For “Gross Disrespect,” Pres. Sirleaf Dismisses Labor Minister Neto Lighe

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In the words of the former secretary general of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Miss Meapeh Kou Gono, “If power was to last with those before us (the younger generation), it wouldn’t have reached us (the younger generation). Obviously, it goes at some point and our records outlive us!”

Miss Gono, who might have probably been quoting the originator of those wise words, later wished the man who she considers an esteemed colleague, “good luck,” posted as a consolation message to her dear friend, Labor Minister Atty Neto Zarzar Lighe upon hearing that he has been dismissed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Liberians were shocked late Friday afternoon when the Executive Mansion announced that President Sirleaf had with immediate effect, relieved Labor Minister – Atty. Neto Lighe from his position.

The only reason provided by the Mansion, which is the seat of the Liberian presidency, for Lighe’s dismissal is “due to his continued gross disrespect and participation in wicked attacks and false accusations levied against the presidency.”

Neto is the current Senior National Vice Chairman of the ruling Unity Party. He was elected along with other corps of officers at the 2016 UP Convention that was held in Gbarnga, Bong County that brought on board VP Boakai as the new political leader/standard bearer of the party.

The President has been whirling her axe these few days and the former Labor Minister is the latest victim. Others to have recently felt the wrath of the Iron Lady, who is living up to the wrath of that name, were former Minister Henrique Tokpa of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and former Deputy Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICAT), Jedi Armah.

But many would hope that President Sirleaf would take a leaf out of this post, which central message is that power does not remain with one forever—this is why she will be leaving the political scene which she has dominated for the past 12 consecutive years.

It is, however, becoming clear that the only thing that stands between Ellen and her wish is an empty space. “This President can do anything to have her will and absolutely no one dare stand in her way,” a staunched supporter of the ruling Unity Party said upon hearing the news.

In response to his dismissal, Lighe said it was now “time to move on,” adding that there’s no singular honor than serving his country and he is proud that he was extended such an “opportunity to serve my country” and also extended his profound appreciation to President Sirleaf for such an honor.

“7 years ago, through a presidential appointment, I entered mainstream government as an Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 2 years later, I was promoted to the position of Deputy Minister and then Minister of Labor,” he wrote in his response on his facebook page.

He continued “There’s no singular honor than serving your country and I’m proud of the opportunity extended me to serve my country. Today, 7 years after, my service in government has come to an end. I want to use this occasion, on behalf of my family to extend my profound thanks and appreciation to Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the opportunity extended me. To all my colleagues in government and employees at the Ministry of Labor, thanks for your cooperation and service during my stay. It is now time to move on.”

In spite of the Executive Mansion’s vague reason for Lighe’s dismissal, arguments were rife as per the real reason behind President Sirleaf’s actions of late. Impeccable sources indicate that Lighe and others are being dismissed because they have refused to submit to the desire of the President to support the presidential bid of George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC); and are bent on supporting the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

“Word on the street is that it’s because he refused to cross carpet to CDC with her,” one partisan said.

Though these and many others would still be considered speculation, especially of the President not supporting the UP, what other “disrespect” could there be? “The Oldma take a young boy from nowhere and make him a big man, then realizes she suddenly cannot manipulate his political direction,” is a claim on the streets of Monrovia.

Meanwhile, consolation messages began pulling in immediately the pronouncement of Lighe’s sacking.

Saywhar Gbaa, a young Liberian female journalist wrote this, on the dismissed minister social media wall, “You are a Patriot, I respect you a whole lot.”

Another colleague, Mark Kanneo, wrote on his facebook page, “The life you live today will serve as the basis for your future judgment. You have served well bro, can’t do more than your best. Thanks for the service and keep your head up.”

Kanneo further indicated, “History will judge us all. From 1991 to now you are no stranger to me. I know who you are and what u stand for bro. It shall be well. Move on with pride and dignity. God is our supreme judge.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. I hope there is a better reason why people are being dismissed. Does the president know that she has no more power, and she is forgetting that these are same young people that took off there shoes and walk in the rain and mug to have her elected 2005 &2011.

  2. This is now time for us to unite as great people of this great nation and not allow this abomination to happen.
    Let join forces with Joe Boakai to defeat Ellen and her puppets.

    • Mr. Kansuah, are you kidding me? We should unite against who and for what? Look my friend, frog has nothing to do with snake birthday party…? Ellen, Boakai, and Nato are all members of the same family, the UP. Perhaps, this is their special way of showing love to one another. This is a family thing and I m very sure that they know exactly what they are doing. My suggestion is keep away or just watch if you are not a member of the family.

  3. One can’t give credence “to word on the street”. There are high profile committed VP Boakai supporters in government and state corporations whose jobs have not been threatened, or asked to cross carpet. Let’s stop making CDC the crutch for a complete rupture in relation between UP and EJS which started since her reelection in 2011.

  4. Even in the Jungle of the Wild Beast, some one is in charge. She’s in charge. There is no renegade remnant, in an organization that can be loyal. Samuel k. Doe made a similar error, and it was the straw that led to his downfall. “Disagreement today, disagreement tomorrow. Only time can fix the human mind”. Mao Zedong… 1941

  5. Mamadu Bah, what I’m earth does the late President Doe has to do with anything. His downfall was due to Ellen masterminding and funding the war. Doe was not wicked, manipulative and unforgiving as Ellen. If he was Ellen would not be around today.

  6. “Impeccable sources indicate that Lighe and others are being dismissed because they have refused to submit to the desire of the President to support the presidential bid of George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC); and are bent on supporting the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.”

    What does this Daily Observer reporter call “impeccable sources”? And since when CDC and Ambassador George Weah became the favorite political entity of the the Liberian executive mansion? I thought the Ellen administration for the almost past twelve (12) years was a Unity Party administration. Only the Unity Party partisans and supporters were the only ones enjoying the perks of this administration for the past twelve years. For a CDCian to enjoy any of the gravy dished out by the Ellen administration they had to cross-over and become Unity Party members and activists. One doesn’t have to look far to know some of the past CDC executives that crossed over to the Unity Party and landed themselves top lucrative jobs in Ellen’s administration.

    Why now? Why rub the palm oil of Ellen’s administration on the lips of CDC’s faithful? Faithful CDCians, even if they were highly qualified, were considered undesirables for positions in Ellen’s administration. Mr. Neto Zarzar Lighe got his position from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf because he was a member of the Unity Party. According to this Daily Observer report, it is President Johnson-Sirleaf that fired him. What does this have to do with CDC and Senator George Manneh Weah? Is this an anti-CDC propaganda?

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