Friday, April 26, 2013

President Koroma's Special Assistant in Blind Rage

Special Assistant Blyden
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. 
Byden's Hero Taylor

Just a few years ago, President Koroma was the main subject of Blyden's tirades when she was in cahoots with the opposition. But having abandoned the opposition to the side of the government and been rewarded with a seat close to the president seems to have hyperinflated the ego of the journalist turned politician.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has a knack for creating political positions in return for loyalty and favor. From Cocorioko blogger Kabbs Kanu's Minister Plenipotentiary to Sylvia Olayinka Blyden's Special Assistant and to the plethora of press attaches scattered across obscure corners of the globe, the country's leader loves to manufacture titles, dump them on favored designees and then apparently leave them to develop the job description for themselves.

Sylvia Olayinka Blyden  seems to be very busy putting together her job description and she has decided to bring the action on social media frequented by Sierra Leoneans, primarily Facebook. Having been kicked out of several Sierra Leone forums for her foul mouth, she is now trolling forums administered by friends and associates and creating her own Facebook chat forums willy-nilly.  

Old Friends
Ms. Blyden seems to be particularly incensed at the behavior of some youths perceived to be supporters of the opposition politician Julius  Maada Bio who have been flocking to the Law Courts in Freetown in droves to witness the court proceedings involving the SLPP's appeal against the results of the November 17th 2012 presidential elections. Pointing to the rowdy behavior of some of the supporters in the crowd, Sylvia Blyden yesterday made this direct threat to Julius Maada Bio:
     "Meanwhile, please allow me to reiterate my earlier expressed position that if Julius Maada Bio thinks he is above the law, let him test the State again with any more act of lawlessness or public disorder. Trust me that Maada Bio will be arrested on the spot and whisked off to a police cell so fast, his head will spin. No more kids gloves for lawless politicians. 
Now, for those who are looking for diplomatic language, do not expect it from this very senior female government functionary occupying the position of SPECIAL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT (with full Cabinet rank) thus making me the first ever woman in History to exercise constitutional executive authority from within the Office of the President under the direction of my boss, His Excellency the President.  I have always said things as I see them and my boss, His Excellency the President, was fully aware of that trait of mine when he appointed me to such a senior government position answerable only to him."
New Friends

After been busy the past few weeks releasing press statements, Sylvia Blyden seems to have found her true element, and as she writes, she has full go ahead from the president himself. Presidential permission to publicly misbehave and she intends to do so fully.

Many people were concerned when President Ernest Koroma appointed a woman who had openly professed loyalty to former Liberian rebel leader Charles Taylor and had stated disappointment at his indictment for atrocities in Sierra Leone, as Special Assistant to the president. Pro APC journalist like Joseph Sherman flew into a rage when Sylvia was appointed and publicly denounced the president for ingratitude.

Late last night, Sylvia boasted that she had heard that opposition activist Kalilu Totangi and former disgraced Sierra Leone Ambassador to China under President Koroma, Abdul Karim Koroma were on their way to the Lungi airport to allegedly confront the lady that had accused the former ambassador of unwanted sexual advances and she had called the Lungi police and had them detained and boasts that the two were currently in police detention.

These negative developments in Sierra Leone are particularly unsettling, given the country's recent past. President Koroma must have heeded to the mantra, "bring your friends close and your enemies closer." However these public statements of arrogance and incendiary remarks against politicians and other people with substantial support in the country will not yield good fruit and I hope this President will take some active steps to tamper down this blossoming insanity.

After many years of war and a contentious election, Sierra Leoneans need a break and a return to sanity. Everybody knows political tempers get flared up during elections, but wise people get over it, go back and prepare for another time. Julius Maada Bio did not accept the results of the elections as fair. But on the other hand, he did not call or incite his supporters to go on the rampage, but did the right thing and went to the courts. When the courts decides, everybody is expected to abide by those dictates and that is what democracy is all about. 

Many APC supporters state that when Blyden was writing against the President, even mentioning the color of his "underwear" it was SLPP lawyers like Dr. Bu Buakei Jabbie that were defending her, so now that the table has turned on them they should not complain. However most people agree that these unnecessary taunts by Blyden is creating a dangerous situation that should not exist and are hoping that somebody will advise her to start using language more reflective of the dignity of the Presidential office. But as they say, the hand of a monkey will remain black, even if it is bleached.

Una lef for waste una time with boku talk about Obama will not have a White House official writing like Sylvia Blyden. Truth is that Obama nor get CRASEMAN dem as his opposition neither does he have lawless and violent mammals running amok calling themselves his democratic opposition.
Well, ar get dem meresin... Craseman Opposition go meet Chakra Government official. Na Maada Bio we day wait for stagger with any more criminal or lawless move. If we nor lock am up, we no to government. Yes, you can quote me again. Over and Out..!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

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

The Mad Man
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 of forty thousand years.

He rested under the Sycamore tree, gazing at the birds, marveling at God's infinite majesty. The birds were in a band with no drum major, moving as one, the entire flock, thousands of  them, dancing to a song they never rehearsed, but everyone of them knew just when to turn, just when to soar and just when to dive.

He closed his tired eyes and drifted off to sleep. Then he had a dream. He dreamt that he was in a strange land where everybody spoke the truth. A land where there was no malice. A strange place where there was no gossip. A land where people did not whisper in each other's ears, speaking slowly, quietly, like thieves in the night, with venom on their tongues and hate in their hearts. A place where children revered their parents and young men respected their elders.

Then he saw a strange animal moving towards him. Was it running or was it gliding, he could not tell, for such was the grace of the magnificent beast. The feet of the beast moved, but it seemed to never touched the ground. It was as graceful as a butterfly in the summer breeze, muscles as supple as a lion crouching in wait for the unlucky deer.

As the beast moved closer, it became a man. A towering figure of a man, the tallest human he had ever seen. He walked with the confidence of an ancient warrior, Bai Bureh and Kailondo rolled into one. A man with the strength of Samson and whose eyes reflected the wisdom of Solomon. As he got closer, the mad man realized that this tall man was blind, yet he knew exactly where to step. His hair was as white as fresh Minnesota April snow and his unseeing eyes were as clear as dew drops on the red petals of a Segbwema hibiscus flower. As he watched in awe, the tall man came straight at him, walked towards him and walked right through him and he felt no touch. But he could smell the great man, a scent so heavenly it was like perfume made in the corridors of heaven.

The mad man turned in terror, wondering how another human being was able to pass right through another, like breeze through an open window. As he turned to look for the man, he saw that he had become a unicorn, a pale white majestic beast, as beautiful as an Arabian Stallion with a long straight horn the color of Ivory. As he gazed at the beast it started to run toward the setting sun in the distance. As he watched in amazement the unicorn grew wings and flew right into the fiery sun. Then the mad man heard a sound.................

"Bockarie, Bockarie, wake up!" Bockarie's wife stood near their bed, her eyes narrow with anger.
Did you just drink all the whiskey?

 "Did you just drink this whole bottle of whiskey that I bought for my birthday celebration tomorrow? It is now 3.00 clock and you are lying here snoring as loud as an elephant and  have not even gone to collect the boy from school, what type of useless husband are you?

Bockarie got up and hurriedly put on his briefs and his shirt. He put his feet in a pair of old shoes and rushed out of the house towards the school. His wife watched in amazement as Bockarie ran towards the school. He had forgotten to put on his pants! She wanted to rush after him then checked herself. She suddenly did not feel bad about the whiskey after all. The thought of the useless husband of hers rushing into their child's school with no pants on would be embarrassing, but it felt somewhat comforting.

Segbwema Blogger

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Has President Koroma Been Good to Sierra Leone Journalism?

President Dr. Ernest Bai. Koroma
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 praise singers also point to the fact that the most vocal critic of President Koroma during his first term, Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, who even wrote about the president's infidelities and personal family scandals, have now been promoted as his special special assistant, a testament to his magnanimity, they say.

From a purely superficial perspective, President Koroma may appear to have been a great ally of the fourth estate. But from a a less platonic perspective, those who have been blessed with the capacity to look at issues more critically and in depth will tell you that President Koroma has done more to erode the professionalism and stature of journalism than any other president in contemporary Sierra Leone history.
Journalist Paul Kamara

One of the first things that president Koroma did upon assuming power, was to identify some of the most vocal members of the fourth estate in the country and give them diplomatic assignments as press attaches.

In Sierra, journalism has always been a tough profession  Most of the graduates of mass communication in the country are often cash strapped, making it hard for them to provide even basic sustenance for their families. In a country with a high level of illiteracy and with a limited market for newspapers, restricted mostly to the capital Freetown, journalism was always a noble but hard profession. Survival as a journalist in Freetown, especially for those that wrote for mediocre papers, was an exercise in bare boned existence. Even Cocorioko, with the full backing of the current government has tried unsuccessfully to launch a paper in Sierra Leone, but the market is just too saturated.

It was therefore not uncommon for unscrupulous politicians or malicious people to hire journalists to write bad stories about their adversaries or perceived enemies for a small fee. At one time this "mercenary journalism" was so pervasive that some papers were reduced to mere gossip columns and glorified rumor mills. But even in the midst of this malaise, there were still some credible sources of good news and some very excellent investigative journalism.

When President Koroma took up the mantle of office in 2007, the profession of journalism was active, but most journalists were in dire straits. Since independence, Sierra Leone had maintained diplomatic missions in many important countries around the world, but had a press attache only in the United Kingdom. President Koroma decided to change this and send press attaches to Sierra Leone diplomatic missions around the world.

In a journalistic coup, the president appointed journalists that had either been loyal to his cause or those that were very unpredictable but had powerful pens as attaches to these newly minted diplomatic positions. With one swift exercise of presidential authority, vocal journalists like Chernor Ojukwu Sesay, Pasco Temple,  Sorie Sudan Sesay, Alhaji Jalloh, John Baimba Sesay, Abdul Karim Koroma, and others were sent to countries as far away as Belgium and China, effectively co-opting them into government and sealing their lips on negative events in the country, lest they be accused of betraying the president and sabotaging the government. In essence their lips were glued by government salary.

Other journalists who also wanted to benefit from President Koroma's diplomatic largesse, soon became praise singers of the highest order, as the president was soon discovered to be a nice man, particularly gullible to praise. Soon a lot of Newspapers in the country were transformed into mere outlets of Presidential "kumbayas," with journalists praising the president so effusively that you could not tell whether they were writing about Nelson Mandela or Pope John Paul II.
Praise Singing Alliance

These days it is difficult to read a paper from Sierra Leone without some mention of , "the fountain of honor", "the father of the nation", "the worlds best", "the savior of journalism", and a host of other platitudes, in reference to the president. It is almost as if an army of propagandists had invaded the journalists corps in Sierra Leone, converting the country's journalists into a battalion of blabbering sycophants. Even the radio media has not been spared this sycophantic invasion. With the suspension of the license of the opposition SLPP radio and now the withdrawal of the operating license of Afri Radio by the Independent Media Commission, the only thing left is for APC operatives to do is to write hymns praising Ernest Koroma to be sang on the airwaves in Freetown.

News media in Sierra Leone are now mere outlets for Press Statements. I was never been a fan of Sylvia Blyden's abrasive and malicious style of tabloid journalism, but at least she occasionally took some time to dig deep into stories. But with Blyden now leading the local army of praise singers,  reading Awareness Times these days can send you faster to sleep than a bottle of Tylenol PM.

Sierra Leone Diaspora Papers have nor fared better. The Competition between Cocorioko's Leroy Kabs Kanu and Patriotic Vanguard's Gibril Gbanabome Koroma for the attention of President Korom took journalistic sycophancy to a sublime level with Gbanabome appealing to the President as having come from the same area and Kabbs Kanu describing he and his team as "loyal palace dogs." PhD candidate Joseph Sherman joined the fray with a blistering attack on the president for rejecting them in appointments in favor of their perceived enemies. Even Sierra Leone forums on Facebook have not been spared. There was even an unsuccessful attempt to hijack the popular Open forum by sympathizers of APC.
Gibril Gbanabome Koroma

Journalist these days in Sierra Leone are the primary source of rumors and outright fabrications, all for the divine press attache position. Credibility is no longer important, but self aggrandizement. Journalism in the country has now been reduced to the ancient African art of "Djellibaism", with journalists becoming mere griots for those in power.

Surely, President Koroma has been good for journalists in Sierra Leone, but his insidious moves to dilute and successfully undermine the sector has been an unmitigated disaster for journalism in the country. The only hope for decent news these days is the spread of social media, cellphone and blogs. Those of us who have no training in journalism are now able to get news from these media and publish them on our blogs for the world to see. We have unwittingly become journalists by necessity. The only hope left for Sierra Leone is the few journalists who would not be attracted by the trapping of office, but would stay true to the esteemed profession of journalism.

This link is a testament to the nature of jounalism these days in Sierra Leone

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston: Triumph to Tragedy

Boston Carnage
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!"
Runner Down

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, pancreatic and a host of other cancers for which the prognosis had not been good and yet they had somehow managed to survive through faith, perseverance, family and community support and have heard the magic words, "You are cancer free?" They decide to run the marathon as a celebration of life, to memorialize a second chance, to thank their maker for giving them one more shot to make things right.
Triumph to tragedy

Other people may just be philanthropists, engaged in some social venture to help the less fortunate. They may be seeking; the cure for a disease, helping establish a health care institution in some remote corner of the world, publicizing a venture aimed at ending hunger and poverty in some poor corner of the world, or in inner cities. Some may be promoting the cause of some alienated people, or commemorating a medical breakthrough.

Then there are those who had promised themselves to one day run and finish the Boston Marathon. They could be in their forties or could be as old as eighty. They could take 6 hours or even 9 hours, all they want to hear is the golden statement, "Grandpa ran the Boston Marathon"

But today the celebration ending horribly, as some lone individual or individuals, with evil on their minds and hatred in their hearts, decided to make this joyous day bitter, by turning celebration into carnage, achievement into tragedy.
Running From Blast

There are those among us who let prejudice, false doctrines, religious misinterpretation, and loyalty to ideas blind them to the value of human life. They use murder as a tool for publicizing some cause. There are those who have been brainwashed all their lives to view the world as "us versus them." Who have been taught taught that perpetrating evil in the vilest manner is the only way they can be listened to, the only way they can be heard.

So today, perverted minds decided to attack the finish line of the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon with bombs. As I heard a cameraman on TV shouting, "Oh my God, Oh my God!" It suddenly dawned on me that no cause on earth was worth this. The Boston Marathon was not a military parade, but a gathering of people from all over the world, coming together to celebrate as one.

My heart goes out to the parents of the 8 year old child who was killed and the hundreds who will be scarred for life from this senseless act of violence. May God help people to see that there are better ways to make a point than through mass murder and carnage and I pray that the perpetrators of this carnage are caught and brought to justice.

Sheku Sheriff
Segbwema Blogger

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

Karim Wade arrested in Senegal-Reuters

Police detain son of Senegal ex-president on graft charges

6:47pm BST
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 equivalent to one-third of state expenditure.
"We presented 3,000 documents to prove the lawful origin of Karim's assets," said another of his lawyers, who asked not to be identified.
President Macky Sall, who wrested the presidency from Wade at an election in March 2012, has promised to fight corruption and embezzlement in the former French colony of 13 million people.
Special prosecutor Alioune Ndao had announced in November that Karim Wade and four former ministers were being investigated on corruption charges.
Karim Wade has been banned from leaving the country, something which the ECOWAS bloc of West African states has branded illegal.
(Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Richard Valdmanis)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sierra Leone Political Updates: The Kono Fiasco

Vice President Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana
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 Aiah Koroma, a towering figure and consumate politician who is the father of the country's current First Lady Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma.  Abu Aiah Koroma ran in 1996 as a presidential candidate, but he was unsuccessful.
Minister Diana Finda Konomany

In spite of all the mineral wealth emanating from Kono, the district has been one of the most neglected in the history of infrastructural development in the country. Successive governments have just taken the minerals, satisfied some local chiefs and made use of the indigenes as sources of cheap labor and abandoned the people. Infrastructural development of any kind in the district was totally neglected.

Today, Kono is a district with a landscape deeply scarred by mining both legal and illegal, with poor roads and a lack of even the most basic of facilities. To compound the district's problems, Kono became a magnet for rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during the long civil conflict in the country. Before the the end of the war, the main district town of Koidu, once a beautiful mining settlement, was almost completely burnt to the ground. Several of the major towns were touched and the district was set back for decades.
Kono Landscape Today

When I personally had the chance to travel through the Kono towns of Yengema Koidu, Wordu, Woama, Gandorhun and other major areas of Kono District, I was deeply affected by the degree of neglect and delapidation in the face of so much wealth.
First Lady Sia Nyama Koroma

Forward to 2007, the APC government of Ernest Bai Koroma assumed power in Sierra Leone and Kono was lucky to get the first First Lady from the district. Coincidentally or incidentally, depending on which version of rumors you believe, the country's Vice President Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana was also born and bred in Kono district and is a member of the district's traditional loyalty. Forward to 2013, the Current Minister of Finance Dr. Kelfala Marah grew up in Kono, the Minister of Local government Diana Finda Konomanyi also hails from Kono and has deep roots in the district.

So you would think that with all the big politicians from the district and having the country's president as a brother-in-law, the people of Kono are rolling in the lap of luxury. Unfortunately if that is what you think, you are further from the truth than than heaven is from  hell.
Tom and Jerry

Instead of coming together to fight for the development of their historically neglected district. The Kono politicians have developed egos so big that even elephants would stand in awe. The Vice President Sam Sumana and Local Government Minister Diana Konomanyi make me think of the long running cat and mouse comic strip Tom and Jerry in which the two animals are always trying to outdo each other but none really succeeds.
Finance Minister Kelfala Marah

Sam and Diana epitomize the disease of ethnic African politician; unknown quantities from obscure areas suddenly thrown into the limelight. Instead of working together for the betterment of their district, they have hands at each others throats, trying to claw their eyes out. One major reason for the perpetual desolate state of Africa is that we spend so much time on pettiness, that by the time we have the chance to do important things, we no longer have enough energy.

Some of the Kono chiefs need to call these people, put them in a room and knock some sense into their skulls. As long as they continue fighting like lions defending their pride, the only people that will suffer are the poor, lovely, peaceful and neglected people of Kono.
Ambition Vs Ego

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

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

Dear Minister,
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 prompt reply to our email expressing our intention to investigate the above-mentioned matter. Equally so, your willingness to grant us unimpeded access to senior members of your department and other possible sources of information is highly commendable and cannot be gainsaid.

This investigation led us to those we consider as the key actors in this pathetic and totally avoidable situation. Foremost among these are: yourself as the political and overall head of local government in Sierra Leone; second, the Mayor of Koidu New Sembehun City Council, His Lordship Saa Emerson Lamina; third, the Director of Local Government Mr. Aiah. J.P Lebbie; fourth, the Senior District Officer in Kono District, Mr. Moses Gbetu; fifth, the Chief Administrator of the Council in Kono District, Mr. Charlie Patrick Jay Kallon; Last but not least, the Director of Decentralization Secretariat Mr. Alhassan Kanu.

Our investigation has revealed shortcomings in procedural inputs by civil servants in the exercise of their public duties. For instance, it is good practice to notify the civil service commission and liaise with the administrative head of the local government ministry before major disciplinary decision that could lead to dismissal are arrived at.

Standard communication procedures among staff at the ministry are either poor or non-existent and needs major improvement. For instance, we had to endure unedifying backwards and forwards movements between officials of the local government ministry and the Mayor in order to establish whether the Mayor was invited to a meeting with the Minister regarding his decision to suspend the Chief Administrator in the local Council, Mr. Charlie Patrick Jay Kallon. The Mayor is adamant that nobody from the ministry contacted him. Officials on the other hand insisted that they contacted him for this very important meeting. Officials from the ministry confirmed that ONLY VERBAL COMMUNICATION was used to contact the Mayor. This is totally unacceptable giving the multi tracks of communication lines available to society in our modern age – electronics and postal services to mention a few.

It is also clear that there has been a total disregard or ignorance, or both, for the procedures spelled out in the Local Government Act of 2004. It is imperative that these procedures are strictly followed, and established rules and guidelines observed before a Minister could venture into taking decision of such magnitude and gravity i.e. withholding funds allocated for any local authority. Based on the foregoing, your letter dated 2nd April 2013 and the following letter dated 3rd April 2013 (Suspension from office refers) were premature and inappropriate.

We think your ministry’s exercising of its prerogative to withholding funding to the Koidu New Sembehun City Council is worrying and will make it extremely difficult or impossible for our local Council to function and this is not in the interests of locals.

Government must ensure that Councils across the country get their full allocation of funds at the right time. More important, full training on local governance matters and issues relating to devolved democracy must be provided by government for councilors at specific periods.

We welcome your desire to investigate the local administration in Kono District. We believe that it could lead to improvement. We expect nothing but the delivery of excellent services by our council. Public servants must manage public funds with due regard and probity. As such, improving the quality of governance in the public sector can not be emphasized enough. However, any investigation of the activities of the administration must be seen to be transparent, independent and fair, and done expeditiously within the confines of the required statutes. Public servants must be accountable to Parliament and citizens.

We have concluded that our Minister Finda Diana Konomanyi and the Mayor His Lordship Saa Emerson Lamina must deeply reflect on what is at stake in Kono District and must work together in promoting the interests of our beloved District. We are open to assist, if required, to discuss common strategies in resolving this matter

We are united in our resolve to ensure that the dignity, rights and interests of our people are protected as we await your response.

Tegloma Minnesota Chapter Gets Ready to Host International Convention in September

 Minnesota Chief Hassan Kamara
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.
Missouri Chief Gerard Brewah

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.
Tegloma Members Interacting

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 administration that will manage the affairs of the organization for the next two years. The election will be followed by an International Picnic where guest would be treated to their choice of exquisite steak, sausages, bratwurst and the great poultry Midwest USA is famous for.
Federation Board Chair and Wife

Speaking from his Brooklyn Park residence, Chief Hassan Kamara confidently states that though Washington DC and Ohio have set the benchmarks for great Tegloma conventions, Tegloma Minnesota aims to give the federation the best convention the organization has ever seen, by far. He said that there will be a total focus on the great potential of Tegloma to help expand philanthropic ventures in crucial sectors in Sierra Leone and vowed that the convention will showcase the best of the Sierra Leone's rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Cross Section of Tegloma Elders

The media committee headed by federation Board Secretary General Sheku Sheriff has made arrangements for the convention to be televised and recorded for posterity.
Ex. Dallas Chief with federation Chair
and Vice Chair.

Minnesota is expecting a huge delegation, as the Federation Chairman Alfred Moi Jamiru has served two successive two years terms and can no longer run as prescribed by the federation constitution.

Already a lot of influential people are ready to throw in their hats for the leadership, when nominations are declared at the Tegloma Federation Mini-Convention in Saint Louis Missouri on Memorial Day Weekend, just a month from now from now, May 24, 2013 to May 27th. Members of the Missouri chapter are very busy with preparations to host the Tegloma Delegates from all the chapters next month.
Federation Chairman and Wife

Tegloma leaders are nominated at the Mini-Convention which is always on Memorial Day weekend and elected at the Main Convention which is always on Labor Day weekend to enable members make long term arrangements to attend.

This year the Tegloma Mini-Conventionc will be hosted by Tegloma Missouri Chapter which is incorporated in Saint Louis, Missouri, under the leadership of the chapter Chief Gerard Brewah. The main Convention will be hosted in Minneapolis, Minnesota which is incorporated in Saint Paul, Minnesota under the leadership of Chapter Chief Hassan Henrickson Kamara.
Some Tegloma Minnesota Members
Tegloma Chicago

Delegates from Africa who plan to attend the convention are urged to start making arrangements to obtain US visas as the process can be long and daunting.

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