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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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Business News

Four illegal fishing cases found in Sierra Leone in four days

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.

In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.

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Media News

Press Freedom under Siege in West Africa: 30 Media Workers Arrested in 38 Days

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

A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN

The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.

A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.  

The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.

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View Point

ELECTION IS A TESTIMONY TO PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.

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News - Press Release

Police reject security for Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally

April 24th 2017: On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, Movement for Social Progress (MSP) had requested the Sierra Leone Police to provide the necessary security for a peaceful Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally that was planned to coincide with the official celebrations. The procession was planned to start from Clock Tower to Brima Atouga Stadium in the East end of the city while the official events are scheduled to take place in the West end of the city.

In a meeting with senior members of the Sierra Leone Police at the SLP headquarters, on Monday 24th April attended by the Inspector General, Francis Munu, the Head of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Al-Sheikh Kamara, AIG Memuna Konteh Jalloh, AIG FUK Dabor, among others, the police top brass told members of MSP that they would not be able to provide security for the procession and rally.

The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, informed the meeting that they were overstretched with covering the official events, the traditional masquerade (or Odele) parade as well as the Lantern Parade on the eve of Independence.

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Society -Local News

Malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population - Deputy Health Minister

Sierra Leone has joined other countries in the world to commemorated World Malaria Day on the theme: “End Malaria For Good” with the slogan: “Sleep under a Mosquito net always” on Tuesday April 25, 2017 at the St. Anthony Parish hall Brookfields in Freetown.

Launching the World Malaria Day 2017, the Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey 2016 Report and the Sierra Leone Malaria Business Plan 2016 -2018, the Deputy Health and Sanitation  Minister 1, Madam Madina Rahman said malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population and presents an alarming threat to global development.

She informed her audience that as of 2016, an estimated 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population in 97 countries and territories including Sierra Leone are at risk of being infected with malaria.

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Development

LAB wants transports to allocate seats to the blind

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has disclosed plans to launch a White Cane Campaign in the coming weeks.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the Waterloo Community including stakeholders at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017 in a meeting to plan the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the WesternArea Rural District on 6 May 2017.

She noted that the campaign will seek to address the challenges faced by blind people in using public transport. ‘Blind people have been suffering in silence for far too long,’ she said. ‘They have been discriminated against because of their disability and this cannot be tolerated.’

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Politics

SAM SUMANA TRAVELS TO GHANA ON "EMERGENCY TRAVEL CERTIFICATE"
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate",  en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
 
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
 
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes  after the aircraft  landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".
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