Liberia: Let Integrity, Commitment, and Competence Be the Touchstones for Appointments

Guest Editorial by Rev. Dr. Slewion Lewis 

As we prepare as a nation to usher in a new democratically elected government following a very close presidential election, many are or will be inundating the corridors of the incoming executive in the quest to be appointed to senior or junior government positions.  

But as president-elect, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai prepares to carry on this very arduous task, let integrity, commitment, and competence be the touchstones by which members of his team will be selected.

Gone are the days when individuals were appointed to top or junior government positions because of their roles during elections, party alignments, and religious or family connections, without any standard as it relates to their performance or ability to deliver.

In this present dispensation of world politics and international development, when all governments are striving for the best, appointing individuals based on integrity, commitment and competence should be the best practice if we really want our country to be on par with other nations within our sub region and the world at large. With integrity, commitment and competence, any nation, no matter how limited or insufficient the resources may be, can achieve more if those in positions of public trust put the interest of the nation above their individual interests.

Integrity, which is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and uprightness, is cardinal to the developmental drives of any nation; for it earns the trust and confidence of not only the citizens, but international partners as well. The dangers caused by the lack of integrity are visible all over the world today — Liberia being no exception. Most of you will agree with me that Liberia and the world at large would be a better place if people, especially those in positions of public trust, live with integrity. Integrity is when our behaviors match our faiths and beliefs. It is when what we do and what we say align. We have integrity when our private lives and our public lives are the same. It is when we walk our talks and practice what we preach. Integrity is like the oil of an engine, which makes the whole engine run smoothly; but without it, the entire engine is in danger. Remember, there are many who are with high profiles and degrees but lack integrity. So, let integrity be a key pillar for being a part of the team for the incoming government.

Commitment is another key gauge that should be used in selecting team members of Boakai’s administration. Commitment, which is the state of being dedicated to a task or cause, is key to productivity and performance, and when vividly applied, can make one gain trust rapidly while the contrary ruins on’s reputation. Commitment also builds credibility and relationships with others; and when one takes his or her duties with deep commitment, he or she sets positive examples for others and demonstrates his or her responsibility and dependability. Committed individuals have priorities, and they stick to their priorities and during routines that allow them to slowly and steadily work toward their goals. Equally so, committed team members are loyal to their task and team because they are determined to succeed in what they do. Therefore, as the incoming government seeks to recruit members of its team, let commitment overshadow party lines, connections, and relationships.

Competence is another vital touchstone to be considered in selecting team members of the incoming administration. Competence, which is the quality or state of having sufficient knowledge, skill, or strength in executing a particular task and the ability to perform a task successfully and efficiently, brings credibility and attracts international and well meaning donors. Competence in any institution, be it government, private or otherwise, contributes to the overall success of the institution and increases the trust and confidence of partners. By ensuring that team members have the right skills for the job, institutions and governments achieve higher productivity, quality, and respect. Hence, as the President-elect and his administration prepare to set up their cabinet, let competence be a key factor and touchstone. 

Remember, the Holy Book (Bible) reminds us that “The integrity of the uptight guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them” (Proverbs 11:3). Ergo, with those serving in positions of public trust embodying integrity, commitment, and competence, our beloved country will not only regain its global reputation but also attract investors and other regional and international partners that will tremendously help in the developmental drives of our nation. Long live our sweet land of liberty!