President Bio has reshuffled his cabinet – but does it go far enough?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 May 2019:

President Julius Maada Bio has finally reshuffled his cabinet ministers, after much anticipation. But is it the cabinet reshuffle that is expected to begin to put energy behind his government’s New Direction to achieve the change that the electorate voted for in March 2018?

The economy is in dire need of tough short-term measures that could help alleviate some of the hardship and poverty being suffered by most people in the country.

There is growing political tension, with the main opposition APC making governance difficult for the president.

But how is today’s reshuffle going to reshape his government and make it more effective in dealing with the economic challenges facing the country?

The president has responded with some big changes to his cabinet that signal a clear new direction. First, is the Ministry of Economic Development, where there is now a change of leadership from Mrs Nabeela Tunis to Dr. Francis Kaikai.

Nabeela Tunis has helped the president produce the government’s National Economic Development Plan, but this now needs to be delivered and there were doubts as to whether she can drive forward its implementation.

Much of the government’s medium-term economic policy now rest on its National Economic Development Plan, such as key industry sector development, job creation, and diversification of the economy. This will now become the job of Dr. Francis Kaikai.

Nabeela Tunis has been appointed  minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, replacing Alie Kabba, a 2018 presidential aspirant, who many believe has done a good job at the foreign ministry.

What is a huge surprise is that Alie Kabba has been demoted to the United Nations as the country’s Permanent Representative.

Although president Bio’s government has been praised by the IMF in their recent report published yesterday, it is clear that the IMF is keen to see the government make more effort in raising revenue and control spending through a more robust privatisation strategy which the government has so far failed to achieve.

But by removing the SLPP party’s secretary general – Mr Umaru Napoleon Koroma (Photo), who is the chairman of the privatisation commission to now become the deputy Attorney General, paves the way for a new and stronger leadership to drive the government’s privatisation programme forward, without much political influence.

Napoleon Koroma replaces Mr Abdulai Masiyanbay Bangurah as deputy attorney general.

Also of significance to the government’s economic policy agenda that desperately needed change, is the leadership at the ministry of trade and industry, where there has been no tangible development seen in the last twelve months, with total lack of control over the supply, demand and prices of consumer products in the country.

There have been embarrassing moments for the government which should have been avoided by the ministry of trade and industry, such as the recent strike by bakeries and the resultant hike in the prices of bread for several days.

President Bio has moved Peter Bayuku Conteh from the ministry of trade and industry to now head the ministry of works and public assets; and Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy who was deputy minister of water resources will take over the running of the ministry of trade and industry.

But questions are being asked as to why Raymond d’Souza George has been demoted from minister of works to senior presidential adviser and ambassador at large for heritage and cultural affairs.

Sources close to State House told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that Raymond d’Souza George’s role will be significant to the president in helping to work with the Krio community of Freetown, to help diffuse the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the government and the Krios over the illegal repossession of Krio ancestral land and property.

Another significant shuffle is the promotion of Mr Tamba Lamina from High Commissioner to the UK to now head the ministry of local government and rural development. 

Tamba Lamina (Photo) will now have responsibility for developing and delivering the government’s devolution and diversification strategy, which will be crucial in the implementation of many aspects of the government’s National Development Plan.

Tamba Lamina replaces Mr. Anthony Y Brewah, whose future in the government is now uncertain.

The Sierra Leone High Commission in the UK and Ireland will now be managed by Dr Morie Manyeh who was minister of mines and mineral resources. Foday Rado Yokie has been rewarded with the ministry of mines portfolio.

President Bio has finally reshuffled his ministers, but the question now is – will this be enough to address the bread and butter issue that everyone is talking about in Sierra Leone – rising food prices? Only time will tell.

What is certain is that the following ministers have kept their jobs: 

Jacob Jusu Saffa – Minister of Finance; Chief Minister – Professor David J. Francis); Minister of Technical and Higher Education – Professor Aiah Gbakima; Minister of Transport and Aviation – Mr. Kabineh M. Kallon; Minister of Lands, Housing and Environment – Dr. Denis Sandy; Minister of Agriculture and Forestry – Mr. Joseph J. Ndanema; Minister of Youth Affairs – Mohamed Bangura.

Minister of Tourism and Culture – Mrs. Memunatu B. Pratt; Minister of Political and Public Affairs – Ambassador Foday Yumkella; Minister of Sports – Mr. Ibrahim Nyelenkeh;

Priscilla Schwartz – Attorney General and minister of justice; Alpha Timbo – Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Dr Alpha T. Wurie – Ministry of Health and Sanitation; Kanja Sesay – Minister of Energy; Dr. Jonathan Tengbe – Minister of Water Resources; Yusuf Keketoma –Government Press Secretary; Mohamed Swaray – Minister of Information and Communication; Emma Kowa – Minister of Marine Resources.

Adekunle Joliff Milton King – Minister of Labour and Social Security; Baindu Dassama – Minister of Social, Gender and Children’s Affairs; Edward A. Soluku – Minister of Internal Affairs; Simeon Sheriff – Deputy Defense Minister; and Sahr Lahai Jusu – Financial Secretary.

This is president Bio’s list of appointees published by State House today:

8 Comments

  1. From an economic management viewpoint in Sierra Leone’s best socio-politico-economic interests, the current government is too wastefully top-heavy and unaffordable – a 40% reduction in numbers should correct this anomaly and assist in reducing our national deficit. Too many of our political leaders set bad economic mismanagement examples.

    I remember the late Siaka Stevens asking local economists after they had explained the importance of managing national debt and national deficit, “who sie unar yeri say den arrest any govment for debt”. This attitude has not changed!

  2. Indeed it’s really unacceptable, Sierra Leone is a tiny country and we do not need deputy ministers at all. I don’t even understand what are their roles. Just hang in there and calling themselves ministers? Bio has to do more. Thank you Mr. President.

  3. Greetings Reinhard Wiecha. With ALL due respects….your question is irrelevant. Please, I suggest – do not follow some people; like Mohammed Kamalibah (sorry but I don’t even know how to spell the name). This guy is always asking the same nonsense question.

  4. Any doofus will tell you that removing square pegs already in round holes and putting them into others, is merely a total waste of time. Recycling incompetent people ertainly will not bring progress or much anticipated success. You will have to wait forever.

    But then again, who knows – transforming waste materials into value-added products has been done before, and is not a difficult thing to do. Truly laughable isn’t it? But let’s keep our fingers crossed to see how this turns out. Perhaps this bunch of SLPP leeches that fatten themselves daily at the expense of the poor masses, will develop a conscience and a heartfelt inclination towards doing something good. Fingers tightly crossed please.

    A prudent leader need not show favoritism, bias and partiality towards some of his subordinates, while at the same time shunning and shrugging off others, if he wishes to separate the chaff from the wheat and achieve his lofty ideals and goals.

    At a glance, I noticed that the most the inept, uninspiring and least productive men are still in their respective positions, unmoved like granite pebbles under the Sea. These men it seems, are unfazed and unperturbed by public outcries, criticisms and complaints.

    All of them brimming with confidence because they are fully aware that they are deeply embedded in the trenches of SLPP favoritism and preferential treatment that was dug with the shovels of unshakeable loyalties to tribal and political bonds. Square pegs in round holes. And it is evident, the Finance Minister tops the list hands down, in this regard.

    Inflation keeps on soaring, skyrocketing by the minute, and he’s still there sitting – or perhaps standing, with his hands in his miserable pockets, unproductive, uncreative and impractical, waiting like an executioner to strangle the suffering masses through his poor judgment, poorly conceived decisions and incongruent financial strategies.

    Square pegs in round holes who don’t know how to cut and join here and there. And Old Stevens did it with ease. I mean, seriously…not one of them has the skills to use the threads of ingenuity to stitch parts and pieces of ideas and policies together, that will give much needed economic revocery to the struggling citizens of this nation.

    Reshuffle all you want, it won’t make a difference if they cannot implement the directives coming from government productively. It will be useless, like pouring water into a sieve. Tangible, life changing results are what people need. Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. Indeed Reinhard. Why so many ministers and deputy ministers for a small country like sierra leone? That is the one trillion dollar question that will not go away. Also, did the number of female ministers go UP or DOWN?

    The appointment of the all-powerful former HIGH COMMISSIONER to the UK Mr. Tamba Lamina is a 2023 strategy to win the 2023 elections for the SLPP by President Bio. You do not need to learn political science to know that. This strategy will shape the SLPP 2023 electoral landscape which will probably lead to this very powerful former DIPLOMAT vying for either LEADER of the SLPP or VP candidate of the SLPP.

    Whatever the case, the people of KONO will back any SON or DAUGHTER (connected with the SLPP or APC) of the soil for president in any future presidential elections. The APC in my view missed that opportunity last year. Bottom line, KONO is a SWING DISTRICT. PERIOD. Not a surprise by most of us who have people on the ground reading.

    Mr. Tamba Lamina’s appointment must not be taken lightly by the other political parties. President Bio approaching someone respected in this SWING DISTRICT and giving him such a powerful portfolio, must be worrying in my view.

    The only problem is, how will Mr. Tamba Lamina compete with people like CHIEF SAM SUMANA and others? Will the APC ask the former VP CHIEF SAM SUMANA for support? If yes, what will the C4C do? LADIES and GENTLEMEN, WE SHALL SEE.

    But make no mistake, Mr. Tamba Lamina is not going to be Mr. YES SIR to anyone. Corruption by him is not an option. That I will assure everyone. Just see how he has been managing the affairs of one of the most difficult countries to have a diplomatic mission. Whether you like it or not, Mr. TAMBA LAMINA is now flying SUPER CLASSIC.

    Congratulations Bra Lamina. What a LOVELY PORTFOLIO!

  6. Bravo to president Bio for these changes, but more needs to be done. I was expecting the minister of Primary and Secondary education to be replaced, because he has done little in the education set.

  7. Let’s hope and pray for the better. God bless Sierra Leone on behalf of the great ones that love the country.

    • my question again: why so many ministers and deputy ministers for a small country like sierra leone?

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