Posted by: APO | 20 November 2007



Public Information Office (PIO) of UNIOSIL – 20 November 2007


[Disclaimer: Excerpts below are from print media and news agency dispatches. UNIOSIL cannot vouch for the accuracy of the media reports].


Petrol scare hits Freetown as drivers queue at filling stations

The queues for petrol at fuel stations on Monday this week dominate the front pages of most tabloids in the country. While some of the newspapers mostly pro-SLPP trivialize the all important issue giving it a political face, others give the real picture of the event. Democrat, Awoko, and New Vision make mockery of the situation by suggesting that the country has gone back to the ugly days of queuing for petrol. Their reports create the scenario that the ruling APC government is incapable of running the government, and that they would reverse all the gains made by the SLPP. Awareness Times report in its front page suggests that there is no petrol shortage and that the artificial scarcity was as a result of a pending increase in petrol production by oil companies consistent with the world market. The Trumpet on the other hand reports that the shortage was as a result of a stand-off between the government and the oil companies; the oil companies want to increase the price of petrol in line with an increment in the world market, but that they were meeting stiff resistance from the government as any unreasonable increase may affect the nation. But the Minster of Trade, Industry and State Enterprise, Alimamy Philip Koroma, reportedly told Concord Times that there was no fuel shortage in the country; and that the oil companies had assured him that they would investigate as to why petrol was hoarded that resulted in long queues at fuel stations, which embarrassed the government.


US Envoy optimistic of ‘positive change’ in Sierra Leone

United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, has reportedly expressed optimism for a brighter future for the people of Sierra Leone, following a meeting with President Ernest Bai Koroma; and other senior government officials at State House. Dr Frazer, who represented the United States Government at the Inauguration Ceremony of President Koroma, said she was pleased to meet with the new President; pointing out that her meeting was fruitful as the President and senior government officials spoke positively about their vision for the country. She said that though the President and his government were determined to improve the livelihood of Sierra Leoneans, they should translate that into action. She urged the President to harness the positive momentum of the elections and the subsequent transition of power to progress towards its development aspirations. She expressed her government’s commitment to helping the people of Sierra Leone in their efforts to achieve prosperity and a brighter future for themselves, and their generations, Awoko and The Exclusive report.


PMDC members point accusing fingers at their leader

Supporters of the People’s Movement for Democrat Change (PMDC) have voiced their frustration at the manner in which the party leader, Charles Margai, is handling the affairs of the party. The aggrieved members accused Mr. Margai of running the party all by himself without due regard for members of the party and laid down rules and regulations. They reportedly told The
Exclusive that Mr. Charles Margai had appointed party members, mostly from the Diaspora, to strategic positions in the party, particularly for cabinet positions, snubbing the bulk of party loyalists that had made sacrifices for the survival of the party. The members expressed their fears that if the excesses of their leader were not put under control, the party would be heading for catastrophe. Some members were reportedly contemplating rejoining the SLPP or metamorphose to the ruling APC. PMDC spokesperson, Mohamed Bangura, denied that the PMDC cabinet ministers were hand picked by Mr. Margai, and appointed at an executive meeting without any objection. Mr. Bangura said he was surprised why some members were complaining now after they had given a no objection to the cabinet nominees. “If those who are complaining now had any problem with those names, they should have made that known to the NEC,” he is quoted as saying. The story is reported in the Independent Observer.


Civil Society dismayed with Auditor General’s Office

The Coalition of Civil Society and Human Rights Activists had reportedly expressed dismay over the laggardness, impotency and failure of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to execute its constitutional responsibilities. According to Standard Times, in spite of the support the OAG receives from government and its development partners such as the UN and DFID to enhance its capacity, Sierra Leone had been rated by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt in the world. The Coalition has organized series of regional seminars to inter-alia enlighten various stakeholders about the Financial and Audit Reports of the Government of Sierra Leone; and on monitoring of various financial reports with a view to advocating for the consideration and implementation of the reports. Related, New Vision reports that the en-mass resignation of auditors of the Commission due to poor management had caused serious concern for government. The article also reveals that 22 out of the 100 newly recruited staff had resigned due to various anomalies plaguing the Commission.


Woman sentenced to death by hanging

Presiding Magistrate of the Makeni High Court, Northern Sierra Leone, Gambian-born Mary Sey, had reportedly sentenced Mary Sampa to death by hanging after she was found guilty for murdering the three-month-old son of her mate, Mabinty Kamara, The New Citizen details, adding that the three-month-old son was left in the company of a blind man, when the accused covertly administered caustic soda to the baby that died shortly afterwards. It is also revealed that all the jurors returned a verdict of guilt against Mary Sampa, although it was not known whether she had a right to appeal, and when it would be heard as the convict remains in police custody.


(Compiled by UNIOSIL, Public Information Office)


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