Sierra Leone president sacks ambassadors
Sunday April 29 2018
New Sierra Leonean Presidents Julius Maada Bio has sacked all political appointees in the country’s diplomatic missions abroad, including ambassadors and high commissioners.
President Bio, who has embarked on various measures to reduce government expenditure, also put a freeze on the hiring of new employees and purchase of vehicles.
He also challenged all Sierra Leoneans to take an inward look into the state of the nation by asking what it had achieved since independence.
“During my swearing-in on 4th April 2018 as President of the Republic, I said that my election and my new administration is the dawn of a new era to change and transform Sierra Leone. As a nation, we must resolve to use this opportunity to change and transform our beloved Sierra Leone,” he stated.
He said Sierra Leoneans would henceforth have low key independence anniversaries as there wa no money for state celebrations.
President Bio said the country that has been independent for 57 years, had empty state coffers, adding that government celebrations could only be possible when domestic revenue collection makes 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Mr Bio assumed the presidency on April 4, after winning a hotly contested election on March 31.
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Former ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party on Thursday announced a boycott of the government over the petitioning of 15 of its elected MPs.
There were chaotic scenes in the House on Wednesday when APC MPs protested the removal of their colleagues who had been slammed with a High Court injunction barring them from attending the first parliamentary session in which the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were later elected.
For the first time, Sierra Leone has an opposition dominated parliament, but APC does not have an absolute majority. It believes that the move to petition its members was part of a plot by the ruling Sierra Leonean People's Party (SLPP) to deprive it of its majority.
Armed police forcefully removed the protesting MPs from parliament, leading to the hospitalisation of one of them.
Veteran politician, Dr Abass Bundu, a close ally of President Bio, was eventually elected Speaker, with another SLPP lawmaker being elected Deputy Speaker
The opposition party’s leadership described the development as the lowest point in the country’s democratic journey and said it had ordered all its 68 elected MPs and 10 APC-controlled local councils not to cooperate with the government.
Regional bloc Ecowas Parliament has condemned the forceful removal of the opposition MPs.