Home Politics Tenure Abused? …As Affected Tenure Officials Campaigned In 2023 Elections

Tenure Abused? …As Affected Tenure Officials Campaigned In 2023 Elections

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By Our Staff Writer

MONROVIA: President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s latest appointment of about 139 individuals as officials to various public offices has generated mixed and intense public reactions.

Some analysts accused President Boakai of violating the laws of the country by nominating people to occupy key tenure positions in government while others argue that most, if not all of the officials of the erstwhile administration, then, headed by President George Manneh Weah, who previously occupied said tenure positions deliberately desecrated the legal provisions governing said tenue offices.

John Wilson, a student activist, told this paper yesterday in Monrovia that tenure officials in the former government led by ex-President Weah, actively and publicly supported various political parties including the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and candidates in the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, thereby compromising the tenue nature of their positions.

The officials who were involved in such violations were seen publicly during the 2023 elections campaign period wearing party T-shirts, hats, and brandishing other party regalia, Wilson maintains.

According to the activist, a tenue official cannot get involved in political activities and at the same time present himself/ or herself as being untouchable as regards replacement by the President of the Republic of Liberia, as in the case of the appointments made to some tenure positions by President Boakai.

However, Tamba T. Peter, another activist disagreed that officials who were appointed to various tenure positions during the regime of former President Weah, abused such tenure right.

Peter contended in a random interview that the move by President Boakai sets another bad precedent in national governance, especially as it relates to the dire need to uphold the sanctity of the laws of the country.

He asserted that the new political dispensation being led by President Boakai must ensure full respect for the laws of the country.

In President’s Boakai 139 appointments, affected key tenue institutions include Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), National Bureau of Concessions (NBC), Governance Commission (GC), the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Liberia National Lottery, and the National Identification Registry (NIR).

During the erstwhile administration of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, several tenured positions were established to ensure independence in the performance of their statutory duties. The Code of Conduct for Public officials was also put into place by the erstwhile Sirleaf Administration to, among others guard such officials to act professionally void of partisanship.

Termination of service under such circumstances typically requires cause, such as non-performance or misconduct, or mutual agreement, said Adolphus Nimely, a student of political science.
Disappointingly, he asserts, many of the tenure officials who are now crying wolf fully participated in politics as it relates to 2023 Presidential and Legislature elections.

Nimely indicated that such behavior, amounted to abuse of tenure rights and undermines their quest to hold onto their respective positions.

Part III, 3.9 of Liberia’s Code of Conduct for Public officials that focused on Discipline states that: “All Public Officials and Employees of Government shall adhere strictly to the Standing Orders of the Civil Service, this Code of Conduct, other professional codes of conduct, and any other laws or policies, and shall also ensure that his or her subordinates do the same, and shall obey all lawful instructions issued to them by their superiors.”

Also, PART V, Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct with focus on Political Participation indicates that: “All Officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; b) use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; c) serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.

Section 9 5.2 also states that “Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply; a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections; b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections; c) However, in the case of impeachment, death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official listed above, desirous of canvassing or contesting to fill such position must resign said position within thirty days.”

Howbeit, other commentators are of the view that some of the affected officials were campaigning for former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) during the 2023 elections in gross disregard of the Code of Conduct.

For instance, Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) Commissioner, Israel Akinsanya, was named by the CDC as its Deputy Campaign Manager. Akinsayea attended CDC political rallies across the country, commentators said. Others include LTA boss, Edwina Zackpah and Commissioner Zotawon Titus.
Also, Governance Commission Chairman, Harrison Yealue, was seen publicly campaigning for former President Weah during 2023 Elections, a move which other commentators say is blatant violation of the all the laws guiding the Commission.

Meanwhile, President Boakai has nominated Abdullah Kamara, Chairperson of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA); Patrick Honnah, Commissioner (LTA); Clarence Kortu Massaquoi, Commissioner (LTA); Ben A. Fofana Commissioner and Angela Bush Cassel, Commissioner (LTA).

Others indicate that some of the Commissioners of the LTA were seen campaigning with CDC t-shirts at various rallies in Kakata, Margibi County; Gbarnga, Bong County; Ganta, Nimba County; and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, among other places.

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