In article under a front-page, emotional headline proclaiming that “Minister (Walter T. Gwenigale of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, R. L.) Warns Senators”, the New Democrat newspaper says “. . . vowing not to reinstate the two (dismissed) men, . . . Joseph Tamba, President, and George Williams, Secretary-General of the National Health Workers of Liberia (New Democrat, October 16, 2014)”.
Although neither the New Democrat nor those who seek reinstatement of the dismissed employees did not and do not say why and how this issue travelled from the Executive to the National Legislative Branch of government, it is reasonable, however, to conclude that the Health Minister Gwenigale was before the Senate in response to the Senate’s citation mandating his (Minister’s) appearance, which he, rightly, obeyed. Objective or truthful answer to this question may provide the whys & hows and, eventually, public policy resolution of the apparent, Senate Inquisition. And, besides, what constitutes a “small or big shame”?
The Doctrine of Separation of Powers
Undoubtedly, the Honorable Members of the Honorable Senate, the Upper House of the National Legislature and its Legal arm, are fully knowledgeable on the expressed as well as the reasonable implications of the doctrine of the Separation of their powers & Equality of the Branches of government, as provided by Article 3 of our Constitution.
This Article provides that “. . . The form of government is Republican with three separate, coordinate branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Consistent with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of the these branches (of government), shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in this Constitution . . .”
Now, our Constitutional, statutory and/or legislative enactments provide and delineate, in a public policy format, the functions and responsibilities proper to each branch of government, the process of elections/appointments of branch leaders, including recruitment of suitably-qualified functionaries in each branch, within a hierarchy of reporting/accountability relationships for successful performance. This is what Article 3 is all about – successful performance/achievement of pre-determined, desirable objectives!!
Dr. Gwenigale’s “Warning”
Indeed, Dr. Gwenigale should and must be commended for his courage (“guts”) to “tell it like it is” (warning) at the level of the Liberian Senate; for, it is, in fact, obedience to the rule of law that we made; that he is responsible, administratively, only to the elected Head of the Executive Branch; and that it is loyalty, allegiance and patriotism to the Republic and its people, in terms of achieving the desirable, pre-determined, vital interests of the nation – particularly, the sick with hunger, typhoid, malaria, etc., and now this deadly Ebola.
This man, a medical doctor, with decades of medical practice and administration, is quailed better than Messrs Tamba and Williams, including the Senate, on the necessary requirements of a medical worker. He is not a candidate for political office. He appealed, and reminded the medical workers of their oath or pledge of their chosen profession, to return to work, and that their legitimate grievances will be addressed.
And finally, while “give and take” is a necessary negotiating technique/tool in human affairs, it is basically defined by fundamental beliefs, principles, a moral code, a national given, not the pride of any one man, Minister of Health, in this case. Therefore, the Senate’s political inquisition is woefully inappropriate.