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CONGRATULATIONS TO SIERRA LEONEAN VOTERS!

Sierra Leonean voters made history on Saturday 24th June 2023, when they came out in droves around the country to elect their President, Members of Parliament, Mayors/Chairpersons and Councillors respectively.

Despite our partisan differences and all the political shenanigans prior to the multitier elections, we should congratulate ourselves for exercising our democratic rights to vote and be voted for under relatively conducive political environment in most parts of the country. We should also be thankful that the elections have at last been successfully concluded albeit unsubstantiated claims by NEW that the presidential election would have ended in a runoff, a claim that has been vehemently debunked by expert statisticians from both within and without.

Now that His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio has been re-elected while his running mate Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has taken the Oath of Office administered by the President, it stands to reason that all political parties put the past behind them and work towards national development which we are all yearning for as a nation. We may have our partisan differences, but it is very relevant that we work towards national development to better our lives.

As patriotic Sierra Leoneans, it is incumbent upon us to put our hands on deck to ensure the President's agenda for national development and the diversification of the economy becomes successful.

Let's work towards supporting the government to succeed in all of its endeavours instead of undermining it or tarnishing its international image for political reasons that will not auger well for the country and its citizenry, irrespective of which party colour you wear. It is only when we become a united and peaceful nation that we will work gladly towards national development.

President Bio in his acceptance speech on Tuesday extended an olive branch to all political parties that participated in the just concluded multitier elections and appealed to join him work towards progress and prosperity.

We therefore hope that this clarion call for inclusiveness by President Bio would be heeded to by these political parties for democracy, good governance and holistic national development that would impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.


In his acceptance speech on Tuesday after he was sworn in as the newly elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone following the Saturday 24th June presidential election, His Excellency Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio told his fellow Sierra Leoneans that his victory was for Sierra Leone, "as we have once again demonstrated that though our tongues, tribes and political persuasions might differ, we are united in our desire to see The Land That We Love, Sierra Leone, prosper.

The conqueror and victor also believes that there were no winners or losers in the elections, but Sierra Leoneans with different political affiliations united in Government's desire
for economic growth, social progress and love of our nation though the Government chooses to achieve its desires through different pathways.

While President Bio has therefore commended every candidates that participated in the elections and humbly extended his hand of fellowship to the leadership of all political parties and their members to join his government in their national development efforts, we hope that the main opposition APC presidential candidate, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara will positively respond to what the President has requested from all political leaders and their members.

They should all accept the request from the President because it is only through unity and cohesion that we will transform Mama Salone into a beacon of progress and prosperity.

Dr. Samura Kamara should therefore advise his APC members and supporters to choose progress and prosperity over actions that will divide this country along tribal and regional lines as it was clearly manifested in the results of the Saturday 24th June multitier elections. Sierra Leoneans need to be united because this is the only country we call ours.

The controversies swirling over the Concession Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) represented by the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and Autospect (SL) Limited has reached such a nauseating level that some senior officials in whom the President has reposed much confidence in to supervise the Authority have resorted to drawing daggers, something very embarrassing to both the Government and the Authority unless the appropriate authorities intervene with immediate effect to save them from that conspicuous embarrassment.

It is an established fact that the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government led by His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Dr. Julius Maada Bio inherited the Concession Agreement from the erstwhile All People’s Congress (APC) Government led by former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma which was signed between the GoSL and Autospect (SL) Limited on 6th December, 2017. Some lapses were however discovered in the Concession Agreement and consequently, it was allegedly reviewed in the best interest of the two parties and an Addendum to the Agreement was also mutually agreed to and signed on 21st January 2019 respectively.

But no matter the fact concerning that Concession Agreement, many controversies have been swirling over it that have allegedly culminated in the sacking of not only the SLRSA Executive Director under the APC Government, but also the immediate predecessor of the current Executive Director that was appointed by President Maada Bio, who was reported to have vehemently opposed the Concession Agreement that resulted to some disagreements between the then Executive Director and the Chairman and Board of Directors. The Executive Director was consequently shown the door and the current Executive Director was appointed by the President.

But reading between the lines to unravel the paradox of the situation at SLRSA, it appears that the Chairman and Board of Directors are directly accusing the current Executive Director of SLRSA Rev. Smart K. Senesie of betraying the confidence President Maada Bio has reposed in him by “trying very hard to undermine the Concession Agreement even though he does not enjoy the support of the supervising Ministry and the Board,” according to a Short Commentary published in Global Times newspaper on Monday 8th May. It furthered that “Reverend Smart Senesie has been briefing some opposition media houses against the interest of Autospect and by extension the Government of President Bio,” adding that “He continues to argue that, Autospect have taken over the operations of SLRSA which has led to the near collapse of the Authority.”

The commentary warned that Reverend Smart Senesie should focus on his job and avoid attracting negative newspaper headlines for both the Government and SLRSA, noting that his immediate predecessor Ibrahim Sannoh got sacked as Executive Director of SLRSA for allegedly undermining the Concession Agreement. The commentary concluded: “Reverend Smart Senesie is advised to stop giving the SLPP Government a bad name. A word to the wise is sufficient.”

By and large, Government may have reviewed the so-called Concession Agreement in the alleged interest of the two parties, but given the incessant dismissals of Executive Directors of SLRSA over this controversial Agreement, one would suggest that all has not been well between the Management of SLRSA and the Chairman and Board of Directors over this Agreement. And with such Short Commentary in Global Times purportedly written by an insider that wields enormous power within the Authority, it is very nauseating that those who have been placed in that Authority by the President to ensure its smooth running are embarrassingly washing their dirty linen in public much to the trepidation of their employer and the public.

Though the insider claimed that Autospect (SL) Limited was meeting all its financial obligations including paying monthly salaries to forty-four SLRSA workers on secondment, other SLRSA workers were howev erf unduly worried when their salaries for March were unprecedentedly delayed to their greatest surprise. How come their salaries were delayed if the operation of Autospect (SL) Limited was not having any negative impact on SLRSA? Even the Honourable Speaker of Parliament early this year bitterly complained about the astronomical rise in the price of private licence and promised to invite both Autospect (SL) Limited and the Management of SLRSA to Parliament to explain why the price has suddenly increased.

We believe something is fundamentally wrong with the Concession Agreement which could not have been properly reviewed in a way that would foster a symbiotic relationship between the Authority and the company which the Chairman and Board of Directors are now capitalizing on as great beneficiaries. By making damning allegations from within against the current Executive Director of SLRSA, we believe there is now conspiracy to have him removed from that Authority for failing to pander to their every whim with regards Autospect (SL) Limited. That is why the Government should intervene now to stop insiders from discussing the private affairs of the Authority in public thereby embarrassing the Government.

Though he served the country as a technocrat and politician with great passion and dedication for over four decades, the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, is not the paragon of virtue most well-meaning Sierra Leoneans expected. His unfortunate statements in the ongoing campaign for the Saturday 24th June, 2023 multitier elections have left much to be desired.


The Security Sector last Wednesday called a press conference and invited all political party leaders, moral guarantors, traditional and religious leaders, media houses, women’s forum, peace networks, teachers, parents, guardians, young groups, civil society organizations and members of the international community. The purpose of the news conference was to underscore the need for nonviolence elections and support efforts geared towards making Sierra Leone stable and peaceful.

The main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party ventriloquist, Adebayor, who has for the last five years incited demonstrations against the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and pelted invectives and diatribes against responsible Sierra Leoneans and the Mende ethnic group in particular, has again called on Sierra Leoneans to sit at home next week Monday and Tuesday. He ordered that business entities should be shut down and that no vehicle should ply the streets on those days to ensure everybody stays at home in protest of the quality of the voter ID cards which they have vehemently condemned, as well as the alleged reluctance of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to release the voter registration data to them.

If the APC are now condemning the voter ID cards which their presidential candidate Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara wholeheartedly endorsed on the day he collected his, it is obvious that they are feigning flimsy excuses to have the June 24 multitier elections postponed despite the President pronounced the election date over a year ago. They are also complaining about the non-release of election data by ECSL which they believe should be released several weeks to elections according to law.

We are a country governed by laws and we believe any attempt by a political party or a group of citizens to disrupt the electioneering process would be strongly resisted by the State security and those caught in the event would be dealt with according to the laws of the State. The Government has invested so much in the electioneering process that it would be very unreasonable for a single political party to be complaining at the eve of the elections to have them postponed for selfish reasons.

For APC to cry foul at the eleventh hour is like they are not actually prepared for the elections. A political analyst recently said the APC have tripartite problems – lack of funds, disunity and lawlessness. One of the problems, lawlessness, is what they will be unleashing on Monday and Tuesday as ordered by their ventriloquist, Adebayor, who is thousands of miles away from Sierra Leone telling gullible APC supporters what they should do.

The August 10, 2022 insurrection has taught us a lesson that Adebayor’s threats should never be underestimated. That is why the State security should be on alert in all APC strongholds to the possibility of another insurrection that will have the propensity to undermine the entire electoral process. For instance, MAC-P should be invoked before Monday to ensure that enough personnel of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) are deployed in East End and Central Freetown, as well as in the Northwest and Northeast which are the traditional APC strongholds.

This time the Government and the national security would be blamed if they fail to put situation under control should gullible APC supporters under the guise of PPP take to the streets and cause mayhem.

The 21-Man Interim Transitional Governance Committee (ITGC) may on behalf of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) face the High Court presided by Justice Adrian Fisher to request for an extension of the timeline for the conduct and completion of the party’s lower level elections ahead of the 24th June, 2023 multitier elections.

According to the Chairman of the 25-Man Transitional Independent Elections Management Committee (TIEMC), Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie, the APC was given 45 days by the court to conduct all lower level elections nationwide within the allotted timeline with eight more days to go.
Given the current brouhahas over the ongoing conduct of the lower level elections across the country, it would be extremely difficult for the APC to complete the conduct of the lower level elections against the stipulated timeframe. It is against this backdrop that the 21-Man ITGC are going back to court to seek for an extension of time in order not to breach the court order.

Though the main opposition APC is being torn apart by internecine warfare with spate of violence, intimidation, inflammatory remarks in the traditional and social media, court cases, dissenting views on pertinent national issues in Parliament and other vices, the court must see reason for the extension of time to enable the party to complete the conduct of its lower level elections and the National Delegates’ Conference (NDC) in order to create a level playing field for the conduct of the 24th June multitier elections. If we are talking about democracy, free, fair, transparent and credible national elections, we believe the APC should be given more time to complete the conduct of its lower level elections and the NDC to choose its presidential candidate.

Some unscrupulous APC youths have already started blaming His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio for craftily putting the strings behind the scene to dismantle APC thereby undermining democracy in the country. This could be a figment of their imagination but for the sake of democracy, peace and stability of the country, the court should extend the timeline for the APC lower level elections and the NDC so that they would not blame their numerous internal problems or shortcomings on the President or the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government.

The delays in the conduct of the lower level elections will definitely prevent the APC from meeting the deadlines of the court, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But whatever the case with the delays in the lower level elections and the NDC, the Government should allow the APC to fully participate in the 24th June multitier elections as their non-participation could be translated into perceived marginalization and violence with grave consequences for the country.

 


The 21-Man Interim Transitional Governance Committee (ITGC) may on behalf of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) face the High Court presided by Justice Adrian Fisher to request for an extension of the timeline for the conduct and completion of the party’s lower level elections ahead of the 24th June, 2023 multitier elections.
According to the Chairman of the 25-Man Transitional Independent Elections Management Committee (TIEMC), Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie, the APC was given 45 days by the court to conduct all lower level elections nationwide within the allotted timeline with eight more days to go.
Given the current brouhahas over the ongoing conduct of the lower level elections across the country, it would be extremely difficult for the APC to complete the conduct of the lower level elections against the stipulated timeframe. It is against this backdrop that the 21-Man ITGC are going back to court to seek for an extension of time in order not to breach the court order.
Though the main opposition APC is being torn apart by internecine warfare with spate of violence, intimidation, inflammatory remarks in the traditional and social media, court cases, dissenting views on pertinent national issues in Parliament and other vices, the court must see reason for the extension of time to enable the party to complete the conduct of its lower level elections and the National Delegates’ Conference (NDC) in order to create a level playing field for the conduct of the 24th June multitier elections. If we are talking about democracy, free, fair, transparent and credible national elections, we believe the APC should be given more time to complete the conduct of its lower level elections and the NDC to choose its presidential candidate.
Some unscrupulous APC youths have already started blaming His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio for craftily putting the strings behind the scene to dismantle APC thereby undermining democracy in the country. This could be a figment of their imagination but for the sake of democracy, peace and stability of the country, the court should extend the timeline for the APC lower level elections and the NDC so that they would not blame their numerous internal problems or shortcomings on the President or the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government.
The delays in the conduct of the lower level elections will definitely prevent the APC from meeting the deadlines of the court, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). But whatever the case with the delays in the lower level elections and the NDC, the Government should allow the APC to fully participate in the 24th June multitier elections as their non-participation could be translated into perceived marginalization and violence with grave consequences for the country.

 

His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio on Sunday 21st May, 2023 officially unveiled the state-of-the-art stadium in the second city of Bo called the Southern Arena amidst pomp and pageantry. The occasion was graced by Government officials, dignitaries of various walks of life, diplomats, shakers and movers of the sports world, the media, well-wishers, as well as siblings, relatives and friends of the quintessential gentleman, Babadi Kamara, who personally and singularly funded the construction of the stadium as a young Sierra Leonean business magnate.

HOW SINCERE ARE OUR HEALTH WORKERS?

Following an ultimatum by the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) and other allied health professional associations to down tools for the recent reduction of monthly take-home salary and the weekly 45 litres of fuel, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has made tremendous efforts to not only pacify the irate health workers but to also ensure that the issues they raised are addressed.


Though the GoSL has through the Ministry of Finance responded realistically to the issues raised by health workers through the approval of the reinstatement of COVID-19 allowances and the weekly fuel allocation of 45 litres to eligible health workers, SLMDA is still adamant about accepting Government’s offers.

According to SLMDA’s disclaimer, “However, the SLMDA Executives and the executive of other allied health professionals (nurses and pharmacists) were summoned to an emergency meeting on the 28/07/22 by the Honourable Minister of Health and Sanitation. In this meeting, a document from the Ministry of Finance (signed by the Financial Secretary) was presented to the various representatives of the different associations.” It furthered that the correspondent presented via Ministry of Finance did not adequately address their concerns as stated in their previous press release.

They advanced that there are several lacunae/gaps with ambiguities for so many unanswered questions and concerns which they are pondering about going forward. Though the health workers have the right to demand for what they believe they truly deserve, their ultimatum for Government to meet their demands in twenty-one days came at a time when the country, like many other developing and advanced countries in the world, is going through some dire economic consequences caused by the external shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war on Ukraine. While the Government has agreed to reinstate the COVID-19 allowances in the form of salaries starting September this year, as well as agreeing to give eligible health workers the 45 litres of fuel per week by chits and not in the form of salaries due to proper accountability. The health workers are now demanding money instead of the fuel chits. This is where lies the political undertone in the skewed attempt by the health workers, notably the SLMDA members, in rendering the Government impotent in controlling the health sector. Why would these doctors ask for money instead of the fuel chits when all eligible civil servants entitled to fuel chits had never done such a thing?

It seems that these monetized doctors who are very insensitive to the economic challenges Government is grappling with are intent on undermining the gains made by the Government and its development partners in the health sector because of political reasons. Such ugly development comes at a time when Government has commenced the mobile clinic operations across the country to treat vulnerable communities.

Prior to SLMDA’s ultimatum to Government, the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) had also asked for salary increment and threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if their concerns were not looked into by the Government. The Government also did what it can to settle their impasse with the union. With such ugly development happening at this time of dire economic condition, who knows when another union or association will suddenly come up with its own demand for Government to address?

If the 45 litres of fuel per week which the SLMDA demanded from Government has been approved, why should they ask for money instead of what they had originally asked for? This is complete insincerity that is only typical of unpatriotic, monetized Sierra Leoneans who only care about lining their pockets rather than serving humanity and their country. But the day of reckoning will come.

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