Lookin’ Inside From Outside: Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (Pt.I)
I’m told by the law that the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs is suppose to be spearheading the government’s development programs, in collaboration with other agencies of government, as well as national and international Non-Governmental Organizations. Quite frankly, that’s exactly what I and others know from time to time, and from government to government.
While I may not want to out rightly provide any judgment as to whether the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs has been doing well in terms of coordinating government’s development efforts, it is left with all of us to determine the level of success of that ministry, as it relates to the execution of its duties and functions as prescribed by the law.
But again, the success of any institution, in terms of the implementation of government policies/programs, is greatly dependent on the caliber of administrators, as well as the relationship between those administrators and the workforce.
Perhaps that was why the former Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs, Dr. Toga McIntosh-Gayewea succeeded to the extent he went-because of his good human relations and interactions.
The former Minister, I’m told, did not attach any specialty to his relationship, but considered all employees of the ministry as a single family, working toward the growth and development of the country.
No wonder why the senior staff and employees worked so dedicatedly and happily under former Minister Gayewea in developing the Poverty Reduction Strategy or PRS, so much so that his departure toward the end of 2008 created deep sorrows in the minds of his workforce.
But while many other senior staff and employees had thought that a new breed of administrators, including the minister, Amara Konneh were being preferred by Madam President of Liberia to continue the good work and relationships cultivated by Dr. Toga McIntosh-Gayewea, a few waited patiently to observe the new “big boss.”
Surely enough, the thought of the latter prevailed, as the young Minister began letting his paws out, to the extent of the resignation of one to two senior staff, including former Assistant Minister for Sectorial Planning at the Ministry, Mrs. Ann-Dora Gbormie.
Probably because Amara felt that Madam President had taken him as a ”son” and sent him to the Kennedy school of Government at Harvard University in Kenbridge, near Boston in the State of Massachusetts, the United States for post graduate studies in government, he became above all else.
And so, without any sense of realizing that Liberia was undergoing rebirth and transformation as far as national renewal, unity and reconstruction were concerned under Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Minister Amara Konneh chose the path of stagnation and disunity at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs where the country’s development begins.
The replacement of well experienced and qualified senior staff and employees, usurpation of functions and marginalization of other senior officials of the ministry became the hall-mark of his administration, and this is continuing unabatedly.
I am not even convinced that the action of the Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Sebastian Muah against a potential young Liberian of their age group, Foday C. Bayoh (Special Technical assistant at the Ministry) was not with his acquiescence.
I and many other well-meaning Liberians see no reason why Amara and Sebastian, as young men being promoted by the President as part of her youth policy, would chose to “psychologically kill” a fellow young Liberian striving for higher heights.
Having read through all of the documents, including email exchanges between Foday and Deputy Minister Sebastian Muah, I’m left to believe that the arrival of our compatriots from the United States and their preferment in government by Madam President is a recipe for disintegration, poverty and depression.