November 29, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Lawmakers yesterday unanimously approved erstwhile Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Mustapha Sesay, and five other presidential nominees to serve in various ministries, departments and agencies.
Mr. Sesay, who had served SLAJ from 2008-2010 and was Communication Officer at the United Nations Population Fund from 2015 to 2016, was given the nod to serve as Ex-Officio Member of the Independent Media Commission (IMC).
The other nominees that were also approved include Dr. David Cobna Bertin as Board Member of Bank of Sierra Leone; Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma and Col. (Rtd.) Edmond Nathaniel Taylor as Board Members at National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Advisory Council; Ing. Festus Oba Jones as Board Member Guma Valley Water Company; and Leslie R. Thomas as Board Member Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulation Commission.
Whilst reacting to questions on the independence of the commission, Mr. Sesay said the commission’s independence is provided for in its constitutive Act.
He noted that the main Journalists body and other media houses are working to ensure that the commission operates independently, devoid of external controls in the exercise of its official functions.
On the issue of alleged excesses of the media, he said he would be most interested in ensuring that journalists practise freely within the limits of the law.
“The issues of underpaying journalists and failure of media houses to renew their annual licenses are excesses that cannot be tolerated. I have recommended to the IMC to strengthen its monitoring capacity so as to ensure that punitive measures are taken against defaulters,” he said.
Speaking to journalists outside the Well of Parliament, Commissioner Sesay promised to work within the IMC Act and with other Commissioners for the success of the commission.
He commended SLAJ for nominating competent individuals to serve at the IMC and expressed gratitude to the former for bestowing confidence in him to represent them.
Hon. Bashiru Silikie of the SLPP cautioned that IMC commissioners should remain independent and not seen parading or wearing political party T-shirts during campaign periods.
On his part, Dr. Owizz Koroma, the sole qualified forensic pathologist in the country, assured lawmakers he would proffer solutions to drugs proliferation.
“I’m very much au fait with the situation. I do all the autopsies on deaths resulting from drug abuse. I know the networks from Susan’s Bay to Calaba Town, including all the Drug Lords and Cartels. If we can tighten-up our porous borders and bring to book drug smugglers and traders in the country, it will either stem-out or limit the intake of drugs by our youth” he assured lawmaker.
He said it was a national duty for all Sierra Leoneans to ensure the successful implementation of the Act by either reporting or prosecuting anyone caught smuggling, trading and illegally using drugs to the appropriate authorities.