Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has appointed, Alpha Kanu, a former member of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) and Julius Spencer of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) as Presidential Special advisers.

While Kanu was appointed as the Strategic Adviser – Social Mobilization and Food Security at the Office of the Interim National Coordinator, COVID-19 Response; Spencer was made a Strategic Adviser on Public Health Information at the Office of the Interim National Coordinator, COVID-19 Response.

In a letter dated 7 May, 2020 and signed by the Julius Sandy, the Secretary to the President, President Bio congratulated both appointees and wished them success in their appointment. It further stated that the appointment takes effect from the date they report to duty.

This development comes in wake of rising tension and violent incidents across Sierra Leone especially in the North which has led to many deaths.

Although it is not yet clear if both politicians would accept the appointment, political spectators have described the move by the President as a strategic effort to calm the political tension around the country.

Until his appointment, Alpha Kanu was a former Presidential aspirant for the All People’s Party (APC). He also served in various capacities – as a Presidential adviser and as a Minister – under the former President Ernest Bai Koroma led APC Government and was also National Publicity Secretary of the party.

On the other hand, Julius Spencer was a prominent Journalist and former Information Minister in the SLPP Government of the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was among the top members of the party who decamed with Kandeh Yumkella to form the National Grand Coalition (NGC) in the wake of the 2018 Presidential elections in Sierra Leone.

“With his wealth of experience in the media, Julius Spencer will provide advice on public health information to the COVID-19 team and work with the coordinator.”, a State House official told Sierraloaded.

Commenting on the development, Segun Bockaire, a political analyst and student of Fourah Bay College described the appointment as a clear demonstration of President Bio’s desire to lead a unified and cohesive nation.

In his words, “The appointment by the two high profile politicians from the two main political parties show that President Bio believes in government of national inclusion and fostering a culture of working together in the interest of Sierra Leone.”