Former Labor Minister Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, says he doesn’t understand President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s advocacy against very high salaries she had approved for her officials, contending that “advocates speak truth to power,” and President Sirleaf heads the highest office within the Executive Branch.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, January 2, 2015, Cllr. Gongloe, a former member of the President’s cabinet, urged the Liberian leader to stop “gossiping her officials” for receiving very big salaries, which she earlier said were given them as anti-corruption strategy.
Currently a private lawyer, he had refused a new portfolio President Sirleaf offered him to head the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications upon his return from compulsory leave.
Gongloe says his former boss was being deceptive by allegedly acting as an advocate against high salaries when she could have simply declared salaries reduction for appointed officials.
He argued that the President’s statement, urging the need to think of reduction in salary disparities between civil servants and senior officials of both government institutions and State Owned Enterprises or SOEs would have been more appropriate if she were a civil society advocate.
“I wonder who she is advocating to because advocates speak truth to power, but she speaks truth to herself. And that is for me surprising because what we expect for the President to do is my government has realized that the salaries disparity is too high, and from today I hereby declare that salaries will not be above this amount in the SOEs,” the counsel suggested.
Instead, Cllr. Gongloe wonders why President Sirleaf is “crying out loud,” adding, that he does not understand to whom she is crying when she had earlier said the high salaries to institutions like the National Port Authority and Liberia Maritime Authority, among others were meant to prevent corruption.
He argued that if one has the authority to do something and yet chooses to just speak about it, it is deception.
He claimed that unlike previous NPA Managing Directors, Ms Matilda Parker is earning about twice the salary others, who before President Sirleaf’s term, were earning some $6,000USD; while at the same time, Maritime Commissioner Binyan Kessely, makes a lot of money.
On the other hand, he wished the President had not come up with the issue of salaries disparity for fears that if she decides to reduce salaries, there are possibilities that some of her experienced officials might resign and leave, given that she has less than three years in office.
By Winston W. Parley