In spite of her pledge at National Reconciliation and healing during her second term, beginning with the formation of a government of inclusion, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has exercised her constitutional prerogative as she deems fit.
The President yesterday January 26, nominated seven out of the remaining nine cabinet ministers, with no significant opposition figure included. The latest nominations bring to eighteen out of a total of twenty cabinet positions.
Among those re-nominated is; Madam Etmonia David-Tarpeh, as Minister, Ministry of Education (MOE). She previously served as Minister, Ministry of Youth & Sports (MY & Sports), during President Johnson-Sirleaf’s first term.
Also re-nominated is Madam Miata Beysolow, as Minister, Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MC& I), a position she previously occupied during President Johnson-Sirleaf’s first term.
Madam Julia Duncan-Cassell was nominated as Minister, Ministry of Gender & Development. She succeeds Madam Varbeh Gayflor, who was transferred to the Ministry of Labor (MOL), as Minister.
Mr. S. Tomolah Varplah, was nominated as Minister, Ministry of Youth & Sports (MY & S). He succeeds Madam Etnonia David-Tarpeh, who was sent to the Ministry of Education (MOE), as Minister.
Mr. Eugene Nagbe, former General-Secretary of the main opposition political party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), who defected to the ruling Unity Party, was nominated as Minister, Ministry of Transport (MOT).
Ambassador, Commany B. Wesseh, was nominated to the nominal position of Minister, Ministry of State without Portfolio. The head of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MSPA) is yet to be named. Its present occupant is Mr. Edward B. McClain, Jr.
The head of the Ministry of National Security (MNS), is also yet to be nominated by the President Johnson-Sirleaf. It is currently being occupied by Mr. Victor Helb, as Minister.
Besides the cabinet positions, the President also nominated Mr. Ambrose Nmah, as Director-General of the state owned radio and television stations, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS).
Political Commentators described these latest developments as a slam not only in the face of the entire opposition, but also amounts to slamming the door in the face of National Reconciliation and Healing.
One Diaspora Opposition Political Observer who spoke to the Independent Eye News (IEN) on condition of anoynimity said, “while the President has the constitutional prerogative of nominating whomever she wants, her exclusion of the entire opposition in a significant way, is tantamount to drawing a political battle line in the sand.”
With the nomination of the President’s cabinet nearly complete, the attention is now being switched across Camp Johnson Road to the Capitol, where the next political battles on who is confirmed or rejected, are expected to be fought.
Meantime, reports from the Capitol quoting Senate Secretary, N’dablor Sengbe, say the names of six cabinet ministers-designate have already been forwarded to the Liberian Senate by President Johnson-Sirleaf, for confirmation hearings.
Those whose names were forwarded included, Messrs. Brownie J. Samukai, Jr, Defense, Blamo Nelson, Internal Affairs, Samuel Kofi Woods, Public Works, Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Agriculture, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, Health & Social Welfare and Mr. Patrick Sendolo, Lands, Mines & Energy.
Meanwhile, the second edition of the “YEAR 2011 IN REVIEW,” covering the first five months of the birth of the Independent Eye News in August of 2011, is expected to be published on Saturday, January 28. Watch out for it!
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