‘No Expatriate to Be in Boakai Gov’t’

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A reliable source in the UP standard bearer’s office has indicated that one of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai’s first priorities if elected in October will be to ensure that anyone who wants to serve in his government will have to relocate their family to Liberia, if he or she resides outside the country.

At a political event recently organized by the ‘Friends of Augustine Ngafuan’ (FAN) in Monrovia, the VP said that his officials will be compelled to seek medical attention at home and their children will have to attend local schools.

Additionally, when he became Unity Party’s standard bearer at its convention in Gbarnga, Bong County mid-last year, Vice President Boakai said he would make changes in the governance structure of the country.

“This in essence means we have to provide the quality that everyone can use as a government. We have to ensure that the country’s services and infrastructure will have to be standardized and equipped for our people. If you cannot ensure these then you cannot serve our people,” the source in the VP’s office said.

The source said that the VP plans to address several issues pertinent to the growth and development of the country, with the twin issues of outdated hospitals and a messy school system being two of the many issues he intends to straighten out if he is elected. The country’s health system, dilapidated prior to the Ebola outbreak, still lies in ruins. The school system, on the other hand, continues to be termed ‘a mess’ with students performing below expectations, though the government recently contracted a portion out to private companies through a partnership deal.

Capital flight is an issue that many believe continues to undermine the economy of the country as millions of dollars are taken out of a country that already has a high impoverished population.

A top executive of FAN, who recently endorsed the presidential bid of the VP, said the group’s decision to join forces with the VP is based upon his commitment to address some of these bottlenecks.

Other issues such as the huge salaries of government officials and the purchase of expensive vehicles, according to FAN chairman Ernest Garnark Smith Jr., will also be addressed by the Boakai administration.

He told this reporter in a conversation that, “We need money to develop our country and we can’t afford to see a few people enjoy state resources while the majority live in abject poverty. Addressing these national imbalances is why we joined the Boakai movement because we believe he has the passion and willpower to address these things that are serving as impediments to our growth as a country.

“We must use our resources to develop our country and not to continue to enrich other countries that are highly developed already. Our officials’ children and families are living luxurious lives in those countries with our meager resources, and yet we expect for Liberia to develop? You must be joking. We don’t need expatriate officials anymore in this country.”

Expatriate Liberian and other officials have overwhelmed the government and this is serving as a huge handicap to the country, many critics have said.

These are measures that would gain the overwhelming endorsement of the Liberian people, and if well-articulated by the VP during this campaigning period, would lure thousands of Liberians to his camp—eventually landing him the presidency, according to Unity Party insiders.

The soft spoken but sagely VP, many are predicting, will loosen his wings and make some hard decisions when he gets into the driver’s seat.

26 COMMENTS

  1. All very encouraging, I think for a lot of people there’s the fear that Boakai could be just a seat warmer if elected – after all that’s probably not far from what he’s been doing for the last 11 years. And yes, I know he has some defense in the argument that that’s all a VP can do.

  2. Leave that thing yaah… Da mouth talk. He is part of a government that pledged to make corruption “public enemy number one”. Where is that promise today? I wonder if he has been reminding his boss about that over the last 11 years? Would-be government officials relocating their families to Liberia doesn’t guarantee that they will not be corrupt. It could even mean they will want to steal more money for their families to live up to the standards they were living overseas.

  3. This is my issue with Boakai campaign — there’s always some divisive undertone. The issue of corruption in Liberia is not unique to any single group of Liberians. Corruption is systemic in Liberia. In fact, I would venture to say that some of the most corrupt officials are non-expats. Most of the families of government officials work to support themselves in the US. I don’t think he legally could compel government officials to relocate their families and even if he could do such, it will not solve the issue of corruption. Excluding expats from government is not a very good policy.

    • Thank you. My point exactly. Instead of talking about one people, he starts by sowing division. Most of our senators are native born and they steal worse than any thief in prison.
      Why does he travel abroad for medical treatment? While it is true that many people want to return and contribute, where are the hospitals, the good schools, the uplifted standard of living,. the roads, the electricity. All this talk about returning home and the country does not have viable roads. Have you ever tried to get out of Gardnersville within 30 minutes? That cannot be done. Have you ever gone to a community clinic just for a preventive health checkup? No way.

  4. The issue of divided loyalty has been an age-old problem in this country, therefore VP Boakai needs to assure us that it will be addressed adequately. No matter how educated you may be, what matters is your commitment to the progress of your nation, so only Liberians who have vested interest in this country should be allowed to serve.

    • It’s very sad what’s happening to the country. The resources are being abused and stolen by insanely greedy Liberians who could care less about nation building. You have tens of thousands of young people just wasting away without any hope for the future. What a mess, and the political leaders only pay lip service to the problems while they live high on the hog with the people’s money. It is a recipe for conflict down the road folks.

  5. One would think that the argument for such policy framework proposal would not simply be about expatriate workers or expatriate/diaspora Liberian workers as such. Believing that the current Liberian leader deliberately targeted for recruitment in her administration expatriate Liberians with no record or profile of commitment to public service but those most disposed to corruption, the next government could take a cue from this notion in constructing such policy framework. Without question, it is harder to do what the current Liberian leader did to so skillfully target and recruit the bad apples than to actually find those Liberian expatriates, diaspora Liberians with long standing record of commitment and service to Liberian causes. The old lady President is just too unpatriotic and wicked. No match.

  6. Hon. Boakai recently stated that he supports Dual Citizenship in Liberia. Is he rescinding his statement? Some Liberians in the US and other Nations around World have Dual Citizenships. Are Dual Citizenship holders Expatriates? I hope he defines ‘Expatriates’ relative to the Dual Citizenships issues that are on the Books in Liberia. Can I get some Answers?

    • I’ve taken his comments to mean nothing more than “that he wants anyone who wants to serve in his government will have to relocate their family to Liberia, if he or she resides outside the country.” Not a blanket ban on employing people who are willing to relocate their family back to Liberia.
      Such a policy might be a bit dictatorial but a. if the pressure is on many people to move family back better schools in Liberia will happen, at least for those families b. because education overseas is so expensive such people are expecting to earn huge sums to pay for that education, which makes bringing government salaries into line with what Liberia can afford to pay more difficult, expensive foreign schools for your kids also provides an incentive for corruption.
      The idea also means less justification for foreign travel, the government employees have more skin in the game, less outflow of foreign exchange.

  7. Requiring government officials to relocate their families to Liberia will not stop corruption. There are government officials in Liberia right now with their families and corruption is still rampant. If by using the term “expatriates,” Boakai is referring to the diaspora Liberians, Boakai should know that both diaspora Liberians and non-diaspora Liberians are equally corrupt.

    The way to reduce corruption is to actually hold people accountable. Every dime given to government agencies must be accounted for or there should be consequences for those individuals responsible. Boakai should be trying to convince the public that his administration will actually punish corrupt officials (whether from the diaspora or not) and stop with all this divisive talk.

  8. Everyone one to do this and that in this country but no one has a clear way on how they are going to do it. It is easier said then doing……let us Liberians stop talking and start working.

  9. He has helped to corrupt this Government, Ellen Sirleaf Administration, by accepting some of the illicit funds. He might also be part of the dual pretenders. He borrows the settlers identity in disguise. He might have been educated under the same funding from illiterate parents or public funds at home and abroad yet wanting to platform educational restrictions to fool the Liberian voters. Might still need to pay debts to the Liberian Government for educating him. He has a big cloud over his Head, not much energy left, needs to return to Lofa his County to help sanitize where Ebola came from to enter this Nation to moved to various parts of Liberia.
    This will not be allow again in this nation. This is not the actual Joseph. His Joseph has an N. and a Boakai a native who failed his own people by not refusing to refuse corruption he is pretending to help eradicate.

  10. This Vice President is part still of the 34% that did not acquire the over 50% constitutional requirement of registered voters. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who’s ticket he is still riding on her 34%. Winston Tubman got 9% after boycotting. The silent majority with 57% now in control, has the Presidential authority towards resolving the scheduled October 10, 2017 election and will not allow any more gimmicks, unfair play, upheavals, riots, tyranny as was done in past elections during and after the war, and diseases in this country. The immediate need of the Liberian nation is Health care. The right leader to win the 2017 Presidential election is intangibly underlined, unknown until that date when votes are tallied. God will tell us who our next President will be when the time comes.
    DO NOT REPLY. NO MORE FREE knowledge from me. Gone to silence.

  11. “I will compell citizens to seek medical attention at local poorly facilitated hospitals”, “I will force public officials to send their children to dilapidated schools where teachers are on strike every month for unpaid salaries”, “I will compell those citizens working in my government to relocate their families in Liberia even if their family safety is at risk in Liberia,”

    IS THIS THE MAN SOME FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE PEOPLE WANT TO TELL US HAS THE “REQUISITE EXPERIENCE” FOR NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL POLITICAL LEADERSHIP?????????

    Besides Boakai disgracing himself via such lawless and unconstitutional utterances, he has simply exposed himself of being damn dishonest by condemning policies and practices he himself benefits from vis a vis his relatives and cronies who left their families and were given lucrative jobs in his Boakai’s office and at the National Port Authority as Managing Director..just to point out a few.

    • It sounds like you’re one of the “haves” in Liberia who consider themselves entitled to exorbitant incomes from the tax-payers to finance a lavish lifestyle. Liberia cannot afford your kids foreign schooling, your trips overseas to see your doctor, and on the wages Liberia can afford to pay government employees you won’t be able to afford your lavish lifestyle either.
      Perhaps (if you are a Liberian government employee) you should just start doing your job properly so that Liberia can have good schools and good hospitals.

  12. I thought that is how Ellen is governing. Yes, indeed! There was a time that Liberians needed
    Ghanaian goodwill like employment when our people went to Ghana as refugees; but there
    was a policy not to employ any Liberian. It full my mouth!

  13. Mr. Worth,

    It would be sound policy if Boakai promises to reduce the salaries of government officials. It is, however, unsound and unconstitutional to dictate to people where to send their kids to school, where to receive health care, and where to relocate their families. No one is advocating for the government to sponsor the lavish lifestyle of government officials while the masses are blighted by catastrophic property.

    We all want to see corruption reduced and improvements in the health care and educational systems of Liberia. But there are many other ways to achieve those goals without violating the fundamental rights of individuals. If after you’ve earned your salary, do you think it would be appropriate for the government to dictate to you how that salary is spent? This is the point others are trying to make. There’s no need to accuse anyone of being a government official who feels “entitled to exorbitant incomes from the tax-payers to finance a lavish lifestyle.”

    • I don’t disagree with the principles you mention, but somehow, if the elite in the Liberian government are to accept more reasonable salaries they’re also going to have to accept that they won’t have the incomes for foreign schooling and health care. At present the Liberian elite have a belief that these things are theirs by right and it could take some harsh measures to dispel that belief. If the government makes it a requirement that government employees get their medical care and kids schooling in Liberia it removes a social imperative that currently exists amongst that group.

      To illustrate, if all your colleagues are sending their kids to America for schooling you too are going to feel compelled to – your wife is probably going to insist on it, even if your government income isn’t enough to foot the bill – so you look for additional income opportunities from your employment. You end up with a huge amount of pressure on people to sustain a lifestyle and fight for incomes that the country cannot afford. A government edict could cut through all of that “we can’t because the government says so” something that could cut through this insane battle to “keep up with the Jones”.
      Of course if such an edict were imposed it would have to apply to those at the very top as well, then perhaps we would finally see those people take real measures to build up health and education services in Liberia.

      Governments enacting laws and taxes to change social behavior is nothing new, I’m pretty confident there are ways it could be done legally and constitutionally, but I’d see it as a short term measure, after people in the government finally got around to building good schools and hospitals the social pressure on people to go off shore would quickly decline.

      • I agree that government enact laws to try to influence social behavior. However, I don’t believe that enacting laws to try to “relieve pressure” on people who are trying to maintain lifestyles they cannot afford should be one of the social priorities of the government.

        The way I see it, the government sets the salary. The official can either accept the salary and take the job or reject the salary and find employment some place else. If your wife is putting pressure on you to “keep up with the Joneses,” that is a personal problem between you and your wife. I don’t believe it’s the government’s place to try to relieve the pressure exerted by your wife on you to try to “keep up with the Joneses.” I would like to think that the government has more important social issues to concern itself with.

        If the health care services or education is being paid for by the government, through some form of government benefit program, it makes perfect sense to restrict those benefits to health care and educational facilities in Liberia. If, on the other hand, a government official can afford to send his children to school abroad or receive health care abroad on his own dime, I see no reason why that official should be prevented from doing so.

        In additional to appearing unconstitutional on its face, this proposed policy by Boakai is very impractical – I foresee many difficulties in trying to implement it. The proposal is therefore uninformed at best and disingenuous at worst.

  14. I am not one of the haves in Liberia, nor have I ever worked with any Liberian government, nor with its parastatals. Our comment is prompted by Joseph Boakai’s dishonest campaign promises intended to deceive unsuspecting minds.

  15. Saydell, LIBERIA IS NOT A WELFARE STATE; so the issue is not about ” government enacting laws to try to influence social behaviour to “relieve pressure” on people who are trying to maintain lifestyles they cannot afford” whether in areas of health, education, salary, or otherwise! GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PAY MEDICAL BILLS ABROAD FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS OR THOSE WORKING IN GOVERNMENT, NOR DOES GOVERNMENT GIVE WELFARE ASSISTANCE TO PUBLIC OFFICIALS OR CIVIL SERVANT OR THER FAMILIES LIVING ABROAD!

    What Boakai and his Unity Party are doing is DRONING DOWN DECEPTIONS AND RHETORICS since THEY HAVE NO ACHIEVEMENT TO SHOW after 12 long years, and now wanting the Liberian people to give them another 12 years totalling 24 years-a quarter of a century!

    What about his relatives and cronies who left their families and were given lucrative jobs in his Boakai’s office and at the National Port Authority as Managing Director..just to point out a few?

    Momolu W. Pewu says it all: “Leave that thing yaah… Da mouth talk. He is part of a government that pledged to make corruption “public enemy number one”. Where is that promise today?”

    • As I said, there’s a sense of entitlement amongst the elite in Liberia, now, Boakai’s suggestion might not be one of the tools that’s needed to break those expectations, but those expectations of living standards high above the vast majority of the population do need to be broken, and it could take some harsh measures to do so.

      When you have that mindset, along with endemic and organized corruption, the task of stopping it all is very much like the task of breaking the hold of an organization like the Sicilian Mafia had in Sicily.

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