After the 2018 election, the Board of Directors and senior Management team at NATCOM (National Telecommunications Commission) were dissolved. The SLPP Chairman/Leader, Dr. Prince Alex Harding was appointed Chairman/Commissioner of NATCOM.
NATCOM was established when Dr. Prince Harding was serving as Minister of Transport and Communications in the SLPP administration of the late President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Before then, he had served as Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources and also Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the defunct NPA (National Power Authority).
Dr. Prince Alex Harding has a wealth of administrative experience. It is as a result of such experience that President Julius Maada Bio appointed him as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at NATCOM.
Before Dr. Harding was appointed Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at NATCOM, there had been influential people who had served in that capacity. The late Alhaji Kanji Daramy served as the founder Chairman/Commissioner of NATCOM. He was succeeded by the soft-spoken Ambassador Siray Timbo. The late Siray Timbo was succeeded by Dr. Tom Obaleh Kargbo. He was replaced by the media-friendly and media-savvy Momoh Konte.
It was during Momoh Konte’s tenure as Chairman that NATCOM gained visibility. He was firmly in control of the Commission. Many people say that he is a big-hearted and charitable gentleman.
Even though the former Director General of NATCOM, Senesie Kallon was openly boasting of his membership of the SLPP, it was Momoh Konte (the APC appointed Chairman of NATCOM) who fought very hard to keep him in the post until he retired peacefully.
There was hardly any open confrontation between the Director General and the Chairman of the Board at NATCOM during the APC era. They always tried to forge a working relationship.
When the former Director General at NATCOM, Mohamed Bangura attempted to challenge the authority of the Board Chairman at NATCOM, he was thrown out of his job. His sacking by the Board was enthusiastically endorsed by State House. That is how powerful the Board can be.
The Management cannot hire new employees without the approval of the Board. The Board has the powers to sack the Director General. That is how important the Board is.
The Director General is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Commission. In a tranquil corporate setting, the Director General is answerable to the Board.
Some Managing Directors/Executive Directors/Chief Executive Officers/General Managers have learnt the art of working peacefully with members of their Board especially the Board Chairman.
The Board can always make it difficult for the Chief Executive of a company or parastatal to operate if they choose to be uncooperative. We have had instances where Chief Executive Officers have been sacked or sent on an indefinite leave because they were unable to work with the Board or they proved to be confrontational.
Of late, we have heard disturbing news coming from NATCOM Headquarters at Hill Station. All we can say is that, the Director General and his Deputy must learn to work with their Board Chairman. When the NATCOM Board is fully constituted, the Director General will find it difficult to run the company if he does not have the tacit support of the Board Chairman.
We therefore call on Mr. Maxwell Hinga Massaquoi to work hand-in-glove with the Board of Commissioners at NATCOM headed by Dr. Prince Alex Harding. It has to be stated that it is too early for the Management and Board to be up in arms against each other.
We call on the Government of President Julius Maada Bio to organize an orientation course for all Board Chairmen/Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers in order to have a clear distinction between who does what.
The Board and Management must work together. Period!