Foreign Minister Findley ‘Disrespected’

7
4934
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar Milton Findley

-At Independence Day Celebrations

Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar M. Findley was on Friday July 26 disappointed in junior government’s officials for refusal to vacate their seats to allow foreign dignitaries to be seated.

This time around, it was evidently clear protocols had no sitting arrangement for dignitaries that were invited—thus constraining Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar M. Findley, to get involved.

Unfortunately, the country’s chief diplomat had no idea what was awaiting him when he thought to create space to accommodate the foreign dignitaries and their respective entourages who had come to celebrate with the President of Liberia on the auspicious occasion.

Mr. Findley took the podium to call out deputy ministers, as well as heads of agencies and commissions to leave the platform, where they should not have been in the first place, in order for the guests to have seating.

Sadly, his initial calls fell on deaf ears as those officials refused to give up their seats after several calls.

After over ten minutes, when the program had come to a halt, a visibly frustrated Findley had to resort to name-calling before some of the officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Boima Fahnbulleh, decided to leave.

At the celebrations, held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville City, Minister Findley called on the junior officials to vacate the seats to enable the foreign heads of state’ guests to be seated but was greeted with refusal by the officials.

“Deputy Ministers, heads of agencies and commissions, please leave the seats for our guests. Only senior officials should be seated here,” Findley repeatedly said, each time with increasing firmness in his tone after protocols had failed to remove junior officials from the seats.

By name, Minister Findley also Celia Cuffy Brown, Managing Director of the National Housing Authority (NHA) and others to vacate the seats and but were seen sitting with no regard to Mr. Findley and the visiting guests.

Cuffy-Brown, a supporter of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) crossed carpet to the leading opposition political party in the latter stages of the 2017 elections campaign. She also served as acting Managing Director of the National Port Authority prior to the appointment of Bill Twehway as managing director by President George M. Weah.

“Since you don’t want to respect your foreign Minister, you people should just be seated,” Minister Findley continued as the guests kept pouring into the VIP section where several West African presidents were also seated, while awaiting the commencement of the celebration.

Sadly, foreign dignitaries, West African Leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, President Alpha Conde  of Guinea, President Julius Maada Bio and the First Lady Madam Fatima Bio of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal and President of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso.

The president of the African Development Bank – Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, was also attended this year’s Independence Day celebration along with other partners.

Without knowing it, the apparent dereliction of duty by those public officials toward the directive of the Foreign Minister was a foreshadowing of chiding remarks to be delivered just moments later by the National Independence Day Orator, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Roberta Gbowee.

In her speech, Madam Gbowee drew direct correlations between the choice of unqualified and underperforming political appointees and the failure of the state. She noted that political appointments within the ‘Ruling Position’ (the ruling party) have rarely much to do with merit, skill, virtuosity or accomplishment, but rather a person’s ability to sing the political anthem of the day. And that their idea of service is more of self-service than public service.

“The Ruling Position often has misplaced priorities. Their development agenda is nicely written on paper but implementation is basically their private projects,” Gbowee argued.

“The Ruling Position,” she said, “gives rewards not on the basis on excellence but on the basis of who can denigrate their opponent the most on social media and other platforms. This creates a culture among our young people that competence and education are not necessary tools for ascending to any position.”

As the frustrated Foreign Minister gave up trying to convince his subordinates to be courteous and hospitable to their foreign guests, the situation reached the attention of Bomi County District #1 Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, who immediately took control by removing junior officials from their seats. Rep. Snowe, a member of the opposition who appears to have the ear of the President, succeeded in removing some of the officials and immediately replaced them with the guests.

This year’s Independence Day Celebration was held under the theme: “Together We Are Stronger,” which was described by Gbowee as befitting for times that Liberians find themselves in.

But Liberia Chief of Protocol, Javis Witherspoon through a mobile conversation told the Daily Observer that there is no struggle in doing his protocol work.

“We made the announced earlier, which was reinforced by the Minister of Foreign Findley. We work closely together and there is nothing happening,” Mr. Witherspoon said.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This mix up falls squarterly on the protocol seetion. Did they inform or stop the deputies and other sfrom entering the reserved area?
    Hopefully ,this is a lesson learnt. Protocol should iwork along with security for forreinforcement, when rules are not adhere to.
    Beore, not after the fact.

  2. Unfortunately, FrontPage Newspaper has refused to edit reports from field reporters to the shame and disgrace of the entire Nation, especially given the fact that FrontPage is the leading news entity, read by millions around the world. Almost ever piece of news written by FrontPage Africa has never been error free. This is getting worst by the day, an embarrassing situation that cannot be overlooked any longer.

  3. The 26 key note speaker struck many cords of truth.An olive branch must be extended to other Liberians realizing EVERYONE whether partisans or not should be considered stakeholders because The President should show even more so now “inclusivity”, embracing opposition and “open up” a mechanism for dialogue for our country’s development. Those “Natural born Liberians” in the diaspora should be encouraged to invest in Liberia & mechanisms should be established at Liberian Embassies around as well as the National Investment Commission to safeguard this process and make it a reality for hundreds of millions of foreign currency to flood Liberia by those “natural born Liberians ” who are now denied citizenship in the land they love and want to help desperately. Other countries like Portugal in southern Europe, Slovenia in northern europe, Panama, Colombia are soliciting “retiring Americans ” which includes “natural born Liberians ” to settle in their countries, obtain permanent residency and eventually become citizens. Primarily because they want the” hard currency “. Ghana’s development now is based on them “opening citizenship ” to natural born ghanian to come home and invest in their native countries. If this is NOT done soon enough, Liberia will lose an entire generation of patriot Liberians in America & Europe and the chance of drastically reduced remittances as this group ages & decide to settle with their retirement in America, europe, and other African countries that are encouraging people residing in western nations to retire in their countries. Let’s wake up to this reality as well. WE NEED HELP IN OUR STRUGGLES!!

  4. Article from globe Afrique

    Washington (Globe Afrique) – Liberia is slowly inching towards state-sponsored terrorism and violence against its citizens. Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), stated, ‘when passions run high during elections, and people do not act with restraint, this may lead to large-scale crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC. In such a case, the office of the prosecutor will not hesitate to act under the criteria defined by the Rome Statute.

    She went on to say, “Political leaders are equally obliged to ensure that the electoral process and elections proceed calmly and that they, their supporters and sympathizers, refrain from any violence before, during and after elections.”

    President Weah
    Liberia is a party to the Rome Statute. And, Article 15 of the Rome Statute allows ICC Prosecutors to investigate allegations of crimes based on information from victims, nongovernmental organizations or any other reliable source. Moreover, the ex officio provisions of the Statute give victims and survivors a role in the ICC process by enabling them to trigger investigations.

    Over the years, the ICC has conducted investigations and prosecutions of crime against humanity, war crimes and aggression in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Burundi. Madam Bensouda added, “Anyone who incites or participates in mass violence, by ordering, soliciting, encouraging or otherwise contributing to crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is liable to prosecution before the Court.” And no one should doubt the determination to investigate such crimes.

    Statements by Koijee Are Deemed State-Sponsored Atrocities and Terrorism
    Recent activities and statements made by leaders of the ruling party, particularly, the mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee, where he stated, “Make no mistake to think that because we bear certain titles or bear certain space in government, that position has taken from us our true identity.”

    The mayor went on to say, “…any day that would be announced by anyone (referring to protestors), we want to say to you that similar day would be announced by us. And wheresoever they are, we would also be there, and we would meet in flesh and blood.” It’s quite apparent that the young and inexperienced mayor fails to realize that his statements are treated as state-sponsored or supported atrocities.

    If one were to couple the mayor’s statements with recent acts of violence, this would lead to a decision by the ICC to open an investigation into violence in Liberia because it falls within the category of crimes against humanity which will lead to future prosecutions of state-supported atrocities. Failure by the President of Liberia to forcefully and publicly reject and sanction the mayor may be deemed as silent support of Koijee.

    Proposed Ban on Jefferson Koijee from Entering the United States
    On another note, Liberians in the United States are gearing up to petition the U.S. State Department to prohibit Jefferson Koijee and other political party members of the ruling party from entering the U.S. for fear that they are sponsoring domestic terrorism in Liberia.

    According to 8 U.S. Code Subchapter 2, Subsection 1182 of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, any person, including government officials who endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity are inadmissible to the United States.

    “Terrorist activity” is defined as any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed (or which, if it had been committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws of the United States or any State) including a violent attack upon the liberty of a person.

    According to an official at the U.S. Justice Department, who wishes to remain anonymous, the United States government and members of the United States Committee on Foreign Relations are closely following events unfolding in Liberia. Globe Afrique will continue to monitor these events as they unfold.

    Show More

    Mitch Rodinski
    Mitch is a political journalist who is passionate about understanding governments in Latin America and Africa. Mitch holds a graduate degree in journalism from Cornell University. Mitch covers LATAM for Globe Afrique and will continue to focus on developments in fragile countries.
    With Product You Purchase

Leave a Reply to tonyleewaye2013 Cancel reply