Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 January 2022:
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio yesterday pulled off a political masterstroke that almost went unnoticed, as Sierra Leoneans were caught-up in football mania, celebrating the country’s nil-nil draw against Algeria in Cameroon.
Two big movers and shakers of Sierra Leone politics are affected by the President’s unexpected cabinet reshuffle announced yesterday.
Presidential aspirant of the main opposition APC Party – Alpha Kanu, whom many regard as a political maverick has been rewarded by President Bio for supporting the government’s agenda on health and education.
Alpha Kanu is now the new Resident Minister for the North-West of the country, replacing Isata Abdulai-Kamara who is now Deputy Minister of Trade.
Critics of Alpha Kanu have described him as a political prostitute who trades pride and self-respect for personal gain. But his supporters say that he is merely showing patriotism by rising to the occasion to serve his country, irrespective of which political party is in power.
In the run-up to the 2018 elections, Kanu was one of 28 candidates aspiring for the presidential flagbearership of the APC party. But his dream was cut short when the leader and chairman of the APC – President Koroma decided to hand-pick Dr Samura Kamara as the party’s presidential flagbearer.
The APC party is yet to recover from the volcano that erupted, after that decision by President Koroma to side-line Alpha Kanu and other popular presidential aspirants. And it seems President Bio and his ruling SLPP are now exploiting the weaknesses of the main opposition APC ahead of Presidential and General elections taking place in about a year’s time.
But the question is – will Alpha Kanu deliver the North-west – political heartland of the main opposition APC to the SLPP, which is vital – if the SLPP is to remain in power for a second term?
What is certain though, is that Alpha Kanu’s appointment as cabinet minister has once again raised questions about whether a former minister found guilty of corruption by a Commission of Inquiry, can be approved by parliament to serve as minister.
Another major eyebrow-raising decision announced in yesterday’s mini cabinet reshuffle by President Bio is the appointment of a new Ambassador to Egypt – Sadiq Sillah, raising serious question about the political survival of Dr Alie Kabba – the incumbent Ambassador to Egypt (Photo above).
Alie Kabba’s presidential ambition was cut short in 2015 with the election of Maada Bio as the 2018 SLPP presidential candidate.
Though Kabba was appointed foreign minister by president Bio in reward for accepting defeat and helping Bio become president, he was demoted to Ambassadorial duties in a cabinet reshuffle two years later, marking the beginning of the end of his political career.
Has Alie Kabba been relieved now of his ambassadorial duties, to return to Sierra Leone to help the President prepare for next year’s elections? Or has he been sacked?