It cannot be denied that the cost of living has been affected by the removal of government subsidy on fuel –which was not really a government creation but one of the conditionalities given by the IMF to help mobilize local resources to confront the economic slowdowm brought about by the ebola outbreak and the decline in the price of our iron ore in the international commodity market.
When the first country in the World comes up with an election result that not only surprise everyone but baffles right thinking people about the sanity of a process that would see a winner of the popular vote being relegated to second place because of a formula that should have long been become obsolete. The result of the American election has for the first time created a crisis of confidence in electioneering that far outraged those who were entangled in the chards issue, about whether the chards were hanging or botched. When one considers the prospect of tampering in this election, it becomes clear why the tried and tested way of counting ballots are held in such high esteem. The crisis of confidence stems from the pressure to report in real time, to the extent that technology has now supplanted the fixed eyes of voting agents and as such the disregard of accountability of the voting system is replaced with speed and the technical possibility of manipulation.
You feel as though the walls of sanity are closing in, stifling the corridors of your mind. It feels like a black pit of endless gloom is engulfing you. You might either be losing touch with reality or trying to grasp, limply, the receding waves of your mind. You know that you need help, you need someone to talk to, preferably a professional, someone who would listen without judgement and with genuine professional concern, except that there are no professional therapists in your country and the only place you will be sent to escape those closing walls is derogatively called “kres yard ”,the only government psychiatric hospital in the country. This is the plight of many Sierra Leoneans who suffer from the early onsets of mental illness-from mild depression to the early stages of schizophrenia. In a country that has only one psychiatrist (officially retired) ,mental illness still remains a taboo, and yet again, women are caught up in the layered challenges of accessing mental health resources in Sierra Leone.
“Sorbeh” is a common expression often used by the vast majority of the thirteen tribes in Sierra Leone to connote ‘seriousness’, ‘urgency’ and in some cases ‘hard work’ in the conduct of one’s affairs. When a person, people or a nation are drifting away from the core values, tenets and vision that will make them the envy of all and have rather become the shame to all then they are called upon to ‘hold sorbeh’ (to be serious).
Therefore, in the Sierra Leonean context, now,just over a year to the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections is perhaps the most opportune time to be serious (hold sorbeh) about everything around us. With our people wallowing in abject poverty, our country at the bottom of all UN development and social index and our economy in dire need of resuscitation; we desperately need to be ‘serious’ about national issues especially on how we use our future votes to determine our destiny.
Elections are due in Sierra Leone in February 2018. The people of Sierra Leone are yearning for change. President Koroma and his ruling APC will face an electorate that has seen their fortunes, hopes of economic prosperity and improved standard of living dashed.
With an average annual government budget of Le4 Trillion (Four Trillion Leones) – equivalent to about $1 Billion a year, expectations of a much better quality of life for the people of Sierra Leone have been high.
Poverty and early death for both adults and children have worsened, since the ruling APC party took office in 2007, with a manifesto promise of improved prosperity and greater standard of living.
By: Julius Maada Bio Media and Communications Team
For the past weeks our political debates have been dominated by government austerity measures, corrupt procurement activities in the public sector, the sale of government quarters and the callous plan to remove subsidy from petroleum products.
Journalists, political commentators, political parties, politicians and civil society organisations have all slapped down the government on the austerity measures, the avalanche of corruption and fraud in public sector procurement, the sale of government quarters and the insensitive plan to remove subsidy from petroleum products.
Silently pondering about the future of our beloved Sierra Leone in my Chambers last Friday, my thoughts were briefly interrupted by a report on Radio Democracy FM 98.1 (Good Morning Sa Lone) about the social impact of the ongoing economic downturn on the youth of Sierra Leone. It was rather disheartening to learn that even a self-employed young trader can hardly afford one meal a day in contemporary Freetown.
I became rather curious about present trends in the country and decided to venture out and about the capital Freetown, last weekend to hear the voices and concerns of my compatriots most of whom are fed up with life and the daily news emanating from the traditional and new media aboutthis ailing nation. The voices of our people both from within Sierra Leone and from the diaspora about daily happenings only lends credence to this sad narrative.
Conspiracy theories and counterproductive gossip go no way near the destructive effects of the “bring him down” syndrome. Unfortunately, this syndrome has been perfected amongst Sierra Leoneans to a high art. The inevitable bad heart and bad blood that underpins such behavior is endemic amongst such a small population where some feel that their own lives cannot be enriched unless they compare themselves to others, that they are only better assessed when they can point a finger to someone else to say he is a bad person, so bad that I have to be good compared to him. What most people fail to understand is that bad blood and gossip really plays against the accuser than the accused. You see, when you start to talk bad about someone with whom you happen to have bad blood, the reflection people see of you is nothing but a display of the vitriol that only self-hate can generate. People see you as a foul person because they tend to put themselves in the shoes of the person being accused.
I listened to Palo Conteh, the Minister of Internal Affairs, shooting from the hips in an interview in which he was literarily telling the world, with all the glee of a grim reaper, to go to hell; as Sierra Leone will soon hasten the despatch of anyone sentenced to death for drawing blood from another person.
Fair enough, on the face of it, he has a good point that the law is still very much in our statutes. But I’m not sure that killing is the answer. I am not sure that the increasing wave of dastardly acts, is a reason to go down that barbaric road with all pomp and pageantry, when the nation, its people and its resources are being systematically dismembered to the distrustful swagger and mocking actions and words of national undertakers who don the garb of statesmen and leaders?
Social media plays an important role during an outburst of an epidemic or an infectious disease globally. It serves as an information source for health experts and victims. During an emergency situation, millions of people are talking about an infectious disease online. Millions of tweets, Facebook and Whatsapp posts are shared online; and organizations like the World Health Organization WHO and the United Nation are using infographics to issue advice.
I listened to Palo Conteh, the Minister of Internal Affairs, shooting from the hips in an interview in which he was literally telling the world, with all the glee of a grim reaper, to go to hell, because his government will soon hasten the dispatch of anyone sentenced to death for drawing blood from another person.
Fair enough, on the face of it, he has a good point that the law is still very much in our statutes. But I’m not sure that state killing is the answer.
Mr. Paul Abu Contehrecently returned home to raise the profile of Social Work in Sierra Leone. He is a MastersDegree holder in Social Work and International Development and currently serves as lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Social Work- Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Conteh isalso Program Manger of an NGO called Global Connection Partnership Network. He talks to Social Workers Sierra Leone (SWSL) on his experience and why he thinks social work education is important to the development of the country.
SWSL: Can you tell us briefly about yourself?
Conteh:I am Paul AbuConteh, was born in the early 90s. For me social work started since I was a boy,because I grew up with my parents who encouraged me to be involved with community service. My mother happens to be a professional counselor and my father was a theologian. So the idea of socia work- helping people and commitment to community development - has a big part of my DNA.
This month of September is very important as it marks the beginning of THE COUNT DOWN TO THE FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL ELECTIONS - Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council, and the National Referendum on the "to be Constitution of Sierra Leone".
The Constitution of Sierra Leone is the FOUNTAIN from which all other LAWS flow.
Launching the CRC on 30th July, 2013, President Ernest Bai Koroma stated "this (the CRC) is a Committee constituted from people of every Region, Political Affiliation, and Socio-economic Group, to perform a sacred task".
Introduction The recent “revenge” shooting deaths of largely white police officers by Black gunmen in response to the spate of White police officers killings of Black men over the past few years have open wide America’s festering racial wound. While there have been even more horrid “racial murders” in the past, the recent tit-for-tat slayings put America in a very precarious situation. If this is not a timely clarion call for a concerted action to fight the canker of racial hatred, one wonders what else is. That all this should be unfolding under the guard of the first Black president in us history is so ironic and tragic.
Young people in Kabala have shown remorse, regretting the unseemly incident in the last weeks when they went on rampage in the District Headquarter Town, burning down public property and a fracas that resulted in some deaths by shooting. In a packed meeting at the Council Offices on Saturday 27th August 2016, Youth Chairman of Kasongo Youth Council and vice Chair of Koinadugu District Youth Council made a passionate pleas for clemency on behalf of all young people in the District and particularly so for the District Youth Executive, some of whose members have fled the District to avoid criminal investigation and prosecution.
As I used to say, not because I am currently living in a relatively peaceful country with my family, therefore, I should forget about the wellbeing of my brothers and sisters’ Sierra Leoneans in the country. In view of that as a true and honest concerned Sierra Leonean living thousands of miles away from my small but rich country call Sierra Leone, I am always concerned about its peace, security, progress and development.
Inspector General of Police Francis Alieu Munu held a high level meeting with the National Youth Council to discuss pertinent issues on youth engagement, community participation and the need for young people to develop themselves in readiness for leadership for the future. In speaking at a closed door meeting with some members of the Executive of the National Youth Council, The Police boss admonished them to be law abiding citizens, cautioned them that when someone gets convicted of a criminal offence, that puts the future of that person in jeopardy as the prospect for public elective office, high public positions and even Presidential appointments would be denied them. He demonstrated this to the youth leaders by saying that even the prospect of visas to travel will be denied because of a criminal record. A crime is a crime, even the lowest of crimes are all criminal and any contravention in the law that results in a police and criminal record puts your future at risk, the IG advised.