Friday, June 27, 2014

FIFA has had Enough of Luis Suarez's Biting Antics

Luis Suarez
Soccer's world governing body FIFA has banned Urugyan striker Luis Suarez for four months following a biting incident in Uruguay's last match against Italy in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Though Uruguay advances, they wouldn't do so with the soccer genius who has an unfortunate tendency to bite under duress. Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the back in their tense qualification encounter and then pretended as if it was just an accident by clutching his teeth and feigning pain.

This is the third time the 27 year old Suarez who plays with British side Liverpool has been involved in a biting incident in the last four years. Suarez has been banned from all football activities till the end of October which means that he will be out of the remaining games of the World Cup and may also affect his stay at Liverpool FC. He was banned from playing for his country for nine games and fined $112,000

The loss of Suarez will be a big loss to Uruguay who has progressed into the round of 16 largely due largely to Suarez's genius on the pitch. They are planning to appeal the decision and has said the incident was purely accidental.
Hey this is no Accident!

The FIFA disciplinary committee headed by Chairman Claudio Sulser has however begged to differ after watching the human canine attack from several different angles and seeing the bite marks on the back of the Italian defender. Claudio Sulser stated that Suarez's behavior would not be tolerated at any pich, let alone the World Cup where the eyes of the world are trained on the players on the field.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sierra Leone Ebola Victims Should Not be Pawns in In Anybody's Power Struggle

Sylvia Omotunde Blyden
Ebola Expert Extraordinaire
Blyden: A Life Dedicated to the Cultivation of Enemies

I had the time to listen to an interview on Radio Democracy given by the Special Executive Assistant to Sierra Leone's President Sylvia Blyden and came away ever more convinced than ever of my earlier suspicion that all the tears she had been shedding for the Ebola victims in Kailahun were just meant to use a particularly horrendous disaster to score a political advantage over perceived enemies.

In the world there are basically three types of ambitious people. The first are those people who have high aspirations in life and devote all their lives to preparing themselves to meet these aspirations. They try to fulfill their ambitions by pursuing perfection. An individual like the great Nelson Mandela falls conveniently in this class. Obama is another.

The second type of ambitious people are those who may or may not seek perfection, but whose primary strength lies in building networks of influence and using these networks to fulfill their aspiration. They never burn their bridges and value the strength of both old and new relationships. In all countries, there are people like this who every government is comfortable to work with.
Miatta Kargbo Newest Enemy

The third type of ambitious people are those whose main strength lies in destroying others to fulfill their ambitions. They may even have all the qualifications and credentials to be great on the basis of their own strengths, but are just wired to derive strength from the downfall of others. These people do not care about past relationships, nor do they think a minute about the consequences of betrayal. All they think about is their rise to the top, and if they offend, betray, or even annihilate another individual to do so, they don't even give regret a second thought. They are simply sociopaths in their quest for power who have no regard for either the feelings or reputation of others. Listening to Sylvia Blyden speak on radio about herself and the current Ebola crisis, all I could think of was how wonderfully she exemplifies the political sociopath.
Alpha Kanu Enemy No 2

Sylvia's first flaw as a human being is not just her exaggerated opinion about herself, but her penchant to give herself all the praise for every success in her life and give others all the blame for every single failure or setback. In college, she says that she was an excellent student, the best in clinicals and multiple choice in her final year. However, when she failed theory or essay, it was no longer her fault, but the fault of her lecturers who were jealous of her because she had gone to China to address a women's conference. According to Sylvia, every African at the conference including Presidents had said that she was simply the best. Her delivery was so powerful that she was on the front page of Chinese newspapers. Because of this success her lecturers had been jealous and had failed her, but she had still managed to graduate from Medical school in Sierra Leone with two medical degrees.
Dr. Sama Banya
2012 Enemy former Uncle

Sylvia's repeated assertion that she was a brilliant medical doctor flies in the face of all reason, as according to her, she has never practiced medicine. So how will you know if you are a brilliant medical doctor if you have never practiced medicine? Even though, according to her, she had completed a study of medicine, Information Technology, Espionage and counter surveillance in USA,  (her words not mine) she had decided to go into tabloid journalism and not medicine, yet she considers herself one of the best doctors in Sierra Leone. Where is the consonance? Is Sylvia failing to realize that the brilliance of health care professionals lies in the quality of their practice and not in how many 'A's they got in medical school? Medicine is a practical profession. You can't be a brilliant medical doctor until you've practiced medicine, same as you can't be a brilliant driver because you got the best results on your driver's exams. Some reality is sacrificed here.
But let us come to her new crusade; Ebola. When you claim, as she does, that you feel so much for the victims of Ebola, there should be some emotion in your voice or some concern when talking about the victims. The only mention of the victims in Sylvia's very long interview is in her attempt to paint Miatta Kargbo as this heartless human being who did not listen to Sylvia Blyden, a medical doctor, and now the people are dying.
David Tam Baryoh
2013 Enemy

What was truly sad about the Blyden interview is that we do not really get the chance to hear much about the victims. It is all about Sylvia and how she feels she is not being respected by her "Junior " colleagues. These junior colleagues are also State House employees and health ministry officials who may have been in the ministry when she was still  writing about Ernest Koroma's many girlfriends. Now she considers them her juniors because the President told her she is  of "cabinet rank." I think the greatest problem Ernest Koroma created for this woman is telling her she was cabinet rank. How can you go about calling your fellow public servants your juniors? Is that even professional?

One of the interviewers asked a very important question, which I will paraphrase. If you care so much about these Ebola victims especially those of Kissi Teng  who you say voted for the President your boss, won't you be in State House talking to the President and begging him to do more for these people? Would you be sitting at home on Facebook ridiculing every effort the health ministry is making just because you don't like the health minister?
VP Sam Sumana
Most Senior Enemy

I don't know Miatta Kargbo and truthfully believe that her ministry's handling of the Ebola outbreak has been disastrous. In any serious country she should have been forced to resign. Nevertheless if I were Miatta Kargbo I also would not listen to anything Sylvia Blyden has to tell me. The heart is not made of bone. You don't advise people by public ridicule. The fact that Sylvia feels she cannot talk privately to Alpha Kanu and Miatta Kargbo, but would use her Awareness Times rag to go after her colleague ministers and portray them in a negative light because she wants to be viewed positively is both juvenile, disloyal and faithful.
Sylvia is only doing this because she knows Ernest Koroma will look the other way. She claims to have also worked for Gambian President Yayah Jammeh. She must know that she cannot do this in the Gambia, not by any stretch of the imagination.
John Baimba Sesay
Fityai Enemy

No Yayah Jammeh appointee will behave as she is doing. The Jammeh I know will not tolerate this even in his relatives, let alone a political opportunist. Sylvia knows the Sierra Leone president will let anything go as long as you praise him occasionally.

My appeal to Sylvia is to stop using the victims of this horrendous disease as pawns in her endless cycle of quarrels. The wife of the Paramount Chief who died was my own classmate in high school where she was known simply by her maiden name of Aminata Baimba. We sat in the same class for years in Wesley Secondary school Segbwema. One of the other victims Amie Jajua was a young lady who grew up with us and married one of my best friends in school, Osman "Tolo" Gbabai. These people are not just figures or pawns in anybody's political chess game, but young individuals who had so much to live for. So instead of just using their names to score political points Sylvia,go to EBK and use your position constructively. When this Ebola is over, you can come back to your daily wahala.

Friday, June 20, 2014

England Joins World Cup Champions Spain on Fast Exit Train from Brazil

World Cup 2014









Two top rated European soccer giants, Spain and England, have in all likelihood been given matching orders out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to dismal performances in their first two matches.
Robin Van Persie's Stunner
Spain who were totally humiliated in a 5-1 rout by Holland in their opening match against the same Dutch team they had defeated in 2010 to claim the World Cup final in South Africa, were again humiliated 2-0 in their second match by the South Americans Chile in Rio De Janeiro's Maracana stadium to be given an early ticket back to Spain where they are bound to face tough questions from the citizens of a football crazed nation. The Segbwema blogger has dubbed the first game as the "Dutch Revenge"

In the second Spanish match, it was two Chilean stars, Eduardo Vargas and Charles Arranguiz, who put the final seal of doom on the Spanish side in a tournament in which they had conceded 7 goals in just two games. The Spanish humiliation was sealed on the same day their King Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne to his son the Crown Prince Felipe. As the king gave up his throne so did the Spanish soccer champions symbolically hand over their title in Brazil following a week of embarrassment and humiliation.
Luis Suarez

In group D, both England and Uruguay had to win their second encounters to keep their hopes of staying in the competition alive. These two teams first met in the 1954 World Cup in St. Jakob, Switzerland where England lost 2-4 to Uruguay in the quarter-finals. There was therefore both history and the prospect for advancement on the line. In the Thursday June 19th encounter Luis Suarez who is feared striker in England netted twice in the 39th and 85th minutes with a lone reply from Wayne Rodney in the 75th minute to effectively put the brakes on an uninspiring English side. England who had lost 2-1 to Italy in their first game are now all but mathematically eliminated from the competition Their only chance now lies with a win or draw by Costa Rica over Italy and their scoring a win over Costa Rica in their next encounter. Most people believe this is not going to happen. Though England played some respectable soccer in the two games, their defensive lapses have all but doomed their chances and their hotel rooms will soon likely be vacant.
By Sheku Sheriff
Minneapolis

What is the Real Beef Between Sylvia Omotunde Blyden and Miatta Kargbo

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo
(Cabinet Member)
What is really going on between Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the Special Executive Assistant to Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma and the country's Health and Sanitation Minister Miatta Kargbo?
Special Executive Assistant
Sylvia Blyden (Cabinet Rank)

Listening to Sylvia's Blyden's perpetual litany of complaints on Facebook and her Awareness Times gossip tabloid about the ineptitude of the Health Minister, one could almost be forgiven for thinking that it was Miatta Kargbo herself who personally went to the forests of Congo and begged the Ebola virus to come to Sierra Leone after first stopping in Guinea and Liberia.

Many Sierra Leoneans are aware that the country's Ministry of Health and Sanitation had enough time to set up a measured and effective response to the eventuality of the dreaded Ebola virus landing on the country's shores. The initial uncoordinated and chaotic response to the outbreak was probably the reason for its high proliferation and death rate in Sierra Leone in such a short period of time. But for the President's Special Executive Assistant to single out only Miatta Kargbo for exclusive blame is disingenuous at best and out right deceitful at the worst.
Minister Kargbo with President

In 2012 a cholera outbreak in the Sierra Leone capital Freetown revealed gaping holes in the preparedness of the Health and Sanitation Ministry to deal with any major epidemic outbreak in the country and any serious government would have identified the lapses in processes and systems that allowed a water borne bacteria infection to kill over 70 people in the country's capital alone. But as soon as the cholera scare was over, health ministry officials went straight back to what they knew how to do best; writing fake invoices and inventing false suppliers to divert crucial funds meant to strengthen health care in Sierra Leone into their own pockets.

The blog is essentially learning two things from Sylvia Blyden's current outbursts against the Health and Sanitation Minister Miatta Kargbo; the first being that Miatta is unqualified for her job and failed to take advice from Sylvia Blyden who never fails to inform the world that, in her own words, she is "a multi-talented individual with IT skills and a medical background amongst others," the second being that Sylvia is raising all this hullabaloo because she thinks Miatta is not giving her enough respect.
The President and the SEA
Having riled up the constituents of Kailahun district with her daily reports of how the Ebola test kits ordered by the Health Minister were expired, how the Health Minister had no plan in place to deal with Ebola and how the Health Minister was immature, the question on the mind of every critical thinker is why the Special Assistant to the President would spend so much time publicly detailing the inadequacies of a minister who was appointed by no other person that the President himself? As Special Assistant to the President, why would you refuse to go to work for two weeks, when you have the capacity everyday to go to State House itself and tell your boss the President that the Health Minister is not doing a good job, is that not what Special Executive Assistants are suppose to do?
Is it really the Minister's job to look at the expiration dates on Ebola test kits, or is it a symbol of the failure of the entire health care system in a country that proposes to have free health care, yet all the ministers go to neighboring countries for treatment even when they have a headache.

The question is why would Sylvia be using her newspaper and social media to focus on just a single person who is apparently too busy dealing with the deadly outbreak to currently join her in a Facebook shouting match. What is really preventing Sylvia Blyden from asking the President to let her help with the Ebola response, would that not be better than sitting all day with a laptop on your knees trolling Facebook and whipping up public sentiments against a lady who is part of a system that was already broken?
Miatta Bluffing Sylvia

Having studied the opportunistic and malicious nature of Sylvia Blyden over the years, her new found love for the people of Kailahun district, more especially Kissi Teng, seems suspect and a bit too superfluous and conniving to sound convincing, at least to me. I have seen these type of tears before and in Segbwema we call them "crocodile tears."
Sylvia The Original Bluffer

The latest attack on the young Health Minister is based on her performance in Parliament on Tuesday June 17th where she had appeared to discuss her Ministry's response to the Ebola outbreak in the country. Instead of focusing on some of the actions the ministry had taken and on substantive issues that were discussed for the education of the public, Sylvia Blyden's Awareness Time has sensationalized the entire hearing and now the only thing the world is hearing from the President's Special Executive Assistant is how the Health Minister has defamed the Character of two dead health care workers who the minister had claimed died because they were in a love relationship. 

Awareness Times has reduced the entire serious Parliamentary hearing into a soap opera. Sylvia Blyden even made a video clip of that segment of the hearing on Facebook to convince her gullible followers that she cares about two dead health care workers who she had probably never met. According to Sylvia the utterance by Miatta Kargbo that the two health care workers had an amorous relationship was unthinkable and emphasized that by saying  Hon Moiwa Momoh of Daru had even chastised the minister for these unspeakable comments. Was it not the same Sylvia Blyden who recently wrote that the People of Kailahun district deserved no sympathy for all that happened to them during the civil war in Sierra Leone as they were the ones who had welcomed the rebels? Between her statement and what the minister said, which is more unspeakable?

What I find truly appalling is Sylvia Blyden using the Ebola victims in Sierra Leone one of whom, the wife of the Paramount Chief was a class mate of mine in Wesley Secondary school where she was known by her maiden name of Aminata Baimba. If Sylvia had known her and seen how wonderful a person Amie was, she would not be using her name as a pawn in her perpetual thirst for recognition.

Sylvia has told us all that the Health Minister Miatta Kargbo and her "communications director" Yayah Tunis have rejected what she describes as her constructive criticisms, even though as she claims, she is a trained medical doctor with two medical degrees, who has spent most of her adult life hanging around rebel leaders, politicians and writing gossip meant to destroy the reputation of respectable people.

Sylvia's main beef with the Health Minister is that the minister has been making disparaging statements about her, someone who is not a cabinet minister, but has been told by the President that her position of SEA was of cabinet rank. (I hope EBK did not 419 the poor lady)

Sylvia's obsession with her cabinet rank has made her disrespect all the deputy ministers in Sierra Leone and now that most of the President's inner circle are avoiding her, her paranoia is becoming an unwholesome public spectacle. 

Just a few weeks ago she said that a "witch horn" was discovered at her house and last week a "witch bomb" exploded in her office. Listening to Sylvia, it seems as if the entire witch battalion of Masiaka have been deployed just to get her. This is the individual who is the Special Executive Assistant to our country's President and you wonder why Sierra Leone is becoming a laughingstock under this regime.
Former Sweetheart Dr. Abdulai
Fofanah

Well we are now just hearing some quiet rumors filtering into the blog that seems to provide the beginnings of an answer to Sylvia's obsession with Miatta. It is being rumored around Freetown that one of the people who do not get along with Miatta Kargbo  is one of the country's Deputy Health and Sanitation Ministers Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah who just happens to have been one of Sylvia Blyden's former flames when they were in college. 

Dr. Fofanah, it is rumored, still has a very close relationship with his former sweetheart Sylvia, but finds it difficult to work with his colleague the Health Minister Miatta, who is accused in her office of always "behaving like an American" (well she is an American citizen). So it now loudly whispered that Sylvia's mission is for the Health Minister to be fired so that her former flame could be promoted to "cabinet rank"
Mwen Ke Devire, the Freetown Segbwema blog correspondent has promised to use his well placed sources inside the health ministry to investigate this angle in greater detail.
Mwen Ke De Vire
Freetown Segbwema Blog Correspondent

For now the Special Executive Assistant is reportedly still on work strike and this time it is reported that President  Ernest Koroma has vowed never to beg her  to come to work again. The President is now developing some serious independence,God be praised.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Liberian Jailed Warlord Charles Ghankay Taylor Sues for Right to theFamily Life he Deprived others Of.

Liberian Warlord Taylor
One of Africa's most infamous mass murderers, former Liberian warlord and President Charles Ghankay Taylor, the leader of a group of primitive rebels who specialized in torture, rape and cannibalism have just sued the British Government for allegedly depriving him of family life. Charles Taylor was jailed for a 50 year term by the Special Court for Sierra Leone  for crimes against humanity, a sentence he appealed against and lost.

It can be recalled that when Taylor was sentenced to the lengthy stretch that was essentially a life sentence, considering his age, he appealed to the court to be jailed in Africa, preferably in Rwanda, so it could be easier for him to see his family and probably have conjugal visits from his many female partners. 
Taylor with His Child Soldiers

The court refused Taylor's request for special treatment as jail birds do not usually determine where they spent their sentence. Given his history of jail escapes and his enormous wealth, what could prevent him from giving some poor jailers in Rwanda  huge amounts of money to convince them to release him? Afterwards Rwanda is just another third world country in which the jailers are probably paid next to nothing. So the special court took up the British offer to have Taylor caged at a Prison in Durham county. 
A Taylor Victim

Taylor is now suing the UK government for preventing him from seeing his fifteen children and his wife, who is also a politician in his native country Liberia. Taylor must have been particularly emboldened by the fact that Prince Yormie Johnson a less popular rebel leader who famously cut the ears of former Liberian President Doe before murdering him on video camera, is now a senator and actually had the third number of votes in the last Presidential elections, much to the amazement of the international community. Prince Johnson was a former Taylor battle group commander who broke away and formed his own rebel movement.

Charles Taylor and his men used to eat the heart of their enemies for bravery and were guilty of some of the most heinous war crimes that have ever been recorded in civil conflict including the disembowelment of pregnant women, the rape of children and using murder as a terror tactic in war.

Charles Taylor was the major backer of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, a group of rag tag militants led by a former jailed army corporal Foday Sankoh who are famous for ordering the whole scale slaughtering of villages and the hacking and amputation the limbs of their victims. When the noose was about to tighten around Taylor's neck for supporting this depraved group, he ordered his men to kill the group's battle group commander Sam "Maskita" Bockarie in order to eliminate an individual that would tie him directly to the RUF. Sam Bockarie was on mercenary duty between Liberia and Ivory Coast at the time.
Golley and RUF Allies

Charles Taylor's lawyers have prepared a case that has been lodged at the Sierra Leone special court stating that his jail term was in violation of his human rights.

Taylor must also have been emboldened by developments in Sierra Leone over the past two years. Two close allies of his protege Foday Sankoh have been rehabilitated and given top official positions. A former associate of Foday Sankoh, Sylvia Blyden, the only Sierra Leonean who came out publicly to condemn the jailing of Charles Taylor claiming it was a very sad day in her life, is now the Special Executive Assistant to Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma. The main RUF spokesman Omrie Golley who was instrumental in convincing segments of the international community that RUF was just a movement of Freedom fighters in spite of their heinous crimes has also recently been appointed as Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Korea in a move that baffled even diehard supporters of the Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Charles Taylor's brief tenure as President of Liberia gave him the chance to loot his country's treasury and is reportedly still extremely rich. He has therefore been spending his millions to pay lawyers to win him his freedom and go back to a country where he is still seen as a hero by many of the thousands of young boys he was able to convince to fight for him. For the brief time that he was President, his wife was in charge of the country's central bank, while he controlled all logging and mineral concessions. Charles Taylor famously gave a bag of uncut diamonds to modeling superstar Naomi Campell just to say hello and he is still considered to be one of the richest men in Africa as Liberia has never been able to trace where he hid his wealth.

The British government states that Taylor is being treated like any other jailbird in its county jails. One angry British MP made the following statement upon hearing Taylor's frivolous allegations, "It shows the corruption of human rights that such a brutal warlord convicted of crimes against humanity including terrorism, rape and conscripting child soldiers, thinks he can claim jail violates his right to family life. If he's successful, it would turn British human rights laws into a laughing stock around the world."

The Segbwema Blog will continue to monitor this new move by Taylor to remain in the news.

Will Richard Konteh Apologize to Transparency International?

Dr. Richard Konteh
In 2013 the international corruption watchdog Transparency International's annual list of national corruption around the world was not very favorable to Sierra Leone. Not only did the report take particular note of the high level of official corruption in Sierra Leone, but went further to actually award the West African nation the unique distinction of being the country with the highest incidence of reported bribery in Sub-Saharan Africa. 
President Koroma
Zero Tolerance?
 

The bribery report was a major embarrassment to the Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, coming on the heels of an invitation by President Barack Obama  to visit the White House in recognition of positive democratic trends in the West African nation. The bribery report was also a major setback for the President's "rebranding" effort, a policy that was designed to convince both the international and domestic audience that Sierra Leone was now a very different place, largely free of the strife, corruption, poverty, bad leadership and many of the other vices that had stultified the country's progress for decades. The TI report exposed the "rebranding" charade as just an attempt to use a very expensive perfume to mask the smell of a festering sore. The President's much touted "zero tolerance for corruption" had been revealed to be a mere play at words for the gullible masses.
Banda and Koroma
Was Obama Deceived

In addition to being a major embarrassment, the report also jeopardized Sierra Leone's chances of winning a multimillion dollar development compact with the Millennium Challenge Cooperation, a US bilateral aid agency that gave grants and development compacts to developing countries with notable democratic credentials, respect for human rights and dignity and adherence to the principles of good governance.

Noting the potential negative impact of the report, the Ernest Bai Koroma led goverment wasted no time in condemning the Transparency International report. The governments troop of journalists for hire and government officials came out swinging, damning the result, disputing its accuracy faulting its methodology and totally rejecting its findings. Some of the more statistically ignorant officials even questioned how it can be possible for you to just interview a group of people and then make conclusions about the population, which is exactly what inferential statistics is all about.
Not Bribery,  but "Kola

Leading the chorus of rejection was the President's own Chief of Staff at the time Dr. Richard Konteh, the man who was also given the monumental task of leading the government's bid for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact. Dr. Richard Konteh came out very forcefully against the report, rejecting it in its totality. He stated that Transprency International had a fundamental lack of understanding of the cultural practices and norms of Sierra Leone, and that most of what they called bribery was just the normal cultural practice of giving "Cola" or "Cold water" in the country, which was a totally acceptable cultural practice. 

In explaining Transparency International's misunderstanding of the Sierra Leone culture the then Chief of Staff made the following point:  “In our culture, it is normal, if you want to get land from the paramount chief you go with what we call, kola.  You give the paramount chief the kola as a sign of respect, that is not bribery.  It is also part of our culture to show appreciation to people for good things that they’ve done to you, that is not bribery.”

Dr. Conteh also stressed the Koroma governments fight to weed out corruption, stating that, “The government has taken tremendous steps in the fight against corruption.  The president has outlined he will run a policy of zero tolerance against corruption.  Anybody who is found guilty or indicted in his cabinet, he sacks,” said Konteh.  “We have given the Anti-Corruption Commission, the power to prosecute.  In the past, before they prosecute they had to go through the attorney general, [but] that is no longer a requirement.”
Konteh and his Crew of Deniers.

Dr. Konteh noted that the report in which 84% of the respondents admitted to having at one time paid a bribe was not only skewed, but was not statistically representative. He noted that the sample size of 1028 out of a population of 6 million, the sample distribution and sampling frame were all inadequate.

In noting the recognition of the government's democratic and economic progress by the Millenium Challenge Corporation, Dr Konteh noted that, “The MCC [Millennium Challenge Cooperation] commends Sierra Leone and that is why we have qualified for a contract with the American government.  They underscored government’s effort. So a report like this coming at a time when we are busy trying to prepare for our MCC funding, will tend to distort the realities on the ground.”  
MCC Team Led by Konteh
Cola

Well, unfortunately,  it seems as if Transparency International may have all along been right in their report on corruption and bribery in the country. 

Last week, the chief corruption denier himself, Dr. Richard Konteh was fired from his lucrative job as the President's point man in State House on charges of massive corruption,  and this has very little to do with cola. It so happened the while Dr. Konteh was busy denying the scale of corruption in Sierra Leone, he was secretly negotiating mining contracts for his own benefit at the country's expense and signing fraudulent timber contract deals in contravention of the limits on timber exports set by his own government. He did all this from the comfort of State House. 

Having taken the "Cola culture" to a whole new level, Richard Konteh is now busy helping police with their investigations. As usual, most Sierra Leoneans are just going about their business as they've seen it all before. Many are saying nothing will likely come out of it, as the country's inept Anti Corruption Commission will in the greatest likelihood bungle any case against him.

Richard Konteh's corrupt practices were undertaken with impunity. It is even rumored that he was in the practice of forging the President's signature on official documents. It seems as if in this case, President Koroma's penchant for surrounding himself with close friends, family members and allies has misfired badly.

Accusations of monumental corruption against the President's chief of Staff has been an open secret for many years around Freetown, as the young man who is a maternal relative of the President, had accumulated assets around the country far in excess of anything he could have attained from his official emoluments. Unfortunately, being so close to the President, nobody, not even the country's Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has had the testicular fortitude to accuse the President's golden boy of anything. 

Many of the nation's pundits watched in silence as Richard Konteh was shuffled from one lucrative appointment to the other.  From deputy in the Development and Finance Ministry, he was elevated to Trade and Industry Minister, Chief of Staff, lead person for MCC Compact, etc. Now many are quietly wondering how a a criminal with a doctor's degree ended up conning the President for so long, while taking him for a joyride. 

The question now is will the Sierra Leone government or at least Richard Konteh apologize to Transparency International for having put the watchdog institution's reputation into disrepute? Will he have the decency to call them and say they were right all along.  Should President Koroma have paid more attention to the report instead of seeing it as an attack on the reputation of his government?  As Richard Konteh is already denying the current accusations against him at the CID, many are quietly saying the internationally recognized denier will just keep on denying. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Japanese Show Class in Brazil-Culled From the Independent

Kashmira Gander
Kashmira Gander writes for the Independent and Independent on Sunday
Monday 16 June 2014

Japanese fans who watched their national team be defeated by the Ivory Coast in theFifa World Cup on Saturday showed it is possible to lose graciously, when they stayed behind after the match to help clean up.

Despite seeing the Blue Samurais lose 2-1 against Didier Drogba's team at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Japanese spectators armed with bin liners patrolled their side of the stadium and gathered up discarded litter,Yahoo Sport reported.

While gathering waste after a sporting event is customary in Japan, the spectators’ actions came as a shock to football fans from other countries.

As pictures of the scene spread online, Twitter users took to the social media website to praise the do-gooders.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sierra Leone Ebola Press Release

SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT
(Office of Government Spokesman)
Ministry of Information and Communications
8th Floor, Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown


PRESS RELEASE


FREETOWN, JUNE 11, 2014

As Government and its health development partners continue to fight the outbreak of the Ebola disease that has so far claimed the lives of 16 people,  the Government through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other participating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is therefore putting the following measures in place with immediate effect as part of an overall national strategy in addressing the outbreak of the Ebola virus:

  1. All vehicles and their passengers entering and leaving Kailahun district must subject themselves to screening by authorities at various checkpoints;
  2. All schools in Kailahun district are closed with immediate effect, and that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is making arrangements with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for those students slated to sit to the National Basic
  3. Education Examinations (BECE) to take the exams at a later date;To minimise the risk of transmission from person to person, Government hereby orders the prohibition of all public gatherings, including but not limited to, cinemas, culturalactivities and night clubs in Kailahun district;
  4. That local and cross-border trade fairs (locally known as the “Lumors”) are temporarily closed until such a time when the Ebola virus would have been contained;
  5.  That the general public is mandated to report to health authorities any person (s) or stranger (s) with symptoms of the Ebola disease in their respective communities for appropriate professional health interventions;
  6. All deaths across the country must be reported and certified by an authorised health professional before burial;
  7. All Ebola or related deaths must be buried at place of occurrence under the supervision of health personnel; 
We wish the public to know that Government and particularly all participating MDAs are on top of the situation, and therefore call on the general public to cooperate with the above
measures as part of the national collective drive to further raise awareness to stop further spread of the disease.

Signed:
Office of Government Spokesman

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is President Ernest Koroma Clearing APC of any Challenge to His Dominance?

Dr. Richard Konteh
Kokobeh
?
Some months ago it was Almamy Petito Koroma the then minister of works. Petito was sacked for the usual "failure to perform to the expectations of the President." Now it is Presidential Chief of Staff Dr. Richard Konteh, dismissed because he was allegedly negotiating a mining contract to his own benefit (his own personal Agenda for Prosperity) and is involved in the identical timber scandal that once engulfed Vice President Sam Sumana, which the government then denied strenuously, stating that it was an attempt by opposition detractors to stain the reputation of the presidency. Well now, it seems as if the timbergate has moved from the VP's office to State House. Maybe Sam Sumana was a "Chuneh."
Konteh and Kokobeh Reverend

What gives many of us analysts room for caution is that both Petito and Richard Konteh are people that were popularly rumored in the past to be prime candidates to replace President Koroma at the head of APC when his tenure came to an end. It is therefore very suspicious that now that there is a secretly funded movement calling for an extension of the President's mandate, those who were poised to replace him are suddenly starting to drop by the wayside.

Almamy Petito Koroma
Was this not the same timber export violation that the VP was caught on camera arranging? Was it not for the same underhand dealing that Momoh Konteh was found innocent and Alex Mansaray treated with kid gloves? The Vice President employed Sylvia Blyden to come to the TV and convince the people he was innocent because at the time she was viewed as trustworthy. Was that not why she is now Special Executive Assistant to the President from where she is quick to remind lesser folks of her cabinet rank? Why was the Vice President also not investigated?
Konteh and the MCC
Caboodle

Of course Sierra Leoneans will be jubilant over this news, as we are a country and a people who love to rejoice over the downfall of those we envy. But Sierra Leoneans, think for a moment. Was this not the same Richard Konteh that opposition activists were talking about his owning houses he could not justifiably afford? Was it not called a mere case of envy and an attempt by the opposition to destroy the character of a reputable man? Are we now to suddenly believe that Richard Konteh is a criminal because State House said so? Are we to suddenly believe that Richard Konteh is the only "Kokobeh" in State House?
This reminds me of a time I went to a small bar on Pademba Road to quench some thirst during the days of Momoh. At that time they had just fired Tommy Taylor Morgan who was Minister of Finance. I think that was his name. I met some old Krio men sitting by the bar in animated discussion, while slowly sipping their Star Beer and smoking some strong smelling cigarettes. Could have been Milo or Gauloise.
One of the old men made the following statement which I will remember to this day.
He said, "Tunde, bo Tommy nor tiff lek Krio Bo! E tiff lek kontri man!"
All I can say is that if this were true about Dr. Richard Konteh and this was the same man who was leading the bid to get the Millennium Challenge Corporation dollars, no wonder the Americans refused to give our country a single penny. Maybe as soon as he opened his mouth they saw a criminal. I wonder how his  main fan the Rt. Rev. Kabbs Kanu will spin this.
Another angle to this whole Timbergate Part II may lie in the rumor that the current head of Anti Corruption Commission is also poised to be in contention to replace Ernest Bai Koroma. Could it be that he was using the ACC to dig dirt on his potential rivals? Who knows.
All I can say is that now that a rat has been caught in State House, maybe the squirrels will be next.

Are Sierra Leoneans Being Deceived by Sylvia Blyden because of Personality Conflicts

With the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, some of us initially made the calculated decision to desist from criticizing the government, as the virus was a serious matter and unhelpful criticism was not going to help in many meaningful way. A potent killer, Ebola is highly infectious and extremely lethal. The race to find a way to limit the proliferation of the disease around Sierra Leone needed only constructive contributions about prevention, management of the outbreak and education of the masses. This was not about how you felt about the government, but only about racing to save lives.
Kenema

Then the Special Executive Assistant to the President himself, Sylvia Olayinka Blyden took to social media and criticized the inept handling of the official response to the presence of the disease in the country. She lamented that her persistent calls for preparedness had been ignores and stressed the unwillingness of health officials to listen to her, even though, as she claims, she was a qualified medical doctor who new more about infectious diseases than the minions surrounding the President.

This of course enraged those of us who heard daily news about the confusion surrounding the response to the disease. If the Special Executive Assistant (SEA) herself was critical of government response and lamented the failure of people to defer to her education and experience, we thought that her outrage was genuine, borne out of patriotism and genuine regret at the unnecessary loss of life that could have been preventable had she been listened to.
Suddenly Patriotic Blyden

Now we are unfortunately learning that Sylvia Blyden was going on this self righteous, self promoting indignation not because of any genuine affection she felt for the people, but simply because of personality conflicts between herself and other members of the President's administration. She is feeling that as an individual with what she loves to stress, "of cabinet rank" lowly people like John Baimba Sesay the opinionated Sierra Keone Press Attaché to China and others not of "cabinet rank" should not be challenging her in public, ascribing this to "fit yai," which means disrespect in the local Sierra Leone parlance Krio. 

Now we hear that Sylvia has not been going to work, not even to work for the Ebola victims she so suddenly cares passionately about, but is at home, crying over the fact that she had been disrespected by people who are not of "cabinet rank." Of course, she will still continue to be paid full salary from the sweat of the poor taxpayers of Sierra Leone, as her position is of cabinet rank and she is answerable only to the President. Unfortunately the President is afraid of what she will write about him where he to let her go, as she has seen the internal working of his administration and would likely wash his dirty linens in public.

I was truly very pleasantly surprised at this sudden turn about of Sylvia Blyden. This was the same woman who said that she was sad that Charles Taylor was jailed for war atrocities in Sierra Leone, as the war was actually started by people of Kailahun district. The deaths of thousands of Sierra Leoneans meant nothing to her at the time. So her now caring so affectionately for the people of Kissi Teng got her so much sympathy from people equally surprised as myself. But, now we are learning that it was just a charade. All Sylvia care about is her ego and herself and she could care less if the whole population of Kaiahun was eradicated by Ebola virus or hunger. Sylvia Blyden care only about Sylvia Blyden.
Ebola Suspected Victim

We are also learning that though the government response was not without criticism, there had actually been plans in place to confront the disease were it to occur in Sierra Leone. We are learning that the government has been working in close partnership with WHO, Oxfam, MSF to handle the occurrence and a task force had been in place since the disease surfaced in Guinea. Health care personnel we are also learning have been trained rapidly in the identification and management of the Ebola outbreak.

Why would Sylvia Blyden deliberately mislead Sierra Leonean just because her ego is bruised? Does this lady care about nothing but making political points? Is there no sense of loyalty to anybody but herself?
Health Minister Miatta Kargo
Rival?

As people continue to die, with the virus currently on the rampage in Daru, we will continue to take Olayinka's egomaniacal outbursts with a pinch of salt and continue educating the people about the outbreak and how to appropriately respond to the outbreak in their communities.

Fighting EVD in Sierra Leone; Is SEA The Ebola Virus?

I found this article on social media giving a different view of the response to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. I thought it was worth sharing.

By Saffa.

It is very obvious that the issue of the Ebola virus has been a constant topic of discussion since the outbreak started in neighbouring Guinea. The Ebola virus by all indications is a dreadful disease that has the propensity of claiming several lives within the shortest possible time and the dreadful aftermath of any contact of this disease to a significant extent is not an envisaged reality of any well meaning Sierra Leonean.

Quite recently, it has now been confirmed that this contagious disease is now within the precinct of the Eastern Provincial district of Kailahun. However, what is appalling is the fact that discussions on this deadly outbreak especially on social media have been trivialized and politicized by some rabble-rousing unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans of which I have the firm belief that is a smear crackdown on the national efforts in salvaging the outbreak.

It is crystal clear that this is a national concern and as a nation we should all clamour to intensify efforts in sensitizing and educating the public on government’s efforts in trying to curb and find appropriate solutions to this national menace. In times like this, politics should not be a matter of consideration but harnessing a concerted approach in managing and finding an amicable resolution to the menace. This is no time for petty politics.

But to put the argument into perspective, one may be wondering what efforts the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) has taken after the confirmation of the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone. The ministry at a crucial moment like this should be seen pivotal in its efforts, measures, and campaign strategies, all in an effort to show its assertiveness and concern in finding a lasting solution to this emerging national scourge.

Prior to the outbreak in Sierra Leone, the MOHS has been on its alert and preparedness for any suspected cases around the border areas in the affected neighbouring Guinea. The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Miatta Kargbo has expressed government’s concerns and efforts in finding a solution to this outbreak and putting measures in place to prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the country. 

Indeed the mental picture held by several Sierra Leoneans about the Ebola virus is scary and awful, and this presupposes the fact that one has to be careful in handling and managing information about the virus.
To complement these strides, the ministry has been working in close partnership with the World Health Organization and several non-governmental organizations like Red Cross, Medicin San Frontiers, Oxfam etc together with a Task Force Surveillance team set up by the ministry to look into suspected cases and has been working since the outbreak started in Guinea.

The surveillance team comprises lab surveillance, coordination and management of reported cases. This in essence gives you a picture of work being done behind the scenes in curbing the disease. An intensified health communications strategy and a weekly task force meeting chaired by the minister were implemented. Since then, upon the request of the MOHS, a Metabiota Daily Report has been produced since the beginning of the Ebola alert in Sierra Leone reporting on laboratory diagnostics, training progress and other issues to EVD preparedness and response.

The emergency response team decided to train in less than ten days key health officials involved in the response of medical support clinic cases and field investigations. A total of 75 medical officers, 35 surveillance medical officers and, 25 port health officers have been trained in eight days. In further strengthening the efforts made, 50 primary health care workers have been trained (250 trainees) were trained by the previous trainees; a total of 385 health workers from Sierra Leone have been trained and supported with complementary equipment.
As earlier stated in this piece, Sierra Leoneans should refrain from playing politics with this deadly disease and must ensure that they abide by best hygiene practices in order for them to avoid contracting the disease.

But quite interestingly, it will appall citizens that the Special Executive Assistant to the President, Sylvia Blyden has been making a caricature of the whole situation and further making inciting and unfounded statements purported to be coming from the people of the Kissy Teng Chiefdom.
Since the outbreak in Kissy Teng, she has been blowing things out of proportion to the extent that the people of the said affected location have shown reluctance and outright refusal to report cases to the nearest health/isolation centers created by the ministry in Kenema.

But this woman (loose cannon) is undoubtedly known for bringing controversies on the presidency especially on compromising and undermining a national issue that has to do with national security. Her statements made on the social media is a clear manifestation of her snitch antics perpetrated to bringing a slur on the concerted effort of government on a critical situation like this. This is vividly captured by her inciting utterances made to journalists to vociferously attack the MOHS on such an issue that borders on the lives and livelihood of Sierra Leoneans. "I urge all investigative journalists to focus their skills SHARPLY on Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Do not be intimidated by the ministry's "press releases". NA OPEN-CALL !!", said the alarmist Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. It is a shame that it is coming from a close aide to the President. A clear picture of her undermining tricks. A snake indeed. Thus, the personification will appropriately fit the SEA as the Ebola Virus that must be contained.

Therefore, I urge all Sierra Leoneans to adhere to best hygiene practices and work concertedly in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus. Let us crawl out of our petty politics and imbibe the spirit of patriotism for the benefit of all and sundry.

We have a good shot at winning this very critical war against EVD if we manage information, education and communication surrounding the outbreak very well. We have a fighting chance in places like Kissy Teng and Kenema where we all know the virus might be present for now. But when we have people in our midst who are desperate to snuff out our chances, it becomes a problem – I mean a serious problem. After all, this outbreak is not about the minister of health or the ministry as a whole, but it has everything to do with the survival of Sierra Leone.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ebola Response Magnifies Government Ineptitude in Sierra Leone

Miatta Kargbo Minister of Health
The President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma has a rather unfortunate tendency of making most appointments in the country solely on the  basis of political patronage. No matter how crucial the position, you have to be in his inner circle or be aligned with his political beliefs before he can appoint you to that position. Your past actions and your experience hardly count, as the only thing that matters is how loudly you praise his name. Some of his close people have taken to calling this tendency 'koromaism.'

The result of this disastrous public sector recruitment strategy is a government of individuals whose ineptitude comes on full display whenever there is an emergency situation in the country, often with fatal or embarrassing consequences.
Cholera Victim Receiving Free Health
Care

Just a year or so ago, the response to a cholera outbreak in the capital Freetown was bungled so badly that it resulted in the deaths of many people and even necessitated the institution of a task force in State House, the office of the president, and help from the international community, before the disease could be brought under control. The response to the outbreak was unplanned and chaotic. There was no system of preventive action in place, no isolation strategy and the officials thought that they could actually control news of the outbreak through the dissemination of contrived propaganda.

For two years in a row, Sierra Leone stood to gain millions of dollars from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US based government funded developmental assistance organization that gives developmental grants to developing countries which are identified as having acceptable democratic credentials. MCC assistance was not in the form of loans and most countries that have benefited from their compacts and grants have seen substantial improvements in areas such as electricity and water supply.

However, instead of assembling a solid team of professionals to design the country's proposal, the task was given once again to the minions that swarm round the president. The result was that Sierra Leone's bid was rejected outright and not even tabled for a vote by the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

But in very few instances has the incompetence of the Koroma government been put on full display and in the bungled response to the Ebola outbreak, a highly infectious and fatal hemorrhagic fever that has been raging in the neighboring countries Guinea and Liberia over the past three months.
Talk is Cheap

Sierra Leone shares boundaries with only two countries,Guinea and Liberia. So it borders on the insane for anyone to assume that an outbreak of disease in these two countries would not somehow affect Sierra Leone. However, that is exactly what Health Minister Miatta Kargbo, Africa's newest model of incompetence thought. A woman with little health care experience or education other than probably a nursing home job in USA, President Koroma somehow managed to convince the country's rubber stamp parliament to confirm her nomination as Health Minister, to oversee the President's signature program of Free Health Care.

The Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone epitomizes all that is wrong with the country. Corruption in the ministry is so pervasive that both the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund have limited operations in the country citing monumental levels of official corruption and fraud in the ministry. Just in the past few weeks, the Global Funds Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found evidence of pervasive fraudulent invoicing and vendors who did not exist in the ministry, resulting in the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Abu Jajua Leading from Behind

For the past few months, every health organization in the world and every serious news outlet in West Africa has been concerned with and cataloged the outbreak of Ebola in both Guinea and Liberia. The only person who seems to have taken the threat of this outbreak crossing into Sierra Leone seriously was one honorable Abu Jajua the opposition MP for Kailahun Constituency 7. Heorganized a series of Ebola education workshops in his constituency, bringing in medical doctors and infectious disease experts to educate his constituents about the Ebola virus, the signs and symptoms, and what to do in the case of an outbreak. While Hon. Jajua was doing this, Minister Kargbo was posing for the press.
Hon Abu Jajua's April Ebola Seminar
This is True Leadership

Now, it seems as if the health ministry had not even considered the eventuality of Ebola crossing into Sierra Leone. So busy have they been with writing fake procurement invoices that Ebola was not even item number 10. With Ebola confirmed in Kailahun, the district bordering  Guinea and Liberia, it has been discovered that the Ebola kits sent to the district have been expired since March of this year. There was no health care drill to handle the deadly eventuality and the Health Minister actuality had the audacity to order that people infected with the disease, instead of being isolated, were to be caught and brought to Kenema, a highly populated town in a district far away from the outbreak. This is almost like reading a health care guide for idiots, but it is true! Taking a highly fatal viral outbreak from a relatively isolated area and bringing the afflicted into a town teeming with people. Only President Ernest Bai Koroma knows where he gets these characters from.
Minister Miatta and Minister Mahmoud
The Rapist

Of course, the word about Freetown is now " please let us not politicize the issue!" You can hardly care about politics in the face of such a bungled catastrophe. Ebola does not know APC or SLPP. Most of the people of the areas affected by thus outbreak could care less about what is going on in Freetown, but are now having to cope with the negative consequence of hiring an incompetent individual whose only credentials to head such a sensitive ministry is a beautiful face and the ability to dress like a model, combined with an obscure business degree from an equally obscure university.

When even the Special Executive Assistant to the President Sylvia Omotunde Blyden,  who is usually the first to manufacture an excuse for thisgross incompetence comes out and says "I told you so," President Koroma should have immediately asked the minister to transfer to another ministry, as she is probably to close to him to be fired.

Sierra Leone has all it takes to become a great country. The first step in the process is to step away from this glorification of mediocrities. We have competent people in that country. Let us forget about political affiliations and hire people based on competence. If not we will continue to remain as Gallup say, the most unhappy country in Sub-Saharan Africa.