Posted by: APO | 7 February 2008



Public Information Office (PIO) of UNIOSIL – 7 February 2008


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


Women in the Media Sierra Leone want FGM banned

Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WiMSAL) have reportedly added their voice against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country. They made the call yesterday at an interactive session in observance of the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation at the conference hall of the Sierra Leone News Agency in Freetown. Asmaa James, Vice President of the Sierra Leone Reporters Union, reportedly pointed out that 6 February was adopted by the United Nations sub-commission on Human Rights as the International Day on Zero Tolerance to FGM to raise awareness on the harmful traditional practice that severely violates the human rights of women and girls. She went on to highlight the adverse effects of the practice such as severe pain; prolong bleeding; infection; infertility and death; and noted that FGM is a fundamental violation of the rights of an estimated 130 million women and girls who have been affected by the practice. The story is reported in The News. Other voices that spoke against FGM at the session
Amnesty International Sierra Leone (AISL), which called for the total abolition and criminalization of FGM; and that government has the primary responsibility. The Democrat reports that Government is considering the official banning of FGM. The Spectator, Awoko and Concord Times also carry the story.


Unexploded bombs discovered in Port Loko

Three unexploded bombs have been discovered in Port Loko barely two months after the discovery of anti-aircraft ammunition by some students. According to Awoko, the bombs were reportedly discovered in an abandoned toilet at a police barracks by the wife of a police officer. The Officer Commanding the Operational Support Division (OSD) of the Port Loko Police Station, Inspector Foday Dumbuya, said the bombs were meant for artillery weapons. He said though the bombs were unexploded they were very dangerous and posed a threat to the community, pointing out that they had been kept in the armory waiting for the army engineers from the 15 battalion in Lungi to detonate them. A thorough search has been ordered by the officer in all formerly occupied areas by ECOMOG and UN troops.


Charles Margai snubs SLPP

A desperate attempt by the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) to appeal to the Leader of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Margai, to return to the SLPP so as to solve the party’s leadership problem has been rebuffed. According to The
Exclusive, Charles Margai was quoted to have disclosed that “over his dead body should he return to the SLPP”. The SLPP-defected PMDC leader referred to the SLPP as a bunch of political hustlers and opportunists, who hijacked the SLPP and consequently defeated continuity under Berewa. After winning 10 seats in the recently held parliamentary elections, Charles Margai reportedly wanted to consolidate those gains to his advantage in the 2012 elections. There is a school of thought that suggests that the likelihood for President Ernest Koroma to serve two five year terms in office is very strong , and since age is not in Margai’s favour it is very possible that Charles Margai may take the PMDC to the SLPP if the right price is paid. A senior SLPP executive however denied that they had not contacted Margai to switch over to the SLPP as the party was not short of material to lead them in the next elections. Some irate youths have reportedly threatened to quit the SLPP should Charles return to the fold as they see him as the person responsible for the party’s malaise.


Bo-Kenema Power Station complains of being starved of funds

Despite the fact that electricity generation in Freetown has increased, an un-named senior engineer of the southeast based Bo-Kenema Power Station (BKPS), has reportedly lamented that the two cities are experiencing power cuts attributed to “terrible political decision.” The story in The Democrat claims that government clearly does not have BKPS on its priority list citing the failure by government to make available its annual subvention normally utilized for the purchase of fuel for the Bo thermal engines during the dry season, when the water level is low at the dam. The engineer reportedly reminded the Government about efficient service delivery without discrimination as its obligation to the citizenry, and recalling that for the past two decades the two cities had been complementing each other in terms of electricity supply. He noted that frantic moves by the out gone government- that promptly made available subvention to BKPS- resulted to the Chinese government assisting to expand the capacity of the dam that provided 24-hour electricity until the advent of the current government.


APC MP insults Paramount Chief and dethrones Section Chief

The All Peoples Congress (APC) Member of Parliament, Hon. Magnus Hallowell, representing constituency 61 in the Lower Yoni Chiefdom in the Tonkolili district has been accused of heavy handedness and acting contrary to his powers as Parliamentarian. A report in The African Champion says Hon. Hallowell is not only in the habit of insulting tribal authorities, but has gone as far as ordering the people of his constituency from honouring their tax obligations. Hon. Hallowell is said to be intoxicated with power to the point of suspending Section Chief of Roneitta Village, Sheik Sahid Kamara, and replaced him with one Issa Sesay on the recommendation of youths in the village. When he was confronted by angry residents of the constituency who voted him to Parliament, regarding his vindictiveness and disrespect for authority, he said he was voted into office by God and not by man.


Presidents Kufor and Koroma poised to strengthening ties

The President of Ghana, John Kufor, has agreed to collaborate with his West African counterpart, President Ernest Koroma, so as to strengthen the fraternal relationship existing between the two countries. President Kufor reportedly told the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Ghana, Osman Yansaneh, who was presenting his letter of credence that President Koroma was his brother and that “at anytime he pleases we should get together or he calls me.” President Kufor recalled the role Sierra Leone played in educating Ghanaians in the earlier years. “Fourah Bay University was some sort of staging post for many of our scholars who, after secondary education had travelled to Fourah Bay to do their intermediate studies before proceeding to Europe,” he revealed. The Ghanaian President said it was good to have Mr. Yansaneh as High Commissioner to his country as it would enable the two countries play an effective role in the activities of the sub-region. Mr. Osman Yansaneh thanked the government and people of Ghana for their role in ensuring sustainable peace in Sierra Leone, Independent Observer and Concord Times report.


Ambassador to China roped in corruption scam

New Vision and Standard Times allege that the northern districts of Tonkolili and Bombali have been deprived of a total of eighteen schools that should have been constructed and furnished more than four years ago under the auspices of the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood Mission (SLMB), then headed by the newly appointed Sierra Leone Ambassador to China, Dr. Abdul Karim Koroma. The paper alleges that the whopping sum of Le550 million was first disbursed by the SLPP Government’s Sababu Education Project to the Mission, which it reportedly failed to deliver to the respective contractors. One of the contractors reportedly attributed the delay in the work to the Mission.


(Compiled by UNIOSIL, Public Information Office)


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