President Bio downgrades Chief Minister, UN Rep
In his latest reshuffle of Cabinet dated 30th April 2021, His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio has made least anticipated and rather surprisingly welcome adjustments in his Government that saw the down grading of the hitherto feared and rather powerful holder of the controversial office of Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, and the former Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Alie Kabba, among others.
As Professor Francis, notorious for his use of incriminating diction against former Government Officials in the Government Transition Report that formed the basis for the Commissions of Inquiry goes down the drain,Jacob Jusu Saffa, Minister of Finance, becomes the shiny star of the regime, replacing the Professor as Chief Minister, while concurrently superintending the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Saffa had headed the Finance Ministry for the last three years of the birth of the “Paopa” administration and would have been completely replaced by one of his deputies.
Saffa has been widely criticized as the worst Minister of Finance for failing to turn the economy round as the cost of living continues to soar by the day. “Prices of basic commodities have skyrocketed at an unprecedented scale, while the Local currency is increasingly depreciating”, said an Economist in the Ministry of Development and Economic.
Professor Francis has not only been widely blamed for the vengeance and intimidation that characterize the Bio administration, but also for fomenting discord among members of the ruling party. “Even though he was not shown the red card, I appreciate the fact that the President demoralized him. It should send a strong message to him that his days are numbered”, said a party official, who requested for anonymity. The former Chief Minister was implicated in corruption scandal, which might be a reason his latest predicament.
Alie Kabba, now dumped in Egypt as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador from the high profile and envious position of Permanent Representative to the UN, served as campaign strategist for President Bio in the 2017 elections. He was initially appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before his demotion to the UN and now further down the ladder to North Africa.
Interestingly, the President in his wisdom interchanged the deputy Minsters of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Information and Communications, Lawyer Solomon Jamiru and Mamadi Gobeh Kamara respectively.
While Mr Solomon Jamiru Esq has been sent back to base in the Ministry of Information in the same former capacity as junior minister, he has been replaced in Foreign Affairs as deputy minister by Ms Mamadi Gobeh Kamara, who had replaced the former in the Information and Communications Ministry.
Among those who have been shown the red card, are the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr Joseph Ndanema, who has been replaced by his former deputy, Mr Abu Bakarr Karim, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs Nabeela Tunis and the Chairman, NaCOVER, Brig. Rtd Kellie Conteh.
By Abdul Kuyateh
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