President Koroma faces protest in New York

Dennis Kabatto

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 July 2015

London protest 8

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest B. Koroma will arrive in New York on Thursday, 9th July, to attend a high-level summit at the UN, despite a planned protest by Concerned Sierra Leoneans USA. (Photo: Protesters in London).

“UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban will convene the conference on International Ebola Recovery on July 10, bringing together the three affected countries, the United Nations and the international community,” David Nabarro, UN Secretary-General Special Envoy on Ebola said in a statement responding to an inquiry for this story.

“The purpose of the conference is to focus on targeted investments for the three countries in order to support recovery priorities. There will be an initial focus on early recovery over a 24 month time-frame.”

The Conference comes hard on the heels of Ebola resurgence in Liberia, where four new confirmed cases were reported since June 29, almost two months after the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola free in May.

Sierra Leone has also reported 8 new cases and Guinea 12 cases, respectively during the same period.

President Koroma - fiber optics

As of June 26, an overall total of 27,514 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola were reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and 11, 220 reported deaths, according to an External Situation Report issued by the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

Concerned Sierra Leoneans USA (CSL) – a pro democracy group in the Diaspora, has staged three previous demonstrations against President Koroma (Photo).

The Group is demanding accountability for the missing $14 million Ebola funds and the reinstatement of Vice President Sam Sumana.

They have issued a statement announcing another protest campaign to coincide with the UN Conference on Friday at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, near the UN Headquarters.

Mustapha Wai Chairman Executive Board USAMustapha Wai, Chairman of the Executive Board of CSL (Photo), said that as part of his organization’s contribution to the Ebola recovery effort, they are undertaking an Ebola Recovery Campaign to raise awareness and to educate the public.

“This campaign is intended to engage the international community as well as the Sierra Leone Government in ways that will ensure that the recovery efforts meet the imperatives to build back effective, inclusive and resilient institutions and decentralized services,” he said in a statement via face book chat.

When asked what is the Ebola Trust Fund aggregate total and how funds are disbursed based on Mr. Wai’s assertion, UN Special Envoy on Ebola, Nabarro said:  “USD 141 million has been deposited into the Secretary General’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund, which includes money raised in 2014 and 2015. Of this, USD 129 million has been disbursed so far to support a range of activities, including logistical operations, epidemiological surveillance, as well as social mobilization and community engagement.”

“The funds support implementation of national priorities and are routed through UN system agencies.  The Fund is overseen by an advisory committee which includes representatives from the Governments of the three affected countries and of the contributing donor representatives,” Mr. Nabarro said.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leoneans for Peace in America and members of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) are planning a counter rally in support of President Koroma at the same venue.

“The so-called Concerned Sierra Leonean USA, are being disrespectful, ridiculing the president in the eyes of the world. Though they have a constitutional right to disagree with some of the government’s policies, but this blatant disregard and contemptuous attitude towards the government and the people of Sierra Leone does not benefit their objectives,” said Samuel Gbalo Koroma, President of  APC (New York Chapter), who is organizing the counter-rally.

1 Comment

  1. Same old APC mentality, you can not disagree with them. They are always defensive about their image. Here in America, we have the right to say what ever we feel about our government.

    President Koroma is not a saint. He is today enjoying the democratic foundation established by the last SLPP government.

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