OP-ED: President Weah Must Act – Public Service Is No Child’s Play

Like him or not, President George M. Weah will be credited for offering youth the privilege to assemble at the table of governance with the golden opportunity to provide their insights in plotting a smooth trajectory for Liberia.

The president’s daring quest to transform Liberia through his Change for Hope formula is pillared squarely on the shoulders of these young people who he believes truly merit the sacred prize of public service.

They campaigned for the Coalition for Democratic Change. They traveled in the rain, under the blazing sun, and chanted slogans on empty stomachs. Therefore, they deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

President Weah could not have been more gracious and grateful by offering them government jobs. But can the appointment of young people with limited experience and skills in government serve as a fundamental approach to the transformation of Liberia?

Unlike the Liberian government, corporate institutions, NGOs, and international organizations generally recruit people with a good moral construct, experience, skills, and solid academic credentials. They do this because these institutions need competent people to produce results.

Imagine that a bank manager recruits a university dropout as the bank’s chief accountant with limited financial management experience and no track record of having worked in the banking sector.

As ridiculous as that sounds, such practices are happening under a sympathetic president who is more concerned about satisfying his followers’ immediate interest than understanding the impact of his decisions.

Ultimately, the president will be held accountable for his decisions.

“My greatest contribution to this country as president may not lie in the eloquence of my speeches but will definitely lie in the quality of the decisions that I will make over the next six years to advance the lives of poor Liberians,” he told a stadium swarmed with thousands during his inauguration.

It troubles me that young presidential appointees do not realize that their appointment in public service is an undue opportunity to positively transform Liberia. Rather, they see it as a birthright bestowed upon them for their revolutionary struggle with the Coalition for Democratic Change.

Only in Liberia will directors, assistant ministers, and county superintendents, flanked by the mayor of the capital city, dress in military regalia, chant revolutionary slogans, and openly backlash cabinet ministers for allegedly supporting their political interests and performing government functions.

On Monday, November 12, 2018, members of CDC youth league and officials of president Weah’s pro-poor government gathered at their party headquarters during working hours to publicly scorn Cooper Kruah, minister of post and telecommunications, for allegedly supporting his full grown, married, and well-educated daughter, Cornelia Kruah-Togba, in the by-elections for representative of Montserrado’s 13th district.

“This act of trickery on the part of Mr. Cooper is disingenuous and contravenes the agenda of the CDC-led government,” read CDC’s Youth League’s official press release.

The party’s youth league also dragged public works minister, Mobutu Nyepan, in the mud, accusing him of “supporting an opposition candidate, Romeo Quiah, against the party’s candidate in Sinoe County.”

Should the youthful government officials abandon their offices and openly engage in political activities? No, the Code of Conduct forbids presidential appointees from engaging in political activities. Perhaps these young CDCians do not care about the sacredness of public service that they watch their dirty clothes in the public.

The Code of Conduct also asks all public officials to “treat members of the public and other public officials and employees of government honestly and fairly, and with proper regard for the other person’s rights and obligations.”

Let’s agree that Min. Cooper Kruah and Min. Mobutu Nyepan do not support the CDC candidates. Are they compelled to? Even though both men championed the political bid of President Weah, they are not members of the CDC and must never be made to succumb to the whims and caprices of CDC’s Youth League.

President Weah must not allow his young government officials to desecrate the sanctity of his Pro-Poor government. This is an unwarranted distraction for his government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity. If a minister believes in the leadership charisma of his daughter, he must never be brought to public disrepute for exercising his democratic right.

Featured photo courtesy of Zeze Ballah

Elvis Browne

Elvis M. D. Browne studies Geology at the University of Liberia and is a founding member of the Liberian Poet Society. He currently serves as the Communications/Media Officer at Youth Crime Watch of Liberia.

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