The Speaker of the House of Parliament in Sierra Leone has eulogized the immediate past Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Hon. Justice Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh who is also the very first female Chief Justice, as a “pride of Sierra Leone”. The Hon. Speaker, S.B.B. Dumbuya was speaking as Parliament on the 21st July 2015 unanimously ratified the Nineteenth Report of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, chaired by Hon. Ibrahim Bundu. The approved persons included fifteen presidential nominees to serve in high offices of State, such as High Commissioners to Ghana and Nigeria amongst others. The former Chief Justice will now serve as Her Excellency the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Ghana.
After prayers, Mr. Speaker confessed that he breached protocol by allowing the former Chief Justice, Hon. Umu Tejan Jalloh to resume her seat before him, because she was his “senior” at the Saint Edwards Secondary School at the time she was doing her sixth form. He recounted with fondness, the glorious days of education when “seniority” was highly respected. Mr. Speaker eulogized the former Chief Justice as a distinctive woman who is exceptionally brilliant, the pride of Sierra Leone, and a recipient of so many honours and awards for performance and excellence.
Meanwhile, the following presidential nominees were approved through a collection of voices:
Hon. Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh – Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the Republic of Ghana
Hon. Haja Afsatu Olayinka Ebishola Kabba – Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Ing. Abdulai Aziz Kamara – Director General, SLRA
Ing. Memuna Kumba Jalloh – Deputy Director General, SLRA
Mr. Sheik Sahid Sillah – Board Member, SLRA
Mr. Lansana Dumbuya – Board Chairman, Sierra Leone Maritime Administration
Mr. Mohamed Kaloga Kamara – Board Member, Sierra Leone Maritime Administration
Mr. Daniel Yusuf Kamara – Board Member, SALHOC
Mr. Alie Paul Koroma – Board Member, SALHOC
Mr. Leslie Nicol – Board Member, SALHOC
Madam Fatu Miriam Kanu – Member, Local Government Service Commission
Mr. Christian Palmer – Board Member, SLRTC
Mr. Hindolo Gbow – Board Member, SALPOST
Mr. Eddie Moigua Senesie – Board Member, Sierra Leone Airports Authority and
Mr. Abu B. Barrie – Board Member, Minerals Advisory Board
After the presidential nominees had been procedurally approved by the House, the Hon. Speaker, SBB Dumbuya said that it would be invidious to praise few and leave out the rest of the nominees when they all equally deserve commendation. He praised Lansana Dumbuya as a good lawyer that has the potential of becoming a “legal luminary”, noting that if he pursued his political ambition, he would make a good name in the country.
He described Hon. Haja Afsatu Kabba as a firebrand debater when APC had 27 MPs in Parliament at the time that SLPP had 83 MPs. He admired the “vibrancy of the 27-Member opposition of which he and Afsatu were part and parcel”.
In contributing to the debate prior to the ratification of the presidential nominees, Hon. Komba Koedoyoma said that he had no doubt in his mind that the nominees were more than qualified to serve in high offices of State, because they had performed well in their previous positions. He said that had it not been for age, Umu Tejan Jalloh should have still been serving in the judiciary where she had done well. He said, now that she has been nominated as High Commissioner to Ghana, he advised her to copy the good things in Ghana and replicate in Sierra Leone for the benefit of her people. He furthered that Hon. Afsatu Kabba has been nominated as High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to which her middle names have connections, and admonished her to work closely with legislators from Sierra Leone at ECOWAS, with the view of strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations between Sierra Leone and Nigeria. He called for the improvement of the roads, housing, the local councils, and admonished nominees that “failure is not an option” to their nominations.
Hon. Kombor Kamara described the approval process as “his day” because six of the nominees fall under the purview of the Committee on Works of which he is the Chairman in Parliament. He praised Ing. Kamara and his deputy, for filling 5,000 potholes and overlaying 30 streets across the country. He said that IFAD and the Rural and Private Sector are spending a lot on feeder roads, but the Councils have failed to consult with stakeholders so as to prioritize significant roads in their localities to enhance agricultural activities. He blamed consultants for variation orders that exceeded the original price, which he said could not be eliminated, but can be reduced considerably. He told the House that his Committee has prepared a report on the status of the villas which will be tabled and debated in Parliament. He praised Afsatu Kabba for her intelligence, leadership, and bravery which have been demonstrated over the years.
Hon. Dr. Mrs. Bernadette Lahai, the Minority Leader of the House said that she “understands the feelings and anxiety of MPs” to speak, especially when they have eminent nominees before the House. She thanked President Koroma for nominating eminent men and women to various positions of State, particularly women of whom she said that “if you want something to be said, ask a man, but if you want something to be done better, ask a woman”.
Speaking on Umu Tejan Jalloh and Afsatu Kabba with whom she worked in Parliament, Hon. Lahai said that “men had done well in the two High Commissions, and expect the women to build on that foundation and follow suits”.
She called on the government, the relevant MDAs and Committees in Parliament to provide suitable and befitting sites to Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and others to build their embassies in order to improve diplomatic relations.
On the roads issue, Hon. Lahai also said that the 100 new buses need to ply on good roads, and that good housing facilities lead to high standards of living. She also spoke on the need for debating the report on the SALHOC villas, and utilizing all forms of transportation on land, sea, and air.
The Majority Leader, Hon. Ibrahim Bundu premised his submission on the note that the Minority Leader had spoken on behalf of MPs. He remarked following the statement made by the Minority Leader that “when you want things to be said, ask a man, but if you want things to be done, ask a woman”. He however made humourous reference to a certain female voice that said unpleasant and unprintable words in an audio clip shared on social media.
Hon Bundu said that as Chairman of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service they would do oversight on some of the nominees whose tenure is 3-years to determine performance. He warned them therefore that poor performance may affect the renewal of their tenure.
At the end of the debate, the erudite Hon. Speaker of Parliament, SBB Dumbuya put the question of whether the House approved the nominees and it was unanimously carried by the House.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.