Did Weah’s transition team understand Executive Order #91?
Barely three days following the inauguration of President George Weah, the Executive Mansion appears to be in a mix-up over its own appointments and the dismissal of non-tenured officials appointed by the former administration.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued Executive Order #91 establishing the Joint Presidential Transitional Team (JPTT) on December 25, 2017, which stated that non-tenured presidential appointees shall be presumed to have resigned as of the date of inauguration (Monday, January 22).
Notwithstanding, the executive order stated that such officials shall continue to function until their successors have been nominated, confirmed, appointed and commissioned.
Executive orders in Liberia have the full force of a law until the Legislature through an Act on said subject cancels such order or a subsequent executive order that would override the one in question.
On January 22, the Executive Mansion under the watch of President Weah, issued a release appointing some ministers, and at the same time relieving the heads of ministries and agencies, thereby ordering the Human Resource Directors to run the affairs of such entities until a new heads are appointed.
This action by President Weah, according to political analysts, technically undid the former President’s Executive Order #91, which also cannot be undone simply by a press release.
The purpose of the executive order is to establish mechanisms for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from the administration of former President Sirleaf to that of President Weah.
The work of the JPTT was to ensure that services are provided to the President-elect and Vice President-elect, which shall then include office facilities, logistics, transportation, travel allowances, communication services, daily briefings and other services and benefits.
The JPTT should have commenced performing its power and authority granted by the Executive Order no later than 48 hours after the declaration of the President-elect by the authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
“It shall cease to function after the publication of its final report, which shall be no later than January 31, 2018,” the Executive Order #91 said.
Efforts to reach presidential press secretary Sam Mannah for clarity on the matter did not materialize. Mannah has yet to also convey President Weah’s response concerning the appointment of Cllr. Charles Gibson, who is currently under suspension by the Supreme Court, as Justice Minister designate.
“The incumbent President and the Vice President shall vacate their official offices and official residences on or before inauguration day.
“Notwithstanding this provision, the JPTT shall ensure that services are provided to them which shall include, but not limited to, two vehicles and chauffeur each, VIP Protection (EPS and Police Services), logistics, allowances, other benefits and services to be determined by the JPTT,” the Executive Order stated.