By Harold Saffa
The storm clouds are gathering, the sounds of distance thunder heralding the dawn of a new era could be heard. In its wake is the coming of a political tsunami that will sweep away a divisive and discredited order. It is little wonder then that Usman Boie Kamara has blown the trumpet for those of his creed to clamber on board what he has described as “Noah’s Ark” in order to escape to what is certain to be a destination called political irreverence.
Perhaps there can be no better example of the decadence and moral bankruptcy of our country than Usu Boie himself, for this is a man who thought that he could deploy his questionable source of wealth to purchase the Leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). It was an audacious move by a man who is hardly a Deputy Ministerial material, let alone President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The SLPP delegates who took the decision to deny Usu Boie his ambition will forever be regarded as the men and women who did not only rescue a formidable political institution, but the nation as well. Usu Boie is perfectly at home where he is. He is amongst those who believe that anyone can be bought as long as the price is right.
He has joined a creed whose leadership has turned the national coffers into a one man piggy bank, and uses it to distribute money like a drunken sailor. The plundering of the nation’s resources under this creed has reached an alarming crescendo. They are not only entering into dubious obligations on behalf of the country for its huge mineral resources, but that they have set about squandering even the little profit due to the country. This creed has given a new meaning to the term ‘assets strippers.’ There is a palpable sense of panic as Usu Boie’s new political masters begin to sense that the nation has all but made up its mind to see the back of what they see as pirates.
It is refreshing therefore that they have chosen an ark as their means to escape the coming tsunami. But this is an ark of division, a wedge that has awakened the sort of ethnic jealousies that has been a source of conflict in other distant lands. When five years ago the leadership of this discredited creed stood in front of our coat of arms inscribed with the words ‘Unity, Freedom and Justice,’ swearing to uphold those values, one would have hoped that Sierra Leone will today be a nation more united, more at ease with itself, with an even-handed dispensation of justice. Today, each of those three national missions is being undermined. We do not only see opposition leaders beaten into coma, but that they continue to be hounded through politically motivated trials.
This is an ark of repression, for one can see the contours of a dictatorship emerging with all the state apparatus being deliberately designed to ensure the emergence of a coercive state; the armed Police Force, interference in the judiciary, intolerance of alternative opinions etc. The effects have already begun to show. One now sees a disturbing display of a trigger happy Police Force, whose attitude to human life is nothing but a throw-back to a lost decade when the lives of our compatriots became so cheap. When citizens take issues with their employers in legitimate industrial disputes as happened recently with the Africa Minerals employees, they are fired on with live bullets. When youths form themselves in neighbourhood watches to protect their areas, in itself an increasing sign of the breakdown of law and order under the watch of this creed, they get killed in cold blood. This is part of a political strategy by the regime to coerce and mould the populace into submission. The irony is that this was a creed that came to power through the ballot box even if under highly questionable circumstances. They however have no faith in the ballot box, which is why they have chosen the militarisation of the country to ensure their grubby hold on power.
Usu Boie’s ark is an ark of national backwardness, because education which is the raw material for national development has become a non-priority for his creed. No one can fail to see the contradiction in the behaviour of a government that appears to have no problems in importing expensive fleet of jeeps to ferry the regime and its hangers-on around the country, but is apparently unable or unwilling to provide something as basic as papers for students to write their exams on. Sierra Leone shares the dubious history with countries such as Rwanda, which also went through a horrific war. Whilst the Rwandese have decided to prioritise education, and ensuring that such essential modern educational tools like the internet are provided even for school going children in the rural areas, our own government has not only failed to so, but even decided to remove one of the most imaginative and progressive schemes introduced by the last SLPP government, the free education of the girl child.
The so-called Noah’s Ark is an ark containing a time bomb. Usu Boie and his creed can choose to clamber on board to make their escape, but they will be leaving behind the future of the youths dangerously uncertain. You cannot address the pressing problems of the youths by simply distributing money to them in car wash bases. They need a carefully thought-through policy initiative that can make them employable, independent, and responsible members of the society of the type laid out by Rtd. Brigadier Bio in his Chatham House speech.
It is an open secret that this is an ark that lacks national direction and purpose.
It is an ark of deceit as they set about, (as they have been doing during these five barren years), appropriating, and in some instances undermining the achievements of the last SLPP. When this current government talks about infrastructural developments, one would be forgiven for thinking that this was part of their policy agenda for which they had gone out and negotiated all the funding for such projects. Some other honest administrations would give credence to their predecessors for putting in place the necessary ideas and structures for such foresighted national programs, but not this one, they would rather air brush any traces of a role by the previous government. Very impressive and innovative reconstruction institutions like NASSIT, NRA for example, are not only weakened today, but that they have been subjected to the greed and avarice of this creed.
We are witnessing the departure of an ark of national economic polarisation. Whilst the leadership of Usman Boie’s creed continue to increase their wealth, the rest of the country continues to eke out a living in very difficult circumstances. It is this type of inequality that has awakened the consciousness of the people to effect a change. Usman Boie perhaps recognises this; he and his creed are an endangered species, which is why he has clambered on board what he calls Noah’s Ark. One hopes that they finally sail into oblivion.
Africa stands up on ending climate vulnerability and poverty
By Bampia Bundu
Climate change poses major challenges to human survival in Africa and the impacts are indiscriminate and not necessarily place-based. The problems of many African countries are compounded by severe environmental damage including deforestation, soil erosion and biodiversity loss.
According to some field research by the members of African Federation of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ), African farmers have been involved in conservation agriculture for a number of years which has helped small-scale farmers in Africa maximize their yields through control of soil erosion, soil stabilization, water harvesting and use of farmland manure.
This approach has reduced labour demands and lowered the cost of input considerably, creating time for farmers to be involved in other productive activities inside and outside their farms. Some of the farmers have redirected the saved income into making fish ponds and biogas units; activities that supplement one another ensuring household food security even in times when rains are erratic and unreliable.
Accelerating the delivery of these self-driven actions need strengthening the ability of the African environmental Journalists and also a vital one with important outcomes to integrate climate responses into national, regional and global development processes as well as sharing information and knowledge on addressing the impacts thus providing a solid base in mobilizing people into collective actions in finding solutions.
Raising awareness of climate change requires accurate information and multi and mass media in channelling the information. The role of the media in helping drive society towards addressing climate change in adaptation needs is highly limited in Africa. This requires more vocal coverage and calls for more actions using various tactics and media outlets and it is important in avoiding misinterpretation and setting unrealistic expectations.
Therefore, the African Federation of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ) and its members consisting of twenty four member associations from the entire African region are highly demanded to build their capacities and get financial support in order to implement their second phase pilot project.
This means that AFEJ is now aiming to build the capacity of its members to enable doing rapid reaction coverage on climate change and food security as well as environmental problems across the region through professional approaches. This second phase project will be based on awareness raising and training of the AFEJ members from different countries and representing different numbers of Journalists on the ground.
‘Let Usu Bioe show the 600 SLPP he took to the APC’
…SLPP Musa Tamba Sam demands
By Zainab Kanu
The National Publicity Secretary of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, Hon. Tamba Musa Sam has said that Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara should publish the list of the six hundred members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) he reportedly took to the All Peoples Congress (APC), on Saturday, June 9 when he cross-carpeted to the ruling APC.
He maintained that it was the SLPP who first expelled Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara because, after losing the SLPP Presidential candidacy election to Retired Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio, he showed no interest in working with the party even after the party executive went to his house to congratulate him on his performance and appealed to him to continue his good work for the party.
He explained that since that time Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara stopped going to the party office ar even take part in the activities of the party.
He said he was shocked when he once heard Mr. Kamara saying that he was neither a member of the SLPP nor of the APC.
He stressed that leadership is from God and not by force, and that the choice of Mr. Bio to lead the part was the will of God.
He maintained that the SLPP was not shaken by theses defections as it was more of ridding the party of rubbish.
Solar energy training begins
By Femi Coker
The United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), on Monday June 10 commence a ten Day training for thirty five participants comprising twenty five Sierra Leonean and fifteen Liberians at the Barefoot Women Solar College, Konta Line Chiefdom in the Port Loko District .
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Oluniyi Robin Coker, said the training was very important and timely as it gave both countries the opportunity to be exposed as to the technology of renewable energy.
He noted that Sierra Leone possess great potentials for energy even when there are still challenges being faced in the sector.
He explained that solar energy complements hydro electrification while hydro electrification also complements the solar energy.
He called on the participants to put into practice what they will learn in the ten days training programme.
In his statement, the Head of UNIDO operation in Sierra Leone, Dr. Kargbo, stated that over the last two years his organization has established growth centres in some parts of the country where they have installed panels and are now supplying to these communities.
He stressed that there is need to train people for the maintenance and sustainability of the energy system in the respective growth centres.
He also explained that the workshop will train participants in PV technology to enable them understand its various components.
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Sierra Leone gets new sport