Doctor contracts deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 July 2014

Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local government hospital in KenemaDoctor Omar Khan – a Sierra Leonean virologist and specialist, responsible for treating those diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus, has himself fallen victim to the virus, in eastern Sierra Leone – the epicentre of the disease.

According to State House report, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan – who is 39 years old, is recognised as a “national hero” for his effort in leading the fight in controlling the Ebola outbreak.

The very ill doctor has been transferred to a special treatment ward, set up and managed by Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Continue reading

Customs posts and security threat in Sierra Leone

Michael Fayia Kallon

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 July 2014

APC prepares for posr-electoral warAn independent nation should be able to protect not only its citizens, but also its territorial integrity. In addition, it should meet conformities that satisfy the standards of the country’s security, even if not adequately, to protect her customs posts.

Yet, in Sierra Leone, customs posts are placed considerable distances from borders, providing no protection against modern-day pandemic diseases like EBOLA, terrorism, smuggling, and other vices that counter the needs of the state.

The result of poorly placed posts is the preponderance of rebel incursions that cost human lives, and lead to the potential downfall of the state.

For instance, in the Kissi Teng chiefdom in Sierra Leone, the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia is in Mendekorma, Liberia or Baeldu, Sierra Leone. In the past, one could see only the Liberian customs post in that location.

Continue reading

Patriotic Sierra Leonean musicians face death threats for speaking out

Bai Bai Sesay

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 July 2014

EmmersonPopular musicians – Emerson (photo), LAJ, Sound boy-Richie, and several others have received death threats for exposing corruption and tribalism in Sierra Leone.

Threatening phone calls and text messages were sent, following the violent assault in Freetown, of Sierra Leone’s leading music producer – Joseph Richard Abdulai – aka Sound boy Riche, for producing Emerson’s ‘Kokobeh’ as well as ‘This Corruption’ by Amadu B Bah – aka LAJ.

Sound-Boy Richie is blind. He is an outstanding music producer and has produced songs for major artists in Sierra Leone, including Steady Bongo, Jimmy B, Emerson Bockarie, Kao Denero, LAJ, Star Zero and others.

He has also produced songs for international artists across the world.

He was attacked and assaulted by a group of 7 people on July 10th, 2014, along Campbell Street in the presence of 441 group member Edward Wright.

He sustained injuries during the attack, according to a Police report at Central Police station, and is in hiding in an unknown location, fearing for his life.

In another incident, he was attacked by 3 people while walking along the Lumley beach in Freetown. Where is Sierra Leone heading?

Continue reading

The APC party and their electoral malpractices

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 July 2014

President Koroma - June 2014The last time that the APC won what could properly be described as a free election, was in March 1967, when the late Brigadier David Lansana later played into their hands, by staging an unnecessary military coup.

The repercussions of that event contributed in no small measure to the party succeeding itself in perpetuity for all of 24 years. (Photo: President Koroma).

Lansana’s coup was all too brief. It was aborted by his immediate subordinates, led by Charles Blake. That led to the National Reformation Council NRC forming a Military government, headed by the hitherto almost shy Andrew Juxon-Smith, who was to amaze everyone by being very garrulous and abrasive to the point of rudeness.

As a matter of fact, the former Chief Justice Sir Samuel Bankole Jones described his manners before one of the Commissions of Inquiry as being uncouth.

The NRC in its turn was overthrown by a group of Warrant Officers, headed by Emadu Rogers, James Kengenye and Patrick Conteh – incidentally all South-Easterners.

Continue reading

Where is Sierra Leone heading?

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 July 2014

pressThe banning of a radio talk show by the Koroma government of Sierra Leone, simply because the minister of defence is being held accountable for the death of two soldiers in a road traffic accident involving the minister’s convoy, is nothing short of an abuse of executive powers.

Whilst the defence minister may not have been directly responsible for the cause of that fatal accident, which took place a few months ago, but as an employer of every one of those soldiers in his convoy, he is legally accountable for their security and safety.

When president Koroma speaks of rampant lawlessness in the country, he not only refers to the behaviour of the unemployed youths, or those dumping garbage on the streets, or drivers failing to obey traffic regulations.

He is also expected to be referring to his ministers, as well as those responsible for the administration and enforcement of the rule of law.

Continue reading

Commending Julius Maada Bio – a rejoinder 

Yusuf Keketoma Sandi

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 July 2014

Maada Bio 20142In an editorial published by the Awareness Times of 16th July 2014, the newspaper praised the alacrity of Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio in the manner he reacted to the Ebola outbreak.

The editorial particularly commended Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio for his solidarity message, in which the former Head of State called on Sierra Leoneans to join the government’s campaign against the deadly Ebola virus.

But it was not only about the solidarity message; the Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio also used the 2nd June 2014 Press Release to express his sadness for the loss of lives of his country men and women, whilst at the same time calling on development partners to come swiftly to the aid of our country in dealing with the fatal outbreak.

Therefore, if the Awareness Times newspaper needed any more assurance that a Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio Presidency in our country will be one of national cohesion, showing concern for fellow compatriots and above all a presidency which will be proactive in addressing a national tragedy, then the content of that Press Release and the swiftness of his response to the Ebola outbreak is one amongst many of that evidence.

Continue reading

Sierra Leone – a new era of reform – what reform?

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 July 2014

Poverty in Sierra Leone In July 2008, the International Crisis Group (ICG) based in Brussels, published a report – ‘Sierra Leone: A New Era of Reform?’ The report was full of much promise and hope, for a country that has been battered by decades of poor governance, corruption, impunity, and a decade long war.

But that report was published a year after president Koroma was elected by the people of Sierra Leone in 2007, to put reform and change ahead of political expediency; tackle corruption and impunity; and focus on the things that matter most to people – jobs and prosperity.

Six years on and looking back, critics say that very little has changed in Sierra Leone, the construction of new roads here and there notwithstanding.

They also say that democracy and civil liberty – the two grand pillars of any civilised society are being dismantled systematically by president Koroma and his ruling APC party.

Continue reading