Liberia: Citing Economic Pressures, President Takes 25% Paycut

Following his call to members of the Liberian Legislature to follow his lead and take a reduction in salary, there appears to be no ground swell of support among legislators to the call of the new Liberia President George Weah.

Lawmakers Listening To Address
Lawmakers Listening To Address.

Addressing the Legislature on Monday in his first nationwide address, Weah disclosed that he would be taking a 25 % pay cut because of the dire economic situation of the government.

Citing the reality of the declining rate of the Liberian dollar against US currency, he told lawmakers, “Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”

Comparatively, the average lawmaker in Liberia makes about $180,000 which are paid in US dollars in addition to other benefits; that breaks down to about $15,000 USD monthly plus benefits for vehicle, vehicle insurance, repair and maintenance, newspaper, workshops, conferences, books, scholarships, housing, office staff, constituency visit, gasoline, internet, local and foreign travel allowance, entertainment, etc.

The average U.S. Representative makes about $174,000 annually plus benefits.

The Guardian newspaper in 2016 reported the salary of lawmakers in various European Parliament as seen below:
Country Salary                 Mean earnings             (2010) Ratio                   Source
Austria €120,165               €38,895                     3.09                          Austrian parliament
Belgium €86,064               €43,388                     1.98                           Belgian parliament
Bulgaria €16,318              €4,618                       3.53                           Standart News
Croatia €24,487                 €12,494                     1.96                          Croatian parliament
Cyprus €47,324                  €26,927                    1.76                          Cypriot parliament
Czech Republic €27,246   €12,592                     2.16                         Czech parliament
Denmark €91,767             €49,714                     1.85                          Danish parliament
Estonia €41,331                €10,395                      3.98                          Estonian parliament
Finland €76,560                €40,281                     1.90                          Finnish parliament
France €85,200                 €33,897                     2.51                          French parliament
Germany €108,894          €38,735                     2.81                          Cornelia Trefflich
Greece €68,460                 25,669                       2.67                          Greek parliament
Hungary €28,704             €9,916                       2.89                          Hungarian parliament
Ireland €87,258                €42,546                     2.05                          Irish parliament
Italy €167,257                   €31,680                     5.28                          Italian parliament
Latvia €27,492                  €8,357                       3.29                          Latvian parliament
Lithuania €30,380            €7,138                       4.26                         Lithuanian parliament
Luxembourg €75,319      €51,663                     1.46                         Chambre Des Deputes
Malta €21,145                   €18,744                     1.13                         Maltese parliament
Netherlands €102,039     €41,149                     2.48                         Dutch parliament
Poland €27,951                 €10,426                     2.68                         Polish parliament
Portugal €49,323              €18,354                     2.69                         Portuguese parliament
Romania €18,984             €5,991                       3.17                         Romanian parliament
Slovakia €23,532              €10,232                     2.30                         Slovakian parliament
Slovenia €42,447              €21,135                     2.01                         Slovenian parliament
Spain €33,768                   €27,057                     1.25                         Spanish parliamentary
Sweden €79,392               €38,716                     2.05                         Swedish parliament
UK €106,000                      €35,840                     2.96                         British parliament
EU average €60,843         €25,591                     2.4

The salaries for law makers compared to the ordinary Liberian is grossly disparate.

Political Subdivision Map of Liberia
Political Subdivision Map of Liberia

In the 2017-2018  National Budget of nearly $564 million, about $295 million was allocated for salaries. In its narrative for the allocation of monies to the National Legislature, the National Budget noted that  …”The purpose of the Legislature of the Republic of Liberia, in keeping with the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, is to formulate and make laws, ratify treaties, conventions, and make amendments on existing laws and adopt resolutions. This branch of Government serves as representative of the citizens through which their views and demands are addressed.

The National Legislature is cited as providing no information on Objectives or Achievements for 2016-2017 fiscal year.

However, in the 2017-2018 Budget, National Legislature expenditure including salaries are projected for $29,581,158 USD; increased from $26,546,165 in the 2016-2017 budget.

The 2017-2018 budget projected the receipt of external assistance of $688,185 million. The breakdown of this amount were as follows in USD:
$49.7 million as Budget support with $20 million from the International Development Associate, $12.7 million from USAID, $12.7 million dollars from the EU and $4.3 million dollars from Norway. Targeted external assistance was also projected for  various sectors of the Liberian government such as the Trust Fund for $17.79 million, Pool fund of $5 million and Project/Program Aid of $568.75 million dollars.

Major categories of Expenditures in the 2017-2018 budget were in recurrent, contingent and Public Sector Investment Plan, Public Administration, Gender Response and State Owned Enterprises. Compensation of employees accounted for 59% of recurrent expenditure.

Liberia’s economic outlook was exacerbated by  decline in commodity prices  for its iron ore and rubber exports, the impact of the Ebola pandemic in 2014- 2015 and exit of the UN Mission in the country.

 

Budget FY 2017-2018
Budget FY 2017-2018

The World Bank’s latest overview of Liberia notes that “…Headline inflation averaged 12.4% in the first half of 2017, compared with 7.3% the previous year, driven by the relatively fast pace of the depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the U.S. dollar (of 20% in the first half of 2017 compared to 11% in the same period in 2016). Other factors include excess liquidity in terms of Liberian dollars, and the relative shortage of inflows of foreign exchange. The resultant rise in the cost of living, especially the cost of food, which is mostly imported, increased fiscal pressures. Limited employment continues to undermine the welfare of Liberians in both urban and rural areas..”

The small West African nation of 4 million people is banking on favorable agricultural sector growth in commercial gold and diamond production and expansions to improve its economic growth.

The new administration is yet to lay out its economic strategies for addressing the declining economic outlook and pressures on limited government revenues. President Weah, in his address to lawmakers on Monday, all but admitted that Liberia is “broke”.

According to World Bank, “… Commensurate with GDP per capita growth and single digit inflation, Liberia’s poverty headcount ratio (at the national poverty line) is projected to fall to 45.2% in 2019, compared to 49.8% in 2017.”

Liberia Capirol Building
Liberia Capitol Building – Seat of National Legislature

According to President Weah, he will submit several legislations and policies to the country’s Legislature  intended to spur economic growth, develop and expand agriculture and address the infrastructure needs across the country.

His government, he said,  will focus on road construction and the provision of affordable and adequate electricity power.

While expectations are high for immediate solutions to national challenges, some Liberians say they are prepared to give the new administration some time to address the issues.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Togo: More Protests Planned Against President Gnassingbe

More political turmoil is forecasted for the small West African nation of Togo in the coming days.

Administrative Map of Togo
Administrative Map of Togo

Reports say, a series of nationwide strikes are expected to be held in in the country beginning Tuesday Tuesday, January 30 through the following week into Thursday, February 8.

In its country security risk report issued on Monday, the world’s largest privately owned security firm Garda says, the first series will be a teachers unions strike which will launch and last for  72-hours beginning on January 30.

Next will be the Togolese health care workers who are expected to launch their strike on January 31 and February 1.

Garda says it is still unclear to what extent the healthcare workers’ strike will affect available medical services across the country. Public sector workers, the firm said, also plan to strike from Monday, February 4, through Thursday, February 8.  Large demonstrations and public gatherings are expected in the capital Lomé and in other areas during the strikes.

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe’s government has been dogged by sometimes violent protests organized by the opposition who have called form him to go. The President has resisted calls and has instead called for dialogue with the opposition aimed at political reforms.

Women in Togo have also marched to protest the administration of President Gnassingbe. The main opposition leader Jean Pierre Fabre, who said he supports the women told the AFP that, “Faced with the refusal of the power to move forward, women have decided to enter the game.”

Togolese Anti Government Protesters
Togolese Anti Government Protesters

The opposition is demanding  the return of the original Togolese 1992 Constitution which limits the President to a two five-year term and a two-round voting system. The opposition also wants the introduction of diaspora voting, an independent investigation into killing of protesters, the release of all political detainees and an end to arrests, torture and persecution of members of the opposition.

President Gnassingbe, who was installed in 2005 with the support of the Togolese military following the death of his father General Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled the country for 38 years, is the current chair of the sub-regional economic grouping ECOWAS.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Commentary: Peaceful Election Truly Represents a Major Milestone for Liberia’s Democracy

Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the Concession Statement delivered by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai on Friday, December 29, 2017, following his defeat by Senator George Weah in the hotly contested but peaceful presidential election in Liberia. Irrespective of whatever the outcome turned out to be, I was simply moved by a sense of pride about this major democratic milestone Liberia has accomplished.

Runoff Candidates George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai Voting December 26
Runoff Candidates George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai Voting December 26

The peaceful conclusion of what was undoubtedly a contentious electoral process marks a profound break with the recent past, where change of Liberia’s leadership was characterized by violence, bloodshed and destruction.

In his concession statement, Vice President Boakai, who is the Standard Bearer of the ruling Unity Party, said … “a while ago, I called Ambassador George Manneh Weah of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC), to congratulate him on emerging as the winner in the presidential contest. I also availed myself to help him in any way he may find me useful to advance the good of our country.”

Vice President Boakai then called on all his supporters and well-wishers “to support peace and collectively join hands to continue to build our country, heal our wounds and serve our people with honesty, as well as a renewed dedication and commitment.” He also called on all Liberians to close ranks and work together for the betterment of Mama Liberia.

Thanks be to the Lord that we are witnessing a period in the life of Liberia where a presidential candidate would concede defeat with such grace and dignity as Ambassador Boakai did, a demonstration of his true statesmanship. I recall that I was an intern at the Daily Observer newspaper in Monrovia in my early 20s training to be a journalist when hell broke loose in 1985, following the disputed general and presidential elections. Hundreds of people were killed and there was wide-spread abuse of human rights

The unspeakable acts of brutality perpetrated during that time served as the fuel that set Liberia ablaze through nearly 15 years of bloody and devastating civil war. In his concession statement, Vice President Boakai acknowledged that the history of Liberia is characterized by episodes of fraudulent electoral processes that have engendered conflicts. He also cautioned Liberians to “remain cognizant of the extent to which elections are conflict-prone and have the potential to destroy nations, disintegrate families and undermine the sanctity of a nation.”

As Liberia went through the period of political uncertainty over the past few months, there were concerns and fear that the country might be plunged into another state of instability or armed conflict.

Poll Workers
Poll Workers

This is why it is noteworthy to proudly highlight that, despite the heated partisan rhetoric and the months of uncertainty that characterized the 2017 Presidential Election, Liberians conducted themselves peacefully.  Even though emotions were high during the election disputations, they remained patient to allow for the constitutional process and the due process of law to play out. It was heart-warming to see mothers with their babies on their back, along with other children mixing with everyone else at peaceful political rallies and parades that often took on a carnival affair.

Also across the length and breadth of Liberia, in villages, towns, and cities, people gathered in their numbers to attend political debates and forums. Those events provided them the opportunity to hear from candidates and their representatives regarding their platforms.

Photo of National Coat Of Arms of LiberiaLiberians in the Diaspora also invested their hearts and souls, resources, and time to be actively involved in the electoral process supporting various political parties and candidates. Many travelled to Liberia to be directly involved in the political process. Thank you for your support and sacrifices to help keep Liberia on a course of progress. An enhanced engagement of the Liberian Diaspora with the homeland is critical for Liberia’s rapid transformation. Through continued and sustained engagement, Liberians in the Diaspora will help create the enabling environment that would engender the transfer of knowledge, skills and resources to accelerate Liberia’s development and progress.

Through this historic election, Liberians have yet again demonstrated to the world, as they did in 2005 with the election of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia and Africa’s first democratically-elected female president, that they are a peaceful people.

One of the major accomplishments of the government of President Sirleaf is the tolerance of dissent, which has birthed an unprecedented level of freedom in Liberia. This is manifested by the fact that in 2010, Liberia became the first country in West Africa to pass a Freedom of Information (FOI) act into law. The Liberian people are beginning to see and enjoy the dividends of freedom as our nascent democracy grows from strength to strength. During the just ended general elections, an overwhelming majority of members of the National Legislature seeking re-election were defeated, while a very few who were regarded to have performed up to public expectations were re-elected.

Liberia
Liberia

Liberians are beginning to realize the power in their vote, and how they can leverage it to improve their lives. So if they give you the opportunity to serve and bring about some improvement but you are found to be an incapable custodian of the public trust, then they will show you the way out the door and let someone else take charge. It is hard time that the standard of public service in Liberia is improved to a generally acceptable and desirable level, and people charged with responsibilities are mindful of public expectation for progress.

With an increasingly vibrant and proactive civil society, buttressed by a free and economically vibrant media, Liberia’s democratic foundations can only be further strengthened. Hence, there is a need for increased support for civil society organizations and the media, so as to enable them to continue to be proactive in holding government accountable, as have been the case during the administration of Madam President.

We appreciate the positive role of all the presidential candidates who did not succeed during the 2017 presidential elections, and their supporters, who have shown by their peaceful disposition that Liberia continues on a course of peace and progress. Liberia’s democracy would be further enhanced by a strong opposition that will stay the course and continue to be constructively engaged with the government to ensure that the people’s business is done.

Ecowas Flags
ECOWAS Flags

We also thank the international community for the sustained engagement with Liberia since the end of the civil crises and the beginning of post-war reconstruction. The United Nations, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), European Union (EU), and also to mention major partners such as the United States and China, must be highly applauded for staying the course with Liberia. With continued and deepened engagement and support, as manifested by the involvement of the international community in bringing a peaceful end to the 2017 General and Presidential Elections, there is reason to be hopeful that Liberia would remain on a steady course of democracy and economic progress.

Indeed, while Liberia is faced with enormous challenges, progress has been made. Upon taking office in 2006, the Government of President Sirleaf inherited a country internationally backlisted and regarded as a failed state. Today, Liberia has continued on a path of reconstruction, and she enjoys an international status as one of the most respected countries among the comity of nations.

Considering the longstanding historical ties subsisting between Liberia and the United States, one of the notable foreign policy accomplishments of Madam President was the establishment of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue in 2013. The first of its kind with the United States since Liberia’s establishment, the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue is the institutional framework for cooperation between both countries. In this light, irrespective of who is in the Executive Mansion in Monrovia or in the White House in Washington, D.C., there is an established institutional framework by which the relationship between both countries is governed.

Flag of the US
Flag of the US

Convened every two years on a rotational basis between Washington and Monrovia, the third round of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue took place on January 10, 2017 in Washington to build on the special historical and bilateral ties between the two countries and to convene four working groups focused on:  Overcoming Challenges to Liberia’s Economy, Expanding Agriculture Production and Trade; Enhancing Liberia’s Investment and Infrastructure Climate; and Supporting Post Ebola Recovery and Health System Strengthening Efforts.

U.S. support for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydro is an example of what is being achieved under the U.S.-Liberia Bilateral Partnership Dialogue, which also covers energy or electric power and road development, as well as human development.

Following Ambassador Boakai’s historic concession statement in Monrovia on December 29, 2017, The White House Press Secretary in Washington issued a statement congratulating the Liberian people on the successful conclusion of the presidential run-off, and President-elect Weah on his victory. The White House statement also paid homage to Vice President Boakai for his “years of honorable service to Liberia.”

Noting that the election represents a major milestone for Liberia’s democracy, the White House statement concludes: “The United States is committed to our longstanding relationship with Liberia and its people. We will continue to support the success of this historic democratic transition and the peace and prosperity of Liberia.”

Liberian Voters At Rally Town Market jpg
Liberian Voters At Rally Town Market

Whenever there is a change in national leadership, people who are affected wonder what the change means for them; how is it going to affect the security and well-being of them and their families; how is the change going to positively or negatively impact their society or country as a whole.

As we all ponder the issues of what the new democratic change means for Liberia, I thought to contribute to the ongoing public discourse regarding how we can focus on building upon the gains that have been made to accelerate the process of development. I do so not unmindful that there are those who hold a contrary opinion, which is in keeping with the spirit of democracy.

For me, I see the glass half full, considering from whence we have come as a people and a nation.

Congratulations to President-elect Weah and Vice President-elect Jewel Howard-Taylor on your historic ascendency to our nation’s highest offices.

About the Author: Gabriel I.H. Williams is the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Liberia near Washington, D.C. A journalist and author, he served as Deputy Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism before taking up his current diplomatic assignment in the United States.

Eurasia Group 2018 Risks Group: Africa

The Eurasia Group has released its 2018 Top Risks Group which includes Africa. The following is an in-depth analysis for Africa.

Africa
Africa

THE “AFRICA RISING” NARRATIVE REMAINS APPEALING, but this year will face a new challenge. The continent’s core countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, among others) have recently demonstrated robust investment climates, and they’ve been generally sealed off from the troubles of the “periphery” (Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, etc.). But in 2018, negative spillover from Africa’s unstable periphery will increasingly spoil the continent’s success stories.

The threat lies in security risks: militancy and terrorism. The dangers posed by Al Shabaab in East Africa and Al Qaeda in West Africa are not new, but they’re set to intensify. Despite losing territory in 2017, Al Shabaab is still carrying out successful one-off surprise attacks and will look to more international targets in 2018. The Islamic State is likely to increase activity in West Africa and expand into East Africa as it is pushed from traditional strongholds in the Middle East.

Boko Haram Fighters
Boko Haram Fighters

Countries targeted by militancy and terrorism are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to provide unified support.
Target countries are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to mount a united front of support. Local actors in “core” countries are already suffering from weakened political capacity. Kenya’s government will focus on economic recovery after a prolonged election cycle. Nigeria enters an election season with uncertainty over its current leader’s health. South Africa faces internal political strife. Angola is busy with a fresh leadership transition. Mozambique is still struggling with a years-long debt scandal.

Foreign partners who have helped stabilize weak governments in the past are distracted. In the east, a preoccupied Europe has reduced its salary support for troops of the UN-mandated African Union Mission to Somalia operating in the Al Shabaab hotspot. Across the Sahel, the G5 counterterrorism partnership of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania plans to launch a 5,000-strong force in March 2018. But differences among France, the US, and UN officials will slow the necessary funding, leaving the region at risk, despite an injection of financial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The growing fragility of Africa’s top performers has several implications. Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia face increased security costs at a time when their governments need to reduce spending. A spike in attacks would also undermine foreign investment perceptions already shaken by the election-related violence in Kenya, a growing social protest movement in Ethiopia, and presidential succession uncertainties in Nigeria and Uganda.

Naira-The-Trent
Nairas

Foreign investors may see their assets directly targeted. Tourist and energy installations will be especially at risk. This will put downward pressure on FDI into the continent, leaving development reliant on limited local capital. And the pressure of security-related refugee flows—on countries in the region and in Europe—will not abate, creating a headache for policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean.

About EURASIA GROUP: 

According to its website, the Eurasia Group says it connects geopolitics and business to provide valuable strategic and operational insights. Its combination of strategy consulting methodologies, deep industry sector coverage, and best-in-class country expertise is applied to areas including:

Risk-adjusted market assessment, market prioritization, and market entry planning

Political risk assessment and messaging strategy

M&A macro risk due diligence

Enterprise risk management & process design support

Strategic risk identification and monitoring

Source: The Eurasia Group

 

White House: Statement by the Press Secretary on the Presidential Election in Liberia

Issued December 29. 3017, Washington DC – The United States congratulates the people of Liberia on the successful conclusion of the presidential runoff election, and President-elect George Weah on his victory.  This is Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected head of state to another in decades, and represents a major milestone for Liberia’s democracy.

Liberia Electorates
Liberian Voters

The United States commends the National Elections Commission for administering an orderly election process.  We also recognize the important role Liberia’s Supreme Court, political parties, security forces, and civil society organizations played in holding a peaceful and transparent contest, and we welcome the statements by international and domestic observer missions affirming the conduct of the election.  We also thank Vice President Joseph Boakai for his positive campaign and years of honorable service to Liberia.

The United States is deeply committed to our longstanding relationship with Liberia and its people.  We will continue to support the success of this historic democratic transition and the peace and prosperity of Liberia.

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberia: Presidential Transition Team Set Up

Monrovia, Liberia – December 27 2017:  In order to support the smooth transition of power, the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued an Executive Order  No. 91 which establishes the Joint Presidential Transition Team of 2017.

An Executive Mansion release copied to West African Journal Magazine on Thursday said,Whereas the Constitution and laws of Liberia do not provide the protocol and mechanisms for the orderly transfer of power from one democratically elected President to another democratically elected President”;

Executive Order No. 91 notes –Whereas Liberia has not experienced the transfer of power from one democratically elected President to another democratically elected President for over 70 years; whereas there is a need to develop appropriate protocol and mechanisms for the smooth transfer of power from one democratically elected President to another”; and

Photo of National Coat Of Arms of LiberiaThe Executive Order furthered whereas systems and mechanisms have to be put in place for the management and coordination of the transition of power from the incumbent President to the incoming President.

“Now therefore, I, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me pursuant to Chapter Two, Article 5(c) of the Constitution of the Republic Liberia (1986), hereby issue this Executive Order to be called the Presidential Transition Executive Order”, the release said.

SECTION 1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this Executive Order is to establish mechanisms for the proper management and orderly transfer of executive power from this current administration to the incoming President.

Section 2. NAME AND COMPOSITION OF THE TRANSITION TEAM:

A Transition Team is hereby established to be called the Joint Presidential Transition Team (JPTT).

  1. Composition: The President of Liberia shall appoint fifteen (15) persons to the Joint Presidential Transition Team and they shall be as follows: 1) The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs; 2) The Minister of Justice; 3) The Minister of Foreign Affairs; 4) The Minister of Finance and Development Planning; 5) The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia; 6) The Minister of Internal Affairs; 7) The Minister of National Defense; and 8) the Director of the Executive Protective Service; 9) The Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism; and others members to be appointed at the discretion of the incumbent President.
  2. The Director General of the Cabinet shall be the Secretary of the JPTT.
  3. The President-Elect shall appoint fifteen (15) persons to the JPTT, all of whom must be Liberian citizens. A sitting member of the Cabinet may be preferred. The President-Elect shall name his/her appointees to the JPTT not later than twenty-four (24) hours after the declaration of the President-Elect by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
  4. The President and the President-Elect shall be co-chairpersons of the JPTT. They may designate any member of the JPTT to act as a Co-Chairperson in their absence.
  5. Decisions of the JPTT shall be made by consensus and any disagreement shall be resolved by the President and President-Elect, acting jointly.

SECTION 3. DURATION:

The JPTT shall commence its functions and exercise the powers and authority granted by this Executive Order no later than forty-eight hours after the declaration of the President-Elect by the NEC. It shall cease to function after the publication of its Final Report which shall be no later than January 31, 2018.

SECTION 4. FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE JPTT:

The following shall be the functions and powers of the JPTT:

  1. Formulate guidelines and policies to govern the transition;
  2. Ensure the provision of regular national security briefing for the President-Elect during the period commencing immediately upon the constitution of the JPTT by the incumbent President and the President-Elect;
  3. Ensure that every lawful step is taken to promote the orderly transition from the incumbent President to the President-Elect;
  4. Liaise with all government agencies to ensure the effective provision of services and facilities in pursuance of this Executive Order;

SECTION 5.MEETINGS AND REPORT OF THE JPTT

  1. The President shall call the first meeting of the JPTT within forty-eight (48) hours after the declaration of the President elect by the NEC.
  2. Every meeting of the JPTT, after its first meeting shall be convened by the President and the President-elect jointly, or their designees.

Section 6. FUNDING AND SUPPORT OF THE JOINT PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM:

  1. Immediately upon constitution of the JPTT, the President shall authorize the reallocation of resources and assets to support its operations and the provisions contained herein.
  2. The appointees of the President to the JPTT, who are executive of the Liberian Government and receiving salaries and emoluments up to the end of the mandate of the JPTT, shall not be entitled to any additional compensation for their services.
  3. The appointees of the President and President-Elect to the JPTT, who are not public servants, shall be paid honorarium as shall be decided by the President and President-Elect.

SECTION 7. SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED TO THE PRESIDENT-ELECT AND VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT

The JPTT shall ensure that services are provided to the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, which shall include office facilities, logistics, transportation, travel allowances, communication services, daily briefing and other services and benefits.

SECTION 8.SURRENDER OF ASSETS ANDSERVICES TO BE PROVIDED TO THE INCUMBENT PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT

The incumbent President and the Vice President shall vacate their official offices and official residences on or before Inauguration Day. Notwithstanding this provision, the JPTT shall ensure that services are provided to them which shall include, but not limited to, two vehicles and chauffeur each, VIP Protection (EPS and Police Services), logistics, allowances, other benefits and services to be determined by the JPTT.

SECTION 9. NON-TENURED PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEES

Non-tenured presidential appointees shall be presumed to have resigned as of the date of inauguration. Notwithstanding, such officials shall continue to function until their successors have been nominated, confirmed, appointed and commissioned. This Executive Order shall take immediate effect.

Final results of the run-off elections are expected to he announced on December 29, according to the country’s electoral body. Preliminary results announced on Thursday indicate that Senator George Weah is on track to become the next President of Liberia.

West African Journal Magazine

ECOWAS To Sanction Guinea-Bissau Unless Crisis Is Resolved

Abuja, Nigeria – Leaders of the West African economic grouping known as ECOWAS say they will impose sanctions on Guinea-Bissau unless the country’s grinding political crisis was resolved within two months.

ECOWAS
ECOWAS

At a meeting in the Nigeria, capital Abuja over the weekend, the leaders said they were “disappointed with the absence of progress in the peace process” . Guinea Bissau has had a intractable political stalemate since 2015 since the sacking of President of former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira by the President.

Curent African Union (AU) Chair and Guinean President Alpha Conde and Ecowas Chair and President of Togo Faure Gnassingbe had been working to resolve the political crisis and the naming of a prime minister and formation of a unity government.

Conde and Gnassingbe were asked by the ECOWAS leaders to “continue consultation within the next two months without which collective and individual sanctions will be handed down against all those who constitute themselves into an obstacle.”

Pres Jose Mario Vaz
Pres Jose Mario Vaz

President Vaz says he is open to talks with the opposition in an effort to resolve the crisis; something the opposition has already rejected.