OCTOBER 2, 2014 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Director of Communications in the Office of the President at State House is expected to tender his letter of resignation to President Ernest Bai Koroma today.
The resignation of Unisa Sesay comes as a result of his approval by Parliament as Executive Chairperson of the Right to Access Information Commission of Sierra Leone.
Sesay has been an outstanding communications officer at State House during the presidency of President Ernest Bai Koroma. A veteran journalist and communications expert, he has spent time and effort trying to improve the State House Communications Unit to professional standard.
Meanwhile, competent sources within State House informed Concord Times that Sesay was being faced with a lot of challenges while serving as head of the Communications Unit.
Reports have it that Sesay was first of all sent on leave before his approval by Parliament, and has now been urged to tender his resignation so another “competent Sierra Leonean” can take up the responsibility.
“He took everything all by himself just because he wanted to be praised by the president; we are happy that he is leaving the office so that we can now work as a unified force,” one disgruntled State House staffer explained.
However, some experts in the information sector have opined that Sesay and his colleagues would find the new assignment daunting, especially when government has not fully established the Right to Access Information Commission.
In a brief interview, Sesay confirmed he was planning to tender his letter of resignation but could not state the exact date.
“The process is ongoing but I think the new appointment requires collective responsibility because our role is to serve the nation. In fact we have held our first meeting as commissioners and I noticed that all of them are determined to work in the interest of Sierra Leone,” he said.
The Right to Access Information Act establishes the right to access information by citizens, and requires all organs of government to adopt and widely disseminate a plan for making records available to the public.
The legislation also imposes a penalty for willful obstruction of its provisions.
The law was first proposed in 2003 but languished in Parliament since 2010. The new law now provides a legal right to all Sierra Leonean citizens and corporate institutions to access any information held by a public body as well as information held by private organizations when such information is necessary for the enforcement of rights.
Classified information, especially of security and defence nature, and not in the general public interest or covered by legal instruments, are exempt from unlimited access.