Sierra Leone:Meet the Next President of SLAJ

By John Baimba Sesay

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (alias De Monk) is the outgoing National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists; Secretary General of the charity All ‘Works’ of Life development association, and President of Development and Economic Journalists Association-Sierra Leone.

Nasralla is a professional Journalist and Sierra Leone’s foremost political cartoonist. He’s publisher of the famous satirical column called Ticha Lemp Lemp, which has now been registered as a newspaper with the Independent Media Commission and will soon hit the newsstands and online.

He is married to Margaret Yeama Nasralla (nee Kromah) with whom he has three children- Andre 12, Nefertiti 7 and Mikayla 2.

Special Achievements

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has consistently won the national cartoon and feature writing awards in Sierra Leone and has managed several newspapers, magazines and online publications. He has won a total of 11 national awards in various categories under the Independent Media Commission annual media awards.

As Secretary General of AWOL, Nasralla has served as the focal point in consistently and successfully organising the National Achievement Awards since 2005, which annually recognizes hardworking individuals and institutions that are making a difference in the lives of ordinary people and contributing towards national development. The aim is to build a new crop of role models to whom the next generation of young Sierra Leoneans can aspire to.

Nasralla is a founding member and first president of Development and Economic Journalists Association (DEJA) and is at an advanced stage of forming the Sierra Leone Cartoonists and Illustrators Association.

He continues to provide hands on mentorship to many young media colleagues and provides technical and moral support to junior journalists across the country in the practice of journalism.

During the Ebola outbreak in his country between 2014 and 2016, Nasralla served as Head of Field Reporting on Ebola: an experiment mentoring program by SLAJ which saw a senior journalist traveling with young inexperienced reporters, to regions that were declaring 42 days Ebola-free, and guiding them to report objectively. The pilot program was a huge success.

Nasralla flanked by other journalists in Freetown while he negotiates the release of four journalists detained in Pademba Prisons

Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has worked extensively with NGOs, CSOs, MDAs and UN Agencies in developing and producing IEC Materials on a wide range of awareness raising campaigns and has facilitated several workshops to develop concepts for IEC materials and cartoon depictions.


Ahmed Sahid Nasralla was born in 1975 in Fadugu, Kabala, Koinadugu District, Northern Sierra Leone where he started his primary education at the District Education Committee School (DEC). When he was in Class 3 the family relocated to Magburaka, Tonkolili District, and he continued his primary schooling at the Tonkolili District Education Committee School (TDEC) where he sat to the Selective Entrance examination in Class 7.

The family further relocated to Freetown, where he started his secondary education at the St. Edward’s Secondary School at Kingtom, Freetown. He also attended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School at Kissy Dock Yard, Freetown where he sat to his O’levels and came out with Division 1. He did his Lower Six and Upper Six Forms at the Albert Academy (UMC) at Berry Street, Freetown, before he was admitted at Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, to study journalism.

Nasralla was among the first batch of graduates in 2005/2006 of the Mass Communication program at FBC with a BA (Hons) First Class, after securing his Certificate and Diploma (with Distinction) in the same field.

Journalism career

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla joined SLAJ in 2001 while working as a reporter at the For di People (FDP) newspaper. At FDP he rose through the ranks to become Acting Editor, and started his satirical column Ticha Lemp Lemp, before resigning while studying journalism at FBC.

After FDP, Nasralla started syndicating his Ticha Lemp Lemp column with various newspapers including Independent Observer, The Exclusive and Concord Times.

In 2007 Sierra Leone’s football icon Mohamed Kallon contracted Nasralla to set up and manage Kalleone Sports & Entertainment newspaper; the footballer’s platform to promote sports and the entertainment industry in his country.

In 2011 Nasralla was appointed as Communications Director of the newly established Africa Young Voices Media Empire (AYV) and later became Managing Director of the fast-growing media company.

In 2014, Nasralla resigned from AYV to start his own media and arts production company called De Monk Arts & Media Production.

Other key services

In 2010/2011, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla served as Public Relations Officer of the Golden Jubliee National Planning Committee charged with the responsibility of organising Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.

In 2016 Nasralla served as Communications Consultant for the World Bank Sierra Leone office on a short term contract.

Special Qualities

Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has a charismatic personality; humble but firm. He is a good team player, dedicated, committed and result-oriented.


Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla is a political human being, with Sierra Leone being his political party and the media serving as his constituency.  He is running for the SLAJ’s Presidency to make the Association much greater, responsive and relevant to the needs and aspirations of all journalists and for the peace and development of our beloved country.

Vote Mr. Ahmed Nasralla who eventually will bridge the gap between the young and old in this beautiful profession.

Africa TMT investment increases as Ethiopia telecom privatisation leads new wave of deals for 2019

Ethio Telecom, which has around 66 million customers, took a major step forward in its much-anticipated privatisation last month by pre-selecting six consultancies in partnership with the World Bank

Telecom, media and tech investment and consolidation activity in Africa is predicted to reach a record high for 2019 as a number of significant deals including the opening up of Ethiopia’s telecom sector are scheduled, reports specialist news provider TMT Finance (

Pan-African telecom operators MTN, Orange and Vodacom are among those vying to enter Ethiopia for the opportunity to serve its 105 million population following progress in the telecom privatisation process, reports TMT Finance. Ethio Telecom, which has around 66 million customers, took a major step forward in its much-anticipated privatisation last month by pre-selecting six consultancies in partnership with the World Bank. Ethio, will be split into two businesses, offering tremendous growth potential to new entrants.

Privatisations of telecom assets are also planned for Togocom and Benin Telecom in West Africa, with consolidation investments expected in Kenya and Tunisia. Meanwhile, Airtel has hired banks for an IPO of its entire Africa portfolio while several telcos are bidding for Millicom’s assets. The acceleration of investment into mobile and broadband infrastructure across the region continues as operators and investors try to meet the need for data services.

Leaders from the largest African telecom, media and technology companies, investment banks and investors are meeting to assess the latest investment opportunities at the annual TMT Finance Africa in Cape Town 2019 ( conference on March 28.

Over 60 key speakers have been announced for the event, which features CxOs and senior executives from Vodacom, MTN, Helios Towers Africa, CSquared, Dark Fibre Africa, Convergence Partners, Seacom, Angola Cables, Standard Bank, IFC World Bank, DLA Piper, Rand Merchant Bank, WIOCC, Paix Data Centres, BCX, European Investment Bank, Investec Asset Management, GreenWish Partners and others.

Key sessions at the senior executive only event include: Telecom Leadership Africa; Broadband Infrastructure; Digital Infrastructure Africa; Media; Powering Mobile Tower; Data Centre and Cloud, Mergers and Acquisitions; Investors; Broadband; Financing TMT; Fintech and Mobile Money; and Smart City.

Sierra Leone: A call for patriotism and national call to action

By Tommy Vonjoe


Performing civil duties include sending children to school. Photo credit: Theirworld

Join the crusade – together, we can make Sierra Leone regain its lost glory.

There is an old adage that says “only fools go to sleep when their neighbor’s house is on fire”; but I would put it this way – “only fools would set ablaze their father’s house when their own children are inside”. I will try to liken this to the biblical story of Joseph, whose brothers hated him because of his dreams, to the extent of selling him into slavery. Their ploy to dispose of Joseph eventually hurt their old father so much to the point that he was only hanging on to life. Little did the brother’s realize that their plan, borne out of hatred; was just part of God’s grand masterplan.

Now I would try to zoom in on the state of dastardly hatred that Sierra Leoneans are currently treading on, and how it is destroying the very foundation of our own nation and its democratic principles. It is an open truth that over the years, and maybe since our independence, Sierra Leone has been divided on political ideologies; which slowly graduated into tribal divide; and eventually into a North-Western and South-Eastern regional divide. These have further progressed into blackmail, invectives, insult, hate messages, false accusations and violence as the various means to personal and political redress. Some would even enjoy embarrassing and disgracing their brothers and sisters, friends and their leaders in the traditional and social media. We may have good reasons to do all these and even more, but the real question is: “What have we archived by doing these”? I guess nothing to write home about, because these actions would only deepen our wounds and scars as a people and would only divide us further apart. It is on this basis that I am compelled to do this synopsis, which remains my personal reflection as a concerned Sierra Leonean.

If we all just work and not care who gets the applause, then we are already halfway to success. Together, we can do this and we can make Sierra Leone regain its lost glory – the Athens of West Africa.

As a nation, Sierra Leone has not been lucky with disasters, both natural and man-made. From the eleven years of reckless and senseless civil war, to the Ebola scourge, and more recently the flashfloods and mudslide; each of these disasters had injured and demeaned our people, sometimes leaving us in undignified circumstances. One thing that has been obvious in all these is the tenacity and resilience of the citizenry. Each time, we would come out stronger as a people, with a renewed zest and hope of a better tomorrow. About sixteen years after the bloody war ended, we have come a very long way considering the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Special Court, and other independent democratic institutions like HRCSL, NCD, ACC & IMC; and the extensive infrastructural development (especially road networks). Despite these numerous successes, we still have the bigger part of the journey towards national development ahead of us. Most of these supposedly independent institutions have been compromised and influence politically, while most of our infrastructural developments are cosmetic and unsustainable. But that is not to say all hope is lost; rather these should be pointers for the national call to action. If we believe in it and work for it, we can achieve it. If we all just work and not care who gets the applause, then we are already halfway to success. Together, we can do this and we can make Sierra Leone regain its lost glory – the Athens of West Africa.

The revival has already started, considering the recent start of the Free Quality Education program, the rejuvenated Anti-corruption Commission, the initiation of a single treasury account and the re-energized NRA, among others. Exploits are also underway from recent engagements with the Chinese government, Bill Gate, ‘Akon’ and George Soros. In my estimation, this is the appropriate time for national cohesion. As this revival heats up with the governance structures and systems, I can perceive a crusade sweeping through a nation that has hungered for development for too long. And for this crusade to be successful, I implore all facets of the nation to embrace, support and defend our national interests jealously.

Those in governance should understand that elections are over, and that the people of Sierra Leone have entrusted them with their mandate for a five year period. All that the ordinary Sierra Leonean expects from them and looks forward to is the delivery of the campaign manifesto and its imbedded programs in a way that would reflect a positive change in their individual, family and communal lives. Someone in Kulia or Konkowakoro (in Neya Chiefdom, Falaba District) for instance is not interested in the politics or economic policies or fiscal discipline; what they are interested in is seeing that their everyday lives have been transformed by better service delivery, access to social services, etc. From an outsider’s opinion, these are the issues that government should concern themselves with addressing.

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Resisting bribes will enable the effective delivery of public services, such as better healthcare in Sierra Leone. Photo credit: UNFPA Sierra Leone

The opposition on the other hand, should also accept the reality that they have only lost an election, but Sierra Leone lives on. They should not see themselves at any point in time as enemies of government, in which case they would suggestively become enemies of the nation. Fortunately for the main opposition, they have a majority representation in parliament, signifying that they have an enormous constituency to represent in policy formulation; while critiquing policies, programs and actions of government as fairly and objectively as possible, and in a way that represents national interest and the interest of their constituents. I must commend Hon. Kandeh K. Yumkela of the NGC and Hon. Saa Emmerson Lamina of the C4C, as they have already been pivotal in playing that decisive role of critiquing objectively and supporting development friendly policies and programs. I hope they continue in this direction, while I call on the main opposition to follow suit.

The media has a sacred duty to the nation, to responsibly inform the public with substantiated and balanced facts, which are not capable of igniting violence in any way.

There are as many civil society organizations and coalitions in Sierra Leone today as had never been; each of them apparently taking actions towards the common goal of national development. Whether by advocacy, campaigns, capacity building, or service delivery, every civil society actor is seeking to help achieve the bigger goal of national development. On this note, it is appalling that most civil society organizations have aligned themselves to differing political interests and servitude. The majority of CSOs have lost the respect and trust of the people whose interests they claim to represent. These CSOs have an opportunity to join the crusade towards national development or become obsolete and worthless in the near future. Notwithstanding, CSOs have a duty to the citizenry, and must deliver the promise upon which their very existence is founded.

Also, the media has a sacred duty to the nation, to responsibly inform the public with substantiated and balanced facts, which are not capable of igniting violence in any way. To a large extent, some journalists feed on the gullibility of the readership and the extensive ignorance of the populace to ship out ‘fake news’ in their media outlets. Journalists must be seen as reliable and trustworthy sources of information, as they are duty-bound to validate reports and/or any material they decide to publish. They must ask those in leadership the right questions at all times. Unfortunately, like the civil society, media outlets and individual journalists have subjected themselves to different political interests and servitude. Again, as recommended for the CSOs, media outlets and personnel who had drifted away must ensure to recompense now, by doing justice to the nation and to their readership, while ensuring that they genuinely participate in the national development movement.

As I conclude, I would emphasize the fact that the final responsibility rests with citizenry. We have to assure ourselves to have civil education so that we can demand our civil rights. It is worthy to note however, that in as much as we have civil rights; we have civil duties and responsibilities which we must also perform. We need to take ownership of our country and its national development programs. We should take our elected leaders to task – ask them the critical questions; request for Council development plans from Councilors; demand update meetings from MPs on bills being discussed or laws passed in parliament; follow-up on community leaders and councils with regards the free quality education and the free health care; etc. Nevertheless, we must also oblige to perform our civil duties always – including sending our children to school; not littering the streets; obeying traffic rules always; resisting bribes; and reporting suspected corruption matters to the ACC hotline; among others. If we can challenge ourselves as a people, each individual, group and offshoot participating towards this general call, we would be assured of fixing Sierra Leone, which by the way is the only country we have.

Tommy Vonjoe / Email:



Sierra Leone: SLAJ Pays Courtesy Call on H.E. President Julius Maada Bio

“We are committed to all the pronouncements we have made on the media”

By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has reiterated his commitment to the Sierra Leone media while calling on the 4th Estate to work with the Government to move the country forward.



President Bio (sitting R) flanked by SLAJ executive

“I am pleased to engage the leadership of the 4th Estate, and let me assure you that we are committed to all the pronouncements we have made on the media,” said President Bio during a courtesy call by SLAJ at State House on Monday 21st May 2018.


“The media plays an important and critical part in the democratic process; so we need this kind of dialogue with you. We should work together for you to have the latitude and freedom to do what you are supposed to do. That is the reason for our commitment in our manifesto.”

In his campaign during the 2018 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections 2018, President Bio’s party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) made about nine commitments to promoting press freedom. These promises were repeated during the President’s speech to the 5th Parliament. Key among these are the repeal of the criminal and seditious libel law, enhance the capacity of the IMC and provide budgetary subvention to SLAJ.

President Bio assured SLAJ that they will look at the Criminal Libel law and bring it in conformity to what obtains today. However, he noted that the fear is that it will open individual and groups of people to unfair attacks by certain sections of the media.

“But this concern is the only snag and we should be able to handle that by ensuring that everybody is covered and people’s hard earned reputations are protected,” he said.

The President continued: “It’s good now that we have somewhere to start and we are not starting all over again. We’ll also look seriously at the IMC and the SLBC. This is the dawn of a new era, we should turn a new page, look at the issues and be proactive in dealing with the challenges facing these bodies.”

President Bio also mentioned Social Media, which he described as a new frontier that must be utilized so that it will not be detrimental to society.

On the budgetary subvention, President Bio said it is meant to support the leadership structure of the media to function properly.

Responding to a request by SLAJ for regular press conferences with State House, President Bio said there will be the usual press conferences and assured that there will be some that he will do himself to be able to keep the media abreast with his work.

“We should work hand in hand to move this nation forward and we should be genuine in our engagement. This is the beginning of the relationship. If we are going to part, we will do so as friends and in a democratic way,” said President Bio with a wry smile.

Earlier, the President of SLAJ, Kelvin Lewis, congratulated the President upon his election and presented a draft policy document on the efforts made so far in the process of repealing the criminal libel law and strengthening of the Independent Media Commission (IMC) and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).

Lewis explained that they’ve had some lengthy consultations on the need for repeal of the law with support from the offices of the former Ministers of Justice and Information, the Justice Sector Coordinating Office (JSCO), the British High Commission, the US Embassy, the Irish Embassy and involving all stakeholders from the Sierra Leone Police, CSOs to the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) and the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA).

“This means we cannot start all over again but we can move from where we left off. Yet we are ready to work with the Government and the relevant stakeholders to review what has been done so far and see what we can add or delete to get a better document,” said Lewis.

The SLAJ President also called on President Bio to look into the original Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) Report which he said contained a proposed Chapter on media freedom.

“The press freedom provisions in Sections 11 and 25 of the 1991 Constitution are not justiciable. So we presented a case for a specific chapter for the media as obtains in other African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. The proposed chapter reinforces press freedom and freedom of expression, the IMC and the public broadcaster and the CRC accepted the proposal but it was turned down by the Government White Paper,” said Lewis.