Weah’s LEITI Appointment Sparks Civil Society Outrage

18
3931
President Weah (pictured)

President Weah’s recent appointment of former Montserrado County Lawmaker, Gabriel Nyenkan, as head of Secretary of LEITI (Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) has been received by a wellspring of criticism from various civil society organizations (CSOs) on grounds that it violates the law that established the anti-graft institution in 2009.

In total disregard of the law, Mr. Nyenkan, along with a group of supporters, many of them CDCians, took armed police officers to the headquarters of LEITI to effect his takeover of the entity.

This was after reports had surfaced on social media, indicating that the LEITI head of secretariat, Konah Karmo, had refused to turn over to the President’s new appointee.

Mr. Karmo was at the time meeting with several government officials, including the Executive Director of the Liberia Institute for Public Administration (LIPA), Bill Twehway, when Nyenkan and his armed police officers stormed the compound, creating total havoc and panic among employees.

Karmo was appointed by the Multi-Stakeholders Steering Group (MSG) of LEITI in 2014, following a competitive recruitment process in which several other individuals and institutions participated.

However, immediately following Nyenkan’s appointment by President Weah, the MSG called on him to reconsider his decision to “enable the entity fully focus on the crucial task at hand before the country’s next validation due in a few months.”

But the President has remained impervious to its (MSG) heeding. The MSG has the statutory mandate to oversee LEITI, which is a tripartite conglomeration of civil society, private sector/companies and the government, in accordance with Section 2.2 of the Act that established it.

The LEITI Act of 2009 requires the President to appoint members of the Multi Stakeholders Group (MSG), and “shall designate one of them as the Chairperson and another as the Co-Chairperson”.

“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, CSOs and the Executive,” according to Section 6.3d of the LEITI Act.

The Center for Transparency and accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), one of the CSOs against the move, says the sanctity and credibility of integrity institutions must remain intact. “The government, especially President Weah, must do nothing to undermine that, whether directly or indirectly,” CENTAL said.

“The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) is disturbed by the action of President George M. Weah to appoint the Head of Secretariat of LEITI, in violation of the Act creating the integrity institution,” says CENTAL’s Executive Director, Anderson Miamen.

Miamen indicated in a release that the President overstepped the limits of his authority by ascribing to his office unassigned powers, something which is worrisome and must have no place in the new Liberia.

“The rule of law is a fundamental pillar of our maturing democracy and such arbitrariness has the propensity to reverse gains made in strengthening governance and the rule of law in the country,” he noted.

Though the Section 6.5 of the LEITI Act of 2009 ascribes the appointment of members of the MSG to the President, Section 6.3(d) grants the MSG the “power to recruit and dismiss the Head of Secretariat, Deputy and approve the recruitment of other staff members”.

“CENTAL believes that the law must be upheld if the credibility of LEITI must remain intact. We therefore call on the President to refrain from taking actions that have the proclivity to undermine his commitment to fight against corruption and promote transparency and accountability in government,” Miamen noted.

Taking armed officers to effect a takeover of a public office, in the view of the public totally contravenes the laws of the land. According to a legal expert, Mr. Nyenkan should have rather filed a writ of Quo Warranto before the Supreme Court.

A Quo Warranto is an English writ formerly requiring a person to show by what authority he exercises a public office, franchise, or liberty. “According to the laws of Liberia, only a Court of Competent Jurisdiction can order a public official out of office,” he said.

“But what is sad”, according to the legal expert (name withheld), “is that our governments never use this writ nor the laws controlling, but always result to use of Police force, as if this country is a police state. What is even sadder is that we have renowned lawyers who, when not in government, condemn these actions; but they do the same when they are appointed at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ),” he said.

It can be recalled that former President Sirleaf took similar arbitrary action in 2015 when she ordered armed officers to evict officials of the Liberia National Red Cross who were accused of corruption.

“Unfortunately, LEITI was a scene of the same police-state action and this should not be happening in a democratic state.” He wondered whether President Weah will govern Liberia by the Rule of Law and the Constitution as he promised.

“We should be careful how we use police power in this country before we revert to our dark days,” he added.

18 COMMENTS

  1. These are some of the downside to electing semi-literates to steer the affairs of our government. They have no clue as to the complexities of the things they degrade, therefore could care less about the consequences of their actions. When a government instead of pacifying its citizens so disenchanted with the short end of life dealt them by a century and half of corrupt and exploitative governments, keeps adding insult to that injury, one wonders what outcome the government expects from such people? Cooperation? Support? Or frustration and opposition which could take any shape or form? These things are now way beyond the narrow interests of President Weah and fellow CDC hoodlums, so they better be mindful of the unpredictable consequences of these thuggish ways of handling governmental affairs.

  2. An issue like this has the potential of metastasizing quickly across the board. Therefore, to prevent a spread of confusion that could destabilize or create doubt in the minds of Liberians who are already skeptical of Mr. Weah, concrete steps must be taken. For instance, if a new appointment has been made by Mr. Weah, the President’s chief of staff ought to inform the old employee that she or he has been replaced. The transition should be smooth. The incoming appointee should be obsequious. Also, the previous employee’s deportment must be genteel. We are all Liberians. There’s no need for fights. It should be a foregone conclusion that when a new government is installed or inducted, new appointments will be made, unless one is a civilian employee. Of course, if anyone is a civilian employee, a replacement could take place, but in a developed country, it’s unlikely, not impossible.

    Big Brother Advice:
    Nyenkan and Karmo, look at at it this way my dear brothers….there is no need for this. Nyenkan, you need to be shown the ins and outs of that office. On the other hand, Karmo, you’ve served your time. It’s time to move on. You and Nyenkan should work things out together like the good gentlemen you are. Karmo, keep this in mind. Every disappointment is a blessing. Maybe, God has something better for you. Nyenkan, when the dust settles, try to reach out to Karmo. Maybe, both of you could put a stop to the exploitation of Liberians by corporate raiders who go to Liberia and steal our meager natural resources. Good luck guys!

  3. Liberians beware; This president has all the traits of a tyrant and a dictator. We know this by the company he keeps and by his associates in like Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon etc. We saw this president exhibited this thuggish and intimidating behavior when he was seeking the highest office in the land. Hence it should come as no surprise when his supporters and people he appoints to power exhibit similar behaviors . What is important is for the legislature to keep him in check if our young democracy is to survive.

  4. I think the president don’t only need to stop at LEITI , I also will be happy if the same were done at LRA, NASSCROP, and central Bank. Those who are in those position have sufficiently earned lots of money over the years. They need to step aside and allow others competent Liberians to earn money from working.

    • What competence does Nyenkan have? You must be one of the illiterates looking for job. Can you not read? ” The LEITI Act of 2009 requires the President to appoint members of the Multi Stakeholders Group (MSG), and “shall designate one of them as the Chairperson and another as the Co-Chairperson”.

      “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, CSOs and the Executive,” according to Section 6.3d of the LEITI Act.

    • The question is not about earning money here, Iker s Jimmie, but about procedure! Besides, must you only come to government with the agenda of earning money. That is the entitlement mentality that killing us in Liberia.

  5. The international community and donors are all watching. When the funding dries up due to these acts lacking good governance and not in accordance with the law the Executive Branch will only have itself to blame. Doe and Charles Taylor learned the hard way.

  6. Of course it would. Weah cannot appoint everybody. Nyenkan is a hungry opportunist who is looking for a job. The head of LEITI is selected by civil society that is why we have had competent people like Cllr. Warner and Mr. Karmo who came up through the ranks of LEITI. Nyenka is a teacher and should be in the schools. He ran to LEITI because he knows that he can get gravy from there. Pretty soon he will fire everybody and bring in hos useless friends. This is one appointment that should be rejected by civil society.

  7. We shouldn’t be surprised when Mr. Weah appoints someone as National Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia. Kekekekekekekee

  8. A smooth transition of Weah’s appointees into all offices should be the right course of action. At least all new appointees must be shown the intricate details of how a particular office has run. In this way, the new appointee will be able to come in with his or her own managerial style. We don’t need fights and insults neither does anyone need to be assaulted.

  9. What’s the argument here people? The same president who is empower by law to appoint members of the MSG is saying to the very MSG members hey l want Nyekan to head the institution.

    Probably you guys want the president go the other way by forming a new MSG who will have a mandate from the president to accept Nyekan as his choice to that institution.

    • Bill Nagbe, please read the act very well. Look we all love President George Weah and want him succeed, but the mark of a true friend is to say the truth, and the mark of a true leader is to acknowledge and reverse. The act is clear like glass and people still want to twist it!!!!

  10. Nagbe,
    Do you have problems with Liberians who express themselves? The constitution of Liberia protects free expression. Personally, I am not being critical of anyone. Obviously, there’s something that needs to be discussed. Karmo and Nyenkan are at odds. The firestorm can be brought under control if the two gentlemen give up their demands for the common good of the country. Where is the evil done? You know what nagbe? You need to calm down. No one is suggesting that another agency should formed.

  11. Forcing people in public offices by armed officers in liberia is a complete stupilaty. Liberia is not under a dictatorship. President Weah must not act as a dictator Liberia is a democratic society please know that. The court System must be used at all times

  12. The Judicial can in no way interfere in the Executive function of the Liberian Government. This issue is an Executive affair and should be directly handled as mention. The Chief Executive, regardless who ever he or she might be, heads the Executive branch upon being elected. All autonomous bureaus, are directly under the directive of this executive who is still controlled by the silent majority. If the silent majority, in the interest of the Liberian Nation, sees that the President of Liberia is legitimately acting within his function, anyone who defies his authority delegated by the Liberian people will need to face the Force side of the Executive work. The Court will only come in to interpret such function or laws appertaining to or against if in error. To remain in the area after the President replaced a general funding part under the control of the executive is insubordination and defying state authority. To prevent Executive force, they should have accepted the President’s new appointment, regardless legislative confirmation or Judiciary interpretation, stay out of the area, than after make a plead if it had been necessary or not. To avoid totalitarianism-an enemy of Liberian democracy, we must continuously study and apply the functions of each of our branches of Government, as we revisit the past, present, and future of this land. I am gone to silence. DO NOT REPLY MY BOX or call me back. Let the Liberian people know.

  13. Yes, Liberian we soon be shaking of little thing and we are quick of responding to negative, though for freedom of speech we should be careful how to address our issues when its come to our leader, But it is truth to let a man when he is in error, public rebuke is better than secret love.

Leave a Reply to Hilary Snyder Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here