The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Public Service, Not Public Torture - Minister Ngafuan

"We plead with you not to push us to be too good to you to the extent that we become too bad to our country. We humbly urge you not to transform public service into public torture", the words of Liberia's Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Speaking recently at the commissioning ceremony of members of the Liberian Cabinet held in Monrovia in the conference room of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Minister Ngafuan said, "Remember we do not have the resources to be all things to all men. With the introduction of a Code of Conduct for public officials and many other integrity enhancing instruments, we hope that public service will not be public torment.

The Code of Conduct Act has been lingering in the corridors of the Liberian Legislature for about two years since, struggling to get the required number of votes to sale through. But of recent, the Liberian Senate has embarked on making show that the Code of Conduct and the Decent Work Bills are successfully passed before this year's agriculture break.

Senate Pro-tempore Gbenzongar Finley told a news conference last Friday on the grounds of the Capitol Building that the Senate has set up a committee to begin working on the Decent Work Bill. He noted that the 52nd Legislature under the authority of Grand Kru Senior Senator Cletus Wotorson who at the time was occupying the position of Pro-tempore earlier concluded on the Decent Work Bill but there were some outstanding issues that pointed to differences between both Houses.

Minister Ngafuna also urged his fellow ministers not to be imperial ministers, indicating that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is not an imperial president, "she allows her ministers to bring forth their views and respectfully disagree with her on issues of national interest. So we too cannot be imperial ministers- we need to give our deputies, our assistants and our staff the rights to respectfully disagree on the right course of our actions although, never losing sight that the bus stop is our desk," he said.

"Let us remember that the president has commissioned us as Cabinet Ministers not as deputy gods or paragons on our respective ministers and agencies. Let us bring the best out of our teams and give everyone including the janitor in time and space to contribute his two cents worth to the progress of our institute.

He told his colleagues that they as heads of ministries and agencies are now to go manage the country, a task that will involve managing men and money, "Let us remember that the most difficult thing to manage is our-selves. What we say to our people will be important, but what we do will speak so loudly that the people may not hear what we say", he said.

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