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.

Sierra Leone: SLAJ Presidential Hopeful Champions Release Of 4 Journalists Behind Bars

Sierra Leone’s highest awards winning Journalist, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla popularly known as De Monk, has today championed the release of four Sierra Leonean journalists who are currently behind bars for reportedly publishing a false defamatory and libellous articles against lawyer Pa Momo Fofana, head of Edrina Chambers.

The four journalists, Standard Times Senior Reporter Abu Bakar Kargbo and his Editor Mustapha Sesay and The Times Newspaper Publisher, Salieu Tejan Jalloh and his Editor David Johnson, were on Friday 29th June, 2019 dragged to Court on eight Counts of defamation, and knowingly publishing a false defamatory libel.
De Monk who is currently on campaign trail across the provinces jetted in Freetown over the weekend to ensure the release of those four journalists.
“Aside from my intention to become the next President of our revered association, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, I am here to ensure the release of our colleagues who spent the weekend at the Pademba Road Correctional Center,” he said, stressing that, “I am not using this to maximize my ambition or win over my voters but I see this as an innate responsibility to protect my profession and defend my colleagues at all times.”
Sardined by journalists from different media houses at the Siaka Steven Street Courts, the SLAJ Presidential Hopeful said he has suspended his campaign to mediate the release of his colleagues.
The wives of the incarcerated journalists and other family members who were in tearing commended De Monk and prayed that God grants his desires.
De Monk is a Columnist and the best Cartoonist in the country. He is one of the pioneers behind the success of the Africa Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire.
He is one of the best students produced by the Department of Mass Communication, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
Many journalists spoken to said the best person to reform SLAJ is De Monk, submitting further that he is the bridge to solidify unity and professionalism in the profession.
“If we weren’t highly democratic, we would have just endorsed his candidature for Presidency,” they affirmed.
After series of successful mediation with both lawyers (Pa Momo Fofana and Ishmael P. Mamie) the four journalists are expected to be released.

Statement by SLAJ President, Kelvin Lewis, at the Annual General Meeting 2018 in Kenema City:

We believe that our role must be to hold the government to account, and we must do this dispassionately without bias, and with the motive that it is for the good of the country.


All other protocols observed, good morning all.

For the second time in my Presidency we are being welcomed in the city of Kenema. For most SLAJ members, Kenema is a city of memories. We have had some very good times here and we have also had some very frosty SLAJ meetings and elections here.

However Mr Chairman as we recall the sweet memories we also remember those who left us this year. We recall the tragic accident which took the life of the Honourable Frank Kposowa, and in similar fashion S.U Thoronka of Global Times. In equally tragic circumstances we remember Ibrahim Samura of the New Age newspaper and Sorie Sudan Sesay, minister plenipotentiary in our London High Commission.We also very sadly mourn the loss of one of our greatest mentors, Pious Foray.

Mr Chairman permit me to request that we all stand and observe a minute’s silence in respect of these our fallen comrades.

Mr Chairman just last month SLAJ celebrated its 47th birthday. Sadly all of these 47 years and 6 more years have been spent fighting against the most repressive legislation against the practice of journalism and the existence of free expression in a political system which successive governments have characterised as democratic.

The last administration promised us for ten years that they will repeal and later said they will review the criminal and seditious libel laws. That was a promised unfilled, a demand unmet, and a manifesto commitment undelivered. Today we are again on the brink of concluding discussions on the repeal of the criminal and seditious libel laws. We can only hope that this time around it becomes a promise fulfilled.

Mr Chairman we have just come out of a tensely fought election. It is therefore imperative that we refocus our energies in making our professional contributions to the furtherance of a peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone.This is why we have chosen the theme “Post Elections 2018: the media’s role in enhancing democracy in Sierra Leone”.

Mr Chairman we in SLAJ believe that even though our role as media practitioners is normally seen as controversial yet we must be positive in our criticism and we must above all be patriotic.

We believe that our role must be to hold the government to account, and we must do this dispassionately without bias, and with the motive that it is for the good of the country.

The media must also be peace makers. We must endeavour to bring feuding parties together and not be involved in fostering conflict even though we thrive more during conflict situations. In essence the media must not be seen to be pouring fuel into the fire but pouring water so that the fire will be extinguished.

We also believe that the media must contribute to development by bringing out the innovative ideas and inventions of the people. The media must show ways in which agriculture will thrive, new ways in which businesses can be conducted and be more profitable, and also support the promotion of a clean and healthy environment as well as contemporary conservation methods to ensure that we take care of our planet in a sustainable way such that our children will inherit a more conducive living environment.

Mr Chairman this should however not compromise our critical stance. The media must continue to speak truth to power however dangerous that would. We must continue to investigate and dig out the wrong doings in our community and above all fight corruption with every fibre in our systems.

Lastly Mr Chairman the media must set the agenda for national discourse. It is our duty to assemble the people in our different radio and TV stations much like the Greeks did in the early city states so that we can discuss ideas and innovations. It is our duty to discuss the policy initiatives of the government and ensuring the New Direction points in the right direction and take us down the right road to prosperity for all.

I thank you all for your attention.

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.