On Friday December 4, 2010, I was in Los Angeles some 450 miles from my base in Oakland California attending the funeral of a very dear friend and brother Mr. Donald Georgestone aka “Georgie”. On my way back while comfortably reclining in the passenger’s seat of the car, I opted to search my email and to my amazement saw a post by Kabbs-Kanu, with regards to the cabinet reshuffle and the appointment of JB Dauda as Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and was so angry at my President for this appointment that I saw the need to immediately call Kabbs kanu at 3 am East Coast time (My apologies) to ask him if this was true. Upon confirmation that this was true, I proceeded to vent my frustrations on this appointment and the seeming “Peter Principle” That prevails within the ranks of the cabinet and, ah yes, the term “Reshuffle” is so appropriate in this regard.
First let me tell my President why I am disappointed in the appointment of JB Dauda as the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone. Simply, he is SLPP and in my opinion he is incapable of properly representing the interests of the APC to the world.
Mr. President, when those of us in the diaspora campaigned for your presidency, it was with the understanding that you will bring change to Sierra Leone. Our understanding of that change is that you would infuse new blood into the governance of the republic, in terms of appointing more youthful people into positions of trust and governance.
JB Dauda was APC when it was convenient for him to be so. While he was APC he was allegedly involved or was rumored to have been involved in numerous acts of violence within the environs of the Kenema area all in the name of the APC. Immediately the APC was overthrown by the NPRC and prior to the subsequent blood bath where the NPRC murdered many members of our party, he was one of the first south easterners to openly repudiate the APC as a violent political entity, a history and reputation that he contributed to.
Mr. President, your appointment of JB Dauda sends a message clear as daylight to those of us who support the APC and have done so unwaveringly, that you have no regard for our skills and are not even looking at possible recruitment of many of us in the Diaspora. We had hoped that being the first President that was smart and astute enough to open an office of the Diaspora within the confines of State House, that you would at least be amenable to vetting the many accomplished young men and women in the Diaspora, who have the education and experience in helping you put together your governance paradigm. Sadly, it is turning out that out that our hopes and dreams in the Diaspora will be one big disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong I speak not for my self, because I have been working as a lawyer and living comfortably for the past 16 years. I am not sure that you have a pay scale that would comfortably accommodate me; however there are many others like me who have been ardent supporters of the APC and should have been given a chance at some leadership roles in the country under your government. The appointment of James Bandabla Dauda will not placate the south eastern voting bloc who will never be satisfied with what ever you give to them just because you are APC. Siaka Probyn Stevens the founding father of our party was from the south east and although he brought in many south easterners he still could not satisfy the south eastern voting bloc which continues to vote en masse for the SLPP which is the party of their choice. As a matter of fact there are many circles within the SLPP where the name of Siaka Stevens is NOT allowed to be spoken of in positive terms.
In fact there was a move by some members of the Albert Academy old boys association to have his name deleted from the roll call of eminent Academicians and guess who the proponents of these off the wall motives are? Yep, Mr. President you guessed right. Presently one of your most ardent and vociferous critics is an octogenarian former APC Vice President, former Foreign Minister, former finance Minister Sama Banya. After everything that the APC did for him as a politician he still remains to this day an ardent anti APC establishment person and still writes the most dangerous divisive criticisms of your leadership. JB Dauda is no different and as far as I am concerned you just might as well have appointed Sama Banya as Foreign Minister.
If on the other hand, your motive in appointing JB Dauda as a member of your cabinet is to placate the south east into believing that you are infact including them in your government, then I am sure that there are many south easterners who have been SOLID supporters of the APC, who are educated and have the experience of leadership who could at least be given a chance in your government.
Not a washed up politician like JB dauda whose Anti APC bona fides are starkly clear for all to see and who will not properly represent the foreign policy of the APC.
Here’s what you will expect Mr. President with this appointment: There will be very frequent leaks to anti APC news papers (You know them) about what your government is doing and there will be no state secrets because your Government’s Ministry of foreign Affairs is about to be UNDERMINED and BETRAYED for the benefit of the SLPP electioneering campaign.
The elections in 2007 which saw your rise to the leadership role in Sierra Leone was won by the APC and you must at least give the APC a chance to lead. At the end of the day you will be judged not by who you appointed to office, rather you will be judged by what you did while you are in office. So far your report card comments Mr. President are moving from the “Excellent” comments that you had had to “Needs Improvement.”
Mr. President, your appointment of JB Dauda is a slap on our collective faces and if no one wants to say this to you publicly, Please let me do. I say this not to disrespect you or your leadership, which I still believe in, but I say this to highlight the point that there must be something that people who have been loyal to this party and its ideals must benefit from its governance, and the chance of honing their leadership skills is one of those benefits.
ON THE CABINET RESHUFFLE
Mr. President, I wanted to see a report card about what these Ministers have done in the departments that they were in prior to their assignment to other Ministries. It seems to me that if a Minister is doing well in his present capacity, that there should be no reason to remove him/her from office. To wit: Palor Conteh and IB Kargbo have still maintained their positions after the reshuffle.
Why were the others removed from the Ministries that they served in? Were they removed from the ministries because of incompetence or non productivity or some other negative ? If so, why then are they being assigned to other ministries? Are we seeing the “Peter Principle” at work here? Is your cabinet one great game of Musical Chairs, where the same people are being sent to different ministries despite their lackluster performance in other ministries? Are we placing square pegs in round holes? It’s time for a change Mr. President. Being an appointed member of the cabinet is a management position and if one fails to succeed at one what makes you think they would at the other?
Mr. President, my comments above are not intended to disrespect you but rather to convey to you that many of us in the Diaspora are disappointed at the way our government under your leadership is operating. We are disappointed in your appointments as Ministers. We are disappointed in your appointment of some members of the diplomatic corps. We are disappointed in the failure of your government to discipline those within its ranks who go out of their way to portray your government in a negative light. We are disappointed in the failure of your government to properly communicate with the world on the issue of ALLEGED violence from some of our supporters to wit; the alleged Kono Incident.
I am M. Alieu Iscandari Esq (BORN APC, WILL DIE APC).
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.