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OF MORALS & MANNERS: THE CASE OF PRESIDENTIAL “GATE-KEEPERS”

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In a recent, apparently, angered outburst (FPA, January 15, 2016), Dr. H. BoimaFahnbulleh, Jr., Liberia’s noted political scientist and philosopher, and National Security Advisor to the current President of Liberia, declared that Liberian government officials are not only arrogant and deceptive, but also, that they are liars and dishonest.

Said he, “Liberian government officials are arrogant . . . because they are deceptive, liars and dishonest . . . We must drop this attitude of big shot (because), you are servant of the people . . . The arrogance you display is an arrogance based on ignorance, you cannot be proud, you can’t be stubborn, arrogant before the people whom resources you use, whom wealth you take, No, respect them”.

Indeed, this shameful, degrading, national condition, as described, is not expected of trained and experienced corps of “informed, new breed or generation” of civil servants, particularly, during this digital age of instant information and our traditional, African values based upon egalitarian, utilitarian principles. With higher level of academic and professional training and experience than regularly required, come corresponding higher level of socio-cultural mode of behavior or morals and manners.

Service to the People

Public Service is an honor, a privilege and opportunity, performed with humility, class, appreciation, gratitude and respect, all based on one’s pattern of acquired morals and manners.

But this traditional approach, apparently, unfortunately, is not the concern of the current bunch of “arrogant, deceptive, dishonest and lying” officials who populate the ministries and agencies of our government, perhaps, due to “ignorance”, as Dr.Fahnbulleh theorized, or that it is dueto conscious neglect and disregard.

For, these officials believe that they are “big shots”,becausethey are all, usually, decked out in Brooks Brothers/Botany 500 suitsandbody-hugging, see-through pant-suits with pushed-up bras and shoulder-length hair pieces by the men and women Hollywood fashion plates. They believe that their service is a “favor” to the people whom they serve, the people whose resources make their salaries and wardrobes possible – their masters.

Many of these“big-shots” officials do not answer nor return telephone calls; they do not acknowledge nor respond to written communications, let alone telephone text messages. Some of the ministries and agencies of government post and publish websites that are hardly functional, with exception of the Executive Mansion.But there is a major problem with the Executive Mansion.

A citizen, any citizen, with a problem that requires theintervention of the President, herself, for resolutionwill hit “stone-wall”. Reportedly, there are two offices or officials – the Protocol Officer of the Executive Mansion and the Appointment Secretary to the President. These two “gate-keepers”, from our experience, do not answer nor return telephone calls, acknowledge nor respond to telephone text messages and/or written communications seeking attention of and audience with the President of the Nation.

The President of the nation is supposed to be reachable at any reasonable time. But the Presidential Gate-Keepers presents a serious PR problem to local audience seekers. Presidential scarcity creates tyrants – ministers and heads of agencies who steal, do whatever they please because the President is unreachable, right here in Monrovia. In the Counties, this has been the nation’s age-old problem. District Commissioners became law and gospel; now Superintendents are something else – they do whatever they want because the President is “scarce”, held in protective custody by the gate-keepers.

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