Start of Sierra Leone voter registration slow and chaotic

By Mohamed Massaquoi

Sierra Leone’s much anticipated nationwide voter registration started on Monday amidst complaints of delay at registration centres and chaotic scenes blamed on insufficient and faulty equipment.
In some cases registration officials also attributed the slowness of the exercise to the “poor sensitisation” of the public.

Some impatient registrants abandoned registration centres after standing in long queues for long hours.

Voter registration kicks off in Sierra Leone

An estimated 3.5 million Sierra Leoneans born on the 7 March 2000 or before will be registered in the next four weeks to be eligible to vote in next year’s presidential, legislative and local council elections.

The National Electoral Commission spokesman, Albert Massaquoi says they have deployed equipment in all 3,300 registration centres across the country for the four-week-long exercise which will be a “joint voter and civil registration process”.

Njala University students say they “feel neglected”

For thousands of students at Njala University their holiday which started in October last year is still on, much to their chagrin and frustration.

The academic year that was to have started in November 2016 is in limbo owing to a long-running sit-down strike by lecturers over pay and conditions.

The President of the Academic Staff Association, Dr Samba Moriba says they feel scorned by the central government which has allegedly refused to even meet with them to discuss their grievances.

Sierra Leone discovers biggest diamond in nearly 50 years

By Kemo Cham

The Sierra Leone government has announced the discovery of one of the biggest diamonds ever.
The 709-carat gemstone was found in the eastern Kono District by a Christian pastor, Emmanuel Momoh and is the biggest in Sierra Leone since the Star of Sierra Leone in 1972.
Pastor Momoh and the Paramount Chief of Tankoro Chiefdom, where the diamond was found on Wednesday, presented the gem to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on Wednesday. It was subsequently locked in a vault at the central bank.

Pujehun traders demand compensation over forceful eviction

By Mohamed Massaquoi

Traders in Pujehun town have demanded for compensation of up to Le 6 million from the District Council over allegations of destruction of their wares.
The aggrieved traders are among people whose stalls were demolished as part of an operation sanctioned by the District Council Chairman, Sadiq Silla after a failed attempt to remove them from a location the authorities say was illegally occupied.

Sierra Leone Gov’t spokesman confirms open confrontation inside State House

...but denies any fist fight

By Kemo Cham

A government spokesman has confirmed reports of an open confrontation between two cabinet ministers over the race for the party's ticket for the presidential election but maintains it was a verbal altercation and not a fist fight.
Information Minister Mohamed Bangura and Justice Minister Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara early this week engaged in a heated argument inside State House – the office of the president.

Over 2,000 die of cancer every year in Sierra Leone

By Kemo Cham

A United Nations experts’ investigation has revealed a worrying trend of cancer prevalence in Sierra Leone, with an annual death rate of over 2, 000 people.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) say estimated 3,000 people develop cancer each year in the country which lacks the capacity and resources to diagnose or provide care for victims. Much of the cancer cases in the country are preventable or curable if discovered early, the agency said as part of the findings of an assessment conducted last month.