From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, President Koroma & Ministers Dodge The Press
By Aruna Turay
Sep 20, 2010, 12:12

Journalists who were at the Miatta Conference Hall on Friday 17th¬†September, 2010 to attend a much trumpeted, specially summoned APC Government press conference to mark the APCís three years of governance in Sierra Leone were met with frustration and utter chagrin when the President, H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and his Five Priority Ministers boycotted their very own, well-planned press conference.


The President and his five 'Priority Ministers' were scheduled to face the press to give account of their stewardship over the past three years since they took over the governance of the country, and to answer live questions posed to them in that respect. It was scheduled to be broadcast live on SLBC-TV and Radio and had been given much publicity by Information Minister and Government Spokesman Alhaji I,B, Kargbo during earlier Press Briefings.

 

However, things did not materialize as expected.


The press conference was earlier explained by the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo to be part of the three-year celebrations, and journalists had arrived at the conference hall in their huge, huge, numbers to pose questions to a man who largely shies away from interactive media sessions, H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

 

The Ministers expected included those of Agriculture, Health and Sanitation, Works and Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources and Education whilst the Press Conference was slated to start at 4pm.

 

The press conference which was announced to start at 4pm did not kick off until 6pm. No explanation was given for the delay or for the conspicuous absence of the President and his Ministers.


However, only Minister Kargbo was in attendance commencing the Press Meet two hours late at 6pm after having spent the prior two hours up and down the corridors of his Ministry, making frantic phone calls to person or persons unknown to journalists who observed the action in bemusement.

 

Sometime after 6pm, Minister Kargbo was joined by the Minister of Energy and Power. There were no Deputy Ministers and no Permanent Secretaries.


The Energy Minister upon his late arrival managed to outline to journalists what he said were his sector's achievements and as usual, the Bumbuna Hydro Electric Power project was on top of his achievement list.


Minister Kargbo distributed to amused journalists what he said were "Report Cards" of the five 'Priority Ministries' over the period under review. No questions were allowed to be asked on the "Report Cards" since the Minister said most of the substantive Ministers were not available to respond.

 

The general assumption among pressmen at the end of the day was that, scores on the report cards for the respective priority ministries may have been made up and the ministers were in no mood to face embarrassing questions over what may have been cooked up, for which they all cleverly decided to stay put in their various locations and leave the Press Conference to be properly labelled as a Mumu Press Conference.



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