12 March 2013

Liberia: Dismissals, Reshuffle in Government

Photo: Liberia Government
President Sirleaf names members of her cabinet. (file photo)

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has begun her long awaited cabinet reshuffle here, dismissing one cabinet minister and several deputy ministers, while announcing a new Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Axel Addy. Minister Addy replaces Madam Miatta Beyslow, whose performance to the public has left much to be desired.

Also appointed at the Commerce Ministry are Ms. Candace Eastman, Deputy Minister, Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Cyril Allen, II, Deputy Minister for Administration.

The President has also dismissed Liberia's Solicitor-General Michael Wilkins Wrights, replacing him with Ms. Betty Lamin Blamo, who now becomes the new Solicitor-General of the Republic of Liberia.

Announcing the reshuffle on Monday in Monrovia, President Sirleaf said, "My Fellow Citizens: I have transferred some individuals from one area of responsibility to another, and a few have not been reappointed. This action is intended to provide an opportunity to bring new dynamism to new responsibilities.

In cases where some individuals have not been reappointed, it is mostly because they are better suited to pursue their professions in other areas of endeavor. I thank all of these individuals for their various services to our country, and to those who are not returning to the Administration, best wishes in their future undertakings."

President Sirleaf said the actions are being taken based on the criteria of competence, integrity, commitment and loyalty, saying "By loyalty, I mean that which is not only owed to an individual or to a political party but loyalty to the aspiration of our national vision and to the improvement in the lives of our people. "

"Quite simply, I expect the loyalty and commitment of each member of the Executive to primarily extend to the implementation of our ambitious transformative agenda, and to improving the lives of our people."

Others affected by the reshuffle include: Lenn Eugene Nagbe, who has been transferred from the Transport Ministry to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, while Minister Tornolah Varpilah goes to the Ministry of Transport.

The President has appointed Sie-A-Yeaneh Youh to the Ministry of Labor, while Madam Vabah Gayflor has gone to the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs as Director-General of the Cabinet.

Civil Service Agency Director-General Dr. William C. Allen now goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an Ambassador, while Mr. George Werner becomes the new CSA Director- General.

Others appointed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are: Ms. Una Thompson, Deputy Minister for Administration and Mr. Elias Shoniyin, Deputy Minister for International Cooperation, respectively.

At the Ministry of Education, the President named Mr. Edwin Kennedy Tetteh as Deputy Minister for Administration; Dr. Khalifa Bility, Deputy Minister for Planning, Research & Development, and Ms. Hawah Goll-Kotchi, Deputy Minister for Instruction, respectively.

Mr. Stephen B. Dorbor, Sr. has been appointed Deputy Lands, Mines & Energy Minister for Planning and Human Resource Development, while Ms. Mariam Kaba becomes Assistant Minister for Energy.

The governing Unity Party Youth Chair Amos Tweh, previously an Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Internal Affairs has been promoted to Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the same ministry.

The President has named Mr. Dewitt von Ballmoos Director-General of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation after acting in the post for several months, while Mr. Nya Twayen is Deputy Director General for the corporation.

Others are Mr. Oblayon B. Nyemah, Director General, Liberia Institute for Public Administration; retired Brigadier-General Rudolf F. Kolaco, Sr., Director-General National Bureau of Veteran Affairs, and Retired Colonel Railey Karkor, Deputy Director-General for Administration. At the Monrovia Consolidated School System, President Sirleaf appointed Mr. Benjamin A. Jacobs, as Superintendent.

Meanwhile, critics the President's reshuffle is a cosmetic move as Madam Sirleaf really has no intention to get cronies and corrupt officials out of the government, pointing to Madam Vabah Gayflor, who having faced series of corruption allegations from the Ministry of Gender and Development and the Ministry of Labor, has been transferred to the Ministry of State as Director-General of the Cabinet.

But in effecting the action Monday, President SirIeaf defended, "I have reflected deeply, and I have reflected long. You will note from the list to be presented that many of our young people have been appointed or reappointed. This is because while I and others can expect them to occasionally err in the exercise of their duties, the truth remains that the future of whatever we do today will belong to this youthful generation."

She said it is time that young people begin to work with in government to take on more and more responsibility for the future of the country - and to deepen their understanding of exactly where Liberia is headed, coupled with the challenge associated with getting there, and the discipline and dedication that will be required.

"I charge all of those appointed or reappointed to observe these criteria seriously, and always attend to their duties diligently, so that our reorganized team remains in place for the duration of this Administration. "

"However, let there be no mistake: I will not hesitate to make a change if anyone does not rise to the commitment of this Administration and to the challenge of their respective portfolios", the President concluded.

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