Liberia: Ruling Party Rift Tests Weah’s Control Of Governing Party

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MR. MULBAH MORLU, Chair of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is angry and rightly so. His control of the CDC is being tampered with by the ever-powerful Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs – and this poses serious impediment to President George Manneh Weah’s control of the party on his backs he rode a grassroots mantra to power.

MR. MORLU WAS FORCED to issue a statement at the weekend condemning what he described as unauthorized activities of a group operating under the banner ‘Liberians in support for Democratic Change(LSDC), falsely claiming to be a ‘CDC Auxiliary’.

THE AUXILIARY WAS set up and launched in Mr. Morlu’s absence – and without his consent, as chair of the party.

IRONICALLY, the organization has amongst its ranks, Rebecca, McGill, sister of Minister McGill, as co-chair and Ms. Jemima Wolokollie, Deputy Minister for Small Business at the Ministry of Commerce as chair.

MS. WOLOKOLLIE, in a Facebook post-Saturday, claimed that the organization was formed with the knowledge of President George Manneh Weah. “We were appointed by the Hon. Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff for the President. Rebecca McGill was appointed Co-Chair and Jamima Wolokollie as National Chair with the consent of the President.”

MR. LESTER TINNY, Vice President for Technical Services at the National Oil Company of Liberia, in a Facebook post took Ms. Wolokollie to task for trying to usurp the function of Chairman Morlu. “Hon. Jamima Wolokollie, I may not know the basis of your comments, but the chairman of the party should be respected.”

Deputy Commerce Minister Jemima Wolokollie, in her role as Deputy Minister for Small Business at the Ministry of Commerce, is teaming up with Rebecca McGill, Deputy Minister of Finance, who happens to be the sister of the Minister of State for Presidential, Nathaniel McGill, to run a loan program outside government. This smell fishy; especially on the fringes of recent pronouncement by President Weah regarding plans to launch a US$3 million micro finance loan

FOR MORLU, the scheme being orchestrated by Ms. Wolokollie and Ms. McGill runs contrary to the objectives of the party’s hierarchy. 

MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE group, without his approval, launched a ‘Micro loan program’ in the name of the CDC and is already collecting ‘Registration fees’ from struggling citizens  as requirement for membership. 

THE CONFLICT SPELLS danger for President Weah and the ruling party. 

MINISTER MCGILL once again finds himself in yet another scandal involving his sister and conflict of interest. 

DEPUTY MINISTER WOLOKOLIE’S revelation on social media that the formation of the auxiliary has the blessing of both the President and the Minister of state raises a number of ethical and conflict of interest issues.

MADAM WOLOKOLLIE, in her role as Deputy Minister for Small Business, becomes the person running a loan scheme organized by the ruling party. Additionally, Minister McGill’s sister, who is Deputy Minister of Finance, is poised to team up with the Deputy Minister of Commerce, to run a loan program outside government.

ALL THIS illustrates the grave dangers of sycophancy. When sitting appointed officials of government feel they must show loyalty to the President by setting up auxiliary groups when they should be coming up with means to address the struggling economy, it shows their priorities are thoroughly misguided and puts the Weah presidency in a chokehold that could haunt the government for a very long time.

THIS SMELLS FISHY, especially on the fringes of recent pronouncement by President Weah regarding plans to launch a US$3 million micro finance loan.

THE PRESIDENT in December trumpeted his fulfillment of yet another major promise— with the launch of a US$3 million Pro-Poor Loan scheme aimed at empowering struggling Liberian businesses surmount their longtime spectators’ role in the Liberian economy. 

THE LOAN SCHEME was part of President Weah’s 2017 elections campaign pledge and his inaugural speech during which he promised that he would enunciate policies and programs towards the empowerment of Liberians to take custody of the Liberian economy and not be mere spectators in it.  “Since I took over as President of the Republic, there have been so many programs and occasions in which I have participated to support and advance the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, our national development plan,” the President said last December.

IN THE WAKE of what is unfolding in the party at the moment, President Weah risks setting himself up for more entanglements in another brewing corruption scandal.

MR. MORLU SAID in his statement at the weekend, that while the party welcomes any loan assistance efforts intended to empower ordinary citizens, it however rejects mischievous and un-institutionalized corridors being aligned with the CDC while promoting strange objectives that run counter to the general interests of the CDC and its partisans.

THE RULING PARTY may be a party in power but it owes it to all Liberians to ensure that programs benefit all and not a few. 

AN AUXILIARY FORMED and run by two key members of government that is party-based does not bode well for any government professing good governance.

FAILURE ON THE PART of President to address this brewing saga, and one involving his Minister of State for Presidential Affairs could draw him into one more scandal that could be avoided.

MINISTER MCGILL’s influence in government poses a clear and present danger, if it stretches the boundaries of party lines.

WHATEVER ISSUES brewing between Mr. Morlu and Minister McGill must be resolved swiftly before it runs out of hand. 

ALL THIS illustrates the grave dangers of sycophancy. When sitting appointed officials of government feel they must show loyalty to the President by setting up auxiliary groups when they should be coming up with means to address the struggling economy, it shows their priorities are thoroughly misguided and puts the Weah presidency in a chokehold that could haunt the government for a very long time.

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