His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the Mamasa Community Private Hospital in Kendeyama Community in the southern city of Bo.Â
The Mamasa Community Private Hospital was constructed by Honourable Dickson Momoh Rogers, Member of Parliament for Constituency 100 in the Pujehun District and his wife, Haja Fanta Rogers.Â
Chairman of the occasion, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby, said it was a special day for the people of Kendeyama Community in Bo and the country at large. He added that development should not only be left in the hands of government and called on every citizen to demonstrate the moral responsibility to be a part of the development of the nation.
Dr. Demby described the venture by Hon. Dickson Rogers as a show of goodwill and patriotism, and therefore encouraged all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to engage in such ventures.
Speaking on behalf of the doctors in the hospital, Dr. Elizabeth Pujeh said only people with big dreams and aspirations to help humanity would construct a health facility of that nature to serve community people.
â€œOn behalf of the doctors, nurses and all healthcare workers of the Mamasa Community Private Hospital, I want to assure you that we will work harder and use our expertise to save lives and improve the health system in the country,â€ she assured.
Hon. Rogers, who is Chief Executive Officer of the Mamasa Community Private Hospital, said that the urge to help humanity, at a community level, led them to construct the hospital facility, which he added would not only improve the health system of the community but also that of the entire township of Bo.
He further stated that he was inspired to construct a health facility after the second State Opening of Parliament in 2019, where President Julius Maada Bio urged citizens, private organisations to engage and invest in the health system of the country.
â€œThat was why my wife and I challenged ourselves to answer to the call of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to construct this health facility for our people. Never again will a pregnant woman, child, and the aged die because of lack of access to a hospital,â€ he concluded.
In his statement President Bio said he was impressed to learn that the hospital was built in an underserved location, adding that he was even happier that the initiative would make available advanced diagnostic and lab services with highly trained medical personnel and more hospital beds in the community.
â€œThere is an opportunity to manage everyday disease burdens, deliveries and maternal care, be able to escalate cases to referral hospitals but with clear lab tests and diagnosis,â€ he said, adding that his government was committed to partnering with and support such initiatives.
He also recalled that after 2018 his government inherited poor healthcare infrastructure, poor diagnostic and laboratory services, lower healthcare financing than now, adding that poor healthcare delivery services were among a host of problems with the sector.
â€˜Ernest Koromaâ€™s Leadership Is â€˜Expiredâ€™
â€œWe at the NRM find it very disturbing that Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) and his expired leadership appealed an order that merely restrains them from participating as delegates in the adoption of the constitution.
This is according to a press release issued by the National Reformation Movement (NRM) an offshoot of the APC states that â€œat the outset, it is worth pointing out that we entered into the negotiations to have the issues resolved amicably.â€
It went on to state that â€œmore than anything, it was the desire to resolve the impasse and allow the party to move past the protraction that surrounds the adoption of a democratic constitution that led us to the negotiating table.
â€œHowever, the insistence of the leadership of the party to take us to a convention with their pre-selected, manufactured delegates led Alfred Peter Conteh, NRM’s Deputy Leader, to institute an action against the party’s overstayed leadership in the High Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown. Alfred Conteh’s opposition is to prevent EBK and Osman Foday Yansaneh from proceeding to a convention with their manufactured delegates, who are clearly against the democratic ideals we seek.â€
According to the release all the NRM â€œwe all have seen, although the party’s expired leadership, through their lawyers, approached the judge for a variation of the injunction to allow the party to adopt a new constitution, they suddenly appealed against that very variation their lawyers pleaded and solicited from the court, just because the party’s chairman and his handpicked delegates have been restrained from manipulating the process.â€
The release adds: â€œWe find it very disappointing that he unconscionably appealed an order that commands the party to conduct elections for the delegates who are to adopt the constitution. These recent actions, instigated by EBK, have demonstrated that the pleas made in court by the party’s lawyers that the party has found itself falling behind in the race to keep pace with the national electoral calendar mean nothing when weighed against EBK’s presence as a self-imposed delegate in the process of adopting a new constitution.â€
The release went on to state: â€œNow that it is no longer in dispute that EBK and his illegal executive are only interested in going to a convention with their handpicked opponents of democracy to adopt another autocratic and totalitarian constitution, we want the public to know that the NRM has joined forces with Alfred Conteh’s lawsuit to ensure that the matter is concluded in court. The movement is particularly pleased with these two orders handed down by Justice Fischer:Â restraining the national officers of the party and their handpicked opponents of democracy, who masquerade as delegates, from sowing further confusion and instructing that elections are conducted for the delegates who are to adopt the constitution.
â€œConclusively, we at the NRM call for the formation of an interim body to conduct elections for delegates and organize a convention, where a new constitution will be adopted within forty-five days. The NRM remains committed to the struggle to democratize the internal politics of the APC.â€
â€˜More than 400 Liberian Refugees Illegal in Sierra Leoneâ€™
– Delegation tells ECOWAS Parliament
Abuja, Nigeria: Republic of Sierra Leone delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament has in its country report to the regional parliament said more than (four hundred) 400 former Liberian refugees remain without legal status in the country.
The country which delegation comprises of five (5) members who are: Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah (Leader),Â Hon. Dr Sidie M. Tunis (Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament), Hon. Ajibola Manley-Spain, Hon. Veronica K.Â Sesay and Hon. Shiaka Musa Sama was represented in the delivery of its country report by Hon. Shiaka Musa Sama.
The report presented to the ECOWAS Parliament captured several thematic areas of the country including the Political; Security; Human Rights; Economic and Social situations as well as Environment and Climate Change; Status of Ratification and Implementation of the Community Texts and Protocols; Status of Implementation of Community Programs and Projects; and the Performance on the Macroeconomic Convergence Criteria.
During the presentation of the report particularly on the Human Rights situation in Sierra Leone, Hon Sama said more than 400 former Liberian refugees remain without legal status in the country. â€œTheir refugee status expired in 2017 when they became â€œresidual caseloadsâ€ under UNHCR protection. They refused repatriation and integration and demanded resettlement in a third country. UNHCR denied their resettlement citing the former refugeesâ€™ contradictory statements. The group applied for local national identification documents but authorities are yet to act on the applications.â€
Furthering on the Human Rights situation in Sierra Leone, the report captured that in March 2020, President Bio declared a 12-month State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. â€œParliament approved the measure which granted the President broad powers to maintain peace and order including mandatory restrictions on movements. The State of Emergency declaration included restrictions on assembly as it banned meetings of more than 100 persons. In few cases, police used excessive force when dealing with demonstrators and used public order laws to deny requests for protests and demonstrations,â€ Hon Sama read verbatim from the Report.
To guarantee press freedom, the report also captured that the Government of Sierra Leone â€œworked with Parliament and other stakeholders to repeal the 55-year old seditious libel section of the Public Order Act, 1965 that criminalized free speech. This demonstrated the willingness of Government to promote the freedom of press in the country.â€
The Human Right portion of the report also stressed on the moves made so far by government to curtail issues of rape and the addressing challenges of allowing pregnant girls attending school.
On the status of implementation of community texts, Hon Sama said Sierra Leone has ratified 42 ECOWAS protocols and conventions. To meet her obligations under the Community Levy Protocol, Sierra Leone, he said â€œhas paid the sum of Le 14,903,320,000 for the year 2020 equivalent to US$ 1,500,000 and has arrears totaling Le 46,509,446,719.87.â€
Â â€˜Instabilities in Guinea & Ivory Coast Led to 28,736 Refugees & Asylum-Seekers in Liberiaâ€™
Â â€“ ECOWAS Parliament Told
Liberia Delegation to the regional ECOWAS Parliament has submitted that instabilities resulting from election violence in its neighbouring countries of Republic of Guinea and Republic of Ivory Coast led to 28,736 (twenty eight thousand seven hundred and thirty-six) refugees and asylum-seekers in its country territory.Â
Presenting the Republic of Liberia country report on behalf of the Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Clarence Massaquoi whilst deliberating on the security and refugee situation in the region said consequent of the post-election instabilities â€œaccording to UNHCR Global Focus, there was an estimated 28,736 refugees and asylum-seekers in Liberia at the start of 2021, including 20,466 Ivorian asylum-seekers who arrived in December 2020, following electoral tension in CÃ´te d’Ivoire.â€
Hon. Clarence Massaquoi added that â€œthe reported hundreds of migrant farm workers along the border towns of Taboo, Maryland County, Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County and Logatuo, Nimba County in search of economic livelihoods but who present threats to border security as the local complained of land grabs by these migrants which have prompted the authorities in those areas to call on national government to intervene so that the situation does not blow out of proportion.â€
The Liberian Delegation further presented that as result of changes in the Guinean constitution passed in a constitutional referendum in earlier 2020 which reset the presidential terms that ended in incumbent president Alpha CondÃ© to run for a third term and winning in October of 2020, â€œeven though the opposition boycotted the said election and protests. The protest lasted throughout the year but was harshly repressed by security forces claiming several civilian lives. In effect, those fearing their lives crossed over to Liberia and other neighboring countries which prompted the government of Liberia to deploy armed men along its border with Guinea to mitigate any situation arising thereof.â€
Consequently, on the area of political tolerance, Hon. Clarence Massaquoi stated that â€œLiberia reassured the world for the respect of democratic political tenets and the rule of laws by solidifying the gains made over the years as exemplified by the holding of free, fair, and transparent elections.â€
UN Approves Support to NEC for Elections
Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Political and Peace building Affairs and United Nations Focal Point for Electoral Assistance Matters has communicated the consent of the United Nations (UN) to provide technical and other assistance as requested by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Sierra Leone for the forthcoming Local Council, Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
USG Rosemary DiCarlo said the UN is pleased to inform the Government of Sierra Leone of its readiness to provide technical assistance to NEC for the said elections. â€œI wish to inform you that I have approved the recommendations of the electoral needs assessment led by the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political and Peace building Affairsâ€.
The UN Resident Coordinator and the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be in contact with NEC and the relevant authorities to discuss the next steps.
In the letter addressed to the Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the UN, USG DiCarlo requested the transmission of this information to the Government and NEC accordingly.
It is important to recall that NEC is a body corporate, an independent Election Management Body (EMB) responsible for the organization, conduct and supervision of the essential elements of public elections and referenda in Sierra Leone.
Pres. Bio attends ECOWAS Extraordinary Session on Mali Situation
His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio is attending the ECOWAS Extraordinary Session on the political situation in Mali convened by the Chairman, Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
In his welcome address, the chairman expressed his appreciation to his colleagues for answering the clarion call to attend to urgent matters of peace and stability affecting the region.
“Your commitment and our collective determination have been the hallmark of our enviable success as a regional organisation. I salute your steadfastness and determination. The current political impasse in Mali has again raised anxiety and shaken the hope of successful transition and political stability of the country,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo also briefed his colleagues and delegates on the events and actions by the 15-member regional group, with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries, since the Transitional Government in Mali was installed on 18 August 2020.
He commended Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS mediator to the Malian crisis.
In his statement, President Julius Maada Bio thanked the gathering and singled out the role being played by President Akufo-Addo and for convening the extraordinary session on Mali.
â€œThis meeting underscores the urgency of maintaining peace and stability in Mali, which we all agree, has critical implications for the stability of the entire ECOWAS region. Indeed, given the multidimensionality of the situation in Mali, the authority is not dealing with an exclusive Malian problem. This is an ECOWAS problem. This is an international problem,â€ he emphasised.
He said while recalling the decisions of the last Summit, the Government of Sierra Leone had called for respect for the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy that condemned the unconstitutional political change.
â€œMilitary take-overs violate ECOWAS, AU, and UN Resolutions. Sierra Leone, therefore, stands in solidarity with ECOWAS and calls for the restoration of constitutional order through inclusive, credible, and transparent elections in accordance with the provisions of prior resolutions on this matter.
â€œTo that end, I urge the Authority of Heads of State and Government to intensify consultations and communications with all stakeholders at all levels. Mediation and conflict prevention are possible and should be pursued,â€ he said.