Showing posts from 2013

Sierra Leone | Improving Electricity Delivery for 6 million

The National Power Authority has deployed a new cable test van that can detect faulty underground cables.

One of the goals of the German-made SebaKMT diagnosis technology is to avoid service interruptions primarily caused by damage to cables due to failure on joints, terminations and cable insulation.

Electricity reaches less than 10 percent of Sierra Leone's estimated population of 6 million. The country covers a total area of 71,740 km (27,699 sq mi).

The National Power Authority (NPA), which generates and distributes thermal energy,  has a maximum capacity of 85MW, but probably generates only a fraction of that. NPA was founded in 1982 and is based in Freetown, the nation's capital.

Edward Parkinson, one of the technicians who works with the new van for testing power cables, told Voice of America that technicians used to have to dig up entire streets trying to find broken cables.  "With this new equipment, it will reduce the down time and also it will help us locate f…

Christmas Cards designed by Children in Sierra Leone


Social Security and Insurance | The Harmony of Investment with the Public Interest

Seven years ago,  Sierra Leone's Social Security and Insurance Trust enjoyed a Le141 Billion surplus although scheme officials were still trying to sell membership to the workforce and employers. This week, Audit Service Sierra Leone, the agency in charge of the nation's purse, raised a red flag.

"The management of the national pension trust, NASSIT [National Social Security and Insurance Trust], is of concern to me and this is reflected by its inclusion in a separate chapter," wrote Auditor General Lara Taylor-Pearce in the annual report of the Accounts of Sierra Leone for year ended Dec. 31, 2012. "The findings on governance, control and asset valuation in that agency should be a major concern for parliamentarians and all citizens," Taylor-Pearce urged the nation in the report.

This puts NASSIT and its director general, Sam Bangura Jr., scion of the late Sam Bangura, governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone (1970-1979), on the spot. To mark the 10th anniversa…

State of Sierra Leone

President Koroma gave a state of the nation address today at the Second Opening of Parliament. A one time member of parliament, Koroma rallied his 6 million countrymen as never before in his eighth appearance as president since he was elected in November 2007.

"I like Parliament," President Koroma said. "My first job as a politician was in this House--once a parliamentarian, always a parliamentarian. That is why, even as President, I have ensured that we continue to build the capacity of parliament more than any time in the country’s history.

"That is my pledge to you: to do more for this country than at any time in the nation’s history. To build roads, grow the economy, increase salaries of teachers, police, soldiers, health workers and lecturers; reform the public service; create programs targeted at the health of mothers, pregnant women and children; and to invest in education."

Acknowledging the challenges and criticism (such as this week's Auditor Ge…

Sierra Leone | Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie, a Parliamentarian for Global Action, Dies at 66

Elizabeth Tygsona Alpha-Lavalie,  a professional banker turned politician, died in Freetown this morning. She had been in a coma for a month, according to unconfirmed sources. She was 66. A sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for sixteen years, she was recognized nationally and internationally as a formidable peace advocate and champion for good governance.

Hon. Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie was a long-serving Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) representative for Bo District and made history in 2001 as the first female to be elected to the post of Deputy Speaker.


Elizabeth or Lizzy as she was fondly known was born on January 5th, 1947. Before entering politics in 1991, she worked for the Standard Chartered Bank (SL) from 1968 to 1971 and left to earn a banking degree in Britain. She returned home to Sierra Leone in 1975 and was re-employed by the Standard Chartered Bank (SL) having attained a banking diploma. She was an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and part of the …

Sierra Leone | Ambassador-Designate Omrie Golley

Earlier this month, Omrie Golley opened up after a long silence. In an interview with Beijing-based press attache John Baimba Sesay, Golley talked about his new appointment as Sierra Leone’s envoy to South Korea. He also spoke at length on how he plans to enhance cooperation between the two countries, his role in the conflict in Sierra Leone, and his life following release from Freetown's notorious Pademba Road Prison six years ago this week.

Golley had been held without trial for 22 months after being arrested on charges of 'destabilizing the state,' i.e. plotting to assassinate  the former President Kabbah.  When the government of Koroma took over after a resounding win at the polls, the Attorney General's office issued a null prosequi order and released Golley.

Golley is a very controversial figure, wrote John Dermody on the Transnational Law Blog. "He holds both Sierra Leonean and British citizenship and is a member of the bar in both places.  During the Sie…

"African solutions to African problems"

Africa needs France just as much as France needs Africa to build sustainable economies based on inclusive growth, job creation and human development, President Ernest Bai Koroma said Friday in Paris.  The peace and security summit brought together over 40 African leaders.

French President François Hollande hosted the two-day Africa-France summit a day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing French and African troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) to use force to protect civilians.

President Koroma also said that France has demonstrated over the past five years a willingness to engage as a global security actor. The contribution of troops to peacekeeping operations for the European Union (EU) mission in Chad and United Nations (UN) missions in Côte d'Ivoire as well as interventions in Mali and now in Central African Republic is an indication that France means well, he said.

Sierra Leone's president maintained that African countries have made progr…

Sierra Leone mourns passing of Nelson Mandela

Sierra Leone joins South Africa and the world to mourn the passing of Mandela. Flags will flag at half mast across the west African nation for three days.

A press release from State House expressed deep sadness at the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela on Thursday, December 5. An irreparable loss to his family, the nation of South Africa and the entire African continent, the release said.

"As a true nationalist, visionary leader, great pan Africanist and ambassador of peace, Nelson Mandela touched the lives of many. We will always remember him as a larger than life political figure, who through his tenacious struggle for equality and freedom has left an indelible mark in the history of mankind. The president, government and the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone extend heartfelt condolences to the president, government and people of South Africa, especially to the Mandela family for the loss of this great son of Africa."

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Sierra Leone's Top Protocol Officers

This weekend, State House announced that Rasie Binta Kargbo is taking over as state chief of protocol, replacing Soulay Daramy, who has served both President Ernest Bai Koroma and former president Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah. The logical choice of Mrs. Kargbo culminates more than six months of speculation by State House.
Mrs. Kargbo is expected to continue the sterling work of Alhaj Daramy, who is widely regarded as one of the best protocol officers in Sierra Leonean diplomatic circles. He is knowledgeable in international affairs, possesses good communication skills and observes behavioral etiquette. Daramy is one of 10 presidential appointments announced this week. He has been nominated as high commissioner to The Gambia.

A career diplomat, Mrs. Kargbo served as head of chancery at the Sierra Leone High Commission in The Gambia for seven years before she was recalled in 2006 and posted to Washington D.C. as the head of chancery at the Sierra Leone Embassy in North America. In 2012, Parliame…

Iscandari Family Announces New Design Contest to Solve Everyday Sierra Leonean Problems

The Iscandari family has announced that it will be giving away one thousand U.S. dollars each year as prize money to an engineering student whose design will help solve at least one problem in Sierra Leone with a solution based on engineering. The design must be cost effective to produce and with products easily obtainable locally.

"The idea came from watching fishermen at Lumley beach and other beaches around Freetown Peninsular use logs and muscle strength to pull their boats off the water onto the sand for repairs," M. Alieu Iscandari explained. "I saw that the effort could be vastly reduced with technology.

"This Prize is dedicated to all  members of my family who are engineers, including my father Abdul Mutallib Iscandari Snr. and my [late] uncle Dzul Gharanine Iscandari," the California based attorney said.

Closing date for submissions will be Tuesday, February 25, 2014 and designs will be judged by a panel of engineers resident in Sierra Leone and in the …

Start Some Good for Idrissa Kargbo

It's 7 days to New York City's Marathon and Sierra Leone is sending a runner to compete for the first time.

Twenty-something Idrissa Kargbo, who has been running long distance for 10 years, told VOA's Nina DeVries that he is honored to represent his country and hopes to beat his own record of two hours and 35 minutes.

According to DeVries, Kargbo gained support through the help of Jo Dunlop, an Australian expatriate living in Sierra Leone.

They met at the National Stadium in Freetown, where Dunlop would go running.  She saw Kargbo's potential and helped sponsor him in the first marathon ever held in Sierra Leone, which he won with a national record of two hours and 38 minutes, DeVries said.

After his big win in Sierra Leone, Dunlop decided to nominate him for the New York City Marathon.  Fundraising efforts have amassed $13,000 in donations - enough to get Kargbo to New York for the opportunity of a lifetime.
"They [NYC marathon organizers] gave him a compliment…

Sierra Leone | Integrating Gender in Police Services

The Sierra Leone Police and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) held a one day regional seminar Monday on integrating a gender perspective in  security sector reform.

According to Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya, a Freetown-based reporter, the sub-regional seminar, which drew representatives from Liberia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea was held at the Sierra Leone Police Officer’s Mess in Kingtom, Freetown.

In attendance were the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana, Sierra Leone's minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Moijue Kaikai;  the Inspector General of Police Francis A. Munu and his deputy, Richard Moigbe.

Earlier in a statement, Dumbuya said, DCAF representative Anja Ebnother announced that the topics for discussion were institutional policies, structures, gender sensitive service delivery to the population, human resources, gender training, internal control and complaints mechanisms and collaboration with c…

Coups and Politics in Sierra Leone

Mr. Alpha Kanu, Sierra Leone's minister of information and communications, is the official spokesperson of the Koroma administration. Last week, when news broke that nine soldiers at a garrison in the district town of Makeni had been arrested over the weekend for planning a protest during a visit by President Ernest Koroma to his hometown, Kanu's words at his ministry's weekly briefing were seen to reflect State House's position of strength.

"We are not expecting any coup d'état, but if there is an attempt, those behind it will be arrested by the people and torn apart," the minister reportedly said.

"Sierra Leoneans- including government-will go after assailants, arrest them and tear them [into pieces] as the government was legitimately elected by the people for a five-year term," he noted, adding. "We have been reliably informed that the meeting at Teko Barracks by nine military personnel, including one senior officer, is now being invest…

Sierra Leone | Mid Week Review

Our country has the deepest tradition of written constitutionalism in West Africa, starting with the constitution fashioned by Granville Sharpe for the freed men and women of the Province of Freedom, to the Blackhall Constitution of 1863, the Slater Constitution of 1924 and the Stevensons Constitution of the 1950s. We gained independence with a constitution modeled along a monarchist Westminster model; we established a republican presidential system in 1971, a one party constitution in 1978 and reverted to a multi-party system in 1991. - President Koroma, 
Two weeks after President Koroma launched Sierra Leone's Constitutional Review Committee at Miatta Conference Hall there's still no official announcement on the selection of appointees.

"This is a committee constituted from people of every region, political affiliation and socio-economic group to perform a sacred task," said President Koroma at the launch on Tuesday, July 30.

"We expect this Constitutional Re…

Sierra Leone | 50 Years In the Future: Sierra Leone Will Launch First Spacecraft

Michael Bengah, a senior at Sierra Leone Grammar School in Freetown, won the national essay contest for secondary school students organized by the Sierra Leone Conference on Development & Transformation: Charting the Next 50 Years Forward. Bengah's prize-winning essay "Sierra Leone To Announce Launching of its First Space Craft" describes the Sierra Leone he would like to see in twenty-five years. Click here to read the winning essay.

Sierra Leone | Diaspora Voices in Constitutional Review 1

Sierra Leone's constitutional review, which was not expected to resume until after the 2012 elections, finally kicked off last week. President Koroma officially launched the national Constitutional Review Committee at the Miatta Conference Center in Freetown on Tuesday, July 30. The move is part of his government’s steps towards modernizing state governance and actualizing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Lome Peace Accord respectively,  Awareness Times reported.

The current Sierra Leone constitution has been in effect since 1991, when the country was under one party rule. In one archive report, a coalition of civil society groups that spearheaded the campaign said that the constitution, crafted in a transitional period that was interrupted by the eleven-year civil war, had surpassed its relevance as Sierra Leone`s democracy grows.

The report also said major issues for review include a clause on the declaration of state of emergency, the death pen…

Sierra Leone | Back to School Teacher Appreciation

June Scarbough is a teacher. She has a doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction.

"I was 8th-grade level chair last school year, so I was of great assistance to the grade level principal. My duties included teaching, ensuring that classes were covered in the event of an absence; supervising and monitoring students, creating assessments, tasks and rubrics, communication, and scheduling conferences with parents, facilitating team/grade level meetings.

"I enjoy teaching students and it brings me great joy when they grasp a concept and demonstrate mastery. I also enjoy mentoring and counseling students when necessary.

"I dislike what I consider to be unnecessary paperwork and the extra things that I feel add to the already heavy workload.

"A person entering this field must be creative, flexible and wear a thick skin. A person entering this field must be committed, especially spiritually, have a passion for teaching and, the children; be able to wear various hats…

Sierra Leone | Ampa Ampong!

The SLFA Normalization Committee's announcement which came Sunday morning disqualifying three of the four contenders for Sierra Leone's football association presidency election was unexpected in some quarters but not surprising. Rodney Michael, Mohamed Kallon and Foday Turay are gone, leaving Isha Johansen the lone candidate standing.

To get some background, Sewa News posed a few questions on Salone's football sphere and here are some answers we got: 
Updates on Salone Footballers, Where are they now's Abdul Kabba:

"FIFA letters are always confidential and cannot be released to the public but the contents can be discussed and were so discussed by a representative of the Normalization Committee. Contents were posted here on this forum.

"Basically, the FIFA letter, just like the previous one to the Electoral Board, stipulated that the Normalization Committee were authorized to act as the electoral committee and that they were to interpret the FIFA code of ethics…

Sierra Leone: Ramadan, Special Month, Special Meaning

Sewa News chatted to Suafiatu Tunis about life and the spirit of Ramadan.

“I'm from Fairo in southern Sierra Leone. I graduated senior high school before joining my husband in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here I was trained in teaching, the equivalent to a Diploma in Education. Teaching is one of the most accessible jobs for women in this part of the world. My responsibilities vary from educating the kids and taking care of their well being to administrative and managerial duties.

"As an extra-curricular activity I am an active member and administrator on social media. One of them is the Voices from the Diaspora Radio Talk Show.

“While pursuing my own goals in terms of education and happiness, I also like to help my community, relatives and friends. What I find most difficult is being in a position where I cannot do anything to help people. I like to be of service, especially to women, children and the aged.  We as human beings are capable of so much more than we give ourselves cred…

Sierra Leone | Rodney Michael Still a Contender for Sierra Leone Football Association Presidency

The Sierra Leone Football Association's elective congress has been postponed for the second time by the Normalization Committee reports Sahr Morris in Concord Times. According to the SLFA public relations officer, the decision to postpone the election, from July 27 to August 3, 2013, was made to allow for district and regional football associations' elections to take place July 24 to 27. This latest decision will now see the Normalization Committee's mandate―which was to end on July 31―extended further, Morris said.

This is not the first time the SLFA congress has been postponed by the interim committee which took over the affairs of the SLFA last December following disagreements over who was eligible to contest for the presidential election.  The normalization committee, set up by the world football governing body, FIFA, to administer the game in Sierra Leone has assured the elections for a new executive to run the affairs of the national football league and the national …

Sierra Leone's First Lady of Football

Isha Johansen is a serial entrepreneur. Twenty years ago, the business graduate who got lured into the world of advertising launched Sierra Leone's first entertainment magazine, Rapture. She also founded the nation's first in-flight publication, Kabo, listing tourist attractions and activities for visitors. A decade later, Isha—the popular scion of Freetown's prominent Tejan-Cole family laden with legal luminaries and football supporters—developed a national breast cancer awareness program to spread the message of breast health as she launched an awards program recognizing outstanding women across the African continent.

Since 2004, Isha has been the chief executive officer (CEO) of Johansen Football Club. FC Johansen, which takes its name from Isha's Norwegian-born husband, Arne, is not just one of Sierra Leone's premier football teams. It's billed as one of the most successful youth clubs in the country. Without a doubt,  another model of an Isha entrepreneuri…