Former Gender Minister says Finance Minister J.J. Saffa is a Flippant Speaker

Former All Peoples Congress Party Government (APC) Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has referred to the current Sierra Leone Peoples Party Government (SLPP) Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa as a “flippant speaker.”

The APC strongwoman who is currently outside the country made this statement in a social media dispatch over the weekend when she was reacting to an arrogant statement made by the country’s Finance Minister during a local radio interview in which the Finance Minister said in our native Krio that Sierra Leoneans normally “labo way den don belleful”. This statement in English means “talkative after been well-fed”.

Responding to ‘the bread and butter’ issue in Sierra Leone, which relate to the hardship of the economy on the poor Sierra Leoneans, the Minister of Finance in another interview at the state owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Coorporation (SLBC) Good Morning Coffee Programme said “the bread and the butter nor day na Ministry of Finance. The bread and the butter is in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Construction Works, Ministry of Mines...” Minister Saffa added that “People can buy mayonnaise even for their bread if they don't want butter. If they want they can put sausage in their bread as well..."

Against this backdrop, several other politicians from both the main opposition APC Party and the National Grand Coalition (NGC) have reacted to the statement of the Finance Minister. The former Gender Affairs Minister Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden said “people knew J.J. Saffa was flippant. They also knew what H.E. President Bio’s previous tenure in NPRC Junta yielded this country and yet, certain Sierra Leoneans still believed the likes of Hon. J.J. and H.E. Bio could effectively govern us. Those are the ones who are disappointed.​”

Dr. Blyden added, “as for flippant utterances of the Minister, well I have known J.J. Saffa for some 15 years now since he worked at the local World Bank office. He has always been a flippant speaker,” ending that “I am certainly not disappointed over the ‘labo way den don bellehful’ comments as I expected nothing more.”

Meanwhile, in an interview conducted by the Sierra Leone Telegraph Online Newspaper, the 2018 Presidential candidate of NGC Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella whilst deliberating on the current state of Sierra Leone economy said “success in economic management is ultimately measured by GDP growth rate, inflation, interest rates, jobs and the exchange rate, among other variables. Ok, maybe you can go further to consider the social or developmental or welfare impact of these variables on poverty, health, education. So the minister’s, and by extension the government’s, performance in managing the country’s economy must be assessed against these variables and not just their rhetorical flourishes.”

As a result, NGC Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella said “macroeconomic fundamentals can be very stubborn and they cannot be fooled by good intentions and propaganda.”

Meanwhile, we publish below a verbatim of the social media statement of Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden and the Sierra Leone Telegraph interview with Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella




By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR (A Member of the APC)

Our Economy problem is bigger than J.J. Saffa and bigger than all financial actors in governing SLPP regime. Even if heavenly Angels serve as next Finance Minister, next Financial Secretary and next Bank Governor, the financial problems will continue until Sierra Leoneans stop the hypocritical refusal to acknowledge the fantastic work that Former President Ernest Koroma and his APC-led Government did with the Sierra Leone Economy.​

The wonderful astronomical growth of our Economy, stimulated by Koroma’s leadership style, was sadly affected negatively by the sudden twin shocks of Ebola Crisis and Iron Ore price drop between 2014 to 2016! Our Economy has never recovered but we are still carrying out huge expenditure that is not realistic of a still-constricting Economy.​

As for flippant utterances of the Minister, well I have known J.J. Saffa for some 15 years now since he worked at the local World Bank office. He has always been a flippant speaker.

People knew J.J. Saffa was flippant. They also knew what H.E. President Bio’s previous tenure in NPRC Junta yielded this country and yet, certain Sierra Leoneans still believed the likes of Hon. JJ and H.E. Bio could effectively govern us. Those are the ones who are disappointed.​

I am certainly not disappointed over the ‘labo way den don belleful’ comments as I expected nothing more.

My own source of umbrage is because we are refusing to end the hypocrisy. Let us accept the Koroma-inspired Economy is constricting itself. Let’s adjust our expenditure accordingly. Let’s end Hypocrisy and start Honest introspection.

Thank you.

© Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR


What direction Sierra Leone’s economy? Dr Kandeh Yumkella speaks out

Sierra Leone’s Finance Minister – JJ Saffa, was at the studios of Radio Democracy 98.1 last Monday. By all indications, his performance during a live interview did not offer Sierra Leoneans much hope for an improvement in their economic wellbeing, as rising food prices and the rapid fall of the value of the Leone take their toll.

The interview left many labelling Saffa as “arrogant”, “condescending” and “insensitive” to the plight of the suffering masses – the same people he was appointed to work for, on behalf of the Julius Maada Bio administration.

On a previously scheduled call I had with Hon. Kandeh Yumkella (KKY), I took the opportunity to ask him about the state of the economy, given that I had just listened to Minister Saffa’s interview.

This is what he said:

Question: The common topic of discussion for Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad is about the economy and the “Bread and Butter” issues. What is your view about our economy?

KKY: Well, macroeconomic fundamentals can be very stubborn and they cannot be fooled by good intentions and propaganda.

Question: What do you mean? Help the man at the Ataya Base and the market woman along Kissy Road understand your response.

KKY: That is to say, success in economic management is ultimately measured by GDP growth rate, inflation, interest rates, jobs and the exchange rate, among other variables. Ok, maybe you can go further to consider the social or developmental or welfare impact of these variables on poverty, health, education.
So the minister’s, and by extension the government’s, performance in managing the country’s economy must be assessed against these variables and not just their rhetorical flourishes.

Question: So how would you frame the debate on the economy?

KKY: The debate on the economy today should examine how the indicators I mentioned earlier changed? Remember, I talked a few minutes ago about exchange rates, interest rates, jobs 

Thus, during the period 2017-2019, have the indicators changed for the better, or have they remained stagnant? Have they gotten worse? For now, all indicators tell us that the economy is in deep trouble.

The fact is, we witness the catastrophic depreciation of the Leone due to the absence of any export activities in the country, high inflation, high taxation of the private sector, and more importantly, the absence or paucity of foreign investment due to the unstable and risky governance environment.

It is not too late for the government to take a deep breath, recalibrate, and do a course correction.

Question: There is a lot of talk about the revenue being generated today under the Bio administration compared to President Koroma’s. That was one of the things the minister tried strenuously to stress during his interview. Does that not factor in the state of the economy?

KKY: Well, revenue collection is a necessary condition, but it is what we do with the money we collect that matters. Economies are similar to our household budget; if you receive a high salary every month but you spend it on jingoism and hedonism instead of investments, you will be poor in your old age.

Economies are the same, raising revenue and spending on the wrong things, without deep structural and institutional reforms, will simply postpone the crisis for a bigger meltdown in the future. It is like putting new wine in old wine skin.

Question: Is the New Direction economic management different from what you aptly referred to as “Rankanomics”?

KKY: (laughs) Without a doubt, a NEW Direction was and is NECESSARY! However, we expect the current regime by now to put us in the right pathway to growth. The question then, becomes, in which direction are we heading? Are we on the RIGHT direction/trajectory?

Question: Where do you think they are getting it wrong?

KKY: The managers of the economy have basically maintained all the structures left by the previous regime. I am yet to see radical shifts from business as usual. For example, the wage bill has not reduced. In some sectors there is over-hiring and huge expenditures in other areas, and the same parastatals and agencies exist.
Furthermore, still over 80% of our revenues go towards wages and debt payment and this must change. This fiscal capture or overhang trumps all the efforts at enhanced revenue collection.

Question: What would you advise President Bio to do?

KKY: a couple of things: first, appoint a 15 member Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) – on a PRO-BONO basis comprising of businessmen, some bankers, former credible bank governors and former Sierra Leonean IMF staff to hammer out his own economic blue-print. Past leaders in Malaysia, Singapore among others have maintained such an advisory group during their tenure.

This same group can monitor implementation of the president’s economic agenda which should be aligned with private sector aspirations and investment plans.

More importantly, they will give him sound apolitical advice rather than just what he, the president, wants to hear. Second, end inflated procurement and government contracts. Third, aggressively lower the cost of doing business by making it easy to clear goods at the port and lower some import duty and private sector taxes. We need deeper changes in the productive sectors – agriculture, fisheries, mining, etc.

Question: Even before his interview, there have been calls from the public for Finance Minister and the Bank Governor – Kelfalla Kallon to be replaced. Your thoughts?

KKY: I think that question should be addressed to the President. However, don’t forget that it is the President’s prerogative to hire and fire those appointed to serve in his administration. It is the President’s prerogative to hire competent people to help him run his administration so every Sierra Leone can benefit from his stewardship. It is the president’s responsibility to seek the best untainted advice, beyond his immediate circle.

Question: As an MP, have you discussed these concerns over economic management with the government?

KKY: The locus of my discussion with government has been Parliament. But our concerns as MPs or as an opposition are always ignored. If you go to our first budget debate, I raised strong concerns about frivolous spending, and the danger of “jobs for the boys”. I called for rationalization of institutions and more aggressive fiscal consolidation.

The tendency in our country is that ruling parties acquire hubris immediately they are in power (they suddenly seem to know-it-all and damn every other point of view). Another example is that as a party the NGC went to Bintumani-III as a genuine attempt to promote social cohesion. But after that event we have seen the rise in selective justice; we see an increase in political violence and other actions that will cause investors to be cautious about bringing money to the country.

As we head into three bye elections over the next few weeks, we are concerned about the trend in political violence and whether our people will be allowed to exercise their right to vote. If these bye elections are marked by violence, intimidation and fraud, then the world will know that this is not a country where the rule of law, property rights and good governance prevail.


Sometimes I even wonder whether the Sierra Leonean people want genuine change. The deep seated Pull-him-Down syndrome, Do-me-ah-Do-you Syndrome, and Nah-We-Turn Syndrome will make economic management very challenging.

Question: What is your take on the recent floods?

KKY: First, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. It is a sad spectacle every time.
We hope the impact of climate change will be taken seriously.

This nation still exports massive amounts of lumber in spite of all the expert advice of uncontrolled deforestation. I myself did an article and a video on the latter last year. The Speaker of Parliament hosted a briefing to enlighten members about the long term impacts of deforestation. The recent episodes of flooding in Freetown shows that we are putting bandages on a bad sore.

The Mayor is trying her best efforts; this has to be backed up with bigger public investment to direct the flow of water from the hills to the sea (via ducts); we must move some folks from various disaster-prone areas.

Building climate resilience for infrastructure, agriculture and other development projects is expensive. However, there are many climate funds to help countries undertake such projects. (END)

As their party’s interest supercedes patriotism and nationalism… Sierra Leone is between an Arrogant SLPP & a Selfish APC

Many will say it is political propaganda which geared towards making their parties seen as the better option for Sierra Leone. However, what has been so shocking over the years is that the two leading political parties in the country- the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) have both never for once put the plight of our suffering masses into consideration whenever they take their actions.

Stripped off her seat despite polling 63.21% of valid votes cast… Elected Female MP Cries Bitterly for Justice

Hon. Hariyatu Ariana Bangura, All Peoples Congress (APC) elected female Member of Parliament of Constituency 116 around Portee axis in the east end part of the capital Freetown has wept bitterly whilst calling for justice to prevail after her representation as MP of Constituency 116 was removed by an High Court ruling which at the same time replaced her with a male named Emmanuel Sahr Gbekie representing the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples party (SLPP).

Vice President Jalloh Lambastes Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has cautioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to see the need for organizational restructuring and management.

As NEC sets date for first bye election in Western Area… SLPP & APC to battle for Parliamentary Majority again

In accordance with judgment delivered by Sierra Leone’s High Court on 31st May 2019, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has yesterday 13th June 2019 in a press release announced Saturday 24th August 2019 as the date for the conduct of bye-election in Constituency 110 in the Western Area District of Sierra Leone. Western Area in Sierra Leone comprises the capital Freetown and its environs. The proposed bye-election is going to be the very first in Western Area, an area seen to be opposition APC stronghold, since the election  of President Julius Maada Bio.

Omrie Golley and the Treason Trial: The Untold Story

It could be recalled that Omrie Golley, the former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) Spokesman was arrested on the 12th January, 2006. The allegations were that he and two others, Mohamed Bah and David Kai Tombie were planning to overthrow the Government of Sierra Leone and to assassinate the Vice President.

“We are all SLPP through and through”- SLPPNA Chairman Mohamed Bah

Newly Elected Regional Chairman of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party North America (SLPPNA) branch has called on his members for progress of the party, referring that his administration will have an open door policy in encouraging ideas, suggestions, and criticisms regardless of whether certain members voted for him or they voted for his opponent.

Bai Mahmoud Agrees to repay Stolen Funds

In a statement published on 6th June 2019, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) said that it “wishes to inform the public that it has entered into a settlement agreement with the former Minister and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Youth Affairs, Mr. Bai Mahmoud Bangura and Mr. Adekalie Samura respectively, and Civil Society Activist and Director of Anti-Violence Movement, Mr. Bernard Conteh, in respect of investigations into funds provided to the Sierra Leone Movie Stars by the Road Maintenance Fund Administration (RMFA), for the procurement of media equipment and production of movie showcasing Sierra Leone’s development.

As ordinary APC diaspora supporters enjoy Free Speech... APC PUTS SLPP IN A 'VEXINAMA' DISPLAY

A popular local street slang is ‘Vexinama’ and it was coined from lyrics of a music wherein the singer is saying someone or some entity is just going about in vexatious pursuits that are not clear. The term ‘Vexinama’ is now being used by many bemused observers who have told this writer that the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led Government of His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio seems to be ‘Vexinama’ (i.e: vexed and confused) for reasons that are not clear. The Government is supposed to be running under a ‘new direction’ known as PAOPA which in local dialect means something that is enforced whether you like it or not. However, not liking to be linked to such a negative image of forcing people against their will, the President re-named ‘PAOPA’ to now mean Prompt Action On Poverty Allevation.

However, President Bio’s Government has lately through the actions and utterances of the Police and official government spokesmen, seem to be following a pattern of enforcement on citizens especially the Media and the Democratic Opposition. The PAOPA regime seems to be very angry and frustrated in a manner that has seen the regime go on a spree of intimidation against the media and members of the democratic opposition. The pattern of the vexation has left many dumbfounded as Sierra Leone is supposed to be a democratic State.

Indeed, under the former President and his All Peoples Congress (APC) government, Sierra Leone enjoyed so much tolerance and democratic freedoms that it was praised several times by American President Barack Obama as a bastion of democracy in Africa.

However, what is clear is that the land called Sierra Leone is no more as it used to be with respect to democratic freedoms. To make matters even worse, the irate Government is spending an inordinate amount of time making open threats against ordinary supporters of main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) living out in the Diaspora.

Whilst citizens living inside the country have been cowed into submission, there has been a high level of criticisms by Diaspora-based citizens against the SLPP PAOPA over many issues of national interest. These issues include growing number of Murders, disregard for the Rule of Law and Democratic best practices, Politically motivated violence, Violation of the Constitution and discarding due process.

The concerns are being re-echoed by senior observers around the world. Diaspora Sierra Leoneans on electronic media have added their voice in condemnation of the deteriorating state of freedoms by the government, politically motivated intimidation and harassment of democratic tenets by the SLPP PAOPA.

Few days ago, the Sierra Leone Police Spokesman actually took to the airwaves to express serious dissatisfaction of the SLPP-led regime against ordinary supporters of the main opposition APC living in the Diaspora. The Police and the SLPP are very upset with four particular Sierra Leoneans namely; Mr. Gibril Bangura in Ohio, United States of America, Mr. Emanuel Alieu Badamasie Kamara in Spain, Mr. Adebayo Will in the European Union and Mr. Septimus Kanu in Zurich, Switzerland. These men are not executive members of the APC but are mere sympathisers who say they are disgusted with what is unfolding in their country.

However, following the broadcast by the Sierra Leone Police and other social media posts and audios released by Government officials, these four gentlemen have been named as “Enemies of the State of Sierra Leone” by many supporters of the PAOPA SLPP Regime.

However, the gentlemen have reacted by saying they are exercising their democratic freedom of speech and if the Sierra Leone SLPP PAOPA Government is uncomfortable with what they are saying, the Government should do a rebuttal to the broadcasts of these citizens in the Diaspora rather than the Government Police going on the airwaves to threaten them.

One of them who describes himself as a Sierra Leone social media commentator is Emanuel Badamasie Kamara who currently stays in Greece. He wrote that not only has the Police openly threatened him with Interpol deportation to return back to face seditious libel charges but that supporters of the SLPP PAOPA have even threatened that they will locate him and kill him out there in Europe.

He said to make matters worse, death threats, motherly invectives and verbal attacks have been reported to have been sent at his relatives living inside the country.

Many other critics of the new regime are also reporting serious intimidation of their family members inside the country. Mr. Adebayo Will recently had to do a special audio to inform SLPP PAOPA supporters that his family no longer stays inside Sierra Leone.

As for Gibril Bangura, he says he is now accustomed to many kinds of insults, death threats and other threats of the use of tools like Interpol to deport him from America.

On the side of Septimus Kanu who resides in the Swiss city of Zurich, he is a known critic of the current government since opposition. He was the last amongst the four to have left Sierra Leone. Kanu has been a fearless critic to the extent that his family was also targeted immediately after the SLPP took governance.

Several of Kanu's family members have suffered intimidation to the extent that his aunt, who is living in Bo City, one of the strongholds of the ruling party, sadly became a victim.

Meanwhile, whilst many Sierra Leoneans back home have been intimidated by the arrests and questioning of members of the independent media and main opposition party, the likes of Gibril, Adebayo, Emanuel and Septimus are not afraid and through social media, they have been keeping democratic flames of freedom alive even before then.

However, a recent outburst of Gibril Bangura, whilst of no consequence in-country, was widely condemned as it seemed to have been calling on citizens to go and burn down one of the places where journalists and members of the democratic opposition are detained.

At least one journalist is presently in captivity inside the country at the hands of the vexed PAOPA regime. He was arrested for publishing a story that a relative of the President was giving a Diplomatic Passport and also alleging that 300 of such Diplomatic Passports have been issued out. Whilst the Government made no formal denial of the story or of the accompanying photo of the diplomatic passport alleged to have been issued to the President’s relative, the Police pounced in vexation at Emanuel Christian Thorli, Managing Editor of NightWatch and locked him up in a cell where he still remains.

Apart from journalists, another set of people suffering from the vexations and frustrations of the current regime are members of the main democratic opposition APC. Police say APC statements criticising unconstitutional steps of the SLPP PAOPA Government is suspected to be an act of incitement and seditious libel. The insistence by democratic APC opposition that SLPP is tribalistic and planning on targeting citizens from North-Westerners is also being “investigated”.

In a bizarre step that shows how badly vexed the current establishment is, the Sierra Leone Police has reportedly asked the former President of Sierra Leone to report to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for questioning over the democratic statement issued by his APC party of which he is Chairman and Leader.



With gratitude to God for a life well lived

Obituary for the late Evelyn Lauretta Idowu-Davies
Sunrise:11 February 1925
Sunset : 10 March 2019
Aged 94
Funeral & Communion service : Friday 22 March at the Ebenezer Methodist Church Murray Town at 2:30
From the Children and grandchildren at home and abroad.

17th March 2019, marks the 20th Anniversary of the passing away of HONORABLE, DR. SHEIKH BATU DARAMY SR, aka, SB Daramy.  Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy, Sr. B.Sc (Economics from London School of Economics, UK), M.A., Ph.D from Howard University, was born on 20th September, 1920 in Makeni.  Today we remember one of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) oldest members.  In 1948, Hon. Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy was awarded a Sierra Leone Government scholarship to attend the London School of Economics from where he graduated in 1952 with a B.Sc in Economics. ...

The death is announced of Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi age 84 years whose sad event took place today Monday 12th November, 2018. He is survived by his wife Balkisu Din Gabisi of 3 Ingham Street Fourah Bay Community, Freetown. Sisters: Haja Bola Deen (Late) and Ola Din-Gabisi (UK)
Children: Mrs. Christiana Bultman-Sulaiman of the USA
Mr. Sulay Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Zainab Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Aziz Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Dyfu Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Blanche Bultman of USA
Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi ...

The death is reported of Police Constable Santigie Ado Kamara formerly of the Operational Support Division (OSD), Panlap Division, Makeni and of Binkolo, Safroko Chiefdom. He died by road accident on Saturday 4th August 2018. Aged 39. He is survived by his wife Isatu Kamara, children Teresa, Samuel, Kenneth, Augustine, Emmanuel and Marie. Brothers: Abu, Kelfa, Karim, Gbessay, Sampha and Dura. Sisters: Jane D.M Sesay, Amie, Isatu, Sinnah, Sentho, Sarah, Helen, Fatu and Kadiatu. He will be buried on Sunday 19th August, 2018 at Binkolo. May his gentle soul Rest In Peace!


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