From the Editor’s Keyboard

Kudos to President Koroma for naming a credible cabinet

9 October 2007 at 06:24 | 1723 views

Commentary

By Abdulai Bayraytay, Deputy Editor.

Newly elected president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma Monday, October 8th, 2007 partially named his long-awaited cabinet amidst growing concerns about the long delay since his inauguration a fortnight ago.

According to reactions monitored at home and in the diaspora, the anxiety on the part of concerned Sierra Leoneans has not only been laid to rest, but there is some gratitude towards the leadership of the new All People’s Congress Party (APC) government by virtue of the credible personalities named so far in the announced cabinet positions.

Some people say president Koroma defied extreme pressure exerted on him by “old time” APC politicians and kept to his promise to the nation that his government will comprise new faces with high professional calibre in a government of national unity that is representative of the regional and ethnic political landscape of the country.

This is a signal that the government is determined to stand by its commitment to the people of Sierra Leone at all times. The appointment of so far of at least two People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) members as cabinet ministers is very laudable because the PMDC not only aligned itself with the APC prior to the presidential run-off polls, but vociferously campaigned to boot out the kleptomaniac and now demoralised Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government headed by Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.

President Koroma has done great service to Sierra Leoneans by appointing somebody with such a high profile as Zainab Bangura. Mrs. Bangura will be going to the Foreign Affairs ministry with enormous international and local experience rooted in good governance, human rights, and the values of democracy.

Currently serving as the Chief Civil Affairs Officer of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNAMIL) overseeing 82 staff with a presence in all the 15 counties in Liberia, Mrs. Bangura has also served as a board member of the global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, The Open Society, The International Crisis Group, and has been a World Bank Civil Society Advisor in Sierra Leone.

She gained international recognition for mobilizing civil society groups to force the recalcitrant SLPP government to negotiate with the notorious Revolutionary United Front (RUF) that culminated in the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement in 1999. That was during her impeccable service as head of one of the country’s leading non-governmental advocacy organizations, the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG).

President Koroma will surely find an asset in Mrs. Bangura in his zero-tolerance campaign against corruption. This is because Zainab Bangura is equally concerned about the corruption epidemic in our country, hence she founded the National Accountability Group in 2001, a local non-governmental poised to foster greater transparency in public affairs and curb corruption.

In 2002, she co-founded the Movement for Progress, a political party promoting good governance and the empowerment of women, youth and the disabled in Sierra Leone. Nominated as the party’s chairperson, Bangura ran as the only female candidate in Sierra Leone’s May 2002 presidential elections.

A former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at NED, Bangura serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy and a recipient of several awards for her commitment to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance.

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