MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT : Ref.: Let Your Administration Formation Be Nationally Broad-Based, Nonpartisan

Mr. President,

We are pleased to submit this second “Memo to the President” to you—the first been when we introduced the column to you as you were taking the oath of office on January 22. As we indicated then, this column, which is spanning for the last 20 years, is our way of keeping a direct, regular communication with the Liberian presidency, this time you, in the next six years of leadership on issues we feel are of critical importance of you and the people of this country.

Your Excellency, do you know that since the last seven days, following the transfer of national leadership mandate to you, Liberians have been bracing themselves to see and hear names of members of your administration? The people have been bracing themselves because, as everybody says, it is at this point, when a government is being formed, that political failure or success begins. Liberians think this way because, quite often, it is those the president chooses to man various government ministries, agencies and commissions, that play a direct role in the delivery of services and execution of the president’s plans to the people. Thus, the quality and impact of the services of your appointees are largely dependent on the character and persona of those chosen.

Should Liberians be concerned about how you formed your government, since it is your constitutional prerogative to choose members of your administration?

Mr. President, the answer is an overwhelming solid ‘yes!’. Yes, because history is laden with examples of how most presidents, who are loved and popular and who appear to be determined to govern well turned out to fail, to turn their backs on their promises and on the impoverished majority of Liberians because of the kind of advisors and officials they chose.

Your Excellency, have you not heard Liberians say, ‘this or that president was a good man but that it was his or her chosen officials that have perverted, deceived, corrupted and spoiled them’?

Thus, please don’t be surprised that as you go about the choosing of the type and kind of officials that will carry out various aspects your administration’s agenda, through the presidential devolution of your powers, Liberians are also once again worried about the fate of yet another government, and yet another set of six years. They are worried about what their fate and your legacy will be at the end of your tenure. They are worried if you, as was the case with your predecessors, would not be consumed by partisan euphoria and the trappings of power that certainly will lead to failure. This is why, Mr. President, you need to be circumspect enough to jealousy pursue the objectives and vision of your long-held ambition for power by the way you select your team.

There is no need to lecture you, Your Excellency, how more often than not, Liberian leaders will abandon their original aspirations for a radically transformed country and people, and become consumed by complacency and ill-advice of their lieutenants, which lead to failure and regrets.

This is why we tender this Memo as a way of calling you to attention and sobriety in the way you form your government; in the quality of people you choose as your officials.

We are not surprised to note the enormity of temptation and urge that you are faced with to appoint partisans and supporters that comprise the Unity Party Alliance. We won’t be surprised on the pressure exerted to see you appointing individuals based on familial and regional connections. These may be people who were in trenches with you, you “fought” those who were stopping your presidential ambition. Normally, it seems cool to choose such a people.

But the questions we want to prick your thinking are these: Which Liberian president, or any democratic president, has ever left a honorable legacy and success by appointing dominantly fanatics—family, regional and partisan sources? Do you not do know that presidents who before you relied on fanatics did leave the presidency bowing in shame, unable to achieve their dreams and ambitions, and how such presidents became a laughing stock with tattered legacy?

Mr. President, our advice, and final message to you on this matter is this: build a government with credible, professional, hard-working and patriotic Liberians. We are sure you, who have been in the public arena for over 40 years, aren’t short of familiarity with such people and such names. They are countless, and they cut across parties, tribes, regions and religions. A little of withdrawal from the stupor and trappings of partisan inclinations, a bit of pause from the euphoria of political victory, will open your eyes and minds to see and appoint such people.

We have no doubt about the difficulty associated with this break from Liberia’s political tradition. We know there is a strong current and clamor for jobs amongst your allies. We know, if you don’t heed partisan urge for jobs, internal party unrest and a whirlwind of disenchantment will be on the burner.

But the logic here is this: you, and only you, will face the bullet for failure, for not doing the right thing, for not governing well, at the end of the day. You, and only you alone, will take a glory for meriting the epithet of “being one amongst millions”—the Liberian president who presided over the nation with a great and successful mix of productive Liberian professionals meriting the popular confidence and trust of the people.

That’s being patriotic. That’s being Liberianalistic. And we look forward to it.

Thanks for your consideration.

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