WHEN ZAINAB HAWA BANGURA WAS THE TOAST OF THE FLYING TOILETS OF AFRC MK2
Sierra Leone 's Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura deserves respect and appreciation for her hard work and dedication in projecting our nation marvellously abroad
Written by Kabs Kanu Friday, 02 April 2010 18:38
The other day, I had the distinguished honour to receive Sierra Leone's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Zainab Bangura , at the JFK International Airport in New York, on behalf of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, when she arrived to attend the UN Peacebuilding Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration Review Conference . One of the things that struck me most about the minister was her cool , composed, assured and confident manner throughout check-out and our long ride to her hotel in Manhattan. Around her, there was nothing that smacked of negativity. All she exuded were positivity and a remarkable spirit that impressed me profoundly .
It is no wonder that Zainab Bangura is such a local and international success story : She radiates only positive energy around herself. If you appreciate such a positive and confident spirit , as well as an impeccable work ethic from a foreign minister , and the benefits they bestow on a country like Sierra Leone that needs every help from outside to recover from the war that destroyed her , you will agree with me that Zainab Bangura , Sierra Leone's International Face, deserves respect and appreciation from all of us for her hard work and dedication
It was not the first time I had interfaced with the woman who now commands tremendous clout in the international arena. We have been working together since I took up appointment in May last year as Sierra Leone's Minister Plenipotentiary to the UN. If there is one thing that typifies Zainab Bangura , it is the supreme confidence and assurance she has in herself and her ability as she hoists the Sierra Leone national interest all over the world. She seems to know what she was appointed to do and that seems to be her overriding passion. All that matters to her is doing her job well.
And when we went to the UN last Friday to attend the Review Conference, Zainab Bangura showed the reason for her positive and assured spirit. She can deliver. And that is what Sierra Leoneans should be proud about some of their public servants like Mrs. Zainab Bangura. She is giving good value for her most coveted appointment as the mouthpiece and avocate of Sierra Leone in the international world.
When it was Zainab Bangura's turn to speak on behalf of Sierra Leone and also respond to questions asked by stakeholders, especially the representative of the U.S, she was plainly indescribable. Though she had a prepared statement, the Foreign Minister put it aside and sought to address the jampacked UN Conference hall extemporaneously .
With the boldness and confidence that are her trademark, Mrs. Bangura produced an eloquent and powerful masterclass that simply amazed and impressed everybody in the hall. Demonstrating tremendous knowledge of the issues and the right buttons to press, Zainab Bangura gave such a convincing presentation that at the end stakeholders and delegates asked no further questions . They only poured praises on her for her masterly and excellent revelation of the issues in Sierra Leone that needed to be addressed and started making their commitments and pledges to Sierra Leone's peacebuilding enterprise and socio-economic and political endeavours.
If in appointing a Foreign Minister , President Koroma was looking for somebody with a very strong , knowledgable and convincing voice that carries so much weight in the international arena, she found one in Zainab Hawa Bangura. She is very efficient . No wonder Sierra Leone now has a convincing case before the international community. Zainab Bangura is doing a splendid job to present our country's case before stakeholders, bilateral and multilateral partners and the international community at large. It is necessary to begin bringing out some of these unknown facts about our excelling public officials because of the tendency in Sierra Leoneans to seek the downfall of innocent people spending man-hours and bursting their tops to bring meaningful development to the lives of our people.
Zainab Bangura is ideally suited to speak for a needy country like Sierra Leone to the outside world because she is a woman of sparkling credibilty. This is another thing that Mrs.Bangura's detractors do not know. You can give a rat a shave and a million dollar coat. He is still a rat and percieved as such. In today's multilateral and bilateral diplomacy, nothing strikes it than credibility. International partners and donors do not want anything to do with government officials who do not have credibilty. In President Ernest Bai Koroma and Foreign Minister , Zainab Bangura, Sierra Leone is blessed with public faces that command a lot of trust and credibility.
We used to have foreign ministers who spent their time at conferences abroad sleeping and some have to be made to always have their cellphones on VIBRATE so that they could be woken up when they fall asleep. Today, we have a Foreign Minister who is alive and kicking and doing a great job. Why can't we appreciate her ?
Zainab Bangura earned her own credibility before she became Minister of Foreign Affairs. As a student at Mathora Secondary School for Girls and the Annie Walsh Memorial School , as well as Fourah Bay College, she stood out as an advocate for the rights of others . For Zainab Bangura, it is always selfless service . And look at what Wilkepidia says about her emergent days as spokesperson and fighter for other people's rights : "In 1994 she founded Women Organized for a Morally Enlightened Nation (W.O.M.E.N.), the first non-partisan women's rights group in the country. The following year she co-founded the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG). Using CGG as her platform, she campaigned for the holding of the national elections that finally drove the NPRC junta from power in 1996 and restored democratic government. These were Sierra Leone's first democratic elections in 25 years. "
"During Sierra Leone's civil war (1991-2002) Bangura spoke out forcefully against the atrocities committed against the civilian population by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and was targeted for assassination several times by that group. She also spoke against the corruption in the civilian government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the atrocities committed against civilians by government soldiers. After the 2002 elections Bangura founded the National Accountability Group (NAG) whose mission was to fight against official corruption and to promote transparency and accountability in government."
It was because of her record of exceptional service to humanity that the United Nations took a liking and respect for her and made her Director of the Civil Affairs Office in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and given responsibility for the reconstruction of 16 Liberian ministries and 30 government agencies following that country's devastating civil war in 2006.
Zainab Bangura is married and has a loving family but duty to her nation takes her away from her cherished family life every now and again to represent Sierra Leone's interests abroad.She is always on the go . When you consider the hazards of international travel these days and the pressures on government officials to perform , and the extremely hard work government officials have to put in to cope with the demands of their assignments, you realize that we have to really show respect and appreciation for such dedicated workers.
Let all attempts to spoil the good name of this innocent and hardworking woman stop.
Trying to besmear public officials with unsubstantiated rumours and gossip and false accusations while they are serving their country so selflessly and brilliantlyi is a slap in the face of the virtues of appreciation and commendation.
If we really love our country, we have to respect and appreciate those working round the clock to make her a better nation for ourselves, our children and future generations.
Published on September 30, 2010
James Butty ,
Washington D.C :
The 15-member body voted unanimously to remove the sanctions, including an arms embargo, imposed during the country’s 11-year civil war.
Bangura said the government of President Ernest Bai Koromah initiated the process to lift the sanctions in collaboration with the British government.
“We are, of course, excited, but this was an initiative taken by the Sierra Leone government under the instruction of President Koromah. He had instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and we then further instructed our mission and we worked through the British member of the Security Council because we realized that it is important for us to now move to a more development-oriented agenda taking into consideration the president’s agenda for change,” she said.
More than 50,000 people were killed and many others mutilated during Sierra Leone’s civil war from 1991 to 2002.
Bangura said the lifting of the sanctions means Sierra Leone has moved one step away from the legacy of its bloody past.
“I think we are all proud today as a country that, finally, it has been recognized internationally within the United Nations that Sierra Leone is now ready to take the major step of development,” Bangura said.
The Security Council resolution called for more action on the part of the Koromah government to deal with corruption and ensure free and fair elections in 2012.
“We have one of the most robust anti-corruption legislation which took into consideration the African Union convention against corruption, as well as the United Nations convention against corruption. And, we have just appointed a new commissioner who, we believe, will follow up the vision of President Koromah to make sure that the fight against corruption is actually taken to the last step,” Bangura said.
The U.N. resolution also called on the Koromah government to do everything possible to make sure that general elections scheduled for 2012 are free and fair.
Bangura said the government is working closely with the electoral commission to ensure free and fair elections in 2011.
“With regards to elections, we are going to have four elections in Sierra Leone next year – presidential, parliamentary, local government, as well as mayoral election. And, it is the first time in the history of the country that we are going to have those elections. So, obviously, we all realize that it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but we are ready with some modalities (ideas) in place, and a lot of effort is being made with the Ministry of Finance is working very closely with the electoral commission to mobilize the resources to make sure that the election is free and fair,” Bangura said.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Wednesday, while Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress, challenges such as political intolerance, youth unemployment and drug trafficking remain.
Bangura said Sierra Leone under President Koromah enjoys political tolerance.
“When I addressed the Security Council, I did mention that President Koromah insisted that he is a president for the whole of Sierra Leone, and I think anybody with different political view has a right to say what they want to say and the right to exercise their right. So, with regards to political tolerance, I think you will hardly find a country that experiences more political tolerance than Sierra Leone,” Bangura said.
Access to diamonds was said to have been one of the causes of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war.
Bangura said Sierra Leone has no problem with diamonds today.
“As you know, we are part of the Kimberley Process. So, as far as Sierra Leone is concerned, we do not have a problem. The mining and exploration of diamonds is taking place under supervision and within the framework of the Kimberley Process,” she said.
Published on September 20, 2010
By Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Sierra Leone’s international honour, respect and credibility received the mother-of-all boosts last night when she was given the magnificient United Nations Millenium Development Goal ( MDG ) Award in recognition of President Ernest Koroma ‘s remarkable leadership commitment and progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Goal Six. During a grand MDG Awards Banquet last night at the posh Waldorf Estoria Hotel in New York, Sierra Leone was honoured alongside governments and individuals that have made substantial contributions towards completing the MDGs.
FOREIGN MINISTER DELIVERING A STATEMENT THANKING THE AWARDS COMMITTEE FOR THE AWARD
The UN MDG Awards Committee determined that Sierra Leone took a giant step to complete The MDG Goal Six which is combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases and she was adjudged by the world body as having succeeded through political will from the Presidency, and collaborative efforts made by the National HIV/ AIDS Secretariat (NAS) in the Office of the President. These achievements have been arrived at by NAS using multi-sectoral approaches to address the epidemic.
FOREIGN MINISTER ZAINAB BANGURA HOLDING THE MDG AWARD
Last night’s jampacked and colorful Awards Dinner was attended by many Heads of State and Heads of Government who are already in New York to attend the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly as well as Permanent Representatives, ambassadors and Ministers assigned to the UN and Foreign Ministers and government officials from a cross-section of the international world. Also in attendance were officials of the UN and stakeholders , members of the business community in the U.S. and civic authorities.
THE FOREIGN MEDIA WERE ALL OVER FOREIGN MINISTER ZAINAB BANGURA TO SEEK HER EMOTIONS ABOUT THE AWARD
H.E. Kiyo Akasaka , the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, who read a statement on behalf of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said that the annual MDG Awards Banquet was staged to recognize those countries and individuals who are helping to bring the MDGs to reality .Assessing overall progress towards the completion of the MDGs before 2015, Mr. Akasaka said that the picture is mixed and that many countries would not be able to complete the targets , their efforts undermined by the global economic downturn and Climate Change. He said that concerted efforts have to be made by the world if the MDGs must be completed by the set year, 2015. He congratulated all those who won awards for helping to make a better world.
FROM LEFT : AMBASSADOR STEVENS, DPR KEH KAMARA AND MINISTER KABS KANU AT THE AWARDS CEREMONY
In his contribution, the Under-Secretary and Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States , H.E. Cheick Sidi Diarra , described the MDGs as a global Marshall Plan .He declared that the award winners had shown what could be achieved if “We all” commit ourselves to developing goals bigger than our own. He disclosed that some progress had been made and that the level of human hunger and poverty have been reduced in the world. Much progress, he went on, had also been achieved in Universal Education and Women’s participation in governance. He also indicated that there are now 12, 000 less deaths daily of children and mothers across the globe. He called for more action than rhetorics in efforts to complete the MDGs.
FROM LEFT : AMBASSADOR STEVENS, COUNSELOR VICTORIA SULIMANI AND DPR KEH KAMARA
Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister, Hon. Zainab Bangura , received the MDG Award on behalf of President Ernest Koroma . In her acceptance statement, she thanked the MDG Awards Committee for organizing this historic event. She told the grand ceremony, among other things : ”We are elated by this distinct honour and recognition and wish to assure this august gathering of our continued commitment to the goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015…..We owe this great achievement to the high political commitment demonstrated by the government and to resource mobilization through partnership with all stakeholders including PLHIV and the civil society. ”
IN THE HOLDING ROOM BEFORE THE PROGRAM STARTED : FROM LEFT : FOREIGN MINISTER ZAINAB BANGURA, MRS. KHADI BASSIR , VICTORIA SULIMANI AND AMBASSADOR KAMARA (STANDING)
Sierra Leone was represented at the Awards Dinner by the Foreign Minister and the following government officials : Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, Mr. Bockarie Stevens; The Deputy Permanent Representative For Legal Affairs, Mr. Osman Keh Kamara; the Minister Plenipotentiary Mr. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu ; the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadi Bassir and Counselor Victoria Sulimani.
Published on September 19, 2010
Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister , Mrs .Zainab Hawa Bangura , arrived this evening in the United States of Americato attend the 65th United Nations General Assembly. The Foreign Minister , who was in high spirit, flew into New York on a Virgin Atlantic Airways flight from London along with the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadi Bassir.
Apart from taking part in the UN General Assembly , Mrs. Zainab Bangura will also be attending a number of bilaterals and meetings within the margins of the UN General Assembly .
Tomorrow, the Foreign Minister will deputize President Ernest Bai Koroma at the Millenium Development Goals ( MDG ) Dinner and Awards Event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where Sierra Leone will receive an MDG Award in recognition of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government’s exemplary leadership commitment and progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Goal Six. The awards being given out by the UN are in honour of Governments and individuals that have made substantial contributions towards the MDGs.
Published on August 2, 2010
Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf Bangura, the son of Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura, has vowed to continue to sacrifice for the country to help President Ernest Koroma achieve his socio-economic and political aspirations for the nation. Speaking with COCORIOKO at the Sierra Leone United Nations Permanent Mission in New York before he left for Freetown today, Bangura said that he will never give up on Sierra Leone because it is his motherland and it is his duty to sacrifice in any way to help rebuild the country.
Mr. Bangura, who holds an LL.B Honours degree from Fourah Bay College , the University of Sierra Leone and is presently a student of the Shanghai University in China where he is reading for a Masters Degree in Business Administration, said he has no grudge for those who recently misunderstood the role he played as Liasion Officer for Sierra Leone during the Shanghai Expo.
COCORIOKO crossed paths with the pleasant young man when he stopped by at the Sierra Leone UN Mission before flying out for Sierra Leone. Cocorioko decided to seek his own views on the recent saga in which some newspapers in Sierra Leone accused his mother of having him illegally employed as Director General in charge of Sierra Leone’s Delegation to the China Expo 2010.
COCORIOKO : How did you feel when you read the newspaper reports ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : I felt downcast especially giving the fact that from my standpoint and the documentatiain I presented to the press later which showed that I was never employed and was only doing a voluntary job , I was being berated for doing absolutely nothing wrong .
COCORIOKO : The reports said that your mother influenced your appointment ? Was this really true ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : It was not. First of all my mother had no idea when I was initially approached by Trade and Industry Minister David Carew to help out coordinating the Shanhgai Expo. Secondly, I was doing it for the following reasons : Firstly, I accepted the assignment as a favour to Mr. Carew . Secondly , I accepted it for the love of country because I strongly believe that wherever I go I am an ambassador for my people and my country. Lastly and probably most importantly, I strongly believe in President Koroma’s vision for Sierra Leone and so whatever little I can do in my capacity as a Sierra Leonean to propagate his agenda for change I will do it .
COCORIOKO : Was it a paid job ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : It was not . It was a voluntary job . As a matter of fact, I spent my pocket money in the execution of my duty as liasion officer . Anyway, I did it for the love of my country.
COCORIOKO : What were your duties as Liasion Officer ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : Upon going back to China , I found out that nothing had been done about facilitating Sierra Leone’s participation in the Shanghai Expo. There was absolutely nothing being done . As such, for the love of my country and in conjunction with the Sierra Leone Embassy in China,I was tasked with taking care of all the necessary paper work and coordination of all the relevant travelling, shipping, and accomodation issues of our participants. Additionally, I also had to give constant feedback to Mr carew and his deputy
COCORIOKO : What was the result of your sacrifice ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : The result was that in the very short time when I was brought onboard, we succedded in getting all our artefacts in Shanhgai to be displayed in our pavilion and we also succeeded in setting the pace for other African participants , with regards TO the national days of all participating countries . The Sierra Leone national day of the Expo was on the 7th of May and in my estimation it went as planned and I am almost certain that all those who were present were impressed with what we had achieved in such a short period of time.
COCORIOKO : Before and after you published the documents that proved that you were in fact not employed at all but you were only sacrificing, did any newspaper contact you to get your own side of the story ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : I was never contacted , even after I proved that their allegations were false through a display of the appropriate documentation.
COCORIOKO : Why do you think these articles were written against you ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : I just think they were not seized of the right facts and secondly probably because over the years, it has somewhat become the norm for government officials to engage in the acts that my mother was being accused of.
COCORIOKO : We usually gain something from all our experiences in life. What can you say you gained from this whole saga ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : Firstly, it has increased my resolve to help out in whatever way I can in President Koroma’s rebranding effort . Secondly, I have learnt that no matter how good your intentions are, somebody will always find something wrong with whatever you do . Finally, it sort of helped me understand the pressure that our government officials are constantly under and it makes me want to give back to my country whenever I am called upon to do so , because I realize that not many sierra leoneans would have made the sacrifice I decided to make and so if I am going to be crucified for wanting to help out then so be it. Anyay, I have no grudge for those who wrote untruths about me.
COCORIOKO : I see you are in a hurry to go catch your plane. I don’t want to hold you up . But one final question : As a young man , what advice do you have for other young people who might find themselves in the same situation ?
IBRAHIM BANGURA : I would like any young Sierra Leonean to know that now is the time for our generation to make a difference. The government cannot do all that they strive to do alone. As an individual, I will never give up on Sierra Leone and so I will ask young and well-meaning Siera Leoneans to just believe that there is hope ; believe that change is going to come ; believe that once again we are going to regain our rightful spot as the Athens of West Africa . They must believe that through collective effort we can together as a people achieve the unimaginable .
COCORIOKO : Okay, Mr . Bangura, thank you very much for granting this interview . Have a safe journey to Sierra Leone.
IBRAHIM BANGURA : Thank you too for giving me this opportunity to have my own side heard.
Zainab Bangura exonerated : Indian Government says there was no rice export to Sierra Leone
Written by By our diplomatic correspondent Saturday, 12 December 2009 02:14
Following media speculations that Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura ( LEFT ) recently connived with the Indian Government to divert shiploads of one million non-basmati rice to deprivation of the people of Sierra Leone, the Indian Government has in a letter dated December 9th, 2009 rubbished such allegations as spurious. According to Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, the Indian Joint Secretary for West Africa, the proposed export of one million metric tons of non-basmati rice to West African countries, including Sierra Leone on commercial terms by India has not materialized as the Ministry of Commerce is in the process of issuing new set of guidelines to regulate such exports. “In view of the above, it is confirmed that no exports have taken place to any of the African countries, including 38,500 MT to Sierra Leone, the letter concludes.
A Government of India notification No. 93 (Re-2007)/2004-09 dated April 1st, 2008, “2.1.9 to be published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary part II Section 3, Sub Section (ii) of May 6th, 2009 clearly states that the Indian Government has imposed a ban on export of non-basmati rice to twenty-one African countries including Sierra Leone.
A Freetown-based civil society activist, Sulaiman Bangura said the newspaper allegations on allegations of graft on the part of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura were nothing rather than a well-designed conspiracy designed to smear her personality and present her to the public as a demon. “This is all politically machinated…some of us will continue to support her because of her stance against corruption and her desire to ensure that the Government succeeds”, Bangura said.
When contacted for an opinion on graft allegations made against the Minister, a Western foreign diplomat who prefers anonymity said the articles so far were full of sensational speculations. “We will be consulting with the sierra Leone Association of Journalists to discuss where we could work together to improve investigative journalism in the country”, the diplomat concluded.
\When contacted by phone to comment on correspondences in possession of the hands of this press, the Personal Assistant to and spokesman for the Minister, Abdulai Bayraytay maintained that there is no way his boss could be associated with corruption, saying that he has full confidence in her, having known and worked with her for well over ten years running now.
So , who wanted to tarnish the hard -earned good name of our hardworking and crusading Foreign Minister, Zainab Bangura ?
Written by Cocorioko Editorial Writers Saturday, 12 December 2009 02:37
The letter from the Government of India that there has infact been no rice shipment to the Sierra Leone Government should get many Sierra Leoneans worried about the calibre of journalism and politics in their country. If this had been a matter that was not easily verifiable, the good name of an innocent and hardworking woman would have would have been made to perish needlessly by quick -to -conclude journalists and politicians. Now that it has been made clear that there has been no rice shipment from India, how do our newspapers and errant politicians explain the recent smear campaign they launched against an innocent public servant ? Whoever orginated the story linking Foreign Minister Hon. Zainab Hawa Bangura to the so-called shady transaction involving rice shipped to Sierra Leone , has a lot of explanation to do now that the Government of India has categorically denied exporting any rice to Sierra Leone.
The problem with the Sierra Leone press is that conducting professional business through rumours, hearsay , speculation, blackmail, malice and envy has become a recurrent and entrenched practice that has tarnished the image of the noble profession . And public officials are the quarry of these reckless, irresponsible, vindictive, malicious and unprofessional journalists. One wonders who gave Sierra Leoneans the erroneous cue that once a fellow citizen has been appointed to serve the government, he/she has become easy meat for scurrilous attacks and accusations from people who have no business holding the pen or practising the inky trade. If that is the meaning we have appended to Freedom of the Press, we have missed our bearing in Sierra Leone.
Zainab Hawa Bangura is by no means claiming that she is infallible and nobody else in this world can make similar claims. Every human on this earth has shortcomings . Every human being has people who do not like him/her . However, what counts most is that Mrs. Bangura is one of the citizens in our country who can raise her hands in the air and claim that corruption is not her forte--and there will be none to challenge her and put her hands down. She has served prestigious and high-profiled institutions locally and internationally and never before has her integrity been questioned . This is a fact that is known to those who have worked with her before, not to mention those who monitor her performance . Even in the Foreign Ministry, no officer , local or diplomat , will subscribe to the kind of allegations about the woman's integrity that the unfortunate reading public has been treated to recently by the press and some discredited politicians . Zainab Bangura is too proud of her name and too duty-conscious to engage in the surreptitious activities alleged.
Sierra Leone has reached a sad milestone in her chequered history. On one hand, we have an irresponsible press with an attack-dog mentality. On the other hand, we have politicians who cannot accept defeat and whose overriding passion is to cook up stories against government officials to trip them and pave their way for a return to power, never mind the fact that they are the most corrupt and self-centered politicians, who have infact been rejected by the people. Now that the Government of India has cleared her name, Madam Bangura should demand an apology from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) Chairman, John Oponjo Benjamin, who attributed wrongdoings to her without first trying to get his facts right. We have said before that there is nothing wrong with politicians questioning the activities of government officials. After all, that is what politics is about.However, a politician who cares for his respect and credibility will first try to ascertain the facts and not depend on rumours, hearsay and speculation before making damaging allegations against a public official or an ordinary citizen.
What possible hard evidence did John Benjamin have before he made the following libellous and defamatory assertions against the Hon. Foreign Minister ?
"Embarrassingly, Letters authored and signed by Sierra Leone Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madam Zainab Hawa Bangura, on Sierra Leone Government Letterhead, seeking the rice on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone, were publicised all over India during the scandal. The Indian journalist investigators even published that two ship loads of the rice meant for Sierra Leone at concessionary rates, were instead diverted to Dubai where they were sold off at market prices. The rest of the rice that was meant for the people of Sierra Leone to benefit at concessionary rates, were never put on tender for sale to the public by experienced rice handlers but instead, your Minister of Foreign Affairs Madam Zainab Bangura and your then Minister of Trade & Industry, Mr. Alimamy P. Koroma proceeded to have the rice managed by Harmony Trading Company which had no prior experience in handling rice and whose only qualification was its closeness to the Presidency. That rice was sent to Sierra Leone by India Government on concessionary terms so that it could be sold to the Sierra Leonean public at lower than market prices."
Who are the so-called "journalist investigators" Benjamin was referring to ? Is he implying that anything written by so-called investigative journalists is true ? Did Benjamin investigate further to verify that rice was diverted to Dubai through the connivance of Zainab Bangura ? What criteria and evidence did Benjamin and others use to link Mrs. Bangura to the whole charade ? Has it now become a crime for a Foreign Minister to solicit relief food for the poor from international partners ? While Mrs.Bangura was out there soliciting humanitarian assistance for the famished people of Sierra Leone , as Benjamin alleges, what was the SLPP Chairman doing ? When has Benjamin ever fought a cause larger than his own ? John Benjamin's fatal flaw is that he is too conscious for power in Sierra Leone, a fact for which even radical elements within the SLPP detest him. We hope John Benjamin will realize that he cannot walk to State House at the expense of the hard-won reputation of innocent people. He first has to win the hearts of the people by proven competence and integrity and an impressive and credible socio-economic and political agenda. Benjamin and Sama Banya's disdain for the truth is unethical and unacceptable in a civilized country. These two gentlemen have made it their preoccupation to perpetually malign the ruling APC Government, President Ernest Koroma and public officers.
Thank God, the good name of an innocent woman has been preserved. We challenge Hon. Bangura to ignore idle banter and concentrate on what she is good at--Advocating for the people of Sierra Leone in the international sphere. As the Editor wrote few weeks ago, whom God has blessed, nobody can unbless.
Written by Arolyn Koroma : Washington DC Sunday, 07 February 2010 06:08
When I read the Article published by the S.L. Standard Times, … Fishermen Union Shame Marine Minister, it doesn’t diminish my respect for the news media, but I asked that they do a better job of educating us the readers. We need to know our fine contributing writers. It also gives us solace to know that these editors (CEO’s) are fully aware of the laws which governed the internet i.e. ‘Defamation of character’ is a qualified court offence. These laws are recognized world wide.
Whatever happens to investigative journalism? As I watch the spate of attacks on our honorable female ministers I am left with no choice but to pen down these few observations. This bias reporting is diminishing the profession in some sectors in a period which stand out as the period of exorbitant improvement in the journalism industry.
Among the many men and women whom I adore these two
government officials must be equally commended for their
braveness and commitment for promoting the positive attitudinal
changes embarked by the president Dr. Ernest B. Koroma.
The Hon. Afsatu Kabba must be equally commended, because she is a patriotic Sierra Leonean who stands for principles. If her strong position to make sure her ministry collects revenue to support the smooth running of the state (Sierra Leone) can anger certain sector of our population I will say, ‘Move on Girl’.
The African female politicians need no more intimidation and
harassment than they have already experienced in their daily
existence. They had been sidelined for too long. It is a shame
to see egoistic and zealous journalist hounding them for their
own selfish ends.
Journalists must maintain the good name of the profession by
changing the perspective trajectory and momentum of falsely
bombarding and maligning our female government officials.
Most of the current government officers who occupied those offices took over offices which were formally operated like a Son and Dad stores, with less regard for the boss. The children can take any meager amount of money from clients and hid it from the dad to buy Sneakers and Cookery. The revenue making ministries were operated like local restaurants, a trend that has drastically changed under the able leadership of Dr. Ernest B. Koroma.
Today those ministries are bringing quite substantial
revenues to help run the State and everything is almost
The problem the administration is facing is that of people who prefer the old ways and are indifference to improvement, honesty and no nonsense. They bunch themselves to promote hate. While some simply have a nag to unnecessarily discredit the hard working people of our country such as the Hon Afsatu Kabba.
Sometimes our emotions override our better judgment when it serves our purpose to an extent that we forget when they will become problematic and will hunt us in the future. It is that future some of these critics and journalist are confronted today.
These critics and journalist for the past twelve years had
refused to rock the boat because they were in the boat. They can
now attempt to rock and wreck a smooth sailing administration
with relentless bombardment of bogus accusations.
The Hon. Afsatu Kabba is creating significant enemies for
turning the Fishery Ministry a money making industry instead of
maintaining the status quo. This is a crime as underlined by the
article’s author. A situation wherein bribery was the norm as
usual. Mr. Jose Clinton was sent on leave and some were laid
off. The author did not educate us (readers) whether the fine
hard working Clintons or Mr. Clinton is 40 years old or 85 years
old to let us know that all these fine Sierra Leoneans are
capable of furthering these needed changes. Mrs. Afsatu Kabba as
a wife and a family person is not qualified to build and live a
comfortable life. Government officials should not use their hard
earned money to improve their lives and families. Some less
credit worthy name hiding journalist will cry that they stole or
embezzled government finances.
This is simply telling us that there are still Sierra
Leoneans who are oblivious to changes and are enemies of the
state. These are individuals whom pennies can buy over and
character assassinates their own.
This APC administration will refused to run this country like it was administered ten years ago. To the hard working men and women I say support our law makers. We are all proud Sierra Leoneans. We are all united by nationality and separated by political affiliations, but that is not reason enough to mortgage our country’s good character to foreigners. If this brand of baseless character assassination journalism is allowed to flourish in Sierra Leone there should be great need for concern.