Liberia: Usurping the President's Function?

Montserrado County Senator Saah H. Joseph, who was favored by President George M. Weah as his successor in the Montserrado Senate, appears to be overstepping his bounds. (Photo: J. Tonpo)

It has come to the attention of the Executive Mansion that an official of government improperly arrogated unto himself the power to "grant" someone the authority to serve as managing director of the Liberia Medicine and Health Product Regulatory Authority (LMHRA), a release has said.

In a widely circulated letter, dated July 19, 2019, Montserrado County Senator Saah Hardy Joseph wrote and sought to effect an appointment and a dismissal at the LMHRA.

"This unlawful act, according to LMHRA, runs contrary to Article 56A of the Liberian constitution, which grants exclusive authority to the President [of Liberia] to appoint all such officials," the Executive Mansion press release said.

Saah Joseph, gained popularity in 2014 for his bravery and coordination of medical resources in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. At that time, he was a member of the House of Representatives. Therefore, when he expressed interest in the Montserrado County senatorial seat made vacant by George Manneh Weah, who was inaugurated President of Liberia in January 2018, the President gave Rep. Joseph his blessing.

Now the honorable Senator appears to be illegally stepping into function of the Presidential mandate and the President does not like this.

"President George Weah disapproves of this attempted usurpation of his function and reiterates his call to all officials of the government to carry out their duties in accordance with law and to work diligently to improve the lives of the Liberian people," the Executive Mansion added.

The President warns of corrective measures should such flagrant attempt to exercise his constitutional responsibility occur again.

Meanwhile, President Weah has directed that all actions of appointment and dismissal carried out at LHMRA as a result of Senator Joseph's communications are null and void. He has also directed the Minister of Finance to effect a freeze on all accounts of the entity pending a review of its financial records.

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