“One of the several, critical challenges facing our small nation of less than 4 million people is the awesome, all-embracing and far-reaching Power of a sitting, Liberian President. That power is clearly defined by and enshrined in our Constitution in a Unitary-structured government, with supreme, executive (administrative) power duly vested and rigidly centralized in a President, during these 167 years of our existence, as a free and independent nation”, we wrote in an article entitled “The Power of the President” (Analyst Liberia, March 3, 2013).
According to the Constitution of Liberia, the head of state & government of Liberia is an elected President in whom powers of Democratic Executive and powers of an Emperor – political, administrative & economic – are vested. Thus, the Liberian Head-of-State is described as “Imperial President”.
The President appoints all employees of government, including political officials of the Sub-Divisions (Counties) of superintendents, commissioners, mayors of cities; town, clan and paramount chiefs, with all those appointed “serve at the will and pleasure of the President”. Judges, appointed by the President, are exempted in theory from service “at the will and pleasure of the President”, but are affected in practice.
Though actually elected by the people, but with manipulations by the powerful, Imperial President through the political process, the service and tenure of members of the Legislature are affected, manifestly, by the “will and pleasure of the President”.
Pattern of Behavior
Indeed, the appointed individuals – many highly-trained & experienced professionals – are the intellectual, academic, technological and socio-economic and political “cream of the crop” of Liberia’s elite who write, teach, research, study, analyze, prescribe and recommend, as well as manage/implement, the plans and programs that determine present and future directions of our nation. They constitute the upper and middle classes of Liberian society.
But, their lives – hopes, fears, careers, dreams, personal growth and development – depend upon and are determined, to a large extent, by the “will and pleasure” of one person who is answerable to no one, according to the doctrine of our Unitary Structure of government. Very few, if any, will or can muster the courage or “guts” to challenge “presidential power and prerogatives” or the “status quo” for fear of “losing it all”, including being labeled “trouble-maker” who wants to “rock the boat” and be ostracized socially, economically and politically.
Thus, the evolution and development of this pattern of performance behavior for social-cultural, economic and political survival, the culture of “see no evil, do no evil and tell no evil in society” at the expense of one’s honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, openness and “above all else”, allegiance, loyalty and patriotism to the Republic and people. Until Now, Madam Jemima Wolokollie!!
Until Jemima, there had been faceless “whistle blowers”, anonymous “redeemers”, etc. from highly-placed dishonesty, roaring corruption and related socio-economic and political iniquities.
Madam Jemima invited the attention of her superiors openly, politely, aggressively to basic public policy violations with facts, figures, names, dates, places and concrete examples, but ignored, disregarded and often threatened, she went public – to the press as the only reasonable approach for results.
We commend and congratulate Madam Wolokollie very strongly, with deep appreciation for her courage, “guts” and the “political will” at the expense of “losing it all” (her job, “indefinite suspension”) and labelled “trouble-maker who wants to rock the boat” (“insubordination and un-professionalism”).
Indeed, we are aware of CDC Loyalists’s unconditional welcome of the suspension of Madam Wolokollie as Deputy Minister of Commerce as President “Weah’s laudable democratic leadership, unseen before in the nation’s governance experience”.
For, the action is simply the continuation of political compliance, the Liberian Rubber-stamp Political Culture of inability to summon the “courage”, “guts” or the political will not, even, the National Legislature, to challenge socio-political indignities by the ruling political power or the Status Quo for “real change or reforms.