• April 20, 2020

CM’s Incompetence Exposes SLPP, Bio’s Failures

CM’s Incompetence Exposes SLPP, Bio’s Failures
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By Joseph A. Kamanda

When President Julius Maada Bio came to office a little over two years ago, he appointed a cabinet of closed allies including Prof. David John Francis to serve as his Chief Minister in the Office of the President.

A Chief Minister position is equivalent to that of a prime minister, to head an office that used to be the Ministry of Presidential and Public Affairs under former president Alhaji Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of blessed memories.

The late president Kabbah then used to hire top notch experts and policy think tanks to hold offices at the presidency. But it is now far from what is unfolding in the Office of Chief Minister Prof. Francis, Office of the President.

Besides, there had always existed with the best trained and qualified civil and public service personnel, including a permanent secretary, an accountant a procurement expert, an internal auditor and other professional staff posted at the presidency from their various MDAs as well the Human Resource Management Office.

That is now operates under the mandate of the Chief Minister, Prof. Francis whose role and terms of reference in the presidency is not clearly defined by the laws of Sierra Leone. And don’t ask me why, for the president and his party owes it to Francis.

Bringing Prof. Francis to government by president was like a symbol of hope for Sierra Leoneans. But sadly for the government and the people, with all their development plans clocking almost a year now, the Sierra Leone People’s Party is taking Sierra Leone down the road of a mere economic mess admits expertise of the Chief Minister Prof. Francis and team of failures. Political analysts say he is a mere betrayal to his boss president Bio.

Unlike his predecessors-former State House Chief of Staff, Dr Kaifala Marah, Dr, Richard Konteh and later Mr Saidu Conton-Sesay had their terms of references and were all charged with the mandates of supervising ministries departments and agencies to fully implement government’s flagship programmes, which is hardly seen in governance as it were before now.

Prof. Francis’ is now the Office of Chief Minister, though without a clear functional responsibility in the Bio led underperforming administration, a system full of bunch of incompetent and inexperience ruling party diaspora members and supporters who have nothing to offer the government, but are bragging all over the place of being president Bio’s financers during his campaigns for the presidency.

In fact, most of government’s top job holders were McDonalds boys in the United States and those from the United Kingdom were always seeing roaming around Peckham. So what do you expect from them, when they absolutely have no magic of giving what they don’t have.

To the vague nomenclature in question, a Chief Minister is an elected or an appointed position of head of government in most British overseas territories in Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sir Lanka etc. and back home all three Chief of Staff appointed by former president Dr Ernest Bai Koroma performed their respective assignments in accordance with their terms of references extremely well in the implementations of the last government’s national development blueprint-Agenda for Change and the Agenda for Prosperity.

Mr Saidu Conton-Sesay, Dr Richard Konteh and Dr Kaifala Marah didn’t position themselves as self-imposed ‘prime ministers’ like Prof. Francis sees himself in the Bio led administration, but bowed their heads and diligently delivered the then government’s flagship programmes, through the implementation of series of effective pro-people policy reviews, regulations, administration, managements, monitoring and evaluations of contracts Ministries Departments and Agencies MDAs signed with the executive.

These were always rolled out and fully implemented by the Strategic Policy Unit along with periodical performance management contracts signed with all public and civil servants and accomplished with a specific timeframe. Performance contracts under those three Chief of Staff of former president Koroma were periodically appraised, assessed, monitored and evaluated by the Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate in the Office of Chief of Staff, Office of the President, to regulate the performances of MDAs.

That was why every MDA had to be on its toes to deliver on its mandates in sync with their various contract timeline that led to the successful implementation of the AFC and the AFP. So for them, failures were not options for successes of both national development agendas.

A policy the Chief Minister Prof. Francis is still expected to have borrowed some leaves from to sincerely help government successfully implements president Bio’s most ambitious national development agenda. Instead, with all the solid foundation Prof. Francis inherited from his predecessors-Dr Marah, Mr Conton-Sesay and Dr Konteh, Prof. Francis is busy presiding over the destructions of every legacy left behind by former president Koroma and the last administration.

However critics are of the views that if Chief Minister is well paid in thousands on United States Dollars from tax payers’ moneys and could not meet the demands of his job owning to his completely lack of capacity and technical knowhow to deliver, then president Bio has no reason to have in the place first created him such an office, nor the position of a Chief Minister.

For it does not worth it at all but a mere waste of tax payers moneys, and president Bio himself who is no stranger to the seat of power, cannot tell the nation why such an office should be up running in the presidency at the expenses of the consolidated revenue fund, having vowed to curtail wastages of public funds.

Prof. Francis’ OCM, insider confirms, urged president Bio to create him the Office of Chief Minister though now hardly prove the required competence to hold and run such a high placed office and meet the great expectations of his boss. For his part, president Bio, had met the payback deal to his former peace lecturer on a win-win basis, for helps offered him whiles studying peace at Bradford University in England.

In line with their mutual understanding before they took up office, president Bio offered the discredited Bradford professor a thousand Dollars job without a clear terms of reference delays but Prof. Francis has failed to deliver on his ‘prime minister’ job at State House in little over two years now. Oh what a deception? That is now; rendering president Bio the most regretful of all people for placing Prof. Francis, a square peg in the area of state governance and public sector management and administration in a mere round hole. That is also the more reasons for high demand for punitive cabinet reshuffle now than later, so that Francis can be replaced with either well experienced Prof. Alpha Tejan Wurie or Alhaji Kanja Sesay who have better understandings of state governance in Sierra Leone.

These two are the most experienced minister in the Bio led government and have what it takes to being the SLPP closer to the people, that the ruling party continue to be less accommodated, leaving the masses dissatisfied.

Under Prof. Francis much is not seen in action as far as the rolling out and implementation of the mandates of government’s crippling free education flagship project, not to talk of placing a firm and regular monitoring and evaluation measures ensuring ministers, directors, commissioners and other heads of MDAs effectively deliver on their mandates within the required timeframe for the successful implementation of the Bio led SLPP national development plan.

Instead, everything seen, read and heard of and about the Chief Minister of Sierra Leone are; unlawful and hateful arrests and detentions of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) past government workers, with orders from above, ‘fraudulent remits of thousands of USD to chief ministers ECOBANK account’, wasteful overseas traveling, ‘illicit involvement in the sales of  school feeding rice’ meant for school feeding, disruption of elections amongst host of other high profile corruption, human and political rights violations of his opponents.

The reason being again Prof. Francis does not know what exactly to do in terms of public service administration in Sierra Leone, so his best ways to please president Bio is to be always chasing political opponents and victimize them with his powers from above. No wonder he misled government in putting together the regional and tribally selected transition report against north-west past government workers.

Unfortunately for Sierra Leoneans, with all his western education in development, law, human rights, peace and diplomacy from the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, Prof. Francis actually does not provide any professional governance advice to president Bio and the ruling SLPP, yet he’s well taken care of by the state. Let alone to talk of him being peaceful, show respect for people’s human rights neither he position government’s flagship programmes on successful trajectory, with very poor performances of the public sector under his watchful eyes.

That is why president Bio confessed his displeasure at incompetence of Prof. David John Francis and his team’s underperformances at a retreat hosted early this year in Freetown, for ministers and other public sector workers. The president clearly charged all of them for failing to deliver on their mandates and declared 2020 a ‘year of delivery’. But the Chief Minister continues to fall below the great expectations of president Bio.

Their collective failures to many cynics, are unreasonably deceptive to the extent that  president Bio never expect the so-called ‘prime minister’ to disappoint his administration with the kind of capacity deficiencies being manifested so far by Prof. Francis in the last two years in office thereby clearly exposing the failures of president Julius Maada Bio’s SLPP led government

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