June 25, 2018
By Abu-bakarr Sheriff
There is a new man at the helm of affairs at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) – the moribund public broadcaster. He is Joseph Egbenda Simon Kapuwa, a professional journalist/broadcaster and Barrister and Solicitor of the Superior Court of Judicature in Sierra Leone.
Prior to his appointment as Director General of SLBC by President Julius Maada Bio and overwhelming approval by Parliament, Kapuwa was a respected Senior Associate at the top-notch BMT Law Chambers in Sierra Leone. He was called to the Sierra Leonean Bar in 2012 by the Council of Legal Education in Sierra Leone, having bagged a Second Class Second Division Utter Barrister certificate and scooped the top prize in Civil Procedure at the Sierra Leone Law School.
He is a quintessential broadcast journalist with close to two decades of practical and managerial experience in his bosom. He served the then Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) as News Editor from 2000 to 2006. Hitherto, for more than four years, he worked at the Public Information Section of the various UN Missions in Sierra Leone – United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone and United Nations Integrated Peace-building Mission in Sierra Leone – where he served as Sierra Leone’s first National Professional Officer (NPO) and Head of News. He had also served as Head of News and Current Affairs at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) and led by example in the areas of news gathering and reporting. He was also prior to his appointment as Director General Head of the Legal Directorate.
Kapuwa is a well trained and highly qualified political scientist, communicator and legal luminary with a plethora of academic and professional qualifications: Second Class First Division in Political Science, Master’s degree in Mass Communication, Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons.), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communications – all from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He is also recipient of several prestigious certificates in various professional studies/trainings at local and international levels, some accompanied by distinguished awards.
An astute broadcaster-cum-lawyer, he uses his over 18 years experience in broadcast journalism to mesmerise his listeners and viewers with his unique baritone voice that keeps even an inattentive listener and viewer spellbound and glued to radio and television.
Apart from being a seasoned broadcaster and accomplished lawyer, he also imparts knowledge as a Lecturer of Media Law at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He has served as Resource Person and Legal Adviser on Media Law to several groups and institutions. In addition, he is a writer and researcher, having co-authored the International Comparative Legal Guide to Construction and Engineering Law 2015 – Sierra Leone and the State of the Media, published by the Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG). He is adept at handling complex legal issues with precision and clarity, efficiency and effectiveness and has outstanding planning capability. He is pragmatic and organised even under stressful conditions, with an ability to work individually and with a team.
He has etched an enviable name and reputation for himself both in journalism and law; his colleagues at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists regard him in very high esteem and rely on his lucid but brilliant exposes of complex legal, ethical and professional issues. His colleagues at the Bar hold him in no mean repute, which feat he has cemented barely six years at a leading Law Firm in Sierra Leone. Yet, despite his relatively young years at the Bar, the young advocate has appeared in all the strata of the judiciary hierarchy, including the Supreme Court, where he was one of counsel representing the National Electoral Council in multiple cases brought by various litigants during and after the 2018 multitier elections.
His myriad qualifications and experience garnered over the years put him in a better position to revamp the public broadcaster and place it in the right trajectory, as it had veered off course over the past years. Though a daunting task, it is a feat many, including lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, are confident he will surmount as he has demonstrated a knack of leadership and tenacity to produce tangible results.
Kapuwa is a royal prince, having hailed from one of the chieftaincy houses in Nongowa Chiefdom in Kenema District, Eastern Sierra Leone – Mattoe-Kapuwa Ruling House. He is a devout Roman Catholic and defender of the faith – being a distinguished member of the inimitable Knight of Saint John International. He is a regular church-goer and lay reader. He is married and has three children.
He is an alumnus of the Government Secondary School, Kenema and Bo Government Secondary School (The Bo School) – a school built in the colonial era to educate and prepare sons and nominees of chiefs for future leadership position.
Despite his hectic professional commitment round-the-clock, he finds time to visit the gym regularly as an avid bodybuilder and goes jogging often. He lives a healthy life style as a teetotal and non-smoker. He is a passionate Manchester United supporter.