Ex Pres. Koroma Agrees To Relinquish APC Chairmanship

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The former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the outgoing Chairman and Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), Ernest Bai Koroma, on various occasions had clearly stated that he would not be contesting for any position in the APC.

According to him, from the press release although, the 1991 Constitution is very clear on the presidential term limit, there seems to have been some anxiety about a political comeback, which is being fuelled by continued calls by several groups for his active involvement in party and national politics.

In the first week of January 2022, the attention of the Office of the Former President was drawn to a social media campaign with samples of T-shirts and baseball caps calling on the statesman to re-engage in national politics. His Office then released a press statement, dated 6th January 2022, distancing him from such calls. He restated his decision that he was preparing and looking forward to relinquish his current position at the party’s upcoming National Delegates’ Conference (NDC).

Also, the general public may recall that a few days ago a group of APC supporters resuscitated the campaign for the outgoing Chairman and Leader to seek reelection in the upcoming NDC. In response to this, former President Ernest Bai Koroma wishes to reiterate that he has no interest whatsoever in party or national office. He strongly believes that he has been privileged by God and his people, to serve as President of Sierra Leone for two terms; and as the Leader and Chairman of the APC for even a much longer period. He says it is now time for him to leave the political stage and continue serving Sierra Leone as a statesman. President Koroma notes that he is looking forward to his continued contribution to the promotion of democracy, peace, security and stability in Africa and other parts of the world.

The former president and outgoing Chairman and Leader of the APC, therefore, thanks the APC and the people of Sierra Leone profoundly for the privilege accorded him to serve them and for the enduring confidence in him to continue to do so. However, he wishes to reassert that it is time for other great Comrades to take the great APC forward.

The outgoing Chairman and Leader further notes that the APC, being the great institution it is, is capable of a smooth and successful transition which we have clearly demonstrated over the last four difficult years. He therefore he appeals to membership to move on in unity with the great task ahead.

“While the Party is concluding its constitutional reforms, the litigations and preparing for its convention, I urge the general membership to embrace the prospects of a new leadership including the chairmanship of the party, and to work together for victory in June 2023”,the former president stated.

The press release ended that the State Man had also reassures that the APC will continue to work with all stakeholders including the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Judiciary, and other actors to ensure that the transition process is smooth and that a new executive is ushered in as soon as possible.

In this faithful period of Ramadan and Lent, the Former President and outgoing Chairman and Leader sends his best wishes to all Sierra Leoneans and his prayers for a cohesive, peaceful, democratic, and prosperous country.

As its 14th Congregation Ceremony…

MTHE Recognizes Njala University

By Ralph Sesay

Njala University has been recognized last weekend by the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie during the 14th Congregation ceremony of the University held at the Bo Mini Stadium on Saturday 9th April 2022 under the Grand Chief Patronage of Professor Sahr Moses Gevao, newly appointed Chancellor of Njala University.

Minister Wurie while delivering the keynote address recognized Njala University for hugely contributing toward the Universal Health Suffrage by training Nurses, Community Health Officers, Community Health Assistants and Public Health Practitioners who according to him undertake the bulk of the work in the peripheral and hard-to-reach communities and the respective District Health Management Teams across the country.

Despite contributing to the Universal Health Suffrage, the Higher Education Minister also aligned Njala University to two of the other Government flagship sectors of Agriculture and Education and recounted the immense contributions of the institution in training the requisite experts to service these sectors. 

The Minister concluded by calling on the authorities at Njala University to take Centre stage in the Governments’ Agricultural transformation agenda by not only producing agricultural experts but to transforming such prowess to use the fertile soils and favorable climatic conditions in the country to feed Sierra Leoneans.

The government, according to him is using over two hundred million dollars a year to import rice into the country and the intervention of Njala University to salvage this problem was critical.

Chancellor Njala University, Professor Sahr Moses Gevao while delivering his maiden speech as Chancellor of the University thanked the Government of His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio for appointing him as Chancellor of Njala University.

He also lauded the government for maintaining the goodwill by depoliticizing the management of higher educational institutions thereby creating academic freedom and autonomy in their operations.

The creation of the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education according to him was also a laudable venture by Government and it had succeeded in streamlining issues of higher education in the country.

He entreated the Njala University Administration that he is very much interested in the efficient management of the resources of the University in tandem with the Anti-Corruption Laws of the country.

Professor Gevao concluded by assuring Government that Njala University under his watch would increasingly take visible steps to meet the demands of His Excellency the President in transforming the Agricultural sector.

Earlier on, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Andrew Augustine Baimba while delivering his statement on the Theme ‘’The Role of Njala University in Complementing the Government Human Capital Agenda” highlighted the contributions of the institution in providing the requisite human resource in the agricultural, health and educational sectors over the years and the provision of expertise to Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

He praised the Government of President Bio for its continuous support of Higher Education through the allocation of 21% of GDP to the sector and the continuous allocation of subvention to run public institutions across the country.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor also pinpointed the numerous challenges facing the institution such as lack of access to the national grid which according to him is a huge burden for past and present administrations.

The institution, he went on to say is also confronted with staff and student accommodation, decent teaching and learning facilities and deplorable internal roads.

“I am aware that Government has competing priorities and this is why am turning my attention to a private partnership arrangement to solve the perennial challenges of the University,” the veteran educationist recounted.

He congratulated the grandaunts and urged them to be patriotic Sierra Leoneans as they venture into the universe.

The graduation of three thousand and ninety-eight students from the respective schools at Njala University is the first since President Julius Maada Bio relinquished the position of Chancellor of all Public Universities pursuant to the Universities Act of 2021.

Professor Andrew Augustine Baimba took over the reins of Njala University in July 2021 from Professor Mallam O. Sierra Leone Statistician-General.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal have been recognized in the last eight months for undertaking a back to basics model at Njala University wherein the reviving of agricultural farming, effective and accountable teaching, research and community service and strict adherence to University calendar deadlines are the new trajectories.

Labour Minister Dines with Chinese Ambassador

The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Alpha Osman Timbo, has on Tuesday, 12th April 2022, paid a courtesy call on the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Hu Zhangliang.  

The minister, who was accompanied by his Deputy Permanent Secretary, Allieu-Bakarr Conteh, and other senior staff of the ministry, were warmly received by the Ambassador and his team at the latter’s Spur Loop residence in Freetown.

They had interactive discussions around various issues, ranging from social protection, labour law compliance; to foreign relations and aid to the ministry and government of Sierra Leone.

The Minister congratulated the Chinese Government and people on their celebration of the ‘Year of the Tiger’, and thanked the Government for its unfailing support to Sierra Leone in every situation. He expressed special appreciation for the vehicle recently donated to the ministry to aid the mobility and efficiency of its staff.

He noted that the Chinese were a welcomed people in Sierra Leone, which is evident in their presence in almost every district of the country.

He assured the Ambassador that labour issues with Chinese-owned companies had been resolved amicably. However, the minister said there were three cases involving Chinese citizens in the country’s Industrial Court currently, “which is a rare situation considering the fact that your people are compliant to labour laws.”

“Compliance rate of Chinese-owned companies is 70% and above. I have instructed that henceforth, you, the Ambassador, will give authorization on any matter involving your people that which will be charged to court. This is because I believe that you need to be in the know of what is happening to your people in our country, especially when they come in conflict with the laws”, the minister furthered.

The minister also thanked the Government of China, through Ambassador Hu Zhangliang, for its immense support towards capacity building and human capital development of the people of Sierra Leone, especially through the yearly academic scholarship awarded to Sierra Leoneans to study in China. He noted that several of the ministry’s staff have been and are still benefitting from the scholarship. “This is not being taken for granted,” he assured.

As a pioneer and champion of decent work and conditions of service in Sierra Leone, Mr. Timbo  stated that it would be a shame if he and his staff lacked a conducive working environment, hence the ongoing construction of the ministry’s Le6 Billion ministerial building at New England Ville, which is funded by the government.

Ambassador Hu Zhangliang, in his response, thanked the labour minister for his consideration, especially with regards the industrial cases.

He pointed out that the Chinese people were in Sierra Leone with good intentions, adding that “no one will come this far with ill intentions.” Though misunderstandings occur every now and then, the Ambassador said that both governments should join hands to help the Chinese people understand the meaning and importance of bilateral cooperation.

“We should help them in a way for them to be aware of the systems and know that they do not need to use the hard way when they are in trouble”, Ambassador Hu Zhangliang stated.

He said that China considers Sierra Leone to be a reliable friend, based on historical experiences, and expressed optimism that this relationship will continue to wax stronger.

“Let’s work together to not allow minor issues to destroy the beautiful and strong foundation that we have laid. China always works for a win-win situation”, the Ambassador said. 

The meeting ended with the two exchanging gifts of appreciation and goodwill.

VP thanks UN for given government pass-mark

In an event organized by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to formally launch their annual report, the Honourable Vice President, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh thanked the UNCT for giving the government a resounding pass mark in delivering social services to people while at the same time addressing vulnerabilities.

The event which took place on Monday 11th April, 222 at the Freetown Country Lodge showcases the excellent collaborative work between the UN and the government to deliver on the sustainable development goals.

In presenting the report, the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Babatunde highlighted how the interventions of the government in collaboration with the UNCT have impacted the lives of Sierra Leoneans over the years. He cited the immense progress in the area of education, health, social protection and food production.

According to the UN boss, this is an impressive record given the global impact of COVID-19 on small economies like Sierra Leone. The report clearly stated that over 82 % of children of school-going age are in school today while WASH activities including access to water supply have increased from 52 % to 64% in the last year alone.

Responding to the critical outcomes highlighted by the report, the Honourable Vice President thanked the UNCT for an excellent report which he termed an independent evaluation of government performance in delivering social services to the people. The VP stated that government programmatic interventions are driven by the Human Capital Development vision of President Julius Maada Bio.

Reacting to the issue of gender inequality in political institutions as the report stated that only 11.6 % of Members of Parliament are female, the VP told the UN and other development partners that experiences in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the sub-region show that the proportional representation system is the most viable path to enhancing women representation and address politico-electoral tensions and violence, particularly in an ethnic-regional political context like Sierra Leone.

From all indications, it is evident that the UN report has given an overwhelmingly high rating to President Bio’s administration and more importantly set the stage for the debate for proportional representation in electoral politics in the country.

Pakistani Businessman in Court For Fraud

By Feima Sesay

39yrs old Pakistani business man Ali Siyan Riasat was Yesterday dragged to court before magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road court No 1 for alleged vehicle theft.

The accused was arraigned on a count charge of larceny contrary to section 2 of the larceny act 1916. According to the particulars of offence, the accused on a date unknown between the 1st June 2021 and 30tu June 2021 at race way service center garage  No 74E Wilkinson Road in the western area of the republic of Sierra Leone  did steal as a bailee one BMWX5 Jeep with registration number as RC. 1546AZ, one radiator valued Le4, 260,000, one water hoses valued Le6, 348,000, one alternator valued Le7, 752,000 , one air cleaner component valued Le4, 836,000, one brake master cylinder valued Le1, 644,000, 9ne wheel staff valued Le6,648,000, wheel bearings, absorbers and bushing value Le1,392,000, one exhaust nozzle valued Le60,000, one wheel disc value Le 6,024,000, one brake wheel cylinder pistons valued Le1,644,000 all to the total value of Le42, 394, 000 property of Mohamed Lamin Jalloh

The charge was read and explained to the accused person and he pleaded not guilty

Counsel representing the accused person W.C Oluba applied for bail on his behalf of the accused person pursuant to section 79( 2)of the Criminal procedure Act No.32 of 1965, adding that the accused is not a flight risk nor will he interfere with prosecution witness or witnesses nor will he jump bail.

That there is no affidavit in opposition to bail by the prosecutor.

However Magistrate Keikura granted the accused person bail in the sum of one hundred million Leones or one surety in like sum the surety must be elderly and responsible citizen.

 The surety should either be gainfully employed or should be a business man the surety should produce document to prove that he or she is either working or a business person.

 The surety should also produce identity card depicting his or her address in Freetown.

 He said his bail to be verified by the Bench and to be approved by the Deputy Acting Registrar. Matter adjourned to the 20th April 2022 for further hearing

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