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Kailahun Court Barry Presidential Visit Special

Kailahun Court Barry Presidential Visit Special

President Ernest Bai Koroma returned to Freetown Sunday evening after a historic first visit to Kailahun District since he became Head of State in 2007. Below are snippets of reports not necessarily in chronological order……..

Liberian Guinean Ambassadors hail Kenema-Koindu Road Project

In his historic visit to Kailahun district with the primary purpose to launch and commission several projects in the eastern region, including the handing over of the Kenema–Koindu road project to certified contractors, President Ernest Bai Koroma took along the resident Liberian and Guinean ambassadors to Sierra Leone, both of whom in their speeches in Kailahun Town hailed the government for implementing the project, which will be of immense socio-economic importance not only to the people of Kailahun and Sierra Leone but also to the ‘parrots beak’ region as a whole, a reference to the point on our borders where Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea meet.

Munda Rogers pays tribute to President Koroma’s patriotic zealousness

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Munda Rogers, has paid special tribute to President Ernest Bai Koroma for his selflessness and eagerness to produce results in the national interest. At the ceremony of the commissioning of phase one of the Kenema-Koindu Road Project (initially stopping at Pendembu), Mr. Rogers said the project would not have come to fruition without the relentless push from the Head of State: “He asks questions all the time in order to make things work. He is always on our backs. He has made it clear that we would lose our jobs if we don’t produce results, and I don’t want to lose my job.” The Roads Authority chief said the President replicates this zealousness in all projects round the country.

President Koroma opens new APC office in Kenema

President Ernest Bai Koroma has officially opened the new APC headquarters in Kenema at a very boisterous and colourful ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, the Head of State said while being fully aware that he is President of all Sierra Leoneans, he is also cognizant of the fact that he attained the position through a political party – the APC. In that vein, the President said as Leader, Chairman and 2012 Presidential Candidate for the APC, it was appropriate for him to grace the opening of the new offices. He welcomed tens of new members from both the SLPP and PMDC (who were introduced at the occasion) into the APC, while urging party faithful to close ranks and forge ahead in delivering the APC’s manifesto to transform Sierra Leone into a prosperous nation.

‘Sama Banya is my Uncle’

President Ernest Bai Koroma has described one of his fiercest media critics, Dr. Sama Banya as an uncle that he would love to give a peaceful retirement. Speaking at a town-hall meeting in Pendembu, Kailahun District, where Dr. Banya was present as one of the town’s elders, President Koroma recognized the veteran politician’s attendance and went on to describe him as “my uncle”. The President gave a background of his relationship with Dr. Banya to his childhood days when Banya and the President’s father, Pa Sylvanus Koroma, were friends and colleague-workers at the Makeni Town Council. “Pa Banya and Teacher Lagao would come to my father’s house and I was the one they used to send for a drink,” the President revealed, stating that since those days he had always regarded late Teacher Lagao and Dr. Banya as uncles. In Kailahun, the President took the story to another level by stating that now that Dr Banya is the remaining one of the three, he therefore remains “as Daddy”. The President thanked Banya for helping him be a good President, by being a fierce critic of his regime: “If only the opposition does its work responsibly, I’ll be the President again, and again and again.”

President Koroma reconciles with Segbwema

At the very spot – the Segbwema town field – where he as then opposition leader and APC presidential candidate retreated after having been attacked by youths purported to have been influenced by SLPP politicians during the 2007 campaign trail, President Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 5th February told the teeming crowds that welcomed him into the township with spectacular dancing and jubilation that this is no time for politics, but a time to come together and develop Sierra Leone. He appreciated the enthusiasm from the crowds and reiterated his commitment to develop the whole Kailahun district including Segbwema, the hometown of opposition leader John Benjamin.

‘Hanga is my home too’

President Ernest Bai Koroma, on his way to Kailahun District last week made a brief stop-over at Hanga village, Kenema District, where he disclosed that he had a blood relationship with the indigenes. The President narrated that two of his aunts were married to men from that village, and that he as a young man used to go there for holidays. At the meeting were present three of the President’s Hanga-based cousins who were publicly introduced.

PMDC leader, Solo B support group surrender to APC

One of the eastern region leaders of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Mr. Foday Sawi, and the  Solo B support group of Daru, Kailahun District, have made a dramatic and public switch over to the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party during the recent visit to the region by President Ernest Bai Koroma. Speaking on behalf of thousands of supporters both from the PMDC and the SLPP, Sawi said they have seen the light and would not want to miss out being part of President Koroma’s laudable development-oriented party. There were several banners displayed in support of the move.

I did not want to come empty-handed

In an apparent response to critics’ contention about President Koroma having spent more than two years in office before visiting Kailahun, the Head of State has told the people of the region amid thunderous applauses that he had to wait that long because he did not want to go there empty-handed. Referring to his government’s refurbishing of the Kailahun Court Barry, building of offices for the Paramount Chief and other native administration offices, the construction of new offices for the Kailahun District Council, together with the commissioning of the Kenema-Koindu Road project, the President said ‘now’ would only be the most appropriate moment. Notwithstanding the apparent delay, President Koroma said the people had always been close to his heart that’s why he had previously been having consultations with the Paramount Chiefs, District Council officials and other dignitaries from the district. “People of Kailahun, your President has arrived; and he has arrived with a package in his hands,” President Koroma reverberated in the midst of thunderous applauses from the crowds. 

SLPP=Intentions; APC=Actions

President Ernest Bai Koroma has told thousands of crowds at the Kailahun mini-stadium that the opposition talk about the previous SLPP government having had intentions of implementing projects is obviously made untenable by the current APC government’s “intentions backed by actions”.

The President’s statement was an apparent response to a speech by SLPP District leader Patrick Foya who, when given the floor to speak as his party’s regional representative, stated that the former SLPP government also had intentions to construct the Kenema–Koindu road.

President Koroma said intentions alone would mean nothing without action. He inferred that the SLPP had intentions for 11 years and did virtually nothing for Kailahun; but that just after two months of his coming into office, the contract for the Kenema-Koindu Road was the first international agreement he signed in Vienna in December 2007; barely two years in office, the work is starting, and the APC has backed intentions with actions. To rounds of applauses from the crowds, the President said, “We do not only have the intentions, we back our intentions with actions.  The rehabilitation of the Kailahun Court Barry is not only an intention, it is an intention backed with action. The building of offices for the Paramount Chief is an action; the modern headquarters constructed for the Kailahun District Council is an action.  The commencement of the construction of the Kenema-Koindu Road is an action. Look at the Kailahun Government Hospital and see whether its present upgraded state only stops at being an intention. Just look around and see the work going on in this mini stadium. This is an intention backed by an action. We are an action-oriented government. We back our intentions with actions.”

‘Kailahun people are not fanatics’

President Ernest Bai Koroma has noted in one of his speeches to the people of Kailahun that he knows they are a highly educated and rational people who know the difference between a performing government and a merely good-intentioned one: “The people of Kailahun are highly educated. They would know how to make their choice when the time comes. They are not fanatics.”

Kailahun APC chairman traces Kailahun APC history

The Kailahun District Chairman of the ruling All People’s Congress party, Victor Sengu, has said that the district has a lot to thank the APC party for. Representing the APC at the mammoth gathering, Sengu said all the developmental landmarks in the district, both past and present in the post-Independence history of Sierra Leone, have been established by the APC. He did not only stop there but went on to name prominent personalities from the district who have been given great national and international appointments by the APC, including Dr. Sama Banya, who was present at the meeting. “Dr. Sama Banya was not only made a minister by the APC, he was also given the opportunity to act as Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The people of Kailahun owe a lot of gratitude to the APC for always recognizing the importance of Kailahun by giving key positions to the children of the district’, the latest of which is the appointment of former SLPP Information Minister Septimus Kai Kai as Board Chairman of the newly-formed public broadcaster, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC). Sengu noted that the SLPP merely thrives on whipping up ethnic sentiments for support without any tangible evidence of development, whereas even the latest commissioning of district buildings and offices plus the commissioning of the Kenema-Koindu Road are a testimony and a reminder of the nepotism-free national development drive of the APC ever since the days of Siaka Stevens as Leader of the party and President of Sierra Leone. He proclaimed: “With development going on in other parts, the past government (that is to say SLPP) paid very little attention to Kailahun District….We the people of Kailahun District must be conscious this time as we voted [in] 1996, 2002, and 2007, but I’m sure you have the answer to the question, ‘where is Kailahun District in terms of development?… Kailahun district, wake up from your slumber and join the government of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for progress, prosperity and the complete emancipation of Kailahun District from the hazards of bad governance and poor representation. We need to support a government like the APC government that is practical and not just verbal in saying things like [the] past [SLPP] government.” Among the achievements of the APC, he named the Kailahun Government Hospital and its recent fencing, the mini-stadium, the giving out of subsidies to 325 primary schools in the district, the cocoa-coffee production IDA project that was initiated under Siaka Stevens, the rehabilitation of the Kailahun Court Barry, the construction of offices for the Paramount Chief, while he named the following as among people from Kailahun District that benefited from past and present APC governments: B.M. Kondeh (Minister of Health), Tamba E. Juana (Minister of State), Sheku Tejan Koroma (Minister of Health), Dr Lansana Nyallay (Deputy Minister of Education), Hindolo Gbow (Director of Board, SIERRATEL).

Kailahun chief predicts 2012 for APC

During the opening of the newly-built native administration offices and the refurbished Kailahun Court Barry, the Paramount Chief of Kailhun Town, Luawa Chiefdom, P.C. M.K. Banya has said that looking at what President Koroma and the APC government have done for his chiefdom and the whole district within two years, he would only imagine that the choice would not be hard to make in the 2012 elections.

Performing the traditional rite of pouring of libation, PC Banya prayed for the continuous success of President Koroma’s government, calling on ‘the forefathers’ to stand against anyone that would want to thwart the development drive of the government.

Both the Kailahun Court Barry and the native administration offices have been respectively rehabilitated and constructed through the personal support of President Ernest Bai Koroma.

‘Bonday Sia Awana-Ay; biseh way’

The electrifying and magnetic mutual attraction of the people of Kailahun and President Koroma (as manifested in the recent historic visit by the President to the eastern formerly purported SLPP stronghold) apparently triggered a reciprocal response from the Head of State to the momentous welcome by greeting them in their native Mende language, saying, “Bondaysia awana-ay; biseh way…”, to which the people responded with resounding shouts of joy accompanied by long cheers. At various stops on the way from Kenema to Kailahun, including Hanga, Mano Junction, Talia, Tondola, Segbwema, Daru, Mobai, Pendembu and Kailahun itself, the President greeted the people in that manner before delivering a thread-like message of peace, progress and prosperity for all Sierra Leoneans as encapsulated in his government’s Agenda For Change.

Government financial support key to Kenema-Koindu road phase one project commissioning

The Director General of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), Munda Rogers, has said that even though various international donors could be given the credit for substantial financial support for the implementation of the Kenema-Koindu Road Phase One project, the government of Sierra Leone also made a very strategic financial contribution that eventually kicked-off the operations. During the handing-over ceremony of the road construction to its Korean contractors, ISU International, Munda Rogers said, “Just last week, the government of Sierra Leone paid over one million dollars for the commencement of the operations of the road.” 

President Koroma walks the strees of Kenema for Salia Jusu Sheriff

On Friday 5th and Sunday 7th February 2010, President Ernest Bai Koroma literally walked the streets of Kailahun Town with crowds of cheering admirers lined up along the routes he took. On Friday 5th , in what has been described as a triumphant entry, President Koroma was mobbed by waiting crowds at the town centre after he alighted from his vehicle to walk with District Council Chairman Tom Nyuma all the way to the new District Council offices located over three hundred metres away. It was already night time, but the jubilating crowds followed the President in pomp, pageantry and fanfare with singing and dancing led by traditional dancers and masquerades.

On Sunday 7th  instant, the President again repeated his street-walking feat after visiting the home of the late Salia Jusu-Sheriff, a former government functionary in past APC and SLPP governments who was given a befitting state funeral and whose 40th day funeral rites were observed on that day. Various speakers at the well-attended ceremony lauded the President’s presence. From there, President Koroma walked to the Kailahun Court Barry, waving to crowds; and thereafter, following the opening of the refurbished court barry and the new offices for the Paramount Chief, proceeded on foot to the official opening of the District Council’s new office complex, all totaling a journey of nearly one thousand metres.

President Koroma okays operations of gold tree palm oil plantation

President Ernest Bai Koroma has given the nod for the operations of the Gold Tree palm oil plantation project to kick-off as soon as possible, calling for an end to any bureaucratic hold-up.

During a stop-over inspection of the plantation site in Daru, Kailahun District, the President said he was impressed by the thousands of nursing palm trees awaiting transplanting, but lamented that he had expected the project to have gone beyond that point. “Gold Tree and Addax are two flagship investment programmes that should take off the ground as soon as possible….Government is committing itself to giving support to this project. We are committed to duty-free facilities for this project and committed to granting a tax holiday for at least ten years to this project… I want to see quick results,” he noted. The President said government in turn would monitor the activities of the company as to whether they would actually invest the estimated twenty-million dollars, bring numerous employment opportunities, and meet its social corporate responsibilities, making reference to the fact that a key pillar of Malaysia’s economic success story is found in investment in palm oil plantation. The President said by the end of February government should have cleared all the barriers.

No ‘toilet’ for Andrew Lungay

In what can be referred to as a self-defeatist statement from former presidential candidate and now SLPP MP Andrew Lungay of Vahoon, Kailahun District, the veteran politician has admitted that it is only the current government that has made his township accessible by vehicle in 15 years through the construction of a bridge linking it to the rest of the district, and further revealed that there are no VIP toilets in the township, in a thankful note that the President had not decided to pass the night in the township. In a litany of problems plaguing the district, including poor health, maternal or morbidity facilities, poor educational amenities, lack of agricultural implements, no infrastructural development with the court barry still unfinished, Hon. Lungay said, “Mr. President, we are thankful that you are not passing the night in Vahoon, as we would have faced the embarrassment of not having toilets for dignitaries. There are no toilets here. Please help us to construct VIP toilets.” In his response, President Koroma said he is President of all Sierra Leoneans and of Vahoon; and that he is a listening President who cares and listens to the cries of his people. The President said he was now taking charge of Vahoon and the whole district and would positively respond to the wishes of the people.

President Koroma opens ultra modern market at Mango Junction

In another landmark move in his recent eastern region tour, President Koroma stopped at Mano Junction, Kailahun District, to open the newly-built ultra-modern market sponsored by NACSA under Conton Sesay. During the ceremony, the President underlined the development drive of his government for all parts of the country and his commitment to reviving the economic viability of the whole eastern region. The market, with modern storage and recreational facilities, would host over 70 traders at a time.

Young Kailahun engineer manufactures ‘Middievanaman’

A young engineer from Kissy Tongi in the Kailahun district has displayed a bicycle-looking product that he would prefer to call ‘middievandaman’ because “it is not a bicycle, neither a motor bike nor a vehicle, but has certain aspects of each and is therefore in the middle.” In a language full of inexplicable scientific jargons, the manufacturer who would only be referred to as ‘the young engineer’ because of the complexity of what he calls his real name, said he made the object all by himself and was soliciting support to improve on his skills.

Responding to the engineer’s display, President Koroma said though such people often live in a world of their own in terms of communicating with the ordinary man, they should be encouraged and given support to fulfill their innovative dreams.

enga will be free’

President Koroma has assured the people of Kissy Teng in Kailahun District that Yenga, part of their chiefdom currently occupied by Guinean forces, will certainly be freed and returned to the jurisdiction of the Sierra Leone government. Addressing crowds of listeners at the virtual border town of Kangama on Saturday 6th February, President Koroma said he had always regarded Yenga as part of Sierra Leone even before he became President. He recalled that during the 2007 election campaigns he was determined to even enter Yenga but was prevented from doing so by the Kissy Teng people themselves. On assuming office, the President said he made relentless efforts at resolving the Yenga problem, as his government had been engaged in intense diplomatic negotiations which yielded the formation of a committee for that purpose, which in turn has already submitted recommendations to that effect. The President expressed satisfaction at efforts being made towards resolving the Guinean leadership crisis, for which an ECOWAS meeting would be held next week, after which he believed the process of returning Yenga to Sierra Leone would be fast-tracked. The President lamented at the plight of the Yenga people, but urged them to continue to exercise patience as there is light at the end of the tunnel.

President Koroma assures SLPMC return

President Koroma has revealed that by virtue of his government’s commitment to increasing agricultural productivity in the country, the moribund Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) would soon be revived to coordinate as before agricultural activities in the country. The President noted that Kailahun being an agriculturally productive region contributed greatly and benefited immensely from the defunct Board’s operations, which, when revived, would bring smiles to the farmers in the whole country.

Decsec boss hands over Kailahun district council office to President Koroma

The Coordinator of the Decentralization Secretariat, Alhassan Kanu, has officially handed over the keys to the offices of the Kailahun District Council to President Ernest Bai Koroma on Sunday 7th February. During a short but impressive ceremony before the President cut the tape, Mr. Kanu said the government’s devolution drive is on course and is being felt in all parts of the country, as the central government continues to devolve power to the local councils and being spirited by the construction of adequate offices across the country. The President and entourage were afterwards taken on a conducted tour of the new building and had a meeting with the Chairman and councillors of the Kailahun District Council in the chairman’s office where a female councillor, acting as spokesperson, appreciated the President’s development efforts and thanked him for the construction of the new office building. She raised other issues affecting the district and councilors. The President responded by saying his determination to develop Sierra Leone would not be limited by regional or partisan boundaries. He promised to look into and respond to the issues raised accordingly.

Ernest Koroma to pay Ernest Koroma’s fees up to University

During his stop-over visit to Daru on his way to Kailahun District, President Ernest Bai Koroma was presented with a child who was born on the day he was proclaimed winner of the 2007 presidential run-off elections and was immediately named ‘Ernest Bai Koroma’. The disclosure was made by the Paramount Chief of the area, who asked for the child to be brought to the President. Responding specifically to that during his keynote address, President Koroma said he was happy about the information, praying for the good health of the child, and pledging to take full responsibility of his schooling up to university level.


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