The ignoble lands minister of Sierra Leone – Dr Sandi has been sacked

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 January 2021:

The man many believed could have brought another war to Sierra Leone if he had been allowed to stay in his post as lands minister – Dr Dennis Sandi, has today been sacked in a snap ‘covid-19’ cabinet reshuffle by the president.

Calls for Sandi to be sacked had become deafening, after more than two years, causing misery and suffering to many in the capital Freetown – especially the Krio communities where he terrorised local people and grabbed their land and property with impunity.

Quite simply, Sandi had become a law into his own hands, and a liability to the president, his government and the ruling SLPP party who are hoping for a second term re-election in 2023.

Following the constant publication of media reports of the megalomaniac  land grabbing behaviour of Dr Sandi, the Speaker of the parliament of Sierra Leone a few weeks ago wrote a stern letter to president Bio asking for Sandi’s wings to be clipped.

That letter was preceded by a damning article published by the ruling party’s sponsored tabloid – Global Times, in which its editor – a patron of the ruling SLPP Sorie Fofanah called on president Bio and the leadership of the SLPP to get rid of Dr Sandi before he brings the government down.

Today, president Bio has listened to the hundreds of individuals and families around Freetown whose lands have been seized by Dr Sandi and his armed militia, then sold to the highest private bidder.

This is what a senior lawyer in Freetown – Yada Hashim Williams said on twitter today:

The man replacing Sandi is another academician – Dr Senesie Turad, who until today was the deputy minister of technical and higher education. He has over 25 years’ experience in teaching, monitoring, evaluation, and public service investigations.

Dr. Senesie’s research interests include peace building, development, and public administration. Academically, he holds a BSc, MSc, MHRS and PhD – with over 11 years of instructional experience. He was Director for the Institute of Social Studies, Administration and Management at Njala University, during the previous APC government.

Many will now be looking up to Dr Senesie to bring sanity, justice and fairness to the ministry of lands, where he is expected to conduct swift investigations into the plethora of land dispossession cases that are sitting on his desk, and to rescind the bad decisions of Dr Sandi.

But already, after this performance on AYV TV last week, many are beginning to lampoon and have doubts over Dr Senesie’s ability to manage the country’s massive lands and housing problems (watch the video). Will he rise to the occasion and prove his critics wrong?:

 

Another minister losing his job today is the minister of technical and higher education – Mr Gbakima, who many believe has failed to deliver president Bio’s national vocational and technical skills development agenda, as the number of long-term unemployed and unskilled youths continues to grow.

Gbakima has been replaced by Dr Alpha Wurie, who has been removed as minister of health with the current, alarming daily increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases especially in the capital Freetown.

Since Christmas, the average daily number of new Covid cases is over 30, and there are fears the country’s healthcare systems may soon be overwhelmed, if these numbers continue to rise.

The new minister of health is the little-known Dr Austin Demby, who is now expected to stop the rising number of new Covid cases in the country. Sierra Leone is likely to go into another lockdown soon – possibly before the end of the month.

Also leaving the ministry of lands is Rex Bonapha, who was Dr Sandi’s deputy, whom many have argued had failed to stand up to his ignoble boss. Bonapha has been moved to the ministry of transport and aviation as deputy minister.

Jimmy Batillo Songa who is publicly nursing an ambition to become the ruling SLPP party’s chairman, is now the deputy commissioner for the National Commission for Social Action (NACSA). Many are questioning whether today’s appointment is an attempt by president Bio – who also serves as the Chairman and leader of the SLPP party, to derail Songa’s leadership ambition.

Many in the SLPP party believe that Songa lacks the maturity, experience and political finesse to manage and control the SLPP party, especially with just two years to general and presidential elections.

It seems President Bio is not taking chances in changing his 2018 election winning formula and machinery. It is therefore highly likely that the incumbent – Dr Prince Harding will be staying on as SLPP party chairman.

For many in Sierra Leone, today’s cabinet reshuffle is welcome news for the lands ministry and for all those citizens that have suffered in the hands of a tyrant minister.

But has president Bio gone far enough?

Sierra Leone’s economy is in dire straits. The finance minister, along with the economic development minister and governor of the central bank are accused of being clueless. They too should have been booted out, say critics. Will president Bio be replacing this unpopular trio soon – rather than later?

13 Comments

  1. Stargazer and the other apc apologists on this forum are only waiting to take their places in looting the country. Gentlemen and also ladies, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

  2. Even if Julius Maada Bio were to sack his entire cabinet ministers today and replace them with new ones, his critics will never be satisfied. That is just the way it is in Sierra Leone politics today.

  3. Whosoever tries to inject sanity in the corrupt land business in Sierra Leone and especially the Western Area would be made public enemy number one. Siaka P Stevens and his friend Albert Margai were sacked from Sir Milton pre-independence government because of land grabbing. I refer readers to the land where Dr. Lahai Taylor’s hospital and the Stevens lodge at Kingharman road in Freetown. Dr. Bobson Sesay attempted and he was undermined and labelled the worst minister in the Tejan Kabba led government. In 2007, Dr. Denis Sandi was appointed to the land ministry. He started his crusade. He was undermined. President Koroma was given an ultimatum by prominent land grabbers to show Dr Sandi the exit or risk losing the support of prominent people in the Western Area. Dr. Sandi was sacked and went back to his party the PMDC. He is still a strong member of that party.

    In 2018, President Bio on assuming power put as part of his agenda, tackling the endemic corruption in the land system. Although Dr. Sandi was not a member of his SLPP party, he was recommended as someone who could stand up to the corrupt cabal dealing in land especially in the Western Area. He was given the task and despite the difficult tasks, Dr. Sandi stood his ground. The cabal had used calumny, threat, tribal cards and bribes and yet Dr. Sandi did not bulge. The cabal finally found weak links in the people that Bio has the ears of Bio including the speaker. In the end, the threat of losing votes in the Western Area especially, took primacy over the quest to clean the mess that has been injected into the land sector pre-independence. While the many who benefit from the status quo surrounding land grabbing, are celebrating the exit of Dr. Sandi, none of them care about how unplanned Freetown especially would remain, because of unscrupulous and unfit people engaged in the land business.

    Freetown has a population of about 1.2 million People. 500,000 live in western rural and yet we say Freetown is over- populated. Freetown has no forested parks and is bigger than Arusha in Tanzania. Ironically, Arusha in Tanzania has almost 1.2 million and it is not said to be over-populated as Freetown is. Do you know why?
    I would like to see an investigation or commission formed to let the public know as to whether or not Dr. Sandi benefited from the sales of land as serially stated in many fora. One last thing, how much land was sold by King Naimbana to the Europeans to resettled and returning African brothers and sisters and those captured on the high seas?

  4. In our nation’s governance history, I am not sure if we have ever had such a high number of rabble-rousers as cabinet officials. A regime that promises to instil discipline and the rule of law, suddenly found itself being the epitome of gangsterism, as cabinet members such as Abu Abu, Lahai Lawrence Leema, and the newly fired Dr. Denis Sandy, outbids each other, going around with thugs and trigger happy military personnel, with the sole purpose of inflicting mayhem and terror, against anyone that opposes their barbaric mentality. While the firing of Dr. Sandy might seem a step in the right direction by the regime, based on what we have observed so far, the man at State House seems to have a thing for rowdy individuals and definitely relishes these rabble-rousers within his cabinet.

    Prior to him being elected to the presidency, he was on video encouraging his supporters and subordinates to exhibit thuggish and barbaric mentality against the opponents, and emphasizing him being the leader cannot be seen doing so. Hence, those who can prove himself worthy of being the most ruthless and audacious in the PAOPA clan, are guaranteed to win a sweet spot within the dear leader’s heart. So do not be surprised if Dr. Sandy get recycled to another government position in the not-so-distant future. After all, those who have blood in their hands, the likes of Abu Abu, and Lawrence Leema, are still employed albeit being a bit subdued.

  5. A lesson to other politically appointed persons is that there is no security of tenure in these jobs and when difficult choices have to be made, the interest of the government and party will prevail. Denis Sandy may have been trying to ‘sanitise’ land ownership but his approach was not the right one, coupled with his arrogance, and he is not the only one in this government with such attitude. A recent video on social media showing Lands ministry officials accusing one Alhaji of building on state land in Gloucester, but was allowed after negotiation, and brazenly went to occupy and started building on another land allocated to an embassy. It shows that the process is not a fair one. The former Minister will use his time to reflect on his actions until his next appointment if any.

  6. Woohoo! People are going to get their lands back. One of the ungentlemanly ministers of the Bio SLPP kakistocracy by the name of Dr Sandy has been sacked. Is this a smart move by his boss? I don’t feel so. A president who takes action or makes decisions because of pressure from within and outside his own camp, is a sign of weakness and poor leadership. Dr Harding, who of course is a SLPP party champion, remaining as chairman, is the only thing that makes sense in this political optics without substance reshuffle. But, it is too little too late. The failed political ship that came to power in 2018, promising all sorts of hallelujah, is sinking in the mid political ocean at 2023m per year. Some people place PhD at the end of their names. Does that make sense? Why don’t they use Dr this or Dr that instead? That makes sense in my view. God help all those whose lands were grabbed unlawfully and illegally, by the former ungentlemanly minister of Lands, get them back. Amen and Amen. Yeah.

  7. He is late already…What else do you expect from a carpenter who goes to work without tools. Besides, this is what you get when you put a mere soldier who claimed to be a brigadier into governance when he is supposed to be in the barracks. You want to wonder why “the wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

    As for Sandy he should have been fired long ago. But the only reason why he was allowed to stay for this long is for him to get back all what he had spent for this administration during the election campaign. But my advice for Sandy: be sure to save all your lootings, put all those riches together and prepare to face the APC anti corruption team come 2023. For the fight against corruption is surely a continual process. You should know by now your destination!

  8. Let us not get too excited about the political demise of Denis Sandy; it may well be temporary if precedents are considered. Ernest Koroma was the same; the revolving door which he constructed at State House, as far as I know, is still firmly in place. Logus Koroma – remember him? Afsatu Kabba – remember her? Kemoh Sesay – remember him? Alpha Kanu – remember him? They were all members of the Koroma government who were sacked one minute and quietly brought back the next. No wonder corruption pervaded the Koroma era as it now does the same in the Bio era. Sierra Leone is in trouble.

    All these doctorate degree holders are being brought in to save us, but what do we get? More of the same or worse. We must stop instinctively respecting them until they earn it. Depending on the environment, a so-called professor can become a cold-blooded killer or the worst corrupt politician. We have evidence of this in conspicuous places. Need I say more? As a people we must be in a deep cynical mode until events retrieve us. For as long as we keep having SLPP or APC around we should kiss progress goodbye.

    • “All these doctorate degree holders are being brought in to save us, but what do we get?” Santhkie Sorie

      Santhkie Sorie, do you have a problem with Sierra Leoneans who work hard and obtain doctorate degrees? I am asking you this question with all due respect. I have noticed a pattern on your part to attack public officials with a disdain for their possession of terminal degrees in their fields.

  9. I saw this comment and thought – how apt: “They are all a bunch of unprofessional, incompetent , useless and unpatriotic Saloneans. They have nothing to offer Salone. Some of them have been in government for decades, serving as top Managers of very corrupt and highly toxic MDAs.

    “Some of them presided over the most filthy Ministry – the toilets don’t work, no paint on the walls, chairs, tables and filing system are in complete disarray. In some cases, you have hustlers right outside the Minister’s Office, claiming that they represent the Minister; requesting a shakedown for a few million before you enter the Minister’s Office.

    “Such is the life in a Maada Bio led government, under the watchful eye of Ben Kelfala – the ACC Boss…Don’t be fooled!”

  10. Hahahaha…darn it! This circus masquerade is an ever-continuing process; One clown gives up his costume for another to wear; Square pegs in round holes that are not going to fit in those indispensable positions unless someone with good sense tries and vigorously reshape their crooked edges.

    Dr Sandy almost flipped over the superficial boat of the criminal SLPP, he left them a shaky, fragile foundation they know nothing about, but we have a hundred clever ways of easily spotting where those cracks are. (lol) Too late to turn things around – too late to close the tribalistic barn after the horse has already bolted.

  11. You don’t want to be accused of dancing over someone’s grave, or celebrate their downfall. In the case of Dr Sandy, you can do both. He deserves everything that have befallen him. He built his own nest and now he can lay on it. You can be guaranteed, not a lot of your fellow Sierra-Leoneans will be shedding tears for your sacking. You might cry you have been made the whipping boy of Bio’s government. I certainly do not share such sentiments. Go back to the lecture room and teach your students, how not to be a bully politician. It serves you right you got kicked out of this government. We do not need these sort of persons in the public sphere. Our country deserves better.

    For the interest of peace and the respect of the rule of law, Sierra-Leoneans will be waking up to the sacking of Dr. Denis Sandy, as the most delayed father Christmas gift that Bio gave to Sierra Leone. He has suddenly woken up to his slumber and realised these are the sort of persons that undermined his government. Never mind claiming to work for him. Did anyone remind Bio we are in the middle of January? Better late than never. To me, and for many families that endured the brutality of the Foday Sankoh RUF wars he waged against the state, this sacking came as a great relief. In the interest of maintaining the fragile peace and security in our country, this move by Bio to cast away this outlier of a minister doing his own stuff, and answerable to no-one, his sacking is not only good for Bio’s government, but the country as a whole.

    I don’t care what education you have or you amassed over your life time, if you are a politician in today’s Sierra Leone, knowing what we went through and you pretend nothing ever took place like that war, in our country and you ignore all that, and decide to promote tribal and regional division, in my view, you have made your position untenable. By virtue of your unhinged actions, you have become a liability and should go. GOOD RIDDANCE DR. DENIS SANDY.

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