As APC scribe plays double role, no High Commissioner in Nigeria
February 27, 2015 By Alusine Sesay & Patrick J. Kamara
Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Andrew Bangali, has confirmed to newsmen at the weekly press briefing of the Ministry of Information and Communications that Sierra Leone maintains a cordial relationship with both Ghana and Nigeria, despite the seeming diplomatic faux pas arising from its failure to replace the current ruling party Secretary General, Osman Foday Yansaneh, and Minister of Energy, Henry Macaulay as High Commissioners to Ghana and Nigeria, respectively.
High Commissioner Yansaneh has abandoned his diplomatic posting in Accra since he was elected secretary general of the ruling APC, while the post of High Commissioner to Nigeria has remained vacant since Mr. Macaulay was appointed to cabinet.
But according to Bangali, who until recently served as Sierra Leone’s top diplomat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Yansaneh continues to combine both his diplomatic role in Ghana and party functions in Sierra Leone.
“Mr. Yansaneh always travels to Ghana whenever there is an important diplomatic function to perform. He is the substantive High Commissioner and I don’t have the power to replace him; only the President can determine such diplomatic arrangement,” said Ambassador Bangali.
When Concord Times raised the issue with the APC scribe last year, he shrugged off the idea that he was doing a disservice to the country by being an absentee diplomat while he still pockets his salary and emoluments that the position offers.
As for the Nigeria situation, Ambassador Bangali said the Deputy High Commissioner Major Alfred Claude Nelson Williams is acting as the High Commissioner in the absence of his former boss, who now serves as Minister of Energy.
“The Deputy High Commissioner is acting in the capacity of High Commissioner to Nigeria. He is representing Sierra Leone and always leads Nigerian delegation to the country,” he said.
Both Ghana and Nigeria have their high commissioners in Freetown and are key allies of Sierra Leone within the ECOWAS sub-region.
The absence of our top diplomats in both countries comes as a puzzle to many, and the fact that government sheds very little light on the issue, described as “a diplomat faux pas” by a West African diplomat, is even more baffling.