Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 June 2017
Social media reports of the death last night of Sierra Leone’s president Koroma went viral today, but has been quickly debunked by senior government officials. The Attorney General and minister of Justice – Joseph Kamara was contacted by the Sierra Leone Telegraph to verify the story.
The Attorney General’s response was emphatically clear. He said: “The story is absolutely false. The president is alive and kicking.”
But sources close to the president told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that although the 63-year-old president has had his fair share of poor health in the past, but with his frequent health check-ups overseas and the occasional game of squash, he is more than managing to stay fit and healthy.
Observers of the president’s recent hectic schedule commented that president Koroma is beginning to look quite tired, overweight and unwell.
The president has got less than ten months before handing over power to his successor, after general and presidential elections are held in March 2018.
Mohamed Bangura – the minister of information and communications has issued this statement to the public, strongly denying reports of the death of the president:
“Our attention has been drawn to news making rounds on social media indicating that the president Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has passed away. the ministry of information, on behalf of the government, wishes to inform all Sierra Leoneans and the general public that such an insinuation about the president is not only totally false and unfounded, but a complete figment of the imagination of those purporting such false and fake news.
“President Koroma is hale and hearty and remains fully committed to the implementation of the agenda for prosperity; particularly at this crucial time in the governance of the country when the country is preparing for national elections in 2018. the public would recall that his excellency has just returned from a very successful ECOWAS meeting in Liberia where he held bilateral discussions on a wide range of issues bordering on national and regional development. (Photo: President Koroma looking rather tired during his recent visit to the Middle East and the Mediterranean).
“Yesterday, June 9, 2017, he unveiled the jersey of the national team, Leone Stars, as it prepares for the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya.
“We therefore call on all Sierra Leoneans and fans to go to the Saka Stevens stadium to support Leone Stars to victory.
“We consider this misrepresentation of the hard work of his excellency to be the work of ill-motivated individuals who are bent on distracting him from the actualization of the agenda for prosperity.
“As a government that believes in free speech, we continue to recognise the importance of the social media, especially if it is used responsibly in promoting good governance, democracy, the rule of law, peace and stability and wish to call on the general public to stop peddling such fake news that will defeat the true purpose of freedom of expression.
“Once again, the ministry wishes to reiterate the facts here that HE Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is alive and fully committed to the transformation of this country and the general public should go about their normal business.”
The Sierra Leone Telegraph wishes the president well.