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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Liberia: “Black Book” or “White Book”? Secrecy and Limited Consultation Affecting UP Alliance’s Journey to National Leadership

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Extreme secrecy has covered the Unity Party Alliance’s path to governance! With just 4 days, to begin the “recovery mission,” “Rescue Missionaries” are unaware of their roles, leaving everyone, except the President-Elect, in uncertainty.

I am told the President-elect is reviewing many options on how to proceed with setting up his administration. While this may explain the delay, it can not explain why his “Missionaries” and other stakeholders are left with uncertainty.

We know information management is important, but we also know excessive confidentiality in public service is not a good governance practice.

The term “Black Book” is on everyone’s lips, but instead of joking about it, we should talk about its characteristics and prevent it from entering the post inauguration policy making and governance process.

We need a “White Book” which symbolizes transparency and broad-based consultation, not a “Black Book” that symbolizes secrecy and lack of broad consultation.

By now, “Rescue Missionaries” should have been informed about their roles, allowing them to give feedback to RESCUE-1 and mentally prepare for tasks/roles agreed on, but the “black Book” has prevented that.

Early clarity on roles and responsibilities is good because it provides ample time for consideration and preparation. Some “missionaries” may need to resign from other jobs, conclude consultancies, or relocate to Liberia to fully commit to public service. Others need to discuss with their families.

The law requires assets declaration, missionaries need to begin taking stock of their assets and liabilities to be able to declare in keeping with law, but all of these have not happened because of “Black Book”.

Besides “missionaries” who will be serving, ordinary Liberians need a glimpse of the leadership’s composition. Knowing who their leaders will be, even unofficially, fosters hope and sets expectations for the kind of government that will address their needs.

The President-Elect Joseph Boakai is encouraged to embrace a more open and consultative approach over the weekend, engage with “missionaries” and other stakeholders to enhance transparency, increase trust/confidence, and most importantly begin to drop the “black book” and take a “white book” for governance.

In 21st century governance, the accolades are for those who run gov based on broad-based consultation and transparency, not secrecy and exclusive decision-making.

Ambulah Mamey

Ambulah is currently a graduate student at the American University’s School of International Services (SIS) where he is pursuing MS Degree in Development Management. His concentration is in Agricultural Development and the Environment.

Ambulah also earned a BSc. degree in Economics, and certificates in Banking Operations, Journalism, and Public relations.

Ambulah has worked extensively in Liberia, spanning over 8 years in both the public and private sectors. Before joining SIS, he worked with the National Oil Company of Liberia and its partners (ExxonMobil, and TGS NOPEC) on Corporate Social Relations programs that among other things, trained and empowered at-risk women and youths in food crops production, animal husbandry and entrepreneurship.

He previously served as a Manager in the Commercial Bank Department of First International Bank Liberia Limited, which is now GN Bank. His interest in agriculture is driven by his conviction that the sector embodies huge potentials to end acute global poverty. Ambulah is a native of Gbarpolu County, Liberia.

 

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