A UN rights expert said Tuesday that Sierra Leone’s decision to de-facto remove all three members of its Human Rights Commission was an attack on the rule of law and must be reversed.
Some two million children in Salone went back to school today Monday 17th Sept, in a key test of the country’s free education programme for primary and high school students.
It was a key election pledge of President Bio, who took office in early April, Bio has said he will donate three months of his salary to the scheme, which covers school fees and supplies.
Schools were packed on Monday today 17th Sept and some pupils were unable to get in due to a lack of space.
“We turned down 30 percent of the kids seeking admission at our school due to lack of sitting accommodation. We will not exceed the teacher-pupil ratio of 50 per class,” said Florence Kuyembeh, principal of a girls’ secondary school in the capital Freetown.
But outside, one mother was in tears after her child was turned away for lack of places.
“I’m very disappointed with the free education (scheme). The school failed to admit my kid to the school of her choice due to lack of space,” Safiatu Sesay said.
And others had concerns about just how much of the costs the government was actually going to cover.
“We are happy for the free quality education but the government had promised during the election to provide our children with books, uniform, shoes and school buses but they only paid for school fees,” another parent called Idrissa Kamara said.
Last week, Finance Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa said the government had paid the fees for 1.1 million children in nearly 3,500 schools and would be picking up the tab for another 158,000 pupils.
Despite vast mineral and diamond deposits, Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries and half of the population over the age of 15 is illiterate, according to a UNESCO 2015 report.
Protests as Parliament orders TV station to retract report:
1. China invested more than $50billion in African infrastructure projects in a span of 8 years from 2009 to 2017. This is the highest for any country in the world. For example, China recently built a super fast railway line between Nairobi and Mombasa which is worth $3.2billion. They also constructed almost $4.5billion coastal railway line in Nigeria. A $900million dam in Equatorial Guinea. They recently funded for Free Trade Zone in Djibouti. Not just these, there are many more.
2. The annual trade between Africa and China is over $130billion per year. It is projected to cross $200billion by the end of 2018 which is 4times that of Africa’s trade with USA.
3. More than 75% of African students choose China for their abroad study.
4. China is the leading job creator in Africa. Majority of African population is working for Chinese companies.
By the above facts you might think that China is a lot kinder to African nations then any other country including India. But you know, China is an opportunist country, they simply don’t involve themselves in anything until and unless there have a profit in it. From Africa’s point of view, China is a real friend to Africa. But the fact is it’s not so friendly as they think.
Since beginning of 21st century, China has realized about its strength and started trying to dominate over USA at the world level. They want to become the superpower of the world. As a step towards that goal, they started by buying allies. Most of Africa is undeveloped and struggling with many problems. For them to sort out their problems and to develop their country, they need money. China has money, so by resourcing their money into Africa’s development, they’re literally buying them. China had made so much of influence that during 2007 General Assembly Resolution for “Human Rights Situation in North Korea” 45 countries out 54 countries in Africa stood along with China in support to North Korea who is his “best friend”. This is from the political point of view.
From economical point of view, China’s almost a developed country. It’s growth rate has become constant. The reason for China’s growth was its cheap labor in the early ’80s which led tremendous industrialization in China. Now, because of Industrialized China most of the Chinese have been pushed from poverty to middle class level. So, low cost manufacturing is not possible anymore in China. But for it to become economic superpower, they need improve their GDP. With lack of low cost resources in it, China eyed towards Africa, which still has a lot of natural resources to be exploited which can be resourced into Chinese manufacturing companies and to carry in-place manufacturing in Africa itself which has very cheap labor. So they started setting up their industries in Africa and have started to make money out of it. Assuming that their investment in Africa is progressive, they could become world’s economical, political and military superpower in no time.
So, in short my answer to the question, China-Africa’s relation is shown off as China’s helping Africa “with no strings attached”. China’s is having is more benefits out of this relationship than Africa. The way China influencing African countries is very dangerous as the power dynamics shift to China whose ideologies are vastly different and highly aggressive which could lead to disturbance of world’s peace one day.
Around the same time last week, Germany’s Angela Merkel and the UK’s Theresa May visited countries in Africa.
But the timing of the visits from leaders of two of Europe’s leading economies was conspicuous as, starting today (Sept. 3), nearly all African leaders will attend the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation summit in Beijing where China is expected to, once again, dole out large loan packages.
For their part, Merkel and May had their own goals too. While they came bearing gifts, in the long run, they will be hoping for reciprocal benefits.
Merkel’s talks at each of her three stops in Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria focused on stemming the flow of migrants heading to Europe in search of a better life. The German chancellor, with nearly a dozen German CEOs in tow, pressed for increased investment to create jobs which will offer locals viable livelihoods and disincentivize migration. And she had some success: German car giant Volkswagen announced plans to expand operations in both Ghana and Nigeria promising more investment and jobs in two of West Africa’s largest economies. But there’s a political upside for Merkel too. Having come under pressurefor her handling of the growing migrant influx in Germany, reversing the trend will be crucial for her party during the next federal elections.
British prime minister Theresa May was more unabashed about the purpose of her first ever Africa tour with stops in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. As Brexit looms, May is looking to “deepen and strengthen” the UK’s “global partnerships,” even if it requires busting out awkward dance moves. May signed trade deals, pledged more direct government investment and touted the UK’s private sector’s interest as well. Beyond trade, the prime minister also pledged military support to combat terror sects Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in Nigeria and Kenya respectively.
However, platitudes about maximizing “shared opportunities” with Africa aside, it’s unlikely that increased UK-Africa trade will make up for potential Brexit losses: in 2016, UK’s trade with Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria combined was less than 2.5% of the value of its trade with the European Union. In contrast, China-Africa trade—albeit one-sided—rose 14% last year to $170 billion.
The UK prime minister’s message of “partnership” and sharing “mutual benefits” during her trip was a veiled reference to China’s model on the continent which has been criticized as “debt-trap diplomacy.” But it will take more than impassioned statements to make up for the head-start China currently enjoys. As Africa has increasingly looked East rather than West over the past decade, Europe is ultimately playing catch-up to the Asian superpower as it continues to heavily invest in trade, infrastructure, and even security across the continent.
I’m ready to have a little bit more autonomy and to take the lead in my own life,” Isha Sesay tells What We Seee. And she’s definitely taking that lead. After 13 years at CNN, where she’s been a top anchor and correspondent, she’s moving on. She’s covered elections and national emergencies, worked with world leaders and politicians — and, more than any of that, she went from a fairly green reporter to an impressive force in the field of journalism. “I’ve been at CNN for 13 years, it’s the end of a huge chapter,” Sesay explains. “It’s been such a tremendous time, such an eventful 13 years — I feel like I grew up working there. I showed up as a 30-year-old in 2005, with two suitcases and a one-year contract — I’ve managed to make that last 13 years! It’s been amazing, I’ve been married when I was there, divorced when I was there, it’s all happened.”
With such a prominent and illustrious role, why is it all coming to an end? Well, within a few seconds of speaking to Sesay, it’s clear that her passion and her drive have become laser-focused — and she’s more than ready to take things into her own hands. She’s taking a step back from working as an anchor to focus on what resonates the most with her. For Sesay, the future is female and the future is Africa.
Although there are a lot of changes coming up for Sesay, they all seem to be at the natural meeting point of her professional life and her personal passions. “It’s an exciting time for me — and a nerve-wracking one,” she says. “I’m writing a book about the Chibok girls, it’s being released in May 2019. It really speaks to where my head is at, currently — a lot more coverage about Africa, a lot more work on the continent, and a lot more focus on young girls. That’s what I’m about right now.” The Chibok girls, the 276 young girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram in 2014, are particularly personal for Sesay. She traveled to Nigeria to cover the story and, like many current events in Africa, she feels the way it’s been represented in the press just doesn’t do it justice. While in 2014 the news was full of headlines dedicated to the Chibok girls, the media has long since moved on. “It’s a real indictment of the society we live in now,” she says.
She isn’t scared to vocalize something so many of us have noticed about Western media at the moment. On the one hand, there’s a problem in the West with the total Trumpian domination of media. “It’s all so Trump-focused,” she explains. “He sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. The media is following that lead to the exclusion of almost everything else, in a meaningful way. For me, personally, it’s not what I want to spend all my time doing.” There is so much else going on in the world and you can feel Sesay’s frustration that it’s not being covered. “After a while, I want to do more coverage of the Ebola outbreak, of the elections in Liberia, or any number of things that are happening. I’m ready to take control of what I’m talking about.”
But on the other hand, there’s a more fundamental problem with the way that the Western media covers Africa. Too long, Africa has either been neglected or shown in over-simplified, broad strokes. Luckily, there’s starting to be a shift. “I want to put a focus on Africa in the way I wish all international media would cover Africa,” she says. “Now it’s either underreported or not reported with the right nuance and context. I’m going to turn my attention to being one in this new army of people who are moving into this space, who are representing Africa in a new way.” Although many would argue she’s one of the faces leading that charge, she’s quick to give credit where it’s due. “I’m not going to be the only one doing that, I’m one of a group of Africans… There’s a sense of responsibility, a sense that we have to do better.” For Sesay, doing better isn’t just about coverage and attention although that’s clearly vital. She’s committed to being there, in the trenches, doing the work.
With both the Chibok girls and the W.E. Can Lead girls, it’s clear that Sesay feels both personally drawn to them and aware of her privilege next to them. She was born to parents from Sierra Leone, returning there when she was seven for a large portion of her childhood. “It’s personal to me for many reasons — if it wasn’t for the lottery of life, I could have been born in a place like Chibok. I could have not had the exposure and education that I have had. For me, these girls mean a lot more than just a headline.” Acutely aware of the drive, direction, and support given to her by her mother, Sesay is determined to be that strong female role model — not just to one girl, but to hundreds. “There are over 600 girls in my leadership development program. It’s been growing exponentially, with a view to moving beyond Sierra Leone to the rest of the continent. I feel like I’m nurturing the next generation of female leaders — changing homes, communities, then countries and the continent. I’m talking about leadership at every level, we’re empowering these girls and helping them to understand their own power.” Her reason for empowering girls? It’s simple. “We’ve given men a very good crack at it,” she laughs. “But we need more female leaders. It’s our turn.”
If Sesay has her say, it definitely will be their turn. “For me, it’s been wonderful, it’s been a wonderful time doing what I’ve done — I’m ready to have the freedom to do the stories I want. I’m ready to have a little bit more autonomy and lead my own life. I speak to my girls about leading their own lives — it feels like the right time for me to lead my own. Being an anchor is fun, it’s glamorous, but it’s very much controlled by other people. I’m ready to have my own say in where I go next.” With a keen political mind and selfless dedication to helping others, where she goes next is an exciting and impressive prospect.
The public would recall that following the presentation of the SLPP Governance Transition Team Report to President Julius Maada Bio at State House on Wednesday 4th July 2018; the APC established a Committee to look into the said report and submit their findings to the National Secretariat.
I now wish to inform you that the Committee has completed its work and has presented its findings to the Leadership of the Party. I would like to share our assessment of the GTT Report to Members of the Forth Estate, Civil Society, the International Community and Sierra Leoneans at large.
The All Peoples Congress (APC) has read with dismay the recently released Government Transition Team Report to the public. This transition report is the second such report produced by a sitting government since democracy was reintroduced in Sierra Leone in 1991 by the APC party.
The Transition Report of 2007, produced under the APC Government immediately after it took over from the SLPP Government of President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah (Photo), contained members of both the then APC Government and the out gone SLPP Government, and including members of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Party and other political parties.
The composition of the 2007 Transition team, by its very inclusion of SLPP members demonstrated a level of fairness and objectivity.
First, among many issues, the Governance Transition Team (GTT), comprising no experienced transition expert, ignored its Terms of Reference (TOR), and meandered into a proverbial witch hunt with a frenzy to traduce and place the APC administration, its adherents and even the judicial arm of Government in bad light. The Terms of Reference clearly instructed the GTT:
(1) to “Serve as Focal Point for the Interface with the Out-Going APC Government of former President Ernest Koroma and In-Coming Government of President Julius Maada Bio;
(2) “to Conduct an immediate Stock-Taking Exercise of the State of Affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs);
(3) Submit an overview of the current State of Affairs of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
By contrast, the 2018 Transition Team is completely one sided and full of ONLY diehard SLPP partisans. Such partisanship is evident in the report produced by the Transition Team.
It is quite easy to comprehend the course set out by the Terms Of Reference, to conduct a government-wide agency review for the incoming administration. Experts in transition processes state the purport of agency reviews as captured by Lisa Brown, Agency Review Co-Chairman, Obama-Biden Transition Project:
“Agency review captures critical information that a new team needs to know to begin working the minute it walks in the door and identifies opportunities to implement the new President’s priorities.”
Agency review is not license to wage war on political opponents or dredge up matters that are inconsistent with the application of the rule of law.
“As part of this process, the agency review team, in coordination with the transition leadership, must select landing team members and prepare these individuals to go into the agencies and work directly with agency transition directors and other career employees after the election. Their job will be to gather first-hand-information that can be incorporated into agency planning, help ensure an orderly transition of power and enable early momentum on priorities.” (See US Presidential Transition Guide 2018, Third Edition).
The David Francis (Photo – Below) Transition Team woefully failed in this endeavor and instead delved into political fishing expedition and derailed the course of its mission into a tribunal of vengeance, recrimination; a method inconsistent with standard transition process between one administration and the other.
Rather than follow the terms of reference and submit its report to the incoming President for his consideration, the David Francis Transition Team threw all caution to the wind and published its report to the social media, heralded the report on television, radio and newspapers.
Instead of a transition process, the Government Transition Team was reduced into a mere tribunal to defame and make specious claims against the APC in the jurisprudence of the Red Queen as in the classic – Alice in Wonderland: first the judgment, then the evidence, later a commission of inquiry.
But what will any commission of inquiry look into with due process of the law when the GTT through the agency of its Secretary, Dr. Dennis Sandy, sallied forth like a raging prosecutor to the social media jury and judge, claiming the APC and its train of Ministers, adherents and others were reeking with a stench of criminality! The fact is that a proper commission of inquiry as the Constitution of Sierra Leone requires has been upstaged by a Kangaroo Court of the GTT.
Presumption of Innocence
In waging its assortment of allegations of criminal offenses, the GTT has disregarded the cornerstone of criminal procedure, that in a democracy, everyone accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court or tribunal.
In his initial reaction to the allegations contained in the report he absolutely denied the falsehoods against him referring to them as nonsense.
The APC therefore stands by its Chairman and Leader and call on all Sierra Leoneans to regard him in the presumption of innocence along with every other person named in the report.
This presumption cannot be sacrificed in the haste to tar and feather political opponents.
In a well-ordered democratic society, the practice of the rule of law surpasses the rule of men. The GTT Report was issued in a hurry to sweep the cobwebs of an antecedent administration in fascist style.
The SLPP, by trusting their will more than democratic rule are bound to fail. The GTT report has called for restrictions on travel for those who the report says must be investigated. Regretfully, the Sierra Leone Police sought to implement same even before the report was accepted by H.E. President Bio and his cabinet.
Let it be known that the said travel ban is unconstitutional and violates section 18 of our national constitution.
The GTT report is full of unjustifiable, unsubstantiated and baseless claims of corruption with its real intent aimed at smearing and prosecuting former government officials, and party functionaries.
The GTT report aims to do what the SLPP has never been able to do; destroy the heart and soul of the APC. The SLPP is trying to destroy the very base of the APC and by extension destroy democracy.
A number of issues raised in the catalogue of offenses preferred by the GTT, are matters hitherto brought before competent tribunals of the law and resolved. Yet, the impetuous GTT has decided to recommend that some APC adherents be subjected to prosecution for the same offense.
The Government of Sierra Leone is one! If every new administration were to exhume settled matters as raised by the GTT in the Nassit Ferry, Income Electrix among others, it will verily appear the will of the incoming SLPP administration in spite of noisy assertions on the rule of law at campaign time, has now settled to harass, intimidate and threaten its political opponents using its own new-fangled justice.
The GTT report focused on certain areas and unashamedly tries to paint the APC as corrupt, tribalistic, and inept in managing the economy and state resources.
Let us state categorically that the APC as a party, and when it was in governance, frowned on corruption and has taken a strong stance in preventing, prosecuting and strengthening the fight against corruption.
The public may recall that the previous SLPP Government had restricted the prosecution powers of the ACC by having it obtain approval from the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (who is invariably a politician), and thus created an avenue for political interference in the activities of the ACC.
This anomaly was corrected by the APC in 2008 when the APC Government passed one of the strongest anti-corruption legislations in Africa. Indeed, under the APC Government, Ministers and Senior officials within the APC party where prosecuted by an unfettered and independent Anti Corruption Commission.
Here are some of the alleged acts of corruption, some of which are so baseless and and will not survive in the face of judicial scrutiny.
In presenting the GTT report, the chairman of the GTT made assertions about known APC officials and supporters with reckless abandon. The GTT report itself recommends investigations, presumes guilt and prescribes fines and prison sentences, pre-empting the regular judicial processes and recommends a Judicial Commission.
In the case of Ebola funds the GTT makes broad statements about corruption, and casting a wide net of culpability, but failed to recognize that the current permanent secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr. Kapuwa, and the current CEO of NPPA, Mr. Ibrahim Swaray, were also found culpable by the Parliamentary Committee for their role as outlined in the Ebola Audit Report.
As a reminder, Mr. Kapuwa and Mr. Ibrahim Swaray where fined, sent on disciplinary leave, and in the case of Mr. Ibrahim Swaray, further banned from any procurement position in any of the big priority ministries of Health, Education, Energy, Agriculture, and Defence.
The public needs to know that instead of ensuring that the likes of the above-mentioned individuals be kept away from sensitive positions of trust, the SLPP has rewarded these individuals with even higher offices, and called the previous Parliamentary Committee of which SLPP was a part a “whitewash”.
Further evidence of malicious injustice is the citing of former Mayor, Herbert Williams and Former Attorney General, Joseph F. Kamara, as parties to be investigated for the Sewa Grounds matter when both maligned gentlemen were not holding the offices at that time. What an indictment on the GTT for its indecent haste to castigate the innocent.
Sahr Jusu, the current Financial Secretary was the Head of the Public Debt Unit for ten (10) years of Ernest Koroma’s APC administration and he was responsible for guiding the APC into all it’s debts financing including the negotiation on the 100 Chinese Buses which the GTT report now seeks to discredit.
The GTT report presented a picture as inheriting an economy in a state of shambles. Contrary to the assertions made, the APC Government managed to salvage the poverty reduction and growth facility programme (PRSP II), which the APC Government inherited from the Tejan-Kabbah Government in a floundering state.
The APC Government successfully concluded the PRSP II using prudent macro-economic management, which allowed us to graduate to the extended credit facility programme; spanning 2010 – 2013, among others.
In terms of debt inherited, contrary to the GTT report, we inherited about US$700 million (Dollars) external debt, even after US$1.6 billion (Dollars) was forgiven under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Programme.
Furthermore, to address a few inconsistencies as asserted in the GTT, the APC Party wishes it to be known that at no time did the the APC Led-government of Sierra Leone own 30% shares in Sierra Rutile on account of a 25 million (Euro) loan given by the European Union.
Further to this, we encourage the public to make enquiries about the shareholding status of Sierra Rutile on the London Stock Exchange and get more information on its shareholders.
The GTT report is very explicit in making assertions that are dangerously tribalistic in nature. It seeks to paint a picture of an APC administration which was numerically biased in favor of the North (a very ethnically diverse and densely populated) and promoted Northerners only.
It fails to acknowledge the fact that many senior South Easterners, who have been given high offices in the ‘New Direction’ served without prejudice in the APC administration. The list of senior positions with South Easterners could be endless, since South Easterners make up more the 50% of the civil service.
In the case of infrastructural development, there is reference made in the GTT to Kono and Kenema as having NO infrastructural projects implemented during the APC administration. Contrary to the assertion by the GTT, several projects were implemented in Kono and Kenema as in every other district across the country.
For example, with regards to roads constructed, more than 21 km of roads were constructed in Koidu City and more than 15 km of roads were constructed in Kenema City.
The APC rejects the GTT report in its entirety.
It is a partisan document which stokes the dangerous flames of tribalism, tells a false story of APC’s stewardship and seeks to persecute key APC functionaries and former Government officials.
The GTT report is an SLPP wish-list to annihilate its main rival in a web of deceit, lies and fabrications.
We had not included all our observations of the GTT Report here.
But the APC is mindful of the numerous allegations against the APC Chairman and Leader, its Ministers and adherents.
They should be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent court of law or tribunal.
From this day forward the Party intends to focus on the thrust of the Report.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have concluded our observations of the GTT Report.
The thing to keep in mind about the quality of this report is Professor Robert Dahl, an eminent political scientist who admonished citizens in all Democracies to have reliable and trustworthy surrogates with civic competence.
The citizens on the GTT are not reliable and trustworthy in their findings and recommendations.
Therefore, we call on all Sierra Leoneans to read this report with a grain of salt because it is a bad government document.
Signed : Amb. Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General – APC
Bio and Co. after winning the Presidential run-off election, they were telling food commodity importers to quickly sell their food stuffs especially rice in store because Government is about to bring in ships of clean rice within three months period to be sold at a reduced price for the benefit of the less privileged. But citizens are worried due to the fact that basic food commodity is skyrocketing by the minute at a time the new Government about to reaches hundred days (100) – (that is three months) in office.