Monrovia – The unprecedented postponement of the confirmation hearing of Foreign Affairs Minister-designate Madam Sara Beysolow Nyanti appears to be a well calculated ploy orchestrated by few members of the Liberian Senate and the ruling Unity Party (UP) to guarantee the withdrawal of her nomination as the preferred choice of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, FrontPageAfrica has learned.
By Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
Madam Nyanti is the Political Leader of the newly established African Liberation League (ALL) political party in Liberia. She contested the just ended October 2023 general and presidential elections unsuccessfully. However, she pledged her support to President Boakai during the November 14, 2023, run-off elections.
Since her nomination to the position by President Boakai, Madam Nyanti, who previously served as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in South Sudan and Humanitarian Coordinator in the East African nation, has come under stinging verbal attacks for alleged fraudulent academic credentials.
The nominee managed to escape these attacks following the submission of her name to the Liberian Senate by President Boakai for confirmation in keeping with Article 54 of the 1986 Liberian constitution. However, during the early morning hours of Thursday, February 1, hundreds of Liberian women, youths, and others stormed the grounds of the Capitol Building holding placards, supporting the confirmation of the former UN Envoy.
The Capitol Building is the official seat of the National Legislature.
Prior to 2PM time set for the commencement of her confirmation, the Chambers of the Liberian Senate was already occupied with scores of former and current Ambassadors, Diplomats, lawmakers, and ministers.
Sergeant-at-Arms and other administrative staffers were seen hauling chairs into the Chambers and requesting journalists and staffers of the Senate to vacate seats reserved for them in the gallery to be occupied by former and current diplomats, ambassadors, and friends of the Minister-designate.
Senators entering the Chambers, including Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe (Independent, Bomi County), were astonished to witness their seats already occupied by individuals who were not invited to the hearing, but were escorted to their seats by Sergeant-at-Arms assigned at the Senate.
The Secretary of the Liberian Senate Nanborlor Singbeh was heard asking the former and current Ambassadors and Diplomats to preserve two rolls of seats for members of the committee who were conducting the hearing. He later somersaulted and requested them to respectfully vacate the seats on grounds that other Senators, who were not part of the committee, were also interested in attending the hearing.
The situation caused serious embarrassment for the former and current Ambassadors and Diplomats at the time Madam Nyanti has already arrived in the Chambers for the hearing.
It also compelled Senators to hold separate consultations on the way forward.
The unusual occupying of the seats of Senators and the over crowdedness of the Chambers prompted the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County to unprecedentedly postpone the entire process to Monday, February 5.
Senator Dillon stated: “We want to thank you for your time and on behave of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; we regret to announce that we have resolved to postpone this hearing due to some factors, including security reasons.”
“We know that these hearings are of public interest, that is why we wanted to ensure that the media is here. The Senate Chambers is the sanctity of the Senate. You saw what happened-everybody sat in the Chambers and in the seats of the Senators. There was security breach, and we will put everything in place and then we will hold the hearing on Monday,” he maintained in an interview with Legislative Reporters shortly after he postponed the hearing.
Many of the former and current Ministers, Ambassadors, Diplomats, and lawmakers including Olubanke King Akerele, Isaac Nyenibo, Blamo Nelson, Dan Morias, in a frustrated mood, reluctantly greeted and consoled Madam Nyanti and departed the Chambers.
Madam Nyanti was spotted whispering in the ears of the former Foreign Affairs Minister Akerele-King and few other former and current Ambassadors before leaving the Chambers of the Liberian Senate.
Ambassadors and Diplomats representing Liberia abroad have begun returning home to cement a relationship with the new Minister-designate.
Few of them managed to reportedly hold closed doors meetings with her upon their return to their country.
As a way to show solidarity and support for her confirmation, many of them trooped at the Capitol Building and the Chambers of the Liberian Senate without being invited by the nominee.
Though they thought that their presence would serve as a sauce for her confirmation, their overall motive was realized following the abrupt postponement of the hearing.
Their preparedness to serve as “cheering squad” by rendering thunderous hands of applause during the presentation of Madam Nyanti did not come to fruition.
“This should not be a cheering squad or booing thing. This is a serious issue and people should learn to know their boundary,” Senator Dillon stated.
The retaining of jobs by unqualified and incompetent citizens are most often characterized by their consistent display of high level of sycophancy, idol-worshipping and bootlicking to those nominated or confirmed to serve as their bosses in government.
Not a normal routine
It is not a normal routine for confirmation hearings of nominees to be postponed or called off for “security reasons” at the Liberian Senate.
At times, hearings are postponed when nominees are not adequately prepared, flopped during their presentations or the time cannot permit Senators to proceed with the hearings.
Though confirmation and other public hearings are held at the Joint Chambers of the National Legislature, Senator Dillon ruled out the possibility of transferring the hearing of Madam Nyanti there for unjustifiable reasons.
He sees the action of the former and current Ambassadors and Diplomats to occupy the seats of Senators as a total disrespect to members of that August Body.
“People even wanted us to go in the Joint Chambers (to hold the hearing). No, we will not do that. Everybody feels the feeling of entitlement and must be even in the Chambers of the Senate. Where Senators are supposed to sit down. People say they are Ambassadors and former Ambassadors and former this and that; they were sitting in the Chambers of the Senate. Nobody does that at the Supreme Court.”
Why the postponement
FrontPage Africa has reliably gathered that the postponement of the confirmation hearing of the Foreign Affairs Minister-designate was intended to guarantee the withdrawal of her nomination by President Boakai.
Multiple sources confirmed to FPA Thursday that Senators Dillon, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, and a few other Unity Party stalwarts had a meeting with President Boakai in the morning and were reportedly encouraged to reject the nomination.
Sources have confided that Senator Dillon is under pressure from some executives of the ruling UP to block the nomination of Madam Nyanti.
The closed proximity between President Boakai and Madam Nyanti, in a short period of time, has claimed the attention of some executives of the UP. They feared that she would be selected as a possible successor of President Boakai. However, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County also has an ambition to replace President Boakai come 2029.
Some Senators were taken aback Thursday at the treatment of Beysolow.
One, representing the Coalition for Democratic Change, which led the country for the past six years, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity Thursday, told FrontPageAfrica that they were not interested in doing the dirty work of the Unity Party lawmakers.
Said the lawmaker: “We decided that since they are having misunderstanding among themselves, let them decide what they want and come back. We have been working with them, but they have to settle their differences. For example, Finance profession is key to the Liberia Revenue Authority position, but we ignored that during the confirmation of Dorbor Jallah. He did not have it but base on his past performance we cooperated. The act that created LRA says you must have advanced professional service. So, we overlooked that. They are chasing the woman because it’s someone’s interest. All the CDC lawmakers are supporting the woman, and we will confirm her– once she is given a chance to appear before the Senate. If you’re not ready to confirm her don’t try to make her look bad. They don’t want to support one another. Everyone’s fighting. We have sympathy for her based on the way she’s being treated.”
FrontPageAfrica was informed that some Unity Party Senators had planned to embarrass Beysolow by asking the Minister-designate embarrassing questions and even come up with claims that they had did not have time to review the questionable academic credentials prior to the hearing. Some claimed that they were exhausted and had adjourned their regular session just a few minutes to the time for the confirmation hearing.
Claims & Counter Claims
Since the inauguration of President Boakai, partisans of the UP have been mudslinging each other over jobs and personal attacks and character assassinations have intensified.
Reacting to the accusation on her official Facebook page, Madam Nyanti vowed to defend her credentials when appointed to serve the Liberian people. “I have read the post and heard the lies and disinformation being spued. When I am given the chance to serve the people of Liberia as I have served other nations, I will be prepared to defend my record and the legitimate and hard-earned credentials before the Senate.”
Madam Nyanti, once an official at the Liberian Ministry of Health, joined the United Nations System in 2003. By the time she retired 20 years later, she had worked her way through and served in some of the high-profile positions within the UN.
The last, perhaps, the tedious and highest-ranking position was in South Sudan where she spent 18 months serving as the Deputy Special Representative to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), UN Resident Coordinator in South Sudan and Humanitarian Coordinator in the East African nation. Before her retirement recently, she frequently visited Liberia, launching several developmental and humanitarian initiatives.