President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reappointed former Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection Julia Duncan-Cassell at the Ministry of Gender after she lost to Matthew Joe in the representative election in Grand Bassa County District #3.
Minister Duncan-Cassell resigned in July this year to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Code of Conduct that could have stopped her from running.
According to section 5.2 (a) of the Code of Conduct, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Directors General, and Superintendents desiring to run must resign 2 years prior to the election, and section 5.2 (b) states that any other officials appointed by the President who hold a tenured position must resign 3 years prior to the election, while Section 5.9 of the Code provides that “Any public official, after due process, who is found guilty of violating any provision of this section should be immediately removed from the position or office he or she held and thereafter no part of the funds appropriated by any law for such position or office should be used to pay compensation to such person.”
The Minister resumed work yesterday. With the reappointment of Minister Duncan-Cassell, many Liberians interviewed wondered why the President should single out Duncan-Cassell for reappointment when there are many qualified Liberians who could occupy the post.
James Flomo, who deals in dry goods at the ELWA Junction, said the gender minister resigned her post to contest the elections and therefore she did not deserve to be reappointed by the President.
According to Flomo, there are many Liberians that are qualified for the said position and therefore President Sirleaf should have appointed someone else, “not someone who willingly resigned to contest the 2017 Representative and presidential elections.”
Esther Jones, a political science student at the University of Liberia, said the decision by the President to reappoint Minister Duncan-Cassell was an indication that the President could find no other qualified Liberian to serve in that post.
Jones said since the minister willingly resigned from the position, “she must not be called back to the very job from which she had resigned.”
Ruth Johnson, a 12th grade student at the Isaac A. David High School, said the youth must be given a chance by the President to show what they are capable of doing.
She said the Minister of Gender is not the only educated Liberian with the knowledge to push gender issues, and though the President has the authority to appoint those she is comfortable to work with and can push her agenda, others deserve equal opportunity to show their capabilities.