Prime Vacancies in Government

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Pres. Sirleaf.jpg

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is soon expected to make a number of crucial appointments to fill a number of high profile vacancies in government. Among them are executive positions at the Central Bank of Liberia, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Minister (MFDP), and the Liberia Maritime Authority.

On the heels of former CBL Gov. J. Mills Jones’ departure from office, it is no secret that Finance and Development Planning Minister Konneh is transitioning to a new job at the World Bank, to be based out of Nairobi, Kenya. Meanwhile, Binyah C. Kesselly has also tendered his resignation from Maritime.

With barely 22 months to the end of the Sirleaf administration, analysts do not believe she will install “place-holders” to fill the three positions that are so strategic to the economy. Some suggest, however, that the President, in a bid to maintain solid control of her administration and finish strong, should play it safe by appointing those she feels she can count on.

While her cards are still close to her chest, the President’s selection pool could be incredibly wide or incredibly small. In the “small pool”, there are highly competent deputies in each of the three institutions who are capable of taking the helm and finishing the job. Among these, the one selected might be helped significantly by political clout.

Then again, some of the administration’s ‘silent heroes’ being wooed to international organizations may well cripple the government at a crucial time when the President’s legacy is at stake and the integrity and productivity of her team matter most.

While international jobs have always proved more attractive, they become especially more desirable as the political climate intensifies nearing the 2017 elections cycle. Some officials may have it in mind to steer clear of government appointments, anticipating one last rush for public resources to fund various political ambitions. Their rationale, to get out of the kitchen now before they start smelling like tainted fish.

In the “wide pool”, however, there is no telling from whence the next CBL Executive Governor, for example, would come. It is random but noteworthy that neither the CBL nor the Maritime Authority has had a woman at the helm, and this might still be a shining possibility.

Currently, Charles Sirleaf, the second son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, serves as Acting CBL Governor, an independent selection made by the CBL Board of Governors. The President did mention, however, that Charles would not be a candidate for the actual position.

Section 10(1) of the CBL Act states, “The Executive Governor and the Deputy Governor shall be appointed by the President for a term of five (5) years each from among individuals of standing or experience in financial and economic matters, subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate, on such terms and conditions as may be specified by the Board of Governors.”

Section 7 of the Act creating the Liberia Maritime Authority apportions the power of appointment and of the commissioner and deputy commissioners to the Board of Directors, which shall recommend for the President’s approval a commissioner, who shall be the Chief Executive Officer and who shall have general managing direction of the Authority, superintendence of ships registered under the laws of Liberia, and responsibility for the enforcement and administration of the provisions of the Liberia Maritime Law and Regulations or any other maritime related laws.

Two other critical government functionaries are on the radar for appointments, the Daily Obsever has also learned. They are the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).

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