Recent appointments made by President have got many Sierra Leoneans wondering about the way the direction is going. Many concerned citizens say that the New Direction has lost its direction, especially as one of the appointees, Dennis Vandy, is believed to have deliberately violated the country’s 1991 Constitution, whilst serving as Secretary to the President; an act described in the constitution as treasonable.
Dennis Vandy, when serving as Secretary to the President issued an order bordering on the Finance Act. The said directive violated the right of Parliament, as it virtually circumvented their powers of approving all financial laws. As the said action raised concerns from many quarters, including accusing the President of committing a treasonable offence, Dennis Vandy quickly took the blame, claiming that he thought the President meant directing him to issue that directive. To cool down the tension, President Bio then relieved him of his position.
After tension had cooled, Vandy was again appointed as Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture. But what is baffling many Sierra Leonean is the fact that Dennis Vandy has no track record of performance in the financial sector to warrant his appointment to head such a very sensitive and extremely important ministry in the country. This is most alarming as the country is battling austerity. One concerned citizen asked; “what value will Dennis Vandy bring to that ministry, when his superior, Jacob Jusu Saffa could hardly make things work.”
Some economic gurus are of the opinion that at such a crucial time, the government needs someone with strong financial discipline to handle that ministry than a mediocre. Whilst the government is boasting of a single digit inflation rate, the cost of food is skyrocketing by the day and salaries are woefully low. Even the Bank Governor, Kelfala Kallon, during the launching of the CPI at the Statistics Sierra Leone Head Quarters, expressed concern over the high inflation rate of food items as against non-food items, despite the single digit inflation rate.
Of another concern is the creation of another Ministry, the Ministry of Western Region over which the former Foreign Affairs Minister, Nabeela Tunis is to superintend. In the view of some political analysts, the creation of Resident Ministers in the various regions, those appointees serve as the Representatives of the President in those regions, but the creation and appointment of the new ministry and minister of Western Region, especially as the seat of government is located in the capital city, makes no sense and has been described as providing jobs for party faithful. What will be the role of the new minister and of what relevance is her ministry?
President Bio had openly criticized his predecessor for having a bloated cabinet, but now in power, he has surpassed him in his appointments. He had maintained that having a bloated cabinet had created heavy burden on the economy, as it had considerably increased the wage bill, but the current situation makes EBK’s government a saint. It is unfortunate that the taxpayer has to foot the bill of this bloated government. In order to generate more revenue, the Bio administration had increased taxes and this has had its own toll on the prices o goods in the country, adversely affecting the livelihood of the ordinary man, who is finding it almost impossible to have a day’s meal.
It is in the midst of this hardship and fast degenerating situation that the President has appointed a novice to head the Finance Ministry. God Help Us!