The Almighty Sierra Leone Telecommunication Company (SIERRATEL) and The Sierra Leone Postal Services Limited (SALPOST) used to be the pride of Sierra Leone in service delivery but have crumbled down the drain to their unexpected lowest standards that really need some interventions.
Sierratel was formed as a government entity to provide affordable telephone services to the nation. It has in no doubt been the only gate way for all sorts of communication in Sierra Leone – meaning all companies do pay for this gate way. In the past years, Sierratel was a business giant in Sierra Leone from the late 1980s to early 1990s making meaningful economic contribution to the government. The first action that started crippling it was the establishment of an open line to homes and commercial premises which led to massive corruption among workers. Those connected were misusing the international line, no proper accountability from senior workers and payment of staff salaries became problematic. So, the ill managed company gradually turned out to be the centre of staff strikes and corruption. This continued till the wake of mobile companies in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s to 2000. Covered by the gate way mobile lenders from Sierratel, the mobile companies toppled Sierratel and became more powerful to this moment. The imperative question one may ask is - what has really killed the Almighty Sierratel, is it the mobile companies’ revolution or lack of innovation?( the giver to become the great loser).
After allowing customers or subscribers to the mobile companies to be loyal and develop trust in them, it became difficult for Sierraratel to wake up from its long slumber and catch up with the 100 meters ahead mobile companies. To leap-frog now, build confidence in the millions of mobile subscribers in Sierra Leone has been a herculean task for the one time pride of Sierra Leone telecompany.
One may suggest among other things as a way forward that added to the cheapest rates, Sierratel which operates both land and mobile telephone services must design strategies like the sim and credits paid for but the mobile phone itself free. Also seasonal raffle draws and other sales promotions should be done.
The Sierra Leone Postal Services Company (SALPOST) on the other hand was formed to ensure effective and efficient delivery of mails, other parcels, information packages (normal and classified) both internal and external. It had a good structure and did well in the 70s and 80s but started declining in the wake of the new media technology known as Internet. This was because the internet provides website, email, facebook (social media) facilities that could easily replace the services SALPOST could provide.
With innovation however, SALPOST could have still survived and maintained its expected service delivery especially the hinterland document services in the country. There are certain documents that still need the services of SALPOST both local and International that go beyond international facilities. With facilities and well coordinated programs, SALPOST can still make its contribution to nation building. Why have DHL, Red Coat and others are still surviving and making inroads to the happiness of the public, staff and most important their owners/Managing Directors? All this is because of well coordinated programs and dedication. The idea is centred on sober arrangement with the Airlines for prompt delivery of international mails to their respective destinations. For local mails around the country, SALPOST should have small and good vehicles with dedicated staff who will not give flimsy excuses to deliver parcels on time. The above are just few examples of numerous services SALPOST should offer this nation.
Nevertheless, since SALPOST has lost direction of what to do to keep the Institution above the water, it is imperative that government inject and render it some innovations to salvage the deplorable and ridiculous condition of SALPOST.
The first move government can do towards this is to like the US A transfer the issuance of all passports to SALPOST whiles the Immigration concentrate on the real enforcement of immigrants and other duties. If passports issuance is done by SALPOST, that will wake up and make it fulfil all other functions. Added to the revenue SALPOST will generate for government, it will also become more viable and be a pillar of the Agenda for Prosperity. Immigration on the other hand will then be steadfast in checking for residential permits, expert rate fee, work permits and other documents around our bothers, in the cities and other big towns. The effectiveness and efficiency of this enforcement body (Immigration) can then be achieved and appreciated, hence a contribution to the Agenda for Prosperity. What out for more in the next edition in trying to salvage the situation of SALPOST.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today announced her intention to appoint Abebe Aemro Selassie as Director of the IMF’s African Department. Mr. Selassie succeeds Antoinette Sayeh whose departure was announced previously. He is expected to begin his work in this capacity on September 19, 2016.
“Abe brings a profound understanding of the challenges facing Africa, having worked closely with policymakers from across the region for much of his career. His proven ability to provide intellectual leadership, track record of building collaborative relationships, analytical depth, and warm collegiality make him ideally placed to lead the IMF’s work with our membership in sub-Saharan Africa. Having had the opportunity to work with Abe over the last five years, I have been struck by his sound judgement, integrity, and commitment to teamwork,” Ms. Lagarde said.
This piece is not a tribute but a message and lesson for all practicing journalist.
Death is a necessary end it comes when it would come. The end of a female popular journalist, Manjia Parkinson came at 42 years in July 24, 2016 with a big blow to family friends, media colleagues and her family. When I listened to the numerous glowing tributes at her vigil in the Bo City Hall and the Winners Chapel International Church, Bo branch from Rose Konima Stevens, Princess Gibson, IbrahimBatiloMattia, Dan Parkinson and others representing the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), the Family, and the Government of Sierra Leone ably represented by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux, I decided with spiritual emotion to title this story, “ The American Born Journalist”.
Many beautiful names were given to the late woman by friends and colleagues in the media but I listened to the tribute given by her elder brother, Dan Parkinson that he used to call her during their teenage days ‘American Born’, a name that eventually saw her in America, and returned home with smiles from the White House, and then said to myself what God has destined no man can change, and the voice of man is the voice of God. In Latin, we say: “Voxpopulivox dee”.
The fondly name by Parkinson never fell on thorns or the way side but with the grace of the Almighty.
Citizen engagement is crucial to sustaining democratic governance. It allows for openness in decision making process and ensures trust and public confidence.
Participatory democracy, according to Aragone`s et el, is a process of collective decision making that combines elements from both direct and representative democracy (A theory of participatory democracy based on the real case of Porto Alegre. European Economic Review 2008)
Sierra Leone pays greater attention to public engagement and citizens’ participation in governance both at the central and local levels of government. At the local level, it is clearly manifested in the local councils, which serves as efficient, or as expected, conduit for ensuring proper service delivery and community participation at the local level.
President Ernest Bai Koroma, during a two-day National Conference on Community Engagement and Convergence in Freetown on 31 August 2016 underscored the role participatory governance and citizen engagement can play in enhancing service delivery across the country.
Sierra Leone, Governance and the Political Will to Fight Corruption
We do have challenges as a country, but we have come a long way. One area is the fight against corruption. President Ernest Koroma came in 2007 with the commitment to stepping up the fight against corruption.
His Success in the fight against corruption is measured not only by looking at the tangible gains like the number of cases investigated, prosecuted or convictions secured; but also by looking at the conducive environment created through enactment of stronger anti corruption laws and giving the space to accountability institutions operate. This is what one would call the political will to fight corruption.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the invitation of the Inspector-General of Police attended the Executive Management Board meeting of the SLP, to demonstrate the use of the Pay No Bribe (PNB) Reporting system on Wednesday 12th October, 2016 at the Police Headquarters, George Street Freetown.
Welcoming ACC, the Inspector-General of Police Francis Munu, said the purpose of the meeting was borne out of a previous meeting with staff of the Commission together with Coffey International on a tour to piloted MDAs on the Pay No Bribe Project. He said during that meeting, he saw the need for the Executive Management Board (EMB) of the SLP to gain knowledge on how the Platform operates.
Outstanding leaders from both the public and private sectors across Sierra Leone will receive a standing ovation at the inaugural Sierra Leone Leadership Awards at the Bintumani Hotel on Friday, October 21, 2016.
The premier edition of the Sierra Leone Leadership Awards, initiated by the Sierra Leone Council of Chief Executives, in collaboration with the African Council of Chief Executives, Inc., Africa Media Corporation, Inc., and the Sierra Ovation Magazine, will recognise exceptional leadership, demonstrated competence and dedication to setting new standards of excellence and innovation, professional ethics and best practices in Sierra Leone.
WFP MARKS WORLD FOOD DAY WITH FOCUS ON BOLD PARTNERSHIPS THAT SPUR CHANGE
FREETOWN – To mark World Food Day on 16 October, the World Food Programme (WFP) is highlighting the need for bold and constructive partnerships between governments, business and organizations that will create the requisite momentum towards achieving Zero Hunger and shaping a brighter future for millions of children.
“Ending hunger in our lifetimes is possible. We can build a world where everyone, everywhere has access to nutritious food – if we all work together, as partners,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “Whether in a humanitarian or developmental context, partnerships must be bold, strategic and innovative, and be measured by how they change the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara has said that they will continue to provide justice for the poor across the country.
He made this remarks while launching the Legal Aid Board (LAB) office in the southern city of Bo at the coronation field over the weekend which attracted over thousands of people from all works of life.
Hon. Kamara made it clear to the people of Bo City that the “scaling up” access to justice campaign is for the poor and therefore ask them to take the full advantage of the benefit it is rendering.