* Energy minister removed as power issues continue
* Sacking comes ahead of elections due later in 2012
By Simon Akam
FREETOWN, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has sacked Energy Minister Ogunlade Davidson over his department’s poor performance, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
Koroma, who will be seeking re-election in November, has promised to improve electricity and clean water supply in the poor West African nation which is still recovering from a devastating 11-year civil war that killed about 50,000.
“His (the minister’s) sector has not been performing as the president expected, and being head of the sector he has to take responsibility,” Unisa Sesay told Reuters by telephone in Freetown.
Sesay said output from a hydroelectric dam at Bumbuna in the centre of the country and management of other power generation facilities were areas of concern.
Despite the Bumbuna dam coming online in 2009, power supply is still intermittent in Sierra Leone, with the capital Freetown, once nicknamed the “darkest city in Africa”, still struggling to shake the moniker.
The country as a whole also still has one of the lowest power generation levels in sub-Saharan Africa, with less than 100 megawatts of capacity and many individuals and small businesses still depending on generators.
In May last year Sierra Leone announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Joule Africa, part of California-based Joule Investments Group, to upgrade the Bumbuna facility. The project plans to add another 350 megawatts of generation capacity.
Water supply is also irregular with frequent interruptions despite abundant rainfall and other water resources.
A statement from the president’s office said Davidson, an academic and government novice, was replaced by Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, a former banker with Citibank who is currently Koroma’s private sector adviser. (Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by David Lewis and Alison Williams)