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Editorial: Boakai’s appointees acting at LTA is unnecessary

President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. suspended all 5 members of the Board of Commissioners of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) over the weekend and has reportedly sent in his appointees to acting pending an entity audit. The President has requested a status report from the suspended Board.

This is happening when the President has tried unsuccessfully to replace the commissioners who hold or occupy tenure positions, especially after the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled last Thursday that such a move by the President violated their rights.

But President Boakai hurried moved a day after and suspended the commissioners, sending in has wanted to replace them with to act, pending the audit.

We think that while it is within the purview or power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss any official of government, whether said person holds a tenure position or not, proceeding as he is doing right now gives an impression of a witch-hunt, particularly by sending in his choice of persons for those offices to act, pending the outcome of the suspension.

Rather than President Boakai sending in his men to act while the investigation is ongoing, we think it would have been appropriate to ask deputies of those commissioners to act instead, pending a full investigation. This was not done. Rather, a confidence crisis is being created by sending in confidants of the President’s, who by any measure would find it difficult, if not impossible, to work with staffers left in those offices who have been working with those suspended.    

The point is that if President Boakai does not want the current LTA Board of Commissioners, as it is being indicated, he may remove them by directly engaging them about their salaries and benefits, as enshrined in the law, given that their tenures have not expired, and how they could be paid. But he wants them out immediately so that his loyalists can go in.

From all indications, the President is resolved to get the commissioners out of office at all costs, even through unorthodox means, especially when he lacks the legal power to do so, as the Supreme Court has ruled. So, where are we heading if this is not a witch-hunt?

Those of our brothers and sisters from the ruling Unity Party or the rescue team who are being pushed to the LTA should think of tomorrow. “Time trap,” it is said, “is not for rate alone.” There is another day after the Boakai era. It does not make any good sense to smoke one group of Liberians out of public service just to replace them with another. There must be a clear and tangible cause.

It was in this vein, unfortunately, that riot Police officers, fully armed, went to the LTA on Friday and psychologically terrorized a female staff of the entity and her daughter, who is a minor, with explanation that they had a mandate to inspect the lady’s private vehicle for whatever reason without a search warrant from the court. That was wronged, totally wronged!

This lady’s only crime was being an analyst in the office of one of the suspended commissioners. And the Police found nothing suspicious about her, leaving her and the innocent minor with psychological and mental torture.

We take this opportunity to caution President Boakai to proceed circumspectly as he continues to form his government. He should avoid pitting one group of Liberians against another group of citizens just for the sake of jobs because we are all one, irrespective of party politics.   

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