My two One Dropian droppings of last week: “The Godless gods Of The Presidency” and “Is President Koroma His Own Enemy” (published by The Nationalist newspaper of Tuesday 27th August 2013 and Wednesday 28th August 2013 respectively) generated a lot of food for thoughts amongst Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad.
The reason why I have now decided to be a sort of an “inside critic”, of an administration that I did everything (including my professional inputs and energy) to maintain and help secure a second term, is because I want to help President Ernest Bai Koroma to stay focused on his “Agenda for Prosperity”. This is because he now seems to have removed his foot from the accelerator. In short, my last two unprecedented critical articles were meant to help the President to help himself. And the only way he could be helped is for a true ‘Koromaist’ to tell him some naked home truths.
And one of those naked home truths is that: President Koroma now seems to be adrift in whirlpools of deceit and flatteries created by the little Godless gods now surrounding him at State House or at the “Liverpool Street Conclave”. To put it idiomatically, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone now seems to be the persona in Denis Brutus’s poem: “I’m A Driftwood”.
Now to today’s topic: Why a cabinet reshuffle should be a must, in my opinion. It is only an opinionated fool or someone who is sick in the head that will not acknowledge the fact that Sierra Leone is at present in a standstill. This is because the manner in which things, generally, are unfolding point to the reality that President Ernest Bai Koroma might have been distracted or now taking the resolve of ordinary Sierra Leoneans for granted! And because he seems distracted he has temporarily removed his hands from the rudder which seems to have left the ship of state, for the moment, drifting aimlessly while an iceberg seems to be in sight (Remember the Hollywood blockbuster “The Titanic”?).
And the only way President Koroma could avoid hitting that iceberg is for him to accept that the bulk of his team in cabinet are deadwood that should be discharged. But the President’s clay-feet attitude towards solving the petty palavers amongst his ministers is frighteningly showing that he seems to be fast losing the Jose Mourino or Sir Alex Ferguson’s touch he once had and he is no longer the matador whom the Abacha Streeters had known.
Political Scientists, or those who are following international politics, pretty well know that second term presidencies are the most difficult and challenging for all politicians, the world over, for countless reasons. All second-termers faced the challenge of being evaluated during their second terms. This is because there will be no excuse that ‘I was not given enough time to implement my policies’. And, worse, second-termers also have the misfortune of having to choose their successors or influence the process of choosing their successors (in the African context) and at the same time trying to implement promised policies and thinking also of their post-presidency activities.
And worse of all the worst, it is during the second term of most politicians that they make egregious mistakes that always blight their entire presidencies and the rest of their lives! George Walker Bush of the United States of America will have to live with the Iraq invasion till his grave. Ex-Presidents Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdulai Wade of Senegal will have to live with horrible memories of their failed third term bids. In Sierra Leone, ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabba (I’m still having problems with the “h”) is still troubled with his choice of Solomon Berewa as his anointed successor, while Mr Berewa is still troubled with his ‘forced’ choice of Alhaji Momodu Koroma as his running mate in 2007. And, with the Godless gods now surrounding him, I don’t even want to wishful-think of what awaits President Koroma if he doesn’t change course of the drifting ship of state that now seems to be heading towards an iceberg!
This is why President Ernest Bai Koroma should be hyper-focused on his “Agenda for Prosperity” and eagle-eyed to details. Realistically, President Ernest Bai Koroma only has three years in his second term to implement his second term agenda. The fact is, in his fourth year his ruling All People’s Congress will be embroiled in the succession issue while the elections fever will cloud his fifth year. So, as one year is fast eating into his actual three active years; he needs a team of committed ministers to carry out his policies on which his legacy will be recorded.
Unfortunately, most of the President’s Ministers who are manning ministries on whose shoulders the success of the “Agenda for Prosperity” rests seem to have lost focus on why they were appointed in the first place and now focusing their combative energies on the succession issue.
That’s one of the reasons why I think President Ernest Bai Koroma should re-step his right foot on the accelerator and “vent out the musty superfluities”, to quote William Shakespeare, in his cabinet. And besides, I don’t think a cabinet position should be a sort of Knighthood which is a lifelong status. If a professional and upright man like David Carew could be removed from cabinet, after being given a second try at the Ministry of Trade, then it will be good riddance if President Koroma could flush out the deadwood in his cabinet. As I keep writing, if President Ernest Bai Koroma should fail it is only the ‘Koroma Administration’ that would be referenced not a former minister or government functionary.
And if President Koroma should heed my unsolicited advice, and announce a cabinet reshuffle in the coming days or weeks, let that cabinet be a small one this time. Experience, with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone and the NGO world (coupled with my newspaper management skills), has taught me that it is not how large the workforce is that matters but how effective it is.
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