Kenema

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Kenema, Sierra Leone
Kenema clocktower
Kenema clocktower
Kenema, Sierra Leone is located in Sierra Leone
Kenema, Sierra Leone
Kenema, Sierra Leone
Location in Sierra Leone
Coordinates: 7°52′33″N 11°11′27″W / 7.87583°N 11.19083°W / 7.87583; -11.19083Coordinates: 7°52′33″N 11°11′27″W / 7.87583°N 11.19083°W / 7.87583; -11.19083
Country Flag of Sierra Leone.svg Sierra Leone
Province Eastern Province
District Kenema District
Government
 • Type City Council
 • Mayor Thomas Karimu Baio[1](SLPP)
 • Deputy Mayor Esther Kaisamba (SLPP)[1]
 • Governing Body Kenema City Council
Population (2015 census)[2]
 • Total 200,354
Time zone UTC-5 (GMT)
Collage of images of downtown Kenema
Downtown Kenema

Kenema is the second largest city in Sierra Leone (after Freetown), and the largest city in the country's Eastern Province. It is the capital of Kenema District and a major economic center of the Eastern Province. Previously Sierra Leone's third-largest city, it surpassed Bo as the country's second-largest after the 2015 national census. Its 2015 population was 200,354.[3] By road, it is approximately 300 kilometres (185 mi) southeast of Freetown [4] and about 60 kilometres (40 mi) south of Bo.

Kenema is one of Sierre Leone's most ethnically diverse cities. Its most widely spoken language is Krio.

One of Sierra Leone's six municipalities, Kenema is governed by a directly elected city council, headed by a mayor in whom executive authority is vested, and who is responsible for the city's general management. The mayor and council members are elected every four years. Kenema's current mayor, Thomas Karimu Baio of the Sierra Leone People's Party[2]. Karimu Baio was elected mayor with 79.4% of the votes in the 2018 Kenema Mayoral election[3]. Kenema is an overwhelming political stronghold of the Sierra Leone People's Party.

As in the rest of Sierra Leone, football is by far the city's most popular sport. The Kamboi Eagles, a professional football club based in Kenema, represents the city in the Sierra Leone National Premier League.

Kenema is known as the hometown of some of Sierra Leone's greatest international soccer stars, including the country's most widely known athlete, retired soccer star Mohamed Kallon. Other notable Sierra Leonean international footballers from Kenema include the country's current top striker, Kei Kamara, and retired soccer stars Paul Kpaka, Kemokai Kallon and Musa Kallon.

Kenema's growth was originally promoted by the logging and carpentry industries, which were linked to the city by the now-closed railway. Since then, its economy has benefited from the diamond mines first discovered in the area in 1931.

2014 Ebola outbreak[edit]

Kenema was the first place in Sierra Leone to report Ebola.[5]

Government[edit]

The city of Kenema is one of Sierra Leone's six municipalities and is governed with a city council form of government, which is headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city. The mayor is elected directly by the residents of Kenema in a municipal elections held every four years. The current mayor of Kenema is Joseph Samba Keifala, a member of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), who won the 2012 Kenema Mayorship election with 74.99%, defeating his main opponent Ishmail Sesay of the APC, who took 19.36%.[6] Kenema is a political stronghold of the SLPP party, the main opposition party in Sierra Leone.

In Presidential elections, Kenema has voted for the Sierra Leone People's Party by a vast majority of over 70%.

Demographics[edit]

Kenema is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Sierra Leone. The city is home to all of the country's ethnic groups, though the Mende people make up the largest ethnic group.

Education[edit]

The clock tower in Kenema

As in the rest of Sierra Leone, Kenema has an education system with six years of primary school (Class 1-6), and six years of secondary school (Form 6-12); secondary schools are further divided into Junior secondary school (Form 1-3) and Senior secondary school (Form 4-6). Primary schools usually start from ages 6 to 12, and secondary schools usually start from ages 13 to 18. Primary Education is free and compulsory in government-sponsored public schools. Prominent schools in Kenema include the Kenema Government Secondary School (GSSK), The Holy Trinity Secondary School, Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Holy Rosary Secondary School, and Islamic Secondary School.

The Eastern Polytechnic situated at the main Combema Road is the highest learning institution in the city, offering certificates and degree courses.

Health[edit]

Kenema and Bo are endemic areas for a highly contagious tropical hemorragic fever known as Lassa fever. The Kenema Government Hospital is the centre of an international effort to combat the disease with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAMSIL. New laboratories to improve rapid diagnosis are being installed at the hospital, which admits between 250 and 500 suspected cases per year.

Transportation[edit]

The city is served by the Kenema Airport.

Sport[edit]

As in the rest of the country, football is by far the most popular sport in Kenema. The city two popular football clubs, the Kamboi Eagles and Gem Stars play in the Sierra Leone National Premier League, the top football league in country.

Media[edit]

The five main radio stations in Kenema are Eastern Radio 101.9, Radio Nongowa - SPIN FM 101.3, City Radio 103.3, Starline Radio 98.4 and Sierra Leone's national radio and television stations, SLBS TV, and SLBS Radio are on the air in Kenema. The BBC World Service, CNN International, and several other international stations are on the air in Kenema on satellite only.

Kenema shopping mall

Notable people[edit]

Namesakes[edit]

There are a number of places in Sierra Leone with this name.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]