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Momentum regained : New cabinet, development projects and now tourists storm Sierra Leone

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

By KABS KANU

The Ebola scourge, which went a long way to throw a spanner into the works of the development drives of the President Ernest Koroma Government is gone and even if we have flare-ups now and again as is happening in Liberia and Guinea ,we have structures now in place to fight them.

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PRESIDENT KOROMA SWEARS IN NEW MEMBERS OF THE CABINET

Thanks to the  outstanding leadership of President Koroma and his Ebola Response team and the much-appreciated intervention of the international community and international organizations like the UN, the WHO, the CDC, Red Cross etc. Sierra Leone effectively prevailed against the deadly, sneaky and killer scourge . What was expected to bring our nation down did not succeed.

LARGEST PALM OIL FACTORY 1

PRESIDENT KOROMA COMMISSIONS THE BIGGEST PALM OIL PRODUCING FACILITY IN WEST AFRICA

Ebola slowed down the momentum of national development .  Development projects and the mechanism of good governance did not go away during the Ebola outbreak. President Koroma and the Government remained on top of things. But whatever slowdown was experienced , things are returning to normal.

LARGEST PALM OIL 2

SIERRA LEONE NOW HAS THE LARGEST PALM OIL PRODUCING FACTORY IN WEST AFRICA

The country is getting back on its feet, though we still need heavy economic and logistical support to fund our post-Ebola recovery program. Sierra Leone needs the support of her bilateral and multilateral partners more than ever .

makeni-kamakwie highway

THE MAKENI-KAMAKWIE HIGHWAY IN THE NORTH BEING PAVED

The signs that we have regained the momentum were clearly spelt out by the recent cabinet reshuffle undertaken by President Koroma, which has infused the cabinet with indomitable and dynamic  youth and young women burning with determination to excel and push forward President Koroma’s Agenda For Prosperity. The enthusiasm and excitement among the newly-appointed ministers, their deputies and other appointees is very impressive.

makeni-sanda road

PRESIDENT KOROMA IS CHANGING THE FACE OF SIERRA LEONE

Another sign of momentum regained is the acceleration of development projects, the hallmark of the governance of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Even opposition members and the blind zealots who edit  their newspapers have been left speechless by the pace of the development projects by President Koroma.

TOURISTS 1

SIERRA LEONE’S TOURISM INDUSTRY KICKS BACK TO LIFE

TOURISTS 2

TOURISTS BEING WELCOMED TO SIERRA LEONE

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THE CRUISE SHIP THAT BROUGHT THE TOURISTS TO SIERRA LEONE

What is amazing is that it is  the backyard of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ), which the party neglected when iit was in power, that  is among the places being developed by the APC government under President Koroma’s leadership as seen from the photos.

And now this week, Sierra Leoneans saw one of the most plausible signs that things have returned to normal with the arrival in Freetown of a cruise ship with over a hundred tourists.

At this time last year, the U.S. and some Western countries were issuing travel advisories, asking their citizens not to come to Sierra Leone because of the Ebola outbreak. But a tremendous sign that Sierra Leone has turned the corner swiftly was the arrival of the tourists in the country this week.

These events are the result of the outstanding leadership of President Ernest Koroma and his government and the resilience of the Sierra Leonean people .

New presidential appointees enter jobs with a lot of goodwill and high expectations from the public

Friday, April 8th, 2016

By KABS KANU

There have been a lot of euphoria , excitement and animation from members of the Sierra Leone public at home and abroad during the past week since the confirmation hearings started in Parliament for the newly-appointed ministers, ambassadors and public officers. Why not ? The political landscape in our motherland has changed dramatically and now everybody is involved in the socio-political renaissance of the country , unlike the past when most people were disinterested and stoic towards the politics of their country.

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MS. NANNETTE THOMAS SHAKES HANDS WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA AFTER HER SWARING-IN

 

It is therefore not surprising that nationals of the country at home and in the diaspora have been much involved in all the excitement, delirium and speculation that marked the start of the confirmation hearings,  eventual vetting and swearing into office of the first and second sets of  new ministers, ambassadors  and public officials.

GOODWILL 1

The jubilating throngs of supporters that accompanied appointees to Parliament, the general excitement and in some cases, the protest led by Mr. Mohamed Kamarainba around the precints of parliament , the bitter arguments in the newspapers, radio and social media about the suitability or non-suitability of appointees all pointed to the total involvement of the Sierra Leonean people and their new attitudes and commitments towards political developments in their country. This should be a clear message to the new appointees that they will be providing service to a nation that is no longer politically asleep and dormant , but one that is very much involved and expects the best from them.

GOODWILL 4

INFORMATION MINISTER MOHAMED BANGURA SHAKES HANDS WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA AFTER BEING SWORN IN

Following their swearing-in by President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House yesterday, the new appointees must have noticed that they will be entering their new jobs with a lot of goodwill from the Sierra Leonean people , never mind the complaints in some circles that certain appointees should not have been approved. The people of Sierra Leone have high hopes and expectations in their new ministers , ambassadors and public officers.

GOODWILL 5

MR. CORNELIUS BEVENEAUX SHAKES HANDS WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA

Above all the din of opposition discontent with some of the appointees, obviously for partisan political reasons in most cases, the general consensus among Sierra Leoneans is that President Ernest Koroma did a MAGNIFICENT  job . His appointment of many women and youths in the new government has breathed a new life in the governance machinery and has infused a lot of added dynamism, impetus and direction to the government.

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DR. SYLVIA BLYDEN SHAKES HANDS WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA

Many of the appointees , notably  Social Welfare , Gender and Children’s Affairs minister Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Messrs Bai Mahmood, the Minister of Youth, Hon. Alimamy P. Koroma-Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Ms. Nanette Thomas, Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Mr. Ahmed Khanou-Minister of Sports ; Mr. Sidi Yahya Tunis-Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs ; Mr. Ady Macauley (Anti-Corruption Commission ) ,  Paolo Conteh ( Internal Affairs Ministry ) , Mr. Mohamed Bangura and Cornelius Deveneaux  (Information ) etc. etc. etc. are expected to make a tremendous impact in their positions. Regardless of what their detractors said about them in the social media, these individuals and many others not named are believed to be very determined to prove their worth. They believe that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

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MS. ELIZABETH MANS SHAKES HANDS WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA

While we at COCORIOKO  congratulate them once again, we also call on all of them to hit the ground running and give off their best. We hope they will eschew all infightings in their posts and place duty to the nation above every manifestation of the pyramid of the Self–I, Me, Myself. There is a lot more to be accomplished.

The public will be looking up to them to deliver the deliverables and help to make Sierra Leone a strong and better nation. Time is not on their side. This Government has only two years left to its mandate. Though Ebola chipped away the best of two years that more could have been achieved, yet the scorecard of the Government is still impressive . The new appointees will be expected to maintain the momentum of the socio-political and economic developments set adrift by this Government. The Agenda For Prosperity  must continue its forward march.

May God bless our nation and save our state from the schemes of unpatriotic elements.

Fake news alert : Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Koroma not named in the Panama Papers

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

By KABS KANU :

Some Sierra Leoneans dislike their own country so intensely that whenever there is an international index by monitoring organizations, if their country is not given a poor rating , they become very unhappy. Similarly, if an international scandal breaks  out and Sierra Leone is not part of it, some patricidal Sierra Leoneans will look for every means to hook their country or President to it.

While the  Liberian , Nigerian and Ghanaian media are going out of their way not to link their country to the recently leaked Panama Papers, Sierra Leoneans, out of mischief, hatred , unpatriotism and perfidy have linked President Ernest Koroma to these infamous papers, though in truth, nowhere is the President named in the scandal.

Whereas a Liberian social media commentator proudly believed no member of his country was involved , saying : “OH! OH! My people, I hope no Liberians show up on this list because we are decent people. I have the hope and faith in our leaders that shame will not come to our leaders and country! “, Sierra Leonean social media bloggers , who are becoming notorious for made-up stories linked our President to it gleefully, even though his name came nowhere near it. But the blame is with the Government. As long as we continue to turn a blind eyes to the grave misconduct being perpetrated by our media and refuse to charge so-called journalists guilty of slander, defamation of character, libel and sedition, we will continue to have the names of our President and country dragged in the mud unnecessarily.

PRESIDENT KOROMA 7

 

For those of you who have not read about it yet,  “A huge leak of documents has lifted the lid on how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. The files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca ” and “The files show how Mossack Fonseca clients were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax”, according to the BBC. “It is the biggest leak in history, dwarfing the data released by the Wikileaks organisation in 2010.”

According to the BBC,  the documents were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The documents provide  links to 12 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries, the BBC  disclosed . It says that more than 60 relatives and associates of heads of state and other politicians are also implicated.

These 11 . 5 million leaked documents have now come to be named THE PANAMA PAPERS.

All the credible and reputed world newspapers that have researched the Panama Papers so far mentioned nothing about President Koroma. They named the past and present world leaders caught in the scandal . On the African side, Sudan’s former President Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani, Kenya’s Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Kojo Annan, son of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan,  Mounir Majidi, the king of Morocco’s personal secretary,  South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma  and  Former governor of Nigeria’s Delta State, James Ibori were named .

Other world leaders named were President Mauricio Macri of Argentina; President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine; Mr. Gunnlaugsson, then the prime minister of Iceland; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan; King Salman of Saudi Arabia; the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and its former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.

Also, over 40 countries were named whose leaders and relatives were implicated in the financial scandal, but Sierra Leone was not among them.

A story written by one Silas Gbandia of Sierra Leone , said to have been  produced by Times Media in conjunction with the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, stated that the Sierra Leone diamond mining industry was implicated through Octea and Koidu Holding’s but no mention was made of the involvement of government officials.

The social media bloggers’ reports linking President Koroma and family members to the Panama Papers are therefore not only willfully misleading and completely false; they are also an attempt to fool the Sierra Leone public, which is noted for its gullibility and complacency and laziness to verify reports in the media, especially Facebook and WhatsApp.

The Sierra Leone media loves to take advantage of the gullibility of the public to peddle all kinds of lies and propaganda against President Koroma and the Government.

 

 

 

 

Yellow Journalism destroying the fabric of Sierra Leone media

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

journalism

 

Many Sierra Leoneans are very ignorant about the media. Though we live in a media society today, with everything pervaded by media, listening to some Sierra Leoneans gives you the sick feeling that they are stupid about the media.

You have public officials who are so clueless about public service that  they are not ashamed to boast in public that they do not need the media. Ironically, is it not  the media that constructs meaning to the events and other activities these so-called officials participate in, without which what they do would have no meaning at all ?

Secondly, any public official who has come to benefit his /her people and country knows that it is only the media that can effectively propagate his/ her agenda and good intentions .How an appointed or elected government official can stand in public and say he or she does not need publicity just shows the caliber and intellect of that official. Maybe, he or she came to perform another activity different from public and national service. What a shame.

The other problem bedeviling our nation is irresponsible journalism and ignorance about press freedom by media  practitioners themselves.

Dictionary .Com defines Press freedom as “the right to publish newspapers, magazines, and other printed matter without governmental restriction and subject only to the laws of libel, obscenity, sedition, etc. ” It goes further to define it as “The right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government. ” Freedom of press is a constitutional right.

However , like all rights in the community, press freedom comes with responsibility . Your freedom stops where somebody’s right begins. Some speech are not protected by press freedom or freedom of speech. Slander (verbal defamation) and libel (written defamation), threats, treason, copyright infringements, trade secrets, and promoting unlawful acts are unprotected . So is malicious gossip, a preoccupation that Sierra Leoneans enjoy and now that Social Media has turned every waif into a journalist, is now being practiced with great levity.

False and fake news reports, lies , slander and libel against innocent people and manufactured stories and doctored pictures are now the order of the day in our media. That is all our media practitioners are feeding our people today. Most of our news outlets are scandal sheets , not newspapers.

Maybe, the reason that Sierra Leoneans are so reckless and irresponsible with the media is that the laws of libel, slander , defamation, invasion of privacy and sedition are not being enforced in our country.  These laws exist in our law books just to be perused and not to be enforced. Because the authorities are turning a blind eye to reckless and irresponsible media excesses, yellow journalism prevails in the country and is destroying the fabric of the media.

If the authorities had been setting robust examples of irresponsible and reckless journalists who break the law with impunity , the charade in our media landscape would not have been happening.

Our journalists have to be taught that everybody has a right to a good name , until they bend the law. Doctoring stories and pictures against innocent  people in the media is wrong and should not be part of us.

When will we start enforcing the Laws of Libel, Defamation and Sedition in Sierra Leone ? Do we really care about Journalism standards in Sierra Leone ?

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE : False article about Donald Trump’s alleged remarks about Sierra Leone

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

PRESS RELEASE red Rubber Stamp over a white background.

 

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GOVERNMENT INTERNATIONAL MEDIA NETWORK

PERMANENT MISSION OF SIERRA LEONE TO THE UN

NEW YORK, USA

March 23, 2016

The general public is hereby informed that an article making the rounds on social media claiming that Mr. Donald Trump made scathing remarks  against Sierra Leone is patently false and misleading.

Since he started his campaign to become the Standard Bearer for the Republican party in the forthcoming U.S. Presidential elections, Mr. Donald Trump has not mentioned Sierra Leone in any of his campaign statements.

A State Department official, asked  to ascertain the veracity of the article making the rounds on Facebook , said yesterday  that he had no record of  the statements about Sierra Leone  attributed to Mr. Trump .

Also, Mr. Peter Andersen, a one-time peace corps volunteer and a noted journalist who created the Sierra Leone Web, the first source of internet news about Sierra Leone ever on the World Wide Web, who is also a reliable source of Sierra Leone news , in response to an article on the Cocorioko Facebook Wall, also said yesterday that “That was a fake news story too, from a fake news site. ”

There is no news report , video or audio anywhere depicting the  U.S. Presidential aspirant making the statements about Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone Embassy to the U.S.  has also expressed dismay at the Facebook story.

The AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY , the Sierra Leone Government’s road map for socio-economic and political development, which the false article sought to discredit, has won world-wide acclaim from the country’s local and international development partners , including the World Bank, IMF, DFID  and the UN.

Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress in the areas of Energy , Agriculture, Education, Health and economic and Infrastructural developments under both the Agenda For Change and its successor , the Agenda For Prosperity , though the recent Ebola Outbreak  affected many of the government’s projects.

There is therefore no basis for any disparagement of the Agenda For Prosperity by social media bloggers seeking to demean the efforts of the President Ernest Koroma Government.

END OF PRESS RELEASE .

 

 

God detests the proud but gives grace to the humble

Monday, March 21st, 2016

pride

PASSION WEEK SERMON

Jesus Christ is going to demonstrate his humility and selfless nature during the passion. He is going to enter Jerusalem and hailed as King but he will be humbly riding a pony.

Jesus will give himself to be crucified on the Cross so that man will be delivered from his sin and be fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

It will be seven days of humility , meekness and supreme sacrifice for mortal man.

We must learn from the example of Jesus.

The LORD detests the proud; they will surely be punished.: PROVERBS 16 : 5

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and ‘he shall be brought low (Isaiah 2:12).

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. JAMES 4: 6

Sincerely speaking, it is not good to be proud. We have to be very humble in this world because there is no reason to be proud. We never achieve anything that was not given unto us. You are rich only because God made you rich. If you got your riches from shady dealings, the devil gave it to you . If you have a top post in the community , it was given to you. You did not get it on your own.

“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? ” 1 CORINTHIANS 4 : 7

1 Samuel 2:7
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.

1 Samuel 2:8
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world.

So you see, there is nothing you gained that was not given to you. Therefore, it is bad to be proud.

Pride is not driving a flashy Mercedes benz or being dressed up like a king or being called titles. These are your entitlements. If you worked hard to get them, there is no pride involved in enjoying them. If I have a PH.D, I will not mind if I am called Dr……. After all, I worked for it.

Pride is an attitude. Pride is an action . Pride is when you think you are better than others. Pride is behaving to people as if you are more superior to them. No one is better than another person. And that is why God is unhappy with the proud. God created us all equal. You are not even better than the people you act cocky to, where the truth is even concerned.  But even if you are, do you think it is permanent ?

Whatever is making us treat other people with disdain  is not permanent. You will lose it one day. Or you will die and leave everything on this earth. If nar beauty, e go fade. Do you know how many women were beauty queens in their youth but today in advanced age look different ? That is how God made the world. Nothing lasts forever, not even power , not even anything.

You were born naked. You will die naked .

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. ” JOB 1 : 21

1 Timothy 6:7
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Ecclesiastes 5:15
Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.

Therefore, let us learn to be humble. Let our humility be much spoken about. Let people look at us and love and respect us because we are humble , whatever our position in the society. People admire us when we are humble.
Pride, pomposity, ostentation ….These should not be part of anybody who knows that he/she is just a stranger on this earth and will die sooner than later. When you die, you leave everything on this earth. You go back into the dust from whence you came and the worms feed on your body .

Therefore, stop being proud.

Be humble, like the Master Jesus, who being God, did not consider himself equal to God but he humbled himself to his very death.

Sierra Leone at the UN : What Hon. Kabia’s CSW statement told the world about our nation and ruling government

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

By KABS KANU :

The statement delivered on the podium of the 60th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women at the UN  yesterday by the Acting Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs , Ms. Isata Kabia, crystallized the dramatic strides that have been made by the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government on youth and gender empowerment and equality in Sierra Leone.

BLYDEN

SIERRA LEONEANS JUBILATING WITH DR.SYLVIA BLYDEN , ONE OF THE PROMINENT WOMEN IN THE COUNTRY, WHO WAS  BROUGHT BY PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA INTO  THE GOVERNANCE AND DECISION-MAKING DYNAMISM OF THE NATION IN THE PRESIDENT’S DRIVE TO PROMOTE GENDER EMPOWERMENT. THERE ARE 11 WOMEN IN ALL IN GOVERNANCE NOW.

The well-delivered and well-applauded statement , first of all,  impressively underscored Sierra Leone’s foreign policy objective of engagement and cooperation with both her bilateral and multilateral partners in the strive to create a better world when the minister  epitomized this spirit when she told  the huge UN gathering that her  delegation “wishes to align itself with the statements delivered by Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Tanzania on behalf of the African Group.”

Sierra Leone has an indelible record of being an active and useful participant in deliberations and action at the UN.

president popular

PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA IS RIDING ON A TREMENDOUS WAVE OF POPULARITY FOR FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES BY STACKING HIS CABINET WITH PROMISING YOUTHS AND WOMEN

The Group of 77 and the African Group are two important organizations in which Sierra Leone is playing a leading role at the UN. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone is the Chair of the African Union Committee of 10 African states responsible for  canvassing and propagating the African Common Position in the intergovernmental negotiations for  UN Security Council Reform .

The statement went on to encapsulate Sierra Leone’s unstinting  support in the strides being made by the world towards the attainment of gender equality goals and the empowerment of women.

Sierra Leone, by positive actions in the past and present as will be seen later ,  is showing  that she is in sync with the world in efforts to attain these  two above- mentioned lofty goals–Gender equality and empowerment of women.

President Ernest Koroma has just unveiled a relatively new cabinet composed of many women , some of whom have been playing a commendable role in the country, like the Awareness Times Publisher, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who is the face of the women of the country in the democratic media criticism and analyses of socio-political and economic events in the country by women ( An occupation once the sole preserve of men in Sierra Leone ).

At the CSW, Sierra Leone  reaffirmed President Koroma’s  support  for “the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and other international agreements that promote women’s empowerment, and compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women”, which the statement  believes “are prerequisites for sustainable development.”

This is a manifestation of our country’s ability to work with other nations and multilateral organizations to bring social, economic and political development to the world.  Both at the UN and international parlays , Sierra Leone has a strong reputation for  being a useful partner-in- world progress .

Isata-Kabia

HON. ISATA KABIA : TOLD THE WORLD THE REALITY IN SIERRA LEONE

 

The Acting Minister of Social Welfare , Hon. Isata Kabia, in her statement, also helped to propagate THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY, President Koroma’s flagship national development blueprint for reducing poverty in Sierra Leone and for trottling Sierra Leone to the apex of socio-economic and political development  .

In a very significant  segment  of the statement ,  the minister made  the world to know  that even before this very 60th Session of the CSW, Sierra Leoneans had already created a splendid platform for gender equality and empowerment . She told the UN : “This poverty reduction strategy program (PRSP III (2013 – 2018) comprises 7 pillars which mainstream gender and has a pillar 8 as a stand-alone pillar on “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”.

In making  such an important  revelation to this UN Session , the minister has made the whole world know that Sierra Leone has not been left behind in continental  efforts to change the dynamism and reality of today , vis-à-vis the involvement of women  in the decision-making process  of the world. As a matter of fact, Sierra Leone is marching right ahead and setting records not only in Africa but the world.

As God would have it , the CSW Session ‘s opening day program coincided with the announcement in Freetown of the recent cabinet reshuffle in Sierra Leone during which  the Government, under the wise leadership of the crusading President Ernest Bai Koroma  proved that our nation’s commitment to gender equality and empowerment is not a lip-service, but part of the governance mechanism and reality of the country. PRESIDENT KOROMA  reformed a cabinet that catapulted women to 11 ministerial  positions ! ! !  Yes, you heard it right .  Sierra Leone can now boast of 11 ministers of government, tasked with helping President Koroma and the Ministries, departments and agencies ( MDAs )  move our nation to the citadel of socio-economic and political renaissance. The Government of Sierra Leone is showing the world that the place of the woman is no longer just in the kitchen.

Women are now as equally reckoned as men in the day-to-day governance of the country.

Furthermore, it is not only the women who are being empowered in Sierra Leone by the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma. YOUTHFULNESS  runs throughout the cabinet as the President is also giving youngsters the glorious opportunity to serve their people and engage in decision-making.

Thus, Sierra Leone , once the Athens of West Africa and The Beacon of Light of Africa,  is moving forward in making the world a better place for all its people —Young, old, men and women.

The injection of more women and youth into the government has won President Koroma wide-spread national and international acclaim.

In Sierra Leone today, the grateful citizens of the country are delighted that the dictum of governance  is no longer “BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN THERE IS A WOMAN”.  Rather, it is now, “BESIDE EVERY SUCCESSFUL NATION, THERE IS A WOMAN.”

In part 2 of this article, I will examine other areas of international diplomacy , international cooperation and international change , where Sierra Leone is also helping to blaze the trail.

 

Civil Society cannot go around threatening legitimate and productive Government

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

 

By KABBIE KANU

One thing the President Ernest Koroma Government has not ceased to do is to continue seeking the welfare of the Sierra Leonean people.

Though resources are dwindling even in the great United States where you see hundreds of homeless people lying in the street, cuddled against the biting cold, the EBK Government has done its best to utilize whatever resources are available to improve the quality of life of Sierra Leoneans.

armed forces message

 

The educational and health care systems have been reformed. Electricity is more available today than it was during the reign of the opposition SLPP when Sierra Leone was considered the darkest country in the world ; State – of – the art highways have been constructed and soon the Waterloo- Masiaka highway will be one of the best in West Africa.

Agricultural productivity has been boosted through government reforms and provision of resources and incentives for farmers.

Sierra Leone is now one of the safest countries in the world with very impressive human rights records and respect for the rule of law. The investment climate remains good, despite the ravages of ebola.

With all these efforts being made by the EBK Government to make Sierra Leone a better country, nobody is impressed by the spunkless ultimatum given to the government by a section of civil society, which is the SLPP in disguise. The rag-tag civil society group is threatening   that if Government does not reduce the price of fuel within 14 days, it will organize demonstrations throughout the country. SHAME. Is that the only method to address vexing issues in the country ?

We all know that demonstrations are an alibi for perpetrating and promoting lawlessness, vandalism and anarchy in the country.

What do these people think about themselves ? Don’t they see all the efforts being made by the government to develop the country and also improve the lot of the people ? If government is already subsidizing the cost of fuel, which is why we have the lowest prices at the pump in all West Africa, how can a serious civil society group  issue such a mindless ultimatum to the government ? Are people trying to take advantage of the tolerance of President Ernest Koroma ?

If the SLPP are looking for power, they should wait for the elections in 2018 and try to get it legitimately through the ballot box. If they are the choice of the people, they will win the elections. But always trying to rock the foundations of peace in the country is very unbecoming of an opposition party disguising itself as civil society .

The last time, it was the Sam Sumana issue and the SLPP failed woefully to incite the people and spark chaos in the country. When will they learn ?

The Government swore an oath to protect and defend the lives and properties of the Sierra Leonean people and foreigners within our borders. The Government must not allow any fifth columnist organization parading as civil society to intimidate it and endanger the lives and properties of the people. This is very selfish and unpatriotic.

Any attempt by  anybody to disturb the peace of our country must be met with strong preemptive and reactive measures designed to keep our country safe.

The people of Sierra Leone deserve to go home after their daily toils and enjoy peaceful sleep at night. They cannot afford to live at the edge of fear and insecurity perpetually due to the unbridled power- consciousness of some depraved people. Those who want power should seek to get it at the ballot box.

Enough, enough. Enough of confrontations and chaos in our country.

Let us learn to resolve our problems through dialogue and peaceful negotiations

Sad to see colleagues go, but President Koroma was hard put to it to act

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

It is always a moment of sadness when a sudden loss of job befalls a brother or sister Sierra Leonean. We are so interconnected and interrelated that bad news for one man or woman is bad news for the “family” . Therefore, yesterday’s robust action by the Government to relieve Hon. Moijue Kai-Kai,  the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and his Deputy Mustapha Bai Attilla  of their jobs was a sad event that tore at the hearts of their colleagues in the Government, their families  and some members of the public . But did Government have an option ?

President Ernest Koroma, who well understands these family dynamics that run through the entire citizenry , does not  delight in taking bread off the tables of public servants . As a matter of fact, President Koroma,  as the Father of the nation,  wants to butter the bread of his people . He wants to put more people to work than render them jobless. In fact, critics of this Government have blamed him for being overly tolerant and patient with members of his government who have the potentials to make a difference but do get overtaken by haughty tempers and abrasive behavior , which he believes these officials will eventually overcome.

The two ministers relieved of their duties were hardworking, especially Mr. KaiKai, who was loved by grassroots APC supporters. Both have won lots of respect among their fans for their commitment and abilities to do government work.

MOIJUE AND ATTILLA

The ministers relieved of their posts : Hons. Kaikai and Atilla

However, the government was hard put to it to act robustly at last .  The public brawl between them was too gross and vulgar. Ministers from whom so much was expected were found behaving in a manner unbecoming of public servants, especially those directly  dealing with the destinies of children, women and other segments of society  and the matter was made worse by accusations that it was the minister himself who recorded the affray and provided the audio to the media or public. COCORIOKO  sought an interview with the minister to verify the facts but one was not forthcoming from him . If true, the minister should have known that he was putting the government’s respect and credibility to disrepute, just like his Deputy who went berserk with foul language in public and shocking disorderly conduct unbecoming of a minister.

This latest brawl between officials of government showed that indiscipline, lack of self-respect, disrespect for one another  and unprofessionalism among public officials were getting out of hand and  threatening to put a dent not only on the moral fiber of  the Government but its ability to maintain an atmosphere of decorum and decent behavior among officials of government.

If the Government had not acted, the very Sierra Leoneans accusing the president of selective justice today would have blamed the government for not caring about  maintaining and  protecting the professional and  moral ethos of its Ministries, departments and agencies ( MDAs). Before the ministers were fired, these very Sierra Leoneans had already started blaming the government for failure to crack down on its ministers whom they accused of turning work places into Sawpit Wharf or brothels  with their public brawls, obscenities and uncontrollable emotions. The Government had to act to set an example and to send a strong message that it cares for public decorum, professionalism in the work place and civility from its officials–Virtues that are necessary to maintain the moral equilibrium of the society and progress in the government’s socio-economic and political endeavors.

The lesson we are all learning is that while it is not impossible for some work places to become toxic due to personality clashes , human foibles, ego, highhanded conduct by certain bosses , the mania to take advantage of subordinates, insubordination by some lower officers   and other acts redolent of human weaknesses, public officials should always seek to maintain a professional attitude and demeanor wherever they find themselves. They should respect the law . They should not forget that there are official channels in place to address their grievances . Mr. Atilla should have reported his grievance to a higher authority or even President Koroma. The President is very good at mediating between his officials. He is very proactive in assuring that officials are not denied their benefits. Ministers and officials have to learn to respect the chain of command, instead of going on the rampage as if ours’ is a society without laws .

They should also have  known that they are not representing  themselves , but the government and the people , who expect much more from them. They have to set better examples . When they lose their tempers, go ballistics and resort to profanities, threats and other forms of misbehavior in public , they are disrespecting the President, fellow employees and the government and the people. It also demonstrates that they are law unto themselves and do not consider themselves subject to the authority of government and the professional ethics by which they are bound.

In all fairness, most of the obscenities and ungentlemanly behavior were from the Deputy.  If only the minister had not taped and distributed the altercation, as is being alleged.

Government officials, high or low, should also learn to respect one another, whatever the circumstances. People should also learn to respect presidential appointees and other public servants, whatever their stations in the work place. Above all, they must learn to love each other and seek the interests of one another and the government .

The Civil Service and government ministries, departments and agencies  can help the situation by setting in place official and recognized systems of providing employees’ emoluments and benefits . Whenever  public servants are employed, their appointment letters must clearly state their salaries and benefits . This will ensure that employees have documentary evidence to use to pursue these benefits through the recognized channels if a malevolent boss decides to set on them or tries to convert them to his use .  Why did Mr. Atilla have to collect his benefits through his minister ?  Are there no systemic structures or  procedures in place for the receipts of  benefits by officials ?

In neigbouring Liberia, when people are employed by government, in addition to their letters of appointment, they are provided with what is known as their PERSONNEL ACTION FORMS ( PAFs ) . The form outlines all the employees’ duties , salary and benefits. This is sent out and it goes  through a chain that sees it being processed at  the employee’s ministry, the Mnistry of Finance Payroll section, the Civil Service  and the Budget Bureau before returning to the ministry where the employee is assigned. The form is signed by the relevant authorities in all these agencies and ministries, setting structures through which the employee receives his emoluments  and thus not  left at the whims of his boss or head of chancery or Director General or Deputy .  When you have such structures in place,  there will be no need for an employee  to quarrel with anyone in his ministry over his emoluments. He knows where to go if his salary and benefits are not forthcoming. But in Sierra Leone, though the Civil Service and Human Resource Department have similar structures in place, it is not understood how bosses, heads of chancery, DGs or DDGs have such a big say in the receipt of emoluments by government workers . Where is the missing link ?

Another question that needs an answer is why there was no security to  restrain and calm down Mr. Atilla during his tirade against his boss . All that one could hear in the background were animated voices of ladies trying to convince the agitated former deputy minister to refrain from his verbal attacks. Where was the security on duty ? He too must face administrative action.

Sierra Leoneans are very difficult to please. They always have an angle to twist something and blame the President or government . If the two ministers had been let off the hook, there would have been an outcry. Now that the government has acted to show that it cares for public decorum and work place professionalism and peace , people are still blaming the government , this time for selective justice ?

What else can this government ever do without getting blame from the hard-to-please public and the opposition media ?

The Government has acted to avoid future incidents of public brawls between ministers. The Government did not want it to become a pattern for ministers to take the law into their own hands when they had grievances or disagreements .

COCORIOKO  believes Government must be commended, because ministers were given a chance. Unfortunately, the axe fell on Moijue and Attilla. That is how life goes. One does not question a police officer who pulls him over  to give him a ticket about the other speed demons who got away.

A precedent has to be set, and it usually starts somewhere.

 

Ernest Koroma’s Presidency is unmatched

Friday, March 4th, 2016

By KABS KANU :

As I continue to read the old copies of the Sierra Leone Daily Mail for 1966 and 1967, I am continuing to be convinced that the presidency of H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has no equal and is unmatched in the annals of our country when it comes to the execution of development projects.

I will not sully the name of the then Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai. In fact, reading these old newspapers is enabling me to appreciate some of the good work Sir Albert himself did for Sierra Leone.

FISHERIES 1
While in our minds , Sir Albert’s rule was defined by what happened in 1967 when he lost the elections and forced the army to interfere, I am beginning to see from these newspapers that he deserves to be remembered for some other good things , including his respect for freedom of the press and the agricultural boom caused by the success of the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board ( SLPMB) , the setting up of the integrated forest industry, the expansion and modernization of the telecommunications services, urban water supply scheme, the establishment of the University of Sierra Leone etc. etc.

 

I am not an SLPP analyst like Umaru Fofana who sees nothing good in a government run by the opposite party. I will take my time to highlight some of the good work Sir Albert did, in fairness to my conscience and the truth.I think people do not know about many things that happened in 1964- 1966 and we all only look at the dishonorable manner Margai left power in 1967. Pa Margai deserve some credit for many projects he introduced or accomplished. I will come to that later.

 

However, by the same token of fairness to my conscience and the truth, let me not hesitate to say here and now that it is by reading these old newspapers that we also see clearly that President Koroma is in a class of his own for the development projects he has accomplished in Sierra Leone. There has been no development-oriented President in Sierra Leone like Dr. Ernest Koroma.  Even the opposition knows this.

 

When you read today’s newspapers,  You see that socio- economic and political developments are a perpetual thing under the presidency of Dr. Koroma. Every now and again, when you read about him, President Koroma is either commissioning a new project or initiating one. His reign is defined by the completion and commissioning of one project after the other. Sierra leone now holds the flame as one of the fastest developing countries in Africa.

Also, it is when you read these old newspapers that you appreciate President Koroma for another asset that places him neck and shoulders above all the other leaders we have had: His visionary leadership is unparalleled in the history of our country, as enunciated by his his introduction of the Agenda For Change and the Agenda for Prosperity.

Many of our past leaders did not dare to dream and that is where they failed. The Bible teaches us that where there is no vision, the people perish ( Proverbs 20: 18 ). Even our Lord and Creator dares us to dream for it is from that trajectory that we progress into higher spheres of self- development.

If only the leader who steps in his shoes in 2018 continues to prosecute the Agenda For Prosperity, Sierra Leone will become a great nation. President Koroma needs not complete everything he has started to be a great leader. The vision alone qualifies him to be a successful leader.

The President coming after Dr. Koroma  should continue where he stops. That is how great nations are built.

Ghanaians are so full of gratitude today for the late President Kwame Nkrumah because his visionary leadership laid the foundation for the socio- economic and political success of that nation today.

You cannot praise the developments that have taken place in Ghana without extending credit to Nkrumah.

The more I read the 1966/1967 versions of the Sierra Leone Daily Mail, the more I appreciate the fact that the presidency of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has no parallel in the annals of our country in everything that matters : Freedom of the press, respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law, promotion of female empowerment, encouragement of civil society activism and indeed national development projects.
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