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Issues At Large 1-28-10

Issues At Large 1-28-10

Give Lillian Lisk a chance

Lillian Lisk is a household name in Sierra Leone. From a grass roots beginning, Lisk was able to surmount the usual belief that a woman’s place is in the home when she tackled the responsibility of setting up a whole industry by herself.

But Lillian Lisk is no stranger to business. As an entrepreneur, she has delved in various businesses including setting up dance bands. She has also been in the petroleum selling sector, set up the Grafton water company and as for fisheries; her name is now a folk story.

But in a country like Sierra Leone, where initiatives, especially from women are frowned upon, she has been confronted with various problems initiated by negative minded government functionaries, all in an attempt to sabotage her work.

Various governments have also been guilty of sabotaging this great woman’s work and the examples abound of how she was hassled, hounded and even marginalized but all these negative actions failed to dampen her spirit.

But it seems the negative activities of destroying the good works of Lisk seem to continue unabated. The fact is that Sierra Leonean government officials and ministers prefer to live off the work of successful people by putting them down, using their positions as justifications for their nefarious deals. That is why Afsatu Kabba should tread carefully and not try to make things difficult for Lillian Lisk and her company. It was these same corrupt and rather aggressive hounding of Lillian Lisk that caused her to move to Ghana and set up her business headquarters here.

We hope Afsatu Kabbah will realize that with a log in her eyes, she cannot be able to see the dirt in the eyes of others. So please give Lisk the chance to work and stop showing off that she is the hardest minister when she is in fact long overdue to be sacked for corruption. A case of a sacred cow, I assume.

The thieves of Nassit.

It has always been said that history repeats itself in several ways. In the case of the APC coming back to power, the reality is that corruption is closely following on the heels of the APC like a faithful dog following in its masters footsteps. And this brings me to the issue NASSIT ferries which are yet to start operating.

What is the government doing? This is the million dollar question that remains unanswered. Are we to assume that something sinister is being repeated as it was the case under the past government of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh?

The reality is that Edmond Koroma, said to be a cousin of President Koroma and former NASSIT boss and Jacob Sylvester Kanu should account for the ferries which were bought off the scrap yard and brought to Sierra Leone to drown the people into the Sierra Leone River. In spite of this clear case of corruption, no one has been held accountable. Billions of Leones gone into buying a scrap and nobody cares. Welcome to the government of the APC.

Tejan-Cole and his toothless bulldog

Is Tejan-Cole really serious about fighting corruption in Sierra Leone? The answer is clearly a catch 22. What is however clear is that Tejan-Cole as head of the much talked about Anti-Corruption Commission is running a white elephant, or a toothless bulldog.

Mr. Tejan-Cole cannot convince the people of Sierra Leone, including the international donors that he can fight corruption in Sierra Leone. What Tejan-Cole may be fighting is those seen by the present government as a threat to their activities. The Minister of Health is indicted for a crime which was long committed by Hafsatu Kabbah while serving as energy minister, but instead of being jailed, where she rightfully belongs, she continues to stride around like a colossus.

Then there is also the spate of corruption going on daily in the country, like what obtained with the NASSIT ferry, but again there is no way the ACC has been heard making a single noise – a toothless bull dog indeed.

Tejan-Cole is not the right individual to fight corruption in this country because as a lawyer, and knowing he is going back to his chambers after his life in the ACC, there is no way he can afford to step on powerful toes, whom at the end of the day might well end up being his clients.

To save his reputation, which has already suffered a remarkable plunge, Mr. Tejan-Cole should resign and go quietly back to his practice and allow better heads to run such a formidable office.

The office is for someone who has the fortitude and the will, the knowledge and the experience and more so the ability to stand up against the rich and privileged conclave of corruption personalities and confront them. Tejan-Cole is not such a man, and his presence in this office is just a case of water off a ducks back. A waste of money paying a man who has no function to perform in the first place except where he is ordered to bark, and not even to bite.

Tony Koroma and killer gangs

The spate of violence perpetuated by gangs under the nomenclature of being social clubs is now a matter of concern especially to parents in Freetown. Stabbings, spraying of acid on those seen as rival club members and even torturing and the killing of a university student does not seem to be enough for government to take proper acting in nipping this type of antisocial action in the bud.

The problem is that senior government officials, in their usual lethargic manner do not see any harm in this act. This explains why Mr. Anthony Koroma, a senior functionary in the Ministry of  Youths and Sports has come out publicly to state that the recent decision to ban such groups is draconian.

Here is a situation which has caused a young student to lose his life and others traumatized, but still saying banning them, is draconian. The problem is that Sierra Leoneans have a tendency to assimilate all sorts of negative actions as long as it emanates out of the country. We all know that these sorts of activities were never existing before. College clubs existed, including fraternities and sororities, but these never had the sinister nature now existing. Nigerian universities had started this type of secret organizations known as cults, but since this is Salone, everything goes.

Tonkolili Chiefs may copy from PC Paul Saquee

Paramount Chiefs in Tonkolili District in whose chiefdoms African Minerals Company has obtained mining concessions may do well if they follow the example of Paramount Chief Paul Ngagba Saquee of Tankoro Chiefdom in Kono District who has successfully initiated a resettlement program as a result of mining, a visiting engineer disclosed to Sierra Express Media.

The engineer who asked not to be named said the ongoing resettlement program in Tankor chiefdom, is a successful project that needs to be emulated by local authorities who might have to resettle their subjects when full scale mining operations starts in their respective chiefdoms.

The engineer who has said he has visited the Kimberlite resettlement site in Tankor said the secret in the whole project is that the chief as custodian of the land is involved fully in the workings and that this is said ensures transparency and a proper outcome. “Delegating responsibilities in such a major work leads to workers pilfering materials and doing sub standard work,” he said.

It could be recalled that Sierra Express Media had done an in-depth report on the resettlement project taking into consideration that a commission of inquiry had been instituted by government to look into a series of occurrences resulting in the killing of two youths during a peaceful demonstrators by land owners in the mining concession site.

The resettlement work, undertaken by CEMMAT, an engineering concern, has already made an impact with the beneficiaries as a result of the modern houses being built for them. Pipe borne water as well as other amenities like community halls, markets, banks, institutions of learning and recreational facilities will also be part of the new resettlement site which has already been praised as the most modern part of Koidu City.

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