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23 Jan 2018

24 Hours After Inauguration, Liberia's President Makes Early Appointments

The newly inaugurated President of Liberia has set the ball rolling after making early appointments 24 hours after his inauguration.
President George Weah: makes first appointments
Less than 24 hours after his inauguration, Liberia’s President George Weah, announced seven appointments, including that of former Senate Pro-Tempore Gbezohngar Findley, as Foreign Affairs Minister.

Findley, according to local media, is close to immediate past President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and staunchly supported Vice President Joseph Boakai at the initial stage of the campaign period.

He reportedly dumped Boakai, who ran for the presidency on the platform of then Unity Party (UP), and aligned with Weah, heavily campaigning for him.

This fuelled speculations that Weah was receiving support from former President Johnson-Sirleaf, who was recently expelled by the UP for anti-party activities.

Maj.-Gen. Daniel Ziankahn was immediately retired as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and appointed the Minister of National Defense, subject to Senate confirmation.

Ziankahn replaces Brownie Samukai at the defence ministry, which is in the middle of an alleged wasteful spending of “welfare and supplementary pension benefits” members of the Armed Forces.

Brig. Gen. Prince Johnson takes over from Ziankahn as the new Chief of Staff of the AFL.

Weah named Chairman of the now ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mr Nathaniel McGill, as the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.

Mr. Samuel Tweh, a long-time member of the CDC, is to serve as Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

Until his appointment, Tweh worked as an economic consultant at the Millennium Challenge Corporation under the Ministry of Finance.

The president appointed Mr Charles Gibson as Minister of Justice, and Mr Sam Mannah as Press Secretary.

All the appointments were with immediate effect.

Weah has directed that the heads of other government ministries and agencies remain in place until further notice.

Meanwhile, some Liberians have urged the new president to honour his promise of holding government officials accountable to the people.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Monrovia, one of the respondents, Saah Clinton, a retired soldier, advised Weah to show courage and do the right thing in the interest of Liberians.

“Although, I am confident in the president’s ability to crack down on corruption as promised in his inaugural speech, it takes a lot of political will and courage to do that.

“The president should carry the masses along in whatever decision he takes against powerful government officials, and the people will stand by him,’’ he said.

Weah in his inaugural address renewed his promise to tackle endemic corruption especially in the public service, vowing to prosecute corruption government officials “to the full extent of the law’’.

“As officials of government, it is time to put the interest of our people above our own selfish interests. It is time to be honest with our people

“For those who do not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of the people, the law will take its course,’’ the president said.

-NAN

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