The All People’s Congress ( APC ) Philadelphia Chapter staged a thrilling Fundraiser Dinner and Dance at the Inez Hall, 624 South 62nd Street, Philadelphia on Friday night.
The occasion was attended by a galaxy of distinguished personalities who included the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Richard Konteh, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States , Mr. Bockarie Kortu Stevens , Sierra Leone’s Consul-General in Philadelphia , Mr. Methuselah Z.O. Bradley IV, the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations, Mr. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu and the Chairman of the APC North America Branch, Mr. Aziz Turay.
APC FUND-RAISING COORDINATOR MOHAMED LAMIN FOFANAH DANCING WITH MADAM YABOM KOROMA THE PRESIDENT OF THE APC WASHINGTON CHAPTER
Also present at the occasion were the President of the Washington DC Chapter Mrs. Yabom Thaslim Koroma ; the Fundraising Coordinator of the APC-NA, Mr. Mohamed Lamin Fofana and Fundraising Director Victor Simbo , the President of the New Jersey Chapter , Mr. Allie Badara Kamara, the Regional Director (East Coast ) of the APC -NA, Mr. Foday Mansaray, APC-NA Women’s Leader, Mrs. Mary Jay Bangura, the President of the APC Philadelphia/Delaware Chapter, Mr. Kebbie Turay, the Secretary General , Mr. Sam Dilito Turay, and other top party officials Ms. Abie Bangalie-Mansaray (Queen Abie ) , Dr. John Samba and Santigi Koroma ( New Jersey), Madam Mamusu Conteh-Luke , Rev. Alusine Lovell Koroma , Professor Michael Dillo Sesay, Rev. Joseph Mojoko Koroma of Faith Weslyan Church , Darby, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Maimunatou Conteh , the VP of the APC Philadelphia/ Delaware/South NJ Mr. Sheka Kamara , Mr. Kabba Kamara etc.etc.
FROM LEFT : AMBASSADOR STEVENS, MINISTER KONTEH AND APC-NA LEADER AZIZ TURAY
There were exciting performances by gospel-singing star, Vicky Fornah who sang her new release ” Put your country first ” and the Rapture Kids who thrilled the audience with two of their releases , the second one an instructive song on behavioral and attitudinal change , which got the crowd on its feet .There was also an entertaining act -cum Special fund raising activity by Bangura Zozo of the famous Professional Drama Group. Dressed like the Late Lord Bongo, he cracked jokes about Sierra Leoneans and comically mimicked the intonation of some of Sierra Leone’s leading tribes including the Mende, Temne, Krio , Limba and Fula. The hall rocked with laughter as it did also when APC official, Mr. Victor Simbo, told a joke on the SLPP Presidential candidate , Maada Bio, who challenged God . Another person who won applause was Miss Yabu Sesay, the daughter of Professor Dillo Sesay who thrilled everybody with her rich, melodious voice singing the American National Anthem.
The floor was also given to government and party officials to discuss various topics.
Mr. Kebbie Turay welcomed the guests on behalf of the Chapter and gave a brief statement on the activities and goals of the the Philadelphia Chapter. Also making remarks was the APC -NA Women’s Leader, Mrs. Mary Jay Bangura. Opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Philadelphia/Delaware Chapter President Sam Saidu was also slated to talk but he did not attend the occasion.
Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, who was also one of the grand chief patrons of the occasion , was called upon to brief the occasion about the Media and the Elections. In his presentation, Hon. Kabs-Kanu said that one of the biggest achievements of President Ernest Koroma in Sierra Leone is in the area of press freedom, which is one of the best in the world. He stated that there are over 50 newspapers in the country and most of them are opposition papers which are uncensored and are free to write whatever they want against the government . Since President Koroma came to power, he went on, no journalist has been arrested or his newspaper offices raided as it happened in the past.
CONSUL -GENERAL BRADLEY AND HIS DAUGHTER AT THE HIGH TABLE
He however noted that many Sierra Leoneans were misguided about what press freedom entailed. He said that some people think that press freedom means only the freedom to attack, criticize, stigmatize and defame the government .They do not believe that the government too has a right to defend itself and set right the concoctions and lies of the opposition press. For press freedom to be complete , he said, the people must be provided the opportunity to hear all sides of the spectrum , including the government’s version of events . This is what democracy is about. He emphasized that citizens have a right to to know as much as possible about the government’s plans, activities and achievements in order to be effective members of the society.Secondly, if citizens are not well informed about what the government is doing and how their taxes are being used , they will not be encouraged to perform their civic duties, like paying taxes or helping in development projects .
The Minister warned that if the pro-government media are not heard and they fail to highlight the government’s commitment to its campaign promises and the development of the country while the opposition media is engaged in its intense campaign of lies and misinformation , eventually all the negativity and lies will poison the minds of the people and create anarchy and chaos in the country, which nobody wants, because Sierra Leoneans are tired of conflicts. He disclosed that the pro-government media is being effectively positioned for the forthcoming electioneering campaign and right now, the readership of the government media is increasing by leaps and bounds . Everybody wants to know what the government is doing because it makes them happy when they learn that things are improving in their country . This also helps them to decide whether to go back and help rebuild the country. The Minister also said that those who have studied Journalism also know that good news sells more than bad and negative news. People are more inclined to listen to positive and encouraging news about their country, which is why newspapers like COCORIOKO have very wide readerships. He however advised government and partisans to help the media do its job more effectively by continuing to support it morally and otherwise and he challenged partisans to write articles to help propagate the activities and achievements of the government. “Don’t leave the work in our hands alone “, he appealed .
MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY KABS KANU AND THE QUEEN OF THE APC-NA ABI BANGALIE-MANSARAY
Ambassador Bockarie Stevens , in his remarks, enjoined partisans not to just be going around saying that the APC will win the forthcoming elections but to work very hard to bring the victory to pass. He said that there was still a lot of work to be done at grassroots level because this 2012 polls will be a very difficult election . He stated that if the issue will hinge only on achievements , President Koroma will win by a landslide. He however advised partisans that not everybody votes based on the achievements of the candidates. Many people, he said, vote on tribal, regional and other considerations. It was therefore the duty of partisans to work very hard to convince people to vote for President Koroma because of all his socio-economic and political developments . He called on everybody to get busy with whatever tool they have to campaign to their relatives in Sierra Leone.
The Ambassador dwelt on a matter of grave concern– the vicious propaganda that was being waged against the country by some opposition members in the diaspora. Ambassador Stevens complained that these citizens are busy calling prospective investors and businesses to tell them not to go to Sierra Leone to invest because there is going to be chaos in the country during the elections.He said many people who could have gone to the country to invest have been made to change their minds. Some called the Sierra Leone Embassy to express fears about what they are being told that there would be chaos during the elections. The Ambassador charged partisans to help refute this unpatriotic propaganda . He said that the elections will be credible, free and fair and the government had created the enabling environment for this by putting in place structures that will make the elections free , fair and peaceful.
FROM RIGHT MADAM YABOM KOROMA , THE APC WASHINGTON CHAPTER PRESIDENT AND MARY J. BANGURA, THE WOMEN’S LEADER
Ambassador Stevens praised the media for its good work and also asked for support for the institution. He also lauded the Consul General Mr. Methuselah Z.O. Bradley IV for his efforts to showcase Sierra Leone and motivate investors to go to Sierra Leone. He announced that he would soon appoint consul generals in Canada, California and Minnesota.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Richard Konteh, outlined all the achievements of President Ernest Koroma while stating why there should be no runoffs in November. He said that President Koroma’s peers in Africa respect him very highly which was why they elected him Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States responsible for UN Security Council Reform. Even his collegues know that to succeed in their quest for Africa to have seats in the UN Security Council , they needed a man of integrity and character to head such the C-10. He also said that President Koroma was ranked the 9th best President in Africa. The Minister also told his audience that the International Finance Corporation ( IFC ) , a member of the World Bank Group which finances and provides advice for private sector ventures and projects in developing countries, ranked Sierra Leone 6th among the 10 leading reformers of the world.
HIGH TABLE : SECOND FROM RIGHT -APC-NA REGIONAL DIRECTOR FODAY MANSARAY
Minister Konteh said that “Since President Koroma came to power , even the gods have been happy with Sierra Leone as minerals that had been hidden for long were now being discovered and in five years, Sierra Leone will be an oil producing country”. He also stated that the World Bank described the Sierra Leone economy as the second fastest growing economy in the world. The minister also said before President Koroma came to power in 2007, Sierra Leone held a permanent position-The last place -in the UN Human Development Index. “Throughout the 11 years of SLPP rule, Sierra Leone came last” , he stressed , but he said that since President Koroma assumed control in Sierra Leone, the country had gone up the table.
Minister Konteh also highlighted the APC Government’s achievement in the area of the provision of electricity after meeting a nation that was the darkest country in the world. The APC Government increased electricity supply from nearly 10 megawatts to nearly 80 megawatts and with Bumbuna Phase 2 ahead of schedule, another 100 megawatts will be added and in five years the hydoelectricity dam will be able to provide 350 megawatts.
APC-NA CHIEF AZIZ TURAY DANCING WITH MAMUSU CONTEH-LUKE
Minister Konteh joked that even the blind people in Sierra Leone know the difference between the SLPP and the APC, because during the SLPP era, all the roads were full of potholes and were difficult to walk on but today, during the reign of President Koroma , modern and first-class roads have been constructed making life comfortable for drivers and pedestrians. The minister further joked that during the rule of the SLPP, it would be the greatest folly to wear a white dress. People preferred brown because the roads were very dusty , but today, they are willing to wear white dresses because the roads are now very good. “If you ask the SLPP, they will tell you that everything was in the pipeline ; Well, we in the APC do not just plan, we implement “, he mocked the opposition.
FROM RIGHT : APC NEW JERSEY PRESIDENT ALLIE BADARA KAMARA, DR. JOHN SAMBA AND SANTIGIE KOROMA
The Minister said that under the SLPP, Sierra Leone had the worst maternal and infant mortality rate but in two years since President Koroma introduced free health care for under-5 children and pregnant and lactating women, the APC Government has successfully cut the rate down by 50%.
The Trade Minister also briefed the guests about the movement from the Agenda For Change to Agenda for Posterity, which he joked that Political Affairs Minister Alpha Kanu has already dubbed” The Agenda For Munafah ” and the “Agenda For Money Nar De Pockit. ” This Agenda For Prosperity is designed to make Sierra Leone competitive internationally.The minister announced that today in Boston he will be signing a $180 million contract to give Sierra Leone the largest stell industry in Africa, using our local iron ore. He disclosed also that an Economic Zone is about to be established in Port Loko with the steel industry being one of the industries in the Zone.
The MC, Professor Michael Dillo Sesaysaid that he felt very proud to be a Sierra Leonean after listening to the Minister. He remonstrated that there was a lot of good news from Sierra Leone and he thanked President Koroma and government for their outstanding work.
BELOW- PASTOR LOVELL KOROMA (IN RED) ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS
GROUP PHOTO : FROM RIGHT : SAM DILITO TURAY , MR. BANGURA, MINISTER KONTEH , KEBBIE TURAY AND FODAY MANSARAY
PHOTO : PROFESSOR SESAY AND MEMBERS CHEERING A LITTLE GIRL DANCING