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 4

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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April 8, 2009 - EU publishes new list of aircraft banned over its skies

The European Union has today issued a list of companies/aircraft operators that are not to be allowed to fly over any European Union air space. A statement from the EU and available on the organisation's website lists a number of countries in Africa affected by this new order. Paramount Airlines - still operating?Sierra Leone is on today's list too - not too surprising one might say given the lack of respect for law and order as well as international rules and regulations existing in a number of departments/ministries in the get-rich-quick-at-whatever-cost atmosphere. What would raise eyebrows though is the number of aircraft-operating companies registered as originating from Sierra Leone. And the names - ranging from Paramount Airlines to Orange Air Sierra Leone. The EU banning reason states "All air carriers certified by the authorities with responsibility for regulatory oversight of Sierra Leone, including...." effectively means that our personnel engaged in aircraft/company certification are not to be trusted.


Monday March 23, 2009 - Whoever said that a political party cannot run a radio station in a professional manner?Never be like this individual

Many opinions have been expressed and continue to hit the ether over the closure of the two radio stations belonging to the Ernest Bai Koroma-led ruling APC party and the main opposition SLPP whose new Chairman is John Benjamin. Any organisation, person or group of persons can run a radio station as long as rules and regulations are laid down which to all intent and purpose are fair and not seen to suppress the freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution and other articles that are to be found within the African Union and the United Nations that give individuals and organisations the right to have their views heard. These rules must also be enforced in equal measure to all such broadcasting outlets operating within the country - political party or not. The content is what matters and there are simple rules to make sound radio broadcasting a pleasure to both listeners and those who disseminate the information. How?


And we have just seen something on the internet which we found interesting given the fact that the writer was complaining about the repression of a free press. Is he the same man now serving AFRC Mk II?Are we getting there? This is a part of what he wrote about the press in his home country, Sierra Leone

"It is a fact that every African journalist who practices strictly according to the tenets of the journalism profession will always be a danger to the government of his country.

It is pathetic that though democracy and journalism are two sides of the same coin for any national development, African despotic leaders in particular seem to ignore the fact and try to muzzle press freedom in order to conceal their dirty rule. Any journalist that attempts to expose their criminality will face their wrath."

Thursday March 19, 2009 - Charges against persons thought to have been responsible for the "riotous" conduct in recent daysWere the perpetrators of this violence charged?

Reports from Freetown say that a number of people have been picked up by the authorities and charged with various offences relating to the violence in the capital over the weekend. It would be recalled that this latest attack on the offices of the opposition, the third since the voting into power of the Ernest Bai Koroma government has left many asking about the direction of democracy, the rule of law and good governance with residents of the capital likening the atmosphere to that of the lawlessness and sheer terror that existed under AFRC/RUF Mark I headed by one Johnny Paul Koroma.

MORE the state struggles for prosecution witnesses 8 CID officers brought in

What passes for a "democratic" government (aka AFRC/RUF Mk11) under President Ernest Bai Koroma appears to find itself in a bind - getting prosecution witnesses in the case against the 22 members of the opposition. These were actions caught on camera with many witnesses around who could testify as to what happened not only on the 13th March, but more so on the 16th after the return of the "hale and hearty" President from India.


....and that Ernest Bai Koroma speech - echoes of the Stevens/SI Koroma/CA Kamara-Taylor "treason charge" days?

This is a reminder to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, The late S I Koromathe one and only Alhaji I B Kargbo former school teacher and journalist who has seen it all and therefore must know better than his colleagues in AFRC Mark II. This piece is to remind him, lest he's forgotten of what the APC then tried to hang on one Commissioner of Police, a certain Ezekiel Coker who unable to control rioting school children asked his colleague in the army to bring out troops to help get the situation under control. This was seized upon and interpreted by eager beaver party members that by this singular action, the poor man was instigating, actually begging the army to take over the country!!!!


The Sierra Herald continues to monitor the situationEven Siaka Stevens realised when the game was up. EBK...keep pretending.... in the only country that we can call "Land That We Love Our Sierra Leone". We shall, using all means at our disposal identify all the actors as well as all those who have been fuelling hate and violence in the country. And when we are done, we shall present the evidence to the appropriate authorities where Serry Kamal's nolle prosequi is irrelevant. We have been informed that one so-called "ambassador" was heard at one APC meeting saying "This is not the APC I know. All the SLPP leaders should be arrested and charged with treason". Mr Ambassador, the Sierra Herald is now on that blood-soaked dinosaur's tail of yours. For only a dinosaur and a violent thing like you can still refuse to wake up and know that this is 2009 and not 1973 as you prepared for those Bo elections.


First for the mayor of Freetown. Are lessons of the past not enough...?Forgive our asking "great one" Herbert George Williams - are you really the brother of colleague Reginald George Williams of the then good old and famous SLBS Newsroom? The son of one of our greatest mothers in the teaching profession? I hope not. But if you are - then you must hang your head in shame and repent this Sunday morning the Ides of March and shed your tears of shame and disgrace, asking God for forgiveness. After which you may want to remind us where P and T is located in the United Kingdom - the organisation/company you are quoted as having recommended your great clock and where it was bought. And why should the unveiling of a mere public clock be the source of such display of false grandeur and violent political intrigue? Have we become a nation of idlers?
And another.... Former President Ahmad Tejan KabbahPlease send to us instances of when opposition party offices (UNPP, NUP, APC etc etc) were attacked and blood allowed to flow freely when the uncaring and inept SLPP was in power under President Kabbah for nearly a decade. Representatives of the international community had better take note and not wait until things get out of hand as gains made after a decade of war get eroded. It is to be noted that when in 1996 we had a run-off between Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and one Dr John Karefa-Smart, the elder man willingly accepted that his junior brother had won and chose to remain in the opposition, refusing to have his party members accept any post from the SLPP. No opposition party office was attacked. The same happened in 2002 with the UN force firmly in place. No opposition party office was attacked. And then came 2007. No sooner had NEC declared Ernest Bai Koroma the winner when hell was visited upon the losing SLPP. It is not to be forgotten also that in those attacks, Nigerians also came in for the wrath of the winners. Yes, the winners were actually attacking the losers!!!! And Nigerians were targeted because they had helped kick AFRC/RUF Mark One out and this EBK set-up (AFRC/RUF Mk II) which passes for a government now believes it is its duty to settle scores on behalf of the AFRC/RUF of Johnny Paul Koroma.
Yet still another - How can youths continue to be used and abused by politicians?Have youths failed to learn from the lessons of history - that they can be used and discarded at will by politicians? Is this how "man den nor gladie" becomes clay in the hands of manipulators? Serry Kamal may use his nolle prosequi to make all your actions a "buff case" but out here justice awaits you. If you the young decide to be used once more to ignite the flames of hate in the mother country, upon your individual heads would it be. This time it is not going to be "those who carry the greatest responsibility" only, but those individuals who carried out the carnage after a decade of war.
And the last question on this Sunday March 15, 2009 morning.Eddie Turay - among the few who stood up for the APC Where were these new-found gbatolites when the khaki boys of the NPRC were asked that the APC and SLPP be banned from the political life of the country? Where were they when being APC was such an anathema that it took bold and brave men like Eddie Turay to dare raise their heads above the parapets during those days? Where were they, we ask again? Look at them coming out of the woodwork, out of the sewers, mouths foaming blood and gangrene shouting APC APC APC. When the APC was in opposition and UNAMSIL forces made sure the kind of violence we are now witnessing was never dared - where were the scum who would take us back to the violent past? Where were they?
Friday March 13, 2009 - Learning from the past....the limits of praise-singing

The recent past has seen a flurry of what can only be President Koromadescribed as a deluge of materials emanating from "supporters" of the various sides in the mother country mainly from the corners of the ruling Ernest Bai Koroma-led APC (AFRC Mk II) and the main opposition SLPP that has now got a Chairman in the person of John Benjamin former NPRC junta Secretary-General. While the Sierra Herald would doff its hat to the rather lively debates on the various internet outlets so readily available for readers to make up their minds, caution would be advised here lest at the end of the day "journalists" and writers of various shades find themselves in a position where they would wish what they had written would just go away and not haunt them. As is happening with the Expo Times apologist team during junta rule. Which brings us to the furore over that so-called Dream Team publication and our humble submission that such publications are not new.


Friday March 6, 2009 - Tragedy in Zimbabwe as PM's wife is killed in road accident

A sense of shock and disbelief swept Zimbabwe today as reports emerged that new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai The late Susan and Mr Tsvangirai - Photo: APhad been involved in a road accident that left him with yet to be specified injuries. His wife of 30 years, Susan died some say, on the way to hospital. They had six children. The opposition MDC has called for an independent investigation into the accident. However there are reports doing the rounds that it could have been a genuine accident in an area prone to such mishaps with head-on collisions claiming many a life. Conspiracy theories made initial presence felt over the tragedy butInjured PM Tsvagirai leaves hospital in Harare. Now in Botswana this quickly evaporated when reports started filtering that even within MDC circles there's a hint that it could have been an accident. Television pictures showed a very contrite and clearly grief-stricken President Mugabe holding the hands of his chief political rival and doing his best to comfort him. It was an emotional sight as the First Lady wiped tears from her eyes as she viewed the injured Prime Minister on that hospital bed. One report quoting the UK Foreign Office says that he truck that collided with Tsvangirai's car belongs to the United States Development Agency and was carrying British and U.S. aid. The British government said it believed the crash to be a "genuine accident".
While wishing the Zimbabwean Prime Minister a speedy recovery, the Sierra Herald mourns with all concerned over the death of Susan Tsvangirai with prayers that the Good Lord in His mercies will give her the rest only He can offer to His flock in His repose. Farewell Susan. Mrs Susan Tsvangirai is to be buried on Wednesday this week - 11th March.

Thursday March 5, 2009 - Rights activists gunned down in Kenya. State extra-judicial executions gone too far?

The executive director of the Oscar foundation Executive Director Oscar Kamau King’ara alongside a former University of Nairobi student leader Paul OuloHead of rights group Oscar murdered on ThursdayKenya Police Chief Ali - UN report recommends his sacking have died after the two were gunned down this evening by "unknown people" near the university of Nairobi hostels on State House road. The killings come in the wake of disruptions in commuter activities believed to have been organised by an outlawed sect, the Mungiki. Oscar Kamau King'ara foundation has been accused by the government as being the front for the Mungiki and with government spokesman Dr Mutua telling reporters on Thursday that the  Oscar Foundation had been identified as one of the organisations funding activities of the outlawed group with threats that the organisation would be deregistered it is not surprising that these murders have been laid at the feet of the government. More so as the murdered foundation head provided evidence to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Prof Philip Alston. The Daily Nation has reported his call that the government establishes "independent investigations into the killing of two prominent activists. The BBC reports that "A UN report last week called for Kenya's top policeman and the attorney general to resign for failing to address police impunity."

Wednesday March 4, 2009 - Sudan's President Omar el Bashir now a wanted man as ICC issues arrest warrant. The wheels of justice on the move again.

He tried to bluff his way through, pretended he cared less about the threat of an arrest warrant nor the warrant itself, but behind the scenes he used every opportunity to lobby that "this sword of Damocles be taken away from me". Wanted - Sudan's President Bashir - Photo: The Guardian And recently fearing the worst, he even went as far as to order the release of thousands of non-Muslim prisoners. All did not work and today what he feared most happened. The International Criminal Court, the ICC slammed a warrant of arrest against President Omar el Bashir of Sudan. According to the BBC

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, after the announcement, amid fears of unrest. The UN estimates 300,000 people have died in Darfur's six-year conflict. Millions more have been displaced.

Today's action has been welcomed by human rights campaigners and should send a message to the wicked that in today's world they just cannot manipulate events to protect themselves from justice. Indeed as Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch in a press release from the organisation has noted has noted

“With this arrest warrant, the International Criminal Court has made Omar al-Bashir a wanted man.....Not even Presidents are guaranteed a free pass for horrific crimes"

This thing called justice has a way of catching up with the wicked.
Monday March 2, 2009 - Guinea Bissau - President Joao Bernardo Vieira is murdered. A coup in the making?

First news from the BBC indicated that there had beenThe Late President Vieira - why was he murdered? an explosion and that the Head of the Army had been killed in that explosion. Even as watchers of this trouble-hit and coup-prone country tried to figure out what was going on came the sad news of the murder of the President Vieira - a former guerrilla leader who staged a coup, was ousted and got re-elected twice. The last time some serious and disturbing news came regarding him was after heavy firing directed at his official residence by forces the authorities claimed were from outside the country. According to the BBC, the killing of Joao Bernardo Vieira is thought to have been a revenge attack, after the army chief of staff died in an explosion a few hours earlier. The army denies there is a coup, and the capital Bissau is said to be quiet. Many questions are now been raised about this latest blot on the continent's attempt at democracy and with Guinea Bissau now notorious as a haven for Latin American drug traffickers using the country as a staging post for the supply of cocaine to Europe and the US, one school of thought is beginning to ask just how much influence the drug traffickers will have in the type of government that eventually emerges after this murder. In fact, they would want to know if the Latin drug barons had a hand in his murder!!! Is this the price for making your country a narco-state?


Tuesday February 17, 2009 - 30 years hiding from justice. At last former Khmer Rouge official Duch in court to face justice in Cambodia.

You could have taken him for just another good old manThe butcher in court today. His victims were never given a chance trying to spend his twilight years in peace doing whatever good his hands find. You would indeed be forgiven for being deceived - for this man who appeared in a UN-backed court in Cambodia is none other than the notorious Comrade Duch, real name Kaing Guek Eav (age 66) the head of at least two prison camps during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. He is appearing before this court after he was indicted sometime last year for allegedly overseeing the torture and killing of more than 12,000 men, women and children. Reports say that his appearance in court today is seen as a long-awaited, but vital and important step towards justice for the nearly two million people who died under the Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979. Kaing Guek Eav faces charges of crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, in addition to the offences of homicide and torture under Cambodian criminal law. The court that is trying him is UN-backed and has the rather unusual-sounding name - the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the ECCC. This thing called justice....the wheels may seem to move slowly, too slowly sometimes but they do get there.

A crusader for human rights goes to the great beyond - Dr. Alison Des Forges is no more

It is indeed with great sorrow and a sense of incomparableThe late Dr Alison Des Forges loss that the Sierra Herald has to report the passing away of a great campaigner for the rights of the human being Dr. Alison Des Forges. According to Human Rights Watch, she was among the passengers killed in the crash of Flight 3407 from Newark to Buffalo on February 12, 2009. Des Forges, senior adviser to Human Rights Watch's Africa division for almost two decades, dedicated her life to working on Rwanda and was the world's leading expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide and its aftermath. The Sierra Herald joins all those who mourn and have expressed sorrow at this turn of events and pray that she will find eternal rest for a job well done while on Planet Earth. Farewell Dr Des Forges. You have done your work for the rights of human beings. Farewell.

Saturday February 14, 2009. Cotton Tree News is 2 years today.

Oh for a breath of fresh air - and we have it. CTN, CTN Deputy News Editor Francis SowaCotton Tree News is 2 years today since it started broadcasting the news, commentaries on social, political and economic as well as other programmes that are of interest to Sierra Leoneans and associates within and outside the country. Their online media is truly a treasure trove that throws a fresh and uninhibited spotlight on what obtains on the ground as well as giving Sierra Leoneans an opportunity to give their views on issues affecting their lives. It is also refreshing to hear government functionaries giving their side of the story in quality audio to questions raised by programmes thus making it all sound so professional, so balanced and so "this is how it should be done".CTN Producer and Presenter Millicent Massaquoi

Listening to their weekly review programme on the internet brought out something that the APC mouthpieces have so far failed to highlight - that the Salary Increases for the President, Ministers and others Document had now been shelved - thanks to President Koroma insisting that he never knew about it causing his then Secretary Sampha Koroma to fall on his sword. (More on that later)

The Sierra Herald salutes Cotton Tree News on their second year in operation today February 14, 2009.

Keep up the good work and continue to be a beacon to those rabid outlets that pass for mouthpieces of the Ernest Bai Koroma set-up aka AFRC-Mk II.

Floreat CTN!!!!

Thursday February 12, 2009 - Accountability - the basis of democracy as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces grilling from Parliament. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the grilling by Parliament

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown faced a grilling today from a House of Parliament Liaison Committee who wanted him to explain his role in the events that have led to the present economic crisis. Until he became Prime Minister in June 2007, succeeding Tony Blair, Gordon Brown was the Labour government's chief economics strategist as the Chancellor and under him the country enjoyed a healthy growth until the recent global downturn made every concerned economist wanting to take a closer look at the drawing board. Interest in today's grilling by Parliament, his second was of particular interest as questions were raised over the resignation of a top official in the FSA, the Financial Services Authority a government think tank. Sir James Crosby was said to have been appointed under the watch of a certain Chancellor of the Exchequer, one Gordon Brown. 


Anti Corruption Chief Abdul Tejan-Cole....and in Sierra Leone law makers and public office holders fail to declare assets. ACC Chief waves the 2008 Anti Corruption Act.

The Head of Sierra Leone's Anti Corruption Commission Abdul Tejan Cole has told the BBC that despite extending the deadline for the declaration of assets, MPs as well as ministers  and deputies have so far failed to respect the provisions of the Anti Corruption Act of 2008 which empowers the body to levy fines as well as sending defaulting people to jail. In an interview with the BBC's Umaru Fofanah Mr Tejan Cole revealed that out of 128 MPs only 18 had complied while out of 45 ministers and deputy ministers, only 15 have fulfilled their obligations (7 ministers and 8 deputy ministers). The Anti Corruption Commission head sounded very disappointed at so many contravening the provisions of the Act.


Wednesday February 11, 2009 - History is made as Morgan Tsvangirai becomes Zimbabwe's PMNew Zimbabwean PM raises his hands as he takes the oath of office

History has been made in Zimbabwe today with the swearing-in of the country's chief opposition leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai as Prime Minister in a power-sharing deal that has been floundering in rocky and somewhat treacherous waters. Today's move now makes the opposition a part of what could be a "unity government" with the opposition now a part of the government and which critics say creates a one-party state atmosphere that does not augur well for democracy. A similar move in Kenya has seen President Moi Kibaki and main opposition Raila Odinga forming a new "all-inclusive" set-up that should represent the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. And nothing could be further from the truth. Should this now be seen as a blueprint for recalcitrant governments not wanting to give up power at defeat at the polls? We hope not.


February 4, 2009 - Another colleague is targeted and murdered in SomaliaMurdered Somali journalist Said - Photo - Reuters/Internet sources

It is with deep regret and great sadness that we have to report the death of another journalist in Somalia. Said Tahlil Ahmed, Director of Somalia's independent HornAfrik radio station was killed by masked men while on his way to attend a press conference in a group of fellow journalists. One eyewitness told the BBC a group of journalists were attacked on their way to a press conference called by the hardline Islamist militia al-Shabab. However a spokesman for the group denied any responsibility for the killing. The manner of Said's murder clearly showed that his attackers were out to get him and to make sure that he did not live to see the next minute. When the first shots caught him and he was lyiing on the ground bleeding, his assailants, thought to be three in number and all masked then moved in and fired several shots into his head. The Sierra Herald calls on the international community to use all the resources at its command to bring to book Said's cowardly killers. Said Tahlil joins the growing number of journalists who have fallen in Somalia in the course of their lawful duties.


The Press, Politics and that "Dream Team" publicationPresident Ernest Bai Koroma - should he ignore letter?

A widely-circulated open letter addressed to the Sierra Leone government leadership as well as various media outlets in the capital Freetown appears to be the main topic of discussion in many a circle in Sierra Leone. The letter signed by a group purporting to threaten the Ernest Bai Koroma set-up with dire consequences lists a number of things it would want to see investigated or reversed. A press conference called by Information and Communication minister I B Kargbo and reportedly addressed by Defence minister Parlor Conteh and his Police counterpart Brima Acha Kamara did it's best to justify whatever complaints the letter's author/s came up with. And true to form, some online outlets who see no wrong in the Freetown set-up have already started fingering people they believe could be behind the letter, demanding that fire and brimstone be poured on the heads of the perceived enemies. This letter was dated 1st January 2009, the day Sierra Leone's Parliament went into a special session to carry out an unconstitutional and disgraceful and equally shameless act of making the country's chief tormentor Libya's Colonel Khadaffi an "honorary citizen". So why is the government, associated gbatolites and unprincipled yaylibas reacting only now?


Echoes of AFRC/RUF junta rule as BBC journalist Umaru Fofanah is threatenedThe BBC's Umaru Fofanah - targeted by APC radio

BBC correspondent Umaru Fofanah who reports for this international and well-respected news organisation (BBC) from Sierra Leone has circulated a letter of complaint to the country's media watchdog, the Independent Media Commission, the IMC. He has brought to the attention of all and sundry threats alleged to have been broadcast by the ruling APC radio "We Yone". And Umaru's "crime"? He dared to report on the proceedings of a press conference called by top guns within the same ruling APC party!!! The Sierra Herald would urge the Ernest Bai Koroma set-up to do all it can to get to the bottom of this as this action contravenes the basis of democratic principles the use of which saw the the opposition APC wresting power from the SLPP at the 2007 polls. The Sierra Herald would want to remind the authorities that this move by the APC radio was a similar method employed during junta rule in September 1997 to justify the hunt for former BBC reporter Victor Sylver. Remember this from the junta-supporting Expo Times newspaper going as far as to publish a so-called "Letter to the Editor" justifying the manhunt?


The Sierra Herald Reminder published in 2004 - equally relevant to the new "demi-god" Ernest Bai Koroma who does no wrong in the eyes of the gbatolites.



A gentle reminder.....

"When those who are trained in our noble profession, journalism that is, take a back seat, what do you expect of journalism in the mother country? It gets picked up by opportunistic, self-seeking and criminally-inclined vermin and sewer rats who thinking that it is a free for all art would want to use it in the furtherance of their evil machinations including continued support for our tormentors, the AFRC/RUF coalition of evil otherwise known as the beasts".




November 25 is a day dedicated by the United Nations Our women - the victimsfor the world to focus on domestic violence against women and we would want to add - all forms of violence against women, be it physical, psychological or otherwise. And indeed on this day, November 25, 2008 a court in the United Kingdom sentenced a father to life for the abuse of his own daughters. Many in the UK on hearing of this story of an abuse that lasted for well over 20 years were appalled, stunned and at their wits ends to hear of such an incidence happening right under the noses of law enforcement authorities as well as those in the social and medical services whose business it is to detect and investigate such vile acts. Today Wednesday November 26, the matter was raised in Prime Minister's Questions with Prime Minister Gordon Brown promising a change in the present laws if necessary. He added that people were outraged by the unspeakable abuse perpetrated against the women. His own daughters!!!!!

 And in the mother country Sierra Leone. Allow us to remind you of the horrendous details of rapes, murders and acts of torture our female folks were subjected to at the hands of a sadistic group in national army colours who had taken an oath to defend and protect their victims, at the hands of rebels and elements of the AFRC/RUF coalition of evil who used the rape and torture of Sierra Leone's women and girls as instruments of war. Our thoughts go to the surviving victims as we ask the question - is the Ernest Koroma government having in it's top ranks in whatever capacity those who carried out these acts against our women folk as well as those who actively encouraged such acts? We hope not.

Exposing our sins - Sorious Samura takes a look at donor funds and their use

November 24, 2008 - Sierra Leonean journalist and film maker our very own Sorious Samura has done it again. Health Minister Dr Soccoh Alex Kabia in the BBC Panorama programmeUsing Uganda and his very own country, Sierra Leone as examples he has once again, using all the right tools of the trade exposed just how aid from the donor community gets used with the bottom line being - those for whom such aid is meant never get to benefit, not even from the proverbial crumbs from the table of the feasters. The BBC's Panorama programme "Addicted to Aid" is just what has been long overdue to show that the donor community could well be only interested in statistics of aid and not how such resources are administered. Sierra Leone's Minister of Health Dr Soccoh Alex Kabia is honest enough to admit that one of the problems he has to tackle is what looks like the endemic corruption in a ministry that should be concerned about the delivery of basic health services. The focus on health could well be a tip of the iceberg of corruption and outright thieving that could well be replicated in many a government institution in the mother country Sierra Leone. This is the shameful and disgusting story of how UNICEF drugs funded by the tax payers in developed countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States enrich the pockets of the heartless. This is the continuing story of how uncaring governments operate in Sierra Leone and goes to the heart of just how "pharmacies" have become profit-making outlets for the wicked.


Tuesday november 11, 2008 - The awful horror that is Jammeh's Gambia

If you are to believe the imagery that was once and still is the selling point of the Gambia Slain Gambian journalist Hydara - his killers still remain unpunishedwith pictures of smiling and friendly citizens giving you that enchanting smile against a backdrop of sea and gentle billows, you would be forgiven for thinking that this could well be heaven this side of the continent. Indeed the Tourism ministry website proclaims "Welcome to The Gambia, the smiling coast of Africa". However the harsh reality on the ground is that this country now ruled by a despot who brooks no criticism from real and perceived opponents has managed to secure for itself all the characteristics of the awful horror - a thing spawned from the very depths of all that is abominable. The rights group, Amnesty International, AI has today given an insight into the human rights situation in the Gambia with a report that should get the authorities take a Gambia beach scene second good look at how the country is run and make good on their terrible human rights record. And to think that the African Commission on Human and People Rights is headquartered in the capital Banjul calls into question such a location where President Jammeh can claim that he cures afflictions like HIV/AIDS and his Health minister a professional doctor can only nod in agreement knowing the claims to be absurd, false and dangerous.


Monday November 10, 2008 - A sad day for Africa - Mama Africa is no more, gone to the great beyond

It is with great sadness, genuine grief and sorrow that the Sierra Herald has to put on these pages news just received about the death of one of Africa's greatest activists, daughters, mothers, grand mothers and women freedom fighters - the one and only Miriam Makeba. The great singing legend Miriam Makeba who died today. RIP

She was 76.

Sierra Leoneans would recall the visit of this strong-willed yet gentle advocate for freedom for her people when she visited the country after she moved to neighbouring Guinea with husband US black activist, Stokely Carmichael.

May the Good Lord grant her a peaceful repose.

Sleep well our sister, mother, grandmother and fighter for the rights of the oppressed.


SLAUGHTER IN DRC - TIME FOR THE WORLD TO CAPTURE AND CHARGE LAURENT NKUNDADeath merchant Laurent Nkunda must be extracted and taken to the Hague to face war crimes

Even as the international community met in Nairobi to find a way of putting a halt to the extreme violence and mayhem going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the DRC, one voice appears to be calling attention to its owner, the spoiler who using whatever excuse continues to defy each and every call that he reins in his men and give the people of the DRC the peace desperately needed.

There he was calling the shots in a sovereign state, deciding when a ceasefire should hold and to be broken, playing god as his troops carry out horrific deeds against the unarmed civilian population. The main victims women. Like Maskita, like Nkunda?

It's time for the international community through the International Criminal Court to charge Laurent Nkunda with among others, war crimes, crimes against humanity, rape, murder and arson.A victim in the DRC - the entry bullet hole suggests he could have been shot in the back

It's time to call the bluff and swagger of Laurent Nkunda so he can pay for his crimes against innocent and unarmed civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Laurent Nkunda has to be shown for what he really is - a mass murderer, a monster!!!!!




Yes, this was history in the making and theObama on the campaign trail Sierra Herald could not afford to miss any of it. Sierra herald pundits and reporters kept their eyes and ears glued to radio and television sets awaiting the final outcome of what has become the "impossible" dream - having a "coloured" person as President of the United States of America. And after some nail-biting wait with the results -  Obama at 207 and McCain slowly creeping up and although the predictions had it for him, viewers and listeners were still wary of the Bradley effect. That was until 4 am gmt. Suddenly the 207 on the BBC TV site changed to 273 and the shouts went out. 270 were needed and here was 273 at 4am gmt with all the results not yet out!!!!Former rival Hillary Clinton contributed a lot to the Obama victory

The Sierra Herald congratulates the people of the United States of America for showing that unlike the recent past, it is they, the voters who should and must decide on who leads them as President. Not the courts. And the people have delivered.

Congratulations too to the Republicans for putting up a brave face and fight despite the odds.

And even as the screens show McCain at 145 and Obama at 306, then 333 Republican candidate McCain is now delivering his concession speech, showing once more the greatness of this thing called true democracy when practised as it should!!!

The Sierra Herald now awaits a new US foreign policy that should put people at the heart of US decisions and a call that Africa would not be given its due respect in the league of nations of this world.

Congratulations President Barrack Obama!!!!!!!!!

(PS - We have not heard of any men in black Task Force!!!!!)


He was untouchable, dished out death, rape and torture at will sure in the knowledge that with his father at the helm, he can get away with anything. Chuckie with back turned Not so says the law as a US court has now convicted Charles "Chukie" Taylor son of war crimes suspect former Liberian President Charles Taylor of charges relating to crimes committed while heading his father's Anti Terrorist Unit, the ATU. The Miami Herald, a US-based newspaper noted that "President Taylor's son, a US citizen was convicted on Thursday of leading a campaign of torture against people opposed to his father's rule". Human Rights organisations have generally welcomed this verdict which should now open the way for the trial of many who have been linked to atrocities in other countries and have now acquired citizenship in states that do not know about their role in the encouragement of human rights abuses. Elise Keppler senior counsel for the rights group Human Rights Watch has welcomed the verdict noting

"Today's verdict is a milestone in ensuring justice for atrocities. Never before has torture committed abroad been prosecuted in the United States. We now look to the Department of Justice to bring more cases like this one."

The Sierra Herald would urge all those who know about those now living abroad and who actively encouraged the orgy of murder, rape, torture and looting in Sierra Leone to contact us and/or other rights groups to bring all such persons to justice. Impunity should never be allowed to stand.



Former UN Secretary-General Kofi AnnanJustice Waki (left) hands a copy of the report to Kofi Annan has stated that a Special Tribunal must be set up by the Kenyan authorities to try those most responsible for the violence in that country in the wake of disputed elections. The former UN chief also said the international community expects the tribunal to be formed and start operating within six months to end the culture of impunity as well as gross violation of human rights. Mr Annan said that the setting up of the Tribunal would foster a new age of democracy, accountability and the rule of law in Kenya. In an exclusive interview on the BBC Network Africa programme the former world body's chief scribe said

"The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace....forgive and let's move on....doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand"

The Sierra Herald hopes that Sierra Leone's Attorney-General and Minister of Justice is following events in Kenya with a legal eye in the hope that he can realise, before it is too late that his continued protection of extremely violent alleged murderers, rapists and human rights abusers may not put him on a collision course with international justice.



BIRDS OF A FEATHER AND UNREPENTANT PARTNERS IN A MASSIVE COVER-UP OF OPERATIONS DURING JUNTA REPRESSION. GIBRIL AND SEAGA AGAINGibril Gbanabome Koroma painting....yet forgetting the colours of junta ruleHow do you advocate for giving the oxygen of positive image to a murderous junta?

Gibril Gbanabome Koroma, the unrepentant junta apologist is at it again, giving his former boss and his ilk -  beneficiaries of junta goodies a new image, planting deliberate falsehoods while shying away from their role in the persecution of colleagues and others thought to be against the Johnny Paul Koroma junta, the AFRC (May 25 1997-February 1998). The latest to be brought to the attention of the Sierra Herald is a  Gibril report on a talk given by Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw at a show organised by the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and of course, you can safely guess just how tricky it was for him when he  was asked to talk on the topic (according to Gbanabome) -  ‘New Threats To Media Freedom-how we fight back’. You guessed it. He was caught on the wrong foot - for how can Ibrahim Seaga Shaw of Expo Times under junta rule really talk about threats when he was a part of the threat to journalists when the junta was unleashing abuses and terror on colleagues? And their stance as the obnoxious junta reigned terror on perceived opponents? "We were advocating for a peaceful resolution of the conflict". Well we'll continue to remind them of articles they published that gave the junta the oxygen of publicity during those horrendous times for journalists including just how they damned reports on junta atrocities by human rights organisations.

The Gibril report

The constitution as interpreted by the Expo Times that recognises the obnoxious junta - August 26, 1997

Expo Times publication damning Amnesty International's report on abuses under junta rule and justifying summary executions

Rights group IFEX report on the state of the media and Seaga Shaw's use of junta resources to hit out at another colleague

The Expo Times publication fingering BBC reporter Victor Sylver

Thursday December 18, 2008 - Victory for the wheels of justice - Chief genocide suspect is convicted and sentenced to life in jailThe convicted mass murderer Bagosora in 3-piece suit and tie in court

The man (monster?) alleged to be the kingpin behind "the efficient slaughter" of some 800,000 Tutsis, moderate Hutus and those perceived to be in opposition Theoneste Bagosora has finally met the justice he'd been trying to run away from. He has been convicted of among other crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison. The UK-based Guardian newspaper reporting on the verdict has this headline - Rwanda's Himmler: the man behind the genocide with the article by journalist Chris McGreal noting -

You might call him the Heinrich Himmler of Rwanda. Theoneste Bagosora was less grand than the Nazi SS leader, eschewing pitch-black uniforms and grand military parades, but he espoused an ideology as hateful and ultimately as deadly as the man who oversaw the Holocaust. And he was just as organised.

So powerful was this evil man that though he had officially retired from the Rwandan army as a colonel, he still continued to wield command and control positions taking upon himself the role of master planner in bringing upon hapless Rwandans who were subjects of his ire and hatred the apocalypse he had promised when he stormed out of a peace meeting between Tutsi and Hutu elements.

His conviction by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the ICTR has been generally welcomed by human rights organisations as well as survivors some of whom have expressed regret that their tormentor had recourse to justice in the courts while his victims never stood a chance as they were hacked, shot and bludgeoned to death in an orgy of bloodletting that left so many dead, wounded, traumatised, raped and dispossessed.

The Sierra Herald welcomes this verdict hoping that one day all the main actors behind the atrocities in Sierra Leone will face justice - be they "journalists" who gave the oxygen of publicity to the AFRC/RUF junta in Sierra Leone from May 1997 to February 1998 or those who wielded the machetes, raped our women and girl-folks and enslaved those they had drugged.

His lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.

That shoe attack - journalism gone mad or is there a message?TV journalist Mutadhar al-Zaidi - Did he lose it? Photo - CNN

The recent incident shown on the world's media - of a journalist throwing his shoes at US President George Bush while on a visit to Iraq raises a number of questions and puts member of the Fourth estate, real journalists we mean smack in the centre of the spotlight. And isn't it strange to notice that certain online outlets claiming to be managed by "journalists" have still not thought it fit to comment? Is that action by somebody passing himself off as a journalist stretching matters beyond the remit and duty of  a journalist? The Sierra Herald believes that whatever a journalist's experiences could be the display by that journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi throwing shoes at a visiting US President at a meeting he had attended as a member of the Fourth Estate does not augur well for the profession as governments and other institutions that have to be held accountable would use this and any other excuse to selectively bar journalists they believe would be asking questions they would not feel comfortable with. And using journalism as a cover for other deeds is nothing new as was witnessed in the mother country when certain journalists were targeted by the junta (May 25, 1997-February 1998) by their own "colleagues".



Today December 10 2008 is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year's theme is poignant - Dignity and justice for all of us" and should be a time to look back at how the mother country Sierra Leone has fared and is doing with regards to respecting, protecting and defending the rights of everyone within the borders of Sierra Leone and as Article 2 emphasises

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

And the question that readily comes to mind would be - how many Sierra Leoneans really know their rights under the constitution and do we have a government/structures in place that respect the human rights of Sierra Leoneans in a country where money, influence and political status trample the rights of others.  Indeed as UN Chief Scribe Ban Ki-Moon has noted on this day.

It is our duty to ensure that these rights are a living reality -- that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists -- and that it exists for them

And as Sierra Leoneans reflect on this, the press must take a stand to expose all cases, allegations and attempts at trampling the rights of Sierra Leoneans in their own God-given country. Now that there is a new executive in power, the professional body SLAJ must make it it's duty to clearly identify who journalists are as distinct from writers of sorts lest the profession gets dragged into the sewers of infamy.


Saturday November 29 was a very important day in the calendar of journalists as members assembled to choose officers that should lead as well as run the affairs of the august body, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).

Campaigning was said to have been intense with candidates going all out to show just what they had to offer and wherever and whenever possible, candidates were on hand for public debates, selling their plans for the organisation as well as what should make them the preferred candidate. And eyes were on the top seat and who would occupy it with Standard Times newspaper editor Philip Neville, veteran newspaper journalist Ibrahim Karim-Sei and veteran journalist as well as the BBC's correspondent Umaru Fofanah vying for the top job.

At the close of counting and final results, Umaru emerged by a clear lead as the winner thereby taking on the challenging task of bringing some amount of sanity, credibility as well as respectability to the Fourth Estate. It will not be an easy task, but there's always a start and one of them should be making sure that all those who carry the tag "journalist" are just what they are and fit for purpose.Philip and Umaru after the vote - both suffered under the jackboots of the AFRC/RUF

His sweep of the board in all regions of the country shows SLAJ do have a man for all the regions and should strengthen Umaru's team as they begin the new journey.

While wishing the winning team headed by Umaru all the best, our commiserations go to all who lost bearing in mind that they should be holding their heads high for taking part in a worthy exercise. Indeed there are no losers but winners all round with those not making it having a deep well of knowledge that can be used by the new team in building up the image of our very own SLAJ.

Well done!!!!Incumbent SLAJ President Philip Neville - He lost the battle but still a winner

NB: There should not be any hint of animosity nor what we call "bad blood" between Umaru and Philip after these elections. The Sierra Herald sees everyone using his experiences in the field as well as ability and skills in helping make SLAJ rise to even greater heights.

Umaru and Philip - remember you both suffered under the jackboots of the beasts during those dark days - so put away your differences and work for an independent and worthy SLAJ - the kind of organisation that stood up to the beasts during junta rule in Sierra Leone's darkest hours!!!!!



An inquest into the death of a BBC Producer, Kate PeytonMurdered BBC Producer Kate Peyton in Mogadishu has concluded she was killed unlawfully with observations by the Coroner Peter Dean that lessons must be learnt by the BBC and other media outlets on the deployment of reporters in dangerous areas.

According to the BBC, Miss Peyton, who was shot dead in Mogadishu in 2005, was one of the BBC's most experienced producers in Africa. She had worked with the BBC since 1993, first joining as a radio reporter on Merseyside and then moving to Manchester in 1995 to become a regional television reporter. She moved to Johannesburg in 2001 to work on the BBC's world planning desk and in the following years covered stories including the Aids crisis, floods in Mozambique and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

However details emerging at the inquest showed a link between a producer wanting her contract renewed and going on what appeared to be a dangerous assignment to prove to her bosses that she was committed to the job. According to press reports (also see the Guardian) the coroner said he wanted a transcript of the inquest sent to the BBC and felt it would be "remiss" if he did not give the BBC and other organisations a chance to learn lessons from the inquest.

"This is not a criticism," he added. "We all learn from mistakes. "I find no fault in the risk assessment process. It was a caring and careful risk assessment."

Anthony Hudson, barrister for the BBC, told the coroner that the corporation had "listened carefully" to observations he had made during the inquest.

After the hearing, the Peyton family said in a statement: "We are gratified that after nearly four years, the coroner has been able to offer some advice as to how the BBC might improve its treatment of journalists asked to undertake dangerous assignments."

Peyton's sister Rebecca added: "We have found it baffling, depressing and exhausting that the BBC has put so much energy and considerable financial resources on this.

"God knows how much taxpayers' money it has cost. I think there certainly are lessons to be learned and we very much hope that the BBC will learn them. "We've had such a battle with the BBC to get all this information into the open."


It is apparent that one move that would help ease the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the DRC would be the resolve of the international community to carefully remove the main evil characters and this includes the man who says he's fighting in the DRC to save Tutsis. Laurent Nkunda must be arrested using whatever means necessary to bring him to book. His continued excuse that he was in the DRC with armed insurgents because he wanted to protect Tutsis in the DRC as well as to stop cross border incursions by the Interahamwe into Rwanda is beginning to sound hollow if not cynical.

One would argue that Joseph Kabila should have reined in the group that has been blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and that such a group with a track record of cruelty, murder, rape and all manner of human rights violations must never be allowed to roam freely in the DRC armed to the teeth and free to put whoever they saw desire to the sword. This certainly does not give Laurent Nkunda the license to murder, rape and abuse the rights of civilians living in their own God-given country as was seen in the recent massacre of civilians in Kiwanja whose only crime, it seems was for them to have been found trying to be safe from the murder and mayhem going all around them....and these were unarmed civilians!!!!

The UK Daily Mail reports that journalist Alfred Ndjondjo Victwahiki Munyamariza 25, was forced out of his house and shot in the head in his garden in plain view of his wife and toddler daughter. The AFRC/RUF pattern all over again.

Indeed it is worth noting that the DRC government had at one-time issued an arrest warrant for Laurent Nkunda - a move that could not be enforced because within the DRC itself, militias thought to be allied with government forces were engaged in similar acts and as always, against the unarmed civilian population.

This reminder is from the rights group Human Rights Watch article of 2006.

Joseph Kabila too must share the blame for not calling for help in dealing with an armed and genocide-inclined group that helped bring his father Laurent to power. The leaders of the Interahamwe must be made to account too with those accused of individual acts of rape and murder brought to justice.

Impunity must never be allowed to stand.


Apologist for junta human rights excesses Gibril Gbanabome Koroma - abusing Canada's hospitalityJust as the Holocaust deniers want to rewrite history and say that Nazi Death and Concentration Camps were a World War II myth, ....Gibril's latest...creation of a "journalist" - Sullayso too are apologists for the butchers during junta rule between May 1997 and February 1998 and the January 6, 1999 massacres want the world to believe that nothing of the sort occurred in Sierra Leone. Even though Gibril Gbanabome Koroma, could no doubt have clearly omitted the role of his newspaper the Expo Times in justifying the atrocities of the junta as he deceived the Canadian immigration authorities on why he wants protection from Lt General Dallaire's country, it is unbelievable almost to the point of the absurd that he would continue to abuse this welcome and protection from Canada by re-inventing his type who supported the junta during Sierra Leone's trying times.

His latest is making a journalist out of one Sullay Adekulay (on his unapologetic and unrepentant online junta machine) who was never known in journalistic circles in Sierra Leone, who was never a member of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, SLAJ as claimed by his mentor Sheka Tarawallie and who has managed like Tarawallie, Seaga Shaw and his brother to deceive their way into an organisation that caters for the protection of journalists fleeing prosecution, the EJN thus putting the organisation's good name and noble intentions into disrepute.

In fact what is even more worrying is that this so-called creation of Gibril Gbanabome Koroma when challenged at the EJN meeting in 2007 denied that he had ever claimed to be journalist!!!! His performance at that meeting then clearly demonstrated that he was brought into EJN as part of the Seaga Shaw-Gbanabome-Sheka Tarawallie axis who harassed all those opposing the unrecognised (both nationally and internationally) repressive, brutal and murderous AFRC/RUF junta.

Indeed! It is like allowing Khieu Samphan (PhD from France) to seat on a board that seeks to protect victims of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia!!!!

It is such blatant hoodwinking, cover up and outright falsehood that create problems for genuine asylum seekers wanting to avail themselves of the protection offered by countries like the United Kingdom.


MAY 3 - WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY - 2008War crimes fugitive Johnny Paul Koroma - Expo Times Chief Patron

Supporters of human rights abusers, rapists and murderers may try to rewrite history, distort events of what really happened in the mother country Sierra Leone during those turbulent and terrible years especially under the jackboots of the beasts (read AFRC/RUF junta) during their seizure of power from May 29, 1997 to February 1998, but they will never succeed as survivors will always be there to tell and write about the truth. From the summary executions of civilians (eg 6 innocent civilians who were taken to Cockerill for summary execution because they had travelled from Lungi to Freetown by boat. Lungi was then regarded as enemy territory because of the junta belief that their gadfly 98.1 FM was located there). The January 6, 1999 and the Mabaylla massacres of September 1997 cap it all.


And just for the records, we reproduce 2 items published by Expo Times during junta rule. Kindly note that the junta was never recognised by the international community, nor by the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans who escaped from their clutches using whatever means. What we have reproduced is a part of the Expo Times newspaper campaign to keep the junta in power at whatever cost.

1. Condemning rights group Amnesty International for exposing abuses by the junta (The Expo Times justifying summary executions, among others.)

2. Basking in the limelight of the junta excesses (Please note the due recognition of the illegal, brutal, murderous and human rights abusing regime by the Expo Times.)

September 4, 2007 War crimes fugitive Johnny Paul KoromaTen years ago today, residents in the capital Freetown witnessed the extent to which desperate men and women would go to maintain any form of grip on power. For on this day ten years ago, the world became very much aware of what beasts in human form are capable of doing to their fellow human beings as the horrors of the Mabaylla massacre were laid bare.
The Johnny Paul junta claimed it was the handiwork of ECOMOG forces who had heavy guns at Lungi across the estuary. The villain even went as far as to send off something to the regional body, ECOWAS to complain stating "the Nigerians are actively and deliberately encouraging and orchestrating a genocidal civil war".

Not satisfied with this and knowing he could not explain why RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fragments as well as bullet and shell casings were to be found in the general area of the attack on civilians, Johnny Paul Koroma became a "preacher man" overnight with a so-termed "prayer" concocted by his gbatolites who saw no wrong in the AFRC/RUF coalition of evil. What he and others in the know forgot and could have brushed aside was the rather harmless but clearly deep warning that God is not fooled and there is always a price to be paid for using His name in vain!!!!The signature of the beasts - Photo: Standard Times

Residents were not fooled. They knew who carried out the murders. They knew that those spent shell casings that were to be found along Goderich Street and other areas were not from ECOMOG guns!!!! Anyone who dared to openly state that the junta was responsible or even dared to mention that they did not believe the junta version were shot out of hand as a warning to others as those who survived the initial blasts at Mabaylla discovered. ......and in all this, junta journalists in the pay of the coalition of evil helped spread the junta propaganda of death - even going the distance in fingering colleagues thought to be against the murderous regime, especially those believed to have had doubts over the junta version!!!!



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