Showing posts from February, 2015

A Tough Week for Sierra Leone, But Hope Remains

Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumuna's office said Saturday that he has put himself under quarantine for 21 days, after one of his body guards was confirmed to have died from Ebola virus disease earlier this week. The latest development came as Sierra Leone registered a rise in new cases as the nation races to control Ebola. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, the steep decline in cases nationally from December until the end of January has halted. A significant proportion of cases are still arising from unknown chains of transmission. On Thursday, the government reintroduced a number of restrictions that had been lifted earlier this year. A statement from President Ernest Bai Koroma's office ordered public transport operators to reduce capacity by 25 per cent to limit physical contact between passengers. The government also placed a night-time curfew on unloading goods from commercial vehicles and limited the movements of water transport. The v

National Disagreements: Wrestling with An Audit in the Midst of Ebola

Mohamed Gibril Sesay, one of Sierra Leone's leading social and political commentators, thinks the recent Report on the Audit of the Management of Ebola Funds has initiated one of the most animated discussions ever in Sierra Leone.  The Auditor General has initiated one of the most animated discussions ever in Sierra Leone about what the Constitution says about relationships between some agencies, and also forced many persons and institutions to give public account of their use of funds -- in the process educating many about per diems, banking procedures, receipts, etc. It is also entrenching the people's right to discuss. Some of these discussions have been instructive and constructive, showing concern for accountability. Some have been by people who feel rightfully wronged by perceptions created by the reports about them, and have given public rebuttals. There are those who are using these rebuttals to discredit the totality of the report; and there are those

Cattle Theft on the Rise | District and local law enforcement work together to seek justice

Mongo Division’s rural police have an ongoing investigation into cattle theft. Sewa News reporter Alpha B. Barrie followed Mongo police officers as they attended a recent incident. Koinadugu — Police Superintendent Mohamed Sesay and his officers have discovered a site where cattle from Folosaba Dembeleya Chiefdom are suspected to have been butchered. Cattle theft is affecting the livelihood of farmers and local people. Superintendent Sesay (right) said they got reports of a missing cow from farmer-rancher Issa Barrie, who said that about eight of his cows had gone missing between June last year and January 2015. One of his weaning calves has been left without a mother. The police boss said that his officers together with cattle ranchers went to Wawakureh village, where carcasses and bones were found in a forest clearing. He said the site is close to a stream where local people get water for their families and wash clothes every day. Police arrested ten people including the

Ebola survivors in Kenema

Recently, Sall Tee Jay travelled to Kenema, the third largest city in Sierra Leone, to meet Ebola survivors -- widows, widowers, and children who had successfully gone through treatment after caring for their close relatives and loved ones. Lansana Tarawally (in white cap) used to be a truck driver. Now jobless, the father of four says he spends a lot of time knocking on doors at humanitarian organizations in Kenema District. Today, he is among a group of Ebola survivors at the Ben Hirsch Child Care Centre in Kenema town. "I am up and down, wondering how to take care of my children,’’ Tarawally said. “That is why I only have two of them with me while the other two are in my village.” Tarawally contracted Ebola from his father-in-law, who reportedly got it from a friend he helped up after a fall. In all, fifteen members of Tarawally’s family died of Ebola, including his wife. Next to Tarawally was Mrs. Mariama Koroma, a widow. Her husband was a police officer. He died fro

Roads and Bridges | Changing the picture

Magbele bridge (and Mabang) have been ready for fixing for years. Recently, Alpha B. Barrie visited Magbele and spoke to the Ministry of Works, Housing & Infrastructural Development and the Sierra Leone Roads Aunthority.  Magbele Bridge--Magbele Bridge, which crosses over the Rokel River, is on the road from Freetown to Conakry and part of the West African Coastal Road. Isatu Sesay recalls that when they heard about the collapse of the Mabang Bridge two February's ago, many vehicles stopped using the Magbele bridge road. “Travellers go around the Mile 91 Magburaka road,” she said. “But if the bridge is in proper order, we will be able to sell our vegetables and feed our children.” Abdul Babagalleh Barrie, currently the acting minister in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Works, Housing, and Infrastructure Development, said aid had been secured from the European Development Fund to reconstruct the bridges. “The dangers that the bridges pose to the lives of the public

Hassan Bangurah | The People's Artist

In his heyday, Hassan Bangurah travelled the world promoting Sierra Leonean art.  One of his last exhibitions at the old London Commonwealth Art Gallery from December 1978 to January 1979 was a highlight of his trailblazing career. Bangurah'a signature artwork include sketches, drawings, oil paintings, murals, and watercolors. Along with Miranda Olayinka Burney-Nicol, another famed Sierra Leone government artist, they belonged to what an American anthropologist called the first generation of African artists who drew on European media to portray images from Africa. Like Burney-Nicol, who studied murals and oil panting at art school in London, Bangurah graduated from the University of London’s Goldsmith College of Art. On his return from England, he worked for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Services to develop programs tailored to an emerging post-colonial nation. He also worked as a design artist for the Mano River Union, an international association established in 1973 betwee