Outgoing President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has issued an Executive Order No. 91 which aims to establish mechanisms for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from the current administration to incoming President.
Mrs. Sirleaf is due to hand over power to a new president this January after serving two consecutive six – years terms, but the country which has not seen smooth transition in 73 years, does not have such mechanisms in place.
The Executive Order establishes a Transitional Team to be called Joint Presidential Transition Team (JPTT) which is to be composed of 15 persons appointed to the JPTT by the incumbent president and 15 other persons appointed by the president – elect declared by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The Executive Order says the incumbent President shall appoint to the JPTT the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Central Bank Governor, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of National Defense, the Director of the Executive Protection Service, among others.
The Executive Order directs that the President – Elect shall appoint 15 persons, all of whom must be Liberian citizens, and that the President – elect shall do such appointment to the JPTT not later than 24 hours after being declared by the NEC.
The incumbent president and the incoming president are co-chairs on the JPTT, and decisions of the JPTT shall be made by consensus while disputes are to be resolved jointly by the incumbent and incoming presidents.
The JPTT is mandated under the Executive Order to commence its function not later than 48 hours after the NEC declares a president – elect and it shall cease to function after 31 January 2018.
The JPTT is to formulate guidelines and policies to govern the transition, ensure the provision of regular national security briefing for the President – elect during the period commencing immediately upon the constitution of the JPTT by the incumbent President and the President – elect.
The Executive Order says immediately upon the constitution of the JPTT, the President shall authorize the reallocation of resources and assets to support its operations and the provision contained ‘herein’.
The appointees of the President who are government officials and receiving salaries and emoluments up to the end of the mandate of the JPTT shall not be entitled to any additional compensation for their services.
But it says the appointees of the President and the President – elect who are not public servants shall be paid honorarium as shall be decided by the President and President – elect.
It adds that the JPTT shall ensure that services are rendered to the President – elect and Vice President – elect, including office facilities, logistics, transportation, travel allowances, communication services, daily briefing and other services and benefits.
It notes that the incumbent President and Vice President shall vacate their official offices and official residences on or before Inauguration Day. It mandates that the JPTT shall ensure that services are provided to the outgoing president and vice president including two vehicles and chauffeur each, VIP protection with EPS and police officers, logistics, and allowances, among others.
It concludes that non – tenured presidential appointee shall be presumed to have resigned as of the date of inauguration, though such appointees shall continue to function until their successors have been nominated, confirmed, appointed and commissioned.