His Excellency Peter Joseph Francis, Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya who doubles as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has on Tuesday 29th January 2019, presented his Letter of Credence to Madam Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under- Secretary General and Executive Director to UN-Habitat and Acting Director General UNON.
The presentation of HE Peter Joseph Francis’ Letter of Credence took place at the UNON office in Nairobi and is in line with what he had described as an earlier advice he had to do a formal letter to the Special Representative of the UN in Nairobi, because, according to him, “the UNON plays a very important role in Africa.” This will further strengthen Sierra Leone’s bilateral relationship with the various UN agencies in Nairobi.
HE Peter Joseph Francis is the first Sierra Leonean appointed High Commissioner to Kenya, who had also on the 5th December 2018, presented his letter of credence to the Kenyan President, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, and two (2) days after on 7th December 2018, he did a courtesy call on the UNON office in Nairobi.
The UNON, the UN headquarters in Africa, was established by the General Assembly in 1996. The office is headed by a Director-General, at the Under-Secretary-General level and serves as the representative office of the Secretary-General in Nairobi and performs representation and liaison functions with permanent missions, the host-country and other Governments, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in Nairobi, as well as other organizations of the United Nations system in Kenya. UNON also facilitates cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations; provides administrative and other support services to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); provides joint and common services to other organizations of the United Nations system in Kenya, as applicable; and manages and implements the programmes of administration, conference services and public information and provides security and safety services for United Nations staff and facilities in the United Nations Office at Nairobi.
Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, the coordinator of a mainly Christian militia faction in the Central African Republic and a senior African football executive, has been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face accusations of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
In a statement, the Court, which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands, detailed an extensive list of some of his alleged crimes, including murder, torture, persecution, mutilation, deportation or forcible transfer, enforced disappearance and “other inhumane acts.”
Mr Ngaïssona was arrested on 12 December last year in France, on a warrant for crimes allegedly committed in CAR during 2013 and 2014. In a press release, the ICC said that the date of his initial appearance before the court will be announced “soon.”
Speaking on Wednesday to UN News, ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah outlined the next steps in the case: “The Pre-Trial Chamber Two of the ICC found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Ngaïssona is liable for these charges”, he said, adding that the pre-trial hearing would “confirm the identity of the suspect, ensure that he understands the charges and confirms the language in which the proceedings should be conducted for his understanding”.
He said it would also set a date “to begin the confirmation of charges hearing, which is a pre-trial hearing allowing the judges to decide whether or not the case should move to a trial.”
The ICC Registrar, Peter Lewis, thanked the French authorities, and those of the Netherlands, for their cooperation in the arrest and transfer of the accused to the Court.
Mr. Ngaïssona, who was Minister of Youth and Sports under François Bozizé, President of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013, reportedly denies any involvement in the violence.
According to news reports, he was the political coordinator of the Christian anti-Balaka militia, which rose to prominence after the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, swept Mr. Bozizé from power. The militia has been blamed for numerous killings since 2013.
Mr Ngaïssona was elected in February 2018 to the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football, despite the objections of some human rights groups.
Koidu City, Eastern Sierra Leone, Saturday 19 January 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has presented teaching and learning materials to support the free quality education programme in Kono district at an event held at the Koidu Girls’ Secondary School, KGSS.
The principal of KGSS, Bernadette Turay, said the free quality education programme was a laudable initiative and that Kono as a district was experiencing a positive result of the gesture, adding that the initiative had supported parents and teachers who could not meet the high fee demands for their children.
She referred to President Bio’s vision, to develop human capital for national development, as a step in the right direction, noting that without education the future of the country would be bleak. She noted that the western world was being admired because they put a premium on education and reiterated that the President was on the right track.
Chairman of the Kono District Council, Sahr Solomon Gbondo, said the free quality education had provided an opportunity for students to go to school without cost consideration for the first time in the history of the country. He recalled that government had pledged to provide core textbooks, adding that the presentation of those books was a testament to the government delivering on its promises.
Mr Gbondo also commended the government for approving a huge number of teachers and schools within the shortest possible time. He said the free quality education was a blessing to the country and therefore urged parents and children to make good use of the opportunity.
President Bio said the presentation ceremony was a manifestation that his government was one with the commitment to develop the country. He said Kono district should consider itself lucky for having a president in him who would think good for the district.
He said teaching and learning materials were key components in the free education programme and that was why his government had made efforts to provide the facility for students across the country. He, therefore, called on parents and teachers to provide the conducive learning environment for children to make themselves useful by acquiring quality education.
“I call on everyone to support and own the free quality education programme by managing and supervising each element of the programme. Parents have the responsibility to ensure compliance with the guidelines set for the safe handling of these materials. After the books, we will bring school buses for the students because we know they need it for safe and quick arrival in schools,” he said.