''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 1

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 September 25, 2011 - Yes indeed it is another day of worship in the calendar of the true Christian - a day specially set aside for the Christian to be in the company of members of the same faith, discussing that which edifies the spirit and builds upon trust in the Almighty God. It is also a time for reflection on the goodness of the Good One, the Lord Almighty and to give thanks and praise to Him for all His mercies and not for the creation of idols and their worship.

We continue to put forward suggested themes for the priest who is devoted to the worship of his god ernest bai koroma at the special altar of lies and profanities and would ask that he addresses our suggestion on the theme - Gluttony is a sin - again reminding him - Gluttony is a serious sin because it enslaves the soul to the body, even though the soul, which is superior, is supposed to be in charge.President Ernest Bai Koroma - has he abandoned his own manifesto? Gluttons eat not for the sake of fueling their bodies or to participate in social gatherings; but rather they eat just for the sheer pleasure of consuming....We again remind him of another sermon on a suggested theme about who to serve and worship - Matthew 6:24 (King James Version (KJV) clearly advises and warns - "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon".

So then how can this priest create an altar for the worship of his god ernest bai koroma an yet profess to be a follower of the Most High? We had in the past made it clear just why our interest was directed towards a man who claims to be a believer in the admonitions of the Good Book, the Holy Bible as we watched in horror "contributions" of a supposed man of the cloth who would use various "names" "handles" to indulge in vulgar language and the use of sexually explicit language to satisfy an urge as one would find in a sow in heat. So intense was this urge that he created his alter ego Mariama Massaquoi - and as they say - the rest is history as we would not publish on our pages sexually explicit emails sent to a former ally - an individual we would not name for fear of dragging her name into the muck and sewer of gratuitous licentiousness and debauchery that is a hallmark of ernest bai koroma's high priest who delights in the denigration of representatives of Eve in God's Christian world. Recall his "contributions" when former President Kabbah appointed Christiana Thorpe as head of the electoral body?

And for today's theme, we would urge the high priest to read certain sections of the Bible that deals with falsehood, lies and fabrications only dirty and warped minds can conjure from the cesspit of immorality starting off with Exodus 20:16 - the ninth commandment - "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" - and "neighbour" does not only mean the man/woman next door - it means everyone.

We would again remind the high priest of Matthew 15:19 - "For out of the heart proceeds evil thought...false witness...these are the things which defile a man"

And one more - 1 Timothy 2:7 - "Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not)"

It was the high priest himself who claimed he was a pastor, a man of the cloth, a man whose comportment should be an example to all within and outside the faith. Remember what he stated about a somebody who questioned him when he started construction work at the altar dedicated to his god ernest bai koroma. It was he who stated - "I am far better than you in the United States of America. While you are a laborer in a factory or a sausage flipper in a Macdonald's, I am a school teacher and Pastor. You cannot compare my returns to your's..."

Sunday September 25, 2011 - What a week that was with all manner of stories on one issue or the other that is of interest to the publishers rather than their "readership" and we are disappointed that despite our professional piece of advice, the ether and we hear publications on the ground have been doing the work of the investigation panel set up by no less a person than the President himself.President Ernest Bai Koroma addressing the 66th session of the UN General Assembly

Our piece of advice that publishers refrain from blaming anyone, it would appear has been largely been unheeded especially by those outlets whose publishers really believe they are earning their living from the corrupt cabal which passes for a government in Sierra Leone. By passing judgement and blaming persons/institutions thought to be responsible for the ugly incidents in Bo and Kono, these outlets have, without realising it, given the game away. That they had been instructed by their masters at State House to make nonsense of the exercise so that by the time the committee comes out with a report, it critics would cry foul and say it is deeply flawed. That is the kind of respect they have for their paymaster His Excellency the Dr etc etc Ernest Bai Koroma. There so many things to write about which should highlight the positive and negative aspects of the state of affairs in Sierra Leone without disrespecting the President's decision to set up an investigating committee. Could it be that these "violators" know something that is not public knowledge - that behind the scenes State House could also have given orders that the blame game should continue together with the hate messages? We hope not. However given experiences of the past where these investigating committees do carry out their mandate with recommendations for the government that are largely ignored or deliberately not acted upon, has the government inadvertently or deliberately sent a message to the people that it is all a trick from the box of the smoke and mirrors President? Again we hope not as we anxiously await the outcome of these investigations. In the meantime, we would urge the government to implement, as a first step the recommendations of the Justice Bankole Thompson report on the disturbances at the SLPP office in Freetown during which allegations of rape were made by female supporters of the main opposition SLPP. We would also want the government to issue a statement in respect of what is now common knowledge of a leaked report by the Shears-Moses Independent Review Panel into violence in Sierra Leone - a disturbing aspect in a country whose former President, Ahmad Kabbah in 2002 formally declared that the decade-long bloody, malevolent and vicious war was over. The Sierra Herald would want to remind the now ruling party that when it lost elections in 1996 and 2002, no one can recall the winning SLPP party supporters in tow with the security forces attacking the offices and supporters of the then opposition, now ruling, APC!!! Oh by the way, we hear His Excellency has been addressing the UN General Assembly and we have trawled all his internet sites looking for a copy of his speech without success so that we can make an informed comment on what he meant by him being "painfully disturbed" by "buckets of armed conflicts" in the sub-region while steering clear of the potential for mayhem and chaos in his own backyard - in Sierra Leone. And oh by the way we would want to know the composition of the Sierra Leone delegation and how much of the people's money was spent in terms of allowances and accommodation. Transparency is the name of the game Mr President.

Friday September 23, 2011 - Zambia has a new President as Electoral Commission declares main opposition candidate Michael Sata the winner (43%) in polls that threatened to become violent as impatient voters got angrier by the minute in what they saw as a the delay in counting of the votes amid accusations of vote-manipulation.Michael Sata - now the new man at State HouseRupiah Banda - he lost to his arch rival Michael Sata

"I therefore declare Michael Chilufya Sata to be duly elected as President of the Republic of Zambia," said Chief Justice Ernest Sakala to a burst of cheers from Sata's supporters in the election results centre. This was how one news source briefly described the historic moment as another African country votes a sitting party and government out of power - just as it happened in Sierra Leone in 2007. It was the fourth time lucky for Michael Sata having suffered three straight defeats in elections that progressively got more tightly contested at each voting period for the Presidency and this time round in 2011 after Tuesday's polls Zambians have now decided to put the affairs of the country in the hands of a man who is as passionate about his faith as he is about politics. According to the BBC, Mr Sata was declared winner by Chief Justice Ernest Sakala after polling 43% of the vote with just seven constituencies left to be counted. This in effect means that after 20 years as the ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) led by Rupiah Banda has to cede power to the Patriotic Front of Michael Sata who lost the last election by just thirty five thousand votes. Reuters' Chris Mfula reporting from the capital Lusaka noted - Sata, 74 and nicknamed "King Cobra" because of his venomous tongue, toned down his rhetoric against foreign mining firms, especially from China, in the closing stages of the six-week campaign but his victory could still cloud the investment outlook adding - Earlier youths fought running battles with riot police in the towns of Ndola and Kitwe, 250 km (150 miles) north of Lusaka, setting fire to vehicles and markets in the normally peaceful southern African country's mining heartland. Rupiah Banda, the man voted out by the electorate is expected to make a statement later today about the outcome of the polls. Both winner and loser are 74.

Update: - We would like to bring to the attention of the internet flying toilets - those who spew gutter language and profanities against the seekers of truth and who are seen as in opposition to smoke and mirrors President Ernest Bai Koroma, the leader and head of AFRC Mk2. Kindly click the photo on the right of losing President Banda and access the website of his party. Look closely and learn. This is the former ruling party accepting that it has lost the confidence of the people by publishing the results as received. No lies, no fabrications, no untenable theories. We hope this would be a good example for those who are giving the impression that their livelihood depends on lying through their teeth to please Sierra Leone's State House.

Sunday October 2, 2011 - The magician is back from the 66th UN session. His paid hirelings, shameless liars to boot say he rang a bell somewhere and the world economy became stable and very prosperous overnight as they exhibit extraordinary ignorance of the US and global economic engines. He still has to tell the nation the size of his delegation and total amount spent on that jaunt in terms of allowances, hotel bills and transportation.The magician sits next to US President Obama - an uneasy sitting?

The first time we knew the magician was back home was when we read the Umaru FB comment that he has been presented with a report of the investigations he ordered into the Kono and Bo violence. Already there is growing scepticism, if not of a cynical nature, that the magician would not do anything about recommendations given the fate of other reports he had ordered. The attack on the SLPP office in which allegations of rape were made and the subsequent report by Justice Bankole Thompson were either rubbished or not acted upon by the President and his aides. Who would have known that there was a Shears-Moses report that recommended punishment for Leatherboot and others for the rise in violence in the politics of Sierra Leone since Dr Ernest Bai Koroma DCL, CCCP, QTYF, etc etc was declared the country's new President. And now this debate about how President Obama making sure that a special seat near him was reserved for our dear magician - there should not be any debate about this as there's a White House video for all to see. It was a very "lost" Ernest Bai Koroma who could not believe that a US President could instruct his protocol people to have him seat next to him.

What President Obama could have told the magician out of the eyes and ears of reporters is best left to the imagination. Did the US President express his displeasure at the rise of political intolerance and violence...as well as threatening remarks being made against the UN rep in Sierra Leone as well as the US envoys serving in Sierra Leone? We can only speculate...but what we observed about this visit is that - the head of the OGI one Khadija Sesay was not in town to "sensitise the diaspora" or hold so-called Town Hall meetings about the President's Agenda for Change. We also noticed less of the manufactured awards - a clear sign that Gambia's Yayah Jammeh must have won the competition for "awards". What could have soured things a bit was the chief worshipper/high priest at the altar dedicated to his god ernest when he felt he had to please his god and master and so had to bring in the sister of his god. Poor Admire, already under fire by critics for those contracts allegedly dished out to her by her brother would have been non-plussed by such an unwanted exposure.

Lets us leave you with with some relevant excerpts from the speech of President Obama at the United Nations, hoping that the magician and his trick assistants will read and learn.

"One year ago, the people of Côte D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. And when the incumbent lost, and refused to respect the results, the world refused to look the other way. U.N. peacekeepers were harassed, but they did not leave their posts. The Security Council, led by the United States and Nigeria and France, came together to support the will of the people. And Côte D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead. But let us remember: Peace is hard. Peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations. And we have more work to do..... Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy -- with greater trade and investment -- so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society -- students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from travelling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who've been silenced."

Saturday October 1, 2011 - Nigeria is 51 - We salute a country which despite its own problems came to the help of Sierra Leone and despite persecutions from the AFRC/RUF and AFRC Mk2 is helping put Sierra Leone on a sound footing.Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan - we wish him well

Nigeria is 51 today and we salute all the people of that great country as they observe this great day with our prayers that at the end of the day all will be well and that Nigeria will once again occupy its rightful position in the community of nations where democracy, the rule of law and good governance are respected and jealously guarded. We salute Nigeria, a country that stood by us in our hour of need as hordes of rapists, murderers, looters and arsonists tried to take over a country and a people that had rejected them after the May 25, 1997 coup. We salute Nigeria whose soldiers and civilians were targeted by the AFRC/RUF beasts of no nation during those dark days, making such areas like Sackville Street a death zone for Nigerian traders and businessmen as well as their relations.

Last year, the observation of the 50th was marred by bombing incidents in Eagle Square and we are happy to note the report carried in This Day President Jonathan's promise that terrorism, bombings and suicide attacks will not be the character of the true Nigerian. The hired hands of the smoke and mirrors President Ernest Bai Koroma, a.k.a the magician including the high priest at the altar dedicated to his worship are well advised to read the full speech of his senior in the field of leadership and good governance. The magician is also advised to do like wise in a speech which among other things, emphasised -

"As we celebrate today, we remember with pride, the nationalism and patriotism that inspired our founding fathers and the Nigerian people. They set aside their differences, to secure the unity and independence of our great country.
That is the Nigerian spirit! For the Nigerian spirit cannot be broken. We are a resilient nation, determined to chart a course, through the turbulent waters of nation building. The Nigerian spirit is vibrant today in the world. Our citizens at home and abroad, are making their mark in all fields of human endeavour. These hard-working and committed Nigerians, remain a source of pride to us and a beacon of what is achievable, if we remain focused and determined."

We salute the people of Nigeria for their belief in a country called Sierra Leone - that one day Sierra Leone will become the centre of learning and excellence that trained Nigerian civil servants and academics. On this day, we salute Nigeria for letting sleeping dog lie given the fact that when AFRC Mk 2 was declared winner of the 2007 elections, supporters of that vile set-up took it upon themselves to attack Nigerians again until the Nigerian High Commissioner had to call them to order. Why all these attacks? It is a hangover of the AFRC/RUF plot to get rid of Nigerian forces because Nigeria provided the bulk of ECOMOG forces during those troubled times. The Mabaylla murder was carried out by AFRC/RUF to force the international community to lean on Nigeria to get its troops out. It did not work...and the attack on Nigerians after the declaration of the 2007 results was a part of the continuing strategy. We give thanks that Nigeria has let it all be forgiven with the country now willing to train Sierra Leoneans in various fields of development. On this day - we say - Floreat Nigeria!!!!

Friday September 30, 2011 - New cabinet in Zambia to be sworn in today and President Michael Sata chooses controversial Guy Scott as his Vice President as he reduces the cabinet size by - wait for it - 3, from 22 he inherited to 19.New Zambia Vice President Guy ScottZambian President Michael Sata

The new cabinet cobbled together by new Zambian President is to be sworn in today and among the appointees that have got tongues wagging is that of controversial white Zambian, the one and only Guy Scott whose critics say he just doesn't know when to rein in his tongue over issues he is not comfortable with. Among the "new pupil come to school" is a son of former President Kenneth Kaunda. Colonel Panji Kaunda, appointed Deputy Defence minister is no stranger to Zambia's security and defence apparatus and is often caught in controversies over how things should be run that would stem the prospects of violence in Zambia. As the country prepared for the just-concluded elections, the Lusaka Times carried a report in which Panji was criticised by the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) for his alleged threat that the election would be the bloodiest if certain measures are not put in place to prevent such violence occurring. A senior cabinet minister had this observation -

Minister of Home Affairs Mkhondo Lungu said in an interview on January 3 that political leaders predicting doom are only trying to frighten voters and the international community. “It is unbelievable that Col Kaunda can issue such frightening statements when other leaders are denouncing violence,” Mr Lungu said.

His own former party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) expelled him for what they called "failure to uphold the party constitution" igniting rumours that the man was now firmly in the Sata camp. Responding to these charges of disloyalty Panji told a local radio station Hot FM that it was because party members were too tied up, imprisoned in the chains of loyalty that prevents most people from speaking and pointing out the mistakes of their leaders.

Meanwhile President Sata has declared that he would be setting up a committee to investigate violence surrounding the just-concluded elections. He has also pardoned 28 people arrested by the police. The Washington Post has noted that the present cabinet is aimed at unifying the country with its members drawn from all the cardinal points of Zambia.

Wednesday September 28, 2011 - Two years ago today, horror upon horrors was unleashed on innocent, defenceless and rights-expressing Guineans leaving at least 150 dead, women physically abused and violated in public while many were raped in broad daylight by those whose duty it was to protect Guinean citizens. Demonstration planned in London today.

On September 28, 2009 Guineans, wishing to exercise their democratic rights and wanting to send a clear message to the then leader of a new junta that had taken over after the death of President Lansana Conte, one Captain Dadis Camara marched to the stadium in Conakry to send a message to the self-same Dadis that his plans to put himself up as a candidate in promised elections was just not on. Aftermath of the harvest of death in Guinea - where are the rest of the bodies?The people saw that attempt as aimed at perpetuating military rule in the country and were not prepared for that. The stadium was chosen so that many could attend and voice their opposition to military rule. Dadis Camara and his men were not pleased and proceeded in a careful manner to kill as many of the unarmed civilians as possible who had gathered at the stadium to oppose the Dadis plan. First, the stadium gates were bolted so that escape would be difficult, then soldiers using a variety of automatic war weapons opened fire directly into the crowds with each soldier making sure that the regulatory two extra ammunition as well as the loaded clips were emptied into the now very frightened and panicky crowd. Women were stripped and raped in broad daylight with bayonets and other objects forced into their private parts - all done by an army that took an oath to defend the very citizens it was now devouring, debasing and dehumanising. When it ended more than a hundred and fifty seven (157) lay dead. The army forced to admit the massacre insisted that only fifty seven (57) were killed. During the night hours of the curfew imposed by the military, reports speak of military vehicles visiting makeshift morgues, taking away bodies and burying them in secret locations. Reports are to emerge later that the massacre was carefully planned by Dadis Camara and his top commanders, one of whom his aide-de-camp, Abubakar "Toumba" Diakite nearly killed him from a shot to his head when the frightened and clearly alarmed soldier felt he was about to be set up for arrest by the International Criminal Court, the ICC. The rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has today, on the second anniversary of the massacre issued a press statement calling for all those involved in what was clearly a war crime to be arrested and punished. In today's report Human Rights Watch has this -

"Human Rights Watch is also concerned that President Alpha Condé has appointed two people to government positions who, based on Human Rights Watch investigations, are implicated in the September 2009 violence: Lt. Col. Claude Pivi as minister of presidential security, and Lt. Col. Moussa Tiégboro Camara as director of the National Agency against Drugs, Organized Crime, and Terrorism."

This statement has echoes in Sierra Leone where one of the key commanders in the Peoples Army of the AFRC/RUF one Idrissa Kamara also known as Leatherboot is the top-gun of the protection unit of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Transcripts available online of the Charles Taylor trial at the Hague at which the atrocities of the AFRC/RUF have been highlighted including the January 6, 1999 attack on the capital Freetown in which more than five thousand (5,000+) innocent and unarmed civilians were brutally murdered have shown that during all these attacks to punish civilians for refusing to support them, Idrissa Kamara aka Leatherboot played a key role in these outrages on civilians. He and members of his team enjoy the protection of State House - a protection that has emboldened them to commit various crimes with impunity even as you read this.

Wednesday September 28, 2011 - International Right to Know Day - Is the government in Sierra Leone aware of this day? What is it doing about letting the people know how they are governed by keeping them informed with the truth as the central core? Has the government any programme to observe this day? We think not given the main pre-occupation of the ministry of (dis?) information and the sprouting at every corner of his internet flying toilets.Information minister I B Kargbo - what does he know about the Bo incident?

Today September 28 is the International Right to Know Day - a day that is set aside by all governments that respect the human rights of its citizens to know what it is doing for and on behalf of them. It was established by access to information advocates from around the globe to raise awareness of every individual's right to access government-held information. Today is meant to also raise awareness on the right to know how elected officials are exercising power and how tax payers' money is being spent. In Sierra Leone questions that would need immediate answers are the size of the President's delegation to the 66th UN General Assembly and how much of the public money is being spent on the jaunt in terms of allowances and accommodation. With the smoke and mirrors President always promising that the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill will "soon, soon and very soon" become law, recent revelations about how the government is deliberately keeping citizens in the dark raises the real spectre that President Ernest Bai Koroma is again keeping a wide distance between himself and the truth. Another key area is in the area of assets declaration by His Excellency. He claims to have submitted this to the Anti Corruption Commission but the contents are only known to himself and to the head of that body - assuming that the President indeed fulfilled that part of his obligation. The Sierra Herald doubts this very much because some reliable source has intimated that it is because of the failure of the President to comply that many of his minions including ministers and civil servants have deliberately refused to comply with one top minister and another top civil servant challenging the President to make public his declaration. Indeed, the man who is now the toast of President Koroma and his internet flying toilets, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair knew better than to "form fool" by not making public his assets as well as interests when he was Prime Minister!!!! He didn't dare. Maybe he could just tell Ernest Bai Koroma to do the right thing and make public the declaration of his assets.

Is President Koroma willing to tell just how much he has actually received from another of his "friends and benefactors" one Frank Vasile Timis?

Or that India rice deal as well as the recent rather dubious rice affair between his government and that of neighbouring Guinea and who benefited from it?

It is good and refreshing to note though that a number of African countries have seen it fit to observe this day - from our neighbour Liberia to Uganda and the students union in Ghana. This is what good governance is all about. Transparency and Accountability.

Monday September 26, 2011 - Africa's loses one of her greatest daughters - Prof Wangari Maathai, the first African female Nobel Peace Prize winner and conservation heroine is no more having lost her prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer in a Nairobi hospital last night. She was 71.

Africa has lost another of her great daughters in the person of Nobel Laureate, conservationist, founder of the Green Belt Movement and dare we add that infectious smile - the one and only Prof Wangari Maathai. The late Prof Wangari Maathai displays her Nobel Peace PrizeSound her name these days and the first thoughts that would come to mind is her stance on conservation and her love for trees. She was more than that as many who suffered social injustices in her home country Kenya will tell you. Her winning of the Nobel Peace Prize was not only for the promotion of conservation, but for her fight for the rights of women as well as transparency in government. The BBC has noted that the Green Belt Movement which she founded has now planted between 20 to 30 million trees in Africa and one BBC presenter on the Network Africa programme this morning noted that though this was a woman of stature and great standing on the international scene, yet meeting her was like meeting any other person. "She was so down to earth and humility was personified in her" Bola Mosuro added. The Daily Nation of Kenya stated that

"Prof Maathai will be remembered for her courage and tenacity in seeking social justice, conservation, democracy and corruption.
She successfully fought off an attempt by the Moi regime to build a 60-storey building at Uhuru Park, at the centre of Nairobi city. She also took on powerful individuals in the Moi government who had hived off parts of the Karura forest in the outer fringes of the city.
She also joined mothers of political prisoners in a hunger strike in a quest to force then President Moi to free them." With US President Obama and wife in Nairobi

No stranger to politics she was elected an MP in 2002 as well as serving as a minister in government. Now who would ever remember her academic background - was she a biologist, a tree planter or just another person who made the study and preservation of nature her life-time pursuit? You may be forgiven for thinking that way. We can tell you now that this giant academic was a professor in veterinary medicine and here's a taste of the many "firsts" she achieved as carried on the website of The Green Belt Movement

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964). She subsequently earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966). Professor Maathai pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi where she also taught veterinary anatomy. She became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region.

"Professor Maathai's departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her - as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine; or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place."- added the organisation.

The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, said she was saddened by the news.

"Africa, particularly African women, have lost a champion, a leader, an activist. We're going to miss her. We're going to miss the work she's been doing all these years on the environment, working for women's rights and women's participation," she said.

The Sierra Herald mourns with all at the passing on to the Great Beyond of this great and good woman and pray that the Good Lord, whatever you perceive Him to be, will grant her the rest only He can provide. Sleep on....Prof Maathai...you have done your own bit for mankind...your work has been done...well done...the toil is over. Rest In Peace.



Saturday September 10, 2011 - Update on the Bo violence - President Ernest Bai Koroma sets up committee to investigate the Bo incidents during which the Presidential flag bearer of the main opposition party Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was attacked and wounded, property belonging to the ruling APC party torched and at least one person reportedly killed. The SLPP reportedly issues a statement giving its own version of events.President Koroma - has set up a committee to investigate Bo violenceSLPP Presidential candidate Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has now thought it fit and proper to set up a committee that is tasked into looking into the violence which occurred in Bo on Friday in which the flag bearer of the main opposition party, the SLPP sustained injuries to his head. Members of the committee according to a Press Release from State House will include representatives of civil society, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) as well as the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC). The statement from State House has not blamed anyone, nor has it blamed any group or groups, nor any political party which we believe should be a warning to those who believe that in order to continue to feed fat from the coffers of State House as well as drinking deep from the fetid wells of corruption, profanities and damned lies, conspiracy theories only sick minds could conjure must be bandied around freely. And as the committee gets set to carry out its mandate, we would urge that all, we mean all irresponsible articles that are likely to be inimical to the investigations be stopped, more so especially those from the internet mouthpieces of the internet flying toilets of the President and his ruling party, the All Peoples Congress (APC) party. And further to this, may we remind the Deputy Information minister who also runs the pro-government and party news outlet Torchlight that there's a limit to the waving of the flags of deceit and falsehood and that he should not take this latest action of his boss with levity. It was Shekito who, after the publication of the report of Justice Bankole Thompson into the violence at the SLPP office in Freetown and during which allegations of rape were made came out with a headline stating that the learned judge had stated that the allegations of rape was a hoax. It was he who also published, after the PPRC published its report on violence in Kono stated that the body had sided with the opposition SLPP. He it was who reported that it was the SLPP members who transported human excreta to Kono, plastered the stuff on the offices of the SLPP in order to give the APC, his party, a bad name.

Saturday September 10, 2011 - It's the morning after violence erupted in Bo yesterday during visit of the SLPP Presidential flag bearer Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. The blame game begins as reports start flowing from pro-APC outlets blaming the SLPP for it all. Deep within the inner caucus of the APC - apprehension reigns. How can the SLPP flag bearer get attacked in his own "safe" stronghold?New SLPP flag bearer Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio

The internet has been inundated in the past 24 years of reports, some true, others imagined and yet more a combination of all three and more of what happened in Bo on Friday afternoon September 9, 2011. First reports speak of the convoy of the SLPP flag bearer Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio getting attacked and with him suffering head injuries. He is said to have been treated by one Dr Yillah, the same medico who treated Sierra Leonean citizen Tom Nyuma after he was mercilessly beaten by President Koroma's "bodyguards" led by one Idrissa Kamara - Leatherboot for you. Of course he and others were charged to court by the police only for the case to become history when Ernest Bai Koroma became President in 2007. The Friday incident in Bo has caused quite a deep worry, if not divisions within the "operations" wing of the ruling party with messages flowing as to how best to handle the situation. Some real, those who matter APC members have expressed doubt over the many reports they have been reading or being told about the incident, but the "operations" room personnel are now reviewing the whole incident with a view to learning lessons from it all. Indeed Information minister I B "Goebbels" Kargbo told the BBC's Focus on Africa that they too are baffled by this attack reminding the international broadcaster that Maada Bio had visited APC "strongholds" of the north without any incident and wondered why there should be such an incident in Bo. Meanwhile State House has issued a statement part of which we reproduce below. (Thanks to the website of Sierra Express Media, SEM)


It is to be noted that this press release has for the first time in the rule of the smoke and mirrors President condemned, yes condemned what happened in Bo yesterday. No one, no group has been blamed for initiating or continuing the violence as are been propagated and fanned by those who believe that such incidents should be exploited to be in the good books of their pay masters. Meanwhile SLPP quarters have intimated that Maada Bio will continue his tour with Kenema in the east on his agenda. The visit was not a political campaign for the 2012 elections but a kind of "thank you" and reconciliation tour after Maada Bio was elected the main opposition Presidential flag bearer for the 2012 elections. It is to be recalled that after he became President, Ernest Bai Koroma also took a similar reconciliation tour to the four corners of the country not only to thank APC supporters but to have meetings with key members of the opposition in their so-called strongholds. That is the politics of tolerance the Sierra Herald has always preached.

Thursday September 8, 2011 - The President has spoken. He has condemned the violence in Kono in which the names of two top APC operatives took centre stage - to wit Vice President Sam Sumana and Interior minister Musa Tarawally. He has not "debunked" the Kono violence. His reported statement clearly shows that he knew that violence was played out in the district. But is it, as usual, just hot air from the magician?Needs to separate administrative and professional roles in the ministryPresident Koroma - can he rein in his party thugs?

We have visited the website of President Ernest Bai Koroma looking for an official statement condemning the recent violence in Kono in which firearms were discharged purportedly on the orders of the APC's new thug on the block Interior minister Musa Tarawally. We could not find any but a report by Edward Kwame Yankson an official of the Ministry of Information and Communication appears to have been published by a number of pro-APC/sympathetic media outlets which would indicate that it must have been approved by Sierra Leone's Goebbel's himself, I B Kargbo. That report clearly shows the admission of the government that violence occurred in Kono involving intra-APC "fighting". No, the President did not debunk the Kono violence. The report indicated he knew that violence was visited upon the people of Kono by his own APC supporters. The report quoted the President when addressing senior government and APC party officials as saying

“I am fed up with this state of political instability in Kono and the unwillingness of politicians in that district to work together, and I daresay that this is a very embarrassing episode for Sierra Leone. We should no longer develop a political class that has no regard for the safety of individual citizens and the security of the State and those things must be seen to be over. I will not sit idly by and allow a handful of people who are supposed to know the provisions in our constitution and who should also understand the need for the sustenance of peace to deliberately create a state of instability. I will take firm action against those people"

This is not a debunking of the Kono violence. It is a confirmation by the Head of State himself that violence did occur in Kono. However what everyone within and without the borders of Sierra Leone wait to see - is just what the magician will come up with next to ensure that such acts do not become his party and government calling card and that those responsible will be brought to book. Relying on an Inspector-General whose performance is subject to his puppet masters at State House is not enough. What is needed is an independent inquiry the membership of which should be men and women of moral and upright stature. Given the role of State House over the cocaine plane affair in which State House is reported to have stepped in to prevent the police from arresting former Transport minister Sesay and coupled with the fact that the plane which brought in the cocaine was later bought by his very own minister Alpha Kanu speaks volumes of how much the President can be trusted when it comes to such matters of criminality involving his party and government operatives. We watch with keen interest the outcome of the promised police investigation with little hope that it will be unfettered. Meanwhile we would urge the Information minister that reports of such a nature should not come from an Acting Deputy Secretary who also doubles as his Personal Assistant. That ministry should have professionals who know how to treat such government "press statements". Deputy Secretaries are meant to play more administrative roles in the running of the ministry.

Wednesday September 7, 2011 - Political violence and the threat of violence - guarantors of Sierra Leone's fragile peace and fledgling democracy must act now lest things get out of hand with disastrous consequences. We do not have to wait for a Kenya-type post-election violence and subsequent ICC trials. Time to act...and now.Vice President Sam Sumana - another power-hungry APC operative

Reports that there had been violent confrontations between supporters of two key members of the ruling party headed by President Ernest Bai Koroma must be taken very seriously, not only by Sierra Leoneans who have had to put up with more than forty years of political violence and now want to enjoy peace, but by the international community which has tagged Sierra Leone as a post-conflict country that is oMusa Tarawally - the APC's new thug on the block - Photo: Internet sourcesn the right path to peace, democracy and the rule of law. Reports say that Interior minister Musa Tarawally (left) and Vice President Sam Sumana (right) have been named as being at the core of the disturbances in Kono district where it is reported that Musa Tarawally whose responsibilities include the police has taken upon himself to have a phalanx of state-paid armed OSD (renamed Siaka Stevens ISU attack beasts) police officers whom he directs and orders to discharge weapons with deadly consequences. It is to be recalled that violence and the threat of violence against perceived opponents, had for a long long time been the calling card of the All People's Congress (APC) party since the time of Siaka Stevens with the army drafted in to serve such political purposes when Rtd Major-General Joseph Saidu Momoh took over from him. Guarantors of our peace and democracy must also note that even after the then ruling SLPP accepted the result of the 2007 polls that ushered in the Ernest Bai Koroma administration, every excuse has been manufactured to attack SLPP members ranging from the sacking of the SLPP offices through allegations of rape by APC operatives to the use of excrement in Kono on the offices of the SLPP in Kono. It will also be recalled that one SLPP Presidential aspirant, Usu Boie Kamara was prevented by the police when he tried to enter the district to campaign support from SLPP members in the district. We have seen the illegal use of state security forces in the political arena before and how this plunged the country into our troubles and we would urge the government to take all necessary steps to ensure that personnel of the national security forces are not used by individuals for political and other purposes. The Sierra Herald condemns any politician who makes it a duty to be accompanied by armed personnel in a country that is no longer at war. We would urge the government to rein in the excesses of the Interior minister and the Defence minister Paolo Conteh who love to parade armed men as their personal security detail. All ministers are supposed to be "protected" by trained and qualified bodyguards from the Special Branch of the Sierra Leone Police. It worked in the Sierra Leone of yore where the rule of law was supreme and we see no reason why it should not work now. The display of firepower is bound to create disaffection within certain sections of the community and this is not good for our fledgling democracy and new-found peace.

Monday September 5, 2011 - Rights group criticises Ernest Bai Koroma "free" health programme for women in Sierra Leone. Amnesty International says "Monitoring and accountability are vital to the realisation of the right to health. An effective framework of monitoring and accountability serves as the basis for promoting changes which allow women and girls to enjoy their right to maternal health and give birth more safely".Women waiting fo health care in Makeni - Photo: Audrey Wade, OxfamHealth minister Zainab Bangura

Amnesty International (AI) has taken the Ernest Bai Koroma "administration" to task for its handling of the much vaunted health delivery programme that has been touted as a flagship success of and by his operatives. The report entitled " At a Crossroads - Sierra Leone's free health care policy" quotes one woman as saying - "The nurses treat you badly. They talk bad. I tried to explain, I begged...Nurses said you are wasting my time, and kicked me out....I had to beg. But no money, no medicine....They say free care, but there's none here." The rights group says that although government figures show more women accessing antenatal care and delivering their babies in health facilities, it is also quick to point out in that report that -  "...many women continue to pay for essential drugs, despite the free health care policy, and women and girls living in poverty continue to have limited access to essential care in pregnancy and childbirth. This line from the report shows that even before the report was made public, it was shared with the government  - "Amnesty has welcomed the positive response received from Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation on sharing this report with them, but the organisation insists that planned reforms must be translated into action".

The Sierra Herald would urge the authorities in Sierra Leone to heed the advice of Amnesty International that they put planned reforms into action for the good of the people taking into serious consideration the observation that - “...a critical shortcoming within the healthcare system is the absence of any effective monitoring and accountability systems, without which reforms cannot succeed.”  In its recommendations Amnesty International asks the government to, among others

1. Conduct a systematic assessment into the leakage and stock-out of essential drugs. 2. Reform and strengthen procurement, distribution and storage systems with respect to drugs. 3. Strengthen monitoring, evaluation and accountability mechanism to combat corruption and mismanagement in procurement, storage and distribution of drugs and supplies and 4. Ensure proposed systems to improve accountability and access to remedy, such as the proposed receipt system for drugs and the proposed hotline, are effectively tested before being rolled out.

The Sierra Herald adds that if a job has to be done, then let it be seen to be done and quite properly. There is no need pretending that all is well in a system that protects wrong-doers with the right political connections as essential drugs get squirreled away into private medical facilities and the many "pharmacies" that have sprouted all over the country. And please note, ye praise singers, ye hired hailers, loud speakers for a government that you believe does no wrong - this is something that is happening right under the noses of the government and officials know about it. And one more thing - Amnesty International is not a paid-up and card-carrying member of the opposition SLPP!!!

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