Liberia: Ruling CDC Blacklist Striking Fear as President Weah Suspends 2 Deputies at NBC
Monrovia – Number fourteen on a list of so-called “non-members” of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC), some supporters of President George Manneh Weah want out of his government, now making the rounds on the social media Facebook and Whazzap is Gregory Coleman. The former Inspector General of the Liberian National Police is one of a few holdovers from the former administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
This week, Coleman, currently the head of the National Bureau of Concessions, was at the center of a major storm which escalated into a physical altercation with two of his deputies, who are said to be die-hard members of the ruling party.
The NBC boss had to be smuggled out of his office through the backdoor by way of a rarely-used gate of the compound of the Bureau as the main entrance and exit had been blocked to avoid the attack from his two deputies — Daddy Gibson, Deputy Director General for Administration (DDGA) and Nathaniel Bracewell, Deputy Director General for Concession (DDGC) on the bureau’s 19th street office.
On Friday, President Weah, facing criticisms that he sanctioned the assault on Coleman took a decision to suspend the pair from the NBC.
NBC Pair Suspended Indefinitely
In a statement Friday, the Executive Mansion announced that the President has suspended with immediate effect two deputies at the National Bureau of Concession (NBC) for time indefinite. “Daddy Gibson, DeputyDirector General for Administration and Nathaniel Bracewell, Deputy Director General for Concession at the National Bureau of Concession are suspended for Administrative misconduct.”
Their suspension was announced early Friday. Critics are however concerned that the President’s action falling short of a dismissal could trigger more of such actions against others named on a purported blacklist making the rounds on Facebook, Whazzap and in inboxes amongst Liberians both at home and abroad.
‘No Peace’ for Blacklisted
The list first posted on Facebook by a man identifying himself as a “die-hard” CDCian, states: “Undermining our government and thinking that we will allow you to be comfortably in your position why our people are suffering? You must be mistaken because as of today’s date, there will be NO PEACE for you.”
Besides Coleman, others named on the list are as follows: “Wicked” Laurine Johnson DG/CSA; “Arrogant” Thomas Doe Nah Liberian Revenue Authority(LRA); Deconte King-Sackie, Liberia Revenue Authority; Elizabeth W. Dorkin … Governance Comm; Mathew Jallah … LPRA; Kollie Kamara …. LPRA; SAA Samoa (Customs Commissioner); Darlington Talery (Domestic tax Comm); Edwin Kelema (Asst. Commissioner/Customs Operations); Arrogant Mohammed Ability(Asst. Common/customs Enforcement); Pam Belcher Taylor.. Paynesville Mayor; Cecelia Cuffy Brown.. MD/ National Housing Authority; Max T.Duncan(Head Legal Department); Thomas Jallah(Manager tax Business Office); Juanita Bropleh(Manager Urban & Rural ports; Maxwell Fahnbulleh (Asst. Commissioner/Anti-Smuggling); Isaac Stevens (Assistant Commissioner/Real Estate Tax Division); Alex Cuffy… Financial Intelligence Unit; Andre Porte (Assistant Commissioner/Large Tax); Clara M.Goba-Harris (Manager/Real Estate tax Division; Eddie Howe(Manager/Large tax Audit); Margaret Korpee (Manager/Large Tax Enforcement; Joseph H. Farkollie (General supervisor/Customs tax office); Scholastics Nimely (Manager/Real Estate Tax Div. Special project); Chupee Hayward (Manager/Human Resource); Titus Sash(Lasion, Legal Department) and J. Cyrus Saygbe Sr. Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Some of those named on the list say they fear they could be next to endure what happened to Coleman. Gregory is No. 14 and you saw what happened to him at his office so the threat is real. I just registered my concern with the Minister of Justice,” one of those on the list told FrontPageAfrica, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.
The fear comes in the backdrop of concerns amongst those who claim they have been supporters of President Weah but are yet to get job, feeling jilted when those outside the party are being appointed to positions. Ironically, some of those on the list were in the positions prior to arrival of the Weah-led government.
Wage Bill Triggers Concerns
Affiliation to the ruling party has been a major unofficial requirement for many seeking positions in government, a policy that has drawn widespread criticism to the Weah-led government now facing a declining economy brought on by a massive wage bill, international stakeholders have blamed for the economic downturn.
A week after an International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation to Liberia admonished the Weah administration to reduce its wage bill, President Weah last month pledged his government’s commitment to ensuring that all recruitment, employment and payroll management exercises will revert to the Civil Service Agency and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as required by law, a practice the administration assuming office last January threw out the day amid numerous red flags from critics.
President Weah in reversing the policy said the macroeconomic challenges has compelled the government to implement austerity measures and realign national priorities to facilitate efficient service delivery in the key sectors that would have the greatest impact on the poor. Reversing this situation, he said, is the government’s paramount concern as “protection and improvement of the living standards of the poorest Liberians is the central objective of our development plan, the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and development.”
In consonance with provision of the PFM Act which mandates that the national budget is framed in the context of a medium-termed expenditure framework, the President said the budget endeavors to begin efforts at improving the overall effectiveness of government through reducing nonproductive recruitment costs.
Many economic and political observers say, some of the president’s supporters are failing to fully understand the gravity of the prevailing challenges now facing the government and are now vending their frustrations on those deemed to be not part of the party.
In the wake of the party’s dismal performance in two key electoral races in Montserrado County – the Senatorial and legislative by-elections, many say is a wake-up call, political observers say the trend is likely to continue, complicated by a recent statement from the party’s chairman Mulbah Morlu, that election verdict in the just-ended polls in Montserrado is not only a wakeup call to action, but an insistence the party will not ignore to change course.
Absence of Stern Action
Changing course could mean opening up the government positions to not just regular partisans who want a job but those qualify and with the pedigree to help President Weah turn things around.
For Chairman Morlu, officials in both the Legislature and the Executive will now have to live in accordance with our Pro-Poor Agenda or, they will have to vacate the government. “We have reached the point where we will separate party actions from the actions of some officials of government, where necessary; the period for honeymoon is over. The jobs we gave to you is to help our President succeed and, not to undermine our hard-earned gains.”
Many political observers agree that some of those appointed to government positions are causing serious problems for the President and the government. The case of the saga at NBC this week being the latest in a wave of incidents where appointees to some positions have shown utter disrespect to their bosses, especially when they feel they are not original members of the ruling party.
At the Liberia Revenue Authority for example, the current head Thomas Doe-Nah has been on the receiving end a number of Facebook insults from partisans who say he is not one of their own.
For Morlu, such examples put the President in a bad light and the government on the fringes of unnecessary embarrassment. “Our President is a popular person with a good heart for all Liberians. We all have to help our leader deliver for the people of Liberia. This election doesn’t mean that our government is unpopular with the people of Liberia. What it means is that our partisans and the people of Liberia in general need us most at this critical juncture in our national political journey.”
The road to such critical junctures, critics say may be complicated by appointees enjoying close proximity to the presidency and friends of the President, doing things on the own, and a president seemingly reluctant to put his foot down and end a recurring dilemma complicating his quest to focus on more serious issues dogging his reign.