By Moses Lamin Kamara
As the constitution of the Union demands, the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union, SLTU, has elected Mr. Mohamed Sallue Bangura, Principal of Sierra Leone Muslim Congress Senior Secondary, as president for the next four years. His presidency was affirmed at the Union’s 5th National Quadrennial Delegate Conference (NQDC) at the British Council Auditorium on 18 April 2014, after defeating Mr. Joseph A.S. Wandoh by eight votes.
Declaring the presidential result, Chief Returning Officer, Mr. Morris Conteh, said that “out of one hundred and twenty-six delegates that are entitled to vote, sixty-seven voted for Mr. Mohamed Sallue Bangura while fifty-nine voted for Mr. Wandoh. I know declare Mr. Mohamed Sallue Bangura as President of the Union for the next four years.”
Mr. Bangura, in his manifesto, revealed that the SLTU has grown over the years and is one of the strongest Unions in terms of human resource base, membership, and projects, although he acknowledged the Union was faced with serious challenges, including but not limited to teachers’ welfare and concerns – which includes teachers’ recruitment, promotion, housing facilities, low and late payment of school subsides, late payment of the girl child support, medical facilities, attractive retirement package, non-supply of furniture to primary schools. The president-elect stressed that housing was the biggest problem teachers have had to grapple with, and that as one of the board members of the National Social Insurance Trusts, NASSIT, he would ensure his colleagues on the board are aware that teachers are the largest contributors and therefore deserve affordable housing scheme.
President Bangura maintained that communication will be treated seriously under his administration. “I will in consultation with the secretariat introduce the Department of Communication and recruit a professionally trained head of communication who will serve as Public Relation Officer at the same time the Chief Editor of the Union’s newsletter,” he disclosed.
According to him, the Union has been less effective in relating to the internal and external publics and therefore their views and stance on education issues were grossly misunderstood.
Mr. Bangura revealed that the key and stable source of funding for the Union is the union dues, which according to him is not enough to address the activities of the Union, hence he pledged to effectively embark on fundraising from various international institutions, inclusive of diplomatic missions in the country.
He promised to provide an all embracing leadership that represents all tribes and regions and that his leadership will promote women’s empowerment, evident by the fact that some key positions are currently occupied by women – Chief Trustee, Isha Hamid in Kenema and Women’s Committee Leader, Lilian Watfa in Port Loko.