By S.U. Thoronka
Members of the two political parties SLPP and APC on Friday 17th January 2014 witnessed at interval the official and civic laying-out ceremony in Parliament of the late Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie who passed away on 15th December, 2013 and Hon. Mohamed Sufian Kargbo whose demise took place on Thursday 9th January 2014 respectively.
Elizabeth or Lizzy as she was fondly called worked for Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone from 1968-1971 and left to earn a banking degree in the United Kingdom. She returned home in 1975 to continue service with Standard Chartered as part of the first crop of professional bankers in Sierra Leone from 1975 – 1987; and from 1987 – 1996 she worked for the National Development Bank.
In 1996, Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie was elected to represent Bo South Constituency now constituency 75, and served as Member of Parliament from 1996-2012. Honourable Mrs. Lavalie made history in 2011 as the first woman to be elected to the post of Deputy Speaker of Parliament. She was recognized both at home and abroad as a formidable peace advocate and champion of good governance. She was a former Internal Auditor and Deputy Secretary General of the SLPP Party. Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie ran a formidable campaign for Leadership of the SLPP in 1996 and was one of the 19 Contenders in 2011.
The late Elizabeth Lavalie was Chairperson of Health and Social Committee in parliament, Member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Chairperson Human Rights Committee, Chairperson Parliamentary Action Group on Population and Development and Eminent Member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise. She was 66 years.
Alhaji Mohamed Sufian Kargbo born on 24 August 1939 and was educated at the Bo Government Secondary School. He received a scholarship to study at the University of Alexandria in Egypt in 1964 earning his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science. After completing a 6 month research course in Sweden he returned home to do a one year teaching course at the Teacher’s College then at Tower Hill and later taught at the Njala Agricultural College. In 1969, Hon. Mohamed Sufian Kargbo earned a Masters degree in Soil Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Upon his return, he was offered a civil service job in the Ministry of Agriculture as an Agricultural Officer. In 1977, Hon. M. S. Kargbo was appointed Senior Agronomist at the Land Resources and Survey Organization, a UNDP/FAO Sponsored project responsible for mapping the Sierra Leone terrain and also for performing extension research on the soil in various regions within Sierra Leone. He was appointed Director of the Land Resources and Survey Department, Hon. Mohamed Sufian Kargbo contested and won the Parliamentary elections in 1982 for the Tonkolili East Constituency and was made Parliamentary Special Assistant in the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture and it was during his tenure that the Green Revolution was implemented in a bid to achieve national self- sufficiency in food. Hon. Sufian Kargbo served in Parliament as Deputy Leader of the Majority All Peoples Congress Party (APC), a position he held until his retirement from active politics in 2012. He was recently appointed as Executive Director of PANAC Sierra Leone Chapter, an International position. He died at the age of 74 years and is survived by his wife Nema Kadiatu Sufian Kargbo and many children in the UK, USA, Canada and Sierra Leone.