– Rodney D. Sieh
source: FrontPage Africa
Three more Cabinet ministers have reportedly accepted President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s request to return to the Unity Party government. The Executive Mansion announced Thursday that the Ministers of Defense, Brownie Samukai; Education Minister Othello Gongar, Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan and Internal Affairs Minister Harrison Kanwea have accepted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s offer to resume their duties.
CONFIRMED: Natty B. Davis, minister of state without portfolio replaces Richard Tolbert at the National Investment Commission.
An Executive Mansion release Thursday said the President also appointed Mr. Natty B. Davies, former Minister of State Without Portfolio to the position of Chairman of the National Investment Commission; Cllr. Seward Cooper, Legal Advisor, Ministry of State; and Mr. Jonathan Reffell, Ambassador-at-Large.
Cooper brings a wealth of experience to the post previously occupied by Morris Saytumah, who served as Minister of State for Legal and Economic Affairs. FrontPageAfrica has learned that the office will from now only handle legal issues regarding the presidency while an economic management team will handle issues relating to economic matters previously performed by Saytumah.
Cooper was founding member and the first Chairman of the Intellectual Discourse at the University of Liberia. The highlight of his chairmanship a contempt charge against the committee involving then Montserrado County Senior Senator the Late Frank Tolbert, who wanted the Senate to hold Cooper in contempt for inviting Frank Tolbert to explain why the Senate was considering a bill to grant President Tolbert emergency powers when in fact there was no state of war at that time. The committee invited Tolbert, who was brother to the President and William V.S. Tubman, son-in-law of President Tolbert.
Tubman agreed to attend but Frank Tolbert took exception, stating that it was an affront to his person and position. He therefore formally wrote to the Senate requesting that Cooper be charged with contempt and giving him a specific date and time which at the time was convening at the E.J.Roye building because the Capitol building was under renovation.
Brownie Samukai, left returns to his post as Minister of Defense while Harrison Kanwea, right, returns to post at Internal Affairs.
The student council decided to respond to the letter alleging contempt informing the Senate that Cooper was not acting as an individual but was acting as chairman of the committee and was therefore representing the student body and inform the Senate that according to the constitution, the people had the right to call their legislators to come to them and discuss issues and to even instruct their legislators about what to do.
The Senate referred the Student Council letter to the committee on judiciary headed by senior senator Joshua M. Harmon of Grand Bassa County and based on the Judiciary committee’s findings, the Senate wrote the student council indicating that the committee was justifiable in requesting the two senators to appear, therefore the charges were dropped. The decision was a landmark in favor of the student movement. Prior to that era, the Tubman administration which ended in 1971 did not tolerate inquiries from students.
Cooper was also elected head of the All-Africa Students Union, a continental body of students across Africa, during the 1973 conference in Liberia.
On Wednesday, the Ministers of Agriculture, Public Works, Planning & Economic Affairs, Youth & Sports, and the Director General of the Civil Service Agency, Dr. C. William Allen, have accepted the President’s offer to resume their duties.
The Minister of Justice, Cllr. Christiana Tah, also accepted the President’s offer to resume her duties with the following new key Assistants: Idella Cooper, Acting Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs; Freddie Taylor, Acting Deputy Minister for Administration; and Victoria Sherman-Lang, Acting Deputy Minister for Codification.
Augustine Ngafuan, recalled to post at Ministry of Finance.
To date, at least ten ministers have been recalled back to the government with at least four not likely to return: Former Minster of Lands, Mines and Energy Eugene Shannon, Saytumah, NIC boss Richard Tolbert and Former Foreign Minister Banke King Akerele. Akerele, addressing her departure for the first time in a statement issued in Monrovia Thursday night defended her legacy saying: “If anything, hers is a legacy of hard work; demanding high standards of responsibility, accountability and performance. She has little patience for non-performance. She has often times, without hesitation, put in her own personal funds when GOL resources have not been available pending reimbursement.”
Still left hanging is on-leave Ministers of Gender Varbah Gayflor; Labor Minister Tiawan Gongloe; Minister of Transport Alphonse Gaye; Information Minister Cletus Sieh, Minister of Health Dr. Walter Gwenigale and the Minister of National Security, Victor Helb. Also the Minster of Post and Telecommunications Jeremiah Sulunteh; General Services Agency Director Willard Russel and Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow.
FrontPageAfrica has learned that Gayflor is still on the bubble with multiple sources suggesting that she could replace Davis as Minister of State Without Portfolio. Miatta Fahnbulleh is said to be under consideration for the post of Gender Minister