Salone News

Meet our new Information and Communications Minister

By  | 8 April 2016 at 03:41 | 3263 views

In 1992 in Sierra Leone, a certain Mohamed Bangura (photo) was a reporter at the New Breed, a feisty and no-nonsense Freetown newspaper.

The Managing Editor was one Dr. Julius Spencer. The paper was later shuttered by the NPRC military junta who went ballistic after the New Breed published a diamond smuggling story that shook the entire nation.

The military leader at the time, Captain (Rtd) Valentine Strasser, was said to have wept bitterly at State House holding the newspaper in his hand.

Most of the New Breed staff, including Spencer were detained at the notorious Pademba Road prison (now called Pademba Correctional Centre) for a month. They made a few court appearances and the matter was eventually dropped. The evidence, which included a Swedish newspaper publication, was too overwhelming. Mohamed Bangura was at the centre of the whole affair.

Dr. Julius Spencer later went on to become an SLPP Information Minister towards the end of the civil war.

Nobody, including perhaps Mohamed Bangura himself, ever thought that Mohamed will one day follow in Spencer’s footsteps to become Information Minister.

After spending many years in Toronto, Canada, Mohamed returned home about ten years ago to establish, first, a newspaper and later a political party.

And on Thursday April 7, 2016, Mohamed was approved by parliamentarians as our next Information and Communications Minister.

Mohamed’s uncle, the late Thaimu Bangura (who was leader of the one time third largest political party in Sierra Leone) was also an Information Minister under the late President Siaka Stevens. The late Thaimu would probably smile in his grave over the news that his nephew is now going to symbolically occupy the chair that was once his.

Mohamed was among the second batch of nine presidential nominees to face the parliamentarians all of whom knew him already as one of the youngest political party leaders in the history of Sierra Leone (he founded the United Democratic Movement (UDM) from which he resigned to become part of the ruling party a couple of months ago).

Mohamed and others, including the first batch that was approved on Tuesday, will be sworn in as quickly as possible at State House for them to get to work.

As a former journalist and seasoned politician despite his age, Mohamed is expected to institute and establish ground-breaking innovations at the Ministry of Information and Communications as Sierra Leone prepares for the next general elections slated for November 2017.

An astute orator and communicator, Mohamed is prepared and ready, we were told, to be one of the APC government’s "battlefield commanders" to present and explain government policies while fending off media attacks from the usually virulent opposition as the much anticipated elections draw nearer and nearer.

"There is nobody among the new Ministers that strikes fear into the hearts of opposition elements as Mohamed Bangura. That’s why they tried everything, including using their media attack dogs, to discredit Mohamed, all to no avail. President Koroma knew what he was doing. Mohamed is the right man in the right place, at the right time," a veteran Freetown politician who does not want to be named, told PV.