''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 8

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Sunday December 2, 2012 - First Sunday in Advent and the preparation of Christians for the celebration of the days leading to the birth of the Living Christ as observed on Christmas Day. A Special Message from the outgoing Head of the Anglican Community, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.The outgoing Leader of the Anglican Community Archbishop Rowan Williams

The spiritual leader of the Anglican Community, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has sent a special message to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches in which he expressed his appreciation of the many manifestations of the Living Christ in all within and without the Anglican Community in the midst of differences on how Scripture is interpreted by the Church's diverse populations.

‘Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!’ (Colossians 3.4)

St Paul writes as though the reality of Christ’s life in his people never completely becomes visible in this life, in this world: the deepest truth of who we are in Jesus Christ is hidden. When we try to pretend that the holiness of Jesus is triumphantly visible in the Church, we are in danger of turning our minds away from the fact that the enduring power that sustains the Church is Christ alone, not our measures of success or coherence. But it is still true that – as Paul can say elsewhere, in II Corinthians, for example – the glory of the future can be seen from time to time in lives that are fully turned to the face of Jesus. As we advance into Advent, we need to keep both these insights in our minds: the treasure of the gospel is in earthenware pots, yet the glory of Christ can be seen in human faces. We have not arrived at the end of all things, but we long for it because we have seen something of its radiance and joy in the life of the Christian community and its worship and service. In the past ten years, these things have become more and more clear to me in my involvement in the Communion’s life. Our Communion has endured much suffering and confusion, and still lives with this in many ways; yet we are still privileged to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in different ways within our common life, and so are reminded by God’s grace that it is still Christ who lives secretly at the heart of our fellowship, and renews it day by day.

As I leave office at the end of the year, there will of course be some self-questioning for me at the thought of much left undone and unresolved; but more importantly there is also a great sense of thanksgiving and celebration for the many moments when the hidden Christ has shown his face for an instant in the holiness, the common witness, the service or the suffering of faithful Anglicans in so many places.

Kindly read the rest of the message here.

Saturday December 1, 2012 - World Aids Day 2012 - Gains made in the fight against the scourge but can the world achieve zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AID-related deaths by 2015? UK Prime Minister David Cameron reveals that twenty five thousand (25,000) people living in the UK do not know they have the virus.UK Prime Minister David Cameron

That is the challenge facing a scourge that knows no boundaries, does not discriminate against religion, ethnicity, colour, race or inclination as all who fail to be aware of its potential damage to health and community easily fall prey. This year, we have heard many messages from those who care - spreading the word of what needs to be done to win the battle against a scourge which some two decades ago was so feared that it was not spoken about openly. It took courage, it took a determination on the part of those affected/infected to speak out but even as the world observes 2012 the even greater scourge of discrimination persists with Sierra Leoneans still shy of either taking the test or if affected/infected coming out to speak openly. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon puts it well when this year he stated in his message "On this World AIDS Day, let us commit to build on and amplify the encouraging successes of recent years to consign HIV/AIDS to the pages of history." His message and quite a few others can be found here

UK Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech marking World Aids Day 2012 revealed that figures suggest twenty five thousand people do not know they have the virus and has called for greater awareness. The BBC noted - "There is still too much ignorance about HIV and Aids, David Cameron has said, as figures suggest 25,000 people in the UK have the virus but do not know. The prime minister said these people were not benefiting from treatment and were increasing the risk of passing the virus on to others. The Health Protection Agency said about 600 people were dying needlessly from the condition each year."

In Sierra Leone an estimated forty eight thousand (48,000) are said to be living with HIV of which 4,400 are children - an indication that more needs to be done about educating women and men of reproductive ages about the dangers of reckless sexual activities that impact on themselves and other vulnerable groups. According to the Sierra Leone report -

"An estimated 48,000 Sierra Leoneans are living with HIV out of which 4,400 are children. Women are disproportionately affected by HIV. HIV prevalence among women is 1.7% while that of their male counterparts is 1.2%. This disparity is even greater in young women aged 15-19. Girls are more likely to become infected with HIV than boys of the same age because of early initiation of sexual intercourse as evidenced from high teenage pregnancy. The mean age at which women start having sexual relations in Sierra Leone is 16 and only 3% of young women and 7% of young men used condoms during their first sexual encounter. The study further estimated 69% of the teenage girls to have had their first child before the age of 18. In addition, the study also revealed that HIV is prevalence is three times higher among adolescent girls (1.4%) than boys (0.5%). HIV prevalence was highest for the 23-24 age group, while among young men was highest for the 20-22 age group. Adult HIV prevalence is greater in urban areas (2.5%) than rural areas (1.0%) of Sierra Leone".

Time for positive action in a set-up that makes the Head of State the Chairman of such a body, effectively politicising who gets appointed to key posts in the National Aids Coordinating programme.

Thursday November 22, 2012 - History is made - and all for the wrong reasons as former First Lady of Cote d'Ivoire Simone Gbagbo heads for the Hague on four counts relating to the massive violence that engulfed the country in which more than three thousand souls perished.The two ICC candidates enjoying the trappings of office. Both of them are now scheduled for trial by the ICC for crimes against humanity, rape and other heinous crimes.

The International Criminal Court, the ICC has today Thursday November 22, 2012 made public an arrest warrant the court had issued against former First Lady Mrs Simone Gbagbo on 29th February 2012. The arrest warrant gave reasons as to why Mrs Gbagbo still held by the authorities in Cote d'Ivoire has to face the ICC - among them that she was considered to be a part and parcel of an inner core which planned the systematic mayhem of murder, rape and other unwholesome acts which led to the country's troubles resulting in more than three thousand deaths in battles and attacks between pro and anti-Gbagbo forces.

The ICC Prosecutor, in a published statement after the unsealing of the arrest warrant noted - "The ICC judges decided to unseal their Arrest Warrant against Mrs. Simone Gbagbo for her alleged individual responsibility for crimes against humanity during Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election crisis in 2010 - 2011...the type of crimes committed in the aftermath of the 2010 elections did not happen by chance - they were planned and coordinated at the highest political and military levels and all those bearing the greatest responsibility must be held to account. The Office of the Prosecutor is continuing its investigations of all crimes allegedly committed by all sides, focussing on those who bear the greatest responsibility for these crimes. The investigations are objective, impartial and independent, and are conducted in strict accordance with the law. Additional requests for Arrest Warrants will be submitted to the judges once we have collected enough evidence to substantiate the allegations. It will be for the judges to decide. The Office’s investigations are part of a broader effort to promote justice and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire to prevent future violence and commission of crimes. Leaders must understand that the Rome Statute has established legal limits to protect victims and prevent massive crimes. Those who use violence to gain or maintain power should take note: they will be held accountable for their actions"



It seemed so far away then, but finally the day and the hour is upon us. Head of Sierra Leone's Electoral Commission Dr Christiana Thorpe

Sierra Leoneans, quite an impressive number voting for the first time, will have the opportunity to elect whoever they so desire in an election that actually combines four, yes four elections in one. Quite a challenge for a country experimenting with this for the first time and where a large percentage of the population is literacy challenged.

Congratulations to all - especially the one and only Christiana Thorpe the Chief of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone. As we have often brought to her attention, the successful conclusion of today's exercise and the results so announced will make or break her, will determine whether she is what she has always claimed to be - a woman of integrity who cannot be cowed by external pressure.

Dr Christiana Thorpe and team - we wish you well. Don't let the country and the international community down. The eyes of the world and of course all eyes Sierra Leonean are on you to see how you conduct your good selves and the polls. We know it is not going to be easy, but do not let your past mistakes get in the way. Good luck.

To all voting Sierra Leoneans we say - go out there and exercise your right. Never allow anyone to intimidate you. It is your right to vote for the candidate of your choice. Make the wrong choice and for the next five years - you will live with it and it will be on your head.

We wish you all well, go for it.


Wednesday November 7, 2012 - Obama, we mean President Barack Obama retains the White House in a deeply divided United States of America after a contest that has been the most expensive and most interesting as far as the many facets of politicking that decides who occupies the White House go.Winner of the 2012 US polls incumbent President Barack Obama in his victory speech - Photo: Video clipLoser in the 2012 polls Mitt Romney - could not believe he'd lost...took some time to put speech together conceding defeat. Four more years in the White House.

Incumbent President of the United States of America, the US of A, the one and only Barack Obama of the Democrats has won the 2012 elections after a hard fought campaign that witnessed his main rival Mitt Romney of the Republicans campaigning in the closing hours just to make sure his prepared victory speech is not dust-binned. We are not so savvy when it comes to US elections and all those terms that come from the lips of those who know, but looking at the TV screen right now at 05.41 am gmt, all we can see is that Obama has 290 and Romney 203 and since 270 was the magic number for victory, common sense advises us to safely say that President Barack Obama remains in the White House.

Even as we await Mr Romney to make his eagerly-awaited speech throwing in the towel and accepting victory, we have to congratulate both men for a campaign well fought, a campaign that saw money splashed all over aimed at getting the votes of the US public. It was a campaign well fought with bitter words exchanged and claims made......and now with the time at 05.45am gmt...speculations mounting that soon and very soon Governor Romney would soon appear at his campaign headquarters to tell the world that he has lost.

It is....and the world's press is waiting...waiting....waiting....we are still watching the BBC television output...it is 05.50...still watching...somebody has just put a folder on the...waiting...waiting it's 05.51....waiting....the BBC states Obama - 303 and Romney 203...just been told Governor Romney has called President Obama to concede that he has lost. It is 05.53...still waiting for Governor Romney to appear. It is 05.54...still waiting....finally he appears at 05.55 am. Informs the audience he has just called President Obama to congratulate him. 0600am end of speech conceding that he has lost. A gracious speech, says the BBC anchor man.

06.35 - Obama appears on stage with wife and children - all four of them waving to the crowd.....06.37 - "signed sealed delivered...i'm yours"...music in the background...06.38 Winner Obama begins speech after waiting for applause...first words... thank you, thank you, thank you so much...and some key words "we rise and fall together as one nation and as one people..."for the United States of America the best is yet to come"...."we must seize this opportunity..."

Congratulations President Barack Obama...Congratulations to the winning campaign team and Congratulations to the voters in the United States and outside whose decision decided this morning's outcome.

Monday October 22, 2012 - The BBC Africa debate this month focuses on the question - will Africa ever benefit from its natural resources? This is one topic that should not only be of interest to African leaders and policy makers but should be on the minds of those in authority in Sierra Leone who continue to make a rich country poorer through the reckless and unprincipled exploitation of the country's resources. Looting the country's resources for personal gains.Audrey Brown is in Ethiopia for the BBC Africa DebateJustin Rowlatt will be co-hosting the debate with Audrey in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa

In this month's Africa Debate the programme asks whether Africa will ever benefit from its natural riches. According to a press statement from the renowned international broadcaster, the Friday October 26th edition of this popular, incisive, participatory and discerning programme is being organised in partnership with the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) and will feature its Chairman former Botswana President Festus Mogae as key speaker.

Presented by the BBC’s Audrey Brown and Justin Rowlatt from Addis Ababa, the programme will set the agenda for other BBC Africa flagship programmes – such as Focus on Africa on radio and TV, and Newsday – which will explore the subject as well. BBC Swahili will also debate the subject in Addis Ababa. Africa is endowed with natural wealth, and the past year has seen major new discoveries of resources in several African countries: coal, oil and gas in, among others, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda. This year has seen violent clashes between Sudan and South Sudan over oil, and Malawi and Tanzania have yet to resolve their dispute over who owns the oil and gas in Lake Malawi. From Algeria to Angola and from petroleum to platinum, the scramble for Africa’s resources has often caused problems rather than created prosperity.

Audrey Brown says: ‘African resources were largely unacknowledged as wealth but treated as just raw material and used to build wealth elsewhere. I think it’s only when we connect the wellbeing of African people to the extraction of their countries’ resources that we start asking the right questions – and perhaps start finding the right solutions. So for me the question at the heart of this is: why is it that Africa is so rich yet so many Africans are so poor? Will Africans ever benefit from their natural riches?’


Sunday October 7, 2012 - OSD policeman killed in Guinea. No statement from the government on the violent death of member of the security forces in a neighbouring country Sierra Leone is not at war with. Who killed the OSD policeman? Under what circumstances was he killed? What is the role of the President and that of one of his top kingpins, Alpha Kanu?Gestapo Police Chief Munu - how did a member of the OSD police die in Guinea?President Koroma's minister Alpha Kanu has not explained what led to the death of a Sierra Leone policeman in Guinea

Reports have been circulating in Sierra Leone over the mysterious circumstances which led to the death of a member of the Sierra Leone Police in a neighbouring and friendly country, Guinea. The murdered officer is not only a Sierra Leonean but a member of the security services who is reported to have been on a mission still to be made public by the government. The matter is even more worrying due to the fact that an attack on the person of one of Sierra Leone's security agents in a foreign country has not been explained by the government as rumours flow wide and afar over the circumstances that could have led to the death of a serving member of the security forces in another country.

The public still awaits a statement from State House (read the President himself) on the events/circumstances that have led to the death of yet to be named policeman who is reported to have been on a mission on behalf of the government represented by President Koroma's personal kitchen cabinet Alpha Kanu, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs and who works directly under the supervision of the President himself. The public still awaits a statement from the Gestapo Police Chief Francis Munu. The public still awaits a statement from Defence minister Pallo Conteh on the overseas mission a member of the country's security forces could have been engaged in outside of the country.

And we would quote part of the rambling, evasive and opaque outburst of the President when ending the last session of Parliament. He stated this while addressing Parliamentarians - "As a parliamentarian myself...Speak the truth; that is the honourable thing to do, and that is why you are called honourable."

It is in this vein therefore that we call on all the key actors to speak the truth and tell the people just what led to the death of a serving member of the security forces of Sierra Leone in neighbouring Guinea even though Sierra Leone is not engaged in a UN peacekeeping mission in Guinea. Even so - such a death would be the subject of a public announcement and an inquiry into the death of a Sierra Leonean policeman under what is becoming a very murky and sinister circumstances.

Friday September 14, 2012 - A new report launched by former UN Chief Scribe Kofi Annan looks at elections and why the integrity of such procedures must be on the agenda of all democracies - fledgling, established or otherwise.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today launched a report titled Deepening Democracy: A Strategy for Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide  This must-read report takes a global view at the electoral process and how situations, most of them ugly, are created when democratic principles are thrown into the furnace as the desperate try to seize power or hold on to power using what can only be described as a lip service to democracy and the integrity of elections. It also highlights the benefits of conducting free, fair and participatory elections by an independent electoral body free from the corrupt influences of the Executive, Legislative and indeed the Judiciary. Indeed as he points out in the "Forward" of the report -

"In country after country, people have risked their lives to call for free elections, democratic accountability, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Elections are the indispensable root of democracy. They are now almost universal. Since 2000, all but 11 countries have held national elections. But to be credible, we need to see high standards before, during and after votes are cast. Opposition organizations must be free to organize and campaign without fear. There must be a level playing field among candidates. On polling day, voters must feel safe and trust the secrecy and integrity of the ballot. And when the votes have been counted the result must be accepted no matter how disappointed the defeated candidates feel."

This report should be carefully read by all political parties, all civil society groups, all stake holders in Sierra Leone's democracy with a view to taking the right decisions, making the right and legal moves that would ensure that no Sierra Leonean is deprived of his/her right of freedom of political expression, participation and ownership. Long gone should be those times when nominations days were declarations of war against the opposition and equally, we hope would be long gone the days when election petitions are never decided by the courts no matter how many petitions were brought by losing candidates who were of the considered opinion that illegal methods were used to deprive them and their supporters of a free vote. We welcome the news that the government of the magician at State House, the man who loves to have a string of Ph.Ds attached after his name, has set up a court that would deal with such petitions swiftly and we hope that such decisions would not be weighted in favour of the ruling party. Indeed as noted in the new report

The integrity of elections hinges on the strict observance of the rule of law—the capacity and norms that ensure that governments are accountable by law, that citizens are equal under the law, that lawmaking and enforcing are not arbitrary, and that laws respect human rights. When applied to elections, this means that action must be taken against incumbents or entrenched political interests seeking to manipulate the electoral process. Strong independent courts are needed to protect the rights of all voters, political parties and candidates, to enforce free and fair electoral procedures, and to prosecute violations of the electoral process. For elections to have integrity, electoral justice must be done, and citizens must see that it is done.


Tuesday September 11, 2012 - Warning bells are ringing as UN Security Council focuses on the November 17, 2012 elections, justice, democracy and the rule of law under the smoke and mirrors President. Why the Security Council would be visiting Sierra Leone again next month. Christiana Thorpe - careful there, be careful lest it be upon your head that you and your masters at State House are busy manipulating things to get them back in office. Heed our words of advice and do not become the Sierra Leone version of one Mr Kivuitu.The APC mouthpiece at the United NationsThe Head of UNIPSIL in Sierra Leone

The United Nations Security Council has been briefed on the situation in Sierra Leone at a special session convened by the body to take a look, a hard look at the situation on the ground as the country gets ready for elections that should help consolidate the peace and re-affirm the country's march towards democracy, the rule of law, justice and the tenets of all that is needed in a country is trying to rebuild attitudes and structures after a ten-year bloody, vicious, brutal and satan-inspired-war that no true Sierra Leonean would ever wish would revisit the land that we all love - our very own Sierra Leone. We suspect that much could have been written by the paid and shameless truth benders of the smoke and mirrors brigade of the internet flying toilets, but we ask that you please take time to listen to the session with speeches by those who matter including the APC's representative to the United Nations, quite forgetting that he is there to represent a nation of Sierra Leone at the United Nations.

One more thing - kindly take note of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on the ground, residing in the capital Freetown and who knows almost all that is happening. This is his observation in that speech on the media as it relates to Sierra Leone

69. The media in Sierra Leone should play a constructive role to ensure the success of the elections by disseminating accurate information, educating the public and promoting dialogue. The media should refrain from spreading messages of hate, division and national discord...

as well as the use of the APC police extermination squad known as the OSD to kill all those perceived as in opposition to the government

24. In the reporting period, the Government appointed coroners to investigate the circumstances that had resulted in the death of six persons in separate incidents involving the use of live ammunition by the Sierra Leone Police. On 16 April, during a strike by workers in Bumbuna, Tonkolili district, one woman was killed and several other persons were injured during attempts by the police to contain the ensuing disturbances. Two youths were shot dead by the police in Freetown on 5 June. A bike rider died on 15 June after an encounter with the police in the Goderich area of Freetown. Four youths suffered gunshot wounds in central Freetown on 9 July while the police were making arrests...

Ninth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone

(Reproduced here on our pages)

Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

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