REVIEW OF SIERRA LEONE MEDIA REPORT
Public Information Office (PIO) of UNIOSIL – 1 November 2007
[Disclaimer: Excerpts below are from print media and news agency dispatches. UNIOSIL cannot vouch for the accuracy of the media reports].
President Koroma lauds UN Mission for improving governance
The United Nations mission in Sierra Leone has received commendation from President Ernest Bai Koroma for its vital role in improving governance in the country. President Koroma used the occasion of the orientation seminar for Members of Parliament aimed at enhancing their participation in governance, to profile the work of the United Nations system in the country such as in building national capacity for long-term peace and security; and in the process creating the foundation for sustainable development. He reminded Parliamentarians that in a democratic system, they would be judged on the basis of their performance and reminded them about the high expectations of the people. He expressed optimism that a number of training sessions would be organized to enhance the performance of Parliamentarians with support from the United Nations, and other international partners. New Citizen quotes the President as asserting, “if we are to accomplish the democratic objectives of the rule of law, human rights and political pluralism, we must strengthen the capacities of key institutions in state governance like the House of Parliament.”
Transport Minister poised to wage war on misuse of government vehicles
Transport and Aviation Minister, Kemoh Sesay, has vowed to curb the misuse of government vehicles by ensuring that government vehicles are used judiciously and specifically for government functions. He reportedly told African Campion that his Ministry would ensure that government vehicles are used between 6:30 am and 6:30pm -the normal working hours- except otherwise authorized by the appropriate authorities. Mr. Kemoh Sesay disclosed that government had been spending billions of Leones on the procurement of spear parts and maintenance, most times as a result of overusing the facility. He maintained that the effective use of government vehicles would save the government much needed revenue and the life of the vehicles would be prolonged.
President Koroma to embark on peace tour
In the wake of the keenly contested elections, President Ernest Bai Koroma is expected to embark on a nationwide peace and reconciliation tour after his inauguration. Sourcing Presidential and Public Affairs Minister, Alpha Kanu, Concord Times reveals that the peace tour would help cement the north/south political divide in the country. He reportedly underscored that the 14-day tour would be an excellent move aimed at consolidating peace and reconciliation in the country and appealed to his colleagues to come onboard and work assiduously for the betterment of the country.
Youth Coalition moves to empower its following
In a bid to empower unemployed youths for sustainable livelihood in the mountainous communities of Freetown, while protecting the environment, the National Youth Coalition on Wednesday, 31 October 2007, launched a Le 82 million fuel wood project. President of the National Youth Collation, Ismael Al Sankoh Conteh reportedly pointed out that the first phase of the project would target the planting of three thousand trees in a five-acre land to replace the rapid depletion of trees. The youth President further enlightened that the second phase of the project would include the planting of fuel and fruit trees while the third would be geared towards empowering youths in business ventures. The United Nations Development Program Assistant in the former Ministry of Youth and Sports, Manso Bangura, recalled that the water crisis experienced in Freetown in 2006 was attributed to deforestation and appealed for cooperation from members of the community according to Standard Times.
APC means business – majority leader of Parliament claims
Majority leader of Parliament, Hon Edward Turay has told members of Parliament that the APC government would create the enabling environment to enhance private sector development so as to revitalize the country’s economy, The Exclusive reports. He said without a vibrant private sector, employment opportunities would be nil and the economy would not grow. Government, he said, was prepared to work with genuine investors who were willing and ready to invest in the country. He informed investors in different parts of the world that Sierra Leone was ready for business, and assured them of government’s protection, provided their intention is genuine. “I want to assure all genuine investors that they will be welcomed by the government as we are keen to improve the country’s economy” he is quoted as saying.
Paper comments on Government’s solution to youth employment
A front page commentary in the New Citizen highlights that President Ernest Bai Koroma, in his party’s manifesto, asked youths to overwhelmingly vote him as President so that he would create job opportunities for them, stressing that by all indications the new government is seriously tackling the youth employment dilemma in more than one way. The writer also opines that the expected resuscitation of the energy sector alone would bring countless opportunities that many youths would capitalize on as the springboard to the development of industries that have the capacity to create job opportunities. The writer further states that President Koroma had declared zero-tolerance on corruption and that he was hotly pursing corrupt elements in society albeit meticulously. Literacy, the writer points out, is another priority area of the President, considering the need for a viable skilled workforce. However, the piece points out that while the President was exploring opportunities for the youths some of them were busy engaging in acts of violence and indiscipline; going on the rampage for reasons inimical to attracting investors. He admonished youths to be law-abiding.
(Compiled by UNIOSIL, Public Information Office)