Liberia: Foreign Minister Findley Resigns, Set to Contest Senatorial Midterm Elections

ON THE WAY OUT: Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbezohnga Findley, recently petitioned by traditional leaders of Grand Bassa County to contest the December 8 Midterm elections as Senator, has informed President George Weah and the various mission around the world that he is stepping down from his post, a prelude to his reported participation in the upcoming senatorial race.

Monrovia –  Just five months before Liberians head to the polls in the Midterm Senatorial elections, Foreign Minister Gbezohnga Findley is stepping down from his post.

Mr. Findley was recently petitioned by traditional leaders of Grand Bassa County along with youth and women groups to return to the county and represent them at the Senate by contesting the December 8 special election.

The Traditional leaders headed by the Chief Grand Zoe of Grand Bassa Edward Garmah, said they have evaluated all of the aspirants and believe that Findley is the most suited to make a representation for them. 

At the time, Representative Matthew Joe of Buchanan District, who received the petition from the elders, promised to liaise with the county superintendent, Janjay Baikpeh to take their petition to allow Foreign Minister Findley to return to the county to the President.

Mr. Findley’s resignation paves the way for what is expected to be an intense race in the vote-rich county against the incumbent Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and another challenger, District No. 4 Representative, Vincent Willie.

Mr. assured the residents of Grand Bassa County of his commitment to reach out to President Weah to acquaint him with the Bassa people request for him to contest the Special Senatorial Election in Bassa.

Mr. Findley’s resignation paves the way for what is expected to be an intense race in the vote-rich county against the incumbent Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence. 

As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 224,839, making it the fifth most populous county in Liberia.

Rep. Vincent Willie(District No. 4), who was elected on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party, a member of the four-party opposition alliance has ruffled feathers with his intention to contest the Senatorial seat, declaring recently that he would be the next senator. “I don’t have a major contender because to be a contender it means you must have done something tangible that you can show to the Bassa people. I have built roads, create more jobs for people of my district, sent young men and women out of Liberia to china to get Master’s degrees and I want to do the bigger one for everyone if I am elected as the next senator.”

In a circular dispatched to the various foreign Mission dated Monday, July 28, 2020 obtained by FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Findley wrote: “I present my compliment and wish to advise that I shall be leaving my post as Minister of Foreign Affairs as of July 27, 2020. I want to thank you and your staff for the kind consideration and support given me during my tour of duty as we worked in the interest of our beloved country. I trust that you will lend similar support and cooperation to my successor. I wish you continued success in you endeavor to make a positive showing of our country to the world.”

Late last year, President Weah, in the memo warned that in keeping with Government’s policy of strict adherence to the law, and for the purpose of coordination and maximum productivity, all officials appointed by the President, pursuant to Article 56 of the Liberian Constitution and all civil servant covered by the Code of Conduct (COC) are directed to adhere to the stipulation of the COC regarding requirement for public officials ahead of the 2020 mid-term elections.

“As you are aware, chapter 5.2 of the Code of Conduct, which intent was addressed by the Honorable Supreme Court prior to 2017 elections prescribe that anyone intending to contest for political office shall not continue to hold on to said office.

“Therefore, all officials and civil servants covered by this category are hereby required to resign their position within 30 days of the insurance of the Presidential Memo,” the memo stated.

Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct states that all officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not:  

a) Engage in political activities, canvass or   the head of contest for elected offices;

b) Use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; c) serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.

Also, in 5.2 of the COC states that, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply;  

a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections;

b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that President Weah is expected to respond to the minister’s resignation later today.

Speculations have been heightened for weeks that the President is weighing a few names as possible replacement, including the current Ambassador to the United States of America, George Pattern, the current Ambassador to the United Nations, Dee Maxwell Kemayah, the current Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Administration, Marwine Diggs and Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe.