From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Kabbah Recognises Deserving Men & Women in Sierra Leone
By Sayoh Kamara
Apr 30, 2007, 16:11

His Excellency President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, on Friday 27th April 2007 marking Sierra Leoneís 46th Independence Anniversary awarded Insignias and Awards to one hundred and fifty eight deserving men and women for their contributions to various fields of life in Sierra Leone at a four-hour ceremony held on the lawn of State House.

Recipients of Grand Officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone (GORSL): Hon. Gelaga King, Hon. Abdul G. Koroma, Prof. B-Lynch and Prof. Kamara

This yearís number of recipients is record breaking, since it is the first time since the start of such a national event, for such a huge number to be awarded at a singular ceremony.

Recipients of Commanders of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone (CORSL)

Recipients of Grand Commanders of the Order of the Rokel

The recipients cut across the broad spectrum of society and covered virtually all works of life. Some of the recipients of this yearís Insignia and Awards include, Justice Gelaga King, famed pathologist and University lecturer, Dr. Owizz Koroma, the President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, PC Alimamy Yembeh Mansaray II of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom, Prof. Aiah Gpakima, Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie, Police AIGs Francis Munu, Christopher John and Kadi Fakondoh.

SLAJ President I.B. Kargbo bows after getting decorated

A few of the recipients flew in from the Diaspora to receive their decoration by the President. These included Hon. Justice Abdul Gadri Koroma, Dr. Christopher Balogun Lynch and Jean-Raymond Boulle.

NaCSA's Kanja Sesay is all smiles. Congrats!

The ceremony was done with pomp and pageantry to the satisfaction of all. Each Recipient marched in style along the red carpet up to the Presidential dais, to shake the hand of the President and be decorated with their insignia whilst the abled Master of Ceremony, Kashopeh Wellington read the citation of each of the recipients which citation encapsulated his or her contribution to national development.

The Mayor of Kono, Mrs. Mary Musa with her insignia

The President exchanged few words of encouragement to each recipient as he decorated them with their national honour. Occasionally, the President and his team, which included the State Chief of Protocol Alhaji Soulay Daramy, would move to the lower steps of the dais to shake hands and decorate the elderly and those who could not venture the steps of the dais.

President Kabbah walks down to decorate Blind Broadcaster James Cullen

A few recipients captured overwhelming attention during the ceremony. That was either because of the special nature of their jobs or because of a general appreciation of their works. Officers of the Armed Forces and the Police received special fanfare with the combined Army/Police band drumming aloud as their names were called to help in their regal marching steps.

The Combined Military & Police Band was spectacular on that day

Sister Dora Dumbuya (Mammy Dumbuya) of Jesus Is Lord Ministries walks up for her award as the military band played 'Jesus Never Fails'. Her husband was the late Major Kawuta Dumbuya

Surprisingly however, the Army/Police drums sounded a loud fanfare upon the announcement of the name of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the youngest of this yearís recipients. Blyden, together with Sister Dora Dumbuya, were the only two non-uniformed recipients who received military brass drums and trumpets fanfare alongside the usual loud applause every recipient received.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden gets decorated

Makeni Bishop Biguzzi gets decorated

The ceremony ended with a Beat of the Retreat by the combined Army/Police band. They entertained the audience with live Marshall Songs and other orchestras as they marched. Immediately following the end of the Retreat Beat was a reception where food and drinks were served as the recipients and guest intermingled. Master of Ceremonies for the day was , Rev. J.A. Wellington of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS), who was also a recipient of the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Rokel. He told Awareness Times afterwards that the ceremony was indeed a success. He noted with delight the turn out of the recipients and thanked President Kabbah on behalf of his co-recipients for the confidence he has had in them to bestow on them their respective honours.

The Paramount Chief of Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom in Kabala with his wife, his Speaker and a Kabala Court Police

Paramount Chief Alimamy Yembeh Mansaray thanked the President on behalf of Paramount Chiefs across the country for in his words, "reinforcing the respect he has for Traditional Rulers," adding that the record-breaking number of recipients this year was a result of the Presidentís recognition of citizens who had added to his efforts to bring the State of Sierra Leone to where it is today.

The occasion was broadcasted live on National television and aired as well over national radios.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.