Why Sierra Leone needs Change | Yusuf Bangura

In just over a 100 days, Sierra Leoneans will go to the polls to elect the President, Parliament and local councils.

The three major candidates in the 2018 presidential election are foreign minister Samura Kamara, who is the All People's Congress (APC) presidential candidate; retired Brig. Maada Bio, presidential candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP); and Kandeh Yumkella, a former director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, who is the candidate of the newly formed National Grand Coalition (NGC).

Yusuf Bangura, a political scientist who has taught in universities in Nigeria and Canada and worked as a visiting researcher in Sweden, makes a case for change in 2018.

As we approach the elections of March 2018, politicians are busy again on the campaign trail making lofty promises. These elections may mark a turning point in our political trajectory. The tenure of Ernest Koroma’s All People’s Congress (APC) will end, and the na…

Solomon Berewa: the Sage | by Lans Gberie

On my last day in Freetown recently, I visited Solomon Berewa, Sierra Leone’s former Vice President and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2007, at his Goderich home.
He is now very old and retired, but his schedule seemed busy.

When I called a week earlier, he was on his way to Bo; and he had attended the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP) national convention two days before that.  I was interested in his views on that.

But I was more interested in his recollections relating to the Sierra Leone government’s negotiations with the Revolution United Front, which he had led both at Abidjan and at Lomé (the conversations relating to that are not published here).
A day before I met him, he was interviewed by the AYV for its early morning political programme [broadcast].

Mr. Berewa’s house, like all the houses in its vicinity, is in a gated compound, which is large and a bit grassy. It is a two-story building, and the sitting room is on the elevated floor, with stairs leading to it. I tho…

Samura Kamara: The Jewel in APC's Crown

Latest reports from Sierra Leone say the All People's Congress (APC) political party has chosen Samura M. Kamara as their presidential candidate. The APC held its national convention this weekend, allowing for party leaders, activists, and supporters to select their nominee for the upcoming elections. 

General elections will be held in Sierra Leone on March 7, 2018, to elect the president, Parliament, and local councils.

Incumbent President Ernest Koroma is not running, as he is constitutionally ineligible, having served the maximum ten years in office.

Can Samura Kamara win?  

When Kamara, then Sierra Leone's foreign minister ran for the top job at African Development Bank, Sierra Leoneans around the globe rallied behind their man.

Radio listeners registered their support through text messages, while those on WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook posted messages of solidarity.

"Dr. Samura our prayers are with you, we believe you will emerge victorious,” read one message sent vi…

The Ajisafe Problem and Religious Tolerance by Yusuf Bangura

Yusuf Bangura is a Sierra Leonean-born United Nations economist who resides in Switzerland. Dr. Bangura is a Muslim. Here he comments on the sermon that recently sent ripples through the small West African nation which suffered almost a decade of war. Sierra Leone has long prided itself as a country that has maintained authentic religious harmony because of positive attitudes to faith among its citizenry. 
Victor Ajisafe’s sermon of 25 September 2017 in which he denounced Islam as a religion of terror and denied Islam’s existence in Sierra Leone infuriated the nation, with many calling for a complete shutdown of his church, an apology, and his deportation. The government acted swiftly by arresting Ajisafe, temporarily suspended all activities in the six branches of his church (Christ Revival Evangelistic Ministries), and closed down his radio station.

As Andrew Keili observed in his usually razor-sharp reflections, Ponder My Thoughts, even though our politics is often highly divisive,…

Ponder My Thoughts by Andrew Keili | Letter from Sierra Leone

Andrew Keili comments on faith, culture, society, and politics in Sierra Leone. This week a Nigerian-born pastor was arrested after recordings of a sermon targeting Muslims went viral sparking condemnation by both Muslim and Christian Sierra Leoneans. 

Ajasafe to Mufti Menk: "Let Your Gate Be Closed" 
"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell..................but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be."-- James 3:5-10
Pastor Ajasafe is undoubte…

Fire and Brimstone Preacher Censured by Government of Sierra Leone

A fire and brimstone sermon by Victor Ajisafe has landed him in hot water with the government of Sierra Leone.

Ajisafe, a native of Nigeria, and the founder and pastor in charge of the Christ Revival Evangelistic Ministries located off Kingharman Road in Freetown was today issued a temporary suspension of the registration of his Sanctuary Praise Church by Sierra Leone's Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

In an open letter from the social welfare ministry dated 26th September 2017, chief social services officer, Joseph S. Sinnah, said the action was taken “following the dissemination of a video/audio recording attributed to” Ajisafe.

In the audio, Ajisafe condemned the recent visit of Zimbabwean Grand Mufti Menk at Sierra Leone's State House to meet President Ernest Koroma, while on an inspirational tour to the post-war country, which suffered devastating floods and mudslides in August.

“This recording which is deemed as promoting religious intolera…

This Sierra Leonean Life: Cemeteries

Coming a week after Freetown buried almost 500 people, the news that its city cemeteries have become playgrounds for criminals couldn't be worse.

In October 2014, the first group of more than 10,000 dead Sierra Leoneans, who succumbed to Ebola-related symptoms, were buried in Pa Loko village, Waterloo. At the height of the Ebola outbreak, the 12-person burial teams managed by an Irish humanitarian organization buried up to 85 bodies per day.

When the Ministry of Health and Sanitation ran out of burial plots (Sierra Leoneans frown on cremation) the Government of Sierra Leone purchased land about 20 miles east of downtown for an undisclosed sum. The Ebola cemetery at Waterloo is reportedly spread over ten thousand acres.

Once the Irish charity left, The Western Area Rural District Council acquired management of one of the largest cemeteries in the country.

In 2016, the Ebola cemetery authorities found that their funds could not meet the costs of long-term maintenance. So they wrote…