by Sierraeye

There are some people who always look out for bad news. I once had a friend when I worked for a mining company who so hated the General Manager (GM) that he would always have something negative to say or actively spread bad news about him. He once gleefully passed around an article titled “GM challenges the Japanese”, commenting: “Luk dis man. Now na di Japanese den plaba e day fen!”. He was quite deflated when we told him that this time it was General Motors, not his nemesis!

And so, some of us often ferret for bad news about Sierra Leone. Are you fed up with all the doom and gloom about Sierra Leone in various types of media? Sometimes it gets so depressing that there is the tendency for one to lose hope in the future. I have attempted to search for inspiring, uplifting and positive news and stories and share them with you. This will hopefully brighten your mood, put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Let’s examine some of these.

In a country in which we constantly hear about Bank employees making away with huge sums of money, leading to a lack of trust in Sierra Leoneans in the banking industry, Mohamed Samoura has made us truly proud. Mohamed became the first Sierra Leonean to be appointed substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Sierra Leone since it started operations in 2008. He had been acting in that position since 2023. Mohamed has had a stellar career in the Sierra Leone Banking industry and his appointment is bound to spur other Sierra Leoneans to soar to higher heights in the Commercial Banking sector.

Orange Sierra Leone became the first telecommunications company in the country to be certified with the international standard ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems. According to Orange, this prestigious recognition signifies Orange’s commitment to delivering exceptional service and continuous improvement, solidifying its position as a leader in the Sierra Leonean telecom industry. This standard sets a globally recognized benchmark for quality management systems, empowering organizations to enhance performance, meet stakeholder needs, and demonstrate unwavering dedication to quality.

Whilst we have got used to many MDAs getting a bad rap from audit reports, it is heartening to note that Parliament came out in effusive praise of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) when the Director General and team appeared before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee to address issues arising from the 2022 Audit report. The Deputy Speaker commended the Director General, Mohamed Massaquoi for his “exemplary response to the audit findings”. The Committee urged other MDAs to follow the NCRA’s lead in conducting official business with diligence and treating audit matters seriously and commended the head for the professionalism and discipline exhibited in the management of the authority since his appointment.

What about Waka Fast, the new Bus service? The World Bank and the Government through the Ministry of Transport must be commended for introducing a mass transportation system in Sierra Leone. Fifty buses plying two corridors and being able to transport 50,000 passengers daily makes for a commendable project. It will make it possible to move masses of people with greater efficiency and make the city a desirable place in which to live. There have however been several challenges relating to so many issues-cost, problems with alternative routes for other forms of commercial transportation etc. Despite all the complaints, the problems should hopefully be sorted out with improved and fair stakeholder consultation, incentives and enforcement.

I don’t know about you but I have been impressed with the constant visits by the Labour and Social Security Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swarray to various establishments over the past few months. In his inspection and familiarization visits to businesses all over the country, he has engaged workers and management, discussed a range of issues related to compliance with labour laws, occupational health and safety, conditions of workers, concerns of management teams and several other challenges. This will undoubtedly nip several potential industrial relations problems in the bud. He will hopefully be able to make recommendations to government in easing unemployment problems. Many thanks to him for being so proactive. Seeth thou a man diligent in his duties…………!

When one talks about Alumni Associations in Sierra Leone, the first thought is about secondary schools. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to know that that some people are doing their bit for their primary schools with equal zest. Professor Alusine Jalloh who has done so much for his alma mater, Saint Edwards has also been concentrating on his primary school, Holy Trinity Infant and Primary School at Kissy Road, Freetown. He has recently launched a new initiative: Saturday tutorials, especially for students preparing for the National Primary School Examination (NPSE). He also funds monthly stipends for the teachers. and provides weekly free lunch for the students. The free lunch programme, funded through him by the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, USA is in its fourth year. Many thanks to this Muslim who attended a Catholic Secondary school and got a Baptist Church to contribute to his Anglican primary school! May God/Allah richly bless him. On another note, my favourite girls’ school, Annie Walsh is celebrating its 175th anniversary. Congratulations are in order, even though some people are confused with this decade competition they have. I asked an AWMS alumnus the question-what if your schooling at the AWMS covered a few years in one decade and a few in the other? I rather liked her reply- “Di one den way bin fityai na school day go na di lower decade for make big woman!” Ah well, mek a nor fen plaba!

In a society in which big men often consider their pomposity a badge of honour, it is pleasing to have someone like the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Abass Bundu publicly apologise for the infamous alleged corruption saga in Parliament. In his statement to the nation, he stated, “On the contrary, we should all apologize to the people of this country whose trust and confidence we bear and on whose behalf we act in this well as their representatives. By the same token, we want to take this opportunity to express our collective regret and to ask for their forgiveness; we promise that we shall never again commit the grievous mistakes of the recent past.” Thanks Dr. Bundu. History will judge you kindly-if not for everything but for this mea culpa.

Never in the field of electoral conflict has so much been made about a Terms of Reference (TOR) document- Never mind me. I am merely waxing lyrical! After, so many months of deliberation, both SLPP and APC have now agreed on the TOR for the aspect of the work by the Tripartite Committee on electoral reform. This is a big deal. In actual fact, after reading the famous TOR, I now understand why it took so long to be agreed upon. It involves inter alia recommendations for improvements and amendments to electoral laws, procedures and regulations to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process in future elections in the country. I am sure we all look forward to the engagement with stakeholders and proposals to enhance electoral integrity with bated breath.

Am I the only one who has noticed that there has been no fight between the FCC Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and the Ministry of Local Government? Could it be that they have not realized the Christmas season of goodwill is over? I note the Mayor has been active on so many fronts and seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet as the new Chief Administrator of FCC, Tom Farma. They have presented a unified front on so many contentious issues. When the Mayor put out a notice in several fora calling for the timely payments of property rates and business licences, I was waiting for a counter press release from the Local Government Ministry but it never came! Am I too hasty in airing my thoughts or am I stirring up a hornet’s nest (“set firing”)? Anyway I hope the peace will lead to greater success in serving the people of this city.

Let us continue to be hopeful for the future of this blessed land. To make a difference in Sierra Leone, we must articulate hope in a despondent society. We should be confident that there is a way ahead and there is a future.

Ponder my thoughts

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