MPs demand review, enforcement of land policies
May 28, 2018 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of the Appointment and Public Service Committee last Thursday unanimously approved Dr. Alie Kabba as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Bayuku Konteh as Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Denis Sandy as Minister of Lands, Minister of States and other deputy ministers to serve in different ministries.
Members called on the newly approved Minister of Lands, Housing and the Environment to review and enforce the country’s land policies.
The entire House met for an ordinary session in order to vote on the recommendation submitted by the Chairman of the Appointment and the Public Service Committee, Hon. Mohamed Sidie Tunis.
Deputy Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, said the new Minister of Lands, Housing and the Environment was not a novice to land issues, thus the need to improve on the enforcement of land policies.
Addressing his colleagues in the Well of Parliament, Hon. Kargbo noted that the previous government dealt with several land cases, adding that land should be available to every Sierra Leonean and not just sold to the wrong people.
“I know Dr. Sandy during the last government and we had sat together in cabinet and I know him to do better. We used to call upon him whenever land issues were raised. I want to appeal that after so many years of settling land disputes, the issue still remain. I hope that this time around, it will be solved. We don’t want to have wrong people there who only go and sell lands to the wrong people,” he said.
Hon. Kargbo added that it was high time law makers came up with motions that would help address land cases as without land proper development would be farfetched.
Similarly, he encouraged the deputy tourism minster to work in consonance with his boss in ensuring that they boost tourism, which in turn would bolster development in the country.
“The former Minister of Tourism (Sidie Tunis) left huge sum of billions of Leones. I do hope that it will be utilised properly for its purpose. It is not enough to appoint ministers, but we want those that could have ideas and those that could bring internal ideas to that ministry. We want to see when we go to Matru, Koinadugu, Kailahun etc., good and unique tourist points. The tourism ministry makes lot of monies, therefore a lot of effort must be accorded to them,” he emphasised.
Parliamentary leader of the Coalition for Change (C4C), Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, said the 26 nominees are all qualified for the positions they were nominated for, but urged that they work in the interest of the country and its people.
He said they should make sure that they represent the nation and not their political parties.
He urged the minister of lands to enforce land agreements in order to avoid the growing number of land dispute.
Hon. Lamina also called on the Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources, Madam Evelyn Daphine Blackie, to work with her minister protect the country’s minerals adding that the Mines and Minerals Act is obsolete.
He added that there might also be a situation of conflict between Mining Agreements and the Local Government Act.
“I hope you will work with the NMA [National Mineral Agency] in order to put proper mechanisms in place for the repealing of the Mining Act. We hope you will bring it here to us for enactment,” he said.
Hon. Hassan A. Sesay of the APC also remarked that Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Philip T. Tondoneh, has proven to be able and willing to work across party lines while serving as SLPP lawmaker.
He called on the lands minister to address land issues which the country has been grappling with for decades.
“The land tenure system has been obsolete and we cannot implement laws that are over 50 years old. The population is growing faster every day; therefore the lands will not be enough for them. We want you to overhaul the land policy and make it a better one,” he said.
The other endorsed nominees include Rex Bonarpha – Deputy Minister of Lands, Turad Senesie – Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Hon. Philip T. Tondoneh – Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Anthony Augustine Sandi – Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sadiq Sillah – Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Lawrence Lahai Leema – Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Francess Piagie Alghali – Minister of State Vice President’s Office, Lawyer Abdulai M. Bangura – Deputy Minister of Justice, Solomon A. J. Jamiru – Deputy Minister Information and Communication, Nematulai Bah-Chang – Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Chakanda – Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Rev. Abraham Jones – Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Eldred Tunde Taylor – Deputy Minister of Energy, Sam King Brima – Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Evelyn Daphine Blackie–Deputy Minister Mines and Mineral Resources, Emily Kadiatu Gogra –Deputy Minister Primary and Secondary Education, Lusanie Kallon-Deputy Minister Youth Affairs, Amara Kallon-Deputy Minister Political Affairs, William K. Robinson –Deputy Minister Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Melrose Kargbo – Deputy Minister Works and Public Asset, Edward Hinga Sandy –Deputy Minister Water Resources, Kai Lawrence Mbayo, Deputy Minister of Sports, and Lansana M. Dumbuya – proposed Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security.