The Sierra Leone president, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has named the last batch of his cabinet with the rest of the diplomatic appointments to follow soon. In keeping true to his promise to reduce the gender gap and position women for important roles in government, the president has expressed the fulfillment of that commitment in a dramatic and interesting appointment today as he revealed the rest of his cabinet, with the outspoken news publisher and social activist, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, as Special Executive Assistant, answerable only to the president at State House, and tasked with the duty of ensuring the President’s objective to stamp out lawlessness in various spheres of the country, is enforced alongside his desire to give justice to all citizens no matter their socio-political beliefs or economic standing.
Newstime Africa has learnt that immediately after he won the last election, the President made ministerial offers to Dr. Blyden, but she politely turned down all offers of Ministerial appointments. Instead, she requested for this position to be created for her at State House as a Special Executive Assistant to the President, with responsibilities to coordinate presidential directives that will ensure the country returns back to the days when citizens had respect for the law, and the common man could be assured of justice, no matter his political persuasion or which part of the country he hailed from.
Sources close to the President have indicated that Dr. Blyden’s new position will carry a Cabinet rank and Cabinet privileges, and that she will sit in Cabinet meetings. Her job description will be to work from State House directly with President Koroma to coordinate and to ensure his directives against lawlessness in the country, and access to justice by the common man, are implemented to the letter. It can be recalled that Blyden was recently at the forefront of protesting against the illegal police detention of some supporters of the opposition SLPP.
Dr. Blyden’s duties will also include taking steps with the appropriate authorities to discourage some of the outrageous lawlessness and rudeness in the country’s local media.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden is expected to be carrying out her executive work from her presidential office at State House collaborating especially with the Sierra Leone Police, the new Minister of Information, the new Minister of Internal Affairs, the new Minister of Social Welfare and the current Attorney-General & Justice Minister, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and any other relevant department.
Shortly after President Koroma won the elections, Blyden who operates the country’s largest and most widely read newspaper, disclosed that she was leaving journalism and going into politics. However, she has repeatedly stated that despite the fact that she was entering into politics, she was not going to be a Minister. Despite this, the speculations have however continued that she was going to be named as a Cabinet Minister.
President Ernest Koroma has made “tackling lawlessness” one of the pillars of his second term. All of his speeches delivered during this holiday period have centered around the issue of lawlessness and rudeness in the country.
Our presidential sources tell Newstime Africa that President Koroma currently has “supreme confidence” in the talents and abilities of Dr. Blyden which is why he has appointed her to be his point person right next to him at State House in his fight against lawlessness, something that has pervaded Sierra Leone for some twenty years or more.
Blyden is not the only woman who has been featured in the list of appointees. The full list appointees including cabinet ministers:
Dr. Matthew Teambo – Labour & Social Security
Mr. Alimamy Kamara – Youth Affairs
Mr. Paul Kamara – Sports
Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay – Political & Public Affairs
Mr. Peter Bayuku Konte – Tourism & Culture
MINISTER OF STATE:
Mrs. Harriet Turay – Office of the Vice-President
Mr. Augustine Nyuma Kortu – Labour & Social Security
Miss Feremusu Konte – Youth Affairs
Mr. Ishmail Al-Sankoh Conteh – Sports
Mr. Karamoh Kabba – Political & Public Affairs
Miss Kadi Sesay – Tourism & Culture
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT:
Professor Monty Jones – Special Adviser & Ambassador-at-Large
Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo – Special Adviser
Ambassador Dauda Kamara – Special Adviser
Dr. Sylvia Blyden – Special Executive Assistant to the President
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