MONROVIA – The government of Liberia has announced the reopening of the official office of the Liberian presidency, the Executive Mansion, that has been out of use for 16 years.
Fire gutted the Executive Mansion on July 26, 2006, six months after former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s inauguration. Since 2006, the Executive Mansion has been out of function.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf left the Mansion after the fire incident and started working from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Upon taking office, President George Manneh Weah fast-tracked the renovation of the Mansion – a process that has been ongoing for the past 16 years.
Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie at a news conference Monday, February 7, 2022 said President Weah is fully prepared to start working from the Mansion and to return the Liberian presidency to its original seat.
The Information Minister disclosed that the official program marking the celebration of the bicentennial of Liberia will be held on the grounds of the Capitol Building after which the President will start his official duty the same day at the Mansion.
“Right after the February 14 Bicentennial Program, the President will remain in the Mansion to continue the Liberian people work. The Mansion is not fully completed yet, but the President insists that he be there while work is ongoing for completion; as you know the presidency has been working from the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Minister Rennie said the renovation of the entire Mansion is yet to be completed but 90% of the work on the 4th Floor of the building that contains the offices of the President and other important staff is being done.
“The President said it is better he be in office while the work is ongoing, with that, the President believes that it will give contractors more energy to work than to be awaiting them while working,” he said.
The Executive Mansion of Liberia is the official residence and workplace of the country’s president. Located across the street from the Capitol Building in the Capitol Hill district of Monrovia, the current building was constructed during the presidency of William Tubman, which lasted from 1944 to 1971. The construction started in 1961, and was completed in 1964
The Executive Mansion was the scene of the murder of Tubman’s successor, President William Tolbert (in office 1971–1980), during the 1980 coup d’état.
According to public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), blood ritual and other sacrifices were performed at the Executive Mansion during the presidency of Samuel Doe, which lasted from 1980 to 1990. They were meant to render the president as well as the Executive Mansion impregnable. Hundreds of people, especially men, are also said to have been killed on the grounds of the Executive Mansion in the wake of the failed coup attempt by Thomas Quiwonkpa in 1985.
The Executive Mansion was destroyed by fire on July 26, 2006, during the 159th anniversary celebration of the adoption of the Liberian Declaration of Independence. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (in office 2006–2018) was at the time feting foreign guests and dignitaries in the gardens of the Executive Mansion. As of early 2021, a reopening was planned for early 2022.