STATE HOUSE APPOINTS THE FIRST CHIEF OF STAFF - WINDOW DRESSING?
State House in Freetown has announced the creation of a new office - that of the Chief of Staff and the first person appointed to hold that post is Dr Kaifala Marah believed to have been seconded from the Commonwealth Office in London.
Dr Marah's duties have yet to be made public but given the goings-on at the seat of power with various factors jockeying for power, influence and financial benefits it would not be surprising to hear about roles becoming blurred with the resultant infighting that would make him a frustrated man. That is unless his boss, the President himself gets his acts together and clearly defines the man's role in the melting pot of influence wielders and the greedy who would see him as an obstacle to the ear of the President.
Dr Marah has the unenviable task of giving a kind of face-lift and respectability to the Presidency that should see, given his background, a State House that is more transparent, accountable to the public and more importantly seeking the welfare of voters who wanted to see a change that would have bettered their lives.
Dr Marah would have to move mountains in clearing the heaps of corruption within the offices, nooks and crannies that constitute the rabbit's warren of corruption, nepotism and all the ills that had, in the past, made State House the deal centre of the Presidency.
He would also have to ensure that his duties are clearly defined to help him identify areas that he "controls" while ensuring that he does not engender a culture of "civil servants vs political appointees" given the fact that there's a Secretary to the President as well as a host of other lesser mortals of the Civil Service who would not want to see political appointees making a mockery of their traditional roles and values.
In the United States one source gives this role of the Chief of Staff -
And this, if Sierra Leone is to use the US template would mean that the axe would have to fall on the Chief of Protocol a very influential post where the occupier, in the past decides who should see the Pa, the President and when - with stories from the corridors of State House that "businessmen and women" had to part with resources that go directly into the yawning pockets of the Chiefs of Protocol. It is even said that the Chief of Protocol then acted as the "receiver of gifts" that the President would be too shy of taking directly from State House visitors.
Dr Marah will have to be very weary of these temptations as well as another ugly aspect - the presence of somehow shady characters demanding direct access to the President based on links that are best left to the imagination!!!!.
(That's not forgetting how to cope with the President's hand-picked human rights abusing security detail headed by the beast in human form Idrissa Kamara aka "Leatherboot".)
One US newspaper article has this on the visit of Andrew Card a former Chief of Staff explaining his role at the White House to a class at the Harvard Business School.
On the last item, (3) that is, Dr Marah has to pay special attention to the antics of a Press Officer at State House who continues to use state resources in running a tabloid newspaper resulting in the State House official website becoming an extension.
He also has to advise the Civil Service, if not take a direct action on Press Attaches, who have now taken upon themselves to publish directly into the public domain materials that have not passed through the proper channels at the Ministry of Information and Communication - the official and constitutional ministry that is responsible for all matters relating to government information and such dissemination.
Take this press release or so from the man occupying the press office in London announcing the appointment of Dr Kaifala Marah.
He starts off with Dr Marah and in three subsequent paragraphs states
"Marah has made great strides in the
You would think he and his "Marah" were once members of a certain "Poht" where gambling, drug-taking and trafficking was a way of life and that he should refer to him thus because of their affinity for the same pleasures of life.
We notice that Philip Neville saw through this anomaly and lack of respect and protocol and made the necessary corrections.
Nice one Philip. Continue being the
professional you trained to be and not become a point-man for the government.