The recent announcement of the second set of Ministers by the Bio led SLPP government outwardly defines a comeback of ‘Prime Minister-Ship’ in the politics of Sierra Leone, which is otherwise categorized ‘Chief Minister.’
Although the Bio government has refused calling such a position ‘Prime Minister,’ research has shown how the ‘Chief Minister’ position of a country is manifestly one and the same as ‘Prime Minister.’
A State House release which strenuously implied that the position of ‘Chief Minister’ isn’t in any way what people called ‘Prime Minister,’ failed to credibly explain the uncomplicated functions of a chief minister in the governance structure of Sierra Leone and of the Bio led SLPP regime.
That one of the roles of the chief minister, according to State House, is that it provides for a competent leadership on the day-to -day operations, operational co-ordination, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of government business.
“The Chief Minister” they say, “serves as the central hub responsible for the overall coordination and facilitates the implementation of government strategic priorities.”
Amongst the many things in the office of the chief minister is the chairing of the 3 cross-cutting sectoral ministries for inter- governmental co-ordination including education and social development, finance and economic development and peace, security and justice sectors respectively.
But a lecturer of the political science department at the University of Sierra Leone, who asked for his name not to be mentioned said, “Sierra Leone has apparently will soon have a prime minister which is likely to usurp functions of both the president and vice president.”
Others say Sierra Leone, as a nation, does not have a ceremonial president but an executive president, whose mandate is exclusively to the people and just it.
People’s worries are that the re-emergence of what’s looking like prime minister-ship may, no doubt, make the president a ceremonial head and renders office of the vice president completely ineffective.
However, some lawyers say the constitution gives the president the powers to create any office he so desires, and that the inclusion of a chief minister in the governance structure of the country is well within the president’s legal terms of reference.