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Siakon Nagbe (December 12th 2005)  

"...Will David Farhat be banned from a position in government? When a finance minister leaves Liberia, runs to the U.S, and purchases a home in Ellicott City, a Maryland exclusive Golf community and opens a Gas company – it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that he did not do that on his $1000/month Minister salary. ...."

The media and public onslaught to the Transitional Team list released by the President elect's team is the first sign that in this new Liberian the people are not willing to accept business as usual. One would like to believe that Mrs. Sirleaf has heard the message or at least hope that she gets it. But while in one voice she tries to recover from the Transitional Team trenches, it seems like she is bracing herself for yet another failure……..

Mrs. Sirleaf, in an interview with the daily observer, opted to defend her appointment of Harry Greaves, former Economic Advisor to NTGL Chairman Gyude Bryant, by indicating “I haven't had any specific charges against Mr. Greaves. “ CORRUPTION MADAM PRESIDENT! Where have you been?

Harry Greaves has not accounted for the US$2.1 million donated by the Saudi Prince sometime this year. Yet Madam Sirleaf, perhaps trying to hang on to Mr. Greaves for some cabinet appointment in her government said, “..Let me say from my experience in working with Mr. Greaves, which has been for many years, that he's hardworking, he's intelligent, and he delivers.” DELIVERS WHAT AND WHEN MADAME PRESIDENT? WHAT HAS MR. GREAVES DELIVERED IN ALL HIS YEARS? WHAT HAS MR. GREAVES DELIVERED FOR THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE AS ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO CHAIRMAN BRYANT? Can Mr. Greaves even highlight ONE Economic Benefit to Liberians of the funds collected and spent by the interim administration out of the pledged $520+ Million?

Assuming that Mrs. Sirleaf thinks that like Harry Greaves, the Sawyers, Bestman, Knuckles, Yuans…. CAN also deliver? What can any of them show as a milestone accomplishment from all their years in government? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

In no defense of Paul Mulbah, but the President elect saw it fit to announce his removal from the transition committee. While Liberians applaud this move, the same should apply to the rest of the ‘gang’. Mr. Mulbah has never been charged nor convicted of any such crimes attributed to him by Mrs. Sirleaf, neither has Mr. Greaves or Sawyer or Farhat. But Liberia must now create a new public sector with people whose past association with government are not marred by corruption, human right violations or even the appearance thereof. Hence a bold move on the part of the President elect. Well done. But it is time to do more and not set examples on people like Paul Mulbah because they are political opposition and put the Farhats, Greaves and the rest of the 'gang' on a chariot for new government jobs.

So the question is: will Mrs. Sirleaf apply these same standards to those who she considers her friends and long associates? Will David Farhat be banned from a position in government? When a finance minister leaves Liberia, runs to the U.S, and purchases a home in Ellicott City, a Maryland exclusive Golf community and opens a Gas company – it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that he did not do that on his $1000/month Minister salary.

Are we still lingering in the days when LEC was synonymous to Sam Burnette? Has that touch now been passed to Harry Yuan? What can the Yuans, Sawyers, Bestmans, Knuckles, Greaves and the rest of the old failures deliver for Liberia? NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! They have not delivered in the past and there is no reason to believe they can deliver in the future. These ‘OLD’ Liberians are experience someone said. What Experience? Some of these individuals don’t even know what an email is. PLEASE MADAME PRESIDENT WE DON’T NEED THOSE KINDS OF EXPERIENCES IN THIS NEW ERA. Liberia needs visionaries – a new breed of technocrats, educated, trained, skilled and with a track record of proven results. Where are all the young technocrats who crisscrossed the U.S. in planning campaign activities for Mrs. Sirleaf? Are they now being sidelined for the same old folks? Or will Mrs. Sirleaf patronize them with lower level appointments?

We need a finance minister who can centralize and automate tax collection, we need people who understand the benefits of direct deposits for our citizens, we need bank presidents who can have ATM’s on street corners, we need an agriculture minister who can establish buying depots for our farmers and establish cold storages for our fishermen. We need Individuals exposed to new ideas; new technologies and can understand and meet challenges in this new global environment. That is the importance of a new generation of Liberians for the public sector and there are many to select from.

The Liberians who can deliver results will have to be recruited for these positions. But Mrs. Sirleaf must be willing to walk away from the same names that have merry-go-rounded the Liberian Public Sector. It is one thing to make campaign stump speeches but an entirely different thing to deliver results. Whether we care to admit it or not, for now the body of Liberian institutions swing in the directions of the head and Mrs. Sirleaf appointments will indicate where Liberia will be swinging. The old names from the past is a signal that business is about to swing as usual and this, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS UNACCEPTABLE.


About the Author: 

The author is a Liberian Sr. Computer Programmer with Intellicon and lives with his family in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.

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