Liberians React To Appointments: Are Charges of Nepotism Valid or Mere Posturing?

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Monrovia – Following reports in this paper on Monday, January 29, 2018, under the banner headline, “Mistakes Of The Past Taking Shape In New Administration: Husband Heads NSA, Wife Comptroller; VP Sister Appointed: Nepotism Creeps In”, Liberians across the political spectrum have been voicing their opinion on the President’s appointments, particularly as they regard the issue of nepotism. 

In interviews across the capital yesterday, many Liberians applauded the President’s initial selections and asked that the nation gives him a chance to put a government together of his choosing to be able to properly execute his ambitious agenda. 

While calling for the ‘best and brightest’ to be appointed, citizens are also demanding that everyone opens their arms and welcome new faces, and new ideas, on board as Liberia is for all and not just one group of people. 

While blaming the former government for many lapses, a majority of those interviewed insisted that “just how the past governments were allowed to appoint their own people to help them run the government”, President Weah should be similarly allowed to put his government together.

“How will we be able to adequately judge the man if we can’t allow him to appoint his own government? What kind of Nepotism talk have come out?, “Jessica Brown a local  resident on Clay Street.

 Another Liberian, Cllr. Willie Benson said, “First of all, I did not vote for Weah or the CDC, but he is the president now and must be allowed to lead. Elections have consequences. 

Nepotism is a legal word defined by the Black’s Law Dictionary, means ‘the appointment of unqualified friends and relatives in positions when outsiders are both available and more qualified’. 

So, where are the unqualified relatives of the President that merit this kind of unfair condemnation of his appointments?

Are the Vice President’s relatives not Liberians, too? Are they not qualified for the positions for which the President has tapped them to work?”, the learned lawyer rhetorically asked. 

For her part,  Cecelia Dennis  a doctor in Monrovia, enthusiastically applauded the appointment of the new deputy Minister of Health claiming that she believes the new Minister will bring some much needed experience and infusion of new ideas in the administration of the health sector in the country. 

 “You know, all day we’re complaining in Liberia, but whenever somebody tries to implement a solution then we start condemning them. 

 Just go to any hospital or clinic or even office around here to get serviced or process something.  You will see complete disorganization and pure frustration. 

Now somebody has been appointed with advance experience and instead of us addressing her on the merits, people want to politicize her appointment with the charge of nepotism.

“Liberians will stay long inside with this attitude.  We have to do better, mehn.” 

All across the capital, before and after the President’s “State of the Nation” address, Liberians argued for the President to be allowed to make his appointments and then judge him based on the performance of his appointees, instead of condemning people before they are even appointed, as some observed in the case of Kolubahzizi T. Howard, a nationally acclaimed IT expert currently in the employ of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority. 

Danise Dahn of United Methodist University says, “Oh, so the man is qualified to work and use his expertise at LTA even while his sister is Vice President; he can be there for all this time and even gain more institutional knowledge and experience, but when the possibility arises now for him to head the institution then somebody brave enough to say that the President is practicing nepotism.

“Ah Liberian people; Mr. President, please don’t cave in and let these people drive qualified people away from you and spoil your government.”

” If the man is qualified and you decide to appoint him, please use your own prerogative to do so. “

False charges of nepotism should not stop qualified Liberians from serving their country.  

We are watching you, Mr. President.  We have your back so please do not disappoint us”, she concluded.

One thing from this cross section of Liberians and others is that Liberians believe that this administration deserves its honeymoon period and that they are patient in granting government its honeymoon.

Another very glaring fact is that though Liberians remain sternly critical of this government’s attempt to impose its agenda on the country, they do not necessarily subscribe to the notion that the President’s initial appointments, or those rumored to be in the works, in anyway signal a return to nepotism as charged onto previous administrations.

Until the dust settles and the major sectors of the government are staffed, at least with presidential appointees, the public’s interests and discussion of this issue remains ongoing. 

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