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The President’s Legacy, Our Duty to Protect! PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Baimba Sesay-CHINA   
Thursday, 23 February 2017 21:01

With a date announced for the 2018 general elections, a platform has been provided for parties to officially start the process of ensuring victory at the end. This can be a herculean task for the next one year, politically speaking.

Where there had been political mudslinging and infighting for close to a decade, behind-the scene smokescreen peace process had to be initiated even if for the pleasure of supporters and other stakeholders. Well, can such moves be a clear ruse? Only time will tell!

With huge achievements scored by the governing party, efforts should yet not be reduced in ensuring the people-the masses are informed, told of what has been achieved and what lies ahead should there be a change in political leadership, nationally.

Hard facts, a national change in partisan leadership in 2018 would mean a reverse in whatever gains we have made over the years. This should be discouraged, democratically, for the very good of the country’s growth trajectory!

The All People’s Congress is seeking a third political mandate from the voters. It democratically, in 2007 removed a governing party-SLPP from political power, thanks to the likable character, added to other features of then Opposition Leader and later President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. It is politically correct to conclude, that President Ernest Bai Koroma has been a determinant force in reshaping the APC today. He has been a master player in the very growth of the Party. The Party removed brutally from power in 1992, feared to be associated with, is no more the APC we have today!

Not only in building the strength  of his Party and in allowing an open political space for opposition parties, the President’s eight years in office have accounted hugely for the growth the country has undergone. From sustaining her democratic credentials, to improving her image globally, building a broken infrastructure nationally(including perceived Opposition strongholds), fighting graft, building the economy and promoting women and generally gender related issues, the country has come a long way, thanks to the collective will and the astute leadership  of the President.  

There has been the creation of institutional frameworks added to the physical and human infrastructural foundations; government’s expenditure profile had to be tilted towards growth related spending, with an enlarged total capital expenditure. We witnessed an extremely sturdy revenue performance, due to an improved collection of domestic taxes with a dedicated workforce.NRA today talks about trillions in their revenue collection drive. Impressive!

The launch of the Free Health Care Initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five in April of 2010 resulted to massive increase in the use of health services and better health care access across the country. Though there still are challenges, what though became apparent is, that the number of health facilities increased by an encouraging percentage, with  facilities, including maternity wards, basic emergency obstetric and newborn care centres, new referral hospitals and medical stores established or being constructed.

The enactment by the country, in 2008, of the most aggressive anti-corruption legislation in the region, if not the continent saw us making steady and tremendous progress in tackling graft, with public officials being chased and made to account for their actions. The country continues to make strides in promoting integrity and fighting widespread Corruption.

Human rights and political freedom remained guaranteed, with no politician or media practitioner jailed. Generally, government’s support for the autonomy of the country’s Human Right Commission has been outstanding and commendable, thus eventually creating the platform for it to improve its effectiveness resulting in its elevation to “A” status by the United Nations.

Not only has the commission maintained a Comprehensive Annual State of Human Rights Report, it also has enabled government successfully report and participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. The country now remains committed to international peace and stability, and contributing to regional peace efforts thus eventually creating a tough self-assured democratic and nonviolent nation, accomplished with the support of the global community.

This is very important-we do have a legacy to protect and maintain first as a country and as a political Party the APC-the legacy of this President and government. The best we could do to protect these legacies is returning the party to power come 2018. But bulk of such work depends on what we do in the coming months as a political party, leading to the general elections. There is no way we could allow the accomplishments of this government be taken to the gallows of political execution (ballot box) and be killed (by allowing a defeat come 2018). This means, working assiduously and collectively if such should be protected and the work should start now and it involves a united force. The work starts now!  

Elections are not won on the day ballots are cast, rather through a long steady democratic process; talking to party members, ensuring they are registered to vote and convincing them to vote on the day of voting. It is strategic to have a candidate that could get us what President Ernest Koroma got us during the last elections, and eventually demonstrating our readiness to support the single candidate we shall be having!  

Our Members of Parliament and councilors- including Chairpersons of Councils are core players in all of this. They should be one of many platforms upon which the party could stand, in reaching the desire goal. The work they may have done should all be contributing factors.  A win in the 2018 general elections can be a gift we could offer ourselves for his (Party Leader and Chairman) legacy, it is our duty to protect!

The APC is a mass Party; the people being the cornerstone upon which Party strength is built. The bigger picture is the Party and it ideals; the desire of one should not undermine the aspirations of all and sundry. At the end, we should be able to come together as we have always done for there is victory for us in the struggle!

 

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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In Sierra Leone, the notion of corporate social responsibility has always been associated with the private sector. No wonder some people see the active involvement of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in corporate social activities as strange, and many have opined that a tax collecting body should not be engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.

However, the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate image is immense, even for tax collecting bodies. The perception that tax collectors are monsters vigorously bent on collecting people's earnings with no care for the environment or the vulnerable in the community they operate is evolving. Indeed, many revenue authorities in Africa are today socially responsible.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in an article in its website argues that "the nature of Revenue Collectors' mandate makes them the hill of the nation such that whatever they do is mirrored and echoed by many".

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Media News

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The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.

In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.

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Commentary

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh: A New Broom in Sierra Leone Politics

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is a household name in Sierra Leone, mostly because of his“Good Governance” popular radio programme called monologue. In fact the programme has become sopopular that most people prefer to call the presenter “Mr. Monologue”. Recently Mr. Monologue said in two or three of his programmes that he would be going intopolitics. It looked like a joke the first time he said it. But after saying it over threeor four times it is no longer a joke.

So Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is going into politics in 2018. Those who are very closeto him will tell you that this is a fact. The Doctor has made up his mind. Afterdiscussing and editing serious national issues on newspaper pages and on the airwaves for almost twenty five years, hehas decided that he cannot achieve much for the people behind the microphone and the pen. He now wants toengage into something that will make a direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

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Precious Minerals, Public Trust and Government’s Openness

By late 2001, the Anti Corruption Commission arrested then Sierra Leone's  transport and communications minister, together with his wife, “for involvement in illegal diamond mining” in Kenema district.  Large quantum of illicit diamonds had been found in their possession, according to a BBC report at the time.

With some diamonds said to have been smuggled out of the country by the minister, the incident happened at a time when the rebel war was raging and the key perpetrators- the RUF were also seriously involved in illicit mining and smuggling. The minister was later jailed in 2003 for two years for illegal possession of diamonds.

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The two who had not been on speaking terms were reconciled. Both promised to work together in the interest of peace in the family. In this vein, Madam Marian Kamara agreed to cancel a U$ 400 debt owed by Mr. Mansaray. 

While the tension between the two had been lingering several years,Mr. Mansaray decided to report the matter to the Board in Freetown when he got information that Madam Marian Kamara was planning to sell theproperty.   The owner of the property who is the sister of both parties had died over a decade ago without leaving a will.

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As the Legal Aid Board prepares to provide legal assistance to indigents and children engaged in election related violence, it has successfully secured the discharge of a twenty-five old from Wilberforce in the West of Freetown charged with violence.

The Legal Aid Defence Counsel Hadiru Daboh secured the discharge after drawing the court’s attention to the failure of the complainant to attend court sittings for seven consecutive adjournments. What’s more, the complainant has not furnished the court with any reasons for his absence. Magistrate I.S. Bangura agreed with the Defence Counsel and discharged the matter. He noted that discharge would not stop the prosecution from reinstating the matter in future.

The accused, Alpha Kanuwho plied his trade as driver and apprentice at the Wilberforce lorry park got involved in a fight with his boss Michael Aruna in February 2017. He was arrested and taken to the Congo Cross Police station following a complaint by his boss. According to Alpha Kanu, his injuries were ignored by the police even though they were more serious. He spent fifteen days at the Congo police station before the matter was charged to court.

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Development

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The exercise is designed to improve cooperation andinformation sharing, and to refine tactics, techniques and procedures among participating nations.

The “Obangame Express”exercise will be based on realistic modern-day scenarios such as piracy, illegal fishing and hijacking.  During the exercise,Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will be challenged to recognize illicit acts and share trackinginformation with other MOCs throughout the region.

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AUK who is a Political and Policy Analyst working in Australia said the mass registration of every citizen is a very important process in the development agenda of the country. He therefore appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put politics aside and understand that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective service delivery and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies.

He stressed that the national civil registration authority is created to promote a greater sense of nationalism and common identity.

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