Opinions' free; Facts are sacred
The reports for Wednesday March 29th 2000 will be out later today. It will detail how senior SLPP functionaries called up the Boss Cigarette Company in Germany to threaten them with a complete ban on the sale of their cigarettes in Freetown if certain correspondences were not sent out.... And lots more news reports including the end of the infamous Harry Will Theft Case, the increasing state of lawlessness in the country and of course, we have our Sports Updates for our Sports Fans as well as the next part of the popular Agony of a Collaborator series. In the meantime, readers can visit the newly uploaded second edition of the bi-monthly publication of Expo Times Online at www.expotimes.net So, check back later.
Monday March 27th 2000.
Sheka Mansaray sends Shockwaves
The RUF Leader recently made several allegations that a massive influx of newly trained kamajors from Bonthe had been joining up with older kamajors in the South and East of Sierra Leone with brand new weapons.
Many citizens had dismissed Sankoh’s claims as ludicruous because the government was repeatedly announcing that the kamajor force was being disarmed.
However, the National Security Adviser, Mr. Sheka Mansaray in a recent FM98.1 ‘Meet Di Press’ programme in response to a query about the alleged increasing insecurity on the eastern axis of Sierra Leone caused by an increased numbers of armed kamajors, confirmed that indeed kamajors had been deployed by the government throughout the south and east of Sierra Leone and especially around the Mano River Bridge to forestall any “invasion attempt” by the exiled RUF commando, Maskita Bockarie.
Mr Mansaray told the listening public that in case of secret plans by General Maskita to attack the RUF Headquarters in Kailahun “only the kamajors stationed at the border” can stop Maskita from attacking RUF Buedu Headquarters.
The confirmation that the government is still using kamajors as a fighting force has sent shock waves throughout Freetown’s citizenry.
“I had just dismissed Sankoh’s complaints before I heard Mansaray last night. Now, tell me, how will RUF disarm with their formidable arch enemies being armed to fight? How can Mansaray say kamajors are there to protect RUF Headquarters?” a senior DDR civil servant requesting anonymity fumed to this press.
Many Sierra Leoneans have become distressed with this latest development which might see the whole Disarmament programme torpedoed.
Demby in $ 20,000 bribery scandal
Dr. Albert Joe Demby, the Vice President of Sierra Leone, has been named throughout last week in several local newspapers as having allegedly received a whooping US$ 20,000 bribery from one Lamrana Sow of Jagico Enterprise to help Sow gain the licence as the sole importer of Boss Cigarettes from Germany.
Extensive investigations done by The Pool in the last few days have revealed that the proprietor of Jagico Enterprise and some top Fullah businessmen called on the Vice President with a brown envelope containing US$ 20,000
The vice president in turn, allegedly instructed the Deputy Trade Minster, Theresa Koroma to cancel the licence of Kamtoko Africa Trade Links in favour of Jagiko Enterprise of 6, Lumley Street..
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mike Lamin, says he has nothing to do with the said scandal but that the matter is presently under investigations and the outcome will be made public.
The vice president has not reacted to the allegations that have been repeatedly highlighted by several local presshouses since last week. The Deputy Minister of Trade, Theresa Koroma, when contacted by our reporters vehemently refused to comment on the matter.
Kamtoko Africa Trade Links were granted a licence by the government in 1997 as the sole importers of Boss Cigarettes to Sierra Leone for the next 14 years. But the Ministry refused to renew their licence for this year with no explanation.
INEC registers another Party
The newly sworn in members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday, March 24, issued a final certificate of registration to the People’s democratic Alliance (PDA) party.
INEC’s letter to the Interim leader of PDA, Capt. (Rtd.) Abdul Rahman Kamara, empowers the party organise and hold public meetings.
The letter drew the attention of the party leader to the enormous efforts that are currently being made by all concerned Sierra Leoneans and the International Community to foster, understanding, harmony and reconciliation during the upcoming political process. It therefore urges the party to, “in this critical moment of the implementation of the Lome peace Accord of July 7, 1999, not to do anything that will in any way disturb the peace process”.
Capt. (Rtd) Abdul Rahman Kamara was the Public Relations Officer in the NPRC military regime, where he later resigned to join the People’s Democratic Party in 1996. Following the PDP-SLPP pact to defeat UNPP’s presidential flagbearer, he became the first Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning under President Kabbah in 1996.
This brings to 19 the registered political parties in Sierra Leone. They include the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party, SLPP, United National People's Party, UNPP, People's Democratic Party, PDP, All People's Congress, APC, National Unity Party, NUP, Democratic Centre Party, DCP, National People's Party, NPP, People's Progressive Party, PPP, National Democratic Alliance, NDA, People's National Congress, PNC, National Unity Movement, NUM, Revolutionary United Front Party, RUFP, Social Democratic Party,SDP and the National Alliance Democratic Party, NADP.
More Parties Kick Against Kabbah's INEC Commissioners
The Leaders of several registered political parties have also added their voice to that of PDP's Abdulai Mustapha and RUFP's Foday Sankoh against the way and manner in which President Kabbah selected the newly sworn in INEC Comissioners.
According to reliable reports reaching this press, at least six registered political parties have already written strongly worded letters to President Kabbah protesting the appointment of the INEC Commissioners. These parties include the UNPP, the PPP, the PNC and the RUFP.
More political parties are expected to add their voices to the complaining voices in the coming days.
All the commissioners were first approved by parliament before Kabbah swore them in last Monday. However, only five of the 19 political parties are represented in parliament. And the UNPP parliamentarians are currently estranged from the UNPP Executive Leadership.
Sankoh plans to "Stay Put."
Chairman Foday Sankoh is constantly complaining to the International community and most specifically the moral guarantors to the Lome Peace Accord about the continued marginalisation of the RUFP in the decision making of the state.
“The government of President Kabbah and the rest of the International community must realise that if they continue to marginalise the RUF, then the peace will stay long to come. This is not a threat but an observation.” Sankoh informed reporters at his residence this past weekend.
Commenting on the UN blanket amnesty and the travel ban, Sankoh said the general amnesty was granted to all warring factions, which include the RUF, the AFRC and the government forces (CDF and ECOMOG).
“It is therefore unreasonable to allow other factions who have committed heinous crimes against the people of Sierra Leone to be traveling anywhere without hindrance or travel ban, whilst the RUF personnel are single-handedly targeted to restrict their movement.” Sankoh argued.
“I went to parliament last week and invited the MPs to travel with myself, ECOMOG and UNAMSIL to disarm all RUF personel in Kono and Kailahun. What happened? UNAMSIL blocked all of us from going to Kailahun. Well, I have decided not go to anywhere again, including traveling within Sierra Leone until the issue of the travel ban is clearly ironed out.” Sankoh stated.
“I am staying put in the capital.” he re-emphasised.
Paul Bangura in Character Assasination
Paul Bangura In Assassination Campaign
Mr. Chernor Sesay, a Sierra Leonean born International businessman has denied a local newspaper report of having in possession a licence that gives him authority to trade in diamonds, disregarding the official channels.
The newspaper report alleged that, the Bank of Sierra Leone Governor, James Sampha Koroma and the former AFRC chairman, now chairman of the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (CCP), Johnny Paul Koroma were instrumental in the issuance of the said licence.
Sesay said such allegations are a figment of the writer’s imagination.
He blamed Paul Bangura, the notorious and most controversial businessman during the APC regime for being the brain behind the assassination of his character.
Sesay, who called this press from Senegal to deny the allegation said he is a respectable international businessman with reputable records and added that no amount of character assassination will thwart his efforts to help in convincing international business institutions to invest in Sierra Leone.
Tuberculosis is a silent killer ...WHO Rep
The World Health Organisation Representative in Sierra Leone has described Tuberculosis as a silent killer.
Speaking during a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to mark World TB Day, Dr. Williams Aldis attributed the slow eradication of tuberculosis to the insufficient control strategies. He revealed that 600,000 people in Africa die of the disease every year.
Addressing pressmen, the chairman for the occasion who is also the Director-General of Medical Services described World TB Day as an opportunity to heighten awareness for tuberculosis through the media, and to ensure that the country’s TB burden is recognised both locally and internationally.
Dr. Sheku Tejan Kamara said that tuberculosis kills more adults every year than any other disease. He also revealed that 26% all avoidable deaths are caused by tuberculosis.
Dr. Kamara however opined that no one should die of tuberculosis any longer as there is the DOTS treatment programme which has been successful in large and small countries.
The Director went on to say that in 1999, out of the 3,160 tuberculosis cases treated, 2902 were new cases that were never treated before and 2058 were new pulmonary cases capable of transmitting the disease to other people. “Among those that completed their treatment and whose treatments were evaluated by the programme, 9 out of 10 were declared cured,” Dr. Kamara told pressmen. He attributed what he described as tremendous success to the DOT programme. He said this year’s theme which is Forging New Partnership To Stop TB, is a call to reach out beyond the communities to mobilise efforts to stop TB.
He appealed to medical doctors, the Pharmacy Board, Women’s and Civil Society groups to join the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to fight the spread of tuberculosis.
MARCH 24TH 2000
Striking teachers urge pupils....
In spite of several appeals made by both the Minister of Youths, Education and Sports, Dr. Alpha T.Wurie and the Director General of Education, Alfred Bobson Sesay, members of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) have resolved to go on a nationwide strike effective March 22.
Our Investigative team discovered that school teachers all over the Western area have agreed not to carry out their functions until the SLPP government meet their demands. In most of the schools visited by our team both in the eastend and westend of Freetown, it was found out that even the few teachers that turned up in their schools refused to perform their duties and the school pupils were ordered to return to their homes until their ( teachers’) problems are adequately addressed by the authorities.
In one one of the schools in the eastend of the city a teacher reportedly instructed his pupils saying, “Go home, the SLPP government is useless. We cannot continue to work under such administration in which the Ministers and politicians continue to swing in absolute corruption.”
The teacher who prefered anonymity further disclosed to our investigative team that they as intellectuals cannot allow themselves to be fooled by what he described as “these SLPP corrupt politicians.”
“How do they expect us to survive when they have held on to our salaries and backlog payments for several months?” queried another teacher who have not received his salary for more than four months.
Meanwhile reports reaching this press from our provincial correspondents in Bo and Kenema intimated that teachers in those areas supported the decision reached by the SLTU’s National Executive in Freetown calling for a stay home strike until further notice.
Presidential Affairs Minister Defies Judiciary!!
A case described as disobedience of law and order is being investigated by Police headquarters.
According to reliable sources, the driver of the Presidential Affairs Minister, Ibrahim Kamara, refused to attend court on several occasions after he had been invited.
In Magistrate Court No 8, a warrant of arrest was issued to police constable 1248 Rashid to arrest Ibrahim Kamara.
Sources revealed that when constable Rashid arrived at the driver’s residence known as the House of Exile at Hill Station, he was asked to check at the Presidential Affairs Minister’s residence which is just a few kilometres from the driver’s house. Sources further say Constable Rashid contacted the security officers of the said Minister.
When Mr. Momodu Koroma was informed about the arrest of his driver, he became angry, shouted at the police officer and removed the warrant paper from him, and asked him to quit his residence.
Momodu Koroma told the police officer that his driver Ibrahim Kamara will never appear in court for any case. Sources concluded that the warrant paper was only handed back to constable Rashid by Momodu Koroma when he was already on his way to report the matter to the court.
The driver, Ibrahim Kamara, was said to have assaulted a police officer, Woman Corporal Fudia Kargbo. The case has been taken to court for trial even though Ibrahim and his boss are continuing to disobey law and order.
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