Liberia: Employee Associated With Opposition Political Parties Faces Threats of Dismissal
Monrovia – A FrontPageAfrica investigation has revealed that the Director for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Mr. Mohammed (Mo) Ali, has been reportedly “demoted and transferred” from Monrovia.
According to our investigation, Ali, if he leaves for Grand Kru County, will now take on a new position as regional director, which this newspaper understands is below is present post as Director as per the hierarchical structure of the MFDP.
Outside his government job, Ali is the official spokesperson of the former ruling Unity Party of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
He is one of those critical opposition voices against the ills of the George Weah-led administration.
Last Monday, Ali was among hundreds of #BackBackOurMoney protesters, who peacefully marched through Monrovia calling on the international community to probe into the alleged missing L$16 billion saga.
Mo Ali, as he is famously referred to, is tight-lipped on his transfer. When contacted by this newspaper, he refused to comment.
Our investigation further revealed that Mo Ali’s transfer to another entity of government had been in the process since June of this year.
According to higher-up sources at MFDP, Mo Ali was officially removed from his position as the Director for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Unit on May 1, 2018, and in June, he was reportedly sent to the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for a possible transfer from the Finance Ministry to the Ministry of Health, where he was supposed to take up his same position and all its benefits as was at the MFDP.
“Before agreeing to the Ministry of Health, Mo Ali was asked to choose among three government entities to work, including the Ministry of Public Works, the Liberia Water Sewer Cooperation (LWSC) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL),” one of our sources said.
Our investigation found out that Mo Ali chose to be transferred to the NPHIL and would have maintained his same status from the MFDP.
FPA understands that all the necessary documentation and arrangement were concluded for this new place and he was just set now to switch until he was actively involved in last Monday’s peaceful protest calling on the government to ‘#BringOurMoneyBack.’
After the protest on Monday, news of Mo Ali’s transfer began to surface on social media. It was coming mainly from supporters or partisans of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Some of them called for his dismissal while others asked him to tender in his resignation.
One of our sources at the MFDP confided that following the Monday protest, sources said Mo Ali’s transfer to NPHIL was immediately stopped as a plan was hatched by some against the idea of him protesting, to subsequently transfer him to Grand Kru County as Regional Director.
Another source at the Civil Servant Agency (CSA) told the FPA that Ali’s new position if it goes through is a demotion to his previous position, thus violating the CSA Standing Order 4.2.4.
This Order states: “The Appointing Authority with the approval of the Director‐General may demote an employee whose ability to perform required duties falls below standard. An employee may also be demoted as a disciplinary measure. No employee shall be demoted to a position for which he does not possess the prescribed qualifications. The Appointing Authority shall give written notice to the employees and to the Director‐General prior to the effective date of the demotion.”
Some people think that Ali violated 5.8 of the Code of Conduct for all officials of government by partaking in the protest, which they have dubbed “political initiatives.”
5.8. states: “It is unlawful for any Civil Servant employed in any branch of the Government to use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or affecting the result thereof. No officer or employee in the Executive Branch of Government, or any agency or department thereof, shall take any active part in political management or in political campaigns.
All such persons shall retain the right to vote as they may choose and to express their opinions on all political subjects.”
The transfer of Mo Ali to Grand Kru has sparked heated debates in the public and on social media. Some term his transfer as witch hunt, while others have blasted the government of not tolerating opposing views. Some think that the transfer is also intended to silence and humiliate any or all critics, who find themselves in the employ of government.
However, there are others, who think that the government is right to have him transferred as his skills and expertise are required in all parts of the country.
Attributing Transfer to Ruling Party Officials
Some of the administration’s critics have attributed Mo Ali’s transfer to comments made by some officials of the ruling CDC. On the same day of the protest, CDC Party Chairman Mulbah Morlu held a press conference expressing disappointment in government employees who took part in the protest.
Though Morlu felt short of naming those employees who took part in the protest, stated that in time past, government workers could not have done so under the regime of former President Sirleaf.
“People in government who are supposed to be working for the people were protesting against the government they work for. You could not have done that under Madam Sirleaf. You cannot hold a canoe and hold the shores.
“You cannot be in government and be inactive; you were hired to work, not to protest,” Morlu said.
Another of the party’s stalwart, Representative Moses Acarous Gray, on a local radio talk show after the protest, frowned on Mo Ali for leaving government work to go and protest.
So, some believe that the comments from these two powerful men in the ruling class, may have influenced the transfer of Mo Ali to humiliate him.