ALJA Applauds President Weah’s Appointment at Agriculture
Minneapolis, MN – The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is commending President George Weah for his recent appointment of Ms. Jeanine Cooper as Liberia’s new Agriculture Minister. The Agriculture Minister-designate is chief executive officer (CEO) of Fabrar Liberia Incorporated, a local rice processing company.
The diaspora based Liberian media organization says it hopes this appointment demonstrates the government’s commitment to transforming the country’s agricultural sector; and called for the allocation of needed resources to help spur a sector important to the overall growth and development of the country.
In a press release issued on Thursday, January 22, 2019, ALJA says while it has been critical of some of the President’s past appointees, it is particularly pleased that the new Agriculture Minister underwent a rigorous vetting process and her preferment appeared to be based entirely on merit and qualification as opposed to her political allegiance.
ALJA hopes that subsequent appointments in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led administration would follow the same criteria used for Ms. Cooper’s appointment, noting that Liberia belongs to all Liberians irrespective of political affiliations.
ALJA called on the government to ensure that the nominee is allowed to perform her responsibilities void of undue political interference. The Association says if Liberia is to succeed in its quest for national development, provide needed basics services and uphold the rule of law for all Liberians, qualified Liberians such as Ms. Cooper from diverse backgrounds and orientations should be afforded the opportunity to serve.
Meanwhile, the Association says while it supports Ms. Cooper’s appointment, it remains cognizant of the potential conflict of interest considering her role as a farmer and rice producer who operates a business versus her role as Minister of Agriculture. To avoid any such conflict, ALJA is calling on the Minister designate to recuse herself from her personal business venture if confirmed by the Liberian senate.
The Association says it believes that Ms. Cooper’s recusal from her personal business venture would allay the potential conflict of interest apprehension, which has greeted her appointment.
In a related development, ALJA says it is troubled by recent comments attributed to the new Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. J. Alloysius Tarlue. According to media reports, Mr. Tarlue says he believes his ascendancy to the position was not based on his educational background, rather because he is a member of the Krahn ethnic group.
According to the Association, Mr. Tarlue who reportedly made the remarks at a program organized by citizens hailing from Grand Gedeh, promised to hire Grand Gedeans at the Central Bank and work hard to ensure that another member of the Krahn ethnic group is appointed as Executive Governor of the CBL in the future.
ALJA described the Executive Governor’s comments as misguided; and rejected the notion that a person’s tribal affiliation should be one of the key factors when decisions regarding hiring or appointments in government are being made. The Association called on Liberians to eschew tribalistic tendencies that tend to divide the country.
ALJA is a conglomeration of retired and current Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. The Association was founded in 1998 in Washington, D.C. ALJA seeks to foster camaraderie, peace, and unity amongst its members and their American counterparts. The Association is also, dedicated to the advancement of good governance, free speech, and press freedom in Liberia.