Posted by: APO | 11 January 2008

REVIEW OF SIERRA LEONE MEDIA REPORTS


REVIEW OF SIERRA LEONE MEDIA REPORTS

Public Information Office (PIO) of UNIOSIL – 11 January 2008

 

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

 

Three political parties hold strategy meetings

The three biggest political parties including the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC); the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP); and Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), have scheduled to meet over the weekend in different parts of the country to strategise for the bye and local government elections scheduled for May and July respectively. According to The Exclusive, the ruling APC would hold a three-day consultative meeting at the Northern town of Bumbuna, while the opposition SLPP and the PMDC would hold similar consultations in Bo and Freetown. The APC would be meeting to put modalities in place to extend their grip on the South-East where they are weak, while the SLPP would be converging to brainstorm where they went wrong in the past elections and chat a way forward for the coming local government elections. PMDC on the other hand would meet to thrash out the seeming brouhaha rocking the party in the past couple of weeks. The story is also reported in the Salone Times, For di People, Standard Times, Concord Times and New Vision.

 

Death penalty expunged from constitution

The Constitutional Review Commission, has among other issues, recommended that the death penalty be abolished in all cases of treason or other crimes of political nature that do not directly result in the death of another person (s) and be replaced by life imprisonment, The News reveals. The Commission’s Chairman, Dr. Peter Tucker, in presenting its report to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on Thursday this week recalled that the Commission was mandated in 2007 to review the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone with a view of recommending amendments relevant to the current economic, social and political developments that have taken place both nationally and internationally. Dr. Tucker further revealed that 136 amendments were made, 15 of which were entrenched clauses that needed to be approved in a referendum before becoming law. According to Dr. Tucker, topmost among the amendments include the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights. Responding, President Koroma reportedly lauded the Commission for a work well done averring that government would release a White Paper on the report that would be sent to Parliament for approval. The story is reported in most of today’s tabloids that include The Spectator, Sierra Express and Salone News.

 

Ex-president Kabbah meets with President Ernest Koroma at State House

Standard Times in its front page reports that ex-president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah paid a surprise visit to State House last Thursday to the astonishment of workers and visitors alike. Tejan Kabbah was said to hold a close door meeting with the Protocol Officer, Sullay Darramy, his one time trusted aide before he was ushered in to see President Koroma. The purpose of Tejan Kabbah’s visit was not known, but State House sources said President Koroma had a healthy meeting with the former head of state in the absence of a third party. Tejan Kabbah reportedly left President Koroma’s office smiling bidding farewell to the workers and visitors at state house.

 

Youth Employment Scheme phases out

The minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Dr. Minkailu Bah, has reportedly disclosed that the Youth Employment Scheme put in place by the former government had ceased operations, but gave assurance that his Ministry would explore other possible alternatives to provide employment for youths. The New Citizen reports the minister as saying that since youths account for the largest age group in the country they should be provided with meaningful employment.

Theft incident at Lungi Airport raises concern

The increasing rate of thefts at Freetown’s International Airport has raised concern from an anonymous caller to the New Citizen newspaper, who claimed that he was robbed of his briefcase containing money and other valuable items estimated at US$2,000 by a man who pretended to be a porter in a restricted area of the airport with security personnel around. The victim also reportedly revealed that the matter had been reported to the police and cautioned that the frequent thefts have the tendency to give the country a bad name and at the same time scare investors.

 

PPRC refreshes ultimatum to political parties

The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has reportedly issued a five-day ultimatum to all seven registered political parties that participated in the recent elections to submit their financial reports to the Commission as stipulated in the Commission’s Act; initially slated for not later than 30 November 2007, Salone Times reveals. The story underscores that only a few parties had partially complied with the order. Sourcing Commissioner Rowland Caesar, the story enlightens that it was obligatory on the Commission to send the financial reports to the Office of the Auditor General to be gazetted for public consumption noting that further delay would affect the forthcoming Local Council Elections. Commissioner Caesar also cautioned that defaulting parties would face the full force of the law recalling that the grace period had twice been extended.

 

PMDC is alive and kicking, party leader Charles Margai affirms

Contrary to reports that the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) was in disarray and had called for a change of leadership, the party’s leader Charles has shrugged off such claims, saying the party was alive and kicking, Peep Magazine reports. Speaking during a regular PMDC meeting last Wednesday at their party headquarter in Freetown, Mr. Margai said that his party remained united and was working assiduously towards the local council elections scheduled for July this year. Mr. Margai said that newspaper reports of rift within the PMDC were exaggerated, stating “all PMDC members know that our party still represents the best hope for national unity”. He lashed out at those he called opportunists within the PMDC, who were causing trouble and stressed that the future for his party was very bright as in just two years they succeeded in winning ten seats in Parliament in the recently held parliamentary elections. Mr. Margai, who boasted that the PMDC represented real hope of positive change for Sierra Leone, said his party was the only one in the country that holds regular meetings.

 

(Compiled by UNIOSIL, Public Information Office)


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