Who’s Advising Weah? Missteps, Erroneous Appointments, Gov’t Struggling PR

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IT IS BECOMING A MAJOR distraction for the new Coalition for Democratic Change government of President George Manneh Weah that every other day, a bad decision or pronouncement is followed by public outcry.

THE LATEST, a Shoot-to-Kill order from the Liberia Airport Authority mandating the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to shoot on sight, anyone caught attempting to steal navigation equipment within the aerodrome or on the airside at Roberts International Airport. 

THE STATEMENT READ: “The Management of the Liberia Airport Authority in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) wishes to inform the general public that additional security measures have been put into place at the RIA to secure the premises of the airport, especially the aerodrome or the airside from theft and unlawful interferences. The new security measures include: Stringent patrol by armed men of the AFL at every entry point of the aerodrome or airside at RIA; Authorization to the AFL to shoot at sight, anyone who attempts to steal any of the navigational equipment, within the aerodrome or on the airside of the RIA.

WHILE THE LAA later issued a damage-control statement saying the order has been misconstrued, the damage was already done, resurrecting echoes of past dictatorial regimes where the government of the day ruled with an iron fist to the detriment of its people.

IN TAKING A STEP BACK, the management of the Liberia Airport Authority clarified that the portion of the recently-issued public service announcement, on new security measures at the Roberts International Airport is actually not intended to kill anyone as it has been misconstrued.

INSTEAD THE MANAGEMENT NOW SAYS: “Anyone found trespassing within the Security Restricted Areas of the Airport will be arrested and dealt with in keeping with the Laws of Liberia. The new security measures are contained in the announcement are only intended to deter interferences with the aerodrome which sometimes lead to theft of very valuable navigational equipment. Management can recall that there have been several attempts made on newly-installed navigational equipment, as part of the ongoing resurfacing of the runway by criminals; something which if not averted could cause crippling effects on the airport. LAA Management assures the public that it respects the law and will do nothing outside of the provisions of the Laws of Liberia. Management apologizes for any embarrassment caused.”

THIS IS JUST THE LATEST from the new government. In recent days we have reported and seen relatives of the president appointed at the National Port Authority and other places, the sister of the Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill appointing his sister as Deputy Minister of Finance for Fiscal Affairs, even though she lacks the experience and expertise and a host of others.

THEN CAME THE SAGA AT LEITI, the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative where the President fired Mr. Konah Karmo and replaced him with Gabriel Nyenkan, a former member of the national legislature. The President’s move is a clear violation of the Liberian law and severely undermines the independence of Liberia’s critical anti-corruption agency.

THE LONDON-BASED WATCHDOG group, Global Witness strongly condemned the illegal removal Karmo, as Head of Secretariat of LEITI, particularly after Mr. Nyenkan, escorted with armed officers stormed the offices of the Secretariat to remove Mr. Karmo by force.

GLOBAL WITNESS wrote: “The removal of Mr Karmo and appointment of Mr Nyenkan is illegal. Liberia’s LEITI Act states that only the LEITI Multi-stakeholder Steering Group (MSG) can appoint or remove the Head of Secretariat. This safeguard is critical for the maintenance of LEITI independence, ensuring that the agency is not dominated by any of its constituent groups or subject to external interference. LEITI is an autonomous Liberian agency that ensures transparency in Liberia’s forestry, oil, mining, and agricultural plantation sectors.”

EARLIER ON, the President was also ill-advised in appointing Cllr. Charles Gibson as Minister of Justice before skeletons from his closet alleging his corrupt ways forced the President to withdraw his nomination.

TODAY, SEVERAL people with criminal past including allegations of Black Money activities and murder have found their way back into the government.

LOGAN DAVIES, who served five years at the Monrovia Central Prison for murder has quietly found his way back as Director of Liberia Seaport Police(LSP) at the National Port Authority. He is also a key figure of the civil war linked to the September 18, 1998 St. Thomas Church Massacre on Camp Johnson-Road.

ON THURSDAY, another Misstep unfolded with the elevation of General Charles Bright, formerly of Prince Johnson’s INPFL and Charles Taylor’s NPFL to a Cabinet-level post.

ALL THIS AS the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) are frowning on the decision of Mr. Weah’s ‘Pro-poor’ government to reduce the budget of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health and other agencies of government. The group, in a press release on Tuesday, March 20 said the President Weah’s decision, which is captured in the recast budget, is a “direct contradiction of the government pro-poor agenda”.  “The recasting of the budget was a unique platform for President George M. Weah to illustrate his assurance to the ordinary Liberians that his administration is ready for business,” EFFL said in a release. The group noted that, reducing the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture from US$ 6,026,429 to US$5,321,457 and the Ministry of Health from US$75,617,974 to US$72,224,058 is tantamount to reducing the two ministries of government to a level of dormancy due to the lack of funds. 

THIS BEGS THE QUESTION, who is advising the President? How can so many advisors be getting so much wrong? What is Legal Advisor Archibald F. Bernard, Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and others doing?

WEAH owes it to Liberians to address the ton of misfires coming out of his office and right the ship before it all comes sinking below sea level.

A HINT TO THE WISE!

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