After recent Al Shabab attack in Kenya… Sierra Leone Embassy in Nairobi Says Staff and all Sierra Leoneans are safe!!
Sierra Leone diplomatic mission in Nairobi, which also serves as permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has confirmed that it staff and all Sierra Leoneans based in the Kenyan capital are safe and sound.
This confirmation was made by His Excellency Peter Joseph Francis- Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the UNON, UNEP and UN-Habitat, during an exclusive phone call interview with this writer in the evening hours of Tuesday 15th January 2019.
The confirmation of the HE Peter Joseph Francis of the safety of Sierra Leonean diplomats and Sierra Leonean citizens in Nairobi comes as Kenyan authority unleashed massive security in its capital- Nairobi after suspected al-Shabab militants attack at Dusit D2 Hotel, 14 Riverside Drive, Westlands, Nairobi, killing five (5) people and three (3) causalities currently admitted at the Age Kahn Hospital in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, according to Kenyan Nation Police Service release dated Tuesday 15th January 2019, and signed by the Inspector General Joseph Boinnet, at about 3pm EAT (12pm GMT, “a group of armed assailants attacked the Dusit complex in a suspected terror attack.”
On his efforts thus far in checking on and ensuring the safety of Sierra Leoneans in Nairobi, HE Peter Joseph Francis said sooner he got the information of the attack; he got the entire staff of Sierra Leonean High Commission in Nairobi in a single building that is electronically protected.
HE Peter Joseph Francis further confirmed that the Deputy Sierra Leone Special Representative to the United Nation (UN) in New York, Madam Victoria Sulaiman who was attending the UN meeting on the Environment, she was in his residence at 158 Mimosa Drive off Mimosa Road, Runda, Nairobi, doing fine.
HE Peter Joseph Francis said, however, he was worried about the welfare of a single Sierra Leonean whose office is said to be in the same building that was attacked. Upon reaching the family of the man, , HE Peter Joseph Francis said the family of the Sierra Leonean confirmed to him that the Sierra Leone is currently out of Nairobi and is currently in Uganda on another assignments.
Thus he said, so far every Sierra Leonean in Nairobi is safe and sound and that the Sierra Leone High Commission, situated at 57 Gigiri Court off UN Crescent, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya, has already resumed operation.
So far, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during his statement on the attack on the morning hours of Wednesday 17th January 2019 from Nairobi said 14 people were killed and about 75 others rescued from the hotel. He said, the operation is over and that the militants have been neutralised.
President Uhuru Kenyatta during his televised broadcast thanked all Kenyans and international community for the robust and prompt action and the solidarity they show in combating the attack. He assured of safety for all.
Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in collaboration with members of the secrete Poro Society have issued search warrant for several alleged illegal miners in the township of Taiama, Eastern Provincial District of Kono.
Alimamy Amara Barrie and his friend Sahr Menjor were said to have left the capital Freetown, on invitation of the latter to commence mining in Taiama, Kono District. However for them, report gathered by this reporter said that on Saturday 5th November 2016, Alimamy Amara Barrie, Sahr Menjor and others were mining at the site when the chief approached them and was discussing with Sahr's uncle (Mr. Menjor) when some unidentified persons thronged and laid siege at their mining site with horrific weapons.
Eyewitness explained that after the siege at the mining site of Alimamy Amara Barrie, with intention of the intruders to arrest and forcefully initiate Alimamy and others into the traditional Poro Society, they all scattered into unidentified locations with none of the miners knowing where others went, except for Sahr's uncle who was captured with Alimamy Amara Barrie's mobile phone in his possession; hence, information about Alimamy was accessed.
Investigation by this newspaper indicates that Alimamy himself escaped to a place called Yamandu Village in the same Kono District. At Yamandu Village, we were told that he had notice that he was wanted by the police for illegal mining; and by the Poro Society, who alleged that the place Alimamy and others were mining was a bush reserved for the Secret Poro Society by Sahr's late father for their traditional activities, including initiation of youths. They say the only solution was for Alimamy and others to join their secret society.
Meanwhile, here in Sierra Leone, illegal mining is a criminal offence, and once one is indulged in such activities, and he is later apprehended, he is arrested, charged to court and later jailed.
In Sierra Leone, any individual or company found operating outside the scope of their license will be arrested and prosecuted. Section 21 (2) of the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009 clearly states that: “No person shall explore for or mine minerals except under and in accordance with a mineral right granted under this Act.”
Equally so, the traditional Poro Society is a male society, where young men in provincial areas of the country are sometimes forcefully initiated in a process that is mostly excruciatingly painful.
However, unfortunately for Alimamy and his colleagues, both the police and the Poro Society are searching for them for illegal mining in their sacred bush. Many are speculating that their own forceful initiation into the Poro Society could be fiercer and that they could likely die in there because the Poro leaders have personal grievance against them for throwing open challenge.
However, they are still on the run and nowhere to be found, whilst Sahr's uncle (Mr.Menjor) is helping the police with investigation.
The biggest and most covetous national achievement awards in Sierra Leone will not be held this year, the organizers have announced.
The event, which is usually organized at the end of every year by network professionals under the umbrella organization called All Works Of Life (AWOL), recognizes individuals and institutions who have made major impact in national development efforts.
Awardees come from every segment of society, from politicians to civil society activists, to business people to the ordinary Sierra Leonean.
In a statement released Monday morning, the organizers blamed the March general elections for the disruption, saying it mired its preparations for the awards. It also said because of the recent change
in government, it would be difficult to get eligible institutions for the awards.
“It was a challenge to put together an independent and credible Awards committee and our usual partners were constrained by uncertainties around the elections,” the statement, signed by AWOL’s Secretary General Ahmed Sahid Nasrallah, said.
It added: “Moreover, less than a year after the elections, no government agency would meet AWOL’s criteria for national recognition for the year under review.”
The statement however assured that the awards will continue in 2019. Members of AWOL and its organizing committee comprises representatives from all segments of society - politics, business, academia, etc.
The organization was formed under the patronage of the late business tycoon, Moseray Fadika. The organization is currently chaired by his protégé, Anthony Navo Junior, proprietor of the largest media house in the country – the Africa Young Voices Media Empire, which owns the AYV-Television, radio and newspaper.
Legal advice to the state on what steps to consider when removing public servants with secured job tenures from office
CHRISTIAN LAWYERS CENTRE - LEGAL LINK
Legal advice to the state on what steps to consider when removing public servants with secured job tenures from office
There is a worrying trend of impunity, blatant disregard for constitutionality, rule of law and due process by the executive arm of government especially in post conflict Sierra Leone. While past governments are not exempt from this abrogation, the current trends have not only exceeded expectations but have also attracted widespread international condemnations and outcry.
Unfortunately, state institutions which are supposed to proffer sound advice and guidance to the executive arm of government have become more political than political parties themselves. Hence, they lack the moral standing and high ground to proffer sound advice in this regard.
This legal opinion seeks to provide some common sensical approaches on how a government can remove a public servant with secured tenure from office in a more humane, respectful and dignified manner.
It is important to emphasize however that there is actually no sense in a government pursuing an ideology that seeks to replace public servants at will irrespective of their secured term of office. At the very least, public servant with secured tenures should be left to complete their tenures without any political interference,manipulation or control.
But where a government seems desperate to replace public servants notwithstanding their secured tenures, there are ways it can go about doing this that will help produce less conflicting, divisive, hurtful and devastating outcomes.
LEGAL LINK, a non- profit legal company that defends the rights of vulnerable groups including workers rights believes that if this piece of opinion is given due consideration by the state, it may help set good precedent in terms of respectability of the rule of law, constitutionality and due process in the country.
There are five legitimate ways a government can remove a public servant whose position is of interest to them but is however secured in watertight provisions within a legal framework.
Firstly, the government must approach the public servant in a peaceful, friendly and respectable manner requesting his resignation. The government must educate and persuade the public servant on the importance of their wanting of his office to be manned by a political party loyalist. The government must also assure the public servant that all his salaries and full benefits will be paid to him and on time if he resigns from the job. You may be surprised to see how many self-induced resignations that will take place in key public service positions without any overt pressure from the government. Respect is key and everyone needs it.
Secondly, where the first approach fails to work, the government should make some offers to the public servant. Everyman has a price that can make him bow down and give in. The offer could be in the form of an appointment to another parastatal, deputy minster or deputy ambassador position in a remote country etc. The fear of going without a job is perhaps the strongest reason why some public servants are afraid to resign from their secured jobs in the public service. The government must bring to the table an alternative source of income and make a bold appointment to another place. When the public servant willingly takes up his new job offer then the old secured job becomes automatically vacant to be filled. No critic will then be correct to say that the public servant was illegally removed.
The third approach is the patience approach and is usually referred to as the best approach. The government can patiently wait for the specified term of the public servant as stated in the legal framework to elapse before replacing him. Majority of the legislations that guarantee fixed tenure does not exceed 5 years. The second 5 year term is usually at the prerogative of the executive arm of government. Hence, it is wisdom for any government to ensure at the very least that a public servant enjoys his or her 5 years term with proper supervision where doubt exists. This will help to guarantee the independence and credibility of democratic institutions.
I call the fourth approach, the drastic approach. This approach actually demands removing the public servant albeit in line with due process. When the three options mentioned above fails to work and the government is desperate for the position, then it has no option but to remove the Public servant following however the due process of the law. There is no office created by law that does not have a removal clause or procedure. If the removal process demands sending the public servant to a tribunal, the government must obey the procedure, no matter how tasking it may be. As the public servant faces trial to defend himself, the government can have someone act on his behalf temporarily until final determination of the matter. The challenge however with this approach is that it may be delaying and cumbersome and often times, the votes required for removal may not be secured. This is why many governments finds such approach disincentivising despite its legal advantages.
Last but not the least, is the passing of a Constitutional amendment law in parliament annulling all secured job tenures within legislations.
The government can pass a law (or amend section 61 of the Constitution) abolishing the secured tenures of public servants in extant legislations and subjecting them to the president’s prerogative in relation to appointment and dismissals. This will then become the vogue and it will help make clear to all public servants that their offices will elapse when the government that appoints them vacates office.
LEGAL LINK is of the firm belief that the above approaches are far better than the disgraceful and inhumane and illegal methods currently being employed in terms of removal of public servants with secured job tenures. It is a shame that some government officials have even openly defended and legitimized the bastardization of all our legislations and constitution without regard to due process.
This statusquo is anathematic to democracy, good governance, rule of law and constitutionality; and will certainly put Sierra Leone in a bad light before the international community as is currently happening now.
It is important to also emphasize that Sierra Leone is not a police state but rather a democracy and the government must endeavor to act within the confines of the law and adhere to due process where it intends removing public servants that are protected by a fixed tenure. Enough of the tit for tat approach!
Where the executive arm
of government continues to disregard due process, it is expedient for Parliament, the law makers, to demand respect for its laws from the Executive and also the Judiciary to enforce and hold to account the Executive regarding adherence to the laws passed by parliament through issuance of specific orders and directives.
It is only by adhering to the above that we truly can create the enabling environment for peace and national cohesion to thrive in our nation.
All Rights Reserved
CHRISTIAN LAWYERS CENTRE
CHRISTIAN LAWYERS CENTRE (a.k.a LEGAL LINK) is a non– profit legal company that provides legal assistance through public interest litigation in the courts, hold state and private actors accountable, provide comprehensive legal education and sensitization, seek redress and justice for the religious community as well as vulnerable groups; and enforce respect for domestic and international laws that guarantee fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Christian Lawyers Centre has received numerous complaints from vulnerable groups and persons about the ongoing health workers strike action and its impact on their right to health, life and dignity as a person.
It could be recalled that the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association as well as the Junior Doctors Association staged a nationwide protest several weeks ago in a bid to agitate for comprehensive healthcare reforms within Sierra Leone’s healthcare system.
Amongst the numerous demands sought by the health workers includes improved salaries and better conditions of service. Negotiations between the health associations and the ministries of health and finance have seen however several twist and turns and have also been largely unsuccessful.
The impact of the deadlock in negotiations has been far and wide reaching. There are unconfirmed reports that a lot of people in hospitals have been adversely affected leading to fatal consequences. Vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, pregnant women, lactating mothers, children as well as older persons have been worse hit by the on-going strike action.
Admittedly, while such strike actions have occurred in time past, Christian Lawyers Centre is particularly concerned over the prolong and staggering engagements that have ensued so far and the way and manner in which the current negotiations are being handled as well as the state institutions that have voluntarily involved themselves in the negotiation process.
Notably and with particular concern is the letter written by the top management of the Sierra Leone Police dated 13th December 2018 inviting the President of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association at the police headquarters for an engagement over the impasse.
Without prejudice to the constitutional duty of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to ensure law and order and protect lives and properties, it is certainly an overstretch for the SLP to intervene over a peaceful protest by legitimate associations acting through lawful means to seek the welfare of their members. The invitation by the police could therefore be best described as a ‘subtle intimidation tactics’ aimed at silencing and suppressing the legitimate aspirations of health workers in the country.
In support of this view, we note with utter consternation and disbelief that the Sierra Leone Police in their letter dated 13th December 2018 never saw the need and importance to invite all the relevant parties for a comprehensive engagement (the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance, the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, the Junior Doctors Association and even civil society organizations working around health rights)but rather decided to only limit the invitation to the President of the Sierra Leone Medical & Dental Association.
This omission, we humbly submit, questions the SLP’s claim to have acted in good faith since a comprehensive resolution cannot have been reached in the absence of the other relevant parties within the health sector.
It is important to also emphasize that Sierra Leone is a signatory to many international and regional instruments that guarantees the right to health. Chief amongst many others are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), CEDAW, the ILO Conventions and Labour Standards, the African Charter on Human and People's Rights,the Maputo Protocol and the Abuja Declaration on Health to name but a few.
All of the above legal instruments put obligations on the government of Sierra Leone to absolutely guarantee the right to health for its citizens and ensure improved conditions of service for healthcare workers. Any attempt therefore to deviate from these obligations would amount to a violation of international law.
While the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone does not guarantee the right to health as well as its enforceability, it is vital to stress however that the same constitution under section 16 does guarantee the right to life and approves of its enforceability in the courts of law should there be a violation of the same.
It is this window of opportunity that Christian Lawyers Centre aims to explore and bring public interest litigations in the superior courts of Sierra Leone for and on behalf of vulnerable groups and suffering masses that have been worse hit by this impasse should this matter continues to persist.
No doubt, a state’s failure to address the comprehensive healthcare challenges of its citizens would negatively affect their enjoyment of the right to life.THIS IS THE PREMISE OF OUR CASE!
While we acknowledge the immense strides that have been made by government in terms of budgetary support to the health sector, we hope that the government of Sierra Leone through its relevant institutions and agencies will speedily resolve this matter in the best interest of the suffering masses.
Christian Lawyers Centre (Legal Link)
President Julius Maada Bio Opens Seventh Ministerial Meeting on African Union Committee of Ten on United Nations Reforms in Sierra Leone
Radisson Blu, Freetown, Friday 14 December 2018 - His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has officially opened the Seventh Ministerial Level Meeting of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) on the reform of the United Nations Security Council at Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen, Freetown.
The consultative forum has drawn Foreign Ministers from across Africa since the formation of the Committee of Ten by the African Union (AU) in 2005 to institute reforms that allow for a permanent African representation on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
In his keynote address, President Bio as Chair of the C-10, the committee of ten Heads of State and Government setup by the AU to advocate the African Common Position on UNSC reform, thanked the various participants for coming to the country, saying that he was excited to be hosting such an important event. He said the meeting was about respecting the right and dignity of African generations.
He noted that they were at the meeting, charged by a united purpose and shared agenda for a common goal. He said the meeting was important because he believed that the current geopolitical realities had placed Africa in a stronger position, than ever before, to present a common position for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council and to call for equitable representation in all organs in the UN.
“Africa is the only region without permanent representation in the permanent category in the Security Council. Africa is also under-represented in the Non-permanent category. We assert that Africa’s demand for two permanent seats with all the rights and prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto (although Africa is opposed in principle to the veto), and two additional Non-permanent seats is a matter of common justice.
“We proffer that Africa has a right to have an equal say in decision-making on issues that affect the African region. We affirm that such longstanding injustice and imbalance as reflected in the present configuration of the Security Council must be remedied without any further delay. Africa is committed to on-going reforms that will make the United Nations fit for purpose,” he said.
The President also added that as the Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the reform of the United Nations, he had articulated the grave concerns over the continuous inaction to adopt measures that would lead to Africa taking its rightful place in the Security Council. He maintained that the reform of the Security Council was long overdue and that the organisation was constituted on undemocratic and discriminatory principles.
He further argued that Africans constituted 1.2 billion of the world’s population of 7.5 billion and about 70% of the decisions made at the UN Security Council ultimately affect those 1.2 billion Africans, adding that those 1.2 billion people were also affected by over 70% of the UN’s resolutions. He said Africa was also contributing more than its fair share to promoting world peace and security.
“Africans fought valiantly and contributed to the victory that granted the Permanent Members the pride of place and entitlement in the UN Charter. It is fair to say that the over one million Africans who contributed through their gallantry and blood to the allied victory have been largely erased from the grand narrative of the war and from the spoils of victory.
“Even if it is argued that the Security Council comprises the five permanent members who were victors in the Second World War, then there is no moral and historical justification for Africa’s exclusion. Over a million Africans battled in the searing heat of the deserts of North Africa, over the perilous skies of Germany, through the jungles of North East India and Burma to the swamps and jungles of Malaya,” he recalled.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Alie Kabba, said he was pleased with Africa’s Permanent Representatives who had worked assiduously at the UN level. He said the meeting provided the opportunity for discussions, leading to a comprehensive report that would serve as a guide to African Heads of State in their quest for permanent representation on the UN Security Council.
President of Sierra Leone Albert Academy Alumni Association Justice Alhaji Abu-Bakar King on Tuesday 12th December at his private chamber at 24 Pademba Road, Freetown revealed to this media his plans to restore academic glory back to the school.
Justice King is one of the few Sierra Leoneans serving in the Judiciary for over three decades with clean track record. He is a Barrister and Solicitor in the High Court of The Gambia and Sierra Leone. He previously served as Judge in the Military Court Marshal.
Justice King stated that it is no secret that things had gone down the drain in the education system and that is why ‘we are now experiencing poor performance in public exams and this is against our wish as Alumni,’ he said, adding that based on this, his executive have put in place modalities that will address this ugly development.
‘My 100 days activities will focus on infrastructure, discipline among pupils and teachers alike and we have taken some steps that are slowly addressing these problems and we have discussed with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education to put a ban on the Albert Academy stopping all social activities of the school for one year.’ He added that the Alumni has formed a committee that will oversee the intake of pupils who sat to the NPSE and BECE and that so far maters are getting better.
He said they are thinking of reverting to the one shift school system after the completion of the rehabilitation of the boarding room and the teachers’ quarters undertaken by the Atlanta Georgia branch and have spent over one hundred million Leones on this project.
He went on to state that the Washington DC chapter has completed the rehabilitation of the multipurpose building, which will host a computer lab and wood work class. He maintained that the executive and all the chapters have set aside funds to support teachers especially when salaries are paid late by the government.
In his contribution Chief Allieu Mucktaru Kallay Presidential Trust Advisor (PTA) who doubles as Vice President of the Alumni stated that this executive is ready to work with all past members, because the school has produced lots of prominent people in Sierra.
Chief Kallay stated that the school was established in 1904 by Ira Albert with the motto: Esse Quam Vederi (Rather to be than to Seem).
WHAT: For the FIRST time in almost 40 years, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) with support from the Government of Sierra Leone and the International Security and Advisory Team (ISAT) will be undertaking a special recruitment of women across the country. The first-ever all-female recruitment was conducted in 1978 and 1979 when a total of 74 females were enlisted into RSLAF. Initially 10 females were enlisted as CADETS in 1978 and 64 enlisted as RECRUITS in 1979.
WHO: For the up-coming all-female recruitment, a total of 300 females will be recruited from all the Regions, Districts and Chiefdoms across the country. As an eminent female personality of Sierra Leone, the First Lady, Mrs Fatima Bio will launch this recruitment drive.
WHEN/WHERE: The launching ceremony of the recruitment is scheduled to take place at 10:00am on Saturday, 15 December, 2018 at the Aberdeen Roundabout near the Aberdeen Police Station. This ceremony will also take place alongside the launching of the girl-child protection initiative of the First Lady of Sierra Leone – the “Hands off Our Girls” project.
WHY: The Head of the RSLAF National Recruitment Team, Brigadier General Peter Lavahun (who is the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Personnel and Military Secretary) says the special female recruitment drive is intended to raise RSLAF profile in terms of gender mainstreaming. “We are making assiduous efforts to resume active Peace Support Operations. Currently, the UN policy on Peace Support Operations emphasizes 15% of female participation in every peace keeping force and we have to meet this standard”, Brigadier Lavahun emphasized.
After the launching ceremony over the weekend, details of the recruitment process will be disseminated through various communication channels including our website atwww.mod.gov.sl. For further inquiries, please contact the following:
Women In Ministry International (WIMI) is a non-profit ministry with the vision of empowering women all over the world by providing support and training for them to reach their God-given destinies. The founder and President, Apostle Kemi Searcy developed the international program to impact women’s lives spiritually, morally and economically.
Women In Ministry International (WIMI) officially launched in Kenema, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone. on December 1st. 2018. The WIMI Kenema District is an extension of WIMI Freetown in the Western Area, and WIMI Bo in the Southern Province. WIMI is headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. Pastor Kemi Searcy, President and Founder has established WIMI also in London, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. WIMI Sierra Leone also joined the rest of the world to wear orange, symbolizing a bright future free from violence against women and girls. From 24 November to 10 December, several organizations joined the government to be oranged in support of the 16 Days campaign to end violence against women. There has been mobilizations with civil society organizations in the communities of to raise awareness about violence against women and girls.
Other WIMI chapters are also based in the United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Congo and now in Sierra Leone. The umbrella organisation running WIMI Sierra Leone is People’s Foundation for Humanity Development (PeFoHD). To date, PeFoHD has established WIMI Freetown in the Western area, and WIMI Bo branch in the Southern province with over a dozen cells groups.