The Ministry of Technical and Higher Education has held a meeting with Staff and students of Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) at the Great Hall of their campus in Goderich.
The meeting was in a bid to discuss government’s commitment to transforming the College into a technical university and to turn the sod for the construction of a multi-purpose building at the Goderich Campus.
In his welcome address, the Vice Principal of MMCET, Dr. Mohamed Ali Jalloh, thanked the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education for answering to their clarion call and listening to their challenges with the hope of getting them satisfactorily addressed. He attributed the remarkable successes they have recorded as an institution for the past three years to the progressive outputs of their Principal, Dr. Philip Kanu, with tremendous support from the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education.
MMCET’s Chairman of Council, Dr. Victor Kabia, commended the Ministry for taking such a bold step in ensuring that the College becomes a technical university, assuring members of their readiness as an institution to make the country proud, particularly so with a Principal who is brave enough to initiate and face changes in the country’s higher education sector. He admonished the Parliamentarians to consider their interests when transforming the University Bill of 2021 into an Act.
The Chairman of Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Technical and Higher Education, Hon. Festus Mohamed Lansana, noted the importance of the Legislative Arm of Government in transforming MMCET into a technical university, assuring members of their willingness to support the University Bill of 2021 and ensure it becomes an Act. He mentioned the College’s strength in terms of infrastructure and staff capacity, which are quite critical in the transformation process.
According to the Chairman of the Legislative Committee in the House of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Marray Conteh, Parliament is pleased with the ongoing transformation at MMCET. He mentioned government’s commitment to leaving a legacy that will stand the test of time, registering his passion, together with his Committee, to ensure that the dream of MMCET in becoming a university gets realized.
The Principal of MMCET, Dr. Philip Kanu, expressed his heartfelt delight over Prof. Alpha Wurie’s response to their call, noting that the institution’s initial transformation from a teacher college into a university in 2001 was during his time as Minister of Education. He therefore mentioned his confidence that the vision to transform it into a technical university will equally be realized during his time as Minister of Technical and Higher Education.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie, assured members of government’s vision to ensure that the first set of students are enrolled into the University in October, 2021. He commended the College for having placed itself well enough in terms of infrastructure, quality of academic staff and outputs of students. He further noted government’s plan to have at least a university in every region of the country and a college per district. According to Prof. Wurie, the first thing that must happen is the legislative infrastructure, and he therefore commended the Parliamentarians for making a commitment to convert the University Bill of 2021 into an Act.
World Vision, Water Officials Monitor WASH Projects
More than 800 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhoea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and unsafe hygiene. World Vision believes the global water and sanitation crisis can be solved and that’s why it is focused on ensuring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for every person in every community they work in, including the most vulnerable populations in the hardest-to-reach places.
For World Vision this work is more important now than ever, since clean water is essential for hand-washing and disinfection to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
And to compliment Government’s effort through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and Water Resources, World Vision Sierra Leone in April 2021 under its Sustainable Water Project (WASH Project) handed over two water supply projects for Ola During and Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) at Fourah Bay Road and the Macauley Street Government Hospital respectively to Guma Water Company and also handed over the work plan for the total renovation and rehabilitation of the Macauley Street Government Hospital to God’s Gift Construction and General Services.
In a bid to monitor progress on the water supply projects to Ola During and Princess Christian Maternity Hospital and Macauley Street Government Hospital, senior management staff of the World Vision and officials from the Ministry of Water Resources and Guma Valley Water Company on Friday 18th June 2021 undertook site visits to the respective work sites and hospitals.
The World Vision team lead by the Country Manager Sagane Thiaw expressed their satisfaction with the work done so far by Guma Valley Water Company as there was running water supply to most of the hospital wards at Ola During and PCMH even though the works is about 70% completed.
Speaking on behalf of Guma Valley Water Company, the Area Manager East Joseph Wandoh said they are ensuring that a perfect work is done and a dedicated water connection taken from Kissy Road is laid through Easton Street.
He added that no customer will be connected to the water supply line being laid for Ola During and PCMH to ensure that there is adequate water supply in the two facilities at all times which would add to the positive actions that comes from the hospitals in terms of child delivery and care.
A lactating mother at the Sarah Koroma Ward at Ola During Hospital, Mayalie Bangura expressed her delight for the running water in the Ward which has been flowing everyday since her child hospitalized.
It could be recalled that few years back World Vision Sierra Leone with experts from Guma, the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Health did a comprehensive fact finding at the Ola During Hospital, PCMH, and also the Macauley Street Hospital where they saw the real need for water and for the sake of the children and those in need decided to provide such facilities which they have done
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PST KUKU’S WEEKLY NUGGETS
STOP FOCUSING ON YESTERDAY- PART II
Last week (in Part I) we ended up with the wise counsel of the preacher, Ecclesiastes 7:10 (ESV) Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
One might be tempted to ask: is there then no good reason for us to look back at yesterday as better than today?
Surely we are to “consider the way which the Lord God has brought us these many years”. While this might sound like a motivation to focus on yesterday, it actually isn’t. What it is telling us is to consider the faithfulness and mercies of God over the years and let our hearts rest in him to see us through the present and future based on his proven track record.
Looking back at yesterday is to take a glance of history, and be able to say “Ebenezer”: Up to now the Lord has been our help. 1 Samuel 7:12 (BBE)
So yes, we are to “look back” with the purpose of remembering NOT with the goal of “resting on our laurels”; but rather to take stock of “what the Lord has done” for us. For if it was not for the Lord and His faithfulness, we would have been devoured and overtaken by evil doers and the storms of life- Psalm 124.
The events of yesterday are a preparation for the present which when tomorrow comes, will be the things of yesterday. So to keep the yesterday in focus will be to make it the pinnacle of life. Such a posture is not productive.
Let’s take the example of the Apostle Paul after looking back at his life with everything he had experienced and accomplished , he was able to say “..dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 NLT)
As we go this week, let us use the victories, successes and even the failures of yesterday as lessons learned and building blocks for tomorrow, trusting in the ability of God to accomplish His promises.
Don’t forget to smile coz it looks good on you.
God bless you.
Off Mandatory Vaccinations, Medical Ethics and Individual Liberties in Salone
Alhaji U. N’jai
For mandatory vaccinations to be feasible, four conditions must be satisfied fully; 1. The gravity of the public health epidemic must be highly significant and proportionality should be established, 2) Vaccine safety and efficacy must be established beyond all reasonable doubt; for a trial vaccine like Covid19; are you able to established safety and efficacy against all the different variants of the virus, 3) Available alternatives must have been fully examined including the level of natural immunity in your population, and 4) sufficient vaccine supply should have been established. Again, on a broader aspect, there is the breach of individual intimate liberties, human rights and above all labor rights with coercion. We all have a moral duty in public health epidemics to protect ourselves and others but that doesn’t mean we are morally obliged. Moral obligation is an aspect of ethics and far different from legal obligation. Moral obligation is very difficult to establish and breach of intimate liberties such as administering a drug or vaccine, forcing someone for sex or having babies are only possible through informed consent. We must make sure that while we fight the public health epidemics, we uphold our ethical obligations to the highest degree and desist from violating individuals human or labor rights via active coercion. No one should be coerced into taking a trial vaccine or their individual liberties or labor rights violated for not taking the vaccine. Rather People should be encouraged to take the vaccines through effective risk communication, social mobilization, and community engagement, and civic responsibilities to the nation. Targeted use of vaccines on your most vulnerable populations along with understanding the level of natural immunity in population are all ways by which we can attain herd immunity. Above all enforcing proper Infection prevention controls of hand washing, masking, social distancing, effective testing, quarantines, lockdowns, and behavioral change communication remain our most effective tools against an elusive virus with high amount of variants. Beyond vaccines, effective case management using monoclonal antibodies or other therapies must be fully explored
PONDER MY THOUGHT
By Andrew Keili
LEONE STARS’ SUCCESS: PRESIDENT BIO FOUND HIS KEYS
I tok it! President Julius Maada Bio is a lucky man. Last time we had the kind of success we have recently experienced in any international football competition was twenty five years ago for which he has generally been credited with the success. Just when we thought we could not win a “tamatis cup”, Maada Bio showed up again to take us to the African Nation’s cup.
Most of his supporters think it is the “Bio luck” that got us there. I however got an interesting perspective from someone who attributed this success at football to the President, though not to his lucky charm. He confided to me it was not luck but sorcery. When I told him it was a black lie, he explained his point of view: “Why do you think the players travelled by road?”. I told him I don’t know. “Why were they resting under a mango tree at Gbalamuya, lying down on floor mats or sitting on plastic chairs and why did they eat “cookery”? I replied there was no talk of “cookery” and I didn’t know why they were there. He called me to the corner and explained. “I know the “Moray man” that was consulted. He advised them not to travel by air because, Benin people, being renowned for witchcraft had “tied” our players in the air. Therefore, flying would bring disastrous results. He advised our players to travel by road and have a good rest under a mango tree at Gbalamuya, where the secret potion would be administered on their legs. The “moray man” said that as for such eventualities, the more hardship you undergo, the better will be the results.”
This sounded incredible to me. But then, I said aloud to myself-“When I was at CKC, Bo school used to do this to us-rub “moray man” administered potions on the legs of their players and beat us at Coronation Field. But surely, this was before Bio’s time?”. I then asked him the question-“So the rushed foolhardy trip to the border just to wait for COVID test results, the problems posed by Guinean border guards, lying in the sun at Gbalamuya and the positive COVID results were all part of this scheme?”, I asked. “You’ve hit the nail on the head”, he affirmed.
All is well that ends well however- “tie” or no “tie”. We won fair and square. But in the midst of all this there are those who doubt the resolve of our President. There are those who do not believe in this “Presidential luck” business. They argue that President Bio was not responsible for our success twenty five years ago. They say it was Captain Valentine Strasser as Head of State and Sulaiman Banja Tejansie as Sports Minister, who was in fact sacked later by Bio, when he became Head of State, who brought us the accolades for that cup.
“Not that cup”, the President spokesman says. He further clarified the issue- “As Deputy Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council, Julius Maada Bio is credited for inspiring the Leone Stars’ squad of that era to win the Amilcar Cabral trophy twice and to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations twice.”
Anyway, enough of this argument! Whatever the case, President Bio was associated with a cup. Dassol! And he is now associated with another cup! Tok and do! Tok and win cup!
One lesson this teaches us, cup or no cup, luck or no luck, is how football brings about national unity. Even the IG in excitement is reported to have broken a few tables in his office in “collaying”. His palpable excitement was seen all over the media. In times like this, nobody asks for the tribe or the political affiliation of the coach or the players. We all become patriotic Sierra Leoneans. The President is reported to have said that whilst the country may be divided along party and regional lines, football brings unity amongst citizens. So true! Kei Kamara and co. have probably succeeded in doing what the long touted National peace and reconciliation Commission could not do-bring peace and reconciliation to Sierra Leone, even if this was only for a week, after which we started fighting again.
Anyway I don’t want to get too negative. On the positive side ten thousand US dollars and a piece of land each for 41 players and officials is admirable. There are some people whose luck knows no bounds. Imagine poor Musa Tombo, who being left out of the team is now going to get a cool ten thousand dollars and a piece of land promised to each of the players. Left out in the cold, he got called because of COVID issues with some of our players to serve his country in Guinea- never mind it was on the substitute’s bench. One would not be surprised if he asks for his own land to be given him in Bo, where he probably intends to stay ad infinitum with Hawa Tombo.
But what is this thing about Sierra Leone Presidents and football? President Kabbah did not seem like a sports fan and there was general talk that every time he graced an international match played by Sierra Leone, our team lost. When this became known, grumbling voices in the stadium could be heard saying-“Dis Pa don cam again for gi we bad luck”. President Koroma, a keen Arsenal fan was dubbed “World Best” by his supporters. President Bio, I believe supports Manchester United and there is talk that anytime he puts on his Man U vest, they end up losing. It is however with Sierra Leone that he appears to strike it lucky- he has the key! No wonder Paopas, revelling in his success have been referring to President Bio as the “Real Messi” and President Koroma as “ Fake Messi”.
Funny however what a goal can bring. Yes, one single goal! But consider what would have happened …if, …… I don’t even want to think or talk about it-Astafulai ten tem! Let me however tok it. What would have happened if Kei Kamara had missed that penalty and there was no other goal after that? Good Lord! I can only imagine. Kei Kamara would have been so insulted on social media that he would be made to know about antecedents he never knew existed. President Bio would have been dubbed the “Bad luck President”. The players would have been ten thousand dollars poorer each. People would have called for coach Keister, who is now effusively praised to be decapitated. New SLFA President Thomas Daddy Brima would have been accused of “spoiling Isha Johansen’s luck” and SLFA would be blamed for the bad pitch in Freetown which caused the game to be played in Guinea and they, together with the Sports Ministry would be asked by Joe Public to account for every cent of the $750,000 given them. Monday morning quarterbacks would have criticised the choice of the team. SLFA and the Sports Ministry officials who made the decision to travel by road would have been roasted. SLPP Paopa supporters would have said they inherited a bad team from the last Administration because of egregious corruption by the APC. I don’t even want to think about it! Let me disappear before anyone accuses me of being too negative.
After all, out “Moray man” worked hard for us and President Bio still has luck in his veins. For now, let us revel in our victory. President Bio has claimed he has the key to our victory in his pocket. He opened it twenty-five years ago and put it in the safe. He seems to have brought it out again. Let’s only hope he gets it out again when the team gets to Cameroon and that it does not get stolen before then.
ENTER THE DRAGON
When I first saw the video showing the now infamous fight between a Chinese worker and Sierra Leonean worker at the Kingho mine, the first thing that came to mind was the Indian films I used to watch at Odeon cinema in Bo as a young boy. I thought the script would be easy to predict. The “Badman” would appear and for no good reason beat the hell out of the “Actor”. Things would swing the way of the “Badman” until close to the end when the “Actor” would recover and beat the “Badman” to a pulp. “Commentators” would explain the plot to you frame by frame before any event could happen-“Den day cam kick am now. E feel say e sabi fet”.
I saw the Chinese man attack first and thought it was part of a film, only to discover this was not a film. Just when we started enjoying the video and its enactments on social media and the commentaries and bought popcorn to watch more episodes, we saw them shaking hands and making peace, with the Chinese, who some have called “Him Nor Strong” shaking hands with the Sierra Leonean, but not smiling. In any case the debate has been interesting.
A lot has been written on this issue in social media and passions are certainly flying high. Most people are irked that this is symptomatic of the way Chinese treat local workers- with little respect. A few have said that whatever the case, the Sierra Leonean should not have fought back as it was wrong to fight at work- It is a serious offence that would warrant dismissal of both parties immediately. It is interesting to watch how attempts have been made by both the company and the CSRG contractor to give the impression this was all a storm in a teacup. The CRSG, whilst apologising gave the impression the tool box talk was done at an inappropriate time and took unduly long and that the part where the Sierra Leonean hit first was left out of the video, thus justifying the action of the Chinese. The company made a meal out of the peace made in the media.
Whatever the case, I will not be judgmental as I am not privy to all the facts. A few things however interest me and I will get straight to the point. I don’t know the name of the Sierra Leonean who so valiantly fought “Him Nor Strong”, so I will christen him “Sahr Lone Fetman”.
I would however, like to make a few observations about this “Enter the Dragon-Episode 1” film:
1. Not all Chinese are Kung Fu experts. In fact, some are downright lazy.
2. I am not sure about the peace between these two parties, “Him Nor Strong” did not seem to smile in the picture taken. Who would, after such public humiliation?
3. Why were the onlookers just standing there? Could they not have intervened, either to separate them or join the fight? The latter option may have been more interesting.
4. This is for “Him Nor Strong”-Why pick a fight you cannot win and have to resort to fighting with a stick?
5. Where did “Sahr Lone Fetman” learn his skills in kick boxing and how did he aim his kick into a nameless part of “Him Nor Strong’s” anatomy?
6. Registration of people for kung fu classes has increased in Sierra Leone.
I hear the fallout from this has been swift. “Him Nor Strong’s” name has been changed to “Him Too Lace” by his Chinese brethren and he is now taking Kung Fu lessons.
When shall we have ‘Enter the Dragon-Episode 2”?
Ponder my thoughts.
Our ‘Tik Tok-ian’ First Lady And The ACC
By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop)
The two teams that I have ever supported, and still supporting, in my whole life are Leone Stars and Eastern Lions aka The Killers. I have never been a fan of any English, Italian, or Spanish team whatsoever because I have always preferred to be home-grown! So, to say that I am over-elated for Leone Stars’ qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations in Cameroon is an under-exaggeration. I am happy as a lark for our national team!
But now that the euphoria has ebbed and Sierra Leoneans are going about finding their daily bread (and rice), can I ask what is now happening to the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign in the Office of the First Lady? It has been a while, after the Africanist Press’ allegations of misuse of public funds by that Office, that I have not been hearing anything substantial from that Office. All I have been seeing, or hearing, from First Lady Fatima Bio is her pronounced presence on Tik Tok. Has the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign lost steam so much so that our First Lady is now Tik Tok-nised? Or has the Africanist Press’ allegations dampened the First Lady’s resolve to distribute sanitary pads to our less fortunate girls?
And the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) seems to have complicated things further for her. In trying to exonerate her Office from some of the allegations levied against it by the Africanist Press, the ACC now appears to be indirectly saying that that Office might be guilty of some of those allegations. In its press release of 18 June 2021, the ACC says it has concluded “probe into issues relating to payments to and expenditure of public funds by the Office of the First Lady of Sierra Leone”.
Apart from most of the laughable conclusions that the ACC highlights, the portion that catches my eyes is where it notes, “That other issues of expenditure, including prudential financial management, procurement issues, the interface between charitable donations to [Fatima Bio’s] office with public funds, etc. will be dealt with within the framework of the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 and, we will be giving due deference to those recommendations and act on them accordingly…” This is where the ACC has indirectly implicated Madam Fatima Bio’s Office and finds itself engaging in what the British press would call “non-denial denial”! The ACC appears to be denying the Africanist Press’ allegations but not denying the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 that “…serious internal control weaknesses were identified in the management of funds allocated to [Fatima Bio’s] office, mainly due to the lack of competent personnel in the finance division…”
You and I know that the cardinal reason why the ACC was forced to open a probe, in the first place, are because of the allegations of misuse of public funds; the flouting of Procurement processes, and that some of the charitable donations to Madam Fatima Bio’s Office fell on the wayside. It is on record that the ACC has been, and still is, indicting people for flouting Procurement processes which, in the lexicon of the ACC, is tantamount to “conspiracy to commit a corruption offence.” And the Africanist Press also alleges that monies solicited by the Office of the First Lady from corporate institutions, on behalf of the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign, allegedly ended up in the bank account of the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation in a private bank! Another allegation is that Madam Fatima Bio’s Office has been using state funds like a “drunken sailor” which the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 also confirms.
Those are the specific allegations which the ACC is expected to probe and come up with its findings. But for the ACC to tell us that those allegations “will be dealt with within the framework of the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 and, we [the ACC] will be giving due deference to those recommendations and act on them accordingly…” tells you that something is either fishy or that some of those allegations against Madam Fatima Bio’s Office might have some truths in them. What majority of Sierra Leoneans want the ACC to tell them is whether Fatima Bio’s Office flouted Procurement processes or not; if some of the funds solicited on behalf of the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign indeed ended up in the Maada and Fatima Bio Foundation bank account, and whether state funds were being misused or not. These are the questions we need answers to.
What clearly comes out of the ACC’s press release of 18 June 2021 is the inference that as long as it is Francis Ben Kaifala who is the anti-graft czar, the First Family will always be protected under his watchful watch! Why not? Mr Kaifala is sensible enough to know that he cannot bite the fingers that are still feeding him. He knows that if he messes with the First Lady, he won’t have another opportunity to take a birthday photo with her!
Another thing that also comes out in that press release is that Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, the wife of former President Ernest Bai Koroma, seems to have been lucky to attend a White House dinner by clinging unto Fatima Bio’s frock (you could pardon my metaphor here)! At least, this is the first conclusion by the ACC that exonerates a high profile APCian at the first shake of the sieve!
And by the way, the building that houses the Office of the First Lady at Goderich, in Freetown, is said to be owned by President Julius Maada Bio. If so, can the First Family tell Sierra Leoneans whether that building is being used free-of-cost or if the State is paying rent for it? This is an issue that has to do with transparency and accountability. If the First Lady could be so gracious and transparent in telling us, through social media, about their “honeymoon” in Lebanon; then a grave matter like whether the Government of Sierra Leone is paying for an office or not should not be a well-kept secret like the formula of Coca-Cola.
And now that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has superficially exonerated our First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, could she now downgrade her heavy presence on Tik Tok and get down to the “Hands Off Our Girls” campaign proper? Because her Tik Tok karaokes and dancing will not solve the “bread and butter issues” which her husband promised to solve if elected. And besides, those Tik Tok performances are making her look very un-First Lady-ian!
And for the ACC, I will end today’s One Dropian dropping with a quote from Abraham Lincoln which Bob Marley also adopted in one of his lyrics: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. This quotation is about deception! So, between the ACC and the Bio administration; who is more deceptive?
Public Review Sport
The Gambia football team boycotts a meeting with President Adama Barrow in a row over bonuses
By Momodou Bah
Football Writer, The Gambia
Last updated on1 hour ago1 hour ago.
From the sectionSport Africa
President of The Gambia Adama Barrow
President of The Gambia Adama Barrow
The Gambia’s national football team has boycotted a meeting with the country’s President Adama Barrow in a row over their bonuses for qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The players have written to The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) president Lamin Kaba Bajo to decline the invite to meet the president on Monday
The GFF has not responded to BBC Sport Africa’s attempts to get a response to the letter sent by the squad.
At the meeting the players were expecting President Barrow to hand over 11 million Dalasi (approximately $215,000) to be shared amongst all the players and backroom staff involved in The Gambia’s first ever qualification for the Nations Cup.
The squad does not feel the money reflects the magnitude of its achievement and is also concerned that accepting the money will set a precedent for the future.
“The team would like to thank His Excellency for the invitation but would kindly decline the invitation to meet and the money offered,” the letter stated.
“For the players, playing for The Gambia has never been primarily about money. Instead, it was always about flying the Gambian flag higher and making the Gambian people proud.
“The players had always been happy to answer calls to play for the national team without expecting or asking for anything in return, regardless of the difficulties that sometimes come with it.
“Football is a game of incentives. Having qualified to compete in next year’s African cup of Nations for the first time in Gambian history.
“The team deserves to be given a bonus that would motivate the players and every child who dreams of playing for the Gambia someday.
“The team feels that the respect and motivation given to the players fall below what it is supposed to be. For that reason, the players unanimously decided to decline the invitation.
“If the GFF accepts the offer it would not be doing so on behalf of the players.
“We hope that going forward, the players would be given enough motivation as the preparations for the African cup continue.”
The Gambia managed to qualify for January’s Nations Cup finals in Cameroon by finishing top of their group ahead of Gabon, DR Congo and Angola.