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Archive for May, 2016

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Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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PPP Test Not Intended To Dismiss Teachers -NTAL Prexy Clarifies

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Calvin Brooks, LINA

MONROVIA, April 20 (LINA) -The President of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Ellen Varfley, has clarified that the Public, Private Partnership (PPP) test being administered to teachers is not intended to weed them out of the education system.

She said the PPP test is rather intended to know the status of teachers as it relates to subjects they teach, so that these teachers can be provided further training to enhance the standard of teaching in the country.



The NTAL official made the clarification Tuesday when teachers of the NTAL Margibi County branch staged a protest in front of the Capitol Building against the PPP Test which has been administered to public school teachers in other counties.

She indicated that it is unfortunate that some teachers are giving misleading information about the PPP test which is intended to strengthen the teaching profession to ensure quality education in the country.

In remarks during the protest, the President of the Margibi County branch of the NTAL, Milton Coleman, said the PPP test is not in the interest of Liberian teachers and that teachers from Margibi County will not sit the test which, he claimed, is intended to dismiss 6,000 teachers in the country.

Coleman pointed out that the Ministry of Education never consulted stakeholders in the education sector before introducing the PPP test and threatened that any attempt to dismiss teachers who refuse to take the test, will result in a nationwide strike.

Liberia Ministry of Education postpones 2016 WAEC Exams

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Decontee M. Wesseh, LINA

MONROVIA, April 20 (LINA) -The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has postponed this year’s WAEC Exams.



Making the disclosure at the Ministry of Information press conference Tuesday, WAEC acting Director of Public Affairs Lawrence Fahnbulleh attributed the postponement of this year’s WAEC exams to the delay in receiving the tests from abroad.

Fahnbulleh explained that the exams for 9th graders will now be administered from May 19-20, while the 12th graders will sit their exams from May 23-27 across the country.

The WAEC official said all schools will be closed from May 19-27 and that school administrations are requested to give their students take home lessons, assignments or projects which will be graded upon their return to school to compensate for the closure.

He pointed out that all assignments should be in conformity with the National Curriculum, noting that MOE will appreciate the cooperation of schools and regrets any inconvenience this postponement may cause.


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Wednesday, May 25th, 2016



Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Joins IslandAid Sierra Leone to Commemorate World Biodiversity Day

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mr Sidie Yahya Tunis today May 22, 2016 joined IslandAid Sierra Leone to commemorate this year’s World Biodiversity Day in a ceremony at Pepel Island.

Mr Tunis who was invited as Guest Speaker, began his statement by thanking the organizers of the program on behalf of His Excellency the President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma for their immense effort to bring stakeholders together to discuss issues relating to Sustainable Island Development.


tour 1

He said among all different parts of the Planet, coastal areas including Islands are those which are most visited by tourists and present economic activity. He furthered that Sierra Leone, located along the Atlantic Ocean hosts a vast stretch of coastline measuring more than 400km and harbors some of the World’s excellent beaches, exotic Islands, unique cultural heritage sites and interesting biodiversity and ecosystem.

tour 2


Mr Tunis also informed the gathering that unlike other countries, the islands in Sierra Leone for the most part have remained pristine and intact due to the low inflow of tourists and lack of access and basic tourism facilities and amenities, but furthered that though these may have hindered the opening up and development of these areas, they have also provided the opportunity to formulate Island development strategies at an early stage to prevent expensive mistakes and damages, thereby avoiding the gradual deterioration of one of tourism’s most prime assets.

He urged the Island communities to join the government to protect and preserve the Islands for sustainable tourism development, which in turn will create jobs opportunities and revenue for the communities and the country. “President Ernest Bai Koroma’s government places premium on the development of the tourism sector, which is why this sector is placed under pillar one on the Agenda for Prosperity” he concluded.

Ministry of Tourism and cultural Affairs Communication Office

Why and how the SLPP lost power in Sierra Leone

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Idrissa Conteh :

How and Why the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP )  Lost Power

1) Poor Governance and Corruption: The second term of the SLPP was marred by widespread corruption, poor governance and myopic leadership. The ACC existed only in name. The sources of wealth of senior government officials building expensive houses at IMATT was not checked though a ministers salary was less than USD 500.00 at the time. Most of the donor funds were misappropriated and the international community pressed for a regime change.



2) The SLPP had been shattered by too many internal political wrangling long before the 2007 presidential elections. The arrest and detention of Chief Sam Hinga Norman by the ICC was considered a sellout by most SLPP supporters. Legally, there was no way the minor agent could be arrested without the principal agent. Norman put his life at stake for the restoration of President Kabbah to power and his reward was disgrace and humiliation. Many SLPP supporters boycotted the polls out of anger and frustration over the way Norman was treated.

3) The Role of local artists: local artists waged a massive war on the SLPP exposing the corrupt practices of officials. Songs like Daddy SAJ’s “Corruption e Do So” and Emerson’s “Borbor Belleh ” raised the level of awareness of the electorate. The SLPP was ridiculed to nonsense.



4) The Charles Margai Factor: When Lawyer Charles Margai announced he was forming a new political party, he was underestimated by the SLPP. All the votes obtained by Margai were precious SLPP votes lost. The internal SLPP crisis continued to deepen with the Charles Margai factor.

5) The Gaddaffi Rice Brouhaha: The Libyan leader, Muamar El-Gaddafi visited Sierra Leone just a few months prior to the 2007 elections. A mass meeting was held at the National Stadium. After President Kabbah’s speech, Gaddafi brought out a long list of aid items he had sent for the people of Sierra Leone through the SLPP administration. It was the very first time the people discovered that a whole shipload of rice was sent for them. The whole stadium went haywire. President Kabbah requested VP Berewa to explain how the rice was used. Berewa said the rice was sold and the proceeds were used to set up NASSIT. Gaddafi was visibly disappointed as that was not the intended purpose. President Kabbah and VP Berewa were booed. The explanations did not sound convincing to the masses. The rice saga spread like wild fire in the harmattan.



6) The Broke Ose hullabaloo: Though the objectives of giving Freetown a facelift by demolishing unsightly shacks and recovering plots of government land that had been unscrupulously acquired sounded plausible, the way and manner in which this was done angered many affected victims and sympathisers. There were no resettlement plans for the victims and no compensations. The SLPP was seen as public enemy N0.1.

8) The Imposition of Solomon Berewa and Momodu Koroma didn’t go down with most supporters: Both men were handpicked by President Kabbah and imposed on the party. Many supporters followed Charles Margai or just boycotted the electoral process in protest.

9)The Kailahun episode: The barring of Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC delegation from entering Kailahun sent strong negative signals in the APC strongholds. Koroma and his APC campaign team were chased out of Kailahun, Seigbwema and Pendembu will stones and this in no small strengthened the resolve of the people of the North and the Western Area to divorce the SLPP for good.

10) Lack of Foresight and Effective Campaign Strategies: Though the SLPP were perceived as an elitist regime, they did not prove that in any shape or form. In 2006, when the SLLP lost all the seats in the Western Area during the Municipal elections, they did not know what to do in order to reverse the situation in the 2007 elections. The SLPP had also lost control over the police and the army and did not know what to do to reverse the situation in its favour. In African politics, if you have no control over the security forces, you have no power at all. The book men of the SLPP did not seem to know this. The army voted against the SLPP in all the elections and the regime had no figment of imagination about how to correct the situation.



The SLPP supporters campaigned very badly. They became irritated and started insulting the electorate. The SLPP campaigners stoned the people with rice calling them illiterates. The people of Freetown chanted “we nor go school but we sabi vote”!

Berewa insulted Christians and later apologized after withdrawing the statement on the persecution of the Lord Jesus Christ. The issue of elitism was exaggerated by the SLPP which put a distance between it and ordinary people.

The SLLP was nil in terms of information management and dissemination. No proper media coverage was given on its activities in the interior though the party appointed one PhD holder after another as Minister of Information.

Sierra Leone hosts its first ever international women’s conference

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Anthony Bangura :

Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs, Honourable Ms. Neneh Rugiatu Turay, Deputy Minister, the Gender Directorate and the entire staff of the Ministry is pleased to inform that in collaboration with UN WOMEN (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), they will be convening a 3-days International ‘African Women In Leadership’ Conference at the Bintumani Hotel, Freetown from 23rd to 25th May 2016.



His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has graciously consented to formally open the Conference on Monday 23rd May 2016.

The theme of the conference, ‘Women Engineering Change, Accelerating the pace in achieving results – Touching and changing lives and contributing to Sustainable Development in their countries’ is itself an acknowledgement of women’s contribution to sustainable development.

During the Beijing hosted UN Fourth Women Conference of Women in September 1995, the current Honourable Minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, at the then tender age of only 23 years, was given the global podium by the United Nations to address the plenary on behalf of female youths of Africa. Indeed, from the days of that global stage event from which she spoke, 21 years ago, the World has come a long way in empowerment of Women and Gender Equality.

Our respective countries have made pivotal strides and gains in pursuing the rights of women. This is particularly evident in the legal and policy frameworks that have been established to eliminate discrimination against women and promote gender equality and equity in the political, cultural and socio- economic spheres.

This Government of Sierra Leone & UN Women Conference seeks to celebrate those successes but more importantly, whilst it is no gainsay that our respective governments have made remarkable inroads in promoting women’s advancement in many spheres however the pace of progress can be accelerated. There is still so much to be done.

Women still do not form a critical mass in public decision-making neither do girls form a critical mass in persons who are accessing opportunities for education/school completion or accessing quality health services in their countries in Africa. These and other issues continue to pose obstacles to our development efforts as a country and a region.

The holding of this MSWGCA & UN WOMEN conference presents a unique opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a country and continent; to promote sustainable development through increased participation and representation of women in leadership positions.

Additionally, this Conference offers a timely and most opportune moment and platform for celebrating women’s leadership and its concrete contribution to development in various parts of Africa as a way to motivate women in Leadership posts. This conference will also offer participants and delegates the opportunity to share best practices and learn from the experiences of one another.

From the Case Studies and Best Practices shared at the Conference, more enhanced strategies will be developed as one of the outputs of the Conference. These Strategies will be compiled into a Compendium or Toolkit for strengthening women in Leadership Roles in Africa.

The Conference will also look strategically to positioning African women in Leadership for the SDGs-Agenda 2030 and Beyond.

Women from some 10 African countries holding high offices and/or respectable positions as Cabinet Ministers, Paramount Chiefs, Traditional Rulers, City Mayors, Local Government Chairs, Civil Society Activists and more, will all assemble at the Bintumani Hotel for 3 days of deliberations. Already, female delegates from Guinea, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe have flown with excitement into Sierra Leone where they will join their Sierra Leonean counterparts.

Indeed, Sierra Leone is ideal to host such an international conference for many reasons including the current regime of President Ernest Koroma is recognized as one of the most gender-sensitive in the subregion. President Koroma has empowered and appointed a huge number of capable women into high offices.

Also expected to be amongst those formidable African women who will be making Statements is the Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai.

The entire Opening Ceremony of this international conference will be covered LIVE on AYV TV Channel 33 and AYV Radio 101.6FM as well as beamed LIVE around the entire world through the Internet on

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NCD and NEC Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Monday, May 23rd, 2016


Two leading governance institutions in the country, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) have on Friday, 20th May, 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the conference room of the National Electoral Commission at Towel Hill in Freetown.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Honorable Nannette Thomas, said that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was an important milestone in building democratic good governance in the country noting that the MOU would help NCD and NEC to effectively and collaboratively achieve their mandates as prescribed by the Acts that created them. She said the two institutions are creatures of Acts of Parliament and that the MOU recognizes the critical roles these commissions are playing before, during and after elections. The Minster described the signing as timely and strongly believed that it would help in enhancing credence in the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. As the Political and Public Affairs Minister, she promised to closely work with the two governance institutions in ensuring that they get the needed support to implement the content of the MOU.



In his statement, the Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo, told the august gathering that the signing of the MOU was not based on a marriage of convenience, but a marriage of compatibility as the mandates and operations of the two governance institutions are mutually reinforcing. He revealed that the MOU would help them twin their resources and enrich the electoral process and strengthen the very pillars of the country’s democracy noting that democratic good governance in the country is faced with many challenges but with determination, hard work and purposeful collaboration, there is hope that the country’s democracy would soon reach it desired height. He revealed that the willingness on the part of NEC to accommodate and effect the signing of an MOU was laudable and worth commending.

Dr. Kargbo stressed that a key concept of democratic good governance is the conduct of periodic free, fair and transparent elections, a process that usually gives entrance legitimacy to our elected leaders and noted that NEC is responsible to regulate that and for it activities to be effective, there must be willingness on the part of the electorate to participate in a manner that the process could be described as credible. Also, he observed that for an electoral process to be effective as prescribed by best practice there must be willingness on the part of the people to positively participate through raising civic consciousness on the general citizenry with NCD charged with that responsibility. He revealed that his commission is working in a society that is predominantly primordial and thus making the work of his commission more challenging even against the atmosphere of diversity and seeming political apathy on the part of the people. Dr. Kargbo affirmed that the work would be easier and leading to an effective and successful electoral process when human and other resources of likeminded institutions are twined for the betterment of all.



He maintained that no one institution could achieve its goals without alliance and the forming of partnership in achieving institutional goals couldn’t only shorten the time of achieving it, but could also be more effective. He assured those present including members of the forth estate that the import of the articles in the MOU would soon be felt by the general public through the dissemination of key messages that would fully help them to understand the very essence of the electoral process to ensure a change of mindset.

In her capacity as Acting Chief of the National Electoral Commission, the Southern Region Commissioner, Augusta Bockarie, revealed that NCD and NEC had good historical working relationship that had not only been developed over the years but had placed credence in the activities and operations of the two institutions. She disclosed that the signing of the MOU would not only cement the existing relationship between the governance institutions but would also create effective collaboration in the areas of civic and electoral education. Commissioner Bockarie maintained that NCD has the constitutional mandate to educate the citizens of this country on their rights to vote and why they should vote and also educate them on the significance of political tolerance in the electoral process while NEC is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of conducting all public elections and referenda. She stressed that NEC would only conduct effective and credible elections if the people were properly sensitized on the importance of their roles in the electoral process noting that the two institutions are joined at the hip when it comes to executing and achieving their goals.

In his comments, Commissioner Macksood Gibril Sesay of NEC said that NCD and NEC have what he described as natural co-existence and none can effectively operate without the full support of the other noting that the signing is just formalizing what is natural. NCD Eastern Region Commissioner, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, reaffirmed that the two governance institutions have been partnering on areas of electoral education and currently on the boundary delimitation of which his Commission holds the national chair and vice chair for the Eastern region.

In her closing courtesy, NCD Western Area Commissioner, Georgette de Marke, said that NEC and NDC had taken matrimonial vows and she believed the vows would enable the two governance institutions to teach the people not only how to vote, but also prepare their minds for the electoral process including political tolerance, electoral honesty etc. She assured all that the MOU would build peace, development and cohesion not only for the two institutions but also at the national level.

NCD Chairman and NEC Acting Chief Signing the MOU.

Sierra Leone Embassy staff dies in Saudi

Monday, May 23rd, 2016


The Sierra Leone Embassy and the Sierra Leone Community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia received with utter shock and dismay the death of Alhaji Mohamed Mustapha Sowa, an employee of the Embassy after a protracted illness.

He died at the Saudi German Hospital in the capital Riyadh on Sunday, 22nd May, 2016. Until his death, he was the Assistant Liaison Officer in the Embassy. The late Mustapha Sowa demonstrated dedication, honesty and exuberance to all duties assigned to him since he was officially employed in 2007. Before that, he served the Mission in different capacities, particularly during the Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) for some years before he officially gained employment.



Sierra Leone’s Ambassador who is currently on official assignment out of Riyadh says the late man was a devoted worker who was even ready to serve the Mission whilst in sick bed. Ambassador Kargbo is expected to cut short his visit following the death of his staff.

A Sierra Leonean who had known him for many years says, in terms of national service and generosity to his compatriots in particular and to other African nationals in general, he was second to none.

He recalls from the late 1980’s until the mid1990’s, through some of his benevolent Saudi connections, Mr. Sowa helped many Sierra Leoneans to cargo their household goods in containers to Sierra Leone free of charge.

Through his philanthropist Saudis, he adds, Mr. Sowa had been generously giving out food stuff and many miscellaneous items to Sierra Leoneans of all walks of life.

He will be remembered for his invaluable services not only to the Sierra Leone community, but other West African nationals as well. He will be sorely missed by all.

Both the Diplomatic and Local staff of the Embassy share this painful event. We extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Mustapha Sowa. We pray that the Almighty forgive him all his sins and make ‘Janatul Firdaus’ his final abode.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.

A few days before his demise, I sat down with him in my office and had an interview with him. Below are some of the photos.

Ambassador Ismael Koroma in New York to attend important meeting at UN Security Council

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the African Union  in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia , has arrived in New York  to attend the 10th Joint Annual Consultative Meeting between the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

ambassador koroma - Copy


The event, which starts tomorrow,  will commemorate a decade of the joint consultation between the two Councils. It will provide the opportunity for members of both Councils to take a strategic view at their partnership, as well as find ways to strengthen their cooperation moving forward.

Sierra Leone will be participating as a member for the first time in such meeting since it officially became a member of the AU Peace and Security Council in April this year , through the dynamic leadership of His Execellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his team at the AU Mission in Addis Ababa, led by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Osman Keh Kamara.

The Ambassador was met on arrival by the Head of Chancery and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, Mr. Alhusine Sesay, ESQ.

The Government International Media Network in New York will bring you all the details and photographs.