Disenchantment Brewing in Grand Coalition for Democratic Change Over Appointments in Government
Monrovia – It appears that agreement that brought the three political parties together and propelled the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to a resounding victory in the 2017 elections is dissipating rapidly as quarrel over the allocation of jobs heightens.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh – [email protected]
Dubbed the “Grand Coalition” on the campaign trail, the CDC is a conglomeration of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Weah, the National Patriotic Party (NPP) headed by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former Speaker Alex Tyler.
Although, the Constitution of Liberia vested power in the President of the Republic to make appointments, most of the coalition members are citing an agreement that brought the three parties together.
“According to our agreement that we signed, every constituent party supposed to have a fasupposed ton the distribution of appointed jobs and we are not seeing that happening now,” said Bolton Dennis, National secretary general of the National Patriotic Party.
The NPP and LPDP are expressing serious discontent over appointments made so far by President Weah. The NPP SG is arguing that members of the Unity Party are enjoying more appointments than members of the ruling coalition party.
“We are not a collaborating party so we shouldn’t be seconded to fourth or fifth place; we shouldn’t be the ones that after you have appointed 85 percent of the jobs than you think about us,” Dennis told FrontPage Africa on Tuesday.
For LPDP, the current trend of political appointments contravenes Article 7, Section 1 of the November 2, 2016 Coalition’s Agreement.
According to a press release from the LPDP, the article provides that “after the Coalition’s electoral victory, all members of the Coalition shall have the right to be part of a National Unity Government where all interests of Coalition members shall be considered first and foremost on a first-choice preference for nomination for position in government.”
The NPP and LPDP are concern that their partisans are not being awarded any major cabinet posts while all the positions are being absorbed, and nothing is being done by their respective political leaders: Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and former Speaker Alex Tyler to seek their interest.
“This is our government, how do we implement those policies. We cannot stay on the sidelines and allow people attempt to implement our policies; we should be implementing our polices because we will be held accountable. We went to our people and told them what we would do as a coalition not as Congress For Democratic change,” Dennis said.
A release on Tuesday quotes the NPP as saying that “The fundamental institutional framework contained in the legal instrument which brought the three parties together is the Governing Council comprising of well-vetted and experienced people who convinced the respective Executive Committees of the three parties to sign unto the collaboration and guided the coalition every inch of the way to success”.
All strategic decisions ranging from the construction of seven pillars of the coalition to campaign strategies were designed and approved by the Governing Council.
“One would have expected that following the victory, the Governing Council would have played some kind of institutional role in advancing the approach the appointments would take or make recommendation in some instants,” the release said.
Now, it appears the same governing council is failing to meet and rigorously mitigate the unfolding job squabble dogging the CDC-led administration.
The NPP is expressing dismay over the refusal of the Governing Council of the coalition to meet and address their plights. They are calling on the National Chairman of the NPP, James P. Barney to prevail on his colleagues to urgently convene a Governing Council meeting to address the concerns of the parties.
“To the disbelief of the members of the Governing Council and the dismay of the NPP, the LPDP and other parties that joined their efforts to ensure success, every call for a meeting of the Council since victory has been sharply rejected, leaving major decision making to the few friends and associates who virtually lived around the President.
Members of the Governing Council believe appointments should follow a systemic and institutional trend,” the NPP release said.
The NPP insists individuals who worked in the Charles Taylor’s government and have been appointed by President Weah cannot be deemed NPP appointees.
The NPP secretary general said a recent executive committee meeting attended by the Vice President, who is also standard bearer of the party, looked into the prevailing situation when the VP requested that the NPP do a listing which will be submitted to the President.
Dennis said a listing of qualified NPP partisans was then signed, approved by the Vice President and submitted in line with the request of the President before his latest appointments on Monday February 5, but none of those names have been considered for appointments so far.
But it appears President Weah is snubbing whatever arrangements made before the victory in the December poll.
So far, he has appointed only two NPP partisans – one as superintendent for Bong County and another to a deputy minister position at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“That is why we are raising this concern; we want to reawaken the President to what we all started,” he said. “Maybe the President is overwhelmed, or people around the President are not advising him probably.
At the same time, the LPDP is also feeling marginalized and has also released a statement announcing it has summoned its political leader, Alex Tyler and the party’s chairman, Moses Y. Kollie to an emergency meeting on Wednesday, February 7.
The LPDP has benefited three appointments out of hundreds of appointments already made so far, something sparking concerns and anxieties among its partisans.
“The Executives have further observed that the LPDP’s status within the coalition is nothing to write home about as the party is not represented in the power structures of the state”.
The Executive officers have alarmed that the Steering Committee Chairmanship and Co-Chairmanship of the Transition were also awarded to the constituent parties that are also represented in the power structures of the state,” the LPDP intimated.
The NPP averred that although it recognizes the need for a government of inclusion, such an idea cannot be achieved to the detriment of the NPP and other parties whose effort brought the coalition victory while the Unity Party (UP) enjoys the second highest appointments next in line to the Congress for Democratic Change.
It further noted that if you take into consideration the UP appointees with tenure jobs, that still occupying their positions and those in the Foreign Service, UP enjoys a huge portion of the government to our collective detriments.