In his fifth cabinet reshuffle on 11th January this year, President Julius Maada Bio made some minor but very significant changes in his government.

The president made a total of 14 appointments in which some of the appointees having been served in the government were only redeployed while others were brought in to replace those axed from the system.

The biggest name on the list of appointees that caught public attention is popular opposition politician, Alpha Kanu from the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC) who was appointed to serve as Resident Minister for the North-Western Region with a cabinet rank.

His ministerial appointment as a member of the main opposition APC has been the subject of discussion across Sierra Leone. While some say it was expected owing to his intimate relationship with President Bio since power changed hands in 2018, others wonder about the intention of the President.

This piece explores five possible reasons that may height have goaded President Julius Maada Bio to appoint Alhaji Alpha Khan as a cabinet minister after previously appointing him as a strategic adviser, Social Mobilisation and Food Security, Office of the Interim National Coordinator, Covid 19 Response.

Kanu is a divisive figure in the APC, which ruled Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2018. He served in several capacities in the cabinet of former as Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs, Minister of Natural Resources (Mines), and Minister of Information and Communications. He also served as Special Adviser to the President, before his redeployment to the Information Ministry in the dying days of the APC regime.

Kanu made a name as a fearless defender of the Koroma administration as Information Minister and government spokesman. He was one among the 27 aspirants of the presidential ticket of the APC for the 2018 polls.

Pro-Kanu protests rocked Port Loko when the APC announced its flagbearer. His mainly youthful supporters were unhappy that he wasn’t selected.

Mr. Khan hails from Port Loko, a strong political base of the main opposition where he will be presiding over as resident minister.

Presidential Spokesman, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi has argued Alpha Khan’s appointment as a mark of President Bio’s desire for inclusive governance and also to ensure that every Sierra Leonean is able to contribute to national development regardless of their political or ethnic affiliations, referring to the appointment as a move aimed at promoting national cohesion.

One among the five reasons President Bio appointed Khan as a Resident Minister North-West is to attract some considerable number of votes from the supporters of Alpha Khan in the North, more especially Portoloko district which is a stronghold of the main opposition APC.

This article has also considered the Presidential spokesperson’s submission as just one and the second among the five reasons President Bio appointed Alpha Khan as minister.

The appointment of Alpha Khan as Resident Minister to the North-West region of Sierra Leone in a divided political system like Sierra Leone could be nothing more than a strategic preparation for SLPP to scoop support from the main opposition’s stronghold in the 2023 presidential election.

Again, Alpha Khan’s appointment is nothing but a deliberate move by President Bio and his SLPP government to canvass and cajole other disgruntle APC politicians who felt offended by the way President Koroma handpicked Dr. Samura Kamara as the presidential aspirant for the APC in the 2018 elections. After Samura’s appointment, a host of the other aspirants became very disgruntle hence; some party stalwart resorted to taking the party to court.

Since President Bio assumed power in 2018 there hasn’t been any major cross-carpeting from the APC Party to the SLPP. But when former President Koroma assumed powers in 2007, major cross-carpeting were done from the SLPP to the APC. At least, President Bio wanted to have some APC strongmen cross to his party which could serve as yardstick for his re-election in the 2023 elections.

Finally, the nation has recently lost a parliamentarian in the Portloko district under the APC, the same district where Alpha Khan hail from. Therefore, there is a pending bye-election for the vacant seat in the constituency. Thus the appointment of Alpha Khan is to influence the voters to cast their votes for the designated SLPP candidate so that they can win and majority of parliamentary seat in the well of parliament because they APC and SLPP currently have almost equal seats in parliament.