Little over a year President Julius Maada Bio has made a readjustment to his cabinet with little or no changes being made. In politics, cabinet reshuffle should be done to refocus or redirect the government policies to impact the people positively. It should not just be done for the sake of it.
It must be noted that Section 56 subsection 4 states that ministers and deputy ministers hold their offices at the discretion of the President.
As such, the President has made his readjustment to his cabinet according to his discretion which he should exercise in the interest of the nation and in the interest of his office as President of Sierra Leone.
It is in this light that Dixon’s Pen has decided to categorize the shake-up in cabinet as thus:
The biggest beneficiaries of the President discretionary powers are the appointment and better put redeployment of the Minister of Economic Development, Nabela Tunis as the chief of Sierra Leone’s foreign policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the reassignment of her new deputy from the ministry of information and communication, Solomon Jamiru to a top ministry like foreign affairs is a huge plus.
Bringing the former Sierra Leone’s permanent representative, Francis Kaikai to the Ministry of Economic Development is huge. Also, the promotion of the deputy minister of Water Resources, Edward Sandy to full cabinet minister of trade and industry is a massive improvement.
RELEGATION OR DEMOTION
Whereas we have the biggest movers, there are obviously those who in the perception of many people have been demoted or relegated. The removal of Raymond De Souzza George as Minister of Works to a mere Senior Presidential Adviser and Ambassador at Large is a relegation. The removal of Alie Kabbah as the face of the Sierra Leone’s foreign policy to be now reporting Nabela Tunis (New Minister of Foreign Affairs) as the Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative in the UN is a huge demotion.
Also, the redeployment of the SLPP Secretary General, Umaru Napoleon Koroma from the most covetous job as CEO of Privatization Commission to now play the second fiddle in the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice is considered demotion.
So far in the cabinet shake-up, the biggest loser is lawyer Brewah who was sacked as minister of local government and has not been redeployed anywhere. Before being appointed as Minister of Local Government, it was rumoured that Brewah will be Attorney General and Minister of Justice but he was not given his desire. Now he is being relieved off his duty at least until the next readjustment.
The new comers into government are Foday Rado-Yokie and Mamadie Gobeh Kamara. Rado Yokie was a two term member of parliament and very recently a member of the transition team of President Bio in charge of vehicle recovery. It was rumoured that he was supposed to be the Minister of Transport and Aviation in President Bio’s first cabinet but he was not given any position. He is now being brought into cabinet as the new Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources.
Mamadie Gobeh Kamara is one of the top female journalists in Sierra Leone and he has been made the deputy minister of information and communication perhaps to rally the media support for the President’s vision.
As a way of appeasing those who will be angered by his decision to lay them off, President Bio has created an office for the former Minister of Works, Raymond De Souzza George as Senior Adviser and Ambassador at Large on Heritage and Cultural Affairs in the office of the President. This office is very much unnecessary especially when the government is talking about inheriting a broken economy. Besides there are offices like the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Monument and Relics Commission that are in charge of promoting culture.
If the President thinks Raymond De Souzza George is knowledgeable about cultural affairs why not make him a policy maker instead of an adviser.
Similar office was created for one Brg Kellie Konteh as Senior Security adviser at a time we have the Office of National Security as the body that should be advising the President on security.
President Bio is just following some of the bad steps of his predecessor in creating many irrelevant offices at State House.
Some of the institutions which are under the National Privatization Commission (NCP) are yet to fully recover from some of the bad decisions of Umaru Napoleon Koroma who is now the Deputy Justice Minister.
There are instances in particularly the Sierra Leone Ports Authority where Umaru Koroma gave jobs to his brother, party operatives without advertising any of those jobs.
With the history of interfering in the institutional independence of some of these institutions, it highly unlikely that the SLPP Secretary General will not compromise the already dented institutional integrity of the judiciary.
Whether the readjustment will take Sierra Leone to another trajectory on not is a matter of wait and see as the president promised to do more re-adjustment.