Disgrace at the level of the Cabinet in Liberia is not peculiar as it were. Are we surprised? We shouldn’t! Sitting Sinoe County, Senator and one-time Deputy Information Minister, J. Milton Teahjay and the late Minister of Information, Joe Mulbah were at each other’s throats under the reign of now indicted war criminal, Charles Ghankay Taylor. Apparently, skirmishes involving high-profiled ministers at the Ministry of Information seem a regular feature in the small West African nation. Under the UP-led government, the former President had to let go an assistant minister at the Ministry of Information owing to a near fist-fight that could have degenerated into a terrible fracas.
By Ekena Wesley, email@example.com, Contributing Writer
In our experience, producers are the driving engines that prepare various radio and television hosts for a would-be interview or radio show while they serve as facilitators for the appearance of would-be resource persons. The producers vet, analyze, decide, approve and contact resource persons for a likely interview. It is rare for any radio or television host to outrightly decide unilaterally without the acquiescence of his producer a preference in the name of a resource person. Arguably, a host might consider as relevant a possible interviewee but the buck stops with the producer in terms of the preps.
SpoonTalk acted unprofessional to have invited the Solicitor General who proved completely a non-starter to the specific discourse. The matter is neither the place for the Attorney General nor the Solicitor General since it had absolutely nothing to do with interpreting the law or providing legal counsel. Cephus should have known better to inform SpoonTalk that it was not his calling. However, given Sayma Cephus’ inherent nature as a kowtower, he opted to appear on SpoonTalk in order to spew BS as a grandstanding caricature!
Mind you, CDCians who religiously followed SpoonTalk were seen out and about naively hailing a loquacious ill-fitted Solicitor General, Syrenius Sayma Cephus who wasted valuable broadcast time – pontificating immaterial legal platitude as though he was invited to a judicial workshop. Nonsense! Crazily, a team of interviewers kept asking the wrong resource persons bizarre questions. To the credit of comrade Abdullah Kiatamba, he constantly reminded Cephus he was running in circles and unfortunately did not address the key issues raised.
The crucially fundamental issue at hand pertains to a Standing Order regarding roles and responsibilities of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet, D. Maxwell Kamayah and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Office Staff to the President, Nathaniel Farlo McGill. Given the brawl, which seemingly took place between the two Ministers before President George Manneh Weah, it was just unthinkable that the Liberian leader simply looked on as madness at the highest level of his government was on display. Granted the cluelessness of President George Weah, it is important to ignore our dumbfounded leader amid the occasioning matrix.
What is then the issue that saw a misplaced Solicitor General ranting baselessly? Cephus knows nothing about the matter but sought to shamelessly lean towards making the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs he termed ‘Presidential note-taker’ as having some kind of peculiarly undefined ‘authority.’ He failed to state where such authority emanated and who bestowed it. There are two sections of the government as an establishment we can refer to for interpretation of an issue that got out of hand. First, Weah’s frivolous Ministerial boxers consumed by banditry must take solace in accessing the Cabinet handbook. The Cabinet Handbook is illustratively the ‘A, B & C’ of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Liberia. Whether Weah’s version of what a cabinet should or shouldn’t be remains wanting; the imperative is to take solace in researching the Cabinet Handbook approved by both the previous administration and Weah-led CDC government to fully appreciate the letter and spirit of its contents. Meanwhile, unraveling a jigsaw within a stitch of time could settle a likely mystery.
Conversely, for effective schooling cum interpretation with precision as to who is who in the Cabinet; two sources stand outstanding in context. Our politically unique situation is divorced of some kind of ‘Prime Minister’ arrangement. Simply put; all Ministers are equal! The Director General of the Cabinet is technically the go-between as far as the President and his Cabinet Ministers are concerned within the context of Liberia. The Director General of the Cabinet plays a unique role in managing the Cabinet as far as any functional government dictates and is well placed to discuss such matters.
On the other hand, Liberia’s veteran diplomat and former Foreign Minister, H.E. Ambassador George W. Wallace, Jr. or former Chief of Protocol of the Executive Mansion and Ambassador-at-Large, H.E. Emmet Kennedy is available and can aptly speak to the matter as experts from informed perspectives.
Essentially, there are three tiers of protocols within the hierarchy of the Government of Liberia namely the State; the Cabinet and the Executive Mansion respectively. At the level of the State; the Chief of Protocol of the Republic of Liberia takes charge and performs such a role at state functions. When the President’s Cabinet assembles, it is the Director General of the Cabinet that handles the seating and arrangement of Cabinet Ministers as well as all other protocols associated thereof. At the level of the Presidency; the Chief of Protocol of the Executive Mansion is responsible for scheduling and preparing official guests for the Office of the President of the Republic of Liberia.
President’s Weah’s final determination to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the African Union (AU) Summit, ECOWAS Heads of State Confab or Mano River Union (MRU) Meeting can only be aptly advised consistent with a Note Verbale from the Foreign Minister and not the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. Whatever the outcome of any discussion and determination between the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs to either make or unmake a foreign or state visit; the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, in concert with the Chief of Protocol of the Executive Mansion would then swing into action to prepare the President for the visit. It is the Foreign Ministry that would liaise with the United Nations in New York through our Permanent Mission et al and not the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs is not a Prime Minister of the small nation founded by freed slaves and should desist from carrying himself swollen-headed as it were. As Presidential note-taker, the Minister of State is not qualified to assume any posture that translates into being seen as a de facto President. It is treasonable! He should desist or soon and very soon – he could be kicked out like George Solo. Weah might be weak but he is not a fool. Yes! You can fool some of the people some of the time; all of the people all of the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.