Information Minister Assures FBC students

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A delegation from the Fourah Bay College (FBC) Students Union has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Information and Communications, Mr Mohamed Rahman Swarray, to inform him about the many challenges they are facing as students on the campus and to specifically solicit support for the establishment of an internet Cafe and internet connectivity, to enhance students’ research and other academic pursuits. The meeting was held at the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications on the 10th March 2022.

The delegation from the Student’s Union included Mr. Abdulai J. Kanneh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Presidential Spokesperson Ms. Mary Sia Foyah, Minister of Finance, Ms. Mary Leonora Tarawallie, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Fatima Zara Sesay and Minister of Water Resources Mr. Minkailu Sama.

In her opening address, the Presidential spokesperson, Ms. Mary Sia Foyah, catalogued the needs of students at FBC and why they need the Minister’s support.

Responding, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray, assured the delegation that there is a Government digital drive that is currently ongoing, which is in line with President Bio’s Vision to ensure Sierra Leone catches up with the fourth industrial revolution, and Fourah Bay College is in line to benefit directly from this drive.

“Digitalization is among government’s commitment in improving the economy and enhanced human capital development. This is why our government is keen to see we digitalize systems to enhance service delivery and economic growth. We will definitely look at your concerns and explore the possibilities and opportunities.” The minister assured.

In conclusion, the Minister instructed his Director of Communications, Mr. Muminin Jalloh to do all the necessary spadework that will ensure the student’s demands are met.

Car Dealers Union Pays Familiarisation Visit to SLRSA Executive Director

Executive members of the newly  established Sierra Leone Motor Vehicle Dealers Union(MVDU), led by their Vice President, Mr Mohamed Alhaji Shaw on Friday 11 March,2022 paid a familiarization visit to the Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Revend Smart K Senesie at his Kissy Road Office.

The purpose of the visit according to the Vice President of the Union was to inform Executive Director about the formation of the Union and to highlight their challenges.

The Vice president thanked the Executive Director for giving them audience within a very short time and registered the union’s willingness to closely work with the SLRSA address some of the major challenges in the industry.

The Vice President lamented over the misuse of the Dealers plate by some stakeholders in the industry and highlighted some key interventions to forestall the anomaly

The Executive Director, Reverend Smart K Senesie, thanked the Team the visit and promised to look into their concerns. The Executive Director assured Union Cordial Working Relationship and encouraged them to always call on him when necessary.

The Director of transport, Mr Arthur Brima who is charge with the responsibility of regulating the activities of the union, formally presented the team to the Executive Director.

Other members of the delegation included: Shaku Mansaray and Sun Iman.

Panic Grips Rokel Community…

As Police Deployed by Order From Above

By Mento & Emmanuel.

The Rokel Community at the Western Area Rural District WARD-C had complained that they are currently living in a panicky, hostile and unsecured vicinity, where trucks of armed police officers deployed unnoticed through Order from Above with the pretext to secure a piece of land whose ownership had been falsely claimed by one Pa Fuad against the beneficiaries of the late Mammy Cooper, who was believed to be the true and lawful owner of the disputed property.

This was brought to the attention of the media at a well-attended press conference held on Thursday March10th, 2022 at the very Rokel Community.

Explaining the bone of contention in the matter, Headwoman for the Rokel Community, Madam Juliana Williams in a sad mood started by  narrating that “My people   had land dispute with one Pa Fuad, who was known to have acres of land only at Yams Farm, not at Rokel Community as he claimed”.

She pointed out that the complaint of the said disputed large area of land had been investigated not only by officials from the Lands Ministry but it had also been investigated by the Sierra Leone anti graft body, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and had came out with  similar reports which disqualified or condemned Pa Fuad from taking further action for the property simply because, he was not the true owner, but an illegal squatter or encroacher from an unknown source.

However, the Headwoman showered praises to the then Minister of Lands, Dr. Dennis Sandy for standing firm until the  revealation of the fact about the land and to identify late Mammy Cooper as the true owner of the conflicted land through documents presented by both parties.

“When the Director of Surveys and Lands set eyes on Pa Fuad’s land documents, there was no LS number which could have guaranteed it authenticity”, Juliana Williams stated, adding that when certified surveyor displayed the GPS, it showed that Pa Fuad’s land stopped at Yams Farm vicinity and not extended to Rokel Community as said by the Pa Fuad who was perceived as a land grabber or illegal occupant.

The Headwoman recalled a fateful day that she was not around when armed OSD officers stormed and raided the area at night and beaten up legal occupants under the purview of Pa Fuad, emphasising that a sixty five years old woman was also raped by some unidentified perpetrators during the police raid.

“Why Pa Fuad is still using armed officers to terrorize Rokel Community residents when Government institutions and officials had provided the answer that the land in question was lawfully belongs to the Cooper Family”.

Since we are peaceful and law abiding citizens, we are humbly calling on the appropriate authorities to hands of the land as told by the government for peaceful co-existent in  my community.

She concluded that as a result of the usual harassment by the police in collaboration with hired civilian thugs, the young people in Rokel had ran away or abandoned the community to other peaceful and secured environment for human existence.

Speaking on behalf of the Cooper Family, Aminata Cooper who identified herself as one of the beneficiaries of the late Mammy Cooper’s property said the master plan for the said acrages of land was registered in 1985, noting that indeed she was in great empathy with them since they were facing the unacceptable embarrassments and the demolition of their dwelling homes which they legally acquired.

She explained that when the report on the disputed land which was published by lands Ministry and taken to the ACC for perusal showed that Pa Fuad had encroached nine acres area of late Mammy Cooper’s bonafide property.

“I really surprised to see Pa Fuad coming with armed officers to terrorize and arrest innocent people after the appropriate authorities had proven beyond all reasonable doubts with erected backings that the land was legally owned by my late mother”, she fumed and spoke about how she was mercilessly beaten together with a JC and catered away their belongings worth millions of Leones by the police and some outlaw civilians. She said the matter was reported at the Anti-Land Grabbing unit at the Ross Road Police Station in Eastern Freetown.

She lamented that Pa Fuad never sue them in court, why was the demolition?, she queried and highlighted that the only judgement which he also lost within that part of the country was between himself versus one Mr. Aruna Pearse.

Other victims of the police raid by Power from the Above including Mr. Alhaji Bangura, Mbalu Fofanah, Youth Leader, Abdul Rahman Sankoh, Aminata Conteh, Zainab Gobber and among others expressed similar sentiments by unanimously calling for justice and peaceful settlement for the good of the community and the country at large.

Speaking with a cross section of the OSD officers at the trumpeted  disputed area of land on the essence of their development in the vicinity, they responded that they were deployed at the ground by Order from the Above through one of their commanders DSP Samura, attached at the Hastings Police Training School, adding that they were armless and not there either to terrorize or frightening residents of the said community, but to provide the necessary protection for civilians.

They denied allegations that they were armed and attacking indigenes unnecessarily.

They assured to continue providing the necessary security apparatus for the area as were told by their commander.

President   Bio Discusses Opportunities for Peace and Security 

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has said at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey that such global dialogues promote international understanding, peace and security, and more importantly offer opportunities to engage constructively with one another.

In a panel discussion on “regional and global pathways to peace and prosperity” with the President of Kosovo, H.E. Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister of Albania, H.E. Edi Rama, attending as speakers, President Bio emphasised that prosperity was possible only when there was peace.

“Peaceful countries do not exist in complete isolation. A nation is not at peace if its neighborhood is embroiled in violent conflict or if that neighborhood faces internal or external threats to their peace.

“Sovereign nations are not insulated from the impact of what obtains in their neighborhood, whether it be security threats, transnational crime, pandemics, forced or illegal migrations, the impact of climate change, and other such economic threats,” he noted.

The President also told the Forum, which brought together participants from 75 countries, mainly 17 Heads of State and Government, 80 Ministers, 39 international organization representatives, that threats to peace and security were often transnational and permeated national borders, noting that conflict contagion in a sub-region would mean that one nation could not be at peace when its neighbors were on fire.

“We cannot assert total national sovereignty when that very sovereignty is threatened by destabilizing transnational forces either across the borders or within the sub region. Often, a sovereign nation may have very little or no control over those destabilizing forces within the sub region.

“Central to this framework for collective peace and security is to address and overcome the causes of deep-rooted mistrust among neighbors. Part of that is to maintain and sustain communication and open dialogues. The aim is to emphasize what is in their mutual best interests. That to my mind is not surrendering sovereignty; it is about assuring sovereignty, peace, and security,” he concluded.

Earlier in a video message to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that diplomacy was the essence and spirit of the UN Charter, a document with one overarching goal to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. 

“The drafters of the Charter had witnessed the unspeakable damage caused by the Second World War. To prevent it from happening again, they built a collective security system based on the fundamental idea that diplomacy should always come first.

He added: “’Recoding diplomacy’, the subject for this year’s Forum, means first looking back in order to understand and build on the foundations that make diplomatic work possible. Those foundations are clear: respect for international law, sovereignty, and equality among States”.

PUBLIC REVIEW ARTICEL

PONDER MY THOUGHTS

BY Andrew Keili

NEW ADDITIONS TO SIERRA LEONE DICTIONARY

Some words have got incorporated into our local dictionary in recognition of our own unique and distinctive style of doing certain things in Sierra Leone. Every now and then, new words are added to the street vocabulary while the older words are easily relegated to the background. These words, though fleeting, are required in our “hustling” vocabulary either to improve street credibility or are inspired by our local politics. A few years ago, I wrote an article on “A New Sierra Leonean dictionary” and expatiated on a few of our words, phrases and slangs. The war brought a lot of new words or brought new meanings to oft used words and one of them was “Awareness”, which I defined thus: “Awareness is the skintight short, in other places worn for athletic purposes but in Sierra Leone worn by women to make rape difficult. Also comes in very handy if you want to make a quick escape from trouble. Handy for women but disliked by “peeping toms” and rapists.”

Well, I have a few new ones and here they are. “Ah hole word”

Actual meaning: “I have heard your request I will reflect on it.” This is now trending because of the response by NGC leader, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) to President Bio’s invitation in Kambia District to “come back home” and join him in the SLPP.

Somebody commented on the Mende equivalent of this statement by saying, “Ndakei, KKY na Mende man habit e show de president so. Way Mende man say “ngi daa nehmahun”, this is the same as “Ah hole word”. E mean say e nor ready for gee yu answer yate en e nor wan commit imsef wan way or de other. In KKY’s case, I think (not sure!) he was holding out for more specifics! This may be good or bad, depending on whether or not you are “glass half full” or “glass half empty” guy.” Oh den politician den ya!

I will refrain from commenting on the political purport of this famous invitation and response, which has set many a tongue wagging. I would rather allude to a hypothetical case of a prospective husband who wants to get engaged to be married in order to shed further light on the real meaning. A prospective husband who incessantly beats up his girlfriend and potential wife during courtship, adds his potential mother in law to the beating list and shuns her brothers and sisters is bound to be met with the answer “Ah hole word” when he makes the engagement request to the parents.  A prospective husband will be foolhardy not to have received a nod from his girlfriend, especially if they have been having problems here and there first, before posing the engagement request to her in public. A prospective husband should rein in his family members that may want to tolerate the relationship with the potential wife but hate her prominent family members to the extent of attacking them in public at every single opportunity and saying they are irrelevant. The answer to his engagement request will be “A hole word”. On the other hand, if the prospective husband is well endowed with riches and has future prospects or if he expresses genuine regret as to what may have transpired before, the potential wife may say “A hole word” but later say “A gree pan am”, no matter what negative things have transpired in the past. It does not however help the prospective husband’s cause if there are other suitors waiting in the wings also wanting to get engaged to the same woman. She may COP out (excuse the pawn) of the relationship

“Dis game ge yagba”

“Yagba” usually means extreme effort beyond the normal to accomplish a feat. The reward may or may not be positive. If you “yagba” your opponent, you confine him or her to unnecessary work, often done in futility. In politics your modus operandi might be to so propel your party forward that the opponent, despite a herculean effort will only be playing catch-up. Our First Lady has made the phrase “We day yagba dem” very popular. “Yagba” can however yield positive results. “D game ge yagba” means if you work hard enough positive dividends might be gained. Africell Sierra Leone and African Young Voice Television (AYV TV) in their sponsorship of Housemates Salone Season 3 recently dubbed the Reality TV Show as “Di Game Get Yagba, If You Nor Able Na for Pull Hand”.

“Roto Rata” aka “Boto bata”

“Roto rata” means “nonsense” or “rubbish”. The use is very common nowadays when referring to utterances by political opponents you don’t like or criticising positive utterance by someone else about political opponents you disdain. Roto rata and Boto bata are interchangeable. When utterly exasperated with the utterances, you may even add Boto bata to Roto rata.

“Changing the narrative”

Every new party or movementaims they will “change the narrative” when given power. Even governments in power claim they are “changing the narrative”.  In actual fact, since things always stay the same or we run to stay in the same place in Sierra Leone, changing the narrative may be a pie in the sky. What we have seen in Sierra Leone however is incremental changes with the occasional reversal. “Changing the narrative” is synonymous with changing the story which means either something has happened that changes things or you are making something happen. Usually those trying to change the narrative have a clear goal identified and know what they are trying to achieve and why narrative change is necessary, but no sooner do they ascend to power than they keep the narrative the same. “Changing the narrative” assumes there’s a progressive base you can reach who can then be mobilized to move the elected officials who represent them. Next time you hear a politician say they are changing the narrative, just shrug your shoulders and say “I have seen that movie before”.

“Audio”

The tool of trade for cyber warriors why. They have the advantage of being within easy reach of even the uneducated. Whilst many audios are harmless, the most popular ones are the political ones that vilify prominent politicians. Vile, colourful language helps spread the message. Audios by prominent politicians and commentators are religiously followed by their easily gullible followers who take what they say as gospel truth

“We move”

“We move” is normally a phrase for “when you just keep chugging on, no matter the circumstances”. Missed your flight? No matter, we move. It can also be used as an alternative for “yes” when asked to hang out. People say “we move” in response to something challenging to reiterate that they will persevere despite the circumstances. It is meant to be a positive and encouraging rallying cry. The saying became popular in 2020 and comes from the sentiment that you need to keep pushing forward when you encounter obstacles. More recently in Sierra Leone it has become a defiant call especially in political circles to mean—“ We don’t care two hoots about what you think about us. We will just keep moving and will be totally oblivious of your criticisms.” Adama Sillah, the FBC Student Union President in her historic campaign had the slogan– “Tunasonga Tunashinda – We Move We Conquer”.

“Tok and do”

The SLPP’s phrase for saying “We put our money where our mouth is. We don’t make empty promises in our manifesto. We do what we say we will do. We are a government of achievements.”  It has got so popular that any Minister not saying “We are a Tok and Do government and our President is a Tok and Do President” will probably land himself or herself in hot waters. This replaces APC’s “Action pass intention”, which also claimed they do not spend needless time talking or planning but go straight to action to sort things out. “Action pass intention” or “Tok and Do” are pushed to the background when things go wrong-and they do quite often! In this case they invoke the “theory of inheritance”- “We inherited this problem from the previous government who were known for their egregious thieving.”

Ponder the revised dictionary. Ponder my thoughts.

Minister of Technical and Higher Education Revives Inter-Versity Games

By Joseph Turay

The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie, has revived the Inter-Versity Games which has been abandoned over the years.

The Inter-Versity sports, tertiary institutions across the country compete for different laurels.

  According to the Minister, these games will enhance national cohesion and also create an avenue to capture young talents for national and international games.

 President Maada Bio’s government had promised to improve sports in Sierra Leone, especially football, which is popular among the youthful population of the country.

He said the new direction government has invested billions of Leones in various sporting disciplines to create the platform for young people to excel and showcase their skills both locally and internationally.

Speaking during the launch of the Inter-Versity games at the Kingtom Football Academy, Prof. Wurie said: “I am pleased to see young people, expectant faces, participating. It is most important for people to recognize that games can be used as a catalyst for national cohesion. 14 years there has been no Inter-Versity games, therefore skills are lacking. This is the essence of the games, for them to see the gaps and try to fill those gaps.”

The Minister assured of progress in the Inter-Versity games as it will soon be organized at regional level to include Mano River countries.

He explained that many students expressed their happiness for the revival of sports in their various universities and thanked the government for creating the platform for them to exhibit their talents in various sporting disciplines.

The University of Sierra Leone (USL) won the volley ball competition in the female category while Njala University won the male category.

Njala University however beat the USL to clinch the football champion after a thrilling encounter at the Kingtom Football Academy on Saturday 12th March 2022. The match was decided on post-match penalties after a nil-nil full time draw.

Professor Alpha Tejan Wurie the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, and his Deputy, Mr Sarjoh Aziz Kamara, presented Certificates to all the participating institutions as well as trophies and cash prizes to the winners.

The male and female volley ball winners respectively took home seven million five hundred thousand Leones each while the football champions, Njala University, received ten million Leones and runners-up, USL, five million Leones.

Meanwhile, the Athletics aspect (Track and Field) of the Inter-Versity games will take place in Bo from the 19th to 22nd April 2022.

These games will also create a path for the young athletics to boost their career or talent as they continue to exposes themselves on such sport activities.

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