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Showing posts from April, 2013

President Koroma's Special Assistant in Blind Rage

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Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the Special Assistant to the President of Sierra Leone has been in blind rage all week, calling for the country's main opposition leader Julius Maada Bio to be locked up and referring to members of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party as 'sewer rats' and 'human Okuru dogs.' The reason for this temporary public display of insanity is not clear, but the former sensationalist tabloid journalist and opposition sympathizer turned government activist could not be contained, even after some pleas from Sierra Leoneans close to her.
Sylvia Blyden who has a history of sending barrages of foul mouthed invective to people she disagrees with has apparently brought this unfortunate tendency right into State House and has started causing quiet discomfort among people close to the president, who have become alarmed at the sudden hold she has developed over the president, but are wary of her acid tongue. 
Just a few years ago, President Koroma was the …

The Mad Man's Dream: A story for my Son

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Everybody thought He was mad, but he did not know, as he thought everyone else was mad. One cold and dark evening he was feeling weary, after a hard day of labor.  So he decided to take a walk near the river of tranquility. A river so clear you could see the tiny fishes as they swam, standing in one place, against the raging current. Though the current moved in their direction, the fishes stood still, only their tails flapping, as they challenged the river's flow, like ancient rocks in a raging storm, which never shifted with the winds.

Then the mad man, or so everybody thought, though he knew  it was everyone else that was mad, decided to rest under the old sycamore tree by the bank of the river of tranquility. He came here everyday to escape from all the madness around him. He came to gaze at the sparrows, thousands of them as they flew to a synchronized beat, moving all as one, dancing to a song buried deep in the DNA of every cell in their fluttering bodie. Dancing to a beat …

Has President Koroma Been Good to Sierra Leone Journalism?

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President Ernest Bai Koroma of the small West African country of Sierra Leone, has been effusively praised for his excellent relationship with journalists in the country, with many of his ardent supporters quickly eager to point out that no journalists are in detention in the country or have been harassed since he assumed office.

Some social commentators, especially those in favor of the president's policies, are quick to state that President Koroma has been the best president for journalism in Sierra Leone for a very long time. These people are quick to point out the fact that under President Tejan Kabbah's rule, some journalists like the current Sports Minister Paul Kamara were indicted and incarcerated, as a testament to President Koroma's tolerance. The point these same people fail to state however, was the President Tejan Kabbah successfully survived two coup attempts, with the complicity of some members of the journalistic corps.

Some of President Koroma's prais…

Boston: Triumph to Tragedy

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Today was the day of the long running and prestigious Boston Marathon, arguably the most famous marathon event in the world, with runners from all over the world angling for the prestigious title, "Winner of the Boston Marathon." Marathons are popular events and thousands of people join for a variety of causes.

Some people who have struggled with weight issues for long periods and have embarked on successful weight loss programs may register to run in marathons. The desire is not to win, but as a personal celebration of reaching a milestones in their lives. Sometimes, family members join them and the celebration becomes a family event. It becomes their testimony of perseverance in the face of odds, a testament of their tenacity and courage, to look at themselves and say, "Wow, I just finished the Boston Marathon!"

Some people may have struggled with an acute illness from which they had never expected to recover. Some may have beaten back testicular, lung, colon, p…

Sierra Leone’s Health Care System Becomes a Cautionary Tale for Donors-Culled From New York Times

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By  New York Times
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The health statistics in this battered land, still scarred from a decade of civil war, are so alarming that for a decade, donors have opened their wallets to help improve some of the world’s worst rates of maternal and infant mortality. This is the third-most dangerous place on earth to have a baby, and one of the most perilous to be a baby. Millions of donor dollars later, health statistics show that the “crisis” for mothers and babies, as the British government called it, may be lessening. But one crisis appears to have spawned another: In a place where most of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, the incoming rush of health care aid has been dazzling. Too dazzling, apparently. Last month, the country’s 29 top health officials found themselves indicted by Sierra Leone’s anticorruption agency on charges of misappropriating a half-million dollars in grants from a global vaccine provider, GAVI Alliance, started by the…

Karim Wade arrested in Senegal-Reuters

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Police detain son of Senegal ex-president on graft charges 6:47pm BST By Diadie Ba DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegalese police on Monday arrested Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade, on suspicion of illegally amassing some $1.4 billion during his father's 12 years in office, his lawyers said. Karim Wade acted as right-hand man during his father's presidency of the poor West African state from 2000 to 2012, which was marked by major spending on infrastructure projects, including new roads and an airport. "They brought him a summons and they forcibly took him away," said Demba Cire Bathily, one of the lawyers for Karim Wade. "It was an arbitrary arrest." Monday was the deadline for Wade to present proof of his innocence after prosecutors accused him one month ago of illegally amassing the assets. Karim Wade simultaneously held the post of minister for infrastructure, international cooperation, energy and air transportation, with a total budget equ…

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The Kono Fiasco

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Kono is easily the richest district in Sierra Leone and has been a major bread basket of the country from Colonial days. Kono is a land awash in diamonds. During the colonial era the Sierra Leone Selection Trust (SLST) mining consortium was formed as an agreement between the country's colonial government and the Consolidated African Trust to exploit the diamond fields of Kono and Kenema districts in the east of Sierra Leone.

Starting from 1935, SLST was giving exclusive mineral mining rights in the country for 99 years.(Peter Greenhlagh - West African Diamonds - An economic history 1919-83.)  In 1955 SLST limited their operations to Yengema in the Kono District and Tongo in the Kenema District.

After independence, the government of President Siaka Probyn Stevens nationalized SLST making it a public parastatal and it was renamed the National Diamond Mining Company (NDMC).

The last significant head of NDMC was the former President of the Old Bo School Boys Association (OBBA), Abu A…

Members of Kono District Develepment Asociation UK Express Concern over Actions in the District

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Madam Finda Diana Konomanyi
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development
Sierra Leone
12th April 2013

Dear Minister,
RE: REQUEST FOR WITHHOLDING OF FUNDS
The members of the Kono District Development Association (KDDA) in the United Kingdom are deeply concerned about the content of your letter dated 2nd April 2013, requesting that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr. Kaifala Marah withhold all government funds allocated for the running of the Koidu New Sembehun City Council in Kono District.

In light of the negative implications of such a drastic action on the well being and livelihood of the local people in the District, our association launched an immediate investigation to establish the facts behind such a decision, and to get a clear picture of the issues leading to this very serious and sorrowful saga, that could undermine much-needed development of the district.

Madam Minister, members of this association will be remiss if we do not mention our appreciation of your …

Tegloma Minnesota Chapter Gets Ready to Host International Convention in September

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All roads lead to the land of 10000 lakes, Minnesota in September, 2013, as Tegloma Minnesota Chapter gears up to host the organization's International Convention on Labor Day weekend. The state of Minnesota, about three times bigger than Sierra Leone, is the coldest state in Mainland USA. Tegloma plans to heat it up.

The convention kicks of on Friday August 30, 2013 with a meeting of the Federation Board, followed later that night by a welcome of the delegates by the Minnesota Chapter members and federation executives. This year, Tegloma delegates are expected  from Sierra Leone, Gambia, The United Kingdom, Canada and all over the United States of America, where Tegloma has more than 19 chapters in most of the major states of the vast country.

The main Convention will be on Saturday August 31st followed by an Intervention Convention ball. Sunday September 1st will be Elections Day, as the current Federation administration headed by Alfred Moi Jamiru makes way for a new administr…