• September 16, 2020

Ploy to Incapacitate FCC Mayor Exposed

Ploy to Incapacitate FCC Mayor Exposed
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By: Joseph A. Kamanda

Sierra Leone under what most people still call a “new government” is going through so many retrogressive reforms that are not good to talk about, much as progress in nation building are truly concerned.

Last week is all newsy on issues that have to do with the reinstatement of former vice president Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana, the corruption alarm from the House of Parliament of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Cables Limited saga, a great deal of which remained nucleated, especially the multiple allegations around government officials’ necks including those of SALCAB’s embezzlements of funds. An agency that is still stretching out to fix a catch up damage control, following Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Rahaman Swaray’s serious emotional confrontation with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Transparency and Accountability, Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh.

Those made are some of the issues that actually headlines in print, electronic and the new media by fall of last week, up to Monday morning.

That besides, what attracted public attentions many in the early hours of Tuesday was the banner headline of Tuesday 15th September 2020, edition of Global Times read “Western Area to Get Resident Minister.” The ploy is cheap and is good for our embattled democratic process, so reverse it now to earn respect of the electorate. For touch not thy anointed Mayor and there is no way you can incapacitate the hardworking woman. You have eyed a project you have no idea of how is came about; the new city hall is where you intend housing the would be resident minister Western Area, so he/she can automatically takeover the functions of the Mayor. Wrong! And reverse you odd moves. For it has already exposed.

A mere novelty that has taken residents of the Western Area communities by the storm to now have a political head call resident minister, Western Area only God knows what will be his work. Again the political gimmick religious followers of an All People’s Congress elected Mayors’ embattlements with previous SLPP regimes, is not strange nor new at all, as the last SLPP administration of late former President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah also severally attempted at silencing former Mayor Winston Bankole Johnson, but failed in their ploy.

So if we are now reading from Global Times that there will soon be a regional minister for the West should be that newsy to us.

Unimaginably, since colonial ear spanning back to the days of the Portuguese up to the eras of British colonial masters, there was never a resident minister in the Western Area. Not even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has such stooge in Freetown.

Yet, the new era of the governing SLPP establishment is an age of all possibilities as it continues to make headlines by doing the unacceptable strange things that has never been done by previous government. So I stand no chance of ruling out the impossibilities of having a resident minister in the Western Area under the president administration, when procedures are being turned upside down to please the powers that be.

Though the idea of recruiting or appointing a resident minister to the Western Area cannot be justifiable anywhere and can be seen as a political muscling of the municipality management of the Freetown City Council, which is charged with the task of handling that aspect of governance matters at local government level.

Apart from its political and administrative functions the leadership of the Freetown City Council also provides so many social services to communities within the metropolis, including schools, hospital and at the same time collect rates and taxes for the development programmes of the city, which exactly what Her Worship Madam Mayor Yvonne-Aki Sawyerr of Freetown is busy doing round the clock.

Thumbs up to you Madam Mayor and continue to do your good work. Similarly so, her counterpart in the Western Rural District Council-WARDC Councillor Kasho Holande Cole is also engaged in the same drive so one would ask that with the appointment of a regional minister in the western what exactly would be the roles of the FCC Mayor and that of the WARDC Chairman. For all we know and have seen in previous administrations, the roles of mayors, chairmen and councillors are clearly stated in the 2004 Local Government Act and must not in any way be tampered with by government this time around.

The terms of references of resident ministers are somehow not clear as cabinet ministers at all and they are only seen in active or official duties when the president visits a particular region in the country. That clearly implies that resident ministers are mere messengers of the presidency, with absolutely no place at cabinet, yet they bragging around, imposing themselves on people they always bully with their half political powers as Abu-Abu normally does in the north east regional headquarter town of Makeni.

And as in the case of the Western Area to be imposed upon with one that will serve as a regional authority, whiles the political geographical locations already has it operational structures since time in memorial.

So, it sounds duplicating with the functions of so many other cabinets ministers including that of the mayor and a chairman of the rural district.

With a resident minister in Freetown, if that is set to be fully materialised now, or in a not too distance future, in a country where everything is possible on the face of the earth, critical minds keep pondering with questions and concerns to government about what will be the role of the mayor, the district council chairman and others.

Whereas in the provinces, resident ministers represent the president at top government functions as well as policy implementations, which is far different from what obtains in functions of chairmen and that of the Mayor of Freetown, where all efforts are being made by government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to stifle the works of Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

Instances range from the physical bodily attack on her by the Deputy Minister of Local Government Tundorneh and recent attempt by the same ministry which tried and failed to prevent her from regulating taxes and city rates reforms as required.

Conversely, for a government that has come to be largely seen deceiving the people by its failures in delivering on its promises, pledges and is always crying on inheriting a “broken economy” to continue to expand its scope of financial expenditures with more burdens on the wage bill, could be deem as unserious and an extravagant administration, lavishing to the point of considering little or no interests of the masses.

Such a system can be as well consider as an unserious in that there are so many life touching unfinished socioeconomic projects that should be creating positive impact on the lives of the people, that are still nowhere to be seen under the watchful eyes of the leadership of the ruling SLPP and President Dr Julius Maada Bio. The leader who promised to do so much for Sierra Leoneans, only for things to turn out to be what they are now.

Oh how I wished president Bio and the SLPP could have governed as promised and planned, the country would have moved forward and the living standards of the people would have improved greatly to an admirable peak.

Rather, amid hue and crying of bad economic state of affairs, the government continue to open more avenues of financial expenditures through job creations for his party members and supporters, in furtherance to please his loyalists, one of whom may probably become his resident minister Western Area, first in the history of Sierra Leone.

However before I take a pause on the proposed appointment of a would be resident minister, Western Area, I want to humbly call on President Bio to regulate, monitor, evaluate and assess the overall performances of heads of ministries department and agencies to ascertain their level of performance deliveries on their various assignments at their MDAs before appointing a regional minister Western who probably would cause you more head ache and anther waste of funds from the consolidate revenue funds.

More to the point, there is no need for a regional minister in the Western Area as there is seat of power that house the entire government including the presidency.

And before I zip up the bag of assorted issues, the best option is to downsize the cabinet departments and agencies and bring on board a fresh team who can live up to your expectation as well as the general populace.

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