Concerns are building here over President George Manneh Weah’s decision to kick out most of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s appointed officials on his first day in office and giving of supervisory authority to human resource personnel at government ministries and agencies while he still nominates his cabinet members.
Hours after taking the oath of office as Liberia’s 24th elected president on Monday, 22 January, Mr. Weah’s office issued a directive that a few heads of certain government ministries and agencies including Information Minister Len Eugene Nagbe, Education Minister George K. Werner, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman, and General Services Agency Director General Mary Broh should hold on to their offices until further notice.
Beside these few officials, Mr. Weah directed that all other Ministries and Public Corporations will be supervised by the Director of Human Resource of those entities they have been heading until further notice.
But his first decision as president sharply turns down part of a Transitional Executive Order of his immediate predecessor Mrs. Sirleaf who ahead of turning over power, mandated that non – tenured presidential appointees [of her regime] 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.
Mr. Weah’s directive clearly tells that he cannot wait to keep running with the officials from the ministries and agencies whose successors have not been nominated, confirmed, appointed and commissioned, rather ordering that Human Resource persons supervise these institutions while he makes nominations.
An official of defeated presidential candidate Charles Walker Brumskine’s Liberty Party, Mr. Darius Dillion argues that Mr. Weah’s decision to say all other appointed public officials should turn over to the human resource heads until replacements have been made leaves a question as to when will the replacement be made.
“There are places where confirmation should take place, then appointment, then commissioning in keeping with the Constitution. How long is it going to be before some of these appointments, proper appointments are made for people to properly take over?” Mr. Dillion wondered when he appeared on a local radio talk show Tuesday, 23 January in Monrovia.
Mr. Dillion is concerned that nominated officials will have to go through Senate confirmation and it’s going to take some time, even if it is for two or three days, adding that “we got to be careful so that we do not create problems in the very beginning with the management of the administration.”
He says with all his issues he has with former President Sirleaf, he thought it was presidential wisdom when she issued the Executive Order that immediately upon Mr. Weah’s inauguration on Monday at 12 noon, all appointed officials who are not tenured would have been deemed to have resigned but that they would hold on until the proper replacement has been made.
He argues that certain leadership is needed at the top to carry on the function and operation of the institutions of government, claiming that it was ill – advised and it is not late to be reconsidered given the time it may take to appoint all of these people to the various ministries and agencies.
The former soccer legend – turned politician Mr. Weah took over from former President Sirleaf Monday afternoon as Liberia’s 24th elected president in the nation’s first smooth transition of power between civilian authorities in 73 years.
By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Othello B. Garblah