George Weah has issued an executive memorandum warning all government officials from speaking on national policy issues without being authorized to do so, an Executive Mansion release said.
In a statement on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, posted on the Executive Mansion website, the President’s warning was contained in an Executive Memorandum directing all ministers, deputies assistant ministers, and heads of agencies and commissions, and their deputies to refrain from making public comments on policy issues of national concern on both conventional and social media without first seeking authorization from the appropriate authorities.
The memorandum issued through the Director General of the Cabinet, Jordan Solunteh said: “All government ministries and agencies are to direct their communications on public policy matters to the Minister of Information or his designated lieutenant.”
The memorandum said there would be grave consequences for any member of the Executive Branch of Government found in violation of the President’s directive. “The President, therefore, cautions all members of the Executive Branch to take heed and govern themselves accordingly,” the statement said.
The memorandum from the president office, according to political observers, is long overdue but was necessary to calm down the highly divisive rhetoric, randomly spewed into the public domain, especially by members of his administration.
On the other hand, observers added that the move is intended to strengthen government’s communication strategy and to also avoid officials misinforming the public.
T President Weah’s memorandum came less than four days after the US Embassy issued a statement, calling out several elected and appointed government officials for their divisive statements made in the public domain.
The US Embassy statement added, “Those who promote through their words or deeds a Congo-Country divide do not have Liberia’s best interests or that of their constituents at heart, but rather appear motivated by personal ambitions or fears. It is unacceptable for Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, “ex-generals” or other former actors in the Liberia’s civil wars (1989-2003) to incite unlawful acts through ill-considered rhetorics that could jeopardize the country’s hard-won peace and security.
“It is equally irresponsible for people within leadership positions in government or the ruling party to promote such division as Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon has done on social media. To take such a public stance and suggest it is a private opinion or a personal right, reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of public service in a democracy. As Liberians look to National Unification Day next week, we encourage all Liberians to reflect on their role in constructively contributing to the development and sustaining peace.”
Minutes after the U.S. Embassy statement was released, President Weah announced the suspension of Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon, warning other “government officials and all citizens to stop dividing Liberians along ethnic lines.” The President’s statement did not say the duration of Fahngon’s suspension.