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Timber Association Questions Suspension of Elected Chairman

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Timber Association Questions Suspension of Elected Chairman

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Members of the Timber Association of Sierra Leone have in a press conference sought answers from government on what they termed as the unlawful suspension from office the Association’s elected national chairman.

Addressing newsmen past weekend, Mohamed Sheriff Kamara, Port Loko District Chairman commended the government for bringing a facelift in the timber trade.

He said prior to now, the timber trade was what he referred to as an “on and off” business due to the frequent trade bans it was challenged with.

According to him, the trade today is experiencing a boom under President Julius Maada Bio’s led government, which he said the Association is very pleased with.

However, the fact that the government has given them (district chairmen) the respect and mandate to elect the national chairman, they should be informed of whatever key decision— that has the ability to undermine the democratic tenets of the Association–is poised to be taken.

He said the government should have consulted them before the indefinite suspension of their national chairman.

David Bangura is the Bombali District Chairman of the Association. He spoke on the reason(s) for the suspension of their national chairman, Mohamed Hummer Fornah.

According to him, they only note from the letter that was understood to be the reason was insubordination — that is the Chairman was suspended for insubordination, but the district chairmen of the Association were not informed of the decision.

He said the Association funded the election with 97 million leones in which the national chairman, secretary general, financial secretary and the public relations officer were legitimately elected; hence, should the government decide to make any decision to suspend any of the elected officials, stakeholders of the Association should be duly informed.

District Chairman of Karene, Abu Dumbuya, expressed his happiness for the Association in throwing support to its elected officials. He added that for every time the Association holds an election, a huge sum of money that comes from its coffers is spent.

He thanked government for creating a platform where the Association elect both their national and district leaders. However, he expressly put forward his disappointment on the government to have taken the decision to suspend the national chairman without consulting them.

For him, the action tends to ruin the democratic principles of the Association and that if the government had undertaken due procedures in suspending the chairman, there would not have alarmed.

Sallieu Kondeh, the Kionadugu District Chairman, joined colleagues to express disappointment over the government’s decision in suspending the national chairman.

He insisted that the executive of the Association is not against the suspension; rather, its position is that the government should have followed due procedures.

The Association’s Kambia District Chairman, Abdulai Sillah, commended government’s effort in boosting the timber trade that ranges from the lifting of immediate bans to creating a room for elections in which the association elects its leaders.

Therefore, if an election has been held to elect the national chairman who without their notice was suspended, he appealed for the government to provide them with reason(s) that led to his indefinite suspension.

He pleaded that the government let them man their affairs without interference.

Issa Kamara, the District Chairman of Kono maintained that the Association was the sole body that sponsored its elections. So, he pleaded that the government tell them reason(s) for Chairman Fornah’s suspension.

Mohamed B. Barrie, the District Chairman of Falaba, in his statement, said the government should have, before the suspension, summoned a consultative meeting where they would have objectively put heads together as to whether he (Mr. Fornah) should be suspended or not; this, he said, would have been the right method government should have implemented to maintain democratic process.

He further appealed to his colleague chairmen to uphold peace and unity among them.

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