Chief minister Sengeh’s apology to religious leaders is disingenuous

Alpha Amadu Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 May 2024:

Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister, appears to have missed a critical opportunity to make amends and salvage his political dreams. His recent actions, supported by President Julius Maada Bio, have painted a picture of overreach and arrogance that may well spell the end of his political aspirations before they truly begin.

Dr. Sengeh, seemingly propped up by a president with complex motives, has become the omnipresent face of the government, taking on roles and responsibilities far beyond the scope of his office.

From addressing issues on international stages in Turkey, Dubai, and the United States, to representing Sierra Leone in meetings that traditionally fall under the purview of the Vice President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sengeh’s relentless ambition has overshadowed the proper functioning of the government.

The Chief Minister’s role should primarily involve overseeing the coordination of government ministries. However, Sengeh has inserted himself into domains such as international relations, finance, and energy—areas where he has neither the mandate nor the expertise to lead. His actions have rendered other ministers and officials redundant, undermining their authority and effectiveness.

The Vice President and the Foreign Minister, for example, are perfectly capable of representing Sierra Leone’s interests abroad, yet Sengeh’s overreach has sidelined them.

Dr. Sengeh’s behavior has not been limited to mere bureaucratic overstepping. His public conduct has been equally concerning. He has disrespected and insulted senior SLPP elders and key stakeholders with impunity, actions tacitly endorsed by President Bio.

The President’s apparent grooming of Sengeh as his potential successor in 2028 has emboldened the Chief Minister, creating a dangerous dynamic where Sengeh feels untouchable.

One of the most egregious instances of Sengeh’s misconduct involved his unfounded accusations against religious leaders and their communities, alleging electricity theft without any evidence.

His disrespect extended to making irreverent comments about the Holy Prophet Isa (Jesus Christ), suggesting that even divine intervention would not change Sierra Leone’s problems. Such remarks not only exhibit poor judgment but also a profound disrespect for the beliefs of many Sierra Leoneans.

Dr. Sengeh’s attempt to issue an apology to religious leaders was a disingenuous act, a facade aimed at mitigating the damage to his political career rather than a sincere effort at reconciliation. His so-called apology was perceived as self-serving and failed to address the real concerns of those he offended.

It is clear that Sengeh’s presence in the government is more of a liability than an asset. His tendency to monopolize knowledge and marginalize other competent officials has created chaos and resentment within the administration.

The President’s reliance on Sengeh to manage diverse portfolios and to be the government’s spokesperson has undermined the roles of appointed ministers and ambassadors.

For the sake of effective governance and political stability, President Julius Maada Bio should reconsider his reliance on Dr. Sengeh. It is crucial that the Vice President, the Foreign Minister, the finance minister, and other cabinet members are given the opportunity to fulfil their duties without interference from an overambitious Chief Minister.

Sierra Leone’s governance should not be the playground for one individual’s unchecked ambition, especially when it leads to misinformation and public discontent.

Dr. David Moinina Sengeh’s political journey seems to have derailed before it has even begun, driven by hubris and a lack of political acumen.

It is time for a reassessment of roles within the government to ensure that each minister and official can perform their designated functions effectively, free from the shadow of an overreaching Chief Minister.

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