted permission by the SLP because you did not include the name of the arie wutehteh because u as the Secretary general had traveled and on your return you were not updated on anything concerning the arie wutehteh, let me now inform u that as a party, we had met all the traditional rites. Above all, the party had formally written to inform the police on the SLPP 65th anniversary and part of its program of activities is celebrating with the arie wutehteh.
About 5 minutes after he left, a warrant officer from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces was brought into my office (the PR Office). In my office, he described himself as the “agba” in charge of discipline in the Odele society. He was accorded the due respect in that direction. He went on to explain that AIG Memuna will not allow the arie wuteh mask of the SLPP to celebrate because it was not factored into the list of masks which was sent to the police. I however told him that the party had written to the police about its 65th anniversary celebration. In light of that, he admonished that the party should ensure they maintain discipline and that no political song should be sung. He further advised that the party should try as best to avoid confrontation and go out by 12 pm and end by 6 pm at most. He went further to perform certain rituals at the industry where the mask was prepared. As usual, the normal traditional song was sung.
After he had left in a short while, I got a call from the director of administration informing me that AIG Alshek called him & told him that he sent someone to call him but he did not show up. According to the director, his reply was the procedure was not correct. Besides, he did not see anyone who came to say AIG Alshek was calling him. Director told me further that AIG Alshek threatened him that if the mask comes out today, he will not stop at anything to arrest anyone including the director, instead of assuring the party of their public duty to protect them.
This morning, I got a call from director that there has been an allegation that the Odele Secretary was beaten when he went to convey the letter.
From the forgoing, after all efforts to stop the SLPP mask from celebrating today, perhaps out of fear that they may celebrate with the new album of Emmerson titled ‘Survivor’, the ultimate move now is the fabricated allegations that the Odele Secretary general was beaten. This ploy is to ensure that the police & the Odele society, which have been in conspiracy to distort the SLPP celebration, succeed in intimidating the SLPP membership from celebrating on this solemn memorial occasion.
This is completely intolerable and undemocratic. The Sierra Leone Police are in no way helping this country’s unity. They have become too partisan instead of being professional.
© Lahai Lawrence Leema.
Acting National Public Relations Officer.
Sierra Leone Peoples Party.
SLPP CHAIRMAN CHIEF KAPEN LAMBASTS SLPP DIASPORANS FOR FERMENTING TROUBLE IN SIERRA LEONE.
In a phone interview with SLPP Mustapha Wai of Mamba TV Chief Kapen blasted the SLPP diasporans for fermenting trouble at home. During the phone exchange Mr Wai asked him why as a leader he could not stop the party hooligans from going to the street. This made the Chief furious. In his response he said with a deep hoask voice:
“No no no Wai nor tell me da word dae. How you go talk so. Den rude wan ya get respect for we. Even when ar tell them say we nor get clearance look waitin den go do. Una dae respect Una laws den yander but wuna nor want mek den respect de laws of we country. Do ya ar beg, ar get hyper tension”.
He confessed in Mamba TV that the thugs went to the street without a police permit/clearance, and it’s wrong.
PA SOMANA KAPEN
Pa Kapen narrated to Mr Wai how he escaped from the party office due to the teargas the police fired there. Pa Kapen expressed frustrations at the SLPP hooligans and blames the party diasporans for not only fermenting troubles at home bit also creating comfort for bad behavior.
When SLPP’s Mustapha Wai from Mamba TV asked Chief Kapen during the phone interview why he did not control the SLPP crowd, Pa Kapen became outrageously furious and blasted him that they just stick themselves there in the USA and do not even know how the SLPP has descended into chaos and anarchy. Chief Kapen retorted : “No , no, no, Mr Wai , you cannot tell me that nonsense. I am a patient with high blood pressure and I had to escape from police tear gass coming into the party office. I have warned them to respect the police but they took it upon themselves to cause mayhem”. The chief continued addressing Mr Wai in a very upset mood and blaming the SLPP diaspora for contributing negatively to what SLPP had become today. The chief then hung up the phone on Mr Wai abruptly.
The police have stated that they are not only arresting the thugs that damaged public properties alone. The police will also investigate the SLPP leaders who planned the mayhem and when found liable will charge them to court. Many of these SLPP leaders and thugs when found guilty in our courts will go to jail for a very long time.