Following several confrontations between the Minister and Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Sylvia O. Blyden and Rugiatu Neneh Turay, President Koroma has relieved the two of their duties in the Ministry, effective immediately.
Sylvia O. Blyden
At 7:30 p.m., on 23 November 2017, a press release was issued from State House and read over national television. “… President Koroma has decided to relieve Dr. Sylvia Blyden and Rugiatu Neneh, of their duties as Minister and Deputy Minister, respectively, in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. … It has pleased the President to assign Isata Kabia as Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.”
The final straw that broke the camel’s back was the interview done yesterday morning on Radio Democracy. The Deputy Minister openly presented information, made accusations and refuted rumours. The Minister called the radio program and responded on air. The Minister and Deputy traded accusations and barbs to the embarrassment of the nation.
The Deputy Minister Neneh Sesay called on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the Ministry. Corruption allegations have floated around the Ministry and Minister for two years since she was appointed to the position. Within the two years, according to the Deputy Minister, there have been five Permanent Secretaries – one of the most senior positions directly under the Minister.
The Ministry and Minister seem to be constantly embroiled in controversy amidst allegations of corruption, misappropriation of funds, abuse of power and even “black magic”.
The Ministry is now headed by Isata Kabia, former Deputy Minister 11 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
By Betty Milton
Friday November 24, 2017.