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WHAT KILLED SIERRATEL & SALPOST? …Mobile revolution or lack of innovation? PDF Print E-mail
Development
Written by Ahmed Fonike   
Friday, 21 June 2013 19:54

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.

 

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Editorial

POLITICIZING A NATIONAL TRAGEDY FOR WHATEVER REASON IS CRUEL AND UNGODLY

Some of the articles being written by Sierra Leoneans on this Ebola disaster are very unfortunate, especially coming from people you would want to  call "educated" , because of the letters behind their names ( Though we know that paper qualifications and education are two different things ). The writers are not expressing any sensitivity to the suffering of our people. This Ebola issue is becoming a political theatre for callous and godless  people to expatiate their political proclivities. It is a shame, but also, it is tragic.

I continue to share the grief and sorrow of all citizens hailing from   Kailahun. May God intervene once again and deliver the region from evil. They are a hardworking, progressive and productive people. They provide a very significant amount of the food products and cash crops that help to feed our nation and also bring in hard-earned foreign exchange and revenue. They have also provided some of the brightest minds  in the nation, people who have contributed immensely to the development of the nation. They are very good and progressive citizens, as well as being among the most peaceful and law-abiding people  in the country.

However, because they live by Sierra Leone's borders with Liberia and Guinea, the inhabitants of Kailahun are vulnerable to many dangers. If there is war or an outbreak of any pestilence or deadly disease in our neighbouring countries, they will suffer first, given the heavy volume of cross-border  traffic, cross-border human interactions and trade between them and the people of Liberia and Guinea  . In all African countries, people who live by the borders take the brunt of unfortunate spillovers of wars, transnational crime and sicknesses from the other side. We have seen it in Central and Southern Africa. We have seen it in East and North Africa. The rebel war and the ongoing Ebola plague hit Kailahun first because of her location on our borders with Liberia and Guinea . Nobody deliberately planted the Ebola virus in their midst.

Read more...

Business News

Sierra Rutile donates one billion Leones to GOSL to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone

On Tuesday 19 August, Sierra Rutile and its major shareholder Pala Investments donated one billion Leones to help Sierra Leone in its fight against Ebola.  The cheque was presented to the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma by Sierra Rutile’s CEO John Bonoh Sisay, Non-Executive Director of Sierra Rutile, Alex Kamara and Mike Brown, the Managing Director of Pala Investments. 

Speaking on behalf of Sierra Rutile, John Sisay said: “We recognise the severity of the ongoing Ebola epidemic and hope that our contribution will strengthen Sierra Leone’s efforts to beat this disease.  The crisis has affected the lives and livelihood of many Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leonean businesses and we will continue to feel the socio-economic repercussions well after the virus has been contained.  We make this donation as a gesture of good faith and also to show how deeply concerned we are by the impact of this disease on our country.”

Read more...

Media News

Sierra Leone Alert: Journalist jailed for 7 days, Minister orders her release

The Sierra Leonean Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo on August 12, 2014, ordered the release of a female journalist who was serving a seven day sentence for contempt.

Aminata Phidelia Allie, a journalist of privately-owned biweekly Politico newspaper was on August 11, given a seven day sentence by a Court Martial for contempt of court.

The charge of contempt stems from a feature article authored by Allie titled "Court Martial Losing Momentum' and published on August 6. The journalist in the article inferred inter alia that the trial of some 14 soldiers accused of mutiny was being delayed by the court and blamed the Judge Advocate, Otto During for failure to expedite the trial. The publication also alleged that the court lacks sufficient evidence against the accused persons.

The MFWA's correspondent in the country reported that the state prosecutor, Gerald Soyie made an application at the Court Martial on August 8, for the editorial team of the newspaper to appear before the Court on August 11, to answer to a contempt charge.

The Judge Advocate, Otto During, discharged the editor-in-chief, Umaru Fofana, the associate editor Isaac Massaquoi, and sub-editor Joseph Lamin Kamara, with instructions that a retraction and an apology be made in three subsequent editions of the newspaper and copies served to the court.

Allie was however handed a seven day sentence. She was released on August 12, following the order of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo.

Meanwhile the newspaper on August 12, published an apology to the Court Martial. The newspaper among other things said "we tender our unreserved apology to the entire Court Martial for whatever inconvenience the said publication might have caused them. We admit that mistakes were made in the offending article-which we hereby retract- which may have impugned the prestige and standing of the Judge Advocate, the President and panel, the prosecution and the defence in the ongoing matter involving some soldiers. If we had a second chance to consider the said article for publication, we would not put it out. Once again we are profoundly sorry for the embarrassment."

The MFWA commends the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo for his intervention that saw the release of the journalist. We however appeal to journalists to be professional in their work.

 

For more information please contact:
Sulemana Braimah
Executive Director
MFWA
Accra
Tel: 233-0302-24 24 70
Fax: 233-0302-22 10 84

- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/alerts/sierra-leone-alert-journalist-jailed-for-7-days-minister-orders-her-release/#sthash.VqGFPhgx.dpuf

The Sierra Leonean Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo on August 12, 2014, ordered the release of a female journalist who was serving a seven day sentence for contempt.

Aminata Phidelia Allie, a journalist of privately-owned biweekly Politico newspaper was on August 11, given a seven day sentence by a Court Martial for contempt of court.

The charge of contempt stems from a feature article authored by Allie titled "Court Martial Losing Momentum' and published on August 6. The journalist in the article inferred inter alia that the trial of some 14 soldiers accused of mutiny was being delayed by the court and blamed the Judge Advocate, Otto During for failure to expedite the trial. The publication also alleged that the court lacks sufficient evidence against the accused persons.

The MFWA's correspondent in the country reported that the state prosecutor, Gerald Soyie made an application at the Court Martial on August 8, for the editorial team of the newspaper to appear before the Court on August 11, to answer to a contempt charge.

The Judge Advocate, Otto During, discharged the editor-in-chief, Umaru Fofana, the associate editor Isaac Massaquoi, and sub-editor Joseph Lamin Kamara, with instructions that a retraction and an apology be made in three subsequent editions of the newspaper and copies served to the court.

Allie was however handed a seven day sentence. She was released on August 12, following the order of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo.

Meanwhile the newspaper on August 12, published an apology to the Court Martial. The newspaper among other things said "we tender our unreserved apology to the entire Court Martial for whatever inconvenience the said publication might have caused them. We admit that mistakes were made in the offending article-which we hereby retract- which may have impugned the prestige and standing of the Judge Advocate, the President and panel, the prosecution and the defence in the ongoing matter involving some soldiers. If we had a second chance to consider the said article for publication, we would not put it out. Once again we are profoundly sorry for the embarrassment."

The MFWA commends the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo for his intervention that saw the release of the journalist. We however appeal to journalists to be professional in their work.

 

For more information please contact:
Sulemana Braimah
Executive Director
MFWA
Accra
Tel: 233-0302-24 24 70
Fax: 233-0302-22 10 84

- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/alerts/sierra-leone-alert-journalist-jailed-for-7-days-minister-orders-her-release/#sthash.VqGFPhgx.dpufThe Sierra Leonean Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo on August 12, 2014, ordered the release of a female journalist who was serving a seven day sentence for contempt.

Aminata Phidelia Allie, a journalist of privately-owned biweekly Politico newspaper was on August 11, given a seven day sentence by a Court Martial for contempt of court.

The charge of contempt stems from a feature article authored by Allie titled "Court Martial Losing Momentum' and published on August 6. The journalist in the article inferred inter alia that the trial of some 14 soldiers accused of mutiny was being delayed by the court and blamed the Judge Advocate, Otto During for failure to expedite the trial. The publication also alleged that the court lacks sufficient evidence against the accused persons.

The MFWA's correspondent in the country reported that the state prosecutor, Gerald Soyie made an application at the Court Martial on August 8, for the editorial team of the newspaper to appear before the Court on August 11, to answer to a contempt charge.

The Judge Advocate, Otto During, discharged the editor-in-chief, Umaru Fofana, the associate editor Isaac Massaquoi, and sub-editor Joseph Lamin Kamara, with instructions that a retraction and an apology be made in three subsequent editions of the newspaper and copies served to the court.

Allie was however handed a seven day sentence. She was released on August 12, following the order of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo.

Meanwhile the newspaper on August 12, published an apology to the Court Martial. The newspaper among other things said "we tender our unreserved apology to the entire Court Martial for whatever inconvenience the said publication might have caused them. We admit that mistakes were made in the offending article-which we hereby retract- which may have impugned the prestige and standing of the Judge Advocate, the President and panel, the prosecution and the defence in the ongoing matter involving some soldiers. If we had a second chance to consider the said article for publication, we would not put it out. Once again we are profoundly sorry for the embarrassment."

The MFWA commends the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo for his intervention that saw the release of the journalist. We however appeal to journalists to be professional in their work.

For more information please contact:
Sulemana Braimah
Executive Director
MFWA
Accra
Tel: 233-0302-24 24 70
Fax: 233-0302-22 10 84
- See more at: http://www.mfwa.org/alerts/sierra-leone-alert-journalist-jailed-for-7-days-minister-orders-her-release/#sthash.VqGFPhgx.dpuf

The Sierra Leonean Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frankly Bai Kargbo on August 12, 2014, ordered the release of a female journalist who was serving a seven day sentence for contempt.

Aminata Phidelia Allie, a journalist of privately-owned biweekly Politico newspaper was on August 11, given a seven day sentence by a Court Martial for contempt of court.

The charge of contempt stems from a feature article authored by Allie titled "Court Martial Losing Momentum' and published on August 6. The journalist in the article inferred inter alia that the trial of some 14 soldiers accused of mutiny was being delayed by the court and blamed the Judge Advocate, Otto During for failure to expedite the trial. The publication also alleged that the court lacks sufficient evidence against the accused persons.

Read more...

Commentary

Tink Salone, think again

I had told you to close the borders with Guinea. I had told you to ‘put boots on the ground to man all official and unofficial crossing points’. I had told you following the outbreak of Ebola in that country in February, but you ignored my advice. Now look at the crisis we have in our hands. Had you listened to my advice we would not be grappling with this crisis.

Now, I am offering new pieces of advice, please take them seriously.  This is the emotion-evoking message Tink Salone is strenuously trying to send out to the government in its most recent press statement.

Read more...

View Point

The Muslim’s Stance against the Ebola Epidemic

In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful

Indeed all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His assistance, we seek forgiveness from Him, and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and the evils of our actions. Whoever Allah guides, none can lead astray and whoever He leads astray, none can guide. And I bear witness that none is worth of worship except Allah who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.

The most truthful word is the book of Allah, and the best guidance is that of Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The worst things are the innovated ones (those that are not in accordance with the practice of Mohammad and his companions) and all innovations lead to astray and all astray lead to the hell fire.

Read more...

News - Press Release

Ebola outbreak update 18th August 2014

Ebola outbreak update:As of today, 18 August 2014, we have a total of 219 patients who have survived Ebola Virus Disease and subsequently discharged. The total number of new confirmed cases for today is 3, all from Kenema District.

No figures from the laboratory in Kailahun District

The total number of cumulative number of confirmed death is 305 and cumulative number of confirmed cases is 778 with Kailahun 401, Kenema 280; Kono 1; Kambia 1; Bombali 7; Tonkolili 2; Port Loko 28; Pujehun 3; Bo 24; Moyamba 6; Bonthe 1; Western Area Urban 20; Western Area Rural 4. As of today, Koinadugu district is the only district that has not registered confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone

The cumulative number of probable cases is 37 and probable deaths 34 while the total cumulative number of suspected cases is 35 and suspected deaths is 5

Read more...

Society -Local News

Dr Christiana Thorpe, We Wish You Well

Poet Robert Browning has grieved over the praises that come too slow - and for some people they will never get it until they are dead, in spite of all they have done. Pitiful. Late Dr. Kapkpindi Soyei advised us as a nation to appreciate people when they are alive and not while they are dead. Yes, that's sound advice. In that light, we aren't too proud or too ashamed to look up and say we appreciate and value Dr. Christiana Thorpe, the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission, who resigned from the position this week. She has brought that moribund institution from grass to grace - an enviable grace, at that! We feel like hugging you forever, and share in your resplendent smile and demeanour! Wow, thou art our Heroine! This is not a piece to retell all you've done since you accepted the position 10 years back - but it's a piece about your dedication to the nation called Sierra Leone, where many think women cannot do it. First as a nun, then as education minister, and as electoral commissioner where you put your foot down and did what you think was right amidst chaos and threats. You brought and maintained respect and sanity into our electoral process, wow! You have indeed etched your name in stone, where no thunderclap or fury can erase it. For such a little time, fellow Sierra Leoneans, a woman has done it where with so much time and resources, we men couldn't do it, other than wreck havoc and division and uphold the gospel of cronyism. Make way, please, for Madam Dr. Christiana Thorpe, as she moves on to take on other challenges. Other challenges like the girl-child, teenage pregnancy, street kids, and the disabled! She has said it already - we have no reason but to believe her and give her our support, for these towering menaces to be eradicated from here. She is just like Mother Theresa, isn't it, with a mind for the poor and the disadvantaged. Heaven preserve you, Ma'am.

Read more...

Development

UN appeals for more help to Support Sierra Leone’s Ebola response

Freetown, 18 August 2014: The United Nations in Sierra Leone has said today that an additional $18 million is needed to bolster the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts in halting the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).  The disease has now spread to 12 of 13 districts in the country with a cumulative total of more than 800 EVD cases and 350 deaths. 

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, David McLachlan-Karr said at a press conference in Freetown that this appeal is needed to enhance four main interventions: clinical management through the World Health Organization; social mobilization and awareness raising through UNICEF; surveillance and contact tracing of persons who may have come into contact with Ebola (UNFPA); and providing logistical support through the World Food Programme (WFP. 

“This appeal is to fill some gaps in the initial national response appeal of $ 26 million that was launched by the Sierra Leone Government in July,” the UN Chief in Sierra Leone said.

Read more...

Politics

CDP LEADER JOSHUA CAREW: YOUR LEGACY LIVES ON

A famous American President Abraham Lincoln once said: “A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.” Indeed, Sierra Leone lost a political legend - the leader and party Chairman of the Citizen Democratic Party (CDP), Joshua Albert Carew who passed away on July 8, 2014 after a brief illness at the Choitram Hospital in Freetown Sierra Leone. The CDP which he founded almost three years ago will miss his charismatic leadership and his strong determination to make history.

Noticeably, when leaders and heroes are not honored; the fundamental principles of service to country are seriously undermined. The ethical propositions of doing justice to the reputations of patriotic citizens are tragically compromised. Every citizen who has contributed to national service one way or the other deserved respect, honor, and dignity especially at their final hours on this earth. People will view reluctant politicians today who are in the position to performing such sacred obligations to the nation as morally bankrupt and politically devoid of compassion.

Read more...
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