The newly approved nominee for the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Ladyship the Honourable Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh will be formally sworn in at 10:30am today Friday, December 12th 2008 by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House.
Our President: Has Made another Historical Appointment. Bravo Sir!
Contrary to our yesterday’s publication which erroneously cited her as the second African woman to be appointed Chief Justice, we have now been informed that although Justice Tejan Jalloh is the very first Sierra Leonean woman to hold that lofty and sacred position, she is actually the third woman in Africa to be appointed as her country’s Chief Justice; the first was the current Rwandan Chief Justice Aloysia Cyanzaire who assumed office in 2003 whilst Ghana’s Chief Justice Georgina Wood assumed office last year.
The New Lady Chief Justice of the Republic
Justice Tejan Jalloh herself is a sedate, calm but very disciplined Judge who started her meritorious career as an ordinary State Counsel in 1975, rose through the ranks with an unblemished record to eventually be appointed to act as Chief Justice in January this year. She comported herself so admirably and enviably during the last ten months as acting Chief Justice that at Parliament last Wednesday, Speaker after Speaker from both the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the Minority poured ceaseless accolades on her as they speedily approved her nomination.
|Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh
The acting Majority Leader and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Hon. S.B.B. Dumbuya of the APC, recounted how at the Saint Edwards School, Justice Tejan Jalloh was his senior who inspired awe in many junior students with her academic brilliance. According to Hon. Dumbuya, Hon. Tejan Jalloh was such an exemplary and brilliant student, many younger students looked up to her and would ‘regularly bow when she passed by’. He then created some humour in Parliament by saying even though he was no longer a school boy, he would always continue to bow to her.
"Even if she was not a Chief Justice, I would still continue to admire and respect her," he ended to loud sounds of approvals from all the aisles of Parliament.
Before doing her Sixth Form studies at the St. Edwards, Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh completed Form 1 to Form 5 of her Secondary Schooling at the Harford Secondary School for Girls in Moyamba. According to the Hon. Paramount Chief representing Moyamba District in Parliament, the choice of sending Justice Tejan Jalloh to do her secondary schooling at Harford, was "a wise one" as it has now resulted in Moyamba laying proud claim to being the district that helped groom the first female Chief Justice of Sierra Leone. He also revealed that she exhibited an exceptional performance in her academic pursuits back then.
Due to her brilliance in school, Justice Tejan Jalloh won a scholarship to travel out for further studies in both the United States of America and the United Kingdom. In the latter country, she proceeded to study Law, and was called to the Bar upon which she returned to serve her country as State Counsel in 1975.
Justice Tejan Jalloh hails from one of the most prominent families in Sierra Leone. Her late mother was the President of the National Fullah Women’s Association for 26 years, whilst her late father acted as Deputy Mayor and Alderman for the City of Freetown. Her roots are in Cline Town, Eastern Freetown and Kabala in the Koinadugu District.
Her final ascendancy to the position of Chief Justice with her swearing in by the President at State House this morning has already been warmly welcomed by many of the country’s top women and women groupings.
As Honourable Bintu Myers from Bo District put it in an exclusive short interview with this press, Justice Tejan Jalloh becoming Chief Justice in Sierra Leone, should surely be another source of inspiration for many young Sierra Leonean girls who live in a country where there is a lack of positive role models.
Awareness Times extends sincere congratulations to the new Chief Justice of Sierra Leone as she gets sworn in this morning by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.