The Minister of Foreign Affairs Zianab Bangura has recently disclosed that her ministry is a facilitating ministry and they are relentlessly “working behind the scenes… for the support of other ministries.”
She noted that the ministry needs not praise sing the work which it has been doing, because “the initiative comes from the President, he knows exactly what he wants, he has his vision, his agenda, he tells you what to do you do not need to come and have a press conference stating this is what I did, because diplomatically it is not correct; because at the end of the day you do not do it on your own it is with the advise and agreement of the president.”
The minister explained, “all of you are aware just before the elections the donors suspended their support the European Union (EU), the African Development Bank (ADB), and the DFID.
She disclosed that DFID reinstated its funding in November, adding that as for the EU “we have a lot of problem with the EU, they are one of our biggest multilateral donors, so I had to run to Brussels to meet the highest officer of the EU commission Louis Michelle for a meeting.”
She furthered, “I met Louis on the EU, AU summit, I asked him why they have not released our budget support, he gave me his reasons which I countered and explained to him the challenges we faced, and the difficulties of some of these issues.”
The minister stated that this discussion was what actually fostered the release of the budget.
She explained that her ministry is responsible for political lobbying. “I’m the only minister who has met the highest official of the EU, even the minister of finance was unable to see him.” Madam Bangura disclosed “I’m trying to make a programme so that the president can visit the EU. Louis is the one making the decision on what amount to give to any country,” she said.
The minister furthered that she had lobbied the EU boss- Michelle and he is determined to increase the EU support to Sierra Leone. “We work behind the scene to soften the way so that when the minister of finance goes to sign to get the money they get the money,” she emphasized.
She cited an instance of her effective performance at the spring negotiations where the minister of finance had some challenges, the finance minister called on me; “by then I was in Banjul with the president. I called the vice president of the World Bank, I was able to convince her and the negotiations went on well,” she revealed.
Madam Bangura cited another example when she made a trip to Washington by then she was in New York on the Peace Building Commission, “World Bank gave $15m to Liberia for food aid in Washington, so the minister of finance who was in New York by then called me and asked me to go to Washington I went there even though that was not part of my schedule,” she said. The minister explained that “it is the other ministries that implement so if you are not visible and people do not see things it is because you are not the one that implement; it is the other ministries that implement.” She disclosed that her “ministry was incapacitated, not only we do not have the human resource, we do not have the material, everything to work with I have to get a car to work with for myself. The cars I’m using are loan cars and also I manged to get 20 computers and five printers from the Senegalese president,” she said.