''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 8 No 7

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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Thursday, December 2, 2010 - And it's Russia that will host the 2018 World Cup as England crashes out at the first hurdle with only two votesThe image that broke England hopes

England has woefully failed in the bid to host the 2018 world football fiesta with Russia celebrating at being given the opportunity to showcase the competition. Hopes were pretty high in the English camp and this was reflected in the press with combinations of expected votes that would have allowed England to get past the first round and then going on to clinch the deal. As it happened today, all those speculations and hopes were dashed on the rocks of the FIFA electoral college. The Daily Mail online stated that "after a string of major own goals during the campaign to stage the tournament, the final attempt to persuade football's world governing body was too little to late". Even as recriminations and the blame game started in England Russian PM Vladimir Putin was on his way to Zurich to celebrate the Russian victory. A Russian online outlet noted what Prime Minister Putin said

"I am going to Zurich. I promised members of the Executive Committee that if the decision was made in Russia's favor, I would certainly come to thank them personally and speak about our preparation plans," Putin said.

On Wednesday Putin announced that he would not join the Russian delegation for the announcement ceremony as he did not want to put pressure on the FIFA executives making the decision. The Premier said he had been confident that the Russian bid would win. This is the first time Russia would be hosting the World Cup. England did that in 1966 and went on to win the trophy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - It is that time of the year again when the world takes a good and hard look at an affliction, the origins of which still remains elusive but be that as it may have to be tackled head-on if the mother country is not to lose a large chunk of her human resources. This year's theme "Light for Rights - Universal Access and Human Rights is aimed at focusing on the rights of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. There was a time when the subject was whispered in secure groups - so strong was the denial and so pervasive the notion that anyone suffering from the condition should be regarded a social outcast. With the support of the international community, the picture is gradually changing for the better and the Sierra Herald is of the hope that the fight for the control of resources (budget vote controller) would now be relegated to where it belongs and that all those involved would commit themselves anew to help in the fight against the affliction. We have always questioned why the Chairman of the National Aids Control programme should be the Head of State - a question we raised when then President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was suspected to have manipulated things to have the vote controller a person of his choice. It's now time for the government to be seen to be serious about combating the challenges posed by injecting more resources (funds) rather than the chronic reliance of donor funding. It is worth your while today, we think for you to carefully read a study carried out on the mode of transmission of HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone to get a clearer idea of the sexual behaviour of people within the borders of Sierra Leone. It is also good to note that the armed forces (army and police) are no longer shy of admitting that they have a with HJV/AIDS and we would urge the Prison Service to do likewise more especially as stories abound of the unreported rape cases of male and female prisoners and those on remand and detention. What Prison authorities are reported to have done to condemned prisoners before the final walk to the gallows is best left to their conscience.
Tuesday November 30, 2010 - The Big Question, the Bigger Debate and the Biggest threat to the Independent Press - Should the BBC Panorama programme on alleged corruption within the world sporting body have been put on hold until after the England bid to host the World Cup?CAF President Hayatou - one of those fingered by the Panorama programme

On Thursday this week, England a team from English Football will be among bidding countries, including joint bids by Spain and Portugal to host the 2018 world soccer festival. And just last night, when the momentum was building up to this great decision by the world's governing body, FIFA, the BBC broadcast a special programme on Panorama which in effect was alleging that FIFA and indeed international sporting bodies are not as clean as they would want to be perceived. That deep within such organisations are bedrocks of corruption that would make thieving and dishonest politicians blush with envy. Critics, including some media outlets were quick on their horses condemning the timing of the broadcast. Did we hear something like "unpatriotic" issuing from the lips of some? The Sierra Herald believes the BBC was right and that by broadcasting a scheduled programme, it refused to bow to any pressure that would have compromised the broadcaster's independence. Bravo BBC. Long Live the Independent Media.


GOING BACK IN TIME IN THE RECENT PAST - something to think about

From the records** Special BBC Programmes dedicated to Africa's First Ladies - And the first broadcast on Monday May 17, 2010 is our very own Mrs Sia Nyama Koroma.

The BBC has started broadcasting interviews with some of Africa's First Ladies - an incisive and no-holds barred insight into the lives of the women behind the throne in Africa. A recent Press Release from the world's foremost radio station, the BBC states in part - "...Sierra Leone's First Lady, Mrs Sia Nyama Koroma - Photo: Her Web siteThe BBC's Veronique Edwards travelled to the five countries to meet up and interview the First Ladies. The exclusive interviews will be broadcast in a series of special programmes on Network Africa starting Monday 17 May.

And the first of the special series featured none other than Sierra Leone's First Lady, the one and only Sia Nyama Koroma - a woman of substance whose interview, like the others broadcast after that first in the series, shows that despite all, behind Africa's Presidents there are partners, real married partners like Sia Nyama Koroma who are the pillars of support, both emotional and otherwise. Listeners were treated to a real gem as the First Lady of the land delved into such matters like cooking, what she went through during the war and what happened to her when she joined the exodus of fleeing Sierra Leoneans wanting to keep their distance between themselves and the beasts of the AFRC/RUF junta in 1997. Hear her talk about how she coped when in exile in North London and her passion for the nursing profession and helping the vulnerable in Sierra Leone. First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma, we salute you.

From the records** Friday May 14, 2010 - Electoral violence rears its ugly head again - need for a thorough investigation. Who owns the vehicle with registration plate AEM 564?

The international community, Who sent these thugs to an area they not normally resident?more so the office of the UN in Sierra Leone as well as representatives of democratic countries (UK, USA, Germany, European Union etc) are put on alert so that they can raise their heads from the sands of self-delusion and smell the coffee (not Arabica but our very own Coffea Stenophylla). The recent by-elections that saw the SLPP emerging triumphant in constituency 91 comprising Makpelle and Soro Gbema Chiefdoms is a stark reminder that all is not well as pictures from the areas affected show the movement of vehicles and people not normally resident in that part of the country and who, according to law, should not have been there in the first place. We would urge the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Christiana Thorpe to thoroughly investigate these reports and bring to book all those who directly or indirectly violated the law. Sierra Leone has seen this before....and this could well be a dress rehearsal for the 2012 General Elections. The government is well advised to take a second, if possible a third hard look at the report of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIPSIL) to the Security Council which in part stated:

"In the reporting period, Sierra Leone experienced a sudden and worrying outbreak of political violence and intolerance that underlined the fragile nature of the nascent democratic process in the country."


From the records** June 8, 2010 - Desperate men and women, desperate times. Anything for a second term?Siaka Stevens

Observers of Sierra Leone's political scene should have by now seen through the facade of the AFRC Mark2 which would want to pass off as "the new APC" led by Ernest Bai Koroma. APC operatives are now so desperate to secure another five years at the expiration of their present mandate in 2012 that anything and everything would be thrown in to secure that using any and all means necessary. This has been "Priority Number One" after the outcome of the 2007 elections. Foreign minister Zainab Bangura - still has to account for that India rice dealThe Sierra Herald awaits the announcement of the "discovery" of an "attempted coup to destabilise the progressive, corrupt-free, investment-attracting and people-loving government of the sagacious leader Ernest Bai Koroma so that the SLPP can take over in the ensuing chaos as sections of the armed forces under the guidance of the SLPP try to regain power by unholy means." Fact or fiction? For those who are to be used as part of this Trojan Horse, please be aware that others who participated in those treason trials of the past, who were used as prosecution/State witnesses and who knew too much were all hanged. The APC knows how to keep its secrets secret. Ask the likes of ET Kamara and Sorsoh Conteh, among others. Other key APC operatives during the Siaka Stevens and Momoh regimes made what sounded like confessional statements to those they trusted before they departed to the great beyond.



Friday November 26, 2010 - A tale of two smiling Presidents - As smoke and mirrors President Koroma and cohorts claim a myriad of successes and everything good in Sierra Leone, we say - show us the evidencePresident Ahmad Tejan Kabbah - claimed his government laid the road programmesErnest Bai Koroma has yet to show evidence that his government signed the road deals

A couple of months ago, and perhaps to a lesser extent even now, the vipers of deceit, led by smoke and mirrors Ernest Bai Koroma were in full flow extolling the "achievements" of their leader in just three years at the helm of Sierra Leone's leadership. For them, in just under three years, President Koroma had signed each and every agreement with international financial institutions to improve upon Sierra Leone's road networks. From the peninsular, through Masiaka to Zogoda and beyond. And yet in all these claims, the people have to see documents Ernest Bai Koroma had signed with various international financial institutions paving the way for these road developments, thus putting a stop to the SLPP claims that they had laid the framework. It would appear that Ernest Bai Koroma even while in the opposition was already signing things on behalf of the APC government even before the 2007 General Elections? The Sierra Herald again reminds all and sundry that before 1996, there was a state called Sierra Leone that was forced to endure 24 years of the most authoritative and despotic regime ever...until thankfully, their very own handpicked and verified khaki boys kicked them out on April 29, 1992. Let us again remind AFRC Mk2 of one of former President Kabbah's claims - in relation to the country's finances.

"Mr. President, all of this is a far cry from what we inherited when we came into office in 1996. We took over from a military regime at a time when a brutal war was still raging, to be followed by a coup by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), which eventually brought the economy to shambles, the country bankrupt and basic infrastructure completely destroyed."

"My Government inherited a public debt of $ US1.6 billion. With stringent financial practice, today, we enjoy total debt relief and over Le.500 billion at the Central Bank for use by your Government."

We await a denial from Ernest Bai Koroma and his praise singers...if they dare!!!!

November 25, 2010 - Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is observed worldwide - Is this message getting through in Sierra Leone where violence against women, especially rape is never condemned by Ernest Bai Koroma?Rape victims of Sierra LeoneWhy is this man refusing to condemn violence against women?

The United Nations by a resolution of December 17, 1999 designated today November 25 as a day for the world to focus and put  a stop to violence against women. Governments, activists and all those concerned with the welfare of women are urged to keep up the pressure on governments to take all the necessary action that would name, shame and punish all those engaged in violence against women. This day should once more prick the conscience of President Koroma (assuming he has one) that his government and more especially the Presidency should not be seen as condoning violence against women. Critics of his three-year old regime point out that when it comes to violence and unwholesome behaviour against women and the wider public who are seen as critical of the ruling AFRC Mk2, he has never made any public statement in which he had condemned such violence. The latest case in Kono is one such point in which Dr Khadi Sesay and others were subjected to physical violence and sordid filth, exercising the minds of Sierra Leoneans - and this apart from the alleged rape of women at the headquarters of the main opposition SLPP early last year. The Daily Nation of Kenya in one report has noted that "rapists have a field day in Sierra Leone". And the UN and Western countries serving with their missions in Sierra Leone cannot pretend ignorance of these happenings.

Wednesday November 24, 2010 - Second blast in the New Zealand Pike River mine seals the fate of trapped miners. Police Superintendent Gary Knowles had to deliver the bad newsAll 29 dead including the youngest - a 17-year-old boy!7 year-old Joseph Dunbar, the youngest of the 29 lost miners. who was on his first mining shift. Joseph Dunbar of Greymouth celebrated his 17th birthday the day before heading down the mine. According to the online version of "The Australian", the first sign that things had gone terribly wrong was when Superintendent of Police Gary Knowles who headed the rescue operation called what has been described a family meeting to tell anxious relations about a second explosion at the mine where the men had been trapped after the first explosion.

"The explosion was so massive that nobody could have survived. This is now a recovery operation. This is the worst thing I’ve experienced as a police officer."

The New Zealand Herald summed up the despair and anguish of those affected

"It was absolute despair," said Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn. "When the news came, everyone just cracked up." The community would never be the same, he said. "There's some distraught people, I tell you. It's unbelievable. "This is the West Coast's darkest hour ... It doesn't get worse than this."

And this, after that dramatic rescue of those 33 Chilean miners must have indeed broken the hearts of many who had hoped against all odds that they might just be able to see their loved ones alive again. The Sierra Herald is with all in their grief.

Tuesday November 23, 2010 - Royal Wedding Date Announced. It is on April 29, 2011. What a coincidence. Wedding Date - April 29, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton have today made public the date and venue of their wedding. They will be married on Friday April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. According to the BBC, Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be "a happy and momentous occasion" and the event will be marked by a public holiday across the UK. Today's announcement from Clarence House made it clear that both families will chip in at a time when austerity measures are hitting the high the low as well as the high and the UK tax payer will only be responsible for the security arrangements and associated details. Next year's event is expected to raise quite a sum for industry and the British economy in general as worldwide interests grow in the pair who are in line to be the future king and queen of the realm. And so while the British public and the rest of the world will be celebrating a right royal wedding on April 29, 2011, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in certain quarters/beneficiaries associated with the repressive, authoritarian, despotic, oppressive and dictatorial APC ogres of Stevens and Momoh - for it was on that day on April 29, 1992 that they were kicked out after 24 years of misrule and human rights abuses. It will be the 19th anniversary of the death of freedom fighter, Lieutenant Sahr Sandy murdered in cold blood by APC military activist SIM Turay.


Tuesday November 23, 2010 - The Gambia's Yahya Jammeh sets his sights on a royal stool. And as King Jammeh gets ready to be foisted on the people of the Gambia, what will his admirer in Sierra Leone think of next?The Gambia's Jammeh wins the "awards" race against EBK

Never mind the war of no words between the Gambia's Professor Alhaji Sheikh Dr Yahyah Jammeh and his replica in Iran, the US-baiting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but what could be exercising the minds of Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma and his cohorts are recent reports that the Gambian President is now embarking on a process that would see him crowned king of the Gambia. It would appear that Ernest Bai Koroma and his gbatolite mills of lies, lies and even more lies have given up the race for awards seeing how well Jammeh has been scoring success after success in this field of endeavour. The Gambian leader could have seen this as a sign of triumph and so set up another task to see just how well the EBK cohorts could do. King Ernest of the Kingdom of Zogoda perhaps? We wait and see. In the meantime -  please do not tell us the praise-singing things did not know that EBK was made honorary Fellow of the West African College of Physicians. So why have they not composed this into a new anthem of the successes of their god in just three years in office? Why have they not translated this into saying that President Koroma can now cure AIDS like his Gambian counterpart. Tired..? The journey has just started.

Tuesday November 16, 2010 - It's a Royal Engagement alright...as William and Kate announce their engagement. Kate and William have formally announced their engagementThe rumour mills have been at it for a while, the press at the fore as it reported every twist and turn in the relationship between Prince William and a certain lady Kate Middleton. At one stage, not so long ago when the relationship appeared to hit the rocks the press had to be formally warned off, asked to respect the privacy of the two love-birds as photographers laid siege to the home of Kate, a lady now destined, if all goes well to be the future Queen of the realm. And now it is formal and made public the people of the United Kingdom have welcomed today's announcement and no doubt put some impetus into the gears of the royal wedding machinery. Diana, William's mother may be dead and gone to the great beyond but her presence would be around as the engagement ring given to Kate by William was her mother's - a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Kate and William met at college and have known each other for some nine years. In what appeared to be an exclusive interview on the BBC One TV's "The One Show" it was obvious that they used this time to get used to each other, cultivate and cement relationships within and between family members as well as working out how to cope with life as a royal couple. The US-based Boston Globe was quick on the story and gave this account as the UK-based Daily Mail lived up to the occasion. We wish them well.
Tuesday November 16, 2010 - Revealed - How South American drug traffickers intended to flood Europe and the United States using cargo planes. Sierra Leonean trafficker boasts "The sky's the limit"An arrested trafficker

United States investigators are slowly getting round to the extent to which drug kingpins in South America had planned to use corrupt governments in West Africa to set up bases as trans-shipment points for cocaine trafficking into Europe and the United States. According to media reports, South American gangs are buying old jets, stuffing them full of cocaine and flying them across the Atlantic to feed Europe’s growing coke habit. According to these report, at least three gangs have struck deals to fly drugs to West Africa and from there to Europe, according to US indictments. One trafficker claimed he already had six aircraft flying. Another said he was managing five airplanes. Because there is no radar coverage over the ocean, big planes can cross the Atlantic virtually undetected. “The sky’s the limit,” one Sierra Leone trafficker boasted to a Drug Enforcement Administration informant, according to court documents.

Tuesday November 16, 2012 - The democracy experiment - Prof Alpha Conde is Guinea's new President, the first after democratic electionsGuinea's new civilian President Prof Alpha Conde - Photo: BBC web site

Guineans wake up this morning, realising that for the first time in 52 years, they now have a civilian leader of the country elected in a free vote. According to the BBC Opposition leader Alpha Conde gained 52.5% of votes in the November 7 run-off poll against Cellou Dalein Diallo a former Prime Minister. It was a bitterly-contested vote with Cellou Dalein Diallo thought to have actually believed that the run-off was a mere formality as he had garnered the top vote in the General Elections and only needed to seal his claim to the Presidency by edging past his arch rival in the recent run-off vote. As it turned out, he failed and long-suffering Prof Alpha Conde has now been declared Guinea's new civilian President promising to work in the interest of all Guineans and Guinea. The Sierra Herald extends congratulations to the people of Guinea and hope that all will work for the prosperity of a neighbour that provided refuge for many who fled death, rape, dispossession and arson during junta rule in the mother country. Floreat Guinea!!!

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