Nyenkan Re-shuffled from LEITI to President’s Office

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Gabriel Nyenkan, President Weah's choice to head the LEITI Secretariat.

Shortly after President George Weah relieved Gabriel Nyenkan of his controversial position at the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), the President has again appointed him as advisor on communications to the Presidency, an Executive Mansion said in a release over the weekend.

According to the release, appointment takes effect as of Monday, September 16, 2019.

Meanwhile, the President has directed the Ministerial Steering Committee, also known as Multi-stakeholders Steering Group (MSG), to replace Mr. Nyenkan with immediate effect.

The President has urged the MSG to follow all procedures, including a competitive vetting process to find the LEITI’s new Head of Secretariat.

LEITI was created by an act to support government’s effort in promoting transparency and accountability over the management of revenues from Liberia’s extractive resources, ensuring that all citizens benefit from such resources.

It can be recalled that the Liberian integrity group, Center for Transparency and Accountability, recently called on President Weah to reverse the “illegal appointment of Mr. Nyenkan as Head of Secretariat of LEITI.”

In a press statement issued Tuesday, September 10, CENTAL said dismissing Nyenkan would allow the MSG to independently recruit a new Head of Secretariat for LEITI and other key staffs to help restore the institution’s sanctity and declining image under Nyenkan.

CENTAL executive director Anderson D. Miamen, said in a statement that LEITI has been and remains a key pillar of Liberia’s integrity system, and must therefore be allowed to independently play such critical role, moving forward.

Mr. Nyenkan, accompanied by armed police, forcibly took office at LEITI in 2018 shortly after President Weah appointed him in flagrant violation of Chapter 6.3d of the LEITI Act of 2009.

Section 6.3d of the LEITI Act says, “The power to recruit the Head of Secretariat, Deputy and other staff members of the LEITI Secretariat, therefore lies with the MSG, which should comprise of members of the legislature, Civil Society Organization and the Executive.”

Since Nyenkan’s ascendency, CENTAL says its attention has been drawn to continuous negative developments at the LEITI that have undermined the entity’s independence, and lowered stakeholders’ confidence in its activities and processes.

“Since the appointment of the Nyenkan leadership, against Chapter 6.3e of the LEITI Act of 2009, LEITI has been engulfed by controversies and gross under performance. The illegal change in leadership and institutional brain drain, caused by undue significant changes in personnel, resulted to the institution’s failure to publish its report for the fiscal period ending June 2016 within the 1 July 2018 deadline,” the CENTAL statement reads.

CENTAL further observes that as a consequence, Liberia’s membership with the Global Movement was suspended in September 2018.

“Disturbingly, also, at a recent news conference, a visiting Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) delegation said Liberia risks being delisted from the group’s process if ‘significant corrective measures’ are not implemented in a timely manner to revive the institution and improve governance of the Extractive sector,” CENTAL warned in its press statement.

In another development, President Weah departed the country on Friday, September 13, 2019 for Ouagadougou, Republic of Burkina Faso, to attend the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).
According to the release, President Weah joined other leaders of the West African Bloc for the one-day Summit,  which was held on Saturday, September 14 in Ouagadougou, the capital.
The Summit, the release said, “specifically focused on terrorism in the ECOWAS Region. Gravely concerned about the unprecedented phenomenon of terrorism in the region, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Yamoussoukro on February 28, 2013 adopted the ECOWAS’ strategy on the fight against terrorism.”
While President Weah is away, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel F. McGill, will act as chair of the Cabinet in close consultation with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor via telephone contact with the President.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Nyenkan’s appointment to his new position at the EM is an opportunity which must be disabused. Also, although he is unasked, it is certain that Mr. Weah needs all the good qualified Liberians he can get to help advance Liberia’s agenda.

    Let’s be fair for a second. Weah inherited a lot of social, economic, agricultural and political issues from his predecessor, Madam EJS. Yes, Weah is the president. Yes, he bided for the presidency. So, yes he must fix it. I get it. Somehow, critics of my make all kinds of baseless unwarranted accusations when I try to express myself in a fair and rational manner as matters relate to Weah’s presidency. I hope there’ll come a day when I will be fully understood!

    The truth is that there are lots of problems in Liberia. For sure, the blame can certainly go around. The three branches of government must be held responsible, not just the executive branch. For instance, schools have recently opened. Parents are complaining about the cost of textbooks and tuition hikes. You can’t blame them. Public schools are overcrowded. But the legislators of Liberia earn over $175,000 per annum. If salaries of the legislators could be slashed just a bit, there would be no need to hike students’ tuition. Does Weah deserve to be blame here?

    Weah is not perfect! I know this very well! But, Weah needs the best qualified Liberians in order for our country’s agenda to be advanced. Hope Nyenjan will do his utmost.

    Peace

  2. Compatriot F. Hney

    Yes, you are 100% right. What a painful ordeal that President Weah must go through. But like you accurately said, he opted for this job, and therefore, he must do what the office entails.

    If the president can just summon the courage to tackle those controllable variables, I believe things can change for the better. What do I mean about tackling the controllable variables? By tackling the controllable variables, I mean taking head-on those challenges or problems for which he has the political capital to resolve.

    A primary example is the one that you’ve just mentioned concerning the pay and perks of the lawmakers of Liberia. Lord bless us! how can one give a rational explanation, or make a compelling case to justify such an insane distribution of the national income?

  3. Right.to.be.Anonymous

    I like you phraseology, “…tackling the uncontrollable variables.” You are certainly correct because leaders function within two major environments and they are: the external and internal environments. Please permit me to add similar twists to your observation.

    An example of an impact from the external environment could be the rise or fall in the prices of Liberia’s commodities due to gluts on the world market. The president has no control over such occurrences since Liberia is in fact more of a consumer country than a producer one.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to the internal environment, where the president hovers the utmost power and has a lot of political clout, he seems to falter in his performance. Here are some questions that have arisen quite recently among the citizens when it comes to events that are adversely reshaping the president’s internal environment. They are:

    How about ensuring that the wealth of the country is equitably distributed and that the average Liberians can at least make ends meet?

    How about enforcing the laws and ensuring that every citizen is equally treated and his or her constitutional rights are not infringed upon?

    How about stopping what is getting to be perceived as “institutionalized violence against peaceful citizens” because the president is demonstrating a staid deportment in the midst of the public outcry that he must do something to bridle violence?

    How about deterring run-away corruption and stopping the secret smuggling of dangerous munitions into the country by various stakeholders of his security apparatuses?

    How about putting the lieutenants of his party structure under checks as their activities are setting the stage for another arm conflict and blood bath in Liberia?

    How about swiftly using the applicability of the constitution when it comes to a lawmaker crossing the boundary and usurping the powers of the other branches of government for some selfish motive? Example: the alleged obstruction of the senate secretary’s arrest by Senator Albert Chie.

    Weah has far-reaching powers, and he could tackle many domestic issues if he would choose to use his political will wisely. The internal domain is exclusively his.

  4. This guy is gravely inept and incompetent. After the terrible hostile take over of the LEITI and could not produce a fitting report causing Liberian to be warned by the EITI with the possibility of delisting her, he has been recycled into another position in government. What a travesty. Hey, another Kru brother anyway…..

  5. Brother Hney, you and I and others are aware that president weah is not perfect, but he is not aware that he is not perfect and therein lies the sad part. he inherited a broken system but he promised that he would fix it. granted, everything cannot and will not be fixed in a days time. Truth be told, he came into power without a strategy in place on how to combat them. and he is still is not aware that he does not have a strategy in place and the ills continue under his watch and nothing is being done or said. sad

    he is responsible for anything that happens on his watch.
    the buck stops at his desk

  6. Joe,
    A broken system is very hard to repair. Weah must do the repair job. I will not pretend that problems do not exist. There’s chronic unemployment. Roads are tearing apart. School fees are being raised. Ministerial buildings (example, the Finance and Post Office buildings) look ugly. But although EJS was elected and re-elected, nothing was done by EJS to tackle unemployment. The most notable thing EJS gets flowers for can be summed up in a few words….high salaries for the legislators.

    I don’t know Nyenkan! I wish him the best. In an earlier post I said that it’d be the right thing to do if Weah brought on board qualified Liberians. My position hasn’t changed. If Nyenkan performs worse than a wimp, he’ll be eviserated like a wimp. Of course, no one will be blamed but Nyenkan himself.

    John Newton, the English slave master who wrote the song “Amazing Grace”, had a change of heart when his ship was about to sink. Newton was an athiest. Although his mom was religious and taught Newton about the existence of God, our man Newton would not listen. On his voyage from Africa on the ocean, his ship almost lost its human cargo including Newton himself. As he helped repair a broken ship which was sinking, the buffoonery of Newton took a turn. Instead of praising Satan his master, Newton found himself calling on God for deliverance.

    Guess what? Newton’s life changed forever! By calling on God, Newton became an instant convert. The ship was spared the wrath of the ocean. When John Newton arrived home from his voyage, he wrote the popular song “The Amazing Grace”. The Amazing Grace of God is powerful. We all need it. Weah needs it.

    In Context:
    Someone on this blog will be elected one day. That person will be vilified for crimes she or he did not commit. There may not be a change of heart by critics. Weah is not God. Never. God agreed for him to be President. Let us work with him.

    Peace.

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