BWI Principal Tarnue Sacked

Mr. Tarnue: "I have no regret for whatever decision my administration took to build BWI's image."

Describes his removal as “illegal, preconceived”

The Board of Governors of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County, has with immediate effect, relieved of his post, the Principal Harris Flomo Tarnue, effective Thursday, May 16, 2019. The board is chaired by John Youboty.

According to a communication, copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, the removal of Mr. Tarnue is based on a resolution of the board, declaring a “vote of no confidence” in his leadership as principal of the institution.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Mr. Tarnue with the consent of the board on January 6, 2016, replacing then acting Principal, Alexander Melvin Massey.

Henceforth, the board has appointed one James Walker as acting principal of BWI, pending the appointment of a replacement of Mr. Tarnue.

“Your appointment takes effect immediately, subject to the board’s review as it deems appropriate until as such time that President George Weah appoints a new principal,” the board said in Mr. Walker’s letter of appointment.

Earlier, Education Minister, Ansu Sonii had written a letter to Mr. Tarnue informing of the board resolution declaring a”vote of no confidence” in your leadership as principal of that institution.

“Unfortunately, I have examined the representation of the Board, [through] its resolution, and have come to the conclusion that the matters imposing the resolution are not only significant but grave. While I do consider all of the reasons for the vote of no confidence to be weighty and important, the most recent action on your part to unilaterally register 11th grade students as 12th graders, qualifying them for the WASSCE Examination against the expressed advice of the Board of Governors, is an academic mis-judgment, which should not have happened. This latter action, I believe, overrides the varying others, particularly being embarrassment for a dire affront to the governing authority of the institution, which cannot go unpunished,” Minister Sonii said in his letter dated May 16, 2019.

Some of the jubilating BWI students with placards carrying inscriptions denouncing Tarnue’s rule.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tarnue has described his removal as “illegal and preconceived event as calculated by some members of the board,” something which he challenged, but did not disclose what would be his next course of action.

“I have no regret about any decision(s), which my administration took, while I was serving as the chief executive officer and principal of BWI over the years,” Tarnue said.

According to him, there are some people in Margibi and among the board members, “that have witch hunted me over the years, because of the pivotal role I played to the growth and development of BWI.”

“My records are very clear at BWI, and I cherish my footprint as I am leaving here today with no regret,” Tarnue said.

Shortly after the board’s decision, some students erupted in jubilation, chanting the slogans: “Tarnue has fooled us; he must go out, Tarnue fooled us; he must go.” One of the jubilating students, Sharry A. Numah, accused Mr. Tarnue of  taking away the school’s “tradition,” which includes proper dress code, as some marks of his “bad leadership.”

According to Numah, Tarnue’s action to register 11th grade students as 12th graders qualifying them to sit for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), “amounts to academic fraud.”

“This is another violation of the student’s handbook,” the students said.

They therefore lauded the board for the swift decision taken for the betterment of the institution.

For Mr. Walker, the situation created mixed feelings, “because I have worked with Mr. Tarnue, and I found him a very good administrator, who made positive changes on campus.”

According to him, the decision of the Board is unquestionable, therefore, it is about time that everyone work together to ensure that BWI move ahead as the center of academic excellence.

“Mr. Tarnue has played a pivotal road in the growth and development of the institute. We are going to begin from where he stopped to move ahead,” Walker said.


  1. As a graduate of BWI, I welcome this move, his appointment in the first place was questionable because his background clearly show that he was not the right man for the Job and his productions showed it. His last action to fraudulently registered 11 graders as 12 graders is grave and an embarrassment to our beloved school

  2. B.W.I. is turning into another political battle ground! I think it about time that the principal of this technical school serve for tenures, so to give the administration the chance to run it properly; you cannot have the Board breathing down the neck of the CEO and expect him/her to be very efficient. Years back, BWI students never took WAEC test, because of its technical nature and curriculum; even people who used to attend BWI, in essence were ten-graders, because one had to passed to ten-grade before enrolling into B.W.I and would reduced their class to 9th grade, to begin their studies.
    Because of politics, the technical aspect of that technical school is now reduced to mere or pure academic school, so where are the middle level technicians that the school was or is to train?
    Secondly, the principal of that school does not have to possessed a qualification in education or vocational technical education to be its head; all that school needs is a good administrator! other staff, like the VP for instruction should be concerned with academic matters. You hear the man who had been appointed to act in the principal stead, has told you that the principal was a good administrator, then the board of directors, made up of former B.W.I. graduates think they can run the school better than anyone else. Can the chairman runs that school any better than the recent former principal? I say no! See how he runs his company-MDMC? Take politics out of BWI and make it a technical school. Thanks.

  3. Thank You Gbada Flomo……my senior brother went to BWI. They were the last senior class before the NPFL entered Kakata in June of 1990.



    The dismissal of BWI Principal Tarnue Harris Fomba has everything to do with politics and jealousy and nothing to do with so-called nepotism.

    The truth is that BWI has been plagued by bad governance both by its inept Board and past Principals. Principal Fombah has been an exception, as he has displayed exquisite skills, elevating BWI’s both at home and abroad. His exceptional skills have paid dividends for BWI, the envies of his detractors, especially those on the current dysfunctional Board of BWI.

    I am pleased to publicly write and say that Principal Fomba enjoys my confidence and detest to see him go. With him gone, the only sure thing that awaits BWI is failure.

    The victims of this ill-advised decision by the inept BWI Board are BWI and the students who were striving to be future Liberian engineers. SAD!!!!

    J. Flomo Matthew
    Former National President
    BWI Alumni Association of America

  5. Mr.Tarnue, thanks very much for the job well done at BWI during the years.

    Previously, students (freshman) were mal-treated with administration doing nothing about it and ignoring human rights that the world enjoys today in the name of tradition,which caused many students today escape campus while some deliberately failed because of fear.

    Meanwhile,you allowed a good learning environment which includes: Good infrastructures(Modern renovation of the deformed departments),Science laboratory,Fully air conditioner auditorium,freedom of expression in a polite manner in assembly and anywhere in or around campus and improvements on every positive thing students requested.

    Moreover, you instilled discipline and was very straightforward in accordance with the constitution of BWI and the republic of Liberia.

    Thanks very much for making BWI a place to be and I’m glad that your legacy remains.


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