Teachers in Liberia are now paid on time: Lessons
for Sierra Leone
23 November 2011
Most of Sierra Leone’s schools, colleges and
universities remain closed since last July, because
salaries of teachers and lecturers have not been
paid for many months, and demands for better working
conditions have not been met.
The crisis is not
about to end soon, as inflation continues to rise,
making an already bad economic problem worse for the
Many in Sierra Leone are blaming the government for
its poor management of the public finances, despite
the implementation of what the government itself
believes to be 'sound fiscal and spending tracking'
However, there is
an old adage: A system can only be as good as the
people who manages it and the level of commitment
they put into making sure that the system works.
Critics of the government say that the ministry of
education is one of the most poorly managed
departments in the country; dogged by the lack of
leadership, corruption, and patronage. Many believe
that the incompetence of some senior officials,
including the minister is transforming the ministry
into a mere shadow of what it used to be in the
Sierra Leone like neighbouring Liberia is a nation
that is rebuilding itself with the help of the
international community, after ten years of civil
war that saw the destruction of most of its
institutions and infrastructures. But unfortunately,
that’s where the similarity ends.
Liberia may be a war-torn country like Sierra Leone,
but its people and government seem to have the will
and conviction to want to genuinely rebuild their
education system, recognising that without education
there will be no economic development, and poverty
As a reflection of this commitment, teachers in
Liberia are now paid on time - thanks to a new
system set up by the government with help from IMF
be emulated by neighbouring
In its Report: "IMF
Technical Assistance Finds A Teachable Moment in
Africa", it is clear that with strong leadership,
political will and commitment to change, a nation
can transform its misfortunes and rebuild for the
This is what the Report says:
Stephen George is a public high school principal
worried about the usual things: how students will
fare on upcoming exams, crowded classrooms, and how
to make sure his teachers get paid on time.
George has his work cut out for him. Matilda Newport
High School in Monrovia, Liberia on the west coast
of Africa has all the usual stresses that keep high
school principals around the world awake at night.
The civil war wreaked havoc on daily life for the
almost four million people in the small West African
country. Roads and buildings were destroyed, people
were displaced from their homes, and schools shut
George, the teachers, and students have to contend
with the legacy of nearly 15 years of civil war in
There are 25 year-olds in his grade 9 classes, 15
year-olds who are the head of the family taking care
of themselves and younger siblings after the death
of their parents in the war.
And until recently, it took two weeks for his
teachers to hunt down their pay checks.
"The previous system was very hectic because in
their spare time, you wouldn’t find teachers in
their classrooms; they had to leave school to
collect their checks," said George in an interview
with IMF Survey online.
In rebuilding their lives, Liberians and their
government need practical help to fix their economy
and financial system.
The IMF’s technical assistance draws on experts in
specialized fields such as budget reform, public
financial management, and payment systems, from
around the world. A country needing help sets its
own goals and decides how to achieve them while
drawing on the best practices and experience from
over 100 countries.
To repair the system, the Ministry of Finance,
with guidance from IMF experts, had to do three
- make a list of the
teachers and their banking information
- encourage banks to
open bank accounts for teachers who didn’t have one
- and then take one
check for the whole salary amount to the bank, and
ask the bank to simply deposit each teacher’s pay
checks directly into their account.
George says the new system is much better and works
Rebuilding after war
How a government manages public finances and runs a
smooth financial system is about a lot more than
just collecting taxes, and having a transparent
budget process and payment system: it’s about
governing in an efficient and legitimate way.
"The challenge this government faces is how do you
get away from the ills that led to the war; how do
you prevent the recurrence of the civil conflict we
had in this country? It basically boils down to
governance," said Patrick Sendolo, Head of the
Special Projects Implementation Unit in the Office
of the President, during an interview in his office
Reforms to help improve the economy, as well as
monetary and fiscal policy are key to good
governance, according to Sendolo.
"All of those things come together to ensure that as
much as possible of the government’s revenues are
kept in the coffers to go towards schools,
hospitals, clinics, roads and the kinds of things
that make people happy, and make society the
ultimate beneficiary of the government’s revenues,
and prevent the kinds of conflict we experienced in
this country over the past 15 years," he said.
Civil society organizations are pushing not only for
reforms, but also for more accountability and
transparency in how taxpayer resources are managed.
"Those were some of the reasons why we fought the
war because people felt marginalized not only
politically, but also economically," said Jonathan
Doe Nah, the executive director for the Centre for
Transparency and Accountability in Liberia.
After a long and destructive civil war, Liberia is
slowly recovering. George Kennedy, a reporter and
columnist for the Daily Observer newspaper in
Monrovia likens the experience to being in a closed
house with the heat rising.
"You have the doors closed behind you, and at the
end of the hallway the door opens for you," said
Kennedy. "When you go out, the breeze begins to
touch you; that’s how it feels now after years of
Reforms lead to rising revenues
The IMF’s technical assistance is supported by
several donors including the European Union, Japan,
and Sweden. Their funding has allowed the IMF to
share its deep reservoir of knowledge, experience,
and experts with Liberia so that the country does
not have to start from scratch, but instead can
adopt best practices that work for them.
"One of our technical assistance [projects] that we
all remember because it’s critical to our reform was
the crafting of the public financial management
law," said Augustine Ngafuan, Liberia’s Minister of
Finance, during an interview in his office in
"The IMF fielded a technical advisor for more than a
year who worked with us, discussed the details,
nuances and challenges, and was with us during the
process of the legislative review and approval. What
this has done is put together an overarching frame
of laws for public financial management."
Raising revenues is key to help Liberia rebuild.
Money is needed to build roads, bridges, and
schools, and to fund social programs.
"When the government took over we had revenue of $88
million, and we’re now at $340 plus million U.S.
dollars," said Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, Deputy
Minister in the Revenue Department at the Ministry
"Our modernization strategy has a three-year life
span, and we hope that within the third year we
could have achieved the level of professionalism and
built the integrity of our organization to the point
that Liberia could become an African reference for
the delivery of professional services to tax payers
and for the revenue we collect," she says.
Building local knowledge and expertise
For progress to continue, Liberia needs to build on
its success by sustaining the training and
development passed on through IMF technical
assistance. For example, peer-to-peer exchanges
among African countries with good practices and
experiences to share have helped in the
modernization of Liberia’s shipping ports.
"One of the things we need to work on is to ensure a
robust transfer of knowledge mechanism in technical
assistance," said Ngafuan.
"As I usually tell
our technical assistance advisors, your relevance is
seen by how quickly you make yourself redundant."
Click here to view
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Mapping a new future for Africa
17 November 2011
The Pan African Network at Columbia University’s
School of International and Public Affairs (SPAN) in
partnership with the Institute for African Studies
(IAS) will hold its 5th annual African Diplomatic
Forum (ADF) tomorrow, November 18, 2011 at the
School's Kellogg Centre in New York City.
The ADF is an annual conference that gathers African
diplomats, academics, students and activists to
discuss the continent’s interests and role in
Organizers say this year's theme, "The Blueprint,"
will take into consideration the enduring challenges
of identifying the necessary foundations, developing
the right tools, and drawing a coherent and unified
plan for building a continent of strong institutions
supported by strong civil societies.
"Our aim for this conference and all the
Africa-focused forums we organize is to
promote dialogue, to educate participants
and to elicit thoughts on the direction of
Africa's economic growth and development"
said Modupe Onemola, a Gambian born Nigerian
graduate student and Vice President of SPAN.
"This year we will focus on strategies
needed to move the continent forward, region
by region. ADF 2011 will consist of
panelists from top-level organizations to
grass-root leaders who are dedicated to the
planning of Africa's future for the coming
years," added Ms Onemola
The ADF 2011 is
convened at a crucial time when Africa faces a
serious threat of becoming a conflict prone
continent, considering the recent post electoral
crises in Cote d’Ivoire as well as crises in Egypt,
Tunisia, Somalia and Libya.
Foday Soko Sackor is a SIPA Masters of
International Affairs student – specialising
in Energy Management. He is the elected
President of SPAN 2011 Executive Board.
believes that this year’s forum discussions
of some of the key challenges and
opportunities for African development and
political security "will yield some very
practical ideas and explore issues that are
very much part of current policy
discussions, and could very well inform the
research and career paths of students, as
well as the work of professionals who
In his response to
the question of security ramifications of the recent
NATO bombardment of Libya, Mr. Sackor said; "as for
the issue of Libya, our panel themes are designed to
address the key issues of African political
development and security, but not necessarily to
focus on any one event. Libya is an extremely
pertinent topic. All issues of security and
governance affecting the continent are on the table
and we look forward to the perspectives our
panelists and participants are going to bring to the
Horace Campbell, professor of
African-American studies and political
science at Syracuse University, currently
Visiting Professor - Department of
International Relations, Tsinghua University
in Beijing, China has written extensively on
Africa’s development and security. In an
email response to a request seeking comments
for this story, said; "the idea of building
institutions in Africa cannot move forward
without regard for how current institutions
are integrated into an international
criminal syndicate to plunder Africa."
Prof. Campbell also contends that; "Africans
must be more forceful on the question of war
crimes in Libya. There must be an
international tribunal for investigating the
war crimes. The crimes against civilians and
the indiscriminate bombings of Sirte are
issues that must dominate the question of
African security. Why, we as Africans are
not pushing hard enough is my problem."
During the one day
forum, panel discussions - led by experts from
academia, the public and private sectors, the UN and
civil society, will revolve around the collective
security, aspirations and empowerment of African
people, and how those who take on the role of
stewards for the continent's development can fulfil
their duties to maintain its progress.
ADF 2011 will focus on the following themes;
Democracy in Conflict; ICT, New Media, and
E-Governance in Africa; Role of Women in Political
development; Leadership in Africa – Past, Present
and Future; Institution Building - Enhancing
Efficiency and Effectiveness; BRICS - The New Roles
and Relationships for African Development.
Mr. Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, former Prime Minister of
the Republic of Guinea will deliver this year’s
The event is free and open to the public. Those
interested can click here for more information:
Send an email to:
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London-based SLPP politician branded an APC mole
16 November 2011
The difficult now facing Sierra Leone’s main
opposition SLPP party is the question as to how best
to deal with disgruntled presidential aspirants who
not only lost the presidential candidacy election
early this year, but have also failed to be
appointed by Maada Bio – the presidential candidate
as his running mate for next year’s election.
There are rumours and plenty of evidence of some
supporters of the party defecting and declaring for
the ruling APC party. But few would have imagined a
scenario where any of the losing presidential
aspirants, would openly declare their support for
president Koroma’s APC in retaliation to the party’s
choice of Dr. Kadi Sesay as presidential running
There have been suspicions that Usu Boie Kamara
would not only leave the SLPP after his defeat and
Bio’s failure to appoint him as running mate, but
would join the ruling APC to help president Koroma
win a second term.
But it is now obvious after Usu Boie’s unscheduled
visit to the SLPP party office in Freetown two days
ago, meeting with senior SLPP executives, that he is
going no where, but has instead reaffirmed his
support for his party.
This demonstration of strong loyalty and conviction
by Usu Boie Kamara, which is also being shown by
other aspiring SLPP presidential candidates, augurs
well not only for the party’s survival and chances
of wining the elections in 2012, but the development
of Sierra Leone’s democracy.
is for this reason that news of Kadi
Johnson-Cole’s declaration of support for
president Koroma during a radio interview in
Freetown has been received with dismay, not
only by party loyalists, but political
observers in the country.
Kadi Johnson-Cole went to Freetown in 2010
after living in London for many years as an
active member of SLPP, to campaign and fight
for election as the party’s presidential
But she lost the election and her deposit of
£8,000, managing to poll a single vote.
Following her defeat, she did not resign from the
SLPP. Hence, her defacto defection announced on the
radio has angered many in the party. She is reported
to have said on air that: "Such running mate
appointment makes me feel like an idiot. We chose
Maada Bio because we thought it was the best choice
to unify the party’s south-eastern stronghold, but
the running-mate appointment should have been
someone with strong social background and can
interact with the least people in society."
What is surprising for many though is Kadi
Johnson-Cole’s decision to attack and fight her own
party from within, rather than resigning. This has
prompted accusations of disloyalty, egoism, and
betrayal of trust.
But what is certain is that the SLPP party’s
official response will be swift, and would no doubt
lead to the expulsion of Kadi Johnson-Cole from the
Commenting on this latest development, this is what
the erudite and veteran SLPP politician Dr. Sama
"There is an unfortunate peculiarity in most African
politics; it is that people generally tend to
gravitate to the party in power. This characteristic
is more common especially in Sierra Leone politics.
There are very few stories of people leaving a
ruling party that is, the party in government, and
the party which is in power at a particular moment
"Generally the reverse is the order of the day, with
people leaving an opposition party, especially one
which has lost power, when people, sometimes those
who held prominent positions in the ousted party or
benefited most from their connection to it, suddenly
see god and cross carpet.
"One has seen more examples of this in the present
disposition than at any other time in the politics
of this country. Various excuses are usually given,
such as family pressure, going back to their roots;
they are impressed with the development strides of
the new leadership etc.
"Unfortunately for such characters, they deceive no
one but themselves, because the public easily sees
through their facade of self-seeking deception.
"Take the case of the recent Koinadugu
cross-carpeters. What we do not know about their
character could be placed on my eyelids and I
wouldn’t even blink. One of them had previously held
an executive position from which he was released
following very serious criticisms of his leadership.
"He was given a second opportunity, a new position
which brought him into daily contact with the chief
executive. From that he worked his way to a more
"In his new position he refused to push for the
appointment of a chairman for which there was
provision in the establishment of the commission,
but continued to combine both positions until his
party left office.
"When he presented himself before the Parliamentary
Committee on Appointments, the then opposition (now
today’s government) walked out of the sittings in
protest because of the man’s previous record.
"Today for the sake of bread and butter, he has not
only become a praise singer of the leadership which
is now in power, but he has actually declared for
the party. One could go on with more examples of the
would like draw readers’ attention to last weekend’s
monologue programme on which one of the guests was a
failed SLPP flag bearer aspirant who then declared
for the winner, and had been very close to him no
doubt for obvious reasons.
"But her colleagues and many members of the party
had reservations about her commitment or a secret
agenda. Although she had paid her mandatory
candidature fee of 50 million Leones, people
continued to have their doubts.
"In a recent exclusive interview at her request with
a colleague and me, she volunteered that the other
ladies didn’t trust her and that they felt she was a
mole for the ruling APC party; they therefore tended
to marginalize her and to keep her away from their
"We listened very carefully to her narrative and
then asked some relevant questions after which we
promised to make inquiries and get back to her
either alone or with some of the others.
"In the meantime after a series of consultations,
Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio the opposition
SLPP Presidential candidate, named the former
university don, former minister in the previous SLPP
government of President Tejan-Kabbah and erstwhile
national deputy chairman of the SLPP and Flag bearer
aspirant Dr. Kadi Sesay as his running mate.
"The monologue programme host David Tam-Baryoh in
introducing the lady in question said that he had
been seeking to get her on his programme without
success until then. The timing also coincided with
Maada Bio having named his running mate, or did the
lady come forward in order to vent out her
disappointment at not being the chosen one?
"In answer to Tam-Baryoh, she stated very
categorically that the SLPP Presidential candidate
had erred in choosing Kadi Sesay as his running
mate, stating among other reasons that Kadi was not
a grass roots politician like herself. Then she
admitted that she thought she should have been
chosen rather than the other Kadi.
have no problem with peoples’ egotism and all that,
but what shocked me and has led to the title of
today’s column was Kadi Johnson-Cole’s declaration
that she would prefer the incumbent President Ernest
Bai Koroma to win a second term in next year’s
was shocked; as a member of the SLPP I felt
betrayed, a sentiment that many others have since
expressed to me.
"It was difficult to understand the lady’s position.
Here was a woman who had aspired to the flag bearer
position of the party, here was a woman who had
signed a declaration of her commitment to our party
whatever the outcome of the leadership contest; yes,
and here was this woman now telling us and the
listeners to Tam-Baryoh’s radio programme that she
would prefer President Ernest Bai Koroma of the
opposition APC to get re elected.
"Was that not a confirmation of the accusation
levelled against her that she might well be an APC
agent among us, that is an APC MOLE?
the circumstance I would advise the woman to
voluntarily resign from our party. The alternative
and my preference would be that the party EXPELS her
forthwith. There should be no place for people with
such devilish intentions."
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Sub-Saharan Africa failing to meet the Millennium
Development Goal on Sanitation
A new 'report
Off-track, off-target', released today by
the international charity WaterAid
http://www.wateraid.org, shows that
there are more people in the world today
lacking adequate sanitation services than in
action is taken, nearly all governments in
Sub-Saharan Africa will fail to meet the
Millennium Development Goal (MDG) pledge
they made to halve the proportion of people
without sanitation by 2015.
On the current
trajectory, it will take over two centuries for
Sub-Saharan Africa to meet its sanitation MDG
target. What is more, only 20 countries in the
region are on track to meet the water MDG target by
2015. All of this has massive consequences for child
mortality in Africa.
Released a day before
World Toilet Day, the report states that to get the
sanitation and water MDGs back on track, countries
in sub-Saharan Africa need to spend at least 3.5% of
gross domestic product (GDP) on these services. The
report also calls on donor countries to double
global aid flows to water, sanitation and hygiene by
prioritising an additional US$10 billion per year.
The report also
identifies that it is Africa’s poorest people who
are being left behind; poor people in Africa are
five times less likely to have access to adequate
sanitation and over 15 times more likely to practise
open defecation than Africa’s rich. According to
WaterAid, governments should tackle this inequity
through better targeting of water and sanitation
resources and services to the poor.
The WaterAid report
highlights that the shortfall in water and
sanitation services costs Sub-Saharan African
countries around 5% of GDP each year ($47.7 billion
in 2009), more than is provided in development aid
to the entire continent ($47.6 billion in 2009).
In a coordinated
move, an international group of 34 female economists
have also written an open letter to the leaders of
eleven donor and developing country governments, to
draw attention to the international water and
sanitation crisis. In it they state:
"On the day you read
this letter, 4,000 more children under five will die
due to diseases brought about through unsafe water
and poor sanitation. This equates to more child
deaths than AIDS, malaria and measles combined,
making it the biggest child killer in Sub-Saharan
Every $1 invested in water and sanitation
generates on average an $8 return; making it
the deal that will deliver for billions of
the poorest people across the globe. Barbara
Frost, WaterAid’s Chief Executive, said:
"Governments in both
donor and developing countries have it in their
power to save hundreds of thousands of children’s
lives every year by increasing what they spend on
water and sanitation. Investments in these basic
services are engines of economic growth and
prosperity in developing countries, but unless we
grasp this opportunity we will be failing the
millions of poor people whose health, livelihoods
and opportunities suffer because they lack these
off-target report is being published on the day
WaterAid launches the Water Works campaign to urge
governments across the world to do more to tackle
the water and sanitation crisis. The campaign aims
to show world leaders that taps and toilets are
simple, effective and affordable, and that investing
in these basic human needs is an urgent priority.
On World Toilet Day
WaterAid will also join other members of the End
Water Poverty campaign in 50 coordinated 'Crisis
Talk' events in over 20 countries where local groups
will be meeting with politicians to discuss the
water and sanitation crisis.
In Tanzania, Crisis
Talk events are being organised to coincide with the
local government budgeting cycle; in the UK,
WaterAid’s local supporter groups are meeting with
their Members of Parliament; in Bangladesh regional
events will be held where the public affected by
poor water and sanitation provision will hold
members of parliament to account.
Click here to read
the full Report:
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to boost business opportunities in Nigeria’s fast
growing ICT sector
The growth of the
Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
sector is at an all-time high in Africa and around
the world. Mobile communications markets in Nigeria,
Cameroon and the Ivory Coast alone earned combined
revenue of $8.6 billion in 2009, according to
business research and consulting firm Frost &
Sullivan. This is estimated to reach $12.6 billion
"There are a lot of
growth opportunities in both the business and ICT
sectors in Nigeria," said Protea Hirschel, ICT
industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan, in a recent
statement. "Broadband growth alone stands at 23%
over the next six or seven years."
W.AFRI-TEL, the West African Telecom
Exhibition, which takes place from 8 to 10
May 2012 at the Eko Hotel fair ground in
Lagos, Nigeria, will facilitate business
opportunities in this booming sector,
enabling exhibitors to gain access to the
massive Nigerian telecom market that
contains over 80 million mobile subscribers.
its 11th year, W.AFRI-TEL is the only event of its
kind in the region and the flagship event for the
ICT sector. Collins Onuegbu,
CEO of IT solutions company Signal Alliance, is also
optimistic about the sector’s future.
"Nigeria’s economy is
growing by 7% annually while other countries are
struggling, and one of the growth drivers is
technology. There are numerous opportunities in
software, telecoms and all forms of infrastructure,
and I believe the Nigerian economy must look to the
ICT sector for it to develop and grow in the near
future," he said.
Government is also committed to the growth of the
sector. Minister of Communications and Technology,
Mrs Omobola Johnson, recently confirmed the newly
established ministry will deliver on its mandate to
provide robust and efficient ICT infrastructure in
optimising communications infrastructure in the area
of digital content, domestic software applications,
the delivery of private and public services,
e-business and e-government, and promoting the use
of ICT technology in all spheres of life," she
"The purpose of this
development is to deploy information and
communication technology to drive transparency in
government, improve the quality and
cost-effectiveness of public service delivery and
increase the contribution of the ICT industry to the
GDP," continued Johnson.
Managing Director of Exhibition Management Services,
organisers of the expo, says the potential for
growing Nigeria’s ICT sector – the largest telecom
market in Africa – is undisputed and largely
market possesses tremendous growth potential,
considering that the penetration rate was just 57%
at the end of 2010," said Thomson.
improving mobile infrastructure and intense
competition among mobile operators, expectations are
that the number of mobile subscribers will grow at a
compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 15%
during 2011 to 2014, with a penetration rate
exceeding 88% by the end of 2014."
Nigeria accounts for
16% of the continent’s mobile subscriptions.
"As the only show of
its kind in the region, W.AFRI-TEL has
revolutionised Nigeria's telecoms sector,” says
Thomson. "The expo offers a complete
business-to-business matrix attracting exhibitors
and trade visitors from Africa and abroad. It’s an
exciting opportunity for the entire African telecom
industry to come together and showcase their
products to the world."
W.Afri-Tel Expo will
serve up numerous networking opportunities for
participants and act as a meeting ground for the
entire industry. Showcasing the latest ICT
technology and business solutions on offer makes
this expo a must for traders looking for future
The 2012 W.AFRI-TEL
will run alongside a newly-introduced trade expo -
the West African International Trade Exhibition for
Retail Products (WAITEX). Modelled on the highly
successful Southern African International Trade
Exhibition (SAITEX) held in Johannesburg annually
for the last 18 years, the show provides a platform
for exhibitors from around the world to access the
West African market.
endorsed by the Association of Telecommunications
Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).
For more information on W.AFRI-TEL, contact John
Thomson of Exhibition Management Services. Tel: +27
11 783-7250, e-mail email@example.com
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"Why I chose Dr. Kadi Sesay as my 2012 elections
months of procrastinating and rancour,
Sierra Leone’s opposition SLPP party will
today celebrate the appointment of former
trade and industry minister - Dr. Kadi Sesay,
as its 2012 presidential election running
in Port Loko in the north of the country –
the ancestral town of Dr. Sesay, the
ceremony is expected to attract thousands of
party supporters and well wishers of Dr.
Kadi Sesay, who is also well known as a
'gender rights and democracy activitist'
throughout Sierra Leone.
Sesay’s appointment alongside the party’s
elected presidential candidate – Julius
Maada Bio, does not come as a surprise. The
SLPP is keen to present itself to the
electorate as a credible and progressive
party, putting 'equality of opportunity and
fairness' at the heart of its vision for
Sierra Leone’s development.
Although critics of
SLPP have denounced her decision to accept the
appointment, the Newstime Africa Newspaper describes
Dr. Sesay as: "An outstanding public servant, who
has managed to shy away from controversies that
would damage her hard-earned reputation. It is
extremely difficult for a politician in Africa to
maintain a dignified record in office for a long
period of time, but this once University professor
has been a shining example of excellence in public
The empowerment of
women in a society that economically and socially
cannot do without its women folk – yet struggles to
respect the equality of rights of women and girls,
will play a much bigger role in the country’s
Changes in the
country’s demography show women outnumbering men
significantly, and this trend is set to continue,
with major implications for public policy in Sierra
But is this the
reason why presidential candidate - Julius Maada Bio
decided to appoint Dr. Sesay as his running mate in
next year’s elections taking place on 17 November?
Speaking in a
national radio broadcast two days ago, this is what
he told the people of Sierra Leone:
"Today I have the
honour and pleasure to name my Running Mate for the
Presidential election slated for 2012.
is no other than Hon. Dr. Kadi Sesay. Kadi
is a Temne and was born in Rotifunk, Moyamba
District. Both of her parents hailed from
Port Loko District and came from a strong
is a household name in Sierra Leone. It
means many things to many people. In
politics, she is commonly referred to as the
Iron Lady of the SLPP, the peace maker, the
consensus builder etc, etc. Outside of
politics, Kadi is a mother, a policy advisor
and a teacher.
"In all she
has given 30 years of dedicated service to
the country in the field of teaching,
leading democracy and peace building
initiatives, and managing the state at
ministerial and party political levels. By
appointing Kadi, I believe I am fulfilling
many promises at once:
"First and foremost,
judging by her track record, Kadi deserves the
appointment in her own right as a person who has
distinguished herself in her professional calling
and even beyond.
"Secondly, she is a
woman. Indeed, a woman of humility, respect,
honesty, commitment and self-worth. By this
appointment she becomes the first Sierra Leone woman
to rise almost to the pinnacle of leadership in the
"The women of Sierra
Leone have been asking for a quota of 30 per cent
participation in public life. I sincerely believe
they deserve more than that and my Party and I are
committed to enhancing the status of women in this
"Thirdly, she is not
only a woman; she is a woman from a traditional and
humble home in the North. By this appointment, she
is not only a trail setter; she is also a role model
and a symbol of hope especially for the girl child.
"Fourthly, Kadi is
from the North-West so to speak just as I am from
the South-East. Forging a sense of unity and destiny
between the peoples of the South-East and North-West
so that they can work together and gel together as
one nation remains the cardinal aspiration of the
SLPP as symbolized in the motto “One Country, One
"Fifthly and lastly,
in the course of my campaign for the position of
Flag Bearer of the SLPP, I promised not only the
people of the North but those of Port Loko District
in particular that my Running Mate shall come from
that District. Of course, the scenario then was
"Kadi was an aspirant
for the position of Flag Bearer while Dr. Abass
Bundu, also from the District, was one of my
strongest supporters in my bid for the position of
Flag Bearer. I pay him the highest tribute for
showing selflessness, understanding and
presidential candidate also told the nation:
"Today we mark yet
another milestone in the political development of
the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and its
historic relationship with the Northern Region. As
you may be aware, the SLPP was the product of an
amalgamation of various interest groups from both
the then Colony and Protectorate.
"The Party also
brought together many great personalities from every
corner of Sierra Leone to think and act as one. From
the North were such eminent political figures as
Amadu Wurie of Gbinti, Y.D. Sesay of Batkanu, Kande
Bureh and Siaka Stevens.
"In their company was
a huge retinue of Paramount Chiefs the most notable
being Adikali Modu and Bai Koblo Pathbana, Bai
Shebora Komkanda and Kompa Yek of Port Loko
District; Bai Farama Tass and Bai Shebora Yumkella
of Kambia District; Almamy Sorie Conteh of Tonkolili;
Bai Lansana Marah of Koinadugu; and P.C. Alimamy
Dura of Bombali District.
"The seed all of
these great men sowed together germinated and
blossomed throughout the length and breadth of
Sierra Leone in ways they themselves could hardly
have imagined – the seed of unity, freedom and
equality of opportunity for all Sierra Leoneans.
"These are the great
values that the SLPP stands for.
"To the Founding
Fathers and many other fallen heroes who contributed
to the development and growth of the SLPP in the
North, I pay special tribute."
With all eyes now set
on the 2012 presidential, parliamentary, chieftaincy
and local elections, Bio is fully aware of the tough
challenges ahead for his SLPP party, which just four
years ago lost by a narrow margin to president
Koroma’s All Peoples Congress party - but not after
a re-run of the election and the opposition PMDC
entering into a coalition with president Koroma.
But Bio appears
confident. "Fellow Sierra Leoneans, The stage is
thus set for the SLPP to bounce back to power in
2012. I know you will make this certain by voting
massively for the SLPP and yours truly," he told the
people of Sierra Leone, as he ended his nationwide
Back top of page
Sierra Leonean head of Canadian Intelligence
Review Board resigns
Porter, who until yesterday was the Chairman
of Canada’s intelligence Review Board
has tendered his resignation to the Prime
Minister, following Newspaper report of his
'undeclared financial dealings' and external
was trying to broker a $120 Million finance
package with an Israeli businessman and the
Russian government, on behalf of president
Koroma of Sierra Leone.
recently honoured by president Koroma with
the title of Ambassador Plenipotentiary of
It is not certain
whether Dr. Porter will also lose his other
lucrative public sector positions in Canada as a
result of this fiasco. He is the head of one of
Canada's largest health care providers -
McGill University Health Centre.
News of his
disappointing to many Sierra Leoneans and
expected, was reported
yesterday by the Canadian National Post, which broke
the story days ago about Dr. Porter’s financial
affairs many regard as "unbecoming of the head of a
Canadian government intelligence agency".
Reporting for the
Canadian National Post, this is what Kathryn Blaze
Carlson and Brian Hutchinson said:
Arthur Porter, the
beleaguered chair of Canada’s spy review board, has
resigned amid revelations of his business dealings
with a notorious international lobbyist.
"Dr. Porter has
submitted his resignation to me, and I have accepted
it, effective immediately," Prime Minister Stephen
Harper said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
Dr. Porter was the
federally appointed chairman of Canada’s Security
and Intelligence Review Committee, which reviews the
activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence
Service, but has offered his resignation after the
National Post first reported this week Dr. Porter
had wired $200,000 in personal funds to Ari Ben-Menashe,
a Montreal-based businessman who often acts as a
middleman in negotiations between the Russian
Federation and developing countries.
In June 2010, Dr.
Porter signed a consultancy agreement with Mr.
Ben-Menashe’s private company, which obliged Mr.
Ben-Menashe to secure a $US 120-million grant from
Russia for “infrastructure development in Sierra
Leone” managed by Dr. Porter’s own company, Africa
Dr. Porter has mining
stakes in Sierra Leone, a country battered by years
of war and corruption, and was named by the
president of the country to the position of
Ambassador Plenipotentiary — a rare title defined as
someone with authority to represent a head of state.
then, as to whether Mr. Porter, was in a conflict of
interest, whether by working with an international
lobbyist on private business dealings outside Canada
or by virtue of his plenipotentiary title with a
"(The latter) is a
complete conflict of interest and it raises the
spectre of the potential for foreign influence in
Canadian affairs — sensitive Canadian affairs,"
Wesley Wark, a specialist in the history of
intelligence services and national security policy
at the University of Toronto, said shortly before
Mr. Harper’s announcement.
"The simple fact that
someone is on the one hand serving in a very
sensitive Canadian position, and on the other hand
holds an appointment — however honorific — for a
foreign government, is just not on."
Dr. Porter, who was
appointed to the committee in 2008 and then promoted
to chair last September, told the National Post
earlier this week he was not aware of Mr.
Ben-Menashe’s background, which includes
multimillion-dollar deals with Zimbabwean strongman
Mr. Ben-Menashe was
also arrested in the United States in 1999 and
charged with illegally attempting to sell three
military transport airplanes to Iran. He went to
trial and was acquitted in 1990.
Peter St. John, a
security and terrorism expert at the University of
Manitoba who helped establish the spy review board
back in 1984, said board members have to "stay
squeaky clean" given the sensitive nature of the
According to the committee, members have "access to
all information held by CSIS, no matter how highly
classified that information may be," with the
exception of federal Cabinet secrets.
"This is a very
responsible position that deals with Canada’s
intelligence," Prof. St. John said. "You have access
to an extraordinary amount of information at high
levels of secrecy. You have to be very discrete, and
you have to have your hands clean, all the time."
Mr. Harper said a
process for replacing the chair will begin
"shortly", and said Carol Skelton — a current board
member — will act as chair until a new one is
"I would like to
thank Dr. Porter for his service on the Security
Intelligence Review Committee and to his country,"
Mr. Harper said in a statement.
Back top of page
Ruling APC party MPs
vote of no confidence on Deputy Speaker of
parliament - Chukuma Johnson
10 November 2011
With a parliamentary majority of more than
two-thirds, it should be expected that an election
held in the wells of Sierra Leone’s parliament for
the position of deputy speaker, would be easily won
by the ruling APC party's incumbent candidate -
Chukuma Johnson. He did not succeed, after failing
to win the confidence of his own party colleagues.
Chukuma Johnson has served as deputy speaker of
parliament for over four years and needed to poll a
two-thirds majority to be able to continue to serve
as deputy speaker.
But political analysts say that he has fallen out of
favour with many of his APC parliamentary
colleagues, who regard him as arrogant and a thorn
in their sides in the fight against corruption.
It is understood that Chukuma Johnson was recently
responsible for a parliamentary committee's decision
to suspend the funding of the country’s National
Revenue Authority (NRA), whilst president Koroma was
visiting Germany, to the annoyance of DFID
The incumbent deputy speaker of the House - Chukuma
Johnson, was contesting his parliamentary job
against the popular opposition SLPP political
activist - Honourable Bernadette Lahai, who is said
to have polled 38 votes to Chukuma’s 42 votes. A
majority of 82 is required.
What is evidently clear is that the majority of
ruling APC MPs sitting in parliament did not vote
for their political ally - Chukuma Johnson.
In the absence of an outright majority, the Speaker
of parliament - Abel Stronge has decided to hold
another election in accordance with the country’s
It is not understood whether president Koroma will
now urge the party’s whip in parliament to line up
his parliamentary MPs to vote for deputy speaker
Johnson at the next polling.
A win by the opposition SLPP's
Honourable Bernadette Lahai,
will most certainly spell a huge morale victory for
the SLPP party in a parliament that is dominated and
controlled by the ruling APC MPs.
Back top of page
to end uncertainty over choice of 2012 presidential
election running mate
10 November 2011
Unconfirmed reports from Freetown say that the
opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party will name its
2012 presidential election running mate tomorrow
Friday, 11 November, at the party's office in
As expected, Dr. Kadi Sesay is poised to be
named alongside the elected presidential
candidate – Julius Maada Bio.
Dr. Sesay was one of the 19 candidates who
fought in the party’s leadership election
early this year, but lost comprehensively to
the former military strongman – Maada Bio.
Although many in the party have been
expecting Maada Bio to name Usu Bio Kamara
as his running mate, what is obvious is that
in arriving at what must have been a very
difficult decision for Bio, the most
important question in his mind would have
"which of the contenders will help maximise
the party's chances of winning the general elections
slated for November 2012?"
Given the party’s
very strong and deep-rooted foundation in the
southern half of the country, it is absolutely
crucial that Bio appoints a running mate of northern
and western (Freetown) origin, for the party to have
any chance of winning the 2012 elections.
There are at least five contenders for the position
of SLPP presidential running mate: Usu Boi Kamara,
John Ernest Leigh, Kadi Sesay, Abbass Bundu, and
Alpha Wurie, all of whom had lost the leadership
election – but had vowed to stay in the party to
help win the 2012 elections.
The demographic structure of Sierra Leone
shows that over two-thirds of the country’s
population are under the age of 35 years and
the majority are women.
It is these two factors, in addition to the
regional-ethnic balance that would most
seriously task the mind and decision process
of Maada Bio in the next twenty-four hours,
prior to announcing the name of his 2012
elections running mate.
Irrespective of whose
name is drawn out of the hat, that decision is bound
to cause ripples across the deep fault lines opened
up at the recent leadership election.
But the fact remains that Dr. Kadi Sesay is
the best option, if the party’s objective is
to galvanise those fault lines and appeal to
women voters across the country - advocating
for equal rights and the elevation of women
into leadership through 'affirmative
Kadi Sesay is a northerner with a strong
political base in the country’s capital –
Freetown, and a household name that
resonates among the female constituents both
in Freetown and the north of the country.
She is a former
lecturer at the University of Sierra Leone, and a
Trade and Industry Minister in the Kabbah led SLPP
government, which was defeated by Ernest Koroma’s
APC at the 2007 polls.
Few Sierra Leoneans would dispute her political
experience and professional credentials.
With the naming of the SLPP's 2012 presidential
election running mate tomorrow, one thing is certain
apart from ending months of speculation: the party
can now get on with the serious business of
appointing its shadow cabinet or campaign team -
responsible for drafting the party's 2012 elections
manifesto, as the huge task of fund raising unfolds.
Koroma's government fast running out of policy ideas
and credible initiatives aimed at tackling poverty
and joblessness in the country, inflation crippling
every household; many in Sierra Leone - especially
the youth, would welcome tomorrow's announcement at
the SLPP party office in Freetown.
Back top of page
Why is the
Anti-Corruption Commission reluctant to investigate
the Freetown City Council?
8 November 2011
When critics of the Koroma led government castigate
the president for failing to fully put his zero
tolerance for corruption to a test, they are quickly
labelled as detractors. Not only has the president
failed in curbing corruption in high places, but is
stubbornly refusing to ensure that the
Anti-Corruption Commission takes its investigation
wherever evidence of financial malfeasance and
Recent Auditor General’s Reports have shown alarming
levels of misappropriation of funds across various
local authorities in the country – totalling
hundreds of billions of Leones, and the Freetown
City Council is no exception.
For the last two consecutive years, the
Mayor - Herbert George-Williams, management
and elected Councillors of the Freetown City
Council, have faced huge difficulty
balancing the Council’s Accounts, as tax
receipts decline amid rising expenditure and
allegations of corruption.
Since 2008, the management of the Council
has relied on central government subventions
in order to meet the costs of salaries.
Local service provision - such as cleaning
of the city suffers in consequence, as
street cleaners and refuse collectors resort
to frequent industrial actions – including
'work to rule', with growing mountains of
uncollected refuse now becoming a major part
of the city’s landmark.
The 2009 report of the country’s Auditor
General shows a whopping Le710, 500,000
missing from the Council’s accounts.
The Mayor and senior management
have been accused of misappropriation and misuse of
public funds, prompting the country’s parliamentary
committee responsible for public accounts oversight
to carry out an investigation into the allegations.
Some of the allegations of corruption levied
against the Mayor, elected Councillors and
senior management of the Council include:
Failure to implement procurement regulations
according to law.
"It was observed that an amount to the tune
of Le183,678,000 relating to Consultancy
Services for the drawings of structures,
Site Clearance etc., was given to three
different contractors without the knowledge
of the Procurement Unit, thereby
demonstrating the procurement procedures
were not adhered to, and the contract
agreement was not produced for inspection."
"The sum of Le959, 298,890 was discovered
from among the contractors plus additional
payment made with respect to the Sewa Ground
Market, but was not stated in the financial
"Le46,273,976.60 were deducted from suppliers but
there was no NRA receipts to prove whether those
monies were submitted to NRA."
Gross negligence and failure to keep proper records
in accordance with the rules laid down by the
"Examination of payment vouchers
presented for audit inspection revealed that
payments made totalling Le1,069,139,935.25 were
without the relevant supporting documents; receipts,
local purchase orders, and that payments were made
by Council amounting to Le770,634,405.05 for which
payment vouchers were not presented for audit
City Council Chief Administrator - Bowenson
"The sum of Le213,098,064 was
disbursed by the council not having the signature of
neither the Chief Administrator nor the Treasurer.
The sum of Le164,910,000 was paid in respect of
'operation sweep' revenue collection drive, and
other related activities, but there was no signature
of the recipient of the money."
Although the parliamentary
public accounts committee is investigating
those corruption allegations, many in the
country are dumbfounded as to why the
Anti-Corruption Commission has not stepped
in to carry out its own investigations as
required by Law.
With the dismal failure of
the Anti-Corruption Commission to pursue and
successfully convict several high profile
officials of the government for corruption,
observers say that it is unlikely the
president will authorise an ACC
investigation into the affairs of the
Freetown City Council.
The Mayor of Freetown who himself
was recently named in a major Report into political
violence in Freetown, is a close friend of
president Koroma and a key player in the ruling APC
Political observers believe that
the mayor is "one of the president's sacred cows".
Back top of page
Standard Bank loans African Minerals
to speed up iron
ore production in Sierra Leone
5 November 2011
yesterday announced that it has entered into a two
five-year loan deal totalling $130 Million with
African Minerals Ltd's (AML), to help speed up
development of the company’s first phase Tonkolili
iron ore project in Sierra Leone.
This loan deal Standard Bank says "will help boost
the Sierra Leone economy".
According to Standard Bank, the $130 Million loan is
in two parts: $40 Million made out to a local South
African manufacturer - RRL Grindrod, which is part
of the JSE listed Grindrod Group - to supply 20
locomotives on lease to African Minerals. That
portion of the loan was insured by the Export Credit
Insurance Corporation of South Africa.
The second tranche loan of $90 Million, was given
directly to African Minerals, so as to purchase ore
transporting wagons and other mining equipment.
"The locomotives and wagons will be used to haul
iron ore along a 200km rail line, of which 130km has
been newly constructed in the past 10 months,
linking the mine in the Tonkolili district in
northern Sierra Leone to the port of Pepel. Under
Phase 1, up to 15 million tonnes of iron ore a year
will be exported. Sierra Leone becomes the third
African country to produce significant volumes of
iron ore after South Africa and Mauritania," says
Conservative estimates put the potential revenue
to be generated by Phase 1 of the project for Sierra
Leone and AML at about $2 Billion a year.
Sierra Leone holds some of the largest iron ore
reserves in Africa. Tonkolili's resources are over
12-billion tons. However, to date the country has
been unable to benefit fully from this resource
because of insufficient rail and port capacity to
transport the ore from the mines to export markets.
Iron ore extraction is widely seen as one of the
engines that will drive the reconstruction of Sierra
Leone's economy, which had been ravaged by years of
David Humphrey, Standard Bank's Director for
Structured Asset Finance and Leasing, says the
funding is significant as the locomotives and rail
infrastructure upgrade will enable Sierra Leone to
resume iron ore exports after they were halted about
25 years ago.
"Sierra Leone is a country that has
received marginal foreign direct investment,
and we are delighted that by supporting our
clients, RRL Grindrod and AML, Standard Bank
has been able to inject a substantial sum
into Sierra Leone, more than it has received
in the past from traditional donor agencies.
By being able to fund the rolling stock for
the newly completed rail line between
Tonkolili and the port means we have been
able to play a major part in Sierra Leone's
ability to export iron ore again," says
Humphrey, the increased exports will have a strong
multiplier effect on the Sierra Leone economy as the
country will benefit from new jobs, taxes and
"We see this loan as an important catalyst for
Sierra Leone's economic growth. Mining and its
associated infrastructure is a sector where Standard
Bank has globally recognised expertise. This
transaction again demonstrates our capabilities to
provide such funding for the right projects across
borders, even in countries where up to now we do
have not had a direct presence. The investment is
also a strong example of how Standard Bank supports
projects that help unlock Africa's wealth and move
the continent forward," says Humphrey.
He also said that; "There is a number of major
infrastructure projects underway or planned right
across the continent and we are confident that
Standard Bank can help in the financing of these
African Minerals made its first shipment of iron ore
from Sierra Leone to China last week.
Back top of page
President Koroma assist 754 Pilgrims in Mecca
Alhaji M.B. Jalloh - Information Attaché, Saudi
Head of the
Sierra Leone 2011 Hajj Mission to Mecca,
yesterday handed President Ernest Bai
Koroma’s charity payment of US$100 to
each of the 754 Sierra Leonean pilgrims
performing this year’s Muslim pilgrimage in
The money is to help pay for
the lamb needed to perform
Kargbo who is also the Special Assistant to
the President on Political Affairs, said the
gesture was as a result of a request made to
the President by the pilgrims, shortly
before they left Sierra Leone last month.
In a ceremony held in
downtown Mecca, the Hajj Mission Chief told the
pilgrims that the President appreciates Islam, and
has been able to cut across religious and tribal
barriers in the country, since his assumption of
office in 2007.
gesture, various speakers prayed for the President’s
continued good health, God’s guidance and
sustainable strength to enable him achieve his set
goals. They also prayed for sustainable peace and
prosperity in Sierra Leone.
Most of the
recipients said that they will continue to
stand behind President Ernest Bai Koroma at
all times. "For some of us, no matter what,
we will stand by him day and night and at
said that President Koroma has never let
Muslims down, as he is always at the
forefront of all their wishes and
"This is the
first time Sierra Leone has experienced such
a positive stance towards the development of
Islam, especially as it is from a leader
with a different religious background," they
Many of the
pilgrims interviewed were very much
overwhelmed by the gesture.
The ceremony was
witnessed by Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Saudi
Arabia and Permanent Representative to the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), H.E
Wusu Munu and other high profile dignitaries
currently taking part in the Hajj rituals - Sierra
Leone’s Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Osman F. Yassaneh,
Deputy Leader of Parliament, Hon. Mohamed Soufian
Kargbo and the Deputy Mayor of Freetown, Gibril I.
of the sacrificial Lamb is one of the Hajj
rituals which pilgrims offer on the 10th day
of the Hajj Month.
the Hajj ministry says in a statement last
night that many of the 2.5 million pilgrims
for this year’s pilgrimage will leave for
the Mina valley, located five km east of
Mecca, on Thursday evening in preparation
for the annual event, which culminates in
the standing at Arafat on Saturday, 5th
Back top of page
Gambia is making important progress in its fight
against poverty" – says IMF
2 November 2011
With presidential election slated for 24 November,
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to the
Gambia, led by Mr. David Dunn ended its visit
yesterday, after two weeks of intensive talks with
various stakeholders and government officials to
review economic progress.
The economy will dominate debate in the
coming weeks, as Gambians struggle to cope
with the global economic downturn and its
effect on the country’s tourism industry.
According to BBC News Africa: "President
Yahya Jammeh is standing for re-election but
said he had no plans to campaign as his
victory was "a foregone conclusion" and only
God could remove him from power. Opposition
parties said in October 2011 that they had
failed to forge an alliance that might have
improved their chances of unseating the
The IMF team assessed
the government’s efforts in managing its financial
and exchange rate policies, in line with Article IV
of its charter, and at the end of its review issued
the following statement:
"Over the past few years, The Gambian economy has
achieved robust growth, despite the prolonged global
economic crisis. The Gambia’s Gross domestic product
(GDP) grew by around 6½ percent a year during
2008-2010, driven mainly by agriculture.
"Tourism and remittances, however, were hit hard by
the global crisis. This year, although tourism has
begun to show signs of recovery, GDP growth is
projected to slow down slightly (to about 5½
percent), as poor weather conditions in some areas
of the country have harmed crop production.
"The 12-month inflation rate has dipped to about 4
percent in recent months and is projected to remain
below 5 percent for 2011 as a whole. Gross
international reserves remain at a comfortable level
at just under 5 months of imports.
"The Gambia, however, continues to face a number of
challenges, notably a heavy debt burden. In
particular, large fiscal deficits in recent years
led to a surge in domestic debt, most of which
consists of short-term T-bills that must be
regularly re-financed. Interest on domestic debt is
on the rise and now consumes 18½ percent of
government revenues. Including obligations on
external debt, interest consumes 22½ percent of
"To address the high cost and risks of this debt,
the government has taken bold actions to curb new
domestic borrowing. Indeed, the mission commends the
government for exercising strong fiscal discipline
so far this year—an election year—despite further
"By strictly controlling spending, new domestic
borrowing is on track to be just over 2½ percent of
GDP this year, down from about 4½ percent of GDP in
2010. This improved performance has contributed to
lower inflation and a drop in T-bill yields (by
about 3 percentage points since late last year)
"The government aims to continue making progress on
easing its debt burden, by gradually reducing new
domestic borrowing to about ½ percent of GDP by
2014. The government will also restrict external
borrowing to concessional loans with soft terms.
"The mission commends the government for observing
strict limits on borrowing from the CBG, including
the elimination of its overdrafts. This has allowed
the CBG to implement a more consistent and proactive
monetary policy. At last week’s meeting of the
Monetary Policy Committee, the CBG lowered its
policy interest rate for the first time in 2011, by
1 percentage point, to 14 percent.
"If inflation remains subdued, there may be scope
for further cuts in the policy rate going forward.
"Falling tax revenues is a major concern. Tax
revenues (relative to GDP) have fallen steadily
since 2007, and are down to less than 12½ percent of
GDP in 2011 (3½ percentage points of GDP below their
peak in 2007). At the same time, the tax base has
eroded substantially, while the remaining taxpayers
face high tax rates.
"To improve this situation and restore revenues, the
IMF mission strongly encourages the government to
consider a comprehensive tax reform over the next
few years, building upon the planned introduction of
a value-added tax (VAT). Simplification would
facilitate tax compliance, and major improvements in
tax administration by the Gambia Revenue Authority
(GRA) would be essential.
"The mission recommends that government immediately
implement fully its fuel pricing formula, including
a specific excise tax, and rigorously adhere to the
monthly price adjustments going forward. Implicit
fuel subsidies led to substantial tax revenue
losses, which could have been used for other
priority programs that more directly benefit the
"The IMF mission observes that The Gambia’s banking
system as a whole is well capitalized and liquid.
Still, the CBG must remain vigilant with its
supervision of the system. Banks’ nonperforming
loans have begun to fall, but they are still high,
and some banks continue to incur losses. We welcome
the CBG’s ongoing efforts to build capacity to
conduct stress testing for the banking system. The
IMF will continue to support this effort with
technical assistance. The IMF mission also commends
the CBG for taking immediate steps to improve the
performance of the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB),
which started operating last year.
"To benefit from lower interest rates, it is
important that borrowers establish good credit
histories. The CRB plays a central role in informing
banks about creditworthy clients.
"The Gambia is making important progress in its
fight against poverty, particularly in the areas of
education and some health indicators. Progress on
reducing income poverty is also anticipated from the
inclusiveness of the strong growth of agriculture in
"The government plans to build on this progress with
the launching in the coming months of the Programme
for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE)
2012-15. The mission commends the authorities for
the serious effort in the preparation of the PAGE.
"However, given the government’s heavy debt burden
and falling tax revenues, financing the PAGE faces
some major challenges. To ensure that scarce
resources are used effectively, the mission
encourages the government to continue its ongoing
progress on public financial management and
transparency, especially in the budget process.
"Although there is some scope for additional
borrowing on concessional terms, greater assistance
from donor grants would be most welcomed. Private
sector participation is also an important
option—particularly in the energy sector—but it is
critical that proper institutional arrangements are
"In the energy sector, despite some steps underway,
NAWEC lacks financial stability and regulatory
issues, such as cost recovery and automatic
cost-of-fuel adjustments in electricity tariffs,
need to be resolved. In this regard, the mission
urges the government to work together with the World
Bank to put in place an effective energy strategy as
soon as possible.
"The mission commends the authorities for preparing
a budget policy paper for the 2012 budget and the
submission of the audited 2007 government accounts
to the National Assembly on October 31, 2011.
"To reduce the current backlog, it is expected that
the audited accounts for subsequent years will be
prepared and submitted to the National Assembly at
an accelerated pace.
"In 2012, the priority areas of public financial
management include improving transparency in the
budget process, strengthening budget execution, and
building capacity in internal and external audit
"The mission wishes to express its gratitude to the
Gambian authorities for their hospitality and the
candid and constructive spirit in which the
discussions were held. The Executive Board of the
IMF is expected to discuss the report of the mission
in January 2012."
The mission met with Minister of Finance and
Economic Affairs Mambury Njie, Governor of the
Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) Amadou Colley and
other senior officials of the government and the
It also met representatives of the National
Assembly, political parties, the business community,
civil society, labor unions, students, and The
Gambia's development partners.
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Sierra Rutile increasing its investment in Sierra
29 October 2011
Sierra Rutile Ltd. is increasing its production of
rutile to 200,000 tons a year, as a key operational
objective in the Bonthe District of Sierra Leone.
This will make Sierra Rutile one of the world's
largest producers of this precious mineral.
Following a recent serious accident involving the
capsizing of its dredging platform, the company has
invested in two new platforms. The accident had
raised doubts as to the company's safety policy.
Sierra Rutile is investing over $170 Million in
expanding its mining operations in Sierra Leone, the
company reported in a statement in Freetown last
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created by the
company by the second half of next year. The planned
increase in mining production is significant for the
country’s economy, which is currently struggling to
weather the global economic downturn.
Although there are concerns regarding the
environmental impact of the proposed increase in
mining production, the company has assured the
government and local communities of its willingness
to comply with the country’s environmental Laws.
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Ghana’s overall economic growth is projected to
reach 13½ percent this year – says IMF
29 October 2011
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
in Accra, Ghana last week, to
review of Ghana’s economic program under the IMF’s
Extended Credit Facility, and they were not
disappointed with their findings.
At the end of the mission, IMF team leader for
Christina Daseking issued the
"The stability of
Ghana’s economy has improved significantly since the
start of the government’s 2009 economic program
supported by the IMF. The then sizeable fiscal and
external current account imbalances have been
greatly reduced, the inflation rate has declined to
single digits, and the stock of international
reserves has risen to about US$5 billion, up from
only US$2 billion at the end of 2008.
"A combination of fiscal consolidation and monetary
easing in 2011 has reinforced the favourable
economic setting and contributed to a robust and
broad-based performance of the economy. Boosted
further by the start of oil production, overall
economic growth is projected to reach 13½ percent
this year and more than 8 percent in 2012, with
average inflation expected to remain broadly
unchanged at a rate of 8½-9 percent.
"The main risks to the generally favourable outlook
arise from possible adverse developments in world
commodity prices and foreign investment inflows, and
from public spending pressures ahead of the 2012
"Fiscal outcomes for the first half of 2011,
together with preliminary data for the third
quarter, indicate a strong performance. All
quantitative performance criteria and indicative
targets for end-June 2011 were met, and an annual
deficit below the current target of 5.7 percent of
non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) should be
"The lower deficit reflects an impressive increase
in tax revenues, where reforms are beginning to bear
fruit, but also a shortfall in foreign-financed
capital spending. The wage bill, on the other hand,
is now expected to absorb a larger share of public
expenditure and non-oil GDP.
"This reflects both the sizeable costs of moving
public sector employees onto a uniform pay structure
- the 'single spine' - and a 2011 base pay increase
that was well above the rate of inflation. As a
result, there is a risk that inflationary pressures
could rise again, unless domestically-financed
spending, can be kept in check.
"Plans for a significant scaling up of
infrastructure investment call for new revenue
measures and restraint in other spending areas in
the 2012 budget. The government has secured a large
financing package on nonconcessional terms to
finance critical infrastructure investments, some of
which are expected to be self-financing.
"The mission agreed with the government on the
importance of infrastructure investment to boost
Ghana’s growth potential and economic development.
Thus, discussions focused on the appropriate
evaluation and phasing of investment projects and on
supportive revenue and expenditure measures to
create the space for larger capital spending, while
preserving macroeconomic stability and the
sustainability of public debt.
"This is particularly important in light of the
prospective decline in Ghana’s access to
concessional financing reflecting its new
"On the revenue side, the mission encouraged the
government to continue its efforts to strengthen tax
administration. It also supported adoption of
additional tax policy measures, particularly in the
area of natural resources, where taxation is low in
comparison with peer countries. Passage of new
legislation to broaden the tax base will also be
"On the expenditure side, key priorities are
sustainable management of the wage bill,
strengthening of public financial management - where
some reforms have taken longer than expected - and
the regular adjustment of energy and other regulated
prices to avoid costly subsidies and the need for
large and disruptive adjustments in the future.
"Discussions with the Bank of Ghana focused on the
challenges of maintaining low inflation, while
responding to volatility in the foreign exchange
market. The mission supported a policy of targeted
intervention to smooth excessive exchange rate
volatility and manage liquidity, while allowing the
exchange rate to adjust to more lasting trends. It
further encouraged the Bank of Ghana to stand ready
to adjust policy rates should upside risks to
inflation become acute, stressing the importance of
effective coordination of fiscal and monetary policy
in maintaining low inflation.
"During the mission, agreement was reached on a wide
range of policy issues. Discussions will continue
over the coming weeks on a few outstanding issues
related to the government’s 2012 economic program.
Pending agreement on these issues, the mission will
recommend to the IMF Executive Board the completion
of the fifth review in December 2011."
mission met with President John Evans Atta Mills,
Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor, Bank of Ghana
Governor Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, other senior
officials, members of parliament, and
representatives from the private sector, academia,
and civil society.
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Princess Anne concludes her historic visit to Sierra
Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and her
husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence,
have ended their four days visit to
Freetown, which started on the 23 October.
This auspicious Royal visit was made in
celebration of Sierra Leone’s 50th
anniversary of independence.
The visit also marked almost 50 years to the
month, since Her Majesty the Queen visited
Sierra Leone in 1961, cementing the deep
friendship and historical ties that binds
Arriving late on
Sunday night, the Royal couple’s first taste of
Sierra Leone was crossing the bay from Mahera to
Freetown, a truly unique airport arrival experience.
They awoke the
following morning to the bustling sights and sounds
of Wilberforce, and then wound down Hill Cot Road
for a call on His Excellency President Ernest Bai
During their meeting,
the Princess and President discussed the depth and
breadth of the historical links shared between
Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom, and enjoyed a
lively conversation about the strength of the 21st
built on a similar conversation during the recent
visit of Henry Bellingham MP, the UK’s Minister for
Keen to experience more of Sierra Leone and to meet
its people, the Princess undertook a busy schedule
of visits throughout the peninsula.
businessmen and women, she learned that British and
Sierra Leonean companies are working well together
across a range of sectors, with the value of trade
between the two countries almost
doubled during 2010. This
dynamic partnership will contribute immensely to the
prosperity of both countries.
Anne (far Right) with the minister of health
- Zainab Bangura (centre) at the PCMH
Family strongly supports development and
human rights work around the globe, and the
Princess is no exception.
She was keen
to use her first visit to Sierra Leone to
see for herself the progress made in health,
education and equality - since the end of
Staff at the
Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH)
described for her the significant role that
the UK’s development assistance continues to
play in helping to build Sierra Leone’s
future; especially through the Free Health
The Save the Children
Fund showed her their work with vulnerable groups at
Kroo Bay. The Princess is President of SCF’s UK
chapter. She was pleased to feel a personal
connection to the ongoing work of British aid
organisations and volunteers in Sierra Leone.
The Princess rounded off her stay in 'Sweet Salone'
by taking the time to explore the country's diverse
culture, environment and history.
She visited Bunce
Island and spent an enjoyable afternoon amongst the
wildlife at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, both
of which highlight the potential for a vibrant
tourism trade in Sierra Leone - bringing further
investments, jobs and development.
Just after lunchtime on Wednesday, 26 October 2011,
a small crowd gathered at Lungi to bid a fond
farewell to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at
the finale of an historic royal visit to Sierra
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value-for-money is the Anti-Corruption Commission
giving to the tax payer?
25 October 2011
Last Thursday, 20th October 2011, Sierra
Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission Czar -
Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara told president
Koroma at State House, that the ACC had
recovered a total of Le867,906 Million in
fines and levies paid to the state by those
found guilty of corruption so far this year.
According to State House statement, Mr.
Kamara presented the ACC’s 2011 Mid-Term
Report and its Strategic Plan for 2011-2013.
But what is not known
is the year-on-year success rate of the ACC, with
respect to the number of convictions; the costs of
investigating and prosecuting cases; and the revenue
generated from recovered corruption fines and
With the annual cost of running the ACC estimated at
over Le5.9 Billion, it is necessary that the tax
payer feels comfortable and reassured of the level
of value-for-money that they receive from the work
of the ACC.
The ACC chief received a 50% increase in monthly
salary early this year - rising to almost Le50
Critics say that at an annual salary of over Le600
Million, the ACC Boss must be expected to generate
at least Le5 Billion, which is equivalent to the
annual cost of running the ACC.
Hence, few in Sierra Leone will be impressed with
the Le867 Million cheque handed over to president
Koroma last Thursday by the ACC Czar, especially as
State House reports that: 'Mr. Kamara acknowledged
the political will the ACC is enjoying from the
leadership of the commission’s oversight personnel
and president Koroma, in the execution of its
"There has been no political interference at all in
the work of the ACC from the government," the ACC
Czar told the media.
So, a lot more is
therefore expected of the ACC, given the
overwhelming political support it enjoys from the
Mr. Kamara reported that 'a survey recently
conducted indicates the effectiveness of President
Koroma’s zero tolerant in the fight against
corruption, has resulted to an increase in
government revenue and rapid reduction of
But no evidence was
presented by Mr. Kamara during his State House
presentation, in support of this claim.
The Anti-Corruption Commission's '2011
Mid-term Review of performance Report' has
not yet been published, and public
confidence in the ACC is bound to remain
very low, until such time that the Report is
Indeed, as State House itself reports; 'Mr.
Kamara said that since the enactment of the
ACC Act in 2008, the commission has so far
been able to raise over Le5 Billion Leones.'
But does the ACC represent value-for-money,
when the total cost of running the ACC since
2008 has exceeded Le15 Billion?
ACC records show that
in 2008, the amount of money recovered from those
convicted was Le772 Million.
And in 2009, Le1.8 Billion was raised, from a total
of eleven people found guilty of corruption in that
year, by the former ACC chief – Abdul Tejan Cole.
In response to Mr. Kamara’s presentation, President
Koroma is said to have 'instructed the ACC
Commissioner to intensify the campaign and put a
seal on corrupt practices in Sierra Leone, by
sniffing out the people’s monies from the wrong
hands and bring them into government’s coffers'.
But at the present
pace and intensity, it is difficult to conclude that
the ACC is doing very well.
"I must say that I am very happy with the progress
made by the ACC in the fight against corruption. The
transparency international’s acknowledgment of our
efforts in the eradication of corruption, and the
World Bank award have indicated that we are making
progress in the fight against corruption," president
Koroma told the ACC Czar.
koroma is satisfied with the performance of the ACC
in tackling corruption in Sierra Leone, questions
remain unanswered as to whether the ACC is giving
value-for-money to tax payers and most importantly -
winning the fight against the president's zero
tolerance for corruption.
With the 2012 general
and presidential elections just twelve months away,
the performance of the ACC in combating corruption
will become a major campaign issue, in a country
where poverty and low economic growth continues to
destroy lives, and average daily income is less than
Back top of page
Visit to Sierra Leone of
Her Royal Highness - The Princess Royal
21 October 2011
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal,
accompanied by her husband Vice Admiral Sir
Timothy Laurence, will visit Freetown for
the first time from 23-26 October to take
part in the ongoing celebrations marking the
50th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s
This will also mark almost 50 years to the
month since Her Majesty the Queen’s visit in
The visit highlights the deep roots Sierra Leone and
the United Kingdom share as well as the lively
modern relationship. The Princess Royal follows the
successful visit of Mr Henry Bellingham, Minister
for Africa, who represented the UK during the 50th
anniversary of independence celebrations in April
this year in Freetown.
During the visit The Princess Royal will be
received at State House by H.E. President
Ernest Bai Koroma and have the opportunity
to visit charities with which she is
associated: Save the Children UK as
President and Voluntary Service Overseas as
The Princess will witness the work of a
number of other Non-Governmental
Organisations and volunteers from the UK and
elsewhere on projects across Sierra Leone.
These include the Princess Christian
Maternity Hospital, Mercy Ships and the
Milton Margai School for the Blind.
Trips to the Tacugama Chimpanzee
Sanctuary and Bunce Island will give an insight into
the rich and varied history, culture and environment
of Sierra Leone.
During the visit, The Princess Royal will also meet
representatives of a number of UK companies working
in Sierra Leone.
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celebrations chief and others granted bail
20 October 2011
Dr. William Konteh –
the former executive chairman of the 50th
Independence celebrations committee and his
executive secretary – Yeniva Sesay-Sogbeh appeared
at the High Court in Freetown Wednesday, 19th
October 2011, on corruption charges, where they were
Also indicted and granted bail was the owner of
Vimco enterprises – Victor Cole, who was charged
last Friday, for the unlawful acquisition of benefit
relating to the breach of procurement rules.
William Konteh is said to have been indicted on a 19
count charge relating to the misappropriation of
Bail was set at just over £17,000 for all three
accused, who are facing a 24 count charge for a
range of offences contrary to the country’s
Anti-Corruption Laws, including the misappropriation
of donor and public funds, and the unlawful
acquisition of benefits.
The accused were also ordered to surrender their
travel documents, along with sureties, based on a
submission made by Justice Nassiru Tejan-Cole, who
is acting for the accused.
Acting as prosecutor for the Anti-Corruption
Commission, Justice Reginald Fynn successfully
requested that the trial be conducted without a
jury, so as to avoid further delays, after a lengthy
investigation by the ACC lasting over seven months.
There has been media
allegations involving the disappearance of over $1.5
Million donated to the 50th Independence
celebrations committee to help the country in
preparing for the celebrations.
The case was adjourned to 9th November 2011, by the
High Court Judge - Abdulai Charm.
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Uk and Ireland branch elects a new executive
19 October 2011
The SLPP UK & Ireland branch has finally
elected a new executive committee last
Saturday, 15th October 2011, in South-East
London. According to the Sierra Leone View
(SLV), the election was peaceful and
colourful, attracting members and party
stalwarts from all over the UK and Europe.
Poll opened and closed on time, and counting
was observed by the press in order to ensure
transparency. The event was a 'GREEN FAMILY'
affair, says SLV.
Most of the candidates were nominated –
unopposed, with their names printed on the
ballot papers. Voters had the opportunity to
vote for or against. All candidates secured
over 80% of the votes.
Speaking to SLV, the
Secretary General of the party’s electoral
commission - Mr. Ansu Momoh said that the election
was an important milestone in the efforts to
reinvigorate the SLPP in the United Kingdom and
Ireland, as a very formidable diasporan entity.
"..With such an unwavering spirit of
determination for a new direction, the SLPP
UK and Ireland is well placed to compliment
the efforts of the parent body to achieve
our ultimate goal - sharp 12 in 2012, under
the transformational leadership of Rtd
Brigadier Julius Maada Bio," Momoh told SLV.
The positions of Secretary General and
Chairman were won by Mr. Sarjoh Aziz Kamara
and Mr. Jimmy Batilo Songa respectively.
Songa won the Chairmanship following a tight
race against his opponent - Mr. Ansu Sillah.
was declared winner by the Chief Electoral
Commissioner - Mohamed Yongawo, after
polling 84 out of 131 votes cast.
SLV reported that
Songa had the momentum during the campaign, and was
therefore predicted to win. However, it was the
manner in which Sillah responded to the outcome that
members of the SLPP UK & Ireland branch will always
He proved that he is a democrat, a leader that
accepted defeat and wasted no time to congratulate
the winner. He respected the will of the people in
In his victory speech, Songa called for peace and
urged all branch members to join him to reposition
SLPP UK & Ireland in the Sierra Leone political map,
and to work tirelessly to ensure a Julius Maada Bio
presidential victory in 2012.
He also acknowledged that although he won the
elections, he has no doubt about Sillah’s leadership
potential. He referred to Sillah as a true leader
and stressed that he will work with him to promote
the objectives of the party.
The elections were "credible" according to
Dr. Jonathan Tengbeh from Oxford, who calls
for unity, reconciliation, and for the new
executive to do as promised.
"Today is a day for SLPP UK & Ireland to
celebrate their democratic achievement,"
said Alhaji Momodu Koroma, running mate of
the former Vice President Solomon Berewa in
the 2007 elections, and aspirant in the
recently concluded flagbearer elections.
Momodu Koroma urged
other branches in the Diaspora to find a common
ground, as they address the challenges facing the
party and the country as a whole.
Dr. Fred Konteh from York who was also in
attendance, reiterated that there is a lot of hard
work ahead and the executive must immediately embark
on reconciliation efforts.
Among party devotees present were former chairmen
Tamba Lamina and Harold Saffa, Arthur Freeman, Kai
Pokawa, Steve Swarray, The PMDC Chairman Mr. John
Komeh, Alhaji Khalil Mustapha, Dr. Jacob Anderson,
Mrs Kankay Barlay, Mrs. Binta Bah- Kpokawa, Mrs.
Rosaline Mamawa Momoh, Mrs Cecilia Kefue
Listie-Cole, Nancy Banya, Mr. and Mrs. David
Ben-Hirsh, Mr. Brima Katta from Reading, and Mr.
Lansana Kormoh from Bradford.
The entire hall was in a jubilant mood after
the victory announcement and vote of thanks
was given by Madam Hawa Kallon - chairlady
of the branch.
The other elected members of the new
executive committee are: Mr. Nathaniel Sandi
– Deputy Chairman; Mr Ibrahim Kormoh -
Financial Secretary; Mr Morris Vibby -
Organising Secretary; Ishmael Kebbay Jnr -
Secretary Young Generation; Mrs. Kenye Sandi
- Secretary Women's Wing; Sheku Lexmond
Koroma - Publicity and Propaganda Secretary;
and Joe Thomas - Auditor.
courtesy of the Sierra Leone View
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“Will Sierra Leone
ever achieve peace and reconciliation?” – A rebuttal
18 October 2011
I read your article entitled: "Will Sierra Leone
ever achieve peace and reconciliation?" You are
trying to make a case to look at the larger picture;
and basically excuse the excesses of the NPRC for
which the family of the 29 who were unjustly killed
are seeking a redress.
Peace and reconciliation are abstractions that
should be left to the individuals who have had their
peace taken from them. The inquest that the families
are requesting will not have any lasting effect on
the hard won peace in the country.
Let me say at the outset, I support a call for an
inquest. It is the least the state can do. There is
no time limitation on murder, whether state
sponsored or not. Though I take cognisance of the
fact that state excesses have been going on since
independence, but are you not missing the point of
the call for an inquest?
Yes, it will not bring the loved ones back, but at
the very least it will answer nagging questions that
these families have not had answers to in almost two
I disagree with your premise that it will be
difficult to prove the culpability of the various
actors, are you aware that the pursuit of justice
for the holocaust is still on going?
In the case of the 29 there are still eyewitnesses
living today that can testify before an inquest.
Most of the main actors are still around to answer
questions and provide explanations for the course of
action that was taken.
Don't you want answers as to how our prison service
was supposedly part of the plot by assisting
incarcerated individuals to plot against the
government? Don't you find it odd that no one in the
prison system was ever indicted?
To me it also seems that you are avoiding the use of
the word 'compensation', instead opting for
'mitigation of loss suffered'. I find that even more
baffling. When a crime as egregious as that
committed by the state on certain families by
executing their loved ones, who through no fault of
their own - but that they were at the wrong place at
the wrong time, then the very least these families
can expect is to get answers from the state.
I don't expect there will ever be any justice for
these individuals who the populace knew where
wrongly executed. But please let there be a
semblance of justice in our beloved country.
It will be wrong for me to impugn wrong motives on
you for the said article, but I cannot help but feel
that political expediency has more import than the
rule of law or the feelings of the grieving families
on this issue.
Thanks you for the article and your expressed
thoughts. But in a civilised society we can agree to
disagree. I hope this discourse will continue.
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Independence Celebrations Boss charged to court for
months of investigations by the
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the former
executive chairman of the 50 years
Independence Celebrations Committee
– Dr. William Konteh and eight others were
last Friday charged to the High Court.
They were indicted
by the ACC on various counts
of corruption, including; the
misappropriation of donor funds, unlawful
acquisition of benefits, and breach of
procurement contract rules.
Anti-Corruption Czar - Mr. Joseph Kamara,
told reporters last Friday that his
investigations show that huge sums of money
donated by the international community for
the celebrations cannot be accounted for.
this year, very serious allegations were made by the
media, regarding the disappearance of over $1.5
Million donated to the government of Sierra Leone by
the international community, to assist with the
country’s celebrations of 50 years of independence.
allegations, president Koroma took the immediate
decision to terminate the contract of the chairman
of the independence celebrations committee – Dr.
Konteh with immediate effect, subject to
investigation by the country’s Anti-Corruption
Independence Celebrations Committee (Yeniva
Sesay-Sogbeh and Dr. Conteh - far right)
and other members of the independence
celebrations committee were charged to the
High Court, along with his personal
assistant - Mrs. Yeniva Sesay-Sogbeh.
It is not
certain whether former publicity adviser to
the Committee - Ms. Vickie Remoe, will give
testimony for the prosecution.
story published just weeks after the initial
media allegation of corruption was
published, proved to have been quite
instrumental in forcing the government to
act swiftly in launching the Anti-Corruption
It is understood that
if found guilty, Dr. Konteh may have to repay
hundreds of thousands of dollars with interest, or
face custodial sentence. Dr. William Conteh is
younger brother of Dr. Richard
Conteh, who is the minister of trade and industry
and a key member of the Koroma government.
Dr. Konteh and his
co-accused were granted bail and are expected to
appear at the High Court tomorrow Tuesday, 18
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Yenga’s future still uncertain after Guinea talks
17 October 2011
koroma (left) arriving in Guinea
President Koroma’s arrival in Conakry,
Guinea last Thursday gave optimism and hope
to the people of Sierra Leone for the return
of Yenga by the Guinean authorities after
ten years of unlawful occupation through the
use of force.
But after spending twenty-four hours with
the Guinean president and his officials,
president Koroma and his large entourage,
which comprised of Sierra Leone’s top
military officials – including defence
minister, Palo Conteh, returned to Freetown
last Friday empty handed.
It doesn’t appear
Yenga would be vacated anytime soon. But according
to State House statement, both governments "have
strengthened bilateral relations, with the signing
of a joint communiqué by their respective foreign
ministers on security, bilateral trade, the free
movement of citizens, goods and services".
Analysts say that this bilateral agreement will do
very little towards ensuring the handing over of
Yenga back to Sierra Leone, other than reflecting
the immense power Guinea has over its neighbour
During the talks between the two leaders, president
Conde is reported to have "acknowledged President
Koroma’s effort in maintaining peace and quietness
within the framework of the MRU, especially in
institutional reforms in peace, security and
defence, national reconciliation, improvement of the
standards of living of the people, the holding of
credible elections, free movement of people goods
and services as well as sub-regional stability".
Many in Sierra Leone would regard president Conde’s
reference to Koroma’s "quietness" as a sign of
weakness, which strengthens the resolve of the
Guinean authorities to maintain their presence in
State House says that "both presidents noted the
security significance of Yenga, thus reiterated
their firm commitment towards achieving the
sustainability of sub-regional stability, which they
said will enhance intelligence sharing, the control
of epidemics and diseases, address the problems of
food security and infrastructure within the MRU
But how much comfort does this give the people of
Yenga who have lived under foreign occupation for
over ten years, knowing that the government of
Sierra Leone continues to lose the diplomatic
Responding to questions from the Sierra
Leonean and Guinean media after signing the
the communiqué, president Conde said; "Yenga
poses no threat and there can’t be any
problem between Sierra Leone and Guinea
because of Yenga. I know that there are
certain people in Sierra Leone who want to
fight my brother - President Koroma because
State House in Freetown is optimistic.
"President Conde said he will work closely
with President Koroma to find a final
resolution to the Yenga issue, and indicated
willingness to sign any proposal put forward
by the Sierra Leonean delegation on Yenga."
Did president Koroma not
present the Guinean president with a firm
proposal for the evacuation of Yenga for
President Conde said; "For me, Guinea and Sierra
Leone are the same country, so Yenga will not be an
President Koroma said that both countries have
enjoyed excellent relationship. "We have an
opportunity to transform what we have now. What we
do expect is the restructuring of the MRU
secretariat, for the effective operation of the
union to engage on institutional reform in the
He underscored the significance of peace and
tranquillity in the sub-region as a key component in
harmonizing multi-and bilateral relations among
member states as a critical component. "We must
ensure that member states of the union do not
destabilize peace in the MRU countries, and it
should be our common interest to be our brothers’
keeper," said president Koroma.
Back top of page
soccer team goalkeeper Bill Hamid supports education
in Sierra Leone
Ambrose Thorpe - USA
14 October 2011
goalie - Bill Hamid
Sierra Leonean soccer enthusiasts and well
wishers are delighted at the decision of the
USA soccer team management to select Bill
Hamid as team goalkeeper.
Bill was born in the USA, but his parents
originated from Sierra Leone.
On the 22nd October 2011, Bill Hamid will be
taking part in a USA Major League Soccer
(MLS) match between D.C. United and Sporting
Kansas City (SKC) scheduled to be held at
the historic, forty five thousand seating
capacity Robert F Kennedy (RFK) Memorial
Stadium in Washington D.C.
Bill Hamid made his professional USA Major League
Soccer debut in 2010 at the age of 19 years. With a
win by his team D.C. United on his debut - May 5,
2010, he became the youngest goalkeeper in MLS’s
history to win a regular season game.
At the October 22nd event, Sierra Leonean soccer
fans will get an opportunity to meet Bill in person
after the game. A percentage of proceeds from ticket
sales for the match will go towards promoting
children’s education in Sierra Leone, a cause
supported by the soccer celebrity.
The benefit event is a culmination of months
of ongoing negotiations between Save Sierra
Leone Foundation’s executive member Coach
Sullay Hamid and the management of D.C.
Coach Hamid (a.k.a. Passadie), the proud
father of the soccer star and quite arguably
his number one fan, is the owner of Premier
Athletics Club a very successful Virginia
based soccer training establishment.
Comparable to his passion for soccer – Coach
Hamid played seven years of professional
soccer with the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) of
the English Premier League.
He is one of those rare breed of Sierra
Leoneans, adorned with an unparalleled and
almost religious like passion for helping
To say that Coach Hamid is extremely devoted towards
enhancing lives in Sierra Leone is an
understatement, because he is all about that and so
much more. The admirable fact that his son, Bill
Hamid has chosen to actively embrace a similar path
lends credence to the old African adage that "the
coconut does not fall far from the tree".
Although Bill Hamid is the first entrant amongst
soccer players of Sierra Leonean origins to go into
the USA national soccer team, USA Major League
soccer has embraced other Sierra Leonean soccer
talents in recent years.
Those attending the D.C. United and SKC
match will also have an opportunity to meet
the gifted Sierra Leonean striker Kei Ansu
Kamara who plays professionally for SKC and
leads SKC with nine goals and four assists
Kei will probably attempt to do what he does
best as the lead scorer at SKC; attempt to
score goals by striking power shots into
goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s net.
There is also the
talented Sierra Leonean midfielder Michael Lahoud
who started his professional MLS career in 2009 and
currently plays for California based, Chivas USA.
The D.C. United benefit event is the start of a
process utilizing Save Sierra Leone Foundation (SSLF)
as a platform to foster collaboration amongst
leading Sierra Leonean athletes in the USA to
collectively use their sports celebrity status to
create awareness for noteworthy causes benefiting
The SSLF project is also supported by the Embassy of
Sierra Leone - USA, journalist Dennis Kabatto and
singer and multimedia artist Giileh Scholz - founder
of the Sierra Leone Association of Musicians and
Efforts to reach the younger generation through the
popular social media outlets are being pioneered by
Yolanda Thompson - SSLF Vice President, and Emma
Fofanah - a current George Washington University MBA
To support the event, please visit
www.savesierraleonefoundation.org where you
will be able to access a D.C. United web link that
allows you to purchase tickets for the event at a
discounted price. Join us in witnessing the Bill
Hamid – Kei Kamara faceoff - and take the
opportunity to get to meet these gifted soccer
players in person.
Back top of page
President Koroma in Guinea today to demand the
return of Yenga?
State House says that President Koroma will
be visiting neighbouring Guinea today. The
reason for this unscheduled visit is
uncertain, but according to State House,
President Koroma will "hold talks with
President Alpha Konde, within the mandate of
the Mano River Union".
neighbouring countries are locked in a
border dispute involving the Sierra Leonean
village of Yenga, which has been unlawfully
occupied by the Guineans since the civil war
in Sierra Leone.
are claiming legitimacy. But there is little
doubt that the Guinean authorities have no
evidence to prove their legitimacy.
is reported that Guinean soldiers and government
officials have been mining gold in the disputed
village and therefore have no appetite to leave
But State House in
Freetown, has chosen to down play the importance of
the Yenga issue in today’s talks between Koroma and
Konde, and instead says that: "The visit is being
made to further initiate bilateral talks between
Heads of States of sister countries so as to
deliberate on vital sub-regional issues, ranging
from common boundaries, security and trade."
meeting will include inter-ministerial discussions
involving key ministers and top brass of the Koroma
government; the foreign affairs and international
cooperation minister - Joseph Bandabla Dauda;
minister of information and communication - Alhaji
Ibrahim Ben Kargbo; political and public affairs
minister - Alhaji Alpha Kanu; the minister of
defence - Rtd. Major Paolo Conteh; and the minister
of works, housing and infrastructure - Alimamy P.
What is also
significant about today's high-level meeting is that
President Koroma is being accompanied by the
country’s chief of defence staff - Brigadier General
Robert Yira Koroma and other members of the security
Analysts believe that
today’s meeting is more than negotiating the
delivery of 20,000 tons of rice sold to Sierra Leone
by the Guineans last month. They say that the agenda
of today’s meeting has got Yenga written all over
Koroma and Alpha Konde in Guinea
There are speculations that today's meeting
may also have been prompted by fears in both
countries, about the possibility of violence
returning to the streets of Monrovia,
following the announcement of the result of
Liberia's presidential election.
President Koroma and Konde will no doubt
today be discussing contingency plans to
help deal with any outbreak of political
violence in Liberia.
Political observers say that with previous
high profile meetings between successive
leaders of both countries ending in failure
to resolve the Yenga issue, it has been
important for both governments to down play
the significance of this issue at today’s
President Koroma may
once again have to return to Sierra Leone - empty
handed without Yenga, tomorrow: Friday the 14th
Back top of page
has ten years of 'New Partnership for Africa
Development (NEPAD)' achieved?
The New Partnership
for Africa Development (NEPAD) concluded its five
day celebration as part of its 10th year anniversary
commemoration in New York yesterday - Tuesday.
Adopted in Lusaka,
Zambia in 2001, NEPAD is an African Union program
spearheaded by African leaders to pursue new
priorities and approaches to the political and
socio-economic transformation of Africa.
is to enhance Africa's growth, development and
participation in the global economy.
The week long
commemoration kicked off Thursday, October 6, with
key events including; a special briefing of the
African Group by NEPAD on "advancing NEPAD
implementation over a decade of opportunities" at
the offices of the AU Permanent Observer Mission to
the UN, followed by a three hour closed reception
hosted by the AU Observer Mission to the UN in New
On Friday, October 7,
United Nations and African officials gathered at the
UN Headquarters and elsewhere in the city for a
series of high-level meetings and events, designed
to reflect on its achievements, foster debates and
generate suggestions for further improvements.
A High-Level panel
discussion on 'NEPAD and the MDGs: Progress,
challenges and the way forward', took place in the
Economic and Social Council Chamber (NLB), followed
by be a press conference in the Dag Hammarskjöld
Speaking at the
conference, were: Cheikh Sidi Diarra, Special
Advisor to the Secretary-General for Africa; Ibrahim
A. Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD;
Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria; and
Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of the United
Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
"All these are
opportunities for us to look back at the role of
NEPAD and the remarkable progress Africa has made
over the past ten years," said Mr. Diarra - UN
Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser for
Also in his
briefings, Mr. Diarra called on developed nations to
give Africa access to open international markets for
its exports, reduce or write-off their debts and to
complete the Doha talks on trade. He urged African
countries to increase domestic savings and lessen
their dependence on foreign aid.
Speaking at a special
briefing to the African Group as part of activities
in New York to commemorate NEPAD’s tenth
anniversary, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief
Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and
Coordinating Agency, explained that NEPAD had played
a crucial part in the steady progress that was being
made by the continent - both in terms of
democratization and development.
"The African leaders
set up the African Peer Review Mechanism to advance
good governance and democracy," he told African
The peer review
mechanism is Africa’s unique and innovative approach
to governance. Its reports serve as early warning
system of impending threats to peace and stability
So far, 30 African
countries have signed up for the review and 14 of
them have completed the process.
The mechanism has
been one of the NEPAD Agency’s most successful
programs in encouraging democratization among
members. For example, its reports anticipated the
violence that followed the 2007 elections in Kenya
and the 2008 xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The President of the
UN General Assembly, Nassir Abdul Aziz Al-Nasser, on
Friday praised the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD), for enhancing the continent’s
economic growth, development and participation in
the global economy.
Al-Nasser said that
NEPAD had also contributed "significantly towards
Africa's socio-economic progress achieved over the
past decade. Africa has been the home of six out of
the 10 fastest growing economies in the world," he
said at the UN General Assembly, which hosted a
high-level event to mark NEPAD's 10th anniversary on
the theme: 'NEPAD and Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs): Progress, Challenges and the Way Forward.'
NEPAD has also
been instrumental in the development of Sierra
Leone’s agriculture and Fisheries.
According to John
Baimba Sesay, Communication Specialist at the West
Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) NEPAD
"allocated U$1, 4 million to carry out target
activities: support to policy, legal and regulatory
framework and needs; development of an operational
framework; and establishment of the National CAADP
Sub-Committee of Fisheries, to ensure effective
management of both the industrial and artisanal
fisheries to promote economic benefits for Sierra
Leone," Mr. Sesay said.
positive reports of progress, NEPAD’s critics are
less than impressed with its achievements. During an
African Forum – 'Envisioning Africa Focus
Conference', 50 African scholars criticised NEPAD
for adopting social and economic measures that
contribute to the marginalization of women. They
said that NEPAD does not question the global
economic system, which, in civil society's view,
plays a major role in Africa's continued
The African scholars
also mentioned that NEPAD may be seen as a
continuation of the highly questionable Structural
Adjustment Programs, which now include the
privatization of public services, such as water,
electricity supply and health services.
Yetunde Odugbesan is a graduate of the
United Nations Worldview Institute and
currently a PhD Candidate (ABD) at Division
of Global Affairs - Rutgers University in
New Jersey. In a statement via email, she
said "as NEPAD celebrates its tenth
anniversary, there is both cause to
celebrate and to further re-assess NEPAD's
success rate in implementing their various
development programs in African countries."
Ms Odugbesan also contends that "although
NEPAD boasts of setting up various programs,
the issue of delivery has been a constant
problem. Many initiatives of development
have stayed in its initial stages due to
ineffective implementation, which creates a
poor perception of NEPAD's ability to
instability, high levels of corruption and poor
infrastructure are still plaguing African countries,
according to Transparency International, with many
of the African countries reported to have high
levels of corruption," she added
Back top of page
Sierra Leone gets fibre optics internet
The people of Sierra
Leone will soon be enjoying faster and cheaper
access to the world wide web, once work in relaying
fibre optics cable has been completed in 2012.
According to Reuters,
a major milestone in the World Bank funded project
to link up the country with the rest of the world -
via broadband, was celebrated in Freetown yesterday,
as the first fibre optics connection to the outside
world was achieved, with the arrival of the Africa
Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable in the capital
Sierra Leone, which
is still recovering from a devastating 11-year civil
war that ended in 2002, is part of a dwindling group
of countries still wholly reliant on highly
expensive satellite bandwidth for internet
Numerous studies have identified cheap and fast
Internet as a factor that can boost a country's
Wearing a white
baseball cap that bore the words "Fibre Landing",
Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma said the
event was proof that his country was making
"We are transforming
because, as we are speaking, the only available
communication outside Sierra Leone is through the
satellite, and it is expensive, the quality is
limited, and the capacity also has some
limitations," he told an event to mark the landing
of the cable by Lumley Beach in Aberdeen, Freetown.
director of administration of the state-owned Sierra
Leone Cable company that is landing the cable, told
Reuters that the fibre optics broadband platform
"would only become operational during the second
half of 2012 as other preparations need to be
When complete, the
17,000-km (11,000-mile) ACE cable will run from
France to South Africa, connecting 23 countries. The
cable was launched by France Telecom as part of a
consortium with telecom operators in participating
Sierra Leone, along
with neighbouring Liberia, missed out on previous
fibre optics cable laid down the West African coast,
such as SAT-3.
"At that time we had
a civil war, we didn't have the opportunity to
articulate the arrangement to have a landing station
here," said Senesie Kallon, deputy director general
of Sierra Leone's National Telecommunications
At present, Internet
access in Sierra Leone is currently slow or
expensive, and often both. According to the National
Telecommunications Commission, the country as a
whole has just 155 Megabits of bandwidth, less than
would serve a small American or European town.
Shadi Al-Gerjawi, CEO
of mobile phone company Africell in Sierra Leone,
said the cable would provide more than forty times
the current bandwidth in the country. "October 10,
2011 will always remain a memorable date for us," he
said. "Today is a major milestone in the life of the
telecommunications industry in Sierra Leone."
The World Bank
estimates that bandwidth in Sierra Leone costs 10
times the level in East Africa and 25 times the U.S.
price. Barely one percent of the 5.4 million people
in the country have access to Internet services.
The Bank is providing
$30 million to fund the connection of Sierra Leone
to the cable offshore, in return for which it said
Sierra Leone would end the current monopoly of the
state operator on its international gateway for
"There was an
opportunity to connect Sierra Leone to ACE in 2011
and if the country were to miss that it wasn't clear
there'd be further opportunities," said Vijay
Pillai, the bank's country manager in Freetown.
Telecommunication Union said in August that nine
African countries remain wholly dependent on
Leone, the Central African Republic, Chad, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea,
Liberia, São Tomé and Príncipe and the Seychelles
all lack fibre optics connections to the wider
communications will help to promote a more open
society and local economic development, especially;
industry & business growth; improved health care
delivery; education and learning, especially in hard
to reach rural communities.
But observers say that the growing demand for
electricity in the country needed to power-up homes,
businesses, hospitals, public institutions is yet to
Current electricity generating capacity in the
country is a mere 30 mega watts at the best of
times, compared to the estimated requirement of 400
mega watts. This, analysts say will pose immense
constraint on the full utilisation of the new fibre
optics broadband internet communication platform.
According to estimates, only 5 in every 1000 people
in Sierra Leone have access to a computer.
Back top of page
Ambassador to Sierra Leone calls for the repeal of
death penalty Laws
As we celebrate the
eighth 'World Day against the Death Penalty',
the lives of prisoners incarcerated around the world
are being taken away by the state. Others are
painfully awaiting their fate, with their lives
hanging on the balance. Elected officials and the
judiciary will decide whether they should live or
While those on death
row wait to hear about their fate, they die very
slowly as every bit of what makes them human is
stripped away: faith and hope. Yes, those arguing
for the death penalty will argue that, if they are
guilty as convicted, then they must die.
But what gives us
the divine authority to take anyone's life in
In Sierra Leone the
death penalty has been used by successive
governments to settle scores against those that
threatens the establishment or merely pose a
challenge to their way of life and thinking. Common
criminals have been executed for armed robbery and
murder, based purely on circumstantial evidence.
There have been many
instances of miscarriage of justice, which the state
cannot put right. To millions of people across the
world, including the Sierra Leone Telegraph, state
executions is wrong and must be brought to an end.
Adding his voice to this call today is the British
High Commissioner to Sierra Leone – Ian Hughes.
Writing on the
Foreign Office blog, this is what he has to say:
Benjamin Franklin said that only death and
taxation were certain. He may have been
right, but his two certainties could hardly
be more different.
Death is part of the immutable framework of
life. It existed before humanity came to be.
It will exist long after we are gone. We
each have but one life which once taken away
cannot be returned.
Taxation is a human law. It changes with
human experience, with society’s
preferences. It can go up or down; it can be
applied rigorously or forgiven; overpayments
can be refunded.
is the root of my problem with capital punishment.
We yearn for justice, strive for it, and demand
respect for it. Yet our expectations of it change
from generation to generation, from year to year,
from experience to experience. In its essence,
justice is an aspiration.
While trying to work
out how to achieve it, we settle for the rule of
law, which hard experience shows is our best defence
– often our only defence –against another law: that
of the jungle.
The rule of law tells you that if you do certain
things you will be punished: steal from your
neighbour, punished like this; bribe a judge,
punished like that; kill someone, punished like the
Does the law dispense
justice? Sometimes. Is it effective? Sometimes. Is
it wrong? Sometimes. And if the law can make
mistakes, its decisions must be reversible.
Execution – legal killing to enforce the law – has
been with us for as long as there have been laws. It
used to be applied widely. Nowadays it is mostly
reserved for murder. If you take a life, the law can
say, you forfeit your own.
Is execution consistent with the rule of law? Yes.
Is it also justice? Sometimes. Is it right? No. Why
not? Because the rule of law is unjust if it is
incorrectly applied: mistakes must be correctable.
And miscarriages of justice in capital cases cannot
be repaired. It is therefore a longstanding point of
principle for UK governments to oppose capital
punishment in all circumstances.
While there have been no executions in Sierra Leone
since 1998, execution is mandatory for murder
convictions. A number of Salone men and women
languish on Death Row in Pademba Road.
Many Sierra Leoneans I talk to believe that the
threat of execution is essential to keep the peace.
I respect that view, but disagree with it and hope
to change it as part of a debate between us on what
democracy means, how it works, and what it aspires
My team and I have been working with our EU
colleagues to engage with government, Parliament and
Civil Society. We hope the moratorium will evolve
into full-fledged abolition soon. In the meantime we
encourage and support those like AdvocAid who
facilitate effective measures to examine the facts,
procedures and circumstances relating to capital
cases considered by the Judiciary.
I point to the discharge by the Court of Appeal in
March of “MK”, the longest serving woman on Pademba
Road’s death row. The Honourable Justices’ decision
demonstrates my point about the need to be able to
reverse decisions that may be mistaken.
Today is the eighth World Day against the Death
Penalty. Around the world British Ambassadors and
High Commissioners are marking this occasion with
discussions with governments, civil societies and
Parliaments. In London our Human Rights Minister,
Jeremy Browne, has made a statement setting out the
case for permanent abolition of this measure.
I am pleased that the government of Sierra Leone,
too, is active. In April President Koroma commuted
all death sentences to life imprisonment, and three
death-row prisoners have been pardoned. Abolition is
on the legislative agenda but it needs to move from
theory to practice. It has been discussed during the
Constitutional Review Process, and will continue to
be a topic there after the 2012 election.
I welcome this debate and encourage further action
to bring Sierra Leone justice into the twenty first
The Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation
Commission’s Report said: "Respect for human dignity
and human rights must begin with respect for human
life. Everyone has the right to life. A society that
accords the highest respect for human life is
unlikely to turn on itself….The abolition of the
death penalty will mark and important and symbolic
departure from the past to the future".
burning of the house of an offender is not
permissible punishment for arson. The rape of the
offender is not permissible punishment for a rapist.
Why should murder be a permissible punishment for
murder?" - Justice Ismail Mohamed (South Africa).
Back top of page
Sierra Leone’s opposition parties unite in
condemnation of government’s attitude towards
7 October 2011
Chairman - John Benjamin
Yesterday marked an historical turnaround in
Sierra Leone’s political history, as leaders
of the country’s main opposition parties;
SLPP (Sierra Leone people’s party), PMDC
(peoples movement for democratic change),
and NDA (national democratic alliance), met
at the head office of the opposition SLPP to
discuss and present a united front against
what they see as the continuing attack on
the country’s democratic ideals by the
The nation is preparing for presidential and
general elections in 2012, but with
heightened political tension and continuing
distrust between the opposition and the
government, there is growing fear of the
eruption of widespread unrest and violence.
Yesterday’s discussions in Freetown
centred on the recent political violence in
Bo and Kono, police ban on all political
activities, and the refusal of the
government to publish and fully implement
the reports of the commissions of inquiry
into the spate of political disturbances,
including the attack on the SLPP offices
which took place in Freetown in 2009.
described this summit as the first public meeting of
its kind between the main opposition parties,
showing greater maturity and collective resolve,
uniting in condemnation of the government’s use of
'selective justice' and impunity.
Present at the meeting were; Mr John Oponjo Benjamin
– chairman and leader of the SLPP; Mr Charles Margai
– leader of the PMDC; and Mr Alex Matthew Kaikai
-Information secretary of the NDA.
At the conclusion of the summit meeting, a joint
statement was issued. This is what it says:
The Public is aware of the mounting incidence of
violence since the ruling All Peoples Congress
assumed power in 2007. The violence started with the
attack on the Sierra Leone People’s Party offices
around the country. It continued with intimidation
and thuggery at various bye-elections around the
It has now culminated in the violent attack on the
SLPP Flagbearer, the death of a bike rider, gunshot
injuries to over 20 people and the subsequent
burning of three premises including the offices of
the APC in Bo.
Following the violent incident in Bo, the
Inspector General of Police on Wednesday 21st
September 2011, assumed unconstitutional powers to
impose a blanket and indefinite ban on all political
processions, rallies and public meetings.
Leader - Charles Margai
Despite several assurances that the ban was
limited to a month which will be reflected
in a subsequent Press Statement that is
still pending; the Inspector General
extended the ban to processions organized by
Members of Parliament for the State Opening
The Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 makes
provision in Chapter IX for the appointment
of Commissions of Inquiry. It empowers the
President to appoint such a Commission on
any matter of public interest.
Where a Commission is
appointed to inquire into a matter, it is enjoined
by the Constitution to make a report in writing to
the President who shall then cause it to be
published together with a Government White Paper
thereon within six months of the date of submission
of the report.
Under these provisions, many Commissions of Inquiry
have been appointed, including the Commission
appointed by the President on 10th December 2009,
chaired by E.E.C. Shears-Moses Esq.
This Commission was charged with the mandate to
investigate the incidents of political violence and
intolerance that occurred in Gendema Town in the
Pujehun District, Freetown and Kenema in March 2009.
The decision to appoint the Shears-Moses Commission
emanated from the Joint Communiqué dated 2 April
2009, signed between the All Peoples Congress (APC)
and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
Recognising that both democracy and the fundamental
human rights and freedoms enshrined in our National
Constitution were under attack by way of rising
tension and the escalating incidence of political
violence and intolerance, the Shears-Moses
Commission was mandated not only to determine the
circumstances and facts relating to those incidents
but also to determine the respective roles and
responsibilities of political parties and law
enforcement agencies, as well as make
recommendations for preventing the recurrence of
such incidents in the future and for eradicating the
incidence of political violence from our body
To further underscore these points, the PMDC made
written submissions to the Commission even though it
was not a party to the Joint Communiqué. The Shears
Moses Commission submitted its Report to the
President about a year ago.
Contrary to the constitutional prescription that
a Commission’s Report should be published within six
months of receipt, this stipulation has simply not
been adhered to. Despite persistent demands for
publication, the Government has either deliberately
ignored the Report or has just let it gather dust on
We consider such misfeasance utterly repugnant and
unacceptable in a civilised society, for it creates
the impression that ill-motivated elements so
inclined can perpetrate acts of political violence
and intolerance anywhere anytime with absolute
Equally so, it is difficult for our Parties and the
public in general to understand why a Government
that lays claim to being responsible and a respecter
of the rule of law and human rights would allow this
to happen in the full knowledge that the appointment
of the Commission was necessitated by the need to
ascertain the root causes of intolerance and
political violence in the country and the urgency of
taking adequate measures to prevent its recurrence
In contrast to this uncaring attitude of the
Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma towards
the Shears -Moses Commission Report, we observe the
extraordinarily hasty response of his Government to
the Investigation Panel’s Reports on the
disturbances in Kono and Bo.
Incidents of political violence within the APC in
Kono and between the APC and SLPP in Bo occurred on
the 3rd and 9th September 2011, respectively.
Presidential candidate - Mohammed Bah
Whilst for the Kono incident President
Koroma directed the Police to investigate,
for the Bo incident he constituted on the
very day a broad-based Investigation Panel
headed by Mr. Kelvin Lewis of the Sierra
Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) to
look into the stoning of the SLPP
Presidential Flag Bearer, Rtd. Brig. Julius
Maada Bio, the burning down of houses and
the shooting and injuries sustained by
This Panel submitted its Report three weeks
later, on 30th September 2011.
On 5th October 2011, less than one week
after its receipt, the Government described
the Report of the Panel as “good”, accepted
its findings and recommendations, assured
the general public that they would be fully
implemented and declared that “over 40
persons” would soon be charged to court.
The promptitude with
which President Koroma’s Government acted on the
Kelvin Lewis Panel Report clearly demonstrates a
capacity to act speedily if his Government is so
minded. It also portrays a double standard of
behaviour: one standard for the Shears-Moses Report
and another for the Kelvin Lewis Panel Report.
In these circumstances, therefore, and bearing in
mind the vital importance of preserving fully our
country’s hard won peace and democracy, we demand
from the APC Government of President Ernest Bai
Koroma full and immediate implementation of the
findings and recommendations of the Shears-Moses
We also demand the immediate lifting of the ban
by the Police on political processions, rallies and
public meetings. Unless and until these are done,
the Political Parties (SLPP, PMDC and NDA), reserve
the right to withdraw their co-operation and
participation from the Government.
To begin with, the Parties’ National Executives
hereby direct that all Members of Parliament
belonging to their Parties shall forthwith withhold
their participation from Parliament until further
notice and that all their members and supporters
shall refrain from participating in any
consultations and deliberations relating to the
proposed Sierra Leone Conference 2011.
In addition, there are several recommendations in
the Joint Communiqué of 2nd April 2009 - still
awaiting implementation. Again, we call upon the
Government to implement these outstanding
recommendations without further delay.
In this connection, we are of the view that the
United Nations and the other moral guarantors of our
country’s peace have a continuing role to play.
We are also concerned about the effect that the
arrest of over 40 party stalwarts might cause in a
large city like Bo. Meanwhile the Parties are
calling on all their members and supporters to
remain calm and to be law abiding.
Done in Freetown this 6th day of October 2011
Oponjo Benjamin - Chairman/Leader
Margai - Leader PMDC
Matthew Kaikai - Information Secretary- NDA
Back top of page
Government takes swift action on the Kono and Bo
5 October 2011
The government of Sierra Leone has acted
swiftly to ensure that the findings and
recommendations of the police and civil
reports into the violence, which took place
last month in Kono and Bo are implemented,
following strong criticisms and accusations
of political cover up.
In a statement issued by State House today,
the government says that in the case of the
disturbances in Kono, which saw the police
opening fire at riotous youths; "the
evidence adduced, indicates that the attack
was not spontaneous, but had been
pre-planned by 12 unscrupulous persons bent
on disrupting law and order."
government’s statement on the Kono Report, which was
handed to the government last week, does not name
those 12 accused of perpetrating the violence, it is
understood that supporters of both the interior
minister and the vice-president were involved in the
skirmishes, which prompted the police to open fire
using live ammunition.
The statement confirms that; "his Excellency the
president directed the police to conduct a thorough
investigation of the incident in which the entourage
of the minister of internal affairs was attacked,
leading to skirmishes and the discharge of gun shots
by the minister’s security guards."
"The report has been considered by the office of the
attorney-general and minister of justice, and the
prosecution of these suspects for several offences
will commence shortly," says State House.
But it is the report into the Bo violence that has
provoked much interest and curiosity, as it involves
the presidential candidate of the opposition SLPP,
who himself suffered head injuries during the
The government’s statement issued this afternoon,
says that; "Concerning the disturbances in Bo, his
Excellency constituted a broad-based independent
investigation panel to look into the stoning of the
slpp presidential flagbearer, the burning down of
buildings, and the shooting and injuries sustained
by several persons."
"In the case of the incident in Bo, the independent
investigation panel chaired by Mr Kelvin Lewis of
the Sierra Leone association of journalists
presented its report to his Excellency the president
on 30th September 2011."
As in the case of the Kono report, the general
public would take very little comfort from the fact
that the government has refused to name the culprits
involved in the Bo violence.
However, it says
that; "Government accepts the findings and
recommendations of the panel and assures the general
public that they will be fully implemented. Over 40
persons will soon be charged to court to the intent
that the full force of the law will be brought to
The decision of the government to swiftly act upon
the reports and to publish its initial comments on
the findings, will no doubt be applauded by many
Sierra Leoneans, especially supporters of the
But the decision not to fully publish the reports
will continue to fuel suspicion of a political cover
up, aimed at protecting those bearing the greatest
responsibility for the violence in both Kono and Bo.
Both main political parties – the ruling APC and the
opposition SLPP, continue to pour blame on each
other for the Bo violence, while the suspected
violent power struggle between the minister of the
interior and the vice-president, is said to be the
root cause of the shootings in Kono.
The government’s statement attempts to calm the
nerves of a wary and war beaten population, as well
as quell political disquiet, but is not short on
"It is regrettable that in spite of strenuous
efforts on the part of government to ensure that
peace, security and stability prevail within a truly
democratic environment; some ill-motivated persons
continue to stoke up the flames of chaos and anarchy
thereby exposing peaceful citizens to harm and
danger," says the statement.
Reiterating its 'anti-violence policy', State House
said that; "Once again, government strongly condemns
violence in all its forms, and reaffirms its
commitment to take every necessary step to guarantee
that our hard won peace is maintained. Government
also assures the entire nation that the lives and
properties of all citizens will be protected."
Since the Bo violence, which resulted in scores
injured, one fatality, and the destruction of
properties, both main parties have pulled back from
the brink of further violence, with the police
acting resolutely by placing a temporary ban on all
publicly organised political events.
"Government strongly appeals to all political
parties to provide responsible leadership that is
consistent with modern democratic best practice,
failing which it will have no alternative but to use
the provisions of Sierra Leone and international law
to ensure that the rule of law reigns supreme," says
Last Sunday, president Koroma called upon the
attorney-general to present to the cabinet ministers
for immediate action, the 2009 report into political
violence, which took place in the country's capital
There are calls for that report, and the Kono and Bo
reports to be published by the government, without
any further delay.
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Koroma losing control of law and order?
4 October 2011
Speaking at a thanksgiving service
held at the Wesleyan Church in his home town of
Makeni last Sunday, in celebration of the end of his
first term in office and his 58th birthday, the
president said that he will be asking the
International Criminal Court at the Hague, to
'continuously monitor the conduct of political
leaders and their supporters, as the country
approaches the 2012 elections'.
He said that this request is
necessary in order to bring an end to the culture of
impunity in Sierra Leone. But opposition politicians
and critics say that this reaction by the president,
shows that he is either losing grip of the
increasing breakdown of law and order, or trying to
deflect attention from the recent investigation
reports into political violence in Kono and Bo.
The contents of the reports
are unknown and president Koroma has not yet
published the findings and recommendations.
But he told reporters in Makeni
that 'there will be no hiding place for perpetrators
of political violence in the country, and that the
law will not stop at any point in prosecuting
anybody found culpable of violence related offences,
adding that democracy goes along by the will of the
people … not by the use of force'.
Critics believe that, rather than
making request to the ICC to assist in monitoring
law and order in the country, the president should
free up the police and criminal justice system of
They say that an independent
police force and judiciary, should be more than
capable of administering law and order and bring
violators to justice.
According to State House,
President Koroma was resolute when he told reporters
in Makeni that; 'political and any other forms of
violence will soon be history and that no country
will develop without peace and tranquillity'.
The President said that his
government has performed very well during its first
term in office, with evidence everywhere in Sierra
Leone of improved governance structures. He said
that his government has no political prisoner and no
journalist has been jailed since he assumed office.
The Paramount Chief - Massa Yeli
Tham told the President to 'continue with his good
work in all fronts of governance, but must create
more employment opportunities for the youths'.
He praised the government for its
efforts in providing free health care for pregnant
women, lactating mothers and children under five;
energy; infrastructural development in various towns
and cities; agriculture and food sufficiency; and
for fostering inter-political party tolerance and
peace in the country.
But in a rather surprised response
to critics, whom have called for the immediate
publication of the Shears-Moses Report into
political violence, which took place in Freetown in
2009, President Koroma called upon the Attorney
General to submit the Report to ministerial cabinet
Observers say that the president's
seeming urgency to act on the recommendations of the
Shears-Moses Report after two of dithering, obscures
the immediate need to publish the Kono and Bo
violence reports handed to the president last week.
"It now looks as though those two
reports - the Kono and Bo violence reports, will now
take a back seat while the president decides what to
do about the findings and recommendations of the
Shears report. The government lacks commitment and
conviction when its comes to tackling politically
motivated violence, as we the SLPP are always at the
receiving end of such violence," says a senior
executive of the opposition SLPP.
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Government unveils road construction policy
After four years in power the government has
now decided to unveil its 'Roads
Construction Policy', prompting questions as
to why it has taken so long for the
government to translate rhetoric to policy.
And yet it is still many light years away
before the policy itself is fully
It is understood that the government has
spent over $800 Million on road
construction, and the rehabilitation of
feeder roads destroyed by ten tears of civil
The need for the
construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads in
Sierra Leone, especially in the rural areas is dire.
Farmers are unable to transport their produce to
markets; local people struggle to gain access to
social and health care services; while school
children walk many miles across make-shift tracks to
get to school.
But hopes were raised
yesterday - 3rd October 2011, when the Ministry of
Works, Housing and Infrastructure announced it will
reveal the government’s roadmap for feeder roads
construction at the Wusum Hotel in Makeni.
According to State
House report, the new feeder roads policy will
clearly identify those ministries, departments and
agencies that will have primary responsibility for
its implementation to avoid confusion, duplication
and dereliction of duty.
"Feeder roads are very much important to
farming communities in rural areas; in that
they provide access to transportation for
farmers, to enable them move their produce
from farm sites to marketing centres. There
will also be a clear roadmap indicating the
tasks of every stakeholder in the
construction and rehabilitation of feeder
roads," says the Works Minister.
Minister Alimamy Koroma, said that the
policy statement will outline delegated
powers conferred on the ministry of finance
and economic development; ministry of works,
housing and infrastructure; local councils;
and the Sierra Leone Roads Authority, with
respect to the co-ordination and management
of the construction of feeder roads, and the
rehabilitation and maintenance of existing
Speaking to the
Communications Unit of the President’s Office, the
minister said there are too many actors and
stakeholders involved in the construction,
maintenance and rehabilitation of feeder roads in
the country, hence the need for government to
formulate a co-ordinated policy.
Policy analysts say
that this new co-ordinated approach should ensure
that standards of quality, agreed budgets and
completion time would be achieved.
"Works on feeder
roads have not been properly done and the standards
vary from one point to the other, with very little
coordination of rehabilitation and maintenance,"
says minister Koroma.
He confirmed that his
ministry will have full responsibility for the
co-ordination of all road construction works, funded
by the ministry of finance and economic development.
He said that local councils will be responsible for
the maintenance and rehabilitation of feeder roads,
supervised and monitored by the Sierra Leone Roads
But with the
excruciating suffering now being encountered by
local residents, businesses and users of Wilkinson
Road in Freetown, this new policy will make no
difference in bringing much needed respite, as the
construction work carried out by the Chinese company
has not only over-run its time and budget, but has
made the life of people in the area an absolute
The Wilkinson Road
construction project has been poorly managed since
its inception. The awarding of the contract and
co-ordination of the project schedule are totally at
odds with standards of best practice.
Observers say that
there was no risk analysis conducted. Compensation
has not been made by the government to businesses
for loss of trade, and to residents for damage to
Electricity and water
supplies have been cut off for several months,
leaving local communities in desperate quandary.
Back top of page
President Koroma receives political violence reports
days yesterday, the peace and tranquillity of the
people of Bo were seriously disturbed, when
supporters of political parties went on the rampage,
causing tremendous destruction to property and
perpetrated ugly violence, which left scores wounded
and one person shot by the police.
The violence in Kono
started when the vehicle carrying the opposition
SLPP presidential candidate for the 2012 elections –
Julius Maada Bio entered the city of Bo, escorted by
a convoy of party executives and loyal supporters
It was reported that
the convoy was attacked as it went passed the
offices of the ruling party – APC. The SLPP leader
sustained head injuries.
In August, there were
violent scenes in the Kono district of the eastern
province of Sierra Leone, when forces loyal to the
minister of the interior opened gun fire on local
youths - said to be supporting the country’s Vice
president. There were no reports of fatalities, but
political tension has risen in Kono and there are
fears of a return to full-scale running battles.
violence which took place in both Kono and Bo,
president Koroma immediately launched investigations
alongside police inquiry, into the causes and make
Koroma receiving the Bo report
committee and police investigators have
completed their investigations and have
yesterday handed their reports to the
president, who is then expected to request
criminal action to be taken by the director
of public prosecutions.
reports at State House in Freetown
yesterday, president Koroma said that;
"People of this country should be free to
come out and vote for their choice of
candidate in the coming elections, so that
the results will reflect the will of the
importance of ensuring 'credibility and confidence'
in those reports, the president said that the
independence of the investigations was necessary;
hence his appointment of respectable citizens and
representatives of civil society groups to form the
"The committee is not
a commission of enquiry and I have not looked at the
report. But the composition of investigators in the
committee is credible, and the understanding is that
there should be political tolerance," he said.
The president said
that the democratic credentials of Sierra Leone must
be maintained, and that 'political leadership in a
democratic dispensation is not about owning private
armies - considering the situation the country is
"Nobody is above the
law; be you a supporter, councillor, an MP or a
political leader. Whosoever is responsible for the
eruption of violence in those districts will face
the full force of the law," president Koroma
But confidence in the
president is waning. Many in Sierra Leone say that
they have heard that promise from the president on
far too many occasions, and yet no action has been
taken – those found guilty are scotched free with
Since the completion
of the Shears-Moses investigations into the causes
of the politically motivated violence against the
opposition SLPP in Freetown in 2009, no decision has
been taken by the president to publish the report or
implement its recommendations, which observers say
could have far reaching implications for the
maintenance of law and order in the country.
But in a strenuous
bid to restore confidence, credibility and trust,
president Koroma said yesterday that the outcome of
the investigations into the violence in Kono and Bo,
will serve as a stern warning to leaders of
political parties and their supporters.
"We must provide
responsible leaderships for our political parties.
And any political leader who provides a leadership
that sends a signal of violence will pay the cost -
locally and internationally," says the president.
"There will be no
hiding place to whoever is found wanting for causing
unrest in the country."
These are serious
threats, but will the president back up his tough
promise this time with tough action? That remains to
statement from State House, president Koroma has
instructed the Police to follow up evidence
contained in the reports, wherever they may lead:
"Be you APC, SLPP or PMDC, the law will take its
course," says president Koroma.
chief Munu delivering Kono report
Koroma said that the Police should build
institutional capacity of the force, in
order to make it more effective in
investigating similar outbreaks of violence,
rather than relying on the civil
society for this work to be
say that it is ironic that the yet to be
published Shears-Moses report of 2009, had
called for the immediate restructuring
of the police force, to reflect the demands
of today's policing and the need for
also revealed that the Inspector General of
Police - Francis Munu had received
intelligence, before the eruption of
violence "that certain group of political
parties’ followers had decided to set ablaze
offices of all political parties in the
Why did the Inspector
General of Police fail in taking appropriate action
to avert the violence, given his admission to the
president of prior knowledge of attacks on lives and
Many Sierra Leoneans
now believe that this lack of judgement and
indecisiveness have without any doubt, made the
the police chief untenable.
But will the president take appropriate and decisive
Back top of page
President Koroma’s lunch with US president Obama –
whats the scoop?
In global politics it
is not unusual for world leaders to take the
opportunity during conviviality to share and
exchange pleasantries with fellow leaders. And it is
also true that on such occasions, especially at UN
events, leaders of powerful nations do discuss
strategic interests and would seek support for
issues of national concern.
President Koroma was
certainly the 'man of the moment' in New York last
week, when he sat next to US president Obama and UN
Secretary General during lunch. But this was no
There have been
speculations as to what could have been on the
agenda of Obama’s lunch discussions with Koroma. But
what is interesting is that pro-Koroma media and
supporters were in awe and celebratory mood, as
stories about the lunch broke in New York.
Did president Obama
discuss the decision of Sierra Leone’s opposition
SLPP to elect former military chief – Julius Maada
Bio as their presidential candidate for the 2012
Did president Obama
advise Koroma of US solidarity and support for
Koroma’s second term bid for the presidency?
Whatever the official
answers are to those questions, pro-Koroma media
have already made up their minds about the contents
of the lunch discussions.
the ongoing 66th Session of the United
Nations General Assembly are demonstrating
clearly that President Ernest Bai Koroma has
won universal acclaim for his impeccable
leadership, respect for multi-party
democracy, fundamental human rights and the
rule of law, not to mention his immaculate
socio-economic and political development in
Sierra Leone," says Cokorioko News - a paper
published by Sierra Leone's government
minister at the UN.
Events at the
66th Session of the UN General Assembly?
Well, according to
Cokorioko; "Since his (president Koroma's) arrival
in New York, world leaders have been requesting
President Koroma to be alongside them while
presiding over functions. He is the model they are
using to demonstrate their ideals."
Really? But one has
to wonder what the UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon and
president Obama thought of the gun shoot-out between
warring factions of Koroma’s government, recently in
Kono and the violence in Bo, which left one person
Corruption in high
places continues to destroy any chance of meaningful
economic growth in Sierra Leone, and the discovery
of oil has heightened worries as to how best to
manage the country’s new found wealth. Unemployment,
especially youth unemployment, stands at over 70%.
The economy has been in serious recession since
2008, with inflation now at 19%.
So why are world
leaders – including president Obama, queuing up at
the UN to study the ‘Koroma formula’ for good
governance and economic success?
What is also
intriguing about the story, is the alleged decision
of the US president to sit next to president Koroma
during lunch, so as to show his opposition to Bio's
bid for the presidency. Cokorioko is resolute:
President made the request at a time when he has
told the UN General Assembly that he will not allow
any leader who has abused human rights to enter the
U.S.," says Cokorioko News.
But why would
president Obama want to compromise his diplomacy and
foreign policy in such a manner?
According to AFP
News; "Obama was seated between Ban and Sierra Leone
President Ernest Bai Koroma, whose 2007 election was
seen as a test of the West African country’s
emergence from the chaos of a decade-long war. He
too faces a contested election next year."
"Obama had a chance
to chat with Koroma and other leaders at the head
table as they savoured a lunch of roast lamb with
goat cheese and peppers, followed by a crème Brule
dessert with red fruits, and washed down with wines
— a French white and a California red," says AFP.
The truth about
the Obama – Koroma lunch discussions is simple and
void of any conspiracy theory. The US
president must have decided to take the opportunity
to discuss recent eruption of violence in Sierra
Leone, and the heightening of political tension
between the two main parties.
President Obama would have certainly tried to calm
the nerves of Koroma, and possibly offer a friendly
advice to keep focus on maintaining law and order,
along with an assurance of US support in helping the
country prepare for the 2012 elections.
Perhaps more importantly also, would have been the
need for Obama to sound Koroma on key African
political developments such as Libya, Ivory Coast,
Guinea, and Liberia, as well as lobby support
against the Palestinian proposal for an Independent
Former British Prime Minister - Tony Blair, who is
adviser to president Koroma, was also spotted in New
York at an evening dinner event acting as president
Koroma’s political chaperone. Was Blair lobbying
Koroma’s vote in support of the Palestinian proposed
two state solution to the middle-east crisis?
Whilst president koroma would no doubt have
savoured his lunch and dinner with Obama and Blair
in New York last week, what he would have also
learned is that in global politics, there is no such
thing as a free lunch and Maada Bio could not have
been on the menu.
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Alliance delivers on its promise to tackle diarrhoea
27 September 2011
The global health partnership - GAVI
Alliance, set up to save children’s lives
and protecting people’s health by increasing
access to immunisation in poor countries,
has announced today that it will be stepping
up its work in developing countries.
GAVI is supporting child immunisation
efforts in Sierra Leone and has made a huge
difference to the lives of many.
The organisation says
that it will now provide additional funding to 34
developing countries to deliver more vaccines:
16 to introduce rotavirus
vaccines, and 18 to introduce pneumococcal vaccines.
This announcement will mark a major step towards
protecting children against severe diarrhoea and
pneumonia, the two leading child killers in poor
According to GAVI,
the roll out of rotavirus vaccines across the
African continent has already begun in Sudan, and
today’s announcement confirms funding for 12 more
African countries to follow suit.
"Thanks to our donors and partners, the GAVI
Alliance is now delivering on its promise to protect
more children across the developing world against
rotavirus, pneumococcal disease and other
life-threatening yet preventable diseases," said
GAVI CEO Seth Berkley (M.D).
"The death toll of rotavirus and pneumococcal
infections in Africa is particularly devastating,
and this is where these vaccines will make the most
significant impact, not only in lives saved, but
also in terms of healthy lives lived," he added.
"Immunisation enables good health and healthy people
are more productive and ultimately fuel economic
An ever-increasing number of countries have applied
for vaccine funding and yesterday – Monday, GAVI’s
Executive Committee approved applications from 37
countries: 16 for rotavirus vaccines, 18 for
pneumococcal vaccines, five for pentavalent vaccine,
and 12 for other types of vaccines.
Twenty-four of the thirty-seven applications are
from African countries.
Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea
in children under five years of age, killing more
than half a million children each year worldwide and
causing illness in several million more.
Nearly 50% of all rotavirus deaths occur in Africa,
where access to treatment for severe rotavirus
diarrhoea is limited or unavailable.
Pneumococcal disease causes pneumonia, meningitis
and sepsis and also takes the lives of more than
half a million children each year worldwide, the
vast majority of them in Africa and Asia.
The funding of 18 more countries, of which 12 are in
Africa, will see the introduction of pneumococcal
vaccines, which will take the total to 37 since the
roll out of pneumococcal vaccines in GAVI-supported
countries began in December 2010 in Nicaragua.
By 2015, GAVI and its partners plan to support more
than 40 of the world’s poorest countries to rollout
rotavirus vaccines and immunise more than 50 million
children. In addition to Sudan, Nicaragua, Bolivia,
Guyana, and Honduras have already introduced
rotavirus vaccines with GAVI’s support.
"The high number of approved applications for
funding for new vaccines in this latest round is yet
another milestone in the fight to prevent child
deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Dr
Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.
She also said that ;"as demand for new vaccines
increases further, WHO will continue providing
critical support to countries for decision-making on
new vaccines, surveillance, and immunization
programme planning, training, and evaluation."
"These new vaccines will prevent millions of
children from dying of pneumonia and diarrhoea, the
biggest killers of children under five," said UNICEF
Executive Director - Anthony Lake.
"In rolling out these vaccines, we need to focus
especially on reaching the children at greatest
risk, for it is among the most vulnerable that these
vaccines can make the biggest difference, especially
if they are combined with better nutrition,
sanitation and other critical interventions," says
"Vaccines prevent disease and give children a
healthy start to life – they represent one of the
best investments in global health," said Dr. Rajeev
Venkayya, Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Rajeev Venkayya also said that; "we must work
together to ensure that all children have access to
the right set of vaccines, in rich and poor
Rotavirus vaccines have proven to be highly
effective at reducing severe and fatal diarrhoea and
have saved thousands of children’s lives. Recent
studies show the swift and significant impact of
rotavirus vaccines to reduce child deaths and
improve children’s health.
For example, prior to
the introduction of the vaccines in Mexico in 2006,
50% of deaths due to childhood diarrhoea were caused
by rotavirus. The country has since seen a
remarkable 46% reduction in the number of children
under age five dying from diarrhoea.
GAVI and its partners also plan to support more than
40 countries to introduce pneumococcal vaccines and
immunise more than 90 million children against
pneumococcal disease by 2015.
The GAVI Alliance brings together developing country
and donor governments, the World Health
Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine
industry in both industrialised and developing
countries, research and technical agencies, civil
society organizations, the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Since it was launched at the World Economic Forum in
2000, GAVI has prevented more than five million
future deaths and helped protect 288 million
children with new and underused vaccines.
Back top of page
Opposition SLPP takes political initiative and moral
It is now three weeks
since the eruption of serious violence in Sierra
Leone’s Southern district of Bo, leaving one person
dead – apparently shot by the police, several
properties torched, and scores wounded.
The inquiry set up by
president Koroma to investigate the causes of the
violence is yet to complete its task, which many say
has already been polarised by briefings and
counter-briefing by government ministers and the
Amid the tension and
accusations levied at the police for their role in
the Bo violence, president Koroma has had top level
meetings with senior officers of the security
forces, including the army to make contingency
plans, should there be an outbreak of similar levels
of violence elsewhere in the country.
Sections of the
population have accused the police of 'acting
indifferently' during the disturbances, whilst
others say that some police officers actively
participated in perpetuating the violence. But with
the Inquiry still at its infancy, it is impossible
to obtain an independent view of what actually took
place on Friday, 9th September 2011.
Taking the political initiative and moral
high ground last Thursday, the opposition
Sierra Leone People’s Party – SLPP issued a
statement calling for all political parties
to work together towards formulating a
joint-communiqué, which denounces all forms
of political violence, as senior police
officers place a temporary ban on all public
political events until further notice.
"The decision is as a consequence of recent
political unrest emanating from Bo (in the
south) and Kono (in the east) and
intelligence reports of pending attacks and
counter attacks on political opponents,"
says police chief - Francis Munu, in a
statement issued after a meeting between the
police and political parties.
"In a wider security
interest for peace, it has been deemed necessary to
observe a cooling period from the hanging threats of
crime, fear and disorder by imposing a blanket ban
on all political rallies, processions and public
meetings until further notice.
meetings should be confined to political party
offices as the National Electoral Commission (NEC)
has not published the timetable for the 2012
elections which are still over one year away,"
the police statement.
The government is yet
to respond to the opposition’s demand for a
joint-communiqué. It is understood that the
president has decided not to comment any further on
the Bo and Kono violence, while the inquiries are
In their statement,
the opposition SLPP said that it "wishes to inform
the general public that a consultative meeting
between the Inspector-General of Police and the
leadership of registered political parties, namely:
the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), All People’s
Congress (APC), National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change
(PMDC) was convened at Police Headquarters on
Wednesday 21st September 2011."
The statement went on
to say that; "Thereafter the Police singularly
issued an undated Press Release - the contents of
which were not discussed during our meeting.
"In that meeting the
SLPP as a responsible Political Party reiterated its
abiding commitment to ensuring at all times respect
for the Rule of Law and the maintenance of law and
We like to bring to
the attention of our wider membership and the public
that the position of the Party was that the outcome
of the meeting should be conveyed in a communiqué
signed by the parties and that the chairpersons of
the SLPP and APC should further meet and issue a
joint statement condemning violence and
"The incidence of
violence that occurred in Bo on Friday 9th September
2011, resulted in the death of one person and
injuries to about twenty (20) other persons
including the Presidential Nominee of the Sierra
Leone People’s Party. An investigation of the
incident has been instituted by Government which is
"In any case, even
before the aforementioned meeting at Police
Headquarters, the leadership of the SLPP had decided
to put on hold the nationwide 'Thank the People'
tour to allow its Presidential Nominee to receive
medical attention abroad.
The Police at the
Consultative Meeting referred to above assured us of
a 'cooling down' period of thirty days before the
lifting of the blanket ban which was not reflected
in their Press Statement. We take great exception to
that omission which we believe is a restriction on
our constitutional rights and liberties and call on
the Sierra Leone Police to review their blanket and
indefinite ban immediately," says the opposition
Back top of page
Guinea: Putting the Transition Back on Track
International Crisis Group
election of Alpha Condé to the presidency in
November 2010, legislative elections are set
to complete a new phase in Guinea’s
political transition. However, recent
violent ethnic politics and the political
actors’ mistrust in the electoral
arrangements are cause for concern.
unilateral move to overhaul the electoral
system has gained little praise, and with
his party’s gloomy prospects for the
legislative elections, suspicion is
done too little too late to promote
reconciliation or dialogue with the
Guinea can afford
neither a makeshift electoral system, nor a new
campaign based on ethnic factors. Rising
pre-electoral tensions could spark inter-communal
violence and offer an opportunity to take action for
those in the army unhappy about loss of power.
The 19 July military
attack launched by some soldiers on the presidential
residence confirmed this is a real possibility. A
genuine agreement between the main political actors
on the organisation of the legislative elections is
crucial and urgent.
international community’s significant involvement,
chances of success are slim.
President - Conde
accession to power provided an extraordinary
opportunity to end 50 years of
authoritarianism and economic stagnation.
government faces immense challenges with
limited means, even if donors seem prepared
to increase aid.
of the 19 July attempt against the
president’s life indicates that, for the
moment at least, it has the military
consolidated the normalisation process begun
by his predecessor, General Sékouba Konaté,
and sent the army back to the barracks and
away from Conakry.
The imposition of
heavy security measures since 19 July, however, has
set the process back. Security sector reform is
still at a preliminary stage.
authorities show willingness to provide good
economic and financial governance, but strict
budgetary discipline will depress the economy, at
least in the short term, so they are trying to
compensate by responding to social demands,
importing food and improving electricity supply.
There are indications
of an ambitious long-term economic restructuring
On the other hand, it
is only recently that dialogue with the opposition
has begun and some conciliatory gestures have been
made. For example, on 15 August the president met
with one of the leading opposition representatives
for the first time since the election.
He plays both sides
though, for example accusing the main opposition
party of being responsible for the 19 July attack
before the judiciary has even looked into the case
and long ignoring, before rejecting it, a memorandum
about the organisation of the elections handed by
the opposition to the government on 17 August.
The legacy of his own
election is cause for some concern, including for
the legislative contests, because it gave new
impetus to the idea that Guinea’s history is a
struggle between its four major ethno-regional
blocs. In the first round, most politicians started
by organising their own communities.
The second round –
during which ethnic rhetoric built steadily on all
sides – was a scarcely disguised debate on supposed
Peul domination, with Condé, a Malinké, attributing
hegemonic ambitions to that community from which his
opponent and the main opposition party leader,
Cellou Dalein Diallo, comes.
Although the security
forces were responsible for the worst violence,
political mobilisation along ethnic lines sparked
clashes and claimed victims. Organisational
weaknesses of the electoral process fed these
tensions by allowing mutual accusations of fraud at
The new government
has done little to cope with this grim legacy and
been slow to organise the legislative elections,
which are indispensable for completing the
institutional arrangements required by the
It kept quiet for
months about the elections procedure, until, on 15
September, the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) suggested they be held on 29
authorities had already begun to overhaul the
electoral register, made changes to the INEC and
redefined the division of labour between it and the
territorial administration ministry.
Transition Council (an interim legislative body) and
civil society tried to mediate, and under domestic
and international pressure, the authorities finally
called for consultations and abandoned the creation
of a new electoral register.
The initiation of a
dialogue has not so far enabled any agreement on the
bones of contention: the composition and functioning
of the INEC, the electoral register and the
generated by the electoral system risk accentuating
tensions in certain areas and leading to
inter-communal violence. This could in turn spark
reprisals elsewhere in the country or provoke a
brutal reaction from an army that 19 July showed is
still divided about the return to a civilian
government capable of putting an end to crude
activities of illicit enrichment. It is also split
by factionalism, partly along ethnic lines.
Further delaying the
elections is not an option: it would only worsen
tensions and suspicions, and a national assembly
based on a popular mandate is urgently needed in
order to restore balance in the political system and
take further steps toward democracy.
period of electoral instability could endanger the
young Guinean democracy, the government and the
opposition must discuss electoral arrangements at
the highest level, and all political actors must
refrain from stirring up inter-ethnic tensions.
community, which partly withdrew after Condé came to
power, must accompany this final stage of the
transition, providing guarantees for the legislative
elections as it did for the presidential election.
koroma of Sierra Leone and Conde of Guinea
Community of Western African States
(ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the UN
must reinvest vigorously in Guinea to
preserve the gains acquired since the demise
of Lansana Conté’s regime in December 2008
and the removal of the military junta led by
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in January 2010.
Unfortunately, the democratic transition in
Guinea is not irreversible.
1. Engage in direct
and periodic political dialogue with the leaders of
the most important parties (those that received more
than a certain percentage of the votes in the first
round of the presidential election, 5 per cent, for
example), at least until the legislative assembly is
2. Refrain from
ambiguous and dangerous rhetoric accusing
unidentified citizens of “sabotaging” government
actions; avoid misusing his prestige as an opponent
of authoritarian regimes as justification to avoid
the political debate that is indispensable for a
democratic system; and take a clear public stand
against the ethnically-laden provocative speeches by
some of his allies and supporters.
3. Avoid any
political statement which may be understood as
interfering with the judicial process for
investigating the 19 July attack.
To the Guinean Government:
4. Work with
opposition parties, especially the Union of Guinean
Democratic Forces (Union des forces démocratiques de
Guinée, UFDG) and the Union of Republican Forces
(Union des forces républicaines, UFR), to seek a
genuine consensus about the electoral process,
including the calendar, the voters register and the
5. Continue to accept
the National Transition Council (NTC) as a
legitimate legislative partner until the National
Assembly starts functioning, as set out in the
6. Prepare draft
organic bills on the institutions required by the
constitution, especially the Supreme Judicial
Council, the Supreme Court and the Economic and
7. Guarantee the
freedom to demonstrate, a constitutional right.
8. Continue efforts
to promote good governance and implement commitments
made to this effect, notably publication of mining
contracts and asset declarations by the president
9. Continue the fight
against impunity by both:
a) increasing the
resources available to the judges investigating the
massacre of 28 September 2009 and ensuring
independence and fairness of the judicial process,
as well as witness protection; and
b) continuing efforts
to punish abuses of power committed routinely by
members of the security forces.
expeditiously with security sector reform, including
by transforming strategic plans into concrete
actions and by taking into account all the security
actors, among which the almost 6,000 young men
recruited by Moussa Dadis Camara.
To the opposition
11. Accept government
proposals for dialogue on the electoral process and
other important issues without insisting that strict
observance of the constitution is the answer to all
the country’s problems.
12. Play a
constructive role in the NTC and use this forum to
defend their positions.
13. Cease questioning
the legitimacy of President Condé’s election.
14. Take a clear,
public position against the escalation of ethnic
tensions promoted by some of their supporters.
To the Independent
National Electoral Commission:
15. Prepare, in
cooperation with civil society, a code of conduct to
be signed by all political parties contesting the
elections, committing them to refrain from any
comment that risks stirring up inter-communal
tensions during the campaign, and ensure it is
widely available to citizens.
To the National
16. Continue to
fulfil the legislative role attributed to it by the
constitution, including by adopting organic bills on
the institutions required by the constitution, in
particular the Supreme Judicial Council, the Supreme
Court and the Economic and Social Council,
independently of whether the government takes the
initiative or not.
To Guinean civil
17. Watch and
contribute to the establishment of a code of conduct
that must be prepared by the INEC and create an
independent observatory, possibly in association
with the Independent National Human Rights
Institution, to monitor the respect of the
above-mentioned code, the treatment of ethnic issues
in the media and political life, document abuses and
publish regular reports.
18. Create an
independent observatory, possibly in association
with the Independent National Human Rights
Institution, on impunity, with representatives of
civil society, jurists, military and ex-military
personnel, to monitor judicial cases involving
members of the defence and security forces and
publish regular reports.
international partners, especially the Group of
Friends of Guinea:
19. Reaffirm their
availability and vigilance regarding completion of
the transition, especially monitoring of the
legislative elections, notably by:
a) convening rapidly
a Group of Friends meeting with member states’
foreign ministers and member organisations’
high-level representatives in Conakry;
b) continuing regular
meetings with the ambassadors of the main political
To the UN
Secretary-General’s Special Representative
for West Africa, the President of the ECOWAS
Commission and the President of the African
to the establishment of the National
Assembly the prominent political role they
played before the presidential election,
a) resuming the offer
to mediate, which they did successfully until the
presidential elections, this time with the objective
of facilitating dialogue between the president and
his opponents; and helping the government and the
main political parties to reach an agreement on the
Independent National Electoral Commission, the
electoral agenda and register, as well as on the
role of international guarantors;
b) preparing, with
other relevant actors in the UN system, a technical
assistance mission for the elections; and
c) allowing General
Sékouba Konaté, whose role in the first stage of the
transition was unanimously welcomed and who now has
important responsibilities in the African Union, to
demonstrate his continuing commitment to the
transition, especially through meetings with
To the UN
Secretary-General Special Representative for West
21. Take on entirely
the coordination of international efforts in support
of security sector reform, liaising with the UN
Development Programme (UNDP), as the Guinean
authorities requested to the UN, through the rapid
establishment of the permanent coordination
mechanism necessary to attract and preserve donors’
trust in pursuance of the reform.
To the President
of the Commission of the Economic Community of
Western African States (ECOWAS):
22. Mobilise, as of
now, the necessary means to send an election
monitoring mission, which would be deployed in all
regions of Guinea before and after the legislative
To the UN
23. Work with the
government to define a calendar for priority tasks,
especially security sector reform and national
To all bilateral
donors interested in security sector reform,
especially the U.S., France and the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS):
24. Reaffirm support
for security sector reform and advance its coherence
by strengthening coordination of bilateral
initiatives by the UN.
To read the full
Report - go to
International Crisis Group:
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President Koroma at the UN
21 September 2011
The President of the Republic of Sierra
Leone Dr. Ernest B. Koroma, accompanied by
his wife Mrs. Sia N. Koroma and some of his
key cabinet officials, arrived in New York
late Monday afternoon to attend the 66th
Session of the United Nations General
Assembly (UNGA), which commenced in
Manhattan on September 13, 2011.
While in New York, President Koroma is
scheduled to attend an Africa America
Institute (AAI) African National
Reconciliation and Peace Award, honouring
the People of The Republic of Sierra Leone,
at its 27th annual Awards Dinner
The event will take place today
20th, 2011 at 7 pm at The
Light House at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
Tickets to this mandatory Black Tie or National
Attire event are $500 - $1,000 and Tables $5,000 -
$100,000. Pupa Baja and the Dry Eye Crew – a
Sierra Leonean group are slated to perform at
tonight’s Awards Dinner Gala.
AAI says that the award is in recognition of the
remarkable strides that Sierra Leone has made in the
almost 10 years, since the end of the 11-year civil
war that killed and maimed thousands and all but
destroyed its formal economy.
President Koroma will deliver his 3rd
address to the 66th Session of the UNGA
on Friday, September 23, 2011.
According to the Department of Information and
Public Affairs at the Sierra Leone Mission to the
UN, President Koroma will also ring the Closing Bell
of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange at One Liberty Plaza in
downtown Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday,
September 23, 2011.
The event is sponsored by American Foundation for
African Children’s Organization, which claims to
work directly with local African organizations to
provide a suitable learning environment for
On Saturday, September 24, 2011, President Koroma
will proceed to the Garden State of New Jersey for a
Retreat and Working Lunch with members of the All
People’s Congress North America (APC/NA) at the
Ukrainian Cultural Centre located at 135 Davidson
Avenue in Somerset, New Jersey.
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President Koroma rehearsing his 2012 election
campaign theme: "I don’t have blood in my hands"
21 September 2011
Speaking to a congregation attending last
Friday’s Juma prayer at the Jamil-Ul-Jalil
Temne Mosque at Oldfield Street, freetown,
President Koroma pulled no punches. He laid
down his marker for a tough fight at next
year’s general elections.
The special Juma prayer was held at the
mosque to mark the President’s fourth year
Although campaigning has not yet officially
commenced, the president took the
opportunity to take an indirect shot at the
Opposition SLPP presidential candidate –
Julius maada Bio.
statement from State
House, President Koroma told the congregation that
'unlike others he has no blood in his hands and that
he did not take up power through the sacrifice of
innocent lives in Sierra Leone'.
"I don’t have blood in my hands. And it is God that
directed the people of Sierra Leone to vote for me
as President of the country. It has always been the
will of the people and God" – said the president.
"We have over 50 newspapers and 42 radio stations
currently operating in the country, that air and
publish whatever they want, but no journalist has
been imprisoned and the government has no political
prisoner", he said; as he raised his hands to show
the congregation his proverbial 'clean hands'.
"We are here to worship in peace and to thank God
for what he has done for us as a country; because it
is Allah that directed the people to vote for me as
President. After four years in office, we are
thanking the Almighty God for giving us the
opportunity to serve him", president Koroma told the
Speaking about his record in office, President
Koroma said; "when we came into office, Freetown was
the darkest city in the world. But that became a
thing of the past. We thank God for sparing the
lives of our women and children, and for directing
our leadership, so that we are now doing things that
have restored hope to Sierra Leoneans and pride to
Asking the people of Sierra Leone to thank God
for his divine intervention, in achieving peace,
stability and development, the president warned
that; "anyone who thinks he can disturb the peace,
will be severely dealt with by the law."
He said that anyone found wanting for the recent
violent disturbances in Bo, will be prosecuted. A
commission of enquiry has been appointed by
President Koroma to investigate the causes of the
violence in Bo and make recommendations.
"Nobody will get power again through the barrel of a
gun or find his way to State House through violent
means. Sierra Leone is owned by Sierra Leoneans.
Therefore, all of us should take the lead in the
transformation process of the country. And we as a
responsible government have done all that we are
supposed to do", says the president.
Taking credit for progress achieved in the last
four years in office, President Koroma told those
attending the Friday Juma prayer at the Temne Mosque
that; no other government in Sierra Leone has ever
achieved what his government has done after four
years in office.
Speaking on behalf of the Mosque, Alhaji Issa said
that; "the congregation is not here to praise
President Koroma, but to thank God for giving the
country a good leader in the person of Ernest Bai
Koroma, who is judiciously utilizing state funds for
the reformation of the country".
Chairman of the Jamil-Ul-Jalil Temne Mosque called
upon President Koroma to focus his energy on the
problems facing the country’s youth. He said that
they are the future leaders of the country.
Youth unemployment, which is likely to be the most
contentious issue in 2012, now stands at more than
80% in some towns and cities, while the rate of
unemployment nationally, has reached 65%.
SLPP is yet to comment on the content of the
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President Koroma calls for
a national conference on the future of Sierra Leone
20 September 2011
Sierra Leoneans struggling to survive on
less than a dollar a day, may be forgiven
for pouring scorn on president Koroma’s
proposed national conference to discuss the
country’s future, after four years in power.
The price of rice has gone up from Le60,000
in 2007 to almost Le200,000 in 2011;
electricity and water supplies are
intermittent, causing enormous hardship in
most towns and cities.
But supporters of the
government are hoping that the conference will map
out a new future, based on a framework that could
address poverty and other socio-economic malaise.
But as the country heads for elections in 2012,
government’s critics are not convinced of the
president’s intention. They want to know what has
happened to the government’s flagship development
plan – the 'Agenda for Change', if the president is
now calling for a new 'agenda', after four years in
First mooted during his 50th Independence
celebration speech on 27 April 2011, the
president said that he would like all Sierra
Leoneans – irrespective of tribe and
political party affiliation, to be involved
in a national debate about how the country
is being governed and where the country is
Political opponents are pouring cold water
on the idea of a national conference, which
they regard as an unnecessary and cunning
diversion by the president, away from the
economic hardship and failure by the
government to turn the country around in 36
months as promised.
According to a
statement from State House, president Koroma last
Thursday said that the proposed conference will
transcend party politics, and will focus on the role
of private and public sectors, good governance,
civil society, effective checks and balances, the
role of members of parliament, the independence of
parliament and the judiciary, the functions of
"But if the people of Sierra Leone are getting ready
to pass their verdict on the performance of the APC
government in a year’s time, why does the president
want to change course now?" Asked a senior
opposition SLPP executive.
The president made the declaration whilst addressing
the inaugural meeting of the conference steering
committee at the Miatta Conference Centre, in
President Koroma said that "Sierra Leone
must transform itself and that there will be
"We must transform that statement into real
action. We should be a united people and a
prosperous nation", president Koroma told
President Koroma said that after 50 years of
Independent mistakes have been made, and
bold steps must be taken to learn from those
statement from State House, the outcome of the
proposed national conference "will help prepare
Sierra Leone’s private sector to handle the influx
of huge investments that are about to come into the
"We must have everybody - including political
parties, fully involved. That’s why we have invited
Sierra Leoneans at home and in the diaspora to come
and participate in the development of a strong human
resource for the country", said President Koroma.
The co-ordinator of the national conference steering
committee - Herbert McLeod, said that his committee
will encourage and consult with universities,
schools and colleges in the country, to ensure the
success of the proposed conference.
It is not yet certain when the conference will take
place and whether opposition political parties will
participate. There are no budgets allocated to the
conference steering committee.
But, will the outcome of the conference lead to the
enactment of the long awaited Freedom of Information
Will the national conference produce a revised
Constitution for Sierra Leone, after the recent
constitutional review, the recommendations of which
are yet to be published and acted upon?
Will the proposed conference discuss the findings of
the public enquiries into politically motivated
violence committed in 2009 in Freetown against the
opposition by pro-government supporters; recent
political violence in Kono and Bo respectively?
Will the outcome of the national conference lead to
the formulation of a cross-party National
Development Plan that will replace the government’s
'Agenda for Change'?
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Liberia’s economic Performance has been good and all
monetary and fiscal targets for the first six months
of 2011 were met – says IMF
16 September 2011
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to
Liberia, today ended its seventh review of the
country’s economic performance. In a statement
issued in Monrovia this afternoon, the head of
mission - Mr. Christopher Lane, said that Liberia
has met all of its monetary and fiscal targets in
the first half of this year.
Liberia has seen a steady improvement in
its economic fortunes, under the strong
leadership of President - Mrs. Helen Sirleaf
Johnson, who has taken very bold steps to
restructure the economy and implement strict
"Considerable progress has been achieved in
finalizing a number of administrative
reforms, plans, and legislation; publication
of the Liberia Revenue Code is expected
shortly" - says the IMF mission.
But some concerns have been raised by the
mission, in particular - the pace of some of
the reform programmes.
"Progress is ongoing
on the remaining structural benchmarks, including
customs systems upgrading and the launching of the
integrated financial management information system.
Further progress is needed in the area of financial
reporting by state owned enterprises, relatively few
of whom are complying with current reporting
regulations" – the IMF cautioned the Liberian
It would seem that President Sirleaf would need
to continue further work in the way the government
is run, so as to ensure that gains achieved in the
economy are not cancelled out by poor governance.
To this end, the IMF believes that; "It will be
important, however, to further improve economic
governance, transparency, and financial oversight of
the operations of state-owned enterprises as
required under the Public Financial Management law."
The mission is quite satisfied with the growth of
the economy so far this year. It says that; "Recent
economic developments are broadly encouraging.
Economic growth in 2011 is accelerating, supported
by resumption of iron ore production and increased
output in the rubber and forestry sectors."
Mr. Lane said that; "The mission welcomed the
progress made both in maintaining macroeconomic and
financial stability and in making progress on the
development agenda, notwithstanding the challenges
posed by elevated food and fuel prices."
But with Liberia’s effort in rebuilding its
infrastructure destroyed by years of neglect and
war, the control of public spending and the
financing of large capital programmes, have been a
huge challenge for President Sirleaf.
"The fiscal out-turn in the 2011 financial year, has
demonstrated improved resource mobilization,
expenditure, and spending composition compared to
the previous years" - says the IMF mission chief –
The role of the commercial banking sector in
stimulating private sector growth, without causing
inflationary pressures is just as important for
Liberia, as much as the expansion of the economy
through public spending.
In this regard, the IMF says that "the banking
sector continues to expand and financial soundness
indicators are improving, with a recent
deterioration of bank loan portfolios being
The IMF is pleased to report that; "the launch in
September of mobile banking will bring access to
financial services to a larger share of population."
"Performance under the IMF-supported economic
program has been good. All monetary and fiscal
targets (performance criteria) through end-June 2011
The role of the
Liberian Central bank in achieving these targets is
"The mission welcomes the Central Bank of Liberia’s
commitment to maintain its strategic focus on price
stability and its ongoing efforts to strengthen the
credit environment and improve its supervisory
capacity through the adoption of risk-based
supervision, as well as steps towards developing the
financial sector and further enhancing internal
management and financial controls" - says Mr. Lane.
What is also encouraging is that, according to the
mission; "Monetary developments are on track and no
significant changes to the monetary policy stance
It seems the government of Liberia is well poised
to further improve its economic performance in 2012,
if current trajectory is maintained.
The IMF is confident that; "Economic prospects for
2012 and over the medium term remain favourable,
helped by buoyant prices for iron ore, rubber and
But there are external risks, says the mission
chief. "The downside risk to this outlook is a
potential slowdown in global economic activity which
could lead to lower commodity prices and hence lower
fiscal revenues, employment, and growth."
In concluding, however, the IMF mission warned
that while prospect for 2012 looks promising; "The
approved FY2012 budget balances the need to expand
priority expenditure with fiscal prudence and
measures to safeguard efficient budget execution,
including the preparation of a contingent budget to
accommodate potential additional revenues."
Back top of page
Lessons from Nigeria’s 2011 Elections
International Crisis Group
16 Sep 2011
With the April 2011
general elections, Nigeria may have taken steps
towards reversing the degeneration of its previous
elections, but the work is not finished. Despite
some progress, early and intensive preparations for
the 2015 elections need to start now.
need not be as chaotic and expensive as it was this
year if done on a continual basis. Far-reaching
technical and administrative reforms of, and by, the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),
notably internal restructuring and constituency
delineation, should be undertaken and accompanied by
broad political and economic reforms that make the
state more relevant to citizens and help guarantee
an electoral and democratic future.
post-presidential election violence in the North and
bomb blasts by the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram
sect since President Jonathan’s 29 May inauguration
indicate the enormous challenges facing the new
It must show more
determination to contain violence in society.
Addressing chronic poverty and the North’s
underdevelopment – major grievances – would
strengthen its hand.
The resounding, if
controversial, victory of Goodluck Jonathan over
veteran opposition leader General (ret.) Muhammadu
Buhari was not the only significant change brought
about by the elections. He was the first southern
minority leader to win the presidency, having become
the incumbent by his predecessor’s death in office.
72 of 109 senators lost their seats.
In the House of
Representatives, 260 of the 360 members are newly
elected. President Jonathan’s People’s Democratic
Party (PDP) lost its two-thirds majority in the
Senate and now holds the governorship in only 23 of
the 36 states, compared to 27 after the 2007
A major winner was
the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), whose success
in the South-West has returned this region to its
tradition of being in opposition to the ruling party
at the centre. Another winner was the
All-Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), which wrested
control of Imo state from the PDP; along with
Anambra state, which it won in 2007, it now holds
two core South-East states.
In short, despite the
presidency result, the polls shattered the PDP’s
one-time near invincibility.
After three flawed elections – 1999, that heralded
the Fourth Republic, 2003 and 2007, the last being
the most discredited – the 2011 polls were critical
for Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and overall
The eve of the
elections was marked by a blend of cautious optimism
and foreboding. Attahiru Jega, INEC chair, and his
team won plaudits for instituting important reforms,
including to the voting procedure; the introduction
of the idea of community mandate protection to
prevent malpractice; and the prosecution and
sentencing of officials, including the electoral
body’s own staff, for electoral offences.
There were also
grounds for pessimism: the upsurge of violence in
several states, encouraged by politicians and their
supporters who feared defeat; an ambiguous and
confusing legal framework for the elections; and a
flawed voter registration exercise, with poorly
functioning biometric scans, that resulted in an
inflated voters roll.
predicted the violence that erupted in some Northern
states following the announcement of the
presidential results. With over 1,000 people killed,
the protests made the elections one of the bloodiest
The polls were also
riddled with malpractices, logistical deficiencies
and procedural inconsistencies. Reported voter
turnout of about 78 per cent in the South-South and
the South-East during the presidential elections
exceeded the national average by at least 50 per
cent, suggesting electoral fraud.
Yet, the polls were,
on balance, the most credible to date. Across the
country, the strength of the electoral process
appeared mostly to have trumped its weaknesses.
Domestic and international observers commended INEC
for improved logistics and a smooth voting process.
A combination of
electoral, constitutional and economic reforms is
needed to make the 2015 polls truly free and fair
and to ensure they are not tainted by blood.
The proposals from
the 2009 Uwais Electoral Reform Committee report
should be widely published and reform efforts
enhanced to make the system more inclusive; economic
reforms should be introduced to reduce poverty and
create jobs for restive young school-leavers and
The Freedom of
Information (FOI) Act, which was signed into law in
late May and guarantees the right of access of
individuals and groups to information held by public
institutions, and the new Sovereign Wealth Fund
scheme are important steps forward.
should be done with a more holistic, less piecemeal
approach, with the full involvement of the Nigerian
people, who have long been demanding it.
pledged to transform the country during his
campaign. Yet, his cabinet, a hodgepodge of
recycled, failed and controversial ministers, party
stalwarts indicted in the past, a few probable
reformers and some technocrats, inspires little
confidence among Nigerians.
government’s priorities should include:
• releasing funds to
INEC so it can begin early preparations for the 2015
• directing INEC to compile, maintain and update the
National Register of Voters on a continual basis, in
accordance with Section 9 (1) of the 2010 Nigerian
• using the Uwais Committee’s extensive
recommendations as the basis for a broad debate on
constitutional reform, including a review of the
simple-plurality electoral system for legislative
• responding to the genuine grievances of those
living in parts of the North that are considerably
poorer than some wealthier Southern states and
prioritising improving their dire living conditions,
while not overlooking states with similar problems
in the South;
• disclosing the results of the investigation into
post-electoral violence, including the identities of
those responsible and the causes, and working with
state governments, local councils, traditional and
religious leaders, relevant non-state actors and key
local figures to prevent recurrence in 2015;
• prosecuting those responsible for electoral
malpractices or post-electoral violence, regardless
of their status; and
• putting more effective procedures in place for
challenging possible massive rigging, as opposed to
individual instances of abuse at polling stations.
To read the full Report - Africa Briefing No.81:
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Guineans donate rice in return for the disputed
Koroma and President Conde
Guinea’s decision to donate 2,000 metric
tons of rice to the government of Sierra
Leone, has been received with mixed
regard the gesture by the Guinean
authorities in Conakry as one of 'brotherly
generousity', most Sierra Leoneans are
sceptical, and see it as a cynical ploy to
bribe Sierra Leone’s politicians in return
for the disputed village of Yenga.
Yenga is in
Sierra Leone’s territory, bordering the
state of Guinea. It was occupied by Guinean
troops after the end of Sierra Leone’s civil
been numerous reports of human rights abuse
and the maltreatment of local people, who
are refusing to be governed by the Guinean
The former Sierra
Leonean government of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah had tried
diplomatic negotiations with the Guineans under the
auspices of the regional body – the Manor River
Union, for the peaceful return of Yenga to Sierra
Leone, but without success.
The expectation of
the people of Sierra Leone is that President Koroma
would step up the pressure on the Guinean government
to relinquish control of Yenga. Today that hope has
The Guineans appear
to have bought their way from the negotiating table
by donating 2,000 metric tons of rice to the
government of Sierra Leone, in order to help
President Koroma achieve his failed food
In 2007, at the
height of election campaigning, then opposition
leader - Mr. Koroma, told the people of Sierra Leone
that if elected and within three years, he will
ensure that no one in the country goes to bed
The price of rice
has increased from Le60,000 per bag in 2007 to
almost Le200,000 in 2011. Rice is in short supply;
the Guineans know it and they have used it as a
bargaining chip in return for the disputed territory
of Yenga, which many believe to be rich in minerals
– gold and diamond.
statement from Sierra Leone’s State House; 'during
the presentation ceremony held at State House,
Freetown, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma expressed
delight in receiving the Guinean delegation.'
'He underscored the
significance of the gift from President Prof. Alpha
Conde, stating that it will further consolidate long
standing bilateral relations between the sister MRU
"We have to work
together to unify both countries", proposed
President Koroma. But no mention of Yenga, not even
as a reminder to the Guineans that Sierra Leone is
not for sale.
Instead, the head
of the Guinean delegation - Mr. Dumbuya told
President Koroma that; "it is through God’s guidance
and direction that President Conde was able to
consider Sierra Leone as a good neighbour in a dire
need of help…"
"When I was at the
Kennedy Street Ware House, handing over the
consignment to the Sierra Leone Minister of Trade
and Industry, Dr. Richard Conteh, I told the people
of Sierra Leone to be calm", he said. How
patronising and arrogant?
Koroma and Conde: A marriage of convenience,
or rice diplomacy?
surprisingly, President Koroma seems rather
oblivious and happy to be told by
neighbouring Guinea – also one of the
poorest countries in the world, yet able to
feed itself with some rice to spare, not to
worry about food as Guinea can always feed
Dumbuya disclosed that rice will be available for
both countries up to late 2012 and will be
cost-effective to enable the people get foods on
their tables. He said there are presently rice
cargoes off-shore waiting to discharge huge
consignments of rice for sale and consumption in
Guinea and Sierra Leone', says the report from State
So, where does
this cosy arrangement between President Koroma and
President Conde leaves our poor farmers that have
been told to put all shoulders to the wheel, so as
to transform Sierra Leone into a food basket, rather
than a basket case?
It seems President
Koroma has decided to shred his 'food
self-sufficiency programme through farming’ and turn
to the Guineans, who are more than happy to oblige,
just as long as Yenga stays off the political
With the price of
rice in Sierra Leone showing no sign of coming down
anytime soon, diplomacy has given way to the real
'politics of hungry stomachs'.
But at what price?
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peacebuilding office in Sierra Leone to stay for
15 September 2011
Amidst rising political tension and the renewal of
violence in Sierra Leone, the Security Council
meeting in New York, decided to extend the presence
and mandate of the United Nations office in the
country, until September 2012.
The UN Integrated
Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) was
established immediately after the end of the
country’s brutal civil war to help bring peace and
stability, and support a programme of development.
With the help of the UN, Sierra Leone has staged two
relatively peaceful general elections and local
elections, since the end of the war in 2001.
Hope for a brighter
and democratic future has been on the horizon, until
the outbreak of political violence in 2008, 2009 and
most recently at Kono and Bo, raising fears of chaos
at next year’s polls.
Although there have
been calls by sections of the international
community for the country to now stand on its own
feet and take responsibility for organising and
supervising its elections, Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon thought otherwise.
Secretary-General is said to have requested an
extension of UNIPSIL’s presence in the country, "so
that it can continue its assistance to the
Government, including in relation to the
preparations for the national and local elections in
"The renewal will
also enable UNIPSIL to continue its peace
consolidation and national reconciliation efforts,
its support for good governance reforms, as well as
tackling anti-corruption, drug trafficking and
organized crime, addressing youth unemployment and
building support for international donor
assistance," says Mr. Ban Ki-Moon.
The UN Security
Council unanimously adopted the resolution to extend
UNIPSIL’s mandate until 15 September 2012, and
called on the Government, political parties and all
stakeholders to contribute to ensure that next
year’s elections are peaceful, transparent, free and
But sceptics in the
country say that with the general and presidential
elections due to take place in October 2012, the
decision to pull UNIPSIL out of Sierra Leone in
September 2012 is far from wise.
The widening gulf between the ruling party and the
main opposition party is threatening the peace and
stability of the country.
The hope now is that
perhaps the role of UNIPSIL for the rest of their
mandate in Sierra Leone, will be dedicated to
helping the political parties rebuild confidence,
trust and put in place a framework for promoting
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revenue - but future remains bleak
Leone's tourism industry made an amazing
turn around in the first six months of this
year, which is now being eroded by the
continuous - yet to be explained sea weed
invasion, that is threatening to blight the
country’s picturesque tourism resorts into
'no go areas'.
AFP report from the country’s National
Tourist Board manager - Cecil Williams; the
fledgling tourism industry generated $19
million in the first half of the year,
compared to $10 million dollars earned for
the whole of 2010.
"But this figure is
likely to be affected for the next six months due to
the unprecedented seaweed disaster that has engulfed
some of the country's pristine beaches in recent
weeks," he said.
Since June of this
year, some of the country's beaches are being
plagued by tonnes of seaweeds. The government is now
looking up to a group of scientists from the
Senegalese-based Westland International Africa, to
provide much needed answers as to the causes of the
outbreak and how the invasion could be stopped.
the country’s Environmental Protection
Agency - Edward Bendu told AFP; "It is a
strange phenomenon and it has never happened
on such a large scale. The rapidity with
which the seaweeds are appearing on the
coastal beaches is startling."
of the seaweeds invasion are devastating for
a country still trying to rebuild its
infrastructures and economy, after ten years
of civil war.
the Tourism manager - Cecil Williams, the
industry provides employment for about 5,000
people, with over 35,000 people indirectly
"Hotels have done
reasonably well and the occupancy of most of them
increased due to keen competition," Cecil told AFP.
Statistics from the
World Travel and Tourism Centre projects that Sierra
Leone's tourism industry will grow by 5.8 percent
per year between 2010 and 2019.
But with the
continuing difficulties posed by the invading
seaweeds, the chances of achieving this growth is
looking quite grim. The government has been
criticised for its lack of leadership in dealing
with the problem, which is also affecting the
In 2009 the Lonely
Planet guidebook ranked Sierra Leone as "one of the
world's top 10 places to visit".
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report on Sierra Leone’s effort to build the peace
The Executive Representative of the UN
Secretary General and head of the United
Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in
Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) - Mr. Michael
von der Schulenburg, presented his Seventh
Report on progress to the UN Security
Council, yesterday in New York.
The UN Report
comes in the wake of last week's breakdown
of law and order, and the return of
politically motivated violence in the Kono
and Bo districts of the country.
people were injured in the outbreak of
violence, including the presidential
candidate for the opposition SLPP - Julius
Maada Bio. There was at least one fatality.
Leone is still recovering from the effects of a
brutal ten year war. Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg
told the Security Council that though Sierra Leone
remains on track to become a stable democracy, with
a viable economy, recent violent incidents between
rival political groups have highlighted the
potential for unrest.
"I feel that this is
an occasion to commend in this Council the people of
Sierra Leone for what has been achieved during the
last nine years in consolidating peace and building
a democratic society," said Michael von der
Schulenburg, when he presented the UN chief’s latest
report on the country to the Council.
On the recent clashes
between supporters of the two main political
parties, Mr. Schulenburg, urged Sierra Leonean
politicians not to forget what the country has
achieved, build on those accomplishments and conduct
their affairs responsibly.
are still one and a half years away and this
must not start to embitter the social and
political climate in Sierra Leone," said Mr.
Schulenburg, who is also the head of the UN
Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra
He called for
resolving of outstanding issues ahead of the
next year’s general elections, including
reaching agreement on the polls’ legal
framework and an electoral code of conduct.
Mr. Schulenburg voiced support for the idea
of an inclusive and non-partisan national
conference floated by President Ernest Bai
Koroma to discuss the country’s future.
He told the Security
Council that Sierra Leone’s economy continues to
grow and that the Government was implementing
infrastructure projects and pursuing a policy of
privatization. Iron mining is expected to generate
considerable revenues for the country in the coming
years, he said, cautioning that transparent
management of new resources could pose challenges.
also cautioned of widespread poverty, youth
unemployment and limited capacity for the delivery
of social services, however, continue to put a
damper on the country’s development potential.
the creation of the Youth Commission and concerted
efforts by development partners, no substantive
success has been made in fighting Sierra Leone’s
rampant youth unemployment," he said.
He called for the
better targeting of development programs implemented
through better cooperation between the Government,
its development partners and the private sector.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation Mr. Joseph Bandala
Dauda attended the Security Council release
of the Report in New York.
statement, he thanked the UN Security
Council and friends of Sierra Leone for
their "relentless support and active
interest in consolidating peace and
maximizing our gains in post conflict
efforts in Sierra Leone. The
Secretary-General’s report accurately
catalogue the progress made and remaining
challenges in our peace efforts and peace
consolidation and transition to a more
assured the Council that Sierra Leone government
"will continue to engage with ALL stakeholders as
was demonstrated in working with UNIPSIL to
established the government’s aim at preventing
political violence, fostering inter-party
dialogue…further enhancing women participation in
He disclosed that
Sierra Leone "is also making steady progress in
putting structures in place to addressing youth
unemployment which continues to be a challenge,
trans-national organized crime, corruption,
participation of women in peace building, public
service and gender based violence," he added.
Minister Dauda also
briefed the Council on the steps taken by President
Ernest B. Koroma in response to the political crisis
in Bo including his condemnation of the incidents
and convening an emergency security meeting at State
House that was attended by leaders of the Sierra
Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Campaign
for Good Governance (CGG) Political Party
Registration Commission (PPRC), the Minister of
Defence, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the
Deputy Minister of Information & Communications, the
Chief of Staff, Inspector General of Sierra Leone
Police and key representatives of political interest
This month the
Council is expected to renew the mandate of UNIPSIL
which expires on September 15th. The renewal of
UNIPSIL mandate comes at time of high tension
between political parties in Sierra Leone due to
regional loyalties that divide party lines.
the parties and contest of presidential and local
by-election have raised concern over a possible
resurgence of political violence and intolerance in
established by Security Council Resolution (1829) of
August 4, 2008. Its mandate involves political and
development activities to support the government of
Sierra Leone indentifying and resolving tensions and
threats of potential conflicts; monitoring and
promoting human rights, democratic institutions and
the rule of law including efforts to counter
transnational organized crime and drug trafficking.
The mandate also
calls for consolidating good governance reforms,
with a special focus on anti-corruption instruments
such as the Anti-Corruption Commission amongst other
Sierra Leone is
one of five countries – along with Burundi, the
Central African Republic (CAR), Guinea-Bissau and
Liberia – on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding
Commission, which was set up in 2005 to help
post-conflict countries avoid slipping back into
To view the Security
Council Meeting on UNIPSIL - go to:
Back top of page
Politically motivated violence returns to the
Streets of Sierra Leone
It was not
long ago that the UN Security Council,
meeting in New York, declared Sierra Leone
an excellent example of how post-war peace
can be built and sustained. Today, this
hard-won accolade and international
political capital, have gone up in smoke, as
violence returns to Sierra Leone.
peace-building programme has invested
hundreds of millions of dollars in the
country, after ten years of brutal civil war
that saw over 200,000 people killed.
Since the end of the
war in 2001, the international community, in
particular the governments of Britain, Germany,
Ireland, Japan and many others, have also invested
over $3 billion in supporting the UN’s
peace-building and economic development programme.
The return of
politically motivated violence and bloodshed to the
streets of Sierra Leone in the last week has called
to question, the commitment of the country’s
political leaders of all shades, in achieving
national reconciliation and the need to put country
above personal ambition and sectarian interests.
senior members of the ruling APC party
jockeying for power, staged running battle
using heavily armed security officers who
opened fire on local people in the Eastern
district of Kono.
struggle for the leadership of the ruling
APC in advance of the 2012 elections has
become violent. Opponents of the Vice
President – Sam Sumana, who is a son of Kono
district, are plotting to ensure that he
does not represent the party as their
presidential running mate next year.
And as a show of
strength and power, anti - Sam Sumana forces drove
to Kono, where they opened fire on local people
thought to be his supporters.
violence in the country’s second largest city – Bo,
a stronghold of the main opposition SLPP party,
which left several buildings destroyed – including
the party offices of the ruling APC, has left the
nation in a state of shock.
Reports from Bo say
that the violence started after a convoy of over one
hundred vehicles carrying SLPP party loyalists,
including their 2012 presidential election candidate
and senior party officials, were attacked.
There are conflicting
reports as to who is responsible for starting the
bloody violence in Bo, but the opposition SLPP are
accusing the ruling APC party of an attempted
assassination of their presidential candidate –
Julius Maada Bio.
Julius maada Bio is
reported to have sustained head injuries and was
treated at a local hospital before being discharged.
Although the police and the country’s military are
now patrolling the streets of Bo, tension and fear
of further outbreak of violence are high.
There are now calls
for an independent Commission of Enquiry to
investigate the causes of the outbreak of violence
in Bo and Kono, and make recommendations as regards
any criminal liability and court action.
In a press
statement issued today, the government said:
"Government wishes it
to be known that following the intervention of the
security forces, the situation in Bo has returned to
normal. However, government views the matter with
grave concern as it goes beyond party politics and
undermines the peace and security of the state which
we have fought so hard to achieve.
background, his Excellency the president has
directed that the disturbances in Bo should be
immediately investigated by a group comprising the
police, the political parties’ registration
commission and representatives of civil society
including the Sierra Leone association of
journalists and campaign for good governance.
"The essence of the
inclusion of these key stakeholders is to ensure
credibility and transparency during and after the
investigations. The group will submit a report as
soon as possible.
His Excellency the
president wishes to make it abundantly clear that
whoever is found culpable regardless of party
affiliation and status will face the full penalty of
the law. Government continues to appeal to all
citizens to remain calm and law abiding."
But, the opposition SLPP is holding the
government and its APC party fully
responsible for the outbreak of violence in
This is what the executives of the party
said in a statement issued today, referring
to the bloody violence as an "attempted
assassination of SLPP flagbearer - Julius
"On Friday September
9, 2011, the SLPP Flag Bearer accompanied by Senior
Party Officials and Stakeholders commenced his
Thank-the-People tour to all districts. After a
brief stop at Mile 91, Moyamba Junction and Taiama,
the entourage arrived at Bo at about Mid-day.
"The crowd was so massive that it took over four
hours to complete the four kilometre distance
between the outskirts and the location of the
offices of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the
Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).
"Barely after passing through cheering PMDC
supporters at their office on the left, we saw on
the right youths of the APC dressed in red by the
road side and in close proximity to a group of armed
"Few minutes later, these APC youths started pelting
stones deliberately targeted at Rtd. Brig. Maada
Bio. As a consequence, they inflicted serious injury
to his head and was immediately rushed to a private
hospital for treatment.
"This incident caused widespread pandemonium in
town. The police officers specifically assigned to
provide protection for the entourage immediately
disappeared suggestive of having fore knowledge of
the incident. This completely left the Flag Bearer
unprotected and vulnerable to assassination.
"The Police then started indiscriminate firing at
the peaceful and jubilant crowd, resulting in one
immediate death and twenty (20) seriously wounded.
The Flag Bearer nevertheless proceeded with his
meeting at the Coronation Field.
"The SLPP would like to bring to the attention of
the public the following observation:
• Despite two official written requests, the Sierra
Leone Police has refused to provide the SLPP Flag
Bearer with armed security.
• The officers assigned to protect the entourage
were unarmed general duty police personnel.
• The Sierra Leone Police allowed the APC to put on
red ‘T’ shirts and deliberately stand on the road
side raining insults and making provocative comments
at the jubilating crowd whilst the SLPP procession
was in progress.
• Immediately after the incident, the Police
assigned to the entourage vanished and other police
officers started firing live shots.
• The SLPP district executive and Bo district
Members of Parliament had made earlier
representations to the Police to inform them about
plans of the APC to disrupt our procession. In
essence the police knew about the plan in advance
but did nothing to forestall it.
• The attack on Maada Bio and the SLPP was also
intended to provide the Government with an excuse to
prevent our planned nationwide “Thank-the-People”
tour from continuing.
"We have received intelligence reports from credible
sources that plans to assassinate Maada Bio have
already been hatched. The stone throwing was just a
precursor which was expected to create the resultant
chaotic atmosphere for executing their diabolic
assassination plan. We have further received
intelligence reports regarding similar planned
attacks against the Flag Bearer’s entourage in Kono.
"The public will recall that since the election of
Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio as SLPP Flag Bearer, the
APC has embarked on a sustained campaign against his
"Realising the public has not bought into the
calumny campaign but is demonstrating massive
support for the SLPP; the APC has grown even more
desperate and panicky and has resorted to violence.
"The public will also like to recall that this
incident occurred six days after the misuse of
police personnel in Kono by the Minister of Internal
Affairs and the beating of journalists after the
match between Leone Stars and the Pharoahs of Egypt
and Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Mead by Presidential
"Sadly enough, nothing concrete has been done beyond
the usual verbal condemnations.
"After series of incidents including the attacks on
SLPP Headquarters and district offices, attacks of
SLPP members at Gendema, the SLPP now has ample
evidence that the APC plans to use not only state
resources but also state security as instruments for
perpetuating violence as a prelude to rigging the
"The SLPP strongly condemns the barbaric acts of the
APC and considers it as a recipe for undermining the
peace and security of the State.
"In light of all these ugly developments, the SLPP
would like to re-echo our earlier calls upon the
international community, as the moral guarantors of
our hard earned peace, the Political Parties
Registration Commission and the Civil Society to
step in and ensure that the 2012 elections, and all
the processes leading to it, are violence-free.
"The SLPP would like to express heartfelt
condolences to the families of those who lost their
lives and sympathy to those who sustained injuries
during the procession.
The SLPP would also like to assure its membership
that the Thank-the-People tour to the other
districts shall continue as planned. No amount of
threat and intimidation shall deter the SLPP."
With both parties now blaming each other for the
outbreak of violence in Bo, there are reports from
the country’s capital - Freetown, of widespread fear
of politically motivated violence spreading across
Elections in Sierra Leone are just twelve months
away. And should recent violence in Kono between
senior members of the ruling APC, the beating of
journalists by the presidential guards in Freetown,
and yesterday’s mayhem in Bo, be allowed to define
the future of Sierra Leone’s fragile peace, then the
prognosis cannot be good.
It is for this reason and this reason alone that
those presidential guards responsible for the
beating of journalists must be brought to justice.
While the president’s decision to appoint a
commission of enquiry to investigate the violence in
Bo must be welcomed, the people of Sierra Leone are
also expecting a thorough investigation of the gun
battle that took place in Kono.
No stones should be left unturned. There is far too
much at stake. Those responsible for orchestrating
and perpetrating violence and anarchy in Sierra
Leone, must be held to account and punished
according to Law.
President Koroma must
take full responsibility for whatever is happening
in the country - under his watch. This is why he
must bring impunity and lawlessness to an end.
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Sierra Leone’s Free Health Care programme under the
9 September 2011
The recent publication of Amnesty International’s
scathing report into the management and delivery of
Sierra Leone’s Free Health Care programme has
sparked widespread debate. The report mentions
corruption, poor planning and bad management for the
current demise of the programme.
Women and poor families are bearing the brunt of
paying the sometimes unaffordable cost of accessing
health care that is supposed to be free at point of
access; drugs that are supposed to be dispensed free
of charge at government clinics and hospitals are
instead being sold at private pharmacies.
It is believed that unscrupulous government
officials are responsible for bleeding the programme
of the necessary supplies of drugs and equipment.
Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women and children
under five continue to die unnecessarily, while
corrupt officials are getting richer.
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone - Ian
Hughes' latest blog adds to the debate about the
free health care programme launched in 2010 by
president Koroma, to tackle the country’s obscene
levels of maternal and childhood mortality. This is
what he had to say:
"It’s over a year now since Sierra Leone launched
its Free Health Care Initiative. In that time the
project has provided substantive improvements in the
delivery of health care services for women and young
children across the country – reducing worry, easing
pain and saving lives.
This has not been easy and we all recognise that
there is still much to do. The UK’s DFID is
delighted to have helped deliver the improvement
thus far and is committed to doing even more in
There have been significant changes to health care
service provision, from urban centres to distant
For women and young children medical consultations,
supplies and treatment are free for the first time,
allowing many more people to access the basic but
essential health care that is a Universal Human
The figures tell the story. In its first year the
project provided 3 million medical consultations for
children less than 5 years of age, compared to 1
million the year before. Of these, 1 million were
treated for malaria, the leading cause of death in
The number of women delivering babies in a health
facility trebled, and the fatality rate fell an
And there has been a 140% increase in the uptake of
family planning, the most cost effective way of
preventing maternal deaths.
Lives have changed as a result: Sierra Leone is no
longer the most dangerous place in the world to be a
mother. And the significant investment in the
country’s young and vulnerable has given them the
opportunity to live healthier and longer lives and
become the next generation of leaders.
Partners are working with the Ministry to build on
lessons learned. DFID has signed an MOU with the
Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other partners
to improve transparency and accountability so that
there is better and more effective distribution and
management of resources such as drugs and medical
Sierra Leone’s success overcoming huge challenges to
deliver free health care for its most vulnerable
will renew citizens’ confidence that their country
is changing for the better. And the UK’s
contribution underlines the strength of our two
countries’ long standing relationship.
It is important that we all recognise that
challenges remain. But these are not insurmountable
and the next 4 years will see an expansion of DFID
support to the health sector, helping to free even
more mothers and children from the scourge of
preventable diseases like malaria and protecting
them from problems and even death in childbirth.
A happier, healthier, longer life is what all Sierra
Leoneans deserve. The UK is proud to be helping to
deliver just that."
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of President Koroma raises the profile of Sierra
Leone’s health care needs at UN High-level Meeting
9 September 2011
Koroma sitting second from left
Sierra Leone’s First Lady - Mrs. Sia Nyama
Koroma, accompanied by the Minister of
Health and Sanitation - Mrs Zainab Bangura,
has concluded a two-day high level meeting
at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The meeting which was attended by First
Ladies, health and finance ministers and
parliamentarians from 12 developing
countries, discussed the importance of 'a
secure and reliable supply of
Delegates from Sierra
Leone, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Laos,
Mali, Madagascar, Mongolia, Niger, Mozambique and
Nicaragua, shared and exchanged best practice and
challenges in the field of sexual and reproductive
health commodity security.
UNFPA officials say the main goals of the two day
high-level meeting which took place in New York on
7-8 September, was to find ways to bridge the gap in
essential supplies, so as to save the lives and
health of millions of women in developing countries.
In his opening remarks, UNFPA Executive Director -
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said "as of October 31, the
world will have 7 billion people, of which 1.8
billion are young people, and 90 per cent of them
live in developing countries. That implies that 1
billion young women are actively seeking the
information and service we are talking about here".
Launched in 2007 by UNFPA, The 12 priority countries
are part of the Global Program to Enhance
Reproductive health Commodity Security, which is
providing a framework for assisting countries in
planning for their own needs.
UNFPA officials say with more than $300 million
mobilized so far, the initiative has helped many of
the neediest countries improve their supplies. It
has also encouraged governments to view commodity
security as essential to their efforts to improve
the reproductive health of their populations.
"Collectively, we are changing the face of maternal
and child mortality in Sierra Leone," said the First
Lady of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, during
the opening session at the UN Millennium Plaza Hotel
"The high maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone is
partly due to the weak reproductive health commodity
security system, including the non-availability of
reproductive health commodities, lack of storage
facilities, weak distribution systems for
commodities and a weak logistics management system."
She noted that
support through the global program has "increased
the uptake of family planning and other reproductive
health programs, such as fistula activities and the
screening of patients for breast cancer."
UNFPA assessment shows dramatic increases in the use
of modern methods of contraception are widely
reported by countries participating in the global
In Niger, for
instance, the contraceptive prevalence rate
increased from 5 per cent in 2006 to 21 per cent in
2010. In Madagascar, it rose by 11 percentage points
from 2004 to 2009, when it reached 29.2 per cent.
Officials also say that supplies are reaching more
people in the right place at the right time. In
Burkina Faso, the number of health clinics reporting
no shortfalls or stock-outs increased from 29 per
cent in 2009 to 81 per cent in 2010.
The two day high level meeting coincided with the
release of a new report by Amnesty International on
Wednesday, September 7th, which says despite a
nationwide free healthcare initiative launched last
year, pregnant women in Sierra Leone are being
denied medical care and forced to pay for medicines.
In April 2010, Sierra Leone launched a $90 million
free healthcare program that eliminates fees for
pregnant and breastfeeding women at government-run
During her address, Mrs Koroma said that her role as
First Lady "is to compliment the work of the
President and the government of Sierra Leone. In the
area of Healthcare, my office has developed the
Women’s Initiative for Safer Health (WISH). The WISH
project is designed to improve Women’s reproductive
health outcomes as many women are not empowered in
making the right decision concerning their health
mainly due to cultural roles and norms, poverty,
lack of information and education".
Mrs Koroma expressed her gratitude to the Government
of Israel who she said was encouraged by the efforts
and commitment of her office donated four dialysis
machines to the government of Sierra Leone and also
offered to train five Sierra Leoneans including; 2
Physicians, 2 Nurses, and 1 Engineer who will manage
the nation's first renal unit.
She also thanked Mrs. Patience Goodluck Jonathan,
First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for
donating two extra dialysis machines to Sierra
Her description of healthcare delivery in Sierra
Leone is nothing short of spectacular. "In less than
two years, Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent
increase in the number of children under five
getting care in health facilities, a 61 percent
decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy
cases at health clinics, and an 85 percent drop in
malaria fatality for children treated in hospitals.
This is the encouraging news that I want to share
with you – that we are making gradual progress," she
Critics of the government’s free health care
programme are calling for improved access that is
truly free at point of use, as far too many people
are still being charged for the service, if Sierra
Leone is to meet the UN millennium development goals
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President Koroma wants comprehensive reform of state
8 September 2011
President Koroma and his vice-president
The recent outbreak of violence in Koidu,
the eastern province of Sierra Leone, not
least orchestrated and perpetrated by senior
members of the ruling APC Party against each
other, has sent shivers across the country.
There are worrying signs of a return to
full-scale politically motivated violence.
Reports say that last week's shooting
skirmishes by the security force was
prompted by a fierce power struggle within
the ruling Party, as key players of
president Koroma’s government jockey for the
position of presidential running mate in the
coming 2012 elections.
opposed to the incumbent – vice president Sama
Sumana, are said to be plotting against his chances
of serving as Koroma’s running mate next year. But
what was just weeks ago believed by many to be 'a
quiet State House coup', has now taken a violent
turn for the worse.
Security personnel loyal to the minister of internal
affairs have decided to take sides, in what could
become a very dangerous and ugly state security
problem, if not tackled immediately.
Also last week, there
were troubling reports of police brutality against a
group of journalists covering a football match in
Freetown, with at least one of those reporters
requiring serious medical attention in hospital.
These developments are most likely to
polarise the task ahead, for a comprehensive
review of the country’s security in advance
of the 2012 general elections, which was
last Monday, 5th September 2011, officially
launched by president Koroma in Freetown.
Launching the review, president Koroma said
that his government strongly believes in the
existence of a well funded, professionally
trained and efficient security sector in the
The British government department for international
development – DFID, has since the end of the
country’s ten year war, borne most of the cost of
developing and delivering Sierra Leone’s security
sector, which the international community now
expects Koroma’s government to shoulder.
The president called on the creation of an enabling
environment for the security sector to assist in
achieving his 'agenda for change'.
"Creating this enabling environment urge us to
continuously review our security sector programmes.
Our security sector review programme enables Sierra
Leone to build up security for development", says
But there are fundamental challenges ahead, which
president Koroma himself said needs to be addressed
in order to reform the country’s security sector.
According to State
House report, the president acknowledges "emerging
challenges within the changing times and new
threats", which he said requires "new policies and
The president said that the periodic review of state
security has been useful in maintaining the
preparedness of the country’s security sector,
especially as "we come closer to the 2012 elections
so that the forces will be able to provide
The Secretary to the President - Mr. Emmanuel Osho-Coker
said that it is government’s core responsibility to
address, improve and evaluate the preparedness of
the security sector, and reiterated that the review
process is being organized through workshops
involving ministries, departments and agencies
across the country.
The country’s Inspector General of Police - Francis
Munu, said that the review of the sector is a step
in the right direction for the development of the
country. But he did not comment on the call by the
president for an inquiry into alleged police
brutality against journalists, nor did he speak
about the shootings by armed police officers in
"Life has become more complex, more vulnerable, more
demanding, and more stressful and criminals no
longer have respect for international boundaries",
says the Inspector.
The country’s Chief of the Armed Forces and Defence
- Brigadier Yira Koroma, called on the government to
further raise the morale of the army. He said that
army personnel need to demonstrate a better attitude
to fully enable them participates in national
It is not certain
whether the outcome of the review will lead to any
major changes or reform of the state security
sector, whose professionalism many in the country
are now questioning.
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Congo: The Electoral Process Seen from the East
International Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°80
5 September 2011
registration that began across the Congo in
April 2011 concluded on 17 July, on time
even in troubled regions such as the Kivu
provinces and the Ituri district, and
produced a nearly 6.3 million increase in
the electorate, 24.5 per cent over the 2006
If it went
relatively well, it was mainly because the
voter’s card also serves as an identity
card, so is as useful to militiamen as to
ordinary citizens. Neither civil society nor
political parties fundamentally challenged
the operation at the local level, but this
is not synonymous with satisfaction.
results the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) announced and lack of dialogue and
verification by the voters themselves feed latent
but widespread suspicions in the opposition and
To ensure credible
elections, it is necessary to improve transparency,
respect the electoral law and establish a forum for
dialogue between INEC, the parties and civil
Ituri and North and
South Kivu form a key region for two reasons: they
are the sole part of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) still harbouring armed groups, and they
provided an important reservoir of votes for the
ruling party in the 2006 elections.
With Katanga and
Maniema, it was the East – Orientale (including
Ituri) and the Kivus – that elected Joseph Kabila
and his People’s Party for Reconstruction and
Democracy (PPRD), giving it more than 90 per cent
political landscape has changed in this region: an
opposition party has emerged – the Congolese Union
for the Nation (UNC) led by Vital Kamerhe, the
former chair of the National Assembly – and the
popularity of the government is falling due to
In an area that is
electorally and militarily strategic, the campaign
has just begun, in an atmosphere of relative
political freedom that does not exclude, however,
some restrictions and intimidation.
Access to the media
remains unbalanced, and there is pressure on the
opposition, especially the UNC, because it is very
active in this region.
Nevertheless, due to
the asymmetry of political forces, local politicians
regard the presidential election as already decided
in the East and the main stakes to be the
legislative and provincial elections.
The electoral process
in the East has generated suspicion on a national
scale that risks developing into a crisis of
confidence in the whole electoral process. Based on
Crisis Group’s regional observations, the following
measures should be taken across the country:
• the international community should observe the
entire electoral process in detail, particularly in
• political parties and civil society should prepare
now for observing the voting, and the former should
be allowed to campaign freely;
• INEC should scrupulously respect the electoral
code, especially regarding accreditation of
observers, and should establish a formal platform
for dialogue with political parties and civil
society at both national and provincial level;
• INEC should establish transparent and widely
publicised procedures for receiving grievances from
civil society and the political parties regarding
the approaching elections;
• INEC should publish the voters list and the
breakdown of registration by district and territory
in 2006 and 2011 and publicly explain its
methodology for finalising the voters roll;
• INEC should establish a standardised procedure for
challenging the results and publish those results by
each voting station;
• the High Council for Media should quickly become
• all stakeholders in the electoral process should
accept the code of conduct introduced by the Special
Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN;
and the UN mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) should
encourage a more sustained respect for political
freedom and dialogue between INEC, the political
parties and civil society at national and provincial
level, since dialogue is the key element in building
• MONUSCO should continue to deploy its troops in
the areas where the armed groups are active;
• MONUSCO and the international community should
increase their crowd management training program for
the Congolese police;
• MONUSCO should increase its logistical support for
the timely distribution of electoral material; and
• the presidential majority and the opposition
should, for the contingency that postponement of the
elections cannot be avoided, negotiate an agreement
that sets a new deadline for the elections and
provides that government would limit itself to
routine business until they are held.
Having already analysed the main challenges of the
electoral process nationally in the report Congo:
The Electoral Dilemma, Crisis Group in this briefing
examines voter registration and the beginning of the
campaign on the ground in the East, putting the
preparations for elections in late 2011 in their
local context and highlighting the electoral stakes
in a region that remains fundamental for durable
stability in the country.
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"Ghana’s economy has recovered strongly since 2009"
– says IMF
5 September 2011
A team of advisers from the IMF last week concluded
their week long review of Ghana’s current economic
policy performance and challenges for 2012. The
team, which was led by Christina Daseking, said
after the review that "Ghana’s economy has recovered
strongly since the start of the IMF-supported
program in 2009".
The IMF team had discussions with the
country’s President - John Evans Atta-Mills,
Finance Minister - Kwabena Duffuor, Central
Bank Governor - Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, and
other senior officials, as well as
representatives from civil society and the
Ghana’s entry into the global oil production
league has sparked a lot of interests in the
country’s economic performance, especially
within Sub-sahara Africa.
How Ghana manages its oil wealth to grow
the economy, reduce its debt, tackle
inflation and combat poverty, must be at the
centre of Atta-Mills’ government strategy
aimed at improving the country’s
The IMF head of
mission to Ghana - Ms. Daseking, told reporters last
week, that: "Ghana’s economic growth is expected to
exceed 13 percent this year, boosted by the start of
oil production as well as strong activity in other
sectors of the economy".
If achieved, this forecast growth would be more
than double the average projected growth rate for
The government it seems is doing well in the
implementation of its monetary policy.
"Inflation is now firmly in single digits,
and the cedi has remained broadly stable
against the dollar, underpinned by an
improved external position" – says the IMF.
"A preliminary assessment of fiscal
performance during the first half of the
year shows strong improvements in tax
revenues over the same period in 2010. It
suggests that full-year fiscal targets are
achievable with continued control over
expenditures" – Ms. Daseking told reporters
There are very few
countries in the sub-region, if any, that are
able to boast of making any great impact in tackling
government borrowing. But the government of Atta-Mills
is leading the way as to how it can be done.
According to the IMF; "The government has also
cleared a sizeable part of its previous arrears,
which had contributed to high non-performing loans
in the banking sector."
But they had this advice for the government, not to
be complacent; "To avoid a re-emergence of arrears,
it will be important to continue strengthening
public expenditure management systems; ensure that
energy and other regulated prices are set at
cost-recovery levels; and keep the overall spending
envelope at a sustainable level."
Would the Ghanaian government heed this
The IMF believes that; "Prospects of a major scaling
up of infrastructure investment will place an even
higher premium on expenditure restraint in other
areas. A large financing package has been secured on
non-concessional terms, and it is important to
assess carefully the costs and benefits of the
financial arrangement and underlying projects."
In that regard, the IMF staff is said to have
"offered to work closely with the government on
assessing the projects’ impact on macroeconomic
stability and the sustainability of public debt.
This assessment will also hinge on the government’s
policy commitments in other areas, both in the 2012
budget and the medium term".
Speaking about the role of the Bank of Ghana in
achieving monetary stability, the IMF says that they
have "encouraged the Bank to further build up its
foreign reserve buffer, while carefully managing the
impact on domestic liquidity and allowing some
adjustments in the exchange rate in response to
But a major concern of the IMF team in Ghana is to
ensure that the Bank 'maintains low inflation in the
context of sizeable foreign currency inflows'.
Yet, the IMF looks into Ghana’s future with
some optimism. It says that; "Going forward, close
coordination between fiscal and monetary policy will
remain important to avoid a re-emergence of high
inflation and an associated erosion of real incomes,
which particularly harms the poor."
The fifth review of Ghana’s IMF-supported program
under the Extended Credit Facility, will take place
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AIDS the Red Card initiative launched at All-Africa
Games in Mozambique
Director of the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Michel Sidibé
and Mozambique’s Minister of Youth and
Sports Pedrito Caetano, launched the UNAIDS
Give AIDS the Red Card initiative yesterday,
Friday, 2 August, 2011, at the Joaquim
Chissano International Conference Centre in
announcement was made on the eve of the 10th
All-Africa Games, the continent’s largest
multi-sports tournament, under the patronage
of Dr. Aires Aly Bonifácio, Prime Minister
the numbers of new HIV infections is nowhere
more imperative or urgent than in Africa,"
said Mr Sidibé.
"The All-Africa Games
are a great occasion to raise wide awareness about
intensifying efforts to reach UNAIDS’ vision of Zero
new infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero
"Sport brings people together and is especially
popular among young people. I urge all the
participants and fans across Africa watching the
All-Africa Games to learn the facts about HIV
prevention and give AIDS the Red Card," said Mr
Among prominent personalities expected to attend the
launch are former Mozambican President Joaquim
Alberto Chissano, Graça Machel, wife of former South
African President Nelson Mandela, and leading
The UNAIDS Give AIDS the Red Card campaign was
introduced at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South
Africa with the support of 28 team captains.
Captains of six teams at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World
Cup in Germany also endorsed the initiative.
At the Maputo event, the first Africa-wide launch
of the initiative, the heads of national delegations
to the Games, including presidents of National
Olympic Committees and Ministers of Sport from 47
participating countries, are signing a pledge to
support the Give AIDS the Red Card campaign for Zero
new infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero
The campaign aims to raise awareness and mobilize
action to strengthen the response to HIV and
accelerate progress across Africa.
"By signing the pledge, each delegation is agreeing
to set up a national plan of action on the UNAIDS
Give AIDS the Red Card in consultation with UNAIDS
offices and national AIDS councils upon return in
their respective countries," said Dr. Djibril Diallo,
Senior Adviser to the UNAIDS Executive Director.
"The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Equatorial
Guinea and Gabon will be the next platform for
pan-African mobilization of the initiative," he
welcoming 5,000 athletes who will compete in 23
sports during the Games, including: athletics (track
and field events), badminton, basketball, boxing,
canoeing, chess, cycling, football, gymnastics,
handball, judo, karate, netball, rowing, sailing,
shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis,
triathlon, volleyball and weightlifting.
continues to be the region most affected by HIV,
with an estimated 22.5 million people living with
the virus in the region representing 68% of the
global total. However significant progress is being
made in the region.
In 22 countries, the HIV incidence rate declined
by more than 25% between 2001 and 2009.
World leaders meeting in New York at the 2011 UN
High-Level Meeting on AIDS agreed on far-reaching
targets to halve new infections through sexual
transmission and drug use, eliminate new HIV
infections among children, and reduce TB-related
AIDS deaths by half—all by 2015.
The Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS also urged
countries to embrace treatment for prevention, put
15 million people on treatment and reinforced the
call for universal access to HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support by 2015.
UNAIDS - the Joint United Nations Programme on
HIV/AIDS, is an innovative United Nations
partnership that leads and inspires the world in
achieving universal access to HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support.
Learn more at:
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a peaceful man" says President Koroma
3 September 2011
Koroma has for the fourth year in office
joined a cross section of the Muslim
community in Sierra Leone for the Eid
prayer, which took place last Tuesday,
marking the end of Ramadan.
devout Christian, the President as with the
majority of Sierra Leoneans not only
acknowledges the country’s secularism, but
celebrates its inter-religious friendships
The President was in
Port Loko last Tuesday, where he joined hundreds of
local people in prayer and celebration of the end of
twenty-nine days of fasting. According to report
from State House, President Koroma took the
opportunity after the Eid prayers to tell the nation
that he is a man of peace.
This affirmation came
in response to widespread condemnation, following
the recent and on-going verbal attack by government
ministers against the opposition SLPP, for electing
former military strongman – Julius Maada Bio as
their presidential candidate for the 2012 elections.
"I am not a born
again peacemaker. I am not a born again democrat,
and I am a peaceful man. I have been peaceful
throughout my life and will remain a man of peace,"
the President told his crowd of supporters in Port
The President is said
to have received warm and thunderous cheers and
jubilations from the congeration and onlookers, as
they celebrated the end of Ramadan.
the congregation that; "coming to Port Loko
is not by mistake. I have been to Port Loko
before becoming President, and since the
days of the late S.I. Koroma", as he
acknowledged the appreciation shown by the
community for his delivery on promises made
during the 2007 presidential campaign. But
he cautioned the people of Port Loko to
Chief Imam - Alhaji Hassan Sankoh thanked
Allah for blessing the congregation during
the holy month of Ramadan, and for President
Koroma joining the Muslim community of Port
Loko in prayer.
blessing has touched the district and the people of
Sierra Leone," says the Imam, who also expressed his
gratitude for the President’s decision to reappoint
Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay as Special Adviser to the
The Minister of
Political and Public Affairs - Alhaji Alpha Kanu,
delivered a citation from the Holy Quran.
But what may
have come as a surprise to many, was Alpha
Kanu’s suggestion to the congregation that;
'whenever a congregation assembles, an Imam
should be chosen from among them to lead,
which was why President Koroma addressed the
Muslim community of Port Loko district'.
Koroma later had an informal launch with the
Muslim community at the Port Loko District
Also present to
celebrate Eid in Port Loko, were the Special Adviser
to the President - Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay,
dignitaries of the Port Loko district council, and
members of parliament.
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