LRA Commissioner Designate Says President Didn’t Choose Him Based on Ethnicity

MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah’s choice for commissioner general of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Thomas Doe Nah, has reacted to critics claiming that his appointment was based on ethnicity and tribalism.

Nah’s selection to replace Elfrieda Tamba was announced by the Executive Mansion on Tuesday, August 14. While the general public applauded the appointment, the announcement was followed by criticism from some members of the public. One of the most vocal critics of the appointment was the executive director of Campaigners for Change International, Vandalark Patricks.

Patricks said by appointing Nah and many other southeasterners in prominent roles, Weah has reintroduced tribalism and geographic ethnicity in government, after heavily criticizing his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for doing the same.

He listed several officials serving in the government who he said hailed from the southeast including Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh, Youth and Sports Minister Zogar Wilson, Transport Minister Samuel Wlue, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, and Public Works Minister Mobutu Nyenpan. Others were Gender Minister Piso Saydee-Tarr; the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation’s Managing Director, Nyemadi Pearson; and the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Patrick Sudue.

However, Nah contends that he would have been an appropriate choice for the position even if it had been a different person serving as president.

“Interestingly, I was born in Tappita, Nimba County and that is where I call home. Am I not a Nimbaian, also?” he responded to his critics.

He further indicated that he does not subscribe to tribalism and will not allow himself to be a pawn in any such endeavor: “The president is wise and knows what he wants in an LRA head and went for it.”

The LRA Commissioner General Designate is currently the Peace Lead for the Carter Center’s Access to Justice and Access to Information programs. He is also the former executive director for the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, the local affiliate of Transparency International. He also previously worked for the United States Embassy in Monrovia as an economic and commercial assistant. Nah has held top positions at International Bank Liberia Limited and Liberian Bank for Development and Investment.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The LRA’s deputy commissioner general for technical services, Decontee King-Sackie, was also reappointed to serve in the position. The two appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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