Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 May 2018:
Parliament of Sierra Leone today, Tuesday 8 May 2018, debated and approved the Second and Third Reports of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, which is chaired by the leader of Government Business, Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis.
According to the Department of Public Relations of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, a total of fifteen nominees were today approved by the House, as recommended by the committee. The first group of ministers to be approved today: Mrs. Memunatu Baby Pratt – Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Mr. Joseph J. Ndanema – Minister of Agriculture and Forestry; Mrs. Nabeela F. Tunis (nee Koroma) – Minister of Planning and Economic Development; Mr. Anthony Y. Brewah – Minister of Local Government and Rural Development; Mr. Raymond Ernest Denison de’ Souza George – Minister of Works and Public Assets; Dr. Morie Komba Manyeh – Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources; Mr. Andrew Ansu Fatoma-Resident Minister-East; Mr. Mohamed Elogima Kendekpa Alie – Resident Minister South; Mr. Mohamed Bangura – Minister of Youth Affairs, and Mr. Abu Abdulai Koroma – Resident Minister-North.
Seconding the motion for their approval, Hon. Dickson Rogers, who doubles as Chief Whip of Parliament, commended President Bio for selecting “a galaxy of qualified Sierra Leoneans” to serve the country in the various ministries. He also spoke of the need for improving domestic tourism and developing the youth, so they can play a useful role in the country’s development.
In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Sengepoh Solomon Thomas, described the nominees as “suitably qualified Sierra Leoneans who have been called to serve”, whilst speaking on the need to do something different, saying that governance is not a joke, but rather a serious business based on deliverables.
On the other hand, Hon. Rebecca Yei Kamara of Coalition for Change (C4C) called for transparency and accountability in the governance and management of the country’s mineral resources, especially to ensure they benefit the mining affected communities, as she cited laws and regulations that are applicable in Botswana.
Hon. Saa Emmerson Lamina, Leader of Coalition for Change (C4C) concurred the suggestion for strengthening governance in the mining sector, taking cognizance of the need to review the Local Government Act of 2004 and the Mines and Minerals Act, so as to address some of the challenges facing the sector.
Hon. PC Bai Kurr Kanagbaro Sanka III also said that exploration companies are mining without the appropriate licenses. He spoke about prioritising food security, and the prevention of environmental degradation, soil erosion and deforestation.
Independent Member of Parliament, Hon. Shiaka M. Sama from Pujehun District, called on the government to institute an independent investigation, as 90% of their farmlands in Sahn Malen is owned by a foreign company, thereby depriving the community of their livelihood. He referred to Mrs. Tunis and Lawyer Brewah as human rights defenders, who raised the much-needed funds to get him out of prison.
Hon. Bashiru Sidike and Hon. Veronica K. Sesay, respectively praised President Bio for selecting and proposing qualified Sierra Leoneans as ministers, and called for performance improvement in their respective ministries.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo (Photo) said that the APC could not lend credence and do justice to the ministerial appointment debate, because his party did not take part in the screening process, but recognised the nominees as patriotic Sierra Leoneans.
In concluding the debate, the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis promised that the APC will soon start active deliberations in both plenary and committee sittings, whilst appealing to the approved ministers to work with civil service professionals, who are equally Sierra Leoneans, and not to “sack people” using partisan lenses.
Parliamentarians also received, debated and approved the Third Report of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, following yesterday’s scrutiny of nominees.
The following five ministries were approved by the House in addition to the ten approved earlier: Professor David J. Francis – Chief Minister; Professor Aiah A. Gbakima – Minister of Technical and Higher Education; Ambassador Foday Yumkella – Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Ms. Isata Abdulai-Kamara – Resident Minister, North-West; and Mr. Ibrahim Nyelenkeh – Minister of Sports.
Hon. Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (Photo), Leader of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), spoke to the nominees about performance and service delivery, and said that there are high expectations across the country for them to serve the country well.
Other MPs who contributed to the debate, called on the nominees to behave themselves as the servants of the people, and to work towards improving medical care and educational standards.