Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 February 2017
The tensions that followed the historic electoral defeat of Gambia strongman President Yahya Jammeh has been a litmus test for democracy in Africa beyond the tiny West African nation.
It is five years since the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance came into force.
When it was adopted there were high hopes for a new democratic Africa. African leaders sought to consolidate a collective commitment to promote democratisation. The adoption of the charter was seen as an important step towards the AU’s democratic agenda.
Concerned Citizen (Culled)
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 February 2017
Constitution 066 has unique attributes, and the tussle there cannot be applied to the nation in general. The ruling APC party must be reeling at having been made to work so hard in a constituency that has traditionally given them the least of headaches.
The APC candidates in constituency 066 have always been genuinely returned unopposed by mutual consent and local agreement without any central involvement: 1967- Alimamy Konkoro Koroma -unopposed; 1973- Alimamy Konkoro Koroma – unopposed; 1977- Abdul Karim Koroma -unopposed; 1982- Abdul Karim Koroma- unopposed.
And in 1986 it was Abdul Karim Koroma. But there was a huge tussle in the constituency, because the APC party meddled with the local agreement and awarded party symbol to Abdul Karim Koroma, against the wishes of the people.
Abdul Karim Koroma should have only served two terms in accordance with the local agreement.
In 2002 president Kabbah brought in proportional representation for parliamentary election; and in 2007 there was district block voting and APC won the constituency with 11,602 votes and SLPP polled 2,972 votes.
In 2012, APC’s victory was overwhelming, due to the selection of the right candidate in the person of late honourable doctor Taworo Tara-Koroma.
After last Saturday’s by-election in Tonkolili, SLPP party are in buoyant mood having achieved a feat they could only have imagined in their wildest dreams: SLPP 4,678 votes against APC’s 7,393 votes.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 February 2017
The Edward Blyden family regrets to announce the passing away of their patriarch – Mr. Edward Walter Babatunde Gustavus Blyden in London, UK, on the 14th of February 2017, aged 74.
He is survived by his wife Mrs. Sylvia Blyden; his children – Pastor Mrs. Babsy Kaye, Honourable Government Minister Dr Sylvia Blyden, Miss Cheryl Blyden and Mr. Edward Babatunde Blyden Jnr; sons-in-law – Mr. Ashley Kaye and Mr. Isaac Adegboyega; daughter-in-law – Mrs. Elsa Blyden.
Edward Babatunde Blyden will be sorely missed by his grandchildren – Sylvester, Linda, Samuel, Ashanti, Akintoye, Miles and Mia-Rose; and his father-in-Law – Professor Solomon Pratt.
Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 February 2017
Sierra Leone, the motherland has had its share of tragedy in recent years. It suffered an eleven years internecine war and lately an Ebola epidemic that has today resulted in an unprecedented economic hardship that has further deepened poverty and unleash anger against a failed vision.
We are in this current state of penury because of an uninterrupted nine years of mismanagement of state resources, a complete lack of foresight and vision to diversify a mineral dependent economy and the absence of a genuine and sustained fight against the scourge of corruption that continues to deter our progress and cloud our dream.
Further, the current state of our social services is even more disheartening as our school class sizes are perhaps the largest in the sub region. Maternal and child mortality rate continues to be high despite the partial free health care for a few vulnerable groups.
Clean running water for the majority is still a major delinquent. And youth unemployment is at its highest since the war with adverse effects for our economy and the security of the state.
The question then is “Where do we go from here: chaos or community” (Martin Luther King)? The answer can only be the latter, as we have tried the former with devastating consequences.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 February 2017
President Koroma has finally yielded to strong demands from civil society groups and the media for the 2018 elections date to be announced.
It is not clear as to why the president, who is not known for good decision making, has dithered and wasted time in making the announcement.
Critics say that by pushing back the constitutional deadline for the announcement, president Koroma had created unnecessary political tension and uncertainty in the country.
But what is now certainly clear, according to the president’s national radio broadcast is that local, constituency and presidential elections will all be held on the 7th of March 2018.
Constitutional lawyers say that this date is outside the mandated period set by the country’s constitution, which stipulates that presidential election must be held not later than three months after the end of the five-year term of the president.
President Koroma was sworn in on 23 November 2012, and his mandated term limit expires on the 23rd of February 2018. But presidential spokesman – Abdulai Bayraytay told reporters that the president’s announcement meets with the constitutional mandate.
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 February 2017
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has been sadly informed tonight of the passing of Mr Edward Babatunde Blyden, the father of the country’s social welfare and children’s affairs minister – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.
Mr. Edward Babatunde Blyden died peacefully in London at 7:30pm this evening, Tuesday, 14th February, 2017, aged 74 years.
Born in Freetown on the 12th of June, 1943, Mr. Edward Babatunde Blyden is one of Sierra Leone’s most iconic personalities, with several years of dedicated public service.
Chernoh Alpha M. Bah
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 February 2017
For several days now, the civil society activist and human rights campaigner – Abdul M. Fatoma (Photo), has been the centre of ugly news in Freetown.
He is the latest victim of political intimidation and harassment in Sierra Leone – a practice that has increasingly become the feature of governance in Sierra Leone, since Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC entered State House in 2007.
Abdul Fatoma’s drama started when police officers, without warrant, arrested and frog-marched Fatoma from a radio studio, where he was being interviewed and took him forcefully to parliament.
Once inside the walls of Sierra Leone’s parliament, Fatoma was arraigned in front of angry-wig-totting MPs. One-by-one they spoke, and they described Fatoma with the most unpleasant of adjectives.
The members of parliament, the speaker of the house, his deputy speaker, and their other colleagues – the avant-garde of the law-making body of the land – were all obviously furious and angry.
They are seeking revenge against a civil society activist. Dressed in an elegant western-suit, the soft-spoken Fatoma is the activist, who months ago, had raised the anti-graft floodlights on the nefarious working of the Sierra Leone parliament.