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How Dissapointed Beyond Belief They Must Be

11.02.09

FREETOWN, DR. SAMA S. BANYA: It must have come to them as a great shock and disappointment; they had predicted fireworks and even ballistic missiles during last weekends’ meeting of the National Executive Council of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party. The way the protagonists of the ruling APC party and their organs went about it, the impression was created that after losing power in 2007, and the show of solidarity at the 2009 national convention in Kenema last March notwithstanding, they were expecting, in fact hoped and prayed for it, that the National Executive Council meeting would see the beginning of the disintegration of the SLPP.

Their only reason for that hope was that Dr. Kadie Sesay, the party’s deputy chairman had sent a letter to the Secretary- General expressing concern at certain omissions in the revised party constitution. To this Dr. Abass Bundu had replied that what had been agreed in Kenema could not be altered or amended in any way except at a national delegates conference. An unregistered and unrecognized group within the party calling itself the Think Tank had contacted sections of the press to express their position on the issue and such sessions of the press had relied on that for some of their lead stories.

But ours was a regular meeting of the executive council at which the draft constitution was only one item. But because of the treacherous machinations of our opponents and detractors all sorts of ugly rumors preceded the NEC meeting. However, once the meeting commenced and the initial reason for misgivings had been heard, the proceedings continued in a calm, reasonable and tolerant atmosphere as could happen only in a very democratic party like the SLPP. The rest of the troubling clauses, especially in relation to the PPRC were very coolly and painstakingly explained by Lawyer Eke Halloway the chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee, CRC


Acha Kamara's Shameless Braggadocio

11.02.09

ALIE TARAWALLIE: I read with utter shock and dismay, Acha Kamara’s claim that his going to the UK to receive an award means the people of Sierra Leone have no safety and security problems. This is broad day light naked propaganda and deceit. To buttress this fact, I will throw light on few key areas in the Sierra Leone Police which are seemingly on the brink of collapse, if the present government does not move precipitously to remedy the situation.

Violent Crimes- This is one area where Acha Kamara and his bosses in the present government are not sincere /honest with the people of Sierra Leone. Let us take a look at the spate of armed robbery in the country. Are people safe in the country? Statistically, violent crimes, especially armed robbery, are showing an upward trend. There is not a week, when peaceful and defenseless citizens are not robbed. Some, who are unlucky, die in the process. What has the government done to protect the people who voted it into office? Nothing. Instead, they are protecting this dead wood of an IG simply because he is their tribe’s man. A good leader puts nation first before tribe. It is absurd for the president of a sovereign state to shift gear and become an operational commander in crafting and drafting operational orders for a joint police/military operation, all in a desperate bid, to protect his kinsman.

Police Vehicles/Other Logistics- The terrible state of these logistics are principally responsible for the poor police response to major incidents and consequently dismal service delivery. Like his immediate predecessor who doled out huge sums of police funds to Gen Khobe to talk to president Kabba to  keep him in office, Acha also, diverts 75% funds meant to meet the running costs of police vehicles and other equipment into his personal coffers. A good chunk of it is also used to bribe cabinet ministers and other highly placed persons in the government to continue to keep him in office. This may be happening on a monthly basis and that is why most of the patrol vehicles are either broken down for want of spare parts or no fuel. This impinges adversely on police service delivery.

Guinea: September 28 Massacre Was Premeditated. Investigations Document Widespread Rape Like APC Did to SLPP Opposition

10.30.09

CULLED From Human Rights Watch

A four-member team of Human Rights Watch investigators interviewed more than 150 victims and witnesses in Guinea from October 12 to 22. Among those interviewed were victims wounded during the attack, witnesses present in the stadium, relatives of missing people, military officers who participated in the crackdown and the cover-up, medical staff, humanitarian officials, diplomats, and opposition leaders.

Ethnic Dimension

During interviews, many Guineans expressed shock at the apparent ethnic nature of the violence, which threatens to destabilize the situation in Guinea further. The vast majority of the victims were from the Peuhl ethnic group, which is almost exclusively Muslim, while most of the commanders at the stadium – and indeed key members of the ruling CNDD, including Camara, the coup leader – belong to ethnic groups from the southeastern forest region, which are largely Christian or animist.

Witnesses said that many of the killers and rapists made ethnically biased comments during the attacks, insulting and appearing to target the Peuhl, the majority ethnicity of the opposition supporters, and claiming that the Peuhl wanted to seize power and needed to be “taught a lesson.” Human Rights Watch also spoke with witnesses to the military training of several thousand men from the southeast forest region at a base near the southwestern town of Forécariah, apparently to form a commando unit dominated by people from ethnic groups from the forest region.

Many of the Peuhl victims reported being threatened or abused on account of their ethnicity. For example, one woman who was gang raped by men in uniform wearing red berets described how her attackers referred repeatedly to her ethnicity: “Today, we’re going to teach you a lesson. Yes, we’re tired of your tricks… we’re going to finish all the Peuhl.” A young man detained for several days in the Koundara military camp described how a red beret put a pistol to his head and said, “You say you don’t want us, that you prefer Cellou [the leading Peuhl opposition candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo]… we’re going to kill all of you. We will stay in power.”

Widespread Rape and Sexual Violence
The Presidential Guard, and to a lesser extent gendarmes, carried out widespread rape and sexual violence against dozens of girls and women at the stadium, often with such extreme brutality that their victims died from the wounds inflicted.

My Take on the SLPP's Constitutional Saga

10.28.2009

GREELEY, COLORADO, PROF. KELFALA KALLON: Having read and heard the arguments on both sides of the debate regarding the constitutional changes that were approved at Kenema last March, I have concluded that a constitutional instrument that reflects what was approved by the delegates at Kenema must be submitted to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) without another national conference to renegotiate and/or amend its terms. In addition to the fact that I find no merit in the arguments that have been advanced so far for another party conference (arguments that I will critique later in this article), I do not believe that a party that is as strapped for cash as we are should waste its meager resources on a Party Conference when the issue being debated can be resolved without one.

Despite the above conclusion, I find much merit in the argument by those who think that if the current document that the party’s Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) has presented to the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) includes provisions that were not part of what was approved at Kenema, fidelity to the intent of the delegates at Kenema requires that it must first be sanitized of such extraneous materials before being forwarded to the PPRC.  In other words, only a constitution that is true to the language and spirit of Kenema must be submitted to the PPRC as soon as possible.

Great Mischief Makers

10.23.2009

FREETOWN, DR. SAMA S. BANYA: The man who came to head the British government in their time of need and who eventually exhorted them to victory after former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement at Munich, ("there will be no war in our time") was Winston Churchill who became Prime Minister in 1940. His political career had led him to serve in a Conservative, then a Liberal and again in a Conservative government. The people who write for the African Champion and Peep must be continuously informed and educated that Siaka Stevens was first SLPP, then PNP and finally APC. Albert Margai was SLPP, then PNP and finally SLPP. John Karefa Smart was SLPP, then APC, UDP and finally UNPP. Our current head of state was PDP and is now APC. Charles Margai was SLPP, then NUP, then SLPP and now PMDC. Osman Kamara was APC, then PDP. The list is endless and so once again I must ask what is peculiar about Dr. Sama Banya having been SLPP, then APC and now SLPP? What is the big deal? What was wrong in disagreeing with Siaka Stevens over a matter of principle? So to Olu Gordon and to the staff of the African champion I think it is you who keep fooling your readers with Sama Banya was that yesterday and this today be consistent and deal with more relevant issues.

LYING APC Leaders Shove Blame for Rotting Education Policy to Parents.

10.14.2009

FREETOWN, DR. SAMA S. BANYA: The man who came to head the British government in their time of need and who eventually exhorted them to victory after former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement at Munich, ("there will be no war in our time") was Winston Churchill who became Prime Minister in 1940. His political career had led him to serve in a Conservative, then a Liberal and again in a Conservative government. The people who write for the African Champion and Peep must be continuously informed and educated that Siaka Stevens was first SLPP, then PNP and finally APC. Albert Margai was SLPP, then PNP and finally SLPP. John Karefa Smart was SLPP, then APC, UDP and finally UNPP. Our current head of state was PDP and is now APC. Charles Margai was SLPP, then NUP, then SLPP and now PMDC. Osman Kamara was APC, then PDP. The list is endless and so once again I must ask what is peculiar about Dr. Sama Banya having been SLPP, then APC and now SLPP? What is the big deal? What was wrong in disagreeing with Siaka Stevens over a matter of principle? So to Olu Gordon and to the staff of the African champion I think it is you who keep fooling your readers with Sama Banya was that yesterday and this today be consistent and deal with more relevant issues.
FROM THE PRESIDENT'S PRESS OFFICER'S NEWS PRINT RUN DIRECTLY FROM STATE HOUSE Early this week, most newspapers were awashed with snippets of the portion of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s address to parliament last Thursday in which he showed concerns about the threat under which our education sector now is. We hold the view that education is under threat because most parents and guardians seem no longer concerned about their children’s or wards’ academic development but more concerned with bread and butter issues. How can education not be under threat when school girls are more concerned with Nigerian home videos than their school work?

And Yet Another Week Gone.

10.13.2009

FREETOWN, DR. SAMA S. BANYA: The week under the present dispensation flew fast and soon it will be the 25th month under our APC economic hardship. Thank goodness it was the APC themselves and not members of the SLPP opposition who boasted in New York that our country was peaceful and secure with everything in place and running smoothly. The boast about peace and security was shattered by the daredevil buccaneering activities of armed robbers all over the place. This necessitated quite a few editorials and correspondents to wonder whether our country was any longer safe and secure. His Excellency being the caring leader that he is went into overdrive. In a nationwide broadcast told the nation that enough was enough and that he had invoked the Military/Police coordination act into immediate effect. There would be no-nonsense night patrols and checkpoints from 7pm to 7am until further notice. Trust the Salone rumour mongering mills which told a nervous public that there was a 7 to 7 night curfew in force. The Police’s Chris Charley was able to clear the air very quickly on UN radio the following morning. Usually when the head of state makes an important broadcast the message is translated into Mende, Temne, Limba and krio, but not this time. The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service must have assumed that under the APC’s education programme all Sierra Leoneans were now so proficient in English as to require no translation.

As APC's Lying Kanu-Duo Exposed, President's Ambassador to the C-10 (UN) Blathers Insults.

10.05.2009

FREETOWN, NEW PEOPLE STAFF: In a frustrated and insulting article on his pro-APC news blog, President Ernest Koroma's ambassador plenipotentiary to the UN's Committee on Africa, Rev. Kabs-Kanu, has alleged that the World Bank document published by The New People Newspaper is "false" and that the former SLPP government never completed 95% of Bumbuna. THE NEW PEOPLE EDITORIAL TEAM wishes to request readers and independent Sierra Leoneans seeking the truth of the matter TO READ THE EVIDENCE PROVIDED BY THE NEW PEOPLE that the APC's top officials, Alpha Kanu and Rev. Kabs-Kanu (both of whom are reportedly very close to President Koroma) HAVE BEEN PEDDLING BOLD-FACED LIES THAT SLPP DID NOTHING ABOUT THE STATUS AND FUNDING OF THE BUMBUNA DAM.

 

WORLD BANK PROJECT INFORMATION DOCUMENT 32160 which is available to the public (and even online) proves that the SLPP government actively sought and received funding, and that the SLPP government planned all the various component phases (FULLY FUNDED) BY 2004/2005 and completed 95% of the work before handing over power to the APC government.

THE SLPP GOVERNMENT, WAY BACK IN 2005, had even researched, planned, and submitted a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment study (WORLD BANK PID 31751) and received and kept the Le50 Billion resettlement money whichTHE APC GOVERNMENT HAS MISAPPROPRIATED AS it demolishes people's homes for $400 compensation (having kept the $12.5 million in their pockets) THE 90 PAGE DOCUMENT IS ALSO PROVIDED HERE BY THE NEW PEOPLE TO SUPPORT THE FACTS PRESENTED IN A RECENT SLPP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE Press release and also in the WORLD BANK PRESS RELEASE by Country Representative Engilbert Gudmunndson. SO APC, WHERE IS THE $12.5 MILLION DOLLARS MEANT FOR THE PEOPLE WHOSE HOMES YOU ARE DEMOLISHING?

The President's Pressmen: Press Repression in Sierra Leone

video


SLPP casting their hopes on a song and a prayer--- a Rejoinder to Dr. Kolifa Fadika

11.02.09

KARIM A. BANGURA: Indeed the differences are not only glaring --- they are like night and day. Fadika, doing your PhD in Political Extrapolations does not appear to have influenced your mindset to rational reasoning in the political metamorphosis of our dear Mama Sa Lone. Recent political history 101 will take you back to the 24 years of APC demagogic fiti-fata misrule under Siaka Stevens and JS Momoh with the devastating outcome of the 10 year barbaric rebel war. Based on your brief article, it appears that SLPP propagated that war. Should that be your reasoning, then I would say -------Oh what a shame, what an utter shame on you.

Granted, SLPP did not do anything on the Bumbuna Project, granted SLPP did not undertake any infrastructural development, granted SLPP stole every nickel and dime that was pumped in Sa Lone into their Swiss bank accounts and granted SLPP is the most unpatriotic political party in Sa Lone . . Oh yes, all of those in positions of responsibility were not only unpatriotic but scums who squandered the country's resources to its barest bones. How about that?

SLPP To Hold Another Convention to Resolve Constitutional Issues

11.01.09

Sheku M. Kallon Jr (Atlanta, Georgia)

The SLPP National Executive Council just concluded with a near unanimous vote to hold another convention by March of 2010 to resolve a few outstanding and conflicting issues from the constitution that was ratified at their last convention in Kenema. The question of flag bearer and whether Executive members should be eligible to contest for the flag bearer position will be on the agenda as well as SLPPNA's delegate count as a fifth region of the party. It is the opinion of this writer that no one in the SLLPNA is desenfranchised from seeking the flag bearer position including the members of the Executive. If a compromise is to be made which is necessary in politics, then all the Executive members should be given at least one year before the nominating convention of the flag bearer position to relinquish their Executive positions so that they cannot use their office to gain an undue advantage over others. Now that everyone knows what is at stake, let the lobbying begin for the next delegates conference. No one knows the future and no one can predict with certainty the outcome of the 2012 Presidential elections. It is very likely that the APC government will continue to make serious blunders in governance making it easy for them to be defeated. It is also possible that they may come to their senses and start to deliver for the people of Sierra Leone. Until then, we await the outcome of the delegates conference in March.

Thank You Mr. Chairman for Clearing the Air

10.31.09

THE NEW PEOPLE EDITORIAL TEAM At today’s (October 31, 2009), meeting of the National Executive Council of the Sierra Leone’s People’s Party (SLPP) at the party’s national headquarter in Freetown, Chairman Benjamin made it unequivocally clear that, as he has said all along, his only ambition is “to be the best chairman that this Party has ever had in its illustrious history.” As in his several past public statements where he indicated that he would not be a candidate for the party’s nomination for president, the Chairman again reiterated that he will not be a candidate for the party’s nomination in 2012. He also promised his “unflinching commitment” to “provide a level playing field for all who might be interested in the ‘flag bearer ship’ for the Presidential Elections of 2012.” Nothing can be clearer than this.

Chairman Benjamin also provided a very good background of the controversy about the current draft constitution. It shows that, contrary to public opinion, before he left the country for his very successful visit to the United States last June, Chairman Benjamin realized that the draft constitution that had been presented to him by the National Secretary General (who was a member of the Constitutional Review Committee) had substantive errors—such as the co-mingling of the Chairman’s functions with those of the National Secretary General and the matter of the SLPPNA’s delegate count—that violated the letter and spirit of the draft that had been approved at Kenema. Therefore, and most tellingly, he instructed both the Deputy National Chairperson and the National Secretary General to forward the final draft to the PPRC, even in his absence, after it had been “sanitized” of all cut-and-paste errors that had crept into the CRC’s draft which had not been even discussed at Kenema.

Flashback to the Rape and Destruction of Opposition SLPP in Sierra Leone

10.30.09

NEW PEOPLE TEAM

This is just a reminder that when rape and violence is allowed to go unpunished in a neighboring country, others see it as a legitimate use in their countries. What is happening in Guinea, is a reflection of Dadis and his thugs thinking that Ernest Koroma has no moral authority to advise him and neither does the international community as they have let the APC get away with similar crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.

Witnesses said that many of the attackers, killers and rapists made ethnically biased comments during the attacks, insulting and appearing to target the..

Opposition Headquarters Under Attack By APC Thugs

Police Commanders at the scene clearly were awaare of the widespread rapes and arson, but there is no evidence that they made any attempt to stop them..

More Violence Against SLPP Women.

Sierra Leone Police ..Close Watch

By Umaru Sitta Turay 10.24.2009

If there is any single entity in the body politics of Sierra Leone that needs to be closely watched in the discharge of its functions and in the role it is playing in the maintenance, it is the Sierra Leone Police. This is even more serious because it is the APC that is currently in power. During the first inning of the APC, former/late President Siaka Probyn Stevens tribalised, politicized and corrupted the police. It was done to such an extent that the police became the main instrument for enforcing the one party dictatorship that ruled this country for over two decades. 

During that period, many people were framed in time on treason charges and killed; all elections during that period were massively rigged. Many people were jailed without justice. The judiciary was not impartial and many people fled the country for fear of being picked up and secretly executed in places like Mafanta. Those are the places (Mafanta) we are hearing that some international organisations have funded to start its operations of concentration camping once again. During President Stevens’s era, things went so bad that when he handed State Authority over to Momoh in 1985, it was very difficult to tell between the Inspector General of Police and the Head of State as to who was really in charge. In less than one year, the Vice President to Momoh, Francis Minah, was framed on a treason charge and subsequently executed.

SLRA Where are the Foot-Paths!!?

By Umaru Sitta Turay 10.24.2009

FREETOWN: It seems as if the more APC continues to rule this country the more bizarre things continue to happen. An old man in Makeni that was sympathizing with me when I was stabbed by some APC operatives told me that Sierra Leone is bound to face another hardship. He said that it is the nature of the APC to rule with hardship because of the intentional violent attitude of its members. Before now, residents of Freetown, especially the central business district were able to move freely in the streets. That was because the SLPP launched the “Operation Free Flow” to contain those traders that amass on the streets. That has stopped since the APC came “Back to Power”.

Starting with Abacha Street, pedestrians are keenly contesting with motorists on the road as the street has been fully occupied by petty traders. The worst thing on the Abacha Street is that shop owners are going out of business because the pathways to their shops have been permanently occupied by these petty traders. Things have gone dishonorably mad as far as this foot-path issue is concerned. The disturbing thing is that no one seems to show concern. The city is being messed up with petty trading on the foot-path and there is no action. People are building their stalls and other structures on the foot-path and neither City Council nor the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) wants to make it a point of duty to clear it up.

If you take a look at the streets of Freetown nowadays they have been totally overtaken by petty traders. “Short Street” is one such example. Stalls have been erected to prevent pedestrians from freely walking which is leading to accidents. SLRA has totally turned its back on the issue of encroached foot-path. SLRA does not care anymore about the welfare of pedestrian. Added to the foot-path problem, the SLRA has totally neglected the issue of Zebra signs and other important road signs. The road reflectors that were placed on some parts of the roads were poorly placed that it did not serve for six months. A lot of money was dished out to contractors to place those reflectors only to realize that they are unsustainable. Other streets such as Adelaide Street and Campbell Street have seen house owners totally occupying the foot path with permanent structures which is giving a very tough time for pedestrians to walk through those Streets.

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group for Publication

10.18.2009

The Commitee of the Whole (CoW) that decides the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting -CHOGM  (due to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in November) is going to meet in London on 21st October. Civil society have had no access in the past to decide the agenda of CHOGM or to be part of the CoW. However this time we seek to influence the agenda of CHOGM by influencing the CoW such that in the forthcoming CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago, the Commonwealth Heads of Government takes up some concrete steps on issues that concerns the Commonwealth. One of the issues we want to flag is Reviewing the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group - a watchdog body that consists of rotating foreign ministers from nine countries and is mandated to look into serious and persistent violations of Commonwealth's Fundamental Political Values which includes human rights as well. We have been monitoring CMAG very closely and feel that there is an urgent need for it to be reviewed and strengthened in light of its failure to deal with Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya and most recently The Gambia.

Contact

Aditi Datta
Media/Communications/Outreach Officer
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
B-117, Sarvodaya Enclave, Second Floor
New Delhi 110017 INDIA
www.humanrightsinitiative.org

Economy in Free Fall!

10.13.2009

FREETOWN, THEO NICOL: I listened carefully to the President's speech on the floor of Parliament last week and I didn't hear any clear cut policy on the economy.

I was sitting there expectantly waiting for a word from our President as to how we can fight this demon of poverty that is keeping our people down. I didn't hear such useful words from the President even though he talked about the economic sector and how they have continued to do all the things that are not getting us out of economic slavery and dependence on the World Bank, the IMF and our so called development partners.

Forty-eight years after we became independent, it is depressing that our leaders still have to depend on foreign aid and technical assistance before we can stand on our feet- the feet of clay that the Western borrowers are building for us.

Our Dear President did not tell us how he is fighting, along with his economic team, to bring down the value of the Dollar against the Leone. He did not tell us how he can bring down the price of food and essential commodities so that the standard of living of our people can rise above the poverty line that they seem trapped in.

A Deteriorating Economy and the Investment Forum.

10.13.2009

FREETOWN, COMMENTARY FROM THEO NICOL: (Monday October 12, 2009) Just a couple of weeks ago we all celebrated the beginning of the third year of the Presidency of Ernest Bai Koroma and one of the major issues that dogged the end of his second year in office was the deteriorating economy which has defied all solutions, as the Leone continues to fall against the Dollar thereby fueling inflation. 

My people, these days are very hard days and except you do not live in this country, you will know that prices of all commodities in the market have tripled in the last one or two months without much control from policies of Government that should reverse the situation.

The price of one US Dollar today is Le4,000 and despite what David Carew, the Minister of Trade and one expert from the Ministry of Finance said on TV some months back in the Open Government Initiative (OGI) programme, that the country had enough dollars to guarantee at least six months imports, the Leone continues to fall against the Dollar.


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