President George Manneh Weah is on the verge of completing formation of his cabinet, including appointments to public corporations and autonomous agencies here following a moment of suspense, anxiety and speculations on who goes where in the coalition government that seems to be overwhelmed by clamor for jobs from within and outside the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.
Since his official inauguration on 22 January as Liberia’s 24th elected President, Mr. Weah has nominated heads for at least 14 ministries, retaining the Minister of Information from the Sirleaf administration, who is an old time friend, and elevating the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs as Minister.
There are reports of creeping nepotism in the new government as the President appoints the Deputy Director for Operations at the National Security Agency Mr. James Henric Pearson to head the NSA where Mrs. Maime Hayford Pearson, wife of the nominee serves as Comptroller. At the Ministry of Health, President Weah appoints Madam Norwu Howard Wesson as Deputy Minister for Administration, who is reportedly a close relative of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor with information that the brother of VP Taylor, Kolubahzizi T. Howard, is being tipped to head the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, previously Liberia Telecommunication Corporation, where the nominee earlier served during the Taylor administration.
While these appointments are potential grounds for conflict of interest, we challenge the nominees to prioritize service to country over personal connection or relationship once they are in government.
They should now give their supreme loyalty to the state and its citizenry and strive to serve with utmost sacrifice for the forward march of the Motherland. Public service gives one an opportunity to make his little contribution to the land of his nativity.
It would be a serious disservice if those being given the privilege to serve were to see their preferment merely as a chance to receive salary and benefits without giving back. No, no, this is not what public service is meant for.
Rather, it requires foresight, creativity and strong will to impact lives and country thru one’s expertise or specialty. Posterity would judge all of us for what we do or failed to do when we had the opportunity to come on the stage and give our fair share of contribution.
We owe it not only to ourselves and our family members but to fellow compatriots what we do with the responsibility entrusted in our care in governing the country and managing its human and natural resources. It is quite important that we use our time and energy to do something positive that would move Liberia one step further to peace, unity, stability and economic prosperity.
Whatever piece of job or office you have been appointed to, be it driving or sweeping portfolio, director or minister proper, the late American Civil Rights campaigner Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Jr. in one of his many speeches stressed that if a man can execute his assigned job well whether he is a sweeper, once he sweeps so well even if he built his home in the wood or forest, the world will make a beating path to his doorstep in search of him.
We challenge those being nominated into government to come with the same spirit and work habit so that after service, they would leave behind such footprints that people coming after them can aspire or seek. We all can learn from the characteristics of ‘General’ Mary Broh who has left positive footprints wherever she had worked in spite of criticisms under the past administration that has led President Weah to retain her services at the General Services Agency.