JT Lebbie:MTHE exerting enormous powers to silence the University

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Jame Tamba Lebbie

By Ishmael Dumbuya

As the University of Sierra Leone (USL) saga continues, Public Relations for the dissolved University Court, James Tamba Lebbie, has claimed  that the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education(MTHE)  is exerting enormous powers beyond its control in order to stifle and silence the university. 

Lebbie was hosted on the Radio Democracy 98.1 ‘Gud Morning Salone’ program,  where he further claimed that, the ministry tends to use the university as a unit within the ministry, thereby undermining the functions and operations of USL.

He noted that the decision by the ministry to dissolve the university court is illegal and unconstitutional, and one that compromises the operations and integrity of the university.

The University of Sierra Leone had been brewed into controversy over the appointment of a Pro-Chancellor after the Chancellor of the said university was appointed in another capacity by President Maada Bio.

The Ministry,some weeks ago, dissolved the University Court after the latter stood against the decision of the ministry to appoint a Pro-Chancellor.

The Ministry had argued that they took a decision which the University Court failed to take after a vacuum was created with the appointment of Professor Foday Sahr to head the Public Health Agency, a recently created institution. The decision to appoint a Pro-Chancellor, according to the ministry, was taken after a consultation with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

Last week, James Tamba Lebbie told this medium that, his contract with the university as the Director of Public Relations was terminated because they wanted to silence him on the media.

Couple of weeks ago, he was on radio challenging the ministry for appointing a Pro-Chancellor as against the University Court which has the ultimate powers to do so as per law.

On the 16th January, the highest administrative decision-making body, upheld and maintained its decision that it had officially approved and ratified Prof. Mohamed Samai, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS) as Pro Vice-Chancellor in compliance with the provisions contained in Sections 8 and 9 of the Universities Act, 2021.

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