13 April 2018

Sierra Leone: New Cabinet Announcedcharles Margai Appointed Ag and Minister of Justice

President Julius Maada Bio yesterday announced his first set of cabinet ministers to run the affairs of the state in this new dispensation.

The announcement of twelve prominent individuals to serve in various ministries comes barely a week after he was declared winner of the March 31 presidential run-off election and sworn in by the Chief Justice.

Many will see the announcement as timely and one that sends a clear message that President Bio is ready to work assiduously to improve living standards in the country.

According to a press release from State House, veteran legal luminary Charles Francis Margai is the newly appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice, while former Secretary General of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), Jacob Jusu Saffa, takes over as Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

The appointment of Mr. Margai, the presidential candidate of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), came as a surprise to many because the legal luminary-cum-politician had promised, in the run up to the election, that he would take the back seat after the result would have been announced.

The president also retained two individuals who had served in late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah's cabinet. Lawyer Alpha Usman Timbo has been appointed Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, while Dr. Alpha T. Wurie is the new Health and Sanitation Minister.

Although there are many more ministerial positions as well as deputies to be announced, including Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, Local Government and Rural Development and Mines and Mineral Resources, only two women made the first list of ministers.

Former Member of Parliament representing Constituency 76 in Bo district, Hon. Emma Kowa has been appointed Minister of Marine Resources, while Baindu Dassama takes over at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs.

Women have been yearning for an increase in the number of positions in government and other institutions with many, including the 50/50 Group hopeful that more women will be appointed in the remaining ministries.

Twelve of the fourteen appointees will have to go through the Committee on Appointment and Public Service for screening before approval by the House.

They will have to wait for a while tough because the new lawmakers are yet to take the oath of office and commence their work.

A press release by the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay, intimated that orientation for new MPs, to start preliminary parliamentary procedures, would be held on Tuesday, April 17, with the commencement of the first session of the fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone slated to start on Thursday, 19 April.

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