REVIEWING SEASON 2 OF THE APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEEMarch 18, 2013
By Sheku Lamin Turay, Senior Public Relations Officer (SPRO), House of Parliament (078 495 023)
The Committee on Appointments and the Public Service which is being chaired and championed by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sheku B.B Dumbuya has done a spectacular job in vetting proposed presidential nominees through established procedures that subsequently led to their approval by the plenary. In strict separation of powers as determined by the 1991 Constitution, and in exercise of executive powers conferred on the Presidency, only the President has the prerogative to single handedly hire and fire ministers and other appointees at will, but that such appointments are subject to the scrutiny and approval of Parliament.
The Committee’s established interviewing techniques were based on probing questions put to the nominees pertaining to their educational backgrounds, track records in public offices, declared assets, tax obligations and their vision for a successful tenure of office. Allegations of malpractices in public office and unsuitability in terms of character to hold a ministerial appointment were very closely scrutinized. It is exclusively created for this purpose and will continue to work in that direction as long as it pleases H.E Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma either by cabinet reshuffle or new appointments that require the attention of Parliament. The aforesaid committee consists of 16-Members including APC, SLPP and 1 Paramount Chief.
After it had successfully interviewed and scrutinized presidential nominees, it went ahead and presented its reports, followed by debate for the ratification of its recommendations relating to proposed nominees by the plenary of Parliament.Approved ministers and deputies were expected to take an oath to be administered by the President as required by the Constitution before entering their official duties.
HIGHLIGHTING THE DEBATE PRIOR TO APPROVAL
Hon. Ansumana J. Kaikai, Deputy Minority Leader of SLPP started his contribution by referring to the rich profile of NRA’s Commissioner General Haja Kallah Kamara and described her appointment as an attempt to filling the unofficial 30% quota for women. He likened her prowess to Madam Ella K. Gulama, Cummings John, and called on the House for their speedy approval.
Hon. Rosaline J. Smith of APC commended the Commissioner General for her relentless work in generating the much needed resources for the development of the country. She praised her for having done extremely well in the transformative drive of NRA such as the collection of trillion of Leones and assured her of women’s support.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of SLPP said she was pleased to make few statements on the proposed nominees as she actively participated in the scrutiny. She began with Mr. Mohamed Bockarie Kamara, Director for Financial Intelligence Unit whose appointment she referred to as very important and strategic. She talked about the inflow and outflow of money in the country should be in strict compliance with anti-money laundering measures and counter-terrorist financing. She also said that financial destination and transit to and from Sierra Leone be properly and effectively managed to safeguard the country and others from negative financial implications. She drew attention to good remuneration to prevent him from accepting undue advantage.
She recalled her days at FBC with Haja Kallah Kamara together with some of their colleagues who were at the Chamber to witness her parliamentary ratification by the plenary. She referred to that group some of whom she named as academic giants in their fields who knew a clear distinction between business and pleasure. She acclaimed her for highest revenue generation under her leadership, encouraged her to recognize those that are tax compliant, and name and shame those that are not, and called on the face of NRA to be more feminized.
Hon. Sheku B.B Dumbuya, Majority Leader of APC said he had the feeling that most people do not know Mr. Mohamed Bockarie Kamara, and wanted to submit that he was not an unknown quantity. He assured MPs that as a former police officer, he as the right chemistry for the job with huge potentials of transforming that unit.He said that he taught the Commissioner General of NRA in school and underscored the point of teachers knowing their students who have the ability to grow into prominence. He said “a woman is like a tea bag, only in hot water you realize how strong it is” meaning you can rely on a woman even in difficult circumstance.
Hon. Umar Paran Tarawally of SLPP described Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, Deputy Minister of Sports as an ordinary man who is tribeless, places country first, and as President of National Youth Coalition, he gives hope to the youth and taps their potentials for the development of the country. Before now, he described youth as being despondent and melancholic, and called for their speedy approval.
Hon. Mohamed Lamin Mansaray of APC thanked the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for proposing quality nominees for parliamentary approval. He described Peter Bayuku Konte, Minister of Tourism and Culture asan honest and reliable philanthropist; a development oriented son from Koinadugu who had built hospitals and stock them with drugs; providedscholarships to his people for the advancement of the District. He referred to Feremusu Konte as a political animal who is honest, respectful and capable of handling her duties.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of Parliament started by expressing her expectations that the nominees would do their best for the progress of the country. She referred to youth as the present and future leaders; recognized sports as a unifying factor; highlighted the touristic potentials and huge benefits to the country; and called for more judges to be appointed for the speedy conclusion of judicial cases. She lauded H.E’s appointment of Mr. Kemoh Sesay as Minister for Political and Public Affairs, whom she described as a fierce debater and recognized his impressive vibrancy at the Pan-African Parliament. She encouraged him to work with all political parties to ensure peace and stability among them. She appealed to H.E to be magnanimous to all including the release of SLPP supporters who are in custody.
Hon. Sheku B.B Dumbuya, Majority Leader of Parliament said the dress code of Minister of Tourism is a true reflection of his commitment to serve. He said Kemoh Sesay usually calls him “kothor” meaning an elderly person. He confessed that he taught them parliamentary practices and procedures referencing the standing orders of parliament. He described him as a conscientious and dedicated worker; top most debater and praised his sound argument “in support or in opposition of a proposition “and made reference to his name which is still ringing in the Pan-African Parliament. He dilated on the misuse of the word “legal luminary” whose etymology he traced to have meant a notable person in a given field, outstanding and exceptionally good in his/her profession. He referred to the approved Supreme Court Judge as noble and not an ostentatious Lawyer of flamboyant gestures.
Hon. Ansu Jaia Kaikai, Deputy Minority Leader in contributing to the debate referenced Section 56(1) of the 1991 Constitution which empowers the President to nominate appointees subject to the scrutiny and approval of Parliament. He told Hon. Alimamy Kamara of the huge task awaiting him in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and bid him farewell. He referred to Mr. Kortu as being on a political loan, and told him to come back after he had served. He recognized Hon. Teambo as an individual with an unmatchable job experience, and an impeccable character. He later said that the Agenda for Change had been mixed up with the Agenda for Prosperity.
Hon. Sheku B.B Dumbuya, Majority Leader in his response did state that the Agenda for Change made way for the Agenda for Prosperity. He said Hon. Alimamy Kamara had been a thorn in the flesh of the SLPP. He furthered that Mr. Kortu is not on political loan as APC is known for “betteh”. He referred to Harriet Turay as a golden name in 50-50 and assured her of H.E’s commitment to women’s empowerment. He reminded Karamoh Kabba formerly of OGI of the 3-principal functions of Parliament which are legislation, representation and oversight. He spoke of Hon. Teambo’s sincerity, and his sense of humility and modesty. He quoted “humility is the greatest ornament of an illustrious life”. And ended his submission with “lowliness is thy young ambition’s ladder…” and warned ministers to work in earnest with their deputies, and not see them as nonentities.
The following presidential nominees were approved by Parliament:
Hon. Dr. Mathew Teambo-Minister of Labour and Social Security; Mr. Augustine N. Kortu-Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security; Mr. Karamoh Kabba-Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs; Hon. Alimamy Kamara-Minister of Youth Affairs; Madam Khadijah O. Sesay-Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Mrs. Harriet Turay-Minister of State, Office of the Vice President.
INTERVIEWED AND APPROVED TWO OF ITS MEMBERS
The two Honourable Members who have been duly approved as cabinet ministers are expected to officially resign their seats in Parliament to create the vacancies pending bye-elections to be conducted by NEC in Bombali and Tonkolili Districts as and when necessary.
Sheku Lamin Turay, Senior Public Relations Officer (SPRO), House of Parliament (078 495 023)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
In September 2000, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals rallied the international community behind a shared vision. The MDGs, which expire in 2015, signaled a new era of global cooperation, and triggered real progress in terms of lifting millions of people out of extreme poverty, improving health and access to education, and empowering women. The eight original MDGs, which include reducing child mortality and achieving universal primary education, are lauded for their simplicity and measurability. They took an abstract, outsize challenge and distilled it into achievable ends. But, as Albert Einstein loved to say, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
Today, it is important that we not become trapped by what worked in the past. To succeed, the post-2015 agenda must break the original mold. It must be grounded in a fuller narrative about how development occurs – a narrative that accounts for complex issues such as migration. Otherwise, the global development agenda could lose its relevance, and thus its grip on stakeholders.
It is perhaps understandable that the original MDGs did not mention either internal or international migration. These are politically sensitive topics that could have polarized, rather than united, the international community. Moreover, our empirical understanding of how migration interacts with development was limited at the time; there was little data with which to shape measurable goals.
Yet migration is the original strategyfor people seeking to escape poverty, mitigate risk, and build a better life. It has been with us since the dawn of mankind, and its economic impact today is massive. Migrant remittances exceed the value of all overseas development aid combined, to say nothing of the taxes that migrants pay, the investments they make, and the trade they stimulate.
As we consider the next-generation development agenda, it is also critical to understand that migration was a vital force in achieving the original MDGs. There are an estimated 215 million international migrants today – a number expected to grow to 400 million by 2040 – and another 740 million internal migrants who have moved from rural to urban areas within countries. Each typically supports many family members back home, which also helps to lift entire communities.
In Bangladesh, for example, just 13% of households that receive remittances from abroad are below the poverty line, compared to 34% of non-remittance-receiving households. Evidence from Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere shows that remittances reduce the depth and severity of poverty, and that the additional income is disproportionately spent on education and health. In rural Pakistan, remittances are associated with higher school enrollment, especially for girls. The list goes on.
Beyond the data, there is no greater symbol of the world’s growing interdependence than the movement of people. If we can make meaningful economic progress in the coming generations, one of the pivotal reasons will be that people are allowed to move more freely. Advanced countries, with their adverse demographic trends, need migrants, as do developing countries – not only for migrants’ economic contributions, but also for the social and cultural diversity that they bring.
This is not to deny that migration has downsides. But migration is here to stay, and it is growing. There can be no return to a monoethnic past, so successful societies will need to adapt to diversity.
Typically, development experts regard migration as a sign of failure: if development policies work, people should not want to move. Accordingly, migration has been viewed as a problem to be solved – not as a solution to a problem.
But migration should not be considered good or bad; it is simply natural to the human condition. People migrate from poor countries, from middle-income countries, and from rich countries. They go from north to south, south to north, south to south, and north to north.
The likeliest outcome of the debate on the post-2015 global development agenda will be something between the MDG-style approach – concrete, measurable targets for reducing extreme poverty – and the emerging sustainable development narrative, which emphasizes the complex forces of interdependence, such as migration and climate change. In the imperfect world of politics, this middle ground would be a positive outcome.
Fortunately, the type of measurable outcomes that the MDG’s have thus far demanded are being developed for migration. The overarching goal is to design a roadmap that can take us from today’s poorly managed, exploitative system of human mobility to one that is well managed, protects migrant rights, and plans for the consequences and opportunities of migration.
An ideal result would focus attention on the need to reduce the barriers to all kinds of human mobility – both internal and across national borders – by lowering its economic and social costs. Such an agenda includes simple measures, like reducing fees for visas, and more complex reforms, like allowing migrants to switch employers without penalty and increasing the proportion of migrants who enjoy legal protections and labor rights.
The bottom line is that making migration part of the world’s development strategy will have a meaningful impact on the lives of migrants, affording them greater access to rights and to the fruits of their labor. Perhaps even more important, it could change public perceptions of migrants, so that they are viewed as a blessing rather than a scourge.