Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs early Saturday morning announced his resignation, to take effect October 10, 2015, in order to be eligible to contest the presidential and general elections in 2017. Citing an Act of Legislature Prescribing a National Code of Conduct for All Public Officials and Employees, especially Part V, concerning Political Participation, Minister Ngafuan issued a bold expression of his ambition for elected office. While he has not specified whether he will aim for the highest elected office — the presidency — or begin his sojourn as a list I’ve aspirant, his experience has been in the Executive Branch of government, solely for since 2006 when he served as director of what was then the Budget Bureau.
From there it was upward movement for him. In 2007 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed him as Minister of Finance and in 2012 as Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his statement, Ngafuan disclosed that he has informed President Sirleaf of his political ambition and subsequent decision to resign, a move she has accepted. Below is the full statement of Ngafuan’s resignation. Also attached is the statement signed by him.
“As our dear country braces itself for a democratic transition in 2018, I have over the months been deeply reflecting on the challenges ahead and what contributions I can possibly make to my country and its future. I have been widely consulting on my future with family, friends and well-wishers both at home and abroad. Consistent with the outcome of my reflection and consultations, I made it unequivocally clear about two years ago that I did not intend to be inactive in the 2017 Presidential and General Elections, which depending on how it pans out, will determine whether our country will progress or retrogress. I have reiterated and re-emphasized this position in subsequent speeches, interviews and public remarks.
Additionally, I have taken keen note of provisions of an Act of Legislature Prescribing a National Code of Conduct for All Public Officials and Employees, especially Part V on Political Participation. The following provisions of the Code of Conduct are of particular relevance:
5.1 All officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not
a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected office.
b)serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.
5.2 Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply:
a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections.
I must stress that I do not concur fully with some of the provisions cited above; however, as a law-abiding citizen, I do not intend to disobey the law.
I have therefore determined that my continued service in the Government in the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs will have the net effect of legally making me politically inactive, an outcome that conflicts with my intention for the future. It is in light of the aforementioned, coupled with my desire to keep my political options open, that I have written the President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, tendering my resignation from the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia effective October 10, 2015.
I have had a frank and cordial discussion with President Sirleaf on the rationale of my decision; and she has gracefully accepted my resignation. On behalf of my family, friends, and well-wishers, I extended to President Sirleaf my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity afforded me to serve my country in the capacities of Budget Director, Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet.
I have also assured the President that, to the extent consistent with law and to the extent that it would be needed, I remain committed, as a patriotic citizen, to lending my time, expertise and advice to the forward march of our dear country.
For nearly ten unbroken years, even without a single vacation break, I have had the ennobling opportunity, amidst numerous challenges, of applying my heart, my head, and my hands to the forward march of my country. Over these years and in my various positions, I have also been blessed to work with many wonderful Liberians in the Cabinet, in the three branches of Government, at the erstwhile Bureau of the Budget, the erstwhile Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am immensely thankful to all of them for all what we were able to achieve working together for our country and our people. I also cherish the contributions made by many non-Liberians representing various bilateral and multilateral partners both at home and abroad to the achievement of numerous goals and targets in the respective portfolios I have held over the years in government.
Lastly, but most importantly, my appreciation goes to all Liberians dispersed in the fifteen counties across the nation and in the Diaspora whose ultimate interest it has been my duty and my honor to protect and advance in Government.
As I embark on this new phase of my life, I assure all and sundry that I shall continue to uphold the values and principles that have earned me their respect over the years both out and within government.
May the Good Lord shower His bounteous blessings of peace, unity and sustainable progress upon our Nation.”