Weah Issues Memorandum Against Unauthorized Comments by Public Officials on National Policy Issues

MONROVIA, Montserrado- President George Weah has issued an executive memorandum prohibiting officials in the executive from making public comments on national policy issues without seeking the authorization of the appropriate authorities.

According to an executive mansion release, President Weah, in the memorandum, directed all ministers, their deputies, and assistants, heads of agencies and commissions, as well as their deputies to refrain from making public comments on policy issues of national concern on both conventional and social media without the appropriate authorization.

“The president’s executive memorandum, issued Wednesday, May 8, 2019, through the Director-General of the Cabinet, Hon. Jordan Solunteh, also instructs all government Ministries and Agencies to direct their communications on public policy matters to the Minister of Information or his designee,” the release added.

The Memorandum also indicates that there would be grave consequences for any member of the executive branch of government found in violation of the directive.

“The President, therefore, cautions all members of the Executive Branch to take heed and govern themselves accordingly,” it added.

The memorandum followed a harsh statement issued by the U.S. Embassy on Monday, rebuking public officials for comments that it says impede progress in Liberia. The embassy sent the message in an uncharacteristically direct statement released on Monday, where it named several officials, which prompted the immediate suspension of Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Eugene Fahngon.

Fahngon and other CDC officials have often made incendiary comments on social media and on the radio. The embassy noted that as public officials, even their private comments were subject to scrutiny.

“To take such a public stance and suggest it is a private opinion or a personal right reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of public service in a democracy,” the embassy said in the statement.

While announcing the minister’s suspension, the executive mansion disclosed in a release that the president assured that his government remains committed to a ‘one country, one people’ policy with zero tolerance on divisive politicking or tribalism.

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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