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Editorial – No, Ellen, This Is Unfair!

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Clearly, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has embarked on a scheme that appears to favor some appointed officials who have political ambition in the pending election over others. This we think is unfair. The President had earlier pronounced as a matter of policy that those officials desirous of vying for elective posts should resign from their current positions, but what has been unfolding in the past few weeks speak totally to the contrary.

Except for former superintendents Renny Jackson of Bong County and Edith Gongloe-Weh of Nimba County who were summarily dismissed by the President to, according to the Executive Mansion, allow them focus on their political ambitions, there are other officials, including junior cabinet ministers, who have been selected through the governing Unity Party primaries to vie for legislative seats, but still occupy their present positions in government. What a paradox!

Information Minister Cletus Sieh rather vainly struggled to defend the President’s latest posture when he appeared on a local radio talk show Thursday in Monrovia, but the explanations the Minister provided were as weak as a pre-matured baby lying in an incubator.

While we agreed with Minister Sieh that the President has the right to appoint and dismiss whosoever she prefers, but when she makes a policy statement to the effect that those officials wanting to contest for political posts must relinquish all current positions, the enforcement of such decision should go across the board to affect all those concerned.

We now begin to wonder whether the rule does not apply to Assistant Internal Affairs Minister Gabriel Nyekan, Deputy Minister Henry B. Fahnbulleh, and Deputy Public Works Minister for Administration Johnson Gweikolo and other incumbents from the Executive, who were elected at the just-ended UP primaries to participate in the ensuing elections.

According to Minister Sieh, Grand Kru County Superintendent Rosalind Sneh has been granted a leave of absence by the Executive to pursue her political ambition. The President has accordingly appointed an acting superintendent for Grand Kru. On the other hand, Madam Sneh’s colleagues from Bong and Nimba were issued dismissal letters by the President.

When the leader begins to give preferential treatments to her subordinates whether in government or in private institutions, there is enough reason for concern because such attitude or tactic usually leads to disrespect, lack of cooperation and disintegration of the entire body. We therefore challenge the President to stand very tall on this one and stop bending over on her earlier pronouncement. This should be the mark of a good leadership or statesman: Statements should be backed by actions rather than discretionary tactics.

Minister Sieh pointed to senators and members of the House of Representatives who are in office and at the same time vying for positions in the pending elections. This is a different scenario altogether. The Honorable men and women at the First Branch of Government were not placed there by the President. Instead, they were elected by their people and therefore have all privileges to seek re-election if their people so desire to maintain them there.

It is totally unfair for some officials to be kicked out of government for their political dreams, particularly in the Executive while others are allowed to still on and contest against their rivalries. It is unfair for Gabriel, Henry, and Johnson and others to remain in their respective offices, get paid by the citizens and used that money to compete in an electoral process against other fellow citizens who do not have such privileges.

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