Salone professional footballer in Canada shown a yellow card for ‘rudeness’

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 December 2016

When Roger Milla of Cameroon danced the samba at the 1991 FIFA World Cup matches after scoring delightful goals, the whole world cheered – even the referees tolerated his shenanigans. (Photo: The twerking dance that got the Sierra Leonean footballer in trouble with the referee).

Equally, when other African international footballers display their joy of scoring on the pitch with multiple back-flips, they are judged to be athletic. Such celebrations have become acceptable as part of the beautiful game of football.

But not so for Sierra Leone’s international football star – Kei Kamara. He has made a name for himself in Canada, for all the wrong reasons.

According to Canadian newspapers, Kei Kamara was shown the yellow card by the referee, after gyrating his behind in what the referee had judged to be inappropriate or sexually suggestive manner. The hip swinging action which is not an illegal offence is called ‘twerking’. Was the referee fair in showing Kamara the yellow card?

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Is the Koroma government of Sierra Leone planning to tax Sierra Leoneans living abroad?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 December 2016

Sierra Leone’s social media went viral last week, when a story about alleged government’s plans to impose a 25% tax on all remittances sent to families and friends in Sierra Leone by Sierra Leoneans living abroad, was published. (Photo: Can the hand of the ruling APC be trusted with the cash in your pockets?)

Although the government has since denied the reports, there are fears in and out of the country that given the government’s cash-strapped desperation to squeeze every cent from wherever they can, overseas remittance may not be spared.

The Koroma government is more than $200 million short of balancing its finances, plunging the economy into a serious recession, which many analysts believe could have been avoided, had the government spent the last nine years working hard to diversify the economy.

The Sierra Leone government relies heavily – if not exclusively, on mining export revenue. But the last two years have seen a massive fall in the prices of minerals – especially its main export iron ore.

Sierra Leoneans living abroad are contributing over $300 million every year into the country’s economy, in the form of much needed cash sent to relatives and friends, as well as investments in business and real-estate property development.

But there are suspicions that this $300 million may no longer be safe and kept out of reach of the government’s grubby fingers. It is rumoured that senior ministers in the Koroma government are planning to impose a 25% tax on every single cent, transferred into the country by hard working Sierra Leoneans.

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Ghana presidential election upset – out with the old – In with the new as Mahama waves goodbye

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 December 2016

Ghana’s presidential election results are out. John Mahama is out and Nana Akufo-Addo is in.  Final results from the country’s electoral commission are as follows:  NPP – 5,716,026 (53.85%) and NDC – 4,713,277 (44.40%). (Photo: Mahama).

It seems the people of West Africa are teaching America – the bastion of democracy in the ‘free world’, the true meaning and spirit of democracy.

After the Donald Trump horror show that swept aside the incumbent Democrat party, amid calls for vote recounts in several states and bitter recriminations, the people and political leaders of The Gambia and today – Ghana, have demonstrated that politics need not bring out the worst in humans.

With grace and magnanimity president Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia last weekend accepted defeat   at the polls to an unknown candidate, after ruling the country for twenty-two years.

Following the formal declaration of results by the country’s electoral commission, Jammeh picked up the phone and called the winner of the votes to congratulate and accept defeat – a phenomenon unheard of in Africa.

If the outgoing president Jammeh of Gambia had set an African record for the Guinness Book of Records, it didn’t last too long.

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Sierra Leone – our problems are man made and our salvation firmly in our hands

Raymond Dele Awoonor-Gordon

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 December 2016

“We rode over what they have called the longest bridge in the world, which is over 40 kilometers and these are all inspirational visits. They have inspired me to work very hard on seeing the commencement of the Mamamah project,” said president Koroma on his recent visit to China.

There you have it. A grand failure to learn to be pragmatic. An illustration of what I mean by money or fantasy projects on its own, neither solving problems nor creating a wealth-building nation.

Aren’t we all complicit in a destructive flight to drive the country to the abyss, by such irrational choices that we make?

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The Gambia keeps dream of deepening democracy in Africa alive

David E Kiwuwa

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 December 2016

The year ends with a gust of transformational winds blowing over the Gambia and Angola, raising hopes that Africa’s democracy project is not as dead as it is feared to be.

The shock electoral defeat  of the Gambia’s strongman President Yahya Jammeh by Adama Barrow, a little known former security guard, is particularly significant.

After coming to power through a military coup in 1994, Jammeh went on to become one of the continent’s most authoritarian and oppressive leaders.

Not long ago, he proclaimed that he would rule the Gambia for a “billion years” if God willed it. But, in his concession message, the devout Muslim accepted his fate.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Adama for his victory. It’s a clear victory … As a true Muslim who believes in the almighty Allah I will never question Allah’s decision.

Shortly before the Gambia’s elections one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, Eduardo Dos Santos (73) of Angola, confirmed that he would not be seeking re-election in 2017.

Jammeh’s acceptance of defeat at the ballot and Dos Santos’s voluntary relinquishing of power come at the end of a testing year for democracy in Africa.

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Is it time for a third political party in Sierra Leone?

Abdulai Mansaray

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 December 2017

The growing sense of disillusionment across Sierra Leone’s social and political landscape is fast becoming palpable. From official to unofficial, private to public, and all along the diversified strata of our society, there are pockets of dissatisfaction that is slowly simmering under a political façade, suggesting that “ALL IS NOT WELL”. (Photo: UN Chief Ban Ki Moon meeting opposition party leaders in Freetown).

No it is not, and has not been for a long time. When President Ernest Bai Koroma came to power in 2007, it was heralded as the dawn of a great path. Programmes like “Agenda for Change”, which morphed into “Agenda for Prosperity” gave a lot of Sierra Leoneans the hope that had been missing for a long time.

Previous leaders like Pa Sheki and Momoh had come and gone like hot air.  There was little to write home about then. But with President Koroma, there were visible chinks of light that gave some of us the oxygen of hope, that maybe, just maybe – Sierra Leone was on the path to good times to come.

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Sierra Leone opposition SLPP must unite now for the good of the country

Alie Kabba – presidential aspirant for the 2018 elections

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2016

alie-kabba-2016

When ever a reigning party is found as wanting as it is now evident in Sierra Leone, the clarion call for a change in direction grows louder as things get fouler in the country.

It is historically evident that any political party in power that allows itself to be crippled by greed and arrogance, will surely be afflicted with deafness and dumbness. In the event of such a finality of stages, the only button that the central actors can see is the button marked “self-destruct”.

However, within the precepts of a democratic dispensation (in so far as ours could be so described), it would be an irresponsible strategy for the opposition to just sit down, wriggle its hands, and hope that the bumbling snake will soon swallow its own head.

It is incumbent upon the opposition not merely to show that the government is inadequately functioning, but to prove to the voters that there is a viable alternative body on which they could hang their hopes and dreams.

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