From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

FEATURES
Meet Sierra Leone’s New Chief Of Staff
By Sorie Sudan Sesay, London
Jul 8, 2010, 18:20

For the first time in Sierra Leone, the position of Chief of Staff is being established and the man just being appointed in that enviable new office is also new to the centre of decision-making. But from his background and experience in addition to the enduring spirit, resilience and passion with which he works will make a difference.


Kaifala Marah’s appointment as Chief of Staff in the Office of the President at State House means the abolition of the Ministry of Presidential and Public Affairs, according to a press release from State House, is a strategic move by the leadership.


The release also confirms that Marah “will among other functions ensure execution of the President’s Agenda for Change by providing the necessary collaborative links and support for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to meet their various targets.”

DR. KAIFALA MARAH


In London, where he worked as Adviser Public Expenditure Management at the Commonwealth, Marah described his appointment:

“It is a humbling opportunity to serve my country and I am thankful to President Koroma and the Commonwealth Secretariat for providing this unique window of opportunity to be able to play my part in nation-building. I have learnt that no one can know it all, do it all or do it alone – so, I will be relying mostly on those on the ground – together we can all make a difference”.


Meanwhile, there have been positive responses both within Sierra Leone and the international community following the appointment and many have commended the President for what they described as ‘an appropriate and timely action.’


Marah has made great strides in the Commonwealth and his blueprint includes series of in-country exchanges, the provision of technical advice and capacity building under the project, Building Pyramids in the Valleys, through which the Secretariat transfers skills and enhances knowledge sharing within Commonwealth countries. This is executed through a community of practitioners known as Thematic Fellows who have been leading country reform programmes. Marah has also introduced the Commonwealth Public Procurement Network (CPPN) – a forum of heads of procurement regulatory bodies and central boards within the Commonwealth.


Marah’s untiring efforts in assisting Commonwealth countries spans all regions: Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and the Pacific; for example, Botswana, which is the shining reference for good governance and economic recovery on the African continent, is at current receiving technical assistance from the Sierra Leonean, to enhance risk management and internal audit in the whole of government.


He once said at his graduation ceremony (PhD), “Yes, we may be a small post-conflict country busy with consolidating our democracy and rebuilding our economy, but we do have some good stuff to offer to the rest of the world.”


“Honestly, there is no better way of rebuilding our country-image after being battered by the western media because of the civil conflict than through the difference our compatriots are making in every corner of the world. They have been busy reinventing our image. Indeed we have got something to offer, and it must be celebrated,” he said.


Marah has also recently developed a government self-assessment toolkit on financial management for member countries. He is also a public sector expert in change management, strategic thinking, local government administration, as well as legislative development.


He is responsible for operationalising the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mandate on public expenditure management through the provision of advisory services, training and policy development.


Before joining the Commonwealth Secretariat, Marah worked as a Budget Analyst at the State Senate of New York and as a Graduate Fellow at the Centre for International Development in New York.


Whilst working out of Sierra Leone, Kaifala Marah has not forgotten his root, as he has made tremendous contribution towards the socio-economic development in Sierra Leone.


He single-handedly sponsored the rehabilitation of the Kabala-Koinadugu road in 2009 – which was abandoned since the 1960s - in collaboration with the youths and local authorities.


In Sierra Leone, he worked as Deputy Town Clerk in the Koidu/New Sembehun Town Council. But what many people will recall about this remarkable and unassuming young man, especially those in Kono District is the leadership he demonstrated as National President of the Kono Students Union (KONSU) during the civil conflict.


Marah then led a relief campaign for thousands of displaced persons at Ngo town, Masingbi, Ndogboe, and surrounding villages – a unique experience that still lingers in the minds of many of his contemporaries.



© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.