Salone News

Freetown Media Reports

16 June 2007 at 00:59 | 445 views

50/50 urges for female vice president

According to the New Citizen of today, Dr. Nemata Eshun-Baiden, Founder of the 50/50 Group that seeks to promote the welfare of women by agitating for more female participation in state administration, has intimated the New Citizen that Dr. Kadi Sesay of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and Minister for Trade and Industry possesses all the qualities of a presidential running mate and that the womenfolk of Sierra Leone would appreciate immensely any move by the ruling party to adopt her as running mate to Vice President Solomon Berewa. She further asserted that the opposition All Peoples Congress party is equally blessed with a lady, Hon. Afsatu Kabbah, an outstanding and strong pillar within the APC who has also undertaken female oriented programmes that sought to improve the status of women in Sierra Leone and elsewhere; and a great advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which qualify her to be the running mate to Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma. The two prospective aspirants are ardent members of the 50/50 Group.

Journalist appointed Chairman of media code monitoring committee in the South

A twelve-man committee comprising Political Parties, Civil Society, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and representatives of the Police has unanimously appointed British Broadcasting Corporation Southern Correspondent in Sierra Leone, who doubles as Chairman of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Richard Margao, Chairman of the Bo District Media Code of Conduct Monitoring Committee for reporting on the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections slated for 11 August the New Citizen informs. Members of the committee expressed optimism that in the interest of democracy and as a patriotic citizen, Richard Margao would perform his functions in a credible and transparent manner to not only his merit, but to also the rest of SLAJ. The appointed chairman commended members of the committee for the confidence reposed in him and guaranteed to live up to expectation.

Kailahun Prison turns death trap

Ahead of a presentation by the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Mr. Victor Angelo, on the state of prisons in the country entitled “Behind Walls: An Inventory and Assessment of Prisons in Sierra Leone", Awoko reports today that residents of the eastern district of Kailahun were raising serious concern over the increasingly deteriorating condition of the prison in the district. In addition to cracking walls, the report says that the newly constructed fence by the Government Commission for Social Action (NacSA) is nothing to write home about. Among the burning issues discussed at the recent district security meeting were the perennial delay in the supply of ration to inmates; the non-availability of transport facilities and the chronic twin problems of electricity and water supplies. “Inmates have to cover long distances to fetch water” a community resident is quoted as saying. The officer-in-charge of the prison and the magistrate in the district had also expressed similar concerns, noting that prisons should be special confinements for the purpose of refining offenders of society.

Elections of Paramount Chief Members of Parliament following general elections

New Vision reports today the district Electoral Officer for Port Loko district in the north of the country as disclosing that elections of Paramount Chief Members of Parliament would be conducted in the aftermath of general elections slated for 11 August. Mr. Sheku Johnny said that the election, tentatively scheduled for 24 August barely two weeks after the conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections, in line with the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone that traditional rulers in each district be represented in Parliament by one of them, making total of twelve Paramount Chiefs members of Parliament. Meanwhile the House of Parliament would dissolve Monday, 25 June, to be followed by nominations for presidential and parliamentary candidates.

Electoral Commission cautions traditional rulers

The Training Officer of the National Electoral Commission, Aiah Gborie, in addressing various stakeholders about the electoral process at a one-day training programme organized by Campaign for Good Governance at Santano House in Freetown, firmly warned traditional rulers in the country to not impose or force their subjects to vote for candidates not of their choice. The stakeholders, which included media practitioners, religious and traditional leaders, were also urged to be sensitive, neutral, impartial and non-partisan in the discharge of their duties as Standard Times underscores that traditional leaders were particularly reminded about their role in strengthening democracy through encouragement and participation in their rural communities; factors that are vital to the electoral process in addition to giving equal opportunity to all political parties and their supporters, and at the same time educating and encouraging the electorates to vote on polling day, the paper concludes.

Army dismayed by reviewed conditions of service

In a genuine attempt to improve the conditions of service of officers and men of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) amid budget constraints, the SLPP government offered a slight increase in the wages and salaries of the soldiers so as to motivate them to focus on providing dedicated service to the nation. This has, however, not impressed the soldiers who were appalled by the meager increase, as to them it makes no difference from what they used to have as salaries. According to For Di People quoting the Assistant Chief of Defense Staff responsible for Personnel and Training, who broke the news to the officers at the Freetown brigade, only ten thousand Leones had been added to the previous salaries of army personnel from the rank of private to corporal in order to cushion the current economic condition, and the sum of eighty thousand Leones added to the salaries of each officer from Warrant Officer Class 1 to Major-General for them to employ orderlies. But the officers were of the opinion that the eighty thousand Leones would have been added to their meager salaries to ameliorate their present conditions. The army boss informed that two soldiers had already been dismissed for protesting the revised conditions.

Tension brews in Tonko Limba over disputed land

Standard Times reports today that tension was brewing in the Northern District town of Kambia, highlighting that if urgent measures are not taken by government to resolve the land dispute, serving as a boundary between the two villages, bloody clashes might take place between the villages of Madembay and Massakalie in the Tonko Limba Chiefdom. “Locals in the two villages are preparing dangerous instruments such as daggers, machetes and other deadly weapons to attack each other over the disputed land,” the paper quotes Pa Hassan Kargbo who escaped an imminent attack to Freetown as saying, adding that the matter had been reported to the police but that each side was accusing the police of bias.

Police outlines transport strategies for elections amid constraints

Being the first election to be conducted in the country after the withdrawal of the UN Peacekeeping Force, the Sierra Leone Police is mapping out strategies to deploy officers and elections materials to their respective destinations in order to ensure a smooth transition of the election process, Awareness Times reports. The Director of Transport of the Sierra Leone Police said they have enough vehicles that are road-worthy to transport personnel and elections materials throughout the country. “The pool of vehicles and motor bikes at our disposal is provided by donors and the government of Sierra Leone, to strengthen our capacity to effectively police the 11 August elections”, Superintendent Lebbie said. Meanwhile, the Police have been complaining of lack of adequate funds to enable them effectively police the elections and maintain law and order during the process.

(Compiled by Media Liaison Unit, PIO/UNIOSIL)