By Sorie Fofana…………………….
On Sunday 13th March, 2016 President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma nominated Mohamed Bangura for the post of Minister of Information and Communications. The announcement has been greeted with mixed feelings.
Mohamed Bangura is, by all means a senior Politician in Sierra Leone. He started his political career as PRO (Public Relations Officer) of the PMDC (Peoples Movement for Democratic Change) of Charles Margai. In no time, Mohamed Bangura shot to political prominence when he was elected as National Chairman of PMDC. Perhaps, Mohamed Bangura is the youngest person to be elected to such a high-profile position of a political party in Sierra Leone.
Mohamed Bangura was a key ally of Charles Margai. Margai’s PMDC supported the APC Party in the 2007 run-off elections. That support, more than anything else catapulted the APC and Ernest Bai Koroma to power that year.
The leadership struggle in the PMDC led Mohamed Bangura to breakaway from the PMDC to form his own political party, the UDM (United Democratic Movement).
The UDM, under Mohamed Bangura was seen as an offshoot of the APC Party. Mohamed Bangura, even as Chairman/Leader of UDM was more or less the de facto Spokesman for President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC Party.
In the November 2012 Presidential elections, Mohamed Bangura unofficially withdrew from the race and threw his support behind the incumbent President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. It has to be said that, Mohamed Bangura has demonstrated an unbending loyalty and support to President Koroma.
Very recently, he resigned from two important positions namely Chairman/Leader of UDM and Interim Chairman of APPA (All Political Parties Association) to join the APC Party. His nomination, if approved by Parliament will be welcome news to many media practitioners in Sierra Leone. It will be a watershed moment in Sierra Leone.
At least, media practitioners will have someone in the Ministry of Information that they will have direct contact with. Mohamed Bangura is a media friendly Politician. He was once a media practitioner and media owner himself.
Perhaps, he will use his influence with the President to push for the obnoxious 1965 Public Order Act to be expunged from the law books of Sierra Leone.
We hope that Mohamed Bangura will introduce an Annual Press Dinner with the President at State House. That will help to amend the breakdown of relationship between the President and the Journalists association, SLAJ.
We hope that the appointment of Mohamed Bangura as Minister of Information and Communications will go a long way to bring the government and the media together as partners in development.
Mohamed Bangura is a man on a mission. He cannot afford to fail. If he fails, we all fail. If he wins, all of us win.
We hope and pray that he will succeed as Minister of Information and Communications.