BY KABS KANU
Hundreds of the All Peoples Congress (APC) grassroots members staged a demonstration in the streets of Makeni on Friday and ended up at the former President’s residence, calling on him to remain Chairman and leader of Sierra Leone’s biggest opposition party.
The ALL Peoples Congress and the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have been eternally embroiled in bitter power struggles since Independence in 1961.
Waving banners with different messages asking him not to go and hailing him, while singing party songs, the crowd said they had come to appeal to Mr. Koroma to remain the party’s Chairman and leader. And in a high-octane statement which he used later to seriously deride and ridicule the reigning SLPP, the retired Head of State, who was at the helm when the party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara, lost to the SLPP flag bearer and the present President of Sierra Leone, Maada Bio in 2018, gave the all-too-familiar Sierra Leonean response that suggests likely agreement—“Ah hold word”.
There is nothing in the APC’s new constitution that became legally operative on March 25, 2022 to suggest that former President Ernest Koroma should not chair the party again. While, according to the new constitution, the presidential candidate becomes the leader of the party, the office of Chairman is open and is to be contested during the national delegates’ convention.
If Dr. Koroma accepts the appeal of the grassroots members to stay and enters the contest, there is no way he would not win, given his cult-like persona and popularity within the APC. Some party fanatics predict that he might go unopposed.
Since the APC lost power in 2018, the SLPP had behaved in absolute dread or fear of the former President. As if Ernest Koroma is the actual opponent that will stand between them remaining in power or making an early, unceremonious exit, SLPP have poured all kinds of ire, scorn, disrespect, hostility and outright harassment on the former Head of State, accusing him of dictatorship and clinging to the leadership of the APC, as if they have everything to lose, if he did.
The SLPP’s dread of Ex-President Koroma is often equated with Liberian children’s fear of the BOOGOO MAN (A mythical FEARFUL character). When parents or guardians frighten naughty kids that “Boogoo mehn coming ya”, the children run away to hide in fear. Liberian children are scared of “BOOGOO MEHN”, actually a corruption of the term, THE BOGEY MAN. SLPP are afraid of EBK because they see him as the man capable of destroying their aspirations to cling to power in Sierra Leone.
The government accused him of corruption while he was President and the matter is now with the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). APC members describe the accusation as a witch hunt and once actually massed around him in solidarity support in Makeni and the ACC had to give up their scheduled trip to question him at his residence.
APC distances from Adebayor…
Justice Fisher Orders ‘Adebayor’ to Apologise
High Court Judge presiding over the case between Alfred Peter Conteh and the Chairman and Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and three others, Hon. Justice Adrian J Fisher has today ordered the party’s National Secretary General, Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh, to contact allias Adebayor to get him to do an audio apologies to him and to the country for raining insult and invectives allegedly on behalf of the APC party.
The Hon. Judge asked the APC Secretary General to do so on the basis that he is the only one that Adebayo hasn’t abused, adding that “and it seems he has a lot of respect for you, therefore you are the fittest person to secure an apology from ‘Adebayo’ on behalf of your party, the APC.”
Hon. Justice Fisher has now decided that he would hold consultation over the weekend in a bid to determine whether he would recuse himself from the case or to go ahead and deliver judgment on the case.
According to him, he would either remit the file back to His Lordship the Hon. Chief Justice for assignment to another judge who may well start the proceedings afresh or he may continue with it after consultation.
Meanwhile, the Court has from the 28th of March 2022, which is the date upon which the Affidavit of Compliance was filed up on to the 28th of June, 2022 to deliver a final judgment on the matter.
Following on a press release by the All Peoples Congress dated on April 7 2022, that the party wish to draw that attention of the general public to several social media audios being recorded by a certain person calling himself “ADEBAYOR”.
According to the press release the party want it to be known that the said “ADEBAYOR” is not and has never been a member of the party and that his voice recordings in no way reflect the views, opinions, positions or decisions of the APC or its leadership.
“The Party considers the vituperation contained in the audios as distasteful and disassociates itself from the said alias “ADEBAYOR” and all such recordings”. The press release said.
“As the Party turns to a new chapter with a new Constitution, we wish to do all to unite our membership and present ourselves as progressive and attractive Party ready to take over governance at the Presidential, General and local Government elections”.
Bio to hold First National Media Investment Conference
By Zacharia Jalloh
The Minister of Information and Communications Mr Mohamed Rahman Swarray has disclosed that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Julius Maada Bio has consented to grace the upcoming National Media Investment Conference in Freetown, which will be held at the Bintumani Conference Hall on the 21st-22nd April 2022. The Minister made this disclosure during the Government weekly press briefing held at the ministry’s conference room on Thursday 7th April 2022.
The Media Investment Conference was a commitment made by His Excellency the President during the time he was signing the repeal of part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965. President Dr Julius Maada Bio promised to not only free journalists from the draconian seditious Libel law but to support a Media Investment Conference wherein, challenges facing the media and the opportunities can be explored. It was the President himself that declared that the Government will support the Investment Conference with a view to supporting enhanced Private sector investment in the media.
The minister opined that there are major factors that will continue to influence the press and the growth of the media in general, which include the democratisation processes, civil society, technological innovations, improved economic conditions, peace, and stability. Nonetheless, the Minister emphasised that the government has shown commitment to taking important steps towards creating the right environment for a transformation in the sector
“To ensure that the media can work properly in the interest of the public is not just about changing legislation, the media itself needs to have a solid economic foundation to be able to serve the people of this country, produce responsible content, inform educate and entertain our people” the Minister emphasised.
In a time when most countries in Africa are gagging journalists and looking for ways and means to tighten the media space, President Bio is working assiduously to ensure the media is given the free space to operate.
“As a government we have increased subvention to 500 million to SLAJ, Repealed the Seditious Libel law, strengthened the IMC Act, signed up for the Global Media Coalition, all geared towards allowing journalists to do their work unhindered. This will be the first Media Investment Conference not only in Sierra Leone but West Africa” the Minister asserted.
In his conclusion, the Minister revealed that the Ministry of Information and Communications, through BBC media Action, has raised £50,000 for the forthcoming media conference. He also spoke about his aspirations to digitize the electronic media environment in Sierra Leone, which he said has received a boost following the recent visit of the Spokesman & Head of the Center for Public and Media Diplomacy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Saied khatibzadeh, who promised that the Iranian government is willing to give its support to completing the digitization process.
The National Coordinator of the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) Dr. Francis Sowa who is also the National Consultant and facilitator for the Media Investment Conference, commended President Bio for his political will in promoting the media in Sierra Leone, saying that President Bio promised them a Media Investment Conference and he has delivered.
“Through the regional consultations across the country we have catalogued all the concerns from the media houses and journalists. We know the Media in Sierra Leone is quite challenged and the objective of the conference is to attract investment in the media sector” he said.
He concluded on a positive note, saying that the national consultations that have been carried out across the country in the last few weeks would help inform the dialogue, which will shape a roadmap for meaning investment into the Media in Sierra Leone
At the crowning of tribal head…
Fula community lauds VP Juldeh Jalloh
By Mustapha Dumbuya
At a ceremony held at the Bintumani conference hall in Freetown to crown the Western Area Fula tribal head which is also attended by Fula community heads from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Chad etc.
Recognition was made of Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh’s by his fellow tribe’s men for selfless service and outstanding contribution to impacting the lives of others positively.
This is against the back drop that the vice president Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh is the first Fula to attain the enviable height of second gentle man.
A remark was made by the APC leader in Parliament; Hon. Chernor Bah who revealed that VP Juldeh Jalloh enjoys felicity and kindness among not only his Fula community but the entire nation for being a unifier and a contributor to worthy social causes.
According to the opposition leader in parliament the humanitarian gesture of the Vice president includes providing scholarships to students at different levels of education, contributing to mosques, among others.
The Fulas are one of the ethnic groups that live in Sierra Leone and they have been playing significant role in the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone.
During the days of British colonial rule, the Fulas were recognized as an integral part of the ethno cultural fabric of Sierra Leone and were duly made to establish their own tribal administration as was the case with other tribes in Sierra Leone.
The process of electing a tribal head is normally through popular endorsement and or elections.
It should be noted that the newly crowned Fula tribal head Mr. Mohamed Sajoh has not only contributed to the wellbeing of the Fula community but has contributed immensely towards national development.
Among other things the newly crowned head is expected to amicably solve disputes among the Fula community and can also settle family and marital disputes.
To crown it all during the ceremony, the honorable vice president endorsed the newly crowned Fula tribal head and urges him to lead his people in the western area in admirable manner, and to ensure that peace prevails within the Fula community.