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LAB train staff on how to contribute to credible elections
Written by Expotimes   
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 18:18

One hundred and forty-two (142) Legal Aid Board staff and partners - WANPOT Comedians, Campaign for Human Rights and Development International, Local Police Partnership Board and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) - have benefited from a two-day United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded capacity-building training on ensuring free, fair and credible elections.

The training was conducted at the Civil Service Training College on State Avenue, Tower Hill from 29 to 30 September 2017. It is meant to equip and prepare the Board’s staff and partners to address challenges which have the potential of undermining the peace and credibility of the elections.

With this training the Board’s staff across the country will be able to identify and mediate disputes which in the past have erupted into violence during the electioneering period because of political differences. Also, community outreach events on elections will be organized to counter divisive messages by political parties and their agents.

In addition, it will build the capacity of the Board’s staff and partners in increasing their knowledge on the Public Elections Act 2012 with particular emphasis on Electoral Offences, Causes of Election Disputes, Legal Framework for Elections Management and exploring alternative ways of resolving election disputes outside the courts through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The Chairperson for the training, Lawyer Francis Gabiddon said the country has made progress in conducting peaceful elections since the reintroduction of party democratic elections in 1996. He said that continued peace and stability will depend to a large extent on the credibility of the March 2018 Elections. He recommended that the country should begin to look at resolving election disputes outside the court. ‘We should use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve some of the disputes,’ he said.

The Commissioner for the North, National Electoral Commission, Mr. Gibril Sesay welcomed UNDP’s support to the electoral process and underlined the Commission’s commitment to working with partners to deliver credible elections. He noted the Public Elections Act 2012 consolidates laws and instruments relevant to the electoral process. He said that there are threats to the electoral process such as the use of secret society to intimidate voters. He disclosed that 1,539 people were allegedly involved in double registration.

The Team Lead for Governance at UNDP, Ms. Annette Nalwoga said the training is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund through the UNDP. She said Sierra Leone has made progress in conducting peaceful elections which it should build on going into the March 2018 Elections. She said this is the first election that the UN Security Council is not directly involved in. She pointed out that the UNDP is also funding other partners to address issues that may arise before, during and after elections. This includes the Office of National Security, The Sierra Leone Police, Judiciary and the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone.

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said the training will empower staff to contribute in a meaningful way in enhancing free, fair and violent free elections. ‘This exercise is of extreme importance to the Board’s clients in ensuring that through our work we contribute to ensuring free, fair and violent-free elections,’ she stressed. ‘By undertaking this function, we will be able to provide effective legal education and representation for clients in the districts, through our Community Advisory Bureaus and Trusted Partners.’ She said the Board’s ADR service has been effective in reducing the number of cases taken to the courts noting this will be replicated with election related disputes.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said the Board will embark on legal education, advice on issues of electoral violence and provide a deeper understanding of the electoral laws to educate the Board’s clients on the electoral offences and methods by which electoral cases and disputes can be mediated.

The Consultant for the training, the Head of Department for Peace & Conflict Studies at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Madam Memunatu Pratt presented papers on Elections and Elections Management; Elections, Peace and Conflict Prevention Framework; Alternative Elections Dispute Mechanisms; Causes of Electoral Violence and Conflict Mitigation and Causes of Electoral Violence and Legal Framework in Sierra Leone.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and Lawyer Francis Gabiddon presented a paper on the Public Elections Act 2012 which included a detailed explanation of the electoral offences.

The training was climaxed with group work focusing on Electoral violence, Inter Political Party Disputes, legal education and nonviolent messages and kinds of dispute resolution mechanisms. Also, the WANPOT Comedians staged a performance on election related violence and the need to accommodate political differences.



26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


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John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.


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Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.




Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”


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The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke!

Thanks to AYV partnered by AFCOM, I was able to followthe live coverage of the APC and SLPP conventions on my mobile phone from my base in the UK.It was good that both conventions took place simultaneously last week end (October 15-16, 2017) because, at the very least, it provided the opportunity to those keenly following the two historic events to compare and contrast them, not least in terms of democratic processes and procedures. Let me start by talking about how I saw the APC convention held in Makeni, then compare,and contrast it with what I saw at the SLPP convention held in Freetown.


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EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.


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According to sources, Mr. Nahim-Koroma’s problem started since 2011 when he put up resistance and went further to stop his family not to initiate his two daughters Rabiatu and Aliyah Nahim-Koroma into the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) locally called bondo society in Sierra Leone.

A family member told this medium that since 2011 to date Abdul Nahim-Koroma’s life as well as his family members are in constant threats.



U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.



PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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