From the time President Weah assumed office he has committed several lapses in a number of appointments he has and continues to make. This raises a key question whether President Weah, being a relatively newcomer to national governance, is properly advised before he makes these appointments or whether he consults widely and adequately before making the appointments.
In one instance, he appointed defeated Montserrado County lawmaker, Gabriel Nyenkan as Head of Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI), which violates the Act establishing that entity. The Act specifies that the head of secretariat is appointed by the Multi-stakeholders Steering Group under a competitive bidding process and the appointed individual serves under a tenured arrangement.
Without completing his tenure, the legitimately appointed Head of Secretariat, Konah Karmo was ordered removed to be replaced by Gabriel Nyenkan. And he (Gabriel Nyekan) stormed the offices of the LEITI with a bevy of Police officers in tow to evict Konah Karmo. Karmo, being civil and responsible, did not offer any resistance and relinquished his post, not even daring to legally challenge his removal as others have done in like fashion.
On yet another occasion, the President bypassed the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law in negotiating the loan agreement between the CDC-led Government and Elton Finance Limited. President Weah himself, apparently not being aware of the implications, stated publicly that his government will bypass the PPCC Law whenever the situation requires it.
But some financial experts in a major public institution here opined that bypassing the PPCC Law exposes the country to higher but unnecessary credit risks. According to the experts, about US$2 million of the $536.4 million under the PPCC Law should be void of interest, but the President’s decision to bypass the law implies that Liberia will pay money that may most likely end up in pockets of some government officials apart from what it will pay to Elton.
We recall that President Weah, when taking the oath of office swore to defend and uphold the Constitution and all other laws of Liberia, but his suggestions that he will by-pass the PPCC laws when he sees fit tends to contradict his lofty inaugural pledge to defend and uphold the Constitution of Liberia.
Currently, the President has yet again committed lapses, rather needlessly in two of his latest appointments, which have been challenged in Court. And the challenges have been accompanied by a lot of media hype which again is needless and which again raises the question whether those responsible to advise the President are seeking their own personal interests or sleeping at the wheel.
Why is the Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill, for example, allowing President Weah to take such flak from the media by being remiss in his duties to exercise sufficient due diligence before submitting documents to the President for his signature? For example in an ensuing legal argument over the appointments, Justice Minister Musa Dean conceded that the President’s appointments contravened the law; which left Justice Jamesetta Wolokolie with no option but to mandate all parties to stay all proceedings and return to status quo ante.
These frequent lapses leave many wondering just how our President makes decisions regarding appointment of public officials. Why? It is because such lapses create and reinforce a negative public perception of a President whose understanding of the functions of his office is warped and whose respect for the rule of law is at best begrudging.
But why does he appear to be constantly erring and breaching the law? Is it true as stated by lawyers of Isaac Jackson and Agnes Effiong that he (President Weah) wants to use power excessively? We believe that such lapses can be avoided if President Weah consults his legal advisors on the legal ramifications of the various appointments in order to ensure that these lapses do not recur.
Whoever his advisors are, we pray that those in charge will guide him well and keep him from losing his steps. However we hope that President Weah’s advisors will not become Judases and sell out everything under him for “thirty pieces of silver” to the point where he loses the confidence of the Liberian people.
We also urge President Weah to be meticulous and read well those laws governing appointments and other activities related to his duties to curtail the many lapses to which we continue to bear witness.