Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 May 2018:
After a short debate yesterday, the parliament of Sierra Leone which now finally sits the elected MPs of both the opposition APC and the ruling SLPP, as well as representatives from the NGC, C4C, paramount chiefs and Independents, agreed to approve the first group of cabinet ministers put forward by president Julius Maada Bio.
The recommendation for parliament’s approval went before the full House of parliament in a Report of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, which is chaired by the Leader of Government Business – Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis.
The twelve ministers that were approved yesterday are: Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa – Minister of Finance; Col. (Rtd) Simeon Nasiru Sheriff – Deputy Minister of Defence; Dr. Alpha T. Wurie – Minister of Health and Sanitation; Alhaji Kanja Ibarhim Sesay – Minister of Energy; Hon. Edward Amin Soloku – Minister of Internal Affairs; Hon. Emma Kowa – Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Other ministers also approved are: Mr Kabineh M. Kallon – Minister Transport and Aviation; Ms. Baindu Dassama – Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs; Dr. Bonapha Jonathan Tengbeh – Minister of Water Resources; Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray – Minister of Information and Communication; Mr. Adekunle Joliiff Milton King – Minister of Labour and Social Security; and Mr. Alpha Osman Timbo – Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.
In concluding the debate, Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis commended President Bio for nominating qualified Sierra Leoneans to serve the nation, but cautioned that the expectations of the people are high, whilst encouraging them to deliver in the best interests of the State.
Congratulating the nominees after approval, the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu called on the nominees to live by example and work in the interests of the country, whilst wishing them well in their pursuits.
Reporting from the well of parliament, Sierra Leone Telegraph’s correspondence – Augustine Samba sent this report:
The leader of Government Business Sidi Tunis said that the Committee on Thursday interviewed all the presidential nominees, before submitting their recommendation for parliamentary approval. He moved the motion for the nominees to be approved by parliament.
Hon. Saa Emmerson Lamina who is the leader of the Coalition for Change (C4C), seconded the motion for approval. He commended the nominees and call upon them to be efficient and effective in executing their duties.
Speaking as a member of the appointments committee, he described the presidential nominees as fine Sierra Leoneans with wealth of experience. Some of them he said, are yearning for radical change. He encouraged them to put Sierra Leone first and be assertive in developing the nation. Lamina said that C4C believes in the nominated ministers and appealed to the House for their approval.
Hon. Bashiru Sidikie – representing Bashiru SLPP Bo, said that during the course of the past government, he decided not to give praises to presidential nominees because most of them were failing the nation. He said President Bio has made no mistake in appointing the nominees. He said as a Parliament, they are going to support them to succeed.
He described Alhaji Kanja Sesay as a performer who remained in the SLPP throughout its period in opposition. He informed the House that JJ Saffa used to put APC on their toes, especially on the economy, and described Rado Swaray as someone that has the propelling propensity to change the information and communication sector.
Hon. Siaka Sama – representing Pujehun, said Sierra Leone was very resource rich, but yet is one of the poorest nations on earth, despite its minerals. He informed that it was time to be patriotic and serve Sierra Leone. He specifically appealed to Hon. Soluku to focus on change. He gave similar advice to the other nominees. As independent MPs, he said they will give the president their support to succeed after his statement saying he is president for Sierra Leone, rather than SLPP.
Hon. Kaisamba representing SLPP Kenema, congratulated the President for appointing his ministerial nominees. With JJ Saffa, the country’s economy will be transformed from what has been described as the worst since independence to the best. He said that the president nominee designate for Health will do well.
According to Kaisamba, poor peripheral health units will be transformed. Sierra Leone he said, has one of the worst health systems in the world.
Hon Dr. Kandeh Yumkella – representing Kambia, said the nation has a big challenge but his NGC MPs will give the ministerial nominees support in national development. He however, called for the formation of an inclusive governance.
Hon. Neneh Lebie – representing SLPP Bo, said that the nominees were part of the trend of New Direction. She advised the nominees to work for the president to achieve his dream. She appealed to the Minister of Education to look into the needs of teachers. She said that it is frustrating to teach without salary.
With her teaching experience, Neneh Lebie said she wants the education ministry to be functional. Referring to the nominated minister of fisheries and marine, she advised her to ensure that the ordinary citizens eat good fish and not to allow all to be exported. She advised all the ministerial nominees to work in the interests of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Wuyata Songa – representing SLPP Kailahun, said the designate for social welfare has passion for children. Songa said Kowa of fisheries is disciplined and hardworking. Kowa is going to close all the leakages in that ministry, she said.
Regarding the ministry of health, she expressed an expectation for opportunity to be given to all Sierra Leoneans to offered regular medical check-ups as a priority.
Hon. Veronica Sesay – representing SLPP Moyamba district, said that all nominees are faces of Sierra Leone, as she encouraged the APC MPs to work with them.
In order not to repeat the Social Welfare Ministry saga, she asked the presidential nominee to ensure that assignments are given to staff to do, and she must work with them.
Hon. Emelia Lolloh Tongi – Independent MP from Kailahun, appealed to the health ministry nominee to provide health care facilities in remote Kissi chiefdom, where there is high number of pregnant women dying.
She further called the attention of the government to focus on resolving the Yenga impasse with Guinea, which she said continues to pose a threat. She called on the government to create a military academy for skills development.
Members of the APC did not contribute to the debate, but promised to do so in due course. Hon IB Kargbo for the opposition APC, said that the debate was important, but his party will be prepared to participate fully in the next debate.
All first batch of presidential nominees appointed by president Julius Maada Bio was approved.