28 December 2012

Liberia: Stranded Reshuffle

Photo: Liberia Government
Members of the Liberian cabinet at a retreat.

When the Presidential Press Secretary on October 29 of this year told the nation and the rest of the world that the long talked about and awaited cabinet reshuffle was being well baked and out of the oven pending President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's declaration, portion of the greater society was moved because at long last the cats would now be coming out of the bag.

However, another segment of the society refused to accept the Press Secretary to the President's statement with seriousness noting that this elephant story about reshuffle has swung people's heads from the days of the predecessor of this present Press Secretary; and each time the predecessor was quizzed following long delay; the overworked excuse was: "this President does not play to public gallery." So much was said until he left; now the successor exactly three months running since he announced about a major reshuffle nothing has been forthcoming thereby leaving the people to view the exercise as a stranded reshuffle.

Looking back over the years, The New Republic, in its drive to picking the pieces stumbled over some options as to what could be taking the Chief Executive so tough and rough a time to cross the Rubicon and swing the axe; could it be out of internal pressure for fear of smashing some favorite eggs, or could it be based on the irreparable pain it will cause the very inner movers and shakers as well as the cookie cutters when the heads of their cronies fall prey to the exercise... as echo from the public continues to drum that delays are dangerous.

The nation still remembers vividly the mood and temperament most of most government officials when the Press Secretary to the President, Mr. Jeronlinmek Piah at a news briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign in Monrovia announced that a major reshuffle in government was now set amidst long standing speculations of this moment.

According to some political commentators, the somber mood and temperament of most of the officials captured had to do with the timing of the announcement of the major reshuffle which was done on the 73rd birth anniversary of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who holds the Constitutional authority to hire and fire those serving in the cabinet.

Reception reports monitored revealed that during the festive occasion marking the natal day of the Liberian Leader at her Fish-market private residence on October 29, of this year, the taste of the news concerning the major reshuffle disturbed the high hopes of most of the officials who had harbored earlier before the news to enjoy and ball at the party.

Reporters present at the residence noted that most of the officials, most of whom have been around for some long time and considering the level of their performances which can only be determined as preferable or disheartening by their immediate employer (the President) saw their presence there as taking part in their own farewell party; and though remained yet with uncertainty as to how hard they may or may not be hit by the roaring major reshuffle.

Again, the political commentators noted that since the major stranded reshuffle was announced three months ago, coupled with the grave fear the officials find themselves being saddled with as a result of the stories coming out of the local newspapers with some speculatively naming those to be affected, the few to be transferred, the incoming new faces and those to be elevated, the latter has succeeded in creating a psychological drive on those who are not mainly strong at heart which to some extent could hamper dedication and productivity.

At the same time, they also expressed their own doubt as to why a major reshuffle which has been made public of its coming be kept so long in the dark knowing that the entire exercise is strictly political and the habit of keeping the expectation and right of the people to know in total suspense sends mixed-signals that either something powerful or influential is pinning the stranded reshuffle down or the reshuffle itself has become a "porcupine gut" in the hand of the executioner; it cannot be thrown away because it is so greasy and by the same token, it cannot be kept due to its poisonous character.

Recently, the media steamed up the stranded reshuffle when it, quoting well-placed source came up with names and fate of some of those officials currently serving in the government and also stated that the stranded reshuffle is slated to be released when the Chief Executive addresses the nation at the joint session of the Legislature early next month, something the political commentators scored as one of the many ongoing unfinished stories.

Another group of critical thinkers are also appealing to the President that while it is her Constitutional prerogative to hire and fire as well as reshuffle the cabinet at will, she should in the execution of her presidential responsibility consider the attached interest of the people who are also following the activities of these hired government officials; and whose performances have positively or negatively impacted their livelihood, adding that when an announced reshuffle is stranded as the people wait indefinitely , it then becomes worrisome as to what's the hold up.

According to them in order to avoid misconception and being cognizant of the Liberian society, issue like reshuffle should be worked out far in advance, signed and delivered in a matter of day or two and then be done with; knowing that everything needed to complete the task is in tact.

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