By KABS KANU :
British Government officials have denied suspending aid to Sierra Leone as falsely reported by one of the anti- All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government newspapers, NEWSWATCH.
Because President Ernest Bai Koroma is doing his best to foster and promote the tenets of multi-party democracy and freedom of the press in Sierra Leone, some of the country’s crude and unprincipled media personnel have taken advantage of the President’s gesture to always produce concocted, distorted and false reports about the government to embarrass it and damage the goodwill and support it is enjoying from its international development partners.
HON . SIMON HUGHES : NEWSWATCH NEWSPAPER PUT WORDS IN HIS MOUTH
A typical example of STUNNING unpatriotic behavior and deliberate concoction of stories against the APC Government was the NEWSWATCH report yesterday , which went to great lengths to put words in the mouths of the British Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties, Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes , whom the paper falsely reported to have “told British House of Commons and some Sierra Leoneans that the British Government can no longer trust their Sierra Leonean counterparts with money. ” The malevolent report continued to misquote the British official , stating that : “He attributed the reason for his statement to corruption and commented that the British rather prefer dealing with their own NGO’s to manage the Ebola treatment centres and Ebola response funds. ”
WHAT KIND OF JOURNALISM IS THIS ?
Determined to sully the name of the Government, the paper went on to lie : “Rt. Hon. Simon Huges reportedly commented that ‘each time monies are allocated to Sierra Leone, it is not used for the intended purpose. ‘ ” Oblivious of the fact that in international diplomacy , no credible government official will make such scathing remarks about his country’s development partner , the NEWSWATCH further wrote that Hon. Hughes said : “The British Government…cannot trust the (Sierra Leone) leaders with British tax payers’ money because we know where they go.”
It has turned out that the British Minister never uttered these words which were apparently concocted by the newspaper and being circulated all over social media .
The Minister has swiftly responded with a press release which embarrassingly demonstrates how much some Sierra Leoneans are making a mockery of themselves in the international world in their failed quest to tarnish the name of the APC Government.
HERE TWO RESPONSES FROM THE HON. SIMON HUGHES . The first is a response to Sierra Leone Press Attache in the UK, Mr. Sorie Sudan Sesay and the second is a press release :
Just seen – that is not a fair reflection of Simon’s comments in the meeting and
has been taken out of context.
Our experience was that the meeting was a positive and constructive one.
Simon has long been a friend of both Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone community
in London, many of whom live in Simon’s constituency of Bermondsey and Old
Diary and Media Manager to the Office Of Simon Hughes
Office Of Simon Hughes
Feel free to use the below in press releases:
Last Monday Simon Hughes MP welcomed to parliament local residents and
others to discuss the UK government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in
Simon was joined by Baroness Northover, Liberal Democrat Under-Secretary at
the Department for International Development.
Simon Hughes MP said: “Given the close ties between the UK and Sierra Leone
it is absolutely right that the UK is taking the lead internationally to
help combat Ebola. A great number of my constituents are from Sierra Leone
– so it was good to welcome so many of them to parliament to discuss this
very important issue.
“The UK has already committed £230 million to the effort to combat Ebola in
Sierra Leone and the UK government is focussed on increasing the number of
treatment beds, making sure burials take place safely and providing swift
isolation in the community.
“We can of course do more. I hope that some of the ideas shared last Monday
by members of the Sierra Leone community in London will help to make a real
impact in defeating this deadly disease.”
The UK government has committed £230 million to the effort to combat Ebola
in Sierra Leone –the largest donor in Sierra Leone, second largest
bilateral donor to the international response after the US.
Diary and Media Manager to the Rt Hon Simon Hughes
House of Commons
In the same report , the NEWSWATCH again falsely reported that “The Secretary of International Development, Baroness Northover, and Deputy Head of West and Southern African Directors’ Office, Jonathan Tostevin, who represented the British Department for International Development (DfID), also reportedly condemned the Government of Sierra Leone on the same grounds.” But in response to a letter of inquiry from Press Attache , Sorie Sudan Sesay, even the DFID official has denied ever making those remarks . Here is his response :
RESPONSE EMAIL FROM DFID
Dear Mr Sesay, We spoke just now about the allegations made in Newswatch today.
Kerris forwarded your concerns to me to respond. As discussed, I was present at the meeting on Monday that this article refers to and can confirm that no such allegations were made by Baroness Northover, Simon Hughes, or myself. Nor is the UK suspending funding to Sierra Leone as the article suggests.
The UK remains committed to working with the Government of Sierra Leone to ending the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and the wider region. Happy to discuss further,
Jonathan Jonathan Tostevin | Team Leader, Ebola Crisis Team