It was not really a cabinet reshuffle after all

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2014

State House - FreetownIn the west, a number of famous and reliable columnists of some of the leading newspapers and magazines, often have a kind of mutual confidence and trust in senior members of government.

And such journalists often have advanced firsthand knowledge of what the Administration may be thinking on a specific subject.

Their opinion is neither speculative, nor a betrayal of trust. On the contrary, it is one aspect of democratic function in western countries.

Here in our Sierra Leone, the picture is often very different. It is common for some newspapers to continue to speculate on a probable cabinet reshuffle, at a time when the head of state may not even be contemplating one.

Just before the State House press release late Saturday of new ministerial announcement, readers of certain newspaper were led to expect a bombshell.

They gave the impression that a reshuffle was imminent and that heads would roll at the same time, as some surprise names were coming in from outside.

president koroma end of the road - 220513But in place of the much vaunted bombshell, what came forth was not even a thud.

President Koroma had done that over a period, and indeed those announcements took many by surprise.

Truth said, it wasn’t even a reshuffle.

Some ministers had been sacked a while back, and people who were usually quite close to the head of state, had also been given their marching orders for one sinful transgression or another.

But their positions remained vacant for many months, even though the portfolios were regarded as strategic.

As far as this writer is concerned, his interest is the people who did not get appointed, that created all the amusement, rather than the announcement being a surprise or of interest.

SOB AND PRESIDENT KOROMAEven allowing for his Excellency’s penchant for doing the mundane in such matters, I honestly did not expect a promotion for his ‘Atlantic’ or ‘Pacific’, let alone ‘SEA’.

Some other hopefuls, but only in their own self-estimation, had been canvassing openly or drawing attention to themselves, almost to the point of vulgarity.

The Awareness Times newspaper, had over the last several months described the former Member of Parliament for Constituency 07 in the Kailahun district, as the strongman of that district; this, in the hope that their praise singing would catch the President’s attention.

I have just as equally sometimes been surprised by the amount space given to the young man, by my own flagship daily – the NEW VISION newspaper.

The newspaper has been in the practice of giving prominence to the young man’s self-proclaimed activities and achievements in the district. But I often asked myself why it was, that such activities were not reported by the newspaper’s own correspondents, but by the individual himself.

There was also the case of another APC propagandist, who often gave an account of the positive impact of his activities in both Kailahun and Pujehun districts in such self-boosting language, that anyone who didn’t know better, might have believed that both districts were already firmly in the grips of the ruling party.

I remember putting a pin in the man’s egoistic bubble, by challenging his bluff that he was a native of Kailahun and born in a non-existent Belebu hospital in Kailahun Township.

I am sure that both men must be thoroughly disappointed at being left out in the cold.

I have no doubt that Maya Kaikai – the new resident minister for the eastern region, would do well by emulating the style of the late William Smith, which had endeared him so much in the hearts of the people and gained the party some popularity in the entire region, which as everyone knows is not one that is pro this administration.

I had also thought that a young nephew of mine, who was the ruling party’s candidate for high office in Kenema City, would have been considered for the job. But he is another disappointed individual.

I cannot say much for his Excellency’s new men, because apart from Maya, I do not know any of the others to any degree.

But, it is interesting to note that Momodu Kargbo – the nominated Central Bank Governor, has followed in the footsteps of James Rogers, who also went from being deputy minister of Finance to Bank Governor.

The public would remember how very excellently he acquitted himself in the job.

Former Bank Governor Sam Bangura would say politely, but outright to Siaka Stevens that, his request or more appropriately his directive on certain matters was not feasible, for which he fell out with his boss over a long period of time.

parliamentary history - siaka stevensStevens once had his revenge when the Bank’s Board suspended a staff member for insubordination.

A couple of days later, a directive went from State House, ordering the young man’s immediate reinstatement, in the same way that the cabinet has now ordered the IMC to suspend the country’s popular ‘Monologue’ programme.

I hold no brief for Tam-Bayoh, and I am sure he knows this, but this action is an abuse of constitutional procedure.

Bank Governor Jim Fornah on the other hand, would put the matter in a very subtle way like this; “It could be done Sir, although that would be over stretching the Banking regulation beyond its yield point.”

And then he would quietly not carry out the instruction.

Stevens never liked that, but he did not press the matter. I know, because I was the minister of Finance and Economic Development at that time.


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