Augustine Samba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 May 2018:
Sierra Leone’s Appointments and Public Service Parliamentary Committee, has postponed the interview of the controversial Dr. Denis Sandy, the proposed Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, although his name was on the list of nominees to be interviewed today.
The following six nominees proposed by president Bio for ministerial posts including Dr Sandy, were expected to stand before the Committee: Professor David Francis proposed Chief Minister, Professor Aiah Albert Gbakima, proposed Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Dr. Denis Sandy, Minister Designate to Land, Housing and the Environment, Haja Isata Abdulai-Kamara, designate, Mr. Ibrahim Nyelenkeh nominated Minister of Sport and Dr. Alie Kabba nominated Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
All, but Dr Sandy, were interviewed today. It is thought that the reason for the postponement of Sandy’s interview, may not be unconnected to what has been described as his unauthorised extension of last Saturday’s national cleaning completion time, in contradiction to the public order issued by the president.
There was widespread public anger at Sandy’s unauthorised extension of the scheduled cleaning time from 12pm to 4pm, which added an extra four hours.
The public row was brought under control when the minister of information went on radio to announce that people should take no notice of Sandy’s extension of the cleaning time. This prompted calls for Sandy to be deselected from the proposed list of cabinet ministers.
Sandy today appeared in parliament, well dressed and accompanied by his wife and other relatives, ready and expecting to face the panel. He had earlier entered the Committee Room 1 where the interviews were being conducted, but was asked to follow procedure and wait until his name was called by the clerk.
Explaining the reason for postponing Sandy’s interview, the Presiding Chairman of the Committee, Hon Matthew Nyuma told newsmen that Dr. Denis Sandy is the Secretary to the Transitional Team that is responsible for Saturday cleaning, and is busy with his work. He said that the Committee has the right to postpone the Interview of any nominee.
Two of the nominees, Dr. Alie Kabba (Photo) – proposed Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Professor Aiah Albert Gbakima – proposed Tertiary Education Minister, were today told by the Committee to submit evidence of their education qualifications and other essential documents, as previously requested by the Clerk of Parliament.
Dr. Alie Kabba was asked to submit his Higher Degree certificates, whilst professor Gbakima who had previously submitted an outdated police clearance certificate, was told to present the current copy to the committee, before they can be considered for approval.
Dr. Alie Kabba assured the committee that his documents are on the way, and he will soon submit them.
Notwithstanding this setback, the committee proceeded to interview Kabba and Gbakima, but cautioned them to follow parliamentary procedure, and ensure their documents are submitted in due time to avoid being deferred.
Professor Aiah told the committee that his ministry hopes to restore the declining values of the universities. The rising cost of fees will be reduced after consultation, he said. He promised to abolish the double shift system. He recommended removing Krio language from the school curriculum, to improve standards of English Language. The issue of maintaining standards must not be compromised, he told MPs.
He said that removing students from the FBC campus was wrong, and that staying on campus will help poor performing students to learn from their better performing colleagues. He also told the committee that the curriculum will be reviewed very aggressively to ensure it is fit for purpose.
Next to face the committee was Professor David Francis. Responding to questions about his proposed role as Chief Minister responsible for inter-ministerial coordination and discipline, he told the committee that there is need for a team player who can deliver under the President and Vice – President.
He said that previously, everything including coordination and follow-up, used to go to the President; and that his role is to coordinate everything relating to the various ministries. He told the MPs he is not a politician.
But when asked how he is going to work, he answered saying he has political instinct, and that he is not a classical politician.
He assured that he will work to bring everybody together to deliver the president’s 100 days plan. He said he will use his international connections to bring in support for the government.
Civil servants he said, have a pivotal role to play in delivering this plan and to transform the civil service.
He told the committee that he is a competent leader who can deliver, coordinate and supervise. His position he said, will reduce the burden on the President, ensuring that Ministers do not fail.
The committee then moved on to interview Mohamed Foday Yumkella – Minister Designate for Political Affairs, who was not previously on the list of ministerial nominees scheduled for today’s interview. He told the committee that his ministry will be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that democracy grows in the country.
Dr. Alie Kabba, Proposed Minister of Foreign Affairs was next to face the committee. He said there is need for understanding beyond the traditional meaning of foreign policy; and it should be recognised that Sierra Leone is vulnerable. There must be public education on climate change.
This is Dr Alie Kabba responding to the committee:
Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara who is the designate Resident Minister for the North West, was next to be interviewed. She spoke about the need to empower the youths and women in the three districts of the North West, using participatory rural approach. If approved, she will be the first female Resident Minister.
Ibrahim Nyelekeh who is the proposed Minister for Sports, was next to face the committee. He promised to bring unity within the Sports body. He said that with his expertise and with the support of the former Mayor of Kenema they can bring the two conflicting parties in the sporting sector together.
He told the committee that he will address all conflicts and will not interfere in the affairs of the Sierra Leone Football Association. He said he will reinstate inter secondary schools sporting competitions.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that Professor Aiah Albert Gbakima – proposed Tertiary Education Minister, has now submitted his current police clearance certificate to the committee.
On Saturday 5 May 2018, the following eleven ministerial nominees were interviewed by the committee: Abu Koroma – Resident Minister North, Mohamed Elogima Ali – Resident Minister South, Peter Bayuku Konteh – Trade and Industry, Andrew Ansu Fatoma – Resident Minister East, Dr. Morie Komba Mayeneh – Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Raymond de Souza George – Minister of National Assets, Lawyer Anthony Y Brewah – Minister of Local Government, Mohamed Oman Bangura -Minister of Youths, Mrs. Nabella F. Tunis – Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Joseph Jonathan Ndenema – Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Dr. Memunatu Pratt – Minister of Tourism.
We, Sierra Leoneans in the country and abroad, highly welcome the idea of asking our political appointees their qualification credentials to be submitted for a higher position. That is development. Mr. Ali Kabba is a man I knew from US. I have no doubt in any of the gentlemen including Mr. Gbakima.