The Minister of Education, George Werner, has insisted that former Bong County Representative Samuel Bondo, who was appointed by the ministry recently as County Education Officer or CEO, will not be deployed in Bong, his home county as earlier pronounced.
Ex-lawmaker Bondo’s posting in the county he once represented at the Liberian Legislature has been characterized by serious political maneuvering and controversy with some current Bong lawmakers reportedly fearing he could exploit the opportunity to market himself for a comeback in 2017’s general and presidential elections.
Bondo’s official induction ceremony was recently called off at the eleventh hour in Gbarnga and recalled immediately to Monrovia on the same day. Hundreds of relatives, friends and well-wishers, including educators had gathered at the DolokelenGboveh High School in Gbarnga for the inaugural program only to be told that the ceremony was cancelled after waiting for over four hours.
Immediately after the cancellation, rumor emerged that Bong County Senators Jewel Howard Taylor and Henry Willie Yallah as well as Electoral District Five Representative Edward Karfiah had allegedly masterminded Bondo’s withdrawal.
The lawmakers allegedly influenced Education Ministry’s officials not to assign the former lawmaker to his own county on grounds that he will gain popularity and contest against incumbent Representative Karfiah in 2017.
Hundreds of citizens, including teachers and stakeholders awaited the arrival of Minister Werner to provide reasons why the induction was cancelled at the last minute. But the minister did not meet with stakeholders. He instead, went to inspect an elementary school in Suakoko outside Gbarnga where he told our Bong County correspondent they will not allow Bondoto take CEO position in his home county.
Minister Werner said the ministry has given the ex-lawmaker two options – either to remain as a legislative consultant at the Education Ministry where he currently earns a monthly salary of US$1,600 or be posted to RivercessCounty as CEO and earns less.
The Education boss emphasized that it is against policy of the ministry to assign an individual in his or her county of origin due to conflict of interest. When asked why Bondo wasthen handed a letter of appointment to serve as County Education Officer for his native Bong, Minister Werner failed to answer, but referred this paper to the Regional Education Coordinator George Wuo, who said it was a mistake by the ministry.
Mr. Wuo attributed the mistake to new officials at the ministry, who he said were not abreast of the policy. Editing by Jonathan Browne