The euphoria that greeted President George Weah’s victory in the 2017 presidential election came with expectations of realizing a change that would put Liberia in a better position than it had been in the past.
As it was widely propagated during the campaign period, the quest for change became so pronounced because President Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) trumpeted the impression that the Unity Party-led government was full of corruption, nepotism and marginalization of a large segment of the Liberian society.
In order to depart from such a course of governance, the campaign slogan “Change for Hope” was touted as the magic formula to the myriad of problems plaguing the regime of his predecessor. This mantra of hope was excessively bandied during the electoral process, riveting thousands of youths to his (President Weah) party’s support base.
But as the public is witnessing in the appointment process and other government-related activities, some of the criticisms against the UP are apparently beginning to surface at high levels and in even greater proportions.
The echoes of criticism still sound in our ears how former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf imported retired, incompetent, inexperienced upstarts and self-styled educated people from the United States and other places to occupy lucrative positions in government.
As President Weah appoints public officials, there seems to be no merit as to who occupies which position, but people are now getting to receive jobs on the basis of family and party connections without regard for how qualified or competent they are for the particular positions they now occupy.
What, for example, is President Weah’s defense in appointing of Moseray Momoh as Deputy Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) who, as procurement officer in the same corporation, was asked to resign for corruption?
Another appointment has taken place and the appointee has admitted that he was not knowledgeable in that area of appointment.
There are also other instances where inexperienced people have been appointed to positions that are far beyond their understanding. What, for example, are the educational and practical qualifications of the man, Jefferson Koije, who has been appointed Mayor of our Capital City, Monrovia?
How much knowledge in environmental science and experience has Nathaniel Blama who has now been appointed Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, succeeding a woman, Madam Anyaa Vohiri, who has had vast experience in environmental affairs and who is internationally recognized?
The appointee who is to occupy the position of Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), expressed total ignorance of the meaning of “fiscal policy” when she faced the Senate for confirmation. When asked about the meaning of fiscal policy, she responded by essentially taking the Lord’s name in vain!
This is an appointee whose confession made the public to understand that her work experience was only related to serving as a treasurer of her church.
There are cases where scores of people have in recent days been appointed to positions far above their professional competence.
How effective, for example, will a lawyer, in the person of Syrenius Cephas be, who has been placed in a highly technical area in the Agriculture Ministry—a position for which he has had neither training nor experience? Or did he receive any agricultural training in law school?
A good deal of training has over the past few years taken place in the agricultural sector. Has President Weah or any of his lieutenants attempted to find out who are those that in recent years have been trained in various professions and determined their availability for service?
This, we believe, is the essence of good governance—finding the right people for the right jobs.
Why would Human Resource Management officers require work experience from an applicant or appointee? Who trains a deputy minister, or an assistant minister on the job?
A stalwart of the CDC, Dr. Lester Tenny, has raised alarm over the perceptual biases associated with the appointment process and cautioned that bringing the party to victory was not intended to bring inexperienced and unqualified “Kids” and those with tainted characters into government.
Past leadership was criticized for recycling officials with integrity problems, nepotism and other malpractices. Are the unfolding activities not replicas of what had been criticized?
A Management theorist, Fredrick W. Taylor, carved four principles for an effective and efficient work environment. In the fourth principle of his Scientific Theory, Taylor said, “Specialization in every part of a defined labor must be provided.”
This guideline defines the significance of placing people into positions according to their qualification and specialization in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
Also in his theory of Bureaucracy, German philosopher Max Weber underscored in his principle that hiring should be solely based on SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS, whereby candidates with the exact skills required are placed in positions related to their qualifications.
Remember, Max Weber from Germany, one of the world’s most efficient countries.
He also warned that there should be no nepotism or exceptions to this standard and the rest of the bureaucratic principles.
While we agree that public positions are purely political and given out at the discretion of a sitting leader, President Weah and his team of advisers must be meticulous in evaluating appointees on the basis of what each is capable of and qualified to do.
Without considering qualification, competence and integrity, how will the CDC-led government achieve its much talked about “pro-poor” agenda?