President Bio’s second term and his new disciples (Part 1)

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By Alusine Sesay

President Bio must have learnt from the mistakes he made in his first term. He must have sat down and in his quiet moment decided to right the wrongs. Wisdom!

Having to serve for five more years going forward, he has an ample time to correct the mistakes he made in his first term and unite the country. The President had several opportunities to bring the country together and get a united force, but he missed everything because he was surrounded by erratic and bellicose individuals, who many will argue that, mean no good for the country, but to see a divided nation.

He was surrounded by people who thought they made him and can dictate to him to do whatever they wanted, people who thought they have stronger link with the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and cannot be easily gotten rid of by the president, even if they misbehaved to the highest level.

He must have taken a deep breath and pondered over the calibre of people he should surround himself with in his second term, people who are not hot-headed and people who will guide him to achieving a better, peaceful and cohesive Sierra Leone. The choice of President Bio’s second term cabinet might not be good in the eyes of the hardcore SLPP member, but appears very appealing to critics outside the political web.

Now let’s take a dive and run a diagnosis on President Bio’s new cabinet, starting with the new Chief Minister, Dr. David Sengeh. I must have seen him in some public gatherings, but I have never had a one-on-one encounter with him, unless through phone. I had a telephone conversation with him when he was Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education. I called him to cross check a litany of allegations levied against him by Joseph Sannoh of HEAL Salone, with regards to a World Bank project implemented by the ministry.

Sannoh had in a press conference alleged that Sengeh influenced the hiring of his wife’s relative as the coordinator of the said project. Not like some public officials who will be rude or loud-mouthy while responding to journalists on issues, David Sengeh was very much receptive. He spoke calmly to the issue and provided a precise response, not even castigating the person who had alleged against him. By then, Sannoh was one of the Commissioners at the National Telecommunications Authority. I called the reporter who had covered the press conference and told him that Sannoh will be sacked for his action against a colleague public official. Knowing Sannoh fully, I further told the reporter that Sannoh must have had an interest in the job or might be fighting for someone else. I am not a soothsayer, but Sannoh was sacked the following day the story was published by various newspapers.

Despite his background as an accomplished personality in the field of academia, emerging as one of the best candidates of the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations to be coming a renowned innovator, David Sengeh is an affable personality blessed with ingenuity.

First as Director of the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation to being a minister, David Sengeh’s footprint is unmatched to any of the cabinet ministers in President Bio’s first term. He brought a lot of innovations in the education sector and saved parents a lot of headache. His remarkable achievement in that ministry earned him an international recognition as the World Best Minister. Him being the Chief Minister, with a broader responsibility of supervising all ministries, I believe he can be a very good foot soldier of the president that will ensure he succeeds in making the country a far better place.

David Sengeh is not a traditional politician, but an innovator that will guide ministers to better pathways of development. I believe he is not that politician who believes in enriching himself through ‘na we yone tem dis for chop’, but one that will focus on serving humanity as he did in the ministry of education. Some people will say he is the blue -eyed boy of the president, but he is undoubtedly fit for purpose.

The next in this analysis is the new Sate House Press Secretary, Solomon Jamiru. Jamiru is a household name in Sierra Leone, one of the students who made indelible marks at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He was President of the FBC Students’ Union and his leadership style remains enviable and unmatched. As a students’ union president, he was able to strengthen students’ unionism. Most, including one of my brothers, who were studying during his regime at FBC, admired him and will always tell you good things about him. He is blessed with all the good things that culminate to a better human character, including academic intelligence, public speaking ability, humility and a very good human relationship. He has an approachable body language that makes him more affable.

Personally, I had an encounter with him at the Ministry of Information and Communications weekly press briefing while he was Deputy Minister of Information. By then, he was in charge of the process, but the press briefing which was supposed to start at 1Pm started at about 1:30pm. As usual in the Sierra Leonean instinct, he apologized for starting late. So, during question time, I reminded him about the premium the president laid on respect for time and expressed hope that the lateness will not be repeated again. He again apologized and promised not to start late any longer, and I was the late comer in the next press briefing.

Even though I didn’t apologise, but I was ashamed of myself being late. Since then, I held him to high esteem as a leader who listens and ready to correct mistakes. His being close to the presidency will add value to the office in terms of addressing public concerns like the August 10 protest. In his second week in office, he has set the ball rolling. He has initiated a very cordial relationship with the media, which many has described as a novelty.

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