Hon Moijue Kaikai – A Failed Attempt to Discredit Him in Sierra Leone’s Parliament!
Quite recently; a little over a week ago to be precise, President Koroma announced his first set of men and women who would constitute his next Cabinet. In the list of these appointments was Honorable Moijue Kaikai who was appointed Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs; after serving as Deputy Minister of Labour for one year and Resident Minister Southern region for almost two years. Hon Kaikai hails from Pujehun District and was once an active member of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party. He bailed out of the PMDC after realizing that the direction that the leadership of the party was heading could lead to political damnation as was evident in the recently concluded Presidential and Parliamentary elections around the country in which the PMDC party exhibited its inability to secure even one single seat. (Photo: Hon Moijue Kaika – would-be Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs)
Whilst serving as Resident Minister Southern Province, Hon Moijue Kaikai, on several occasions, demonstrated humility and an ability to connect with the grass roots of the township of Bo and its environs. If he is not seen riding on a bike (Okada) from one point of the town to the other to take care of party business; he would be seen helping people queue peacefully along petrol stations whenever there is shortage of petrol in the township. Or, he would be seen, alongside his trusted Lieutenants, organizing the youths to excavate and remove piled-up garbage and debris in certain parts of the town. His high sense of humour has been the centerpiece of his general disposition and it defines the kind of person he has been throughout these years.
But somehow, his appointment seems to have angered some SLPP and APC supporters for reasons that most of them have not been able to disclose except that they say he did not have a General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary level type of education. Yes, I would see why Sierra Leoneans would want their Ministers and other people in government to have certificates of higher education or degrees of some sort; but let us don’t forget that our constitution is very silent about academic requirements that would qualify someone to be appointed Minister or Deputy Minister in the government. In Chapter V; Part II; subsection 56 (2) of our constitution, it clearly states that “A person shall not be appointed a Minister or Deputy Minister unless –
a. He is qualified to be elected as a member of parliament
b. He has not contested and lost as a candidate in the general election immediately preceding his nomination for appointment;
c. And his nomination is approved by Parliament.
Subsection 75d (Qualifications for membership in Parliament) clearly states that in order for any Sierra Leonean to be qualified for membership in parliament, he or she should be “Able to speak and to read the English Language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament”.
I strongly believe that it is within this foundation, backed by many other considerations that President Ernest Koroma decided to appoint Moijue Kaikai and others as Ministers and Deputy Ministers in his new cabinet. During the parliamentary confirmation proceedings of Hon Moijue Kaikai last week, some SLPP and APC members of parliament attempted to make mockery of him by asking him if he ever attended Primary School. What would their only reason be? There contention is that Hon Moijue Kaikai did not reflect such academic achievement in his Curriculum Vitae (CV)! One would have thought that before Hon Moijue Kaikai was cleared in parliament as Deputy Minister of Labour in 2009, parliament would have perused and made sure he had the academic credentials they are supposed to be looking for. If they didn’t, then one can say that parliament was sleeping at the time. If parliament is awake now, what are they awake to? Are they awake to the realization that Hon Moijue kaikai has been appointed a full Minister by President Koroma this time around?
I respect the Parliamentary Committee on appointments and I have no reason to doubt their integrity as it relates to scrutinizing appointees to various positions of government; but I would also like to see responsibility demonstrated by them in terms of keeping records and where there are no such records, demand for them at the appropriate time. Every member of government who has had the opportunity to go through parliamentary proceedings on his or her appointment has to have had a file with the Clerk of Parliament or whoever is responsible for keeping such records. The likes of Hon Moijue Kaikai would only have been requested to give updates to documentation that he had submitted previously. The fact that he was cleared during the first appearance in parliament in 2009 but now finds himself subjected to embarrassing questions about whether or not he ever attended Primary School comes across as sad, unfortunate and somehow unacceptable.
I clearly understand that Hon Moijue Kaikai cannot be everyone’s favourite Minister because we all have our individual opinions and perceptions about other people. Nevertheless, he too is a Sierra Leonean and through no influence of his own, he is one of those whom it pleases the President to appointment in his new Cabinet at this time. If the Parliamentary Committee on appointments finds him incompetent by deliberately insinuating that he may not have had a primary school education because he did not reflect it in his CV, it is as much as challenging the integrity of the man who appointed him; and I know the President’s integrity has never been doubtful because the man has never been disoriented about who should serve in his administration.
Therefore, all I can say to fellow Sierra Leoneans is that; let Honourable Moijue Kaikai be!
Brima Michael Turay, PRO; APC North America
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