President Ernest Bai Koroma Thursday 29 January called on all Sierra Leoneans and development partners to remain focused in the fight against the waning Ebola virus disease. The president made this call while receiving Oxfam’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mark Goldring at State House, Freetown.
Whilst commending Oxfam for galvanizing the international community to pay keen attention to Sierra Leone, President Koroma underscored the significance of remaining focused and vigilant even as the country continues to experience a downtrend of the virus, adding that this is not the time to remain complacent. “We have to remain focused until we get through the 42 Days set by the World Health Organization,” he said.
As the number of new infections continues to dwindle, the president emphasized it will be judicious to use this transition period to kick start other social services, including the reopening of schools. He underscored the need for a lot of preparatory work, and noted that medical institutions require training and rehabilitation in order to encourage people to report to the nearest Peripheral Health Unit (PHU).
In as much as government was preoccupied with the reopening of schools, the president maintained that schools across the country must be safe, ensuring water and sanitation facilities as well as training teachers before resumption of their activities. He added that government is putting together a post-Ebola recovery plan and will enhance an effective partnership with its development partners in addressing the challenges and moving forward.
Oxfam’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Goldring on behalf of Oxfam expressed appreciation for the leadership of President Koroma in the fight against Ebola. He maintained that the world was slow in responding to the outbreak and informed the president of the issued press release by the organization to pay attention to Sierra Leone with specific attention to immediate recovery and long term development. Mr. Goldring registered their commitment to work in a more proactive way alongside the Ministry of Water Resources. He also mentioned the organization’s support to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project in the country.
The Deputy Minister of Water Resources Alhaji Foday Bayoh said Oxfam is one of the reliable partners in the WASH project.
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.
New World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, Mr. Pamindar Brer, on Friday 13 November expressed frustration regarding the high cost of mobile tariffs, even when the country has moved from satellite to fibre optic.
Speaking to a cross section of newspaper editors, many issues were discussed on which the Bank is currently engaged in as its support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone, whom he praised for their resilience during the ebola crisis.
He said USD126 million has been provided by the World bank to Sierra Leone to help in its post ebola recovery – an amount that should be mainly used to strengthen the health sector.
On Monday November 2, 2015, member organisations of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), made up of the nine most prominent free expression rights advocacy organisations on the continent, joined the global press freedom community to mark the UN-designated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
AFEX is made up of the Centre for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) in Liberia; Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Nigeria; Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA); Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Ghana; National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Somalia; Journalists en Danger (JED) in Democratic Republic of Congo; Human Rights Network of Journalists (HRNJ-U) in Uganda; Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in Uganda; and the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) in Senegal.
Here are brief highlights of activities carried out by AFEX members to highlight the need for countries to protect journalists and to punish crimes against journalists as a way of fighting impunity.
THAT DEPLORABLE HOUSING CRISIS OF OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL
In spite of the increment made by the Government of Sierra Leone to allocate about twenty million United States Dollars for the construction of new military barracks across the country, personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) are still complaining over what many describe as “deplorable housing crisis” especially during the raining seasons.
Speaking to The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans on condition of anonymity at the Wilberforce military barrack, one RSLAF Personnel informed that since he enrolled in the military on 4th April 1988, much has not been done to salvage the current housing crisis the military is faced with. He added that, “When I was recruited the morale of the military was exceptional and housing was never a problem as we were all provided an apartment together with our families.”
According to him, those glorious days degenerated with no end in sight, noting “our bosses are not sincere as what they write on papers and say on radio is not what they do.” He said the Ordinary Ranks are hugely suffering the brunt of the housing problem, adding that the salary is not encouraging as it cannot provide them affordable and accessible housing. He went on to say that the available houses in town especially Freetown is expensive and they also need to take care of their children. He said they are worried and frustrated at any time we approaches the raining season. He said most of the houses, apart from the officers’ quarters, leaks and the Estate Department has neglected its duties due to insufficient funds.
He noted that most of the Non Commissioned Officers and their families at the Wilberforce Barracks used “Down the Gutter” to attend to nature because the houses are without toilets. He added that the place called “Down the Gutter” is used for three purposes namely: As toilet, laundry and bathing.
Sierra Leone poor performance in global entrepreneurship development
Standfirst - With the recent Global Entrepreneurship Index showing Sierra Leone to be right near the bottom of the table when it comes to commerce, we need to start paying serious attention to the problem
READING through the recent Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) for 2016 one cannot but observe the fact that Sierra Leone comes a disturbing and worrying 128th out of the 132 countries surveyed.
Apart from the fact that we are close to the bottom of the table, it is also frightening to realise that Sierra Leone slipped five places down from last year’s ranking when we were 123rd. Apart from the fact that Sierra Leone has performed badly globally, we are also at the bottom of ranking among African countries according to the GEI report.
Sierra Leone stands below the likes of Uganda (123), Benin (124), Burkina Faso (126), Madagascar (127), Mauritania (129), Malawi (130), Burundi (131) and Chad (132) according to the ranking prepared by the Washington-based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute. Our score is 14.6 compared to the best score of 86.2 by the top-ranking country, the United States, which is followed by Canada, Australia, Denmark and Sweden.
NEW YORK/LUSAKA, 26 November 2015 – If current levels persist, the total number of child brides in Africa will rise from 125 million to 310 million by 2050, according to a UNICEF report released at the African Union Girls Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, today.
UNICEF’s statistical report, A Profile of Child Marriage in Africa, points to slow rates of reduction, combined with rapid population growth, as major causes for the projected increase. In all other regions of the world, current rates of reduction and demographic trends mean there will be fewer child brides each year. By 2050 Africa will surpass South Asia as the region with the highest number of women aged 20 to 24 who were married as children.
“Child marriage generates norms that have become increasingly difficult to exterminate – norms that undermine the value of our women,” said Chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma. “Through greater awareness, teamed with a collaborative approach, the crippling effects of child marriage can be eradicated.”
As the budget was safely debated and concluded, many members of parliament championed the debate very well in order to acknowledge the achievement and challenges of the government.
The budget for 2016 spelled out what the government intended to do for MDA's activities and that of smooth running of government activities for the fiscal year 2016.
In line of this backdrop, the Member of Parliament representing Constituency 029 Bombali District, Hon. Salieu Osman Sesay, commonly called SOS, as referred to the budget as a"transitional budget" that will transform Sierra Leone's economy from the ashes of Ebola to the agenda for prosperity.Transforming the economy, he said, through capital, labour, and infrastructure development.
ABC Secretariat Fighting to Curb Cliques and Cultism
The Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat in a bid to curb the rising spate of gangsterism and occultism in the country on Friday, 20th September, 2015 embarked on a fact-finding mission in Bo where there is an outburst of gang groups and cultism called ENMAX.
It could be recalled that on 8th November, 2025 youths who are supposed to be engaging on building their futures as the working force in society, decided to indulge into gang activities which resulted to violence in the Bo City which led to the incarceration of forty six youths to be remanded in police custody. .
According to the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Bo West Police Station, Chief Superintendent James P. Conteh, the incident started at a spelling competition where youths decided to go on the rampage and started to snatch people's property and seriously wounding others. And upon receiving the information about the gang activity, he ordered his Operational Commander to intervene immediately.
Sierra Leone has attended the 31st session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) hosted in Istanbul, Turkey from 22 – 26th November, 2015.
A three -man delegation headed by Minister of State, Office of the Vice President, Hon. Mohamed Alie Bah and accompanied by Special Adviser to the Vice President, Dr. Jengo Stevens and Deputy Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Peter Sam Kpakra, successfully represented their country in the five-day meeting where they dealt with a number of issues in capacity building and institutional strengthening in trade, transport and communications, tourism, agriculture, poverty alleviation and financial cooperation.
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who also doubles as Chairman of COMCEC, OIC Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani were amongst some of the world dignitaries that attended the inauguration of the conference.