Rep. Yekeh Kolubah Wants U.S. Gov’t to Deny Ambassador Designate George Patten Credential

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Rep. Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado’s eighth district has written the U.S. government to avoid recognizing Ambassador Designate George S. W. Patten.

Patten was nominated by President George Weah on December 29, 2018, to serve as ambassador to the U.S. He was commissioned one day after without a confirmation hearing by the Senate.

In a communication to U.S. Ambassador Christina Elder dated January 7, Kolubah said that Patten’s confirmation by Weah is against the Liberian constitution.

Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado’s eighth district wants the U.S. government to deny credentials to Ambassador Designate George S. W. Patten. Photo: Zeze Ballah

The constitution requires the Senate’s approval for ambassadors nominated by the president to be appointed and commissioned.

“The people and government of the United States have invested so much in the sustainability of the rule of law in Liberia, and as such, the president’s action undermines the effort of the U.S. government and the Liberia government system,” Kolubah wrote.

In his letter, the Montserrado representative emphasized to Ambassador Elder that the action of the president to confirmed Patten violates the constitution.

“Therefore, we are appealing to your Excellency to deny the credential of Patten until he goes through formal confirmation in accordance with Article 54 (b) of the Liberia constitution,” Kolubah stressed.

The Bush Chicken reached out to the U.S Embassy in Monrovia to ascertain whether Kolubah’s letter had been received by Elder. However, Selim Ariturk, the embassy’s public affairs officer, noted that, due to the ongoing U.S. federal government shutdown, the embassy could only respond to inquiries of an emergency nature. He added, “We, therefore, refer your inquiry to the Liberian government.”

Following the nomination and subsequent confirmation of Patten by the president, Sen. Sando Johnson of Bomi also called the U.S. government to reject Patten as Liberia’s ambassador to the United States.

Though Johnson did not write a letter to the U.S. embassy, he also said Patten was also not commissioned in conformity with the laws of Liberia.

“I am calling on the U.S. government to reject Patten’s letter of credence because his confirmation was illegally done,” Johnson told FrontPage Africa.

The president, according to the Bomi senator, secretly commissioned Patten without the Senate’s approval.

“We [senators] are not going to allow ourselves in 2019 to be rubber stamps. We will make sure the Senate regains its status by gaining the public trust. What the president did is illegal,” he noted.

Also expressing disappointment about Patten’s confirmation was Maryland’s, Sen. J. Gblehbo Brown.

Brown told FrontPage Africa that the issue is of concern to the Senate as the leadership was meeting to deliberate on Patten’s confirmation by Weah.

Recently, Alexander Cummings, the political leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress, had also criticized what he called an “inept” Coalition for Democratic Change government headed by Weah.

The ANC political leader noted that Weah’s administration is losing popularity because it is disrespecting public procurement rules and has commissioned an ambassador without the Senate’s confirmation.

“It is disheartening – discouraging – and Liberians should be angry about what is happening to their country,” he said.

Cummings said citizens need to be alarmed by the president’s disrespect for the rule of law.

“I will be surprised if the United States government accepts the appointment [of] Liberia ambassador designate George S.W. Patten,” Cummings noted.

Despite verbal protests by lawmakers, so far, no member of the Senate has filed a complaint to the Supreme Court against the president. All senators will be eligible for reelection in 2020 and citizens will likely be scrutinizing their actions this legislative session.

Featured photo courtesy of the Executive Mansion

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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