Liberia: Weah Butchers ‘Code of Conduct’ to Protect Cronies
.... The President’s Executive Order is intended to create an impression of wanting to implement the code even though it affects a very few public officials with the desire and intent to contest in the pending October 10 elections,” says political analyst, James Doe.
The decision by President George Weah to implement certain positions of the Code of Conduct has been described as an attempt to protect cronies.
In a recent Executive Order, Weah mandated that all government officials desiring to contest the October 10 elections resign before April 7 in compliance with Section 5.2 but left out Section 5.8, which prohibits all employees of the Executive from taking an active part in political campaigns.
While the former called on appointed officials to resign a year before any election if they intended to contest, the latter would have hooked most appointed government officials as they are now actively involved in Weah's reelection campaign.
This violation, according to analyst James Doe (not his real name, for security reasons), casts more doubt on the true intent of the president since key lieutenants are using state resources to campaign for his reelection while also holding strategic leadership positions in the ruling Coalition Democratic Change.
"The holding of public office by presidential appointees and political party's executive/manager positions conflicts with Section 5.8; thus egregiously undermines the objectives of the law as accentuated by the President in his Executive Order," he said.
“The President’s Executive Order is intended to create an impression of wanting to implement the code even though it affects a very few public officials with the desire and intent to contest in the pending October 10 elections.”
Section 5.8 of the law which Doe is talking about provides that “ 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.”
Doe's issues with the executive order come after the president had claimed that he was implementing the law as a result of his compelling interest in creating a level political playing field.
However, the president's explanation for Doe is not true as keeping presidential appointees who are not seeking elections but actively involved in his campaigns is also a violation of Part V, Section 5.9 of the law, which calls for their immediate removal from office.
“The holding of public office by presidential appointees and political party’s executive/manager positions conflicts with Section 5.8 and 5.9 and thus egregiously undermines the objectives of the law as accentuated by the President in his executive order,” he said.
However, the major issue that lingers now is whether the President would implement the law by requesting the resignation and/or dismissal of presidential appointees who are using state resources to actively campaign for him.
The President's "political gimmick," Doe said, is to protect the presidential appointees holding executive positions in various parties.
This somewhat explains why President Weah has declined to set up and/or appoint the Office of the Ombudsman as required by Part XII, sections 12.1 and 12.2 of the law, Doe said.
The Office of an Ombudsman, when established, shall be responsible for the enforcement, oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of adherence to the code. It shall receive and investigate all complaints in respect of adherence.
Meanwhile, the decision of the President to issue an Executive Order mandating the resignation of a few appointed officials without appointing the Office of the Ombudsman makes the implementation of the Code of Conduct complicated and somewhat unenforceable.