REVIEW OF SIERRA LEONE MEDIA REPORTS
Public Information Office (PIO) of UNIOSIL – 31 March 2008
[Disclaimer: Excerpts below are from print media and news agency dispatches. UNIOSIL cannot vouch for the accuracy of the media reports].
Human Rights Commission appeals for support
The Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Jamestina King, has appealed to donors and the international community for support noting that the success of the Commission rests on sustainable funding, Awareness Times reports. Speaking during a one-day review meeting on the Peacebuilding Fund Project, Mrs. King said since its establishment the Commission had embarked on numerous programmes geared at the protection and promotion of human rights in the country; and underscored that if human rights were to be improved in the country, the Commission needs to be provided with the required support.
APC – PMDC clash at Port Loko
A report in the Independent Observer says youths believed to be members of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), allegedly attacked supporters of the opposition Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), past Friday in Port Loko, ahead of the by-election. National Publicity Secretary of the PMDC, Mohamed Bangura, reportedly accused irate APC youths of attacking PMDC party agents in six polling stations with the intension of disrupting the by-election. Mr. Mohamed Bangura however assured that the incident had nothing to do with the good relationship between the PMDC and the APC. “In fact the relationship between the two parties is getting stronger by the day,” he stated. He blamed the incident on a few individuals who claimed to be APC
President Koroma takes Bumbuna Hydro dam one step forward
President Koroma over the weekend released the stop-plug at the Bumbuna Dam in the presence of donors and the international community; thereby taking one step forward to the build-up of the quantity of flood required for the dam to start operation. The President was cheered by the high powered delegation that accompanied him including residents of Bumbuna town when climbing the ladder to release the stop-plug. During his inaugural address to the nation President Koroma assured the people of Sierra Leone that the completion of Bumbuna Electric Dam would be his prime target. The Dam is expected to reach its peak by June this year and the entire project is expected to be completed later in the year, Awareness Times reports.
Low turn-out in by-elections
reports of low voter turn-out in the by-elections conducted on last Saturday, 29 March. Residents of Constituency 49 in the Maforki chiefdom, Port Loko District, reportedly cast the blame for the low turn-out on officials of the National Electoral Commission, who allegedly failed to adequately sensitise the people. One resident claimed that about 70% of the constituents were not aware of the by-election. On his part, an APC party agent put the blame of the people who he reportedly said had no interest in the election. The by-elections pitched 12 candidates from mainly the three largest political parties – APC, PMDC and SLPP – contesting for four seats in the north and western area.
23 defect to APC in Kono
23 Members of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have reportedly defected to the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party. Addressing party supporters in the eastern town of Kono, the deputy district chairman of the SLPP lamented that the District Chairman and 22 councilors had cross-carpeted to the APC. The deputy chairman however said that no amount of desertion could dampen their spirit to contest the Local Council elections, reports Awoko.
(Compiled by UNIOSIL, Public Information Office)