From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone President names 9 more Ministers totalling a Cabinet of 19
By Awareness Times
Oct 13, 2007, 15:23

President Ernest Koroma has announced an additional nine cabinet nominations today Saturday October 13th 2007 bringing the current total number of nominated ministers to 19 (nineteen). They list has sparked some controversy with many citing an insufficient number of nominations from the South and the East of the country against an overwhelming number of Northern and Western Area nominees. The additional nine are as follows:


Haja (Mrs.) Afsatu Kabbah (A Northerner with Western Area links) is to be the new Minister of ENERGY & POWER. She is a married mother, a devout Muslim and a seasoned politician who contributed a lot of energy and personal funds towards the success of the All People's Congress (APC) at the last elections. In 1996, as a member of the Thaimu Bangura led People's Democratic Party (PDP-Sorbeh), she was named Deputy Minister of Energy and Power in the first Tejan Kabbah headed Coalition SLPP-PDP Government. She was however removed from Kabbah's Government sometime after his 1998 return from exile in Guinea. She later left the PDP and became a full time member of the Ernest Koroma led All People's Congress (APC) under which she entered Parliament during the 2002-2007 erstwhile Parliament.  As an APC Parliamentarian, she was a Koroma loyalist who stood firmly by his side during the turbulent years when his leadership of the APC was being contested in Court. She has always had a tremendous amount of belief in Ernest Koroma and at every opportunity, would market both Koroma and the APC. Haja Afsatu Kabba, spent a large amount of personal resources and energy campaigning to be the Running mate to Ernest Koroma at the last elections and even touted herself as a possible Presidential Candidate after Ernest Koroma. She names Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as her role model. However, she lost her Running Mate bid to Sam-Sumana, who is the current Vice President. Haja Afsatu enjoys a lot of support from the elitist, self-cocooned, 50-50 Women's Group in Sierra Leone. However, given the elitist, upper-class focus of the 50-50 Group who have proven not to be in touch with real issues of female Sierra Leonean politicians as reflected by their failure to convincingly sell their 50-50 agenda at the last elections, her real popularity amongst grassroot women who are in the majority against the elitist 50-50, cannot be fully elicited at present. Many however believe that given her innate, hardworking nature, she will now be given a chance as a full-ranking Cabinet Minister to prove herself to both the grassroot women and to the wider local populace. She currently does command respect from the general populace as she has never been involved in any reported financial improprietary. She is a warm, likable person with a humble disposition.


Hon. Musu Kandeh (A Northerner) is the nominated Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs. She was an APC Parliamentarian in the 2002-2007 Parliament and is a Koroma loyalist. She was for many years, the Principal of a Girls' Secondary School in Mathora, Northern Sierra Leone. She walks with a slight limp which it is believed will make her more responsive to the needs of the handicapped and those living with disability in the society. She is also a Gender Equality activist and her years in the education sector make her again ideal for handling the needs of Children in the country. Her appointment has already been greeted with significant applause by many female activists. Many female grassroots activists who spoke to Awareness Times have expressed the hope that Musu Kandeh will do much more to raise gender equality to the fore in Sierra Leone than any of her predecessors.


Madam Yasmin Jusu Sheriff, a local lawyer who works for human rights and gender equality expressed to Awareness Times, her satisfaction with the caliber of women that Koroma has nominated. Although she expressed a total lack of satisfaction with the number (only 15% of the cabinet is female), she still applauded the caliber of the three women whom she described as “field politicians who have proven themselves in politics”.


Hon. Kemoh Sesay (A Northerner) is nominated to be the new Minister of Transport and Aviation. He has been an APC Parliamentarian representing Port Loko District in the last two Parliaments (1996-2002 and 2002-2007). He again won elections into office during the just concluded elections and he is one of a current total of four MPs who have been nominated by Koroma and who will resign and leave their constituents without representation until Bye-Elections can be held to replace them. The nomination of these MPs have sparked a serious controversial debate as many citizens had understood Ernest Koroma to have promised that he will nominate no MP in a bid to further his vision of a strong Parliament that would be independent from the Executive arm of Government. Koroma’s apparent change has been explained away by his loyalists to mean that he meant the MPs will not sit as MPs and be Cabinet Ministers at the same time but would have to first resign. In the last Parliament (2002 -2007), Hon. Kemoh Sesay was acting as Shadow Transport Minister for the APC. He is a not only a loyalist of Ernest Koroma but a personal friend to the President. It is going to be his first time to work in the Executive and his expected performance is currently not easy to assess. He has a long standing criminal matter in Court for allegedly faking documents to obtain a Sierra Leone passport for a female acquaintance of his. The matter got continuously adjourned since prior to the 2002 Elections to date. On a personal note, Kemoh Sesay is not known to be married and has a reputation as an enjoyer of the fine things in life. He is a very likable person with a charming personality. He put his many social relationships to good use during the time he was the National Organising Secretary of the All People's Congress. He however lost out the position to the late former Deputy Mayor, Foday Kalokoh at the September 2005 Convention. By Sierra Leone standards, he is well-off, considered to be 'nouveau riche' and owns one of the beautiful homes up at Hill Station's emerging "Beverly Hills".


Hon. Alimamy P. Koroma (A Northerner) is to be the new Minister of Trade & Industry and is another of the nominations made out of newly elected Parliamentarians. He is currently the MP representing the Mambolo Constituency in Kambia District and was accused of spearheading the physical assault on his rival, Hon. Marray Conteh of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) during the last campaign period; a charge he vehemently denies. Koroma rose to national prominence during his years as the Secretary General of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone when he supervised a lot of the donations made to the Church in Sierra Leone during the war years. He used his position very well to assist with the development and reconstruction of Mambolo at the end of the war-years. Alimamy Koroma thus became seen as a vehicle of development by his people and he became very popular in Mambolo. Several times, he has openly clashed with the Paramount Chief with his supporters even physically manhandling the P.C. on a few occasions. He was at one point touted to be eyeing the APC leadership position against Ernest Koroma but this was never conclusively proven. He was asked to act as National Organising Secretary of the APC following the tragic death by road accident of the late Deputy Mayor Foday Kalokoh.


Ambassador Dauda Sulaiman Kamara (A Northerner) is nominated to be the Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development. He served under the APC of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Momoh as Ambassador with his last posting being the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Germany. Upon his retirement, he returned home and in 1996 entered active politics. He was named by Ernest Koroma to be his Running Mate during the 2002 Elections when Koroma's first choice, Abubakarr Jalloh (currently nominated to be Mines Minister) was rejected by the then Elections Boss, Walter Nicol. His name was initially touted as the next Foreign Affairs Minister but with the nomination of Zainab Bangura to that position, it is believed that he was pacified with the diametrically opposite Internal Affairs position. Of worthy note is that it was the words of Ambassador Kamara as a Parliamentarian in the last Parliament (2002-2007), as quoted from the Recorded Hansards that exposed the knowledge of the APC about the Libya Rice Sales. However, the erstwhile SLPP Government, true to its typical 'Mumu' nature did virtually little to actively publicise those words of Ambassador Kamara as a defence in their favour against the rice propaganda. The Ambassador himself, commands a lot of respect in Sierra Leone and it is believed with his extensive experience, he will be able to handle the Ministry of Internal Affairs (with oversight for the Police, Prisons, Immigration, etc. etc.)


Dr. Minkailu Bah is to be Minister of Education, Youths and Sports. He is currently reported to be a lecturer at the University of Sierra Leone. Not much is known about him other than the fact that he is from the Fula ethnic group who are mostly from Northern Sierra Leone.


Hon. Minkailu Mansaray (Northerner/Westerner) is to be the Minister of Employment(Labour) & Social Security. He is another MP (representing one of the Freetown East Constituencies) nominated from the current Parliament. He is reported to be a hardliner in the APC and a Koroma loyalist. He has been nominated to be Minister of Employment Social Security & Industrial Relations. He is a graduate of the University of Sierra Leone.


Dr. Moses M. Kapu (A South-Easterner) is nominated to be Minister of Marine Resources. He will be representing the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) making him the 4th Cabinet Minister from the PMDC in the 19-man Koroma Cabinet. Kapu is reported to be currently employed at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and our research on him shows that he has written scientific papers for Universities in Africa (Zaria, Nigeria) and America (Illinois, USA). He seemingly operates a non-taxable NGO in the USA that presents itself as a humanitarian organisation helping post-conflict communities grapple with problems. He comes with high commendations from Sierra Leoneans living in Atlanta. He is reported to hail from Bonthe Island which voted overwhelmingly against their traditional SLPP in the past elections.


Hindolo Sumanguru Trye (A South-Easterner) is nominated to be Minister of Tourism & Cultural Affairs. He came to the limelight as a Students' Leader who led an uprising that almost toppled the APC Government of Siaka Stevens. However, a few months ago, his role in that uprising came under very serious question with a blistering article penned by Tayyib Bah whom it appeared had been the real force behind the origin and sustenance of the students' uprising. In a conversation with Awareness Times following our widespread publication of the article, Trye accepted the veracity of "some" of what Tayyib Bah wrote about him and has promised to handle the issue in greater depth at a future date. However, he remains a living legend as reflected in the fact that when the NPRC military overthrew the last APC Government in April 1992, he was called home from exile in the United States to serve as a Minister in the NPRC's military junta. He was to remain an NPRC minister for almost 4 years until around the time the NPRC military handed power over to the SLPP. Again, following the military overthrow by the AFRC military junta in 1997, he was called in by the military and acted as a Principal Adviser to the AFRC junta. Last year, he declared his support for the APC party he once bitterly opposed, citing that Ernest Koroma's own APC was different from the Siaka Stevens APC he had opposed. He was briefly touted as a possible Running Mate to Koroma but his apparent poor state of physical health and his love for certain substances that enhance the joys of life, shelved that dream. Popularly known as 'Guru', a shortened form of his middle name and a reflection of the legendary 'teacher' and mentor-like figure he is, he was once revered by many of the younger generation of Sierra Leoneans who saw him as a living legend. This respect he commanded is hopefully going to still be around to help him in his new appointment.


Retired Major Palor Conteh (A Northerner) is so far the only nominated Deputy Minister that has been named. He is to be the Deputy Minister of Defence. He is a nephew and former Military Aide to the late former APC President Joseph Saidu Momoh. He used to reside with the Momohs in their Spur Road residence but he reportedly went into exile before the APC was overthrown by the NPRC in April 1992 and has spent a considerable amount of time since then living in the United Kingdom. He is believed to be well trained in supervising the surveillance of activities in various barracks so as to detect levels of dissatisfaction amongst the troops. It was Major (rtd) Palor Conteh who presided over the September 2005 Port Loko Convention of the APC that saw Ernest Koroma re-elected as the APC Leader. Obviously, he enjoys the supreme confidence of President Koroma who is the substantive Minister of Defence.


It is expected that aside Conteh, several other Deputy Ministers are to be named anytime from now including the Resident Ministers for the three Provincial Regions of North, South and East.


The Earlier Ten Cabinet Ministers Nominated Were: Mr. David Omashola Carew(Western Area) to be Minister of Finance & Development, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura(Northerner) to be Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Relations, Lawyer Abdul Serry-Kamal(Northerner) to be Minister of Justice & Attorney General, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo(Northerner) to be Minister of Information & Communication, Alhaji Abubakar Jalloh(Northerner) to be Minister of Mineral Resources, Dr. Soccoh Kabia(Northern Father & Southern Mother) to be Minister of Health, Dr. Sam Sesay(Unknown Origin) to be Minister of Agriculture & Food Security, Alhaji Alpha Kanu(Northerner) to be Minister of Presidential & Public Affairs, Mr. John Saad(Eastern Mother and Lebanese Father) to be Minister of Housing & Infrastructural Development and Benjamin O.N. Davies(Western Area) to be Minister of Lands, Country Planning & Environment.

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