Sierra Leone Coup Leaders Name Cabinet
The military rulers who staged a palace coup in Sierra Leone last week have named a new Cabinet, reinforcing doubts that elections will be held on schedule next month to end army rule and civil war.
The scale of the reshuffle surprised even those politicians who voiced support for Tuesday’s coup in the impoverished West African nation and said they trusted new strongman Julius Bio’s declared intention to stick to the Feb. 26 election date.
The most important change in the Cabinet was the sacking of Finance Minister John Karimu, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Party. On Saturday, Bio justified his bloodless coup on grounds that ousted leader Capt. Valentine Strasser was scheming to cling to power by hijacking Karimu’s nomination.
The new finance minister is Samura Kamara, former financial secretary in the ministry.
The least expected appointment was that of human rights campaigner and newspaper editor Paul Kamara as minister for Lands, Housing and Environment. As a Cabinet minister he becomes a member of the National Provisional Ruling Council that he has attacked relentlessly.
His daily, For the People, Sierra Leone’s most popular newspaper, on Friday published a front-page account of the coup, reporting Strasser was punched and kicked to the ground before being handcuffed and bundled into a helicopter with Bio’s pistol put at his head.
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