Showing posts from July, 2013

Sierra Leone | Ampa Ampong!

Undated photo of Isha Johansen and Rodney Michael, one of the three disqualified SLFA presidential candidates. Johansen is expected to officially become president after a vote by the SLFA Elective Congress next week.  'Ampa Ampong' was one of the most popular songs during Sierra Leone’s 2012 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections. It was such a hit, Sewa News Stream's Fact Check went in search of the meaning of the folk song. “The song, according to my research into Themneh culture, has to do with the Law,” explained Sheikh Umarr Kamarah, a professor of English and linguistics at Virginia State University. “In those days and even today, some cases would take a very long time before the courts could rule on them. These cases many times involve clans or powerful individuals. Whenever such a case came up, the opposing camps would show up. When eventually a ruling was given, the victorious camp would sing this song. It was/is a victory song, but also a tr

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 ours

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 entrepren

Sierra Leone | Working for International Criminal Justice

July 17 is the Day of International Criminal Justice, a day dedicated to the development and achievements of international criminal justice institutions. For this year’s celebration, which is led by the International Criminal Court, Sewa News features Mohamed Suma, head of the Ivory Coast Program for the International Center for Transitional Justice. I currently serve as the head of the Ivory Coast Program for the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). At ICTJ, we work to help societies in transition from either war or dictatorship to address legacies of human rights violations and build civic trust in state institutions as protectors of human rights. We assist state institutions and civil society to drive changes through truth, accountability, institutional reform and providing redress for victims.  Our support comes in the form of technical assistance, capacity building, and providing comparative experience in transitional justice from elsewhere. As head

Sierra Leone | On the Road Again

Two and half months ago, Kweku Fraser was a newly-minted Somali man. He'd just arrived in Jigjiga, a city in eastern Ethiopia and the capital of the Somali region of the country. "When I moved to Kenya in 1990, I got a job as project manager of a United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/International Labor Organization (ILO) project to sensitize Kenyan bankers towards providing financial services to micro and small enterprises." Since then, Fraser has spent 20 years in a number of other African countries working as a financial inclusion-microfinance consultant. "My profession is banking and finance," he explains. "Basically, it is to advice governments, development partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), banks and various stakeholders involved in financial services provision to poor people, on how best to do so. The objective is for poverty alleviation/wealth creation. I design and implement projects, deliver training, provide technical

Sierra Leone | Community, Family and Work

Ulreen pauses on a sandy beach with an organized youth group  Ulreen Turay is a homemaker, married with three children and a champion of young people. "As we populate the world, let us act and strive to nurture and touch the hearts and minds of our adolescents with love, consideration, integrity and creativity for a peaceful, purposeful and fulfilled existence." Ulreen also directs the Center for Modern Languages and Culture or CEMLAC. "CEMLAC is an institution set up by my mom to cater for foreign and local interpreters and translators for meetings and conferences; and provide other language requirements." In addition, Ulreen co-owns and is the creative director of KotinTri Limited.  "Here we source, promote and market Sierra Leonean things in particular and African in general--fashion, decor, food.  "We also have a family enterprise, MITCO, which I call Reeno's house. This has to do with procurement and products of home inspiration. Mi

President Koroma Outlines Bold Proposals to Make Sierra Leone a Middle Income Country

Middle income countries are important for achieving the world’s development goals. They are an important source of knowledge on development practices and an important source of funds for development. ---Sri Mulyani Indrawati, (Indonesian economist), and managing director of the World Bank Group In Friday's speech, President Koroma outlined a series of bold proposals focused on making Sierra Leone a middle income countr. Among them were initiatives to develop a mutual accountability framework that will be monitored and reported on, to strengthen the partnership between government and development partners, and ensure that the voice and opinion of each and every Sierra Leonean is heard. The president called for every Sierra Leonean to do more to better manage natural resources, and add value to primary products. These proposals complemented other efforts to sustain the fight against corruption, and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. Excerpts from

Sierra Leone | Talking Sports with Leslie Koroma, CEO of the African Sports Media Network

Move over Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City. Sierra Leone’s football clubs are back in town! According to Sierra Express Media , the nation’s 2013-2014 Premier League football competition launched this week with fourteen clubs contesting. Nine venues around the country were selected as playing grounds by the top clubs and a five-man normalization committee. The interim body was set up by the world football governing body, FIFA, to administer the game until an executive is elected by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA). It's been a fractious six months but the backroom politics is over for now as all eyes center on the field. Archive photo taken in 2010 at Sierra Leone's National Stadium just before the Leone Stars vs. South Africa's Bafana Bafana game Of the 14 premiership clubs, this was Friday’s lineup posted in Sierra Express. While Freetown's Ports Authority football club engages FC Johansen at the Wusum Grounds in Makeni, defending champio

Sierra Leone | The Week That Was

Jesmed F Suma , executive director,  Sierra Leone Policy Watch Inc. It's been a busy week in Sierra Leone. News reports say the head of the state-run bank was charged, along with 13 other officials, attempting to steal around $6 million. Local papers also reported that the managing director of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank was one of nine bank officials charged Wednesday afternoon with attempting to defraud the bank of $4.8 million. The officials were denied bail until their next court date next week, reports say. In a separate case, four people were also charged Wednesday with attempting to steal just over $1 million from First International Bank, according to press reports. Speaking to journalists and civil society representatives, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara,  the beleaguered head of Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission,  reportedly said both cases were evidence of “wanton greed.” Based on recent Transparency International corruptions perceptions index, the AP concl

Sierra Leone | Mano Vision Revisited

Magazines, says Ronald Taylor-Lewis, will always sell. But tastes have changed so much, glossy magazines that cover gossip, sex, cars, sport, lifestyle and celebrities will always be more popular than magazines that give facts and analysis. In today's world,  media coverage has evolved to make much more use of the internet, he adds. Ronald was a founding member of Mano Vision magazine, which is no longer in print. "People appear to want instant coverage that print media struggles to cope with. This is something we realized early on, and we tried to focus on coverage of things outside of the mainstream news.” he says. U.K.-based members of Mano Vision on the 5th anniversary of the magazine in 2002. Mano Vision was formed in 1997 by a group of Sierra Leonean professionals keen to produce a general interest magazine designed to attract a readership among the west African diaspora, in particular that of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia and Guinea. Their mission: To promo