Africa – the future is bright with Orange

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 April 2014

orange-logoWhen global mobile phone giant – orange, told the world a few years ago in their advertising slogan – “the future is bright with Orange”, few in Africa would have thought the company was thinking about Africa.

Today, Orange celebrates its 10 millionth ‘money customer’ in Africa, making its market presence felt in thirteen African countries, including; Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, and Egypt.

Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange, gave a bonus prize to the 10 millionth customer of Orange Money in Dakar, Senegal – Ms. Kanny G., who had gone to an Orange Money outlet to open an account, was surprised to learn that she had won a smartphone, with an Orange Money credit of 100,000 FCFA (152 euros).

Continue reading

Maada Bio replies Dr. Sama Banya

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 April 2014

Dr sama BanyaDear Dr. Banya

Let me start by thanking you very much for your selfless efforts, toward the advancement of our Party, and your public display of fortitude and honesty, not only regarding issues affecting the SLPP – but the nation.

I pray that we all live long to see the re-emergence of our great SLPP, as the ruling Party.

I read your open letter addressed to me, dated April 15, 2014.

I usually prefer to discuss such issues, using the Party’s structure, as they bother on certain allegations against party members.

However, since you have written an open letter to me, I feel compelled to respond to you, using the same medium. But I promise to further discuss these issues with you privately, at a later date of your earliest convenience.

Continue reading

Open letter to retired brigadier Julius Maada Bio

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 April 2014
Maada Bio -2014Dear Brigadier (Rtd) Maada Bio

I have abandoned my usual practice of admonishing you quietly, like I have done in the past to you and others.

You may recall that prior to the election of flagbearer of our party in 2012; I along with two others, called your attention to the unacceptable behaviour of two of your very close supporters, and advised you to keep them under control.

When that did not appear to work, I advised you to denounce them publicly, in order to make it clear that their kind of behaviour was unacceptable in your campaign team.

I know you took my advice, and eventually they both calmed down.

Once again, the unruly behaviour of some people, claiming to be your supporters, has raised serious concern among the membership of the party.

Continue reading

‘The Vicar of Bray – the Imam of Baghdad’

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 April 2014

choirI made several gallant efforts in my school days to join the Bo School choir.

There were three remarkable choirmasters during my time, who were remarkable music tutors, because they all had a common handicap. And that was, that the school did not have a piano.

And all that those teachers had in their possession, from L.J. Pratt to D.L. Sumner, and finally teacher Kuti-George, was a dinning fork.

And yet they produced remarkable choirs. The first time that the choir rehearsed with the aid of a piano, was in the time of teacher Sam Forster.

I was then a member of staff, and it was during Sam Forster’s time that the school participated in the Secondary Schools’ Singing Competition.

It was remarkable also that the choir, which included boys like Sheku Kutubu – later Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, took first position in that first attempt of the school’s participation.

I tried to impress Teacher Kuti as we addressed him of the beauty of my voice, but it cut no ice.

“Banya,” he would respond; “I do not doubt your singing ability, but for now, we have enough sopranos; who knows, may be in a few years, your voice will break and we shall have a place for you in tenor.”

Continue reading

Africa’s growth to reach 5.2 % in 2014

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 April 2014

AFRICA DefragmentationEconomic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to rise from 4.7 percent in 2013 to 5.2 percent forecast for 2014.

This performance is boosted by rising investment in natural resources and infrastructure, and strong household spending, according to the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects.

Growth was notably buoyant in resource-rich countries, including Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It remained steady in Cote d’Ivoire, while rebounding in Mali, supported by improved political stability and security.

Non-resource-rich countries, particularly Ethiopia and Rwanda, also experienced solid economic growth in 2013.

A number of African countries are now routinely among the world’s fastest-growing countries as a result of sound macroeconomic reforms in recent years, and the fact that the rest of the world has steadily updated its reality of the continent as a high opportunity region for trade, investment, business, science and technology, and tourism, says Makhtar Diop – the World Bank Group’s Vice President for Africa.

Continue reading

Innovation can unlock Africa’s economic competitiveness

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 April 2014

Innovation Africa1From the World’s first injectable skeleton regeneration protein to a domestic waste biogas system, ten Africans are innovating the future of the continent.

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) has announced the finalists of the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014.

Ten African innovators have created practical solutions to some of the continent’s most intractable problems, from a domestic waste biogas system to a wafer matrix for paediatric antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment.

Continue reading

Corruption kills – 5 jailed in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Telegraph 12 April 2014

Ecobank-FreetownIn what has been described in the streets of Freetown as a landmark court judgement, handed down on Thursday, 10th April, 2014, by the High Court, two National Revenue Authority (NRA) officials and three Eco Bank staff, were found guilty of corruption.

They have been sentenced to serve custodial terms in the country’s notorious Pademba Road prison.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph and several other journalists in the country have been campaigning for custodial sentence to be granted on anyone convicted of corruption in Sierra Leone, as a deterrent to a crime, which is costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue annually.

But is this verdict a case of selective justice, or is it a genuine attempt by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the High Court to get tough on Corruption?

Continue reading

South Sudan: A civil war by any other name

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 April 2014

south sudan3After so much global political and financial investments, channeled into creating one of Africa’s newest independent countries – South Sudan, there are questions as to whether the price of independence is worth the suffering and brutality that is now being witnessed in that country.

The bitter struggle for power by those once thought to be on the same side – fighting a common enemy to achieve a common political goal, is nothing new in Africa.

The history of the continent is littered with examples of ‘freedom fighters’ – turned tribal warlords, terrorising their own people and committing the worst forms of human rights violations.

Whilst the international community appears to have forgotten about the daily suffering of millions of people in South Sudan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) says that the crisis in South Sudan is a “civil war by any other name”.

In its latest report: ‘South Sudan: A civil war by any other name’, the Crisis Group exposes the double standards of so called freedom fighters and politicians in the country.

The report also discusses the seemingly lack of political will and commitment of the international community in bringing this ‘proxy civil war’ to an end.

This is what the ICG says:

Continue reading

When elephants fight….

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 April 2014

Fighting elephantsWhen I was about five years old, my uncle who had attended my father’s grandmother Koma’s funeral ceremony in Kailahun, asked my father’s permission to take me back with him to Siama, so as to expose me to a little of real life.

With that, I spent two years in my maternal village of Siama, before returning to Kailahun to start schooling.

The first couple of months were miserable, as I missed the commercial life of a much bigger town – with Lebanese (we called them Syrians in those days) shops lining the main street through the town.

I missed my numerous brothers and sisters. In Siama, if I ran a distance of a hundred yards or so, I would be out of the village.

But I soon settled down, and I believe life in that almost wild setting must have stimulated my love of the environment and wildlife in later years. There was a still smaller Siama village, and the people of the two villages were interrelated.

One day, two adults – one from each village, were engaged in a brawl which resulted in a physical fight.

It must have been a very fierce encounter, because the grass on the site of their encounter remained stunted for months, and travellers would often point out to it as they passed by.

From that experience, although I had as yet never seen an elephant – apart from its description, I was able to imagine and appreciate the meaning of the proverb: “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”.

Continue reading

When the job doesn’t get done

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 April 2014

true friendshipOne of my favourite quotable quotes, is the one about when something has to be done by everybody, and everybody thinks that somebody will do it. And in the end, it isn’t done, because nobody has done it.

How I wish I had the full quotation in my head. There we are then, for those who unlike this aging Puawui, still have all their grey cells intact.

The reason I wanted the full quotation so badly, is that I had wanted to use it as a supplement to my exhortation of the gallant men and women of the Torkpoi family, who are dying to do something about actualizing the repeated clarion calls for party Unity, but are being held back by that enemy of mankind referred to as INERTIA.

We had a brilliant opening during the impressive laying-out ceremony of the former Leader of the SLPP party – his Excellency President Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah.

Who can forget the loud applause that greeted the wife of the former president -I.J’s famous statement, that many people (party members of course) had wronged her in the past, but that out of consideration to her late husband’s memory, she had forgiven all and was ready to work to promote unity in the party.

So what is stopping Maada Bio from following up on his public gesture, when he and I.J warmly embraced each other after the statement?

Continue reading