Monrovia – Fresh of his inauguration, President George Manneh Weah late Monday evening made his first appointments to his administration with several familiar names resurfacing.
Former Senate Pro-Tempore Gbezohngar Findley has been nominated as Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nathaniel McGill, Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has been named Minister of State for Presidential Affairs.
Mr. Findley, a close ally of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the onset of the political campaign season supported former Vice President Joseph Boakai who was the standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party.
Mr. Findley then suddenly dumped Joseph Boakai and threw his weight behind George Weah and heavily campaign for Weah in Grand Bassa County.
His alignment with Weah cemented speculations that he (Weah) was receiving support from former President Sirleaf through him.
Samuel Tweh has been appointed to head the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, while Cllr. Charles Gibson would become the next Minister of Justice.
Major General Daniel Dee Ziankahn has been retired as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and at the same time nominated to serve as Minister of Defense.
Mr. Gbezohngar, according to sources within the CDC, some members of the party’s executive committee, is yet to earn the trust and loyalty of the party.
In addition to his Senate Pro Temp role, Findley also served previously as Chairman on Post & Telecommunications, Co-Chairman on Public Autonomous Commissions and Member of the Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Labor, Rules, Order & Administration and Executive committees.
His preferment, this paper has gathered, does not meet the full approval of the party but it is widely believed Madam Sirleaf recommended him.
For Mr. McGill, prior to becoming party chair of CDC, he served as National Secretary General of the party, and was elected to the party chairmanship unopposed in Bentol, upper Montserrado County, during a two-day special convention, which was scheduled from January 14-15, 2015.
McGill, prior to his appointment hinted that his party planed to organized what he called a ‘Small, but efficient government’.
Mr. Tweah, a long time partisan of the CDC since the first election in 2005, is known in the party hard for being a staunch workaholic for Weah’s 2005 Presidential bid.
He is described as a “smart young man” with a graduate degree from the United States.
Samuel Tweah worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Finance at the Millennium Challenge Corporation as a Senior Economist.
In July 2016, he was employed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors.
He is, however, criticized for being in the AfDB position for some 18 months, one of only two professional jobs he has done in a very short period.
This is raising concerns about his ability to take on the enormous challenge facing the incoming government.
Critics also say Tweah may be lacking the experience to head the fiscal office of Liberia during this financial crisis time.
Cllr. Gibson, the Justice Minister nominee, is a graduate of Lewis Arthur Grimes School of Law and has been admitted to the Supreme Court of Liberia as counselor at Law.
He has been practicing law in Liberia for a number of years.
Cllr. Gibson is also known for ethical problem and was once suspended by the National Bar Association because he misused a client’s resources.
Some lawyers said the justice minister must be someone with high ethical and moral behavior.
For Gen. Ziankahn, he is regarded as a qualified paratrooper and a product of the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds a Master’s degree in Military Science and Strategy.
He took on the task of replacing Nigerian military officer, Major General Suraj A. Abdurrahman, becoming the first Liberian to command control of the military since the end of the civil war.
Gen. Ziankahn completed his secondary education at the Assembly of God Mission High School in Monrovia.
He received a BBA degree in Business Management from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, also in Monrovia.
Ziankahn completed his Individual Entry Training, Advance Individual Training, Basic Non-Commissioned Officers Course and Officers Candidate School in Liberia between 2006/2007.
He received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant on 9 May 2007. Gen. Ziankahn also successfully completed the following courses: Basic Officer Leader Course II, Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course III, and Basic Airborne Course – all at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the U.S.; Armor Company Commander Course in the Arab Republic of Egypt; Junior Staff Course at the Horton Academy in Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Intermediate Level Education at the United States Command and General Staff College.
He also attended various international seminars, including the African Land Forces Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, and the African Endeavor, held in Duala, Cameroon, both in 2012.
Brig. Gen. Prince C. Johnson is the new Chief of Staff of the AFL. Sam Mannah has been named to serve as Press Secretary with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, the following Government Agencies and Ministries will hold over until further notice: the Minister of Information, Len Eugene Nagbe, the Minister of Education George K. Werner, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Col. Gregory Coleman, and the Director of General Services Agency. Mary Broh.”
President Weah, in his inaugural address on Monday, called on members of his government to be selfless and rather put the interest of the people first.
Being cognizant of the corruption cancer that plagued the regime of predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Pres. Weah promised to fight corruption and ensure that public resources do not end up in the pockets of government officials.
President Weah: “As officials of Government, it is time to put the interest of our people above our own selfish interests. It is time to be honest with our people. Though corruption is a habit amongst our people, we must end it.
"We must pay civil servants a living wage, so that corruption is not an excuse for taking what is not theirs."
"Those who do not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of the people – the law will take its course. I say today that you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”