Abdulai Braima: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 February 2019:
Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland – Mr Tamba Lamina was addressing an energised gathering of a cross section of Kono residents in the UK, at a packed welcoming ceremony organised yesterday in South East London by an umbrella group of all main Kono Associations in the United Kingdom.
The well-ordered occasion was put together to honour High Commissioner Tamba Lamina and Deputy High Commissioner Agnes Dougba Macauley and their respective spouses, who were also in attendance – Mrs. Salma Lamina and Mr. Charlie Ojukutu Macauley.
Thanking the organisers and all present at the “welcoming ceremony”, the High Commissioner expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to President Julius Maada Bio for “his bold and brilliant vision for the nation in general and for Kono in particular”.
High Commissioner Lamina encouraged his Kono folks to come together and to continue working together as a single unit of progress-nurturing citizens of Sierra Leone.
He acknowledged that “there are times when things do not go smoothly in every organisation” but emphasised that “it is precisely at such testy times when quality leadership is highly needed”.
The High Commissioner passionately appealed to members and all well-wishers of Kono district to actively support the Kono university project by “helping to make sure that our schools have meaningful functioning laboratories”.
“The new university will attract investment and help create employment opportunities in Kono for all Sierra Leoneans as well as for people outside of Sierra Leone. He however warned that “if our own children are not qualified enough to be accepted into the university system, then students from other areas will naturally come in there to utilise the facilities provided by the university.”
Speaking about the commendable magnitude of work being undertaken by the New Direction government “within such a short breath of time” High Commissioner Lamina expressed his satisfaction for what has already been accomplished, adding: “To all those who doubted the ability of President Bio to perform as promised, we are very proud to present the man and his bold endeavours as our evidence on which we are prepared to be judged”.
He made reference to the commencement of several key policy programs, including providing access to free quality education for all school going children, which many had earlier pronounced as “impossibilities”.
The High Commissioner also pointed out that some critiques have expressed concern over what they perceived as the president taking on “too much too soon”.
To those critics his reply was simple: “there is so much to be done and we have already wasted so much time that we don’t have the luxury of any more time to be wasted”.
Earlier on, to a sustained crescendo of endearing applause, the Deputy High Commissioner – Mrs. Agnes Dougba Macauley, cautioned the Kono people against nursing division and steering misunderstanding.
Addressing the gathering in her usual soft and sensible tone, Mrs. Macauley emphasised the need for “unity and patriotism”; highlighting this as “the bedrock for progress and development”.
She expressed strong faith in the ability and the preparedness of the people of Kono to firmly unite behind the wings of progress.
Mrs Macauley thanked the organisers of the occasion for showing “such level of love and honour” for herself, the High Commissioner, and for their respective families, as well as for the nation of Sierra Leone.
The ceremony which was chaired by Mr. Bockarie Lahai went well into the night with impassioned positive speeches from members and the leadership of the various Kono groups present: the Kono District Development Association (KDDA); the Yengema Development Association (YENDA) and the Kono Women’s Organisation (KWO).
The speakers included the KDDA Chairman, Mr. Aiah Tondoneh who gave the welcome address; the Chairman for YENDA Mr. Makieu Sheik; the President of the KWO – Mrs. Rosaline Kanu; Mr. Sahr S. Kabba and Dr. Kai Ngegba. The vote of thanks was gracefully delivered by Mrs. Aminata Jerry-Browne.
The entire programme which was warmly wrapped in a delicious variety of sumptuous cuisine, was conclusively capped with a captivating traditional Kono dance-musical routine, during which both honoured senior diplomats, skilfully demonstrated that they are as grounded on the dance floor as they ever can be on the High Table.