By Festus Poquie
On January 29, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai provided a gloomy picture of the country in his first state of the nation address to lawmakers.
The state of our nation is in distress, he said. “The state of the economy is a cause for concern, with many of our citizens facing perennial unemployment and economic instability.”
Significantly, this statement presents the litany of challenges the new administration faces. Rather than act with deliberate speed to tackle the problem and inspire market confidence the new Commander-Chief is floundering as he takes a snail ride abandoning the proverbial “race car” he told the nation he would use.
President Joseph Boakai has failed to form a functioning government, 10 days after his inauguration leaving the ruling Unity Party Alliance shaking as the country lingers in uncertainty.
The President has close to 3,000 appointments to make across government. So far less than half of the main cabinet positions have been named and the Senate is yet to confirm any of the nominees.
This means with the exception of few tenured related offices the new Liberian government is at a standstill amidst plethora of national issues. Key vacancies within the army and national defence remain open with inherent security risks.
The President’s early struggle in the formulation of his government is largely credited to betrayal of faith within his inner most circle.
A select group of people including party Senators whose assistance he enlisted to aide with the recruitment of qualified and competent Liberian professionals to serve the administration abused the privilege and converted the vetting process into personal profit making scheme.
Families, relatives and friends were pushed forward for nomination. An annoyed and disappointed Joe Boakai has to step in swiftly, halt the process and take charge, hence the delay.
With the appointment process on a snail pace party supporters and coalition partners who feel entitled to government job are panicking and edging towards disenchantment.
This internal memo from dissatisfied supporter of the President offers a glimpse into the internal UP power struggles and the dalima of the presidency.
“JNB’s neglect of a crucial governance process, the formation of a government, has now come back to haunt him. Despite his initial commitment to creating a government that mirrors the national diversity, the black book he held throughout the process remained disappointingly empty.
“Promises of a cabinet representative of the national mosaic fell short when he announced the appointment of four individuals from one tribe, overlooking the Lormas who had been strong supporters. Notably, this marked the first time he faced a lack of support from the Mandingos in Lofa, a situation possibly influenced by Mariamu and Sekou.
“Now, 73 days into his presidency, forming a government seems elusive for JNB. The nomination process has been delegated to a group of senators and his vice president, resulting in several nominations facing scrutiny for education or ethical concerns.
Surprisingly, there’s a notable absence of Muslims in the entire cabinet or Cabinet-level roles, despite overwhelming support from the Muslim community. It raises questions about the awareness of JNB’s advisors regarding this oversight.”