Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID-19 Preparedness in Sierra Leone

As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy. In Sierra Leone, the Julius Maada Bio led government has been very eager to prevent a repeat of the 2014 health care crisis in the country that caught national and regional leaders flat-footed, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.
President Bio

During the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, the country’s health care system almost collapsed under the weight of the unprecedented demand for medical services. The Ebola crisis was only brought under control as a result of the massive direct international response by many foreign health personnel, immense personal sacrifice by local health care workers and a change in the disease response strategy on the part of the country’s leadership. The Ebola debacle led to the dismissal of the Health Minister at the time and the appointment of the Defense Minister to head the Ebola response.
Paolo Conteh

With the current covid-19 epidemic wreaking havoc in countries with more advanced health care systems, President Bio, who has recently faced criticism by members of the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) for  frequent international travels, has stayed in the country over the last few months and taken the lead role in planning a systematic response to covid-19, were it ever to enter the country.

Primarily, the government’s effort has been geared towards developing systems that would prevent the introduction and spread of covid-19 in the country.

A few weeks ago, the President visited the country’s border posts and urged authorities at these posts to be vigilant in screening land travelers using border crossings in order to prevent cross country spread of the disease. He also assured them of his support and reminded them of the last Ebola experience, a repeat of which was to be prevented for the good of all.

Having resuscitated the domestic football league that was suspended under the previous Ernest Koroma led government, the Sierra Leone Football Association has been instructed to take the dramatic step of suspending all football activities in the country, even though there has yet to be a single case of covid-19 reported in the country.

In a move that caught even his most ardent supporters by surprise, the President this week invited members of the former Ebola response group that was then headed by some of his most bitter political rivals to a consultative meeting. The meeting was to discuss a national response to a potential covid-19 crisis. The Ebola group included Rtd Major Paolo Conteh, under whose leadership the Ebola crisis response became more structured. Paolo is however regarded by many in the country as one of the individuals who epitomized the insane level of official corruption that came to define the Ernest Koroma administration. 

The invitation of Paolo Conteh to State House by the President created some disquiet among ruling party supporters and other observers, with some stating that members of the opposition APC have done everything possible to stymie development initiatives in the country, just because they were not in power. Some also believe that inviting Paolo would undermine the fight against public corruption and send a negative signal that those accused of pillaging state funds would go scot free.

However, those close to the President state that with covid-19 being potentially a national crisis that could affect many individuals regardless of party affiliation, it was prudent for all who had experience in managing crises of this sort to be consulted. They opined that if APC had involved all political stakeholders im the country during the fight against Ebola, possibly, the consequences might not have been so catastrophic.  As President of Sierra Leone, Maada Bio, they argue, was focusing on more on national than political interest.

In other news, flights to the country are to be suspended from Saturday March 21st, in line with the response of other countries in the region. Visitors from countries with known covid-19 infections are being quarantined at Lungi airport, though the quarantine process has been criticized for inadequate planning. The authorities are also discouraging congregation of large groups around the country.

Sheku Sheriff

Knowing More about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The fight against the current coronavirus pandemic around the world is being complicated by the sheer amount of disinformation being spread on social media platforms.

In countries where people are not very skilled at distinguishing between good and bad information on these platforms, or where the public authorities are not being vigilant about educating their populations about the true nature of covid-19 infections, there is the risk of people being misled by the preponderance of false information, potentially resulting in very negative consequences.

Fortunately, communities eager to educate their people about the epidemic have some very reliable sources of information.  Two excellent sources of information about the coronavirus epidemic are the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC reports that some people with the covid-19 infection have suffered only mild symptoms, whilst others have had very severe symptoms. For some of the more unfortunate individuals the disease has been fatal. The organization therefore offered some guidelines for public education.

According to the CDC, the following symptoms may manifest themselves in an individual about 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
The CDC also advises that if an individual develops difficulty breathing, or there is persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or the person becomes confused or unresponsive, or the lip or face changes color, medical attention should be sought immediately. 

In order for individuals to protect themselves and those around them, it is recommended that the following be done:
  • Handwashing: Frequent and proper handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is recommended anytime you come home, blow your nose, cough or sneeze. If soap is not available, an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is to be used. Also avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth if your hands are unwashed.
  • Avoiding Close Contact: Individuals are encouraged to avoid close contact with people who are sick and not going very close to others in areas where there is know outbreak of the infection.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: Frequently touched surfaces such as doors, switches, table tops, fridges, toilets, etc., should be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  • Staying Home when Sick: Individuals who are sick are encouraged to stay home, avoid using public transportation and maintain distance with family members until tested. They are also encouraged not to share utensils. Theu should avoid public transportation and get in touch with the doctors or contact a clinic. They should also have a face mask if available.
Here in Minnesota there has been 3038 tests with 89 confirmed cases and 24 recoveries as of March 19, 2020. Because of the shortage of testing kits in the state, only people experiencing severe symptoms, vulnerable groups and health care workers are currently being tested. 

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday March 19, 2020 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz stated that he is not yet ready to order a shutdown of the state as other areas are doing. As of now, Minnesotans are stocking up on supplies of essentials. Some retailers are raising workers pay to encourage them to come to work and Amazon is currently hiring at its distribution facility in the state.

Sheku Sheriff.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19: Our Own Pandemic

The Covid-19 outbreak becomes the first truly global flu pandemic of our own lifetime.

As of today, March 17, 2020, there has been 198,373 reported cases around the world with 7,981 deaths and 82,763 recoveries.

China, from which the first cases of the virus were reported, currently stands at 80,894 reported cases with 3,237 deaths, followed by Italy, with 31,506 cases and 2,503 deaths. China quickly adopted very stringent control and quarantine measures when the infection initially became publicized, and they seem to have gotten the disease under control, with only 13 new cases reported, while Italy seems to still be struggling, with 3526 reported new infections.

Iran, Spain and Germany round up the top five high infection countries, with South Korea, France and USA following behind.

In USA, the current number of infections stand at 6,482, including 1819 cases and 111 deaths. In our state Minnesota, the current number of cases officially reported by the department of health is 60, all active. It was reported this afternoon that health care workers are now among those infected, and the state government has created new testing criteria that would limit the number of tests given, due to a shortage of coronavirus test kits in Minnesota, according to local news channels and the health department.

Earlier today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) circulated a letter instructing health care providers in the state to focus coronavirus tests on specimens with the highest priority, namely those from hospitalized patients, health care workers and people living in settings such as nursing homes, assisted living and other similar facilities. 

As of Tuesday about 2,336 people have been tested in Minnesota. In neighboring Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports 72 positive cases with 1038 negative tests so far.

In Minnesota, 13 counties have now reported positive coronavirus cases including the two most populous counties of Hennepin and Ramsey which are home to the state capital St. Paul and the neighboring twin city of Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Department of Health has advised all residents being evaluated for COVID-19 to practice self isolation and self monitoring. 

Self isolation guidelines involve; staying at home, separating yourselves from other inhabitants in the home-including the use of separate bathrooms, wearing face masks, not sharing household items and washing hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Self monitoring involves checking yourself for worsening symptoms, which include having increased difficulty breathing or developing shortness of breath. The state advises those who are having severe symptoms to call 911 for immediate emergency medical attention.

Long-term care facilities in the state have also been instructed to develop stringent measures to prevent potential acquisition and spread, as the population of these facilities comprise mainly the elderly, the population of individuals most vulnerable to COVID-19.  Some facilities have already  entirely prohibited visitors and staff are monitored daily before they are allowed access to their work sites.

With the increasing number of cases in the country and the seriousness with which the disease is now being taken by President Trump, more people are now taking the outbreak seriously. Dire warnings from national health experts cautioning that if Americans do not modify their ways of life, significant numbers of cases and fatalities could result, have also motivated the change in public behavior.

Stores in our Saint Paul neighborhood are quickly running out of supplies of crucial items like canned foods, cereals, and sanitary supplies, which are quickly picked up by anxious shoppers, as soon as they are stocked. Paper towels, toilet tissues and hand sanitizers are now precious commodities in our neighborhood.

Last evening, I visited the local Midway Target and couldn't find a single roll of toilet tissue or paper towel, but was met with rows of empty shelves in the aisles that usually carry the items. There were also very little household cleaning items, with rows and rows of aisles standing eerily empty.

This evening I had no luck at my local Aldi's, where canned food items were being rationed to 4 cans per household per day. State resident being advised to give early morning shopping hours preference to elderly people, in order to prevent them coming in contact with large crowds.

For a country in which we are always on guard about violations to our freedoms and rights, the coronavirus is making even the most intransigent listen very keenly and comply willingly with directives from the state leadership and national leadership. The coronavirus is bringing the rare feeling of we are all in this together.

Sheku Sheriff

Segbwema Blogger

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Debit vs Credit Cards: Which is Better to Use?

A debit card is issued by your financial institution, allowing you to make charges against your deposit. If you have a thousand dollars in your checking account, your debit card allows you to pay for goods and services up to the thousand dollars you have in deposits. Your bank or debit card issuer may allow you to spend more than the thousand dollars deposited and impose overdraft fees. Fortunately, overdraft charges are no longer automatic, individuals have to opt in as a legal requirement.

A credit card on the other hand is issued by lenders and allows the holder to pay for goods and services up to the limit determined by the lender; the credit limit. Credit cards are issued based on the basis of creditworthiness and in most cases have no relationship to the money the card holder has saved, with the exception of secured credit cards. Secured credit cards are issued against your savings in a bank and are issued to help the holder develop a credit history. With a secured credit card you are loaned and pay interest on your own money.

Both debit and credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages.  Different financial advisers may give opposing advice regarding the use of both. Comparing the two, debit cards represent income you own and use. Therefore, you pay no interest and incur no liability when you use a debit card, as the income you are using is yours. With credit cards from companies like Capital One, HSBC, or American Express, they are loans from these financial institutions to the card holder. The card holder has a liability to pay both the amount charged on the card and any monthly interest accruing on unpaid balances. These interests, commonly known as APR, may be very high in the cases of people with bad credit. Some credit card companies not only charge interest on the credit card loans, but users may pay annual fees many other associated fees. One typical example of a really bad credit card is the Continental Finance Mastercard which provides cards to people with bad credit. This card charges a $200.00 finance fee upfront, a $50.00 annual fee, a $12 monthly account fee and a $25.00 fee for credit line increases. Unfortunately, these are some of the options available to people with very bad credit.

So, which is better to use, a debit card or a credit card? As debit cards involve the use of money that is yours, some financial advisers encourage their use and discourage the use of credit cards. Credit card interests, they argue, enrich only the card issuers and the interest paid on these cards by borrowers could be used to invest in something else or saved for a rainy day. For people with poor financial discipline or little understanding of credit use, credit card use can impose huge financial burdens. Many individual bankruptcy filings are related to poor credit card use.

However, the case for debit cards may not be so clear cut and simple. The main disadvantage of debit cards is that they do not provide the user with a credit history. In America, having poor credit or no credit history is very expensive in the long run. People with poor or no credit history are considered high risk financial risks to investors and are typically charged high interest on mortgages, car loans and even insurance. Some employers will even reject applicants with poor credit. People with bad credit who face urgent financial need may have no option but to resort to predatory lenders who typically charge astronomical fees and interest rates.  Having no or poor credit history is expensive.

Some credit cards also have substantial rewards. Some credit cards may give users cash back on purchases, may have car rental discounts, air mile rewards, roadside assistance, car rental insurance, discounts at certain retail outlets, and so on. Some cards from companies like Chase and Capital One offer very attractive rewards. As long as users of these cards pay their outstanding balances on time and use the cards wisely, they can benefit from the rewards without paying much in interests.

Concluding, deciding to use a debit or credit card has no single answer for everybody. There is no on size fits all advice. Whether to use one or the other depends mainly on the individual card holder. For people who are cautious about their finances, pay their balances on time and do not carry huge balances month over month, a credit card may be their best option, as it allows them substantial advantages in rewards, while helping them build a solid credit history. For people who overlook bills, shop compulsively and do not understand the risks associated with credit card use, credit cards can be a debt trap that may cause immense financial and emotional strain. For the latter individuals, debit cards could be their better bet,  until they become more financially literate.

Sheku Sheriff

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tegloma Washington DC Fulfilling Childhood Dreams

Tegloma Washington DC headed to
Disney World 
For many children of hardworking immigrant parents in America, some with barely enough time for even a short vacation, the thought of making a trip to Disney World often remains just an unfulfilled dream.
On the Road  to Orlando 

This week however, for the children of the members of the  Tegloma Washington DC Chapter, the dream of a trip to Disney World just became a reality,  thanks to tenacity of the very hardworking President and Chief of their chapter, the dynamic Rosaline Bangura. 
Taking a Food Break 

Rosaline is just into her second term as Chief of the Washington DC chapter, having won the chapter election last month unopposed.

In an organization in which there is a struggle to recruit younger members, Rosaline is the youngest leader and also the leader of the first and largest chapter.

Rosaline's "go get it" style has occasionally put her at odds with some of the more traditional minded members of the organization, especially those at the federation level, who are busy trying to sabotage her leadership of the chapter at all cost.
Trip Organizers 

Asked about the reason for this wonderful initiative, Chief Rosaline Bangura said that about a year ago she noticed that Tegloma as an organization was all about adult members who grew up in Sierra Leone, with little attention paid to attracting youths or getting them involved. She noted that the future of any organization depended on its capacity to attract the millennial generation and young children who will become the leaders of tomorrow.
To address the issue of youth involvement, she decided to explore various ways of getting the children of her chapter members excited about Tegloma.

After brainstorming with members of her executive and chapter, they conceived the idea of a weekend trip with the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the home  Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Chief Rosaline Bangura 

In order to make the plan a reality, Chief Rosaline Bangura launched a massive fundraising campaign among acquaintances and social media, with the goal of raising $5,000.00 for a road trip with the children. The campaign ultimately proved to be successful. 

On Thursday the April 18, Rosaline Bangura, her dynamic executive and some chapter members left Washington DC metro area with a bus load of well over 30 excited children headed for Orlando Florida. This is going to be the trip of a lifetime for most of these children, who will get to see their favorite Disney characters up close.

With such innovation and ideas, many people are starting to note that Rosaline may be an ideal candidate to head Tegloma Federation in the future, in order to bring the organization into a more forward looking era.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Passing Away of an African Musical Legend: Oliver Mtukudzi

I happened on Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi purely by coincidence.

Many years ago, a friend of mine from Togo came over to visit while I was living in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and met me playing a beautiful Youssou N'dour album I had gotten from the international section of CDs at Best Buy. 

My friend, like the majority of Francophone Africans, was a big fan of Youssou N'dour. The friend was adamant that he must borrow my Youssou N'dour CD for a few days and I could tell by the degree of unadulterated Youssou N'dour fanaticism in his eyes that there was no saying no. So we struck a bargain; give me one African CD and I will let you have my Youssou N'dour CD for a few days. It was one of the best bargains I ever struck, as he handed me a CD entitled "Tuku Music" by a Oliver Mtukudzi, a Zimbabwean musician I'd never  even heard of. The CD just blew me away and up to this day it is one that has never left my collection.

I never asked my friend for my Youssou N'dour album again, opting instead to go back to Best Buy and buy another copy. He also never gave me back my Youssou N'dour album. Those were before the days of iTunes. My friend probably thought that he had outsmarted me, but I will always rest with the assurance that I had the last laugh. 

Oliver Mtukudzi is one of those historic African musicians that never became big in West Africa and I really do not know why. Maybe it was our addiction to Prince Nico, Franco, Samangwana or western pop music. 

Mtukudzi's "Tuku Music" I can safely say is one of the best Albums of indigenous African music ever made. A self taught musician with a deep golden voice and great skills with the guitar, Mtudkuzi is among the unique group of musicians whose music never grows old. They get better with the passing of time.

For a perspective, just like Youssou Ndour was to Senegal, Salif Keita to Mali and Fela Kuti to Nigeria, so was Oliver Mtukudzi to Zimbabwe. He was a national legend, whose music was on the landscape of his country's music scene during the bitter struggle for independence and became a constant voice of hope during the initially hopeful and later turbulent times of Robert Mugabe, one of the giants of post colonial Africa who hang on to power for far too long. 

Oliver Mtukudzi died on Wednesday January 23rd 2019 after a career spanning many decades. I guarantee that he will be one of those musicians who will gain more prominence after his death, as the news and the significance of his music,make more people listen to his unique style. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Planned Demonstrations against President Bio are Pointless

While in government, the All Peoples Congress (APC) party in Sierra Leone brought the country disastrously close to the brink of economic collapse. Now in opposition, the antics of some members is starting to make the party look almost ridiculous.
Kholifa Koroma
Escaped Ex-Immigration

Members of the APC party in USA, instigated by the former Minister Plenipotentiary to the Uniter Nations, Rev. Leeroy Kabs Kanu and some ex government officials fleeing justice in the country, are planning to organize demonstrations against Sierra Leone's new President Julius Maada Bio during his trip to the United States to attend this year's UN General Assembly. 

Rev. Kabbs Kanu, is a notorious sycophant and schoolmate of former president Ernest Bai Koroma who before the elections in 2007 that elected Koroma, set up an online "Cocorioko" forum that was devoted to a campaign of misinformation then President Ahmed Tejan Kabba, while promoting the candidacy of his friend Ernest Bai Koroma.  While an opposition candidate at the time, Koroma leveled unproven charges of incompetence and corruption against President Kabba, condemned his economic and reform programs and promised to use his business skills to make Sierra Leone a paradise in West Africa. He even promised to make Sierra Leone a donor country before the end of his tenure. 
Ex-President Koroma

Koroma raised the people's hope with his smooth talk and would go on to win the 2007 elections. Kabs Kanu, for his effort, was rewarded the position of Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations for Sierra Leone, a role he used purely for propaganda purposes.

In seeking to define his ambiguous role, Kabbs Kanu embarked on what he termed a rebranding effort, with the purported aim of changing the negative image that Sierra Leone had in the international community, into a more favorable image of the country. But the whole sham exercise was just an effort to promote the image of Ernest Bai Koroma, portraying him as a formidable leader, while vilifying the country's political opposition and painting them as unpatriotic. 

Rebranding simply came to mean denying the insane levels of corruption and other atrocities perpetrated by the Koroma government, while labeling the opposition members as malcontents and enemies of progress. Ernest Bai Koroma was portrayed as the "World's Best" president, even as millions of hardworking people in Sierra Leone saw no escape from poverty; with mismanagement, a lack of direction and poor governance pushing the educational and healthcare sectors into a precipitous decline. 

The country's main opposition politician at the time, Julius Maada Bio, became the main target of the rebranding vilification. Over the last ten years, Kabs Kanu used his propaganda outlet to paint Maada Bio as clueless, unpatriotic, power hungry and desperate. Even the decision by Maada Bio as a military leader in 1996 to handed over power to a democratically elected civilian government after just three months in office, was painted as bowing to pressure and inevitable. 
RT. Brigadier Julius
Maada Bio
President of Sierra Leone 

However, in spite of the effort of Kabs Kanu and the negative propaganda against Maada Bio by many Koroma appointed press attaches in diplomatic missions abroad, many of whom were mere APC partisan hacks masquerading as journalists,  Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was elected President of Sierra Leone in March, much to the consternation and chagrin of these political operatives and some APC members in the diaspora, who had been misled 0that there was no way Maada Bio would ever win an election in Sierra Leone.

All the years of paid propaganda by APC does not hide the fact that the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma would go down in history as one of the most corrupt governments in the history of West Africa. 

In just ten years, the value of the local currency, the Leone fell by over 200%, as central bank reserves were raised to fund the opulent lifestyles of the APC political class. Revenues collected by government agencies were diverted from state coffers into the pockets of Koroma, his cronies and family members. Millions of dollars were spent on overinflated third rate road projects that are already being eroded. Millions more were spent on bogus electricity schemes that never materialized. President Koroma's own brother was recorded during a drunken tirade stating that the only essence of life under APC was personal enjoyment. They did not care that millions didn't have the same privilege of living only for enjoyment. 

During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, millions of dollars in domestic and foreign aid went unaccounted for, while hundreds of workers at the forefront of the crisis were not being paid their entitled wages. Up to this day many nurses and other Ebola workers have not recieved the monies they were promised, despite the deaths of hundreds of their colleagues during the epidemic. Funds meant for Ebola survivors were also squandered. Many renowned doctors in the country died for lack of proper equipment to fight the virus, even as politicians siphoned resources meant to acquire such equipments. 

It was also during the Ebola crisis that a group of President Koroma's cronies who were advocating for him to rule beyond his two term limit,  made bogus charges of anti-party activities against the elected Vice President Sam Sumana. They then claimed to have stripped him of his party membership, paving the way for the president to illegally remove him from office without any due process.  He claimed that as the Vice President did not belong to any political party,  he was disqualified from holding office under the constitution of Sierra Leone.  Unfortunately, the country's Supreme Court, filled with the President's allies, sided with him against the Vice President.  In a judgments that will go down as one of the worst in the judicial history of Sierra Leone, they ruled that the President could remove the Vice President even though the constitution granted him no such powers.

As the excesses of President Koroma's syndicate became even more outrageous the cult of personality around him continued to grow. Many Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora became alarmed at the path towards which the the country was heading. Many saw parallels between Koroma tactics and the same practices that led to the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 90s. Many also saw the squandering of Ebola funds and the illegal removal of the elected Vice President as particularly egregious acts that needed to be strongly condemned. 

A group of concerned Sierra Leones thus coordinated and planned massive demonstrations during the President's visit to the UN General Assembly in USA at the time. Demonstrations against the president also took place in Europe. 

The demonstrations against President Koroma at the time were genuine, had a purpose and represented a concerted response to the real problems of bad governance, corruption and mismanagement in the country.  They were not just an act by political opponents to embarrass him on a foreign trip. Previously, President Koroma had made many trips to America before the Ebola and VP crisis and he was warmly received by a considerable section of the Sierra Leone diaspora. 

Unfortunately, the demonstrations being planned against President Maada Bio by Kabbs Kanu with backing of some of the politicians and political appointees who have left the country to escape corruption charges are purely politically motivated. 

These planned demonstrations have no other purpose but to further the campaign of misinformation that has become the main tool of a shell shocked political party that was ill prepared to leave office when it did in March of this year. 

The negative picture of current situations in Sierra Leone that APC operatives in the USA are trying to paint, simply do not exist. Ordinary Sierra Leoneans are going about their business, opposition Newspapers are continuing to print their attacks on government and independent radio and TV stations continue to give APC a platform to defend their decade long corrupt practices under the Koroma administration. 

When President Bio assumed office after the elections in March,  it soon became clear to all why President Ernest Koroma had insisted to have his own handpicked President and Vice President succeed him. In just ten short years, Koroma and his cronies had practically robbed the country blind. Samura Kamara was to be the willing coverup agent. 

Under Koroma, many political allies and family members had been awarded lucrative government contracts on which they did not deliver.  The government commercial banks were used as personal lines of credited from which unlimited loans were obtained for private use without much in the way of collateral security. Family members and political escorts were given diplomatic passports even when they didn't have any public status. Funds given as Grant's to the government for pilgrimage to Mecca were swindled with intending pilgrims left hanging high and dry. The corruption was unending. 

Corruption, has always been the main impediment to development in Sierra Leone. Under President Koroma corruption was finally blessed and legitimized.  Facing mounting criticism, Koroma famously remarked that his opponents were "flies and he would swat them without even turning his head," to the cheers of many of his gullible supporters. 

Even when the the international corruption watchdog Transparency International had for many years labeled Sierra Leone as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, President Koroma's brigade of propaganda journalists, many from his part of the country, continued to attack those raising the alarm, instead of investigating corruption in the country. 

Earlier in Koroma's Presidency, Sorious Samura, an internationally acclaimed journalist had investigated corruption among the top brass in the country, including the Vice President. Instead of doing follow up investigations, the government encouraged Sylvia Blyden a notorious tabloid journalist, to discredit the investigation and attack the character of the journalists who led the investigation. For the  successful hatchet job, Sylvia Blyden suddenly became one of President Koroma's favorites and was made an assistant to the President and later a minister, until she was fired during the President's President last year on accusations of massive embezzlement by her deputy minister.

President Julius Maada Bio has after the receipt of a government transition report detailing absurd levels of corruption under the past regime decided to set up a judicial commission to investigate and prosecute these acts. He has revitalized an APC compromised Anti Corruption Commission and given it fresh mandate to tackle the country's entrenched corruption. 

Unfortunately, some of the main players in the Koroma criminal exercise have fled the country and are now working with APC operatives to embarrass the President during his visit to New York. After peddling false rumors that the President was unable to come and would be represented by his Chief Minister, APC members are now claiming harassment and political opposition in a country that is largely peaceful. Many desperate claims are being made. 

Earlier in the month APC social media activists came out with news last month that the president was very sick during a trip abroad. A few days later, he landed in Freetown, as vibrant as a brand new penny. Some of the more uncultured APC supporters use social media daily to insult the President and his family.  They continue peddling the same lies about him that they did when he was in opposition. Just a few days ago, someone ordered an old Rolls Royce into Freetown and that suddenly was described as his. 

The APC party, not really sure what to oppose seem to be in complete breakdown on message. Losing an election you are 100% sure of winning is mentality devastating. It is starting to show.

Demonstrations are integral to public expression in a democracy. But the planned demonstrations by Kabbs Kanu's followers can only be described as rabble rousing at its worst. It is like " the boy that cried wolf." 

Maada Bio has consistently stated that everybody should go about their normal activities in Sierra Leone without fear of intimidation. Opposition politicians have just this month held two very large rallies in the country without incident. So the only purpose of these demonstrations is to paint the investigation into corruption in the country as a witchhunt. The question is if acts of corruption at this magnitude are not investigated and prosecuted, then why even have an Anti Corruption Commission?

All well meaning Sierra Leoneans should reject the antics of the APC-NA, Kabbs Kanu and their financiers. If these people are truly patriotic they should be helping locate some of their APC top brass who have fled the country with millions of dollars in stolen public loot. Kabbs Kanu and his cohorts are just poor losers who are not ready to accept the fact that a new direction of true progress is in the air and is not just a mere agenda on paper.

COVID-19 Preparedness in Sierra Leone

As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy. In Sierra Leone, the Julius Maada Bio led government has been very eager to prevent a repeat ...