MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has replaced his information and commerce ministers in a reshuffling that saw the appointment of 15 officials.
According to a release issued by the Executive Mansion, Weah appointed Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh as executive director of the Environment Protection Agency, replacing Nathaniel Blama, who was recently dismissed by the president. At the same time, Mawine Diggs was appointed as Minister of Commerce.
Notably, neither Tarpeh nor Diggs appear to have any background in the sectors they have now been charged with leading. A detailed list of Tarpeh’s accomplishments and credentials published on the Ministry of Commerce’s website describes him as a “financial expert and administrator” who previously served in senior positions at the University of Liberia as dean of the graduate business school and vice president for fiscal affairs and finance.
Tarpeh also has a law degree, an MBA in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science degree from the University of New Haven. No environmental background or experience is listed. The act creating the Environmental Protection Agency requires the executive director to be “a person with wide environmental knowledge and recognized comment to sustainable management of the environment.”
Meanwhile, Diggs, the commerce minister appointee, has no apparent background in dealing with trade and industry standards and general commerce. In fact, her background appears to be mostly in education. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in sociology and environmental policy from Roanoke College in 2006, Diggs completed a master’s degree in education from Clemson University. A 2018 article by a U.S.-based publication focused on the education sector noted that Diggs was a doctoral candidate for in the field of higher education at National American University when she returned to Liberia from the U.S. to head Liberia’s National Commission on Higher Education.
Prior to being appointed to the NCHE, Diggs was president and chief academic officer of the Eastern Campus in Michigan’s Wayne County Community College District. She currently serves as the deputy minister for administration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The president also appointed Information Minister Eugene Nagbe as a commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority and replaced him with the Liberia Broadcasting System’s director-general, Ledgerhood Rennie. Meanwhile, Rennie was replaced by his deputy for administration, Estelle Liberty Kemoh.
Weah’s recent appointments stand out because they were gender-balanced. Out of the 15 appointees, 8 were women. Two of those women are set to lead agencies, including Diggs at the Ministry of Commerce and Jane Macculay as director-general of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
Other appointments made by the president include the following. The appointees must be confirmed by the Senate before they can legally serve in their roles.
Featured photo courtesy of Executive Mansion