Monrovia — Madam Jamima Wolokollie, deputy minister of commerce for small business, was obviously not dismissed for any act of corruption or abuse of public office, rather for her expressed views on a democratic process she sought to be a part of within the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Her in her view, there were a lot amiss within the party, especially at the level of the leadership that needed to be corrected. Wolokollie who has been little known for being vocal has over the past few days been on a spree from one radio station to the other and never minced her words in her criticism of the current system and mishaps in the Coalition.
And though she was dismissed for what the Executive Mansion termed as "actions incompatible with her status as a senior government official", she told FrontPageAfrica that she has no regrets over her assertions and stands by her words. "I stand by my words, I have no regrets. If that is the reason why I'm dismissed so be it," she said.
Wolokollie who had expressed her intent to contest the Montserrado County senatorial election on the party's ticket took to the air to call for the removal of the chairman, Mulbah Morlu, claiming that he is unfit for the position. She also accused her fellow partisan, Representative Thomas Fallah, whom is said to have the backing of the President in the upcoming primary for the Montserrado County slot on the party's ticket of distributing motorbikes deceptively to attract the attention of the poor within the county.
Guilty As Charged
Interestingly, it was only after Madam Wolokollie had expressed her outburst on the party that the grievance and ethics committee of the party released its findings into an allegation of her alleged involvement with a scam loan program.
In a press statement issued in Monrovia the National Executive Committee of the CDC noted that grievance and ethics committee findings on the matter submitted on June 10, 2020, found Wolokollie liable of fraud, extortion, corruption and her role in the fake loan scheme.
The statement added: "The NEC's endorsement of the Grievance and Ethics report expunging Madam Wolokolie's membership mirrors the party's sternness against unwholesome actions or utterances that impugn the integrity of the Congress for Democratic Change. With justice now fully served, the party considers a complete closure to this repugnant chapter, which has only strengthened the CDC's resolve, unity and unequivocal response against acts of lawlessness.
At the same time, the leadership of the Congress for Democratic Change lauds the President of Liberia, His Excellency George Manneh Weah for the dismissal of expelled partisan Wolokolie; hailing the decision as timely and an important step reasserting his disapproval of improper conducts in the sphere of governance.
Selective or Intolerant?
President Weah is known for being slow on cracking the whip - even in the midst of mounting calls and public outcry. However, the swift dismissal of Ms. Wolokollie does not appear as a game change to some within the public, rather an act of intolerance on his part. This is now bringing into question why the President is still maintaining Cllr. A. Ndubuisi Nwabudike as the head of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) though the Liberia National Bar Association found him liable for nationality fraud.
Mr. Mohammed Ali, Asst. Secretary General of the former ruling Unity Party in a comment to FrontPageAfrica said, "As to the case with Ndubuisi Nwabudike, I am sure the President has deliberately decided to not to listen to anyone. It is completely wrong for the president to keep the man in that position when he has clearly shown serious character deficit which does not suit the position that he occupies. This in itself is corruption. On the issue with Jemama Wolokollie, I think it is the president's right to hire or fire."
And though the President has the right to hire and fire, Mr. Eddie Jarwolo, Executive Director of the Civil Society group, NAYMOTE, believes that President Weah needs to be more tolerant of the views of others.
"What he's doing now is that he would silent critical voices within the government which I think is not healthy. Not because the people work at the will and pleasure of the President so even their dressing, talking and eating should be at the will and pleasure of the President," he said.
Mr. Jarwolo said Ms. Wolokollie's concerns with the party which she discussed in the public could have been addressed within the party rather than her outright dismissal.
He said dismissing Wolokollie and keeping Cllr. Nwabudike at the LACC is a poor decision on the part of the President. "There's a public outcry for a foreigner who has come to our country, managed to exploit the system because the system is weak, he sat in the Senate he couldn't defend himself as citizen of the country; there have been issues of different birth dates which is a disgrace and to be heading an integrity institution and the President up to now refuse to take him from there, do you know the implication for the country?" he asked rhetorically.
Jarwolo lamented that the President's refusal to remove Cllr. Nwabudike from the LACC has the potential of barring donations from the international community to the LACC. He further lamented the integrity of the LACC is now under question and President Weah is yet to use his leadership in making the critical decision.
"The President's leadership skills, communication skills, decision making skills are issues that he needs to improve on. The country right needs more of a leader who will listen to the people and be tolerant on the view of other people and focus on the critical issues like health care, the increased level of crimes, drugs, rape issues in the country, the high level of corruption, mismanagement of public funds, the increased number of coronavirus in the country, these are the issues but up to know the President has not been able to speak out," Mr. Jarwolo said.
Also disappointed in the President's refusal to dismiss Cllr. Nwabudike after being investigated and found liable by the Liberia National Bar Association for fraud is the head of the Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), Mr. Anderson Miamen.
He told FrontPageAfrica that actions taken by the President should always be in the best interest of the public.
He said, "If it is good to act based on what somebody said that the leadership felt was undermining in nature, if others things happened that are even more weighty and have serious implications for the governance process and the image of the government those things should be equally considered to be given keen attention. It has become apparent that there's issue with Cllr. Nwabudike's presence at the LACC, it's just logical that that action goes across all aspects of decision making and the governance process."
He admonished the President not to pay keen attention to one part of the unfolding in the country while totally disregarding other happenings.
According to Miamen, it would be in the best interest of the country for President Weah to listen to the call of the public to have Cllr. Nwabudike removed from the LACC, especially so when the National Bar Association had investigated and found him culpable of acts underserving of a lawyer.
For his part, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon (Liberty Party) criticized the President for claiming to be the country's "Feminist-in-Chief" and yet dismissing a female for expressing her aspirations to seek an elective office and displeasure over national issues says a lot about intolerance.
This, he said, runs contrary to encouraging women's participation into national leadership and has the propensity to discourage other females from coming upfront.
"I seriously frown on her dismissal, even though I am aware that she served "at the pleasure of the President." I hold that Pres. George Weah has yet again exhibited his lack of tolerance for critical views and exposed his hypocrisy about being a "Feminist-in-Chief," Sen. Dillon said.