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NEWS : Politics  

Over Ďdemotioní of MinisterÖ Confusion rocks APC
By Our Correspondents
Nov 22, 2010, 12:24
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The Ernest Bai Koroma led government of the All Peopleís Congress (APC) party is currently in a state of confusion over an appointment made by His Excellency that has tended to breed misunderstanding, the Awareness Times has learnt.


What has emerged is that Minister Joseph Koroma is not in tune with the President for what the former sees as a demotion to be moved from the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry to serve as an Ambassador to the Peopleís Republic of China.


Whilst the Office of the President is insisting on the clear pronouncement that the political head of the Fisheries and Marine Ministry is being relieved of his duty to take up another appointment, Joseph Koroma has made no secret of his vehemence in showing disdain.


The embittered minister is quoted by the press that he has no knowledge of such a proposed move by the President.


The purported statement by Joseph Koroma, which is contrary to that emanating from the Office of the President, is a clear indication that the APC government is plagued with confusion and power struggle. The news of the appointment of Joseph Koroma to represent Sierra Leone in China was first broadcast on national television on Wednesday 17th¬†November, 2010. Following that broadcast, media analysts, political commentators and civil society activists gave various coinages to the meaning, describing the appointment as Ďsackí or Ďdemotion.í¬† It was in condemnation of the demeaning references to the appointment that the Office of the President had cause to issue out, on Thursday 18th¬†instant, a press release.¬†


To many therefore, the outburst of the minister came as a shock, especially when it came in the wake of assertions from both the Office of the President and the Ministry of Information and Communication that he had already duly been informed.¬† This assertion was also echoed by the Director of Communications in the Office of the President, Unisa Sesay who confirmed the transfer, saying the message had already been relayed to the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone during a recent official visit to State House. ďThe President did not only inform the Chinese Ambassador that he was going to appoint a new Ambassador to China, but he specifically name Joseph Koroma the current Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources for that position,Ē Sesay confirmed.


Commenting also on the appointment, the Information and Communication Minister, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said among other things that Joseph Koroma was appointed as Ambassador because in his words Ďhe is best at being a diplomat than being a politician.í


Also to add to the confirmation of the minister being knowledgeable of the appointment is Allieu Kamara, the Coordinator of Attitudinal and Behavioural Change Secretariat in the Office of the President who earlier insisted on the national television that the President had informed Joseph Koroma of the new appointment even prior to the announcement.


What is therefore difficult to comprehend or grasp is the fact that in spite the several official pronouncements, the minister is feigning ignorance.¬† As reported in a local tabloid, Mr. Koroma was quoted as saying that ďAs I am talking to you right now, I am sitting in my office. I have not received any letter or notification to the effect. I only heard it on SLBC news since 9:00pm on Wednesday.Ē This has left many Sierra Leoneans pondering whether the centre is holding within the rank of the APC, and by extension the government headed by Ernest Koroma. Several others even speculate that the President has fallen out with some of his close confidantes with Joseph Koroma being the latest. A political analyst observed that something was amiss.¬† According to him the fact that the Office of the President never issued out a press release in relation to the new appointment as protocol demands but instead made verbal pronouncement leaving the job in the hands of the media and civil society, hence giving government the opportunity to now tell the world that the minister has indeed been given another appointed smacks of suspicion.


If in any case Joseph Koromaís assertions are anything to go by, then it speaks volumes of the poor governance structure on which the APC operates as a government.


Political commentators have described the outburst of Joseph Koroma as Ďunfortunateí and a Ďdeliberate ploy to disgrace the APC government, because he considers the approach used by the government to transfer him to China as Ďunacceptableí.


Whether Joseph Koroma will take up the new appointment or not is still being widely debated.


Meanwhile, a close confidante of the minister over the weekend told the Awareness Times that Joseph Koroma was still weighing the possibilities of accepting or turning down the appointment.

A petty trader at Abacha Street, Mabinty Bangura, who is known to be a strong supporter of the former Minister of Fisheries, Haja Afsatu Kabba, over the weekend, majestically walked into the Awareness Times offices to make public what she termed as an interpretation of the issue under review.


ďPlease use your Awareness Times Newspaper to tell President Koroma and Joseph Koroma that what they did to Afsatu Kabba is an unforgivable sin,Ē she pointed out, adding: ďAll that is presently happening is just the smoke the fire is yet to comeĒ.


Her comments were based on the fact that Joseph Koroma never acknowledged the giant strides made by his predecessor, Afsatu Kabba, in raising an unprecedented revenue for the government in that ministry, but was rather comfortable to use denigrating words like Ďcorruptioní and Ďscandalsí to describe what he inherited in that ministry.


ďWoman sweh bad pass all sweh nar the world en Joseph Koroma nor see nartin yet,Ē Mabinty said in the local Krio parlance, meaning: ďSins committed against women are the most grave sins to be committed in the world and Joseph Koroma is yet to feel the pinch of sins committed against AfsatuĒ.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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