CABINET RESHUFFLE: MY THOUGHTS ON DR. KABBA AND HIS NEW POSITION.....
President Bio has launched his first cabinet reshuffle as leader of Sierra Leone. He made major changes in several ministries. The one that got the policy community talking was the appointment of Dr. Alie Kabba as Permanent Representative, Sierra Leone's United Nations Mission, New York. Dr Kabba has been doing a great job in improving the foreign policy and diplomatic face of the nation. His new assignment comes as a surprise to several people.
In my view, this decision is based on POLITICAL POWER PLAY not necessarily STRATEGIC POLICY.
In most cases - when an active cabinet minister is sent on ambassadorial assignment - it is a result of power play. This is mostly done to any cabinet minister that aim for the highest sit in the land. Once he/she is sent on diplomatic mission, their influence on the ground degrades with time. The person might not have the necessary platform to energize his/her base and solidify support among local residents. In a relationship-based culture like Sierra Leone, the locals tend to value politicians they see and interact with in person. There is barely any other reason beyond this prism.
In recent weeks, there has been rumors of Dr. Kabba expressing post Maada Bio presidential interest. This has raised a few eye brows in several quarters. Here are three (3) things to consider:
1. The president might view the long term presidential ambition of Dr. Kabba as a big distraction to his work. The present political leadership in Sierra Leone has revived the foreign policy apparatus. In a short period, President Bio has made several oversea trips. This endorses the significance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to his quest in "rebranding Sierra Leone" within the global realm. With respect to the United Nations position, a cabinet rank tend to carry more influence, class and glamour.
2. The president is well aware of the charisma, charm and communal nature of Dr. Kabba's personality. The last he will want is to ignore the rumors of his possible presidential interest. Dr. Kabba has the requisite skill to mobilize people (as seen in the recently concluded elections). The presidency is completely informed on this fact. He is left with no option, but to manage Dr. Kabba with the highest level of professionalism. This can only be done by tactically getting him away from the scene in the name of appointing him to a new position.
3. There is a TRUST element here. The president might find it challenging to work directly with someone who aspires to have his crown someday. It becomes more confusing, complex, and complicated if the person is a cabinet minister. Which means: they have to be going together on oversea trips and seeing each other in cabinet meetings. This can lead to low work chemistry. The president cannot put up with this dynamics right now.
@ Paul A. Conteh
Lecturer/Public Affairs Analyst