Rokel Bank Champions Environment Protection

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The Rokel bank has recently received the National Climate Partnership award and Amb. Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin.

He also received National Climate Ambassador Recognition for complimenting their successes on environment and to encourage the management of Rokel Commercial Bank to doing more in protecting the environment now and for the future.

 For the past years, Rokel Commercial Bank has supported FCC on sanitation in which the management and staff of the bank including the MD in central Freetown on cleaning exercises which includes Lumley, Juba and Levuma Beach Environs.

This activity spear headed by the MD Amb. Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin included clearing of waterways, sidewalks, drainages and pavements. He believes that an organization that operates in a community owes them to make life better and he hopes to promote a safe and healthy environment for the customers and for the benefits of citizens. The Bank has also done clearing of refuse within the vicinity of Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (Cottage) at Fourah Bay, Eastern Freetown. Shout Climate Change Africa appreciate a successful tree planting project at Petifu village, Masiaka Port Loko District by Rokel Commercial Bank. Finnex John Asibor Founder/ CEO of Shout Climate Change Africa encourage Rokel Commercial Bank and other corporate houses to continue in supporting roles on environmental and climate issues. If we lose our environment, we will lose our customers and investments, if care is not taken, we might lose it all, therefore, we must sacrifice all we can to protect it. So, our environment should be our priority. We are using this platform as an organisation to call on the corporate houses to join hands together to map-out strategies to protect our environment, by protecting our noble citizens and our businesses. Once again, I say if we lose our environment, we will lose our achievements. We need a conducive environment to operate our businesses remember, NO ENVIRONMENT NO BUSINESS!!! Protect the environment to protect our businesses

Environmental issue is not just government alone, it is everyone’s responsibility, the corporate houses are highly needed to join the solution in protecting our environment now for generations yet unborn.

Land degradation is already a serious problem in Sierra Leone. Ranked in order of priority, logging, firewood collection and mining have been identified as direct causes of land degradation in Sierra Leone. The problem is aggravation by natural hazards such as floods and droughts. The nation’s cities produce about 0.3 million tons of solid waste per year. Population pressure leading to an intensification of Agriculture has resulted in soil depletion, while lumbering cattle grazing, and slash-and burn farming have decimated the primary forest. We need corporate houses, the government and civil society Organisations to find solution to combat this issue. Like Rokel commercial bank in one of their numerous tree planting projects along Masiaka/Bo highway. It is a partnership between RCbank and Keeping Hope Alive.

 The site is maintained by the Managing Director himself Amb Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin and other senior officers in the bank. It was launched in 2019, this project was done to help fight the waves of deforestation due to the lack of forest cover in Sierra Leone, 38.1% or about 2,726,000 ha of Sierra Leone is forested, according to the U.N. FAO statistics. Rokel commercial bank in the fight against climate change should be emulated by other institutions to make our country safe.

Elections on Saturday

SLAJ Pres. deserves second term

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By: Christian Conteh

I had rolled up my sleeves and was ready to vigorously highlight the many things President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has achieved and why he DESERVED a second term, but it seems the  SLAJ General Membership agree with me and have subsequently returned the president to office UNOPPOSED!

It is now time we focus on giving the President a COMPETENT team to work with him in his second and final term.

The President has kept SEALED LIPS on who he would prefer to work with and has said to me repeatedly that every ELIGIBLE SLAJ member is competent to serve.

Be that as it may, in any electioneering process only one person can serve in a position at a given point in time.

And in this race I have chosen ALHAJI MANIKA KAMARA to do the tedious work in the secretariat and here is why.

Alhaji Manika Kamara has served as Assistant Secretary-General for two years and has served and continues to serve as substantive (acting) Secretary-General for the past one year. What better apprenticeship does one need to handle secretarial duties?

I could remember three years ago when we had to choose between Elias Bangura (an elder brother of mine) and Asmieu Bah (a senior colleague of mine) we chose Asmieu. I told my Big Bro that it would be difficult for him to win those elections since at that time he was not in touch with the electorate; he was a budding lawyer who had to go through the crucibles of the Law School. And they say the rest is history.

Competence is the first key that both candidates possess, SACRIFICE is the other key that only Alhaji Manika possesses. I have eavesdropped on conversations where Mr. Kelvin Lewis would call his editor (Manika) and makes jokes like “enti wae month don SLAJ go pay you en” (he was just kidding though).

Imagine if Manika didn’t have a boss who has served as President of SLAJ and understands that the work is pure sacrifice Manika would have lost his job, particularly within this one year when he handled the secretariat after it was abandoned by our Secretary-General (let’s be honest and say things as they are).

People who sacrifice must be recognised, it is a universal rule.

Asmieu made a personal choice of going for more than a year-long  Fellowship in the US against the mandate of serving his Association. He chose to satisfy his personal educational aspiration over serving SLAJ. That is his choice and his right.

However, the right and honourable thing he could have done was to have resigned his position before embarking on the Fellowship given the fact that he would be away for so long a period.

I personally think that rather than accusing Manika of betrayal, Asmieu should be grateful to his assistant who capably assumed the mantle of the Secretariat in his very long absence.

If I were Asmieu I would not have even contested in this elections; rather I will throw my support to Manika and prepare myself for the presidency after Nasralla.

SLRSA corp explains promotion criteria

By Ibrahim Isaac Mansaray

The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) has given ranks/position to staff that are committed and effectively working hardly for or behalf of the institution.

The Executive Director for Center on Parliamentary Operations and Functions (CPOF) SL-Ltd, conducted an interview with the Director of Road Safety and Enforcement for the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, Augustine Kaitongi.

During the exclusive interview the Director responded that the decoration of the Road Safety Personal in the country as any other leading institutions in the Governance structures it also served as a nature of the job they are doing in the street so that they will feel compliance Office.

Mr. Kaitongi also said that Moreover, given ranks/position it takes a lot of requirement to pass through the process and parameters adding that In the first place the institution get to do a parameter to ascertain all development in the institution interim of what they are capable of doing, hard work, commitment and lot of it.

“We are also looking at the length of service of the personal, why are you given uniform to served not only the institution but the nation as well” He explained.

He also explained that the institution is also looking at the educational background of every individual and department.

The Director also thanked the Minister of Transport and Aviation and the members of, Parliament because Road Safety Authority is established by an act of Parliament, Management and together with the Board for having a specific day for such activities.

Director continued that before this time there is no clear distinction/ different amongst the personals and for the ranking, what the Sierra Leone Military called (Captain), us as SLRSA enforcement called it (Rootaine Commander).

He express that before this time there is no clear distinction/ different between the personal.

The difference between the ranks/positions given by the personal as I have already decorated as Assistant Core Commander in the enforcement as Director adding that the decoration is important and timely to the personal.

“We will use this day that is set aside to bring more Sierra Leonean in to the job and have trust in our operations as road safety enforcement officer” he said.

 Terror ahead of bye-election in Bendugu: …prognosis for 2023

Sheriff Mahmud Ismail  

On Monday, March 14, 2022, the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) announced 24 June as the date for a bye-election in Constituency 056 Sambaia Chiefdom, Bendugu town North-east Sierra Leone. The ECSL also provided a ‘campaign calendar’ allocating specific days to political parties to carry out their public campaign activities. This means that when it is the day for a certain party to conduct it activities, the other(s) is (are), by the ECSL calendar, not allowed to engage in any public campaign or activity that would be deemed as provocative or obstructive/disruptive.

Unfortunately since the start of the campaign in the constituency, the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) have repeatedly complained that the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have not only been disrupting their campaigns; they have, in fact, unleashed a reign of terror against their supporters. Eyewitness accounts indicate that “Scores of supporters of the main opposition APC have be wounded with machetes, several houses vandalized, burnt down and ransacked; motor bikes set ablaze, businesses looted, the APC campaign manager and nine other strategists detained while scores more (of APC supporters) chased out. One of the houses burnt down on Saccohia Street belongs to Mr Ibrahim Saccoh.

Saccoh is an APC supporter who also offered his land to Rtd Lt. Col. Joseph Sheku Jalloh, to build a fuel station in Sambaia Bendugu town, something the newly crowned P.C., Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh, vehemently opposed. The reason for the P.C.’s angst is obvious; the retired military officer was a contender for the paramount chieftaincy and currently the campaign manager for Jawah Sesay, the APC candidate. After the arrest of Rtd Lt Col. Jallah, and nine others on Wednesday June 8 in Bendugu town, they were transferred to the district headquarter of Magburaka where they were briefly detained before they were transferred on Thursday June 9 to the regional police headquarter at Mena Street in Makeni. The erstwhile APC chair for Tonkolili district, Yabom Sesay, said that the police had informed her that the detainees will be charged to court on Friday, June 10 2022 but in an unexpected twist, the detainees were all whisked away to Freetown on Friday without even informing the APC party.

Political observers blame the violence on police complicity and bias in favour of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). According to reports, the bloodletting and vandalism unleashed in Sambaia Bendugu is not isolated; rather it is part of what many observers describe as the ruling party’s grand plan to have its way with the 2023 multi-tier elections through violence, intimidation and, with the complicity of electoral officers, rigging of election. The examples abound. During the October 2021 bye –election in Constituency 046, Ward 155 in Koinadugu district, in addition to several SLPP ministers and operatives attempts to disrupt that local council bye-election, an official of the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) called Musa Damba falsified tallying records which gave the ruling SLPP party an advantage.  In its October 27 2021 publication titled: “Opposition APC takes legal action against electoral body accused of bye-election vote rigging,” the Sierra Leone Telegraph (online newspaper) reported that “it was detected that the ECSL ICT team made an inaccurate /and or fraudulent entry, inconsistent with the particulars on the ECSL’s Results Reconciliation Form (“RRF”). The inaccurate entry was in respect of the total number of votes cast in favour of KALIE THORONKA (“SLPP”). Instead of entering 049, as recorded in the RRF, 149 were purportedly entered intentionally, to give numerical advantage to the said KALIE THORONKA (“SLPP”).”

During the bye-election of constituency 110 in the Western Area, the results were cancelled twice because of the level of interference and violence by SLPP functionaries. In one of the instances in that election, Kabineh Kallon, the minister for transport and aviation, led other SLPP operatives to disrupt pools and prevent the announcement of the results by vandalizing ballot boxes and destroying ballot papers because the outcome was clearly emerging in favour of the APC.

The SLPP’s preference for electoral violence and manipulation may not be far-fetched. Sierra Leone’s economy is in a terrible state and there is considerable public disenchantment with the Government, over and above the deteriorating relations between the Government and the international community. While the European Union Elections Observation Follow-Up Mission report expressed displeasure of the failure of the SLPP Government to address the important issues of independence of state institutions and elections management bodies, the latest International Monitoring Fund (IMF)’s assessment of Sierra Leone’s economy makes for a particularly grim reading.

In its July 2022 press release titled: “IMF Completes Staff Level Agreement on the Fifth Review of the Extended Credit Facility for Sierra Leone and Conducts the 2022 Article IV consultation But the Agency Withholds the Release of the US$20.8 million for Executive Board Review” the IMF stated among other things that: “The economic recovery from the pandemic has been set back and the medium-term outlook remains challenging….Fiscal slippages, the war in Ukraine, and concerns about global growth pose renewed challenges, and projected growth in 2022 has been revised down to 3.6 percent, from 5.9 percent at the time of the 3rd/4th review in July 2021”.

The Fund further said that “Inflation has been revised up to 22.1 percent (end-of-period, 2022) from 12 percent, given higher import prices and exchange rate depreciation…The medium-term outlook remains challenging on account of the deteriorating terms of trade, more uncertain global prospects, and remaining COVID-19 risks…“The fiscal situation in Sierra Leone is extremely tight owing to other emerging spending pressures among others factors.”

Those other factors include what they described as “…. high risk of debt distress.” The IMF therefore warned the government to,  “limiting external borrowing” “increasing domestic revenue mobilization,  strengthening expenditure management and commitment controls, properly sequenced and coherent set of tax policy and administrative measures to widen the tax base, improved expenditure control, spending efficiency… and priority spending”

Regarding the independence of institutions, the IMF put it to the Government that “additional reforms are required to strengthen the institutional independence of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL); implement the needed corrective actions and recommendations of existing audits, work towards strengthening the audit process and collaboration between ASSL and the Ministry of Finance and revisiting the Audit Service Act 2014 with respect to possible amendments to strengthen ASSL’s financial independence.”

As bad as the economic situation is, the IMF has rub salt to the Government’s injuries by withholding much needed funding until further notice. With such economic and political damnation for a government so desperate for second term, it is not surprising that the government has resorted to using state security apparatus and other state institutions to intimidate the opposition through violence and by manipulation of electoral outcomes. The unfortunate developments in Bendugu are therefore a worrying prognosis of the level of violence would unleash during the highly anticipated June 2023 multi-tier elections

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