Liberia: Amid Chatters of Protest, Loyalty Issues, President Weah Gives University President the Ax - Makes Appointments

Monrovia — Hours after the faculty of the University of Liberia laid down their chalks in protest over unpaid salary arears - and an announcement of a plans by students at the University to stage an anti-government protest Friday, President George Manneh Weah has dismissed the University's president Dr. Ophelia Weeks.

Weeks has been on the job since May 2017 when the institution's Board of Trustees endorsed her as its 14th president, replacing Dr. Emmet Dennis who retired in December 2016.

Before her election Dr. Weeks, Weeks was a neuroscientist and the UL's Vice President for Academic Affairs. She has held administrative positions in the university since 2012 and previously served as Dean of the T. J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology.

Dr. Weeks became only the second woman to lead the UL since its founding in 1951, following the late Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman who, in 1978, made history in Liberia and Africa by becoming the first female president of a university on the continent of Africa.

The President has appointed Dr. Julius Sawolo Nelson as her replacement.

This week, Representative Acarous Gray called on the President to get rid of traitors and haters who were not in the government's interests. In the wake of this week's protest by students at the Monrovia Consolidated Schools System(MCSS), it is unclear whether Dr. Weeks' dismissal is related to plans by students at the UL to protest.

Also appointed late Thursday were: Edwin Juah as Assistant Minister for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Esiaka Sheriff, Assistant Minister for Research, Planning & Development at the Ministry of Internal Affairs; George Gontor, Deputy Minister/Energy at Ministry of Mines & Energy, William T. Thompson II, Assistant Minister for Energy, Dr. George T. Forpoh Jr., Deputy Minister/Regional Development, Research & Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Tarplah Davies, Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of National Defense, Mr. Varney Okai, Deputy Minister for Operations, Ministry of Post & Telecommunication; Macarthur Hilton, Assistant Minister for Rural Development at the Ministry of Public Works; Cllr. J Kennedy Peabody, Resident judge Sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court, Replacing Associate justice Yusif Kaba, Mr. Al Jerome Chede, Minister Counselor for Press & Public at the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC, replacing Mr. Gabriel Williams and Cllr. Nbuduis Nwabudike, Chairman, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

Nwabudike, was previously appointed as head of the Governance Commission but was never confirmed by the Senate.

He previously headed a Special Presidential Review Committee that was constituted to probe into the Global Witness Report on NOCAL. The report was presented to President Weah on May 16, 2018.

Also appointed were Kanio Bai Gbala, Vice Chairperson of the LACC and Cllr. Charles Gibson as Commissioner

At the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, the President named George Howe, Checago Bright and Cllr. Alexandria Zoe as members. Teetee Pailey was named Deputy Director General for Administration at the Civil Service Agency while Mr. Joseph T. Williams was named Executive Director, Rural Renewable Energy.

Mariama M. Koon becomes Deputy Executive Director for the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment while Keturah Chupee Smith is now the new Executive Director at the Liberia Medicine & Health Products Regulatory Authority.

Mr. Emmanuel Lomax was named Director General of the Center for National Documents and Record Agency ( CNDRA) and C. Neileh Daitauoh is the new director of the National Food Assistance Agency.

At the National Housing Authority, Henry Clarke was named Deputy Managing Director for Operations and Dr. Gonsahn Matardy was named Member of the Mittal Operating Company Board Representative to the Board.

Cllr. Charles Gibson Chairman was named Board Chair of the Liberia Electrical Corporation (LEC); Mr. Richard B. Devine, Chairman of the board at the National Oil Company of Liberia Board(NOCAL) and Randolph Cooper Chairman becomes Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC).

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