The first announcements of the second term cabinet of President Koroma were aired yesterday Monday 17th December by the State broadcaster SLBC. There was no State House release to press houses about the appointments though there was one on the offshore oil industry.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice is Frank Kargbo while the new Foreign Affairs Minister is Dr SamuraKamara and the new Finance Minister Dr KeifalaMarah.
Therefore the Attorney General and Minister of Justice post was retained by Lawyer Frank Kargbo who is now the only one retained in his position. Unlike the other two posts the Attorney general does not have to go to parliament for vetting and may just wait for the other two to be approved before joining them in the oath taking before the President. This is expected to be sometime this week.
The only shock in these first appointments is Dr Keifala Marah who is presently the Chief of Staff at State House. Earlier some people had tipped him for the Vice President post in the early run up to the elections, but he became noticeably quiet when the campaign rolled out in full blast. One Political watcher has referred to him as the ‘dark horse’ and the man to watch. Even before being named as a Minister, KeifalaMarah had been flying a flag on his official vehicle much like any Minister.
Political watchers are closely following Dr Samura Kamara’s continued rise in the Ernest Koroma administration. He came in as Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, from where he was then moved to the Finance Ministry as Minister. Now he has been given an even more senior position as Foreign Minister.
Being one of the country’s top rated economist it was thought that he was well suited for the Finance Ministry role given that he had returned there since leaving the Commonwealth Secretariat during the NPRC days when he took up the job of Financial Secretary. Even under the Tejan Kabbah regime he had been at the Finance Ministry and left for the IMF or World Bank from where he again returned to the Central Bank as Governor under Ernest Koroma.
The Foreign Ministry will be a new challenge for the financial guru and one may only hope he can successfully master the corridors as he did the world financial circles.
What has been very noticeable is that the top three positions have gone to Northerners, namely Keifala Marah Koranko from Koinadugu district, Samura Kamara Lokofrom Bombali District and Frank Kargbo Limba from Bombali district. This ethnic spread is even more noticeable given the composition of the last cabinet and the fact that JB Dauda an Easterner has been dropped in favour of a Northerner.
However it is too early to say whether the cabinet is ethnically or regionally balanced, or whether the other cabinet positions will reflect the “inclusive” government, which the President promised in his speech at the opening of parliament or reflect a “national character” as disclosed by the Information Minister in one of his many radio interviews.
The appointed Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance are expected to receive parliamentary approval and be sworn in by Thursday to make way for the expected reading of the budget by the new Finance Minister KeifalaMarah this Friday.