President George Weah, nicknamed-Country Giant, by supporters and sympathizers during the 2017 presidential elections roared for the first time over the weekend, leaving Deputy Commerce Minister for Small Business, Mrs. Jemama Wolokollie packing out of the Ministry.
Mrs. Wolokollie, an ex-wife of former Montserrado District #9 Representative Dusty Wolokollie faces suspension for time indefinite reasons being acts of insubordination and unprofessionalism.
She is the first official of the Weah government to face the president’s wrath so far. Madam Wolokollie recently accused her boss, Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh of conniving with some foreign businesses in the country at the detriment of Liberian-owned businesses.
She accused Mr. Tarpeh during a press conference last week that he (Tarpeh) was antagonizing her because of her stance against his shady dealings that contravene the government’s pro-poor agenda. Mr. Tarpeh is yet to comment on claims made by Mrs. Wolokollie.
But the unfolding event prompted Mr. Weah’s warning to officials here at the end of his first cabinet retreat over the weekend, threatening that he will not relent to suspend or fire junior officials who will engage in acts that will bring their bosses into disrepute.
“I want to inform you that those that come to the president and complain about their bosses and the president advised them to give him the chance to speak to that boss …and leave my office and go back to the radio and bring the boss to disrepute, will be suspended or you will be fired,” Mr. Weah says.
He sounded the warning at the climax of a two - day cabinet retreat Thursday, 17 May in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, mandating junior officials to submit themselves to the workings of the government because “your boss will always be your boss,” and reminding those at the top to respect their subordinates too.
Mr. Weah said his warning is a clarion call to all those working in government. He said is comment comes against the backdrop of what he has been observing in government since [this administration assumed power].
“My message to you will be very simple. As I said, the stage of talking is gone, let us act. We came here to put a plan of action in place so we can stop talking and implement everything that we say we will do,” Mr. Weah emphasizes.
He notes that the bosses have the responsibility to recruit the best brains to move the government’s agenda forward, thus, they have the full responsibility to employ.
He warns that government business is not on the radio, but it is resolved in the government sitting, like at the Cabinet retreat in Buchanan. He makes it clear that those that are in the habit of going on the radio will bear the consequences of their actions.
He further admonished his cabinet ministers reminding them to take care of what they do, because as leaders they are constantly on the stage and people who watch them every day will even test their credibility.
He also stresses the need senior officials to help their subordinate to succeed, while encouraging teamwork in government. He emphasizes that being the boss does not give you the right to disrespect your subordinate.
However, he said sometimes it is also necessary for bosses to employ some form of autocracy to get things done speedily. He argues that a leader would not want to give a responsibility to someone who has a “laissez faire” approach towards his or her assignment where he or she procrastinates everything.
He also reminded his officials that government business is continuity based on existing format, adding that every protocol that was set since 1847, “we” must abide by [it] until it is repealed or amended.
Meanwhile, at the close of the retreat, Mr. Weah thanked international partners not just for visiting, but for their continuous efforts to move government’s agenda forward.
He acknowledged that his government has a six - year mandate, but if it does not perform, the possibility of going for another six year will be shadowed.
He asks that God strengthens everyone to move the pro - poor agenda forward, noting that Liberians are eager and excited to see in reality the new adventures.
The first cabinet retreat under the Weah - led government was graced by international partners including the UN, US, EU and the World Bank, among others.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah