Presidential hopeful Alie Kabba returns to Sierra Leone with renewed push for peace and unity

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 January 2017

The radical progressive nationalist and SLPP presidential aspirant, Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba (Photo) is today on his way home from the USA, with an unwavering commitment to re-engage SLPP stakeholders in a renewed push to achieve lasting peace and unity in the party.

Alie Kabba has consistently expressed strong concerns about the deepening crisis in the party, which is now generally considered to be at its most perilous state.

In an interview enroute to Sierra Leone this morning, Alie Kabba told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph Abdul Rashid Thomas, that he will be calling on all SLPP party grassroots supporters of flagbearer aspirants across the country, to form Peace and Unity Brigades (PUB) as a platform for mass mobilisation and promotion of internal party harmony at all levels.

“Grassroots supporters must rise above divisive personality-centred politics and embrace the common foundation of what is good for the party and country,” said Alie Kabba.

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The people of The Gambia are free at last – the dictator is gone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 January 2017  

There was jubilation across The Gambia last night when reports of the former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s departure from the country were published.

As the images of Jammeh boarding a plane bound for Guinea spread like wild fire, the people of The Gambia waved goodbye to 22 years of tyranny and dictatorship.

Jammeh’s unceremonious departure serves as a lesson to other leaders in the West African region who are determined to hang on to power against the will of the people.

Last December, Jammeh lost elections to Adama Barrow, congratulated him and offered his services to provide guidance if and and when called upon. But after just few days of realising he was no longer the president, Jammeh declared the results of the elections null and void and called for a judicial review by the country’s Supreme Court.

But the people of the Gambia and the West African regional body – ECOWAS would have none of it, as they insisted that Jammeh must leave office on the 19th of January, 2017. Jammeh refused to quit.

After weeks of diplomacy and tough show of resolve and determination by ECOWAS threatening the use of lethal force to remove Jammeh from office, the dictator began to soften up.

He knew time was no longer on his side, but needed a face saving and graceful way out  of the palace, where he had remained cooped since losing the elections in December last year.

ECOWAS troops lead by Senegalese military, with the support of the United Nations Security Council, had entered The Gambia ready for orders to take out Jammeh. But by last night it had become obvious that the use of ECOWAS fire power was no longer necessary. Jammeh had decided to go.

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Has Jammeh agreed to step down or is he making a fool of the world?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 January 2017

There are serious doubts tonight as to whether former president of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh has agreed to step down and leave the country, so as to allow the democratically elected president Adama Barrow to return from exile in neighbouring Senegal to form his government. (Photo: Is Jammeh the cunning fox taking Gambians and the world for a ride?)

After several hours of talks yesterday in the capital Banjul between Jammeh and peace emissaries of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) – presidents Alpha Conde of Guinea and Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, its was reported that an agreement had been reached.

According to a twitter message published by president Barrow, Jammeh had yesterday evening agreed to step down from office, after losing elections held in December, 2017, and was to have handed power last Thursday to the winner Adama Barrow.

But it now seems that the worst fears of sceptics, who had doubted Jammeh’s sincerity may have come true. Jammeh has no intention of leaving office quietly. At least, not on ECOWAS’ terms.

It is now more than twenty-four hours since it was reported that Jammeh had agreed to leave, yet he is still hanging on to power, despite the massive build-up of ECOWAS troops and artillery that are now poised outside the capital Banjul to forcibly remove him from office.

Is Jammeh stalling using negotiating tactics in order to dissipate the energy and will of the international community to forcefully remove him from State House?

What has Jammeh got up his sleeve? Can he be trusted? Jammeh may have agreed to step down, but on what terms and conditions, and when?

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Countdown ends for Jammeh and begins for Trump – the two faces of democracy today

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 January 2017

In the next few hours the world will witness two very ugly faces of democracy, from across the Atlantic – one in Africa and the other in the USA.

In America preparations are being made for the inauguration of Donald Trump – the controversial winner of the presidential election, while Gambians have been counting the minutes as the 12pm deadline set by West African forces for Jammeh to leave office passed.

West African troops have entered Banjul the capital of The Gambia, waiting for the outcome of last minute talks that are taking place in the presidential palace between Jammeh and the presidents of Guinea – Alpha Conde, and Mauritania’s  Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Presidents Conde and Abdel Aziz are in Banjul trying to offer Jammeh a peaceful and safe passage out of the country, so as to avoid a blood bath that could ensue, once African troops storm the palace in the next few hours.

Yesterday, Adama Barrow was inaugurated in neighbouring Senegal as the newly elected president of the Gambia, whilst Jammeh remained cooped up in the people’s presidential palace refusing to move out.

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More questions thrown at Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 January 2017

Doubts and concerns about the effectiveness and good governance of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) are refusing to go away.

One of the country’s human rights advocacy groups – the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) is tonight accusing the ACC of lacking in sincerity, transparency and probity.

CHRDI is not only holding the ACC accountable, but is also calling on the country’s parliament to account for millions of dollars it had received to help tackle poverty and implement community development initiatives.

Last month, CHRDI published a scathing report into the ACC’s strategy in tackling corruption as well as its lack of proper accountability for funds it says the ACC is recovering from those being investigated, charged and indicted.

But the ACC has denied these accusations, though stopping short of publishing the evidence which CHRDI has insisted the ACC must publish to prove that CHRDI is wrong.

A Public Relations Spokesman for the ACC – Mr Alhassan Kamara has spoken to local radio about the charges CHRDI is making against the management of the ACC. He accuses the Chief Executive of CHRDI of waging a political campaign against the ACC.

But in response, CHRDI is calling for the ACC to be sincere in their dealings with the public and in responding to matters of transparency and probity.

Tonight they are asking the ACC to answer to more questions about their effectiveness in fighting corruption, as well as accounting for money recovered. This is what they say, and you can also listen (below) to the ACC official speaking on the local AYV Radio this week.

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Senseless killing of a fourteen year old boy on the streets of Freetown by teenagers

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 January 2017

Police in Freetown are investigating the alleged beating to death of a teenage school boy in the village of Gloucester in the capital Freetown, on the 10th of January, 2017.

According to reports, three teenage school boys believed to be known to the deceased are suspected of the brutal murder of the school boy in cold blood.

The beating is said to have taken place over an alleged stolen item, valued at less than five dollars ($5).

Two of the suspected teenage murderers, Daniel aged 14 years and Senesie aged 16 years, have been arrested and are in police custody. The third school boy named Abdulai, also aged 16 years, is now on the run.

Unofficial report says that the boy was forcibly taken to a woodland area near Leicester, where he was tied and beaten, and his  lifeless body was then dumped in his Gloucester neighborhood.

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Maada Bio calls for dialogue with opposition SLPP Alliance

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 January 2017

Presidential and general elections in Sierra Leone are less than fifteen months away. Yet the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is far from being ready to contest those elections, let alone position itself as a government in waiting, despite the popularity of the ruling All People’s Congress Party (APC) now at rock bottom. (Photo: John Benjamin and Maada Bio).

Since its catastrophic defeat at the polls by the incumbent APC in 2012 and at almost every by-election held since then, the Sierra Leone People’s Party has fast become a shadow of its former self, torn by infighting, indiscipline and lack of strong leadership.

But it is the fight for the party’s presidential candidacy for the 2018 elections by no fewer than eight strongly willed contenders – including Julius Maada Bio, that has now become the fast moving torpedo that is about to sink the SLPP ship.

Even those elected by the party’s rank and file at their last national convention to manage the affairs of the party, and maintain order and discipline, are being hounded out of office by a faction believed to be loyal to the 2012 presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio.

Bio has been accused by many of destabilising and dividing the party – a charge he and his campaign team have continuously denied.

What is not in dispute however, is the polarising effect of Maada Bio’s military approach to leadership, which is not based on consensus building – but the command and control of those loyal to his cause – to become president of Sierra Leone at all cost.

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